Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Raymond Richman, Howard Richman, and Jesse Richman have put together a short piece explaining the difference between free trade and balanced trade entitled, of course, Free Trade vs. Balanced Trade over at the American Thinker. Free trade and balanced trade are often, though not always, the same thing. When countries are not deliberately putting their thumb on the scales, a practice known as mercantilism, free trade works to both parties advantage. But, when one party manipulates its currency to put the other country at a disadvantage, free trade no longer works as balanced trade. Indeed, one can look upon such manipulations as a form of warfare.  In the period from 1960 to 1990, the Japanese were practicing mercantilism against the United States.  Now, it is China.

You can read for yourself the effects that having an chronic trade deficit has had upon our economy, and as a result, on our standard of living. Hardest hit have been blue collar workers. Technology alone has hit the blue collar trades hard, but then to add the insults of an unfavorable trade balance has sucker punched them.  While costs have increased at an alarming rate, the actual income for thse people has been going backward.  And this effect is slowly creeping up into the white collar jobs as well.  Is it any wonder that Trump supporters boiling mad and that that anger is ready to boil over.  And Hillary calling them a "basket of deplorables" seems more like a badge of honor.  Well, here is the cause:
The Problem of Mercantilism
Most of the problems of international trade are related to the fact that a number of countries have been running chronic trade surpluses which cause chronic trade deficits among their trading partners. They are following the mercantilist prescription of running trade surpluses in order to grow their economies more rapidly.
Almost all economists have decried mercantilism. For example, Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics called it a policy of “beggaring all their neighbors,” because mercantilists intend to grow at their trading partners’ expense.
The problem is that mercantilism works if trading partners tolerate it, as John Maynard Keynes, the founder of modern macro-economics pointed out in the chapter about mercantilism in his 1936 magnum opus The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:
[A] favorable [trade] balance, provided it is not too large, will prove extremely stimulating; whilst an unfavorable balance may soon produce a state of persistent depression. (p. 338)
China and several other Asian countries have successfully grown their economies at U.S. expense by following the classic recipe for mercantilism as laid out by University of Chicago economist Jacob Viner in 1948 and Chinese economist Heng-fu Zou in 1997.
Mercantilism gives faster economic growth and increased political power to the trade surplus countries, but gives trade deficits, slower economic growth, and reduced political power to their trade-deficit victims. The correlation between trade balances and changes in political power are striking, as we demonstrated statistically in a recent conference paper.
Unfortunately, the majority of the American economic profession has completely ignored the growing research about the destructive nature of chronic trade deficits and about ways to combat them. For example, in their popular international economics textbooks, now in their tenth and eleventh editions, Paul Krugman (with his co-authors) and Dominick Salvatore never consider the causes of chronic trade deficits, and never offer remedies to those trade deficits.
What Trump has been laying out as his economic policy is a series of steps that allow the Federal Government to balance trade by imposing tariffs when a country manipulates its currency, as China is doing, to re-balance the trade deficit.
Another is Prof. Peter Morici at the Robert H. Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland and former director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He now supports a dollar-yuan conversion tax that would be applied to Chinese imports into the United States at a rate that would be adjusted to the rate of Chinese currency market interventions.
If Trump is elected, and is successful at putting an end to massive illegal immigration, vetting immigration from Muslim countries, and curtailing unbalanced trade, we might yet save, truly save, the middle class. The middle class is the hard working, tax paying, yeomanry of America, without whom both the poor and the rich do not survive. Beyond restoring the middle class, Trump also needs to work to reform education so that the middle class has the tools to compete in the world.  we can't all be rock stars and fashion designers. Somebody has to make cloth and guitars.  Why not us?

But more important than this, we need industries to actually make stuff in America because if we have to go to war, and we have to import this stuff, we don't want too be in a position of importing it from a hostile nation.  The steel industry has largely gone overseas.  The ship building industry has gone overseas.  Only Ford remains as a private company building cars and light trucks in the US, and Ford imports a lot of parts from overseas.  General Motors has become Government Motors, and Chrysler is now the American face of Fiat.  Fiat for crying out loud!  Just imagine fighting WWII today.  I realize we probably won't have to fight a WWII, but if we are not prepared to, we surely will.  Si vis pacem, para bellum-If you want peace, prepare for war.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Keith Lamont Scott Narrative Continues to Unravel

As you probably know from other sources by now, Keith Lamont Scott did indeed have a gun when he was shot by Charlotte police. No "book" was found at the scene, but Scott was wearing an ankle holster which can clearly be seen in the police body camera. So, the entire "reason" for rioting in the first place was made up. Why?

 First up is Where Did Keith Lamont Scott Get His Gun?. Scott, as it turns out, had a long and violent criminal history. In crime scene photo you can see he was carrying a Colt Mustang Plus II in a well worn ankle holster. As a convicted felon, Scott would have been prohibited from possessing a gun, much less carrying it in public. The gun in question, however, is a rarity and something of a collector's item. So where did Scott obtain the Colt Mustang Plus II?
This leads us to the probability that Scott’s gun was obtained on the criminal black market, and more than likely through theft. Criminals are unlikely to know the actual value of the firearms they steal, and a relatively obscure handgun like the Mustang Plus II in .380 amusingly doesn’t have the cachet among criminals that a stolen Glock or even a Hi-Point does among criminals.
It’s bizarre that the media isn’t pressing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to reveal information about the firearm in Scott’s possession, including and ATF tracing information that may indicate the origins of the pistol into the retail market, and whether it was ever reported stolen.
In an update, Joe Bruno reports that police confirm that the gun was reported stolen after a break in, and that the suspect says he sold the gun to Scott.

Next up, we find that Keith Lamont Scott Threaten his Wife Last Year with the gun he had when shot by police. This puts the lie to her statement, caught on her own video, that Scott did not own a gun. Indeed, we have it in court records that she in fact knew he did.  So, what was she trying to do with the lie that the gun was in fact a book, and what did she see that made her repeatedly tell Scott "Keith, don't do it!  Don't do it Keith!"?  Only she can tell us, but she is unlikely to be questioned by police.

Finally, Bob Owens notes that Scott Apparently Was Holding a Handgun, Not a Book Owens simulates Scott's position in the photo taken from CMPD body camera, and shows that indeed it does look like a gun. Under these circumstances, it makes perfect sense that the officer involved will not be charged. But will this convince Black Lives Matter, or indeed change their narrative?  Or, unless the thug actually shoots the police first, will they not be satisfied?  I suspect that latter.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Daily Show Makes the Case Against Gun Free Zones, but Doesn't Follow Own Logic to its Conclusion

Guy Benson, over on Townhall.com points out that Oops: The Daily Show Inadvertently Makes the Case Against Gun Free Zones. Go watch the Daily Show make the case that putting up a sigh telling Muslims to "get out" really has no effect on Muslims intent on murdering "infidels."
You know what’s also strange is this man genuinely thought people who go around blowing people up would be stopped by a sign? You realize you’re talking to terrorists, not vampires. They don’t need to be invited in, alright? Or maybe he’s onto something, because if you think about it, we’ve never tried that. We’ve never actually tried to repel terrorists with signs. Yeah, maybe that’s all the airports need is a sign that says “No Terrorists,” yes? Yeah, and then guys are going to be walking going, “Oh, I was going to blow up the airport, but the rules are rules and they said I can’t come in. They said I can’t. They said I can’t come in.”
I think I have made that point many times here about so called "gun free zones," AKA victim disarmament zones. If a criminal means to commit a crime in a gun free zone, he is not going to be put off by a sign, just as a terrorist is not going to be put off by a sign or for that matter, a law.

But, this is the part where I begin to have some trouble.  Listen to the audience laughing away at the presenters remarks, true though they be.  Now, if the liberal audience "gets it" when a liberal presenter delivers the "news" on the show, why doesn't that translate to the audience "getting it" in other contexts?  Why can they not stretch their brains just a little to find similar logic in similar circumstances?  The next leap is then to ask, why make a law that will affect only those not inclined to disobey the law in the first place?  Perhaps there is an unspoken agenda at work?

I am not, of course, trained as a lawyer, so the following represents my  opinion as a layman trying to follow the law.  I realize that many of these laws are designed to punish people of whom the authorities suspect of doing actual harm to people, through fraud, assault, theft, and other actual harms, but they can not prove it.  Having laws prohibiting things that might otherwise not be dangerous in and of themselves may  allow prosecutors to convict these people of "something."  The trouble is that these types of laws are too often turned on otherwise law abiding people.  Often the reasons for this are less than noble.  Too often, too, the very people who should be the subject of such laws are never charged with committing the crime. For example of 80,000 people who were denied a gun because of a background check, only 44 were prosecuted in 2012 according to Kelly Ayotte in Politifact. Politifact goes on to muddy the numbers some, but in the end finds that Ayotte's statement is "mostly true."

Under such circumstances, if the goal is simply to provide ordered liberty for everyone, the only legitimate reason for making laws under our Constitution, why add more laws that will be ignored not only by the criminal but by the prosecutors as well?  The law should not be designed to play "gotcha" with the citizen.  It should instead free him to be his best.

An apology to Mrs. Keith Scott

I must apologize to at least the wife of Keith Scott. She did witness the events  This video obtained and broadcast by NBC News, shows the events from the point of view of the wife of Keith Scott. In the video taken on a cell phone, you can hear her yelling at Keith to stay in the car. You can also hear the police officer yelling at him to drop the weapon. So, the police officer, a black man himself, thought he saw a weapon, and was frightened enough to have drawn his weapon and was shouting commands at Mr. Scott.  Clearly Scott was ignoring both his wife and the police officer.   What is unclear is why?  Did Scott mean to provoke the police?  Or was he just confused?

In the video, the wife yells to the police that Scott has just taken his medicine and that he won't hurt them.  Unfortunately for Scott, the police officer doesn't really know if what the wife is yelling is true, or if he even heard her.  The well known tunnel vision effect could have already set in, such that only by complete submission could Scott himself have prevented his being shot.  So, if it was a book, as the wife claims, that makes the anger understandable. It doesn't, of course, explain the rioting, looting, and generally acting like animals. Nothing justifies that behavior.  The mob takes out its anger on any number of targets who had nothing to do with what caused their anger.

The rioting assumes that every white person is a devil.  Clearly this isn't true, any more than the notion that every black person is a racist out to destroy every other race of men.  All people are in fact children of God, and everyone you meet potentially displays the image of God.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keith Scott's Family Should Not Be Allowed to Show Their Faces in Public Again

According to Bob Owens over at Bearing Arms, it now appears the Scott family made up the story about how Keith Scott died, which story apparently set off the Charlotte Riots. Of course, that begs the question, how did the rioters come together so quickly and just decide, on the spot to start a riot? But before we get to that, let's look at Keith Scott's family's vicious behavior:
But Keith Lamont Scott was not shot by a white officer.
He was shot and killed by an African-American CMPD officer.
There was no book nearby.
And there was a gun, which other witnesses in the apartment complex admit seeing in Scott’s hands as officers warned him repeatedly to put it down.
Scott’s family apparently made up their story about how he died as they went along.
And so called journalists went along with it because the lie fit their narrative. But, how does the Scott family benefit from creating the lie, and how can they think it was doing the right thing to do so? I understand the emotional turmoil the people close to Keith Scott must feel, but it appears that the death of Keith Scott was caused by Keith Scott, in an apparent suicide by cop.  Was Scott associated with the Muslim movement, wherein he would supposedly gain benefits in heaven by martyring himself?  (Also note the difference between what a Christian martyr is versus Muslim Martyr.  In Christianity one can not initiate martyrdom by killing, or threatening to kill others.  No, you must be killed while peacefully practicing Christianity.  As with everything else, Muslims have it backwards.)

Back to the question asked earlier, about how the Charlotte Rioters came together so quickly and on the spot seemed to come up with a decision "we should riot."  To me this defies explanation.  Have these people got nothing better to do?  Don't any of them have to go to work in the morning?  What about taking care of their families?  Getting the kids bathed, teeth brushed, homework done, and off to bed?  If this was a "flash mob," brought together by social media, doesn't the press have equal access to social media?  Don't the police?  Bring an old fart, without a smart phone, I am not on social media.  Besides, the current "in" media changes every five seconds, so why bother.

Bob Owens has an answer to that as well in a piece entitled  American ISIS: Time to Treat Black Lives Matter as the Domestic Terrorist It Is. Black Lives Matter is in fact a Leftist terror group. Like all terrorists, they use violence, in this case rioting, and the threat of rioting, as a way to intimidate the population and get them to pressure their political leaders to give in to their (unstated) demands. As far as what their demands might be, it seems they want to be able to commit crimes without consequence. that's all. They want to be able to brandish a gun, and not have the police react. They want to be able to mug people, intimidate them, sell drugs, whatever, without consequence.

Of course, the people behind the scenes, the REAL  power, want to create chaos and destruction in hopes of provoking a sense of crisis.  As Rahm Emanuel said, a good crisis should never be waste. The powers behind BLM hope to be able to put in place laws that take away our rights and with them everything we have in this world.  Don't give in.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Skittles Analogy Is Right, Given Where We Find Ourselves

David French over at National Review Online has a post today asking When it comes to Syrian refugees, who really lacks compassion? National Review of course, has been part of the Never Trump brigade ever since he established himself in the race. I understand their concern. None the less, Trump Jr's analogy of the Skittles is not wrong, given where we find ourselves.

Yes, refugees are people, not candy.  Everyone understands that including Donald Trump Jr.  Leftist virtue signalling misses the point.  Indeed it always seems to miss the point.  Leftists are happy to make themselves feel good by taking in potentially dangerous refugees, as long as those refugees are settled somewhere far from them and their families. Frankly, I think these people see the problem, but are deliberately obtuse in order to give themselves an excuse to pat themselves on the back for their "compassion" with other peoples lives.  I don't for a minute think they care a  fig for the refugees.  They are just using the refugees as fodder for their own agenda.

French points out that as well, the number of jihadist who infiltrate the refugee population is less than the equivalent of 3 Skittles per bag.  Again, though, how low does the risk have to be to make it acceptable?  If instead of, say. 3%, the risk is only 1.5%, would you take that risk and eat the Skittles? How about 0.75%? No?   And even if Mr. French would, at some point, take a risk and eat the Skittles, what gives him, or anyone else the right to make that decision for another? French:
Yesterday, I wrote that Americans are still reluctant to face facts about the Muslim world. And one of those sad facts is that jihadists will exploit our compassion. They will exploit our openness. It is incumbent upon our national leadership (and the pundit class) to understand those facts and adopt policies that reflect that reality. If one terrorist out of 50,000 refugees brings down an airplane or detonates himself in Times Square, the ratio of terrorist to refugee is of cold comfort to the families of the fallen — especially when there was (and is) an alternative path, one that saves refugee lives while protecting American security.
I grow weary beyond speaking of Leftists who claim virtues not their own while placing the costs on others.  French points out that the choices being offered are not the only choices out there.  He is correct about that, and he is correct that we may still chose to use American power to protect the refugees over there instead of bringing them here.  We can be compassionate and protect American lives.  What French doesn't say is that it won't happen in a Hillary Administration.  We can only hope it happens in a Trump Administration.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Word to the Wise

Stewart Rhodes over at the Oath Keepers has The Truth About the NY and NJ Bombings (and the Minnesota Mall Attack): We Are At War You do know who Stewart Rhodes is, and who the Oath Keepers are, right?
Go armed at all times, in all places, and ignore idiotic signs and rules. I also highly recommend that you read Suarez’s recent books Killing the Active Shooter and The Final Weapon. Get your mind right, get trained, go armed, and be ready to be a protecting warrior when faced with evil rather than a bleating sheep, running away in terror, as this sad society conditions people to be. If you are present at such a terrorist attack, you are the first responder. We are at war. Act like it.
A word to the wise.