Cybersecurity Statistics for 2020 – Trends, Insights and More!

Cybersecurity is a BIG issue, and the interesting thing is…a lot of people don’t realize they care about it.

A lot of people think about cybersecurity as something pretty basic: choose a good password, and beyond that it’s really a term for governments and big companies to worry about.

Of course, when you think about it, cybersecurity matters to just about everyone.

It’s super important for small businesses, who may be targeted without having the resources to hire a security professional.

And have you ever been concerned about what Facebook is doing with your data? Then you’ve worried about cybersecurity.

See what I mean? This goes for EVERYONE who does anything on the internet.

So I’ve picked quite a few of the most relevant and reputable statistics about cybersecurity in this list, and I think they’ll matter a lot to you, no matter your context.

Ready? Let’s start off with something of interest to the business owners out there:

Item #1: NEARLY HALF of American small businesses suffered a cyber-attack last year.

First, sorry to start off with such a negative and scary stat.

But also, it’s pretty important to know. So let’s just look at the numbers, presented to us by Hiscox’s 2018 Small Business Cyber Risk Report:

cybersecurity stats percent

So as you can see, last year nearly half of small businesses in the United States suffered a cyber-attack. And of those, 44% suffered 2+ attacks.

A lot of us have this idea that cyber-attacks are mostly an issue for big firms to worry about. Unfortunately, small businesses have got a LOT to worry about themselves.

So even if this stat doesn’t cheer you up, at least it will help us put to bed the idea that SMBs are largely ignored by cyber-attacks.

Let’s hammer this dose of reality home extra-hard, while we’re at it:

Item #2: MOST of those small businesses fail to act after an attack.

This stat actually comes from the same report as the last one. And it might give you the same sinking feeling as the last one.

Let’s have a look:

cybersecurity stats percent

Yep…not a third, not even half, but NEARLY 2/3rds of small businesses fail to act following a cybersecurity incident.

Now, let’s note that this does NOT mean that 65% of small businesses got hacked and did nothing about it.

First, plenty of small businesses in this stats probably didn’t even know they had a cybersecurity incident.

And part of that is because cybersecurity incidents aren’t the same thing as being “hacked” in a super malicious way.

Nonetheless, it’s still pretty clear that small businesses, for various reasons, are not taking enough action to prevent cyber-attacks OR to fix cybersecurity issues.

Item #3: Over 85% of the email was spam in July 2019.

This really isn’t shaping up to be a “feel-good” list, is it? Well, such is life I suppose.

Check out the latest data, straight from Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group:

cybersecurity stats-percent of email is spam

Those are some enormous numbers, barely comprehensible. But the key figure is that 85% of email that is spam.

Want to know the worst part?

The proportion of spam to real mail is SUPER consistent over time:

cybersecurity stats-percent of email is spam2

Meaning there’s no real reason to think that in the near future, most email will be non-spam.

Okay, but here’s a silver lining:

Remember that spam is not the same thing as malware.

Spam obviously has a much higher rate of malware, phishing attempts, and so on, but this number doesn’t mean that 85% of your email is deadly to your cybersecurity.

… Just that a lot of email is on the riskier side.

On the note of email, though:

Item #4: The most common malicious attachments in email are Microsoft Office files.

Clearly, a lot of malware gets distributed through email. People have generally gotten wise to the usual, more overt malware email tactics.

Unfortunately, this means bad actors have also evolved their game. Cisco’s June 2019 email security report details some pretty shocking numbers.

Nowadays malware is often sent through mostly “normal” attachment types:

cybersecurity stats-most malicious file types

So the result is that over 40% of malicious attachments—TWO IN FIVE—are Microsoft Office attachments, mostly .doc files. PDFs are about 10% and .zip files are nearly a third.

This doesn’t mean you should stop sending Word documents through email…just that you shouldn’t assume an attachment is safe because it’s a Microsoft Office file.

Item #5: Cybercriminals have been a more pervasive threat than hackers recently.

I know what you’re thinking: what’s the difference between a hacker and a cybercriminal? Is this going to be a distinction without a difference?

Well, there’s definitely some overlap…but there’s still a meaningful difference. In short:

A hacker breaks into your system. A cybercriminal does this…and does something criminal (like stealing important information, robbing you, etc).

This report by Isaca on 2019’s cyberthreat landscape includes a poll given to business owners on the post frequent threat actors.

cybersecurity stats-threat actor ranking

So while hacking in general is obviously the big overall concern, cybercriminals are the chief perpetrators…meaning robbers, basically.

Item #6: Phishing has been the most common attack type.

Phishing is a bad-faith effort at getting sensitive information (usually account information and card numbers), usually with the perp pretending to be a trustworthy person or group.

You might think phishing is the easiest security issue to avoid, because you’re a smart person who can tell the difference between good and bad actors.

And you know what?

You’re probably right. Most people who have been on the internet for a bit, and especially business-owners, can see through most phishing attempts.

But you shouldn’t dismiss them. Because here’s how common they are:

cyberstats-attack types ranking

They are the MOST common cyber-attack type, and they have been for the last three years (according to the aforementioned Isaca report).

Heck, what’s interesting is that the other most common forms of attack—malware and social engineering—have actually decreased while phishing has stayed strong.

Item #7: One in ten URLs are malicious.

This data comes straight from Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, and there’s no way to sugarcoat it.

cybersecurity stats-one in ten urls

It’s easy to have a false sense of security—you maintain basic security practices on the internet, you only click links that look safe, etc.

But when you consider that 10% of URLs are malicious, it sure becomes apparent that you can’t be too careful.

Because if so many URLs are malicious, odds are even cautious people are going to run into them. Stay safe!

Item #8: Most Internet-of-Things (IOT) attacks hit routers.

The Internet-of-Things refers to increasingly common internet-enabled “smart” household devices.

IOT devices are the things that you see ads for all the time. Smart speakers and home assistants put out by Amazon, Apple, Google, etc, are very popular IOT devices.

But lots of new IOT products are coming out every day: door locks, cameras, microwaves, ovens, etc.

But IOT devices are notoriously vulnerable to hacking at this point in time. Symantec decided to test out IOT security and put the results in the report I mentioned in the last stat.

Here’s what they found:

cybersecurity stats-routers are most iot attacks

Routers are the most frequently attacked points for IOT attacks.

Routers got about 75% of the attacks, and internet-connected cameras got another 15%.

A bunch of other things make up the remaining 10%, meaning these are the two you really need to be careful about if you’re trying to modernize your home or business.

Item #9: Over a QUARTER of internet users worldwide use a VPN or proxy.

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are basically private networks built on public networks and are almost always encrypted nowadays—meaning users can experience better privacy and security.

Proxies overlap somewhat in that they switch up your traffic and make your IP look different (though they’re still pretty different from VPNs).

Anyway, VPNs and proxies are pretty common, according to recent data.

These numbers are from 2018 and presented by the reputable GlobalWebIndex research firm, and are probably the best recent numbers we’ve got:

cybersecurity stats-vpn use

What’s more, GlobalWebIndex points out that these numbers have been largely consistent since 2013.

This is honestly more than I expected, and it has a few implications—for one, it could change how we look at traffic statistics. For example:

Perhaps a lot of American traffic statistics are actually from people around the world trying to bypass local restrictions.

It also means that a solid amount of people, whether they intend to or not, are adding an extra layer of security and anonymity to their internet use.

Pssst: if you’re interested in checking out VPNs but not interested enough to set down money, you can actually try some free ones out.

Don’t worry—I’ve got a list of the best free ones to help you get started!

Item #10: Network vulnerabilities are far more common than application vulnerabilities.

This last stat is a little more technical, but don’t worry—I’ll take you through it.

First let me show you the numbers, brought to us by EdgeScan’s 2019 Vulnerability Statistics Report:

cybersecurity stats-web apps vs network vulnerability

Network vulnerabilities accounted for the vast majority of cyber vulnerabilities at 81%, whereas web application vulnerabilities accounted for the rest.

Okay, but what does that mean?

You know what a network is, but a web application might be a little fuzzy for you. A web application is basically a program or software that works within a browser environment.

What does that mean in daily life?

Email, online shopping carts, plugins for your WordPress site, and so on. A lot of stuff that’s extremely common nowadays.

Now this might seem a little surprising, and some say that web application vulnerabilities are the most common, more common than network vulnerabilities.

Hashing this out could be an entire article unto itself, so I won’t get too into it here.

The reason I’ve left this statistic for you is to show you that network vulnerabilities are still extremely common, even if web applications are what we think of the most when it comes to cybersecurity.

But, let me point out one more thing out: even if network issues are over 80% of cybersecurity weaknesses, web apps have a higher proportion of high-risk problems.

So if you’ve been super concerned about the security of web applications…keep it up! Just don’t neglect network security too much either.

Conclusion

Like I said in the beginning, cybersecurity is a very multi-faceted thing. It’s relevant to just about everyone, and sometimes in more than one way per person (as a private individual and as a site manager, for example).

Cybersecurity is also a battle waged on many fronts: at the level of the network and the level of the website, on individual scales and massive organizational ones.

There are lots of stats out there on cybersecurity, but the game is constantly changing, and that’s why I found the most reliable recent stats and put them here.

Everyone has different contexts, concerns, and vulnerabilities online. But to the extent that I can generalize advice…I’d say, the best thing is to be careful!

Stay safe, y’all!

The Destruction of America Through the Education of Our Children

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln. January 27, 1838.


Today Americans are living the results of a deliberately dumbed down education.  Our founders had IQ of 120+. The traditional American education was fact based providing the students with the skills to navigate their life’s plan.  By learning reading, writing and math students excelled beyond expectations.  The products they created set the stage to advance human life beyond expectations. Rather than continue this plan focused on American exceptionalism, greed set in.  Those in power Communist/Socialist/Progressive (aka Communists) realized that to keep their power they must destroy competition. “Educated people require more from their government.  Poor people depend on their government to exist.”  Communists learned quickly that the best way to destroy a country was to destroy the culture starting in school. Dumb the population and the nation will crumble.

In the late 1800’s till today education changed from a fact based curricula to an outcome based value driven hatred filled curricula.  Parents trusted schools to provide excellent students and instead they got hate filled victims incapable of thinking on their own. Today we are living the results of those failed plans.

There are many reasons for implementing this plan to turn our children into “robots” but first there were things that had to be accomplished like:

  • the destruction of America’s morals, values, beliefs and independence
  • promote a global unity in thinking by giving up values
  • lack of economic understanding
  • removal of our constitutional rights and personal freedoms.

Students are divided into identity groups and those groups were turned against each other creating chaos. Collectivism not exceptionalism was/is the goal.

It is also very clear to me that for years we have been led to believe that more and more money was needed to educate our children properly. We are continually told that more money will give our children the best education possible. I find in my research the ones most benefiting from this are the “fat cat college professors” , the superintendents and their administrations (top heavy). The money goes to the unelected bureaucrats in salaries and benefits, not to the children or teachers. Did you ever stop to ask yourself why it is we can send a child to a private school for less money than what it costs to educate in a public school?

In my opinion the Federal Department of Education was formed for no other reasons than to (1) satisfy the Unions and (2) shape our children into “robots”. You and I know that almost every program the Federal government touches fails.  Why in the world would we think they would do a good job educating our most precious resource – our children?

Many things have changed over the years since the Federal government got their hands on the education of our children.  Today they are working hard to remove “parental control” and replace the family with the school family. The goal is still the same – New World Order! One World Government!  Results in the first quarter of the 20th century IQ slipped to 110, in the late 20th century the national IQ was around 100.  Today after 10 years of Common Core the national IQ is below 100. Shall we give the Education Department more money to fix the problem?

The purpose of this timeline is to show you not only what has been happening for over 100 years, but to also show it is a non-partisan action by both parties. Acceptance of Government control of all aspects of our lives is a communist ideology that gets watered down and called new names but the underlying goal is still the same ‘POWER, CONTROL AND MONEY” led by their “EGOS”. These modern day communists are using our children advance their agenda.

As you read the timeline it is important to remember:

  • Everything is connected
  • Nothing is random
  • There are no coincidences
  • Everything has a plan
  • All plans are based on lies.

The true Communist/Socialist/Progressive/Liberal/Globalist goal:  MONEY, POWER, CONTROL

This time line is a summary of the highlights of programs inflicted on our educational system. It includes the devastating effects of “Modern” fact-less education in the first half of the 20th century. More to follow:

1896 – John Dewey, socialist, father of Progressive Education, entered the scene in America to work on establishing a force to change education in America. He gathered the college Education teachers into liberal groups teaching then the Marxist theory of education. His focus was from reading, writing and arithmetic to a socialization progress which would be concerned with attitudes, relationships and feelings.

1905 – The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) was founded. Together with other Carnegie Foundations, they have been a major promoter and funder of socialistic, global ventures.

1918 – Rockefeller & Carnegie Foundation planned the demise of Traditional Academic Education – Rockefeller to be in charge of US – Carnegie too charge of International Education.

1919 – The Institute of International Education (IIE) was established with a grant from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Edward R. Morrow became IIE’s Assistant Director and John Dewey served on the National Advisory Council.

1934 – National Education Association (NEA) Former Executive Secretary Willard Givens warned that “…all of us, including the ‘owners’, must be subjected to a large degree of social control… An equitable distribution of income will be sought… the major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual. It must seek to give him understanding of the transition to a new social order.”

1934 – The Carnegie Corporation funded the American Historical Association’s Report of the Commission on the Social Studies. Like most of today’s social studies curricula, the report called for a shift from free enterprise to collectivism:

“…the age of individualism and laissez faire in economy and government is closing and… a new age of collectivism is emerging… It may involve the limiting or supplanting of private property by public property or it may entail the preservation of private property, extended and distributed among the masses… Almost certainly it will involve a larger measure of compulsory as well as voluntary cooperation of citizens in the context of the complex national economy, a corresponding enlargement of the functions of government, and an increasing state intervention in fundamental branches of economy previously left to individual discretion and initiative.

1942 – The editor of the NEA Journal, J. Elmer Morgan, wrote an editorial titled “The United Peoples of the World.” In it, he explained a world government’s need for an educational branch, a world system of money and credit, a world police force, and a world bill of rights and duties.”

1945 – Creation of the United Nations and playing a very large role in that was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with cooperation from the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace and the Rockefeller Foundation. Large banks and trusts could see future profits for themselves if they cooperated with the Chamber.

1946 – J. Elmer Morgan wrote in his editorial, “The Teacher and World Government” in the struggle to establish an adequate world government, the teacher can do much to prepare the hearts and minds of children. At the very top of all the agencies which will assure the coming of world government must stand the school, the teacher, and the organized profession”.

1946 – Canadian psychiatrist and World War II General Brock Chisholm, M.D. head of the World Health Organization (WHO), promoted the behavior modification processes now mandated through the educational program called Goals 2000. Compare his vision with today’s Mastery Learning and planned control of the family.

1951 – In a report entitled, The Greatest Subversive Plot In History, Rep.John T. Wood of Idaho, stated in the Congressional Record on Thursday, October 18th 1951, “Just how careless and unthinking can we be that we permit this band of spies and traitors to exist another day in this land we all love. Are there no limits to our callousness and neglect of palpable and evident treason stalking rampant through our land, warping the minds and imaginations of even our little children, to the lying propaganda and palpable untruths we allow to be fed to them through this monstrous poison? UNESCO’s scheme to pervert public education appears in a series of nine volumes, titled “Toward World Understanding” which presumes to instruct kindergarten and elementary grade teachers in the fine art of preparing our youngsters for the day when their first loyalty will be to a world government.”

The record continues, “The program is quite specific. The teacher is to begin by eliminating any and all words, phrases, descriptions, pictures, maps, classroom material or teaching methods of a sort causing his pupils to feel or express a particular love for, or loyalty to, the United States of America. Children exhibiting such prejudice as a result of prior home influence,“of which “UNESCO calls “the outgrowth of the narrow family spirit” are to be dealt an abundant measure of counter propaganda at the earliest possible age. Booklet V, on page 9, advises the teacher that: The kindergarten or infant school has a significant part to play in the child’s education. Not only can it correct many of the errors of home training, but it can also prepare the child for membership in the world society.”

1953 – Rowan Gaither, president of the Ford Foundation explains to Norman Dodd the plan in the works for a House-directed plan to merge the United States and the Soviet Union

1958 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the first agreement with the Soviet Union including an education agreement—something that would not come as a surprise to those familiar with the White House directed plan to merge the United States and the Soviet Union.

Is America Worth Saving?

What will you do?

Will you review texts?

Ask your family what they are learning?

Speak the truth.

Correct the lies.

Vet the candidates.

Run for office.

Call your Legislator.

I will not comply. Will you?  Doing nothing is complying.

©  All rights reserved.

Coronavirus Crisis Exposes a Devastating Consequence of Fed Policy: Americans Have No Savings

Over 100 years, the Federal Reserve has destroyed more than 97 percent of our currency’s purchasing power.


During a March 17 address to the nation in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, President Donald Trump asked that Americans work from home, postpone unnecessary travel, and limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Ten days later, Trump signed a stimulus package of more than $2 trillion to provide relief to an economy on the precipice of collapse.

The aid package includes handouts and loans to individuals, small businesses, and other distressed industries.

Despite Trump “having created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country,” when the markets tanked, massive and immediate government intervention was the only thing left to forestall a total collapse.

So why can’t the greatest economy in the world handle a temporary shock without needing trillions of dollars injected to stay afloat?

The Federal Reserve and its vicious and ongoing war on savers are to blame.

Using the Federal Reserve Note—commonly (but incorrectly) referred to as the dollar—introduces a dilemma. Because of inflationary monetary policy, Americans have long been forced to select among three undesirable options:

A) Save. Hold Federal Reserve Notes and be guaranteed to lose at least 2 percent in purchasing power every single year.

B) Consume. Spend Federal Reserve Notes on immediate goods and services to get the most out of current purchasing power.

C) Speculate. Try to beat the Fed’s deliberate inflation, seeking a higher return by investing in complicated and unstable asset markets.

With businesses and Americans defaulting on their rent and other obligations only days into the collapse, the problem is clear: Few have any savings. And why should they when saving their money at negative real rates of return has been a sucker’s game?

Lack of sound money, or money that doesn’t maintain its purchasing power over time, has discouraged savings while encouraging debt-financed consumption.

American businesses and individuals are so overleveraged that once their income goes away, even briefly, they are too often left with nothing.

Fiat money is especially pernicious in the way it harms its users. To some, two percent losses can go easily unnoticed, year to year. Over 100 years, the loss has been well over 97 percent.

And who can save for emergencies when you’re being forced to work and spend more—simply to maintain the same quality of life?

Over 100 years, the Federal Reserve has destroyed more than 97 percent of our currency’s purchasing power.

With the Fed slashing short-term rates to zero, the US Federal Reserve Note has been further destroyed as a method of preserving savings. (And negative nominal interest rates could be coming next.)

Inflationary economic policy, absent the guardrails of sound money, has created a situation with an obvious and deadly conclusion: that many Americans lack savings to protect themselves against downturns.

This situation isn’t necessarily the fault of the people, but rather the fault of a system in which discouraging and punishing savers is a crucial tenet of the entire framework.

The Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, and the White House are trying to reassure the public that everything is “under control,” that “the US economy’s fundamentals are still strong,” and that the economy will skyrocket once COVID-19 is taken care of. What if they’re wrong?

Maybe the greatest monetary experiment in history is coming to an end. Maybe sound money can still save the day, but we must not waste any more time in restoring it.

Jp Cortez

Jp Cortez is Policy Director for the Sound Money Defense League, a non-partisan, national public policy organization working to restore sound money at the state and federal level and which maintains America’s Sound Money Index.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

We Are Fast Approaching COVID-19 Gut-Check Time

We are a few days away from a rendezvous with some tough conclusions about COVID-19.

A number of concurrent developments are coming to a head. Most will bring light where so far there was only heat.

Greater information about the new coronavirus might cause as much acrimony as conciliation. Some experts will be discredited, others reaffirmed.

Antibody testing is expected to get underway shortly. Soon, several representative studies will give the country an accurate idea of how many Americans have been infected in the past few months.

With a more trustworthy denominator to compare against known deaths, we will finally learn just how lethal the virus is and whether comparisons to a severe annual flu are legitimate or still inapplicable.

Likewise, there will be greater precision in distinguishing those whose deaths were exclusively virus-related from those who were afflicted by serious chronic illnesses along with the virus. That will also help provide better data about the actual toxicity of the virus.

Those with antibodies will likely be able to return to work with little risk. Arguments will arise over whether their status should be cataloged and banked, or whether such classification would institutionalize creepy two-tier categories of citizenship.

The prior pessimism of most epidemic models will either be confirmed or refuted, depending on the percentages of Americans who have already weathered the virus.

If past predictions are proven too gloomy, their authors will still claim that their doomsday prognoses at least prompted needed social distancing. Critics will counter that their paranoia caused untold social and economic damage.

If other experts are discovered to have unduly played down the deadliness of the virus, they will be derided as callous and partly responsible for the outbreak’s mayhem.

There are ongoing trials to determine the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. President Donald Trump and some health officials have touted the controversial anti-malarial drug as a possible treatment. Other health officials are skeptical.

But soon, the formal trial results should determine whether the drug offers only false hope or speeds recovery and saves lives. Lots of reputations are on the line.

The weather is warming as we reach midspring, and summer approaches. Still another debate may soon be settled. Will rising temperatures slow the epidemic, as some confidently predicted based on other viral outbreaks? Or are skeptics right that the coronavirus will still spread and is hardier than the seasonal flu?

Some parts of the country are now nearing a month of shelter-in-place policies. The economists warn that we are already in full recession and the current lockdown is not sustainable for much longer. Their mounting worry is not just about economic devastation but about a greater loss of life than COVID-19’s toll through wrecked livelihoods, stress, substance abuse, suicides, and the inability to address medical issues.

The somnolent economy is analogous to a patient who is to be brought back from a forced coma. No one quite knows how, or even if, the economy will fully awaken—only that the chances it might not increase the longer it stays comatose.

In the coming days, the president will have to make a lose/lose decision to either inaugurate a graduated return to work or keep the country locked down for weeks longer.

Economists will likely urge him to restart the economy as fast as possible. Epidemiologists will warn of a second viral spike if millions go back to work. Trump will either be praised for saving the American economy or damned for dooming thousands.

Timelines grow shorter. The virus and the draconian reaction to it are wearing down a quarantined America.

Thousands of scientists worldwide are running a frantic Nobel Prize race to discover a vaccine for COVID-19. Each week, we will hear that they are either getting closer to discovery or learning that the code of the new virus is proving harder to crack.

China has never come clean about the origin and spread of the virus that broke out in Wuhan. But more information is leaking out. Soon, Beijing will have to decide whether it will become part of the answer to the mystery or continue its cover-up.

As the days pass, the November election also draws nearer. Every presidential decision concerning the epidemic will be inevitably politicized. Trump supporters will likely favor a quick return to work to avoid a November recession. His opponents prefer a longer shutdown.

Both sides know, but will deny, that politics plays a role in how they view the crisis.

Nothing about this epidemic was ever static. But we are on the verge of learning a lot more about the virus that will result in as much disagreement as relief.

(C) 2020 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

COMMENTARY BY

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and author of the book “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.” You can reach him by e-mailing authorvdh@gmail.com. Twitter: .

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The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

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America’s Pyrrhic Victory

In the end, we’ll see this pandemic wasn’t Armageddon after all. It was merely, as Fauci himself admitted, a bad flu, as we do get from time to time. But one of the patients who lies dying is America.


An unintended consequence of my years of reading Agatha Christie mysteries is that I learned how to separate the red herrings from the salient facts hiding in plain sight, which are always the key to solving the puzzle. Admittedly, the queen of the mystery novel often outsmarted me, as many times her chief detective Hercule Poirot conducted his denouement before I’d figured out who done it; nevertheless, I learned quite a bit from his exemplary method. And I’m going to attempt to use it now with respect to the unprecedented situation in America today.

Let’s begin with the premise that we know almost nothing with any certainty about the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. We don’t know with certainty how it began, or whether it occurred in nature or was created in a lab. There is also great confusion and uncertainty regarding how cases are confirmed, and whether the number of deaths being reported in Italy and in the U.S., at any rate—since we can trust nothing coming out of Communist China—are accurate, since co-morbidities are generally not being factored in.  In addition, many assert the tests themselves are woefully inaccurate, producing both false positives and false negatives. Furthermore, last week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent American hospitals a new directive to count COVID-19 as the cause of death even if it is merely “suspected” when a patient dies in the hospital. According to the directive, signed by Secretary Alex Azar, they are required to list: “Number of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 who died in the hospital, or any overflow location on the date for which you are reporting.” (Italics mine).

So, what do we actually know for certain?

We know that the mainstream media has churned up enormous fear over the Wuhan flu, aka COVID-19. In fact, we can’t escape the ubiquitous picture of that spiky red ball that is out to get us. Does it strike you as odd that we were never on such intimate terms with any virus before? Apparently, none of them merited an artist’s rendition, let alone a fraction of the publicity this infinitesimal critter has amassed. If there were a virus Hall of Fame, we know who’d be in pride of place. We also know who can promote such stardom or notoriety overnight: our echo-chamber media propagandizers.

Truth be told, the media has not had such a field day counting up dead bodies since the war in Vietnam. Even the President is calling this flu epidemic a “war.” So we know there is a huge media campaign to impress us with the danger presented by this virus which is hyped as if it were the Black Death.

Turns out that COVID -19 is far less deadly than many other coronaviruses

Trouble is, the ballyhoo doesn’t fit the reality. Turns out that COVID -19 is far less deadly than many other coronaviruses have been, including SARS, MERS and Ebola, with their death rates of 20-40%, or the Avian flu with a whopping 60% mortality rate, whereas COVID-19 clocks in at a modest 1% or well below, closer to .1%, depending on whose data you trust.

In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci himself affirmed in an article he co-authored for the New England Journal of Medicine’s March 26th issue, thatCOVID -19 is essentially “a severe seasonal influenza,” i.e. a bad flu. Nothing we haven’t seen before in terms of its death rate. Perhaps Fauci quietly published this article a couple of weeks ago to give himself plausible deniability later on when the public may well be clamoring for his scalp.

We also know that, as with the seasonal flu, most who succumb are our frail elderly—which is why we call them “frail.” Even a cold can result in pneumonia and death for our octogenarians. Have we forgotten that people grow old and eventually die of one thing or another? But I digress.

Let us now leave behind all thoughts and conjectures about the Wuhan flu/Chinese Coronavirus/COVID -19 pandemic, as if it had never occurred. Instead, let’s examine only the resultant facts, the way Poirot does as he separates out stories and fabrications from verifiable information to get at the truth. Let’s regard the reality before us without the distraction of the clangorous, anxiety-producing reports that are filling the airwaves.

Here then, are the facts stripped of all narrative: In America today, our Constitution and our Constitutional rights have been suspended. Our entire economy has been shut down. Schools have been closed.

Here then, are the facts stripped of all narrative

Churches and synagogues have been closed. A pastor was arrested for holding a church service in this country which was founded upon religious freedom. People are forbidden to congregate not only for religious worship, but even for their own weddings, bar mitzvahs, baptisms, and funerals, let alone birthday or anniversary celebrations.  Many states are under lockdowns in which you can be fined and/or arrested for leaving your home for an “unnecessary”  purpose. Public parks have been closed off to the very public they were intended for. Small businesses, the lifeblood of America and of our middle class, are dying in plain sight—many shutting their doors for good as the shutdown drags on.

Americans, in arguably the foremost of all first-world countries, suddenly can’t find toilet paper. And for weeks now, under draconian lockdowns in nearly every state, you can’t get a fast food hamburger, let alone sit down to a medium rare ribeye or grilled salmon at your favorite local restaurant; in many places you can’t get your pants hemmed or your dress dry-cleaned; you can’t get your teeth cleaned or cavities filled; you can’t get a haircut, manicure, pedicure, or a hip replacement, as these are all deemed “non-essential.”

By the way, did you ever stop to wonder just who is determining what is “non-essential”?  Funny, I don’t remember voting on this. When exactly did we surrender all power over our lives in the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Our men are humiliated and subdued, our women demoralized, and our children traumatized. But none of this is due to the Chinese coronavirus. Rather it is due to dictatorial governmental edicts, i.e. tyranny—exactly the kind of abuses that led to the American Revolution in the first place. On second thought, no, not exactly—the current abuses are much, much worse.

Who is determining what is “non-essential”?

Note also that all “large” gatherings are forbidden. This includes football games, baseball games, concerts, live theatre, movie theatres, the opera, ballet, symphony, and, oh yes, Trump rallies.

In our culture that venerates expertise, the prevailing experts have given us their sage advice: kiss America goodbye, and go wash your hands.

Now let’s dig deeper by lining up a few key facts completely stripped of the scary pandemic narrative. This is the point when Poirot would be asking “Cui bono?” Who stands to gain?

Almost overnight the burgeoning Trump economy has been trashed. All the amazing job gains have vanished and we’re moving more and more into the red, as unemployment soars. Many of these job losses will not be magically restored once the economy is turned back on.

Similarly, the gains in the stock market that had instilled hope and enthusiasm and renewed consumer confidence in America have now been summarily wiped out.

And the increasingly popular Trump rallies, all but guaranteed to help carry this President to a landslide victory in November while making any Democrat’s rallies look pathetic by comparison, have been swept off the map.

Add to that the fact that President Trump, albeit practically at knife-point, signed the biggest bailout in American history, which makes him responsible for adding trillions to our national debt, though up till now he prided himself on trimming wasteful spending.

Do you begin to see a pattern here?

Do you begin to see a pattern here?

At last we are poised to discover “who done it,” and as Agatha Christie mystery fans have learned to expect, we’re about to be shocked by the revelation. As in many of her finest tales, this denouement involves not just a single culprit, but the stealthy employment of accomplices you’d never have suspected.

So, without further ado, Mesdames et Messieurs, let’s proceed.

Largely obscured by the hysteria surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, lies a truly audacious plan. A plan that could not have been perpetrated without the collusion of the media and the UN’s World Health Organization, among other players. This colossal undertaking partakes of Goebbels’ “Big Lie” phenomenon: manipulation on this scale is so preposterous that people just can’t believe anyone would attempt it. Yes, the virus is real. But virtually everything created around it has been orchestrated and scripted—to serve a purpose.

So who are the culprits? They should be familiar to us by now, as they are the same enemies of America who seek to turn our nation into a Socialist dystopia; they are the ones bent on removing Trump because he stands in their way. They tried six ways to Sunday to take him down, but nothing worked—until now. They can be grouped together as a consortium of America-hating globalists, Leftists, Democrats, Progressives, RINOs, and powerful New World Order zealots, who have now gotten precisely what they wanted. Even if the nationwide shutdown were to end tomorrow, they would have succeeded in turning America into a mirror image of Communist China for at least a few weeks. They know it can be done. They know how to do it. They just did.

They have succeeded in jettisoning President Trump’s 3½ unprecedentedly successful years in office, and have tricked him into conspiring in what may turn out to be his own and America’s demise.

Now, do you still want to talk about the virus and whether it came from bats?

Do you want to talk about test kits, or “flattening the curve”?

Look around you. Look at our desolate downtowns, empty streets, shuttered stores—look at the sad eyes of your fellow citizens above their pathetically masked faces. This is the reality. The purpose of the media’s incessant fear-mongering as they gleefully trumpet “skyrocketing” new cases of the virus, is just to distract you from grasping the tragedy unfolding all around us.

In the end, we’ll see this pandemic wasn’t Armageddon after all. It was merely, as Fauci himself admitted, a bad flu, as we do get from time to time.

But one of the patients who lies dying is America.

And I fear that nothing short of Divine intervention can bring her back.

© All rights reserved.

Gun Control Advocate Assures Americans: There’s No Need to Buy Guns ‘Cause “the Zombies” Aren’t Coming

The FBI performed a record-breaking 3.7 million firearm-related background checks last month. According to an April news release from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF), March 2020 estimates of firearm sales show an increase of over 85% from March 2019 – single handgun sales jumped by 91%, and single long-gun sales increased by over 73%.

In an interview with Cheddar news earlier this month, David Chipman, a “senior policy advisor” for the anti-gun group Giffords, was asked about his “biggest concerns” regarding the “coronavirus gun sales spike.” (If the name rings a bell, Mr. Chipman, formerly a “senior advisor” with Bloomberg’s pre-Everytown group MAIG and an ex-ATF agent, has, among other things, advocated that AR-15 rifles should be regulated “just like” fully automatic machine guns.)

During the interview, he claimed that first-time gun owners may think “in their [own] mind they might be competent.” However, they were really “putting themselves and their families in danger” based on whether these guns were being “stored safely” and properly in the home. Sitting in what appeared to be his own kitchen, Chipman advised “those people who were first-time gun owners” to “secure that gun locked and unloaded and hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you’ve stored in a cabinet and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear, and I don’t think they are.”

Of course, following this advice means that the firearm isn’t readily available for defensive use should the need arise. (Hiding firearms among the kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer or in the flour bin also isn’t consistent with the Giffords philosophy of mandating that all unattended firearms be kept unloaded, with a lock in place, and secured in a gun safe or other locked container.)

The real issue – apart from why anyone would take the advice of someone who thinks beef jerky comes in cans – is Chipman’s apparent incredulity at the need to keep guns in the home for self-defense. Even with law enforcement stretched thin due to sick or quarantined officers, and hundreds of inmates being released from jails and prisons (hereherehere and here), this former ATF SWAT team member assures us all that there’s nothing to fear because, well, “the zombies” aren’t coming.

Chipman, quoted elsewhere, had expanded on his jerky-zombie theme. “If we can imagine how horrible this crisis is … the people who hoarded the guns might decide six months from now – once they see no zombies around but they’ve run out of tuna and beef jerky – that they need the money to buy food.” The “horrible” part, apparently, is not just running out of food, but the more disturbing possibility of the private sales of these firearms.

In contrast to the weird pointers on how to store guns in the kitchen, the NRA has launched new online gun safety courses to address “the growing number of first-time gun buyers during the coronavirus outbreak.” Joe DeBergalis, executive director of NRA General Operations, says “[t]hese courses will provide an option for first-time gun owners who don’t have the ability to take an NRA certified instructor-led class at their local shooting range at this time. While there is no replacement for in-person, instructor-led training, our new online classes do provide the basics of firearm safety training for those self-isolating at home.”

The zombies aren’t coming, but regardless of how gun control advocates depict this recent, unprecedented affirmation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, law-abiding Americans – now as ever – are putting their money on the Second Amendment to keep themselves and their families safe.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

While US Focuses on Corona, New Bill Threatens to End All Encrypted Apps

With all media eyes focused on the COVID-19 crisis, a bill that threatens to end the era of encrypted messaging is being proposed in the Senate.

The EARN IT Act (Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies) is a bipartisan effort to combat child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online.

Introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal, the legislation would create a National Commission on Online Child Exploitation Prevention. The duty of the commission would be to set up “best practices” for tech companies to prevent child sexual exploitation.

Those “best practices” are yet to be determined. The commission would be composed of government and law enforcement officials, legal and technology experts, representatives from tech companies and former child exploitation victims.

The term “earn it” comes from the fact that, under the bill, tech companies would have to “earn” their exemption from liability which is now allowed to them under Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act.

Currently, under that exemption, tech companies generally have immunity from legal liability for how people use their platforms.

Under the EARN IT legislation, companies will have to “earn” this exemption by showing the commission that they are following the “best practices” possible to keep CSAM off their platforms.

As Associate Law Professor Alan Z. Rozenshtein explains,

“Because encryption can stymie attempts to prevent, investigate and prosecute child-exploitation offenses—and because Attorney General William Barr has criticized encryption on these grounds—internet-freedom advocates strongly criticized the draft as an attack on encryption.”

Wired Magazine called the legislation a “sneak attack on encryption,” and clarified why:

“Companies might not be able to earn their liability exemption while offering end-to-end encrypted services. This would put them in the position of either having to accept liability, undermine the protection of end-to-end encryption by adding a backdoor for law enforcement access, or avoid end-to-end encryption altogether.”

Proponents of EARN IT claim that the bill is a necessary pathway to fighting child pornography and exploitation online, as Rozenshtein writes,

“This is an issue with serious but uncertain costs and benefits on both sides [however] … the best thing to do is to build a good decision-making process by which to address the issue, and then to trust that this process will lead to the best decision that could reasonably be made amid immense complexity and uncertainty. That’s the most we can ever hope for when addressing hard policy problems in a democracy.” 

Those challenging the EARN IT Act argue that the bill is too far-reaching, and raises serious free speech and privacy concerns.

Others fear EARN IT gives the government broad and undefined powers that might eventually result in scanning the public’s online message — not to mention violate the right to privacy from unreasonable government searches guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

As Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, notes:

“[W]hile it’s certainly a necessary, urgent, and desirable goal to combat the scourge of online child exploitation, there are still limits on what tech companies should do.

“Stepping up to fight CSAM should not mean wholesale converting their services into even more powerful surveillance tools for law enforcement than they already are.”

The New America’s Open Technology Institute, as part of a coalition of 25 civil society organizations, sent a letter to Senators Graham and Blumenthal, along with members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. The letter expressed severe opposition to the EARN IT Act, adding that the legislation could:

  • Raise serious concerns about violation of First Amendment rights
  • Make it more difficult to combat the sexual exploitation of children online by jeopardizing the admissibility of evidence in child sexual abuse material cases, because it raises serious questions under the Fourth Amendment
  • Risk national security and privacy by threatening encryption

Questions to Evaluate the EARN IT Act

  1. Is disrupting pedophile networks worth potentially eliminating all online privacy?
  2. To what extent is privacy already compromised due to the Patriot Act and classified NSA collection programs?
  3. Wouldn’t criminal networks simply adapt, thus devastating the privacy of millions of Americans for nothing?
  4. How could a “back door” to encrypted communications be hacked or leveraged by domestic and foreign government interests?

EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Why Accepting Even Two Million Covid-19 Deaths May be Better Than a National Lockdown

We’ve heard much during the Wuhan flu crisis about a “worst case scenario” of two million dead Americans, a staggering number. But missing from the national conversation is something equally important:

What’s the worst case scenario given our present course of action, largely locking down the country and freezing life like an insect stuck in amber?

What if worse coming to worst means a great depression, descent into tyranny, millions more dead from other causes and a permanently impoverished nation?

Almost the entire virus debate has centered around whether the experts are correct about the infectivity and virulence of the disease and in their projections (which have often been drastically wrong). But even if we assume that the experts having the government’s ear — and there are dissenters who don’t — are absolutely inerrant in their expressed judgments, there’s a problem with just “listening to the health professionals’” prescriptions:

Like most everyone else, these individuals have only a narrow range of expertise; they are epidemiologists, virologists, infectious disease specialists, etc.

They are not epidemiologists-cum-philosophers/political scientists/sociologists/economists.

So they provide counsel on how to achieve a narrow goal contemplated from a narrow perspective. This is not a put-down. It is their job to do just that.

Congruent with this, these experts consider the health related consequences of the disease, not the civilizational-health related consequences of their cure — which may be worse than the disease.

The latter is the job of statesmen, commentators, academics and the wider population. All these groups, unfortunately, are found wanting in this.

Unemployment claims are at a record high, but I don’t have to tell you how the current lockdowns are ravaging our economy. Many businesses and jobs will never come back, yet this concern not only is just the iceberg’s tip, it isn’t even, as critics may say, just about “money” — because money isn’t just about “money.”

Money represents resources, people’s capacity to obtain food, shelter, clothing, health care, education and everything else that preserves life and makes it worth living. Note here that poverty is associated with a host of negative health and health-related risks, such as a higher incidence of manifold diseases, depression, anxiety, stress related disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse and crime.

Yet even more must be considered. Remember now that if the following seems radical, it is a worst case scenario. And if we can consider the worst case scenario on one side of the equation, we must for balance and perspective consider the worst case scenario on the other side as well.

What if locking down the nation means causing a great depression lasting a decade or more?

What if this economic disaster leads, as history teaches it can, to the rise of demagogues and loss of freedom?

What if there are consequently millions more deaths from other causes due to economic malaise and descent toward tyranny?

What if, in other words, we essentially destroy our civilization as we know it?

Will it have been worth it to ensure there’d be fewer Wuhan virus deaths — even two million, shocking though that number is? Civilizational destruction, something permanent, would be a steep price to pay to combat a pandemic, something temporary.

Know that I’m not insensitive to the vulnerable’s plight. Near and dear to me are two people in an extreme high-risk category and a handful of others somewhat at risk, and I have an in-law physician relative who contracted the virus, began treating herself with hydroxychloroquine and is currently hospitalized. But I also recognize the truth of economist Thomas Sowell’s observation that sometimes in life “there are no solutions; there are only tradeoffs.” Are we making the right tradeoff now?

I’ll emphasize that my worst case scenario isn’t at all fanciful. Many are concerned about a depression resulting from our lockdowns and about the erosion of freedom as people, as people will, trade liberty for security. In fact, The New York Times, of all entities, recently ran a headline warning, “For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power.”

“Leaders around the world have passed emergency decrees and legislation expanding their reach during the pandemic,” the paper writes in its subhead before asking, “Will they ever relinquish them?”

Anyone who grasps the nature of power — and of the power hungry — won’t bet the answer is yes.

Now ask yourself: If the given amount of power is currently being seized, what would happen in an infinitely worse situation such as lockdown-caused depression and social upheaval?

Speaking of autocrats, the mainstream media have rightly been castigated for doing despotic China’s bidding and touting its “response” to the virus; never mind that China created this problem and that its response’s immediate effectiveness is actually unknown because Beijing lies like it breathes. But what if China has responded rightly, not in its tyrannical measures but in one respect?

What if Beijing’s apparent decision to get people back to work and accept virus related deaths leaves it stronger over the long term? There is some possibility, a scary one, that China could emerge from this as the world’s superpower — a status it craves — under our worst case scenario.

Also consider Sweden. That it continues commerce and life largely unchanged and is striving for “herd immunity” may be instructive. Are we just prolonging the inevitable?

Of course, one lockdown motivation is to slow the virus’s spread so that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday that there won’t be a true turning point until a vaccine is developed. Yet some say this could be 18 months away, an eternity in lockdown terms.

In the meantime, restoring normal commerce and freedom without experiencing increased virus contagion appears unlikely. But since such restoration would be beneficial, focusing on developing herd immunity while pursuing wide-scale testing and the insulating of vulnerable groups may be the wiser course.

Remember, too, that we’ve been through this before. During the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19, 675,000 Americans died; adjusted for today’s US population this amounts to a bit more than two million people — exactly our worst case scenario number.

We weathered that pandemic, of course. But people were far different then, and, correspondingly, we’re far different politically today. If President Trump advocated the Swedish model and there were hundreds of thousands of deaths, never mind two million, every one would be laid at his doorstep and he’d likely be ousted from office (as it is, it was already suggested last month that Trump may be guilty of “negligent homicide”). The same could befall any governor acting likewise, never mind that he might have helped save the future — because the alternate future would never be known.

This is why I know certain things. No, I don’t have definitive answers; this is a fluid, serious situation with many unknowns, and we all should act responsibly and not claim knowledge we don’t possess. But I do know some questions, as posed above, that should be asked and maturely debated. I also know this won’t likely happen, given man’s nature in general and the state of our politics and media in particular.

This is why we’d better hope for a highly efficacious Wuhan virus treatment — and fast. Because if we’re going to lockdown our nation for months on end, well, we may learn the hard way that we might as well have just thrown away the key.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Gab (preferably) or Twitter, or log on to SelwynDuke.com.

© All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLE: COVID-19 and Prisons A Complicated Issue That Does Not Need Simplistic “Solutions”

Will Trump Betray Us After Corona?

Some people are stunned that government using computer models to predict high corona virus deaths has many Americans willing to gift Democrats/fake news media their lifelong dream of ending the U.S. Constitution. Panic-stricken citizens want everyone non-compliant to immediate dictatorial government demands thrown into jail.

Consequently, Democrats are behaving like power-drunk pirates, raping and pillaging our God given and constitutional freedoms. Incredibly, New York mayor de Blasio has threatened to close places of worship forever. Virginia Gov (supreme dictator) Northam decreed that residents stay at home until June 10th, after the June 9th Republican primary. 

Despite practicing CDC guidelines, a pastor was arrested for opening his church while the nearby Home Depot was packed with people. Planned Parenthood dead-baby-body-parts-chop-shops deemed essential are allowed to remain open.

Across America thousands of inmates are being released from prison because of corona virus. Disease infested tent city vagrants ignore corona restrictions while violators of stay-at-home orders are arrested. Democrats always handle illegal aliens, criminals and those who are irresponsible with velvet gloves while bludgeoning law abiding citizens with an iron-fist.

Drunk with corona-power, Barrack Obama, Andrew Cuomo and Nancy Pelosi are exploiting the virus to pressure Trump to fund a laundry list of unrelated extreme leftist pet projects.

The big question which concerns many is will our constitutional rights be restored after corona? Can the Democrat/deep state evil-genie be put back into the bottle? Will president Trump betray us by rubber-stamping the Deep States’ illegal extreme power grab as the “new normal”?

Candidate Trump was a non-ideological “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” kind of guy, expecting bipartisan support to do whatever is best for America and We the People. His agenda has not changed. President Trump will fight to restore our God given and constitutional freedoms.

Like you, I did not enjoy hearing that America will not reopen before April 30th. However, I understand the situation. Fear is a powerful thing. Due to 24/7 apocalyptic corona virus reporting, fake news media pretty much holds the emotions of millions of Americans in the palm of its sleazy, evil, anti-Trump hand.

Wisely, Trump is allowing another month for Americans to become fed up with house arrest, realize that computer models are not gospel and the sky is not falling. We are Americans. We overcome everything. God is with us.

Due to the extreme unprecedented situation, I am fine with the $2 trillion bailout. The American people did not irresponsibly put themselves into this predicament. We give billions to countries and people who hate our guts. Why not lend a hand to our own.

Democrats are salivating over the possibility of the bailout being the first taste of addicting Americans to the deceptive unfulfilling drug of socialism/communism. Because of who Trump is and who we are, America will not become a socialist/communist country.

Treasonous fake news media corona virus reporting is intended to generate fear, panic and hatred for Trump. Fake news media tried to shame “My Pillow Guy”, Mike Lindell, for expressing his faith in God during a White House briefing. A majority of Americans respect and appreciate our patriot brother Mike for his contribution to fight the virus. We are a Christian nation. God promises that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.

Folks, I do not fear corona virus nor the loss of America as we know it.

Some will say, Lloyd, you’re an idiot for not worrying. Alcoholics Anonymous warns against imagining, when something negative happens, that it will cause a chain reaction of other negative things to happen. Suddenly, that person is foolishly jumping off a bridge based solely on his imagined coming catastrophe. The Bible says worrying about something which you cannot change is unwise.

Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Please do not misunderstand me. Trusting God does not mean we should passively allow out-of-control-fear to flush our economy down the toilet. President Trump must get Americans back to work ASAP.

Meanwhile, my wife Mary and I are frequently washing our hands, using sanitizer, limiting our shopping and catching up on long overdue projects around our house. After much research on Youtube, I painted our bedroom dark gray. It looks awesome!

Romans 8:28 promises that as Christians, God is working all things for our good. So I feel great, enjoying my lovely wife of 40 years and enjoying my creative projects.

Our hope for a greater, stronger and restored America rest in trusting God and our president.

© All rights reserved.

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Governor Despots? Panic Is Stripping Americans Of Essential Liberties

Ignored or buried in this global pandemic panic is the giant risk we have already taken not to the economy, as horrible as that is, but to our essential liberties. This is not theoretical anymore.

Forget the President. Since when does every governor, mayor, county executive and dog catcher in the country have unlimited powers over peoples’ lives in a time of crisis? Since never, at least if the Constitution has any relevance anymore.

But in this crisis, in which fear has driven public policy, they are all acting as though they do. And the question is whether the American people, once hearty, self-reliant and freedom-loving are now willing to bend the knee to every dictate from the local overlord or not.

Do I overstate? I hope so. But read the headlines.

One from today is that L.A.’s mayor is threatening to shut off water and electricity to businesses who are staying open after HE ordered them to close. Where does his authority come from to do that? I doubt it’s in the L.A. city charter. The City Council has not voted to make him a little despot. He’s  just doing it, with the power of the police force behind him.

At a press conference, Garcetti was frustrated some businesses did not obey his order. “You know who you are. You need to stop it. This is your chance to step up and shut it down, because if you don’t, we will shut you down.”

How far away from an overlord is that? Will he cede it all back when the crisis is past? Just think of the apocalyptic language used around climate change. It gets real sobering in a hurry.

Governors are shutting down whatever they want, whenever they want, without even pretending to show their homework — almost one-upping each other even as the evidence is now coming in that the virus apparently is not nearly as deadly as we thought two weeks ago. Yet several state’s are on lock-down, based on one person’s orders. (Side note: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been very cautious about doing so, and he’s been pilloried in the media and by Democrats. But he’s been right to not jump to such autocratic control.)

Governors do not have unrestrained powers even in quarantine situations. They have the power to quarantine those who are sick, because they do need some authority. But do they have the authority to tell every person in their state to stay home — except the ones they say can go to work? When they limit gatherings to 10, or even less, do they have the authority to abrogate the First Amendment’s right of freedom of assembly?

Beyond governors, it gets much more threatening. Mayors and county executives are acting in much the same way. We see it in New York and LA. Before that in San Francisco.

In Florida, there is an interesting mix because of DeSantis’ correct reticence to issue blanket orders. Miami-Dade and Broward and many other counties have issued stay at home “orders” through their county commissions. (Florida counties are run by elected commissions with a hired chief executive.)

But interestingly, the County Attorney’s Office here in Sarasota County, Florida has ruled that County Commissioners do not have the legal authority to issue a stay at home order with any further restrictions than those already ordered by Gov. DeSantis. Perhaps being a charter county makes a difference. Or being a very red county.

This is not a case against restrictions per se, but who orders them and with what authority. Because the risk is that many of these potentates-in-training may be reluctant to give up all of that power after the crisis — or simply label the next issue a “crisis.” And an even greater risk is that we the people may not force them to.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

That’s a truism through the ages.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Little of Pelosi’s Wish List Made It Into COVID-19 Relief Bill. That’s a Relief in Itself.

On Friday, the House passed the massive $2 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package that the Senate had passed on Wednesday.

There’s a lot in those 880 pages, and much of it is problematic: The bill is neither targeted and temporary, nor directed exclusively at the coronavirus—as scholars at The Heritage Foundation and its president, Kay C. James, have explained.

Before the bill made it through the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., temporarily derailed it by insisting that any relief bill include a left-wing wish list unrelated to the ongoing pandemic and the economic slowdown that it’s causing.

Among other things, Pelosi would have:


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


  • Mandated “diversity” on corporate boards and in banks.
  • Required airlines to disclose and reduce emissions.
  • Mandated that states allow voting by mail.
  • Increased union bargaining power.
  • Expanded tax credits for wind and solar power.
  • Prohibited universities from disclosing the citizenship status of their students.
  • Provided a bailout for some private pensions.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Pelosi was not going to be accused of letting a crisis go to waste.

In what is becoming a familiar theme (think of her failed attempt to control how the Senate conducted its impeachment trial), Pelosi backed down shortly after making her demands.

With the legislation now through Congress, how much of Pelosi’s wish list made it into the bill?

None of the wish-list items listed above made the cut, but there remains a lot of unnecessary and unwise spending in it.

Diversity requirements for banks and corporate boards are out, as is Pelosi’s demand for a Securities and Exchange Commission advisory group to promote corporate “diversity.”

Also out is her demand that companies taking relief funds establish and staff a minimum five-year “diversity and inclusion” program. Indeed, the words “diversity” and “inclusion” don’t appear in the legislation passed by the Senate.

The package also does not include any new carbon emissions restrictions or disclosure requirements for airlines or other industries.

Similarly missing are any of her proposals for a federal takeover of state elections.

Her attempt to give unions a handout failed, too, as did her attempt to give a handout to wind and solar power providers.

The bill does not prevent colleges and universities from disclosing their students who are illegal aliens, or provide any other shroud for illegal status.

Likewise, the private pension bailouts she demanded are nowhere to be found in the Senate bill.

Pelosi succeeded in delaying the relief package by several days, but she failed to capitalize on what her No. 2 lieutenant, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., called a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Still, Pelosi took to Twitter to celebrate her success in turning the Senate Republicans’ bill “upside down.”

In the end, Pelosi supported the bill wholeheartedly.

But despite her self-proclaimed success in turning the Senate bill upside down, progressives in her party are not happy with it.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., thinks that the relief package favors the businesses that employ the vast majority of Americans. She had threatened to delay the bill’s passage.

Even before this relief package becomes law, politicians on both sides of the aisle were already calling for another one to follow, so expect Pelosi and the progressives to try again to make the wishes on their wish list come true.

COMMENTARY BY

GianCarlo Canaparo is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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A Note for our Readers

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Why Are There Toilet Paper Shortages around the World?

There are a few explanations for the run on toilet paper, but one basic economic lesson explains the shortage.


Americans have seen scarcity, bailouts, price fluctuations, and epidemics before, but one thing seems to set the coronavirus emergency apart:

The toilet paper.

Shelves where the product once was stored are bare—and not just in the US. The United Kingdom has experienced similar shortages, leading consumers to purchase toilet paper substitutes (at the risk of the sewage system), and an Australian newspaper went so far as to print eight blank pages in a recent issue to be used in case of emergency for, you guessed it, toilet paper.

The desire to hoard during a pandemic may be totally natural, but hoarding for some means scarcity for others.

What is a good solution for this problem? Many stores have instigated their own rationing devices (limits of X amount of toilet paper, hand sanitizers, etc., per customer), with others instituting hours of shopping reserved for the elderly or immunocompromised.

These are creative and compassionate ideas, and they may solve some of the problem of hoarding—but the market has another way.

The problem? It’s incredibly unpopular, and, of course, even illegal in many places.

Price gouging” has a particularly negative connotation. It refers to a phenomenon wherein customers at an especially vulnerable time are charged unusually high prices by “greedy” business owners taking advantage of their need.

But think about the incentives of business owners—do you know a single entrepreneur, business owner, or honest employee who wants to intentionally upset their customers? The incentive of business owners is always to provide great service and reasonable prices. To act otherwise is to eventually run out of business.

These incentives do not suddenly change during a crisis—business owners are still judged by the court of public opinion, and those who treat customers unfairly will not go unnoticed, at least not for long.

So why do prices rise during times of need? The answer is found in the basic economic principles of supply and demand.

When demand increases, it’s a signal that customers want to consume more of a certain product.

The graph below demonstrates these changes. The demand line shifts up from D1 to D2—increasing prices, but only temporarily. Prices are a rationing device and signal of scarcity, so this higher price naturally encourages customers to make do with less while simultaneously indicating to producers to expand production.

Though buyers have to pay more for each product, it reduces the risk of shortages by making it easier for suppliers to meet the increased demand for their goods. [See chart]

What’s perhaps more relevant to our current situation is that hoarders are indirectly discouraged from hoarding. A higher price makes consumers think twice before buying a cart-full of toilet paper, leaving more product on the shelves and limiting or delaying, perhaps indefinitely, any shortage.

But that’s not all, remember that the higher price is only temporary, since higher prices will spur production.

Sellers see product flying off the shelves and note that they need to ramp up production to meet the growing demand. Potential entrepreneurs also recognize that there may be room for extra business in this particular market, so they start production.

Once supply is able to catch up, the supply line shifts from S1 to S2, and prices normalize once again. [See chart 1 and chart 2]

Sure these are merely graphs, and it is difficult to appropriately convey the nuances of human behavior and the complexity of the economy in a single graph.

However, we’ve already seen these forces at work in the past few weeks. Distilleries have taken note of hand sanitizer shortages and are helping to meet the increased demand by producing their own—some even giving their product away for free. Last week Georgia-Pacific, a toilet paper supplier, increased production capacity by 120 percent.

Amplified production by existing companies, and the entrance of new business into markets, will lower prices to pre-crisis levels.

Referring to rising prices as “price gouging” will not change the economic fact: in a free economy, prices are a vital signal to producers and consumers alike. It’s incredible that a single number can do so much.

This is the miracle inherent in free markets—no solitary, all-knowing authority is dictating the direction of prices or production in a single market (let alone an entire economy). It happens naturally, as if led by an invisible hand.

So why was there a sudden run on toilet paper? Who knows.

Perhaps in anticipation of long periods of quarantine, shoppers are looking for any necessary household goods to stockpile. One consumer psychologist explained that it could simply be retail therapy; stressed consumers rushing for feelings of security during a pandemic. Others simply blame herd mentality—the idea that if everyone else is hoarding toilet paper, you might as well be too.

The ultimate lesson? Let prices rise and markets do their work. As long as economic freedom exists, ingenuity and innovation will never be in short supply—and neither will toilet paper.

COLUMN BY

Amanda Snell

Amanda Snell is an analytics associate at FEE. She grew up in small-town Idaho and is a recent graduate of BYU-Idaho in Economics. Prior to joining FEE, she completed the Charles Koch Internship Program and interned with The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom. She enjoys working with entrepreneurs and is passionate about the potential for innovation in the private sector. Amanda was deeply impacted by FEE and the freedom philosophy as a high school student and is thrilled to be part of an organization committed to individual liberty and economic freedom.

RELATED ARTICLE: Flexibility Is Needed for Economies to Cope With COVID-19, Not $2,000 Checks

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Moving Against China’s Military for Hacking U.S. Company

As if identity theft alone isn’t enough of a concern for Americans, the Equifax hacking indicates that China’s military wants to weaponize sensitive personal information to undermine U.S. national security.

Three members of China’s People’s Liberation Army have been indicted by the Justice Department in the 2017 data breach of Atlanta-based Equifax Inc., one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies.

The charges include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, economic espionage, and wire fraud.

This was a data breach—a “release of personally sensitive, protected, and/or confidential data”—rather than a security breach, which refers only to the hacking of websites and applications without theft.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

And it was a large one, with the names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of 145 million Americans.

These are not ordinary criminal hackers with a motive to sign up for credit cards using another person’s name. The accused are members of a foreign military branch—the People’s Liberation Army’s 54th Research Institute, which falls under the scrutiny of the Chinese army’s Strategic Support Force.

The Strategic Support Force works on information operations, such as cyberspying, to conduct a form of hybrid warfare that uses diverse elements such as propaganda, economics, and cyberattacks against its adversaries.

The Equifax hack provides the unit with personal financial information that can help the Chinese recruit spies within our national security sector, as well as influence key business and media figures.

Financial information can help intelligence operatives identify those who are susceptible to bribery or other economic pressure, such as former CIA officer Kevin Patrick Mallory, who provided secrets to the Chinese in exchange for money to pay off his mortgage and other debts.

The Chinese have used human intelligence—targets include military forces, defense industrial companies, national security decision-makers, and critical infrastructure entities—to undermine the U.S. strategically and economically.

The Equifax breach could have implications beyond identity theft. The information could be used to target individuals for espionage, bribe, or blackmail.

U.S. national security matters are at stake here. Both the U.S. government and private businesses must take stronger security measures against these acts of theft and espionage.

COMMENTARY BY

Lizandro Pieper is part of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Riley Walters is a policy analyst in the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Who Defines Fundamental Human Rights?

David Carlin wonders if fundamental human rights really can be “discovered” by a majority vote of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.


People who (like me and, I suppose, most readers of The Catholic Thing) object to the Roe v. Wade ruling made by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 – the ruling that declared that the U.S. Constitution contains a right to abortion – often point out that despite reading the Constitution very carefully, often with a magnifying glass, we can find no mention in it of a right to abortion.

We find rights to freedom of speech and freedom of press and freedom of religion; we find a right to bear arms; we find a right to trial by jury; we find a right to vote; we find a right not to be a slave; we find a right to purchase alcoholic beverages; and so on.  But we find no right to abortion.

Therefore, we conclude that there is no such Constitutional right.  We conclude that the Court invented this “right.”  The Court, by a 7-2 margin, made it up.  It didn’t make it up exactly out of thin air.  No, it made it up out of the very thick air of sexual revolution that was characteristic of the cultural atmosphere of the sixties and seventies.

The younger generation had discovered sexual freedom, which to be complete required freedom of abortion; and so seven of the nine old men of the Court (no women in those days) decided to show that they too, despite their advanced corporeal age, were young in spirit.

We conclude also that once the Court decided it has the authority to make up a right to abortion, thereby amending the Constitution in a manner that bypasses the amendment process spelled out in the Constitution itself (Article V), it could make further illicit amendments by “finding” other nonexistent rights.  For instance, it could find a right to homosexual practice (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003; a 6-3 ruling).  And it could find a right to same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015; a 5-4 ruling).

Unless the Court changes its ways (which it might if it has a stable conservative or “originalist” majority), we expect that in the not-too-distant future it will “find” in the Constitution a “right” to polygamy, a right to be euthanized, and a right to be transgender.

Those on the other side, the liberal side, however, who deplore our literal and narrow-minded reading of the Constitution, those who hold that we have a “living” Constitution – enthusiasts for abortion and homosexuality and transgenderism and euthanasia – can argue that un-Constitutional “rights” we object to actually are alluded to in the Constitution.

Where?  In the Ninth Amendment, which says: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  Without question, this sentence implies that there are at least a few other rights, perhaps many, besides those enumerated.

So there you have it.  All human rights (or “fundamental human rights” as we are now in the habit of calling them) are protected by the Ninth Amendment.  If abortion or same-sex “marriage,” or euthanasia is a human right, then these rights are implicitly contained in the U.S. Constitution.

Now, I agree that all human rights are protected by the Ninth Amendment.  For example, if there is a fundamental human right to ride a horse down Main Street while totally naked, then this right (let us call it the Lady Godiva rrght) is protected by the Ninth Amendment.

But who decides what is, and what is not, a fundamental human right?  Judicial liberals seem to believe that this decision should be made by the Supreme Court – or more exactly by five or more members of the Court.

In 2015 the Court decided by a 5-4 margin that same-sex marriage is a fundamental human right.  This seems awfully odd.  I would have supposed that X would count as a fundamental human right only if mankind generally had so decided, or at least the American portion of mankind.  And it would not be enough for all Americans to decide that X is a fundamental right by a narrow margin; an overwhelming margin would be required.

And not merely an overwhelming margin on this or that particular day or year, but an overwhelming margin for a long, long time, perhaps for centuries.  Or so it seems to me.

But judicial liberals tell me I’m wrong.  They think a 5-4 Supreme Court majority is sufficient to establish X or Y or Z as a fundamental human right.  And then they appeal to the principle of stare decisis to argue that, once X or Y or Z has been established as a fundamental human right, it can never be dis-established.

This gives liberals a great tool for enacting whatever may be their public policy agenda – not through legislatures but through courts.  Would you like America to have a $100 per hour minimum wage?  Well, if you can get a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court to declare that workers have a fundamental human right to be paid $100 per hour, then everybody will have to be paid at least $100 per hour.

This is a far-fetched example, I admit.  But there are many other potential examples that are not at all far-fetched.  In fact they are waiting just around the corner.  Like polygamy.  Like euthanasia.  Like transgenderism.

I’m an old man, and I’ve been living in the USA for a long, long time.  I should feel at home here by now.  But I feel on some days that I’m a stranger in a strange land.  On those days, I find it hard to believe that a majority, probably a large majority, of my compatriots seem to agree that fundamental human rights can be discovered by a 5 to 4 vote of a panel of judges – something that seems to me to be an utter absurdity.

Ah well.  This is perhaps one more bit of evidence that I have lived past my expiration date.  Take me off the shelf.

COLUMN BY

David Carlin

David Carlin is a professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Feds Streamline Immigration Fraud Reporting Procedure

NumbersUSA alerted its members last week to a new system at the USCIS for citizens to report fraud.  Thanks to reader Michael for telling me about it.

USCIS Launches New Online Form for Reporting Fraud

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has launched a new online tip form to help the public provide the agency with information about immigration fraud. The new online form, available on the USCIS public website, prompts the user for the information that the USCIS’ fraud investigators need to investigate allegations of immigration benefit fraud or abuse.

See that USCIS had previously provided e-mail addresses to report fraud, but will be phasing those out.

The new online tip form collects information related to the relevant fraud, identifies the type of benefit in question and provides space for the user to describe the alleged fraud or abuse in additional detail.

This online form streamlines fraud reporting by replacing three email boxes USCIS now uses for fraud and abuse reporting. The tip form will make the tip process more effective and efficient. Every day, well-intentioned people try to report immigration fraud or abuse to USCIS, but our USCIS’s internal procedures did not allow for a consistent and timely way to respond.

More here.

Marriage fraud, such as I reported in my previous post today, would be something you could report through this new system.  See USCIS list.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.