Circling the drain

August 23rd, 2019

We listen to the radio on our daily jog, and there was a professor at UC Santa Cruz who sounded exactly like the nonsense and idiocy the NYT is pushing these days – which means that nonsense is the conventional wisdom among many of the young.

Hey, what’s $16 trillion, give or take?

August 23rd, 2019

So Bernie’s Green New Deal is $16 trillion, a number approaching the total GNP of the USA. Obviously such a program is insane, since, just for starters, the USA is 4% of world population and so any such plan is meaningless in a world with China, India, etc. But it is very instructive that Bernie, AOC, and other presidential candidates, are preening and preaching this nonsense.

As you know, we trace the left-decline in education to the graduate school guys who were Vietnam draft dodgers, but, as was eminently predictable, the water flowed downhill, way downhill. Thus the Dems can parade utter nonsense like the $16 trillion GND, because they know that the young people won’t figure out its (criminal?) absurdity because they don’t know basic arithmetic. Adding and subtracting are such White Supremacy things, don’t you know.

Help!!!!!!

Survey says what?

August 22nd, 2019

(1) Scott at PL re Snopes; (2) More Snopes from Babylon Bee; (3) Coulter and the NYT; (4) 62% disapproval among 1058 people, not voters, 961 via internet; (5) more NYT, sigh; a little laugh via Larry Elder.

The media: such honest and kind people.

Another question

August 21st, 2019

AT:

bureaucrats in New York City have already progressed beyond merely using administrative law to force Americans to yield to the demands of males who claim to be female. In 2016, New York City released a list of 31 “genders” approved by the city’s Commission on Human Rights. The 31 genders listed include “drag king,” “drag queen,” “butch,” “femme queen,” “gender fluid,” “gender blender,” “gender gifted,” “gender bender,” and “femme person of transgender experience.” The ruling imposed fines of up to $250,000 for businesses that fail to address one of these folks by their preferred pronouns.

(Never mind about that little 41% thing.) So we all know now that the government, all the way to the very top, is in the hands of idiots and serious criminals. Why would any sane person want such people to have an extra dime or any more control?

Bonus, with a little fun: Ray Stevens still has a TV show, and he must be nearly 120 by now.

“By the book” definitive proof of criminality at the top

August 21st, 2019

Oddly enough, an email on 1/20/17 at 12:15 pm:

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.

Using her former official email account, 15 minutes after the 2017 inauguration, the ex-head of the NSA sent an email to herself “recounting” a meeting that took place 2 weeks before. Why? It couldn’t be more obvious: CYA for Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Obama, etc. They all should be in jail ASAP, and they all should be on the hook to pay the Mueller bills personally.

Meh

August 20th, 2019

Via PL:

The statements that authorities think the men posted online share another obsession: overpopulation and environmental degradation. The alleged Christchurch shooter, who is charged with targeting Muslims and killing 51 people in March, declared himself an “eco-fascist” and railed about immigrants’ birthrates. The statement linked to the El Paso shooter, who is charged with killing 22 people in a shopping area this month, bemoans water pollution, plastic waste and an American consumer culture that is “creating a massive burden for future generations.” Many white supremacists have latched onto environmental themes, drawing connections between the protection of nature and racial exclusion. The alleged El Paso shooter’s document is full of existential despair: “My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist.”

More warming nonsense. Half the country has gone stupid and half of those have completely lost their minds.

Bonuses: (1) Speaking of losing their minds, here’s CNN. (2) More here. (3) Everyone calm down and go to a garden party.

One element of the current Civil War

August 19th, 2019

Up until the 1969 school year, anti Vietnam War students could pull the ripcord and get out of military service simply by going to grad school. So of course many did, since they didn’t want to be among the 549,000 Americans stuck in South Vietnam back then. Then the new MA’s and PhD’s went on to teach after milking their deferments for all they were worth. No doubt those deferred moved their teaching departments to the left, and even more so in the 20-30 years after the PhD, when they became influential senior faculty members. Over two generations ruined or nearly so. Oh, you want proof? Take a look at the college grads the New York Times has been hiring (here and here). The company is evidently not hiring many people with IQ’s above 70, or maybe it’s just the appalling “teaching” they’re getting.

Tiny funny point re CNN (yawn)

August 18th, 2019

CNN (of course) via AT:

One of the last times the United States bought land from a foreign country was in 1867, when Seward orchestrated the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for $7.2 million. It didn’t work out so well — and has gone down as ‘Seward’s Folly’ in the history books.

The US paid less than 2 cents an acre for Alaska, and the state might have 16 billion barrels of oil, most of it owned by the US government. At current prices, that’s almost $1 trillion. Seward’s Folly indeed.

Bizarro World USA

August 18th, 2019

NYT quotes via Examiner:

The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history. If you want to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation. The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery. Why doesn’t the United States have universal healthcare? The answer begins with policies enacted after the Civil War. America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others. What does a traffic jam in Atlanta have to do with segregation? Quite a lot. Here you will find reading guides, activities, and other resources to bring The 1619 Project into your classroom. We will be sending some of our writers on multi-city tours to talk to students and we will be sending copies of the magazine to high schools and colleges. Because to us, this project really takes wing when young people are able to read this and understand the way that slavery has shaped their country’s history.

We were going to make some clever and snarky comments, but we’ll pass on that, only noting that these fools and the faculty lounges that taught them really believe this rubbish.

Brief insane NYT update: your lawn is evil too.

Mostly fun miscellany

August 17th, 2019

(1) A discussion of Darwin that includes Dumb and Dumber as well as the Simpsons – huh? (2) Wind times Solar equals Dumber squared; (3) Hilarity: “Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now”; (4) The only downer is that NYT meeting the other day: imagine sitting on top of the manifold great achievements of others, and somehow thinking that you are morally superior – ugh.

A 75 minute NYT meeting, and other matters

August 16th, 2019

First, HT to PL. Now a little sample from NYT senior management and reporters of the company during a grueling 75 minute group meeting:

Management: I think it’s useful sometimes to show the journey a little bit of how we reach these decisions. Because otherwise it can feel a little bit like this is a single case in which we’re deciding whether something is or is not racist. The conversation that I heard was really a conversation about labels and about whether we’re going to use labels as shorthand for something that we can convey through words and actions and with greater color and detail. And the moment that, for me, really hammered home the risk of some of these labels was actually when someone passed along to me a headline that we had run six months before the “Trump Makes Comments Condemned as Racist” headline. And the headline we had used six months before was, “Omar Makes Comments Condemned as Anti-Semitic.” And the amount of pushback that that I and others received in that moment from leaders in the Jewish community was really considerable. People wanted us to call this phrase, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” an anti-Semitic phrase. They pointed out that this is actually an historically anti-Semitic trope. Though that it was an anti-Semitic trope was actually referred to in the body of the story, which I pointed out. But we’re really cautious with labels, because labels tend to slip. They tend to stick to each other. And I think that the conversation I heard Dean and other members of the leadership have was about whether or not those types of shortcuts actually end up doing the exact thing that we don’t want, which is keep people from reading, would keep people from actually understanding, by giving folks who are inclined to be skeptical that that label is fairly applied—whether it’s anti-Semitic or racist or anything else—to keep those people from having an easy out not to look at what actually just occurred, and what happened, and what the implications are, and what the effects are on the community. And I think this is a really tricky moment right now. You know, someone did a study of Twitter shares that showed that 70 percent of all stories shared on Twitter were never opened. And to me, that’s just a reminder that so much of the world is judging before they’re actually engaging. And I don’t think any of us would defend the headline from last week. Not only would you not defend it, we changed it.

Reporter: I have another question about racism. I’m wondering to what extent you think that the fact of racism and white supremacy being sort of the foundation of this country should play into our reporting. Just because it feels to me like it should be a starting point, you know? Like these conversations about what is racist, what isn’t racist. I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country.

Now you know what life is like on Jupiter and Mars, or maybe in an entirely different universe (or maybe just at Harvard and Yale and CNN). Changing the subject, but only slightly, you may recall that in the Shawshank Redemption, the really bad guy was Warden Samuel Norton, who had people tortured and murdered. Fast forward to Epstein, where a couple of senior managers of MCC were swiftly moved out (e.g., Lamine N’Diaye and Shirley Skipper-Scott), but we know almost nothing about them from the NYT. Surprised?

The revolution will not be televised

August 15th, 2019

BBC:

Television advertisements from US food giant Mondelez and German carmaker Volkswagen are the first to be banned under new UK gender stereotyping rules. A ban on ads featuring “harmful gender stereotypes” or those which are likely to cause “serious or widespread offence” came into force in June. The first banned ad, for Philadelphia cheese, showed two fathers leaving a baby on a restaurant conveyor belt.

Some 128 people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the Mondelez advert for its Philadelphia cheese which featured two dads leaving a baby on a restaurant buffet conveyor belt as they were distracted by the food. Complainants said the advertisement perpetuated a harmful stereotype by suggesting that men were incapable of caring for children and were so incompetent they would place youngsters at risk.

Meanwhile, 3 people complained about an ad for the Volkswagen eGolf car. It showed a sleeping woman and a man in a tent on a sheer cliff face, two male astronauts floating in a space ship and a male para-athlete doing the long jump, before cutting to the final scene showing a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram. Complainants said that the ad perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes

Welcome to the humorless future. Meanwhile, as for the remaining bit of humor, someone tweeted: “If President Xi would meet directly and personally with the protesters, there would be a happy and enlightened ending to the Hong Kong problem. I have no doubt!”

As for our title, it’s so 1970.

Everybody is learning the numbers

August 14th, 2019

RCP, of all places:

China has some issues eerily similar to what other Asian countries had just prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. That event two decades ago has been analyzed in great detail. It was triggered by a debt default of two companies: Somprasong Land (a major Thai property developer) and Finance One (one of Thailand’s largest finance companies).

Currency traders began to short the Thai currency, and eventually it broke its peg to the U.S. dollar, resulting in a 40% collapse in value. This steep drop made paying back dollar-denominated loans impossible. Currency weakness spread to South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. All their currencies declined dramatically –between 34% and 83% against the dollar. Equity markets around the world, including the U.S., experienced significant declines.

While the trigger was a debt default as financial conditions shifted, the underlying factors had long been in place – these were export-driven economies that had close government co-operation with preferred manufacturers, subsidies, favorable financial deals, massive debt-financed growth and a currency pegged to the U.S dollar. Sound familiar?

Almost all financial crises have the same underlying problem — too much debt. China has a massive debt load. The domestic credit to the private sector banks is 161% of GDP. The 1997 crisis started in Thailand when its level was 166% of GDP. China’s total debt, which includes corporate, household, and government debt, has doubled since 2008 and is now 303% of GDP or over $40 trillion.

Another worrisome change in the Chinese financial system is its current account balance. The balance has dropped dramatically over the past 10 years and is on the verge of going negative. If it becomes a deficit, China would have to borrow foreign funds for future growth. As recently as 2007, it had a current account surplus of $420 billion, an amount equal to 10% of GDP.

The South China Morning Post reported in November 2018 that Chinese property developers face “surging refinancing demands,” as $51 billion matures in 2019. China now has $3 trillion in U.S. denominated debt. The market has started buying credit default insurance against Chinese debt, as default risk spiked this past week to its highest level in six years.

The People’s Bank of China seized the failed Baoshang Bank early this year. This was the first bank seizure in 20 years. In July, the Bank of Jinzhou had to be bailed out by three state-owned entities. And if bank failures were not causing enough pressure, in June a federal court in Washington, D.C., held Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and two other Chinese banks in contempt. The banks refuse to comply with a U.S. subpoena for bank records of a Hong Kong company linked to North Korea sanctions violations. The contempt order enables the U.S. Treasury secretary to terminate the banks’ U.S. correspondent accounts, which effectively shuts them down on the world economy.

All of this is happening as China’s economy slows to the lowest growth rate in almost 30 years and the U.S. is imposing tariffs on its exports. There is unrest in Hong Kong as protesters are marching in the streets and the wealthy are quietly moving assets and fleeing to the West.

Good to see everybody catching up. Soon this should be conventional wisdom.

Everything is out of control right now

August 13th, 2019

“Everything is out of control right now,” said Jamie, a 21-year-old protester, as paramedics were struggling through the crowd. “This movement doesn’t have a leader; everyone does what they want.” Oh, you thought they were talking about this guy and this guy. Who’s smart BTW? Fredo? No, Pavlov, woof. As for the first quote, the dangerous Hong Kong situation continues.

Numbers, and with gusto

August 12th, 2019

WSJ:

President Trump’s tariffs and other sanctions are hitting China at a vulnerable moment. The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics reported July 15 that gross domestic product grew by 6.2% in the second quarter, China’s slowest growth since 1992. The actual picture is much cloudier. Beijing has for years cooked the books to make the regime’s performance look better, and they are undoubtedly doing the same now.

No one outside the Chinese government knows exactly what is happening in China. But even the latest report concedes that “economic conditions are still severe both at home and abroad” and that “the unbalanced and inadequate development at home is still acute.” If that’s the official line, the real story is certainly far worse.

Even 6% growth would fall short of the Chinese Communist Party’s ambitions. While China has grown richer, it is still a relatively poor country. Per capita GDP is $10,000, below Romania’s. Even at 6% growth, it would take decades for China to catch up with its capitalist neighbors Taiwan ($26,000), South Korea ($32,000), Japan ($41,000) and Hong Kong ($49,000), let alone the U.S. ($62,000).

With declining growth, Beijing is reaping what it has sown. For two decades after the death of Mao Zedong, the party injected a degree of freedom into China’s moribund economy. But there is a limit to how much control the socialist regime is willing to sacrifice. It refused to create a private banking system or an independent legal system. It won’t privatize the vast state-owned enterprises that account for about 30% of China’s economy, serve the regime’s goals and enrich political elites.

Instead, for the past 20 years — and especially since the financial panic of 2008 — the party has generated growth through debt-financed investment and, increasingly, aggressive exploitation of the global trading system that amounts to stealing from other economies. Mr. Trump wasn’t far off when he called it “the greatest theft in the history of the world.”

The Chinese Communist Party’s policies created tremendous economic imbalances, saddled China with debt, and bred suspicion and disillusionment among trading partners. Even before 2016, many observers believed China was headed toward stagnation.

It’s against this context that the Trump trade policy has put such pressure on Beijing. The first wave of U.S. trade actions was announced in March 2018, and included strategic tariffs on Chinese products, restrictions on investment in several key industries, and a World Trade Organization case challenging Beijing’s institutionalized theft of technology and intellectual property.

When Beijing refused to meet U.S. demands, the White House increased the countertariffs, dealing another major blow to the Chinese economy. While trade talks will continue, Mr. Trump has now announced that the U.S. will impose a 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods beginning Sept. 1.

The tariffs are working. Big tech companies are taking their manufacturing out of China; retailers are pulling out as well. The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics reports that in July Chinese factory activity declined for the third month in a row. That means fewer jobs. The South China Morning Post recently reported that economists at China International Capital Corp. , an investment bank, say China’s industrial sector has lost five million jobs in the past year, nearly two million of them because of the trade war with the U.S.

Exports so far this year have increased only 0.6% while imports, an indicator of domestic economic strength, fell at a 5.6% annual rate in July, according to China’s General Administration of Customs office. The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that China dropped from being the top U.S. trading partner to third behind Mexico and Canada for the first half of 2019.

To weather the economic storm, Beijing resorted to devaluing its own currency — a policy that has helped keep the price of Chinese exports to the U.S. from rising due to the tariffs. But a cheaper currency probably won’t reverse China’s economic slump or encourage businesses to invest in the country.

Comprehensive reform from the Chinese Communist Party is unlikely in the near term. But the Trump administration has at least succeeded in substantially increasing the costs to the regime of its authoritarian and exploitative policies. For the first time in a long time, the pressure is really on Beijing, and the initiative in the national competition between China and the U.S. finally belongs to Washington.

BTW, this is an opinion piece by a CEO, hence the plain language about cooked books, etc. And things are nice in Hong Kong too.

Miscellany

August 11th, 2019

1) Running for president. 2) Not color blind. 3) Wretchard. 4) The charming Shirley Skipper-Scott, remember that name. 5) Beyond bizarre. Ugh. That’s it for now.

32 years, that’s quite something

August 11th, 2019

CB:

The post-Reagan bipartisan consensus of soft-left passivity and decline, as the Bushes and Clintons passed the great offices back and forth, is over. (For 32 years, 1981-2013, a Bush or Clinton was president, vice-president, or secretary of state.) The United States is now in a political contest between the Democratic atomizers who inflame and pander to every conceivable group of aggrieved people, and the Trump movement that rallies everyone to the flag through full employment, reducing the taxes of 83 per cent of taxpayers, ending illegal immigration, being cautious over unproved claims about climate change while protecting the environment, reviving the promotion of nuclear non-proliferation, where predecessors and allies had surrendered to Iran and North Korea, and in finally standing up to China, where even the Democrats and all China’s neighbours except Russia and North Korea support Trump. Why doesn’t anyone in the media of this country, except in the National Post, get it?

Because he’s a Capital T, don’t you understand? Meh.

You got it wrong

August 10th, 2019

It wasn’t suicide watch. It was suicide: watch. For the record, Virgil Sollozzo has been ruled out, but Captain McCluskey has not.

Update: wait, no, it was Russia!

Update: an entertaining twitter feed or two

Shriek or Yawn?

August 10th, 2019

NYT:

Barring action on a sweeping scale, the report said, climate change will accelerate the danger of severe food shortages.

It’s obvious, see. CO2 is what plants eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if there’s a little more of it – oh wait a second…

The worst Austin Powers movie (or the best?)

August 9th, 2019

As we’ve detailed, Plan A was Russia! to prevent Dr. Evil from becoming president and then taking him out. $30MM and 2 years of Plan A and nothing. Quickly Plan B emerged. Plan B is that Dr. Evil is a Nazi Racist! and that’s too unbelievably silly for words. Plan A wasn’t stupid – hey if you as a Deep Stater can go from earning $170K to $6MM in one year, that’s pretty good – you don’t want a guy screwing that up.

After Mueller (and the facts) took down Plan A, Plan B was quickly deployed: Nazi Racist. It was necessary, despite its obvious silliness to anyone actually paying attention. So MSNBC and CNN call out Dr. Evil 1100 times in ten minutes or so every day.

Plan B is about the 2020 elections in this sense: we think Barr and Durham are going to indict higher ups in the Comey, Clapper, Brennan circle for their obvious crimes. Then the media can and will insist that this is all part of the plot of Dr. Evil to destroy the United States and rename it the States of Fascist Racist Putin’s America.

Hey Betsy, get your new flag ready before you’re killed by Dr. Evil. To the rest of you: get your popcorn ready!

UPDATE: Proving our point: Nadler nonsense – wow, these indictments are going to target big names.