The hypocrisy is amazing!

From The Pirate’s Cove:

Obama Claims It’s Almost To Late Do Something About Hotcoldwetdry

By William Teach | September 1, 2015 – 8:26 am

So, in order to fix this, he took a long, long fossil fueled flight to Alaska, accompanied by a backup jumbo jet and military fighter jets, followed by multiple huge caravans of fossil fueled vehicles

(USA Today) President Obama made an ever-more-urgent plea for nations to take action to address climate change Monday, repeatedly telling representatives of Arctic nations meeting in Alaska that “we’re not moving fast enough” to address the challenge.

Kicking off a three-day Alaska trip meant to focus attention on how the Arctic climate affects the rest of the world, Obama used near apocalyptic imagery to drive home his call to action. The result of inaction will be catastrophic in economic and security terms, he said, as more drought, wildfires, floods, leads to more refugees, more conflict and scarce resources.

In Alaska, he said, raging wildfires are helping to thaw the permafrost, releasing carbon dioxide trapped underneath into the atmosphere — “a negative feedback loop, a cycle, warming leading to more warming, that we don’t want to be a part of,” Obama said.

There’s little point in attempting to rebut this, as hysterics caught up in cult-like talking points will never ever listen and see the reality. Nor will they modify their own behavior to match their talking points.

As he has done over the past week, Obama also escalated his criticism of “people who are denying the science of climate change.”

“The time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers of climate change is past,” he said. “The time to plead ignorance is surly past. Those who want to ignore the science are increasingly alone. They’re on their own shrinking island.”

There’s a bit more at the link.

The money line:

Nor will they modify their own behavior to match their talking points.

And that’s why so many people do not and cannot take the warmists seriously; they do not behave as though they believed their own words.

When the President travels, there will always be a huge entourage. That’s necessary, because of the security required and the requirement that he always have command authority over our nuclear deterrent. But we have only one President, and we ought to expect to see the warmists below that pay grade acting like they believe their own words.

The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building, at 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, in Washington DC.

It’s the 21st century; we have all sorts of communications tools ready for meetings. It’s not like videoconferencing is unknown. Yet the Federal Reserve took everybody out to Jackson Hole for a retreat, and has called in all sorts of economic “experts” to help with decision taking concerning the FOMC’s September meeting, as though the Fed’s own headquarters building on Connecticut Avenue wouldn’t have served. Experts who lived in New York could have taken Amtrak to DC is necessary, and then the Metro to a couple of blocks away, if videoconferencing wasn’t good enough, but did the President ask or require the Fed to cut their travel — to say nothing of their spending — so as not to spew more CO2 into the atmosphere?

Let’s face it: changing your behavior to address climate change is for the Little People, not for Our Betters.

Slowly cooking Hillary’s goose

The much better looking Dana wrote today, on Patterico’s Pontifications:

Remember When Hillary Clinton Said, “I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified”??

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:23 pm

Well, so much for her confidence because this is the scandal that just keeps on giving:

The State Department has deemed roughly 150 more of Hillary Clinton’s email messages to be classified, a move certain to fuel the roiling controversy over her use of a private email server instead of an official government account when she served as secretary of state.The new classifications will more than triple the previous total of 63 classified messages on Clinton’s account, but State Department spokesman Mark Toner stressed that the information was not marked classified at the time it was sent several years ago. He also said the decisions to classify the information did not represent a determination that it should have been marked or handled that way back then.

“That certainly does not speak to whether it was classified at the time it was sent, or forwarded, or received,” Toner said during the daily State Department briefing on Monday. “We stand by our contention that the information we’ve upgraded was not marked classified at the time it was sent.”

And more defense:

Toner batted away questions about whether State Department policy dictated that Clinton and other agency employees treat as classified information obtained in confidence from foreign officials or diplomats. “Classification — we’ve said this many times — is not an exact science. It’s not, often, a black-and-white process,” Toner said. “There’s many strong opinions. … It’s not up to me to litigate these kinds of questions from the State Department podium.”

All of this comes in advance of the State Department’s pending release of 7,000 “additional pages” of her emails.

Also, not only did Clinton use a private server for official State Dept. business, a new report asserts that she also shared an email network with the Clinton Foundation:

There’s more at the original.

To me, the big story is that this was covered on the CBS Evening News today. All of a sudden — sudden, as in: now Mrs Clinton has actual challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination — the professional media other than Fox are covering this story. As long as this was just a story on Fox and Rush Limbaugh and conservative blogs, why it could be dismissed, ignored, and simply not brought up. Now, The New York Times is taking note, and even publishing a major story on it:

Hillary Clinton’s Handling of Email Issue Frustrates Democratic Leaders

By Patrick Healy, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman | August 27, 2015

Democratic leaders are increasingly frustrated by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failure to put to rest questions about her State Department email practices and ease growing doubts among voters about her honesty and trustworthiness.

On top of that, many say, her repeated jokes and dismissive remarks on the email controversy suggest that she is not treating it seriously enough.

Interviews with more than 75 Democratic governors, lawmakers, candidates and party members have laid bare a widespread bewilderment that Mrs. Clinton has allowed a cloud to settle over her candidacy — by using a private email server in the first place, since it was likely to raise questions about her judgment, and by not defusing those questions once and for all when the issue first emerged in March.

With Americans registering their mistrust of Mrs. Clinton in opinion polls, anxious supporters are starting to speak bluntly of fears that she has inadvertently opened the door to a possible challenge for the party’s nomination from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and handed Republicans new ammunition for attacks on her character should she become the nominee.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Click to enlarge, if you don’t care about damaging your computer screen.

More at the original.  Along with the original is a Times listing of related stories:

With the two Times stories noted above, that’s seven stories, in the very liberal, you’d-expect-them-to-be-in-the-tank-for-Hillary New York Times. And if she wins the nomination, I would be flabbergasted if the Times didn’t endorse her; the Republican Party could nominate Jesus Christ, and the Times would still endorse the Democrat!

But, for now, not only are the reporters investigating Mrs Clinton, but the editors are choosing to publish those not-very-helpful stories about Her Inevitableness. Some might say that the Times is just practicing good journalism, but I am not so charitable; when the editors of the Times publish stories about a candidate which could cost the candidate votes, they are doing so deliberately. There is a lot of news that the editors don’t find fit to print, and stories critical of Hillary Clinton have been unfit . . . until recently. I am starting to have real hope that Hillary Clinton will never, ever be President of the United States.

I have a bad habit . . .

. . . of picking losing candidates. In the 2012 election campaign, I backed Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) early on, but he stumbled badly in the early debates, and withdrew in January. This year, I gave my early endorsement to Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), and even bought a Scott Walker t-shirt, but a mediocre performance in the first debate has hurt him.1 From Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion:

Scott Walker has fallen, hoping he gets back up

The only Republican candidate to have delivered institutional-level body blows to the left.

Posted by William A. Jacobson | Sunday, August 30, 2015 at 7:00pm

In an electorate demanding a dismantling of the status quo, Scott Walker should be a natural favorite.

Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) on the campaigntrail.

There is no candidate in the Republican field who has delivered the institutional-level blow to the left-wing that Walker did by passing collective bargaining reform in Wisconsin.

It wasn’t an easy fight, and it would have been easy just to compromise to get the howling crowds to go away. It was what I called Wisconsin’s long, strange trip:

Police insurrections.  Palace guardsCatch a Senator contests.  Doctors behaving badly.  Massive national solidarity protests which weren’tIdentity theft as political theater.  Shark jumping.  Legislators who run away to other states.  Bus bang bangs.  Protesters locking their heads to metal railings and pretending to walk like EgyptiansBeer attacksCanoe flotillas.  (alleged) Judicial chokeholds.  Tears falling on Che Guevara t-shirts at midnight.  Endless recalls.  And recounts.  Communications Directors making threats.   Judges who think they are legislators (well, I’ll grant you that one is common).  V-K DayHole-y warriors.  Cities named Speculation and Conjecture.

But in a quiet way, he just kept on keeping on. And the result, including surviving a recall election, dealt a body-blow to Democrats unlike anything any other Republican presidential candidate can claim.

Walker also had other, though less obvious, conservative reforms.

And he did all this as the conservative movement in Wisconsin was under full-blown assault by the John Doe prosecutors, seeking to isolate Walker and bring him up on charges. After several years of investigation and ruined lives, they never got nothing on Walker.

There’s more at Professor Jacobson’s original.

I look for candidates who have actually done something in office, who have a strong record of actual accomplishment, and that’s something Messrs Perry and Walker both had. Governor Perry hadn’t actually won the gubernatorial seat, but was the Lieutenant Governor when Governor George W Bush resigned after winning the 2000 Presidential election. Mr Perry subsequently won three gubernatorial elections on his own, but he had the advantage of incumbency.

Mr Walker didn’t have that advantage: he won the gubernatorial election on his own in 2010, faced a recall election and won that, and then won re-election in 2014, all in a blue state. As Governor, he compiled a strong record of getting things done, and of doing what he said he would do. But, though he didn’t stumble in the debate, as Governor Perry did, he didn’t distinguish himself, either, and his support in the polls has fallen off.

Life is not fair, and neither are election cycles. It may be that people are looking for something Walker is not capable of selling. That would be unfortunate, but no one said politics is fair.

I have little doubt that as President, Walker would deliver more of the body blows that so endeared him to us. It won’t be fluff, and it won’t be showmanship.

It may be that my idea of a good Presidential candidate isn’t the right one; I look for a record of accomplishment, which Mr Walker has. But the debate format is a terrible one: we are judging a potential President based on how well he can give snap answers to unforeseen questions, without any notes or any assistance. A President, on the other hand, normally has weeks or months to take a decision, and has all of the information he wants available, with whatever advisers he believes he needs there to assist him; that is the exact opposite of what the debates supposedly measure.2

It’s early, and perhaps Governor Walker can make a recovery, but in this game you don’t get many second chances.

  1. Given my poor record on this, perhaps Carly Fiorina won’t appreciate the fact that I said I liked her as a candidate.
  2. Even in the famous “thirteen days” of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy did not take his decision to impose a naval blockade of Cuba until the sixth day.

Money talks

From The Wall Street Journal:

Iran Deal Could Open Door to Gulf Businesses

While executives see opportunities, governments remain at loggerheads on other issues

By Rory Jones and Nicolas Parasie | August 31, 2015 5:30 a.m. ET

DUBAI–In the 10 years since RAK Ceramics opened a $40 million tile manufacturing plant in Iran, the United Arab Emirates-based firm has racked up millions of dollars in losses in the Persian country, fired hundreds of employees and all but stopped its kilns from burning.

But then Iran struck a nuclear deal with the U.S. and other foreign powers this summer. Now with sanctions expected to ease, RAK Ceramics is looking to boost output of the kitchen and bathroom tiles it sells in Iran and the wider region. Executives for one of the world’s largest manufacturers of tiles and sanitary ware by capacity are now betting the long wait on Iran is about to pay off.

“We were a patient investor,” says Abdallah Massaad, RAK Ceramics’ chief executive.

RAK Ceramics is one of a handful of Arab-owned firms positioning their businesses to profit from a post-sanctions neighbor, even as frosty political ties between Iran and most of the Gulf Cooperation Council–Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the U.A.E., Oman, Qatar and Kuwait–show few signs of thawing.

The week after the U.A.E. joined Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes in April against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, U.A.E.-owned Etihad Airways launched a daily commercial service to Iran’s capital Tehran. Dubai-owned FlyDubai has launched seven new routes to Iran this year after a bilateral aviation agreement was signed in January between the U.A.E. and Iranian governments.

Click to enlarge

There’s more at the original. But this tells you why the Congress won’t block President Obama’s nuclear arms deal with Iran: too many people see too much money to be made by normalizing trade relations. And even if someone sensible like Scott Walker or Carly Fiorina or Ted Cruz is elected to be our next President, American sanctions won’t be re-imposed, because American businesses will be making money off the deal.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts that with the removal of sanctions Iran’s annual import needs could soar to $200 billion from $80 billion in 2014. The U.A.E. is among those countries best positioned to benefit from the trade flows, analysts at the bank said in a note to clients.

The article doesn’t mention much in the way of American businesses making money on this, but you can count on it: European businesses will, and the Europeans have American business interests as well. And if the Europeans don’t continue with the sanctions, then there’s little use in the United States doing so; that wouldn’t stop Iran from making money, or obtaining anything it wanted in trade, but it would hurt American business interests.

President Obama has gotten his way on this one: he structured the deal in such a fashion that both Houses of Congress would have to override his veto of any law disapproving the deal, something which would require 2/3 supermajorities in both Houses, and in a way which makes the reimposition of sanctions by a subsequent President cost American businesses money.

Completely missing the point

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Worldview: A shocking silence on ISIS’s sex slavery

Trudy Rubin, Inquirer Opinion Columnist | Posted: Sunday, August 30, 2015, 1:08 AM |

Kayla Mueller, a U.S. aid worker, was captured in Syria in 2013 and reportedly subjected to months of rape before her death. The lack of outrage is troubling. JO. L. KEENER / Daily Courier

One of the most heinous of the endless war crimes of the Islamic State has been the systematic rape of thousands of young girls and women – who are sold as sex slaves.Most of the victims come from the Yazidi religious minority, labeled nonbelievers by ISIS. They were captured when ISIS invaded northern Iraq last year and wiped out their communities.

But one of the sex slaves was a fresh-faced blond American, a 25-year-old aid worker who was captured in Syria in August 2013. Kayla Mueller was chained in a room and raped for months by the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, before being killed in February (supposedly by a Jordanian air strike, but the true cause is uncertain).

What astonishes me is the paucity of global outrage at the buying and selling of sex slaves – not to mention U.S. outrage at the enslavement of Mueller. American women organized to protest the Taliban’s repression of women but not ISIS atrocities that make the Taliban’s war crimes look mild in comparison. How can this be?

You can read the rest here.

An obvious question: would Mrs Rubin have ever written this article if there hadn’t been “a fresh-faced blond American” among the victims of Da’esh’s1 sex slavery?2

But, to answer Mrs Rubin’s question, “How can this be?” that Americans and other Westerners are not protesting this, the Taliban were an insular group, imposing their brand of Islam in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, but they were not seen as a particular threat to the United States or the rest of the civilized world. Da’ish, on the other hand, are trying not only to seize Syria and Iraq, but are exporting, as best they can, their own form of violence to the Western world, and much of the West is just plain too cowardly to say anything about it. Je suis Charlie didn’t last long.

And, of course, there is another reason. The Taliban took power in Afghanistan in September of 1996, before the September 11th attacks, and while Bill Clinton was President. For the American left, criticizing the Taliban would not have been somehow aligning themselves with George W Bush.

While there was a huge initial surge of support for President Bush following the World Trade Center attacks, it didn’t last long, and the Republicans’ perceived hostility to Muslims3 was anathema to the oh-so-inclusive politically correct left; to say anything which could be perceived as hostile toward Muslims could be interpreted as supporting conservatism and the Republican Party, and they couldn’t have that. And Mrs Rubin was careful enough in her article to not write anything which could be seen as insulting to Muslims in general.

It isn’t only sex slavery. There was an international outcry over the Taliban’s decision to destroy the 1700 year old Buddhas in the Bamiyam Valley, but that disgust was muted when Da’ish destroyed 2000 year old monuments in Iraq.

One would think that the very supportive of homosexuals Democratic Party would be outraged by Da’ish’s habit of executing homosexuals by throwing them off of multi-story buildings, but, again, that would be criticizing Muslims, so it’s Just Not Done.

Mrs Rubin recognizes that President Obama’s policies haven’t helped:

President Obama’s policies for fighting ISIS are so inept and contradictory they have helped the group’s so-called caliphate to sink ever-deeper territorial roots. The White House still doesn’t seem to recognize the long-term security threat the group poses to the U.S. homeland, as ISIS inspires ever more disgruntled youths to adopt its fanatic values.

But, after writing that, and saying that “there are things to be done” to combat Da’ish’s so-very-illiberal treatment of women, she suggests nothing. So let me be clear here: the ideology of Da’ish isn’t something somehow separate from the leadership and the soldiers, but something that each of them carry in their heads and hearts. The way to defeat Da’ish is to wage real war against them, to seek them out and kill them, to kill so many of them that the few survivors will be so mentally beaten that there will be no will to revive the movement. President Obama is loath to put any American soldiers on the ground to combat Da’ish, and in that, he probably reflects the will of the majority of Americans. That being the case, the only alternative is a massive, massive bombing campaign which will simply destroy everything in the Da’ish controlled areas, combatants and non-combatants alike.

That was how the last war we won was done. The firebombings of Tokyo and Yokohama and Dresden didn’t somehow discriminate against enemy soldiers, and leave the civilians alone; in going after munitions factories and railroad terminals in the Third Reich, we also destroyed the homes and schools and churches around them, we killed not just the factory workers,4 but their wives and children as well. It wasn’t just the Nazis who were killed, but men and women and children who had nothing to do with National Socialist ideology were slain as well.

Even a massive, indiscriminate bombing campaign might not be enough; we destroyed almost all of Germany’s and Japan’s infrastructure, and killed hundreds of thousands of their civilians, but it still took the advance of the American, British, Canadian and Soviet armies to finally conquer Germany, and it was only the two atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which gave the Emperor Hirohito the leverage to force the military government to surrender.

Da’ish will not be defeated by precision drone attacks and indignant articles in the Western press; we have been trying that, and Da’ish still seems to be winning, not falling back. Da’ish will only be defeated with bullets and burning and bombs; Trudy Rubin needs to recognize that.

  1. Your Editor is not particularly fond of the initials ISIS, and the reduction to just IS, for Islamic State, seems even worse. Da’ish is an acronym for the Arabic al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham, and, according to the BBC, the group “objects to the term and has advised against its usage.” Therefore, I shall use it! The Editor shall not edit comments using other commonly-used terms, but the use of Da’ish is now the accepted form in The First Street Journal’s stylebook.
  2. I remember the Inquirer’s coverage of the 2009 murder of cute white girl Rian Thal, when so many killings of black Philadelphians by other black Philadelphians barely get a paragraph. Even now, when the Inquirer’s website,, deletes many older articles, a site search for “Rian Thal” returns 24 articles.
  3. President Bush went out of his way to insist that the “Global war on Terror” was not a war against Muslims.
  4. Despite manpower shortages in Germany, the Nazis never made the change to women working in the factories to free men up for the Wehrmacht.

#CarlyFiorina and a big campaign problem

From The Wall Street Journal:

Carly Fiorina: ‘I’ve Earned a Place on the Main Stage’

By Reid J Epstein

Carly Fiorina, shown at an ice cream parlor in Iowa Thursday, has seen her poll numbers improve since her performance in the Aug. 6 GOP presidential debate. Zuma Press

Carly Fiorina deserves to be in the next prime time debate, she said Friday.

“Based on every meaningful metric, I’ve earned a place on the main stage,” Mrs. Fiorina wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal.

Mrs. Fiorina’s claim to a spot in the big show is the latest salvo in her campaign’s effort to pressure CNN, which is airing the Sept. 16 debate from the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., to alter its rules to improve her odds of appearing with the first-tier candidates.

The problem for Mrs. Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co., is CNN’s rules. In May the network announced its debate qualification criteria. For the main debate in prime-time, CNN will take the top 10 candidates according to an average of national polling taken between mid-July and mid-September. Lesser candidates will be relegated to a late-afternoon debate.

Fox News Channel employed similar qualification standards for its Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland. After Mrs. Fiorina’s standout performance in the second-tier debate there, her poll numbers spiked. If CNN used only polls taken after that debate, Mrs. Fiorina would undoubtedly make the main debate stage at the Reagan Library Sept. 16.

Mrs. Fiorina is now in seventh place in the Real Clear Politics average of GOP primary polls. She tied for sixth place, with 5% support, in CNN’s own poll of Republican primary voters released two weeks ago. But she is weighed down by preponderance of polling before the Aug. 6 debate, when she was mired below 2%.

August is a slow month for national polls. CNN will almost certainly be weighing more polls from before the Fox News debate than after it. The Fiorina campaign wants CNN to weigh the collection polls taken before the Fox debate equally with the set of polls taken after it.

There’s more at the link, but this is a tweet I sent to her campaign on Saturday:

And this one:

I’ve said previously that my early support was for Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), though I did note that I found his early lack of an issues page on his campaign website was disappointing. While not putting up a specific issues page, Mr Walker’s website now contains plenty of information for voters through its news page.

Now, I like Carly Fiorina. I haven’t jumped ship with Governor Walker yet, but I like Mrs Fiorina’s feistiness, and her take-no-prisoners approach, but her’s doesn’t exactly seem like a professionally organized campaign when her own campaign website, the place where people who are interested in her candidacy would naturally go to find her stands on the issues — her campaign website is the top listing, because it’s an advertisement, on a Google search for Carly Fiorina — doesn’t have that information. Instead, the reader gets just three choices, to Meet Carly, to join the campaign, and, of course, to make a donation. You can eventually find an “Answers” page, in which the website suggests videos of Mrs Fiorina as answers to typed in questions, but it isn’t very good, and it’s hard to spot. Perhaps she has some bigger problems, as in trying to get on the first tier debate — where she ought to be — but fixing her campaign website is the expenditure of a few hundred dollars, not millions and not even thousands. Does the former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard have a rank amateur running her website?

To be fair, Mrs Fiorina’s twitter campaign has the following:


both of which were posted after my tweet to her campaign — not that I would assume that my tweet was in any way responsible for those :) — but they have an obvious problem to a half-deaf voter like me: written answers work best, not only for me, but for any reporter or blogger who wants to quote the candidate exactly.

Rule 5 Blogging: Training!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as putting pictures of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Anne Heche in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Today: it’s time for more training! Click any picture to enlarge.

She looks worried, but she won’t get quite the same haircut her barber has!

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Training!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From The New York Times:

Hillary Clinton’s Handling of Email Issue Frustrates Democratic Leaders

By Patrick Healy, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman | August 27, 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Democratic leaders are increasingly frustrated by Hillary Rodham Clinton’s failure to put to rest questions about her State Department email practices and ease growing doubts among voters about her honesty and trustworthiness.On top of that, many say, her repeated jokes and dismissive remarks on the email controversy suggest that she is not treating it seriously enough.

Meaning: the editors and reporters of The New York Times are increasingly frustrated that their preferred candidate is stumbling so badly. They aren’t really concerned about her innate untrustworthiness, but are concerned that she might blow the election.

Interviews with more than 75 Democratic governors, lawmakers, candidates and party members have laid bare a widespread bewilderment that Mrs. Clinton has allowed a cloud to settle over her candidacy — by using a private email server in the first place, since it was likely to raise questions about her judgment, and by not defusing those questions once and for all when the issue first emerged in March.

Those questions couldn’t be defused, because they speak to what everybody already knows: Mrs Clinton cannot be trusted.

I am getting hugely frustrated with the spammers, and have contracted through We Watch Your Website for constant monitoring and cleaning of The First Street Journal,as well as the old Common Sense Political Thought and Bridging the Gap. So far, those sites don’t seem to have had issues, but I s’pose that could be because they haven’t had any activity on them. It doesn’t cost me any more to include those sites. I hope that this solves the problem!

And now, on to the blogroll!

That’s all for this week, and I hope that We Watch Your Website has managed to get the redirects under control!

  1. The embedded Amazon link will yield a small commission to Patterico if you purchase the book through that link.

For whom is the Federal Reserve supposed to work?

From The Wall Street Journal:

Overseas Bankers, Officials Urge Fed Not to Waver on Interest-Rate Rise

Some international officials have a message for the U.S. central bank: Get on with it already

By Jon Hilsenrath | Updated Aug. 27, 2015 7:04 p.m. ET

Jacob Frenkel, chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase International and former head of the Bank of Israel, said market drama would be increased by a delay. Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg News

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo.—After months of forewarning by Federal Reserve officials that they are preparing to raise short-term interest rates, some international officials attending the Fed’s annual retreat here this week have a message: Get on with it already.Fed policy makers are wavering on whether to move rates up in September. Volatile stock prices, falling commodities, a strong dollar and signs of a deepening economic slowdown in China have created doubts at the U.S. central bank about the outlook for global growth.

International officials have been saying for months they will be prepared when the Fed moves rates higher, a message that is being echoed as central bankers, academics, journalists and others converge now in Jackson Hole for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual symposium.

“If you delay something that you were planning to do, then you leave the impression that your compass is different than what you led markets to believe,” Jacob Frenkel, chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase International and former head of the Bank of Israel, said in an interview Thursday. Market drama is increased by delay, he added.

Fed officials have said they plan to raise their benchmark short-term interest rate from near zero this year, but haven’t agreed on when to start. The Fed’s Sept. 16-17 policy meeting was shaping up as a close call for a decision to move, and then market turmoil caused some officials to waver. New York Fed President William Dudley said Wednesday that a rate increase in September had become “less compelling.”

Some observers say they will be relieved when the Fed finally acts. “It’s better for the U.S. to make a decision,” Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s finance minister, said Wednesday in an interview in Jakarta. “What makes the financial markets volatile is the uncertainty.”

Raising rates would signal that the Fed is confident about the U.S. economy, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Wednesday in New York, before the Fed gathering. “That is not only good for the U.S. economy, but also for the world economy, including the Japanese economy,” he said.

As always, there’s more at the original.

I have to ask: why should the Federal Reserve move to increase interest rates? Banks are already sitting on large reserves that aren’t being loaned out, in part because there is insufficient demand for loans from reasonably credit-worthy customers; how will increasing interest rates help in this regard?1

The Fed is looking at increasing interest rates in part because they want to “push inflation up from below 2%.” Given that wages have been stagnant in our economy, pushing up inflation2 without a concomitant guarantee of wage increases will only make Americans poorer in real terms.

  1. The Editor is unlikely to notice any personal effects from an interest rate increase, unless such lead to an increase in savings account interest rates. However, savings account interest isn’t a significant part of our income.
  2. By which I mean price inflation; Patterico and I have had a bit of a disagreement on the use of the term.

The Success of Socialism

From The Wall Street Journal:

Venezuela’s Food Shortages Trigger Long Lines, Hunger and Looting

Violent clashes flare in pockets of the country as citizens wait for hours for basics, such as milk and rice

By Maolis Castro and Kejal Vyas | Aug. 26, 2015 5:30 a.m. ET

LA SIBUCARA, Venezuela—Hours after they looted and set fire to a National Guard command post in this sun-baked corner of Venezuela earlier this month, a mob infuriated by worsening food shortages rammed trucks into the smoldering edifice, reducing it mostly to rubble.

The incident was just one of numerous violent clashes that have flared in pockets around the country in recent weeks as Venezuelans wait for hours in long supermarket lines for basics like milk and rice. Shortages have made hunger a palpable concern for many Wayuu Indians who live here at the northern tip of Venezuela’s 1,300-mile border with Colombia.

The soldiers had been deployed to stem rampant food smuggling and price speculation, which President Nicolás Maduro blames for triple-digit inflation and scarcity. But after they seize contraband goods, the troops themselves often become targets of increasingly desperate people.

“What’s certain is that we are going very hungry here and the children are suffering a lot,” said María Palma, a 55-year-old grandmother who on a recent blistering hot day had been standing in line at the grocery store since 3 a.m. before walking away empty-handed at midday.

In a national survey, the pollster Consultores 21 found 30% of Venezuelans eating two or fewer meals a day during the second quarter of this year, up from 20% in the first quarter. Around 70% of people in the study also said they had stopped buying some basic food item because it had become unavailable or too expensive.

There’s a lot more at the link, but the important statistic is a simple one: Venezuela is South America’s largest petroleum exporter.

Socialism, under the late Hugo Chavez and his hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro, has turned a reasonably prosperous country into one which is solving the chronic shortage of toilet paper by cutting back on food, thereby giving the people less digestive waste products to have to clean up. Meanwhile, in the United States, not a few Democrats want to elect Bernie Sanders to be our next President, so that he can lead us down the same path as the Venezuelans.

Can the Democrats really be that dumb?