Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 02 Dec 16

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Dale announces that he has been smoke-free for 24 hours, but declines to say whether he can actually quit smoking. We’ll see. Trump picks some cabinet members, then sticks his finger in China’s eye. Good thing Jim Mattis is gonna be SecDef. SJWs are ridiculous. A fantastically interesting conversation about the Gold Standard occurs. We bemoan the regulatory state. Then we notice the Democrats seem to have learned no lessons from the recent election; Nancy Pelosi retains her leadership of House Democrats, who apparently think 60 seats lost under her leadership isn’t enough. The ACA is collapsing.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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That Irony thing again

“Rolling Stone”, the magazine that was responsible for the UVA rape hoax story, among many other stories which seriously lacked credibility (and that’s being kind), thinks government should be involved in monitoring and preventing “fake news”.

The man responsible for publishing one of the greatest media hoaxes in recent memory thinks it might be a good idea if the government provided the press with subsidies to help it fight fake news.

Jann S. Wenner is the co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, which published a story on Nov. 19, 2014, alleging that “Jackie,” a student at the University of Virginia, had been gang-raped as part of a fraternity initiation.

The report was proven to be totally false, however, and “Jackie” a wild fabulist, but not before UVA suspended the fraternity and the university itself suffered a major blow to its reputation.

Brilliant.  Further on he suggests a “subsidy” to Obama during an interview:

In an interview published this week, Wenner wondered aloud in a conversation with President Obama whether the federal government should provide media with subsidies to help them combat the rising tide of fake news stories on social media.

Dude … “the media” is responsible for as much fake news as anyone, as demonstrated by your own magazine. It’s like they’re a goose and they wake up in a new world every day.  No memory, no shame.  Of course he and Rolling Stone are getting their rear ends sued over their “fake news”.  Maybe there will be a little accountability in this case.

Speaking of fake news, the government also publishes its fair share.  Like the latest unemployment figures.

While the unemployment rate dropped and the economy added another 178,000 jobs, the number of Americans out of the labor force hit a record high last month.

According to the Labor Department, 95,055,000 Americans were out of workforce in November, meaning they were neither employed nor had made an effort to find work over the previous month.

That 4.6% unemployment rate? It’s statistical nonsense.  It’s a farce.  The labor participation rate is the lowest its been in decades and the reason their unemployment number is down is because more people have fallen into the statistical no-man’s land of dropping off the unemployment compensation rolls.

And this is the organization that goofy publisher of Rolling Stone wants to help curb “fake news?”

That irony thing … it keeps slapping the clueless around for the entertainment of us all.

~McQ

 

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White women can’t be feminists because … white supremacy

The new “war on women” is gearing up … and it’s going to be very entertaining.  Why?  Because it will all on the left as they try to redefine feminism without white women:

University of California, Los Angeles students were treated to a dinner dialogue this month on the topic of “white feminism” and its relation to white supremacy.

The “White Feminism” dinner dialogue was hosted by the campus Intergroup Relations Program, an administrative center that seeks to educate the UCLA community on issues of “social identity, interpersonal, and intergroup relations/conflict, prejudice reduction, and social justice.”

Celia Cody-Carrese, an Intergroup Relations Center intern who helped put on the event, told The Daily Bruin that organizers chose white feminism as their topic because they think feminism has traditional ties with white supremacy, noting that the term “feminism” is most frequently applied to white women, while the concerns of black women are generally treated as a separate, racial issue.

Mitali Gupta, a UCLA Senior who attended the event, told Campus Reform that feminism’s link to white supremacy was indeed discussed during the meeting, adding that she agrees that such a connection exists.

One of the things we’ve seen any number of times is the left go after its own.  Feminism is now in the process of being hi-jacked.  It seems, given this bit of information, that there’s a new purity test for being a “real” feminist and white women aren’t acceptable because of  … white supremacy or something.    Not to worry … just watch, more redefining will take place in the future where, oh I don’t know, lesbians can’t be feminists because they don’t really think like “real” women or something.  Except lesbians of color – they’ll make at least a temporary exception for them.

Is this OPEC’s last gasp?  We sure hope so:

The oil price rally sparked by an OPEC-Russia deal to cut output is likely to be short-lived, say traders in Asia, because the agreement may only draw more supplies from storage tanks and more crude shipments from the United States.

And even without increased supplies from elsewhere, if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia do reduce production by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) as pledged, the cuts would not be deep enough to shrink a glut that began to build in mid-2014, traders said.

The cut by OPEC will be largely offset by increases in U.S. production where the rig count has already increased,” said India Oil Corp’s Director of Finance A K Sharma.

Damn that capitalism.  Drat that free enterprise.  Screw those entrepreneurs.  Oh and curse that word, “fracking”!

I love this.  And it was accomplished by private firms on private or state leased land with no, and I want to emphasize the word “no”, help from the feds – well, except trying to slow it or stop it.  Result?  The looming death of a price fixing cartel.  Competition – a wonderful thing.

The Windy City – suffering under blue governance for decades and with strict anti-gun laws passes the 700 homicide milestone for the year with a month to go.  In this case, the “McDonald Effect” is at work:

In a year of relentless violence, Chicago has hit another gruesome milestone, exceeding 700 homicides on Wednesday for the first time in nearly two decades, according to official Police Department records.

The 700-mark was hit when a 25-year-old man was fatally shot about 6:20 a.m. at 93rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue in the Burnside neighborhood, said Frank Giancamilli, a police spokesman. Then at about 8 p.m., a 24-year-old man was shot and killed at 6800 block of South Cornell Avenue in the South Shore neighborhood, he said.

And speaking of records:

Nearly 4,050 people have been shot, a 50 percent jump from 2,699 victims a year earlier, according to the department statistics. Shooting incidents rose by comparable figures, to 3,315, up 49 percent from 2,224 a year earlier.

One has to wonder how Mayor Rahm Emanuel is going to keep from letting this disaster go to waste.

Meanwhile, in Democrat-land,  Nancy Pelosi survived an attempt on her leadership position in the House (I’ve come to agree with Billy that this is perhaps a gift to the GOP) and apparently the party has decided the answer to their stunning loss on election day is to become even more extreme by putting Keith Ellison in the DNC chair. And Ellison’s past – ignore it (that’s the “Clinton effect”). Well, a lot of them … but not all:

And [Ellison’s] past statements about Israel and his writings backing such provocative figures as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have become a ripe target for those who would like to block his path to the chairmanship.

“The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of seven million people,” Mr. Ellison said at a 2010 fundraiser, the audio of which was published online this week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a website that largely carries conservative commentary. “A region of 350 million all turns on a country of seven million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right?”

Marcel Groen, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairman who is the son of Holocaust survivors, said he found those kind of remarks troubling. “Mainly for me, his view of the Israel-Palestinian issues, I want some clarity,” Mr. Groen said.

“Troubling”.  Want “clarity”.  Why in the world would anyone believe that some statement from Ellison designed to smooth ruffled feathers would be anything but disingenuous rhetoric to attain a position of power.  Tiger. Stripes.  Etc.  Ellison is no friend of Israel or Jews – and, given his past statements and support of the Nation of Islam, you can take that to the bank.

Ah, life in America … always an adventure.

~McQ

 

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I apologize for Tennessee’s Senator Squish – Lamar Alexander

I don’t get Tennessee politics, even though I’ve lived here almost my entire life. I watched the transition from Democrats to Republicans staring in the 1960s, and I’ve seen the state legislature become one of the most right-leaning in the nation.

In fact, Tennessee’s battle against a state income tax is often credited as being a proto Tea Party effort. A GOP governor (Don Sundquist), who ran promising there would be no income tax, tried to conspire with Democrats and GOP squishes to pass one surreptitiously. Marsha Blackburn’s reputation was made as the whistleblower that started the pushback, and eventually the measure was defeated. Despite gloom and doom predictions from the political establishment about how Tennessee was going to sink into the swamp (or something like that – I don’t really remember the details of their dire predictions) Tennessee has done quite well since then economically and fiscally.

So we have a pretty good limited government base here. Yet statewide offices always seem to go to squishes. Our current governor, Bill Haslam, has to be dragged along by the legislature to get anything done to reduce government power. One senator, Bob Corker, was instrumental in Obama’s sellout to Iran, and to my knowledge has never come out foursquare for anything that seriously advanced the cause of limited government.

And then there’s Lamar! (The exclamation point is a remnant of his failed presidential campaign in the 1990s.)

While governor of Tennessee, Alexander did put a few reforms in place that were moving in the right direction. His educational initiatives, requiring teachers to actually have a degree in something besides basket weaving and papier-mâché, were good.

But as Senator, he fancies himself as the wise old man “balancing everyone’s needs, blah, blah”, and has never come close to any serious limited government measures. In fact, when an establishment GOP member is needed to squishify an effort at limited government and halt its progress, Lamar! is often the volunteer.

Today’s example is over repeal of Obamacare. Lamar wants to decide precisely what the replacement will be before the repeal.

Moreover, there is already some intraparty turmoil over the repeal timeline, starting with Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. He’s pressing to have a replacement plan ready before tackling repeal, which could significantly delay things, given that Republicans are far from a consensus on what kind of replacement they want.

The Tennessee Republican has notably began swapping the words “repeal and replace,” used by Republicans for years, to “replace and repeal.”

“There’s an eagerness to address it, so I think there’s no doubt we’ll start immediately to replace and repeal Obamacare, but the president-elect has said that the replacement and the repeal need to be done simultaneously, and that means to me that we need to figure out how to replace it before we repeal it,” he said.

As a Tennessean, I apologize that this squish is risking one of the most important steps the new GOP administration needs to take. Anyone who understand how things get done in DC, as Lamar most assuredly does, knows what this will do. The entire effort will be bogged down as Democrats and their media allies excoriate any Republican who intends to vote for repeal. Every special interest with any connection to healthcare will flood DC with every lobbyist they can hire.

If Lamar gets his way, the possibility of failure of repeal will be used as the lever to get everything the political class and their industry allies want in the replacement bill. It’s unlikely to be significantly better than Obamacare in the end

Now, as I said, Lamar has to know this! He’s not stupid, and he’s been in politics a lifetime. Therefore, he *wants* that feeding frenzy of special interests involved in the repeal. He wants to risk sabotaging repeal to get goodies in the replacement for his donors and buddies, and of course hopefully to get some praise from the New York Times and Washington Post as the “elder statesman bringing sanity to the process, etc. etc.”.

Lamar is hooked into all the big donors for the GOP in Tennessee, and a lot of those are in healthcare. Nashville and surrounding areas is one of the major healthcare business centers in the nation. Of course they want their place at the goodie table. And Lamar is all too happy to give it to them – it’s what he’s done the whole time he’s been in DC.

I hope Trump finds a way to get around this squish and his Senate allies. I have a feeling the Obamacare fight is going to set the tone for a lot of things to come. If the establishment GOP squishes find out they can sabotage any serious efforts at reining in government, that will be the pattern for the next two years at least.

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Time to sit old Nancy down

So, will we finally be rid of Nancy Pelosi?  My guess?  Probably not.  She’s one of the better arm twisters in Congress and she’s already coopted Tim Ryan’s push for newer and younger blood in leadership positions.  That’s not to say there won’t be a heck of a fight, brought on by the continuing anger at the election’s results among Democrats:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), facing a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), is seen as the heavy favorite in elections on Wednesday to keep her top leadership spot, where she’s been perched for the past 14 years.

[…]

“The level of frustration in our caucus is as great as I have seen it,” Ryan said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Well they should be justified given the beating they’ve been taking at all levels (especially at the state level).  Pelosi may end up being the scape-goat for Congressional Democrats, but the man they can all thank for their condition resides in the White House.  The Democratic House vote will be by secret ballot, so given that, all bets are off as to whether she can survive the vote.

Hey, I know … make Keith Ellison the new Minority Leader in the House.  Then he’d be the combined head of the DNC and the House. That’d be … perfect!

It’s that irony thing again.  Guess who now is interested in investigating voter fraud and abuse?  Why those who said there was no such thing previously:

We should all want to know the final count of this election, which was closer than many people realize, and identify any voter suppression or irregularities that are subverting our democracy,” Rodell Mollineau, a Democratic operative who previously advised Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, said Monday in an interview.

These people just can’t help themselves.  Next thing you’ll know they’ll be calling for a picture ID at polling stations to prevent voter fraud.

Meanwhile, more on the threat that doesn’t exist from the religion of peace.  Ohio State:

A Somali immigrant who injured 11 people at Ohio State University in a vehicle and stabbing attack before he was shot dead may have followed the same path to self-radicalization as militants in a number of “lone wolf” attacks, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the attack.

Yes it is that shocked face again.  Recently ISIS has been putting out ideas and tips for killing infidels.  This particular attack seems to be patterned on those murderous ideas.  But, hey, nothing to see here, and after all, ISIS is the JV.  Don’t worry.  Be happy.

I found it hilarious that Justin Trudeau, PM of Canada, has finally gone too far with his remarks on the death of the murderous communist dictator, Fidel Castro.  Apparently, the “long honeymoon” is over:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not attend the funeral of Fidel Castro, his office said on Monday, days after Trudeau’s warm comments about the late Cuban leader sparked a backlash.

Trudeau referred on Saturday to Castro as a “remarkable leader” and expressed his sorrow at the death of “Cuba’s longest serving president.”

Trudeau acknowledged on Sunday that Castro had been a dictator as political opponents called on him to boycott the funeral.

Outrage and mockery about Trudeau’s fond words for Castro, who had been an honorary pallbearer at the funeral in 2000 of Trudeau’s father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, has threatened to end the Liberal leader’s long honeymoon.

Canada’s Obama – leading them down the same dusty trail to decline as we’ve been following for the past 8 years.

As for the incoming administration, this is a definite NO!  The whole point is to back government out of our lives.  Freedom is messy and dangerous, but it is much preferable to a police state:

The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.

Trump’s first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Note the term “domestic government spying”.  Not without three things rigorously applied – Constitution, probable cause, due process.

~McQ

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Ban knives!

Again, that irony thing that seems to stump the left.  Shot (no pun intended):

Local law-enforcement officers have confirmed the name of a man who they say injured at least nine people on the Ohio State University campus this morning by running a car into a group of people, then slashing others with a butcher knife.

Less than a minute after the attack, an OSU police officer shot and killed the man.

A knife (and a car).  People were saved by  … a gun.  OMG … what if it had been a “gun free” campus and police were also required to abide by that rule?

Chaser:

The suspect has been identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who was a student at Ohio State.

No explanation of the irony needed I hope.

~McQ

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Karma’s a bitch

And that’s precisely what the actor who lectured VP-elect Mike Pence is finding out.  The evidence?  Past tweets.  So much for his ability to lecture from any moral high ground.

Let freedom ring.  Because, you know, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg really, really, really thinks it’s important.  Except when it comes to China:

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has cultivated relationships with China’s leaders, including President Xi Jinping. He has paid multiple visits to the country to meet its top internet executives. He has made an effort to learn Mandarin.

Inside Facebook, the work to enter China runs far deeper.

The social network has quietly developed software to suppress posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographic areas, according to three current and former Facebook employees, who asked for anonymity because the tool is confidential. The feature was created to help Facebook get into China, a market where the social network has been blocked, these people said.

Or, “Hey, China, yes, I’m willing to sell my soul and my integrity, not to mention the people of China, for a spot of business … thank you!  Here’s your censorship tool.”  Yo, Mark … don’t you try lecturing anyone in the future either.  It’s a bit like claiming your political opponent is a homophobe while doing business (or accepting donations) with countries that execute gays.

Another bit of government supported “science” down the tubes:

 “After controlling for age, sex, outdoor play and other factors that affect both vitamin D levels and weight, they found that children who drank one cup of whole milk per day had a vitamin D level comparable to that of children who drank 2.9 cups of 1 percent milk, but their body mass index was lower by 0.79 points. The higher the fat content of the milk they drank, the lower the children’s B.M.I. and the higher their vitamin D levels.”

Oops.

Want to read something dripping with “clueless elitism”?  Here you go:

Three days after the election, my wife and I were shopping at the Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn. For those unfamiliar with it, Fairway is a less corporate, more co-op version of Whole Foods, offering pretty produce and exotic cheeses that don’t come cheap. The mood in the store was glum. As in most of Brooklyn, people stared ahead, moving slowly, still in shock from the political earthquake of Tuesday night.

After getting our Brazilian Arabica ground for drip (I know, I should really use a French Press), Libby and I walked towards the organic maple syrup. That’s when it started. I suppose there had been music playing in the store, but I hadn’t noticed until a familiar guitar lick pierced the air and a soft voice said, “Turn it up.”

Libby and I both stopped and looked at each other. “Seriously?” said my wife, a very disappointed Clinton supporter. She started gripping her soft Tomme Crayeuse a little too hard. By the time Ronnie Van Zant’s drawl started in with “Big wheels keep on turnin’,” everyone in the store was standing in shock. Brows were furrowed, people mumbled to each other. The song seemed to get louder as one of those New York moments happened, when everyone was thinking the exact the same thing.

A woman in her fifties, wearing a Love Trump Hates button, turned to her Brooklyn-bearded husband and said loudly, “This is unbelievable!” She found the nearest store clerk, a young woman in a green apron who was staring up at the ceiling, looking for the invisible speakers blaring this message from the other America. “This is so inappropriate,” the woman said. “Can we turn this off?”

I’m laughing so hard I’m about to cough a lung up.  Do those people even know where Alabama is, much less what it is today?

Meanwhile, in the rule by “phone and pen” world of Barack Obama, a federal judge stepped in to say, “yeah, not so fast, Skippy“:

U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas, whom President Obama appointed, imposed a nationwide injunction against the rule Tuesday at the request of 21 states, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.

Business groups cheered the decision as another rebuke of the Obama administration’s penchant for regulation and for extending executive power.

“The Labor Department’s overtime changes are a reckless and aggressive overreach of executive power, and retailers are pleased with the judge’s decision,” said David French, the National Retail Federation’s senior vice president for government relations.

The judge said the Labor Department regulation exceeded the authority granted it by Congress, which he said gave Labor the right to define which workers are considered salaried but only based on the duties they performed, not by how much they made.

Or, “put down your pen and hang up the phone, you’re done here”.  And in a couple of months, COMPLETELY done.

Thank you, Lord.

Have a great Thanksgiving, folks!

~McQ

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Jimmy Carter on Steroids drinking a Red Bull

Has everyone else noticed how real people out here in flyover land are trying their best to pretend that the recent election really wasn’t that big of a deal and the world is continuing to spin just fine?  Or said another way, they want their world to return to “normal” – whatever that may be.  My guess is you won’t have to worry about what is being discussed around the Thanksgiving table, because they’re more than tired of the election and aftermath.

Oh, by the way, before I forget it, here’s an interesting read on Political Correctness in Scientific American.  I haven’t quite digested it yet, but I find some of it compelling and some of it … not so much.

With the Alt-Right convention in DC where, what, 200 yardbirds showed up to pretend to be “Trump’s People”, the media is in a frenzy.  I wonder what ever happened to this?

I’m very interested in a Mattis led Department of Defense.  Talk about a sea change from the last 8 years.  For one, I can’t wait to see the Navy Secretary shown the exit door.  I’m also pretty sure that most of the social engineering that has taken priority during those 8 years would likely cease pretty quickly.  The man does not suffer fools, stupidity or things that detract from the military’s primary mission lightly.

Is anyone particularly surprised that our worst president ever is pretty sure he’ll break tradition and speak out after he leaves office.  I’m not.  He is a narcissist, and they don’t need, they crave attention.  And trust me, an ex-president sees an attention deficit – a huge one – immediately.  Nope, he’s going to be Jimmy Carter on steroids drinking Red Bull.

Speaking of surprises, or rather the lack thereof, how about this?

No participant in the 2016 presidential election fares well in the Pew Research Center’s post-election voter survey: the candidates, the parties, and the electorate itself all receive historically poor marks from respondents. But the most despised institution of them all is the news media, which scored lower than ever before.

You know the “First Law of Holes”, right?  When you’re in one, quit digging.  The media either doesn’t know it or chooses to ignore it, given their post-election behavior.

Finally, a qualified “well it’s a start” hat tip to Texas:

A bill filed for the 2017 legislative session would modestly reform Texas asset forfeiture laws and close a federal loophole that allows law enforcement to avoid state restrictions on the practice.

Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D-Dist. 20) filed Senate Bill 156 (SB156) on Nov. 14. The legislation would make it more difficult for the state to win asset forfeiture cases by raising the burden of proof the state has to meet from “a preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence” that the asset was linked to criminal activity. The new law would still allow police to seize assets without a criminal conviction.

While the reform is somewhat modest, it would represent a step forward and set the stage for more substantive reforms in the future.

More please.  Faster, please.  Asset forfeiture is one of those tools that law enforcement use that is rightfully described as “unAmerican”.

~McQ

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 19 Nov 16

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Both Dale and Michael are mentally exhausted, resulting in a long, rambling, disjointed podcast, beginning with a long, dull story about buying a new motorcycle. They then move to Trump’s nominees for various positions, all of whom are, of course, racists as bad as Hitler, or just superannuated GOP hacks. College is increasingly useless, so that bubble should die already. Google safe search is your friend.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

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