What’s Worse Than Inflation? Fighting Inflation.

            Inflation is a cancer. It eats away at savings and consumer confidence. But the tools the United States government uses to fight inflation are often worse—they’re a form of chemotherapy that’s even more likely to kill the economy than the underlying disease. When your car is careening down a hill, slamming on the brakes is an inexperienced driver’s first instinct. But it’s the last thing you should do. Unfortunately, the history of inflation-fighting indicates that monetary policymakers seem to prefer crashes to soft landings.             Fueled in large part by massive deficit spending as the Pentagon tried to bomb its way to victory in the unwinnable Vietnam war, inflation ran rampant from the latter part of the presidency of Richard Nixon through that of his successor Gerald Ford, and infamously contributed to the destruction of Jimmy Carter’s reelection chances. Inflation encourages consumer spending because, if you put off a purchase, it will cost more later. Enter Paul Volcker, appointed…
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Saudi Arabia is a Bulwark against Iran. So Who’s the Bulwark against Saudi Arabia?

            The Washington Post recently published an op-ed purportedly written by President Joe Biden that tried to justify his visit with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the psychopath who ordered the murder, dismemberment and dissolution in acid of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for—wait for it—The Washington Post. Let’s hope MbS likes Biden’s “writing” better than Khashoggi’s.             A publication whose motto is that “democracy dies in darkness” probably owes its readers the truth about who writes its articles. There is 1,000,000% no way in hell that Biden wrote that piece. Listen to him talk, then read it, you’ll see. Truth in advertising is important; accurate labeling more so. When I purchase a can labeled carrots, I don’t want to find pigs’ feet inside. Yet many newspaper opinion pieces and books bylined by high-ranking political figures and celebrities, like the piece that got Amber Heard sued, are ghostwritten. These are flagrant violations of journalistic ethical guidelines regarding attribution, a…
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Want Abortion Back? First, Women Have to Die.

            The Supreme Court has sent a message: we’re no longer in the business of ratifying social change. No more legislating from the bench. If Americans want abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception legalized as opposed to merely tolerated, they should look to Congress.             Distraught over the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many women are searching for a quick fix—and they’re right. A 20,000-abortion-per-week nation can’t go to 10,000 overnight without dire social, economic and medical consequences. But the system won’t give us the rapid remedy we need.             Women will have to die. They’ll have to die in ugly ways. Their deaths will have to be public.             Congress won’t help. Bless her heart, Elizabeth Warren articulated the Democrats’ plan, which is magical thinking at its finest: “If we pick up two more senators [in November], we can ditch the filibuster and make Roe the law of the land.” Odds of Democrats losing seats and Senate control are solid;…
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DMZ America Podcast #55: Jan. 6th Investigation Gets Hot, Abortion Gets Aborted, Russia Bites Back

Political cartoonists Ted Rall and Scott Stantis debate and discuss the week’s issues from the Left and the Right. The Democrats’ Jan. 6th hearings turned interesting as a White House staffer claims she overheard the Secret Service discussing Trump’s trying to grab the wheel of the Presidential limo to lead the insurrection. Office gossip or treason? Women’s right to choose—is it toast in the red states or will a sustained campaign of protest…never mind. As Russia consolidates its gains in Ukraine, Presidents Rall and Stantis propose peace terms.  
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Supreme Court to Progressives: Wake Up

            The Supreme Court just sent us a wake-up call. Pro-reality Americans, i.e. the 40% of voters to the left of the Democratic Party, should be grateful.             A freedom essential to half the population never should have hinged upon a flimsy and poorly-reasoned legal opinion. Congress should have followed the example of other countries where abortion is legal, and passed a federal law decades ago. Instead, neither party acted on behalf of women. (And let’s not forget men—many of them want/need their partners to have abortions.) Democrats are not the answer. They had the chance to codify abortion in 2009, when they had a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and control of the House. Then-President Barack Obama chose not to lift a finger. “Not the highest legislative priority,” Obama sneered as he focused on what he cared about, doling out trillions to Wall Street megabanks. Instead he channeled his inner laissez-faire Republican, urging Americans to “reduce the number of…
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Trump and Biden are Both Liars. Only Trump Gets Called Out.

           The following phrase, and its variants, has become ubiquitous: “Donald Trump’s baseless charges of election fraud.” Mainstream news outlets have accelerated its use during the congressional hearings on the January 6th Capitol riot.             The phrase is accurate. Though historically American elections have been marred by fraud and outright subversion, no evidence has surfaced to suggest that any such improprieties occurred during the 2020 presidential election that were substantial enough to change the result. As far as we know, Joe Biden was legitimately elected.             But is it journalistically kosher?             Fairness, accuracy and integrity are the core of journalistic ethics. Those values are compromised when they are applied inconsistently, as do American news companies.             Republicans, conservatives and supporters of former President Donald Trump in particular have long complained that corporate media outlets have been harder on him than on other politicians or previous presidents. It’s hard to disagree. Journalists’ labeling of Trump’s allegations that the 2020 election…
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Transgender People Shouldn’t Compete in Sports. Neither Should Cis People.

            A new Washington Post poll about Americans’ views of transgender athletes offers a lot to think about. I found the margins more interesting than the headline. Like, who are these 2% of people who think that transgender girls are at a physical disadvantage when they compete against cis girls in youth sports? Why would they think that? Another takeaway is that 16% of respondents have a close friend or family member who is transgender. One in six! As a writer and cartoonist who works from home—but in New York, the most diverse city in the country—clearly I need to get out and meet more people. Last week a Pew poll found that 1% of Americans are nonbinary, a figure that rises to 3% for people ages 18 to 29. I know hundreds of people, including lots of Millennials. How come I don’t know anyone nonbinary in a country with 3.3 million of them? But what I’ve been thinking about…
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Democrats Will Lose 2022. They Can Win 2024 if Biden-Harris Say They Won’t Run

            For the foreseeable future, the Democratic Party is in trouble. In today’s essay I will describe just how bleak the situation is – spoiler alert, very — and how I would advise party leaders to respond if they asked my advice.             First, they’re probable going to lose big in the upcoming midterms.             Prediction is fraught, things change, you never know, blah blah blah. Polls are mixed. That said, Republicans will almost certainly take back the House of Representatives and probably the Senate as well.             The tea leaves look ugly. Plagued by the perception that he is tired, feeble and out of it, the nearly octogenarian President Biden’s approval ratings are at a near record low 41% and sinking. Gallup’s monthly poll of the issues that worry American voters lists the top problems as poor government leadership (20%),  inflation (17%), the economy in general (12%) and fuel/oil prices (6%). Rarely has a political situation been so straightforward;…
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Our Culture of Violence Comes from the White House

            Reactions to mass shootings follow a predictable pattern.             Liberal politicians call for gun control, and they have a point. Countries with gun control have less gun violence. The old assault weapons ban did some good. You have to pass a test to get licensed to drive a car or, in most states, to operate a boat—surely the same could be required of those who want to possess firearms.             Conservative politicians call attention to America’s worsening epidemic of mental illness. They have a point too. Most mass shooters have untreated psychiatric disorders; most are suicidal.             But neither side addresses America’s culture of violence. Why would they? They both feed into it.             The ethical norms of a society become broadly accepted after they are defined and propagated by the acts and public statements of political and religious leaders, news and entertainment media and celebrities. If morale goes from the top-down, so do morals. If you doubt this…
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First They Came for the Foreigners’ Bank Accounts

            Adam Smith wrote that the efficiency of markets relies on the free movement of goods. What happens when governments seize property in order to exert political pressure—or out of greed?             A major, arguably the primary, incentive of the capitalist system is that it offers the potential of accruing wealth. Individuals and companies rely on government to maintain order, keep conditions like interest rates stable and protect accumulated assets from bank failures, devaluation, fraud and theft, without regard for the political orientation of their owner. In recent years, however, the United States has increasingly been putting its thumb on the scale for ideological reasons, taking assets by ethically and legally dubious means, and imperiling its reputation as a safe haven for deposits and investments.             From the 62-years-and-counting trade embargo against Cuba to the severing of ties with Iran following the hostage crisis to the isolation of South Africa to punish apartheid, the U.S. has repeatedly turned to economic…
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