Wednesday, November 30, 2016

P&D Today, November 30, 2016

Voter Recount Hypocrisy
 
Foreign Relations
 
Hillarygate
 
Media
 
Leftism

Hill and Jill Get Together

By A.F. Branco November 30, 2016


 
 

Voter Fraud Evidence Ignored by Liberal Media Attack on Trump

By Dave Jolly

Just when the storms and protests caused by Hillary Clinton losing the presidential election to Donald Trump were beginning to calm down, Jill Stein of the Green Party, just poured more gasoline on the fires to get them burning again.

Stein has raised nearly $6 million to pay for election recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. She has already filed the motion for a recount for a recount in Wisconsin, filed the motion yesterday in Pennsylvania and will file the motion in Michigan on Wednesday.

Stein says her wanting a recount has nothing to do with wanting Hillary Clinton declared the winner, but has everything to do with making sure the elections were accurate and that there wasn’t any hacking that could have skewed the election results. Yet, with Stein receiving such a small percentage of the vote, it seems obvious that her motive is try to get a woman – Hillary Clinton – in the White House as President......To Read More.....

Hypocritical Democrats and the Clinton Campaign Oppose a Recount in North Carolina!

By Joe Scudder

The North Carolina recount is based on a much closer race than in Pennsylvania, but Democrats object. Here’s a typical news story about the North Carolina recount:   This story leaves out Pat McCrory’s case for a recount even though the vote was far closer than in states that Jilll Stein is contesting........So what did Hillary Clinton’s election lawyer say—the same lawyer who has supported recounts in states that Trump won? Marc Elias commented: “Instead of attacking North Carolina voters and undermining our democratic process, Governor McCrory needs to accept his defeat and concede.”

Undermining our democratic process?....To Read More....

My Take - I saw the Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, being interviewed on Fox News yesterday claiming she would have pursued this challenge even if Hillary would have won because she's soooo concerned about making sure the American Public  can have confidence in the system. 

Horsepucky!

The only states being challenged are states won by Trump.....and won hugely by Trump.  Not one state won by Hillary has been challenged so, including those states the margins of victory were small.  In those states the possibility of overturning - just based on the close margin - has some possibility.  But she and her fellow co-conspirators have done nothing about it.  Worse yet - no matter what happens she can't win!  Why is a person who is incapable of winning allowed to make such challenges?  And if Hillary and her cabal aren't behind this why doesn't she come out and say finally and irrevocably - the election is over....period? 

If anyone out there believes this woman is only concerned about assuring America of the legitimacy of the system - I have a fertile field at the top of Mt. Everest I could sell them cheaply. 

One more thing - I think Trump is right - I believe there were millions of illegal aliens who voted in this election and I think Trump should take up Jill Stein's banner and investigate that, especially in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York,  New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, Virginia, Washington D.C., New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.  Especially those states with a large number of sanctuary cities.  Especially since it's been documented over three million fraudulent votes have been recorded.

 Just to make sure everyone knows election fraud will not be allowed to standAfter all - that's what Jill Stein really wants....Isn't it?

If Putin Is So Great, Why Are So Many Russians Getting HIV?

By Alex Berezow — November 28, 2016 @ American Council on Science and Health

Like an unlucky penny, Vladimir Putin keeps showing up in the American media. From allegations of election tampering to hacking emails, Mr. Putin chooses to stay relevant through notoriety. This has, bizarrely, earned him admirers all over the world.

For many reasons, this admiration is deeply misguided. Mr. Putin heads a kleptocracy and imprisons or murders political dissidents. And, as a shocking new essay in Foreign Policy explains, he fiddles while an HIV epidemic blazes through his country.
Today, there are an estimated 1.5 million people who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in Russia, which has a population of 140 million. Although the spread of HIV has been stemmed in sub-Saharan Africa, in Russia the rate of HIV infection is rising 10 to 15 percent each year — a pace comparable to the infection rate in the United States in the 1980s, when the basic biology of HIV was poorly understood and the antiretroviral drugs used to treat the disease were years away from discovery.
To demonstrate just how backward Russia's public health policy is, let's compare its HIV statistics to those of the United States.

Prevalence is the ratio of people who currently suffer from a disease. More than 1% of Russians have HIV (1.5 million HIV patients in a total population of 143.5 million). The United States has about 1.2 million HIV patients out of a total population of roughly 319 million, which converts into a prevalence of 0.4%. Thus, on a per capita basis, Russia has roughly 2.5 times as many HIV patients as the United States.

The really scary number, however, is incidence, which measures the number of new cases of disease. Public health campaigns in the U.S. have caused the HIV infection rate to flatten. In 2014, there were just over 44,000 new cases of HIV diagnosed in America, giving an incidence of 13.8 per 100,000 people.* In Russia, the incidence rate is 35.7 per 100,000 people, again 2.5 times worse than the U.S. And it's increasing.

Many factors are colluding to create an AIDS epidemic in Russia. According to Stratfor, the problem began mostly with drug users. Now, sexual transmission and drug use share roughly equal blame.

The government's negligence, lack of resources, and refusal to implement modern treatment regimens greatly exacerbate the problem.

For all of its obvious flaws, the American public health system is very good. That is never more obvious than when one travels to a country that lacks even the most basic health services.

*HIV incidence varies widely by U.S. state. CDC data shows that Montana has the lowest incidence (1.9 new cases per 100,000 people), while Louisiana has the highest incidence (36.6 per 100,000). (Washington, DC has an incidence of 66.9 per 100,000). By comparison, the worst regions in Russia, according to The Moscow Times, have an incidence greater than 100 per 100,000 (or 1 per 1,000). 

Democrats Plotting to Overthrow the Election Results

By 317 Comments

As of November 22, at least six Democrats in the Electoral College have joined a movement to keep Donald Trump from getting to 270 votes. On Dec. 19, the 538 members of the Electoral College will meet in their respective state capitals to make Trump’s victory official. Until they cast their votes, Trump’s win is merely theoretical. We’ve never seen the Electoral College rebel en masse, but it’s constitutionally possible.  The electors plotting against Trump know they are up against extraordinarily slim odds; they would have to convince at least 37 Republican electors to join their cause, some of whom would have to break state law to do so. And even in the unlikely event that they succeeded, the decision would then go to the GOP-dominated House of Representatives. You know, the guys who were all sporting red MAGA hats a week ago?

But that doesn’t matter to the electors, who have another motive. They want to begin chipping away at the legitimacy of the Electoral College and set the stage for its eventual abolition.  “I do think that a byproduct would be a serious look into Electoral College reform,” said Micheal Baca, a Colorado elector pushing for rebellion.  Another elector told Politico that chaos was the point......To Read More....

 

How Will Trump Deal With the United Nations?

Patriot News Daily Admin

There’s a piece in the New York Times this weekend about the United Nations and its role in a Donald Trump world. While the article notes some of Trump’s complimentary words about the UN, it also points out some of the areas where the international body and the Trump administration could find themselves at sharp odds:
Sarah F. Cliffe, a former United Nations assistant secretary general […] said she expected a reprise of the tensions that erupted between the United States and the United Nations during the administration of President George W. Bush.
[…]
But Ms. Cliffe said Mr. Trump may also find the United Nations useful.
“He prides himself on making deals,” she said. “The U.N. is the forum where countries make deals in their own national interests but that also does some collective good.”
The Times goes on to note several areas where Trump and the UN may not be able to bridge the gap: climate change, refugees, and the Iran nuclear deal.  On the first, Trump has steadfastly maintained that he does not believe that climate change is a serious threat to the United States. He has called it a hoax, and his early prospects for the incoming administration appear to reflect that view. Trump and many other Republicans have called for the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris agreement......To Read More....
 

What’s the Future for FBI Director James Comey?

Patriot News Daily Admin

At various times throughout the election, FBI Director James Comey found himself the subject of intense criticism from both the Democrats and the Republicans.  Comey, who took the post in 2013, attracted the spotlight in July when he announced the conclusion to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Speaking in place of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was forced to all-but-recuse herself from the case after a meeting with Bill Clinton caused an uproar, Comey ripped into Hillary’s “extreme carelessness” before ultimately announcing that she would not face charges.

From that point until late October, Republicans – including Donald Trump – accused Comey of bowing to the pressures of the Obama administration. Pointing to specific crimes that Hillary Clinton indisputably committed, they questioned Comey’s assertion that “no reasonable prosecutor” would indict the former secretary of state. Sources inside the FBI reported that agents were handing in their badges in disgust.  But then came the letter......To Read More....

CNN – The “Compromised News Network”

By Jerry Johnson November 28, 2016

During the 1990s, CNN became known as the “Clinton News Network.”  This was due to the fact that the producers of the 24-hour news channel appeared to be in the tank for Bill Clinton.
No matter what scandal broke, CNN would never ask then President Bill Clinton difficult questions.  In fact, many of their commentators and producers gave him a pass, often making excuses for his poor decisions and bad behavior.

After Bill Clinton left office, many jokingly called the station the “Communist News Network” due to its left wing leanings.  Conservatives were blasted daily by the anchors and commentators while liberal Democrats were painted as the saviors of the world........Because CNN, the Compromised News Network, has proven that it is not a real news outlet.  It is a propaganda machine!.....To Read More...

Embracing Evil: How the Progressive Left Proved its (Im)Moral Hypocrisy

Castro became “the last Communist, railing on the empty, decrepit street corner that Cuba became under his rule.”  Castro “reneged on his promise of free elections, executed thousands imprisoned tens of thousands…and made his isle a pawn in the Cold War.”  Castro “rigidly controlled the arts, the press, the airwaves. [His] efficient secret police force was aided by neighborhood spies and mobs.  Even his daughter said Fidel was “a tyrant–an absolute ruler unrestrained by law.” Senator Ben Sasse quoting the Miami Herald

By Onan Coca

I am a first-generation American. I am the son and grandson of immigrants who arrived on America’s golden shores with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Literally. The liberal outpouring of grief for Fidel Castro is both disgusting and disrespectful to me and to the millions of other Cuban-Americans whose lives were uprooted by the communist strongman today’s liberals seem infatuated with. The man was a Monster in the same vein as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Benito Mussolini, the Khmer Rouge, Idi Amin, and every other dictator whom liberals have pretended to detest. The people of Ireland and Canada, in particular, should be embarrassed at the displays of condolences delivered by their elected leaders. Fidel was not a “controversial” figure — he was a mass murdering oppressor who only cared about himself......To Read More...

4 Categories of Castro Apologetics, and the Anti-Individualism That Knits Them Together

Bad things happen when you wave off cases of individual repression, either home or abroad.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

P&D Today, November 29, 2016

Image Caption

Obama's Peace through Hope Failure

By A.F. Branco November 28, 2016

Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Team Takes Shape

Saying “more” and “no” are keys to success.

Roger Kaplan

In forming a conservative foreign policy leadership, you need to hear two words: “More” and “No.” m It appears these are the words President-elect Donald Trump wants to hear as he puts together the team that will defend the United States over the next years.   More defines our defense capability. You cannot have too many guns. You cannot have too many ships and planes and tanks.

Ronald Reagan did not win the long struggle against Soviet communism alone, of course; there was Lech Walesa and John Paul II, there were the freedom fighters in Budapest and Berlin, Cuba, Central America, the Hindu Kush, the savannahs and bush across Africa who resisted the totalitarian imperialism. Often they resisted successfully, with or without our help. Sometimes we let them down, misled them, betrayed them even, and we cannot forget these failures.

All great nations make terrible mistakes of statecraft. The betrayal and abandonment of South Vietnam was about as bad as it got. Ronald Reagan made some whoppers, but he kept remembering those two words. And applying them. Then he said four. “We win. They lose.”........Foggy Bottom is foreign territory; as used to be said, it would be well if there were an American interests section there........To Read More....

Global View: After the Election by Peter Zeihan

 

I try to avoid commenting on U.S. politics – anything I say tends to anger at least one-third of the room. But from time to time the United States take a turn that elevates its internal issues to international import. Of late, evolutions in the American political system has taken such a turn. So here we go …

The American governing system isn’t small. U.S. local, state, and national governments are the country’s first-, second-, and third-largest employers. Combined, their staff is more than 22 million. So long as Americans disagree over how to do things, parallel structures are required to manage those disagreements in the context of the governmental apparatus. Those parallel structures are the Republicans and Democrats. With people constantly moving in and out of office at various levels, the parties need their own deep bench of support personnel to bulwark candidates-turned-mayors and representatives and senators and governors and presidents. The American parties are not traditionally tools of ideology, but tools of governance.

One, among many, outcomes is that various private interests get involved in building that bench of support. That way they can influence government decision-making both indirectly (via lobbyists) and directly (via elected officials and their staff). That takes money, and for decades the folks with the most money in the political system were those in the business community. The result was a somewhat revolving door of business leaders giving cash and staff to the parties to get people into government. When those people left government they returned to business to make more money. Some of that money then flowed back into influencing the political parties and government, and so the wheel turned. It was pretty rare for a stark-raving-mad politician to rise to the top. Business hates risk and likes continuity. Staffing choices reflected that.

Critics called this corrupt -- and they had a point. Throughout the 1990s a consensus built that there was too much money in politics. The campaign finance reform effort was designed to minimize, and ideally eliminate, large donations to political campaigns, and thus root-out the perceived corruption. This weakened the business community’s connection to the political process to the point that it really didn’t have a candidate in the 2016 presidential run. This is the first piece of the parties’ unravelling: the single-largest and most cohesive and most status-quo-vested wedge of the political system was shown the door.

The second piece was even more disruptive: technology. In the pre-PC and smartphone age your options for contributing to campaigns of any sort were limited. You could give your time, or you could write a check and send it via snail mail. Checks of $20 or less were barely worth the man hours required to process them, so not a lot of effort went into bushbeating. In 2000 the landscape started to shift. Electronic checks, online bill pay, and money-by-text steadily reduced processing costs to nearly zero, even as social media techs enabled fundraising campaigns to be spread by email, SMS, Facebook, and Twitter at negligible cost. There’s now room for the masses to play politics with their cash.

The third factor almost seems prosaic: redistricting. State legislatures dominated by single parties would redraw their congressional districts’ boundaries, excising or including this or that population to build up their party’s electoral presence in the House of Representatives. The majority of such districts are now “safe” seats.

This all makes American politics loud and messy.
  • Courtesy of redistricting, the real competition for most House seats is no longer at the general election, but instead at the primary level among party stalwarts. That pushes the debate from the center to the edges.
  • At those edges, single-issue-voter money comes hugely into play. While businesses are interested in stability and continuity, individuals have axes to grind. Most Americans find it sexier to donate to specific causes and issues than to political parties and general platforms.
  • Single-issue penetration into both party and government politics polarized the system away from the consensus-building required to get on with the business of governing, and into razor-sharp disputes on issues of principle. Disagreement didn’t lead to bargaining and compromise, but was instead perceived as treasonous or flat-out evil.
  • Social media’s presence in the news cycle enabled people with a lot of extra time to prat on endlessly about this or that issue, blissfully unmoored from social trends, economic developments, decorum, facts, or reality. Biased or even fake “news” -- much of it generated by folks outside of journalism -- is now par for the course.
In such an environment the parties are largely incapable of appealing to the political center (by definition the political center is made up of people who are not single-issue voters). The parties have devolved from being tools of governance to vehicles for narrowly defined ideologies. America has become a great place to have an argument, but without functional parties it is almost impossible to have a debate.

American political candidates now break along a simple line.

On one side are those who cater to the ideological extremes to harness the increasingly-radicalized party structure: people like Ted Cruz, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Michele Bachmann. On the other are those who can exist independent of the party structure and run their own campaigns: the Bush family, the Clinton Foundation, Trump Inc., and even Barack Obama. For them the parties were useful in a supporting role, but all of them succeeded because of their independent wealth and/or gravitas. W. Bush won by coalescing the evangelicals into a voting block independent of the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton manipulated the Democratic Party machinery, not the other way around. Barack Obama’s popularity was built on a social media network that co-opted the Democrats; once he was in office his connections with “his” party were cool at best. Trump could not only self-fund, he succeeded despite the Republican party.

At first the Republican Party got the worst of these changes. As a rule the business community is pro-Republican, so campaign finance disproportionally impacted their bottom line. In a double-blow the Democratic Party’s coalition is a much broader sweep of the American electorate. Reduce transaction costs and the Democrats’ larger party base can funnel a larger number of small donations. Before 2010 the Republicans were always the party that could raise more money. That’s now flipped, and Democrats have been able to use their superior financial position to fund ever-larger campaigns.

The Democrat Party stalwarts looked at this turn of events and got very excited about the 2016 presidential race. As America’s leftists tell it, American conservatives are a bunch of old white rich dudes who lord over the world. Campaign finance largely ejected them from the election process, which stripped the Republican party down to its racist, sexist, homophobic dregs. Beating those dregs in a general election would be child’s play because every single minority group in the country combined with the liberal Millennials would be able to sweep the field, eliminate the Republican position in Congress, and usher in a socialist utopia.

The Democrats got it completely right. Except how blacks would vote. And gays. And Hispanics. And unions and Millennials and women. They were wrong about everything. As a result Trump captured every single swing state except Virginia, and several blue states to boot. The Republicans now control both the presidency and Congress for only the second time since World War II. Barring some truly impressive breakthroughs in geriatrics they’ll also control the Supreme Court for another couple of decades.

What is fundamentally revolutionary in my mind isn’t what has changed, but what hasn’t. The technology has changed, dispersing political power far and wide. The way money is raised has changed, enabling the issue of the moment to dominate the Internet and airwaves and national debate. The parties have changed to the point of near irrelevance. But what hasn’t changed is that most Americans are still centrists.

Fully 42% of women, 30% of Hispanics, 45% of Millennials, and 33% of Californians voted for Trump. On the other side, 41% of men, 34% of rural inhabitants, 45% of people without high school diplomas, 25% of Mormons, and 43% of Texans voted for Clinton. The American political center endures, it is just now completely unmoored from the political selection and reporting process. And so it will remain until the American political parties can regenerate themselves.

That will take a lot of soul-searching. I hear encouraging bits. For the Democrats who aren’t part of those single-party factions, it has really sunk in that every election of the past generation that their candidate lacked charisma, they’ve lost. All those single-issue voters just can’t deliver success, because their screaming pisses off left-leaning moderates (not to mention everyone else). And since all but a half dozen of the Senate seats that will be up for grabs in the 2018 bi-elections are held by Democrats, they’d best get a move on unless they want to risk a generational blow out. For the Republicans willing to stand up to Trump, there’s already a realization that a party led by those rebelling against the order can’t rebel against their own order. The Trump election is a one-shot deal.

So it isn’t as bad as it seems…in the United States anyway. In the meantime, things are looking horrible for the rest of the world. The United States is the country that guarantees global security, global trade, and global energy. There are no single-issue voters who are interested in global management. America’s bandwidth to understand -- much less discuss -- what is going on in the wider world is nil until such time that the American political parties can regenerate themselves. Until then, the superpower that makes the world work is simply absent.

Judge Jeanine Slams Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein on Election Hypocrisy

“Hillary, now that Donald Trump is looking to help you heal, looking to help heal the nation, would it be fair to say, to use your own words, ‘It’s time to give Donald Trump his chance to lead?”

By Onan Coca November 28, 2016

Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro delivered a haymaker of a monologue on Saturday night when she excoriated Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, and Democrat Party candidate Hillary Clinton for their stunning hypocrisy on free and fair elections. Stein is leading the charge in demanding a recount in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (all states won by Donald trump), even though the margin of victory was large enough to NOT trigger an automatic recount. Hypocritically, Stein isn’t seeking a recount in states where Clinton won by a slimmer margin than Trump did in these three rust belt states. To make matters worse, Clinton, who once mocked Trump for indicating he might not “accept” the election results if he lost, has now joined Stein in her efforts to upend a legal and fair election......To Read More...


OECD Economic Research Finds that Government Spending Harms Growth

November 28, 2016 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

At the risk of understatement, I’m not a fan of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Perhaps reflecting the mindset of the European governments that dominate its membership, the Paris-based international bureaucracy has morphed into a cheerleader for statist policies.

All of which was just fine from the perspective of the Obama Administration, which doubtlessly appreciated the OECD’s partisan work to promote class warfare and pimp for wasteful Keynesian spending.

What is particularly irksome to me is the way the OECD often uses dishonest methodology to advance the cause of big government.
But my disdain for the leftist political appointees who run the OECD doesn’t prevent me from acknowledging that the professional economists who work for the institution occasionally generate good statistics and analysis.

For instance, I’ve cited two  examples (here and here) of OECD research showing that spending caps are only effective fiscal rule. And I praised another OECD study that admitted the beneficial impact of tax competition. I even listed several good example of OECD research on tax policy as part of a column that ripped the bureaucracy for some very shoddy work in favor of Obama’s redistribution agenda.

And now we have some more good research to add to that limited list. A new working paper by two economists at the OECD contains some remarkable findings about the negative impact of government spending on economic performance. If you’re pressed for time, here’s the key takeaway from their research.
Governments in the OECD spend on average about 40% of GDP on the provision of public goods, services and transfers. The sheer size of the public sector has prompted a large amount of research on the link between the size of government and economic growth. …This paper investigates empirically the effect of the size and the composition of public spending on long-term growth… The main findings that emerge from the analysis are…Larger governments are associated with lower long-term growth. Larger governments also slowdown the catch-up to the productivity frontier.
For those who want more information, the working paper is filled with useful information and analysis.

Here’s one of the charts from the study, showing how government spending is allocated in OECD nations.
The report also acknowledges that there’s a lot of preexisting research showing that government spending hinders economic growth.
There is a vast empirical literature investigating the relationship between the size of the government and economic growth (see Slemrod, 1995; Myles 2009; Bergh and Henrekson, 2011 for overviews). A review by Bergh and Henrekson (2011), based on papers published in peer reviewed journals after 2000, suggested a negative relationship in OECD countries. Likewise, a recent OECD study confirmed a negative relationship between the size of government and GDP growth (Fall and Fournier, 2015). …the link between the size of government and growth may vary with the income level and could be hump-shaped (Armey, 1995). A few studies have found support for the existence of a non-linear relationship between the size of government and growth (e.g. Vedder and Gallaway, 1998; Pevcin, 2004; Chen and Lee, 2005).
By the way, the reference to “hump-shaped” means that the OECD is even aware of the Rahn Curve.
The methodology in the paper is not ideal from my perspective. For all intents and purposes, the economists compare economic performance of the OECD’s big-government nations with the growth numbers from the OECD’s not-quite-as-big-government nations. But even with that limitation, the study generates some powerful results.
…the simulation assumes that in countries where the size of government is above the average level of countries in the bottom half of the sample, the government size will gradually converge to this level (36% of GDP). Similar to the spending mix reforms, this reform is phased in over 10 years. Such a reduction in the size of the government could increase long-term GDP by about 10%, with much larger effects in some countries with currently large or ineffective governments. …a reduction of the size of government has a positive, but moderate, effect on the income of the poor. The average disposable income also rises. However, the rich gain relatively more. Finally, in countries where the government is less effective (such as Italy) the growth effect dominates and a moderate reduction of the size of government would have a large growth effect, so that it would lift all boats.
And here’s a chart showing how much more growth would be possible if the countries with really-big government downsized their public sectors to the somewhat-big level.

Even with the methodology limitations I described, these results are astounding. Potential GDP gains of more than 30 percent for Greece and Italy. Gains of more than 20 percent for Slovenia, France, and Hungary. And more than 10 percent for Belgium, Czech Republic, Portugal, and Poland.
The working paper also looks at the composition of government spending. In other words, just as not all taxes are equally damaging, the same is true for spending programs.
The results from the estimation of the size of the government and the public spending mix illustrate that public spending matters for long-term growth…pension and subsidy spending [are] the two items with a significantly negative effect on growth. As each regression includes the size of government and one spending share, the estimates provide the effect of increasing this type of spending while decreasing spending on other items to keep the spending to GDP ratio unchanged… larger governments are in several specifications significantly and negatively associated with long-term growth. This is consistent with the literature… Larger governments can impede convergence (Table 8, columns 1 and 3), because they are associated with higher taxation that can discourage business investment including foreign investment and households to supply labour.
Pensions and subsidies seem to cause the most economic harm.
Reducing the share of pension spending in primary spending yields sizeable growth gains with no significant adverse effect on disposable income inequality. This reduction could be achieved by an increase in the effective retirement age or by cutting the replacement rate. …Cutting public subsidies boosts growth, as public subsidies…can distort the allocation of resources and undermine competition. …Education outcomes depend not only on education spending but also on the effectiveness of education policies, and the literature suggest the latter can be more important. Since the seminal work of Coleman (1966), a broad literature suggests that there is no clear link between education spending and education outcomes. …policies aimed at increasing education spending effectiveness can be more appropriate than an across-the-board rise of education spending. …It may be that, beyond a certain point, additional spending on investment has adverse effects, if poorly managed.
For those of you with statistical/econometric knowledge, here’s some relevant data from the study.

And you can match the numbers in Table 6 with these excerpts.
…pension spending reduces growth (Table 6, columns 2, 5, 7 and 10). Increasing the share of pension spending in primary spending by one percentage point (offset by a reduction in other spending) would decrease potential GDP by about 2%. …Public spending on subsidies also reduces growth (Table 6, columns 3, 5, 8 and 10). …increasing the share of public subsidies in primary spending by one percentage point would decrease potential GDP by about 7%.
If you’re not a stats wonk, these two charts may be more helpful and easy to understand.


What jumped out at me is how the normally sensible nation of Switzerland is very bad about subsidies. That’s a policy they obviously need to fix (along with the fact that they also have a wealth tax, which is very uncharacteristic for that country).

But I’m digressing.

Let’s return to the study. One of the interesting things about the working paper is that it notes that bad fiscal policy can be somewhat mitigated by having market-oriented policies in other areas, which is a point I always make when writing about Scandinavian nations.
…countries with a high level of public spending may also be characterised by features that partly offset the adverse growth effect of government size. …in Sweden the mix of growth-friendly structural policies…may have offset the adverse growth effect of a large government sector.
In other words, the moral of the story is that smaller government is good and free markets are good. Mix the two together and you have best of all worlds.

P.S. Even if the OECD published dozens of quality studies like this one, I would still argue that American taxpayers should no longer be forced to subsidize the Paris-based bureaucracy. And even if the OECD’s political types stopped pushing statist policies, I would still have the same view about ending handouts from American taxpayers. This has nothing to do with the fact that the bureaucrats once threatened to have me arrested and thrown in a Mexican jail. I simply don’t think taxpayers should fund international bureaucracies.

P.P.S. Other international bureaucracies, including the World Bank and European Central Bank, also have published good research about the negative effect of excessive government spending.

P.P.P.S. My general disdain for the OECD (notwithstanding my qualified praise today for their new study on spending) may be exceeded by my hostility for the International Monetary Fund. I’ve referred to the IMF as both “the Dumpster Fire of the Global Economy” and “the Dr. Kevorkian of Global Economic Policy.”

Why Jack Bauer Never Went to the Bathroom

24 Hours And No Men's Room

By Josh Bloom — November 28, 2016
 
 
For all of you who think that you're too refined to be rabid fans of 24, please go to PBS, where you can immerse yourself in such delights as "Farm to Table Family" or "Wai Lana Yoga."

While these shows are unquestionably enlightening to those with a more refined palate, the rest of us less-evolved types, who dwell in a different sociocultural universe, tend to have more pedestrian tastes. Rather than art museums and opera, we lean toward simpler pleasures, like professional wrestling and The Walking Dead. (Both are real, by the way.)

Just because I'm low class doesn't mean that I'm dumb, though. For example, the scientist in me has long wondered why, for eight seasons, encompassing a total of 192 hours (1), Jack Bauer never once had to use the men's room. I finally found out, thanks to a paper that was picked up by my news feed: Jack Bauer is not human, at least not entirely. His supernatural abilities can be attributed to genetic modification, and it wasn't even done by Monsanto or the Koch brothers.....To Read More...

My TakeJosh sent this to me yesterday, and I got quite a chuckle out of it, and so too will most of my readers.  I've not posted the entire article because for some reason the pictures won't appear in my browser and I'm sure they're important to the article.  So please read this to the end - I loved the ending!!!!! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

P&D Today!

 

Election Challenge

Science and Global Warming
 
Education
 
Government

The Executive Disorder… is Almost OVER

By A.F. Branco November 27, 2016

590-li

America’s Education System is Broken – it’s Time for “Ed-Exit”!

By Ron Paul
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently signed an executive order forbidding Maryland public schools from beginning classes before Labor Day. Governor Hogan’s executive order benefits businesses in Maryland’s coastal areas that lose school-aged summer employees and business from Maryland families when schools start in August. However, as Governor Hogan’s critics have pointed out, some Maryland school districts, as well as Maryland schoolchildren, benefit from an earlier start to the school year.

Governor Hogan’s executive order is the latest example of how centralized government control of education leaves many students behind. A centrally planned education system can no more meet the unique needs of every child than a centrally planned economic system can meet the unique needs of every worker and consumer......To Read More...


Hillary’s Last Gasp

Fred Lucas

The Clinton campaign is officially contesting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.  Hillary Clinton would have to win a clean sweep of recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in order to overturn the election, and even her team concedes flipping one state is unlikely.

Nevertheless, the Clinton campaign is officially contesting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. There is no other way to describe joining Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s effort to get recounts in the three states. After the third presidential debate when Trump indicated he might not accept the outcome, Clinton said, “that is a direct threat to our democracy.”

That’s when she thought she would win....... Read More

The Disingenuous Dr. Halderman

By Bruce Heiden

Until a week ago Professor J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan was pretty much unknown outside the world of cyber-security, in which he holds a place of distinction as an academic expert on security problems concerning elections in the U.S. and other countries. But this technical expert has put himself on the way to becoming a household name since he reportedly advised the Clinton campaign team that they should request recounts of the presidential balloting in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania because of suspicion that Russia had hacked into their computerized voting systems and affected the outcomes.

Jill Stein’s petition for a recount of the Wisconsin balloting includes an affidavit from Professor Halderman, which Stein cites as the sole “basis of belief” that irregularities occurred in Wisconsin that support her petition for a recount. So what does Professor Halderman say in his affidavit? ..........This point in Halderman’s affidavit is also not supported by any evidentiary exhibits.......Read more

Scientific Integrity is an Oxymoron: The Peer Review Problem

By Thomas P. Sheahen

Recent news reports have observed that a lot of published scientific papers are worthless and not true, with initial claims turning out to be false. This is particularly worrisome where newly invented medicines are concerned. The problem also affects published results in fields as diverse as psychology and global warming.  We ask “what’s wrong?” The problem seems to be that the system known as “peer-review” is not doing its job properly.

The process of peer review is a cornerstone of scientific integrity, the guarantee of quality in a scientific research paper. Catch phrases like “holy grail” come to mind. When a researcher accomplishes something, the concluding step is to publish the results in the scientific literature. Enroute to publication, the paper must undergo peer review..........Read more

The Democrats’ real strategy in launching recounts

Devious and destructive Democrats have an ugly plan

By Richard Baehr

The recount in Wisconsin, and the coming ones in Michigan and Pennsylvania will not change the outcomes in any of the states. No recount ever changes thousands of votes. I do not think that is the purpose. The recounts, if done by hand, which can be demanded, may take longer than the last day for completing the official counts in a state and directing Electoral College voters. If all 3 states miss the deadline, Trump is at 260, Hillary at 232. No one hits 270. Then this goes to Congress, where the House voting 1 vote per state elects Trump, and Senate selects Pence. This would be first time this happened since 1824, but in that case, John Quincy Adams won in the House, though he had fewer electoral college votes than Andrew Jackson. ......... Read More

Trump, the Times, and the Coming Eco-Apocalypse

Jack Cashill

As quickly became clear in last week’s skittish interview  do with Donald Trump, the top dogs at the New York Times worry more about rising sea levels than they do about shrinking circulation.

The Times hysteric-in-chief, Thomas Friedman, sounded the alarm. With his first question, he referred to an article he had written days prior warning Trump that indifference to climate change could turn his “oceanside [golf] courses into ocean-floor courses.” Joking, Trump suggested a rise in sea levels just might increase the value of his Doral golf course given that it is about ten miles inland.

For Friedman, this was no laughing matter. “It’s really important to me,” he huffed. Said Trump, “I’m looking at it very closely, Tom. I’ll tell you what. I have an open mind to it.” This was hardly a flip-flop. Trump touched on the Climategate scandal and told the Times crew something no one with power likely ever told them before, “A lot of smart people disagree with you.”

Unsatisfied, Publisher Arthur Sulzberger ratcheted up the hysteria. “We’re living on an island, sir,” he warned Trump. Had Trump been less polite, he might have answered, “About the only thing you are likely to drown in, Pinch, is a sea of red ink.”.......The Times people, however, have a faith that transcends evidence. They will surely cling to their core beliefs as gospel even when confronted with the obvious. “Facts aren’t necessary,” said late author and doctor Michael Crichton on the subject of environmental doomsayers. “It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.”....... Read more

Do Elite Political Leaders Have the Right To Choose What Laws To Enforce?

By Dan Perkins

Does Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City have the right to put legal residents at risk by protecting illegal aliens who may be felons? Nobody knows for sure how many sanctuary cities there are in the United States, but there are at least 340. I believe the coming fight between President Trump and the mayors and/or governors in sanctuary cities, counties, and states across the country may be the most significant event in the history of America......To Read More....

Surprise! Scientists Find Antarctic Sea Ice at Same Levels as a Century Ago!

The Green Party’s Jill Stein Does Hillary Clinton’s Dirty Work!

by Philip Hodges and Jeff Dunetz

Although the results of the vote count were released the day after election day, announcing that Trump had won the state, the results weren’t certified until Wednesday. Initially, Trump had won by 13,107 votes. But once the vote tally was certified, his lead shrunk a bit.  His official win makes him the first Republican to have won the state of Michigan since 1988...........Green Party nominee Jill Stein has raised some $4.7 million – ironicallymore money raised in a vastly shorter amount of time than the $3 million she raised from her entire campaign – to pay for recounts in three closely contested states, including Michigan. The other two “suspicious” states are Pennsylvania and Wisconsin......To Read More.....

Does “Wagner’s Law” Mean Libertarians Should Acquiesce to Big Government?

November 27, 2016 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

There’s a lot of speculation in Washington about what a Trump Administration will do on government spending. Based on his rhetoric it’s hard to know whether he’ll be a big-spending populist or a hard-nosed businessman.

But what if that fight is pointless?

Back in October, Will Wilkinson of the Niskanen Center wrote a very interesting – albeit depressing – article about the potential futility of trying to reduce the size of government. He starts with the observation that government tends to get bigger as nations get richer.
“Wagner’s Law” says that as an economy’s per capita output grows larger over time, government spending consumes a larger share of that output. …Wagner’s Law names a real, observed, robust empirical pattern. …It’s mainly the positive relationship between rising demand for welfare services/transfers and rising GDP per capita that drives Wagner’s Law.
I’ve also written about Wagner’s Law, mostly to debunk the silly leftist interpretation that bigger government causes more wealth (in other words, they get the causality backwards), but also to point out that other policies matter and that some big-government nations have wisely mitigated the harmful economic impact of excessive spending and taxation by having very pro-market policies in areas such as trade and regulation.

In any event, Will includes a chart showing that there certainly has been a lot more redistribution spending in the United States over the past 70 years, so it certainly is true that the political process has produced results consistent with Wagner’s Law. As America has become richer, voters and politicians have figured out how to redistribute ever-larger amounts of money.


By the way, this data is completely consistent with my recent column that pointed out how defense spending plays only a minor role in America’s fiscal challenge.
But let’s get back to Will’s article. He asserts that Wagner’s Law is bad news for advocates of smaller government.
…free-marketeers tend to insist that the key to achieving higher rates of economic growth is slashing the size of government. After all, it’s true that the private sector is better than government at putting resources to their most productive use and that some public spending crowds out private investment. If you’re really committed to the idea of stronger economic growth through government contraction, you’re pretty much committed to the idea that the pattern behind Wagner’s Law is a sort of fluke—a contingent correlation without any real cause-and-effect basis—and that there’s got to be some workaround or fix.
I don’t particularly agree with his characterization. You can believe (as I surely do) that smaller government would lead to faster growth without having to disbelieve, deny, or debunk Wagner’s Law.
  • First, it’s quite possible to have decent growth along with expanding government so long as other policy levers are moving in the right direction. Which is exactly what one Spanish scholar found when examining data for developed nations during the post-World War II period.
  • Second, it’s overly simplistic to characterize this debate as government or growth. The real issue is the rate of growth. After all, even France has a bit of growth in an average year. The real issue is whether there could be more growth with a lower level of taxes and spending. In other words, would the rest of the developed world grow faster with Hong Kong-sized government?
All that being said, Will certainly is right in his article when he points out that libertarians and other advocates of smaller government haven’t done a good job of constraining government spending.
He then examines some of the ideas have been proposed by folks on the right who want to constrain spending. Beginning with the starve-the-beast hypothesis.
The idea that it is possible to “starve the beast”—to reduce the size of government by starving the government of tax revenue—springs from this hope. But the actual effect of cutting taxes below the amount necessary to sustain current levels of government spending only underscores the unforgiving lawlikeness of Wagner’s Law. As our namesake Bill Niskanen showed, tax cuts that lead to budget shortfalls don’t lead to corresponding cuts in government spending. On the contrary, financing government spending through debt rather than taxes makes voters feel that government spending is cheaper than it really is, which makes them want even more of it.
Here’s my first substantive disagreement with Will. I’m definitely not in the all-we-have-to-do-is-cut-taxes camp, but I certainly like lower tax rates and I definitely believe that higher taxes would worsen our long-run fiscal outlook.

And I’ve looked closely at the starve-the-beast academic research. Niskanen’s study has some methodological problems and the Romer & Romer study that most people cite when arguing against the starve-the-beast hypothesis actually shows that cutting taxes is somewhat effective so long as tax cuts are durable.

Will then looks at whether it would be effective to end withholding.
…withholding made tax collection cheaper and more reliable. …paying taxes automatically and with a minimum of pain makes it less likely that you’ll be livid about them when you vote. The complaint…is the libertarian/conservative argument against a VAT or national sales tax in a nutshell. It’s the same line of reasoning that leads some libertarians and conservatives to flirt with the idea that we ought to pass a law that requires us to write a single, hugely infuriating check to the IRS each year.  The idea is that if voters are really ticked off about taxes, they’ll want lower tax rates. So taxes need to be as salient and painful—i.e., as inefficient and distortionary—as possible.
Will is skeptical of this approach, though I would point out that the one major developed economy that doesn’t have withholding is Hong Kong. And that’s a place that has successfully constrained government spending.

To be sure, the spending restraint could exist for other reasons (such as the spending cap in Article 107 of the jurisdiction’s Basic Law), but the hypothesis that people will want less government if taxes are painful is quite reasonable.

And, by the way, requiring lump-sum payments rather than withholding wouldn’t change the degree to which taxes are distortionary.

Will then turns his attention to the ‘supply-side” argument about lower tax rates.
Supply-siders generally present two scenarios, and neither helps reduce the size of government. One: If the tax cuts pushed by ticked-off taxpayers create supply-side stimulus and increase rather than decrease revenue, there’s no downward pressure on spending. …But it doesn’t make government smaller. Two: If tax cuts aren’t self-funding and simply leave a hole in the budget, the beast (as Niskanen showed) does not therefore get starved. Instead, spending feels cheap, the beast grows even more, and the tax bill gets shifted to the future.
Since I’ve already addressed the starve-the-beast issue, I’ll simply note that self-financing tax cuts (which do exist, though only in rare cases) are only possible if there’s a big uptick in growth and/or compliance. And to the extent that the revenue feedback is due to growth, that will mean that the burden of government spending will fall relative to the size of the private sector even if actual outlays stay the same.

Maybe I’m insufficiently libertarian, but I’ll take that outcome every day of the week. Heck, I’m willing to let government get bigger so long as the private sector gets to grow at a faster pace.
Now we get to Will’s main point. He suggests that maybe libertarians shouldn’t be so fixated on the size of government.
…well-funded and well-organized attempts “to convince voters to reduce their demand for the services financed by federal spending” so far have all failed. It’s time to consider the possibility that there’s no convincing them. …If we look at the world, what we see is that when people get richer, they want more welfare state. Maybe there’s nothing much we can do about that. …When people get richer, they want more welfare state. You can want Americans to get continuously wealthier and also want the government to consume a smaller share of national economic output, but there’s very little reason to think you can have both of those things. That is what the world is telling us.
To the extent that Will is simply making a prediction about the likelihood of continued government expansion, I assume (and fear) he’s right.

But to the degree he’s arguing that we should meekly acquiesce to that outcome, then I’ll strongly disagree. I may lose the fight against big government, but I intend to go down swinging.

Interestingly, Will and I may not actually disagree. This passage points out that it’s a good idea to fight against ineffective programs and to support entitlement reform.
…accepting that it’s probably not possible to shrink government would have a transformative effect on right-leaning politics. We would focus on figuring out the best ways to match receipts to outlays… You start to accept that spending cuts are ultimately more about optimizing the composition and effectiveness of spending than about the overall level of spending or its rate of growth. This doesn’t mean not fighting like hell to slash nonsense programs, or not prioritizing reforms to make entitlement programs fiscally sustainable, or not trying to balance budgets from the spending side, or not trying to minimize the rate of spending growth. This just means that you do it all knowing that the rate of spending growth isn’t going to go negative unless you hit a recession, a debt crisis, or end a major war.
And, most important, this passage also highlights the desirability of a policy to “minimize the rate of spending growth.”

Gee, I think I know someone who relentlessly argues in favor of that approach. Indeed, this guy is so fixated on that policy that he even created a “Rule” to give the concept more attention.
I can’t remember his name right now, but I’m sure he’s a swell guy.

More seriously (and to echo the point I made above), it would be a libertarian victory to have government grow slower than the productive sector of the economy. To be sure, obeying my rule (which actually does happen every so often) doesn’t mean we’ll soon reach the libertarian Nirvana of the “night watchman” state set forth in the Constitution.

But the real fiscal fight in America is whether government is becoming a bigger burden, relative to the private economy, or whether its growth is being constrained so that it’s becoming a smaller burden.

Will closes with a very sensible point about not overlooking the other policy areas where government is hindering prosperity (though that doesn’t require us to give up on the very practical quest to limit the growth of government).
Giving up on the quixotic quest to…falsify Wagner’s Law would also lead us to…focus our energy on removing regulatory barriers to economic participation, innovation, and growth.
And his concluding passage is correct, but too pessimistic.
This is just a conjecture. But when…the United States—where the freedom-as-small-government philosophy is most powerfully promoted and most widely accepted—has lost ground in economic freedom year after year for nearly two decades, it’s a conjecture worth taking very seriously.
Yes, he’s right that overall economic freedom has declined during the Bush-Obama years.
But what about the fact that overall economic freedom increased during the ReaganClinton years? And what about the fact that we achieved a five-year nominal spending freeze even with Obama in the White House?

In other words, there’s no need to throw in the towel. I may not be overflowing with optimism about whether we ultimately succeed in sufficiently constraining the growth of government, but I feel very confident that it’s a worthwhile fight.

P.S. While I disagree with a few of Will’s points, I think his article is very worthwhile. Moreover, a consensus on restraining the growth of government would be an excellent outcome to the debate he has triggered.

But I can’t resist being a bit more critical about something Noah Smith wrote about Will’s article. In his Bloomberg column discussing the hypothesis that libertarians should focus less on (or perhaps even give up on) the battle against government spending, he has a passage that is designed to lure readers into thinking that small government is associated with economic deprivation.
…a stark fact — the richer a country is, the more its government tends to spend. …Today, the top spenders include countries such as France, Denmark and Finland, while the small-government ranks include Sudan, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
Sigh.

It’s true that the burden of government spending is much higher in France, Denmark, and Finland than in Sudan, Nigeria, and Bangladesh, but let’s take a look at the overall data from Economic Freedom of the World.

France (#57), Denmark (#21), and Finland (#20) are all much more market-oriented than Sudan (unrated, but would have an awful score), Nigeria (#113), and Bangladesh (#121). Smith’s argument is akin to me saying that government-built roads cause economic misery because that’s how they do it in the hellhole of North Korea.

More important, he either ignores or is unaware of the research showing that nations such as France, Denmark, and Finland became rich when government spending was very small. Sigh, again.

How to Steal an Election in Seven Easy Steps – A Lesson from the Clinton Playbook

By Al Kaltman

Hillary Clinton was clearly devastated by her defeat on November 8. She was in such a state of shock that she was unable to speak to her supporters that night. She had devoted her entire life to achieving one goal—the presidency of the United States. She had suffered countless humiliations from her husband’s womanizing and predatory sexual practices. She had obsequiously served Barack Obama, the man who had dashed her hopes of becoming president in 2008, when a Democratic victory was a sure thing.

Now Donald Trump, a man she despised, had kept her from getting the one thing in life for which she still had a burning desire. She could not allow his election to stand. While the votes were cast on November 8, the election isn’t final until the electors votes are counted before a joint session of Congress on January 6, and the states do not submit the ballots of their electors until December 19.

So between November 8 and January 19, there is plenty of time to steal an election. The last election that was stolen occurred in 1960 when Kennedy became president with the help of dead Chicago voters. As she tossed in her bed that night, Hillary must have wondered if the dead could rise up again and overturn the results of this election. It was time to institute the backup plan. The election wasn’t over—with the Clinton’s it’s never over......To Read More.....

National Geographic asked photographers to show the impact of climate change

Jon Ray @ Greenie Watch

The idea that you could photograph climate change is a considerable absurdity so it should be no great surprise that the results embodied much absurdity.

And equally absurd is the idea that you can support a generalization -- which global warming is -- by selected cases of something. I used to be something of a photographer in my youth and I am quite confident that I could produce a series of shots to "illustrate" just about anything.

For instance, just about everyone seems to have heard that Australia is a "dry" continent.  It is.  Most of it is deserts. But just by wandering around the tropical areas where I was born and bred, I could produce photos of things in Australia that "prove" the opposite: Photos of lush greenery, big rivers, scenic waterfalls and images of dairy cows grazing lush green fields of long grass. Thus I could "prove" that Australia is NOT a dry country.  In fact, however, such a procedure would in fact give precisely wrong results.

Given the feebleness of the presentation, I am not going to attempt to critique it all so I will advert briefly to the text underneath a picture of animals grazing at dusk.


Underneath the picture, the following text occurs:

"These animals have found the secret stash of the orange farmer who dumps the oranges that have fallen from his trees at least seven kilometers away from the orchards to control the breeding of the fruit fly. It is the end of a winter exacerbated by global warming, which makes the season longer and drier and the summer hotter with less rain in an already dry climate"

Which is complete nonsense.  The scene is apparently from somewhere in South Africa and it may be that there was unusually low rainfall there recently. Rainfall varies.  But the low rainfall was NOT due to global warming.  Due to El Nino, there was indeed an unusually warm period globally in late 2015 and early 2016 but why should that cause less rain?  Hot weather evaporates more water off the oceans and that comes down again as rain. Which is why the tropics are wetter than elsewhere. El Nino should have caused MORE rain, not less. Even the most basic physics seems to be unknown to most Warmists.