AT AMAZON, (for those boycotting Levi’s), Wrangler Men’s Authentics Classic Regular Fit Jeans for $19.99.
December 2, 2016
THEY’LL GET CLEAN AFTER JUST ONE LAST FIX: Saudis Wager On Higher Oil Prices to Drive Economic Diversification.
In its thrust toward diversification, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ de-facto leader needs to monetize massive reserves of crude oil. That means building up targeted noncrude sectors such as refined petroleum products, petrochemicals and minerals mining. From there, the kingdom would help finance a push into other sectors, such as tourism, manufacturing and financial services.
That goal helped to drive the Saudis toward pushing for substantial output restraints at the cartel’s meeting in Vienna this week. It was a step the kingdom has for decades avoided, as it pursued market share at the expense of prices.
A trip on Tuesday by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to a coastal industrial town helps illustrate the country’s commitment to its recently mapped economic path. The king made his first visit as monarch to the oil-rich Eastern Province this week to attend events marking a string of multibillion-dollar investments by local and foreign companies in petrochemical and mining projects.
Petrochemicals and mining? That isn’t a whole lot of diversity.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CLUE, VAN? Van Jones: Dems ‘have a problem with elitism.’ “Liberals and Democrats, we see ourselves as champions of the poor and downtrodden. . . . But we have somehow let a little camp of elitist-sounding, snobby people come into the party, and it’s obnoxious. They talk down to people, and everybody hates it.”
He means the Clintonites, here, and this is really just a round in the intra-Democrat civil war. Not that it isn’t still true.
FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: One in three babies born in UK last year had foreign parent – as sky-high immigration fuels population boom: The figures showed nine in ten London newborns had at least one parent from overseas.
Remember, this didn’t happen because the British electorate asked for it to happen, it happened because the Labour Party thought that Britain was too British and it’s electorate insufficiently tractable, and decided to make it more diverse. This is the result. More on that here.
PRECIOUS SNOWFLAKES: Virginia schools ban ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘Huckleberry Finn’ for racial slurs.
The decision to remove “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee came after a parent filed a complaint, WCMH-TV reported. The parent cited excessive racial slurs as the reason for wanting the books banned, Superintendent Warren Holland told the news station.
The parent, whose son is biracial, said that her concerns are “not even just a black and white thing.”
“I keep hearing, ‘This is a classic, This is a classic,’ … I understand this is a literature classic. But at some point, I feel that children will not — or do not — truly get the classic part — the literature part, which I’m not disputing,” she said at a Nov. 15 school board meeting. “This is great literature. But there (are so many) racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that.”
No, you can’t get past that.
PROCUREMENT BLUES: The US’s military edge over Russia and China has come down to one plane.
Only one US airframe remains head-and-shoulders above any and all competition: the F-22 Raptor.
The F-22 was the first fifth-generation fighter jet, and it is like nothing else on earth. The plane can execute mind-bending aerial maneuvers, sense incoming threats at incredible distances, and fly undetected by legacy aircraft.
The coming F-35 Lightning II, a stealthy technological marvel in its own right, has an impressive radar cross section approximately the size of a basketball. The F-22, however, blows it out of the water with a cross section about the size of a marble.
For this reason, the F-22 Raptor remains the US’s only hope for breaching the most heavily protected airspace. Even so, an expert on Russian air defenses told Business Insider that F-22 pilots would have to be “operationally, tactically brilliant” to survive strikes against Russian-defended targets.
And we built fewer than 200 of them.
THE DEMOCRATS SURE DID GIVE PRESIDENT TRUMP A LOT OF POWER: Broad Expansion of FBI’s Hacking Authority Begins Today: One warrant and one judge can lead to untold numbers of system intrusions.
And this never gets old:
CUE THE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN: Clinton donors feel like they torched their cash.
The frustrations from the Election Day defeat are causing a lot of problems for the Democratic National Committee, which is already working to rebuild its dilapidated image and gear up for the 2018 midterm elections. In addition, many progressive activists are worried about money as they prepare to go to war with Trump, who has vowed to undo much of President Barack Obama’s legacy.
“They’re tired,” one DNC official told The Hill regarding top Democratic donors. “They’re upset about the election, and there was significant trauma surrounding the Russians. They’re upset and they’re tired.”
On top of the defeat, donors are angry over the WikiLeaks revelations (which included leaks of their information) and the fact that the DNC will be without any sort of leadership until more than a month into the Trump administration.
The GOP was pulled out of its post-2008 doldrums by the spontaneous formation of the Tea Party just weeks after Barack Obama’s inauguration. Democrats seem unlikely (for now, anyway) to enjoy a similar grassroots boon.
WHY IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUCH A CESSPIT OF ANTI-SEMITISM? ADL: Newly uncovered remarks by Keith Ellison are ‘disturbing and disqualifying.’
GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE: Wisconsin VA Hospital May Have Infected 600 Veterans With HIV Or Hepatitis.
From October 2015 to October 2016, a dentist at the Tomah VA exposed 592 veterans to infectious diseases by reusing his own dental equipment and “cleaning” it instead of using the sterile and disposable equipment provided by the VA, said Acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm, according to WEAU News.
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” Brahm said. “During all of the orientation, he used all of our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure.”
Someone who was filling in for the dentist’s assistant noticed what he was doing and reported it.
The dentist, who has yet to be identified, hasn’t been fired after carelessly exposing hundreds of veterans to infectious diseases.
Abolish the VA and give veterans vouchers for the private health coverage of their choice.
THE LEFT SPENT DECADES GIVING US A REALITY-TV CULTURE, AND NOW IT’S UNHAPPY WE ELECTED A REALITY-TV PRESIDENT: Donald Trump: The Showman President.
With the announcement of Trump’s triumphant (Trumphant?) Carrier deal, the word that occurs to me—not for the first time—is “showman.”
That’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, by the way. But it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in recent years.
It’s not that previous presidents haven’t tried. Reagan was good at the speeches, as well as some sweeping gestures (“tear down this wall,” and the firing of the air controllers). Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush were abysmal; Clinton only so-so (playing the sax on TV comes to mind).
Obama tried and sometimes succeeded, particularly during his first campaign. Remember the Greek columns? . . .
But this is the water in which Trump swims. This is his most comfortable place to be: the showman, in the spotlight. He’s been doing it for his entire life.
That’s one of the reasons Trump preferred enormous rallies, and was relaxed when giving lengthy speeches without a teleprompter and ad-libbing extensively. He likes the spectacle of it all and realizes the important of the gesture and the symbol. And despite his more “presidential” demeanor since his election, I doubt this aspect of his personality will fade during his presidency; au contraire. And he understands the elements of surprise, of timing.
It does look that way.
December 1, 2016
KRUGMAN SAID TRUMP WOULD KILL STOCKS, BUT THE BIG ACTION IS OVERSEAS: Italy’s referendum has the potential to set off a global landslide. Of course, they said that about Brexit, too.
Plus, save in Generators and Portable Power. Winter is coming.
Donald Trump’s claim that illegal voting may have cost him a popular-vote majority has touched off outrage. Widespread voter fraud, the media consensus suggests, isn’t possible. But there is a real chance that significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some elections.
There’s no way of knowing for sure. The voter-registration process in almost all states runs on the honor system. The Obama administration has done everything it can to keep the status quo in place. The Obama Justice Department has refused to file a single lawsuit to enforce the requirement of the National Voter Registration Act that states maintain the accuracy of their voter-registration lists. This despite a 2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicate. About 2.8 million people are registered in more than one state, according to the study, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead. In most places it’s easy to vote under the names of such people with little risk of detection.
An undercover video released in October by the citizen-journalist group Project Veritas shows a Democratic election commissioner in New York City saying at a party, “I think there is a lot of voter fraud.” A second video shows two Democratic operatives mulling how it would be possible to get away with voter fraud. . . .
How common is this? If only we knew. Political correctness has squelched probes of noncitizen voting, so most cases are discovered accidentally instead of through a systematic review of election records.
The danger looms large in states such as California, which provides driver’s licenses to noncitizens, including those here illegally, and which also does nothing to verify citizenship during voter registration. In a 1996 House race, then-challenger Loretta Sanchez defeated incumbent Rep. Bob Dornan by under 1,000 votes. An investigation by a House committee found 624 invalid votes by noncitizens, nearly enough to overturn the result.
How big is this problem nationally? One district-court administrator estimated in 2005 that up to 3% of the 30,000 people called for jury duty from voter-registration rolls over a two-year period were not U.S. citizens. A September report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation found more than 1,000 noncitizens who had been removed from the voter rolls in eight Virginia counties. Many of them had cast ballots in previous elections, but none was referred for possible prosecution.
Of course not. They vote for Democrats.
WAITING FOR THE BIG BUZZFEED COVERAGE: DNC Chair Candidate Rep. Keith Ellison’s Imam: Homosexuality Is ‘Not What God Intended.’
But I think it’s still okay to be homophobic so long as you’re sufficiently diverse.
THE DALLAS OBSERVER HAS A PIECE ON THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE and a defense from its builder. A reader emails: “It’s the clearest defense of the pipeline construction process I think I’ve seen.”
Folk singers are threatening to boycott a music festival he sponsors. But why would anyone mind a boycott by folk singers? What’s next, a boycott by accordion-playing mimes?
Plus, a flashback on why “folk” singing is a crock. “The entire ‘folk’ movement was Stalinist through and through (including Woody Guthrie, who was a Communist Party hanger-on and probably a member. How do I know this? My late mother was Arlo’s nursery-school teacher in the Red Brooklyn of the 1940s). Of course, it was all a put-on. Woody Guthrie was a middle-class lawyer’s son. Pete Seeger was the privileged child of classical musicians who decamped to Greenwich Village. The authenticity of the folk movement stank of greasepaint. But a generation of middle-class kids who, like Holden Caulfield, thought their parents ‘phony’ gravitated to the folk movement.”
TRUMP’S FIRST “THANK YOU TOUR” RALLY. Full video here.
Trump called for the country to unify and denounced the bigotry that he said keeps America divided. Trump has been under fire for appealing to fringe elements on the right, including white nationalists.
“We condemn bigotry and prejudice in all of its forms,” Trump said. “We denounce all of the hatred and we forcefully reject the language of exclusion and separation. We have no choice. We have to, and it’s better.”
“We spend too much time focusing on what divides us,” he continued. “Now it’s time to embrace the one thing that united us: it’s America, because when America is unified, nothing is beyond our reach.” . . .
Trump used his message of unification to underscore the “America first” mindset that he trumpeted throughout his campaign. He pointed to the newly struck deal with Indiana-based Carrier to keep manufacturing jobs in America as indicative of the economic success to come under his presidency.
He stopped in Indianapolis earlier on Thursday to celebrate his deal with the heating and air conditioning company to keep more than 1,000 factory jobs in the state. Some 800 were slated to move to Mexico with 300 transferring to North Carolina, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump quipped that while “globalism is wonderful,” America needs to “focus on our national community.”
Plus: Flashback: Obama Mocks Trump for Promising to Keep Carrier Plant in U.S. You know, I don’t know how Trump will turn out as President, but I’m really enjoying him as President-Elect.
Here’s the real story. You need a business filter to see it clearly. In my corporate life I watched lots of new leaders replace old leaders. And there is one trick the good leaders do that bad leaders don’t: They make some IMMEDIATE improvement that everyone can see. It has to be visible, relatively simple, and fast.
Because humans are not rational. Our first impressions rule our emotions forever. Trump has a second chance to make a first impression because his performance as President is fresh ground. Trump is attacking the job like a seasoned CEO, not like a politician. He knows that his entire four-year term will be judged by what happens before it even starts. What he does today will determine how much support and political capital he has for his entire term.
So what does a Master Persuader do when he needs to create a good first impression to last for years? He looks around for any opportunity that is visible, memorable, newsworthy, true to his brand, and easy to change.
Trump and Pence recognized these openings and took them. Political writers will interpret this situation as routine credit-grabbing and exaggerated claims. But business writers will recognize Trump’s strategy as what I will call the “new CEO Move.” Smart CEOs try to create visible victories within days of taking the job, to set the tone. It’s all about the psychology.
If you are looking at Trump’s claims of success with Ford and Carrier in terms of technical accuracy and impact on the economy, you will be underwhelmed. But if you view it through a business filter and understand that psychology is the point of the exercise, you’re seeing one of the best new CEO moves you will ever see.
I’ll say this again because it’s important. We’re all watching closely to see if President Elect Trump has the skill to be president. And while you watch, Trump and Pence are pulling off one of the most skillfully executed new CEO plays you will ever see.
Read the whole thing.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Ohio State Knife Attacker Abdul Artan Was Taking a Class About Microaggressions. His group project was due later this week.
Not from The Onion.
MEGAN MCARDLE: Questioning Legitimacy of Election Risks Civil War and Secession. “If elections lack legitimacy, then our officials, and the laws they make, are always up for contest. No one can make plans, because they don’t know how long the current regime will last. Worse still, the opponents of that regime will have few qualms about resorting to violence to hasten that end — nor will the regime hesitate to use terror and extralegal tactics to hold on to power. We’ve had such incidents in the U.S., but rarely, and so we have come to view the legitimacy of the democratic order as a sort of natural law that can be taken as a given. It isn’t so.”
We’re still suffering damage from Al Gore’s foolish decision to “un-concede” in 2000.
WOULD WEST VIRGINIA’S DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, JIM JUSTICE, BE ABLE TO FILL THE VACANCY? Joe Manchin may be Trump’s energy secretary.
PAUL KRUGMAN ON ELECTION NIGHT: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”
Headline today: Dow Sees Highest Close on Record.
EUROPOL VERSUS CYBER CRIME SYNDICATE: Report via VOA.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said Thursday it has arrested five people in an online criminal enterprise and seized 39 computer servers following a four-year-long international investigation.
Police agencies spanning the globe and representing 30 countries participated in the effort, which closed down a criminal group that has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage through online cyberattacks, according to a written statement released by Europol.
The cops employed a technique called sinkholing.
Sinkholing refers to a technique used by police that redirects internet traffic coming from criminals to servers controlled by law enforcement. When fully implemented, the tactic stops criminals from gaining access to infected computers of their victims.
Congrats to Europol.
MORE BAD NEWS FROM A DEMOCRAT-RUN CITY: Youth homelessness in Baltimore higher than previously thought.
When Belgium’s beer culture was nominated for UNESCO recognition and protection back in 2014, beer expert Erik Verdonck explained the reasoning to NPR’s Rachel Martin:
“Well, I think, thanks to the fact that we still have 150 breweries and many of these are still family owned. So it’s not only a lot of more industrial type of beer tradition, we also keep to our typical traditions like sour beers, for instance, lambic beers close to Brussels and of course, the famous Trappist and abbey beers. This is all part of our liquid heritage, if you want.”
In its note recognizing Belgium’s beer scene, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) wrote that while the country drinks a wide variety of beer, it’s also famous for cooking with it — making everything form flavorful sauces to beer-washed cheese.
I never thought I’d say this, but if UNSECO thinks Belgium’s beer culture is special, they should come visit Colorado sometime.
LAWYERS HELPING VICTIMS: TBA Activates Disaster Legal Assistance for Wildfires. If you’re a Tennessee lawyer and want to help, follow the link.
UNCLEAR HEADLINES: Robbery suspect surrenders after 11 hostages taken at Florida bank.
I guess if the police have to take hostages to force the criminals to surrender, then that’s what they’ve got to do.
THEY TOLD ME IF DONALD TRUMP WERE ELECTED, WE’D SEE SETBACKS FOR GENDER EQUALITY. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Congress Abandons Plans To Force Women To Sign Up For The Draft.
TRUMP VICTORY DRIVING DEMOCRATS CRAZY? A Hillary Supporter Admitted Himself To The Psych Ward On Election Night When He Realized She Was Losing. To be fair, this guy sounds like he was close enough to walk:
Benjamin Ryan — considered a “Hillblazer” because he raised over $100,000 for the former Democratic nominee — detailed his suicidal nervous breakdown for the Huffington Post on Wednesday.
He said he was “catatonic, plagued by involuntary jerking motions, speech patterns disjointed, weeping uncontrollably.”
“I found out Donald Trump had won the Electoral College while midstream in providing a urine sample for the emergency psychiatric staff of a New York City public hospital,” Ryan writes. “The unlockable bathroom door in this unescapable wing was ajar, and I could hear the victorious Mike Pence’s sinister Sunday-school baritone taunting me with the truth from the hallway television.”
RAHM’S KIND OF TOWN: Chicago tops 700 homicides — with a month to go in violent 2016.
The year got off to a violent start with 50 homicides in January and rarely let up even after the end of the summer — the peak season for shootings.
The numbers are simply off the charts. The 701 homicides through Wednesday marked a nearly 56 percent jump from the 450 killings a year earlier. With one month still to go, that represents the most homicides since 704 in 1998.
Police Department statistics do not include killings on area expressways, police-involved shootings, other justifiable homicides or death investigations that could later be reclassified as homicides. And police said a fatal shooting happened early Thursday, the first day of December, but an autopsy hasn’t confirmed that the death is a homicide.
Nearly 4,050 people have been shot, a 50 percent jump from 2,699 victims a year earlier, according to the department statistics. Shooting incidents rose by comparable figures, to 3,315, up 49 percent from 2,224 a year earlier.
“Peak season for shootings” sounds like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel.
OVERHEARD: WaPo (no link yet) says it’s Mad Dog Mattis for SecDef.
UPDATE: Here’s the story.
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis to be secretary of defense, nominating a former senior military officer who led operations across the Middle East to run the Pentagon less than four years after he hung up his uniform, according to people familiar with the decision.
To take the job, Mattis will need Congress to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years. Congress has granted a similar exception just once, when Gen. George C. Marshall was appointed to the job in 1950.
An announcement is likely by early next week, according to the people familiar with the decision. Mattis declined to comment. Spokespersons for Trump’s transition team did not respond to requests for comment.
Mattis, 66, retired as the chief of U.S. Central Command in spring 2013 after serving more than four decades in the Marine Corps. He is known as one of the most influential military leaders of his generation, serving as a strategic thinker while occasionally drawing rebukes for his aggressive talk. Since retiring, he has served as a consultant and as a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution, a think tank at Stanford University.
An inspired choice, if I did say so myself.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT SKYNET WANTS YOU TO THINK: Artificial Intelligence Vs Humans: AI More Likely To Enhance Life Rather Than Harm It.
Most Americans already have an AI device right in their pants pocket, in the form of Google Now or Apple’s Siri. Both seem to help much more than hurt.
FASTER, PLEASE: Genetically Modified Pigs Could Ease Organ Shortage.
Researchers have been trying for decades to make animal-to-human transplants work, a process known as xenotransplantation. Pigs are a particularly promising source of organs. They produce big litters. Organs such as the kidney and liver are similar in size to those of humans. “Nobody has come up with a better animal,” says Joseph Tector, a professor of surgery who runs the xenotransplantation program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
A previous push into xenotransplantation by companies and scientists in the 1990s faltered due to a number of factors. In early experiments with nonhuman primates, their immune system attacked and rejected the pig organs. There were concerns that remnants of retroviruses in pigs’ genetic makeup, while harmless to the pigs, might end up infecting humans. Trying to modify the pig genome was a slow process; it often took years to successfully modify a single gene.
Then last year, a group led by George Church of Harvard University published a paper describing their use of a new gene-editing technology called Crispr-Cas9. Unlike previous gene-editing systems, Crispr allowed the researchers to make multiple changes simultaneously to inactivate viral remnants in the pigs’ genes.
Crispr has helped renew enthusiasm for xenotransplantation.
In the meantime, if you’re eligible, please sign your donor card.
BUT TO HIS CREDIT, HE INVENTED SCIENCE FICTION JUST IN TIME: The Man Who Invented VR Goggles 50 Years Too Soon.
Today’s launch started off seemingly smooth and flawless. During a live webcast of the launch, NASA spokesman Rob Navias of the Johnson Space Center in Houston announced that “all vehicle parameters [were] reported performing perfectly” about 2 minutes after liftoff. Nearly 7 minutes later, the spacecraft achieved preliminary orbit insertion.
But as Progress 65 was entering Earth’s orbit, mission controllers began to experience what Navias called ratty telemetry data during the end of the third-stage engine performance. At first it was unclear whether the third-stage engines had shut down and separated from the spacecraft. “Third-stage separation may have happened earlier than planned,” Navias said.
Shortly thereafter, Navias announced that telemetry data “received in bits and pieces indicated that the navigational antennas have deployed.” However, the fate of the spacecraft’s solar arrays was up in limbo. Though telemetry data showed the solar panels were no longer stowed, whether they were successfully deployed remains uncertain.
The ISS currently has a crew of six on board, presumably with enough rations to make it through until Progress 66.
YOU STAY CLASSY, DNC-MSM:
On ABC’s The View, CNN’s Van Jones Compares Steve Bannon to Someone Who Wants to Castrate Men.
And Bette Midler resorts to cheap Asian stereotypes, tweeting, “Trump sucks up to Mitch McConnell by hiring The Turtle’s wife, Elaine Chao, to Dept of Trans. To give her her due, she CAN drive a car.”
(Wait ’til Midler discovers that Hillary hasn’t driven a car in 20 years.)
As Kurt Schlichter writes, “Trollmaster Trump Is Driving Liberals to New Heights of Fussy Fury” — not to mention new lows of crudeness.
Yet we still don’t have one named Lehrerium.
PTSD has garnered attention as a problem that plagues returning war veterans, but the majority of those with the disorder are civilians. The National Center for PTSD says that nearly one in 15 Americans, including one in 10 women, will be afflicted at some point in their life. PTSD can be triggered by a single, terrifying incident or by repeated abuse. In effect, the brain and body get stuck in a loop of overreaction to normal stimuli; symptoms may include nightmares, panic attacks and avoidance of normal situations or interactions that remind the patient of their initial trauma.
“It comes out of the fundamental terror part of the brain,” says Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatrist and trauma researcher in Boston. “It doesn’t allow you to focus on anything new, because you’re preoccupied with the past threat.” To break the cycle, van der Kolk says, a patient needs to get beyond the ongoing sense of visceral terror. For some patients, talking about the trauma, even thinking about it, is too much.
That’s where MDMA seems to come in. “What we see in the sessions is that it seems to kind of bring people down from being overwhelmed by emotions,” says Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a psychotherapist who led the first MAPS-funded studies using drug-assisted therapy for PTSD. “At the same time, it also kind of brings them up from being numb or disconnected from those emotions.”
That’s how Appleton describes it, too. “PTSD is always distracting you from facing your problems, because it’s terrifying. On the MDMA, you’re finally able to face the stuff that you’ve been pushing down for so many years.”
Like any cure for any disease or disorder, I hope this pans out.
AMAZON NOW COVERS OVER 200 BRANDS with its Amazon Dash Buttons. But how many people use them? I guess it must be more than I think.
IN THE ABSTRACT, YES. BUT GIVEN HOW LITTLE MOST DOCTORS KNOW ABOUT FITNESS, I’M NOT SO SURE. Should a Simple Fitness Check Be Part of Your Checkup?
Feminist? Progressives won’t even think of her as a “real” woman.
IT ISN’T ABOUT TRADE: China Raises Taxes on Imported Cars.
Chinese buyers of eye-poppingly expensive luxury cars will have to pay extra under Beijing’s latest effort to rein in ostentatious spending.
The communist government has added a 10 percent import tax, effective Thursday, on “super-luxury vehicles” priced above 1.3 million yuan ($190,000). The Finance Ministry said it is aimed at encouraging “rational consumption” and curbing energy use and emissions.
Chinese leaders are trying to nurture domestic consumption to reduce reliance on trade and investment, but worry extravagant spending by the elite is politically dangerous at a time of slowing economic growth.
Free and fair elections and a transparent economy would help Beijing with the whole legitimacy thing, don’t you know.
RELATED: See this morning’s post on China’s difficult-to-impossible-yet-totally-necessary switchover from an export-driven economy to one driven by consumer spending.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Grand Rapids’ worker-run, no-tipping restaurant closes.
Not only was the menu unconventional, so was the business model. Bartertown was a collective, which meant there were no bosses, according to Cappelletti. The inspiration for the worker-owned restaurant was based on Cappelletti’s own restaurant experience.
“Because of our economy, people are working 12- to-15-hour shifts, servers take home $200 to $300 a night in tips, the cooks are making $10 an hour and the owner takes whatever he takes, ” Cappelletti told MLive in 2011. “We’re going to have equal pay and equal say across the board. Everyone working together.”
Employees would be expected to join the union, Industrial Workers of the World, he said.
In keeping with the worker empowerment theme, he commissioned a mural depicting Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and other provocative leaders tackling restaurant duties.
In the end, the restaurant failed to achieve the employee business model it envisioned.
KURT SCHLICHTER: Trollmaster Trump Is Driving Liberals to New Heights of Fussy Fury. “Trump has to be rolling with laughter to seeing liberals maneuvered into awkwardly defending free speech, since they despise the concept.”
IT’S NOT WHAT TREVOR NOAH WANTS YOU TO THINK SHE MEANT: Here’s What Tomi Lahren Meant by Asking, ‘What Did the KKK Do?’
Aldrin, 86, was visiting Antarctica when “his condition deteriorated,” according to White Desert, which organizes luxury tourism trips to the icy continent. The group said Aldrin was evacuated on the first available flight out of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to the McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast under the care of a doctor with the U.S. Antarctic Program.
He is in stable condition, White Desert said.
The National Science Foundation provided the flight for Aldrin, who it described as an “ailing visitor.” Aldrin will be flown to New Zealand next, the NSF said.
VOX POPULI, SHUT UP: The Remainers aim to beat Brexit by playing a long game.
Britain’s elites had better tread carefully, or they’ll end up with their own destructor.
IN THE MAIL: From Harry Turtledove, The Center Cannot Hold.
Plus, today only at Amazon: Up to 40% off select classic toys & games.
And, also today only: Save on Fila Puffer Jackets for Men and Women.
TIRED OF ALL THE WINNING: The Surest Measure of How China’s Economy Is Losing.
There are data, grounded in real-world calculations, that show China’s economic importance falling — not rising slowly, nor staying stable, but falling. The most important indicator is net private wealth, which is the single best measure of a country’s economic size and of the pool of resources available to its public sector for military or social spending.
In work dating back to 2000 and carried out with no geo-economic agenda, Credit Suisse has estimated private wealth. The new estimates, through the middle of 2016, show American private wealth at $84.8 trillion and Chinese private wealth at $23.4 trillion. Moreover, the gap is widening. With $60 trillion less in private wealth than the United States, China’s global economic leadership is a fable.
There are of course more facts to bring to the argument at hand than the Credit Suisse data, but the latter are an excellent place to start. The data series is well behaved statistically, which means it has credibility. It is measured globally, so shares can be calculated. The result: the People’s Republic of China’s level of private wealth actually fell from mid-2015, both in amount and in share.
Export-driven economies can grow only so large before the rest of the world becomes saturated with their exports. At that point, the challenge is to generate enough domestic demand for continued growth, or stagnation results. Japan, with one of the world’s highest per capita GDPs in the world, failed that challenge a quarter century ago and has stagnated ever since. China, with a much smaller per capita GDP — and just as significant, a much more corrupt government — seems unlikely to do any better than Japan did.
The new missile, called the SM-3IIA, is slated to fire from a land-based missile defense site planned by the Pentagon for Poland by 2018, a Missile Defense Agency spokesman, told Scout Warrior in a statement.
SM-3 missiles, first deployed on Navy ships, are exo-atmospheric interceptor missiles designed to destroy short and intermediate range incoming enemy ballistic missiles in above the earth’s atmosphere. With the weapon, threats are destroyed in space during what’s described as the mid-course phase of flight.
“The SM-3 Block IIA missile is beingThe SM-3 IIA guided missile is a larger version of the SM-3 IB in terms of boosters and the kinetic warhead, which allows for increased operating time. The second and third stage boosters on the SM-IIA are 21″ in diameter,allowing for longer flight times and engagements of threats higher in the exo-atmosphere,” Missile Defense Agency spokesman Christopher Szkrybalo told Scout Warrior in a statement.
I’m old enough to remember to “Star Wars” detractors insisted it was impossible to “hit a bullet with a bullet.”
BLUE ON BLUE: UCLA students compare feminism to white supremacy.
University of California, Los Angeles students were treated to a dinner dialogue this month on the topic of “white feminism” and its relation to white supremacy.
The “White Feminism” dinner dialogue was hosted by the campus Intergroup Relations Program, an administrative center that seeks to educate the UCLA community on issues of “social identity, interpersonal, and intergroup relations/conflict, prejudice reduction, and social justice.”
Celia Cody-Carrese, an Intergroup Relations Center intern who helped put on the event, told The Daily Bruin that organizers chose white feminism as their topic because they think feminism has traditional ties with white supremacy, noting that the term “feminism” is most frequently applied to white women, while the concerns of black women are generally treated as a separate, racial issue.
Mitali Gupta, a UCLA Senior who attended the event, told Campus Reform that feminism’s link to white supremacy was indeed discussed during the meeting, adding that she agrees that such a connection exists.
You can’t make this up. Sadly, you don’t have to.
The oil price rally sparked by an OPEC-Russia deal to cut output is likely to be short-lived, say traders in Asia, because the agreement may only draw more supplies from storage tanks and more crude shipments from the United States.
And even without increased supplies from elsewhere, if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia do reduce production by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) as pledged, the cuts would not be deep enough to shrink a glut that began to build in mid-2014, traders said.
“The cut by OPEC will be largely offset by increases in U.S. production where the rig count has already increased,” said India Oil Corp’s Director of Finance A K Sharma.
This isn’t news to Instapundit readers, although I should ask you again: Have you hugged a fracker today?
High-income households won’t receive an “absolute tax cut” under a Trump tax plan, the president-elect’s new pick for Treasury secretary said on Wednesday, a promise that is at odds with tax proposals from Donald Trump and House Republicans.
Steven Mnuchin said that “Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions, so that there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.” The big tax cut, he told CNBC, will go the middle class.
I’m less concerned with tax cuts than I am with eliminating regulations which stifle business formation and product/service innovation. Wealthy Americans need something productive to do with their dollars, rather than just speculating on equities markets.
JUST THINK HOW MANY MORE WOULD HAVE SOLD IF HILLARY HAD BEEN ELECTED! Americans Bought Enough Guns on Black Friday to Arm the Marine Corps.
BUZZFEED TARGETS HGTV HOSTS FOR ATTENDING CHRISTIAN CHURCH: “At the end of all this, [BuzzFeed’s Kate Aurthur] has harmed [HGTV hosts] the Gaineses, harmed her own cause, harmed her colleagues, and harmed her own reputation. And we still don’t know the Gaines’ view on marriage or why it is important to know the religious beliefs of reality television hosts. Given the month-long outcry over ‘fake news’ swaying a presidential election, one would hope Buzzfeed takes more care in the future not to publish more fake news of its own.”
But one should hold his or breath waiting for BuzzFeed to improve its deplorable standards.
What time does BuzzFeed land?
WELL, SHE WAS A CAMPUS LEFTY, SO. . . . Rory Gilmore Is A Monster. “The old Rory had flaws, but she remained a revelation — a shy, smart teen girl who gets the guys is still a rarity on TV. But in the same way that the jump from small screen to big killed the wit and heart of ‘Sex and the City,’ the new ‘Gilmore Girls’ episodes only highlight the worst of Rory’s qualities: her impulsiveness, her selfishness, her inflated sense of her own worth, her tendency to quit at the first sign of trouble — and now she’s a grown woman, one who doesn’t seem to have learned from any of her mistakes. The revival also introduces us to a terrible new quality in her: amorality. Turns out there’s nothing revelatory about an adult who moves through the world so thoughtlessly.”
MIRTA OJITO: I Forgot Fidel a Long Time Ago.
Growing up, Fidel loomed large in my life and in the life of most Cubans of the generation born shortly after he assumed power in 1959. Because we knew nothing else, because we were taught only one reality, Fidel came to embody not only the ideas of the revolution but also the nation itself. He was the mambí (those who fought for independence against Spain) and the bearded revolutionary; he was the national anthem and the flag, the mountains and the sea.
All powerful, all seeing, he came to replace God at a time when the government declared the country atheist. Who needs God in the face of such powerful force?
To reject him, to stand against everything he stood for was to be disloyal not only to him but to la patria – the motherland.
It is no coincidence that the government adopted words to demean those who wanted a different life. In revolutionary Cuba, people didn’t just leave the island, they “abandoned the motherland.” At first and for a long time they were called gusanos, or worms. Later, when my time came to leave, we were called escoria, or scum.
I left in a boatlift that brought more than 125,000 Cubans from the port of Mariel, in northern Cuba, to South Florida 36 years ago. On a wall in my home office I keep the departure order the government issued to the Mañana, the boat that carried me and my family to the US. Under the category of shipment, someone at the port wrote the word “lastre” or ballast.
Read — and share — the whole thing.
I THINK IT ALL FALLS UNDER THE UMBRELLA EXPLANATION OF INSANITY: Ten Reasons Left-Wingers Cut Trump Voters from Their Lives.
KEEPING NANCY PELOSI AROUND SHOULD HELP THIS: Rural Democrats: Party Ignored Us, Suffered the Consequences.
It’s Ned Ray McWherter all over again.
THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO BE SECURE IN THEIR PERSONS, HOUSES, PAPERS AND EFFECTS… New US computer search law takes effect Thursday.
“By sitting here and doing nothing, the Senate has given consent to this expansion of government hacking and surveillance.”
Those were the words Wednesday of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as he failed to convince fellow senators to even hold a floor vote that could block changes to what is known as Rule 41 from taking effect Thursday.
Wyden was referencing an amended Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure, which originated from an unelected advisory committee and was signed by the Supreme Court in April. By rule, it becomes effective December 1. The measure clarifies the law allowing judges to sign warrants that let authorities hack into computers outside a judge’s jurisdiction. The rule also gives federal judges the authority to issue a warrant to search multiple computers—even without knowing who is the targeted computer owner. Previously, some judges had practiced this, while others did not.
Wyden, a handful of fellow lawmakers, and civil rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation oppose Rule 41. They say that under the measure, a warrant would not have to say with any particularity whose computer the authorities are searching. Wyden said Congress should vote on whether to allow this instead of the measure taking effect without any congressional approval.
In a recent Medium post, Wyden said: “For law enforcement to conduct a remote electronic search, they generally need to plant malware in—i.e. hack—a device. These rule changes will allow the government to search millions of computers with the warrant of a single judge. To me, that’s clearly a policy change that’s outside the scope of an ‘administrative change,’ and it is something that Congress should consider.”
The success of constitutional separation of powers was predicated on each branch being jealous of its powers and prerogatives. The Founders don’t seem to have imagined a Congress happy to give theirs away to the Executive.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Female student punished for false accusation of sexual assault.
When someone is punished for a false accusation, it generally involves no more than a slap on the wrist. Now Lindenwood University, the St. Charles, Mo., police and a local judge have instigated an all-too-rare instance of punishment for an accuser who lied.
In March 2014, Lindenwood student Joanna Newberry claimed she had been assaulted in the basement bathroom of Butler Library. She told police that a man was hiding in one of the stalls, grabbed her from behind and attempted to undress her.
Newberry said she kicked the man, who then fled.
Lindenwood sent a campus-wide alert to its 12,000 students warning that police were investigating a sexual assault at the school. Newberry was interviewed by police five days later and admitted she had made up the whole thing. . . .
Much of this is good news. Newberry was dismissed from Lindenwood and put on probation. She received some punishment for her lie. She also hadn’t accused anyone specific, so an argument could be made that no one was personally hurt by her actions.
More broadly, though, false accusations harm those students – and others – who make legitimate accusations of sexual assault and other crimes. Liars like Newberry make honest victims less likely to be believed.
Other schools could learn from Lindenwood’s example, to ensure that false accusations are unacceptable.
Too often today, while the topic of sexual assault is discussed at length in the media and at college and universities, the discussion focuses around “listening and believing.” This creates an atmosphere on campus where false accusations can flourish, as students see no consequences for lying, even about felonies.
CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE: Hey, that Foreign Emoluments Clause issue may not be such a big deal for Trump after all.
Actually, what the poll shows is that Americans like many of ObamaCare’s provisions, such as the ban on preexisting conditions. What they don’t like, such as skyrocketing premiums and losing their doctors, are the things which make the provisions possible.
Which is like saying you want all the health benefits of broccoli, but are only willing to eat the cheese sauce.
INEZ FELTSCHER STEPMAN: States have simple message for incoming administration on education: Get out of our way.
Forty-three states (plus the District of Columbia), including California, allow choice within the public system through the authorization of charter schools. Twenty-seven states and the District have enacted at least one form of private educational choice, whether that choice comes through vouchers, tax-credit scholarships or education savings accounts. Education savings accounts, enacted in five states so far, hold particular promise, providing a truly individualized education for every child.
By contrast, the federal education record looks bleak. Since the first major federal incursion into education under President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, interventions designed to help struggling students have shown little academic progress, wasted taxpayer dollars and state man-hours, and crippled real reform. Federal per-pupil expenditures have tripled in the ensuing decades, but promised results — better academic performance, narrower achievement gaps — have remained elusive.
Meanwhile, the average federal bureaucrat working for the Department of Education makes a six-figure salary.
Well, that’s the important part.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noted increasing distress among auto borrowers with shaky credit, as subprime delinquencies rose in the third quarter.
In the third quarter, 2 percent of subprime auto loan balances became at least 90 days delinquent, up from 1.6 percent in the third quarter of 2014.
In the depths of the recession, in the second quarter of 2009, that rate peaked at 2.4 percent.
“The increased level of distress associated with subprime loan delinquencies is of significant concern,” researchers for the New York Fed wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
What really got GM and Chrysler in trouble the last time around was subprime lending combined with unprecedented channel-stuffing of months and months worth of unsold vehicles. I haven’t seen any reports of that this time around, so probably the worst that could happen is an ordinary automaking recession, rather than another wave of bankruptcies.
WHAT A WAY TO HAVE YOUR FACE RUBBED IN REALITY: I interviewed the Ohio State attacker on the first day of school. It felt important. Now it’s chilling.
UPDATE (FROM GLENN): You can read the key bits here without hitting the WaPo paywall.
DO THEY WANT A CIVIL WAR? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW THEY GET A CIVIL WAR: Michael Banerian, an elector from Michigan, is receiving death threats from people urging him to cast his vote for Hillary Clinton. (Video)
MAKING AMERICA GREAT SINCE 11/09/16: Trump bump: Confidence in economy highest in 8 years, up 17 points.
SURE, NASA IS DEVOTED TO THE PEACEFUL EXPLORATION OF SPACE, BUT WHAT ABOUT RUSSIA AND CHINA: The US could be gearing up for potential space wars.
November 30, 2016
ACCIDENT VICTIM SPEAKS OUT against roadside memorials.