Monday, September 28, 2020

Tens of Thousands of Christians Converged on DC

 Did you hear about the large Christian gatherings in Washington, DC this weekend? Did you see the news reports about the mayhem? The looting? The vandalism? The calls to “Burn it down!”? Did you hear the speakers calling for acts of violence and destruction? Oh, you didn’t? That’s because tens of thousands of Christians did gather in DC this weekend, but they came to pray for the nation and repent for their sins.

The two main events were The Return, which began Friday night and ended Saturday night, and Franklin Graham’s prayer march, which was held from noon to 2:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Both events attracted tens of thousands, and The Return was watched by a reported global audience of tens of millions. But there were no angry voices. No calls for violence. No fistfights. Or brawls. Or looting. Or shooting at police.

In fact, at The Return, where I participated on Saturday, there was hardly any police presence at all. It was not needed. I didn’t even see any counter-protesters.

Worship prevailed. Prayer prevailed. Humility prevailed. Repentance prevailed.

And while a constant theme of the event was the broken condition of America and the urgent need for repentance, that repentance started with the participants, with each of us. We, the followers of Jesus, have sinned and fallen short. We who are called to be light of the world and the salt of the earth have not lived up to our high and lofty calling.

That’s why The Return began its Saturday morning program with pastors and leaders asking for God’s mercy and confessing their sin. Repentance starts with us.

Significantly, Saturday was also the day when President Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Who could have foreseen this? These events were planned months in advance, at which time no one had any idea that Justice Ginsburg would pass away, let alone pass away during this sacred season on the biblical calendar.

Even the timing of Trump’s announcement seemed propitious. As I tweeted, “So, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passes away at the beginning of the Jewish New Year, as the shofar blast is heard, & Amy Coney Barrett is announced as her replacement as shofars were being blasted at The Return event in DC, watched by 10s of millions globally. Coincidence?”

On this same day, Saturday, September 26, 2020, major prayer gatherings were held in the Philippines and other nations as well. (An Asian leader told me at The Return that three million Indonesian Christians participated in a prayer event just hours earlier).

But this is exactly what we must do. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, a global shutdown, a time of global shaking – and that means there nothing more important we can do than pray. All the more does this hold true in America, where deep divisions are literally tearing us apart.

But the goal of these gatherings is not to impress people. The goal is not to put on a performance and please the crowds. The goal is to get the attention of our Father in Heaven. Only He can turn the hearts of a nation. And only He can hold back His judgment and wrath.

In Jewish tradition, the constellation sign associated with Tishrei, the seventh (and current) month of the biblical calendar (but the first month of the traditional calendar), is a pair of scales, symbolizing the scales of justice.

As one Jewish website explains, “The symbol of the month of Tishrei is a pair of scales.  How fitting are the scales of justice to this month!  On the Day of Judgment, Rosh Hashanah, our good deeds and mitzvos (commandments) are weighed against our sins.  If we have more mitzvos than sins, we are inscribed for another year of life.  Obviously, this is not a quantitative evaluation, that is, the number of offenses verses the number of good deeds.  The judgment takes into account the quality of our deeds.”

Yet even with the very best quality of deeds, and even when we work our hardest, there is no way America could survive a test like this, weighing our good deeds against our bad deeds. How much weight does a single abortion carry, let alone tens of millions? How much weight does a single act of sex trafficking carry, let alone tens of thousands?

That’s why we plead for mercy. That’s why we repent so deeply. That’s why, in the synagogues, beginning Sunday night, Jewish prayers will focus on pleas for mercy and lengthy confessions of sin. There is no boasting of our own righteousness in the sight of a holy God.

That’s why these gatherings in DC, with minimal press coverage and without the drama of the protests and the riots, could well be the thing that saves the nation. And while the media may not have paid sufficient attention, we trust that God Himself did. That is what really matters.

Friday, September 25, 2020

All the Chips Are on the Table Now

 

When the Affordable Care Act—also known as ObamaCare—was being debated, we heard empty promises like “you can remain on your current plan” or “you can keep your doctor.” The promise-to-reality outcome was so off that “you can keep your doctor” became Politifact’s Lie of the Year in 2013. Despite the flashy ads and abundant promises, in reality, ObamaCare not only raised costs but took health care out of the hands of Americans and placed Medicaid on even worse financial footing through expansion to able-bodied adults. The already complex health care system became dominated by even more bureaucracy, even less transparency, and severe restrictions on patient choice. High premiums and government control became the new normal, putting bureaucrats—not patients—in the driver’s seat.

However, thanks to the hard work of the Trump administration and key decisions by Congress in the early years of his first term, control in health care decisions is beginning to find its way back into the hands of Americans rather than the government or special interests. 

First, President Trump expanded Association Health Plans (AHPs)—a powerful tool for small businesses to get on the same playing field as their large competitors when purchasing health coverage. AHPs help uninsured small business owners and their employees access affordable coverage by breaking down government-imposed barriers that large companies don’t have to abide by. In fact, the administration’s rule changes to expand AHPs have the opportunity to provide millions of Americans with coverage with far lower premiums.

 
The administration also extended short-term plans (STPs), which are excellent and affordable options for the millions of uninsured Americans. These plans are especially attractive for Americans in-between jobs or in need of affordable gap coverage. By expanding the duration of these plans, consumers now have access to yet another tool in the toolbox to achieve low-cost options without sacrificing quality.

After ObamaCare gave states the option to expand Medicaid to millions of able-bodied adults, enrollment exploded. It wasn’t the boon to hospitals that supporters of expansion predicted and promised. Instead, already stretched state budgets are stretched even thinner, and hospitals are being forced to close due to the lack of revenue. The Trump administration has offered states a path to walk back from the brink through commonsense Medicaid work requirements for able-bodied adults. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration took decisive action by loosening telehealth rules, which has been critical for millions of older Americans on Medicare who were suddenly unable to access their providers in-person. And in August, the president signed an Executive Order to make many of these telehealth changes permanent—empowering Americans with disabilities, those with chronic conditions who require frequent medical consultations, and those without access to adequate transportation to continue receiving care from the comfort of their own home.

President Trump also took decisive action to take on big hospital executives by establishing a new rule to improve price transparency and provide Americans with the real cost of health care services beforehand. For far too long, health care prices have been about as clear as the swamp in Washington. This change represents a strong step towards empowering everyday Americans and improving competition in health care. Despite the protests of hospital executives wanting to conceal prices from consumers, this crucial rule was upheld by a federal court in June.

And finally, President Trump successfully repealed the individual mandate penalty under ObamaCare—a blunt mechanism that punished Americans for not purchasing health insurance or purchasing insurance that politicians simply didn’t like, such as short-term plans. Health insurance is a deeply personal choice, and no family should face steep fines because they chose incorrectly in the eyes of the government, especially when the approved options are far too expensive.

Together, these strong actions—expanding AHPs, extending short-term plans, loosening telehealth rules, improving price transparency, and quashing the individual mandate—have given Americans more control over health care once again. And unlike as we saw with ObamaCare, the current occupant of the White House actually kept his promises of expanding health care choice and freedom to millions.

This hard work should not go unnoticed—and we should be thankful that the pendulum is finally starting to swing away from the bureaucrats and towards patients and consumers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Dystopian ‘Biden Effect’ for the Southern Border?

 

AUSTIN, Texas – Almost immediately after President Donald Trump’s surprise 2016 election, illegal immigration fell so precipitously that, for the first time in memory, government detention centers along the Texas border remained nearly empty for months afterward. The phenomenon, characterized by a 70 percent decline in apprehensions, was called “the Trump Effect” because aspiring migrants who’d attentively heard Trump’s tough campaign rhetoric about coming border walls and immigration law enforcement figured the better choice was to just stay home.  

But an equal and opposite “Biden Effect” is in the offing, one where aspiring migrants south of the border have heard Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign promises on illegal immigration and would feel profoundly incentivized to come in large numbers after a Trump loss.

There is good reason to predict that Biden’s election likely would instantly trigger a migrant caravan crisis such as when nearly a million Central Americans successfully crossed the southern border in 2018-2019 before Trump managed to end it with various temporary policies. If the Trump Effect proved anything, it was that economically distressed foreign populations closely monitor a social media communications grapevine about when and how American policy makes illegal immigration easier or harder, the chances of remaining in the country higher or lower.

Messages Heard Around the World

During a January 2020 reporting trip I took to the Mexico-Guatemala border, many U.S.-bound Central American migrants told me they planned to stay in Mexico, rather than to go home, on the gambit that a Democrat would win the White House in less than a year and reopen the pathways over the border, which they would promptly travel. At the time, Mexican military roadblocks had severely curtailed easy northward travel while the government was deporting any migrant that didn’t apply for Mexican asylum.

Many like an El Salvadoran woman with a young child trapped in Tapachula, Mexico, said they’d apply for Mexican asylum but will only use it until “Trump is defeated and the Democrats take over” because then, “things are going to get better.”

Migrants from El Salvador and Honduras indicate they plan to stay in Mexico until the outcome of the American election because, as one said, "I'll wait for that because it would make things easier to get in." 

Alma Delia Cruz, head of Mexico’s asylum office in the southern state of Chiapas, told me she knew the majority of 70,000 Mexican asylum applicants her office was then processing (up from 76 the year before) had no intention of staying in Mexico for long.

“This is just their first chance to get into the United States, of course,” she told me. “I don’t know what’s on the minds of these people exactly, but the threats from Trump can’t deter them from eventually getting into the U.S..”

In more recent months, the tide of Central Americans applying for Mexico asylum has continued to build as the American election draws near. Thousands of Haitians, Africans, Cubans, and Middle Eastern migrants also are applying for Mexican asylum, building pressure awaiting release northward on the chance that a Biden presidency will make that possible.

Hope Springs Eternal from American Political Promises

The Biden campaign’s messaging all through the Democratic primary season and after nomination is that a President Biden would all but guarantee migrants who cross the U.S. Southwest border will be able to enter without significant obstruction and then remain indefinitely with a possibility of permanent citizenship later, powerful incentive for mass migration.

Consider campaign promises heard throughout the Americas for many months now:

- A 100-day moratorium on deportations upon Biden entering office – to exempt even most criminal aliens, to be followed by a permanent extension for all but the most hardened criminal alien felons. “I don’t count drunk driving as a felony,” he said.

- Use of executive powers to immediately reverse all Trump immigration policies to include an end to border wall construction and the Remain in Mexico push-back policy that requires asylum seekers be sent to Mexico while their U.S. asylum claims are slowly adjudicated. The Biden plan also promises an end to federal prosecutions for illegal entry and to requirements that migrants apply for asylum in the first country they transit on their way to the U.S. border. 

- Access to American medical care. Biden was among the candidates who raised his hand during one primary debate when a moderator asked which of the candidates would favor providing illegal immigrants with free access to the nation’s medical care system.

- A “roadmap to citizenship” for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States.

The most pivotal of the Trump-era policies 

In June 2019, Trump threatened Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador with ruinous economic trade tariffs on all U.S.-bound exports if he did not halt the mass caravans pouring in through his country’s southern border with Guatemala. Obrador complied by deploying some 6,000 Mexican National Guard troops on more than 50 roadblocks throughout Mexico’s border states, severely thinning northbound migrant traffic.

Caravans have regularly battered themselves apart against the bulwark of Mexican troops, who rounded them up by their thousands and bused them back to Central American countries. But the caravans keep forming. They probe and test this one most effective perimeter, feeling for the slightest opportunity and weakness.

It is highly unlikely that President Biden would maintain Trump’s tariff threat against Mexico.

As a result, Mexico will almost certainly feel free of the obligation to keep the troops there and would redeploy them as soon as possible after the November election. Overnight, Mexico would return to its traditional role as a migrant-transit superhighway to the U.S. border. Caravans will just as certainly form to test the route and find it open.

The first caravan waves – importantly – would reach the U.S. border and find their way over it newly unimpeded too. Successive population waves, seeing the vanguards succeed unhindered would pour through the breach for as long as those too are unopposed.

Predicting migration flows isn’t the kind of bet on which to place real money, since trends can be notoriously unpredictable and susceptible to unforeseeable factors. The Trump Effect eventually wore off once migrant communities noticed that campaign promises were taking quite a long time to actually implement and then, when some of them were, caused a rush on the border in 2018 that Trump had to counter in ways no one could have envisioned at the time (such as threatening Mexico trade tariffs).

Likewise, a Biden administration, seeing an initial rush on the border in the wake of Democratic victory, might not follow through for quite some time with his policy ideas and, ultimately, if he decides mass migration must be stopped, be forced to leave some of Trump’s in place.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Reclaim American Drug Supply Chains to Counter Chinese Influence

 

China is threatening to cut off our supply of critical medicines even as we suffer in the midst of a pandemic. A shocking headline from the South China Morning Post on August 26 highlights just how real this threat truly is: “China Could Weaponise drug exports to retaliate against US chip restrictions, Beijing Advisor Says.” As I have highlighted in a previous op-ed, this threat must not be taken lightly.

The South China Morning Post is owned by Alibaba and believed by many to be a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party. Li Daokui, the advisor quoted in the article, is a very influential professor of finance at Tsinghua University in Beijing. And according to Congressional testimony from Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx, “If China shut the door on exports of medicines and their key ingredients and raw materials, U.S. hospitals and military hospitals and clinics would cease to function within months, if not days.”

Unfortunately, this is not the only medicine-related issue exposed by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. According to Senior Trade Advisor Peter Navarro, “We have already witnessed over 80 countries impose some form of export restrictions on medicines or medical supplies, proving that no matter how strong our friendships or alliances may be, they mean nothing in a pandemic. It’s ‘Lord of the Flies.’” Examples of drugs that have been subject to these export restrictions include things as basic as acetaminophen, a common pain killer. 

Fortunately, there is some good news. President Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to help bring pharmaceutical and medical supply chains back to the United States. This is a powerful and important step to protecting our nation’s health and wellbeing. 

After deliberation with his team at the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and Defense Production Act, Peter Navarro identified New York-based company Kodak as best equipped to manufacture key starting materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). Yes, that Kodak. 

Their expertise in chemicals expands beyond traditional photography. The company even already has a smaller unit dedicated to the production of key starting materials, the building blocks for active pharmaceutical ingredients. It’s a match-made in heaven.

This iconic brand has existing expertise and capacity ready to help onshore one of our nation’s most critical industries. As a result, on July 28 there was an announcement that the government would loan Kodak $765 million “to help expedite domestic production of drugs that can treat a variety of medical conditions and loosen the U.S. reliance on foreign sources.” 

Wall Street loved the idea and the price of Kodak shares jumped from around $2 in late-July to $60 in a matter of days. All seemed well until early trading appeared to front-run the official announcement. The huge price gains drew serious scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as Democrat congressional committees, resulting in the DPA loan being placed on hold pending further review. 

To prove everything was above board Kodak initiated an independent investigation into the alleged offenses; this week, that investigation cleared Kodak of all accusations and the company released the full report.   

The investigators asserted, “Kodak, and its officers, directors, and senior management did not violate the securities regulations or other relevant laws, engage in a breach of fiduciary duty, or violate any of Kodak’s internal policies and procedures.”

While the investigations are important, it’s essential that we not miss the bigger issues of our national health and security. Eastman Kodak is an ideal partner for onshoring at least part of our critical medical supply. This innovative company accumulated over 20,000 patents in a century and even invented the digital camera. And, Kodak is ahead of the curve, already manufacturing these key starting materials.

The Defense Production Act has the funds necessary to help Kodak accelerate the API business. This would result in hundreds of new American jobs and enhanced health security for millions of Americans. We should move forward on this immediately. The risk and threat is too great to wait any longer; we should not deprive Americans of this important progress from the Defense Production Act. 

This loan should be approved so we can start the process of regaining control of America’s drug supply from China. And we should use this partnership as a model to secure other supplies critical to the health and wellbeing of Americans.

Why Is The Mainstream Media Signaling That A Much Larger Stock Market Crash Is Coming?

In recent weeks, the mainstream media has been overly indicating that a stock market crash is about to happen. There are many ongoing discussions about a potential dramatic fall in stock prices that will likely come by the end of the month. And even though a market crash can happen at any time, especially with such a massive overvaluation in prices, it is uncommon to see corporate-led media telling us what to expect about the next developments in the stock market, hinting to where it is headed next. For that reason, today, we rounded up some of the mainstream media statements that point to the imminent financial market downfall to investigate what is laying behind the curtains. Is this a new smokescreen? Or a widespread meltdown is much closer than we thought? That's what we are going to find out, so keep with us, and don't forget to give this video a thumbs up, share it with your friends, and subscribe to our channel not to miss out on the unfoldings of the economic collapse. Earlier this year, when the health crisis started to spread on American grounds, corporate media started to release one report after the other about an incoming crash in stock prices. Now, they're doing it again. This time around, the difference is that many media outlets are reasoning the same mantra: the downfall is near. They seem to have a virtual certainty that price evaluations won't be sustained for any longer and by the end of next week, the financial scenery can turn upside down. Not long ago, the news was focusing on praising the market rebound after the huge tech stock sell-off, and then suddenly, it decided to shift its focus, leaving us wondering why would the mainstream media want all of us to believe that a financial crash is at the door? It goes without saying that prices are dramatically overvalued. For the past three weeks stock prices either flatlined or taken the downward direction, and all of the major stock indexes have recorded sharp declines for three weeks in a row, and it seems this week will make it four. Up-to-date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went down 4.5 percent this month, the S&P 500 went down over 6 percent, and the Nasdaq declined about 8.5 percent. Essentially, the market is experiencing the worst September in 18 years, but the corporate-led media is signaling that things are going to get even worse. Additionally, it reported that Deutsche Bank economists consider that a policy shift may arrive sooner than we thought, explaining that "financial crises have often been touched off in the past under such conditions by the inevitable shift from policy ease to policy tightening, which is likely still at least several years away, but could surprise sooner". Once again, we definitely agree that a global financial crisis could emerge at any time, but we don't typically see a corporate-controlled news outlet alerting for a "looming" stock market collapse.  All things considered, and with signals coming from many different sources, the financial abyss seems to be at the corner. As the remaining 90% are struggling to stay afloat and barely having conditions to properly evaluate the situation, they're probably going to be pushed to the edge without even noticing. In the meantime, the wealthy 1% has already managed to secure themselves and dump whatever stocks they don't feel confident about, leaving the consequences of the volatility of such stocks to be taken care of by the unsuspecting others.  The next stock price drop will be followed by a quick rebound to add some heat in the political narrative and then a sharp drop once again. So, during this whole process, the beaten economy will face yet another downturn. It's a never-ending cycle of inflating and bursting the debt bubble. How long will the system be able to sustain it? It's anyone's guess. But we can't say we haven't been warned.