Socialism, The Death of Europe, and Assorted Other Idiots

Bookworm hit, if not a homer, yesterday, a triple, and scored on the error. Here, read it yourself. Go there, there’s lots of other good stuff in it.

The Cold War reminds us that socialism is bad. A new poll came out showing that Democrats adore socialism, which they think is better for people than capitalism. This view, of course, means that they’re looking, not at National Socialism (aka Nazis), or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (aka the Soviet Union), or the completely socialists Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka North Korea).

Instead, what it means is that they’re looking at that rosy view of Western Europe from the 1960s through the 1990s. Of course, they’re totally missing the fact that Europe, despite its claim that it was “socialist,” wasn’t socialist at all.

What supported Western Europe’s cradle-to-grave socialism was America. We paid for their military costs and accepted their outrageous tariffs, all to help them to recover from WWII and to prevent them from once again falling into an apocalyptic conflagration. Europe may have art and architecture, but the 20th century proved that it had little in the way of actual civilization.

Anyway, if you know a Leftist stupid enough to think socialism is the answer, this video might (maybe, perhaps, just possibly) help you educate that person (h/t Seraphic Secret):

Emphasis mine.

And that is the plain truth, since World War Two, nobody in Western Europe, save the UK, has made more than a gesture towards their own defense, and since the fall of the Soviet Union, they’ve hardly bothered with that gesture.

Which leaves the question, what could America have accomplished if we hadn’t bothered, what haven’t we attained because we’ve dislocated our economy and our government to provide this welfare to Europe? This is one of the causes of the deep state as well.

Even more, we know well that undeserved aid causes dependency, has this policy perhaps part of the cause of the slow death of Europe that we are witnessing.

Who knows, but it has demonstrably done neither Europeans not Americans any favors. And it needs to end.


In other news: Collusion rears its ugly head. John Hinderaker reports.

First, the Boston Globe organizes a media protest against the Trump administration’s “assault on the press.”

The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a “coordinated response” to President Trump’s escalating “enemy of the people” rhetoric.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.
***
As of Saturday, “we have more than 100 publications signed up, and I expect that number to grow in the coming days,” Marjorie Pritchard, the Globe’s deputy editorial page editor, told CNN.

The American Society of News Editors, the New England Newspaper and Press Association and other groups have helped her spread the word.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Pritchard said. “We have some big newspapers, but the majority are from smaller markets, all enthusiastic about standing up to Trump’s assault on journalism.”

Ya know, I’d like to have a free press. One not owned by Donald Trump, one not owned by the Democrat Party or the Left (BIRM), not one owned by the Boston Globe. One that thinks for itself. Yeah, I know, that’s a dream, there may be three people in the media who can think their way out of a wet paper bag.

And then there is this, from the same article:

But how, exactly, are educational institutions to avoid “normalizing” or “legitimizing” success?

Trump’s immediate circle and senior appointees…should not be accorded the degree of respect or deference that their seniority and government positions would normally merit. We do not, after all, have a normal administration that can be served honorably.

This means no honorific titles (fellow, senior fellow), no named lectures, no keynote speeches headlining conferences or events. While individual faculty members and student groups should be free to invite Trump appointees to speak on campus, as a rule such invitations should not be issued by senior university officers. And lectures and presentations should always provide an opportunity for vigorous questioning and debate.

No honorific titles? No named lectures? No keynote speeches? Invitations to speak delivered by underlings? The horror! My friends will attest that I am not normally a profane person, but I join a large majority of Americans in saying, f*** you, a**hole.

I can only add, with a razor wire wrapped pineapple, sideways.

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Turkey Talk

A couple points about Turkey, first from  Monty L. Donohew at American Thinker.

When there is war, conflict, or instability, vulnerable human beings flee, seeking refuge in safer countries. […]

When there is war, conflict, or instability, vulnerable capital and wealth also flee. The “problem” of fleeing capital is different, however. Because capital and wealth are not as encumbered and physically restricted as are human beings, especially in the modern electronic age, capital moves far from the source of instability. Capital flight makes support of human refugees even more difficult, as capital often flees nations burdened with the obligation of support, nations in close proximity to the underlying cause of flight.

Unlike human refugees, who consume resources and capital, fleeing capital is welcome with inviting arms by safe havens. Capital and wealth must “go somewhere,” and if they land in the banks and markets of a particular nation, that nation reaps the reward of that investment.

Pretty much common sense to my mind, although it is anything but common these days.

And who is the strongest of all these days? I’d be inclined to say the United States, and it has the other advantages of being a known safe haven for money and people, with perhaps the strongest rule of law tradition in the world, the largest and most active markets, and by far, the strongest military (which it is strengthening) to back it all up.

Think some Turks (and Iranians, for that matter) are looking to get themselves and their money into America. Yep. Me too. And that also strengthens America, and against all comers.

Consider the many causes of the flight of capital in recent years. Are competing markets as strong and stable as they were seven years ago, and more importantly, are they as strong and stable as is the U.S. market? Capital is fleeing Canada. Capital is fleeing China (strange — people who command wealth get a bit skittish when several hundreds of their kind simply disappear). EU instability has caused capital to flee Europe (link behind subscription wall). Capital has flown from India. Capital has flown from Russia, although early indications are that new Trump sanctions may not encourage additional capital flight. Capital is fleeing Latin America. There are a multitude of examples, but the point is, too, that capital is not fleeing the U.S.

Not all capital flight winds up in the U.S., of course, but it’s safe to say that a good percentage is winding up here. Simple economics: more money chasing the same goods or investment opportunities causes prices to increase. With share prices high, companies can grow, expand, modernize, and invest. The investment increases the value of companies, generates returns for investors, and generates revenues for the U.S. government.

And this may well be where the conventional wisdom on tariffs and economics falls down, not my field, but it sounds rational, and people with money are usually somewhat rational.

Jed Babbin writing in The American Spectator also had a few things to say about the Sick Thug of Europe.

It [The Wall Street Journal] wonders why the United States, which usually intervenes to calm global markets, isn’t doing so to save Turkey from itself.

The answer is so simple that even the media ought to understand. Turkey, a NATO ally, has for over a decade treated us as an enemy instead of a friend. President Trump is beginning to return the favor. What Turkey has done, and Mr. Trump is starting to do, is all the result of the actions of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan who has created an Islamic quasi-dictatorship where a secular democracy once stood. […]

Erdogan’s New York Times article concludes that, “Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives. Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies.”

Erdogan has already done so. His alliance with Russia and Iran to save Assad demonstrated conclusively that he is no longer America’s ally. It is entirely inconsistent with Turkey’s obligations as a NATO member.

President Trump has, so far, neither knuckled under to Erdogan’s demands nor taken all of the actions that he could to force Erdogan to stop acting as our enemy. That may be changing.

The Turkish economy is in shambles, almost in as bad a situation as Iran’s and Venezuela’s. The Turkish lira fell in its value against the dollar by about forty percent earlier this year. Last week, Trump announced that he was doubling the tariffs on steel (to 50%) and aluminum (to 20%) imported from Turkey, which caused the lira to sink by another twenty percent and made international banks that hold Turkish debt very nervous.

I don’t need to add too much to that although you should read all of both articles, they are excellent. But Erdogan would be well advised that one of the quickest ways to ruin a nation is to attempt to tell the United States what to do. Even King George, a quarter millennium ago, found that to be a bit more than the British Empire could accomplish. That’s a history lesson Erdogan could contemplate to the benefit of his citizens.

“Well Roared, Paper Tiger “

And so the EU has passed a law prohibiting European companies from following the US sanctions on Iran. They’re so cute sometimes.

The sanctions target the use of US dollars in any transactions, as well as autos, civil aviation, coal, industrial software, and metals. The ones scheduled for November are more far-reaching.

According to Soeren Kern

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK openly admitted that for the EU the Iran deal is all about money and vowed to protect European companies from US penalties:

“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.

“The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with third countries [China and Russia] interested in supporting the JCPOA and maintaining economic relations with Iran.”

Well, as an aside, that’s a goodly share of the problem with the EU generally, it’s all about money, just listen to project fear in the UK compared to the love of Britain coming from leave. Greed is not the most important thing in the world. In any case, Most European businesses aren’t buying this horse dung.

The document, riddled with EU jargon, states:

“The Blocking Statute allows EU [economic] operators to recover damages arising from the extra-territorial sanctions within its scope from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorized to do so by the [European] Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union.”

In other words, the EU is prohibiting EU citizens and companies from complying with US sanctions and is authorizing EU companies hit by US sanctions to sue the US government for compensation in European courts.

In addition, European companies that do pull out of Iran without approval from the European Commission face the threat of being sued by EU member states.

Even the European press isn’t buying this nonsense. It’s a vanity project to show themselves they aren’t dependant on the US and guarantee their legacy. Well, Obama tried that, how did it work out?

Radio France Internationale (RFI), a French public radio service, said that the effects of the Blocking Statute would be “more symbolic than economic.” It added:

“The law would be more effective for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) doing business in Iran. For large corporations, the solution lies in negotiating waivers or exemptions with the United States. But such requests from France, Germany and the United Kingdom have already been rejected by Washington.”

La Croix wrote:

“Suffice to say that the implementation of this blocking law remains very hypothetical, as it goes into uncertain legal territories.

“Total, Maersk and Peugeot have already decided to leave Iran. Moreover, companies investing in Iran do not seem to believe much in the effectiveness of the regulation. The oil group Total, the ship-owner Maersk or the automaker Peugeot have already decided to leave. German group Daimler announced its withdrawal from Iran yesterday. These groups are more afraid of the US’s ability to implement sanctions than the EU’s wrath.”

In Germany, the public broadcaster ARD published an opinion article by Brussels correspondent Samuel Jackisch titled, “Well Roared, Paper Tiger — EU Defenseless against US Sanctions.” He said that the EU’s new policy was “logical, but largely meaningless,” and an attempt by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to “defend her political legacy.” He added:

“The EU can try to turn the tables on transatlantic relations, but in the end the US still comes out on top.

“The German export industry’s business with Iran may not be small at around three billion euros. However, the bottom line is that the same companies export 35 times as much to the USA. The EU is demanding that its largest corporations risk the entire cake for a few more crumbs.”

German public broadcaster ZDF wrote:

“The peculiar construction of the EU Blocking Statute remains: Ordinarily, regulations and laws prohibit something. For example, an anti-dumping law prohibits companies from price dumping in order to force competitors out of the market. But the EU Blocking Statute is a call to action: Do trade with Iran and do not let threats from the US president dissuade you!

The newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung quoted the Chief Executive of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Martin von Wansleben, who described the EU’s measure as a “helpless political reaction.” He said that its purpose was to show that the EU does not bow to US sanctions. For individual companies, he said, the blocking regulation has “no relevance.”

In Austria, Der Standard wrote:

“The Blocking Regulation is not an effective antidote to US sanctions, as the historical example suggests…. Although Washington should refrain from extraterritorial sanctions, the US market is too important for corporations to expose themselves.”

In Italy, Südtirol News quoted stock market expert Robert Halver of Baader Bank:

“Due to the US sanctions against Iran, German industry will not touch Iran. If you realize that German industry is doing a hundredfold business in America, you will not do business with Iran, because then sanctions against German companies will exist. Therefore, Iran is certainly going to bleed very heavily at the moment.”

As John Bolton noted:

“Now there may be some small European companies that continue to do business, but they will be insignificant,” John Bolton said during an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday. “Russia and China may continue to do business, but I don’t think they’re enthusiastic about this. They’re not going to be stepping up their efforts.”

Who’s out? These folks, for a start. Some familiar names there.

Daimler follows similar decisions by: Adidas (Germany); Allianz (Germany); AP Moller-Maersk (Denmark); Ciech (Poland); Citroen (France); CMA CGM(France); DZ Bank (Germany); Engie (France); ENI (Italy); Lloyds (UK); Lukoil (Russia); Maersk Tankers (Denmark); Oberbank (Austria); Opel(Germany); Peugeot (France); PGNiG (Poland), Renault (France); Scania(Sweden); Siemens (Germany); Swiss Re (Switzerland); and Total (France).

In other words, as both Bolton and the President have noted, you can trade with the US or you can trade with Iran. You can no longer trade with both. Pick one.

In one corner is a failed state, the world’s largest promoter of terrorism, and a country that appears to be on the verge of a revolution.

In the other corner is the world’s largest economy backed by the world largest military, which has guaranteed your freedom and security for generations.

You choose. Choose wisely.

 

Video Monday

Well, I don’t know, how about some Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to start the week off right. Sounds good to me.

Making fools out of Senators, of course that is low hanging fruit.

 

When he resigned as Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson prettyymuch took apart Theresa May’s government with very faint praise. Here it is.

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My friends over at The Conservative Woman found this a couple of weeks ago

It’s pretty good, although long. But I do agree with Fionn when he says:

Sam Harris is one of the ‘four horsemen of atheism’ with Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins.

Jordan Peterson has a more ambivalent view of Christianity, talking about its wisdom and the necessary meaning it provides. However, he adopts a Jungian, metaphorical view and seems to believe there is truth, but not that it is the Truth.

Douglas Murray holds a similar view, concluding that Christianity is the best bulwark against Islamism and the progressive madness. Murray made a similar comment to the one I made here, that new religions are being formed by the day as we enter a new era of paganism and what will come may be worse than what was.

Heartening as it is to hear brilliant minds speak highly of Christianity, such an instrumental view of the faith will not survive. We cannot have Christianity without Christ, a religion founded on our (justifiable) hatred and fear of some things – nihilism, Islamism and progressivism – rather than our love of God.

Have a good Monday.

A Splendid Little (Trade) War

Well, does anyone really think that President Trump wants a trade war? He has been a free trader (whose business is dependent on the free flow of goods and services) for quite a while. But he’s also a skilled negotiator and knows that whatever you go into negotiations demanding, you’ll get less.

So he announced some fairly draconian tariffs on the EU, and all of a sudden, here is Junker, himself, in the White House making concessions.

But as Melissa MacKenzie points out here, Tariffs get people’s attention.

Maybe, though, President Trump has found a way to make tariffs work: pushing around the Europeans, who, by the way, did not agree to stop the tariffs against American imports. The only solid agreement that came out of today’s negotiations is that American wouldn’t impose further tariffs – for now.

Nice words

What the European Union had to say.

Not a bad start, and with amazing celerity. Not a few in Britain are a bit envious.

That is true, as is the fact that America has been becalmed for better than a decade, and wages have not gone up, forever, although everything else has. That is dependent on this and it is also dependent on stemming illegal immigration, which puts pressure on prices and suppresses wages as well.

If you are noticing the polls, illegal immigration is by far what Americans care about most.

Oh, and by the way, most of us could not care less about Russia, especially in refighting the last election. In fact, we think we made the right decision, and likely will do so again in 2020.

We like Winning! America First!

[And a note] Coming up fairly soon is the reimposition of sanctions on Iran. As I write this, The UK, France, and Germany are looking about for ways to evade them. Not sure I’d be all that sanguine about even steering close to the winds of evading American sanctions these days. Your countries are not too big to fail.

Russia, Russia, Russia, and Will Rogers

Bored yet with “Russia, Russia, Russia, and yes, some more Russia”? Yeah, me too. I’m not convinced it even matters much for Europe, let alone America. And that is pretty much what America thinks, too. From Bre Payton at The Federalist.

An overwhelming majority of Americans don’t think the ongoing probe into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton is that important, according to a new Gallup poll. 

A record-breaking number of Americans (22 percent) think immigration is the most important problem facing the United States, while 19 percent say dissatisfaction with the U.S. government is the biggest problem and 7 percent think racism is the most important issue.

A combined total of 16 percent of Americans list unifying the country, lack of respect for one another, and the economy in general as the most important issues. The other issues that make it to the top of the list are health care (according to 3 percent of Americans), and ethics and morality (according to another 3 percent of those surveyed).

That’s about what I’d expect, sitting out here in flyover country. Nothing we’re hearing on the news (other than immigration, and that is slanted one way or another) really matters a damn to America and Americans. Here are the charts that Bre brought us.

And broken down by party:

 

In other words, not even 1% of us think its important, and yet, that is all the media and politicians (BIRM) have been bleating about for a week.

Well, Will Rogers wrote that

This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation.

In any case, a good deal of what we are seeing is that the political, military, industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about, needs an enemy. But it doesn’t want one too big, that it might end up in a real war, you know like China, and Montenegro is obviously too small, but Russia is the Goldilocks of enemies, everybody knows who it is, and it is just the right size, and besides it used to be a fearsome enemy, until we defeated it, and left so many experts without anything to expert about.

Will Rogers was an excellent observer, so why don’t we take a look at a few more of his observations, such as:

[A] comedian can only last till he either takes himself serious or his audience takes him serious

Seems very appropriate these days, doesn’t it?

Or:

No party is as bad as its state and national leaders.

Or even:

Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.

Words to live by, all of those observations.

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