Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Cab Thought 3/2/16

"The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition." --G K Chesterton

According to a recently released e-mail, on that same day as the Benghazi attack, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli in Libya warned colleagues in Washington, D.C., to “not conflate” the video with “this well-planned attack by militant extremists.”

Something I have never read before, from The Smithsonian Magazine:
"In 1817, Jefferson's old friend, the Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, died in Switzerland. The Polish nobleman, who had arrived from Europe in 1776 to aid the Americans, left a substantial fortune to Jefferson. Kosciuszko bequeathed funds to free Jefferson's slaves and purchase land and farming equipment for them to begin a life on their own. In the spring of 1819, Jefferson pondered what to do with the legacy. Kosciuszko had made him executor of the will, so Jefferson had a legal duty, as well as a personal obligation to his deceased friend, to carry out the terms of the document.

The terms came as no surprise to Jefferson. He had helped Kosciuszko draft the will, which states, 'I hereby authorize my friend, Thomas Jefferson, to employ the whole [bequest] in purchasing Negroes from his own or any others and giving them liberty in my name.' Kosciuszko's estate was nearly $20,000, the equivalent today of roughly $280,000. But Jefferson refused the gift, even though it would have reduced the debt hanging over Monticello, while also relieving him, in part at least, of what he himself had described in 1814 as the 'moral reproach' of slavery."

Jefferson wrote this to one of his plantation managers: 'A child raised every 2. years is of more profit then the crop of the best laboring man. in this, as in all other cases, providence has made our duties and our interests coincide perfectly.... [W]ith respect therefore to our women & their children I must pray you to inculcate upon the overseers that it is not their labor, but their increase which is the first consideration with us.'

The Oscars went to a story about lunatics in a post-war dystopia, a child abuse scandal and a primitive survival/revenge story--all given in a mood of racism and white guilt. Things are just great.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni reported that 48 of the top 52 liberal arts colleges and universities do not require English majors to take a Shakespeare course.

The Peanuts Christmas special arose out of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Fir Tree.' Schulz, as usual, was dogmatic and right. He opposed canned laughter, gave up control of the music score, and insisted, against his agent's advice, of including Linus' reciting the Nativity story from the Bible. In a screening room at network headquarters in New York, two CBS vice presidents watched the show in silence. Neither of them laughed once.

Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian General Staff Rudskoy told journalists that Russian intelligence found almost 12,000 tank/delivery trucks on the Turkish-Iraqi border near Zakho, where the ‘eastern’ oil smuggling route used by the Islamic State terrorist group runs. "As of the time the imagery was shot, there were 11,775 tank and delivery trucks on both sides of the Turkish-Iraqi border in the vicinity of Zakho, with 4,530 of them in Turkey and 7,250 in Iraq," he added. "It is worth mentioning that oil extracted both in Iraq and in Syria is smuggled via the checkpoint there," he added.
ISIS continues to transport as much oil as it possibly can to Turkey where it is subsequently processed and sold to the rest of the world. A lot of the Middle East has mixed emotions about these terrorists. As does the American leadership: former CIA deputy director Michael Morell said on PBS' Charlie Rose Show that the U.S. had never actually gone after the lifeblood of the ISIS regime, its oil supply chain, infrastructure and products, because "we didn’t want to do environmental damage, and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure." That is very thoughtful of us.
The Russians apparently are pretty decided, though, and are blowing the oil supply lines to smithereens. Of course, less oil around means better prices for Russian oil. But most countries go to war to get an advantage.

Who is...Islamic State’s Research and Fatwa Committee?

QE and zero-interest-rate policies (ZIRP) put a priority on capital rather than labor. So inflation-adjusted wages for the lower 80% of households have declined, a trend that started after the real-wage peak in 2000, and accelerated with the Financial Crisis. Since 80% of households have less spending power, and a good part of them much less spending power, consumers can’t spend as much unless they borrow more, and this too keeps a lid on consumer demand and inflationary pressures. So the current policies encourage borrowing to make up for the decrease in buying power. 

Golden oldie:

Good news: The Islamic State has a research committee, the Islamic State’s Research and Fatwa Committee. A research committee!
According to Brett McGurk, U.S. President Barack Obama's Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, they have a position on organ donation and use history and precedence in their analysis: "The apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected and may be taken with impunity. Organs that end the captive's life if removed: The removal of that type is also not prohibited," the Islamic State’s Research and Fatwa Committee says.  The “scholars” justify organ harvesting by likening it to cannibalism, which is obviously just fine: “A group of Islamic scholars have permitted, if necessary, one to kill the apostate in order to eat his flesh, which is part of benefiting from his body,” the Committee continued.
McGurk says he hasn’t been able to personally verify that any actual organs have been harvested, but Iraq’s UN ambassador says 12 doctors were killed in Mosul this year after refusing to remove organs


Back in 1950, more than 80% of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, only about 65%  of all men in the United States have jobs. The labor force participation rate for men is the lowest on record. 

Swiss army chief André Blattmann warned, in a Swiss newspaper article, the risks of social unrest in Europe are soaring. Recalling the experience of 1939/1945, Blattman fears the increasing aggression in public discourse is an explosively hazardous situation, and advises the Swiss people to arm themselves and warns that the basis for Swiss prosperity is "being called into question."

Stelliferous: adj: 1. having or abounding with stars. Stelliferous derives from the Latin stellifer meaning "star-bearing." It has been used in English since the late 1500s.

A janitor’s median annual salary today is $26,586.  An 18-year old today who starts work as a janitor, who works until the full Social Security retirement age of 66, and who each year is paid this median salary can expect to receive, upon retirement in 2063, a monthly Social Security check for $1,108.
But suppose that this janitor is relieved of having to pay the now-required 6.2 percent of his wages – $1,648.33 annually – into Social Security and, instead, he invests each year this sum into financial instruments that pay, on average, a real annual return of 5 percent, compounded monthly.  Saving and investing no more than this sum each year during his work life, this janitor, when he retires at age 66, will own a pension worth $337,591.  Even assuming (unrealistically) that these funds earn no further returns for the rest of the retired janitor’s life, if this janitor lives for another 15 years, every month he can take from his retirement fund $1,875.51 – or 69 percent more than the monthly amount that he would instead have received from Social Security.
The fly in the ointment? Taxation.

A Texas 9-year-old was suspended from school for saying his magic ring could make people disappear.

As the IB Times reported back in May, Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved $165 billion in arms deals to nations who had previously given money to the Clinton Foundation. The charity also received some $7 million in donations from the MIC which benefited directly from State Department arms export approvals.
"More than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton a total of more than $8 million to give speeches around the time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department," The Wall Street Journal says, adding that "fifteen of them also donated a total of between $5 million and $15 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s charity."

The Muslim population of Britain surpassed 3.5 million in 2015 to become around 5.5% of the overall population of 64 million. In real terms, Britain has the third-largest Muslim population in the European Union, after France, then Germany.

The top lobbyist for the private health insurance industry that continues to battle aspects of Obamacare is a former Health and Human Services official who played a powerful role in implementing the legislation. The head of the software industry’s lobbying group is a former Obama White House appointee who oversaw the negotiation and enforcement of the intellectual property rules essential to that business. And an Obama aide deeply involved in crafting the White House’s broadband Internet policy now serves as the chief lawyer for the telecom industry group seeking to legally overturn those same rules. The Obama administration has hired more than 70 previously registered lobbyists, according to a 2014 POLITICO review
Remember “When I’m president of the United States, if you want to work for my administration, you can’t leave my administration and then go lobby.” Barack Obama, campaigning in Iowa in August 2007?
He just says these things.

AAAAAaaaaannnnnnnddddddd......a graph:

Chart of the Day

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