Wednesday, March 22, 2017


“If all the economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion.”--anon

Remember "Peak Oil?" Current estimates of recoverable oil far outstrip our theoretical need in the next generation. I wonder what think tank those Peak Oil guys are influencing now.

"He sets himself three main challenges here: to make sense of the idea of Design without a Designer that is so central to understanding evolution; to flesh out the concept of competence without comprehension, the key to much animal — and indeed human — thought and behaviour; to understand human consciousness as a natural, unmysterious, outcome of i) evolutionary design, ii) uncomprehending competence and, iii) a little something extra, shortly to be revealed. The overarching task is to enable us to understand ourselves, the intellectuals of creation, as the products of gradual, natural, processes, issuing out of dust yet eschewing the hand of God." --Adam Zeman's review of
Daniel C. Dennett’s new book, From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds

The two reasons Adam Smith was skeptical about government's ability to regulate free trade successfully:  First, government tended to be much less responsive to the needs of the people than self-interested merchants; and, Second, special interest groups could manipulate governments, leading to policies for their own enrichment rather than the public benefit. Sooooo.....look at Trump’s choice to be commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, who was a registered Democrat until nine days into the transition. He has praised China’s central direction of its economy using five-year plans. Ross favors a U.S. “industrial policy” whereby government would “decide which industries are we going to really promote — the so-called industries of the future.”
Well, maybe he's smarter than Smith. I hope he's smarter than Obama.

Bryan Caplan writes that through all the confusing and distorted news, three lessons emerged for him over the last year: The American voter was less rational than he thought, the Republicans more nationalistic than he thought and the Democrats more socialist than he thought.

Norberg has an interesting summary of terrorism. He says anti-colonial movements are usually successful whether violent or not. [however]..."Violent campaigns in general are great failures. The political scientist Audrey Cronin looked at 457 terrorist groups active since 1968. None of them managed to conquer a state and ninety-four per cent of them failed to secure even one of their operative goals.  The typical terrorist organization survived only for eight years, partly because the attacks on civilians alienated the population that the group wanted support from: ‘terrorist violence contains within itself the seeds of repulsion and revulsion.  Violence has an international language, but so does decency’.
So it seems that the only way for terrorists to win is if its victims overreact, dismantle civil liberties and blame whole groups for the actions of a few."

If Mexico pays for the wall, that would essentially be an import, right? So American imports from Mexico would rise by twelve billion dollars without any increase at all in American exports, right? That would be bad, right?

Who is....Jacques Derrida?

"The fallacy of composition" is the belief that what is true for a part is true for the whole. So if a branch is rotting, the tree must be rotting. A politician or a professor sees an industry or a town in economic decline today because of free trade, he or she concludes that the entire economy must therefore be in economic decline because of free trade or that this industry or town will remain in decline into the future because of free trade.

More on the open-mindedness front: Defending a series of false statements by the official White House spokesman, a senior Trump adviser suggested the official had been invoking “alternative facts” rather than untruths. While this might be open-mindedness, might it not just be Jacques Derrida?

I do not know this lady (Katherine Mangu-Ward) but this is a very worrisome observation: "When you set aside Obama’s customary poetry and Trump’s habitual bluntness, both men are circling around the same idea: that loyalty to the state will lead Americans on a path to personal goodness. That working together toward a common goal of national greatness is the way to self-betterment."

Golden oldie:

Russian intervention in the Crimea and Ukraine has been a disaster for both Russia itself and the areas it has annexed or supported. As the Novorussian republics have no international recognition, their formerly close trade ties with the rest of Ukraine have not been replaced by other commercial links. Living standards have slumped, causing emigration — reportedly of as much as two million Russian-speaking people — to Russia itself. In the main Russian cities the influx has created a refugee problem, which coincides with the severe economic downturn and heavy job losses. The budgetary cost of the refugee population, as well as of expensive aid to Crimea and Novorussia, has come just as tax revenues from the energy sector are being squeezed.
Roughly speaking, the countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have a combined national output that is at least 15 times (and perhaps 30 times) Russia’s. If Russia were to spend a quarter of its GDP on weapons, the Nato members would match that if they set aside 1.5 per cent of GDP for the same purpose. A fair generalization is that, because of its economic inferiority, Russia can never outspend the West in weaponry.
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow "choke point" in the Persian Gulf's flow to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. As the Strait of Hor...

Charlie Chaplin once entered as Charlie Chaplin Look-alike contest--and lost.

“False documents” are seldom used just “to work,” but are part and parcel of a continuous process of misleading or defrauding the system in nearly every transaction with government and private enterprise. “False documents” do not imply a misspelled middle name or a day or two off the correct date of birth, or some sort of innocuous pseudonym. No, they involve the deliberate creation of a false identity, sometimes at the expense of a real person, and often with accompanying fraudulent Social Security numbers and photo identifications — crimes that both foul up the bureaucracy for law-abiding citizens, facilitate other crimes, and are the sort of felonies that most Americans would lose their jobs over and face either jail time or stiff fines. And often they are the second crimes — following not “law-abiding” behavior but the initial crime of entering and and residing in the United States unlawfully.

Did any of the Women's March get to the Saudi Arabian Embassy?

The Grand Mosque of Paris announced that it was withdrawing from the Foundation for Islam of France, a new, government-sponsored foundation charged with "contributing to the emergence of an Islam of France that is fully anchored in the French Republic." In a statement, the mosque, which represents 250 of the 2,500 of the mosques and Muslim associations in France, said that it denounced "any form of interference in the management of Muslim worship."

"It's not that other countries steal jobs from you guys," Alibaba founder Jack Ma said last week. "It's your strategy. Distribute the money and things in a proper way." According to Ma, the US wasted over $14 trillion in fighting wars over the past 30 years rather than investing in infrastructure at home, and said this was the main reason that the US economy is weakening.

I know this will be hard to believe, but since Hillary lost the election, the contributions to her "foundation" have declined.
In November, the Australian government confirmed it “has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.” 88 Million Dollars of Australian taxpayer money!! 
The government of Norway also drastically reduced their annual donations, which reached $20 million a year in 2015.
The main office of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City will be closing, laying off 22 employees, triggering a WARN notice. (The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) “offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.) This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.” The reason for the filing was stated as the “discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative,” after CGI previously announced layoffs leading up to the general election.

Records from former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s divorce case show how he has been able to collect hefty benefit checks from the federal government after serving time in prison for looting hundreds of thousands of dollars from his campaign fund. Most of that — about $100,000 — is workers' compensation and tax-free, according to Chicago attorney Barry Schatz, who is representing Jackson in his divorce proceeding. The rest of Jackson's benefits are Social Security Disability Insurance payments, some of which may be taxable, Schatz said. The payments flow to Jackson because he has bipolar disorder and depression — the issues that led to an extended leave from Congress in 2012.

AAAAaaaaannnnnnddddd.........a couple of graphs:


No comments: