Maggie Haberman Is Right

Source: National Review
by Charles CW Cooke

“Two days ago, the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman reported that Donald Trump ‘has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August.’ In response, many figures on the right inserted their fingers into their ears and started screaming about fake news. Instead, they should have listened — because Haberman’s reporting was correct. … Just how far out there is Trump’s theory? Consider that, even if it were true that the 2020 election had been stolen — which it is absolutely not — his belief would still be absurd. It could be confirmed tomorrow that agents working for a combination of al-Qaeda, Venezuela, and George Soros had hacked into every single voting machine in the country and altered the totals by tens of millions, and it would remain the case there is no mechanism within the American legal order for a do-over of any sort.” (06/03/21)

ADP: US Employers Add Nearly 1 Million Jobs in May, Jobless Claims Fall Below 400,000

Source: US News & World Report

“Private-sector payroll firm ADP reported that employers added 978.000 jobs in May, following April’s gain of 742,000, while the number of Americans filling first-time unemployment claims last week fell below 400,000. The job gains were dominated by the services sector, which added 850,000 positions, with increases occurring evenly among businesses of all sizes. The leisure and hospitality sectors led the increase, with 440,000 new jobs, while trade, transportation and utilities posted gains of 118,000 and education and health increased by 139,000. The strong report could be a harbinger of what the Labor Department reports on Friday with the May nonfarm payrolls reading, after April’s disappointing addition of only 266,000 jobs, well below the million forecast.” (06/03/21)

Fear the Inflationary Spiral

Source: Commentary
by John Steele Gordon

“Inflation is a self-fulfilling prophecy. What drives it is the expectation of inflation. If people see prices rising, they begin to demand pay raises. As payroll costs go up, so do the prices of the products the company produces, and inflation spirals upward. But it is Wall Street’s expectations that are the most important. Inflation erodes the value of debts that have fixed interest rates, such as most home mortgages. And so, creditors increase interest rates to protect themselves. The beneficiaries of inflation, of course, are those in debt. Just consider the biggest debtor of all, the federal government.” (06/03/21)

Bulgaria: US soldiers mistakenly raid vegetable oil factory in Bulgaria during NATO drill

Source: NBC News

“U.S. soldiers mistakenly stormed a factory that makes vegetable oil equipment in Bulgaria during a NATO training exercise last month in an incident that has led to criticism from America’s Eastern European ally and a lawsuit from the factory’s owner. U.S. soldiers entered and cleared a building next to an airfield in southern Bulgaria that they believed was part of the training area, the U.S. Army said in a statement Tuesday. But there were Bulgarian civilians ‘operating a private business’ in the building, it said, adding that no weapons were fired at any time during the interaction. The incident happened during a U.S. Army-led multinational NATO military exercise on May 11, according to the statement.” (06/03/21)

The declining US birthrate has implications beyond Social Security

Source: Washington Post
by Megan McArdle

“The United States used to be the only big, rich nation to have above-replacement fertility. That stopped being true during the Great Recession, and our birthrates keep slipping. The latest data put expected lifetime fertility at about 1.6 births per woman, a record low — and this was the trend before the pandemic. Nor does this reflect a delay as women settle down later: Birthrates declined for women ages 15 to 44. Yet President Biden’s new budget, which proposes massive deficits for the rest of the decade, is a proposition for a young country whose best growth years are still ahead. … Running up debt like this signals one of two things: desperation in the face of an existential threat, such as a pandemic or world war, or a bet that incomes will grow even faster than the debt, so that over time it gets easier to service obligations.” (06/03/21)

Iraq crosses a democratic threshold

Source: Christian Science Monitor
by staff

“Young people in Iraq, whose protests in 2019 brought a democratic reformer to power, are holding their breath. On May 26, for the first time the Iraqi government arrested a senior commander of a pro-Iran militia and (here is the breath-holding part) he has not been released more than a week later. In addition, an attempt by the commander’s militia to besiege the capital and pressure his release was repelled by elite Iraqi forces. While the arrest of Qasim Muslih on terrorism charges is small on a global scale, it represents a significant advancement in rule of law and accountability in a country pivotal to the growth of democracy in the Middle East. No senior member of the many Iran-backed militias that reject government control has been held accountable for the killing of pro-democracy activists over the past two years.” (06/03/21)

Myanmar: Junta court sentences journalists to jail

Source: Laredo Morning Times

“A military court in Myanmar has sentenced two journalists to two years in prison for their reporting, a move that was decried by rights groups as the latest assault on press freedom since the country’s coup. Aung Kyaw, 31, a reporter for the Democratic Voice of Burma, and Zaw Zaw, 38, a freelance reporter for the online news agency Mizzima, were convicted Wednesday by the court in Myeik, a city in southern Myanmar. The two had been charged under a recently revised provision in the penal code with spreading misinformation that could incite unrest …. According to Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, about 90 journalists have been arrested since the takeover, with more than half still in detention, and 33 still in hiding.” (06/03/21)