MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Efforts are now underway to bring to account the world’s biggest purveyor of pornography.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today, the Monday Moneybeat, a historic plunge in economic output and we will try to draw some lessons from the GDP report.
Plus, the WORLD History Book. Today we check back in with the pilgrim separatists as they prepare to leave England for the Americas 400 years ago this week.
And WORLD commentator Kim Henderson on lessons from Little League.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, August 3rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Jill Nelson has today’s news.
JILL NELSON, NEWS ANCHOR: Tropical Storm Isaias rakes Florida coast » Tropical Storm Isaias spared Florida from serious damage over the weekend.
Forecasters had expected the storm to regain strength before making landfall. But the winds steadily decreased throughout Saturday afternoon.
Stacy Stewart is a senior specialist with the National Hurricane Center.
STEWART: Most of the heavy rainfall may also remain just offshore of the Florida East Coast. But there will be squally rain bands that will occasionally move on shore of the Florida East Coast, from West Palm Beach northward, all the way to Cape Canaveral through Monday.
Isaias did much more damage in the Caribbean. Before becoming a hurricane on Thursday, the storm destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
And Stewart says even after weakening the storm is not done yet.
STEWART: What we anticipate is that Isaias will turn to the northeast and move across the Mid-Atlantic region, anywhere from South Carolina, North Carolina, north eastward, by the middle of the week and then eventually dissipate well to the north of Maine by late Wednesday and Thursday.
Forecasters expect the storm to dump heavy rainfall and strong winds all along the East Coast.
Astronauts return home from ISS » But Isaias did not disrupt a historic NASA mission on Florida’s gulf coast Sunday.
SOUND: Splashdown! [clapping] As you can see on your screen, we have visual confirmation for splashdown
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Pensacola after spending two months at the International Space Station. It was the first splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years and the first time in a commercial spacecraft.
SOUND: Dragon Endeavor has returned home!
Hurley and Behnken are the first astronauts to complete a mission in one of the Dragon capsules built by SpaceX. But in six weeks, four more NASA astronauts will ride the capsule back to the International Space Station for a six-month stay.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called this the “next era” in human spaceflight, one in which, quote—“NASA gets to be the customer.”
Although SpaceX completed the first successful manned mission, it does have competition. Boeing is working on its own capsule and expects to launch a crew next year.
If all goes well, tourists could buy seats aboard the SpaceX capsule as early as next year.
California wildfire forces thousands to evacuate » Thousands of people fled their homes in Cherry Valley, California, over the weekend as the Apple Fire burst to life east of Los Angeles.
As of Sunday, the fire had burned more than 20-thousand acres and had no level of containment. Much of the fire is burning in steep, rugged hillsides inaccessible to firefighting vehicles.
Fernando Herrera is a captain with Cal-Fire.
HERRERA: We’re looking at warnings from everything in the Morongo Reservation, and it’s going to push up all the way to Highway 62, basically, and I-10 area as the fire continues to progress in that direction.
Forecasters warn the fire could spread rapidly due to triple-digit temperatures and low humidity.
Military accident in California » Meanwhile, the search has ended for eight Marines missing after an accident involving an amphibious vehicle off the California coast.
The 26-ton, tank-like craft had 15 Marines and one Navy sailor aboard when it sank on Thursday. Rescue teams pulled eight Marines from the water. One later died and two remain in critical condition.
The seven missing Marines and one sailor are presumed dead. All aboard the vehicle were attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at nearby Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego.
Actor Willford Brimley dies » Actor Wilford Brimley died Saturday at a Utah hospital. He was 85.
Brimley started his acting career as a stuntman and extra before seeking more prominent roles. He’s best known for the 1985 Ron Howard film, Cocoon. Brimley played the leader of a group of seniors who discover an alien pod that keeps them from aging.
BRIMLEY: I guess me and your grandma are going away, David.
DAVID: Where to?
BRIMLEY: Well, that’s not important. What’s important is that when we get where we’re going, we’ll never be sick, we won’t get any older, and we won’t ever die.
Brimley also sang and recorded several jazz albums. Toward the end of his career he worked as the pitchman for Quaker Oats and appeared in a series of spots for a medical company selling diabetes supplies.
Brimley leaves behind a wife and three sons.
I’m Jill Nelson.
Straight ahead: a legal effort to stop human trafficking.
Plus, Kim Henderson on baseball and life.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Monday morning and this is The World and Everything in It. Today is the 3rd of August, 2020.
Good morning to you, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Are you sitting down? So, Legal Docket podcast. Great job! Big congratulations to you, to Jenny Rough, to Paul Butler. Here’s what I want to say: Your new podcast—which Apple placed into the “Government” category—I looked at “Top Charts” in that category and Legal Docket debuted over the weekend at—drumroll, please, Carl—Legal Docket debuted at No. 2, No. 2 out of all the podcasts in the category.
Now, nobody knows how Apple’s system works, but I have to believe it’s listeners taking the time to rate and review. And so I want to say thanks for doing that, and please keep it up. Please subscribe for free to the Legal Docket podcast feed, tell a friend, and if you love it, please leave a five-star review. That should elevate the visibility of the podcast and in turn attract new listeners to it.
REICHARD: I saw that and may I just say: that first episode is a really fun listen. Hats off to you, my co-host Jenny Rough, Paul Butler, and the whole team. I’m really overwhelmed and a little speechless.
EICHER: Well, we do need you to regain your speech, so I’ll get us rolling here.
Difficult subject matter coming up. It’s not what we like to talk about and yet it’s important. So consider this a warning to press pause and come back later if you have young ones around.
We’ll come back to it in just a moment.
First, some good news in a time of cancel culture. A controversial proposal that would direct judges not to join certain organizations is tabled for now.
The draft advisory opinion drew heavy criticism because it directed judges not to join The Federalist Society, which is conservative, or the American Constitution Society, which is liberal. But many saw it as a ruse to undermine the more conservative organization because it has much more influence.
The Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct received hundreds of comments about its plan, mostly against it. So judges for now remain free to decide for themselves which organizations to join.
REICHARD: Now on to the story we cautioned you about.
It’s a movement against exploitive pornography online.
The effort began earlier this year with an online petition on Change.org, put there by Laila Mickelwait of the group Exodus Cry. That organization works to abolish sexual exploitation and trafficking. The online petition to “Shut Down Pornhub and Hold its Executives Accountable for Aiding in Trafficking” has drawn more than a million signatures.
EICHER: In March, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse called for a federal investigation into Pornhub for its involvement in trafficking. His letter to Attorney General William Barr points out that Pornhub had 42 billion visits in 2019. That averages out to about 115 million visits a day.
Others began speaking out.
For example, one of the hosts of America’s Got Talent, Terry Crews. Last month, Terry Crews took to Instagram to call out porn sites for their insidious methods. Crews is a professing Christian who acknowledges his past addiction to pornography and the damage it did in his life.
CREWS: Hey, guys, how you doing? This virus and the quarantine has really brought the porn corporations out and they’re giving this stuff away in an attempt to get you hooked. So, let’s talk about it. Some people don’t even think you can be addicted to pornography. So, discuss it. Let’s talk about it. Somebody prove me wrong. Alright?
REICHARD: I called up a lawyer who deals with this subject for a living.
Dani Pinter is senior legal counsel with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center.
As I prepared for this interview, I was appalled to learn that Pornhub aligned itself with Black Lives Matter. It even made a $100,000 donation. I asked Pinter about that.
PINTER: Pornhub is very savvy and has engaged in these public relations, you know, activities in the past. You know, supposed “charitable giving.” But to actually mention that they stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter when so much of their content is so highly, offensively racist, is really disgusting, honestly…
For example, when the George Floyd story first broke and actually continuing for weeks after one of the trending search terms on their site was George Floyd and was suffocation and police-violence themed videos. They also have entire channels that are themed about police violence towards African Americans and slavery themes towards black women.
The site ensnares young people—not only online. It ensnares them in other ways.
PINTER: Yes. So it’s really alarming. But the alarming part of this content coming from from random users is they have no age gating or consent verification for upload. So that means anyone can upload a video with just an email address. That’s all it takes.
You know, Pornhub claims that they have a team of moderators reviewing every single video. And that is alarming for multiple reasons. One, because there’s verified instances of trafficking on their site. There was the 15-year-old girl in Florida who had close to 60 videos of her exploitation on Pornhub. And she was also a verified model, which means they put a blue check mark on her to kind of give their audience a sense that she had been checked out and was an adult and was there of her own volition, when those were both completely false.
Awareness about the pervasiveness of human trafficking has entire industries on alert. Trucking and hotels, for example. Pornhub’s nexus to trafficking is what’s really gaining steam.
PINTER: There’s also been new, breaking news that one of their largest content partners, Check Casting, they have multiple channels—including, it’s called Check Cabins—where they do secret filming of women getting changed, et cetera. They have close to a billion views across all their channels.
Their official partner is Pornhub, and they’ve just been busted for human trafficking in Czech Republic. So this shows that, um, Pornhub is intentionally partnering with traffickers, or at least not doing enough to verify that those people depicted on their site, aren’t minors or victims of trafficking.
I asked Pinter about the laws against pornography, and how our culture changed along the way to accept it.
PINTER: Well, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a cultural change, not a legal change. So, the obscenity laws are still on the books…which prevented the depiction of obscene, sexually explicit content that lacks any artistic, political, scientific value—is illegal. So it’s illegal to distribute obscenity, including over the internet. And that is current on federal books right now. And the problem is the DOJ is just not enforcing those laws.
The Supreme court has ruled on that and upheld obscenity laws, time and time again. They’ve even given, you know, specific examples of what would be obscene and this would be explicit depictions of sex, including violent sex acts. So that is clearly apparent in every video in Pornhub. So there are definitely violating obscenity laws, which the DOJ could be enforcing right now and are choosing not to.
But we also believe that they’re violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act by knowingly benefiting from trafficking on their site. Many of these women and children are being trafficked into the pornography industry and at the very least Pornhub’s turning a blind eye to it so they can profit from it.
I ended by asking Pinter what people of good conscience can do to keep the heat on?
PINTER: We need to educate our young people and yet educate each other on the harms and stop consuming it. End that demand. We can also take activism and use our voice on social media by doing things like signing the petition that Laila has circulated.
Or go on to our website and EndSexualExploitation.org and check out our action center where you can petition the DOJ to enforce obscenity laws. We think that that’s an important aspect of this and would prevent so much exploitation and harm that’s occurring today, if those laws were just enforced.
In an email exchange with me, Laila Mickelwait of Exodus Cry wrote that she was able to brief the White House, senators, members of the House and committee members about Pornhub’s complicity in exploitation of women and children.
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: Not since the year 1947 has this happened.
I mention that date because that’s when we first started measuring an economic data point called Gross Domestic Product. It’s a single data point that represents economic output.
We’ll talk about it a lot, so I’ll just use the initialism GDP.
Not since the very first measure of GDP back in 1947 has GDP fallen as precipitously as it did during the thick of the COVID lockdown.
I’m talking about 2nd quarter GDP—the months of April, May, and June.
Comparing 2nd quarter 2020 to 2nd quarter 2019, GDP fell back 9.5 percent year-on-year.
But here’s the stunning number and maybe you’ve heard the headline: when you annualize GDP performance in Q2, the number is negative 32.9 percent.
So now we have two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. That’s the textbook definition of a recession.
What these percentages refer is the change from one point in time to another.
In terms of actual economic production, again, annualized, the economy was producing at a rate of just over $17 trillion.
That’s about the level of economic production in early 2015.
So, expressed that way, you could say that the plunge in GDP wiped out roughly five years of economic progress.
Financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen is here now to help us understand. David, good morning.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good morning, Nick. Good to be with you.
EICHER: So the GDP report is economic history. But we do read history to learn its lessons. There’s so much here to talk about.
EICHER: So David, just pick a point and dive in.
BAHNSEN: You know, there’s a few different things that I think were really noteworthy. Let me start with: the consumer represents in that kind of somewhat arbitrary but reasonably acceptable formula for GDP growth, the consumer represents 70 percent of it. And the consumer spending was down 25 percent. That took a big toll. In any different environment—OK? This is sort of the blessings I would say that the sovereign God saw fit to give us a viral pandemic years after so much of our society had gone digital because the reality is that you take away e-commerce, you take away the virtual technology you and I are utilizing right now, all of these numbers become so much worse, it’s frankly unfathomable. So, the numbers were awful. They were much less awful than they would have been if it were not for modern amenities of the economy.
But here’s the part that I think people have to understand. Healthcare represents 12 percent of the economy. Healthcare took away 9 percent from GDP on an annualized basis. How in the world in the middle of a health pandemic do you have healthcare becoming one of the big detractors from economic growth? The answer is that they had shut down all of the elective operations as well. That apart from essentially very COVID and COVID-like illness related, there was almost no healthcare going on.
Well, you know what, this is a business that has people that go to work that get paid there and it has hospitals and ambulances and research and pharmaceuticals that have revenues that need to come in and expenditures that need to go out. And when you took away all of the ability to go do routine orthopedic procedures, not to mention other things that were more serious—cancer and heart conditions—even apart from the potential medical ramifications of delaying and deferring which I’m not qualified to speak to, economically, that took a much bigger toll than anybody had anticipated.
EICHER: Just that overall issue of services—we talk about goods and services—but the services part, that accounted for 23 percentage points of the decline, of which healthcare was close to half of it—10 percentage points or so.
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I think it was like 9.6, that’s right.
The thing I want listeners to understand, Nick, that is more important than anything you and I can talk about regarding the second quarter, that the questions that we face right now, the decisions we face, are totally unrelated to what just happened in Q2. What we face is questions about the forward economic growth. The month of July is the first quarter of Q3 and it’s going to be less than we had previously hoped for because of quasi shutdowns around some of the case growth that took place in Texas, Florida, Arizona, other particular states, even states that were not suffering any aspect of the pandemic took an abundance of caution. I happen to think some of it was preposterous, but regardless of that, the constrained economic activity even in states with very little COVID problem right now will limit and neuter some of that economic growth.
The big questions as to where this economy goes, which affects the labor market, business investment, and our productive growth into the future is how much activity gets going again. August is going to be middle ground and then for Q3, September is going to make or break the quarter.
And schools reopening, businesses reopening, those things are wildcards that could make the difference between a 15 percent positive quarter or a 5 percent positive quarter. You can’t have a 5 percent positive quarter coming off a 30 percent negative quarter.
So, we need to have a very big end of Q3 and that’s largely going to be determined by people’s understanding of where we are with the virus and the regulatory apparatus in which we’re functioning.
EICHER: Alright, one more, maybe, on the GDP. This is from a Wall Street Journal editorial: One thing grew in the second quarter, when everything else was shrinking, one bit of growth: the government. It grew 2.7 percent.
So we had an $800 billion decline in employee compensation and the government response was three times that—$2.4 trillion in transfer payments.
So, disposable income went up. The savings rate went way up.
And the Journal said, you know what, this is a window on what a politician-planned economy looks like. Good argument, or no?
BAHNSEN: Well, they’re making the right argument in the wrong way because of course the Keynesian response to that is always of course, it’s because we need more.
Here’s the fact of the matter, it’s painful socially and culturally, but the large amount of distress taking place in the economy right now is obviously in the lower deciles of job skills and income levels. And so what you’re seeing is a consumption level at lower tiers of the economy that are affected and that is what they’re arguing has to be replaced with stimulus.
And I think it’s more of a relief or social or humanitarian argument than it is an economic one. The only way you get real economic growth is not through Keynesian solutions, you have to have organic, natural productive economic behavior—so that people are producing goods and services that other people are demanding. This is human action, this is human life, it’s part of God’s story for his creation. And that is what the solution is going to be for restoring economic growth.
So, certainly along the way there’s debates as to what kind of unemployment, what kind of social safety net, but those things have to be thought of as marginal, not actually economically restorative.
EICHER: Financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen on the economy. David, thank you.
BAHNSEN: Thank you, Nick.
NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, the third day of August, 2020. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we are so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Next up on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD History Book.
Today, we check back in with the pilgrims on the next leg of their journey 400 years ago to the Americas. Here’s Paul Butler.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: In the summer of 1620, about 100 separatists left Holland for England. Their small ship the Speedwell was to meet up with the larger Mayflower. Together, the two vessels would then head for the Americas to begin a chartered colony on behalf of King James.
During the short voyage from Delfshaven to Southampton, the Speedwell springs a leak. Once in England, it takes crews nearly a week to fix the problem. The Pilgrims’ pastor, John Robinson, had stayed behind in Holland with the rest of the church. He sends a farewell letter to be read aloud before they set out.
ROBINSON: Though I be constrained for a while to be bodily absent from you…Make account of me in the meanwhile as of a man divided in myself with great pain, and as having my better part with you.
He begins by admonishing them to daily confess their sins to God, both known and unknown. He then pleads with them to live at peace with each other: To be watchful that they neither give offense, nor easily take offense:
ROBINSON: Your intended course of civil community will minister continual occasion of offense, except you diligently quench it with brotherly forbearance.
Robinson adds that they also must be watchful to not offend God, making allusions to the children of Israel in the wilderness.
ROBINSON: Which yet we certainly do so oft as we do murmur at His providence in our crosses, or bear impatiently such afflictions as wherewith He pleaseth to visit us. Store up, therefore, patience against that evil day, without which we take offense at the Lord Himself in His holy and just works.
The largest portion of Robinson’s epistle prompts them to seek the common good within the fellowship of faith. He reminds them that the stronger are to sacrifice their liberty for the weaker—that they must each care for the other in body, mind, and spirit.
ROBINSON: A fourth thing there is carefully to be provided for, to wit, that with your common employments you join common affections truly bent upon the general good…
His farewell letter is often studied as one of the earliest American governing documents. Many of the ideas within it feed directly into the Mayflower Compact written by the Pilgrims months later.
In his final letter, Robinson plants the seeds of a republic form of government: government by representatives from those to be governed, and the willing submission to them.
ROBINSON: Let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do entirely love and will promote the common good, but also in yielding unto them all due honor and obedience in their lawful administrations, not beholding in them the ordinariness of their persons, but God’s ordinance for your good…
Robinson ends his letter much like his farewell sermon a couple weeks earlier, commending them in to the hand of their Creator.
ROBINSON: I do earnestly commend unto your care and conscience, joining therewith my daily incessant prayers unto the Lord, that He who hath made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all rivers of water, and whose providence is over all His works, especially over all His dear children for good, would so guide and guard you in your ways…inwardly by His Spirit…outwardly by the hand of His power…fare you well in Him in whom you trust, and in whom I rest.
On August 5th, 1620, the two ships are finally ready to set sail. But not long into the voyage, the Speedwell begins leaking once again. So the two ships must sail to the port of Dartmouth for additional repairs.
It takes shipwrights a week and a half to repair the ship. They leave Dartmouth on August 21st, 1620—hoping the worst is behind them, and anxious about how the delays will affect the long journey ahead as sailing conditions worsen when winter approaches.
Excerpts of John Robinson’s farewell letter were read by voice actor David Pericynski. The text comes from William Bradford’s account as published in his book: Of Plymouth Plantation.
Over the coming months we’ll occasionally check in on the separatists on their journey and eventual landing in America.
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book, I’m Paul Butler.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Monday, August 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Well, baseball took a long time to arrive this year, but it’s finally here.
Commentator Kim Henderson is going to tell us about some life lessons she’s learned from the sport.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: After months of social-distancing delays, the Little League ballparks are re-opening. And I have a bit of advice for all you mamas out there marking up your calendars with regular practice, batting practice, and two games a week. (You know who you are.)
The truth is, I learned a few things during my 15 years on those bleachers you now occupy, back when five Hendersons were wearing jerseys and the trusty old Suburban was pushing 400,000 on the odometer. Maybe it’s worth a minute of your hard-to-come-by time.
First, leave your cash at home on game nights. No matter how well you feed your family, giant pickles, pixie sticks, and nachos made from orange stuff out of a five-gallon drum will be a big draw. Go figure.
Another thing, be sure to hold on to your flip flops. I once witnessed a mom stand on a bleacher and threaten to do bodily harm to a catcher with her footwear. Mama bears, the world is watching. Guard your emotions and your testimony.
Also, learn to nod, but know better. The likelihood of your little slugger making it to the pros isn’t too high, so keep things in perspective. I can vividly remember standing on the sidelines while a fellow mom informed me that her shortstop would someday play for the Atlanta Braves. I am sorry to say her dream did not come true.
And speaking of fellow baseball moms, make an effort to get to know them. One season I sat next to the scorekeeper for my daughter’s softball team. She smiled, I smiled, we traded scores—the stuff of surface relationships. I probably thought I was too busy to make a friend. But that fall, I read her obituary in the paper. She took her own life, and I will always regret that I did not make the effort to really get to know her.
While we’re on the important stuff, prepare to stand your ground. There once was this family who would not do ball on Sundays. Their son was placed on a team that held practice on Sundays, so he didn’t go. To any. At the end of the season, he was the only player picked from that team for All-Stars. Draw your own conclusions, especially those of you on the fence about Sunday-stealing travel ball.
And last, here’s one for you frugal moms. I know how it is, but buy the team photo already. When my kids look at them now, they see faces of friends who have since tragically died in accidents and coaches who died from illnesses. They’re a sobering reminder that life is a vapor, and about way more than baseball.
Keep that in mind, Little League mamas, as you treat those grass stains and load up those coolers. Know that this season of ball, as well as this season of your life, will be over before you know it. Batter up.
I’m Kim Henderson.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Coins! We need ’em. It’s not a shortage as much as we’re just not spending the ones we do have and so businesses are having trouble making change. We’ll tell you what they’re doing about it.
And, we’ll talk about what new regulations could be coming to Silicon Valley.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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