Stuck with the windmill 1

There are plotters of the man-made global warming (“Chicken Little”) scare who know it is not true. They pretend it is true to force our submission to their “saving” rule. That is their motive and their aim. From time to time they admit it. They play us for fools. We will surely have to surrender to them, they reckon, for a cause so compelling – the saving of our planet from “burning up”. They are not hard to understand. They want power. They are organizers of populations. Herders of the human species. Super busybodies.

In addition, there are the untold millions of gulls who believe them. Who are convinced that the planet really is “burning up” and we must do what THEY say if we are to save our home in the cosmos.

It seems a lot of them really believe that if they give money to Al Gore; drive a Prius; stop eating meat; stop flying in aircraft; put solar panels on their roofs; vote for THEIR candidate in all elections; shiver in winter rather than use central heating; boil in summer rather than use air-conditioning; attend warmist protest rallies; put stickers on their cars announcing their virtuous faith in the warmist cult; curse President Trump for not signing a magic “accord” signed by other government leaders in Paris; and so on an on, they are actually doing things that will help to save the planet from “burning up”.

All the Democratic candidates for the presidency are adherents of this extra-weird faith; whether disingenuously because they know it is not true, or ingenuously because they believe it is, who knows?

We quote from some recent articles challenging and debunking the absurd belief.

Paul Driessen writes at Townhall:

CNN just hosted a seven-hour climate bore-athon. That climate cataclysms are real, imminent and indeed already devastating our planet is an article of faith. So host Wolf Blitzer and ten Democrat presidential wannabes vied to make the most extravagant claims about how bad things are and who would spend the most taxpayer money and impose the most Green New Deal rules to restrict our freedoms and transform our energy, economy, agriculture and transportation, in the name of preventing further cataclysms.

Bankrupt the country, in fact.

Cory Booker opened the bidding at $3 trillion. Kamala Harris and Julian Castro raised it to $10 trillion, and Bernie Sanders upped it to $16 trillion. Then they got down to the business of which personal choices and living standards would be rolled back the furthest. Among the proposals:

Ban all commercial air travel, except for ruling and privileged classes. Change our dietary guidelines or ban beef outright. “Massively” increase taxes, to “make polluters pay” for emitting greenhouse gases. Eliminate onshore drilling, offshore drilling, fracking, coal-fired power plants and internal combustion engines. No pipelines. No new nuclear power plants. Ensure “climate justice”.

Whatever that is.

The first bucket of icy cold reality is that we simply do not face a climate emergency. Computer models certainly predict all kinds of catastrophes. But both the models and increasingly hysterical assertions of planetary doom are completely out of synch with reality.

The second, even colder bucket of reality is that the wind and sun may be free, renewable, sustainable. and eco-friendly. But the technologies and raw materials required to harness this widely dispersed, intermittent, weather dependent energy to benefit humanity absolutely are not. In fact, they are far more environmentally harmful than any of the fossil fuel energy sources they would supposedly replace.

Biofuels. US ethanol quotas currently gobble up over 40% of America’s corn – grown on cropland nearly the size of Iowa, to displace about 10% of America’s gasoline. Corn ethanol also requires vast quantities of water, pesticides, fertilizers, natural gas, gasoline and diesel, to produce and transport a fuel that drives up food prices, adversely affects food aid and nutrition in poor nations, damages small engines, and gets one-third fewer miles per gallon than gasoline.

Replacing 100% of US gasoline with ethanol would require some 360 million acres of corn. That’s seven times the land mass of Utah. But eliminating fossil fuel production means we’d also have to replace the oil and natural gas feed stocks required for pharmaceuticals, wind turbine blades, solar panel films, paints, synthetic fibers, fertilizers, and plastics for cell phones, computers, eyeglasses, car bodies and countless other products. That would mean planting corn on almost 14 times the area of Utah.

Solar powerSolar panels on Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base generate a minuscule 15 megawatts of electricity, about 40% of the year, from 72,000 panels on 140 acres. Arizona’s Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant generates 760 times more electricity, from less land, 90-95% of the time.

Generating Palo Verde’s electricity output using Nellis technology would require acreage ten times larger than Washington, DC. And the solar panels would still provide electricity only 40% of the year.

Generating the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours that Americans consumed in 2018 would require blanketing over ten million acres with solar panels. That’s half of South Carolina – a lot of wildlife habitat and scenic land. And we’d still get that electricity only when sufficient sun is shining.

Wind powerMandated, subsidized wind energy also requires millions of acres for turbines and new transmission lines, and billions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, rare earth metals and fiberglass.

Like solar panels, wind turbines produce intermittent, unreliable electricity that costs much more than coal, gas or nuclear electricity – once subsidies are removed – and must be backed up by fossil fuel generators that have to go from standby to full-power many times a day, very inefficiently, every time the wind stops blowing. Turbine blades kill numerous raptors, other birds and bats every year – a million or more every year in the USA alone. Their light flicker and infrasonic noise impair human health.

Modern coal and gas-fired power plants can generate 600 megawatts some 95% of the time from less than 300 acres. Indiana’s Fowler Ridge wind farm also generates 600 megawatts – from 350 towering turbines, located on more than 50,000 acres, and less than 30% of the year.

Now let’s suppose we’re going to use wind power to replace those 3.9 billion megawatt-hours of US electricity consumption. Let’s also suppose we’re going to get rid of all those coal and gas-fired backup power plants – and use wind turbines to generate enough extra electricity every windy day to charge batteries for just seven straight windless days.

That would require a lot of extra wind turbines, as we are forced to go into lower and lower quality wind locations. Instead of generating full nameplate power maybe one-third of the year, on average, they will do so only around 16% of the year. Instead of the 58,000 turbines we have now, the United States would need some 14 million turbines, each one 400 feet tall, each one capable of generating 1.8 megawatts at full capacity, when the wind is blowing at the proper speed.

Assuming a barely sufficient 15 acres apiece, those monster turbines would require some 225 million acres! That’s well over twice the land area of California – without including transmission lines! Their bird-butchering blades would wipe out raptors, other birds and bats in vast regions of the USA.

Eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, geese and other high-flying birds and bats would virtually disappear from our skies. Insects and vermin would proliferate.

Seems the entire ecosystem would be severely disrupted.

Manufacturing those wind turbines would require something on the order of 4 billion tons of steel, copper and alloys for the towers and turbines; 8 billion tons of steel and concrete for the foundations; 4 million tons of rare earth metals for motors, magnets and other components; 1 billion tons of petroleum-based composites for the nacelle covers and turbine blades; and massive quantities of rock and gravel for millions of miles of access roads to the turbines. Connecting our wind farms and cities with high-voltage transmission lines would require still more raw materials – and more millions of acres.

All these materials must be mined, processed, smelted, manufactured into finished products, and shipped all over the world. They would require removing hundreds of billions of tons of earth and rock overburden – and crushing tens of billions of tons of ore – at hundreds of new mines and quarries.

Every step in this entire process would require massive amounts of fossil fuels, because wind turbines and solar panels cannot operate earth moving and mining equipment – or produce consistently high enough heat to melt silica, iron, copper, rare earth or other materials.

Not once did any of CNN’s hosts or Green New Deal candidates so much as mention any of this. To them, “renewable” energy will just happen, like manna from Gaia, or beamed down from the Starship Enterprise.

They should no longer be allowed to dodge these issues, to go from assuming the climate is in crisis, to assuming “reliable, affordable, renewable, sustainable, eco-friendly” alternatives to fossil fuel (and nuclear) energy will just magically appear, or can just be willed or subsidized into existence.

Citizens, newscasters, debate hosts and legislators who are more firmly grounded in reality need to confront Green New Dealers with hard questions and icy cold facts – and keep repeating them until the candidates provide real answers. No more dissembling, obfuscation or incantations permitted.

And the frail equipment we build in the hope that, if we put it out there, sun and wind will kindly come along and use it to move us and warm us, does not last long.

John Hinderaker writes at PowerLine:

Wind turbines only last for around 20 years, so many of them are now wearing out. That raises serious questions about disposal of defunct wind turbine parts. The turbines’ giant blades are not recyclable, so they must be dumped in landfills. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports on one South Dakota landfill that is saying no mas to wind turbine blades:

The Argus Leader reports that more than 100 wind turbine blades measuring 120 ft long have been dumped in a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, landfill, but there’s a problem: the massive blades are taking up too much room, according to local City officials. …

A wind farm near Albert Lea, Minn., brought dozens of their old turbine blades to the Sioux Falls dump this summer.

But City Hall says it won’t take anymore unless owners take more steps to make the massive fiberglass pieces less space consuming.

The wind energy industry isn’t immune to cyclical replacement, with turbine blades needing to be replaced after a decade or two in use. That has wind energy producers looking for places to accept the blades on their turbines that need to be replaced.

For at least one wind-farm in south central Minnesota, it found the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill to be a suitable facility to take its aged-out turbine blades.

But nothing disilusions the faithful. They go on believing that the earth is warming so fast that the ice-caps are melting, and over and over again they set out to “prove” it.

They never do.

James Delingpole writes at Breitbart:

Yet another greenie expedition to the Arctic to raise awareness of ‘global warming’ has been scuppered by unexpected large quantities of ice. This brings to a total of six the number of Ship of Fools expeditions where weather reality has made a mockery of climate theory.

According to Maritime Bulletin:

Arctic tours ship MS MALMO with 16 passengers on board got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between Norway and North Pole. The ship is on Arctic tour with Climate Change documentary film team, and tourists, concerned with Climate Change and melting Arctic ice. All 16 Climate Change warriors were evacuated by helicopter in challenging conditions, all are safe. 7 crew remains on board, waiting for Coast Guard ship assistance.

The reporter, Erofey Schkvarkin clearly has a sense of humour. He adds:

Something is very wrong with Arctic ice, instead of melting as ordered by UN/IPCC, it captured the ship with Climate Change Warriors. …

Here is the Ship of Fools list of shame

Ship of Fools 1 [December, 2013] Australian climate researcher Chris Turkey and a crew of climate alarmists on a mission to demonstrate just how much Antarctic ice has been affected by global warming get stuck in unexpectedly thick ice and have to be rescued by helicopter.

Ship of Fools II [September, 2016] Arctic expedition led by veteran explorer David Hempleman-Adams to raise awareness of “permanent irreversible change in the sea ice landscape of the Arctic” caused by global warming is ruined by unexpectedly large quantities of ice.

Ship of Fools III [June, 2017] Global warming research study in Canada cancelled because of ice. “It became clear to me very quickly that these weren’t just heavy ice conditions, these were unprecedented ice conditions” claims the lead scientist, blaming it on “climate change fully in action” and calling it “a wake up call for all of us in this country.”

Ship of Fools IV [September, 2017]Arctic Mission sailing expedition to North Pole to raise awareness of global warming has to turn back after yachts find their passage blocked by large quantities of unexpected frozen white substance.

Ship of Fools V [August, 2018] Scientists, students, filmmakers from University of Rhode Island’s Inner Space Center on a mission to “document climate change effects” in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago have to be rescued after the ship is damaged after grounding on unexpected hard, bluey-white substance floating on the sea.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Recycling: a cult of spurious virtue 10

Recycling is largely a waste of time, money, and energy.

Apart from metals and one or two other things, nothing is worth recycling.

Our guess is that some people like doing it because it makes them feel good, which is nice for them.

But what if recycling is in most cases worse than useless?

In a 2013 article, ListVerse set out 10 ways in which recycling positively hurts the environment. We paraphrase the list:

Contamination: if there are impurities or toxins on the original material—say lead paint from an aluminum spray can—they’ll usually make it through the recycling process and end up buried in the new product, which might turn out to be, say, a soda can. The worst part is that sometimes we don’t know when something’s contaminated—until it’s too late. For example, we’re just realizing that hundreds of buildings in Taiwan made from recycled steel have been giving people gamma radiation poisoning for the past twelve years.

The recycling process itself produces a lot of pollutants—from the exhaust billowing out of recycling trucks to energy used at recycling plants. In 2009 there were about 179,000 waste collection vehicles on the road—that’s both recycling and garbage collection. The exhaust from each one of those vehicles contains over three dozen airborne toxins. Both garbage trucks and recycling trucks run on fossil fuels, and they both produce exhaust. By adding more trucks to the fleet, no matter what their purpose, we’re increasing air pollution. And that’s not even considering the recycling facilities. One recycling plant in Washington state produces more toxic emissions than any other factory in the region. And the next three biggest polluters in the area? Yeah, they’re also recycling plants.

When paper is recycled, it’s all mixed together into a pulp. That pulp is washed, cleaned, and then pressed into new paper sheets. During that process, wastes like paper fibers, inks, cleaning chemicals, and dyes are filtered out into one giant pudding known as paper sludge. The sludge is then either burned or sent to a landfill, where it can leach dozens of toxic chemicals and heavy metals into groundwater. Eighty-seven percent of new paper now comes from trees that are raised for the sole purpose of paper production. The US harvests about fifteen million acres of forest each year, but they’re planting twenty-two million – every year we have seven million more acres of forest. More recycling will actually reduce the demand for those forests.

There are about seven types of plastic that you’ll find in day to day life, and only two of them are recyclable. Anything else placed in a recycling bin will be collected, processed, and sorted, and then thrown straight into a landfill. Even trying to recycle some things—for example the plastic that electronics are packaged in—wastes all those resources.  Take plastic shopping bags as an example of the waste of recycling. It costs $4,000 to recycle one ton of plastic bags, but a ton of recycled bags only sells for $32! As a result, about 300,000 tons of them end up in a landfill every year.

It would seem to make sense to try to recycle used oil back into something useful. But more often than not, recycling creates even more toxic chemicals in the process. Most small scale oil treatment centers use something known as the acid-clay process. This gets impurities out of the oil, but leaves you with a toxic sludge containing all of those impurities, plus dangerous chemicals like hydrochloric acid. So what do they do with that toxic waste? They burn it, sending chemicals like nitric oxide and sulfur dioxide into the air. And that’s pretty much the official method, even though it’s about as effective at fighting pollution as saving a person from drowning by throwing them in a lake.

Even the recycling of metals is not always the economic good it would seem to be:

Demand for most recyclable products is growing way too fast to keep up with anything that recycling can—at the moment—provide. Aluminum is especially difficult, since demand for it grows at nearly ten percent every year. That means we’re still going to mine for new aluminum, especially since recycled aluminum isn’t suitable for certain things. For example, recycled soda cans can’t give you the quality you need to build an airplane, or even to use in electronic circuits. Even if the cans go back to being cans, it’s not enough. Here’s some math: The average American drinks 2.5 cans of soda per day. That’s about 778 million cans. If 100,000 cans are recycled every minute (they are), we’re still about 600 million cans short. And that’s just in one day.

And then there’s glass, which comes from sand, the most abundant resource on the planet. The process for recycling glass is more detrimental than the process for creating virgin glass.

One of the recent trends in recycling right now is all-in-one recycling. All the paper, plastic, glass, and metal waste goes into one recycle bin, which is sorted at the factory. The argument is that it requires fewer trucks to pick it all up. But the trade off is even worse—all that extra sorting requires millions of dollars worth of new equipment, and the pollution is just transferred over to the factories that have to build it.

And Daniel J. Mitchell, a Cato Institute libertarian with whom we sometimes – as now – agree, writes (in part) at Townhall Finance:

While it’s very good to have a clean environment, many environmentalists don’t understand cost-benefit analysis. As such, they make our lives less pleasant – inferior light bulbs, substandard toilets, inadequate washing machines, crummy dishwashers, dribbling showers, and dysfunctional gas cans – for little if any benefit. We can add recycling to that list.

To be sure, all the hassle and time of sorting our garbage might be an acceptable cost if something was being achieved. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Not even close.

For recycling to be a socially commendable activity, it has to pass one of two tests: the profit test, or the net environmental-savings test. If something passes the profit test, it’s likely already being done. People are already recycling gold or other commodities from the waste stream, if the costs of doing so are less than the amount for which the resource can be sold.

The real question arises with mandatory recycling programs — people recycle because they will be fined if they don’t, not because they expect to make money. If you add up the time being wasted on recycling rituals, it’s even more expensive to ask each household to do it. The difference is that this is an implicit tax, a donation required of citizens, and doesn’t cost money from the public budget. But time is the least renewable of all resources. For recycling to make any sense, it must cost less to dispose of recycled material than to put the stuff in a landfill. But we have plenty of landfill space, in most of the country. And much of the heaviest material we want to recycle, particularly glass, is chemically inert and will not decompose in a landfill. Landfilling glass does no environmental harm.

So, is [any] recycling useful?  Aluminum cans and corrugated cardboard, if they can be collected clean and at scale, are highly recyclable. But for most other things, recycling harms the environment. If you care about the environment, you should put your bottles and other glass in the regular garbage, every time.

Hundreds of cities have repealed recycling mandates because they simply don’t make sense. … It’s time to admit the recycling mania is a giant placebo. It makes people feel good, but the idea that it improves the condition of humans or the planet is highly dubious.

Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America: a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources. Americans became racked with garbage guilt. … Politicians across the country enacted laws mandating recycling and setting arbitrary goals typically requiring that at least 40 percent of trash be recycled, often even more — 50 percent in New York and California, 60 percent in New Jersey, 70 percent in Rhode Island. The Federal Government and dozens of states passed laws that required public agencies, newspapers and other companies to purchase recycled materials.

America today has a good deal more landfill space available than it did 10 years ago. … If Americans keep generating garbage at current rates for 1,000 years, and if all their garbage is put in a landfill 100 yards deep, by the year 3000 this national garbage heap will fill a square piece of land 35 miles on each side. This doesn’t seem a huge imposition in a country the size of America. …The millennial landfill would fit on one-tenth of 1 percent of the range land now available for grazing in the continental United States.

Many experts and public officials acknowledge that America could simply bury its garbage, but they object to this option because it diverts trash from recycling programs. Recycling, which was originally justified as the only solution to a desperate national problem, has become a goal in itself. The leaders of the recycling movement raise money and attract new members through their campaigns to outlaw “waste” and prevent landfills from opening. They get financing from public and private sources (including the recycling industry) to research and promote recycling. By turning garbage into a political issue, environmentalists have created jobs for themselves as lawyers, lobbyists, researchers, educators and moral guardians.

The bottom line is that most recycling programs impose a fiscal and personal cost on people for very meager environmental benefits. Indeed, the benefits are often negative once indirect costs are added to the equation.

We rest our case.

Posted under Economics by Jillian Becker on Friday, September 6, 2019

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Myths of our time 17

This is a list of beliefs – in no particular order – that are very widely and commonly held, but are untrue:  

Sweden is a happy country. Fact: It is a Muslim-infested misery-state, the rape capital of Europe.   

The BBC is a trustworthy, truthful, unbiased source of news. Fact: It is dishonest, it routinely distorts or suppresses news it doesn’t like, is snobbish, deeply and persistently anti-Semitic, and heavily biased to the Left. 

The Jews seized the state of Palestine, sent most of the Palestinians into exile, and oppress those who remained. Fact: There never was, in all history, an independent state of Palestine. The territory is the historic homeland of the Jews. When Arab armies tried to destroy the modern Jewish state, many Arabs fled, intending to return when their side was victorious, but their side was defeated. Israeli authorities tried to persuade Arab residents not to leave. Those who remained are the freest Arabs in the Middle East, with all citizens’ rights. 

Nazism was a right-wing ideology. Fact: Nazism was National Socialism and as distinctly derived from the tradition of the Left as its rival International Socialism.

Che Guevara was a hero. Fact: Che Guevara was a torturer and mass murderer, and a coward.  

The Mahatma Gandhi was a good man who liberated India from the British Raj. Fact: Gandhi was a cruel man who had little if any influence on the British decision to withdraw from India.

Senator Joe McCarthy was an evil witch-hunter of Communists. Fact: McCarthy did his duty in tracking down potential Communist fifth-columnists, propagandists, and traitors during the Cold War.

President Roosevelt was a liberal who saved America from economic disaster. Fact: President Roosevelt was a Communist sympathizer. His policies prolonged the Depression.

President Obama’s period in office was scandal-free. Fact: President Obamas’ period in office was exceptionally full of scandals, some of them the worst examples of corruption and plain treason in US history. 

Islam is a religion of peace. And its name means “peace”. Fact: Islam is a religion of war and conquest. Its name means “submission”.

Carbon dioxide is a poison. Fact: Carbon dioxide is the food of green plants.

Human beings are changing the climate of the planet for the worse. Fact: The climate of the earth is always changing as vast cosmic forces act upon it. Human beings can make very little difference, if any, to the heating and cooling of the planet.

A baby in the womb is not a living human being. Fact: A fetus with a heartbeat is alive, a living human being.

Government exists to care for and provide for the people. Fact: government robs the people, threatens the people, frightens the people. Whatever government does, it does badly. Government must be kept within bounds to properly perform its only essential duty, the defense of liberty, by enforcing the law and preventing invasion.

President Trump is a racist. Fact: He is not and has never been a racist. He has worked all his adult life with people of many races, never discriminating against any of them on racial grounds.

President Trump is an anti-Semite. Fact: He is the most pro-Jewish pro-Israel US president ever.

President Trump oppresses women. Fact: he honors women, promotes them, behaves towards them as heterosexual gentlemen in our culture customarily do (or did).

President Trump is a liar. Fact: He tells the truth. Like every human being, he can be inaccurate with dates, numbers, recollections, but on all important matters he is consistently truthful.    

The Democratic Party protects minorities. Fact: The Democratic Party is the party of slavery, segregation, secession, and the Jim Crow laws. By keeping millions of blacks on welfare, Democrats have kept them from independence, advancement, and prosperity.

Democrats act in the interests of the working class. Fact: Democrats despise the working class.

The US media report the news. Fact: The US media, in the huge majority, are lackeys of the Left.

American universities encourage free thinking, free and open exchange of opinion, the exploration of ideas. Fact: Most American universities are centers of Leftist indoctrination, dogmatic and intolerant.

Western civilization is grounded in “Judeo-Christian” values. Fact: Western civilization as we inherit it derives its values from, and owes its success to, the Enlightenment, which was an intellectual revolution against the oppressive authority of the Christian churches.

The “white patriarchy” has been bad for non-whites and women. Fact: Almost everything we have that sustains our lives and makes them endurable; almost everything we know;  every comfort, every convenience, every freedom that makes it possible for us to pursue happiness, physically, socially, politically, was given to us and the world by white middle-class men. 

That’s just a starter list.

We invite readers to add to it.

Davos goes down 1

Have those arrogant globalist elites trying to rule the world been stopped at last?

Have the nationalists, slowly awaking from their passivity and apathy to vote for Brexit and Donald Trump, to put on yellow vests and shout angrily in the streets of their Western cities, stopped them?

We quote Michael Barone writing at Investor’s Business Daily on 2/1/2019:

Turnout at Davos was lousy this year. President Trump, preoccupied by the government shutdown, was a no-show at last week’s World Economic Forum there. So were British Prime Minister Theresa May (Brexit) and French President Emanuel Macron (“gilets jaunes”). Chinese President Xi Jinping, Davos’ 2018 star, and Russian President Vladimir Putin weren’t there either. Neither were some of the usual financial and media big names.

From all of this, you might get the impression that the world’s political, financial and media elites have lost much of their prestige these days, which, of course, they have.

It’s an enormous contrast with elites’ sunny confidence, over much of the quarter century after the fall of the Soviet Union, that they could remake the world … 

Consider Mexico. The NAFTA trade agreement was proposed by the Reagan administration, negotiated by the Bush administration and ratified by the Clinton administration, with plenty of support from both parties, especially Texans (Lloyd Bentsen, the Bushes) close to the border. They hoped to make Mexico more like the United States, and to regularize Mexican immigration.

There has been some convergence, with life in much of Mexico resembling Texas, but also with large parts of California resembling Mexico. Illegal immigration surged up until the 2007 economic crisis.

Even more ambitious was the bipartisan elites’ project of bringing China into the world trading system. The hope was that an increasingly prosperous Chinese populace would demand more freedom and democracy. That hasn’t happened; instead, Xi Jinping has regressed toward one-man rule.

Meanwhile, serious academic studies have substantiated non-elite charges that Chinese imports have cost America hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. In return, American consumers have been able to buy clothes, toys and gadgets at increasingly low prices. But for many, it is at the cost of the dignity and sense of self-worth achieved by earning a paycheck.

The chief project of European elites, the “ever-closer” European Union, has arguably worked out worse. The Euro currency that was supposed to tie Europe together has instead (as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher predicted) widened the rift between the Mediterranean countries and an increasingly dominant Germany. Britain voted for Brexit — leaving the EU — in 2016, and elites, despite astonishing contempt for voters, have so far failed to reverse that verdict. …

In each case, these elites have underestimated the force and persistence of national cultures

Perhaps the success of American military leaders in transforming post-World War II Germany and Japan turned out to be misleading. Those two countries drew on ethical and parliamentary traditions rooted in those societies and not wholly destroyed by short periods of dominance by Nazi thugs and murderous militarists. Mexico and China have different traditions, and there is no vital tradition of European unity.

Elites are impatient with people they regard as their inferiors. If you question Eurocrats’ undemocratic drive for an “ever-closer Union”, you are told that without the EU, France and Germany would once again go to war — obvious nonsense. If you advise more respect for nationalist traditions, you are told that all nationalists are Nazis — obvious nonsense again.

If you say that competition from low-wage workers in Mexico and China might cause substantial job loss in the United States, you are told what every college grad learns in Economics 101 (but what sounds counterintuitive to non-college grads), that free trade benefits both importers and exporters. You can argue that Mexican immigration and Chinese job competition peaked before 2007, but they still obviously rankle many voters.

So the political, financial and media elites have taken beatings at the ballot box … Their failures to make course corrections and their lack of respect for decent nationalism have been costly. Something to talk about if they slink back to Davos next year.

“Slink back” is good!

But to answer our opening questions: No, there is still many a battle ahead before Merkel, Macron and May – probably never accepting that they were wrong – are driven from power. The rickety EU is not yet about to be pushed over to explode in a cloud of dust. And in the US, because badly educated 18-24 year olds who have no stake in the economy are allowed to vote, there is a real danger of socialist environmentalist race-obsessed feminist globalists coming to power in the next decade.

A Communist cure for poverty 4

The Dear Leaders who run a centrally planned economy have no way of knowing what consumers want, how much of anything they will buy, at what price. In the absence of a free market, which provides that information to producers continuously, a socialist government decides arbitrarily how much of anything it will order to be produced, whom it will order to buy the thing, how much the consumer must pay for it. It is a guessing game giving birth to stories such as those that came out of Communist Russia: the nail factory that produced only one nail five miles long; the shoe factory that produced only left-foot shoes.

Below we quote a true story from China recently reported by the Financial Times (a newspaper that is pink not only physically but ideologically, so not sternly against communist regimes), that reminds the aged among us of a joke that was popular when the transformation of nations into communist hellholes had only just begun:

A Communist addressing a crowd promises, “Come the revolution you’ll all be eating strawberries and cream.” Someone in the crowd shouts out, “But I don’t like strawberries and cream!” To which the speaker replies, “Come the revolution you’ll damn well have to like strawberries and cream!”

In today’s Communist China, it is not strawberries but potatoes and oranges that the people damn well have to like. (Although Communist China relented under the pressure of necessity to a mixed economy in 1978, such private enterprise as it allows is always subject to government approval.)

China is discovering that poverty alleviation can mean too much of a good thing.

Universities that bought crops from designated poor areas as part of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s drive to eliminate poverty by 2020 are struggling to deal with a flood of produce, in a sign of how even the best-intentioned state planning can lead to a cascade of distortions.

Beijing tasked state-owned enterprises, city governments and even universities with helping to jump-start GDP growth in the nation’s poorest areas. …

For universities, buying crops from designated poor areas seemed like an easy way to support Mr Xi’s mandate. Now they are wondering what to do with them all.  Beijing has promoted potatoes as an alternative crop for areas such as Meigu county in Sichuan province where land has been degraded, even though there is little market demand for the crop in a country where rice is the staple

Pity the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, which joined other institutions in Chengdu in a deal to buy five tonnes of potatoes every few days from mountainous Meigu county, 400km south-west of the city. The contract runs until the end of 2020. 

That has left the cooks at Southwestern University with too many tubers on their hands. Their solution was to hold a week-long potato-eating campaign in November. The cafeteria churned out spicy fries, stir-fried beef and potato, and even potato vermicelli. Cooks managed to get through 6.5 tonnes of potatoes in five days.

“It felt like the whole place had been taken over by potatoes,” one student told the Financial Times. “I ate potatoes almost every day that week.” 

The Chengdu universities also agreed to buy the potatoes at a higher-than-market [so to speak] price, according to Zhang Xue at Longtou Company, an agricultural products dealer in Meigu.

“Our company buys potatoes from the farmers at Rmb1.6 (23 cents) per kilogramme. Meigu used to have several potato-processing factories and those factories bought potatoes at Rmb0.8 per kilogramme,” he said. “Now those factories have gone bankrupt because they can’t get cheap potatoes from the farmers any more.”  

Meigu and nearby counties — all of which are badly deforested because of excessive logging in the 1990s — have applied for World Bank assistance for industrial-scale agriculture, including more potato production, with nary a mention of how they plan to sell the increased output.

A Meigu official credited the potato policy with increasing agricultural yields. “In the past, the villagers usually sold agricultural products themselves at the local market,” he said, and used the rest to fatten their pigs. But the poverty-alleviation drive has led to the setting up of large-scale pig plants in the region, crowding out small breeders.

Meigu is not the only potato-producing region that has managed to find a buyer in a nation that rarely eats them. One state-owned enterprise in Beijing required every employee to purchase at least 20kg of potatoes from a village on the border with Mongolia.

A similar problem has cropped up for teachers in a district of Jinan, the capital of the eastern province of Shandong. They are each required to buy at least two boxes of oranges produced in Hunan, about 1,000km away. 

“How can we protest? The salary I get is just enough to make ends meet,” one teacher complained. “And now the government wants me to buy oranges for poverty alleviation.”

The poverty-alleviation drive involves more than selling crops. State-owned and private enterprises have ploughed billions of renminbi into local projects — and made sure they received tax breaks when they did so. Some are more inventive than others: for instance, property conglomerate Wanda built a tourism village in Guizhou where foreigners can apply to be mayor for a week

A week of play-play power in a town in China anyone?

Posted under China, communism, Economics by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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The new tyranny 12

An imminent and severe threat to freedom is the policy of certain businesses and ostensible facilitators of business that suddenly see themselves as arbiters and dictators of moral rectitude rather than what they are needed to be and essentially are – profit-makers.

To be in business to make a profit is enormously useful, supremely  important, and highly moral. 

Visa and Mastercard are among those that have decided otherwise. They are refusing their services to people and organizations with whom they have political disagreements.

As once it was religious disagreement that the powerful punished, now it is political disagreement. In both cases the punishers believe their views are  morally correct. It is not dissent, they believe, but immorality that they are punishing, for the long-term good of all humankind. 

It is very short-sighted of them. If they stick to a policy of selling their services only to their political like-thinkers, and implement it efficiently, they will be excluding as clients half the population of every Western country. We wonder if they have understood and accepted that consequence.

Among the people and organizations they are punishing are Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center. Both are politically conservative. So we presume that the people making the decision to deny them service are Leftists, and we must look at the issue through a Leftist lens to understand why they are thinking this way.

A Leftist lens is one that picks race, color, ethnic origin and sex as prime measures of virtue and deservedness. (The Left is obsessed with race and sex.) 

So who are the people at Mastercard and Visa who are punishing conservatives by refusing to serve them? 

The Management Committee of Mastercard is made up thus: 

26 members, of which 

5 are women, including the Vice Chair 

6 are Asian 

4 are Hispanic

11 are white men

The Management Team of Visa consists of :

11 members,  of which 

4 are women all bearing  the title of Executive Vice President and 1 more who is Vice Chair   

2 Asians 

5 white men including the CEO

(Who will wager us a dollar or two that they all vote Democrat and contribute to the Democratic Party?) 

Wallace Nunn writes at Front Page, a Freedom Center website: 

Every day there is a new report about how Facebook, Google,Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other giants of social media censor content, banish certain commentators for incorrect views, and otherwise work in a steady if unsystematic way to homogenize political opinion within an acceptably progressive bandwidth.  Ideas are scoured for “racism” — as contentiously defined by the intellectual stylebook of the hard left Southern Poverty Law Center, which the media have set up as an “authority” on hate speech; freedom of speech is seen as a nuisance rather than a guarantee of personal liberty and true diversity of opinion.

But there is an even more sinister threat to the first amendment than the social media, a threat that operates in a stealth way in the most crucial arena of our economic system.  It is corporate giants MasterCard and Visa, which now use their unparalleled financial power to determine what speech should be allowed and what speech should be silenced.

Most Americans use a credit or debit card every day and take these two corporations as much for granted as the light switch or the automobile ignition. We buy things with their cards ranging from the annual vacations to the daily groceries. These two interlocked corporations are the drum majors marching us into a cashless society. They are powers unto themselves, but their eminence rests on our money and the fees they exact to accommodate our transactions. 

The cards they issue are even more critical to the vendors whom they pay. Without the ability to accept charges to these cards as payment many businesses would in effect be out of business.

Unlike the comparatively clumsy and very public efforts of the social media to erase “offensive” — all too often a synonym for conservative — opinion, the cognate machinations of Visa/Mastercard take place more remotely and without response in the dark space of the mundane financial transaction.

It is as simple and as faceless as a lethal injection: An individual who wants to support an organization online makes the digital donation and is then informed that Visa/Mastercard will not process it. Neither the individual nor the organization he wishes to support are told that they are on a blacklist, let alone informed how they got there or how to get off.  The donor is denied his right to put his money where his mouth is. …

The Freedom Center had such an experience a few months ago when online donations were overnight peremptorily refused by Visa/Mastercard with no reason given and no protest accepted.  We were able to create enough noise about this injustice — in the media and with the threat of legislative attention — that the credit card giants turned the power back on just as capriciously as they had turned it off.

We were lucky. Robert Spencer, whose jihadwatch.org is one of the indispensable sites for understanding the intentions and the threat ofIslamic terrorism, has been shut down from receiving supporters’ donations for several weeks now, and is forced to try to keep Jihad Watch going on a shoestring while Visa/Mastercard imperiously ignores demand letters and threats of court action from his attorneys

The anti-Semitic Nation of Islam’s credit card donations are processed; the anti-Islamist Jihad Watch’s are not.

This oligopoly acts with the faceless finality of an IRS lien when it sets itself up as lawmaker, judge and jury with the power to decide which speech should be allowed and which should be shut down.  It kills free speech not by arguing against the ideas it disapproves of, but by the silence of the arbitrary act, using the financial system to accomplish the deed.

Over half the people of the United States who own a debit or credit card use it as their sole method for paying bills. (Most of the other half use them too, just not as frequently.) In 2015 there were 69.5 billion debit card payments with a value of $2.56 trillion and 33.8 billion credit card payments with a value of $3.16trillion — together adding up to around 6 trillion in an economy of 19 trillion.

This is a very sizable public accommodation. More importantly it is immense power, power that can be and is being used to shutdown the civil rights of people who want to support the speech of the Freedom Center, Jihad Watch, other conservative groups and anyone else in our political universe. … 

We have come to a point in our history when government must once against step in to preserve rights and prevent wrongs just as it did in 1964. Civil Rights are as much imperiled now as they were then. The technology revolution has undeniably brought much that is good and fruitful, but as it has evolved, this revolution has developed a dark side that concentrates increasing power in the hands of fewer people. …

We too are exasperated by Visa/Mastercard, but we are not convinced that  government should step in. It’s better to keep government out. The cure is surely to be found, as always, in the free market. Competition is the right way to bring companies that exploit near-monopolies to their commercial senses – and will keep them morally clean and decent.   

Posted under Business, Economics, Ethics, Leftism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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“Trumponomics” and the jolt of a boom 5

There is an old maxim among conservatives: everything government does, it does badly.

The very opposite can be said of the present head of the US federal government: everything President Trump does, he does well.

(We say “does”, not “says”. He lacks the gift of eloquence – and it doesn’t matter. He’s better without it. Instead of being a great orator, he’s a great communicator.)

For one thing – the most important thing – President Trump has made America prosperous again.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

How extraordinary is this job boom? The government says that the number of jobs available has never been higher. There were 7.14 million jobs in August ready to be filled, an increase from July’s 7.1 million, which was also a record. This is the best time in decades to be seeking a job, even if you’re unemployed.

That’s the easily drawn conclusion from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTs) report, which is important but gets much less attention than the monthly payroll jobs and unemployment numbers.

The JOLTs data say many things about our economy right now.

For one thing, economic growth is blazing hot. August was the fifth month in a row in which the number of jobs exceeded the official number of unemployed. The 7.14 million of open jobs in August exceeded the number of unemployed, now at 5.96 million, by about 1.2 million. That’s never happened in the history of the series, which dates back to the end of 2000. Moreover, the number of new hires, at 5.78 million, is also a record.

So let that sink in for a moment: We now have more jobs than unemployed people to fill them. …

Wages are starting to rise, along with productivity. …

If current torrid job growth continues, businesses will have to pay productive workers more, or suffer slower growth and perhaps market share erosion as a result. So, absent major changes in economic conditions, higher wages are coming.

Which leads to our final point, made many times before, but which bears repeating: Rising wages do not cause inflation. This is a categorical mistake that has somehow become a part of many of the world’s economic models. …

All of this is happening because of the tax cuts and deregulation put in place by President Donald Trump. … Once again this magic elixir worked to bestir a seemingly stagnated economy. How much longer will it be until supply-side ideas that clearly work get the respect they deserve? And how much longer will it be until Keynesian ideas that clearly don’t work get relegated to the junk pile where they belong?

So let wages rise. And don’t expect us to join the inevitable sudden “economic” consensus that rising wages will require the Fed to hit the economy’s brakes with a series of punitive rate hikes. That would be yet another in a long line of mistakes by the nation’s central bank.

And the president is warning against it.

From Breitbart:

President Trump said … the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates too quickly, a move he blamed on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

My biggest threat is the Fed. Because the Fed is raising rates too fast. And it’s independent, so I don’t speak to them. But I’m not happy with what he’s [Powell’s] doing. Because it’s going too fast.

[And he] cited “very low” inflation numbers.

Thanks, Mr. President!

Down with the Fed!

Posted under Economics, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Prize lies 2

Obama claims that the eight years of his presidency were free of scandal. In fact, the scandals were many and appalling.

Obama claims to have stopped Iran becoming a nuclear power. In fact, he entered into a deal that permitted Iran to become a nuclear power.

Obama claims to have improved race relations. In fact, he worsened them. 

Obama claims to have launched an economic boom. In fact, he never achieved even 3% GDP growth.

In sum, he was a weak and destructive president. The harm he did would not be easy to repair, and America is lucky to have found the man to succeed him who could not only mend what he had broken, and is doing so, but is going much further, turning the failure round and achieving success. Even some unprecedented successes. And all in record time.

Obama sees the repair as an undoing of the changes he wrought. As he puts it, “The status quo pushes back.”

The complaint comes from a speech he made at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill., on Sept. 7, 2018, when the university honored him with the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.

The speech he gave on the occasion of receiving the prize included these claims:

Each time we painstakingly pull ourselves closer to our founding ideals, that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; the ideals that say every child should have opportunity and every man and woman in this country who’s willing to work hard should be able to find a job and support a family and pursue their small piece of the American Dream; our ideals that say we have a collective responsibility to care for the sick and the infirm, and we have a responsibility to conserve the amazing bounty, the natural resources of this country and of this planet for future generations, each time we’ve gotten closer to those ideals, somebody somewhere has pushed back. The status quo pushes back. Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, if wrongly, fearful of change. More often it’s manufactured by the powerful and the privileged who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep us cynical because that helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege. …

To which political party does that last sentence most aptly apply? We say the Democratic Party? But then, the Left has a habit of accusing its opponents of the faults, failings, bad emotions, plots, conspiracies, evil intentions, underhand actions, and failures of which itself is guilty.

Most of you don’t remember a time before 9/11, when you didn’t have to take off your shoes at an airport.

Did he mention who was responsible for 9/11 and for us having to take off our shoes at an airport? No. Because he never did and never will blame Islam for its acts of terrorism.

Most of you don’t remember a time when America wasn’t at war, or when money and images and information could travel instantly around the globe, or when the climate wasn’t changing faster than our efforts to address it.

A strange combination of references. No one living remembers a time when America wasn’t at war, if the Cold War is counted. About the money and images he probably meant “remember a time when they could not …”  And then he throws in as a certainty that there was a time when climate was not changing fast, but it is now.

And this was all before a change. What change? Have the wars stopped?

The only change he almost got right was a change to faster communications than ever before.

He claims that all three factors together brought about this consequence:

This change has happened fast, faster than any time in human history. And it created a new economy that has unleashed incredible prosperity.

Only, of the three phenomena he mentioned, could the faster communications be said to have promoted prosperity.

Actually, he just gabbled nonsense. And all to get in a claim to an “unleashed incredible prosperity” – the prosperity he claims as hid own achievement.

He goes on to say how he rescued the economy from wicked men.

[T]he reckless behavior of financial elites triggered a massive financial crisis, ten years ago this week, a crisis that resulted in the worst recession in any of our lifetimes and caused years of hardship for the American people, for many of your parents, for many of your families. Most of you weren’t old enough to fully focus on what was going on at the time, but when I came into office in 2009, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. 800,000. Millions of people were losing their homes. Many were worried we were entering into a second Great Depression. So we worked hard to end that crisis, but also to break some of these longer term trends. And the actions we took during that crisis returned the economy to healthy growth and initiated the longest streak of job creation on record. And we covered another 20 million Americans with health insurance and we cut our deficits by more than half, partly by making sure that people like me, who have been given such amazing opportunities by this country, pay our fair share of taxes to help folks coming up behind me.

While it is true that employment rose before he left office, his claim that higher taxes (on “people like me”) were a formula for prosperity is false. President Trump’s tax cuts (for all tax payers) prove it. Furthermore, Obama heavily regulated business, and President Trump’s lifting of many Obama regulations has been a factor in creating the very real present economic boom.

And by the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high and the uninsured rate had hit an all-time low and wages were rising and poverty rates were falling. I mention all this just so when you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.

He came on then to his foreign policy.

Even though we took out bin Laden and wound down the wars in Iraq and our combat role in Afghanistan, and got Iran to halt its nuclear program, the world’s still full of threats and disorder. …

And even though your generation is the most diverse in history …

Nonsense! No generation is more “diverse” than any other.

… with a greater acceptance and celebration of our differences than ever before, those are the kinds of conditions that are ripe for exploitation by politicians who have no compunction and no shame about tapping into America’s dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division. …

[O]ver the past few decades, the politics of division, of resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.

Remember when a Republican Attorney General refused to prosecute a bunch of white people although they were breaking the law, on the grounds that he would not act against “his  people”? No. Neither do we. But we do recall Eric Holder- Obama’s black AG – saying something like that in a case of the Black Panthers …

This Congress has … embraced wild conspiracy theories, like those surrounding Benghazi, or my birth certificate.

The trick: he throws out, in passing, that the (factually accurate) report of his failure to send help to a US ambassador and three servicemen who were killed by Muslim terrorists in Benghazi was a “wild conspiracy theory’, and associates it with an unproved, unlikely, and petty story that he was not born in the United States. But the horrible events in Benghazi were proved and profoundly important.

He comes to his own party’s wild conspiracy theory:

[The Repulicans in power are] undermining our alliances, cozying up to Russia. What happened to the Republican Party? Its central organizing principle in foreign policy was the fight against Communism, and now they’re cozying up to the former head of the KGB, actively blocking legislation that would defend our elections from Russian attack.

And he calls the partial repeal of his unworkable health legislation “sabotage”:

Their sabotage of the Affordable Care Act has already cost more than three million Americans their health insurance. And if they’re still in power next fall, you’d better believe they’re coming at it again. …

He defends the media who gave him uncritical support in all he did, and never stp attacking President Trump. What is indefnsible in his eyes, is Trump hitting back at his media enemies. To do this, he lies again:

I complained plenty about Fox News – but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them enemies of the people.

We did hear that his administration “spied on members of the media, illegally seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists. Fox News reporter James Rosen called Obama ‘the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation’ after being threatened with possible jail time for refusing to reveal one of his sources”. (See our quotations from Matt Margolis below.)

Next, he endorses the lie that President Trump sympathizes with Nazis:

We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers.

How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad.

How hard can it be to say that Islamic terrorism is bad? That Communism is bad? Too hard for him, it appeared.

Then comes the most blatantly impudent accusation of them all:

And we won’t win people over by calling them names, or dismissing entire chunks of the country as racist, or sexist, or homophobic.

Who, every minute of every day, calls whom “racist, or sexist, or homophobic”? Or all three?

Matt Margolis comments at PJ Media:

Today we saw just how far academia is going to perpetuate the myth of Obama’s “scandal-free” administration when he was awarded the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government by the University of Illinois. Not since the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize has Obama been so undeserving of an award. But, I submit that this award is even worse than the Nobel Peace Prize he didn’t deserve. In 2009, the Nobel committee was at least ignorant of what Obama’s record would turn out to be. There is simply no excuse in 2018 for Obama to be receiving an Ethics in Government award. … The Paul H. Douglas Award is now forever tainted.

What, exactly, did the committee at the University of Illinois think Obama did to earn an Ethics in Government award? The Obama years were plagued by scandal and defined by a hyper-partisan government.

Last month I cited six Obama scandals where a special counsel should have been appointed to investigate but was not. Unlike Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Obama’s attorneys general, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, were partisan lackeys who did everything they could to protect Obama from being held accountable. Obama, Holder, and Lynch knew that if they left the investigating to Republicans in Congress they could write them off as partisan witch hunts and use any and all tactics possible to obstruct and stonewall those investigations, or in some cases, run their own sham investigation that cleared them of any wrongdoing.

I document thirty different scandals in my book The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. Each scandal on its own makes the idea of Obama receiving an ethics award laughable. All of them together make this award blasphemous. From the moment Obama took office he was under a dark cloud of scandal, having been involved in illegal negotiations with [the condemned criminal] Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to give him a cabinet position in exchange for Blagojevich nominating an Obama-preferred candidate to his vacated Senate seat … yet Obama just received an Ethics in Government award? What a joke!…

There are plenty of well-known scandals that the committee that decided to award Obama had to have been aware of but chose to ignore. There was the Fast and Furious scandal, which involved sending guns to Mexico in the hopes of tracking them to drug cartel leaders. Not only did they lose track of a large number of guns, but one gun was found to have been used in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The Obama administration tried to cover it up, and they stonewalled a congressional investigation, resulting in Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents. Is this what constitutes “ethics in government” to the University of Illinois?

The Obama administration also abused the Espionage Act to target reporters and their sources. They even spied on members of the media, illegally seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists. Fox News reporter James Rosen called Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation” after being threatened with possible jail time for refusing to reveal one of his sources.  Is this what constitutes “ethics in government” to the University of Illinois? …

There were also –

The Solyndra scandal [see here], the Benghazi cover-up, Uranium One, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the covering up of thousands of deaths of veterans waiting for care at VA hospitals, manipulating intelligence, paying ransom money to Iran, Project Cassandra [see here], spying on Donald Trump, the Hillary email scandal, which I should add, also implicated Obama, who communicated with Hillary via her private email address and used a pseudonym himself.

It’s bad enough when Obama claims he was scandal-free. But, when he receives an ethics in government award, it diminishes the meaning of ethics. It’s time to stop pretending Obama was scandal-free or ethical. … I’ve only scratched the surface of Obama’s scandalous and unethical presidency. 

The only reason why Barack Obama was elected president was that he was black. He had nothing else to offer. A sufficient number of white Americans voted for him to get him into the White House for no better reason than that they needed to feel good, to prove to themselves, and the country and the world, that they were not “racist“.

Barack Obama, for all his expensive education, was ill-informed and strangely ignorant – and he embraced ideologies inimical to America. He seemed not to know how many states there were in the country he governed. He thought Austrians spoke a language called Austrian. He did not know how to pronounce “corpsman”. And he was a follower of the Communist “community organizer” Saul Alinsky, and a lackey of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He lied and commanded others to lie. Under his leadership, his party worked an elaborate plot, which it still pursues, to destroy the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump with false and slanderous allegations of treason.

If prizes were awarded for lying, Obama would deserve them all.

The injustice of “social justice” 9

Now that the Democratic Party has “come out” as proudly Socialist, the American electorate has a clear choice: vote Trumpist Republican and be free and prosperous OR vote Big Brother Democrat and be collectivized and poor.

Nobody has ever explained why the free market is “just” AND creates wealth, better than the great economist Friedrich von Hayek. Here he is explaining why to William F. Buckley Jr. in 1977, supported in his argument by George Roche III, president of Hillsdale College.

Hayek explains that in order for a ruling power to make people economically equal, it would have to “treat people very unequally indeed”. (Some would have to work and be robbed of their wages,  while others would be able to sit back, do nothing, and receive the bounty of the stolen funds).

Buckley, who was actually strongly conservative, plays “devil’s advocate”, putting the (sentimental) case for Socialism to his two interlocutors.

We would have preferred Hayek to use the word “fair”, or “equitable”, rather than “just”, because justice can only apply to the individual. George Roche’s argument for freedom on moral grounds comes close to making this point, if not very clearly. We understand that Hayek had to say “just” because “Social Justice” is the subject and title of the discussion.

Posted under Economics, Ethics, liberty, Socialism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 10, 2018

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Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists 1

The people who were to lead the Russian revolution in 1917 called themselves Social-Democrats.

Here’s an extract from an essay by the Leader of the leaders, V. I. Lenin, written in 1897 when he was in exile. It is titled The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats: 

The object of the practical activities of the Social-Democrats is, as is well known, to lead the class struggle of the proletariat and to organize that struggle in both its manifestations: socialist (the fight against the capitalist class aimed at destroying the class system and organizing socialist society), and democratic (the fight against absolutism aimed at winning political liberty in Russia and democratizing the political and social system of Russia). We said as is well known. And indeed, from the very moment they appeared as a separate social-revolutionary trend, the Russian Social-Democrats have always quite definitely indicated this object of their activities, have always emphasized the dual manifestation and content of the class struggle of the proletariat and have always insisted on the inseparable connection between their socialist and democratic tasks — a connection clearly expressed in the name they have adopted.

As is well known, when the Revolution had been accomplished in 1917, and Lenin was supreme dictator, there was no political liberty for the Russian people. No liberty at all.

Stella Morabito wrote (March 2016) at The Federalist (in an essay chiefly recalling the execution by Joseph Stalin of his faithful friend and follower, Nikolai Bukharin):

[Socialism is] a system in which suspicion and the smell of treason tend to hang in the air. … This is the case whether you call it by any other name, whether communism, utopianism, or collectivism. Oh, go ahead and slap some lipstick on that pig and call it “democratic” socialism or “progressivism” or “communitarianism”. 

Lenin and his gang all started out calling themselves socialists. Social democrats, to be exact. So the fact remains: the path of socialism is ultimately paved with coercion, censorship, and, yes, terror.* Does stating this make me an alarmist? No. It makes me a realist.

Socialism demands that we place blind trust in whomever takes the reins of power to distribute society’s goods and services. …

Socialism also has a way of producing bloated bureaucracies that in turn produce ever greater scarcity. Along the way, this produces ever more corruption and cronyism. Censorship puts down deep roots because dissent cannot be tolerated or the system would collapse. Those are all prime ingredients for a closed society and surveillance state. …

And for gulags, torture, mock trials and executions.

We are … witnessing a new trendiness for all things socialist and communist among college youth. They sport T-shirts featuring the image of nauseatingly murderous tyrants like Che Guevara.

Thanks to the popularity of the avuncular Bernie Sanders, coupled with an astonishing ignorance of history, millennials have fast become trusty mouthpieces for socialism. This is ironic, because socialism has a way of redistributing power away from the “99 percent” and puts it into the hands of the few central planners—a teensy fraction of 1 percent — at the top.

And Bernie Sanders is forever sniping at “the 1%” – “millionaires and billionaires”, “the rich”, ie. Lenin’s “capitalist class” – when he himself is a millionaire.

Then what? …  There’s an indisputable correlation between big government and terror that keeps turning up throughout history. …

We need to remember that, when soft socialism with its siren song of “equality” is left to its own devices, it takes ever more rigid forms. The political hubris of “progressives” who know better than you and me — and with such utter certainty — always leads to central control, corruption, cronyism, censorship, and abject conformity.

The more than 100 million victims of communism shows just how slippery a slope socialism is. Any person of goodwill who is familiar with the history and realities of socialism would do everything possible to avoid going down that minefield of a road.

How is it possible that young Americans can emerge from long established universities with degrees in history, political science, economics, international relations, and not know what happened to the millions of victims of socialism?

Or if they do know, and maintain that their socialist revolution would be different, bringing equal happiness for all, what possible reason can they produce for saying so? They don’t, of course. They cannot.

Because socialist economics do not, cannot work.

Because no one will study for years to become a doctor when he/she/ze is going to be paid the same as a janitor who doesn’t have to study at all.

Because when everyone’s been given equal pay with nice freshly printed banknotes, their money goes chasing too few goods, or none at all.

Because no one is going to make and sell goods if he cannot make a good living out of doing so.

Because state ownership of the means of production means Venezuela under Maduro. Because the state cannot know what goods to produce, how many, at what price. Because only the market sends the messages, the signals, that provide that information. As Hayek teaches the student of economics. If he/she/ze is  allowed to read his works in the universities. But they are not.

They are allowed to read Marx.

We doubt that many of the democratic socialists emerging from the academies actually ever bothered to read Marx for themselves. Their professors told them what he said was right and good. Told them that democratic socialism was the happy future of mankind.

That is the faith, and they keep it.

 

 

*Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky all explicitly advocated the use of terrorism. See The Soviet Union and Terrorism by Roberta Goren, ed. Jillian Becker, Introduction by Robert Conquest, George Allen & Unwin, London 1984.

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