Archive for the 'General' Category

Where’s that Magic 8 Ball?

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Bloomberg is freaking out about that Chinese CFO’s arrest the other day: “Huawei is one of the world’s largest makers of telecom equipment, China’s most important technology company, and a national hero. The arrest of a senior executive at such a marquee company, over potential violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran, threatens to intensify the U.S.-China trade conflict just days after leaders had agreed a truce.” So what’s the real story – was the administration aware of an arrest occurring just when Trump and Xi were having a nice time? Watch this Kudlow interview where he says they didn’t know the arrest was going to happen, but seems fine with it. So what’s the real story? Here it is.

Something seems screwy and manipulated re: the “mysterious” markets

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

CNBC:

The stock market sell-off on Thursday began with a mysterious overnight plunge in equity futures that caused the CME Group to halt trading in several intervals. When futures opened for trading at 6:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the eMini S&P 500 futures fell as low as 1.8 percent in a sudden move on above average volume. The CME Group: Our equity index futures and options markets paused intermittently following this evening’s open due to volatility, which triggered more than 40 Velocity Logic events in the first six minutes of trading

1300 points in a couple of days, huh? This makes no sense, but it does remind us of the oil futures market manipulation of 2008, which sent the price up to $147 a barrel. Six months later it was under $40.

Thomas Lifson and others he quotes note the extremely strange timing of the unprecedented US arrest in Canada of the CFO of a $100 billion Chinese company, just when Trump and Xi were making nice. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to think that something nasty may be going on.

Gosh, and on the day before Pearl Harbor.

“It’s hard to overstate” the idiocy

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

WaPo:

Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record, scientists projected Wednesday, in the latest evidence of the chasm between international goals for combating climate change and what countries are actually doing. Between 2014 and 2016, emissions remained largely flat, leading to hopes that the world was beginning to turn a corner. Those hopes have been dashed. In 2017, global emissions grew 1.6 percent. The rise in 2018 is projected to be 2.7 percent.

The expected increase, which would bring fossil fuel and industrial emissions to a record high of 37.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, is being driven by nearly 5 percent emissions growth in China and more than 6 percent in India, researchers estimated, along with growth in many other nations throughout the world. Emissions by the United States grew 2.5 percent, while emissions by the European Union declined by just under 1 percent.

As nations are gathered for climate talks in Poland, the message of Wednesday’s report was unambiguous: When it comes to promises to begin cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change, the world remains well off target.

“We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change,” United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference, where countries will wrestle with the ambitious goals they need to meet to sharply reduce carbon emissions in coming years. “It is hard to overstate the urgency of our situation,” he added. “Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption.”

while most of the world remains firmly committed to the notion of tackling climate change, many countries are not on pace to meet their relatively modest Paris pledges.

(a) this report is from Poland, where genuine geniuses were giving speeches. (b) “modest Paris pledges” – oh you mean the kind that get Macron 26% approval amidst riots in Paris, causing the French government to roll back its own “modest Paris pledges”?

Update via Steyn: they are not just idiots but pretentious fools looking to cavort with the Davos types and worse. One must look down on the deplorables after all.

Ouch!!!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Paglia:

As a bumptious adolescent in upstate New York, I stumbled on a British collection of Oscar Wilde’s epigrams in a secondhand bookstore. It was an electrifying revelation, a text that I studied like the bible. What bold, scathing wit, cutting through the sentimental fog of those still rigidly conformist early 1960s, when good girls were expected to simper and defer.

But I never fully understood Wilde’s caustic satire of Victorian philanthropists and humanitarians until the present sludgy tide of political correctness began flooding government, education, and media over the past two decades. Wilde saw the insufferable arrogance and preening sanctimony in his era’s self-appointed guardians of morality.

We’re back to the hypocrisy sweepstakes, where gestures of virtue are as formalized as kabuki. Humor has been assassinated. An off word at work or school will get you booted to the gallows. This is the graveyard of liberalism, whose once noble ideals have turned spectral and vampiric.

Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. And on and on and on, even beyond what crimes the evil ones Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Esther Williams, Dinah Shore, etc. did with this. Horror of horrors!!!!!

The two universes, again and again

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

One bright line separating the universes is whether you think CO2 is Satan. Another is this collusion nonsense. A Venn diagram would probably show at least 90% overlap of the people on one side and the people on the other. We mention this after reading a remarkable VDH piece. We know in great detail now who all the crooks and creeps are, and what they’ve done. It is so very odd that the other side persists in its silliness about collusion, but then again it’s pretty silly to believe that CO2 is Satan. Finally, it is very disturbing to see just how corrupt the US government is at the highest levels.

Long excerpt from the VDH piece

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

From the post above:

So far, we know that the U.S. government decided to intervene in a political campaign to help one candidate and to smear the other — under the pretext of Russian “collusion.” And so it hired or made use of spies and informants including Hank Greenberg, Stefan Halper, Felix Sater, and others to contact Trump campaign officials to catch them in supposed collusion traps. It enlisted the help of foreign intelligence agencies, specifically the British and Australians. It misled FISA courts into granting warrants to spy on Americans and, post factum, threatened long prisons sentences with those surveilled and interviewed. And as a result, it has so far found no collusion but may well find some misleading statements in hundreds of hours of testimonies from the likes of Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, and perhaps Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone.

Mueller cannot fulfill the hype of the past 18 months, which forecast that the “all-stars,” the “dream-team,” and the Mueller “army” would make short work of the supposedly buffoonish Trump by proving that he colluded with Russia to swing an election. Collusion, remember, was hyped as doing what the Logan Act, the emoluments clause, the 25th Amendment, impeachment, media frenzy, and assassination-chic rhetoric had not.

By indicting a number of minor characters on charges that so far have nothing to do with collusion — for purported crimes mostly committed after the special-counsel appointment — Mueller has emphasized the quantity rather than the quality of indictments.

Mueller was tasked to find collusion (itself not a crime) committed during 2015 and 2016, not to prompt more purported crimes by setting perjury traps, and purported obstruction-of-justice liabilities. If in May 2017 the frenzied media had known that 18 months later Mueller would end up targeting the provocateur Roger Stone and Inforwars’ Jerome Corsi, it would have been sorely humiliated.

Mueller has already weaponized politics, making a crime out of the tawdry business of opposition research — but only sort of, since his interests in doing so are highly selective. And so his chief legacy will have little to do with whatever he finds on Donald Trump. He has already established the precedent that there is now no real equality under the law, at least as Americans once understood fair play and blind justice.

Once Mueller deviated from his prime directive of determining whether Donald Trump colluded — sought help from the Russian to win the 2016 election in exchange for the promise of later benefits — and turned to indicting political operatives for supposedly giving false testimonies about political shenanigans and engaging in illegal business practices, lobbying, and tax avoidance, he either knowingly or unknowingly established a precedent that the serial misdeeds of 2016 would be treated unequally under the law.

Russian Collusion: The 13 Russian nationals whom Mueller symbolically indicted will not come to the U.S. to face trial, and they will certainly not be extradited, a fact known by Mueller.

Yet Christopher Steele, a British subject and de facto unregistered foreign agent, is imminently indictable and extraditable. He was paid through two firewalls (Fusion GPS and Perkins Coie) by Hillary Clinton to tap Russian sources to compile a smear dossier on her opponent, with the intent of warping the U.S. election — a classic example of foreign-agent interference in an American campaign. If we were to take away that one purchased document, then the FISA court warrants, the informants, and all the CIA, FBI, and DOJ machinations would likely have disappeared or never arisen.

Obama-administration officials Bruce Ohr (whose wife worked on the dossier) at Justice, James Comey at the FBI, and John Brennan at the CIA all in some manner colluded with Steele, either directly or indirectly, to monitor the Trump campaign and then to seed the dossier among government agencies and courts, both to ensure its leakage and to brand it with a stamp of official seriousness, warranting investigations and media sensationalism.

Speaking of FBI informants, quite a different one has testified that Putin’s Russia had sent millions of dollars to a U.S. lobbying firm, in hopes of persuading Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to use her influence with federal officials to close the so-called Rosatom Uranium One deal. At roughly the same time, Bill Clinton was given a lucrative half-million-dollar fee for speaking in Moscow, while millions of dollars from Uranium One investors had poured into the Clinton Foundation — which after Clinton’s 2016 defeat has seen its contributions precipitously decline.

In another related matter of Russian collusion, Barack Obama in a hot-mic exchange with then–Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, in March 2012, eight months before Obama’s reelection, asked Medvedev to give Putin the assurance that if Putin would give Obama “space” during his reelection campaign, then Obama in turn would have “more flexibility” on issues such as missile defense “after my election.” That quid pro quo was clarified six months later when an unusually quiet Putin darkly announced to the world that any deployment of U.S.-led NATO missile-defense systems would be targeted against Russia in a Romney administration — as compared with the actions in supposedly less bellicose Obama presidency. And after expressing no interest in interfering in an American election, Putin clearly made it evident that he preferred an Obama victory.

Most observers now laugh off this entire sordid incident. But in the present climate, if Donald Trump had been caught in a similar hot-mic exchange with a top Russian official, and had Putin later expressed the idea that he preferred a Trump presidency to a Democratic one, and had U.S.-led missile-defense efforts abruptly stalled in Eastern Europe, then Robert Mueller would be hot on Trump’s trail — given that such an overt quid pro quo, benefiting a candidate’s reelection campaign, is far more explicit than anything Mueller’s 18-month investigation has yet turned up.

Perjury and False Testimony: Bruce Ohr filed a false federal disclosure affidavit, in that he did not reveal, as required, that his wife was employed by Fusion GPS to work on the Steele dossier. Nor did he disclose that after the election he had been in contact with Steele, offering his help in the effort to find proof of collusion.

James Comey, along with Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, and Sally Yates, at various times submitted requests to a FISA court that deliberately never disclosed that their chief evidence for such surveillance was 1) paid for by Hillary Clinton (instead, the applications claimed vaguely that it was a product of generic opposition research, likely and by design confusing its Republican-primary origins with its maturity under Clinton auspices), 2) used as a circular source for news accounts produced in turn to establish its fides, 3) unsubstantiated and either not fact-checked or found to be impossible to verify, 4) compiled by an author already dismissed by the FBI as a unreliable asset.

Either Andrew McCabe or James Comey has likely perjured himself; or both may have. Their conflicting testimonies about leaking information to the media, and the relative importance of the Steele dossier for FISA court warrants, cannot be reconciled.

Comey deliberately leaked memos of presidential conversations to a friend in the media; these memos were classified as secret or confidential and perhaps in at least one case actually contained classified info. His intent, according to his own testimony, was to alter the nature of a Department of Justice investigation by having a special counsel appointed. A short time later Robert Mueller, a friend and former working associate of Comey’s, was appointed as the special counsel.

John Brennan has never fully or honestly explained his conversations with Senator Harry Reid concerning the Steele dossier, or Reid’s purported version that Brennan was briefing Reid in order to make sure that such intelligence — leaked widely — would be seeded with the FBI. And the FBI has never explained whether, at the height of a presidential campaign, it hired informants to be inserted into the Trump campaign or to associate with minor Trump officials in order to draw them out about the Steele dossier or set perjury traps for them.

Brennan has never faced consequences for admittedly lying under oath to Congress about collateral drone damage and surveillance of Senate staff computers; James Clapper likewise admittedly lied to Congress about NSA surveillance and faced no consequences. Has any administration ever had its two top intelligence officials admit to lying under oath on matters of national policy and security, and with impunity to a congressional committee?

Both Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills likely lied to FBI investigators about the extent of their knowledge of Clinton’s private email server. In Orwellian fashion, FBI investigator Peter Strzok claimed that Abedin and Mills were not truthful to the federal investigators, while he concluded that General Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national-security adviser, had been.

Yet Flynn was targeted for giving false information to federal officials, while Abedin and Mills never were. Of course, Clinton herself lied when she insisted that she had transmitted no classified information over the server, and she destroyed over 30,000 emails Congress had subpoenaed — all without any criminal liability.

Nasty creatures at the top of government. Camille Paglia has a good piece addressing some of the same things from a different perspective.

Brain terminated

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

An address in Poland:

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he wishes he could travel back in time like the cyborg he played in “The Terminator” so he could stop fossil fuels from being used. “If we would’ve never started in that direction and used other technology, we’d be much better off,” the actor and former California governor said Monday at the start of a U.N. climate conference in Poland. “The biggest evil is fossil fuels: it’s coal, it’s gasoline, it’s the natural gas,” he told conference delegates.

Schwarzenegger also insisted that the United States was “still in” an international accord to curb global warming despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the agreement. Calling Trump “meshugge” – Yiddish for “crazy” – for abandoning the accord, Schwarzenegger said the 2015 agreement has widespread support at the local and state levels even if the federal government isn’t on board.

American states, cities, businesses and citizens can do a lot to curb global warming, and representatives from those arenas should be invited to next year’s climate conference, he told the audience in Poland. “And if you do that, I promise you: I’ll be back,” he said in another reference to “The Terminator.”

Schwarzenegger later told The Associated Press he has converted his signature Humvee trucks to run on hydrogen, electricity and biofuel and only allows himself to eat meat three days a week. “I mean, maybe it tastes delicious, but I think we should think then and there before we eat about the world and about the pollution,” he said. “So I discontinued eating meat four days a week. And eventually, maybe we’ll go to seven days”

Turns out this idiotic climate nonsense is a good dividing line between people who can think and those that can’t. Yup, you can predict quite a lot of where they stand on the silliest of PC world matters once you know if they think CO2 is Satan.

Bipartisan idiocy

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

PJ

A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers have teamed up on a bill that would put a price on carbon as a way to reduce pollution and curb climate change. The members that have signed onto the House version of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA) include Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), John Delaney (D-Md.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).

According to Deutch, the legislation seeks to “help reduce U.S. carbon pollution by 40 percent in 12 years, with a 91 percent reduction target by 2050 (vs. 2015 levels)” by pricing carbon at $15 per metric ton of CO2e and “increasing the price by $10 every year.” Annually, the Treasury Department “would return 100 percent of the net revenue back to the American people.” “The sea level rise is affecting our coastal communities and it is threatening real estate and clean water sources, shorter winters are impacting seasonal tourism,” Deutch said during a conference call on Monday evening.

“We’ve seen intensified hurricanes slamming into the southeastern U.S. and island territories and dry spells are leading to worse wildfires and harsher droughts – that is not some dystopian science fiction novel, these are the harsh facts of climate change that we are facing today,” he added.

“This bill won’t solve all of our problems. We’re not naive to think that it would. And starting on Day One of the 116th Congress, we look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans alike to consider other parts of the climate change challenge like encouraging R&D and renewable energy options focusing on energy efficiency,” he said. “This a complex, difficult challenge but we cannot be the generation that allows it to become a runaway train. It’s time to put on the brakes.”

The Republican lawmakers were unable to join the press call and did not appear at the news conference about the bill, but they issued statements in support of the legislation.

“Since my first day in Congress, I have committed to finding solutions that mitigate the effects of climate change,” Fitzpatrick said. “We must take a bipartisan, market-driven approach to reduce carbon emissions, which are contributing to atmospheric change, rising sea levels, and more intense natural disasters. I am confident that bipartisan efforts to preserve our environment and protect our way of life for future generations will ultimately succeed.

The link above is a WaPo story about this idiot Fitzpatrick. Excerpt: “He supports a carbon tax and voted against the Affordable Care Act repeal effort last year. He was against the White House’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries. He supports a path to citizenship for ‘dreamers,’ the undocumented immigrants brought here as children. He opposed family separations at the border. He supports gun-control measures and has an F rating from the NRA. He didn’t vote for Trump in 2016.”

We always want to ask these fools our favorite questions: (a) to the nearest 1%, what is the percentage of CO2 in 100 parts air? Answer: 0%. (b) to the nearest 1% what is the percentage of CO2 in 1000 parts of air? Answer: 0%. It would be jolly good fun to hear their answers.

Growth slows significantly in China

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

WSJ

the official manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 50.0 in November—the threshold between expansion and contraction. November’s reading is slightly below October’s level and lower than some economists expected.

The reading adds to a picture of a Chinese economy that is slowing broadly—something that President Trump has said puts the U.S. in a stronger position to negotiate concessions from China in their trade battle. Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to discuss the trade friction when they meet for dinner Saturday following a summit of the Group of 20 major economies.

The trade trouble—and the U.S. plan to raise tariffs in January to 25%, from 10%—are weighing on growth and business sentiment, making a resolution to the tensions important for China if it is to avoid a sharp downturn, some economists said.

“If China can convince the U.S. to put off the plan to raise tariffs or even put it on hold, I’d call that a success for Beijing,” said Tommy Xie, an economist at OCBC. He said Beijing is likely to hit its 6.5% growth target for this year, given that industrial output and manufacturing investment are still holding up, but higher tariffs would hit businesses hard next year.

Downward pressure on foreign trade has increased in recent months, amid slower global economic growth and the uncertainties created by the trade fight, said Zhao Qinghe, an analyst with the government’s National Statistics Bureau. Recent weakness in some commodities prices also weighed on sentiment, Mr. Zhao said in a statement accompanying Friday’s data release.

Indicators that measure demand for exports and imports remained stuck in contractionary territory for the fifth straight month. While the new export-order subindex ticked up to 47.0 from 46.9, the new import subindex fell to 47.1 from 47.6.

Other measures for production and new orders pointed down too. Outside of manufacturing, weakness in construction outweighed strength in services, dragging the official nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index to 53.4 in November, from 53.9 in October—the lowest level in 15 months.

The soft patch of growth is the worst since mid-2016 when dollops of credit and a real-estate pickup revived the economy. This time around, government efforts to curb risky lending and high corporate debt have combined with tariffs and the threat of a trade war to bring down growth faster than Chinese leaders expected.

This is a noteworthy slowdown. Perhaps we’ll have something to add shortly. Meanwhile, here’s a look at Xi’s G20 team.

Update via WSJ: “The U.S.-China truce over tariffs was greeted with relief across much of Asia as two largest economies eased concerns over a possible a new Cold War.” Cold War??? What kind of nonsense is that?

A long, long, long year and a half, and no end in sight

Friday, November 30th, 2018

The following is a reprint of a bit from June 2017. It was meant to poke fun at Comey and his lame and smug religiosity, having written a religious themed senior thesis in college. The smugness is all the worse, since he’s such a creepy guy, having gone after a long ago colleague of ours in a case that was, of course, overturned on appeal. Roger Kimball has a piece on Mueller’s never ending soap opera, showing that he and his colleagues are in a competition to determine who is creepiest of them all. These people are appalling criminals of the highest order and they all should be in jail. Anyway, here’s the flashback:

In 2003, Comey went after Martha Stewart for lying; William Safire was fit to be tied:

Instead of focusing on what the case is about, Comey told a rapt press conference: “‘This case is about lying’ – to investigators and to investors. “Lying” is a harsh word; I used it myself about Mrs. Clinton’s congenital falsification. But “perjury” is a much harsher word, meaning “lying under oath.” Martha Stewart has not been accused of perjury.”

In 2004, Comey opposed George Bush’s warrantless surveillance program, and had this to say to the President: “‘Here I stand; I can do no other’.” In 2017, Comey had a meeting with another President, and said this about its alleged objective: “‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'” Huh? Martin Luther and Thomas à Becket? (If your college senior thesis is on Reinhold Niebuhr and Jerry Falwell, your brain is already somewhat scrambled.)

Now let’s compare accounts of the 2004 and 2017 meetings (somebody call Jack Cashill):

(a) Bush stood as the meeting ended, crossing behind Cheney’s chair. Comey moved in the opposite direction, on his way out. He had nearly reached the grandfather clock at the door when the president said, “Jim, can I talk to you for a minute?” This time the vice president was not invited.

(b) The President signaled the end of the briefing by thanking the group and telling them all that he wanted to speak to me alone. I stayed in my chair. As the participants started to leave the Oval Office, the Attorney General lingered by my chair, but the President said he wanted to speak only with me. When the door by the grandfather clock closed, the President began

John Hinderaker (great research BTW) makes the point that Comey was lying in his Senate testimony when he said he only kept detailed records of his meetings with the Trumpster, which is obviously false as the eerily similar and 13 years apart (a) and (b) above illustrate. Also we note that unlike Martha Stewart, Comey apparently made his statements under oath. Final comment: we agree with Mark Steyn that this fellow is incredibly weird.

Update: This piece by Thomas Lifson shows pervasive bipartisan creepiness.

Don’t tell the astronaut

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Happy 144. Shhhhh. Don’t tell the astronaut.

A little soundtrack fun

Friday, November 30th, 2018

We had Sink the Bismarck playing in the brain as we were taking our jog. Here’s a nice piece on it. Excerpt: “In 1960-61, I was a senior at Mt. Lebanon High School and preparing for college. When not preparing to further my education, I ran cross country and listened to music. The top 5-tunes of that year were Tossin’ And Turnin’ by Bobby Lewis, I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Cline, Michael by Highwaymen, Cryin’ by Roy Orbison, and Runaway by Del Shannon. However, I was still enamored by Johnny Horton’s Sink the Bismarck that was also very popular that year.” Cool.

Update from the RINO-in-Chief. Good money in that RINO stuff from the Usual Suspects. Ugh.

Public companies shouldn’t do this

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Here’s a piece on Twitter’s CEO saying things that are obviously untrue – to Congress. At the moment its PE is 23x. We’ve been down this road before, watching some of the FANG CEOs say the most ridiculous things – untruths that even General Motors couldn’t get away with, back in the day. Hey, SEC, wake up: you’ve got a job to do.

How much is tuition? – It’s way too little if Williams has a BA in comedy

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Apparently Williams College students have a lot of time on their hands:

Recently, a petition has circulated throughout the faculty urging the College to adopt a statement released by the University of Chicago in 2015, which claims to defend the right to “free speech and free expression” on college campuses. The authors of the Williams petition assert that “while there is an understandable desire to protect our students from speech they find offensive, doing so risks putting down legitimate dialogue and failing to prepare our students to deal effectively with a diversity of opinions, including views they might vehemently disagree with.” We, the undersigned, take grave issue with the premises of this petition and the potential harm it may inflict upon our community.

We are at once angered by the context in which this petition has emerged and highly critical of its content. This process is not only engaged against Williams College’s Mission and Principles, but also against those of the petition itself. Not allowing students into the discussion and circulation of the petition limits the potential for conflicting viewpoints and is thus completely antithetical to a free speech premise. According to the college’s Mission Statement, “Faculty members invite students to become partners in the process of intellectual discovery.” We see none of this. With increasingly visible violence towards those most marginalized by our society, why is this discussion happening now? “Free Speech,” as a term, has been co-opted by right-wing and liberal parties as a discursive cover for racism, xenophobia, sexism, anti-semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and classism.

The creation of this petition at Williams cannot be separated from those dehumanizing associations. Nor can it be separated from a national pattern where certain amendments are upheld and protected at all costs and others are completely denigrated, ignored, and targeted. Take the privileging of the 2nd amendment over the 14th amendment, for example. Mirroring this harmful prioritization, Williams’ sudden and urgent need to protect “free speech” over all other issues for students and community members is evidence of white fragility, ideological anxiety, and discursive violence. This petition and the Chicago Statement are purely semantics and posturing. Why can’t we actually have a campus-wide discussion on this issue, one that is not dominated by conservative and white faculty? Can this instead be an opportunity to take a critical eye to how free speech is constructed and weaponized at institutions like Williams?

We would like to draw attention to specific elements of the petition. The use of “controversy” in the piece is oversimplified and reductive. The petition prioritizes the protection of ideas over the protection of people and fails to recognize that behind every idea is a person with a particular subjectivity. Our beliefs, and the consequences of our actions, are choices we make. Any claim to the “protection of ideas” that is not founded in the insurance of people’s safety poses a real threat – one which targets most pointedly marginalized people. An ideology of free speech absolutism that prioritizes ideas over people, giving “deeply offensive” language a platform at this institution, will inevitably imperil marginalized students.

And while the University of Chicago statement says that students “may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject,” the issue is that these are not views we reject; they are views that reject us, and our very right to speak/breathe. The UChicago Statement, in failing to see this, has rejected our right to counter-protest, to “interfere.” Thus, our rights protected by the 1st amendment are eradicated by a petition that claims to support “free speech.” This document does not promote free speech: it punishes it. In a time when members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are asking for activists to be tried under the Patriot Act, and counter-terrorism legislation has continued to increase world governments’ abilities to violently deny the right to peaceful protest, the College cannot support and thereby strengthen such absolute, reckless, and dangerous policies.

Whom does this campus prioritize, and whom does this statement truly aim to protect? John Derbyshire is a self-proclaimed “racist” and “homophobe” who was invited to speak at Williams by Uncomfortable Learning in 2016. He wrote an article proclaiming, among many other atrocious, untrue things, that “the mean intelligence of Blacks is much lower than for whites” and adamant advice like “do not attend events likely to draw a lot of Blacks.” Adam Falk disinvited him to campus, but a free speech absolutism policy, like the one in this petition, would have limited the President and allowed Derbyshire to spew homophobia and anti-Black racism on campus.

To quote Aiyana Porter at last week’s Black Student Union town hall, “John Derbyshire literally said that Black people are not humans. I’m not going to consider that in my classroom. Who are we okay with making uncomfortable? Why are we so driven to making those particular people uncomfortable? If we are so insistent on making them uncomfortable, then we at least need some institutional support to get through all of the discomfort that you are thrusting upon us.” Williams College continually fails to support its most marginalized students, staff, and faculty members, despite claiming to have a deep commitment to “diversity.” Cheryl Shanks’ letter to the editor states that “To sign on to this statement is not to reject safe spaces. The College should allow for, and even provide, safe spaces. In fact, it does.”

As noted by dozens of students at the BSU town hall and the phenomenal letter released this week by Professors Love and Green, this is simply untrue: many students with marginalized identities feel as if the College does not provide adequate support for them. Students of color feel tokenized in entries, CSS has a history of racist actions, queer faculty of color are subjected to racism and homophobia/transphobia, minority students lack autonomous space, etc. If we are to engage in this discussion, let us take a critical lens to the ways that “free speech” has been leveraged to silence dissent, not strengthen it.

1300 words of gibberish, even given that we acknowledge the minor character Derbyshire as somewhat controversial. Tuition and room and board currently run about $300,000 for a BA and BTW the college offers no BA in comedy writing. We’d like to have clever and humorous things to say about this nonsense, but the writers and their confrères are the up and coming voters of today. Big sigh.

Miscellany

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

So Powell’s backing off aggressive talk on interest rates and the market approved. Interesting interview of Thomas Sowell. A picture of the grotesque world of Sunni in Saudi Arabia (and Shia as well), with commentary from Thomas Lifson. Finally, newfound weird knowledge, that Henry Ford ran for the Senate in 1918. Weird.

There’s money pretty much only in anti-Trump TV news so far, but what if?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Blah blah Manafort, whoever he is. Nonsense stories day after day after day. We posted Trump’s radical but correct takedown of Mueller, and our thought was: is there no VC or PE firm that would fund a “deplorables TV channel”? It could make direct appeal to the stinky WalMart shoppers, etc.

We know Fox is considered conservative, and some of the hosts, particularly Hannity with 3MM viewers, are serious Trump supporters. But that enthusiasm is an exception, and Fox does a lot of Establishment stuff.

Trump got 62,979,879 votes in 2016, says disapproving CNN. But imagine a channel that did not want to pretend that it was a “fair and balanced” vehicle, but is non-stop pro-Trump (except for the occasional “oops” moments) and pro-America in that traditional sense.

US viewers watch 5 hours of TV a day, that’s quite a lot. Suppose you had pro-deplorable content for oldsters, combined with multi PragerU educational and instructional video lectures for youngsters. Conservatives, or should we say, most all regular Americans except for the last 20-30 years, would have a 24/7 place to relax and learn, and to, very importantly, teach western Europe, China, much of Africa and Asia, etc…

Final point: since CNN and its brethren’s coverage of Trump is 92% negative, there ought to be a sizeable market for a media company that defines itself as opposition.

We’ll ask some we know in the VC and PE worlds. and we’ll be happily surprised if there’s interest.

Huh?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Clarida via WSJ:

The focus on productivity growth is important because if the capacity of workers to produce goods and services improves, Fed officials may not have to worry as much about an acceleration in inflation when other indicators suggest less slack across the economy. This, in turn, would mean they wouldn’t need to pick up the pace of rate increases to prevent the economy from overheating.

At the same time, higher productivity growth might also raise estimates of the so-called neutral interest rate, or the level that should prevail over the long run. That would mean officials would have to raise rates higher than otherwise to reach a level that neither spurs nor slows growth.

First paragraph good, second sounds like gibberish. Powell speaks tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Wow

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Via GP:

The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other. Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue. The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his terrible Gang of Angry Democrats. Look at their past, and look where they come from. The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives. Where is the Server? Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and “Justice” Department!

So you’ve got this guy and his supporters on one side, and the 92% media and their Dem subsidiary on the other side, as well as the mousy R’s who care way more about pleasant DC dinner parties than fighting a fight for the soul of the country and equality in applying the rule of law. VDH has a very good piece citing example after example of one guy fighting the entire Establishment. Hell of a civil war. Who will win?

Stupid is as stupid does

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Typical story:

Emmanuel Macron has lashed out at demonstrators who clashed with police in Paris during the latest protests sparked by rising fuel prices. “Shame on those who attacked” officers, he tweeted. “There is no place for violence in the Republic.” There was chaos on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday as police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters.More than 100,000 people took part in about 1,600 protests across France on Saturday, the interior ministry said. Most passed off peacefully – except in the capital, where 8,000 demonstrators gathered. On Tuesday, Mr Macron is due to address the nation and announce new measures as part of a speech on ecological transition. He is expected to mention the protests and call for nationwide “grassroot debates” on government policies.

“Ecological transition,” what could that mean? It means this idiot has bought into the global warming nonsense, and is taking it out on the people. It is hilarious in its way that this TIME story calls Macron a “pro-business centrist.” Right. It’s not until the last line of the story that you learn putting gas in your car in Paris runs you $7.06 a gallon.

Another reason not to watch the Sunday shows

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

A senator who ran for president:

The debate is over about the reality of climate change and the incredible and costly harm it’s going to do to this country. We’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage that we’re going to have to pay for. Second of all, I think it is very clear that we have got to bring our people together to address this terribly important issue and it is amazing to me that we have an administration right now that still considers climate change to be a hoax, who is not sure about whether it is manmade.

We have got to rally the American people and economically I happen to believe Margaret, that when you move to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, you’re going to create millions of decent paying jobs and lessen the costs of the damage that climate change will do to our country and around the world. But this is not- this is not an issue where we have you know, where we can debate. The reality is real. The scientific community has made it 100% clear that this is a major crisis facing this country and our planet. And we have got to be bold and aggressive in standing up to the greed of the fossil fuel industry. We’re more concerned about short term profits than the planet we’re leaving our kids and our grandchildren.

Very profitable hoax.