Five Star Movement lawmakers overcame their reservations about impeding investigations into politicians and on Tuesday voted to block an investigation into Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini – the leader of M5S’s coalition partner – over allegations that he “kidnapped” 177 undocumented migrants last summer when he refused to let them disembark from a ship in a Sicilian port for five days.
The Senate’s Immunity Committee would have needed to lift Salvini’s immunity for the investigation to proceed.
Instead, it voted to back immunity for Salvini. The vote resolves what had become a serious source of tension between the two coalition partners, even prompting some of Salvini’s allies to publicly push their leader to call for fresh elections to try and oust M5S and take advantage of the League’s rising popularity.
The investigation into Salvini was initiated in August by a Sicilian prosecutor. Salvini has publicly mocked the probe, saying it would be “an honor” to go to prison for defending Italy’s borders.
“If he wants to interrogate me or even arrest me because I defend the borders and security of my country, I’m proud…Being investigated for defending the rights of Italians is a disgrace,” Salvini said at the time.
The Diciotti crisis, named in reference to the rescue vessel that carried the migrants, began on Aug.15 when 190 migrants fleeing Eritrea were rescued from an overcrowded boat off the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Salvini refused to allow them to disembark at a Sicilian port. After allowing 43 unaccompanied minors and some in need of urgent medical care off the ship, Salvini and his ministry refused to allow the rest to disembark, purportedly violating EU rule stipulating that migrants detained for more than 48 hours should be released and allowed to apply for asylum.
Now that the dispute, which had blossomed into a serious threat to political stability in Italy, has been resolved, investors have one more reason to pile back into Italian after data released Tuesday showed money managers sold $68 billion in Italian debt last year amid Rome’s showdown with Brussels over its budget deficit, according to Bloomberg.
Peter Schiff recently appeared on InfoWars with Alex Jones to talk about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal.
He said the real problem isn’t the climate deniers, it’s the economy deniers.
Peter noted that we were in the great recession the last time retail sales came in as poorly as they did in December. He also mentioned the all-time high in auto loan delinquencies and the fact that restaurant sales are falling at the fastest pace in 25 years.
“We’d all be better off if Cortez was still waiting tables instead of working in Congress. But these crazy policies she’s advocating – look, the public just might turn to them in 2020 if we are in a bad recession and it’s all blamed on the tax cuts, on Trump, on deregulation, and the only solution left for people to grasp for is socialism. Of course, you know, it’s never worked. It’s failed every time it’s been tried. But that doesn’t stop people from trying it again.”
Peter also addressed the upward spiraling national debt, taking issue with Alex’s contention we could at least do something positive with the inflation such as build infrastructure.
“You cannot make a country rich by printing money. You know, unfortunately, that’s how Cortez is going to try to finance any type of Green New Deal that we get.”
Peter said the craziest thing about Cortez and the Green New Deal is the idea that it will actually be good for the economy.
“If we actually had to do this, if we really faced this threat, this is going to be mutually shared sacrifice. Everybody is going to suffer to implement this, particularly the poor and the middle class. They’re going to feel the burden the heaviest. But she is trying to wrap this thing up as if everybody is going to benefit from a huge reduction in our standard of living, which would be required.”
Cortez says we can pay for the Green New Deal just like we paid for World War II. Peter pointed out that we paid for the war by drastically raising taxes on the middle class.
“If AOC wants to pay for the Green New Deal the same way, then it has to be through huge tax increases on her constituents.”
Peter and Alex also talked about Trump and the economy. Peter made a pretty poignant statement.
“If Trump really wanted to make America great again, the only way to do that is to make government small again. The problem is he hasn’t been building a wall but Trump’s been building up government. He’s made government bigger. He’s been building bigger national debt, bigger deficits. So, building up debt and building up government is not the secret to making America Great.”
As we reported last week, a record 7 million Americans have fallen 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments.
That’s 1 million more than the previous peak in auto loan delinquencies in 2010. But as Wolf Street points out, there is a big difference between then and now.
“Serious auto-loan delinquencies are now on par with Q2 2009 when millions of people had lost their jobs and when the economy was in free-fall. But today unemployment is low and the economy appears to be humming. What gives? “
Currently, there is about $1.3 trillion in auto loans outstanding. Looking at auto loan delinquencies in terms of a percentage of the total outstanding, the number hit 4.5% at the end of 2018. This is the same percentage as in the second quarter of 2009 as the economy was feeling the full effect of the 2008 crash.
Wolf Richter of Wolf Street highlighted some of the reasons for the surge in auto loan delinquencies in a recent episode of the Wolf Street Report.
In the first place, a lot of Americans are struggling with their jobs.
“While the unemployment rate is at around 4% and has been as low as 3.7%, there are many pockets of weakness in the labor market. A lot of people have gig work. A lot of people are underpaid. Their wages have not gone up with inflation. People have been discouraged and they’re not participating in the labor force anymore, and so they don’t show up in unemployment figures. So, there are many weaknesses in this labor market.”
Even so, Richter said it’s still the “cleanest dirty shirt of the labor market” we’ve had in a number of years, so the labor market itself cannot completely explain the surge in auto loan delinquencies.
A second issue is the rapidly rising cost of new cars. The average price of a new vehicle is now around $36,000. This represents a significant increase in the cost of vehicles and there has not been a corresponding rise in wages. Subprime borrowers face a double whammy. They not only have to pay the higher price; they also get hit with a higher interest rate.
A third, and according to Richter probably the most significant issue, is the number of subprime lenders who have plowed into the auto business over the last 10 years. This is an extremely profitable business for the lender, but an extremely risky position for the borrower.
“These are precisely the kind of customers who can’t afford those payments, and cannot afford to make those payments based on high-interest rates, and they can’t even afford that expensive of a car.”
The auto business actually looks a lot like the subprime housing market we saw blow up in the years leading up to the 2008 crash. These companies make risky loans. They use sloppy underwriting techniques. And then they package the loans together in auto loan-backed securities and sell them.
By 2018, the air was coming out of the auto bubble. A number of these specialized subprime auto lenders had already collapsed. Richter said now we’re starting to see many of these companies curtail their lending.
Of course, it’s not just specialized companies making subprime loans. According to Richter, about 25% of the auto loans on the books of big banks are subprime. Credit unions have also gotten into the business.
The big difference between the subprime auto loan market today and the subprime housing market in the years before the crash is one of scale. A collapse in the subprime auto market will cause some pain, but it won’t likely bring down financial institutions.
But that doesn’t mean this isn’t extremely problematic. The real question is how will the looming credit crunch affect the auto industry – an important part of the US economy? Richter says we’re already seeing the impact.
In 2015 and 2016, US automakers experienced record years. Since then, we’ve seen a downturn. As default ratios spike, lenders become more careful and that squeezed more and more potential customers out of the market.
“As auto-loan delinquencies continue to surge, as those losses are spreading, underwriting will continue to tighten and will make it more difficult for an entire layer of customers to buy new vehicles.”
And this is the rosy scenario. The real question is what happens if the economy goes into recession? What happens if we see growing job losses?
This gives us a glimpse of the underlying rot in the US economy. The Federal Reserve flooded the country with easy money. That blew up all kinds of bubbles, including the auto lone bubble. The simple truth is economies built on debt aren’t sustainable.
Roger Stone joins Alex Jones to break down the democrats’ plan to unconstitutionally use the 25th Amendment to unjustly remove President Trump, and likely VP Mike Pence as well, from office to place Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in the highest seat of the Executive branch of our government.
Dr. Hooker provided testimony last Friday, February 8, 2019, for the Washington State House Health Committee regarding the vaccines and the Personal Belief Exemption (PBE) bill that was introduced.
Recent outbreaks of measles, especially in Rockland County, New York and Clark County, Washington have created quite a furor in the public health infrastructure of the U.S. and now within state legislatures.
Industry front groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) have seized the opportunity to introduce legislation to remove personal belief exemptions and religious exemptions for vaccinations required for school attendance. Nationwide, over 70 different bills have been introduced or are expected to be introduced in state legislatures to limit these types of exemptions.
I recently had the privilege to testify in the Health Committee in the House of Representatives for Washington State and wanted to share some excerpts of my testimony. In Washington State, legislators have introduced a bill to remove the personal belief exemption specifically for the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine. I want to thank Karl Kanthak and Bernadette Pajer who both contributed important information for my testimony.
There is a problem with measles in Washington State, but it’s not low vaccination rates, it’s actually high vaccination rates with a vaccine product unable to provide lifetime immunity or vigorous passive maternal protection to infants during the first year of life.
When the measles vaccine was first introduced, most people over the age of 15 who had wild measles had lifetime immunity. In developed nations, like other communicable infections, measles was no longer dangerous except in rare circumstances because of inadequate nutrition, poor sanitation, and / or lack of healthcare. Because having the measles was a routine part of childhood, teens, adults, parents, and grandparents were immune. And because of maternal passive immunity, infants were protected. The death rate due to measles in Washington State in the four years prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine was 1.4 in 10,000 cases and approximately 2 in 1,000,000 in the general population.
Legislators are being told that use of personal and religious belief exemptions are putting the public’s health in danger. They are told that two infants were recently exposed to measles and the babies are in danger. But in fact, if the mothers of the children had wild measles when they were children and they are nursing, the babies may be protected. If the mothers were vaccinated, even if they are nursing, they may not be. Additionally, maternal antibodiestransported across the placenta can provide vital immunity against measles for infants.
Pushing vaccination rates up even higher with an ineffective product is not the answer. As the editor of the journal Vaccine Dr. Gregory Poland of The Mayo Clinic stated in 1994, “…as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons.” An MMR vaccination rate of 75% has been reported for the recent measles cluster in Rockland County, New York.
It was reported in the news and provided to legislators that in Clark County, WA there is a 22% exemption rate, but this is based on the voluntary Immunization Information Survey (IIS) which does not accurately reflect the vaccination status of all children enrolled in Washington schools. When compared to the more accurate CDC statistics for the state of Washington for MMR coverage among 19 to 35-month-olds, it is 95.3% +/- 2.6%. The IIS erroneously reports this number at 81.8% and cannot be relied upon.
The current personal belief exemption rate for K-12 for the MMR vaccine in Washington State is only 2.9% (WA DOH School Survey). Vaccination rates for kindergarteners for at least one MMR vaccine are at least 93% (WA DOH School Survey). Washington State has achieved the public health goal of very high vaccination rates.
As I have already remarked, vaccination does not guarantee immunization and infectious diseases routinely break out in highly vaccinated communities. An example of this is pertussis outbreaks, which occur due to problems with the acellular pertussis portion of the DTaP and Tdap vaccine, creating asymptomatic carriers. An asymptomatic carrier is a person that has become infected with a pathogen, but who display no signs nor symptoms. Although unaffected by the pathogen themselves, carriers can transmit it to others or develop symptoms in later stages of disease.
The SB277 experience in California, where personal belief exemptions were struck down in 2016, has not led to 100% vaccine compliance even within the school system. Removal of personal belief exemptions has served to alienate parents leading to an exodus from the school system (1.2%), as well as from the state, and placing the school districts in the untenable role of “vaccination enforcers.” An additional 1.4% within the school district are still unvaccinated due to Federal Individualized Education Programs, medical and other exemptions. SB277 did not change the minds of non-vaccinating parents. Instead, it pushed families out of school and created lost income to school districts.
Regarding the Australian experience with vaccine mandates, one official stated that, “Parents reported a greater commitment to their decision not to vaccinate and an increased desire to maintain control over health choices for their children including an unprecedented willingness to become involved in protest action.” (J. Public Health Policy 2018 39:156, Helps et al.) With the removal of the PBE for the MMR vaccine, 2.9% of the children in WA State, which is 15,000 to 20,000 students, will be excluded from school. If the PBE is removed for all vaccines required for school attendance, 37,000 children will be removed from school. For small school districts, this will cause a financial crisis. Mandates do not encourage vaccination, they push exemption-using families out of schools.
The Supreme Court in the Bruesewitz vs. Wyeth case called vaccinations “unavoidably unsafe,” and the scientific literature shows an incidence of vaccine adverse events that is dangerous in light of the proposed mandate. Over the past ten years in the U.S., there has been one reported death from the measles, and it is unclear based on the medical history of the patient whether and how measles played a role in their death. During the same time period (based on Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports), there have been 105 reported deaths associated with the MMR or MMRV vaccinations.
From 2006 to 2011, the CDC funded a project by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc. for the automation of the VAERS database. VAERS up to this point has been a passive surveillance system based on voluntary reporting of vaccine adverse events (AEs) and CDC officials were concerned about underreporting of such events. The team from Harvard Pilgrim set up a monitoring system of a large health care provider (with 35 clinics) and monitoring the outcomes of from 1.4 million vaccines received. Using chart abstraction, 35,570 potential adverse events were reported within a window of 30 days post-vaccination. In other words, the rate of potential adverse events was 2.6%. As legislators, you are feeling pressure to protect infants and others susceptible to poor infection outcome, but taking away the personal belief exemption for an ineffective product is not the answer.
You must not only protect those who are susceptible to poor infection outcome, but protect those who are susceptible to poor vaccination outcome, and to consider the unintended consequences of a fully vaccinated population that does not have lifetime immunity.
The viewpoints expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Infowars.
Owen Shroyer tackles the future for a party so comfortable with lies and hate.
Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured on Canadian roads and highways every year.
Traffic congestion is common. Perpetual road construction/repairs. Cars lined up at a red light while non-existent cross traffic faces a green light. Idling cars, frayed nerves, road rage. If this was the performance record of private firms who owned and managed the roads, politicians would go ballistic and seize control of the roads in order to “ensure consumer safety.”
However, as we know, it is the politicians and bureaucrats who are responsible for this dismal, and deadly, performance record, so they unleash their propaganda: “Citizens have to be more patient”, “Commuters should car pool”, “Drivers have to slow down”, “More people should take public transit, or cycle, or walk”, “Employers should offer staggered shifts and allow some employees to work from home”, “Higher taxes will solve the problem”, and, my personal favourite, “We need more traffic laws. No, no, we are sincerely concerned for your safety, not our revenue.”
Whenever the government attempts to provide a service, service is severed from payment, which means taxation guarantees the salaries of politicians and bureaucrats without incentivizing them to provide the services most highly preferred by taxpayers. A visible example of this in London are the many miles of empty cycling lanes adjacent to congested car lanes. For every cyclist, there are at least a thousand motorists. So much for majority rule. And, for a city government professing deep concern for the environment, this is indeed a curious outcome: environmental resources are wasted on the construction of largely vacant cycling lanes, which in turn increases the environmental impact of internal combustion engines due to increased traffic congestion directly attributable to less road space for cars.
Private Road Management
In contrast, private road companies do not have the powers of taxation and expropriation. Therefore, unlike the government, they are highly incentivized to minimize costs by allocating resources efficiently in order to satisfy consumers’ preferences to the fullest possible extent because that is the only way to earn revenue. In turn, the market’s price system allows consumers to express their preferences. If people don’t like a particular service, they don’t pay for it, and if enough people don’t pay for it, the service will disappear, or improve, or the price will drop. Moreover, if demand is insufficient to justify the cost of providing a particular service, then the service will not be provided, thereby conserving resources, which minimizes waste. Not to put too fine a point on it, but a constant reminder of municipal government waste are those miles of empty cycling lanes, a project unlikely to be duplicated in the private sector unless cyclists are willing to pay for it. And that is our lesson: when service is linked to payment, waste is minimized because resources are allocated according to consumers’ preferences, not according to arbitrary political edicts.
There are many examples today of efficient road management by the private sector . And if we are alert, we can always identify real world events which clearly illustrate the contrasting incentives of the public versus the private sector. In 2014, Mike Watts, a private citizen in the U.K., frustrated by the economic consequences of a lengthy detour because of government delayed road repairs, built his own bypass toll road which attracted many commuters and embarrassed the government. Read about it here , here , and here.
The 2014 U.K. example reminds us that inefficient transportation hinders economic growth, as it has throughout history. As Murray Rothbard wrote:
In England before the eighteenth century, for example, roads, invariably owned and operated by local governments, were badly constructed and even more badly maintained. These public roads could never have supported the mighty Industrial Revolution that England experienced in the eighteenth century, the “revolution” that ushered in the modern age. The vital task of improving the almost impassable English roads was performed by private turnpike companies, which, beginning in 1706, organized and established the great network of roads which made England the envy of the world.
The owners of these private turnpike companies were generally landowners, merchants, and industrialists in the area being served by the road, and they recouped their costs by charging tolls at selected tollgates. Often the collection of tolls was leased out for a year or more to individuals selected by competitive bids at auction. It was these private roads that developed an internal market in England, and that greatly lowered the costs of transport of coal and other bulky material. And since it was mutually beneficial for them to do so, the turnpike companies linked up with each other to form an interconnected road network throughout the land — all a result of private enterprise in action.
Rothbard described similar circumstances in the United States in the early nineteenth century, where “Once again, private enterprise proved superior in road building and ownership to the backward operations of government.”
Professor Walter Block wrote, “In advocating a free market in roads … we shall be merely arguing that there is nothing unique about transportation; that the economic principles we accept as a matter of course in practically every other arena of human experience are applicable here too.”
In all likelihood, London’s traffic problems are a direct result of unavoidable planning errors at City Hall, due to the perverse incentives inherent to the government system. It is time to give private enterprise a chance. The likely result would be a more efficient transportation network, at lower cost, with less wasting of resources, thereby paving the way for lower taxes, a smaller government, and increased economic prosperity.
Roger Stone and Owen Shroyer join Alex Jones to discuss how the mainstream media attacks and Big Tech censorship can’t stop Infowars from telling the truth and won’t stop Alex Jones’ fans from listening to it.