It could be worse

December 18th, 2018

We don’t need no edumacation:

My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now. Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.

But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.

You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.

Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground

It is worse.

And worse and worse via the pronoun police.

We’ll just add this from VDH cause it’s funny: If you look at the map of the United States, there is all that red in the middle, places where Trump won. What that map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that own two-thirds of America’s Gross Domestic Product. I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, Make America Great Again, was looking backwards. You don’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women getting jobs, you don’t want to see that Indian American succeeding

Help!!!!!!

In search of the honest man

December 17th, 2018

We don’t like analyzing all of the minutiae of the ridiculous Mueller et al witch hunt. It’s been obvious for a very long time that collusion was nonsense. BTW, can you unrecuse yourself? – just asking. Of course if you’re an NYC real estate developer, you’ve done many questionable things. Hey, how in the heck do you get any building built in midtown Manhattan? So along comes Judge Emmet Sullivan. What a breath of fresh air it would be to find an honest man in the DC den of iniquity. Let’s hope.

Regnad Kcin

December 16th, 2018

Brief time out to tune into an earlier better day, when everything wasn’t a swear. Have you spent five minutes watching MTV? Charming, just charming. In the old days, the first US video on MTV was pretty obvious, as was the their first UK video. In recent years, down. MTV shows that it’s really horrible for the kids today. If someone has a practical suggestion about how to fix this, we’d welcome hearing about it.

More re China’s slower growth

December 15th, 2018

For the first time, something bad may actually be happening in China’s growth. We’ve followed this for a long time, back a decade ago when we thought the banking system was in trouble, through China’s empty cities, its trillions in bad loans and so forth. We were quite wrong in any imminent predictions of disaster, but quite right in saying that the games with the SOE’s and the similar things with state owned or governed banks couldn’t go on forever.

Maybe we are approaching a time of some reckoning. Building badly needed infrastructure and bringing low wage manufacturing jobs to China was a divine gift courtesy of Deng Xiaoping. But our MBA classmates from Taiwan have, in recent years, been relocating these low-wage jobs from China to other countries. And a lot of the backward infrastructure in China has been fixed, at least somewhat. Thus China has gone from $1 trillion in GDP back pre-Deng, to $12 trillion now. Unbelievable!

China’s plans are still monumental beyond understanding. For example, Xi Jinping announced in 2014 that China would become number one in aviation finance, after which every bank and its brother started an aircraft leasing company. China’s plan is to add 216 new airports around the country and Boeing forecasts a 3.7x increase in China’s airlines’ fleets, to far surpass the USA.

But China’s aircraft lessors know, for the most part, almost nothing about managing mid-life aircraft and engines, since theirs are almost all brand new, with average fleet ages of 4-6 years. Tremendous expertise is required for servicing of mid-life aircraft, and China has very little of this. So maybe things like this have begun to play out in various industries, where the challenge has ceased being going from 2x to 4x to 6x, but in managing the 6x you’ve gotten yourself into.

Spengler makes the excellent point that China outdoes the US in STEM by wide margins (and the US urgently has to address this diversity-inflicted-idiocy), but managing assets adds far less in GDP growth compared to creating or buying the assets in the first place. So maybe we’re seeing in China an economy that is transitioning from the first and easy stage of growth in creating a modern infrastructure, to something more complex and challenging, and with far less big growth numbers – the process of actually managing the firms that own all this stuff.

We’ll analyze and we’ll see.

China’s slowing growth

December 15th, 2018

WSJ

Value-added industrial output in China rose 5.4% in November from a year earlier, slowing from a 5.9% on-year increase in October, the National Bureau of Statistics said. A median of forecasts from economists expected 5.9% growth for November. They thought industries would get a boost after the government scaled back wintertime production restrictions intended to ease pollution.

Weakness was seen across the industrial sector. Automobile production shrank 3.2% last month from a year earlier, extending a 0.7% contraction in October. Chemical materials and products rose 1.9%, decelerating from 4.4% growth. Retail sales rose 8.1% in November from a year earlier, slowing from an 8.6% year-over-year gain in October.

SCMP

Retail sales growth decelerated sharply to 8.1% from the 8.6% in October, lower than the 8.8% rate expected by analysts polled by Bloomberg. The November growth rate was the lowest since the 4.3% gain posted in May 2003.

Industrial production grew 5.4% in November compared to the previous year, well below the 5.9% gain in October and expectation for a like-sized 5.9% rise this month, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The November growth rate was the lowest in 10 years, matching the 5.4% gain in November 2008.

We’re not sure the WSJ and SCMP numbers agree, but together they spell slower. More on slower growth here and particularly here.

You’re a joke, “citizen”

December 14th, 2018

Hey, we can do what we want. Subpoena, what’s that? Turn over evidence – who ever heard of such a thing? FBI interrogation – we know how to make that incredibly funny when we’re dealing with fools. Oh, and by the way, we’re going to torment anyone who likes creeps we don’t like by putting them under endless and petty criminal investigations.

And now for something completely different – or maybe just the same

December 14th, 2018

Moving on from Pennywise, we find we haven’t moved on at all, just changed the name. We’re living in The Twilight Zone, a very long episode hosted by Mueller, Comey etc. Oh, you don’t think we’re living in the Twilight Zone, get a load of what’s going on in the 9th circuit. Anyway, this is Rod Serling’s month and he arranged for his birthday to be on Christmas Day of course. Here’s a list of some of the better episodes. Man, that was some good TV, and the casts are very impressive, much better than any Clapper Caper or Brennan Bozo. BTW, there is an actual Twilight Zone marathon to ring in the new year. Enjoy!

Bonus: here’s a Clapper Caper that’s actually fun to watch.

How was the play, Mrs Lincoln?

December 13th, 2018

An advisor to a GOP candidate for President called 2016 the “greatest crime in American history.” Frankly, we have no words available to comment on such wisdom.

China pretends to accommodate the administration

December 13th, 2018

WSJ:

China is preparing to replace an industrial policy savaged by the Trump administration as protectionist with a new program promising greater access for foreign companies, people briefed on the matter said.

China’s top planning agency and senior policy advisers are drafting the replacement for Made in China 2025, President Xi Jinping’s blueprint to make the country a leader in high-tech industries including robotics, information and clean-energy cars. The revised plan—Beijing’s latest effort to resolve trade tensions with the U.S.—would play down China’s bid to dominate manufacturing and be more open to participation by foreign companies, these people said.

Current plans, they said, call for rolling out the new policy early next year, when the U.S. and China are expected to be accelerating negotiations for a deal to end their bruising trade battle. China has signaled other measures as well, including lowering tariffs on auto imports and increasing purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, but closed off the highs, continuing a recent stretch of volatility as signs of easing trade tensions boosted the global economic-growth outlook. The Dow Jones industrials climbed 157.03 points, to 24527.27, after earlier rising as much as 458 points. The S&P 500 added 14.29 points, to 2651.07. Positive trade signals have tended to boost stocks in recent weeks, while setbacks in negotiations have sent major indexes tumbling.

Signs of continued tensions surfaced elsewhere in Washington, as top U.S. national security officials told lawmakers in Senate hearings that Beijing continues to exploit U.S. technology in a bid to develop its own economy, further describing Chinese hacking and cyber-espionage as a severe threat to U.S. security.

Odds are long that Beijing’s new industrial policy will go far enough in addressing U.S. complaints. Mr. Xi and others in the Chinese leadership are used to exercising a strong hand in the economy. Many bureaucracies and state-owned enterprises benefit from the unfettered access to resources that come with big government initiatives and so don’t want to be hampered by the greater competition of a level playing field.

The revision is also likely to be treated with skepticism in the U.S. Officials in the Trump administration have called Made in China 2025 a threat to fair competition, saying it encourages state subsidies for domestic companies and forces technology transfer from foreign partners. Some U.S. officials are likely to see the changes as more cosmetic than real.

Well, duh. Tick-tock. For the most part, China just has to wait until the (1) leftists plus (2) the prissy conservative anti-Trump part of the USA destroy the country. For example, Spengler notes again and again that China outdoes the US in STEM by huge margins, in large part because US universities have become Idiot Holes, where true excellence is superseded by some fool thing called “diversity.” We’ve talked about this here and here and other numerous times.

Trump has taken on the leftist fools in many ways, but almost none would be a greater victory if he takes on the diversity scam.

Multiple Google naughtiness episodes – and the USG doesn’t care

December 12th, 2018

The Google CEO testified before Congress. Lies. Try comparing non-prejudiced Google results for “idiot picture” with the same in duckduckgo, and make your own judgment. More, via SEC:

§ 240.14c-6 False or misleading statements. (a) No information statement shall contain any statement which, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it is made, is false or misleading with respect to any material fact, or which omits to state any material fact necessary in order to make the statements therein not false or misleading or necessary to correct any statement in any earlier communication with respect to the same meeting or subject matter which has become false or misleading.

More: No solicitation shall be made by means of any proxy statement, form of proxy, notice of meeting or other communication, written or oral, containing any statement which, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it is made, is false or misleading with respect to any material fact, or which omits to state any material fact necessary in order to make the statements therein not false or misleading

We’ve gone through this before, with no actions re these obvious crimes against shareholders. It’s not only illegal campaign contributions that Google should be prosecuted for, but the incredibly serious securities fraud from making knowingly false statements to shareholders of a public company, in order to manipulate and control their stock price, which would be death (except to an SEC that agrees with these crooks ideologically).

More at AT. In many ways the most disgusting aspect of this is that it is sooooooooo obvious and yet nothing is done about it.

They’re all one person

December 11th, 2018

Mueller, Comey, Dems-Google, Clapper, Brennan, and on and on and on. Suddenly we’ve realized they’re all one person.

Related: By signing this contract, you are agreeing to our no tolerance policy with regards to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism.

Pennywise won, and now he rules the world. We all float down here.

Lest you think we exaggerate, he’s now also the Editor in Chief at TIME Magazine, and Neil Armstrong never happened.

The world is 180 degrees out of phase.

The return of Dragnet

December 10th, 2018

Dum Dum Dum Dum, Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum Dumb. Emphasis on Dumb.

OTOH: woke is hilarious.

For future reference maybe

December 10th, 2018

If McCarthy is right, we may be seeing a lot of this (also some commentary from Roger Simon):

Welcome to the Southern District of New York.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York encompasses the counties of New York, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan and draws jurors from those counties. The Court hears cases in Manhattan, White Plains, and Poughkeepsie, New York.

The District of New York held its first session on the first Tuesday of November 1789 at the Old Royal Exchange in lower Manhattan presided over by Judge James Duane, who was appointed by President Washington. It was the first court to sit under the new United States Constitution, preceding the United States Supreme Court by a few months. The District and its successor, the Southern District of New York, have sat continuously in New York, NY, since 1789.

Those who have served as judges of the Court include Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, Sr., former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh.

Among the cases of historical interest heard in the Court have been claims arising from the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania, the Cold War espionage cases of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Alger Hiss, and the government’s challenges to the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses and the New York Times’s Pentagon Papers.

A nice location in lower Manhattan, with a lot of noodle restaurants in the area. Manhattan went blue in 2016 with 86% of the vote. 30 states went the other way, and we’re sure they’ll find it charming to have Greenwich Village telling them who’s the boss.

Oops!

December 9th, 2018

McCarthy sanguine outlook, and on the other hand.

Klaatu barada nikto

December 9th, 2018

So between Pacifica on our jog and watching a few minutes of MSNBC since our old NYC roommate was on it, we were transported to a – hopefully – distant planet where it’s now nonstop Russia collusion, obstruction of justice, impeachment, and now jail too. For some reason they’re all really fired up and energized now.

1829, a good year in music

December 9th, 2018

Just a brief reference to something that Rossini began as a delicate thing which always reminds us of spring, but then turns into the Lone Ranger. Incredible. BTW, Holiday Inn needs to be banned, just like the Jazz Singer. People have become soooooooo stoooooooopid. Megyn: you’re fired!

New sheriff in town

December 9th, 2018

Andy McCarthy:

William Barr has been one of the country’s best thinkers on counterterrorism for the post-9/11 era. This has come naturally to him: Upon graduating from Columbia in 1973 with degrees in government and Chinese studies, Barr went to work for the CIA as an intelligence analyst and assistant legislative counsel. At the same time, he attended law school at night at George Washington University (later accepting a clerkship on the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit). His range of legal and intelligence studies led him to see the need for a comprehensive government approach to the international terrorist threat — a strategy in which, rather than addressing the jihad as a mere crime problem, the Justice Department plays a critical support role alongside the government’s intelligence, military, Treasury, and diplomatic components.

While Barr should be an easy confirmation, Democrats and their media allies allow no worthy nominee an easy time. Though he has just been named, Barr is already facing criticism for: defending Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey as an appropriate exercise of presidential power; supporting the president’s firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama holdover who insubordinately refused to enforce Trump’s so-called travel order; questioning Mueller’s judgment in one-sidedly recruiting Democratic partisans to staff his investigation; opining that allegations of possible misconduct against Hillary Clinton appear to warrant investigation (while maintaining that jumping to conclusions against her is inappropriate); defending the president’s calls for investigations (while stressing that such calls must be based on evidence rather than politics); and questioning whether evidence and the law support claims that Trump colluded with Russia or obstructed investigations. As a private citizen, however, Barr had every right to participate in the public debate. Moreover, the positions he took were not merely defensible but correct.

To compare, I’m sure you’ll be stunned to find that the same Democrat–media alliance was enthralled by President Obama’s nomination of Eric Holder to be attorney general. It was of no moment that Holder, as deputy attorney general, had been complicit in President Clinton’s shameful pardon scandal, or that, as an Obama-campaign surrogate, Holder had accused the Bush administration of war crimes and promised a “reckoning.”

This is the skewed state of our politics. Obama aide Ben Rhodes bragged about using a willing press as the Democrats’ “echo chamber,” and Democratic caterwauling about nearly anything President Trump does will be amplified. The best way to navigate the minefield is to nominate high-quality people who can stand the heat. In choosing Bill Barr for attorney general, the president could not have chosen better.

Looks like an appropriate boss for Mr. Mueller. More on Barr at AT.

Les Gilets Jaunes

December 8th, 2018

Berlinski:

I spent Saturday speaking to the Gilets Jaunes near the Bastille, where I figured I’d have a good vantage point on a traditional protest site. I walked with them as they slowly made their way to the city hall, or Hôtel de Ville. It was obvious from a single glance that these weren’t Parisians, but rural people who couldn’t afford to buy expensive Parisian clothes or get chic haircuts. I instantly understood why Macron rubs them the wrong way. They looked worn out; their hands and faces were lined; they were mainly in late middle-age. They seemed to be decent, respectable, weary people who had worked hard all their lives, paid their taxes, and played by the rules.

They couldn’t have seemed less disposed to violence, nor more apolitical. They were respectful of the police, and vice-versa. As cops drove by, relaxed, the Gilets Jaunes smiled at them, like kids excited about their first trip to the big city, waved at the officers, and gave them the thumbs-up. The cops reciprocated. The sentiment was fraternal. “We’re all weary, overtaxed working men,” they were saying to each other. “We’re on the same side.”

I concluded they were just what they were advertised to be: family men and women who couldn’t make ends meet and who were tired of Macron’s attitude. Why this protest, why now, I asked? The fuel tax was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, they said; it made the difference between “able to make ends meet, barely,” and “not able to make ends meet.” It had just been getting steadily worse every year since the economic crisis began. They had run out of hope.

Just FYI.

Actual news for a change

December 8th, 2018

NYT:

At a bail hearing in Vancouver for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei and a daughter of the company’s founder, Canadian prosecutors said she was accused of fraud. The heart of the charges related to how Ms. Meng may have personally participated in a scheme to trick American financial institutions into making transactions that violated United States sanctions against Iran, they said.

Ms. Meng had “direct involvement” with Huawei’s representations to banks, said John Gibb-Carsley, an attorney with Canada’s Justice Department.

The hearing shed light on an incident that has rattled the relationship between the United States and China. While changing planes in Vancouver on Dec. 1, Ms. Meng was arrested at the behest of the United States, which has for years looked into potential ties between Huawei and the Chinese government or Communist Party.

Her arrest occurred as the United States and China are about to enter negotiations to cease a brutal trade war. Because of Ms. Meng’s stature in China as a top executive and part of its elite, news of her arrest has rippled through the country.

With Ms. Meng, 46, seated inside a glass box at British Columbia’s Supreme Court, Mr. Gibb-Carsley laid out what had led to her arrest. He said that between 2009 and 2014, Huawei used a Hong Kong company called Skycom Tech to make transactions in Iran and do business with telecom companies there, in violation of American sanctions against Iran. Banks in the United States cleared financial transactions for Huawei, inadvertently doing business with Skycom, he said.

The banks were “victim institutions” of fraud by Ms. Meng, Mr. Gibb-Carsley said. In 2013, articles by Reuters alleged that Huawei was using Skycom to do business in Iran, and had attempted to import American-made computer equipment into the country, in violation of sanctions. Several financial institutions asked Huawei if the allegations were true, Mr. Gibb-Carsley said.

At the time, Ms. Meng arranged a meeting with an executive from one of the financial institutions, he said. During the meeting, she spoke through an English interpreter and presented PowerPoint slides in Chinese, saying that Huawei operated in Iran in strict compliance with United States sanctions. Ms. Meng explained that Huawei’s engagement with Skycom was part of normal business operations and that Huawei had once held shares in Skycom but had since sold them.

But there was no distinction between Skycom and Huawei, Mr. Gibb-Carsley said. Huawei operated Skycom as an unofficial subsidiary, making efforts to keep the connection between the companies secret.

Skycom employees used Huawei email addresses and had badges and letterhead featuring the Huawei logo, he said. Skycom documents showed that an entity to which the company was sold in 2009 was also controlled by Huawei until at least 2014, according to an affidavit read in court.

Ms. Meng’s presentation to the unnamed financial institution constituted fraud, Mr. Gibb-Carsley said.

A warrant for Ms. Meng’s arrest was issued in the Eastern District of New York on Aug. 22, he added. A Canadian justice then issued a warrant for Ms. Meng on Nov. 30 after it became known that she would change planes in Vancouver on her way from Hong Kong to Mexico.

Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the United States Justice Department, declined to comment on the charges revealed in court on Friday.

The accusations against Ms. Meng and Huawei are similar to ones that the United States government made in 2016 against ZTE, another large Chinese technology company. In that case, American officials released internal ZTE documents in which executives had described creating “cutoff companies” that would do business with Iran, North Korea and other nations placed under sanctions by the American government.

So we pretty much know the Magic 8 Ball answer: she picked a bad day to be changing planes in Canada. And ZTE in 2016, notice that? ZTE must have been doing really horrible things to get that attention, or maybe it just didn’t donate to the proper charitable foundation.

December 7th, the film

December 8th, 2018

Here’s an intro. Here’s the whole thing. In so many ways a much better country back then.