Americans And Jeff Sessions Want ‘Open Season’ on Cops

No, this is not a call to do any such thing.
It is a recognition that this is exactly what is going to happen if there are not major changes made in public policy, right ****ing now, and the only way those will happen is if the people of this nation stand up and demand them, enforcing that demand with whatever actions are both necessary and possible.
Just the other day:
A 25-year-old California man was arrested in connection to an online quarrel between two ‘Call of Duty’ gamers that prompted a hoax call and led to a man being killed by police in Kansas.
Los Angeles police on Friday arrested Tyler Barriss, who law enforcement claimed is the ‘prankster’ who called 911 and made up a story about a kidnapping in Wichita, ABC 7 reported.
Barriss reportedly gave police the address he believed the other gamer lived.
In the audio of the 911 call, the caller claimed his father had been shot in the head and that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. The caller added that he poured gasoline inside the home and “might just set it on fire.”
Now let’s put context on this.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-30.

Will War Cancel Trump’s Triumphs?

Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, ‘I survived.’
Donald Trump can make the same boast.
No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.
Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?
And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies.
With the U. S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U. S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found.
The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.
With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations.
Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U. S.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

Paul Krugman: Evangelist of Political Salvation

Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics. He is also the resident economist for The New York Times.
In his latest article, he laments the power of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. He tries to offer eschatological hope. He assures his readers that there is hope politically because the Democrats may eventually come back into power. But this is only hope, he says. The United States of America is on the path to becoming a Third World tyranny. He actually believes this.
I want to stress this fact: he is as sound a political analyst as he is a sound economist.
The obvious silliness of all this should be apparent to anybody who knows about bipartisan American politics since approximately 1953. There has been a bipartisan American foreign policy. There has certainly been a bipartisan policy with respect to Social Security and Medicare. There has been a bipartisan policy with respect to the federal deficit. On anything that has mattered, bipartisan politics has been dominant. On peripheral issues, such as ObamaCare, Congress has voted along party lines, but even that division was short-lived. There were sufficient numbers of Republicans in the Senate who voted with the Democrats this year to save ObamaCare. The Republicans’ 100% opposition was political posturing in 2010.
Any liberal who looks at what Obama accomplished ought to abandon his faith in politics. Obama had a majority in both houses of Congress, early 2009 to early 2011, yet all he had to show for it was ObamaCare. I predicted this from the day he was elected. I said that Nancy Pelosi would be the ramrod for his policies. On the day he was elected, I predicted that he would be cautious, and would do his best to avoid political confrontation. This is exactly what he did for eight years. He did not create a national health plan. ObamaCare is a gigantic boondoggle for the health-insurance industry. Yet even that has backfired, as critics predicted. Healthcare insurers are bailing out every year. In 2019, when the new tax law goes into effect, individuals will not be forced to pay a fine to the federal government for failing to purchase healthcare insurance. With respect to individual purchases, this is going to undermine the whole program. But there wasn’t much of a program to undermine.

This post was published at Gary North on December 28, 2017.

Limits on Power Are Limits on Oppression

December 19 marks the birth of John Taylor of Caroline, who remains virtually unknown, despite being called ‘the most impressive political theorist that America has produced.’
Taylor, who served in the Continental Army, Virginia Legislature and U. S. Senate, was an Antifederalist, opposed to the overpowering central government he believed the Constitution would create. As F. Thornton Miller put it, ‘For Taylor, the Constitution was of worth only if it could serve the more fundamental cause of liberty.’
Taylor defended liberty and states’ rights, advocated a strict interpretation of the Constitution’s terms against federal overreaching, and vigorously opposed government favors and protectionism, which he called ‘the most efficacious system of tyranny practicable over civilized nations.’
Taylor’s positions stand abandoned today. Government has become ever more the dispenser of special treatment at others’ expense. That is why Taylor’s 1822 Tyranny Unmasked merits revisiting.
Political liberty consists only in a government constituted to preserve and not to defeat the natural capacity of providing for our own good.
Governments able to do so uniformly sacrifice the national interest to their own.

This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 29, 2017.

Star Wars: Disney Has Ruined It

I saw The Last Jedi on opening night.
I enjoyed the film. But with that said, let me offer the following: Disney has ruined the franchise.
Oh, don’t get me wrong — the cinematography was excellent. The use of CGI unobtrusive and convincing. Lighting, sound, right up the line where you expect it to be.
But then the troubles started, and they’re all related to the story.
Disney has infused this with just too much bull**** — and layered plenty of SJW crap on top.
If you haven’t seen it yet don’t read any further, as there are a lot of spoilers in here. Then again, there’s not really much to spoil when it comes to the story, so I’m not sorry — not one bit.
Let me preface most of this by saying that when I go see a science fiction film these days I expect rank violations of the Laws of Physics. Artificial gravity within ships, for example, so we don’t all need magnetic boots or a vessel that rotates to produce centrifugal force. Force fields (not the least of which are necessary for navigational deflectors, lest a grain of sand in space puncture your nice ship and let all the air out!) Drive systems we can’t really explain, but which have plausible explanations that are at least consistent within the story (hyperdrives, for example.)

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-28.

Erdoan Wants to Revise the Treaty of Lausanne

The War Cycle is in full swing upward since 2014. We have witnessed the invasion of Ukraine, the invasion of Syria, Rocketman in North Korea, and numerous civil uprisings. However, the war also comes with sharply declining economies as political leaders need to point the finger outside their domestic rule to distract their people.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan is also on a power trip and the sharply collapsing currency only puts more pressure on him to start conflicts. That basic incentive has played out with his visit to Greece in December. This was the first time a Turkish leader visited Greece in 65 years. As the Guardian reports, Erdoan shocked Greece by calling for a revision of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. The Turkish president in Turkey has sharply criticized the opposition for this demand and as always there is the justification for protecting people of Turkish origin living in Greece. Hitler used the same excuse to invade neighbors to defend Germans living on foreign lands.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 28, 2017.

The Anatomy Of Hillary Clinton’s $84 Million Money-Laundering Scheme

Authored by Dan Backer via Investors.com,
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of my client, Alabama engineer Shaun McCutcheon, in his challenge to the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) outdated “aggregate limits,” which effectively limited how many candidates any one donor could support.
Anti-speech liberals railed against McCutcheon’s win, arguing it would create supersized “Joint Fundraising Committees” (JFCs). In court, they claimed these JFCs would allow a single donor to cut a multimillion-dollar check, and the JFC would then route funds through dozens of participating state parties, who would then funnel it back to the final recipient.
Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer claimed the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC ruling would lead to “the system of legalized bribery recreated that existed prior to Watergate.” The Supreme Court, in ruling for us, flatly stated such a scheme would still be illegal.
The Democrats’ response? Hold my beer.
The Committee to Defend the President has filed an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic state parties and Democratic mega-donors.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Wed, 12/27/2017.

Why Twitter, Facebook and Google Are the Antisocial Networks

In today’s Outside the Box we resume our eight-part Strategic Investment Conference Speaker Series with my friend Niall Ferguson, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Center for European Studies at Harvard. Niall has a cautionary tale for us on the topic of social networks.
The problem, in a nutshell:
Facebook certainly made an impact last year, but not quite the impact the young Zuckerberg had in mind in his Harvard dorm. A committed believer in globalisation who tends to wear his liberal politics on his T-shirt sleeve, Zuckerberg is reeling. Not only did the masterminds behind the Brexit and Trump campaigns successfully use Facebook advertising to hone and target their ultimately victorious campaign messages; worse, the Russian government appears to have used Facebook in the same way, seeking to depress voter support for Hillary Clinton. Worse still, neo-Nazis seem to have been using the social network to spread their own distinctive brand of hate.
Niall – ever the history prof – can’t help chiding Mr. Zuckerberg on his choice of majors at Harvard:
Yet the architects of the biggest social networks to have existed should not have been surprised. If he had studied history at Harvard rather than psychology and computer science, Zuckerberg might have foreseen the ways in which Facebook and its ilk would be used and abused.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

Post-Deepwater-Horizon Regulations Get Rolled Back

‘They’re blocking research into the risks. What is Secretary Zinke afraid of?’
By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com: The Trump administration is hoping to slash regulations on offshore oil drilling that were implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed nearly a dozen people and led to an oil leak that spewed for months.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which is the agency housed in the Interior Department that regulates offshore oil drilling, is proposing a rollback of a series of changes made after the 2010 disaster.
BSEE says that the cuts will save the oil industry $900 million over ten years. The proposal has not been made public, but the WSJ reports that some of the changes include easing rules that require the streaming of real-time data of oil production operations to facilities onshore, which allows regulators to see what is going on. Another rule that would be removed requires third-party inspectors of equipment, such as the blowout preventer, to receive certification by BSEE.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 27, 2017.

Private Sponsorship of Immigrants Is a Viable Alternative

Immigration is a highly contentious topic in modern societies, with almost all of the different regimes across the OECD showing failures on some measure. As populist responses increase to rising levels of immigration, a policy solution must exist that assuages the concerns of those who have gripes with the current system in order to maintain political stability. Amongst the myriad of potential immigration policies, the one that stands out with the most suitable incentives is that of private sponsorship.
Private sponsorship asks that either an individual or an organisation from the host country vouches for the potential immigrant before they arrive. They bear the risks associated with immigration. For example, if the individual commits a crime, the sponsor would have to pay the costs of judicial process and deportation. The added benefit of allowing private organisations or individuals to sponsor immigrants is that the government no longer needs to pry into personal affairs, asking why someone is coming or why someone is a sponsor. It would simply be assumed that by bearing risk, the sponsoring party is making a rational decision. This incentive results from the skin in the game principle, that those who bear the risk of an action are more likely to make better decisions.
Private sponsorship regimes prove superior to current systems by removing the bureaucratic issues currently associated with immigration. Among these problems is the arbitrariness of certain features, such as quotas or occupational restrictions, which change over political cycles at great costs to current and potential immigrants. Another problem is the application of Goodhart’s Law, the principle that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. Points-based, and other skills or aptitude-based immigration systems all succumb to the fact that by using a quantitative measure that correlates to success as an immigrant, the relationship breaks down once the rules of the system are known. These together lead to inefficiencies that prevent adequate coping with high volume of movement, and post-migration inefficiencies that pose threats to the mental health and social integration of migrants.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 27, 2017.

26/12/17: U.S. Wars Budgets: More Lessons Never Learned

An interesting report on the official accounts for war-related spending in the U. S. is available here: Which is, of course, a massive under-estimate of the full cost of 2001-2017 wars to the U. S. taxpayers.
It is worth remembering that war-related expenditures are outside discretionary budgetary allocations (follow links here: And you can read more here: The problem, as I repeatedly pointed out, is that no one can tell us what exactly – aside from misery, failed states, collapsed economies, piles of dead bodies etc – did these expenditures achieve, or for that matter what did all the adventurous entanglements the U. S. got into in recent year deliver? In Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria, in Pakistan and Sudan, in Ukraine, in Somalia and Egypt. The sole bright spot on the U. S. ‘policy horizon’ is Kurdistan. But the problem is, the U. S. has been quietly undermining its main ally in the Syria-Iraq-Turkey sub-region in recent years. In South China Seas, Beijing is fully running the show, as multi-billion U. S. hardware bobbles up and down the waves to no effect. In North Korea, a villain with a bucket of uranium is in charge, and Iran is standing strong. In its historical backyard of Latin America, the U. S. is now confronting growing Chinese influence, while losing allies.

This post was published at True Economics on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

Truly Bizarre Treasury Data

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but this much I do know — nobody is talking about this in the media, and they should be.
The latest MTS (Monthly Treasury Statement) has some interesting data that I cannot explain when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid.
Specifically, it appears that Medicare and Medicaid spending is down materially in the first couple of months of the year (by about 5%). This is chimera, however, and the internals are really troubling.
First, the funds given to the states for Medicaid are up by 4.55%. That’s bad. Worse, by a lot, are the SCHIP (children’s health fund) payments, which I’ve flagged repeatedly — they’re up an outrageous 13.9% over comparable year period.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-26.

A Christmas Thought

First, any politician who spouts anything about Christmas in a religious context needs to be the recipient of a pile of horse**** in a gift box. Oh wait, someone already did that with our Treasury Secretary. It’s a good start; long live the First Amendment.
Thus my first Christmas wish is that the rest of the political class get enough of these that they have to be delivered by front-end loaders. And asteroids.
My second is that the people of this nation wake up from their toper, but I know better. After all one need merely see “what matters” this time of year on display in every town in the country to figure that out. Amish excepted, of course. Speaking of which I have a special Christmas wish for Wood County, WI: May everyone in the county government get an asteroid down their chimney of sufficient size to level their house.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-25.