The worst recovery since World War II

I realise that Cecil the Lion and such things are more important, but this bit about the American “recovery” being the worst since World War II is perhaps worth a passing glance:

The economic expansion—already the worst on record since World War II—is weaker than previously thought, according to newly revised data.

From 2012 through 2014, the economy grew at an all-too-familiar rate of 2% annually, according to three years of revised figures the Commerce Department released Thursday. That’s a 0.3 percentage point downgrade from prior estimates.

The revisions were released concurrently with the government’s first estimate of second-quarter output.

Since the recession ended in June 2009, the economy has advanced at a 2.2% annual pace through the end of last year. That’s more than a half-percentage point worse than the next-weakest expansion of the past 70 years, the one from 2001 through 2007. While there have been highs and lows in individual quarters, overall the economy has failed to break out of its roughly 2% pattern for six years.

Meanwhile things are not so great here either and for similar reasons. Three more years of Labor ought just round things out nicely.

Aren’t you glad Obama is president?

Meanwhile, while we agonise over Cecil, there is this to distract your attention. From Drudge:

IRAN: Obama Admin Lying About Nuke Deal for ‘Domestic Consumption’…
ARMS RACE: Saudis Want More Missiles…
Top French Official Contradicts Kerry Claims…
Rulers urge baby boom to double population…

But look on the bright side. There is also this:

Japan unveils ‘Death Star’ laser weapon…
Most powerful in world…

Oh, and I almost forgot:

China, Russia to hold military drills…

The future is shaping up so well.

UPDATE: The video above is of John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moni emphatically stating that they have not read the side deals with Iran. Nothing is any longer a scandal. But nothing makes sense any more either.

The art of the impossible

I so much liked Andy Warhol’s “art is what you can get away with” that I bought a copy of the poster, and a tomato soup mug with the words around the rim. This is an article, Can You Get Away With It? Then It Was Probably Art This Year with a title obviously designed with Worhol in mind. What makes it art? The price tag perhaps, but what else who can know.

Today’s international art practice comprises such a bewildering array of idioms, schools of one, strategies, styles and projects, each with its own recondite vocabulary and apologists, that a kind of cultural gridlock has taken hold – even as works arise that almost dare the audience to shout “Bogus!” and “Shame!” Last month, an orange stainless-steel balloon-dog sculpture by Jeff Koons sold at Christie’s for almost $60-million (U.S.).

Henry Spearman, the Sherlock Holmes of economics

I was reminded of Milton and Rose which made me think of the Marshall Jevons crime fiction series:

Marshall Jevons is a fictitious crime writer invented and used by William L. Breit and Kenneth G. Elzinga, professors of economics at Trinity University, San Antonio and the University of Virginia, respectively.

It was Breit’s notion to write a mystery novel in which an amateur detective uses economic theory to solve crimes. Elzinga was enthusiastic about his colleague’s idea and not only encouraged him to proceed but also decided to take an active role in writing the book. Over the next twenty years, on top of their academic schedules, Breit and Elzinga co-authored three mystery books featuring Harvard economist-sleuth Henry Spearman. The first Henry Spearman Mystery, Murder at the Margin, came out in 1978, and was followed by The Fatal Equilibrium (1985), A Deadly Indifference (1995) and The Mystery of the Invisible Hand (2014).

Ken Elzinga was at Freedomfest, attesting to his fine economic credentials, and gave a presentation on how he came to write the series with his partner who has unfortunately passed away. But the one thing that I learned that has helped bring the books alive – I am reading the third one right now – is that the main character, Henry Spearman, is designed after Milton Friedman, Professor of Economics at Harvard though he may fictionally be. And the one problem they had in writing the series was that Rose Friedman did not see herself mirrored by Pidge Spearman, and for reasons I cannot see doesn’t like the way Henry’s wife is depicted. The books are fun to read, but are better if you are an economist, although it is not an essential. A large part of their sales, it turns out, are as assigned texts as part of an economics course.

The self-preservation of the West versus a nuclear Iran

From Sultan Knish, The Myth of Iran’s Peaceful Nuclear Program. But a myth is something that people at least half believe, if not actually a literal truth, then at least as a framework in which to understand what cannot otherwise be explained. We know what Obama is up to, and probably even why. The question is why so many others are going along. Everyone, including Obama and John Kerry, understands all of this completely:

Last year Iran was selling gasoline for less than 50 cents a gallon. This year a desperate regime hiked prices up to over a dollar. Meanwhile, Iranians pay about a tenth of what Americans do for electricity.

Unlike Japan, Iran does not need nuclear power. It is already sitting on a mountain of gas and oil. Iran blew between $100 billion to $500 billion on its nuclear program.

The Bushehr reactor alone cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 billion making it one of the most expensive in the world.

This wasn’t done to cut power bills. Iran didn’t take its economy to the edge for a peaceful nuclear program. It built the Fordow fortified underground nuclear reactor that even Obama admitted was not part of a peaceful nuclear program, it built the underground Natanz enrichment facility whose construction at one point consumed all the cement in the country, because the nuclear program mattered more than anything else as a fulfillment of the Islamic Revolution’s purpose.

Iran did not do all this so that its citizens could pay 0.003 cents less for a kilowatt hour of electricity.

It built its nuclear program on the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini, “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world.”

Obama’s motives are clear enough and the dangers to every Western country, and not just Israel, are equally clear. The question is why nothing has been done by others to stop this process in its tracks. The instinct for self-preservation often seems to fall dead at the feet of ideology. But the will to power never falls dead. There are evil days ahead.

John Stuart Mill explaining what is wrong with Keynesian theory

I have just posted an article on “Mill’s Defence of Say’s Law and Refutation of Keynes” as part of the Liberty Fund discussion on “Reassessing the Political Economy of John Stuart Mill”. If you are interested in knowing how far economic theory has gone wrong since the Keynesian Revolution, you ought to have a look at this thread which includes not just me, but also Richard Ebeling, Nicholas Capaldi and Sandra Peart. However, my latest post is due to the editor at the Liberty Fund picking up an offhand comment of mine and asking me to expand. Why this did not occur to me on my own, I cannot say, but this is the first time in which I have written a condensed version of what is wrong with Keynesian macro using Mill’s Principles as the basis for understanding pre-Keynesian theory. This is the final para but I do encourage you to read it all.

Reading the three sections of the Principles together we find Mill arguing:

  • recessions do occur and when they do the effect on the labor market is prolonged and devastating;
  • recessions are not caused by oversaving and demand deficiency;
  • recessions cannot be brought to an end by trying to increase aggregate demand.

That is as complete a rejection of Keynesian economics as one is likely to find, and it was stated in 1848. These propositions and their supporting arguments were with near unanimity accepted by the entire mainstream of the economics profession through until the publication of The General Theory in 1936. Since then they have almost entirely disappeared resulting in a loss in our ability to understand the nature of recessions or what needs to be done to bring recessions to a timely end.

Mill is not hard to understand unless you have learned Keynesian macro first. And then it is very difficult indeed. But if your interest is in understanding things such as why the stimulus was such a catastrophe, I cannot think where better to go to find out than from Mill. And if you are interested in Mill, then you should read this Liberty Fund discussion first.

That is, of course, the point

Here’s the link: New California: Mass Immigration Turning Virginia Blue, blue meaning Democrat. This is how the story starts:

A remarkable transformation is underway in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The birthplace and final resting place of George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson—and once one of the most reliably-red of red states—is being rapidly turned into a progressive stronghold.

These changes are not the result of an inside agency, or a natural evolution in political thinking, but rather the result of one of the most impactful yet least-discussed policies of the federal government.

Each year the federal government prints millions of visas and distributes these admission tickets to the poorest and least-developed nations in the world.

A middle-aged person living in parts of Virginia today will have witnessed more demographic change in the span of her life than many societies have experienced in millennia.

This is the left’s new road to perpetual power, and you can see the same thing being tried here in Australia. Why should Labor stop the boats when they are filled with people who will vote only for the parties of the left? And why won’t they vote for the Coalition? Because only the ALP sees advantage in taking money from you and giving it to them.

Extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of modern politics

You may think he is a lying hypocrite and doesn’t mean a word of it, but you haven’t been in the focus group meetings. You may think that Bill’s refusal to make any point blank statements about a range of issues is ludicrous and empty, but he’s the one leading in the polls. He may look ridiculous some of the time, but he seems to know what he’s doing. He’s just trying to win an election by not offending his own side more than he needs to. And even where he does say things that offend, everyone on his side knows he doesn’t mean it, that he’s just trying to get those few extra bunnies they need to win back those difficult seats. While the Coalition goes around looking at raising the GST to 15%, over on the other side we see this: ALP conference 2015: Labor will adopt boat turnbacks says Shorten.

And we may think that carbon taxes are a form of economic madness, but do you really think this is election poison: ALP conference 2015: Labor backs 50pc renewable energy target. And if you think fiscal rectitude is the way to the Lodge, Bill Shorten begs to differ: ALP conference 2015: big on promises, short on financial reality.

In most constituencies, Green votes will with certainty flow back to Labor. It’s the two-party division that matters, and the ALP is ahead and sailing along. Shorten is in no trouble as party leader. The ALP would consider winning back government in three years an astonishing achievement, and they would be right. The other part is that virtually every Senator elected as an Independent will back Labor’s agenda. Soft populism blending into out and out socialism is the very centre of our political-sentiment distribution at the moment and it is getting worse.

In the US, Obama runs an openly socialistic economic model combined with an open-borders policy. The mayor of New York is all but a declared communist. And amongst the Democrats, Sanders Surges, Clinton Sags in U.S. Favorability. Sanders you say, who is this Sanders chap? As noted by Wikipedia in a much cleaned up and sanitised entry, Sanders “is the only Congressman to describe himself as a socialist”.

It may be madness, but here it is the madness of crowds where these crowds may just happen to form a majority of the voters.

We are being run by crazies

This is a Canadian thing with perhaps some universal relevance. Ezra Levant – think Mark Steyn for comparison purposes – has been hauled up before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for calling it “crazy”. Kate McMillan, of Small Dead Animals, has written a note, Dear Alberta Human Rights Commission, which I thought might be of interest.

I’m informed that your Commission (via your proxy) considers the word “crazy” an insult.

I thought of sending a simple “fuck you”, but I’ve thought better of it. I take it back: unfuck you.

You swine. You vulgar little maggot. You worthless bag of filth. As they say in Texas, you couldn’t pour water out of a boot with instructions printed on the heel. You are a canker, an open wound. I would rather kiss the Law Society of Alberta than be seen with you.

You’re a putrescent mass, a walking vomit. You are a spineless little worm deserving nothing but the profoundest contempt. You are a jerk, a cad, and a weasel. You are a stench, a revulsion, a big suck on a sour lemon.

God created houseflies, cockroaches, maggots, mosquitos, fleas, ticks, slugs, leeches, and intestinal parasites, then he lowered his standards and made you. I take it back; God didn’t make you. You are Satan’s spawn. You are Evil beyond comprehension, half-living in the slough of despair. You are the entropy which will claim us all. You are a green-nostriled, crossed eyed, hairy-livered, goisher kopf, inbred trout-defiler. You make Ebola look good.

It is hard to believe how incredibly stupid you are. Stupid as a stone that the other stones make fun of. So stupid that you have traveled far beyond stupid as we know it and into a new dimension of stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid cubed. Trans-stupid stupid. Stupid collapsed to a singularity where even the stupons have collapsed into stuponium. Stupid so dense that no intelligence can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot midday sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one minute than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. It cannot be possible that anything in our universe can really be this stupid. This is a primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. A pure extract of stupid with absolute stupid purity. Stupid beyond the laws of nature.

I began this note with the intent of writing something original, but I changed my mind. Originality should not be sacrificed to such a worthless cause. You’re unworthy of the effort to string words together in a novel arrangement. In fact, I’m not convinced you’re worthy of this obvious plagiarism. Plagiarism is too good for you, certainly plagiarism of material of this quality is too good for you, so I’ve butchered it badly. Writing this in steaming cat piss on a hot summer sidewalk would be too good for you. Writing this in the writhing bodies of one million wingless flies glued to a barn door with cow shit is too good for you. (OK, that part was original. I’m not without generosity.)

In closing, I hope this finds you unwell.

As Ezra notes, the prosecution in the punishment, and expects it will cost him $25,000 to defend. Freedom of Speech is under assault everywhere by various Orwellian-named agencies of government. And finally, the “obvious plagiarism” in the original post directs you to this site: THE INSULT FILE VERSION 6.13 which might be kept on hand for future reference.