Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

LinkSwarm for October 24, 2016

Monday, October 24th, 2016

The latest Clinton Corruption update pushed the LinkSwarm to Monday:

  • National Review published Victor Davis Hanson’s endorsement of Donald Trump. And the moon became as blood…
  • Trump leading in poll that has best track record over last three elections.”

    The poll with the best track record over the last three presidential elections gave Donald Trump a 2-percentage-point edge over Hillary Clinton on Saturday.

    The Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP tracking poll has Trump with 42.1 percent and Clinton at 39.7 percent.

  • Thoughts on #NeverTrump: “They are putting a great volume of energy into bringing about a disaster, for which they will not take any ownership.”
  • No one trusts the media anymore. “Only one in nine Americans believes that Hillary Clinton is ‘honest and trustworthy.’ They don’t trust the media’s cover-up of her misdeeds, and the cover-up of the cover-up of the cover-up.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Why I Now Feel Compelled To Vote For Trump“:

    More than anything, I can’t sit idly by and allow these perpetrators of fraud to celebrate and leak tears of joy like they did when they helped elect Barack Obama in 2008. I have to know I weighed in not only in writing but in the voting booth. The media needs to be destroyed. And although voting for Trump won’t do it, it’s something. Essentially, I am voting for Trump because of the people who don’t want me to, and I believe I must register my disgust with Hillary Clinton.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • And speaking of media bias, the Rolling Stone campus rape hoax case goes to trial. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Here’s a New Yorker piece on the failure of the Euro. It provides a good, but incomplete, overview of the Euro’s failure (nowhere does it note that Europe’s cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable, and it fails to note that none of the nations practicing “austerity” in southern Europe have cut outlays to match receipts). And the myopic policy prescription offered is, of course, more central planning. But there are some good bits. Like this:

    The U.S. unemployment rate hit ten per cent for a single month in 2009 and is now below five per cent; the eurozone unemployment rate hit ten per cent around the same time, and is still in double digits. In some European countries, youth unemployment is more than forty per cent. America’s economy is bigger than it was when the crisis hit. The eurozone’s is smaller. To take just one example, Italy, the third-largest economy in the eurozone, has a per-capita G.D.P. that’s lower than it was at the end of the last century.

    Also this:

    Stiglitz observes that if the countries that committed to the single currency in 1992 had known what they know now, and if people had had the chance to vote on the proposal, “it is hard to see how they could have supported it.” That’s a hell of an indictment.

  • Hey, remember how we were told California’s assisted suicide law would only apply to terminally ill people who wanted to die? Now insurance companies are enouraging suicide rather than pay for life-extending drug treatments.
  • Even The New York Times figures out that new gun laws wouldn’t prevent most mass shootings.
  • Russia is conducting nuclear survival drills. (WSJ hoops apply.) Good thing we have Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama running things rather than that warmonger Bush… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • College isn’t for everyone:

    But if you’re not sure yet what you want to do, then take time to decide before you spend $30,000, $50,000, or $100,000 you don’t have for something you don’t need. In the meantime, start working. You’ll probably only find low-paying, hard-working jobs at first, but guess what? If you go to college, you’ll be working those same jobs when you get out, only you’ll be four years older and fifty grand poorer.

  • Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have discovered a chemical reaction to turn CO2 into ethanol. Better idea than corn subsidies…
  • The Large Hadron Collider “nightmare scenario has come true:

    For the last ten years you’ve been told that the LHC must see some new physics besides the Higgs because otherwise nature isn’t “natural” – a technical term invented to describe the degree of numerical coincidence of a theory. I’ve been laughed at when I explained that I don’t buy into naturalness because it’s a philosophical criterion, not a scientific one. But on that matter I got the last laugh: Nature, it turns out, doesn’t like to be told what’s presumably natural.

  • Hamilton County, Tennessee doesn’t monitor parole tracking devices outside business hours. A good thing people never commit parole violations nights and weekends… (Hat tip: Fark.)
  • This just in: Democratic Representative Shelia Jackson Lee is still an idiot.
  • AT&T trying to buy Time Warner. I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
  • Internet-connected CCTV cameras made by Chinese firm Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology seemed to make up the heart of the botnet used in Friday’s DDoS attack.
  • Yuan hits all time low against the dollar.
  • Microsoft Surface sucks.
  • Texas is goat country.
  • Venezuela Re-institutes Slavery

    Monday, August 1st, 2016

    On June 2, 1816, Simon Bolivar landed in Venezuela and declared all slaves in Spanish America free. In 2016, the “Bolivarian Revolution” in Venezuela reinstitued slave labor on farms:

    Venezuelan ministry last week announced Resolution No. 9855, which calls for the establishment of a “transitory labor regime” in order to relaunch the agricultural and food sector. The decree says that the government must do what is “necessary to achieve strategic levels of self-sufficiency,” and states that workers can be forcefully moved from their jobs to work in farm fields or elsewhere in the agricultural sector for periods of 60 days.

    (Hat tip: Instaundit.)

    I’m sure if you went into Houston’s Fifth Ward or Atlanta’s south side and announced “Hey, due to a food emergency, we’re going to need to put you back on the plantations. But it’s only for 60 days!” I’m sure they’d be totally understanding…

    This follows months of food riots. Animals are starving to death in Venezuela’s zoos because they can’t afford to feed them. “Danta from the Caricuao zoo died from hunger.” There you go, liberals: An animal with a name! Now we just wait for all that spontaneous outrage…

    Danta Tapir

    So what is country whose people are literally starving due to the Magic Power of Socialism™ to do? Why, institute censorship, of course! And why reform your failing socialist econmy when you can threaten to arrest international executives because their local factories can’t produce goods due to a lack of raw materials?

    Leftist leaders around the world love proclaiming “Socialism or Death!” But as Venezuela proves yet again, socialism is death…

    First Day of DNC Makes RNC Look Like A Lovefest

    Monday, July 25th, 2016

    You’ve probably already heard that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned for leaked DNC emails showing the whole DNC was in the tank for Hillary as deeply as we already knew, and that she instantly accepted a position with the Clinton campaign, going from a de facto shill to a de jour one.

    How popular is Schultz? Her own Florida Democratic delegation booed her at their morning breakfast.

    But the booing didn’t end there! California’s Democratic delegation booed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    In the background of an MSNBC interview, people (presumably Bernie Sanders supporters) chant “Lock her up!”.

    The boos didn’t end at the main stage either. “Sanders supporters booed loudly at virtually every mention of Hillary Clinton’s name and at other times, defiantly led chants of ‘Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!'”

    The logistics do not seem designed to cool tempers either. “It’s about a 30-minute walk and not the most pleasant experience in near-100-degree temperatures.” Reporters are saying the Philadelphia DNC has the worst logistics they’ve seen at any national convention.

    James Woods tweeted this:

    Finally, Ace of Spades offers up the convention schedule the DNC deserves.

    “How to Bank $200 Million as a Public
    Servant and claim to be broke”
    Hillary Clinton
    4:45 PM

    All in all, the DNC is making the boos that greeted Ted Cruz’s RNC speech look like whatever the big story was on December 6, 1941…

    Now a glimpse at a far more august political occasion:

    LinkSwarm for July 11, 2016

    Monday, July 11th, 2016

    I was busy buying books this weekend, so I couldn’t keep up with all the horrific police shootings. So that dominates the top of today’s LinkSwarm:

  • Remember that #BlackLivesMatter is being funded by liberal billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer.
  • Creating hatred against white people and against police has been the major accomplishing of Black Lives Matter since its inception in 2014.”
  • To that end, Heather McDonald’s new book The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe looks like it could be interesting.
  • 43% of America’s cop killers are black.
  • “Until blacks start changing these pathologies, the whole ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, with its insistence that everyone has to change except for blacks themselves is nothing more than Progressive kabuki theater aimed at diverting attention from the fact that Democrats are facilitating self-destructive behaviors in the black community and that blacks are using the Democrat propaganda machine as an excuse to avoid the terrible (but not insurmountable) challenges that really claim black lives.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • More on the same theme:

    Who, exactly, is in charge of these cities and city agencies about which African Americans do have many legitimate complaints? Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago: Not exactly famous enclaves of conservative Republican political dominance. Because Dallas is in Texas, people sometimes forget that it is a city like any other American city, and Democrat-dominated. In Dallas, as in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Detroit, that Democrat domination is due in great part to a black Democratic voting bloc.

    Eventually, someone is going to figure out that the black progressives protesting municipal arrangements in places such as Baltimore are protesting the municipal arrangements created by black progressives working for the interests of the Democratic party. Dallas’s racial politics aren’t as one-sided as Detroit’s, and neither are its party politics; it is Democratic, but not as lopsidedly Democratic as, say, Philadelphia. It even has had a Republican mayor (the office is technically nonpartisan) within living memory. No doubt somebody in Dallas already is trying to figure out a way to blame that mayor for the murder of those five police officers.

  • “Friends and family tell us that Alton Sterling was a great guy. That may well be the case, but he is also a convicted sex offender felon with a violent temper, who had six arrests for battery, two domestic violence charges, multiple illegal weapons charges, and who had fought with police over weapons before.”
  • The Curious Case of Philando Castile. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Majority of Americans disapprove of the decision not to charge Hillary Clinton over EmailGate. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Maybe that’s why Trump is up two points over Clinton in the latest Rasmussen poll. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Czech President calls for EU, NATO referendums.
  • Fascinating story on a history of the mob in Houston.
  • Mickey Kaus examines who Trump should pick as VP.
  • “Quantitative easing only works when you’re the only country doing it.”
  • “More than 100 Nobel laureates have a message for Greenpeace: Quit the G.M.O.-bashing.”
  • Mass-shootings have declined so much that the left has had to redefine what a “mass shooting” is.
  • Important safety tip: Don’t breast-feed your children while doing cocaine. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • 12 die in Java gridlock during Ramadan.
  • Ted Cruz staffs up for a 2020 Presidential run.
  • Members of Donna ISD school board convicted of extortion. (Previously.)
  • SuperGenius tries to rob gas station, ends up shooting himself in the groin. I also wonder if he’s the towering intellect that managed to clip his own driver’s side mirror at the pump in the video…
  • There’s an anime series that follows the lives of teenage girls who are also assault rifles. Oh Japan, don’t ever change…
  • What’s Happening to Italy’s Banking System?

    Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

    Yesterday’s Brexit roundup mentioned that Italian banks account for nearly half the bad loans for the entire Eurozone.

    Italy is now the heads-on favorite as the most likely instigator of the next global economic crisis. Some analysts are calling it a perfect storm:

    Italy’s bank bailout fund might not be enough to beat back the Brexit. More key Italian financial services firms are under pressure and face the potential need to raise capital, leaving Italian government officials and its banking system trying to steer clear of a crisis.

    As Italian bank bonds and share prices are seeing their value slammed in the face of rising uncertainty, banks with substantial bad loans are facing greater pressure, with rates around the world slipping into negative territory.

    And, of course, they’re blaming Brexit rather than all the myriad problems with the EU that caused the Brexit.

    Italy’s bank bailout fund might not be enough to beat back the Brexit. More key Italian financial services firms are under pressure and face the potential need to raise capital, leaving Italian government officials and its banking system trying to steer clear of a crisis.

    As Italian bank bonds and share prices are seeing their value slammed in the face of rising uncertainty, banks with substantial bad loans are facing greater pressure, with rates around the world slipping into negative territory. It’s an anxiety some in Italy and throughout the European Union may have been hoping would be eased by the Brexit vote last month — but then the U.K. referendum delivered the opposite outcome from the one they had sought.

    “Market volatility following the U.K.’s EU referendum result hit the Italian bank sector particularly hard because it is one of Europe’s weakest,” Fitch Ratings analysts said in a July 4 report. “Asset quality pressure is a main driver for the negative outlooks on several large and medium-sized Italian banks.”

    The Brexit vote, which calls for the United Kingdom to abandon a European Union that has careened for years from one crisis to another, could hasten weak Italian banks’ downfall. It was widely expected that European and U.K. banks will suffer the brunt of the vote in late June, and while British banks have been hard hit by the news — which brings with it tremendous regulatory uncertainty — EU banks have suffered as well.

    Many banks in Italy, including its largest, UniCredit SpA, have seen share prices pounded; its stock is down more than 60 percent so far this year. A staffer at UniCredit could not provide comment when contacted.

    Already, Italian officials and executives appear to be pulling out all the stops to stave off banking sector contagion. The lingering question for banks is whether they can continue to support lending operations at a time when creditors face potential losses and as some of the country’s leading financial services firms could be subject to shotgun M&A marriages by regulators.

    Italian financial services firms earlier this year established a multi-billion dollar fund called Atlante to buy non-performing bank loans. But the fund, which is in the 4-billion euro to 6-billion euro range ($4.43 billion to $6.65 billion), one analyst said, is far too small to cover all the non-performing loans held by major Italian banks. However, the fund could still be leveraged in order to support loan purchases.

    “The authorities need to get banks to remove a large portion of soured loans from their books so they can loan more,” said Julien Jarmoszko, senior research manager at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “If investors fear more Italian banks, this will raise their cost of capital and reduce lending as a result.”

    Look for some sort of holding action for temporary recapitalization (including a “bail in” or some sort of ECB scheme) to let all the insiders dump their bad debts onto the European taxpayer, which was the real point of prolonging the Greek farce.

    More news on that front:

  • Atlante already took control of Veneto Banca after “a €1bn capital increase demanded by EU bank regulators attracted zero interest.” And Atlante may have to tap pension funs for further recapitalization.
  • Italy has also banned short-selling of imploding Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA. That’s never a good sign, and it never works for long.
  • “It’s bad – non-performing bank loans have risen to 18%. At 10%, most banks are technically bankrupt. That’s the percentage of capital and pledged deposits they have against bad loans. Our pledged deposits, not theirs. At 18%, they’re no longer “technically” bankrupt. They ARE bankrupt! Greece still has bad or non-performing bank loans of 34%, Ireland 19% and Portugal 12%. And we haven’t seen the next serious financial crisis yet.”
  • And bank bailouts could hit Italian sovereign debt right in the bond ratings. “Italian ratings are already at BBB- for S&P, though we must also add that DBRS still ranks the country at AL. Still, if these ratings start to come under pressure from the agencies, this could lead to speculation that Italy may eventually fall out of the investment grade bucket. This would have a major impact – in the first place in terms of the eligibility of Italian bonds for the PSPP.” That’s the European Central Bank’s public sector purchase program.
  • Of course, when push comes to shove, we’re likely to see all sorts of banking rules get thrown out the window…

    Labour, Brexit, and the Left-Wing Revolt Against Global Elites

    Monday, June 27th, 2016

    Among the more interesting storylines to emerge after the Brexit vote was how Labour blew it. Despite having a leadership far more Europhilic and in favor of transnational statist government than even Tory insiders, Labour’s support of Remain was markedly tepid, starting right at the top with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:

    Less than a month before the historic EU referendum, the team assembled by Cameron to keep Britain in the European Union was worried about wavering Labour voters and frustrated by the opposition leader’s lukewarm support. Remain campaign operatives floated a plan to convince Corbyn to make a public gesture of cross-party unity by appearing in public with the prime minister. Polling showed this would be the “number one” play to reach Labour voters.

    Senior staff from the campaign “begged” Corbyn to do a rally with the prime minister, according to a senior source who was close to the Remain campaign. Corbyn wanted nothing to do with the Tory leader, no matter what was at stake. Gordon Brown, the Labour prime minister whom Cameron vanquished in 2010, was sent to plead with Corbyn to change his mind. Corbyn wouldn’t. Senior figures in the Remain camp, who included Cameron’s trusted communications chief Craig Oliver and Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign guru, were furious.

    So to Corbyn, a vote many in Labour leadership regarded as the most important in their lifetime took a backseat to his bitter hatred of even appearing with the Tories. “An old school socialist, the Labour leader had in the past attacked the EU as an undemocratic, corporatist conspiracy that threatened workers’ rights. He never looked the part to save Cameron in a referendum the Conservative leader brought on himself.”

    From the same piece:

    Hardened by close-run contests in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and last year’s general election, the strategists running Stronger In decided to follow the playbook that worked in those campaigns, particularly the 2015 Conservative sweep, and focus mainly on economic security.

    It failed spectacularly. The depth of public anger over the influx of workers from other EU countries, and more broadly the rejection of political and business elites, was more significant than they had anticipated.

    Also this:

    Internal polling found just weeks before June 23 one in five Labour voters did not know the party’s position in the referendum. As party aides canvassed voters around the country, they discovered a deep well of concern about immigration.

    Labour leadership no doubt found it quite shocking that so many traditional Labour strongholds voted in favor of Brexit. There were also a small but notable number of Labour MPs who supported Brexit. Some hail from those same hinterland locales that voted for Brexit, and thus could be said to actually represent the wishes of their constituents (try to contain your shock).

    But Labour MP Kate Hoey represents a constituency smack dab against the south bank of the Themes in central London, an area that voted heavily to Remain. Yet Hoey was an early and notable voice for Brexit:

    I’m tired of people thinking that only those on the right of politics are Eurosceptic. This is far from true.

    The reputation of the EU has fallen sharply among many on the Left. The sight of the EU establishment imposing unprecedented levels of austerity on Greece was a real wake-up call. This was not a benign political institution guaranteeing social protection and international solidarity, but an unaccountable force bringing crippling pain on a people who cannot hope to repay the loans that are recapitalising their banks.

    Meanwhile, the EU is willing to require ever-greater sacrifice to living standards in order to keep the Euro and the wider European “Project” moving forwards. Ever closer Union is what is on the tin – and even if the words are removed to satisfy the Prime Minister, the contents will still be the same.

    The Labour Party has traditionally had a sceptical view of the European institutions. From Attlee to Foot, and until the late 1980s, Labour was predominantly Eurosceptic – but then, following three Thatcher victories, many on the Left looked desperately to Europe to block her policies. Wise Labour voices like Peter Shore and Tony Benn, however, argued that democratic faith in the wisdom of the public was a better guarantor than the benevolence of transitory political elites. They have been proved right as the EU is no longer motivated by Jacques Delors’ ‘Social Europe’, but is increasingly out of touch with the needs of its people.

    Familiar voices try to scare us into believing that leaving the EU would ruin the UK, but these are the same people who told us that we had to join the Euro or face disaster. We stayed out of the Euro and have therefore been spared much of the chaos of that unsustainable currency – but we still give £7.3 billion net a year of our money to the EU.

    How can we protect civil liberties when the EU forces on us unaccountable extraditions through the European Arrest Warrant? How can we ensure the jobs and growth that we need when vital contracts for work go to preferred bidders on the continent and not to British firms? How can we preserve and improve our public services when the Services Directives help force the privatisation of the Royal Mail and EU rules against state aid will make it almost impossible to renationalise the railways? TTIP is a gift to the multi-national corporations. I don’t trust the EU to negotiate on our behalf, and I certainly don’t trust it to be on the side of small businesses or Trade Unions.

    The Labour Party is looking at radical policies to tackle the problems in our country. We need to take back real control from the unelected and unaccountable European Commission if we are to have a chance of implementing any of these.

    My politics are very far indeed from those of Hoey, but she’s not wrong. Greece’s government may have brought upon the crisis by spending radically more money than they took in even after it became apparent they were going broke, but the EU responded in exactly the way described. It was born as an undemocratic organization, a fact the Euro crisis finally made apparent even to the those on the left, with the decisions of democratically elected officials overruled by unelected bureaucratic elites. And the self-serving agendas of those elites tend to be at odds with the goals of both left and right.

    The question isn’t why Hoey supported Brexit, but why so many Labour MPs didn’t.

    Other Brexit News:

  • Eight Labour shadow ministers quit.
  • You know who had a good day after the Brexit vote? Nigel Farage. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “In the end, it came down to the issue of immigration. The British people wanted to reclaim their nation. They wanted their nation to be their nation. They did not want it to turn into Germany. They wanted the hordes of immigrants camped out in Calais to stay in Calais. They had had had enough with British girls being ‘groomed’ by Muslim men.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Instapundit on the Brexit: “A lot of people felt powerless, and the political system not only didn’t address that, but seemed to glory in it.”
  • David Stockman sees Brexit not only as a revolt against the EU, but against the entire world financial elite’s low interest rate regime. “The ECB will soon be embroiled in an existential crisis as the centrifugal forces unleashed by Brexit tear apart the fragile consensus on which Draghi’s lunatic monetary experiments depended.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • As soon as the Brexit vote was announced, the EU announced that they were coming after people’s toasters and tea kettles. (Ditto.)
  • The previous Megan McArdle piece on Brexit was good. This one is even better:

    The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down. But perhaps, like the fellow I once saw lose a packet by betting on 17 for 20 straight turns of the roulette wheel, they reasoned that the recent loss actually makes a subsequent victory more likely, since the number has to come up sometime.

    Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp what I noted in a column last week: that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment — a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.

    In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit….

    A lot of my professional colleagues seemed to, and the dominant tone framed this as a blow against the enlightened “us” and the beautiful world we are building, struck by a plague of morlocks who had crawled out of their hellish subterranean world to attack our impending utopia.

  • I’m always up for a good Morlock reference. And if you haven’t read H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine (which you should, because it’s a great novel), that analogy is more apt than you know. In Wells’ novel, the Morlocks were the underground race that actually ran things, the ones that maintain the machinery the Eloi depended on to live. Just like those inbred redneck freaks from JesusLand (or, to use a UK analogy, those Northern monkeys), the Morlocks are the essential population that keep things running, not the beautiful, useless Eloi.

    Brexit Aftershocks

    Friday, June 24th, 2016

    It’s shaping up to be an interesting day:

  • Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is resigning. “Mr Cameron announced shortly after 08:15 BST that he had informed the Queen of his decision to remain in place for the short term and to then hand over to a new prime minister by the time of the Conservative conference in October.” Current favorite to replace Cameron is pro-Leave MP Boris Johnson.
  • Under terms of the Lisbon Treaty, it will take about two years to negotiate the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
  • World markets are going crazy.
  • The Pound Sterling is at its lowest exchange rate in 30 years.
  • Scotland, Northern Ireland and London voted heavily to stay in the EU, while Leave won pretty much everywhere else, including Wales. Now there’s talk of a second Scottish Independence referendum.
  • Euroskeptic parties across the continent are calling for their own independence votes.
  • Obama continues to demonstrate his magic touch at persuasion.
  • I would say the panic selling is largely unwarranted; there’s no reason that UK can’t negotiate an orderly exit from the EU and continue to participate in the European Economic Area the way that Norway and Switzerland do now. There was talk before the Brexit vote that the EU wouldn’t go along with this out of spite, but if the endless Greece crisis has shown, Eurocrats negotiate their non-negotiable demands all the time, and I doubt even Angela Merkel is willing to put Europe through a deep recession (which is to say, deeper even than the current one the Euro seems to have engendered in perpetuity) just to “teach the UK a lesson.”

    More later…

    Shotgun Brexit Megapost

    Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

    Imagine that there’s a thoughtful, in-depth introduction here that explains the pros and cons of the Leave and Stay positions.

    You’ll have to imagine it, because I have no time to write it and the vote’s tomorrow. Instead, have a quick-and-dirty shotgun scatter of Brexit links.

  • The economic case for Brexit. “The European project is controlled by statists and the one good thing it provides (free trade between members) is easily overwhelmed by the negative things it imposes (protectionism against outsiders, tax harmonization, horrible agriculture subsidies, bad fisheries policy, etc).” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Britain Doesn’t Need the EU to Thrive. (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)
  • “The fight over Brexit is symptomatic of a much larger crisis facing out-of-touch elites on both sides of the Atlantic.” More:

    The European Union’s bureaucracy and paper-parliament were set up to be as insulated as possible from the concerns of actual voters. Representatives to the European Parliament are selected by party elites as a kind of highbrow patronage. They invariably defer to the permanent bureaucracy, which acts like a transnational cartel, one that happens to be composed of governments. As Daniel Hannan, the rare Euroskeptic skunk to infiltrate the garden party that is the EU parliament, put it, “faced with a choice between democracy and supra-nationalism, the EU will always choose supra-nationalism.”

  • Elites ignore the populist revolt against them at their peril.
  • “A substantial portion of the Leave campaign views the referendum as a rigged process and the EU as conspiring behind the backs of the British people to launch a new round of integration.”
  • Everyone knows the Brexit vote is a sham.
  • A generally good piece about the myths of both sides of the Brexit debate, but when he tags Geert Wilders as a “genuine fascist,” he’s talking out his ass.
  • Brits buying gold.
  • Here’s a debate between UK Tory PM David Cameron and UKIP head Nigel Farage on the subject:

  • Finally, here’s Brexit: The Movie, a 71 minute film that lays out the case for the UK leaving the EU. Haven’t watched any but a tiny bit of either of these videos, but offer them up here as a public service.

  • LinkSwarm for June 3, 2016

    Friday, June 3rd, 2016

    Another week, another Texas flood. Try to stay dry and enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Paglia on Clinton: “If it were a Republican in the crosshairs, Hillary’s shocking refusal to meet with the Inspector General (who interviewed all four of the other living Secretaries of State of the past two decades) would have been the lead item flagged in screaming headlines from coast to coast. Let’s face it—the genuinely innocent do not do pretzel twists like this to cover their asses.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • New York Magazine massively re-edits article on why Hillary won’t debate because the original wasn’t fawning enough.
  • Eight reasons Hillary sucks. Including Obama: “she does not seem to want to run on Ben Rhodes’s foreign policy, Jonathan Gruber’s Obamacare, Lois Lerner’s IRS, Lisa Jackson’s EPA, Eric Holder’s Justice Department, or Barack Obama’s racial healing. And yet she needs Obama’s hard-left base. So far she has rejected her 2008 Annie Oakley, Reagan-Democrat schtick, gambling that her Black Lives (alone) Matter and transgenderism pandering can ensure that she will match Obama’s historic share of the minority vote. But so far it seems just as likely that she will lose more voters among the white working class than she can lease from Obama’s core.”
  • College students are allowed to ask Hillary Clinton original, spontaneous questions that just happen to be scripted by the Clinton campaign. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • At judge’s order, 20,000 documents related to Fast and Furious scandal released. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Trump is right: Some illegal aliens are being lavished with more benefits than our own veterans.
  • How a naval contractor named “Fat Leonard” infiltrated the Navy with bribes, prostitutes and lavish parties. “The Soviets couldn’t have penetrated us better than Leonard Francis.” Our country is in the best of hands. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Oberlin students are among the most precious of snowflakes.
  • More on the same theme. Alas, this morning I just don’t have time to explicate all the manifest idiocies on display by the Social Justice Warrior Campus Cadets…
  • Obama Administration bitch-slapped for attempting ex-post facto regulation. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Columbia was once a basket case and Venezuela a thriving nation on the rise. Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism™, they’ve switched places.
  • This bitch is so crazy I can’t even keep up with her crazy bitch shit.”
  • Enya: rich crazy cat lady.
  • Flooding-related blackout leads to Texas prison riots.
  • City Manager behind Dallas’ controversial city-owned hotel steps down.
  • If your political party openly calls for the complete destruction of the oil industry, maybe you shouldn’t have your national convention in Houston.
  • Science Fiction writer Gregory Benford on university host escort duties for G. Gordon Liddy, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and a certain “Tom.”
  • Space City Comic Con turns into an actual con. As in the fraud kind…
  • Swiss open world’s longest tunnel with ceremony featuring marching uniform worker drones, a horned goat god, and a giant flying death baby.
  • Life in Venezuela is Murder

    Thursday, May 12th, 2016

    In the course of this piece on Venezuela’s bankrupt socialist government using tanks against “paramilitary” opposition, I came across this tidbit of crime information:

    The homicide rate in Venezuela is surging again in 2016, the Prosecutor General’s office warned in its first quarterly report of the year last week. Venezuela suffered 18,000 homicides in 2015 according to the Prosecutor General, but NGO’s put that figure closer to 28,000 murders for last year.

    Even given that Latin American murder rates are generally higher than North America and Europe, that’s shockingly high for a nation of 30 million. In fact, both figures are more murders than for all of the United States for 2013 (the last year full FBI figures are available). And U.S. figures include such idyllic peaceful environs as Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit.

    And life for Venezuelans who aren’t outright murdered continues to get worse. “The experiment with “21st-century socialism” as introduced by the late President Hugo Chavez, a self-described champion of the poor who vowed to distribute the country’s wealth among the masses, and instead steered the nation toward the catastrophe the world is witnessing under his handpicked successor Maduro, has been a cruel failure.”

    What our country is going through is monstrously unique: It’s nothing less than the collapse of a large, wealthy, seemingly modern, seemingly democratic nation just a few hours’ flight from the United States.

    In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country like it outside of war. Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

    But why? It’s not that the country lacked money. Sitting atop the world’s largest reserves of oil at the tail end of a frenzied oil boom, the government led first by Chavez and, since 2013, by Maduro, received over a trillion dollars in oil revenues over the last 17 years. It faced virtually no institutional constraints on how to spend that unprecedented bonanza. It’s true that oil prices have since fallen—a risk many people foresaw, and one that the government made no provision for—but that can hardly explain what’s happened: Venezuela’s garish implosion began well before the price of oil plummeted. Back in 2014, when oil was still trading north of $100 per barrel, Venezuelans were already facing acute shortages of basic things like bread or toiletries.

    The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).

    A case in point is the price controls, which have expanded to apply to more and more goods: food and vital medicines, yes, but also car batteries, essential medical services, deodorant, diapers, and, of course, toilet paper. The ostensible goal was to check inflation and keep goods affordable for the poor, but anyone with a basic grasp of economics could have foreseen the consequences: When prices are set below production costs, sellers can’t afford to keep the shelves stocked. Official prices are low, but it’s a mirage: The products have disappeared.

    When a state is in the process of collapse, dimensions of decay feed back on each other in an intractable cycle. Populist giveaways, for example, have fed the country’s ruinous flirtation with hyperinflation; the International Monetary Fund now projects that prices will rise by 720 percent this year and 2,200 percent in 2017. The government virtually gives away gasoline for free, even after having raised the price earlier this year. As a result of this and similar policies, the state is chronically short of funds, forced to print ever more money to finance its spending.

    Though much of it will be familiar to anyone who follows this blog, read the entire story, if only for the factory owner who got in trouble for not stocking his bathrooms with toilet paper as per union rules (because it was unavailable at government stores), only to get in even more trouble for “hoarding” when he bought it on the black market…