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Stray Voltage

Is the “open borders” movement coming to an end in Europe because of Islamic terrorism?

Germans appear to be losing faith in the idea of a borderless Europe, as the results of a poll published on Tuesday showed that two-thirds would prefer the government to end the Schengen free-movement zone.

The survey by French pollsters Ifop found that while 60 percent of Italians were against Schengen – an agreement which allows people to travel within the EU without showing a passport – across the Rhine the number of French people wanting borders closed was as high as 72 percent.

The apparent “thank you for allowing us in” from the Brussels bombers has helped pour cold water on the idea that borders between countries in Europe should be uncontrolled. And:

With 79 percent of Germans now believing that some migrants may be potential terrorists, numbers are similar to those in France (80 percent) and a little behind those in Italy (84 percent).

My goodness, who knew so many “Islamaphobic” people lived in … Europe?  I thought that was strictly a “right-wing” American problem.

A “New Red Guard” update.  This time at Dartmouth where protesters got a sorority to cancel its “Kentucky Derby Party” because it was  … “racist and elitist.”  Yes, that’s right friends, the NRG thought it was elitist because it was a private party (apparently, in The New Red Guard’s world, those are verboten) and racist because it reminded certain special snowflakes of the ‘Old South’ and gave them the vapors.

“We realized that if anyone on campus felt uncomfortable or upset with the theme, then we obviously shouldn’t have it,” said KDE social chair Jehanna Axelrod.

KDE vice president Nikol Oydanich said house members were convinced by critics that the party was racially offensive because it evoked the aesthetics of the plantation-era South.

“[It is] related to pre-war Southern culture,” she said. “Derby was a party that had the power to upset a lot of our classmates.”

As the article notes, the first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875 and had, therefore, no relation to the “plantation era” South, but was instead a post war sporting event that became a tradition.

But, hey, those are facts and we all know that the historically illiterate who populate our colleges and universities anymore aren’t interested in facts.  It’s all about feelings and perception.  What it’s not about, at least for the NRG, is anyone’s feelings or perceptions but their own.  And they’re they’re certainly not going to let facts stand in the way of those!

Big article in The Guardian about how the rest of them have to halt the “far right” in Europe, because …!  Yeah, that’s the part that never gets fully explained, but there were some laugh-out-loud paragraphs that simplicity explain why the “far-right” are making gains there.

For example:

Citizens’ lack of trust in the capacity of governments to get on top of problems is what fuels the growth of far-right parties. These, in turn, threaten Europe’s democratic fabric and social cohesion. If these movements continue proliferating, they will spell the end of the EU as a project, and possibly the end of stability and peace in our region.

Citizen’s lack that trust because government has consistently failed over decades to get on top of the “problems” in question.  It is the same reason Trump is so popular here (although I’d hardly call him “far-right).  None of the politicians on either side of the pond seem to get this.  And that causes what?

European citizens will migrate to political extremes in even higher numbers if EU institutions and governments don’t manage to build trust in the system. Right now, that can be done only if decisive steps are taken both against terrorism and uncontrolled migration. It may sound cynical, but lofty idealism simply won’t do the trick.

And we all know that’s not the prescription the leadership of various European nations are pushing is it?  As usual, both here and in Europe, the voice of the people is being ignored for those “lofty ideals” which lead precisely down the road now being traveled.

So?

Tolerance was once described by Merkel as “the heart and soul of Europe”. The painful paradox today is that halting the advance of parties that promote intolerance, want to bury the EU, and feel empowered by recent tragic events, may require some maximalist moral postures to be abandoned.

 Or to translate the progressive type who wrote the article, maybe a degree of “intolerance” (i.e. protecting citizens from people who are much more “intolerant” to their way of life than the other way around) is the answer.  Because,  you know, mindless tolerance has been so well rewarded, hasn’t it?

Speaking of progressives and history, you have to wonder how in the world that movement has been so successful in redefining itself over the years that it has apparently hidden its very nasty roots:

You don’t have to take my word for it. Read the excellent new book by Princeton’s Thomas Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era. Under the banner of a “New Nationalism,” progressives called for a centralized administrative state manned by expert managers and planners, who would use “scientific methods” to enhance human welfare.

Believing that social progress “required the individual to be controlled, liberated and expanded by collective actions,” progressive intellectuals perceived human persons as “lumps of human dough” to be formed on the “social kneading board.”

That molding, Leonard points out, was to be done “by the best and the brightest, those who, uniquely, ignored profit and power to serve the common good – which is to say, the progressives themselves.”

These experts denied inalienable rights. Their hero, Woodrow Wilson, called them “nonsense.” The editors of the progressive journal, The New Republic, spoke for the movement when it ridiculed individual liberties as “quaint and retrograde.” The leading progressive legal scholar, Roscoe Pound (1879-1964) author of Social Control Through Law, argued the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights “were not needed in the [founders time] and they are not desired in our own.”

Believing that the State superseded even God, progressives encouraged government officials to embrace eugenics – “the social control of human breeding” to rid the nation of perceived undesirables.

Progressive-era eugenics, Leonard writes, “required agreement upon three things only – the primacy of heredity, human hierarchy rather than human equality, and the necessary illiberal idea that human heredity must be socially controlled rather than left to individual choice.”

In 1911, N.J. governor, Woodrow Wilson, signed into forcible sterilization legislation aimed at “the hopelessly defective and criminal classes.” Numerous states and municipalities followed Wilson’s lead.

Read the whole article.  How they are able to maintain the veneer of freedom loving individuals who are there to right wrongs when their history is a litany of subjugation, class warfare, elitism, social control and discrimination based on race is beyond me, but – aided and abetted by the media – they have.  They pushed eugenics, for heaven sake! Government sponsored eugenics. Remind you of anyone?

Bill Clinton tangled with the Black Live Matter gang and frankly came out on top.

Oh, no, no, no … he can’t do that, say various progressives, because they’re one of the protected minorities.  Or so the implication goes.  In fact one writer at Slate, after this particular episode, called on Hillary to fire him:

It was a mess, but it’s not the first mess he’s caused for his wife’s campaign. Just a couple of weeks ago, he decried “the awful legacy of the last eight years,” which sounded a lot like a condemnation of the Obama presidency—a presidency that Hillary Clinton is doing her best to tie herself to. And in February, Clinton said that if the system is rigged, it’s because Americans “don’t have a president that’s a changemaker.”

One might attribute this repeated clumsiness to the fact that Bill Clinton is getting old; his hearing is bad, and on the trail he looks frail and wan. Perhaps he’s simply slipping, mentally. But let’s remember that Clinton caused similar problems for Hillary in 2008. There was the time he tried to diminish Obama’s victory in South Carolina by noting that Jesse Jackson won there as well. The time he described the idea that Obama had gotten the Iraq war right as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” The time—it hurts to remember it—when he complained that the Obama campaign “played the race card on me.”

And yet, after all that, once Hillary had lost and Bill Clinton was supporting Obama, the sloppiness ceased and he was back to performing superbly. (Witness, for example, his celebrated speech at the 2008 Democratic convention.) It is somehow only when he is working on his wife’s behalf that he veers into sabotage. What is needed here is probably a shrink, not a neurologist. Either he doesn’t want her to overtake him, or he doesn’t want her to repudiate him. Regardless, Hillary should shut him down. She can’t divorce him, but she can fire him.

Yup … can’t be talkin’ truth to stupidity now, can we?  Especially when the black vote is once again important.  Give it a year, black folks … they’ll go right back to forgetting about you as they always have in the past.  Meanwhile, Bill, the old codger, is apparently shaking up the myth by telling more truth than he has in his life.  Ain’t old age wonderful?

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 7 Apr 16

Chain stores that reported sales today are reporting weaker sales for March than February.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 9,000 to 267,000. The 4-week average rose 3,500 to 266,750. Continuing claims rose 19,000 to 2.191 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.2 points to 42.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $1.2 billion last week, with total assets of $4.484 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-1.0 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $69.3 billion in the latest week.


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Venezuela gives new meaning to black (out) Friday

Indeed, not only can you not get any staples at grocery stores in the socialist paradise of Venezuela, now there’s an energy shortage.

Solution!?  Take Friday off for a couple of months (because no one uses electricity at home)!

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuelans will have “long weekends” in an appearance on state television on Wednesday night, announcing the measure as part of a 60-day plan to fight a power crunch.

“This plan for 60 days, for two months, will allow the country to get through the most difficult period with the most risk. I call on families, on the youth, to join this plan with discipline, with conscience and extreme collaboration to confront this extreme situation,” Maduro said.

Yes, discipline, conscience and extreme collaboration because your government has so screwed the pooch that the poor thing is dying.  And it is your responsibility, dear Venezuelans, to do with out to fix their mess.

You see, they’ve flat run out of yours and other people’s money and they’re now calling on you to sacrifice even more!

And even with Venezuela and Cuba as prime examples of what Senator Sanders is pushing, there is a significant portion of the voting public that is trying to “feel the Bern”.

All the Venezuelans want is to “feel” a little electricity, oh, and milk and toilet paper, and diapers, and vegetables and meat, meat would be nice, and …

~McQ

 

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Being “wonderful” with other people’s money

Or, the definition of politics today (and how Margret Thatcher defined socialism).  Today’s “wonderful” people?  Well they’re all in California.  Example one:

San Francisco on Tuesday became the first city in the United States to approve six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents — mothers and fathers, including same-sex couples, who either bear or adopt a child.

California is already one of only a few states that offer paid parental leave, with workers receiving 55 percent of their pay for six weeks, paid for by employee-financed public disability insurance. The new law in San Francisco, passed unanimously by the city’s Board of Supervisors, mandates full pay, with the 45 percent difference being paid by employers.

That’s right friends, the price of being nice means charging employers 45% more for paid family leave just for the privilege of doing business in San Francisco. Isn’t that just “wonderful”?

Well of course it is … just ask the clueless:

The United States, which guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave, is the only developed country that does not guarantee all new parents paid parental leave. Expectant mothers get 18 weeks of paid leave in Australia, 39 weeks in the UK, and 480 days in Sweden.

That’s right, they do it in … say it with me, Europe!  You know, the group of countries, all of which were they states in the US, would be poorer than Mississippi.  That’s what we want, isn’t it boys and girls!

It is the responsibility of others to pay for our choices! Because, you know, it’s the fault of the employer its employees get pregnant and miss work.  They should pay them for that time.  And what the heck, they can just socialize the payment by raising their prices, can’t they?

And, of course, they can socialize even more with California’s new $15 minimum wage.  Because everyone knows that employers ‘owe’ employees a “living wage”.  However, don’t forget members of California’s various governments up to their necks in giving away other people’s money – employers still have choices, and you can believe when they are feasible and affordable, they will exercise them.

When that happens, Cal Pols, you can hold a math quiz with everyone who finds themselves looking for work because employers took their business elsewhere or automated.

The question?

“What’s $15 dollars times zero hours?

Oh, wait, I forgot  … government run schools.

Never mind.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 5 Apr 16

Imports rose 1.3%, while exports rose only 1.0% in February, widening the International Trade gap to $-47.1 billion for the month.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index rose to -10 from -13 in March.

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales increase fell to 0.6% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.5%.

The PMI Services Index rose 1.6 points to 51.3 in March.

The ISM non-manufacturing index rose a sharp 1.1 points in March to a 54.5.

The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey fell to 5.445 million in February, from January’s 5.541 million.


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Harvest time

“Hey, Bxlnar, I see you’re back from surveying that group of hairless bipeds just beginning their civilization. What was the name of their planet again?”

“XP-492-Sol3, but we just call it Earth.”

“So how did it go?”

“They’re interesting animals. Standard amino acid mix, using DNA as the genetic template.”

“Mmm. So they’re biocompatible. Did you take some samples for, heheh, analysis?”

“That’s the interesting part. They are the best long distance runners I’ve ever seen. They actually hunt by just following a prey animal until it gives up and dies. Their muscle tissue has a variety of myoprotein unlike anything I’ve ever encountered.”

“So, it is good?”

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Have to baste it with some fat to get the perfect recipe, but it’s worth it. I’m salivating right now, just thinking about it.”

“Well, maybe we could farm them?”

“No, they look difficult or impossible to domesticate. Contrary as all get out. Their hunter-gatherer ancestry makes then intractable.”

“But if they are such a wonderful delicacy, surely there’s something we could do.”

“Well, I’ve been thinking about it. Maybe we should help them along a bit. Insert a few technological innovations to help them increase their population and start spreading out into new territory.”

“Won’t that just get them into wars against each other as population pressure builds up?”

“Yeah, but the standard culturogenetic analysis says they would learn how to get along in about 4000 years. By then they will have filled up the planet, assuming we seed additional innovations at critical points, including use of mechanical power and some manipulation of plant and animal biology to dramatically increase their food supply.”

“So when could we start harvesting?”

“Given the extra fat needed in the recipe to cook them, we need to wait until their technology and food supply have made them indolent. I think a good indicator for harvesting would be when there were more fat ones than skinny ones.”

“OK, I approve the project for it. Let me know when they’re ready.”

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Economic Statistics for 4 Apr 16

Factory orders plunged -1.7% in February, with core capital goods dropping -2.5%, indicating trouble for business investment.

The Fed’s Labor Market Conditions Index rose slightly, but remained in negative territory for March at -2.1.

Gallup’s US Consumer Spending Measure reports that American’s self-reported daily spending rose from $84 to $89 in March.


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When government interferes in a market, results are predictable

And it is neck deep in health care.  So, with the passage of ObamaCare, what is the state of medicine?

Oh, just great:

The doctor is disappearing in America.

And by most projections, it’s only going to get worse — the U.S. could lose as many as 1 million doctors by 2025, according to a Association of American Medical Colleges report.

Primary-care physicians will account for as much as one-third of that shortage, meaning the doctor you likely interact with most often is also becoming much more difficult to see.

Now, 2025 is 9 years away and, the “primary-care physician” is the star of ObamaCare because he or she is the “gatekeeper”.  However, which doctor is the worst compensated of all doctors?

Why the gatekeeper of course.  And, that’s by design.  Government design:

Starting salaries in high-paying specialties can range from $354,000 (general surgery) to $488,000 (orthopedic surgery), while primary-care fields tend to bring a sub-$200,000 starting salary, from$188,000 (pediatrics) to $199,000 (family medicine), according to a Merritt Hawkins report.

Why?

The pay disparities reflect America’s “fee for service” health-care model, which compensates providers based on the number and type of services they complete, and which inherently favors specialists.

Anyone know what entity pushes the “fee for service” model?  Can you say “Medicare”?  And yes, the insurance companies follow their lead. Hence, we have doctors in the primary care field looking at specializing because as gatekeepers, they are mostly the chief “referrer” to the other medical specialties … the ones that get paid more.

Wow … what a surprise then that the field of primary care is looking at a future shortage.  It’s another one of those “human nature” things that central planners simply can’t wrap their brains around.

Then there’s the exacerbation of the problem by ObamaCare:

The shortage is one that’s been stewing for decades but of late was exacerbated by passage of the Affordable Care Act, which increased the number of insured people and along with that the demand for doctor access, experts say.

As we’ve mentioned countless times, having insurance does not equal having care.  And as the number of gatekeepers dwindles, that problem will become even more acute.

Of course everyone knows what the answer that will be put forth by our political leaders don’t they?  Why of course more government.  You know, like the UK, where the former head of the NHS just died because the operation she needed was postponed 4 times.

~McQ

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