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October 6, 2015

Barack Obama was right

Islamic State really IS "the JV!"

"Headquarters of terrorist group and an arms depot were destroyed in the region of Ildib, as well as a militant three-level fortified command point in the region of Hama," Moscow's ministry of defense said.

It also said Su-24Ms and Su-25s, aircraft first put in service by the Soviet Union in the 1970s, made eight sorties against the IS targets, and succeeded in avoiding civilian casualties.

Meantime, the U.S. in over a year and three months can't make meaningful gains against IS.

It looks like Vladimir Putin has finally found a use for Secretary of State Clinton's "reset" button. That was easy!

None of this was imaginable before Barack Obama came on the scene. Russia, while clearly ambitious for more global power under Putin, had apparently permanently lost its standing as a global superpower.

It took a U.S. president committed to revolutionary change in America's role in the world to reawaken the Russian bear and provide an opening for Putin's aggression.

When the U.S. fulfills its role as leader in the world, we are criticized, even ridiculed. But we are respected. Putin's Russia is not about to be loved, but it may begin to be greatly respected if it starts doing things that the U.S. is supposed to do but won't.

October 5, 2015

Money Quotes

While trolling around, looking for nothing in particular, I found Koch brothers, other 2016 mega donors warm to Carly Fiorina. Here are a few quotes from some of the "mega donors."

"We think she's pretty viable." -Broadcasting billionaire Stanley Hubbard, a member of the Koch brothers' network of conservative advocacy groups who donates heavily to political candidates.

"She's good in the room," said one participant at the event, who declined to be named.

"I think she's unflappable," said [Dallas philanthropist Elloine] Clark. "And she doesn't react like an adolescent."

"Can you imagine that face, the president of the United States?" Yes. Yes I can.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Charles and David Koch are also excellent public figures, and welcome the apparently nascent strategy to once-again attempt to make them the boogeyman, in true alinskyite fashion. Note that I don't prefer or encourage such a bogus and blatant attack, just if they gotta play that rule from the radical playbook, I'm glad they've chosen such a staunch and stout target.

Btw, CarlyforAmerica is now out...

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 5, 2015 3:56 PM

October 2, 2015

92% is the new 97%

Fantastic article from the ever-reliable Watts Up With That website (THE go-to place for Climate realism).

An analysis of the U.S. Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) shows that only about 8%-1% (depending on the stage of processing) of the data survives in the climate record as unaltered/estimated data.
is the subtitle.
Author John Goetz carefully navigates a complex web of acronyms USHCN, GHCN, GISS, TOB, NOAA/NCDC (now NCEI) .... and thoroughly examines the ways that data has been adjusted, backfilled, estimated, extrapolated and how
that the U.S. Climate Reference Network, designed from the start to be free of the need for ANY adjustment of data, does not show any trend
NOAA/NCDC (now NCEI) never let this USCRN data see the light of day in a public press release or a State of the Climate report for media consumption, it is relegated to a backroom of their website mission and never mentioned.

I've got a long list of sites (each study is nearly as complex as this one) in a separate folder called "hide the data." Australia, Maine, New Zealand, Paraguy.... to polar bears and ice caps.

This image is the best summary I've found: all the warming is from "models" and now we see that all the past warming is from fudging...


But nanobrewer thinks:

This article as revisits the famous bet between Julian Simon (HOSS-Statistics) and Paul Ehrlich (Phoney - Stanford).

The comments from both this and the WUWT articles are very interesting. The "warmers" who show up are mostly respectful, but robustly doctrinaire and studiously distanced from real data or analysis.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2015 2:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Pre-review corner: I ended up reading Mark Steyn's A Disgrace to the Profession this weekend. Steyn collects 100 quotes from prestigious scientists -- most of who are climate change true believers -- discrediting Dr. Michael Mann and his "hockey stick" graph.

Strangely compelling. I got the Kindle sample to kill some time thinking I would just read a few. But, it's pretty difficult to put down. As noted by many of the quoted scientists, the chicanery and heavy-handed politics have badly discredited the branch.

Posted by: jk at October 5, 2015 9:35 AM

Cue the Australia Success Stories

The antidote to your Facebook feed:

No, Australia is not an example of the effectiveness of gun control.

But johngalt thinks:

Did you hear about the concealed handgun carrier who was killed in the Roseburg shooting? That's because there wasn't one.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2015 1:05 PM

Renewable Energy vs. Real Energy

Courtesy of the "Boulder Valley & Northern Colorado Economic Profile & Market Facts" glossy mailer just arrived from BizWest.

On the Energy page, we find that Oil & Gas provided more than 110,000 jobs (5 year averaged trend 6.7% growth) to northern Colorado, whereas the Renewable industry (aka, Vestas) provided 3000 (4.1% growth). One wonders why they didn't include all the various, crunchy solar installation companies... couldn't have hurt the numbers...

Real Energy for real shiny people....

October 1, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

The first All Hail Taranto of October 2015. And you were here:


At least she doesn't get all prickly about it..

Madame Leader, the ice queen. CSPAN

You Say You Want a Revolucion?

I'll talk Socialism all day and all night, you bet. Between Pope Francis and Sen. Sanders (90% tax - VT), it seems to have caché cachet.

Here's my rebuttal. You don't have to read Mises (although you should). Michael Smith does not seem to be a great friend of capitalism, nor is the editor who selects his pull quotes at Bloomberg Business, He describes the cronyism whereby all foreign investment goes through Raul Castro's son-in-law as -- brace yourselves -- " It’s a decidedly capitalist element deeply embedded within socialist Cuba."

I'd suggest the exact opposite, but we have bigger mojitos to encounter.

The article (and this is a most definite read-the-whole-thinger) describes the extreme privation on the island. If your name is not Castro or you're not married to one, you get $24 a month in ration books. Four pounds of chicken and a bag of rice. Little capitalist running dogs try to supplement this by roasting peanuts, stealing cigars, and mending clothes.

With the additional Foreign Direct Investment, even though more than half goes though son-in-law, General Luis Alberto Rodriguez, there is activity and jobs. I remain hopeful that, pacé China, we will see some prosperity to the people in spite of their oppressive government.

As for the fast-arriving future, there are Afro-Cuban jazz clubs, swank private restaurants, and boutique hotels. More tellingly, on street corners within the few, closely controlled, government-sponsored Wi-Fi zones, Cubans by the hundreds sit and stand all day in the tropical sun, clutching phones, tablets, and laptops, eager to take advantage of the first chance many have ever been given to connect.
A small paragraph near the end caught my attention. If I might paraphrase Bill & Ted & PM Thatcher: It sucks to keep running out of other people's money. Soviet Sugar Daddy falls and . . .
By the late 1990s, the Castros had found their savior in Hugo Chávez, the charismatic ex-paratrooper who was elected president of Venezuela on promises to emulate Cuban-style socialism. He quickly flooded Cuba with free oil--up to 115,000 barrels a day. Cuba also cut creative and lucrative deals with other leftist leaders, including Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to send tens of thousands of medical doctors to work abroad. Under the terms of those deals, many of which are still in place, the Cuban government kept up to 90 percent of the doctors' wages.

That "free" oil is stolen, and if the renowned Cuban Physician surplus is anything more than absolute slavery, I'd like to hear it. We send you abroad and keep 90% of your wages. That didn't make into Michael Moore's film, did it?

Anyway, a great article. Hat-tip to blog friend tgreer on Facebook. I commented:

"Adam Smith said were perfect liberty required for a country to be prosperous, no country would ever prosper. I think it's amazing and hopeful to see that a bit of freedom and trade will lift people up, even though they suffer under the yoke of brutal oppression.

Plus you get a rare "way to go, President Obama" out of your wingnut friend."

But nanobrewer thinks:

I lost track of what you were trying to "rebut." The sub-rosa fellating of socialism, I suppose?

I find Smith's article thorough and very well-written. IMO his "stance" on capital and free-markets is agnostic, but completely out-to-lunch on personal freedom, and seemingly bereft of any outrage towards the autocrats; a very bloomberg-y approach.

I do agree the splashy 'pull quotes' are like an Obama speech (rambling, obfuscating the narrative), heh, like a Castro speech? Here would be my pull quotes:

Costs are sky-high for most people
little, 22-page food-rationing booklet, which lists the staples every Cuban can get for next to nothing at government food depots. “No one can live off this”
Casas built GAESA around wringing revenue from the military’s properties and assets.
Cuban justice ministry seized Tri-Star Caribbean’s assets, valued at $20 million.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 ... the country was plunged into a crushing four-year contraction known as the Special Period
Vast areas of Havana are little changed from 1959, when Fidel Castro’s bearded guerrilla fighters marched into town
Castro’s government represses dissent, routinely harasses independent journalists and activists, and restricts access to the Internet for the vast majority of Cubans

Two thoughts occurred to me:
1. this editorial 'approach' is probably required to maintain access in Raul's Cuba;
2. (and this covers a range of issues) you'd never see an article like this - lacking in any reference to individual rights - from Investor's Business Daily!

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 1, 2015 12:34 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Here is what we see on the topic from IBD: "Homer Simpson Could School Obama On Castro"

Obama held a handful of strong cards — including the plunging price of oil and the weakening of potential Cuban patrons from China to Russia to Iran — but instead played the deuce, offering concessions to Castro without getting so much as a pledge of democracy.
Posted by: nanobrewer at October 1, 2015 12:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What you call "absolute slavery" imposed on Cuban physicians, our president calls "Brazil's natural human right to free healthcare." Rand Paul, call your office.

Raul Castro demanded this week that America stop broadcasting subversive radio programming into Cuba. I'm happy to replace that with free, island-wide, American Wi-Fi. Then all the happy little Cuban paupers can subscribe to World Workers Party and Marxists.org. That's what they naturally want, right?

And finally, I think you meant 'cachet.'

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2015 2:33 PM
But jk thinks:

@nb: add a pull quote about physician slavery and we're in! Plus: $24/month? The extreme poverty interstice in Africa was raised from $1 to $1.50. Middle class Cubans are now poorer that poor Zimbabweans.

I attacked my biological brother with this piece. I'll give him one thing, the dude's a true believer. On some Pope post on FB, he said that "Socialism works quite well for some people in Cuba and Venezuela." Perhaps the presence of the Holy Father kept my tongue at bay, but I did not yell "Yeah, If your name is 'Castro' or 'Chavez!'"

So I looped back with this and got a "We have problems in the US too." (Who is this guy and was I adopted?) But past my Trotskyite sibling, I see Sens. Elizabeth Warren & Bernie Sanders, and the Pope acting as if Socialism was never discredited.

@jg: I did think first of Doctor-Senator Rand Paul: slavery!

And of course you are right. Cachet. As in "the cachet of having a cache of ammunition in your Chevrolet." ThreeSources regrets the error.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2015 4:04 PM

September 30, 2015

just can't stop it

Like a late night comedian during the "Hey!" days of Clinton, I can't stay away from Socialism bashing...
This item from CATO highlights a man making a chicken sandwich... from scratch. 6 months later, he had his sandwich, and was $1500 poorer (but wiser!) for it.

The author dryly notes

There was a time when everyone grew their own food and made their own clothes. It was a time of unimaginable poverty and labor without rest.

And this delightful blast from the past courtesy of Steven Hayward, who notes:

One of the first pre-requisites for being a socialist is having no sense of humor.

From The Onion:

“We were creating an exciting new model for living,” said Dorff, stubbing his cigarette into an ashtray that had not been emptied in six days. “It was like we were dismantling the apparatus of the state right within our own living space.”

Dr. Hawyard then shortly relates the dying throws of Pacifica Radio; schadenfreude on steroids! The sweetest part was discovering that Pacifica owes Amy Goodman over $1M! For what, I have to wonder!!

But jk thinks:

The Pacifica radio stuff is pretty enjoyable. Banks have to be regulated more, but they can't pass an audit.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2015 10:20 AM

The Education Plantation

The title is a term I made up, rather than an excerpt from this pointed William McGurn piece in Monday's WSJ. Unapologetic content theft follows:

Good charters offer part of the answer. In New York, Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter schools are arguably the best. Yet the mayor, his schools chancellor and the teachers union all apparently prefer maintaining the present inequality rather than allow Ms. Moskowitz to open more of her charters in poor minority neighborhoods.

The Success Academies are 58% black and about 27% Hispanic. Even so, these children regularly outscore their counterparts in wealthy suburban areas. So while each year the Success Academies prove that black kids can compete as equals with white kids so long as the bar is set high and teachers are held accountable, in the schools run by Mayor de Blasio the achievement gap between black and white has widened.

Welcome to progressive New York. Where black and Latino children in poor neighborhoods are condemned to failed schools with almost no possibility of escape. While the schools where kids are treated equally and black lives really do matter get the back of the mayor's hand.

Whether de Blasio can get away with this for long remains to be seen. And whether he's gotten away with it up to now because of his progressive politics, or because his wife and son are black - really, at this point, what difference does it make?

Bonus: Here is the TV ad that Families for Excellent Schools will run in the NYC market.


Is Berkeley Breathed going full Doonesbury?

But nanobrewer thinks:

.... and you were expecting what, exactly? I stopped reading Breathed a looong time ago, long before he quite.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 11:28 PM

All Hail Remy!

Straight Outta Homeroom!

Trey Gowdy!

Okay, I'm clearly just trolling now. But it's pretty good trolling. Here's Jim Geraghty:

What's the point of deposing a Speaker if you don't have an alternative you like better?


He just said he doesn't want the job.


He doesn't want that job, either. He periodically reminds people that he already has a big job that's unfinished on the Benghazi committee.

If conservatives really want to change the leadership in Congress, they need to--

No, wait, I just said he''


Now you're just yelling his name for no reason.


But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm all for a 21st century clarion call for Trey to answer the call of his country.... He wouldn't necessarily be a good Speaker, but apparently make a good Majority Leader (acc. to Dreier), but only if he wants it!

I think better is a guy who said he wants it: Tom Price has stepped up. Unless we know him to be lacking.... hmm, perhaps I should post this at NRO...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 2:17 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I sympathize with the people who want Mr. Gowdy as the Speaker, but you can't force a job on a man who has other plans.

I mean, serving as Speaker might take away from his other duties as Attorney General in the next Administration.

I may have made that last part up, or it may represent wishful thinking.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 30, 2015 2:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. Is Trey Gowdy even an empty nester? Something tells me, no.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:45 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sowell speaks up about the recent bru-ha-ha:

Nothing epitomized Boehner’s wrong-headedness like an occasion when he emerged from the White House, after a conference with President Obama and others, to face a vast battery of microphones and television cameras. Here was a golden opportunity for Speaker Boehner to make his case directly to the American people, unfiltered by the media. Instead, he just walked over to the microphones and cameras, briefly expressed his disgust with the conference he had just come from, and then walked on away.

This dovetails with a lot I'm hearing (yay! being on the same page as Sowell): Boehner was a good guy, lousy communicator (thereby, I suppose, the predilection for backroom deals?). Hewitt and Dreier are echoing this theme as the first big needed "change:" one who is a good communicator. [Think Newt]

McCarthy is judged "good" for several things:
- a good deal maker & fundraiser (helps his rapport with members),
- being telegenic,
- being willing to go public (which he's sticking to)

I am hopeful....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 4:16 PM

Simple Stories

jk sharing a TED talk? This must be serious.

I like Tyler Cowen so much. He calls for some serious introspection in this TED talk. I highly recommend it.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | What do you think? [2 comments]
But nanobrewer thinks:

The only TED talk I can remember liking was by Matt Ridley. But I don't see them very often. I wasn't terribly moved by the non-story that-didn't-tell-a-story.... or tried to un-tell a story? Care to expand or expound?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 4:43 PM
But jk thinks:

The greatestest TED talk ever is Hans Rosling's Washing Machine. That is a joy and underscores everything in which I believe.

In toto, they're like NPR to me -- a lot of them are very good, but the sum seems to subtract from knowledge rather than add.

Nope, nothing to add to the Cowen vid. I love to rail about the cognitive biases of my teeming Facebook contingent. Watching Cowen gave me uncomfortable internal rumblings of my own acceptance and predilection to confirmation bias.

Plus the meta bit at the end where he describes you telling your friends that Tyler Cowen told this wonderful story on how to not accept stories. Cowen has a friendly inquisitive-but-not-combative style I'd like to emulate. (Brother Bryan once said I remind him of Cowen, but that might be more hairline than intellectual chops.)

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 5:04 PM

September 29, 2015

Otequay of the Ayday

"If you want moral credit for caring about the poor, when, oh when, do you ever have to take responsibility for what happens to the poor when leftists take over?"

-Mona Charen, Redistribution: The Unconquerable Delusion

Thither Corporatism

This time last year I was learning that more Americans approve of "free enterprise" than "capitalism." Now I'm learning that the modern mixed economy in most of the nations of the world is not "neo-mercantilism" - a term I coined myself in the linked post from last year - but one variant or another of "corporatism."

Corporatism is not, as I previously believed, 'rule by corporations' and their influence over corrupt governments. It's meaning comes from a prioritization of the body, or "corpus", of a population, rather than the individual persons. In essence then, it is a variation of collectivism.

This term--Corporatism--is fraught with perils, mostly because it is now commonly used to label aspects of the current world economic order, almost always incorrectly. Understand that Corporatism proper has nothing to do with modern corporations at all, neither how they function, nor their dependence on or independence from the state. The confusion in this regard--all too common throughout the internet--is largely due to the similarity of the two words: Corporatism and corporation. Both have the same root word, the Latin corpus meaning body, but that's about it.

Corporatism actually refers to an economic (and political) system wherein the people in a society are organized into various groups, based on what they do, on how they make a living. The underlying idea here--and the reason for the name--is that society should be viewed as an organic whole, like a living organism or body, with every person having a distinct role to play in order for society to properly function, to metaphorically live and grow. Thus, one segment of the population should never be--figuratively or literally--under the heel of any other segment. None have primacy in this regard, except of course for the state itself, which is tasked with leadership and control (more or less the head of the body).

And the origin of corporatism dovetails with the objection of bygone commenter Silence Dogood: "He liked Capitalism just fine -- but not "unfettered capitalism." As for corporatism, "They [the doctrine's creators] opposed wide open free trade and free markets because they assumed greed would dictate activity, first and foremost."

What was once old is new again, and humanity continues to repeat past mistakes. Why? I'm not sure. Let's ask Silence Dogood.

H/T: brother nanobrewer [second comment] for inspiring a closer look at Argentine "corporatism."

But jk thinks:

Awesome post. I have always used the term as a pejorative for government-corporate collusion.

Very interesting, but doesn't it become like "liberal:" in which your specific meaning is not shared by those to whom you're talking at.

Posted by: jk at September 29, 2015 5:59 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Thanks for clearing that up, JG. We clearly see what it entails, and I like classic definitions. Collectivist to be sure!

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 30, 2015 1:15 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, it is true, the term "corporatism" is easily mistaken or misled. I think "corpatism" might be better.

But the real issue here, and the gist of my closing question, is "Why is 'greed dictating activity' a bad thing - so bad, in fact, that you're willing to give complete strangers more control over your own life just to (supposedly) prevent it?"

What would Silence say?

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 11:17 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Say: "Crony capitalism." And then: "Crony free enterprise." First flows off the tongue so much easier, doesn't?

Posted by: T. Greer at September 30, 2015 11:53 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll play (per Jonathan Haidt, what distinguishes us is our ability to pass a "Turing Test.")

"I don't want complete collectivist control of the economy, jg, that is a strawman. I agree with you 98% on the wonders and advantages of Capitalism and free markets.

"But I don't share your love of the wild west, lasseiz faire economics of the Guilded Age. Government trust busting, enforcement of worker safety, child-labor, minimum wage, maximum hour, clean water, clean air, ozone protection regulations created a much better world.

"You may be right that there is too much regulation. I don't want more -- I want better. We can have growth and freedom and still protect people and the environment."

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

"Are you going to eat the rest of those fries?"

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

True enough, TG.

And jk, "complete collectivist control of the economy" is a strawman but I didn't raise it, you did. I'm advocating complete free enterprise. I'm advocating, "let people engage in what they want, and not engage in what they don't, freely and voluntarily."

Let me take your points one by one:

Trust busting - Resistant yes, but not impervious to competition.
Worker safety - Why, because employees aren't smart enough to recognize unsafe jobs and conditions when they see them? And demand higher wages or quit?
Child labor - Okay, I'm willing to accede to protecting children from their parents bad choices up to a certain age. You got me on this one.
Minimum wage - Who are you, and what have you done with jk?
Clean water, clean air - We can agree on sensible restrictions here, but the clean air and water acts have become bludgeons of business destruction through environmentalist lawsuits and administrative law restrictions in pursuit of impossibly low contaminant standards.
"Ozone protection regulations created a much better world?" Maybe. Maybe not.

The data shows a lot of variability and no real trends after the Montreal protocol banned CFCs. The models had predicted a partial recovery by now. Later scientists adjusted their models and pronounced the recovery would take decades. It may be just another failed alarmist prediction.

Remember we first found the ozone hole when satellites that measure ozone were first available and processed (1985). It is very likely to have been there forever, varying year to year and decade to decade as solar cycles and volcanic events affected high latitude winter vortex strength.

The reality is, there needs to be limits on these things. The cure is, more and more often, worse than the original problem. But corporism knows know bounds whatsoever.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But again, we digress. I asked about the corporatist fear that "greed would dictate activity, first and foremost."

You have focused on some well known negative externalities that are popularly ascribed to greed, but could as well be explained by ignorance or a breakdown in the market mechanism. But the author I linked did not mention pollution or labor abuse by name - he mentioned greed, which I take synonymously with selfishness. A dictionary definition of greed includes "an excessive, extreme desire for something, often more than one's proper share." But who defines excessive? And who defines proper share?

As motive for corporatism, I identify Tall Poppy Syndrome, or a fear of competition.

Laboratory studies lead to the formation of the competitive exclusion principle (no two species can long occupy the same niche), while field observations suggest that niche differences, while sometimes subtle, are invariably found between co-existing species. Field experiments provide strong evidence of competition in nature. Often, one species is the superior competitor, the other is better able to withstand certain environmental extremes.

I postulate that in the human specie corporatists are the superior competitors, while individualists are better able to withstand certain environmental extremes.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:42 PM
But jk thinks:

To be clear, I agreed with nothing I said (oh boy, I hope this quote never shows up out of context...) I was answering as I expected Silence would have. But if I did fool you, that proved Haidt right.

Maybe Mister Dogood would have been better focused, but the "fetters" he wants bolted onto capitalism's flanges would be to protect workers, "fair play," and the environment. Each would be needed to counteract greed.

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 3:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, you did fool me, or I fooled myself - I completely forgot my own premise!

So Silence would, we surmise, fetter capitalism with measures "to protect workers, 'fair play' and the environment. Each would be needed to counteract greed."

And I would ask Silence, is it to counteract greed, or to counteract competition?

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 3:23 PM

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