Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

The new fascism

Consider yourself a climate skeptic?  Well that’s dangerous ground if the new fascists have their way.  And who are these fascists?  Why a group of 20 Attorney Generals from blue states.  The Federalist Society has the goods:

The twenty Democratic AGs’ (“Green 20”) concerted investigation against ExxonMobil (Exxon) and organizations deemed “climate change deniers” represents a threat to core constitutional commands of free speech, limited and constitutional government and the rule of law. This latest incarnation of regulation by litigation which seeks to punish climate change wrongthink has crossed a line that lies at the core of the First Amendment—a government imposing its orthodoxy upon its citizens. Declaring the need for “transformational” action on climate change as a settled question, Virgin Islands’ AG, Claude Earl Walker, announced, “We cannot continue to rely on fossil fuel. Vice President Gore has made that clear.” (Glad that’s all settled!)

As the United States Supreme court has noted: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.” Further, punishing Exxon for its own research that expresses concern about climate change disincentivizes research and development and criminalizes the expressions of doubts, theories and concerns that are essential to the scientific method.

So, as others try to paint them as the “Green 20”, I’ll call them what they are – the Fascist 20.  They are the very definition of fascists, or at least this part of the definition – “forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc.”  

You may roll your eyes at the latter part but isn’t their goal precisely that, i.e. deciding what industries is acceptable and which aren’t?  And attacking those which “aren’t”.  First it was the tobacco industry.  That worked.  So now, using the same sort of tactics and laws, they’re going after the fossil fuel industry, climate skeptics and anyone else they rope into this gaggle they want to eliminate.

This can also be likened to the Inquisition since it is clear, to many, that the “science” of climate alarmism has now become a religion, and it is time, since they can’t prove their point scientifically, to go after the heretics who are badly damaging their scam/religion.

If you don’t think that’s the case, consider this:

The tone taken by these attorneys general at their March 29th press conference with Al Gore reveals all. The calculated hysteria whipped up by Gore’s linkage of natural disasters and the spread of the Zika virus to climate change, was followed by the state AGs startling descriptors of their quarry—“morally vacant forces,” destroyers of this earth, planet destroyers, existential threats, deceivers! Walker announced his offices launch of “an investigation into a company that we believe must provide us with information about what they knew about climate change, and when they knew it,” a catchy formulation that was a verbatim echo of NY AG Schneiderman’s tone of climate McCarthyism.

This vituperative language calls into question these regulators impartiality and professional ethics and rises to abuse of the powers of the office of attorney general. Gore thrummed a bass-line of “fraud” and sensationalized recent weather news as “a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” Somehow the rise of new diseases that Gore never heard of when he was growing up can be attributed to fossil fuel use (junk science, anyone?). NY AG Schneiderman closed the news conference with a litany of billions and billions of dollars of damage.

This is indeed, junk science and an attempt to use the authority of the law to both intimidate and silence those who find both the science and the arguments of the climate hysterics to be badly wanting.

This is a big “no-go” in terms of how this country is supposed to work.  But we now have government agents as, basically, hit men, out to ensure the bosses agenda gets followed.  And, obviously, they’ll stoop to any level, to include fascism, to get that job done.

Land of the free …?

Yeah, feast your eyes.

~McQ

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More about the Mizzou SJWs – ‘they want a firepit’

I guess what strikes me as so interesting is the sense of entitlement in the following as well as demanding someone else pay for their demands, both monetarily and with their time.  It begins like this:

Just days after protesting students defenestrated the University of Missouri’s president and chancellor late last year, interim leadership issued a statement lauding “our brave students who sacrificed their own needs to do the work that should have been done long before they joined our community.”

But when these “brave students” camped out on Mizzou’s Traditions Plaza in solidarity with a grad student on a hunger strike, they demanded special treatment from the university to make their stay as comfortable as possible, according to new email correspondence reviewed exclusively by Heat Street and National Review.

 “The students tenting/demonstrating are asking for a generator for their campsite,” wrote Chief Diversity Officer Noor Azizan-Gardner on the morning of Nov. 6, four days into Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike. “Is there any way that we can help with this? Let me know if this is even possible.”

“We got them power this morning,” wrote Gary Ward, the vice chancellor for operations and chief operating officer at MU, two minutes later.

So power provided as requested even though no generator was put out there.  Result?  Sorry, not good enough.  Less than 4 hours later:

“I just heard from the students that they have one power strip with 8 outlets on it and it’s connected to one of the power sources on the quad,” writes Azizan-Gardner, copying Chancellor Bowen Loftin, in addition to Ward. “The students are concerned that they may trip the circuitry if they overload it. So, they have texted me that they need to have more power outlets and/or a small generator so that they can have heat and refrigeration this weekend. Please let me know how we can provide this for them.”

Heat and refrigeration.  Because, you know, protesting should have all the comforts of home paid for by the institution against which they’re protesting.  No wonder there are so many feeling the “Bern” on campus.

This time, Gary Ward wasn’t quite as into helping:

Ward responded less than enthusiastically: “That is all we have and I had folks come in first thing to get that. I am very concerned with providing a gas generator for safety concerns. That also requires us to have a person come in and keep them in gas. I very much appreciate our students and their right to protest but they are right now killing grass and putting stakes in the ground where we have underground sprinkler system. No other group or individual have been allowed to set up home on our quad. Typically when a tent request comes in the request needs a [procurement code] to pay for all the associated expenses. I request they move off our quad that many of our folks have worked very hard to make enjoyable for the entire university community. It really was not designed for a campsite.”

Sanity!  Hey, the quad does not belong to them, they’re making demands that no one has ever made and they should be moved off.  And oh, by the way, those that do set up tent camps usually pay “for all the associated expenses”.

The answer from the administration?  A giant cave:

The administration then briefly deliberated whether a resolution could be reached with the protestors soon. After one notes the enormous national news coverage, Chancellor Loftin recommends “that we handle power by providing a generator of our own or access to more power from campus.”

“Will do,” Ward responds.

Ward is being the “good soldier”, but the administration simply ignored their own rules and took the easy way out because they didn’t have the stomach to facedown the protesters like the administration at Ohio State did recently.  Result?  Well, when you give an inch, you can expect them to ask for a mile … especially if they’re not paying for it:

About an hour later, Ward writes back: “The generator is set up. They want a fire pit.”

Freakin’ hilarious if it wasn’t so sad a statement on many students and the administrations of many academic institutions.  Protest and demand that others not only heed your demands but pay for the amenities of your protest as you imagine them.

And on the other side, just lay down and let these people run over the rules of the institution and cave into their absurd demands.

What kind of life lesson is that?  While this may work at Mizzou, they’ll be standing in an unemployment like faster than you can say SJW if they tried to pull this nonsense at work.  Of course there are many corporations out there caving in to racial extortion, so that’s not quite as true a statement as it once was.  But you get the point.

No wonder Mizzou is closing dorms this coming fall semester.  The administration there deserves everything they’ve gotten … and frankly should have suffered even more for their wormy conduct.

That’s no way to run a University.

~McQ

 

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Economic Statistics for 15 April 16

Industrial production fell -0.6% in March, for the second month in a row. Capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell to 74.8%.

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey surged in April, rising from 0.62 to 9.56.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index fell -1.3 points to 89.7 in April.

Foreign demand for long-term US securities rose by $72.0 Billion in February.


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Stray Voltage

The boys at This Ain’t Hell ask:

Here’s my conundrum: if it is immoral, even criminal or civilly liable for these mom-and-pop Christian businesses to deny services based on their fundamental beliefs, why is it not also immoral or legally actionable for large corporations to refuse their services to the citizens of those states where those who govern choose to pass legislation to protect the religious freedoms of their citizenry?

If I’m a huge professional football fan living in Atlanta and the NFL people remove my city from contention for a near-future Super Bowl because they feel my state is discriminating against the transgendered, am I not the victim of discriminatory business practices on the part of the NFL? What about those organizations and corporations that cancel annual conferences and business meetings because of the actions of my state legislature? Aren’t these big corporations refusing to do business with my state simply because they consider our practices immoral, just as those bakeries, florists, and photographers see gays as immoral? Other than scale, I see little difference.

Okay all you smart readers: Tell me where I’m wrong.

I fall on the “scale” side of things.  If Bruce Springsteen is open for business in all 50 states and had a contract in NC, why isn’t he considered to be as liable for damages as the cake bakers who refused to cater a gay wedding?  That is if we’re talking “truly held and deep moral beliefs” and all.

The same sort of questions are asked here.

NoKo’s missile firing failure prompts a Chinese barb and a little “truth to power”, not that NoKo is likely to listen:

“The firing of a mid-range ballistic missile on Friday by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), though failed, marks the latest in a string of saber-rattling that, if unchecked, will lead the country to nowhere,” China’s official Xinhua news agency said in an English language commentary.

“…Nuclear weapons will not make Pyongyang safer. On the contrary, its costly military endeavors will keep on suffocating its economy.”

However, as long as the Chinese continue to subsidize the foolishness, it’ll continue.  That said, there are more and more indications that China is becoming fed up with the North Korean regime.

You had to know this would happen in California, which just raised the minimum wage to $15.  Unions who helped push for passage?  Uh, they want an exemption.  But for an explicit reason from their crony, state government:

As it turns out, this practice is not uncommon. The WSJ reported last year that at least six municipalities have created special minimum wage carveouts for unions. The logic is straightforward: Kill non-unionized jobs, add more workers to the union rolls, and extract higher fees for union bosses. It’s not a minimum wage hike the labor movement is after, exactly: It’s a penalty on non-union employers, and a payout for modern-day Jimmy Hoffas. Expect unions in California and New York, which recently enacted statewide $15 minimums, to start lobbying legislators for their own sweetheart deals in the near future.

Of course, one can be charitable and note that these measures are backed, in many cases, by well-meaning people trying desperately to keep private sector unions viable in an age of globalization and rapid technological change. But that is no excuse for the kind of craven crony capitalism that’s now underway. If union leaders are going to ask for exemptions to their own laws, the least they can do is drop the pretense that a $15 minimum is a human right, and instead admit that they are in it—at least in part—to increase their own wealth and political power. But then, that would pour cold water on what they have managed to pitch to voters as a righteous moral crusade.

It’s business.  And in California, as it pertains to unions, protecting them is business as usual for government.

I am and always have been a huge opponent of civil forfeiture.  It should be unconstitutional as it certainly abridges the right to due process.  Except, now, in Florida it seems:

Some great news in asset forfeiture reform is coming out of Florida. S.B. 1044, approved by the legislature earlier in the month, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Scott.

The big deal with this particular reform is that, in most cases, Florida police will actually have to arrest and charge a person with a crime before attempting to seize and keep their money and property under the state’s asset forfeiture laws. One of the major ways asset forfeiture gets abused is that it is frequently a “civil”, not criminal, process where police and prosecutors are able to take property without even charging somebody with a crime, let alone convicting them. This is how police are, for example, able to snatch cash from cars they’ve pulled over and claim they suspect the money was going to be used for drug trafficking without actually finding any drugs.

That’s a great first step.  Now we need the same sort of laws in the rest of the US.  Civil forfeiture is an abuse of power and, frankly, illegal and immoral (but the drug warriors will tell you it is essential to stopping drugs … something they’ve been so successful in accomplishing).  It needs to stop.  Kudos to Florida for doing something about it.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 14 Apr 16

Consumer prices rose 0.1% in March, both at the headline and core rate. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 0.9% overall, and 2.2% less food and energy.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 13,000 to 253,000. The 4-week average fell 1,500 to 265,000. Continuing claims fell 18,000 to 2.171 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.0 point to 43.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $15.7 billion last week, with total assets of $4.5 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $4.4 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $33.7 billion in the latest week.


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If you think Bernie is expensive

Hillary Clinton admits not only to a tax increase but a 1 Trillion dollar tax increase.  To spend on the debt?  Well, no.  New spending! Freeloader spending!

If you know how government works, they’ll admit to $1 trillion in new taxes and claim its what they’ll spend, but my guess is the real spending will end up being 4 to 5 times that much.  And that in the land of $18 Trillion debt.  Check out this interview.  Whatever happened to “no new taxes”?

Daily News: So on taxes, that I did call for among other things, a surcharge on incomes over $5 million, 30% minimum, the Buffett rule, over a million…

Clinton: Over a million. Yeah, right.

Daily News: …and then to carried interests, a change in capital gains that would reward people for holding for six years or more, I believe it is. How much revenue do you foresee coming off that and what will be the impact on growth?

Clinton: Well, I have connected up my proposals for the kind of investments I want to make with the taxes that I think have to be raised. So on individual pieces of my agenda, I try to demonstrate clearly that I have a way for paying for paid family leave, for example, for debt-free tuition. So I would spend about $100 billion a year. And I think it’s affordable, and I think it’s a smart way to make investments, to go back to our economic discussion, that will contribute to growing the economy.

Now I’m well aware that this is a heavy lift. I understand that. But I think connecting what I’m asking for to the programs, to the outcomes and results that I’m calling for give me a stronger hand, and that’s how I’m going to go at it.

Daily News: So if I understand you correctly, if you look at your proposals for college costs and for family leave, for infrastructure investments…

Clinton: Well, that’s a little bit different, because infrastructure investment, I’m still looking at how we fund the National Infrastructure Bank. It may be repatriation. That’s one theory, or something else. It’s about $100 billion a year.

Daily News: A hundred billion a year, so that comes out to about a trillion dollars…

Clinton: Over ten.

Daily News: …over ten years.

Meanwhile, never mentioned, is what happens to an already hurting economy when government decides it can spend money better than those who earn it?  Well the same thing that happens in any planned economy.  People who earn the money quit doing so since it simply isn’t worth it.  When marginal rates rise to the point that if you spend your time earning more, most of it goes out in taxes, well then you put together a plan to maximize what you get to keep and you don’t commit to any extra earning that will be mostly taxes.

Does the government spending drop when the planned tax revenues drop?

Have you ever seen it do so?  Do you have any idea of how we’ve amassed the $18 trillion dollar debt we have?

So yeah, let’s elect this criminal crackpot and economic illiterate and finally pull the flush chain.  Let’s just let it all go down the drain.

What a political season we’re being subjected too.  And idiot on the right and two socialist crackpots on the left.

Meanwhile, the apparent hot topic is whether or not North Carolina has the right to have men use a men’s room and not the women’s room.

Freaking nuts!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 13 Apr 16

The Fed’s Beige Book reports today that US economic growth remains modest to moderate, though the labor market continues to grow.

March retail sales fell a disappointing -0.3%, though sales less autos rose 0.2% and sales less autos and gas rose 0.1%.

Producer Prices for Final Demand fell -0.1% in March. Prices less food and energy fell -0.1%, and prices less food, energy, and trade services were unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, PPI-FD is down -0.1%, Prices less food and energy are up 1.0%, and prices less food, energy, and trade services are up 0.9%.

Business inventories fell -0.1% in February, but a -0.4% drop in sales kept the stock-to-sales ratio at a high 1.41.

The Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations outlook for the next 12 months dipped -0.1% to 1.7% in April.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications, driven by interest rate drops, rose 10.0% last week, with purchases up 8.0% and refis up 11.0%.


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