Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Two things are infinite ... the Universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the Universe.--Albert Einstein

The Keynesian idea that massive government spending, a "stimulus package," would revive the economy after the Great Recession of 2008-2009 resulted in trillions of dollars of government borrowing here and abroad which created only a decade-long anemic recovery. The number of jobs created under President Barack Obama's stimulus turned out to be fewer than the number we would have had if the government had done nothing — according to the Obama administration's own analysis. So we got $9 trillion of debt with almost nothing to pay for it. Amazingly, every Obama budget forecast that annual growth would reach 3.5 to 4.5%. We never got growth above 3% under Obama, and the average growth was 2%, ending at 1.6%. The reality was, on average, about 1.5%age points below the projection, which was about an 80% overestimate of growth.

“Administrative power is like off-road driving,” Mr. Hamburger continues. “It’s exhilarating to operate off-road when you’re in the driver’s seat, but it’s a little unnerving for everyone else.”
He says he observed this effect during a recent conversation with a prominent legal scholar. The colleague, a longtime defender of administrative law, was discussing the topic shortly after Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
The colleague told Mr. Hamburger: “I am beginning to see the merit of your ideas.”
--Tierney, writing on "administrative law," quoting Phillip Hamburger

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Why? Power, like all of us, seeks  freedom of action. It seeks to escape interdiction. So it opposes checks, veto, review and boundary.
So the first act of the would-be tyrant is to silence--silence--opposing voices.
If you ever see suppression of opinion you are seeing tyranny in action
Minimum wage law has always had an ulterior motive. Look at the Davis-Bacon Act that fixed wages for workers on federal make-work programs.
The congressional debate that preceded enactment was filled with references to “unattached migratory workmen,” “itinerant labor,” “cheap, imported labor,” “cheap bootleg labor” and “labor lured from distant places” for “competition with white labor throughout the country."
The idea behind the Davis-Bacon Act was to feed jobs to white unions and legislate the poor out of the market.

Who is...Amity Shlaes?

The aim of modern politics and business is to create easy-to-handle and marketable public groupings. The more refined the grouping target, the more refined--and successful--the message. Ice cream devotees and gun right groups are pretty straight-forward, first time car buyers and small government groups less so. The essence of the democracy has been the basic interstitial philosophical connections supporting all but violent revolutionary groups devoted to destroying that interstitial structure.  Communities have historically been resistant to significant outliers because they had no support system to nurture or protect them. That is no longer true. You can isolate yourself in a completely self-supporting environment now--sort of self administered brainwashing that the North Koreans used to do. So a dizzy socialite like Patty Hearst can get grabbed by several total lunatics and, after four months in a closet, emerge as a full-fledged, gun toting revolutionary without a cause.

Animosity from righteousness will never disappear but the infrastructure that created the democracy and supports it now, can.

In India, between 1952 and 1962, DDT caused a decrease in annual malaria cases from 100 million to 60,000. By the late 1970s, no longer able to use DDT, the number of cases increased to 6 million

In Sri Lanka, before the use of DDT, 2.8 million people suffered from malaria. When the spraying stopped, only 17 people suffered from the disease. Then, no longer able to use DDT, Sri Lanka suffered a massive malaria epidemic: 1.5 million people were infected by the parasite.

In South Africa, after DDT became unavailable, the number of malaria cases increased from 8,500 to 42,000 and malaria deaths from 22 to 320 .

"'s liberalism has become grotesquely mechanistic and authoritarian: It's all about reducing individuals to a group identity, defining that group in permanent victim terms, and denying others their democratic right to challenge that group and its ideology. Political correctness represents the fossilized institutionalization of once-vital revolutionary ideas, which have become mere rote formulas. It is repressively Stalinist, dependent on a labyrinthine, parasitic bureaucracy to enforce its empty dictates."--the dreaded Paglia

Well into the 20th century everyone knew what liberalism stood for: freedom, property rights, equality of opportunity, markets--"the liberal system of free exportation and free importation," as Adam Smith put it. Liberalism was common sense; in terms of political real estate it represented the precious middle ground. The liberalism of yore didn't emphasize groups but rather individuals. Liberalism and autocrats didn't mix, for there was an inherent civility to this liberalism. Americans discussed issues politely because they respected one another, individually. Those politicians who, in contrast, fought for rights of groups (senior citizens, labor, women) were known, whatever their party, as progressives.--Amity Shlaes, explaining a lot of what is wrong with the world.

Golden oldie:


Some point to the American grocery store as the example of success in supply and demand. According to a January 2014 Consumer Reports article, citing figures from the Food Marketing Institute, the average supermarket had fewer than nine thousand items in 1975.  By 2008, that number had quintupled. Quintupled.
We are not far from the point where the deliberately organized forces of society may destroy those spontaneous forces which have made advance possible.--Hayek. This is such an interesting quote, "deliberately organized forces" vs. "spontaneous forces."

In the U.S., 31% of income is taken by the State in taxes; in France it is 60%. Then it is dispersed as the State sees fit.

It has been more than a year since the Pentagon announced that it was opening a new line of combat against the Islamic State, directing Cyber Command, then six years old, to mount computer-network attacks... "In general, there was some sense of disappointment in the overall ability for cyberoperations to land a major blow against ISIS," or the Islamic State, said Joshua Geltzer, who was the senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council until March. "This is just much harder than people think...."  

Love is like Oxygen. So is credit. Loans to businesses are way down.

Entangled particles are one of physic's modern mysteries. Paired particles seem to mirror each other and respond instantly to each other over huge distances, raising questions about the travel speed of communication. As they are individually paired they are interesting as a possible encryption technique.
Science Magazine reports a team of physicists using the Chinese Micius satellite (launched back in August 2016) have sent quantum-entangled photons from a satellite to ground stations separated by 1200 kilometers, smashing the previous world record. Sending entangled photons through space instead of optical fiber networks with repeaters has long been the dream of those promoting quantum-key exchange for modern cryptography. This was a very limited success. They were only able to recover about 1000 photons out of about 6 billion sent and the two receiving stations were on Tibetan mountains to reduce the amount of air that needed to be traversed. Also the experiment was done at night to minimize interference from the sun. Still, baby steps...  

In the Southeast, 30% of car loans are in arrears.
It takes 47% of the average paycheck to buy a pickup.

Oregon became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as "nonbinary," neither male nor female, on their driver licenses and identification cards Thursday in a decision by The Oregon Transportation Commission.

Being magnanimous with the property of others, Jeremy Corbyn has called for the empty homes of rich people in Kensington to be seized for Grenfell Tower residents who have been made homeless by the fire.

The Russians say that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive again.

Friction between the U.S. and Mexico over trade is starting to cut into sales for U.S. farmers and agricultural companies, adding uncertainty for an industry struggling with low commodity prices and excess supply. (wsj)

AAAAaaaaaannnnnddddddd.....a graph:

Chart of the Day
Horizontal Line

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