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Thank heaven it’s Friday, mostly because it’s not Thursday. Yesterday was Thursday, a day that will live in shame in the history of the American news business.
Yesterday, last night, every news network in this country, but this one faithfully surrendered its entire primetime lineup to Nancy Pelosi. So, in place of news coverage, people who tuned in got two straight hours of unedited campaign propaganda scripted by the Democratic Party. The effect was North Korean — every channel the same. Nothing like it has ever happened in this country. Now, the news anchors who faithfully did Pelosi’s bidding, pretended they were hearing some sort of congressional hearing, but they were lying. It was not a hearing. At a hearing, dissent is permitted. The other side can speak. Evidence is presented. Evidence is not censored or deceptively edited. That’s not allowed.
So, what we saw last night was definitely not a hearing. It was a show trial. There was no pretense of fairness or accuracy. The whole thing was indecent. How many people were convinced by what they saw last night? Hmm, right around zero. They’re not going to win a single vote, so why did they do it? There had to be a reason. They’re not that stupid.
Well, the reason they did it is every minute news anchors are whining about some imaginary threat from QAnon (Remember QAnon?) every minute they’re doing that, they’re not covering the collapse of the American economy, something everyone actually cares about. “Collapse” is a strong word, but how would you describe it today? Inflation hit 8.6%. Those are the official numbers. Those are the numbers arrived at using the government’s own cooked metrics, but it’s still the highest increase in inflation in more than 40 years, so it’s not surprising that consumer confidence is at the lowest level ever recorded. Why? Really, it comes down to energy.
The cost of energy is up nearly 40% over last year. The average price of a gallon of gas is now over five bucks, but it won’t stop there. JPMorgan predicts it’ll get to $6 and soon. So, when the price of fuel goes up, so does the price of everything else because our transportation systems are dependent on the price of fuel. And when it gets high enough, people can’t go anywhere, even the police.
In Michigan, one department says it can no longer respond to emergency calls because the price of gas is going too high. “We’ve exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel with several months to go before the budget reset,” said the sheriff of Isabella County on Tuesday, “I’ve instructed the deputies to attempt to manage whatever calls are acceptable over the phone.”
So, enforcing the law over the phone. It sounds like a story from the Third World, but that’s America. It’s Michigan and it’s just the beginning.
A CNBC survey just found that 68% of corporate CFOs are predicting a recession soon. Zero chief financial officers surveyed by CNBC believed a recession could be avoided. All of them thought it was absolutely inevitable. What are the effects? Well, one of them is staples, food prices. They were already up 5% in December. They’re now up more than 10% year over year.
So, when food becomes too expensive to buy, you have a crisis. How is the administration responding to this crisis, a demonstrable crisis? Well, Biden has just unveiled new regulations on ethanol.
By the way, here’s a really simple test if you want to know you’re speaking to someone who understands anything about science or the environment. Anyone who tells you ethanol is good for the “environment” is either ignorant or lying. We know after decades of studying it, that ethanol hurts the environment. There is no environmental benefit to ethanol, and there’s a massive cost both to the land and also to you.
Thanks to Biden, gasoline refiners will be forced to blend 20 billion gallons of ethanol because it’s a renewable fuel for the planet. But what this really is, is a requirement from the Biden administration to burn food in your car. That’s what ethanol is. It’s corn. So, what happens when you divert food crops like corn to ethanol production? Well, we know the answer because it’s been studied for decades.
In 2008, an evolutionary biologist at Cornell called David Pimentel, wrote this: “The use of corn for ethanol has led to major increases in the price of U.S. beef, chicken, pork, eggs, bread, cereal, milk. It’s a boon to agribusiness and a pain to consumers.” In fact, “the director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that using 22 pounds of corn to produce one gallon of ethanol is already causing food shortages.”
Well, of course. That was 2008. This is not news. Anyone who’s been paying attention can tell you ethanol is bad for the environment. It’s terrible for engines, and it is above all a disaster for your food supply.
So, at the same moment we are facing food shortages, the Biden administration has decided to make food scarcer and more expensive. Food will be just as expensive as gasoline. And you probably hadn’t heard about that because once again last night, every single news network in this country except ours was reporting on something else. Here are their priorities.
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC: This primetime presentation was both clear and it was compelling. The first in a historic set of hearings here.
DON LEMON, CNN: This is not just about what happened on January 6 or in the days leading up to it. It’s about a clear and present danger to our democracy.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN: I have to say, it’s just historic to me. This was a hearing unlike any other.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC: I think the committee did a great job tonight. I thought Liz Cheney was particularly strong.
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN: It was a very powerful, very well-produced, if you will, two-hour presentation.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC: Tonight, The January 6 committee concluded the first of a series of its public hearings, and the point was abundantly clear: Our democracy remains in danger.
These people. Now, normally you could just say, “Well, they’re dumb. That’s why they’re on TV in the first place, reading scripts that somebody else wrote.” I mean, it really is like “Anchorman,” if you want to be totally honest about it—hairhats, reading words they don’t understand. That is true. That’s actually what it is.
But in this case, it’s more than ignorance. It’s more than stupidity. It’s complicity in a campaign to fool the public, to make you believe that your personal concerns like the fact you can’t buy food or drive anywhere or the police won’t come because they can’t afford gas, those are not important.
What’s really important is some other thing that you should be terrified of, “Russia. It’s Putin. It’s QAnon. It’s the White supremacists. They’re going to get you!” And anyone who worries about gas prices, anyone who’s concerned about how to feed his or her family gets a lecture that actually you’re just selfish. “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated!” Really, or whatever the talking point is. Here was CNN last night. Watch.
LEMON: But I think for something like this to happen, to have an attack on the Capitol, to have an attack on our democracy, to have a president of the United States saying that he won the election when he didn’t, I think that is more important than anything. If you don’t have a functioning democracy, then it doesn’t matter if you have a penny gas prices. You don’t have a functioning democracy and people are going to think “Well, what does this matter if our gas prices or whatever?” Okay, fine. We’ll get to the gas prices. That’s always going to have: what does it mean for inflation? Fine. We’ll get to that. We talk about that all the time. What this means for our democracy is the most important thing, and that’s what we should be focusing on.
A civics lesson from Don Lemon. Mr. Lemon, tell us about democracy. What is democracy? You just summed it up for us, if you would. It’s a term you use a lot. What is democracy?
Well, democracy is the process by which government represents voters and their concerns. Voters vote in representatives. They go to Washington and they carry with them in their hearts the memory of the people who put them there and their concerns are first and foremost. So, what are the first and foremost concerns of American voters, the people at the heart of this democracy?
Well, food and gas prices, but the people who are defending democracy, look at those people and say, “Shut up, you selfish rube. You really should care about January 6 because democracy.” The overwhelming majority of Americans don’t care about January 6 and that’s why they need to beat you in the face with it again and again and again.
They wouldn’t be hysterical. They wouldn’t be repetitive. They wouldn’t be patronizing if you actually cared, but you don’t, so they have to lecture you like a child. So, the midterms are approaching, this is the Biden administration strategy: Talk about something else. Shame you if you don’t think it’s the most important thing. So, Biden began talking today. This was a speech that was billed as an address on inflation, but it didn’t begin with inflation or any honest account of how we got here and how we’re going to get out of it. No, it was about January 6. Watch.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: Before I begin, I want to say a few words very briefly about the January 6 hearings that were highlighted last night. The insurrection on January 6, was one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history, a brutal assault on our democracy, brutal attack on law enforcement, some losing their lives and we heard about it last night again. And I know together, and I mean this, we can unite and defend this nation, Democrat and Republican, and allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of our democracy.
The overstatement is so ridiculous. You look at everything that’s going on in the world. We know what happened on January 6 because no event in human history has had more cameras trained on it. You can watch the video. You can spend the rest of your life watching the video on the Internet. Why don’t you go ahead and do that and get back to us? Does that look like a dagger at the heart of democracy? Is that the darkest chapter in American history? It’s like, insane that you would even talk like that. “It’s QAnon. Really! Trump is bad.”
It’s repulsive, actually, when you think about it. Russia is threatening to destroy New York City with nuclear weapons. So, how are we doing on that front? Well, it turns out, we’re sourcing a critical component in our ammunition, not just small arms, but nuclear weapons from China. So, at the moment, we’re actually closer to war than in any time in your lifetime, any time since 1945, since the big war ended, we’re closer right now than at any time since then and what are we doing about this? What’s the State Department doing to fix the crisis in Eastern Europe? Well, they have, they just announced this, they’ve hired a global equity ambassador. Oh, that’ll fix it. Oh, more equity.
This is nuts. It’s like rearranging bookshelves by title as your house burns down. This is a species of mental illness. Everybody sees how fake this is. Nobody is convinced by it. It was just two years ago, live on television, summer of 2020, a mob of Biden voters tried to storm the White House. Do you remember this? They torched a church across the street.
They attacked Secret Service officers. A mob called for the president of the United States to be lynched. He was taken to an underground bunker for his safety. We don’t like to be hysterical, so we got to downplayed it at the time. Probably shouldn’t have. Maybe we should have, as hysterical as Joe Biden, “This is Pearl Harbor,” but I have been lying, so we didn’t. This is what our country’s capital looked like at the time.
You know, you really sort of hate to get into the war of, “Well, you think that’s bad? This was worse! Look at our tape,” but really, it’s just too much. Stop lying to us. Stop telling us things that we know for a fact are not true because we watch them in real time. You didn’t hear anything about that last night, about similar riots that destroyed cities all over the United States.
You didn’t hear a single word. None of that was a dagger at the throat of our democracy. All that happened in an election year with the aim of influencing the election. Unmentioned, you heard not one word about the guy who just tried to assassinate a Supreme Court justice at his home at the urging of the Senate majority leader. Can’t talk about any of this.
These topics, like the state of the U.S. economy, are now off limits. You have to pretend that January 6, 2021, remains the single worst thing ever to happen to America, even though not one living person really believes that and if you don’t say so, if you don’t confess the one true faith in public, you’ll be hurt. It just happened to an NFL coach called Jack Del Rio. He just learned this lesson, a completely Soviet moment. We’ve got more on that in just a minute.
But first, take a few steps back. So, this is a perverse arrangement and you got to wonder who benefits. The Congress and the entirety of corporate media bury the actual problems facing the United States, pretend like they’re not even happening. Why are they doing this and who is getting rich from it? Inflation doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the product of choices. The inflation we’re now living through was created on purpose. The United States government got to a place where the debt was too big, and the only answer was to inflate it away.
If you are a major debt holder, the only way out for you is to make the money less valuable, and so they did this on purpose. They want inflation to skyrocket, of course, and continue to rise. You’re not going to hear any of that from the professional commentators on cable news, but you will hear it from people who still have common sense, like this guy at a gas station the other day. Watch this.
MSNBC REPORTER: The economic jolt is not felt equally. A new Bank of America report found household credit card spending for fuel surged to 7.8% by the end of May, but a whopping 9.5% for families making under $50,000.
MAN AT GAS STATION: They call it inflation because somebody’s pocket is getting inflated. We’re the ones hurting down here, you know, the poor people.
Okay. So, inflation almost certainly is hurting you. In fact, a new analysis out today showed that the average family will pay this year a full month in its total income, just in inflation, a full month. Who’s it good for? Well, if you’ve got massive corporate debt, it’s a really good deal because you get to pay yesterday’s accounts, yesterday’s debts with today’s inflated dollars.
That money has lower real value, so you were getting a deal. It’s a scam. They’re doing this on purpose. But you could only pull that off if the people you were hurting were completely distracted, so let’s scream at them some more about January 6. Then they might not notice.
At this point, we don’t really have a choice but to tolerate inflation. That’s the truth. The traditional way to attack inflation is to raise interest rates. But inflation has gotten so high that it’s going to be pretty tough to do that. U.S. debt to GDP now stands at nearly 125%. That means for every point we raise the interest rate, we’re going to wind up paying even more in interest charges on that debt. If the Fed tries to raise interest rates any way to the point they might actually affect inflation.
What will that do? Well, let’s say you bumped it 11 points. I mean, which you probably have to do to get inflation under control. Jerome Powell, who runs the Fed, has already said there’s no limit to how high interest rates could go.
At least one financial expert has said 6% interest rates could be coming and maybe that’s just a start, on top of the ones we’ve already seen. Now, what would that mean for you? Well, interest rates that high would crush Americans with credit card debt and that’s most of the country.
In fact, is the highest rate ever. It would make buying a house basically impossible. It would crash markets. It would crush asset prices. Are we going to do that? That’s kind of our option. Probably not.
So record inflation is likely here to stay. If you want to know why they’re talking about January 6 in primetime, that’s why.