THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: Cascading impacts of an epidemic

On an average day in America, over 38 Million people will buy a cup of coffee at a Starbucks franchise. That's about 10% of the US population. Starbucks stores are mostly owned by private Franchisees, small business owners operating a store they own but under license from Starbucks corporate. The average Starbucks Franchise operates on a 5-7% margin, meaning the operating costs of supplies, electricity, employee salaries, taxes, etc leave the business owner with a net profit of around 5-7% every month after all costs are deducted from all sales. Said another way, out of the typical month, the average Starbucks franchise only makes a profit based on about 2 days worth of operations each month...28 other days every month, all sales go to cover costs of operating a franchise.

Now, imagine you receive an email from your HR Manager or maybe the CEO at work. Due to the risk of Coronavirus, all employees are being asked to work from home for the next two weeks at least, effective immediately. You have your laptop, the internet stays up, and you already made your Costco run for canned goods, beans, rice and plenty of toilet paper. You're set. The Kids are going to stay home from school, you update your Netflix and Disney Plus subscriptions, and prepare yourself mentally for a 2 week "Bug In" semi-quarantine at home. Local governments ask residents to stay put and stay off the streets as much as possible to avoid inadvertently spreading COVID-19. As a responsible American, you plan on doing precisely as asked.

Back at the Starbucks, foot traffic grinds to a halt. In local businesses that are heavily dependent on daily cash sales, a rapid and sudden decline in sales has dramatic consequences. Operating costs of a store don't decline with the drop in foot traffic. It costs the same amount to run your daily business when the store is busy as it does when the store is empty. Employee salaries, electricity to keep the lights on, rent and insurance, license fees to Starbucks corporate, costs to brew coffee and bake muffins all remain the same, whether you have 1000 customers or 10 customers. And with only 2 days per month actually driving the profit of any given store, a two-week period with virtually no foot traffic is devastating.

And with only 2 days per month actually driving the profit of any given store, a two-week period with virtually no foot traffic is devastating.

The store owner does what they have to do. They start cutting back hours and shifts for employees, perhaps even laying workers off and moving to 'skeleton crews'. The loss of work for hourly employees means those workers may not be able to pay rent, or may not be able to make student loan payments or car payments, can't make credit card payments. Without ongoing sales coming in, the store owner has to dip into savings to cover expenses, selling stocks or bonds to raise cash to try to stay afloat.
Think of all the other things that you don't spend money on during your bug-in at home. No trips to the movie theater, who also have the same operating costs whether or not the theater is full. They still have to pay salaries, still have to pay licensing for showing films, whether there are 5 people in the auditorium or 500. While quarantined at home, you aren't stopping for gasoline, aren't buying that Mountain Dew fountain drink that is your guilty pleasure on Saturday morning while driving your kids to Soccer.
More than 6 million small businesses in America are heavily reliant on the daily foot traffic of customers walking into their store and making cash purchases. While online orders via Amazon might have an uptick if tens of millions of Americans are forced to "Bug In" and some restaurants might see orders via food-delivery apps stay steady, there are millions of businesses, from laundromats to theaters to bars to Starbucks stores that rely on classic consumerism to stay afloat.

This is the potential catastrophic butterfly effect of an epidemic like COVID-19. A massive change in consumer behavior can have an outsized effect on certain parts of the economy that rely on regular, steady income via cash sales at retail locations. 6 Million businesses in America, representing over 78 Million employees fall into this category, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. If America is forced to 'shut down' and self-isolate at home, while some spending may shift ONLINE, the direct economic impact to small-business America could be extremely damaging and have lasting effects. Most small businesses in America have less than 45 days operating capital at any given time. A multi-week disruption to in-store sales can have severe, cascading effects, leading to layoffs, losses in wages. Stores close. Higher unemployment.

For many businesses in America, the economic-contagion may be far worse than the virus itself.

We're barely starting to feel the effects of COVID-19. For many businesses in America, the economic-contagion may be far worse than the virus itself. Amazon and Netflix will probably be fine. There may be some pain on Wall-Street today but the pain on Main Street could end up being far worse. If what we're seeing in Korea, China, Japan, Italy and even in Seattle are any indicators, this type of localized shut down of foot traffic due to COVID-19 is exactly what America is going to have to endure.

The media went nuts after President Donald Trump said "Two Corinthians". But apparently, nobody cares when Joe Biden called the authors of Biblical Psalms "palmists" — twice.

During a Thanksgiving speech on Wednesday, Biden said, "I'm sure we can, we can pros-claim [sic] a palmist, with a palmist who wrote these following words, 'The lord is my strength and my shield and with my song, I give thanks to him.'"

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere pondered whether Biden actually meant to quote a fortune teller instead of a psalmist, but ultimately decided the former vice president likely had no idea what he was reading.

They also discussed the hairline fractures Biden suffered in his right foot on Saturday while playing his dog, and Glenn tossed out a few headlines he thought might work just a little too well.

Watch the video below:

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The Supreme Court slapped down New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings Wednesday, arguing that strict limitations on the number of people in churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship — while liquor stores, bike shops, and many other non-religious places face few or no restrictions at all — are in violation of the First Amendment.

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere applauded Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who reportedly cast the deciding vote in the 5-4 ruling, as well as Justice Neil Gorsuch who took specific aim at Gov. Cuomo for limiting religious gatherings to as few as 10 people in some areas, while imposing "no capacity restrictions on certain businesses he considers 'essential'."

"It turns out the businesses the Governor considers essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores," Gorsuch said. "Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too."

"Government is not free to disregard the 1st Amendment in times of crisis," Gorsuch wrote in a separate opinion.

Gov. Cuomo has since called the Supreme Court ruling "moot" and "irrelevant" because he had recently lifted restrictions in most of the affected areas.

"This is a trick they play all the time. They've done this with Second Amendment cases as well," Stu noted. "They'll put a ridiculous restriction in that's obviously not constitutional, keep it in place for a year while it goes through the courts, and right before it gets to the Supreme Court they withdraw the rule. So then the case gets thrown out because it's moot."

Watch the video below for more details:


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Hey Joe, THIS is how you handle terrorists

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If you haven't seen the new Apple TV+ drama Tehran, it's definitely worth your time. It tells the story of an Israeli spy who sneaks into Iran to set up an attack on Iran's nuclear program. Now that the new Bond movie is delayed, this show has a little bit of everything to hold you over: international spies, hackers, double agents.

But I digress...

No matter how Hollywood tries to invent these stories — and this one is definitely good — they always fall short of what happens in real life. What happened in Iran this past Friday is a movie waiting to happen.

What happened in Iran this past Friday is a movie waiting to happen.

Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated as he was traveling to his private villa just a few miles east of Tehran. The operation involved a team of over 60 people. Around 50 logistical support agents backed up a dozen gunmen. They knew everything. His schedule, his private address, his classified movements, the route...

Fakhrizadeh was traveling in the middle of three armored vehicles. When they approached the ambush site, the hit team cut off all the electricity in the surrounding area. A car bomb was then remotely detonated, taking out the rear vehicle in the convoy. 12 gunmen proceeded to open fire on the other two cars. Iran's top nuclear scientist was dead, and NONE of the hit squad were wounded or arrested.

Now you can already guess where the blame is being directed this morning. Almost immediately, the fingers began to point at both Israel and the United States. The mainstream media is trying to paint this as an effort by Trump to sabotage a Biden effort to restart the Iran Nuclear Deal. Remember that "masterful" stroke of Middle East foreign policy? You know, the deal that included $150 BILLION — in cash — that Obama and Biden knew would be used to kill Americans and destabilize the entire region. Remember that?

They said it was impossible... but Trump did it.

They claimed their way was the only path to peace. What did they get from it? Iran spread out all the way to the literal doorstep of Israel. The elite Iraqi troops of the Republican Guard were staging in Syria, plotting that ultimate attack to take back Jerusalem. The entire region was set to explode... but then Trump scuttled the deal. What did it lead to? Historic peace agreements between the Arab world and Israel.

They said it was impossible... but Trump did it. He reimposed sanctions and launched a campaign to kill terrorists rather than give them money.

John Brennan took to Twitter this weekend to call the assassination a criminal act.

It echoes what they said when the top terrorist in the world — Qassem Soleimani — was assassinated in Iraq. Coincidentally, the Iranian government published artwork over the weekend depicting Soleimani and the, now dead, nuclear scientist standing side by side.

You see, now matter how people like Brennan and Biden might try and say otherwise, this is exactly the type of person Iran's "Robert Openheimer" was: a terrorist in the same category as Soleimani (but obviously with a lot more dangerous capability).

Iran has been protecting this man for two decades. They called him merely "an academic," but denied the UN IAEA inspectors to ever question him.

The rhetoric Iran fed the global community was that their nuclear program didn't have anything to do with weapons, and that this nuclear scientist was involved in research to improve their energy programs. But in 2007, the CIA said this was a cover story. In 2008, the United States froze his assets, and the IAEA made it public that this scientist was leading Iran's nuclear weapons project.

Iran called it "Projects 110 and 111." Fakhrizadeh was tasked with finding out how to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and make it durable enough so that it could survive re-entry into the atmosphere on top of an ICBM.

There can be no accommodation with terrorists.

Obama and Biden's nuclear deal didn't stop ANY of this. Israel revealed in 2018 that Projects 110 and 111 continued. Fakhrizadeh was specifically called out as still being the main man in charge.

Biden thinks his policy of accommodation will somehow bring us the peace that Neville Chamberlain once thought was possible with Hitler. When has this borne fruit with any maniacal tyrant or terrorist... ever?!

And that's exactly what Iran and their thugs are. They're terrorists! They're not a legitimate regime. Long before ISIS, the terrorists in Iran stole a country, planning to spread their caliphate all over the world. Members of Al Qaeda, despite being Sunni, enjoy free sanctuary under their protection. They want to burn Israel to the ground. They chant "death to America"... It's actually a holiday there.

There can be no accommodation with terrorists. Biden wants peace with Iran, and he'll probably roll out a red carpet and offer them a few hundred billion more dollars. We know this doesn't work. To quote Reagan, "there's one way to have peace and you can have it in this second... surrender."

That's how you deal with terrorists, and — whether we were involved or not — another one was just taken out.

How does a sports writer know how to fix America, and America's racial dilemma?

In a special edition of the "Glenn Beck Radio Program," Outkick sports columnist Jason Whitlock filled in Tuesday for Glenn to explain how we can bring America back together, lean into racial harmony, and restore the values of our Founding Fathers. Because if not us, then who will?

Jason started out by explaining how, during a recent appearance on the program, he felt a spiritual connection with Glenn, regardless of physical differences, as both share a common passion for God and country.

"Glenn and I share a kindred spirit. A kindred passion," Jason said. "We have two things that we love and are passionate about: God and country. I am not a minister. I'm a flawed sinner just like Glenn and just like you. But I am a believer. Believers share an energy that connects them, that cuts through our physical differences and makes those differences irrelevant relevant. That's what I felt when I met Glenn, an energy and a spirit that connects us. We are broadcasters, media personalities, operating in separate spaces, trying to talk to Americans, who share our passion."

Jason went on to say that he believes there are forces operating, both outside of and inside America, that are working to separate America from God, and that much of what we've witnessed in 2020 — from the racial division stirred by the mainstream and social media, to the rioting and looting by Antifa and Black Lives Matter, to the "remaking of the sports world into a shrine that celebrates resisting criminal suspects and denigrates this great country at every turn" — are symptoms and consequences of America's enemies separating God and country.

"We are one nation under God. We are nothing without Him," Jason continued. "The flawed sinners who founded this nation baked God into this country with their Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among those, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The foreign and domestic enemies of this nation are baking a new American cake. God isn't an essential ingredient in this new cake. He isn't an ingredient at all. The removal of faith is sewing the disharmony that is terrorizing and destroying the United States of America.

"Why am I here today? I'm here to tell you how we take our country back, how we restore the freedoms and the liberties our enemies seek to remove in their remaking of a godless America."

Watch the video below to hear more from Jason Whitlock:

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