Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Republicans Embrace Bad Economics and Bad Policy

August 15, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
To be blunt, Republicans are heading in the wrong direction on fiscal policy. They have full control of the executive and legislative branches, but instead of using their power to promote Reaganomics, it looks like we’re getting a reincarnation of the big-government Bush years.

As Yogi Berra might have said, “it’s deja vu all over again.”

Let’s look at the evidence. According to the Hill, the Keynesian virus has infected GOP thinking on tax cuts.
Republicans are debating whether parts of their tax-reform package should be retroactive in order to boost the economy by quickly putting more money in people’s wallets.
That is nonsense. Just as giving people a check and calling it “stimulus” didn’t help the economy under Obama, giving people a check and calling it a tax cut won’t help the economy under Trump.
Tax cuts boost growth when they reduce the marginal tax rate on productive behavior such as work, saving, investment, or entrepreneurship. When that happens, people have an incentive to generate more income. And that leads to more national income, a.k.a., economic growth.

 
Borrowing money from the economy’s left pocket and then stuffing checks (oops, I mean retroactive tax cuts) in the economy’s right pocket, by contrast, simply reallocates national income.

Indeed, this is one of the reasons why the economy didn’t get much benefit from the 2001 Bush tax cut, especially when compared to the growth-oriented 2003 tax cut. Unfortunately, Republicans haven’t learned that lesson.
Republicans have taken steps in the past to ensure that taxpayers directly felt the benefits of tax cuts. As part of the 2001 tax cuts enacted by President George W. Bush, taxpayers received rebate checks.
The article does include some analysis from people who understand that retroactive tax cuts aren’t economically beneficial.
…there are also drawbacks to making tax changes retroactive. …such changes would add to the cost of the bill, but would not be an effective way to encourage new spending and investments. “It has all of the costs of the tax cuts but none of the economic benefits,” said Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas, who added that “you don’t make investments in the rear-view mirror.”
I’m not always on the same side as Maya, but she’s right on this issue. You can’t encourage people to generate more income in the past. If you want more growth, you have to reduce marginal tax rates on future activity.

keynesian-fire1


By the way, I’m not arguing that there is no political benefit to retroactive tax cuts. If Republicans simply stated that they were going to send rebate checks to curry favor with voters, I’d roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders.

But when they make Keynesian arguments to justify such a policy, I can’t help but get upset about the economic illiteracy.

Speaking of bad economic policy, GOPers also are pursuing bad spending policy.
Politico has a report on a potential budget deal where everyone wins…except taxpayers.
The White House is pushing a deal on Capitol Hill to head off a government shutdown that would lift strict spending caps long opposed by Democrats in exchange for money for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico, multiple sources said.
So much for Trump’s promise to get tough on the budget, even if it meant a shutdown.
Instead, the back-room negotiations are leading to more spending for all interest groups.
Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, …also lobbied for a big budget increase for the Pentagon, another priority for Trump. …The White House is offering Democrats more funding for their own pet projects.
The only good news is that Democrats are so upset about the symbolism of the fence that they may not go for the deal.
Democrats show no sign of yielding on the issue. They have already blocked the project once.
Unfortunately, I expect this is just posturing. When the dust settles, I expect the desire for more spending (from both parties) will produce a deal that is bad news. At least for those of us who don’t want America to become Greece (any faster than already scheduled).
Republican and Democratic congressional aides have predicted for months that both sides will come together on a spending agreement to raise spending caps for the Pentagon as well as for nondefense domestic programs.
So let’s check our scorecard. On the tax side of the equation, we’ll hopefully still get some good policy, such as a lower corporate tax rate, but it probably will be accompanied by some gimmicky Keynesian policy.

On the spending side of the equation, it appears my fears about Trump may have been correct and he’s going to be a typical big-government Republican.

It’s possible, of course, that I’m being needlessly pessimistic and we’ll get the kinds of policies I fantasized about in early 2016. But I wouldn’t bet money on a positive outcome.

Is There Still a Conservative Foreign Policy?

by Victor Davis Hanson August 15, 2017 4:00 AM @vdhanson @ National Review

The Trump victory and the Republican establishment’s mostly negative reaction to it have in matters of foreign policy called into question who is conservative, who not — and whether the old ideological rubrics even matter anymore.

Isolationists

For all practical purposes, there are no real isolationists today, at least of the 1930s mode. “Isolationism” is more a slur than a description of a common conservative ideology.
Even a Senator Rand Paul does not wish to unilaterally bow out of NATO — despite what he may say or write to paleo-conservative audiences. Readers of the American Conservative probably do not wish to bring all U.S. troops home from strategic U.S. bases in the spirit of the 1930s (when we actually had lots of bases abroad).

Rather, neo-isolationism today is akin to something like neo-interventionism of the late 1930s — a guarded willingness, mostly in reactive and defensive fashion, to use force only for perceived American interests abroad, without committing U.S. military resources in service to other nations or causes other than narrow American interests, however defined.

Note the paradox in the present controversies over H. R. McMaster: His nominally neo-isolationist and “America first” critics thought McMaster was too soft on Iran (he purportedly favored a reactive “let Iran break the deal and then pounce” approach). Instead, they advocated preemptively nullifying the Iran Deal — a move that could bring matters to an interventionist head and more quickly square Iran off against the U.S.

Neo-isolationists do not believe that the U.S. should shoulder the burdens of ensuring that the post-war global order remains operative, given that the perceived costs are too high, and returns to the U.S. are too ambiguous.

Neo-isolationism has become embedded within domestic populist doctrine based on the idea that interventionists themselves are often elite idealists who do not pay the costs of their own preferred policies — but that middle class Americans do, being asked to fight and die in places like Kandahar or Taji for reasons that remain unfathomable to them.

The challenge of neo-isolationism is that it is often evoked but rarely in any practical sense implemented in toto.

Jacksonians

The term has come back into currency with the rise of Trumpism and the inability to make the accusation of “isolationist” stick to either Trump or his supporters. Jacksonianism supposedly harkens back to Andrew Jackson’s “don’t tread on me”–style brashness — a willingness to hit hard against those who threaten the U.S. or its perceived interests, without worrying much about anything other than the restoration of deterrence.

The principle is that if adversaries harm a stay-at-home America, we will harm them far worse—but without concern about the aftermath on the ground, and with no presumptions that the United States has the responsibility or power to craft solutions that might involve long-term commitments. Live and let live — or let die — is the Jacksonian credo.

The key to Jacksonianism is that foreign policy and military action are calibrated solely in immediate and often ad hoc terms of U.S. interests (“to ask nothing that is not clearly right and to submit to nothing that is wrong”). It is essentially retaliatory and punitive in nature.

Jacksonians are not bothered about the sometimes frequent use of force overseas — only the conditions of its employment. A Jacksonian is no neo-isolationist; he wishes to have a profile abroad, but, far more significantly, a reputation not as a global fixer but as someone other nations respect and leave alone, given the deleterious consequences of provoking America.
When other nations and powers see America as both self-interested and volatile, the world, Jacksonians think, is a safer place — and without all the global policing and posturing.
When other nations and powers see America as both self-interested and volatile, the world, Jacksonians think, is a safer place — and without all the global policing and posturing. With some justification, Trump is seen as a Jacksonian, but such a stance is difficult to maintain in the globalist and interconnected world of the 21st century — in which a thuggish failed state like North Korea believes that it can take out Google, Facebook, and Apple in 45 minutes, and a half-million people living in their vicinity.

Realists

Realists are committed to traditional post-war U.S. leadership abroad, especially America’s role in what we used to call stewardship of the “free world.” But engagement realists, if unlike both neo-isolationists and Jacksonians, nevertheless similarly have no illusions about human nature.
Nations are mere collections of people and thus operate according to predictable patterns of behavior. Talk of human rights, democracy, soft power, multilateralism, and collective security through international organizations is all fine and good and may be of propaganda value on the world stage. But realists accept the tragic view that abundant force, economic and cultural clout, military readiness, perceptions of armed strength, alliances, balances of power, maintenance of deterrence — all these ancient concepts are what alone keeps a nation, and its allies and interests, secure.
Realists might wish that the world were more democratic, but they assess a nation’s friendliness based not on the degree to which it emulates American political and culture norms, but rather on whether it is stable, loyal, powerful, and likely, in frequent cases, to have the same strategic interests as the United States in preserving a post-war order that’s lasted more than 70 years.
Realists see peace as an aberration, and tension and war as the tragic norms in history. They do not wish to experiment with utopian bromides that can trigger dangerous instability. They are more likely to read Thucydides, Machiavelli, or Hobbes than Rousseau or Kant.
Realists see peace as an aberration, and tension and war as the tragic norms in history. They do not wish to experiment with utopian bromides.
For realists, tension and occasional crises are the prices we pay for deterring aggressors. Tranquility is rare, but the relative absence of existential wars is achievable.

Neocons

The “new” conservatives, in the foreign-policy sense, were originally often former globalists and liberals who maintained their optimistic faith in the power of freedom and democracy to lessen tensions and wars abroad. But they had lost the illusion that most countries could or would become democratic on their own, even if they had the wherewithal to risk it. They implicitly conceded that while the desire for freedom may be innate to humans, the messy business of building a republic or democracy might not be.

A neocon further believes that Jacksonianism and realism offer only short-term solutions to world tensions. Because Saddam Hussein is merely a manifestation of a dysfunctional Arab society, it would do little good just to remove him, in realist or Jacksonian fashion, because someone just like him would appear in his place.

Instead, only changing the root causes of the pathology — and this entails “nation-building” — will create the conditions under which autocracy and dictatorship are impossible. And as the world eventually reaches a critical mass of Francis Fukuyama–like end-of-history democratic governments, the Husseins and Assads will supposedly disappear gradually.

Neocons justify greater diplomatic efforts and foreign-aid investments abroad, as well as the likelihood of more costly foreign interventions, as the short-term price of establishing a long-term solution to global tensions. And as former liberals, the “new” conservatives believe that U.S. foreign policy abroad must reflect American values and that one purpose of our foreign policy is to spread the American idea of human rights and freedom, often regardless of the preexisting nature of the would-be recipient of U.S. fire and friendship.

In neocon thinking, dictators such as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or the Saudi royal family can never be true allies, given that they are autocrats who squelch Western ideas of freedom. Though they’re not as dangerous to our interests as an ISIS or al-Qaeda, they put their own survival above their nations’ “true” interests.

Neoconservatism is the most expensive, in blood and treasure, of all ideologies, though rarely reckoned so by its proponents.

Globalists

Globalists, once almost always confined to the Left, do not believe in American exceptionalism. Rather, in Socratic fashion, they assume that they are “citizens of the world.” Global culture is their faith. Many are even libertarians, arguing that everything from iPhones and Facebook to the U.N. and global climate initiatives are inevitably creating one sophisticated, postmodern world out of many Neanderthal and pre-modern tribes. Just wait a bit, “don’t do stupid sh**” (as Obama himself described the Obama foreign-policy doctrine), and perhaps the masters of the universe in Menlo Park will unite us, and war itself will fade.

The globalists’ ultimate vision is one of 7 billion world residents, materially well off and holding the progressive worldview of Western, globe-trotting Silicon Valley executives, academics, foundation heads, deep-state bureaucrats, and elites in the entertainment industry, the media, and government. All such sophisticates find themselves far more similar to one another and to their counterparts in other nations than to their own kinsmen living just a few hundred miles inland from their coastal enclaves.
Globalism is a resurrection of the Western democratic confidence of 1913 that a world war could not break out.
I include globalists in the arena of conservative thinking in the age of Trump not because they fit traditional definitions of conservative custom and practice, but because in some sense they have gone full circle back to join isolationists and neo-isolationists in their view about the use of force and military expenditure. Some conservative globalists believe that America’s popular culture and its hip, cool, and insidious corporatism, while in some cases regrettable, are obviating the need for military interventionism and costly defense spending. In their estimation, this is a good thing, given that ties of mutual profit and free-market affluence are making a relic of war and armed force in general. Walk down University Avenue in Palo Alto and the new Esperantists in the sidewalk cafés believe that millions like them in Europe and Asia are rendering nationalism passé.

Globalism is a resurrection of the Western democratic confidence of 1913 that a world war could not break out — interlocking business, trade, and economic interests would keep the peace.

The Never-Ending Cycle

All these various worldviews do not operate in a vacuum; they go in and out of vogue depending on how well they operate on the world stage, or at least how fairly they are analyzed and described in the media. In general, we do not take a long-term historical view of their relative merits across time and space but rather calibrate their efficacy based on their immediate success or failure in the current politically charged landscape.

Trump did not create these fissures. Instead he tore off the scab of conservative unity and left an open wound of acrimony. In the process, he blew up the neoconservative argument — the formerly dominant Republican foreign policy — and perhaps all who embraced it. In his (post facto) nationalist attacks on the Iraq War, nation-building, and George W. Bush, Trump positioned neoconservatism as a naïve understanding of human nature that was both too costly to the nation and too hypocritical in the way it allotted those costs, and he thought it could never work in the tribal Middle East.

In that populist sense, he united neo-isolationists, Jacksonians, and realists through their shared pessimistic appraisal of human nature, and the principle that Americans owed more to their own self-interests and nationalist concerns than they did to humanity in general. Trumpism assumed that, by the 21st century, an Algeria, Somalia, or China was more than free to become democratic if they chose to — without the need for the permission of, much less help from, the U.S.

If Trumpians were deemed too cynical, then they would argue that while timeless human values were worth defending the world over and would eventually make a safer world and a more secure America, we nonetheless had no practical and cost-effective way to implement such visions. Nor did we have the mechanisms to ensure that all Americans would share the burdens of apparently optional wars and interventions.

An irony of the Trump wedge is that globalists of the Left, both those in the Obama camp and adherents of Hillary Clinton’s, were able to win over many neocons in 2016 election. The anti-Trump movement of Democrats and neoconservatives shared a faith in the ability of an American diplomatic and military elite of “wise” men and women, along with bipartisan institutions, think tanks, organizations, the media, and universities, to form global partnerships to promote end-of-history democratic and cultural protocols that promote peace and stability, from globally redistributive climate accords to multiparty agreements such as the Iran Deal.

They deemed themselves optimists about human nature, seeing no tribal impediment to democracy, for example, in the Islamist culture of so much of the Middle East. Trump’s achievement, if it can be so termed, may have been to return neoconservatives to their natural neo-liberal affinities and alignments with liberal allies.

A final cynical note. There are a few, but not many, doctrinaire neo-isolationists, Jacksonians, realists, neo-cons, or globalists. Take a survey of Trump’s current foreign-policy team, and it would be hard to find a single ideological doctrine that guides James Mattis, H. R. McMaster, or Rex Tillerson — or Donald Trump — at least in the fashion of a Jacksonian such as Steve Bannon. As aspect of Trump’s current challenges is that “bombing the sh**” out of ISIS is a sort of engagement in the Middle East that neo-isolationists abhor. Dropping a MOAB in Afghanistan is not retreating from foreign entanglements, nor is bombing WMD depots in Syria. A Pat Buchanan applauds Trump’s “American first” sympathies, but Trump’s most fervent supporters are currently accusing his NSC appointees of being too timid and in particular too shy about confronting Iran or being more active in the Middle East.

In some sense, Trump has never squared the circle of proclaiming that he wanted to punish our enemies while also staying out of the business of others. Being dedicated to both agendas is a hard thing to do — a dilemma that explains why conservative foreign-policy labels mean little if anything these days.

READ MORE:

The Korean Game of Thrones
Europe Between Trump and Putin
The Great Muslim Civil War — and Us

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, to appear in October from Basic Books.
 

If We Erase Our History, Who Are We?

Pat Buchanan, American Renaissance, August 15, 2017

“Are we building our utopia on a sandpile of ideology and hope?” When the Dodge Charger of 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., plunged into that crowd of protesters Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Fields put Charlottesville on the map of modernity alongside Ferguson.

Before Fields ran down the protesters, and then backed up, running down more, what was happening seemed but a bloody brawl between extremists on both sides of the issue of whether Robert E. Lee’s statue should be removed from Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park.

With Heyer’s death, the brawl was elevated to a moral issue. And President Donald Trump’s initial failure to denounce the neo-Nazi and Klan presence was declared a moral failure.

How did we get here, and where are we going?......Are we building our utopia on a sandpile of ideology and hope........To Read More.....

Hypocrisy at Charlottesville

So is violence from the left acceptable?

Abraham H. Miller

The brutal events in Charlottesville not only reveal a national tragedy but also a national hypocrisy. We do not have to agree with what the Nazis and white nationalists stand for to defend their constitutional right to assemble and speak. The courts have long ruled that even hate speech is protected speech.

Had there been no counter demonstration and media spotlight, a few hundred racists would have gathered in Charlottesville and had no impact on the national conversation.
Instead, they were met by the ongoing violence of the Antifa and the hate group Black Lives Matter and a police force that stood down, just as the campus police  did when the Antifa attacked people at the University of California, Berkeley.

When James Alex Fields, a twenty-year-old from Ohio, used his car to maul people, he was immediately tagged as a white nationalist and the mainstream media quickly indicted all white nationalists for the vehicular assault.  Yet, when Muslims, who created the vehicular intifada, run down people, the same media immediately cautions us, as it should, not to indict all Muslims.......To Read More....



President Trump Decries Racism, Condemns Racists by Name, will Media Notice?

By Onan Coca August 15, 2017

We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans. Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. We are a nation founded on the truth, that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our creator, we are equal under the law and we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America......To Read More....

Angry Charlottesville Citizens Criticizing Police Stand-Downs in Weekend War

By Andrew West August 14, 2017

The tragedy that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend is still being processed by a great many Americans. In an attempt to reconcile our belief in Free Speech with the unfathomably filthy reality of hate speech, U.S. citizens are rightfully taking a little extra time this week to consider what truly occurred in Virginia. White Nationalists, or neo-nazis, or white supremacists organized a march in Charlottesville that was deemed “unlawful” by local government officials before it began.

This prompted a harsh response from the often-liberal ACLU, who actually sued the city in a failed attempt to allow the rally’s permit to be reinstated............To Read More......

Forget Charlottesville: Leftist Violence Breaks Out in Portland and Durham

By Onan Coca August 15, 2017

While the violence and hate of the alt-right will continue to dominate the news cycle, and they deserve the negative coverage, the media is remiss to ignore the ongoing epidemic of violence from the left. In fact, while Antifa, BlackLivesMatter, and other leftist groups were in Charlottesville spoiling for a fight, they were also in other parts of the country promoting hatred and inciting violence.  Earlier this past week Antifa was seen in Portland, Oregon (their home turf) spreading hate, destroying private property, and looking for blood to spill......To Read More....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Warning from ex-CIA and FBI counterterrorism analyst: 'The government is going to kill' President Donald Trump

The signs are all around us that the subversion and worse is afoot among those who feel that the federal government belongs to them, not to the voters of the Republic. You might even say that think of it as "our thing." Right out in plain sight, we were warned last week in the words of someone who worked for Robert Mueller when he was head of the FBI. It was on CNN, so few people saw it, and as CNN habitués, they may not have considered it disturbing. Nonetheless, host Jake Tapper was sufficiently alarmed to clarify whether this was a metaphor.

It was not.

Ian Schwartz of Real Clear Politics summarizes the exchange (video embedded below)............ Read more

Mueller Raids Manafort's Home – Because He Has Nothing

Jay Valentine

When Robert Mueller took the gig with the Department of Justice to lead the silent coup against the Trump administration, things looked great.
  • 100% or close to it of the media was reporting different levels and incidents of “Russian collusion.”
  • Attorney general Jeff Sessions, a close Trump confidant, had recused himself.
  • The deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, quickly buckled under media pressure to name a special counsel where no crime had been found and only an FBI counterintelligence investigation was taking place.
  • No criminal investigation of the President, said the FBI director.
  • Mueller had the chance to overturn an epic election mistake by uninformed American deplorables and be the darling of the swamp for a generation.
How could he say no? That was then, this is now............ More

Energy & Environmental Newsletter: August 14, 2017

By -- August 14, 2017

The Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED) is an informal coalition of individuals and organizations interested in improving national, state, and local energy and environmental policies. Our premise is that technical matters like these should be addressed by using Real Science (please consult WiseEnergy.org for more information).

A key element of AWED’s efforts is public education. Towards that end, every three weeks we put together a newsletter to balance what is found in the mainstream media about energy and the environment. We appreciate MasterResource for their assistance in publishing this information.
Some of the more important articles in this issue are:

Property and Wind Turbines: a Missing Point in the Discussion
The Failure of RGGI
Scientific Critique of Wind Project Bird & Bat Study
Military Officials Explain Concerns with Wind Turbines (w good pix)
NC & NYS Dealing with Military-Wind Energy conflicts
Scientists who question solar are silenced
Green Delusions and the Wind Bully
The Climate Alarmists’ Gross Perversion of the Word “Clean”
Climate Models Over-Estimated Warming
Moving the Goalposts in the Climate Change Debate
Climate Science Comes Up Short
The totalitarianism of the environmentalists
“Science” journals stung again
Al Gore’s Climate Sequel Misses a Few Inconvenient Facts
Simplified Explanations of the Falsified Claims of Human Caused Global Warming
NYT guilty of large screw-up on climate-change story
Expose on Bill McKibben (a key energy and environmental player)
Lindzen: On the ‘Death of Skepticism’ Concerning Climate Hysteria
Not Sea Levels, Again!

Greed Energy Economics:
Property and wind turbines: A missing point in the discussion (corrected URL)
The Failure of RGGI
PURPA contracts needlessly adding costs to NC ratepayers
New Hampshire Shuts Down Renewables Rebate Programs
Michigan Power Plant Proposal Would Overcharge Customers By $372 Million
America’s First Offshore Wind Project — an Expensive Boondoggle

Renewable Energy Destroying Health & Ecosystems:
Book: The Destruction of Rural Living by the Wind Energy Scam
Scientific Critique of Maple Ridge (NY) Wind Project Bird & Bat Study
Bats Being Killed By Ontario Wind Turbines
Wind Turbine Impacts Echo Seasickness
Peer Reviewed Study: Altered cortical & subcortical connectivity: wind turbines

Miscellaneous Energy News:
Military Officials Explain Concerns with Wind Turbines (w good pix)
NC & NYS Dealing with Military-Wind Energy conflicts
Scientists who question solar are silenced
Green Delusions and the Wind Bully
The Climate Alarmists’ Gross Perversion of the Word “Clean”
A reactor in Idaho could change the future of nuclear energy
Canada starts SMR site study
Snopes – Hookers, Lies and Fraud
The Current EPA is Not Undermining Science
Cronyism ruled Obama’s Energy Department
Brief eclipse a major threat to a NC solar facility. Really?
NC Governor signs solar bill — which includes a 2 year wind moratorium
Podcast about wind energy interference with military operations
California Bill Requires Solar Panels on All Homes & Turbines on All Farms
The Great Green Diesel Swindle
With OPEC Weakening, World Energy Now Pits Russia Versus U.S.
Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement: Dead
No wind or solar powered aluminum smelter anywhere in the world
Study: Re-Engineering a PRB coal-fired Tangential Power Plant
After Closing Indian Point Nuclear Facility: Lights Out for NY City?
Blight on the seascape’ Outrage over approval for British offshore wind project
Scotland: The Industrial Wind Racket

Manmade Global Warming Articles:
Climate Models Over-Estimated Warming
Moving the Goalposts in the Climate Change Debate
Climate Science Comes Up Short
The totalitarianism of the environmentalists
“Science” journals stung again
Al Gore’s Climate Sequel Misses a Few Inconvenient Facts
Simplified Explanations of the Falsified Claims of Human Caused Global Warming
NYT guilty of large screw-up on climate-change story
Expose on Bill McKibben (a key energy and environmental player)
Lindzen: On the ‘Death of Skepticism’ Concerning Climate Hysteria
Not Sea Levels, Again!
Red Team Must Leave No Stone Unturned in Climate Debate
Why the Greens Lost, and Trump Won
Critique of Al Gore’s new movie
Defining power of climate change and ‘Al Gore’ effect
Al Gore and the Fake Science Has Been Exposed
Australia Weather Bureau Caught Tampering With Climate Numbers
Australian BoM caught with faking temperatures
Temperatures Plunge After Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology Orders Fix
Book: Climate Change, the Facts-2017
German physicists: “CO2 plays only minor role for global climate”
US Formally Withdraws from Paris Agreement
‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord
EPA Head Promotes Blue Team/ Red Team Discussion
“It’s Never Been Harder to be a Climate Scientist” Good!
In the fight between DOE and climate scientists, DOE is winning
Archive: SCM SA White Paper “Global Warming”
USDA Bans Term ‘Climate Change’ in Favor of ‘Weather Extremes.’
Study: Environmental Reporting in a Post Truth World
 
See Prior AWED Newsletters
 

This Wasp’s Larvae Sometimes Grow Hundreds of Soldier Clones—But Why?

August 14, 2017 by 1 Comment

Imagine, for a moment, having 3,000 twin sisters. You all live inside a caterpillar, but it's home, and your numbers serve as a veritable army against any trespassers. Such is the life of the parasitoid wasp Copidosoma floridanum, one of the insect world's most fascinating examples of polyembryony, in which multiple embryos form from a […] Read more of this post

Thought For the Day

Great Moments in State Government

August 14, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

When I write about the actions of state governments, it’s usually to highlight a specific bad policy. As you can imagine, states like California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey give me a never-ending amount of material.

But I frequently run across things that are happening in the states that don’t really merit an entire column, but they nonetheless are worthy of attention since they symbolize the venality and incompetence of politicians.

So I’ve decided that it’s time for a series on “great moments in state government” to augment my already well-developed series on “great moments in local government.”  Let’s start by looking at a truly bizarre example of occupational licensing from Tennessee.
A decade ago, Martha Stowe founded True Equine, an equine-services company, a few miles south of Nashville, Tenn., in Williamson County. After earning a certificate in equine myofascial release, a massage technique that releases tension and pain in a horse’s body, Martha soon acquired a large clientele. …In April 2016, however, Stowe’s well-established business was upended when she received a threatening letter from the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, a board within Tennessee’s Department of Health. Only licensed veterinarians are permitted to massage horses, the board’s attorney explained, and if Stowe continued to practice myofascial release, she could be fined up to $500 and receive a six-month jail sentence. …The board also sent the letter to fellow Williamson County resident Laurie Wheeler, a professional jazz musician and licensed massage therapist who, like Stowe, is certified in equine myofascial release. …Upon receiving the veterinary board’s letter, Wheeler was stunned — after all, she was certified, and not only that, she had never even accepted money for her services. But, she says, the government threatened to “fine me and put me in jail for voluntarily working on animals.” For Wheeler, helping horses is more than a volunteer position or an occupation; it’s a call to duty.
But there is some good news.  A pro-market think tank is helping the women fight back.
Both women disregarded the veterinary board’s warnings and subsequently looked to the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free-market think tank, for legal representation. According to Braden Boucek, director of litigation for the Beacon Center, the board’s decision to allow only licensed veterinarians to massage horses is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause. Moreover, because the Constitution protects private property, which in turn protects the right to acquire property and the right to earn a living, the board’s decision violates the 14th Amendment. …Threatening to jail an individual for massaging a horse is absurd. These women aren’t giving medical advice to owners, or surgically operating on horses, or doing anything that only a licensed veterinarian could do. Remember, this kind of massage is not even taught in veterinary school. Under Tennessee’s logic, why shouldn’t massage therapists who practice exclusively on people be required to hold a medical degree? The veterinary board ought to take the necessary steps to begin updating this illogical statute. If it doesn’t, it will need to explain in court why it’s permissible to deprive Stowe and Wheeler of their fundamental constitutional rights.
Amen. I admire Tennessee for not having an income tax. It’s time, though, for the Volunteer State to extend economic freedom to horse masseurs.  Now let’s shift to Wisconsin, where we have another example of cronyism.  State lawmakers may be brave when it comes to curtailing special privileges for government employees, but they like special protections for private industry.
Wisconsin state regulators…[are]…banning state grocery stores from selling one of the Emerald Isle’s most popular (and tasty) products: Kerrygold butter. Never mind that Wisconsinites have been buying Kerrygold for years with no problems. Or that it remains legal in the 49 other states. Badger State bureaucrats, trying to protect the state dairy industry, are suddenly enforcing a 1970 law that requires all butter sold in the state to go through a complicated evaluation by a state panel. This is the same state that once banned margarine because it was a competitive threat to local dairies. …as a result of the ban, Kerrygold-loving Wisconsinites have been forced to make butter runs across the state border, bringing back suitcases stuffed with the import. In Ireland, meanwhile, the ban is leading to headlines such as this in the Irish Mirror: “Shopkeepers in Wisconsin could face JAIL if they sell Kerrygold butter.”
Maybe butter consumers in Wisconsin can fly to Norway and learn how to get around misguided policies that make butter a black-market commodity.  Remember, if you outlaw butter, only outlaws will have butter.   Now let’s look at some onerous government intervention in my state of Virginia. And this one is personal since I don’t like the hassle of annual vehicle inspections.
…my annual Virginia motor vehicle safety inspection was due in a month. I knew my car wouldn’t pass and that I wouldn’t be allowed to stay on the road with that light on. Never mind that the light has nothing to do with the safe operation of the vehicle. And also never mind that in a 2015 study the Government Accountability Office “examined the effect of inspection programs on crash rates related to vehicle component failure, but showed no clear influence.” AAA Public Affairs Vice President Mike Wright said, “Nobody can prove with any degree of certainty that spending the money, suffering the inconvenience of getting your vehicle inspected, actually produces desired results.” …Virginia has a personal vehicle safety program overseen by the state police that cannot be shown to enhance public safety. The people who perform inspections are often the same people who fix any identified deficiencies. …A government program that requires the purchase of a good or service in return for a nonexistent public benefit is illiberal and anti-consumer. Two-thirds of states see no need to impose the burden of annual personal vehicle safety inspections on their citizens; Virginia should end its inspection requirement.
For what it’s worth, the People’s Republic of the District of Columbia doesn’t have this requirement. Kind of embarrassing that Virginia is more interventionist.  Our final example come from Illinois, where a local newspaper has a superb editorial on a sordid example of wasteful sleaze in the state budget.
Let’s eliminate the Illinois Arts Council Agency from the state budget. They must have taken lessons on government efficiency from our local townships, spending $1 million on staff and overhead in 2016 to hand out $834,900 in grants. The council is chaired by Shirley Madigan, who has been in that position since 1983. Funny, her husband, Mike, has been Illinois House Speaker since then, too. …guess who gets the money? Their well-heeled friends. Madigan’s alma mater received $95,100, another board member’s employer received $165,650 and yet another board member’s pet opera company received $503,000. Surprise! …Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has an opportunity to let someone else be a matron of the arts and appoint a majority of board members dedicated to either eliminating the council or at least making it a transparent organization that helps local artists rather than makes your taxes a minor revenue source for well-connected, large arts institutions. 

Needless to say, the first option (eliminating the council) is the superior choice, just like we should shut down the National Endowment for the Arts in D.C.  But let’s set that aside. I’m still scratching my head about a bureaucracy that spends $1 million to give away $834.9 thousand. Though that’s actually efficient if you compare it with the German tax that resulted in €30 euros of government expense for every €1 collected.  To conclude, there’s a common thread in these four stories. In each case, politicians at the state level have policies to enable unearned wealth to flow to the pockets of their friends and allies.

In other words, the First Theorem of Government doesn’t just apply to what’s happening in Washington.

P.S. I’ve only had a few previous “great moments” for state governments. One from Florida involved a felony arrest of some luckless guy who was simply trying to impress his girlfriend by releasing some balloons, and the other from Virginia involved three misdemeanors for the horrid crime of rescuing a wounded deer.

Cops Activate Riot Mode Against Antifa Thugs at Seattle "March Against Hate"

By Martin Lioll on August 14, 2017

Police in Seattle went into riot mode Sunday after the leftist mob group billing itself as “antifa” staged a protest aimed at a group of Trump administration supporters that turned ugly and violent, according to local news reports.  Video shows law enforcement officers using pepper spray against the antifa protesters, who were carrying signs with phrases like “Kill Nazis” and “Go Back to Europe.” Explosions were also caught on video, although it was unclear whether they were set by antifas or were tear gas used by police.  While KGW-TV reported the antifa protest was partially in response to the attack at a Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally that left one woman dead, it was also a counter-protest against an already-planned rally by the pro-Trump group Patriot Prayer. And cops turned out in force to keep the leftists from getting to the pro-Trump demonstration. ............ Read more…

Trump Was Right to Blame 'Many Sides'

Larry Klayman asks, Are leftist groups getting a free pass from AG?

By Larry Klayman WND August 14, 2017

I want to say at the outset: As a young boy, my heroes included Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and the Temptations. I am not a racist, and indeed I cherish among my many friends Alan Keyes, Larry Elder and Armstrong Williams, all African-American conservatives who, like me, believe that all of us — in the words of our Founding Father and President Thomas Jefferson, who hailed from Charlottesville, Virginia, and his nearby estate at Monticello — are equal under God. And, as a Jewish Christian, I have a personal stake in making sure that the Neo-Nazis and other white supremacists who perpetrated the heinous deadly car attack in Virginia this last weekend go severely punished, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions correctly pledged just Monday.

But I am troubled about the continuing hypocrisy and dual standard of justice in the nation as a whole. In addition to Neo-Nazis and white supremacists in attendance and who engaged in violence at the pro-Confederacy rally, also present were counter-revolutionaries from Antifa, a radical leftist hate group, and of course Black Lives Matter, by and large a black vigilante group, to name just a few. These hate-filled agitators also participated in the violence that predictably erupted.........Continue Reading.....

What’s the Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives?

By Onan Coca August 14, 2017

Dr. Jordan Peterson is a Canadian professor and an avid defender of free speech. He and a few others are standing firm against the tide of insanity that has been percolating in the Great White North. While the Canadian leftists are hell-bent at driving their nation over a cliff of politically correct, pronoun-sensitive gender madness, Peterson and a few other brave souls are trying to call their fellow citizens back to reality. In a recent interview with Rob Shimshock on the Shimshock show from the Daily Caller News Foundation, Professor Peterson does his best to explain the differences between liberals and conservatives.........To Read More....

Cartoon of the Day

Radical Left Exploits C-Ville Tragedy to Call for “Escalation” of Tactics

By Andrew West August 14, 2017

The dust has yet to settle in Charlottesville, Virginia, yet the radical left is already appropriating the tragedy to call for violence against the unrelated conservative movement, whom they illogically blame for the weekend war.

Somehow, the liberal and libelous left has gotten away with lumping America’s conservative base in with White Nationalists, neo-Nazis, and White Supremacists. It’s a maneuver designed to demonize their political opposition, and allow for the radicalized progressives to employ more dastardly tactics in public confrontations.........To Read More....

President Trump Makes Stirring Speech on Charlottesville, Condemns ALL Racism

By Andrew West August 14, 2017

The left’s insistence that our Commander in Chief is the universe’s supreme bigot was only emboldened by Donald Trump’s carefully timed response to the Charlottesville, Virginia weekend war. As the President of the United States, Trump’s foray into the hate-filled and vitriolic reactions of America to the 48 hour battle of Charlottesville deserved a poignant and well-calculated response.  Immediately following the tragic death of Heather Hayer, who was targeted and struck by a vehicle during the violence, President Trump reached out to the nation with a swift response that was predictably lambasted by the radical left:........To Read More.....<br />

Hamburg Knife Attack: Total Security Breakdown

The jihadist ticking time bomb strikes again.

August 14, 2017 Stephen Brown 5

  Last July 28, on a Friday afternoon, Ahmad A., whose last name remains undisclosed according to German law, entered a Hamburg supermarket dressed in a long, Islamic robe, grabbed a knife from the household wares section and began stabbing wildly about him while yelling “Allahu Akbar.”

After killing a 50-year-old man, and severely wounding three others, the 26-year-old jihadist then ran out of the supermarket, slashing four more bystanders outside.  Ahmad A., a refused asylum seeker from the United Arab Emirates whose nationality is Palestinian, was only prevented from killing and wounding more people by patrons of a nearby bistro who, armed with chairs and stones, chased down the “holy warrior” and kept him occupied until police arrived (see video here). 

After firing warning shots, police seized Ahmad A., who immediately said he wanted to be “treated as a terrorist.”.....To Read More......

Point: Trump’s War on Junk Science

Ten Thousand Commandments 2017

An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State View the Full Report Here

Al Gore’s swimming pool uses the same electricity as six US homes

By Jo Nova

The National Center for Public Policy Research released a report that tells us Al Gore’s swimming pool uses the same electricity as six average US homes. In kilowatt hours, his house draws a total annual load equivalent to 21 homes — averages 19,241 kWh per month. He probably lives alone now that Tipper and the kids have moved out. This is after he paid $60,000 to add solar panels which provide about 5% of his domestic electricity (Why doesn’t he just go solar, that’d be only $720k, plus batteries).

He owns two other homes.

I would never use this as an ad hom argument to say that man-made global warming crisis is wildly exaggerated (there are plenty of other reasons to say that). Obviously poor Al needs to use more electricity than most people so he can swim in between flights, because he is constantly being attacked in articles like this one: .............To Read More..........


Al Gore’s House
Nashville, Tennessee (TN), US

Al Gores House;
Montecito, California (CA), US

Riot in Charlottesville

And, of course, the Left blames President Trump for the violence.

DANGER: RADIOACTIVE – Do Not Drink More than 63,000 Gallons of Water

My name is Art Robinson,  I am Professor of Chemistry at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, and I publish a pro-science, pro-technology, pro-free enterprise monthly newsletter, Access to Energy, which in September 1997 began its twenty fifth year. Access to Energy was founded by Professor Petr Beckmann in 1973 and published by him until his death in 1993.  As for those 63,000 gallons, our readers know why they are safe.

We don’t ask them to trust and parrot us, we ask them to think.

In this case, we told them how much radioactive iodine 131 is given to a healthy patient in a thyroid check: up to 90 microcuries (a cancer patient is given much more). And we reported the maximum measured activity in rainwater washing out Chernobyl’s iodine over the US: 0.00036 microcuries per liter. There is about 4 liters to the gallon; hence 63,000 gallons of “contaminated” rain water “full of fallout” will give you as much radioactive iodine as you get when you have your thyroid checked.......To Read More.....

The Politically Powerful Control Men with Their Emotions, Not Their Minds

Art Robinson

In his famous tragedy, William Shakespeare has Julius Caesar say, “Let me have men about me that are fat: Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights: Yond Cassias has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”

With rare exceptions, those who seek or hold political power usually control men with their emotions rather than their minds. They prefer people who can be easily manipulated by oration, by imagery, and by fear, greed, and envy.

The media-produced emotional world of vicarious violence, trivialized sex, primitive primal “music,” and nonexistent morality and ethics of today is ideal for those who seek to manipulate unthinking Americans. The television-addicted public is saturated with whatever “thoughts” the controllers want them to “think,” and polls are continually taken to see whether their propaganda is having the desired effect. This is the “education” that is most desired.......To Read More....

USNAS Estimates DDT Saved 500 Milion Lives Before it was Banned

By Art Robinson

Readers of Access to Energy have repeatedly, over the past decade, been reminded of a terrible and tragic circumstance: Somewhere on the Earth, on average every 12 seconds, a child dies of DDT-preventable malaria.

The United States National Academy of Sciences estimated that DDT saved 500 million lives before it was banned. The discoverer of DDT was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Then came Silent Spring — a book filled with deliberate falsehoods and blatantly marketed unreasoning and unjustified fear. The burgeoning enviro movement chose these lies for one of their first big campaigns. This campaign coincided with the rise of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was in search of a big win with which to promote itself. The EPA studied the subject and its own scientific review board reported that – DDT is harmless to the environment and is a very beneficial substance that should not be banned.

Politics prevailed, however, over reason. DDT was banned, and the U.S. government spread that ban throughout the world by tying it to all sorts of international programs.........To Read More....

Student “Loans”

by Art Robinson

“The Student Loan Bubble: Gambling with America’s Future” by Addison Quale, published by the Peter Schiff organization, provides some statistics on student loans in the United States.

Totaling more than $ 1.2 trillion, student loans now exceed credit card debt and are about 15% as much as mortgage debt. Between 2005 and 2013, student loans grew more than 300%.

With 23% of these loans non-performing, the expected current loan loss to taxpayers is about $250 billion. Projections of trends provides an estimate of $750 billion lost over the next 10 years.
While this is one significant factor in the financial instability of the United States, it is far more important in the lives and success of young Americans.

Why do students have this debt?.........To Read More...

The “Greening” of Vladimir Vernadsky: How The Russellites Sabotage Science

by William Jones

While the name Vladimir Vernadsky is still not as widely known here in the United States as it should be, given his prominence as one of the greatest scientific thinkers of the last century, the prevalent view of Vernadsky is largely based on a fraud perpetrated by the acolytes of that Malthusian genocidalist, Bertrand Russell, whom economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche so aptly labeled the most “evil man in this century.” To the extent Vernadsky is known within the American scientific community, he is largely seen as some sort of early ecological guru. The fraud of this view, tragically, has also become prevalent within Russia itself, where there is less excuse for it, as Vernadsky’s works have been widely publicized in his native language.

His name is often equated with that of wacko Gaia worshipper, James Lovelock, who belatedly also labeled himself a “Vernadskyian,” although Vernadsky’s world-view was, in fact, diametrically opposed to that Greenie mystic...........Unlike the Greenies who believe that mankind should shut down its industrial activity in order to become “one with nature,” Vernadsky believed that it was precisely man’s creative ability to develop his technology, to develop new ideas resulting in productive breakthroughs, that provided man with essentially “unlimited resources.” While insisting that such advances be implemented with scientific rigor, he was invariably opposed to placing restrictions on continued technological progress. Indeed, without such progress, Vernadsky knew the human race would quickly be on the road to extinction ..........To Read More....

Monday, August 14, 2017

OPEC Members Continue Non-compliance

Written by  Friday, 11 August 2017

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) noted in its latest report released on Friday that non-compliance among OPEC’s members, and those non-members who also agreed to cut oil production, increased again in July. Non-compliance is the death knell for any cartel, and OPEC is no exception.  Specifically, non-compliance among the cartel’s members rose to 25 percent in July, the highest since the agreement was inked in January. Among non-OPEC members who signed on to that agreement, non-compliance was at 33 percent in July...........OPEC has only two tools at its disposal: control of production, and words. As the cartel control of production thanks to increasing noncompliance by its members, it must rely on words. In anticipation of the report from the IEA, OPEC held a meeting with some of the non-complying members earlier in the week, calling them to task for their waywardness (“laggards” was the term used) and then ending the meeting with a press release designed to soothe the skeptics: “All [laggards] expressed their full support of the existing monitoring mechanism and their willingness to cooperate.”

This changes nothing. The reality is that the cartel’s increased fraying at the edges could threaten its very existence.......To Read More....

My Take - OPEC is doomed - good ridence - couldn't happen to a more deserving group, and fracking is the reason.  Fracking is going to change the way the world works, far more than many realize or wish. 


 

IMF Boss Threatens to Ditch U.S. for Communist China, Again

Written by  Thursday, 10 August 2017

The chief of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde (shown), again threatened that the controversial globalist institution she runs could move its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Beijing. It is the second time the IMF chief has made the threat publicly in recent years. And it comes as the globalist establishment openly grooms the mass-murdering Communist Chinese dictatorship for a leading role in what top globalists and communists often refer to as the “New World Order.”

Speaking at an event hosted by the Center for Global Development, a left-wing globalist think tank funded by taxpayers and fervent globalists such as Bill Gates, George Soros, and the Rockefellers, Lagarde noted that emerging economies were growing quickly. “Which might very well mean, that if we have this conversation in 10 years time ... we might not be sitting in Washington, D.C.,” said Lagarde, who was convicted of “negligence” late last year as part of an official corruption scandal. “We'll do it in our Beijing head office.”  ...........To Read More....

My Take - the IMF is a offshoot of the Bretton Woods agreement toward the end of WWII.  Well, we're coming to the end of that era and I think we'll all be happy to wave Lagarde goodbye when she moves to China.  My question is: why is she waiting?  Go now - please!

Oh, one more thing.  Their foundational economic philosophy of central planning and economic control has left their banking system in serious trouble, compounded by their concept of total employment versus profitability.  When the illusional Chinese economy collapses, which I'm expecting it to do in not too many years from now - she will have to stay there. The IFM is moribund and China's economy will soon be. 

Some Uplifting News about Race in America

August 13, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
The racist march in Charlottesville, VA, was awful news. The vehicular murder of a woman by one of the racists is even worse news.  The good news is that almost everyone in the nation is united in condemning the marchers.  I especially like what Senator Ben Sasse said about how America isn’t an ethnic identity, but rather a nation of ideals.  It’s also good news is that the free market punishes racism.  That’s because people who make decisions based on irrational hatred are less efficient and productive and therefore lose market share.

Indeed, here’s the abstract of an encouraging study on that topic.
Economic theory has long maintained that employers pay a price for engaging in racial discrimination. According to Gary Becker’s seminal work on this topic and the rich literature that followed, racial preferences unrelated to productivity are costly and, in a competitive market, should drive discriminatory employers out of business. …This research pairs an experimental audit study of racial discrimination in employment with an employer database capturing information on establishment survival, examining the relationship between observed discrimination and firm longevity. Results suggest that employers who engage in hiring discrimination are less likely to remain in business six years later.
Indeed, another academic study showed that racist managers result in a less-productive workforce.
Examining the performance of cashiers in a French grocery store chain, we find that manager bias negatively affects minority job performance. In the stores studied, cashiers work with different managers on different days and their schedules are determined quasi-randomly. When minority cashiers, but not majority cashiers, are scheduled to work with managers who are biased (as determined by an Implicit Association Test), they are absent more often, spend less time at work, scan items more slowly, and take more time between customers. Manager bias has consequences for the average performance of minority workers: while on average minority and majority workers perform equivalently, on days where managers are unbiased, minorities perform significantly better than do majority workers. This appears to be because biased managers interact less with minorities, leading minorities to exert less effort.
Writing for Capitalism, Richard Ebeling explains how markets punish racism.
…one of the most important aspects of the free market is precisely that it tempers irrational action. The market ultimately rewards producers by one test and only one test: can a producer deliver the desired goods and services more cheaply and with better quality than another producer who is competing for the same consumer business? Any employer who fails to judge the usefulness of the resources he can buy or hire — including labor — according to the standards of cost and quality efficiency will run the risk of losing business he otherwise could gain. The market, therefore, penalizes those who judge prospective employees on the basis of their race rather than on the talents and expertise they could contribute to the production of a commodity desired by the consuming public. Why? Because the profit motive acts as an incentive for some businessmen to set aside their racial prejudices for the sake of maximizing their net revenues. And, over time, this puts pressure on an increasing number of prospective employers to do the same — if they are to avoid losing out to their market rivals. …The free market…is the great destroyer of racial prejudices and the great liberator of the individual from the bondage of racial barriers.
But let’s move beyond academic analysis.  Given the horrid events in Charlottesville, I want to share some uplifting stories, sort of like the heartwarming story from Ferguson, MO, that I wrote about in 2014.  I have four examples of racial progress from both blacks and whites.  Here’s an example from the New York Times of how people should think and behave.
What the black state trooper saw was a civilian in distress. Yes, this was a white man, attending a white supremacist rally in front of the South Carolina State House. And yes, he was wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with a swastika. But the trooper concentrated only on this: an older civilian, spent on the granite steps. Overcome, it appeared, by an unforgiving July sun… The trooper motioned for help from the Columbia fire chief, who is also black. Then, with a firm grip, he began walking the wilted white man up the steps toward the air-conditioned oasis of the State House. …The meaning of this image — of a black officer helping a white supremacist, both in uniform — depends on the beholder. You might see a refreshing coda to the Confederate flag controversy… But what does the trooper see? His name is Leroy Smith, and he happens to be the director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. …Mr. Smith said he was taken aback by the worldwide attention but hoped the image would help society move past the recent spasms of hate and violence… Asked why he thinks the photo has had such resonance, he gave a simple answer: Love. “I think that’s the greatest thing in the world — love,” said the burly, soft-spoken trooper, who is just shy of 50. “And that’s why so many people were moved by it.”
I have to imagine that Mr. Smith experienced more than enough racism as he grew up.  Yet not only did he become a successful professional, he developed an attitude that should inspire people of every color.  Here’s a story that’s also amazing. It’s about a black guy who has a mission of saving Klan members.
When someone Daryl Davis has befriended leaves the Ku Klux Klan, he often gives Davis the robe he wore as a member of that group. Over the years, Davis, by his own account, has amassed dozens of these retired jerseys of hate. …Davis goes to Klan rallies. He has invited Klansmen to his home and visited them. He calls some of them “friend” even as they call him inferior. In one moving segment, the film recounts how Davis met the daughters of an incarcerated Klan member at the airport and drove them to the prison so that they could visit their father. Eventually the family noticed that none of the man’s Klan colleagues were serving or loving them as much as Davis was. Their ideology of hate collapsed in the face of undeserved compassion. …Part of what makes him so effective at talking to the Klan is that he has read every book he can find on the subject. He asks questions. He gathers information. He listens. …“I never set out to convert anyone,” he says in the film. Through a mix of diplomacy and Socratic questioning, he will sometimes see a racist begin to think about his ideology rather than simply proclaim it. Eventually, “they end up converting themselves.” …Davis believes we will be better and stronger and healthier and happier together as one nation than as a segregated one. …Ornstein asks Davis what he is feeling as he watches a video profile of former racists who have left the Klan. What Davis says next was both profound and powerful, a message of hope to a nation… “These are my fellow Americans.”
Wow. I hope some day to be half as good a person as Mr. Davis. The Washington Post has a heartwarming story about a kid who was raised to be racist and ultimately discarded that poisonous form of collectivism.
Derek Black was already hosting his own radio show. He had launched a white nationalist website for children…He was not only a leader of racial politics but also a product of them. His father, Don Black, had created Stormfront, the Internet’s first and largest white nationalist site, with 300,000 users and counting. His mother, Chloe, had once been married to David Duke, one of the country’s most infamous racial zealots, and Duke had become Derek’s godfather. They had raised Derek at the forefront of the movement, and some white nationalists had begun calling him “the heir.”
Then he went to college.
Derek finished high school… He decided he wanted to study medieval European history, so he applied to New College of Florida, a top-ranked liberal arts school with a strong history program. …New College was in Sarasota, three hours across the state, and it was the first time Derek had lived away from home. …He watched zombie movies with students from his dorm, a group that included a Peruvian immigrant and an Orthodox Jew.Maybe they were usurpers, as his father had said, but Derek also kind of liked them, and gradually he went from keeping his convictions quiet to actively disguising them.
But then he was outed.
He left after one semester to study abroad in Germany, because he wanted to learn the language. He kept in touch with New College partly through a student message board, known as the forum, whose updates were automatically sent to his email. One night in April 2011, Derek noticed a message posted to all students at 1:56 a.m. It was written by someone Derek didn’t know — an upperclassman who had been researching terrorist groups online when he stumbled across a familiar face. “Have you seen this man?” the message read, and beneath those words was a picture that was unmistakable. The red hair. The cowboy hat. “Derek black: white supremacist, radio host…new college student???” the post read. “How do we as a community respond?”By the time Derek returned to campus for the next semester, more than a thousand responses had been written to that post. …He returned to Sarasota, applied for permission to live outside of required student housing and rented a room a few miles away.A few of his friends from the previous year emailed to say they felt betrayed, and strangers sometimes flipped him off from a safe distance on campus.
  Here’s the part of the story that’s really great.
One of Derek’s acquaintances from that first semester decided he might have an idea. He started reading Stormfront and listening to Derek’s radio show. Then, in late September, he sent Derek a text message. “What are you doing Friday night?” he wrote. …Matthew had spent a few weeks debating whether it was a good idea. He and Derek had lived near each other in the dorm, but they hadn’t spoken since Derek was exposed on the forum. Matthew, who almost always wore a yarmulke, had experienced enough anti-Semitism in his life to be familiar with the KKK, David Duke and Stormfront. He went back and read some of Derek’s posts on the site from 2007 and 2008: “Jews are NOT white.” “Jews worm their way into power over our society.” “They must go.” Matthew decided his best chance to affect Derek’s thinking was not to ignore him or confront him, but simply to include him. “Maybe he’d never spent time with a Jewish person before,” Matthew remembered thinking.
And here’s what happened.  It’s a long excerpt, but very much worth reading.
Nobody mentioned white nationalism or the forum, out of respect for Matthew. Derek was quiet and polite, and he came back the next week and then the next, until after a few months, nobody felt all that threatened… On the rare occasions when Derek directed conversation during those dinners, it was about the particulars of Arabic grammar, or marine aquatics, or the roots of Christianity in medieval times. He came across as smart and curious, and mostly he listened. He heard a Peruvian immigrant tell stories about attending a high school that was 90 percent Hispanic. He asked Matthew about his opinions on Israel and Palestine. They were both still wary of each other: Derek wondered whether Matthew was trying to get him drunk so he would say offensive things that would appear on the forum; Matthew wondered whether Derek was trying to cultivate a Jewish friend to protect himself against charges of anti-Semitism. But they also liked each other, and they started playing pool at a bar near campus. Some members of the Shabbat group gradually began to ask Derek about his views, and he occasionally clarified them in conversations and emails throughout 2011 and 2012. …Derek was becoming more and more confused about exactly what he believed. Sometimes he looked through posts on Stormfront, hoping to reaffirm his ideology, but now the message threads about Obama’s birth certificate or DNA tests for citizenship just seemed bizarre and conspiratorial. He stopped posting on Stormfront. He began inventing excuses to get out of his radio show, leaving his father alone on the air each morning to explain why Derek wouldn’t be calling in. …“Get out of this,” one of his Shabbat friends emailed a few weeks after Derek’s graduation in May 2013, urging Derek to publicly disavow white nationalism. “Get out before it ruins some part of your future more than it already irreparably has.” Derek stayed near campus to housesit for a professor after graduation, and he began to consider making a public statement. He knew he no longer believed in white nationalism, and he had made plans to distance himself from his past by changing part of his name and moving across the country for graduate school. His instinct was to slip away quietly, but his advocacy had always been public — a legacy of radio shows, Internet posts, TV appearances, and an annual conference on racial tactics.
But Derek decided he needed a public break.
He took out his computer and began writing a statement. “A large section of the community I grew up in believes strongly in white nationalism, and members of my family whom I respect greatly, particularly my father, have long been resolute advocates for that cause. I was not prepared to risk driving a wedge in those relationships. “After a great deal of thought since then, I have resolved that it is in the best interests of everyone involved to be honest about my slow but steady disaffiliation from white nationalism. I can’t support a movement that tells me I can’t be a friend to whomever I wish or that other people’s races require me to think of them in a certain way or be suspicious at their advancements. “The things I have said as well as my actions have been harmful to people of color, people of Jewish descent, activists striving for opportunity and fairness for all. I am sorry for the damage done.”
If you read the whole story, you’ll get fascinating details on how Derek’s family dealt with his epiphany.  You’ll also learned that he became a Hillary voter, which is disappointing since he should have become a libertarian.  But that’s a minor detail. The main thing is that he cast aside the collectivism of racism and group-think.

Here’s another story about a white guy that did the right thing.
Ten years after getting a tattoo, the expression on a stranger’s face changed a man’s heart and mind about his tattoo. …A man, who declined KVUE’s request for an interview, recently called Texas Bob’s asking Barr for a cover up. “He’s got an old tattoo of a skull with a rebel flag bandana around his head,” he said. An expression on a woman’s face changed his heart. “An older black lady saw him and saw the tattoo and her expression changed as she saw it,” Barr said. “That seemed like it just broke his heart a little bit and he decided that day that it was time to do something about it.” Barr blacked out the rebel flag bandana on the man’s tattoo. “He seemed like a little weight had been lifted from him,” Barr said.
By the way, it’s very possible that the guy didn’t have any racist motive when he first got the tattoo. He may simply have been from the south and didn’t think beyond that. Or maybe he just thought it was cool, or edgy.

But it is heartwarming that he changed his mind – not because he was forced to – but because he saw that it hurt someone else’s feelings. That’s a very good type of empathy.
And this isn’t a one-off story, at least if this report from the Washington Post is any indication.
Randy Stiles learned the hard way: Having a Confederate flag tattoo that reads “Southern Pride” with a noose hanging off it isn’t a path to success. “A lot of public ridicule came from it,” Stiles, 25, said this month as he waited to get the flag on his right forearm removed. “I’ve got to get it gone.” Eliminating a tattoo like that takes hours under the needle and usually costs as much as $500. But Southside Tattoo in Brooklyn Park, Md., is removing the hate for free, covering up racist and gang-related tattoos as part of its mission.
I realize that these stories are just anecdotes, but I suspect that 90 percent-plus of Americans have the right aspirations when it comes to race.
Professor Glenn Reynolds wrote about this positive sentiment back in 2015.
…if you leave the politicians, the pundits and the crazies aside, ordinary Americans are behaving quite differently. Maybe we should be paying more attention to that bit of good news. And maybe so should the politicians and pundits. After the Charleston shooting, citizens of South Carolina, both black and white, joined hands, and more than 15,000 of them marched in a show of love and friendship. …20,000 people show up for a multiracial “All Lives Matter” march in Birmingham, Ala. It could be the largest such march there since MLK. Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris were there, but that’s not all. …“Alveda King, a niece of civil rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., marched in the front row. Bishop Jim Lowe, pastor of the predominantly black Guiding Light Church in Birmingham, co-organized the march with Beck and marched with him at the front. As a child, Lowe attended Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where the march started, a headquarters church for the civil rights movement in Birmingham. Lowe and his sisters were in the church when a KKK bomb blew up the church and killed four little girls on Sept. 15, 1963.” …Once again the national news media, noted Washington Post blogger David Weigel, “was largely absent.” No time for positivity where race is concerned, I guess. Meanwhile, in Houston, more than a thousand people of all races gathered at an impromptu memorial for murdered Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth. As station KHOU reported, “Those gathered lit candles and gave hugs, hoping to turn the murder from hate to healing.” From hate to healing: That’s what’s bubbling up from the American people, even as our political leadership sows division. Which will win out? That depends on what we all do next, doesn’t it? The American people have a strong spirit of egalitarianism and kindness, one that shows over and over again. But our political class sees more gain in promoting hatred and division. Who will win? If we’re lucky, our “leaders” will follow the people on this.
Incidentally, we obviously have some problems still to solve in America, but we should be proud of how far we’ve come.  Especially compared to the rest of the world, as illustrated by this map.


Courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute, here’s some more evidence of societal progress.
Opinions about interracial dating and marriage on a personal level have…evolved significantly. In 1971, 48 percent nationally said they would not approve of their own children dating someone of another race, while 28 percent said they would approve. In 2014, nearly eight in ten Americans said it wouldn’t matter at all if someone in their family was going to marry someone of another race. Nine percent said they would be happy about it, while 11 percent said they would be unhappy. Today, a majority of whites (54 percent) say they would neither favor nor oppose a close relative marrying a black person. Blacks are slightly less ambivalent, with 42 percent of them giving that response about a close relative marrying a white person. Fifty-two percent favor the idea compared to 30 percent of whites. Along with these changes in public opinion, interracial marriage is also becoming more common in the United States. Pew Research Center analysis of the 2013 American Community Survey found that 6.3 percent of all marriages that year were between people of different races, compared to less than 1 percent in 1970.
And progress isn’t just about attitudes.  Thomas Edsall of the New York Times wrote an encouraging column about economic progress among African-Americans.
…the black upper middle class is ascending the economic ladder at a faster rate than its white counterpart. … William Julius Wilson, a sociologist at Harvard and the author of “The Truly Disadvantaged,”…wrote…”One of the most significant changes in recent decades is the remarkable gains in income among more affluent blacks. When we adjust for inflation to 2014 dollars, the percentage of black Americans earning at least $75,000 more than doubled from 1970 to 2014, to 21 percent. Those making $100,000 or more almost quadrupled to 13 percent (in contrast white Americans saw a less striking increase, from 11 to 26 percent).” In an NBER paper issued in November 2016, Patrick Bayer, an economist at Duke, and Kerwin Charles, a professor of public policy at the University of Chicago, published comparable findings, reporting that “higher quantile black men have experienced substantial gains in both relative earnings levels and their positional rank in the white earnings distribution.”
Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal also opined about black progress.
During a period of legal discrimination and violent hostility to their advancement, blacks managed to make unprecedented gains that have never been repeated. Black poverty fell to 47% from 87% between 1940 and 1960—before the implementation of Great Society programs that receive so much credit for poverty reduction. The percentage of black white-collar workers quadrupled between 1940 and 1970—before the implementation of affirmative-action policies that supposedly produced today’s black middle class. In New York City, the earnings of black workers tripled between 1940 and 1950, and over the next decade the city saw a 55% increase in the number of black lawyers, a 56% increase in the number of black doctors and a 125% increase in the number of black teachers.
Let’s hope all this progress continues.

In part, this means public policy reforms such as school choice and welfare reform. Another part of the answer is for government to simply get out of the way since even policies designed to help minorities can backfire.

But mostly this is a question of individual morality. We should all try to be like Daryl Davis and the rest of the people in the above stories.