Tuesday, June 28, 2016
No aesthetically-appealing photos or amusing stories today, I’m afraid, just some very serious links and excerpts.
The Orlando killer was not alone. He was a true believer and other believers in the mission of Islam inspire him. Neither he nor any of his predecessors or future companions are to be explained by psychology, economics, or sociology. They are to be explained by taking their word for what they are doing. If the President of the United States or the British Prime Minister, the media, the professors, the clerics, cannot or will not understand this reality, we cannot blame ISIS and its friends. They are also realists who understand where ideas and reality meet, sometimes on a battlefield in Iraq, sometimes in a night club in Orlando.
Shortly before the Brexit vote, writer Frederick Forsyth wrote about the basic character of the EU: Government by deception
You have repeatedly been told this issue is all about economics. That is the conman’s traditional distraction. This issue is about our governmental system, parliamentary. Democracy versus non-elective bureaucracy utterly dedicated to the eventual Superstate.
Our democracy was not presented last week on a plate. It took centuries of struggle to create and from 1940 to 1945 terrible sacrifices to defend and preserve.
It was bequeathed to us by giants, it has been signed away by midgets.
Now we have a chance, one last, foolishly offered chance to tell those fat cats who so look down upon the rest of us: yes, there will be some costs – but we want it back.
A former ‘big proponent’ of the EU has this
To be fair, the EU’s main problem has always been its troubled relationship with democracy…This contempt for the will of the people might still be perceived as tolerable if the leaders otherwise seemed sensible – but now that someone as bad as Merkel calls the shots in EU, we’re reminded of just why having perpetual democratic safeguards is so important…the EU’s contempt for European voters and its current attempts to shut down dissenting voices bodes ill for its ability to course-correct on its own. If the EU is to be saved, it first needs to be humbled, nay, outright humiliated in such a manner that no-one can doubt that recent developments can’t be allowed to continue.
My impression is that the best way to understand the next stage of the current market cycle is to recognize the difference between observed conditions and latent risks. This distinction will be most helpful before, not after, the S&P 500 drops hundreds of points in a handful of sessions. That essentially describes how a coordinated attempt by trend-followers to exit this steeply overvalued market could unfold, since value-conscious investors may have little interest in absorbing those shares at nearby prices, and in equilibrium, every seller requires a buyer.
Imagine the error of skating on thin ice and plunging through. While we might examine the hole in the ice in hindsight, and find some particular fracture that contributed to the collapse, this is much like looking for the particular pebble of sand that triggers an avalanche, or the specific vibration that triggers an earthquake. In each case, the collapse actually reflects the expression of sub-surface conditions that were already in place long before the collapse – the realization of previously latent risks.
cross-posted at Chicago Boy
z, where comments are open
Monday, June 13, 2016
WHEN SLEEP THE SENTINELS
When sleep the sentinels, ’tis the barbarian at the gate who
strews their eyes with dreams. Then are they vanquished by the desert,
leaving the gates free to turn noiselessly on their well-oiled hinges so
that the city may be fecundated when she has become exhausted and needs
Sleeping sentry, you are the enemy’s advance guard. Already you
are conquered, for your sleep comes of your belonging to the city no
more, and being no longer firmly knotted to the city…And when I see you
thus I tremble; for in you the empire, too, is sleeping, dying. You
are but a symptom of its mortal sickness, for ill betides when it gives
me sentries who fall asleep…
For if you no longer know that here a tree stands, then the
roots, trunk, branches, leafage have no common measure. And you can you
be faithful when an object for your fidelity is lacking? Well I know
you would not sleep were you watching at the bedside of her you love.
But that which should have been the object of your love is dispersed
into fragments strewn at random, and you know it no more. Unloosed for
you is the God-made knot that binds all things together.
–Antoine de St-Exupery, Citadelle
cross-posted at Chicago Boyz, where comments are open
NO, THEY DON'T REALLY BELIEVE IN 'EQUALITY'
There was a bit of media coverage of Hillary Clinton choosing to wear
a $12K Armani jacket while delivering a speech lamenting Inequality.
The price of this jacket, of course, represents an utterly trivial
proportion of the wealth the Clintons have amassed from their lifetimes
of Public Service.
This little incident serves to emphasize a point I made several years ago in my post Jousting With a Phantom: leading ‘progressives’ for the most part don’t really believe in anything resembling equality–indeed, quite the contrary.
Consider, for example: Many people in “progressive” leadership
positions are graduates of the Harvard Law School. Do you think these
people want to see a society in which the career, status, and income
prospects for an HLS grad are no better than those for a graduate of a
lesser-known, lower-status (but still very good) law school? C’mon.
Quite a few “progressive” leaders are members of prominent families.
Do you think Teddy Kennedy would have liked to see an environment in
which he and certain other members of his family would have had to
answer for their actions in the criminal courts in the same way that
ordinary individuals would, without benefit from connections, media
influence, and expensive lawyers?
The prevalence of “progressivism” among tenured professors is quite
high. How many of these professors would be eager to agree to employment
conditions in which their job security and employee benefits were no
better than those enjoyed by average Americans? How many of them would
take a salary cut in order to provide higher incomes for the poorly-paid
adjunct professors at their universities? How many would like to see
PhD requirements eliminated so that a wider pool of talented and
knowledgeable individuals can participate in university teaching?
There are a lot of “progressives” among the graduates of Ivy League
universities. How many of them would be in favor of legally eliminating
alumni preferences and the influence of “contributions” and have their
children considered for admission–or not–on the same basis as everyone
else’s kids? Yet an alumni preference is an intergenerational asset in
the same way that a small businessman’s store or factory is such an
continued at Chicago Boyz
Monday, June 06, 2016
JUNE 6, 1944
Today, June 6, is the 72nd anniversary of the Normandy landings. See the Wikipedia article for an overview. Arthur Seltzer, who was there, describes his experiences.
Everyone is aware of Obama’s suppression of the Keystone XL pipeline
project. But the legal, regulatory, and PR assault against critical
infrastructure construction goes far beyond this. WSJ reports that:
Many major fossil-fuel projects across the U.S., from pipelines
to export terminals, have been shelved or significantly delayed because
of a confluence of new regulations, grass-roots opposition and a drop in
energy prices. Overall, more than a dozen projects, worth about $33
billion, have been either rejected by regulators or withdrawn by
developers since 2012, with billions more tied up in projects still in
Among the projects that the WSJ article identified as ‘cancelled’
were the $875MM ‘Constitution’ gas pipelines for the Northeastern US and
the $3 billion “Northeast Direct” for the same region.
Natural gas is, of course, a major source for generating electricity,
and the only practical way of getting the gas to the power plants is
(The CEO of New England’s power grid operator), said pipeline)
projects are badly needed. Residential consumers in New York and New
England paid between 5% and 41% more than the national average for
natural gas in March, the latest month for which data were available.
They also paid more for electricity, which itself is increasingly made
with natural gas.
continued at Chicago Boyz