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Free Markets, Free People

Here’s the government you should fear

Mostly because of its liberty stifling oppression:

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in trying to prosecute ExxonMobil for supposedly lying to its shareholders and the public about climate change, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported that Harris is investigating what ExxonMobil “knew about global warming and what the company told investors.”

Neither Harris nor Schneiderman recognizes the outrageousness of what they are doing—which amounts censoring or restricting speech and debate on what is a contentious scientific theory. In fact, they want not just to stop anyone who questions the global warming theory from being able to speak; they want to punish them with possible civil sanctions or even criminal penalties. As I said before about Schneiderman, Harris needs a remedial lesson in the First Amendment.

Perhaps we should investigate what Harris “knows” about global warming or climate change, which Harris (and Schneiderman) treats as if it is a proven, unassailable, incontrovertible fact.  However, as the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris has pointed out, “flaws discovered in the scientific assessment of climate change have shown that the scientific consensus is not as settled as the public had been led to believe.”

In fact, what Harris and Schneiderman are doing is treating the “contentious scientific theory” as a proven fact.  It isn’t even close to being proven and instead a very believable assembly of facts to the contrary has made the ‘theory’ seem more like a religion than a reality.  John Cleese … John Cleese for heaven sake … said it best:

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So why is government so insistent that the world is heating up?  Why does it show this bias … and bias it is.  Roy Spencer notes:

I’m not claiming our satellite dataset is necessarily the best global temperature dataset in terms of trends, even though I currently suspect it is closer to being accurate than the surface record — that will be for history to decide. The divergence in surface and satellite trends remains a mystery, and cannot (in my opinion) continue indefinitely if both happen to be largely correct.

But since the satellites generally agree with (1) radiosondes and (2) most global reanalysis datasets (which use all observations radiosondes, surface temperatures, commercial aircraft, satellites, etc. everything except the kitchen sink), I think the fact that NOAA-NASA essentially ignores it reveals an institutional bias that the public who pays the bills is becoming increasingly aware of.

Because there are large … very large … wads of taxpayers money at stake.  There is the UN’s chance to redistribute the wealth, a dream the Third-World Debating Club has harbored for decades.  So alarmism remains the way in which governments and the UN try to peddle their product.

And, as Dr. Spencer says, the public, who pays the bills, “is becoming increasingly aware of” the bias and the fact that the alarmists have yet to prove their point, to wit:

Thermometers Still Disagree with Models …that even if 2015 is the warmest on record, and NOAA has exactly the right answer, it is still well below the average forecast of the IPCC’s climate models, and something very close to that average forms the basis for global warming policy. In other words, even if every successive year is a new record, it matters quite a lot just how much warming we are talking about.

Oh, and about that 2015 being the warmest year on record, again, the data doesn’t support the claim:

We now have the official NOAA-NASA report that 2015 was the warmest year by far in the surface thermometer record. John and I predicted this would be the case fully 7 months ago, when we called 2015 as the winner.

In contrast, our satellite analysis has 2015 only third warmest which has also been widely reported for weeks now. I understand that the RSS satellite analysis has it 4th warmest.

Oh my … and El Nino was kickin’ this past year, wasn’t it?  In fact, per Spencer “El Nino …that a goodly portion of the record warmth in 2015 was naturally induced, just as it was in previous record warm years.”  Or said another way, the warmth was due to a weather event, not global warming.

But of course, the incurious press ran with the headline of the “warmest year evah!” and now governments of California and New York are on record of considering certain speech which doesn’t support the government line to be punishable under the law.

So what do we have going on in the two states?  Something we thought was dead and buried:

These investigations are reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin persecuted those who he thought had the “wrong” scientific views on everything from linguistics to physics.  Besides sending them a copy of the Constitution so they can review the First Amendment, residents of both New York and California might also want to include a copy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, “In the First Circle,” in which he outlined the Soviet government’s suppression of dissenting scientists and engineers.

And that’s precisely the problem here.  This, to us old timers, is precisely how the Soviet Union (and China) operated.  Of course it made no difference in the reality of science.  What is, is.  But it certainly made a difference in the lives of those who were persecuted by the state because they disagreed with the State’s version of science.

The bottom line is that the state attorneys general of New York and California are not acting like level-headed, objective prosecutors interested in the fair and dispassionate administration of justice. They are instead acting like Grand Inquisitors who must stamp out any heresy that doubts the legitimacy of the climate change religion. They are treating an unproven scientific theory as if it is a creed than cannot be questioned, probed, examined, or doubted.

Indeed.  Welcome to the USSA.

~McQ

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Immaturity, historical ignorance and lack of critical thinking define today’s SJW

We’ve covered the SJWs and their protests on various of the universities and colleges in this country to some extent.  But while wandering through some links I came upon an Atlantic article that was very sympathetic to the SJW cause, especially that of racism – institutional racism – as it were.  And I found this quote below to be a fascinating look into the mind of an SJW without a clue:

During a protest at Princeton last semester, students confronted university President Christopher Eisgruber, explaining the emotional reasons behind their demand that the school remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from university buildings. A female protester was shown in a video saying:

I don’t think [racism] is just one or two evils. I don’t think it’s just a flaw, and I don’t think that you as a white person understand what it’s like to walk past a building or to be studying in a school or to have it on your diploma from a school that was built on the backs of and by your people. I don’t want to see that. I do not want to sit in Wilcox hall and enjoy my meal and look at Woodrow Wilson, who would not have wanted me here.

Here you see a very immature individual who has chosen to have an emotional response predicated on a negative feeling to a silly premise.   The premise?  Woodrow Wilson was a racist and wouldn’t want her there, therefore she’s uncomfortable and it is the worlds duty to assuage that uncomfortable feeling.

Really?  See, if I were her, I’d approach that in a completely different way.  I’d be grinning at the image of Wilson saying to myself, “see, you racist old goat, I’m here!  I was invited to be here! You wouldn’t have wanted me here but I am here!  Your kind no longer holds sway!  See how far we’ve come since your backward and retarded beliefs were predominant!  I’m going to sit here everyday and enjoy eating lunch in front of your image!”

But if she had approached it that way, she couldn’t have thrown the little pity party for herself, gotten herself labeled a “victim (with special status)” or found some lefty journalist with a platform to sympathetically, if not unthinkingly, perpetuate this nonsense.

And, as we’ve pointed out endlessly, giving credence and support to this sort of pre-teen emotionalism, especially in college, does nothing to prepare these tender young flowers for the harsh realities outside of University.

There’s also a problem of historical memory at work here.  None of those attending college today lived with or suffered the real institutional racism their grandparents suffered and overcame.  None of them realize that to that generation, both black and white, who fought for civil rights, the end of Jim Crow and equality for all people, their whining about a dead man’s beliefs – beliefs which don’t affect them in the least – seem exactly as I’ve characterized them … childish and immature.

Just as interestingly is their “solution”.  Voluntary segregation.  What their grandparents fought to dismantle, they want to reassemble.  They also want to restrict speech to that of which they approve, which is again something that their grandparents fought against.

One more bit of irony here is the fact that Woodrow Wilson was the progressive’s progressive.  He was a part of the party of Hillary Clinton … and Bull Conner.  But our friendly Journo nor the spoiled special snowflake seem to be aware of that (or are studiously ignoring it).

Funny, sad stuff, this …

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 22 Jan 16

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose slightly, to -0.22 in December.

The PMI Manufacturing Index Flash rose 1.4 points in January to 52.7.

Existing home sales jumped 14.7% in December to a 5.460 million annual rate. On a year-over-year basis, sales are up 7.7%.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators fell -0.2% in December following an upward revised 0.5% gain in November.


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Will justice actually be served?

Anthony DeChristopher over at The Hill thinks the latest finds on Hillary’s email server are a “game changer”.  And he makes a good point … it’s a game changer for someone:

Special Access Programs (SAP) is a game changer.  It is now undeniably clear that the results of the FBI investigation will be the end of one of two things:  Hillary’s bid for the White House or the legitimacy of the FBI—at least when it comes to prosecuting cases on the mishandling of classified material.

The FBI’s reputation has been tarnished in the last decade or so.  No longer is it thought of quite in the same way it once was.  A series of missteps, scandals and problems have lowered the once sterling reputation of the law enforcement agency.

On the other hand is a powerful political figure that’s in the running for President of the United States and just happens to be of the same party and the presently serving President of the United States.  To make it clear, the FBI works for the executive department under the Department of Justice.  And, of course, the DoJ is headed by an Obama appointee.  Oh, and remember, the Dems want to hold on to the White House.

Hillary Clinton is a “win at any price” person.  She badly wants to be the first female President of the United States.  Badly.  Very, very badly.

The FBI wants to polish up its reputation as the incorrigible and incorruptible law enforcement agency that isn’t swayed or impacted by politics, but simply enforces the law.

Something has got to give.

DeChristopher is apparently a former Special Forces soldier who gives you a brief run down of the gravity of the Clinton offense.

First, when imagery that is classified SECRET//NOFORN (no foreign national) is viewed, regardless of the absence of classification markings, it is distinctly evident. Second, any documents that contain or reference HUMINT is always classified SECRET, and if specific names of sources or handlers are mentioned, they are at a minimum SECRET//NOFORN.  Third, SIGINT is always classified at the TS level.  It’s not uncommon for some SI to be downgraded and shared over SECRET mediums, however, it is highly unlikely that a Secretary of State would receive downgraded intelligence.  Finally, SAP intelligence has been discovered on Clinton’s private server, and many are now calling this the smoking gun.  SAP is a specialized management system of additional security controls designed to protect SAR or Special Access Required.  SAR has to do with extremely perishable operational methods and capabilities, and only selected individuals who are “read on” or “indoctrinated” are permitted access to these programs.  The mishandling of SAP can cause catastrophic damage to current collection methods, techniques and personnel.

Got it? This isn’t something that is hard to figure out, and anyone who has worked at high levels of government for years already knows all this.  Now comes the chaser:

In other words, if you have worked with classified material for more than a day, it seems highly implausible that someone could receive any of the aforementioned over an un-secure medium without alarm bells sounding.  However, reading about a Special Access Program on an unclassified device would make anyone even remotely familiar with intelligence mess their pantsuit.

You can tell it has put her highness off her stride, but she’s resurrecting the VRWC to cover that.

However this is going to be interesting to watch.  There is a large amount of evidence that points to her being directly responsible for a horrific, nay, epic security breach at the highest level.

Will the FBI do it’s job?  Or is this, like so many Clinton scandals, going to end up with no action being taken when you can be sure if it was you or I, we’d be frog-marched so fast to the local hoosegow that it would make our heads swim.

But we’re the little people, aren’t we?

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 21 Jan 16

The Philadelphia Fed Survey gained back some of it’s negative ground in January, rising from -5.9 to -3.5.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 10,000 to 293,000. The 4-week average rose 14,250 to 285,000. Continuing claims fell 56,000 to 2.228 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.4 points to 44.0 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-12.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.489 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $5.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose surprisingly sharply, up $173.3 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 20 Jan 16

Consumer prices fell -0.1% overall in December, while the core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.1%. On a year-over-year basis, The CPI is up 0.7% overall, and 2.1% at the core.

Housing starts fell -2.5% in December to a 1.149 million annual rate, while building permits fell -3.9% to a 1.232 million rate.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 9.0% last week, with purchases down -2.0% but refis up 19.0%.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth fell to 1.4% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s already-soft 1.7%.


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And the Oscar goes too …

Another day, another citadel of lefties under attack by … other lefties.   In this case it is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and their “all white” Oscar nominations for this year.

And so, in true Kanye West we-deserve-stuff-cuz-we’re-black style the charge racism is being leveled at the Academy because, well, there are no blacks who have been nominated this year, just like last year.  Yes, they even have a hashtag for it: #OscarsSoWhite.

But, surprise of surprises, members of the academy are “offended” by such accusations:

Penelope Ann Miller, best known for Carlito’s Way and The Artist, is a member of the actors branch that could have nominated Creed‘s Michael B. JordanConcussion‘s Will SmithThe Hateful Eight‘s Samuel L. Jackson or Beasts of No Nation‘s Idris Elba. “I voted for a number of black performers, and I was sorry they weren’t nominated,” she tells THR. “But to imply that this is because all of us are racists is extremely offensive. I don’t want to be lumped into a category of being a racist because I’m certainly not and because I support and benefit from the talent of black people in this business. It was just an incredibly competitive year.”

And:

Jeremy Larner, a member of the writers branch — which did nominate Compton‘s (white) writers for best original screenplay — was a civil rights activist in the 1960s and won an Oscar for 1972’s The Candidate. “I cannot prove the Academy or anyone else is not racist,” he grants. But, he says in his own defense, “I have voted for many people of color for awards.”

Wait, aren’t those sort of excuses like saying, in this context, “and I have many black friends”?  I thought so.

Of note, however, is the fact that this is the second year in a row that no blacks have been nominated.   That, however, in and of itself, doesn’t mean the Academy is racist, except to those who choose to believe it.  Why?  Perhaps because the movies featuring black actors didn’t quite measure up?  Again, Jeremy Larner:

 “I happen to think Straight Outta Compton is not a great film for reasons of structure and substance. I can imagine it is a powerful affirmation for those who share the assumptions of its music and see it as fans. But to me, a good film has to show a lot more than this one does.”

Translation: as a film … meh.

Miller is a bit incensed that the Academy is the target:

“There were an incredible number of films in 2015 that were primarily about white people. Talk to the studios about changing that, not the Academy. There’s only so much we can do.” She adds, “I think when you make race the issue, it can divide people even further, and that’s what I worry about.”

Ya think!  But then, that’s been the identity politics the left has engaged in for decades.  When you let the PC out of Pandora’s box, and give it credence when used against your ideological enemies, don’t act surprised when it comes around to bite you on your Academy, or campus , or …

~McQ

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The death knell of establishment politics?

As much as the media would like to cast what’s going on during the GOP presidential nomination process as a “crisis for the GOP”, the Dems have their own establishment crisis problem.  And it is getting very little media coverage.  But Kim Strassel talks about it today in her WSJ piece.  As much as the Democrats (and media) would like voters to believe the right is melting down and heading toward Tea Party land, it seems clear the left is getting ready to “Move On.”

On both sides, frustration with the establishment is the most evident feature:

Some of Mrs. Clinton’s struggles are self-imposed. She’s a real-world, political version of Pig-Pen, trailing along her own cloud of scandal dust. Even Democrats who like her don’t trust her. And a lot of voters are weary or unimpressed by the Clinton name. For all the Democratic establishment’s attempts to anoint Mrs. Clinton—to shield her from debates and ignore her liabilities—the rank and file aren’t content to have their nominee dictated.

Especially because many of those rank and file belong to a rising progressive movement that has no time or interest in the old Clinton mold. Barack Obama’s biggest legacy may prove his dismantling of the Democratic center. He ran as a uniter, but he governed as a divisive ideologue and as a liberal, feeding new fervor in the progressive wing.

These progressives proved more eager than even the Republicans to steadily pick off Democratic moderates—and helped the GOP to decimate their ranks. The Democratic congressional contingent is now at its smallest size since before FDR. But boy is it pure, and it retains an unwavering belief that its path to re-election is to double down on the Obama agenda.

I have to admit loving the characterization of Hillary as “Pig Pen”.  That notwithstanding, you’d think Hillary, who has prepared for this since Bill first stepped into the White House, would be a natural choice of the left.  But then how does one explain the rise of someone who uses the term “socialist” to describe himself because communist would likely be a bridge too far?  It’s because the left and right have drifted further apart over the years and the “establishment” of both parties has been set adrift.  It’s because to more and more Americans (who didn’t live during the Cold War and didn’t see the wreck the Soviet Union was when it imploded) are enamored with the idea of “equality” as the left now describes it.  Equal income, high minimum wage, free this and free that.  When you’re an economic illiterate, those things are appealing.  And when you further believe the government is the instrument of all things good, well, you’re on the road to serfdom.

Just as Donald Trump is busy calling out the GOP pretenders to the throne, the lefty heroes are undermining the chances of the anointed one:

The president insists that financial institutions were entirely to blame for the 2008 crisis, and that government’s role is to transfer more from those greedy capitalist owners to poor Americans. Out of this class warfare came the likes of Occupy Wall Street, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and today a Sanders campaign that describes “wealth and income equality” as the great “moral issue” of our time.

Mrs. Warren, a progressive hero, went out of her way last week to praise the Sanders Wall Street “reform” plan. Even Joe Biden wanted in on the action, lauding Mr. Sanders and suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was still “relatively new” to the income-inequality debate. Hillary is stuck trying to explain why her campaign donations from bankers aren’t a disqualifier.

The usual subjects have also rallied around the Clinton opposition:

These movements and activists (who also embrace the gun debate, and the women’s-rights debate, and socialized health-care debate) are now the beating heart of the Democratic Party. And they are rallying around Mr. Sanders. MoveOn.org has endorsed Bernie. The liberal Nation magazine has endorsed him. Bill McKibben, the head of 350.org, has endorsed him. Jodie Evans, the co-founder of the antiwar group Codepink has endorsed him. Celebrity activists like Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo are feeling the Bern.

Now no one is saying that all that is enough.  But for both parties, if ever they figured out they had missed their wake up call, this is the season that drills that home.  For too long, both establishment parties have taken their voters for granted, essentially merged into a tax and spend entity that no one is satisfied with, and have missed the proverbial boat for government reform.  Of course, reform is defined differently by the right and left, but you get my point.

The party that is in trouble this year isn’t the GOP or the Democrats, per se.  It is the party of establishment politicians who’ve ignored the restless and frustrated voters one election too many.  People are tired of the Obamafication of politics – talk, talk, talk and then do what the hell you want to do.

We’ll see how it all turns out, but it is one of the more interesting political periods of my lifetime – and I’ve been around since Truman.

~McQ

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