ECB President Christine Lagarde Blames Less Focus On Job Retention During COVID For High U.S. Inflation

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European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde appeared for an interview on CBS’ Face The Nation(04/24/22) to discuss the current global inflation brought about by covid and the Russsia-Ukraine war. During her interview, President Lagarde made an interesting observation, telling host Margaret Brennan that inflation is higher in the U.S. because unlike Europe, the U.S. focused more on issuing covid stimulus/relief checks than on job retention. Europe’s primary focus during covid was on job retention. She said the resultant labor shortage in the U.S. is driving up wages, which are in turn, driving up costs. Hmm, interesting.

Host Margaret Brennan(video at 4:53):“In this country there’s a lot of debate around how much the government is to blame versus the central bankers for the inflation that we are experiencing. The U.S. spent $6 trillion on covid relief, $2 trillion of it on President Biden’s watch last Spring when the economy was already recovering. Do you think some of this spending in the U.S. exacerbated inflation, because Europe didn’t spend like this?”

President Lagarde:“We in Europe spent less in stimulus, and I think we spent differently. We spent pretty much half as much as what the U.S. government spent on stimulus, and heating up the economy. But we also spent differently because I think the focus was predominantly on keeping the jobs, not necessarily sending the checks, and as a result of that, people who managed to keep their jobs alive, while not necessarily going to work because covid stopped everybody from going to work at some point in time, they had their job. So when covid was over, they went back to their job. So, I think that the labor market that you have currently in the U.S., which is incredibly tense, where you have a lot of jobs that are not filled, where you have plenty of vacancies, we don’t have that in Europe at the moment, and the current situation you have on the labor market here in the U.S. is clearly contributing to possible strong inflation and second round effect, where prices go up, wages go up, short supply of labor, wages continue to go up, and that feeds back into prices. That’s one of the differences between our two economies.”

There’s no other way to interpret ECB President Lagarde’s remarks other than(I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), the current strong inflation in the U.S. is largely driven by the fact that the government did not do enough to help people keep their jobs during covid. In other words, even though a lot of people could not physically go to work during covid, more should have been done to make sure their jobs would still be there for them after the pandemic–propping up their employers to keep them afloat. According to President Lagarde, this is precisely what Europe focused on–propping up the employers, and is the reason Europe is not seeing the high levels of inflation as the U.S.

For the record, this does not mean Europe did not hand out covid stimulus/relief checks to workers like the U.S. did. What President Lagarde is saying is that the primary focus in Europe was job retention. It’s also worth pointing out for the sake of fairness, that the entire U.S. covid response, and the resultant high inflation, cannot be pinned solely on the Biden administration. Reasonable people will agree that the Trump admin is equally to blame.

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Rep Beth Van Duyne Defends Gov Abbott’s Immigrant Bussing Ploy

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Rep Beth Van Duyne(R-TX) on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures(04/17/22)

Texas Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne, a former Mayor of Irving who is considered to be a rising GOP star, appeared on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures show(04/17/22) to discuss the Biden administration’s recent lifting of Title 42 and other immigration issues related to the southern border. Rep Van Duyne defended Texas Gov Abbott’s controversial bussing of migrants caught crossing the southern border to Washington DC, saying this will make politicians in DC “see what it has been like in areas all around Texas.”

Rep Beth Van Duyne specifically told host Jason Chaffetz(video at 4:38):“In Texas we are seeing a huge influx of illegal immigrants, a huge influx of illegal drugs, of illegal weapons, and quite honestly the citizens of the state of Texas are sick of it, which is why I think you see some of the desperate measures that our Governor is taking to put them on buses and send them to Washington, DC since the Biden administration finds themselves too busy to actually be able to come back to the border, well maybe they need to see what its like in DC, what it has been like in areas all around Texas…I guarantee you if we see a mass immigration of illegal aliens, you are going to see those walls go back up around the Capitol to be able to protect the politicians, while we are leaving a wall down on our southern border and ignoring the effects it’s having on the rest of the nation.”

She went on to add that the number of illegal immigrants that have come through the southern border in the last 15 months is more than the combined population of three U.S. states, and that mixed in with these illegal immigrants, are people from “questionable countries” like Syria and Yemen–presumably terrorists.

For the record, illegal immigration has been and still remains a big problem in the United States, and the concerns Rep Van Duyne raised in her Fox News interview regarding the sheer numbers of migrants illegally crossing the southern border, and the prospect of some of them being criminals/terrorists are for the most part, valid concerns. The question here is whether Governor Abbott’s bussing ploy, and that’s exactly what it is–a ploy, is the best way to deal with this decades old, complex immigration problem? Reasonable people will agree that the bussing ploy employed by Gov Abbott, which essentially amounts to playing with the lives of desperate migrants, is no way to deal with a complex problem like immigration. The bussing ploy may play well among Fox News viewers eager to embarrass Democrats in Washington, but it will ultimately blow up in the face of Texas Republicans because it does zero to address the real illegal immigration problem at the southern border.

Bottom line folks, illegal immigration is a complex problem that calls for serious politicians to sit down and come up with concrete solutions to fix it. Texas Governor Abbott, and it appears Rep Van Duyne, are clearly not up to the task of coming up with a concrete solution to this complex problem, and have instead settled for ploys/gimmicks, or “stunts” as Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke calls them.

Maybe it’s time stuntman Abbott stepped aside, and allowed Gov O’Rourke to work with serious Texas Republicans, to come up with concrete ways of tackling the complex illegal immigration problem. Hopefully Texas voters will arrive at this conclusion this Fall.

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Fox News Sunday Host Grills Texas AG Ken Paxton About His Felony Indictments

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At his appearance on Fox News Sunday(11/14/21), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was confronted with a question about his felony indictments, which his 2022 Republican primary challenger George P. Bush(Jeb’s son) argues, renders Paxton unfit for public office. A-G Paxton’s rattled and incoherent response to host Chris Wallace’s direct question shows that he did not expect such a question from Fox News.

A-G Paxton’s full interview on Fox News Sunday is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Host Chris Wallace: “You face your own legal problems…You are under indictment on an allegation of securities fraud and you are also the subject of an FBI investigation because some former top officials in your own office accused you of bribery. George P. Bush, the son of Jeb Bush is running against you next year…Here’s what he says:’Our top lawyer needs to be above reproach. There shouldn’t even be a question of one’s character and competence for this important role.’ How big a problem do you think these allegations against you will be in your effort to win reelection?”

AG Paxton: “Look, I’ve been dealing with this kind of fight. When you go out and do the type of things that I’ve done, you are going to be challenged, you are going to have issues like this pop up. This happened 7 years ago, almost 7 years ago, I was reelected when it happened, and I think we’ve done a great job defending the state of Texas. That’s what I’m going to talk about…I’m going to continue doing my job.”

A-G Paxton’s rattled and incoherent response to this valid question basically boils down to (1) his felony indictments are the result of some vast left wing conspiracy, and (2) the fact that he got reelected even with the indictments means he’s innocent–both of which are bogus. In the eyes of the Texas public, it is A-G Paxton who’s the beneficiary of political favors. Simply put, no regular Texan would still be waiting for a criminal trial stemming from 7 year old indictments. Unless and until A-G Paxton’s indictments are resolved, either by being quashed, or by Paxton beating them at trial, he is simply not fit to continue serving as Texas’ top lawyer.

Bottom line folks, there was a time not very long ago, when public officials would swiftly resign if their character had been credibly called into question. Nothing credibly calls one’s character into question more than felony indictments. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton should save the Lone Star State from any further embarrassment by either stepping down now, or scrapping his reelection plans. There are many capable indictment-free Texans who can serve as Attorney General.

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Gov DeSantis Blames Florida Covid Surge On Migrants Coming Through the Texas-Mexico Border

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis On Fox News’ Ingraham Angle Show (08/04/2021)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appeared on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle show(08/04/2021), where he made the ridiculous assertion that it is migrants coming through the Texas-Mexico border, who are to blame for the surge of covid-19’s delta variant in Florida. Yes, folks, Governor DeSantis, with a straight face, told host Laura Ingraham, that the Biden administration is apprehending covid-stricken migrants coming through the Texas-Mexico border, and shipping them to Florida.

Gov DeSantis’ full interview on Ingraham Angle is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Gov DeSantis told host Laura Ingraham:“He[President Biden] is bringing in people from over a hundred different countries across the southern border. Every variant on this planet, some we don’t even know about, are absolutely coming into our country that way. What they are doing is, people are coming, and then they are farming them out all over the United States, putting them on buses, putting them on planes. So when he is lecturing people about imposing covid restrictions and lock down policies on the one hand, and yet not only doing nothing to stop the border surge, but actually facilitating it on the other hand, he just loses all credibility when it comes to covid.”

Governor DeSantis, noticing how ridiculous his assertion was, then tried to justify it, telling host Ingraham that migrants coming through the Texas-Mexico border have a particular affinity to Florida. He said, “I have[Florida] law enforcement there helping[Texas]Governor Abbott, and we’ve been there for a month, and they say of the illegal border crossers that they come in contact with, a majority of them are telling our guys that they want to end up in Florida…” Gov DeSantis’ totally made-up assertion that migrants coming through the Texas-Mexico border have a fixation with Florida was so ridiculous, even host Ingraham chuckled.

This is the kind of crazy talk one expects to hear from an obscure subreddit or Facebook page. However, when it is uttered by a Governor of a major U.S. state, one thought of as a serious presidential contender in 2024, it should be serious cause for alarm. It is not a lot to ask that a Governor of a major U.S. state like Florida, address a deadly global pandemic that has killed over half a million U.S. residents, and left many more with serious health complications, with the seriousness it deserves. Reasonable people will agree that Gov DeSantis’ argument, that the covid surge in Florida is caused by migrants shipped in from the Texas-Mexico border, is a totally frivolous argument, bordering on lunacy.

Bottom line folks, whether you are a Republican or Democrat, we are at a point where we can all agree that covid-19 is a deadly virus that demands serious attention from our leaders across the board. President Biden is absolutely correct in calling out Gov DeSantis for playing games in the face of this deadly pandemic, and urging him to either start leading, or step aside. Just so you know Governor DeSantis, there’s a very capable Floridian, ready and willing to take over, and help the Sunshine State defeat the deadly covid-19 pandemic.

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Fox News’ Hypocrisy Over Covid Vaccine Passports Exposed

Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Railing Against Covid Vaccine Passports To His Millions Of Viewers(06/01/21)

Turns out, per bombshell segment on CNN Newsroom (07/19/21), that the critical stance Fox News hosts routinely take regarding COVID-19 vaccine passports, is just another case of blatant hypocrisy by the network. Fox News has apparently had in place since June, a COVID-19 passport program, which means vaccine passport “critics” Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, are most likely fully vaccinated participants of the network’s vaccine passport program.

Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy said on CNN Newsroom: “This is more blatant hypocrisy from Fox News. Tucker Carlson, the main star over at Fox, he’s compared the idea of vaccine passports to Jim Crow laws, and other hosts have railed against the idea of vaccine passports–showing that you have received a vaccine and the employer being able to verify that. But Fox, we learn, has quietly back in June…rolled out a system where employees can input that they have received a vaccine, which dose of the vaccine they received, when they received it, and then they get special privileges. They don’t have to do the normal health screenings for instance, when they walk into the office. This is just more brazen hypocrisy from Fox.”

Think about that. There’s a very good chance that since June, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and other hosts at Fox News, have been discouraging their millions of viewers/followers from receiving the readily available COVID-19 vaccines, while hiding the fact that they, without hesitation, did what was best for the health and safety of their families–getting fully vaccinated. This is borderline criminal conduct by the Fox News hosts. CNN host Alisyn Camerota summed it best; “Some of the Fox hosts are vitriolic, but they are not crazy. They have been vaccinated. Chances are they have been vaccinated, they don’t want to die. But they don’t want to tell their viewers they have been vaccinated, so they have to rail against any sort of having to disclose if you have been vaccinated, or even [being] asked. I mean, Tucker has gone so far as to say it’s vulgar to ask someone if they have been vaccinated…”

Bottom line folks, there has to be some kind of retribution for the dangerous COVID-related lies that keep spewing out of Fox News. It is one thing for news hosts to express their philosophical opposition to vaccines on air, but it’s quite the other where, as here, the hosts are trashing a vaccine for a deadly disease, while hiding the fact that they have received it. The public must demand that Tucker Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham immediately disclose their COVID vaccination status, so their millions of viewers can fairly evaluate their criticism of the vaccines/vaccine passports. Anything short of this is borderline criminal misinformation, for which the hosts should be held accountable.

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Gov Reynolds Says Iowans Must Return To Work Or Lose Unemployment Benefits

Iowa Gov Kim Reynolds(R) with President Trump

As the push by Republican Governors to lift covid-19 stay-at-home orders and “reopen” America for business intensifies, an interesting theme is emerging as the reasoning behind their hasty and quite frankly, reckless move. There is no question that covid-19 testing rates in the U.S. are nowhere near the levels that would justify safely reopening the states for business at this juncture. Texas in particular, is notoriously lagged behind in testing yet Governor Greg Abbott has slated this Friday(May 1), as the day many businesses in the states are authorized to reopen.

So what is the reason behind this hasty “reopen America” move by Gov Abbott, Reynolds, and other Republican Governors across the U.S.? The answer to this question lies in the national embarrassment the unemployment programs in these states have subjected these Republican governors to. Florida’s unemployment program in particular has become such a national embarrassment following widespread media reports, that Governor Ron DeSantis was not only forced to confess that it is broken, but also issued an executive order relaxing some of the requirements for workers to qualify for benefits.

Unflattering media reports about the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) which handles unemployment claims in Texas have also been a constant source of embarrassment for Gov. Greg Abbott. The same story has played out in other Republican-controlled states including Iowa. Simply put, contrary to popular belief, covid-19 did not break these state unemployment programs. These programs have been broken for years, thanks to GOP’s anti-worker’s rights policies. Covid-19 simply exposed on a grand scale, the unemployment insurance sham in GOP-controlled states.

Well, it appears Republican Governors have settled on the “reopen America” push as a way of dealing with the unemployment insurance embarrassment. By hastily reopening businesses in their states, GOP Governors can technically force workers to return to work because refusal by the workers to do so will amount to quitting, which in turn disqualifies them from unemployment benefits. This is especially cruel and insensitive to minorities especially Blacks and Hispanics, who have a valid reason to fear returning to work before covid-19 testing rates are ramped up to a level that will reassure them that it is safe for them to do so. GOP Governors don’t seem to care about the plight of vulnerable minority populations validly fearful of covid-19 and appear hell bent instead, on blackmailing them back to work by threatening them with losing their unemployment benefits. This is precisely what Gov Kim Reynolds just did.

Gov Kim Reynolds specifically said, “If you are an employer and you offer to bring your employee back to work and they decide not to that’s a voluntary quit, and so therefore they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.” Make no mistake about it folks, this is an “order” by Gov Reynolds and other GOP Governors to employers in their states to call back workers so as to forcibly take them off the unemployment rolls–essentially cruelly forcing people back to work regardless of their valid covid-19 fears. There is no effort being made by Gov Reynolds and others to fix the numerous problems covid-19 has exposed with the state unemployment programs. Forcing vulnerable people back to work appears to be the GOP Governors’ way out of the problem.

Bottom line folks, covid-19 has exposed some serious problems with the state unemployment programs, especially the ones in Florida and Texas. It is imperative that the mainstream media and members of Congress call for changes to these woefully broken state unemployment programs. Simply put, Governors Reynolds, Abbott, DeSantis and others must not be allowed to sweep these unemployment insurance problems under the rug simply by forcing their residents to go back to work. The GOP Governors must be forced to address the reasons why these programs are broken in the first place.

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Texas Dog Trainer Now Leads Covid-19 Task Force

Former Dallas Dog Breeder Brian Harrison now leading the nation’s covid-19 response

In case you missed it, there was a stunning revelation on MSNBC’s AM Joy show that the Trump administration has chosen a former Dallas area dog breeder Brian Harrison who has zero background in medicine or public health, to lead the nation’s coronavirus task force. The Trump administration apparently chose Harrison to replace outgoing Dr Rick Bright, a career vaccine expert who took a cautionary stance towards Trump’s favorite drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for covid-19. Because the vaccine expert refused to follow Trump’s blind push for hydroxychloroquine as covid-19 treatment, he was pushed aside and has been replaced by Harrison, a former dog breeder.

Host Joy Reid specifically said, “Dr Bright is a career vaccine expert and similar to an increasingly silent Dr Fauci, he insisted on sticking to the science and he seems to be the polar opposite of the guy now heading the administration’s coronavirus task force, Brian Harrison. He[Harrison] is a Health and Human Services[HHS] aide who for six years ran Dallas Labradoodles–no that is not code for some Texas antiviral operation meant to save lives–instead, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The new HHS leader of the covid-19 response does not have a formal background in medicine or public health but instead, was a dog trainer. This isn’t just cronyism over normal politics, this is cronyism over saving lives.”

Even the staunchest of President Trump’s supporters will agree that for a global pandemic that has already claimed 50,000 lives in the U.S., it is not a lot to ask that the person chosen to lead the administration’s response be someone with a background in medicine or public health. That person is definitely not Brian Harrison who appears to be per AM Joy’s reporting, a political crony.

It also bears pointing out that at a recent press conference in Austin, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said a major reason why he decided to reopen the state for business despite the state’s lagging covid-19 testing numbers was because he had been assured by Trump’s coronavirus task force that Texas would be provided with all the testing supplies it needed. One can reasonably infer given this new development that the assurances the Texas Governor was referring to probably came from former Dallas dog breeder Brian Harrison.

Bottom line folks, incompetence has been a recurring theme surrounding Trump administration’s coronavirus response whether that be from the serious foot dragging we are witnessing with the testing, the numerous contradictory statements the administration issues to the public regarding safe practices, etc. Where, as here, the Trump administration settles on a dog trainer with zero background in medicine or public health to head the nation’s coronavirus task force, the public has every right to assume that the administration is not taking the threat posed by covid-19 seriously, even after it has claimed the lives of 50,000 Americans. As Joy Reid correctly stated, this is not just incompetence, this is deadly incompetence.

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