Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Dissent emerges in China from a high place

From the story here:

Censorship and punishment have muted dissent in China since Mr. Xi came to power. So Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, took a big risk last week when he delivered the fiercest denunciation yet from a Chinese academic of Mr. Xi’s hard-line policies, revival of Communist orthodoxies and adulatory propaganda image.

“People nationwide, including the entire bureaucratic elite, feel once more lost in uncertainty about the direction of the country and about their own personal security, and the rising anxiety has spread into a degree of panic throughout society,” Professor Xu wrote in an essay that appeared on the website of Unirule Institute of Economics, an independent think tank in Beijing that was recently forced out of its office. ...

“As things continue in this direction, the question arises whether reform and opening up will come to a halt and totalitarian rule will return,” Professor Xu said in the essay, written in a densely classical style speckled with recondite phrases and historical allusions. “At this time, no other anxiety weighs most heavily on most people.” ...

Professor Xu’s future may now become a test of whether Mr. Xi will display greater tolerance of criticism.

“I have said what I must and am in the hands of fate,” he wrote at the end of his essay. “Heaven will decide whether we rise or fall.”

Mark Levin barked at a caller tonight that doctors aren't in the top 1%, saying that's Marxist crap

Mark is celebrating Milton Friedman's birthday today, so he's in no mood for anyone who has the temerity to question capitalism's idealism.

Meanwhile US News and World Report here says that

"In 2016, a general internist made a median salary of $196,380, according to the BLS. The highest-paid in the profession earned upward of $208,000, while the lowest-paid made $60,080. ...  In fact, a physician's average salary was $201,840 in 2016."

People who made $200,000 or more in 2016 were in the 98.70706th percentile, in other words in the top 1.29294%. There were just 2.1 million such individuals in 2016.

You weren't firmly in the top 1% until you made $250,000 in 2016.

Italy's Matteo Salvini: The EU are swindlers

Quoted here:

“My experience in the European parliament tells me you either impose yourself or they swindle you.”

“There is no objectivity or good faith from the European side.”

The gifts from Hillary's war in Libya just keep on giving

Despite Fed interventions we are still left with the foregone output

Stephen Roach, here, one of the few who openly acknowledges the still-shrunken economy:

The Fed mistakenly believed that what worked during the crisis would work equally well afterwards. 

An unprecedentedly weak economic recovery – roughly 2% annual growth over the past nine-plus years, versus a 4% norm in earlier cycles – says otherwise. ...

Do we want a reactive central bank that focuses on cleaning up the mess after a crisis erupts, or a pro-active central bank that leans against excesses before they spark crises?

That question – whether to “lean or clean” – has fueled a raging debate in policy and academic circles. It has an important political economy component: Are independent central banks willing to force society to sacrifice growth in order to preserve financial stability? It also bears on the bubble-spotting debate. Yet as difficult as these problems are, they pale in comparison to the foregone output of America’s anemic post-crisis recovery.

Bernie defends Medicare For All claiming on national healthcare spending it will save $30 billion a year on net

Bernie links to Jacobin Magazine here which discusses the savings as well as the irony of libertarians openly acknowledging those savings. The article laments their myopic focus on just the increased federal cost.

In the final analysis, the question is whether $30 billion is worth it to have your doctor earn only Medicare level rates instead of market rates.

What incentive does one have to go into medical practice knowing you'll no longer be able to make the big bucks? Mediocre prospects attract mediocre candidates.

What incentive will anyone have to innovate if there's nothing in it for them? Mediocrity will breed mediocrity.

These intangibles are the realm of the hidden hand operating in capitalism which makes it superior to socialism.

The depressing fact is that when Republicans are in charge they should be leading the charge toward a freer market in healthcare, but there is no manliness in libertarianism.

As a result the ladies of socialism are in charge of the conversation. 

Bernie's Medicare For All to add 72% to current outlays

From the story here:

The Mercatus analysis estimated the 10-year cost of "Medicare for all" from 2022 to 2031 [at $32.6 trillion], after an initial phase-in. Its findings are similar to those of several independent studies of Sanders' 2016 plan. Those studies found increases in federal spending over 10 years that ranged from $24.7 trillion to $34.7 trillion.

Current outlays in fiscal 2018 are estimated to finish up at $4.137 trillion, to which add the average increase from BernieCare of $2.97 trillion, an increase of nearly 72% to outlays, and you've got nothing short of a draconian tax increase needed to pay for it all.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Jim Cramer March 2016: Trump has been right the whole way on the trade deals, he's always been pro-worker

Jim Cramer, here:

"I'm with Trump on this. Look, we lose on every trade deal. I ask all these people from either party: name me one trade deal we have had a surplus on in the last decade. They can't name any," Cramer said on "Squawk Box" on Thursday. ... "People should understand this has been his view from day one. It has always been pro-worker," said Cramer. "Have people not been paying attention to what this man has been saying about the trade deals? He's been right the whole way."

Mitch McConnell doesn't just look like a turtle, he moves like one, can't accomplish two important things at once

Time to get someone younger in there.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Carr Fire victims in California had no car, may not have known of evacuation order

The Sacramento Bee reports here:

Also believed to have died are a 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren.

According to relative Donald Kewley, James Roberts, 4, and Emily Roberts, 5, went missing with their great grandmother, Melody Bledsoe, 70, Thursday night. Kewley told The Sacramento Bee that the three were last seen at their home near Keswick Dam Road and Quartz Hill Road – a home that was destroyed in the blaze – before evacuations were ordered.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko confirmed that three bodies were found inside the family home, but that no formal identification has been made yet.

“They are overwhelmingly sure that there are decedents at the scene,” the sheriff said. “And they have communicated that with family members. However, no bodies have been recovered. 

Separately reported here:

“There was no evacuation notice,” said Kewley, who lives about two miles away. “Our evacuation was a mile-wide column of smoke rotating toward us.”

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko Saturday said evacuation notices had been given in multiple formats in the area, including reverse-911 robocalls, calls to cell phones of those who had signed up for such emergency alerts and notifications via TV and the federal Integrated Public Alert & Warning System, which broadcasts warnings during emergencies.

Bosenko could not say if authorities had gone door-to-door in the Bledsoes’ area, as they have in other evacuation sites.

He said Thursday night, as the fire unexpectedly and rapidly came into the city, streets were “bumper-to-bumper” with people trying to escape. At one point, Bosenko said, a civilian purposefully hit a sheriff’s vehicle trying to get through an intersection.

“It was very chaotic and people who had waited to the last minute were panicking,” Bosenko said.

In that frenzy of smoke and confusion, Melody, James and Emily sought help.

Federal Air Marshalls go from armed on-board cops to spying on US citizens under new Trump TSA "Quiet Skies" program

From The Boston Globe story here:

Quiet Skies represents a major departure for TSA. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the agency has traditionally placed armed air marshals on routes it considered potentially higher risk, or on flights with a passenger on a terrorist watch list. Deploying air marshals to gather intelligence on civilians not on a terrorist watch list is a new assignment, one that some air marshals say goes beyond the mandate of the US Federal Air Marshal Service. Some also worry that such domestic surveillance might be illegal. Between 2,000 and 3,000 men and women, so-called flying FAMs, work the skies.

Since this initiative launched in March, dozens of air marshals have raised concerns about the Quiet Skies program with senior officials and colleagues, sought legal counsel, and expressed misgivings about the surveillance program, according to interviews and documents reviewed by the Globe. ...

Agency documents show there are about 40 to 50 Quiet Skies passengers on domestic flights each day. On average, air marshals follow and surveil about 35 of them.

Trump needs to say he "will" shut down the government if he doesn't get The Wall

"Would be willing" is weasel words, Mr. President.

He also needs to say no one gets back pay this time.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

If it's an economic boom why aren't inventories surging?

h/t Jeffrey Snider

The meat in your crab cake is likely picked by an H-2B visa holder, not by a Marylander

Neil Munro has an important story here about the House's efforts to expand H-2B visa caps.

The program already lowers salaries for Americans. Republicans want to see more of that, for some reason.

Apparently they think you are not paying attention this summer.

Islam silent as China continues persecution of up to 1 million Muslims in Xinjiang: Because they're on the payroll

Hundreds of thousands of Uighur have been detained without trial in China's western region of Xinjiang. Internment camps with up to a million prisoners. Empty neighborhoods. Students, musicians, athletes, and peaceful academics jailed. A massive high-tech surveillance state that monitors and judges every movement. The future of more than 10 million Uighurs, the members of China’s Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, is looking increasingly grim.

As the Chinese authorities continue a brutal crackdown in Xinjiang, the northwest region of China that’s home to the Uighur, Islam has been one of the main targets. Major mosques in the major cities of Kashgar and Urumqi now stand empty. Prisoners in the camps are told to renounce God and embrace the Chinese Communist Party. Prayers, religious education, and the Ramadan fast are increasingly restricted or banned. Even in the rest of China, Arabic text is being stripped from public buildings, and Islamophobia is being tacitly encouraged by party authorities. ...

Part of the answer is that money talks. 

The Republican corporate tax cuts Christmas 2017 have produced no surge in private investment in 2018 H1

Republican government spending in 2018 H1 easily beats out crisis spending under Obama 2009 H2 on a percentage basis

Friday, July 27, 2018

Yesterday Rush told us a crime was necessary to impeach Rosenstein, but today no crime's necessary to impeach Trump

Ah, high crimes and misdemeanors.

Once again, since misdemeanors are "minor wrongdoings", The Constitution cannot be made to say "high minor wrongdoings" in the sense of "severe", as in "severe minor wrongdoings", which would make no sense. "High" refers to where they occur, in federal office, not to their severity. Crimes are severe in and of themselves compared with misdemeanors, which by definition are not. Therefore, "crime" alone is not necessary for impeachment. A minor wrongdoing will do, committed in high office, that is, in the federal government.

Impeachment is the political remedy for both in the political context, i.e. in the federal government.

Once again, Rush is confused, and the House dropping impeachment of Rosenstein is probably a good thing, politically, because Trump could be impeached for almost nothing at all, as long as there is support for it. Best not to get everyone together on that by going after Rosenstein for a misdemeanor.

This is politics, people!

Here yesterday:

Anyway, Professor Dershowitz said this would be a very, very bad precedent because impeachment is always a remedy for criminal activity, criminal behavior. And it’s very risky here to go out and try to impeach Rosenstein simply ’cause he won’t turn things over to you. It’s kind of a tough case to make that Rosenstein’s behaving in a criminal fashion simply because he will not respond to subpoenas that the House leadership and Devin Nunes have demanded to see some documents.

But here today:

I mean, everything [Mueller has] come up with he’s given to some other jurisdiction to prosecute or do with what they will. And impeachment, you have to understand something about impeachment. This is what this has always been about. The effort here has always been to drive Trump’s approval numbers down. Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding.

It’s political. You can impeach a president if he hadn’t committed any crime. You can try it. High crimes, misdemeanors. They are hoping to drive Trump’s approvals numbers down with all of this.

The stock market closed lower after Trump's 4.1% GDP today, selling the news

Trump endorses John James for US Senate from Michigan

Rush Limbaugh: Trump supporters don't think running around with Playboy playmates means anything compared with saving the culture

Incredible. What's to save, then? 

The basis of culture is the cult, that is, religion. Mine teaches that such behavior is wrong. I'll bet Melania's does, too.

If you want to make promiscuity the new cult, well, count me out.

Keep in mind that Rush Limbaugh is a drug addict and serial monogamist who has been wrong about far more than little old GDP in his lifetime. He was ecstatic to have that flaming homo Elton John sing at his third fourth wedding, so there you go. His Methodism is thimble deep, like his education.

Trump is nothing more than a transitional figure. Once the force of his personality is gone, nothing will be left . . . unless of course he builds that wall.

For example, Lowry says this incident on tape with Trump talking to a fixer about paying off a Playboy playmate would sink anybody, particularly any Republican candidate. Why doesn’t it sink Trump? Well, we’ve been through all the reasons for this. One of Lowry’s explanations is that the bar has been set so low with Trump that no new revelation is gonna shock anybody, not after the NBC Access Hollywood video. And so there just isn’t anything that’s gonna shock anybody. Trump’s already survived numerous such attempts to take him out.

So something like this, as far as Trump supporters are concerned, there’s nothing new here. No reason to get upset. But I think it’s far more than that. I think not enough credit’s being given to the sophistication of Trump supporters. And it is that it doesn’t mean anything, when compared to what these people think is really important, like saving the country, like growing the country, like saving our culture. Whether Trump’s running around with Playboy playmates is not relevant to them.

Rush Limbaugh is a GDP boob, again

Rush Limbaugh can't remember good GDP under Obama for two reasons.

One, he's never read the press releases from the BEA. These are available anytime of day or night, including right now, right on Al Gore's amazing internet, for the whole Obama era, but it's more convenient to ignore them at the time if they occasionally disagree with your broader political point.

Second, Limbaugh doesn't realize that real GDP is a moving target. Real means it's an inflation-adjusted figure, and therefore is constantly updated going back in time to incorporate inflation's effects. Therefore no report of GDP he remembers from the past is worth anything today, except in the context of its time.

Limbaugh also doesn't understand that while GDP is subject to constant revision from month to month for this and other reasons, today's report is the 15th comprehensive revision, which occurs every five years. The last one was in 2013. If you looked at the data before the 2013 revision and compared it after you'd see noteworthy differences in the numbers you may have remembered differently.

Comprehensive revisions incorporate new methodologies and measurements across all the data. Today's data revision does just that going back all the way to 1929. Limbaugh wants you to believe new methods and measures under Obama distorted Obama's numbers uniquely but weren't applied uniformly to all the data, which is a complete falsehood.

Here's the recent history of 4.0 real GDP or better from today's revisions vs. contemporaneous BEA press releases:

2Q2018: 4.1%
3Q2014: 4.9% (5% in third estimate Dec. 2014)
2Q2014: 5.1% (4.6% in third estimate Sept. 2014)
4Q2011: 4.7% (3.0% in third estimate March 2012)
4Q2009: 4.5% (5.6% in third estimate March 2010).

Trump's GDP in the first half of 2018 is comparable to Obama's and Bush's best performances before him. That's a hopeful sign. But Trump supporters like me will have something to really crow about if and when these numbers look like they did in the 1990s, and do it consistently.

So far, they don't.

The biggest disappointment in today's GDP report was the collapse of private investment

Compared with the average from 2007-2017, the points contributed to real GDP in 2Q2018 by private investment plunged 128%. It was the only category which actually subtracted from real GDP (-0.06 vs. an average contribution of +0.211 from 2007-2017, which includes the subtractions of the Great Recession era).

This was awful, but predicted by just about everybody. The tax cuts were supposed to deliver investment. Instead, they delivered consumption, an orgy of consumption, relatively speaking. The contribution from personal consumption was up 127% compared with the prior eleven year average, some part of which is fueled by borrowing. Total consumer credit outstanding in May hit a new record $3.897 trillion.

And speaking of fuel, the biggest gainer percentage-wise was net exports (oil), its contribution up a whopping 1414% over the previous period average. That's great for the oil business, but consumers are paying over three bucks a gallon for gasoline today. A lot of the personal consumption increase (above) is going straight into the fuel tank.

That's a neat trick of GDP. Export a commodity needed at home, driving up the price which consumers pay, and then the government turns around and counts consumers' misfortune as a sign of a growing economy! Yeah! Reelect the president!

Finally we have the contribution from government expenditures and investment, also up in a huge way, 1056% over the previous period average contributed (which includes all of Obama's stimulus). We needed the big increase to defense spending, to be sure, but that's for maintaining the possibility of increased standards of living. It's not the same thing as an increased standard of living.

Cue the happy talk. Surely it's five o'clock somewhere.

GDP hysteria

Earlier in the week the economic calendar at FXStreet had indicated a consensus estimate of GDP at 4% for 2Q2018. With less than an hour to go, that prediction has risen to 4.1%.

GDPNow at The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta gave it's final prediction of 3.8% yesterday.

Cheerleaders for Trump on talk radio have been crowing like roosters about a booming economy, pointing to the unemployment rate, and they hope to GDP.

GDP consists of four major components: personal consumption, private investment, net imports/exports, and government consumption and investment.

That last one can contribute significantly when there are big increases to government spending, such as just occurred with defense spending.

I expect to see that reflected in this morning's report, but it shouldn't be confused with an economic boom anymore than stimulus spending under Obama.

Government can pay people to dig a hole and other people to fill it back in again, but that is not an economic boom. Neither is a fireworks display.

The lunatics at the Cato Institute admit fiscal windfalls would come from legalizing heroin and cocaine, not marijuana

"[A]lthough media outlets and policymakers mostly focus on marijuana, the majority of budgetary gains would likely come from legalizing heroin and cocaine."

There are even bigger windfalls from ending defense spending, until you're overrun by the enemy. 

Jessica Valenti: The snowflake/safe-space phenomenon is all the fault of feminism

And darn it, it just hasn't spread far enough.

The tantrum against intractable human nature continues.

One of feminism’s biggest successes was creating an alternative culture for girls and women seeking respite from mainstream constraints. Girls worried about unrealistic beauty standards, for example, can turn to the body positivity movement. Those of us who find traditional media’s treatment of women unappealing can read feminist blogs and magazines; female college students who have critical questions about how gender shapes their lives can take women’s studies classes.

From social media campaigns to after-school equality clubs, feminism has birthed dozens of online and real-life spaces where girls can find alternatives to the sexist status quo.

But boys and young men who are struggling have no equivalent culture.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Rick Santorum is suddenly doing robocalls for Sandy Pensler for US Senate here in Michigan, which sounds like desperation

Just got the call a few minutes ago.

Turns out the race is now deadlocked after some time with Pensler in the lead.

Pensler has been advertising vigorously in Rush Limbaugh's timeslot on the radio as well.

His opponent John James has been relying on direct mail to reach his voters.

Pensler is spending an awful lot of money to win when he went out of his way in January to alienate voters by stating for the record that the Polish people were complicit in the Holocaust in World War II.

That's hardly how to win friends and influence people in Macomb and Wayne counties if you really want to be elected to the US Senate in 2018! 

'The Polish legislature yesterday, with particularly insensitive timing, hammered home humanities [sic] dangerous proclivity to insulate ourselves against others. It passed legislation outlawing calling Polish based concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzic and others as “Polish concentration camps” rather they must now be called . [sic] “Nazi concentration camps in occupied Poland”. This attempt to whitewash and deny complicity in the horrors of the Holocaust is dangerous.'

H. W. Crocker III is very confused, and his editor ought to be horse-whipped

In America’s Next Civil War Will Be Worse Than Our Last for The American Spectator, which by the way never says that, H. W. Crocker III says many wonderful things but ends up making a hash of it.

He rightly concludes that the left's hysteria is a "destructive fire that will not be easily quenched, and cannot be reached by cool waters of rational argument."

But then immediately he advocates for just that, rational argument:

"[I]t seems to me that we can at least be as understanding of our own history [as President William McKinley]."

And also:

"[B]ut the point is to regain a rational, even if nostalgic, perspective on our past by eliciting laughter."

And finally:

"If America is to come together again, it will do so only through the restoration of what Lincoln called our mystic chords of memory, a common culture that emerges from a shared and sympathetic understanding of our past."

Well said, but by his own admission Crocker admits the North and South already had these things:

"North and South venerated the Founders. They shared the same language, the same religion, and, in large part, the same general stock. Most of all, they shared what Jeff Sessions was recently rebuked for calling an “Anglo-American heritage” of liberty under law, stretching from the mists of medieval England — even before Magna Carta — to our own Bill of Rights."

Just so. And still they went to war.

How much more we, whose "Anglo-Americans" can't even agree among themselves to stem the tide of the replacement of "the general stock" through immigration?

Such self-understanding demands what must be done for self-preservation: a halt to immigration, revaluation of citizenship, enforcement of assimilationist policies, and prioritization of family formation.

Without these things more leisure to ruminate about history won't even be possible. We'll be too busy watching our backs.

Henry Kissinger: Trump-Putin summit had to take place, I advocated it for years

For more on the reverse Nixon strategy, see Henry Kissinger Pushed Trump to Work With Russia to Box In China.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

This elephant, Republican symbol, doesn't like litter and cleans it up without being asked (or paid)

Time Magazine loved Obama, hates Trump

Meanwhile the US east coast floods, but it's sunny and warm in Grand Rapids

Somebody's bad weather means good weather some place else.

"More than 26 million Americans are under a flood watch this morning, as severe weather grips the eastern U.S. for a fourth straight day. Beginning Wednesday, the storm will start to be felt further north, especially in New York. The heavy rain is expected to last through the weekend and possibly into next week. More than a foot of rain has fallen in parts of Maryland and Baltimore County is having its wettest July on record." 

Greece can't get a break: First financial meltdown, then overrun by refugees, now swept by wildfires

"A pair of wildfires have [sic] left at least 79 people dead, and CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports dozens are still believed to be missing. In some places around the Greek capital the fires were still burning. Elsewhere people began returning to neighborhoods left unrecognizable."

Turkey defies NATO and the West again over Iranian oil

Drought conditions return to the southwest US, this time to Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado

Mid-July 2017

Mid-July 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Al Hunt's tortured logic about Wikileaks: Release e-mails when no one's paying attention in order to divert attention

Yeah, that makes sense!

Poor Al, he thinks voters are so stupid that whenever they hear or read something they are automatically programmed to do as instructed. Dumb lumps of clay are they. To believe otherwise would be unthinkable . . . to the journalist, the academic and the ad-man.

In early October, almost immediately after a video surfaced in which Trump bragged about groping women, WikiLeaks released its first leak of emails from the account of Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. This happened on a Friday afternoon, not the best time to leak a story if the object is to get attention; the intent was almost certainly to deflect attention from the Trump video. An indictment of 12 Russian operatives last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller traced the email hacks to a Russian military intelligence unit.


And by the way, the indictment asserts, it traces nothing. That would be up to a jury to decide, you know, in an actual trial, which will never happen because it's a show indictment, not a real one.

Al, you are such a joke, just like your outfit with its "You have 6 free articles remaining" message. I'm counting the days.

William Murchison thinks The Wall was a ridiculous, unserious notion, analogous to Sanders' great, gooey slices of socialist pie in the sky

Here in The American Spectator:

Donald Trump, it could be argued, made the political environment safe for over-the-top declarations, e.g., he was going to wall off Mexico from the United States and make Mexico pay for the wall. I am not sure anyone outside the Trump bedroom ever took such a ridiculous notion seriously. It was an attention-grabber.

Mr. Murchison lives in the afterglow of a Reagan revolution which he thinks makes new schemes like Social Security and Medicare permanently unthinkable to the American people.

There are no lost causes because there are no permanent victories.

Ebola survives in woman for 13 months to infect and kill her oldest son after giving birth

From the story here:

Scientists do not know how the virus hid inside the woman for 13 months before re-emerging in lethal form. However, because she fell ill soon after giving birth, experts believe the immune suppression that normally occurs in pregnancy may have triggered a relapse. ...

A 15-year-old boy, the woman’s oldest son, was hospitalized vomiting blood. He tested positive for Ebola and, despite intensive treatment, died 10 days after his symptoms first appeared. ...

[S]urvivors must be tested for Ebola if they fall ill, even if they lack common Ebola symptoms.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Bill Clinton adviser Mark Penn: Mueller investigation is the progeny of Obama administration abuses

"We thought, after the actions of J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon, that we had put in place safeguards to prevent such abuse. ... [T]he Page warrant is a significant indication that government officials are quick to assume the worst about disliked rivals and to use those beliefs to overcome the guardrails on their authority through this backdoor secret FISA process."

Read the whole scathing thing here.

Kevin Williamson asserts but does not prove that conservatives have made peace with New Deal economic nationalism

Williamson simply presupposes that there is a coherent Trump program to sign up for, not to mention that there was a coherent Obama program, neither of which is true. Lots of Republicans have "made peace" with Social Security, but that doesn't mean they have become New Deal ideologues. Williamson ignores their political pragmatism, and Trump's.

The essay is otherwise interesting. He might have added Reagan to his so-called new nationalist "Roosevelt-Obama-Trump model", but not wanting to inflame too much is understandable given his recent history:

"Conservatives have a conflicted view of government. Many who revile FDR as the root of all welfare-statist evil revere Ronald Reagan, who insisted all his life that he was an FDR Democrat whose former party had simply gone insane."

Yes, Reagan was confused. Hence his movement, and Williamson.

Increase to deficit in fiscal 2018 under Keynesian Trump expected to add 0.6 points to GDP

Discussed here.

Bill and Hillary Clinton, David Boies, photographed dining with Harvey Weinstein at Rao's Dec. 13, 2016!

21 million people in the world receive treatment for HIV and continue to spread the disease

1.8 million new infections last year.


Hillary at Oxford at June end avoids discussing Electoral College: Because it prevented the populism which would have elected her

She can't tell the truth about anything.


"‘Turkey also shows that political and intellectual elites, both inside the country and around the world, persistently underestimate the threat which these kinds of leaders pose to the survival of democratic institutions'".

Morrissey is too charitable to say that precisely Hillary is one of these leaders who pose a threat to the survival of democratic institutions, since she's repeatedly come out against the Electoral College since her memoir appeared a year ago:

Ahem. Among those democratic institutions in the US happens to be the Electoral College. And why did the framers of the Constitution create it? To act as a buffer against populism, at least in form. The Electoral College reflects the popular vote on a state-by-state basis to prevent a handful of the most populous states from controlling the executive through the nationwide popular vote, which creates a buffer against the very impulse Hillary decries in this speech.

Why Hillary hates it now: Remembering Trump's completely unexpected landslide victory over Hillary in the Electoral College

Flashback Reuters October 15, 2016:

Hillary projected to win "by a margin of 118 Electoral College votes".

Or The New York Times October 17, 2016:

"The maneuvering speaks to the unexpected tension facing Mrs. Clinton as she hurtles toward what aides increasingly believe will be a decisive victory — a pleasant problem, for certain, but one that has nonetheless scrambled the campaign’s strategy weeks before Election Day: Should Mrs. Clinton maximize her own margin, aiming to flip as many red states as possible to run up an electoral landslide, or prioritize the party’s congressional fortunes, redirecting funds and energy down the ballot?"

Or International Business Times November 7, 2016 (Hillary +108):

"Emerson pollsters predicted Clinton will garner 323 electoral votes compared to 215 for Trump."

Dem Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Kansas City: “We’re gonna flip this seat red in November!"

Housing starts continue to improve but gradually: It's not a boom

The best that can be said is that the horrible Obama era is over. Housing starts continue to improve, but we have a long way to go before we recover the pre-Great Recession average.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

New study demonstrates that pot damages memory

So, so, so, so, so, so, so, so all the Obama voters will forget him? Who?

From the story here:

It was discovered that the cannabinoid stopped the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex from communicating with each other.

Researchers led by Lancaster’s Dr Neil Dawson suggested this was to blame for the negative effects of cannabinoids on memory.

The findings were published in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Housing glut in New York, sign of a top

Crain's New York Business, here:

“Unless sales pick up, we are going to see lower prices.”

Jean-Fran├žois Revel recognized in America's Protestant legacy its key strength in 2003, he just didn't call it that

Nor did the New York Times in his obituary, here, but that's what it is:

In an interview in 1970 with The New York Post after publication of "Without Marx or Jesus," he said his research did not involve talking to political leaders.

"I just looked around, talked to people, to students," he said. "And in the 20th century the information is pretty good, and I read a lot of your press and books."

In the introduction to his "Anti-Americanism" book, Mr. Revel wrote that he found an America "in complete contrast to the conventional portrayal then generally accepted in Europe." In particular, he was impressed with Americans' willingness to address and correct their own faults.

From the Confession of Sins in the Lutheran liturgy:

Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

Friday, July 20, 2018

John Solomon: Lisa Page testimony leads to conclusion that Strzok's bias led him to press an investigation to achieve the political outcome of impeachment of Trump

From the story here:

The only logical conclusion, then, that congressional investigators can make is that political bias led these agents to press an investigation forward to achieve the political outcome of impeachment, even though their professional training told them it had “no big there there.”

You killed Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, you stupid bitch!

One big happy Putin-lovin' family

Thursday, July 19, 2018

You know it's all hysteria about Russia when even the editor of lefty mag The Nation calls it out

The lunatics are attacking Glenn Greenwald, of all people.

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, here:

Malcolm Nance, a very ubiquitous commentator on MSNBC on intelligence and other issues, said Glenn [Greenwald] was—I’m going to read it, because it’s so outrageous—”an agent of Trump & Moscow … deep in the Kremlin’s pocket.” This is—we’ve seen this in our history before. And I think it is—it’s dangerous when you have a suffocating consensus instead of a full, robust debate. ... to call someone a traitor because they have a point of you don’t agree with, we’re in a dangerous territory.

The cult of Xi erupts over remarks by little Larry Kudlow


“I don’t think President Xi at the moment has any intention of following through on the discussion we made and I think the president is so dissatisfied with China on these so-called talks that he is keeping the pressure on — and I support that.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying:

“That the relevant United States official unexpectedly distorted the facts and made bogus accusations is shocking and beyond imagination. The United States' flip-flopping and promise-breaking is recognized globally."

More here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trump Laugh of the Day: Sorry, I misspoke, I meant to say 'Kiss my ass'

Michigan AG Bill Schuette was not a Trump man, but a Jeb Bush campaign co-chair in August 2015

Lefty mag The Nation: Not a hack at all, but a leak

Flashback to August 9, 2017:

This official intelligence assessment has since led to what some call “Russiagate,” with charges and investigations of alleged collusion with the Kremlin, and, in turn, to what is now a major American domestic political crisis and an increasingly perilous state of US-Russia relations. To this day, however, the intelligence agencies that released this assessment have failed to provide the American people with any actual evidence substantiating their claims about how the DNC material was obtained or by whom. Astonishingly and often overlooked, the authors of the declassified ICA themselves admit that their “judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” ...

Despite all the media coverage taking the veracity of the ICA assessment for granted, even now we have only the uncorroborated assertion of intelligence officials to go on. Indeed, this was noticed by The New York Times’s Scott Shane, who wrote the day the report appeared: “What is missing from the public report is…hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack…. Instead, the message from the agencies essentially amounts to ‘trust us.’”

Primary reason we should believe Russians hacked DNC servers is because US intelligence services say so, not because of evidence

Slate, May 9, 2017, here:

[T]he primary rationale readers are given for why they should believe that the Russian government meddled in the U.S. election is because the FBI, CIA, and NSA believe that to be the case. We are given very little actual detail about what happened or how the incidents were traced to Russia specifically, while we are treated to numerous statements along the lines of: “We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” or “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

Of course, there are many reasons the Intelligence Community might have decided not to reveal any actual evidence for these claims. But in the absence of that evidence, whether or not you believe their conclusions rests entirely on your confidence in the judgment and investigative abilities of the FBI, CIA, and NSA. And if the evidence that they’ve used to level major accusations at a foreign government comes not from agencies of the U.S. government or direct law enforcement investigations, but rather from private sector firms like CrowdStrike, then the “high confidence” of the government counts for very little. ...

So if the FBI didn’t ask for access the DNC’s servers out of laziness or negligence, it certainly should have. And if the DNC denied them that access for fear of being embarrassed by what they might find, or because they had more faith in CrowdStrike than the FBI, then it served only to undermine confidence in the ultimate results of the investigation and give the impression of having something shameful to hide. Neither the DNC nor the FBI should have been satisfied with an investigation that did not involve the FBI conducting a first-hand look at the compromised systems. And all of us should be concerned about the seeming acceptance of both parties to let a private company singlehandedly carry out an investigation with such significant political consequences.

US intelligence wrong about nerve agent use in Syria in April, says Fact Finding Mission of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

And yet we're supposed to believe US intelligence is always right, for example, about WMD in Iraq and most recently about Russian hacking of DNC servers.

'A Western NGO received patients suffering from a variety of symptoms, including constricted pupils, coughing, vomiting, and abnormally slow breathing. Some public videos referred to “nerve gas” or an “organophosphate,” which would be consistent with the victims’ accounts of constricted pupils. Social media and the press estimated varying numbers of casualties, including 19 fatalities and 37 injuries',

Crock of shit that is.

From the OPCW press release twelve days ago, here:

'OPCW designated labs conducted analysis of prioritised samples. The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is on-going. The FFM team will continue its work to draw final conclusions.'

Rand Paul on John Brennan: He's unhinged, deranged, an insult to our government

Quoted here:

PAUL: “John Brennan started out his adulthood by voting for the communist party presidential candidate. He is now ending his career by showing himself to be the most biased, bigoted, over the top, hyperbolic, sort of unhinged director of the CIA we have ever had. And really it is an insult to our government to have a former head of the CIA to calling the president treasonous just because he doesn’t like him. But I realized that Brennan — I filibustered Brennan, I tried to keep Brennan from ever being the leader of the CIA. But realized that Brennan and Clapper are known for wanting to expand the authority of the intelligence agencies to grab up everyone’s information, including Americans. So I don’t have a lot of respect for these people even before they decided to go on hating the president. I dislike these people because they wanted to grab up so much power and use it against the American people. ... Some people are deranged with Trump and that’s why I think they’re crazy.”

Liberty means being able to resist buying anything from Amazon since early May and feeling that's OK

Obviously what America needs most right now is unchecked immigration from Ghana

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

It's the 22nd anniversary of the TWA Flight 800 explosion off Long Island

Jack Cashill's got a new book about the tragedy which killed all 230 aboard.

Read about it here.

Haven't been in the sky since.

Putin at summit presser: Bring your investigation to Russia and we'll bring ours to America . . .

. . . to investigate the misdeeds of (((Bill Browder))), grandson of Earl Browder, CPUSA leader from 1930-1945.

Bill Browder renounced his US citizenship in 1998 to avoid taxes and is a British national and major Putin opponent and target.

The Swamp is in complete sympathy with Bill Browder on the subject of Russia. Don't expect the financial transactions of his associates in support of Hillary Clinton to come to light readily.

All we've got so far is this:

But federal records show that Browder's New York financial partners, Ziff Brothers Investments, donated only $1.75 million in the 2016 campaign, spreading it among candidates for many offices in both parties and favoring Republicans in congressional races. The watchdog site opensecrets.org shows it giving only $17,700 for Clinton's election.

From the transcript of the summit presser, here:


We have an existing agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, an existing treaty that dates back to 1999. The mutual assistance on criminal cases. This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently. On average, we initiate about 100, 150 criminal cases upon request from foreign states.

For instance, the last year, there was one extradition case upon the request sent by the United States. This treaty has specific legal procedures we can offer. The appropriate commission headed by Special Attorney Mueller, he can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal, official request to us so that we could interrogate, hold questioning of these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes. Our enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States. Moreover, we can meet you halfway. We can make another step. We can actually permit representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller, we can let them into the country. They can be present at questioning. ...

Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate. They would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence services of the United States whom we believe have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia. And we have to request the presence of our law enforcement.

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes. Neither in Russia nor in the United States. Yet, the money escapes the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amount of money, $400 million as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself. But the way the money was earned was illegal. We have solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers, guided these transactions. So we have an interest of questioning them. That could be a first step. We can extend also it. Options abound. They all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.