Sunday, September 3, 2017

In the news, Friday, August 18, 2017


AUG 17      INDEX      AUG 19

Information from some sites may not be reliable, or may not be vetted.
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from Asia Times Online

IMF’s China debt warnings are eerily familiar
The International Monetary Fund shouldn’t expect much warmth from Beijing these days. Its latest annual health check on Asia’s biggest economy is blunt, sweeping and sure to ruin Xi Jinping’s month as the Chinese president tries to maintain a veneer of omnipotence and stability. The IMF’s worry, of course, is debt. It’s seen this horror film before in neighboring Japan and the odds of a happier ending for China are negligible.

Iraqi Shiite powerbroker gambles with Sunni embrace

Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's overtures towards Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates aims to boost his parliamentary bloc's electoral fortunes but risks losing support from Iran.


from The Babylon Bee  [Satire]

Angry Arminian Mob Pulls Down Statue Of John Calvin


from BBC News (UK)

McDonald's could face first UK strikes
Fast-food company McDonald's could face its first staff strike in the UK, after workers at two stores backed a call for industrial action. Employees at McDonald's restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, near London, voted overwhelmingly for a strike. The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) said staff wanted secure working hours and a £10 per hour wage.


from Bloomberg
[Information from this site may not be reliable.]

The Real Revolution in North Korea Is the Rise of Consumer Culture
The North Korean consumer landscape has evolved dramatically under Kim Jong Un. In keeping with his father, whose motto was "Military First," Kim devotes nearly a quarter of North Korea's estimated $30 billion GDP to defense spending, which is a far higher military burden than any other country in the world. But his new slogan of "Parallel Development" — guns and butter, so to speak — reflects an inescapable reality of his era. In the 1990s, North Korea nearly imploded when the Soviet Union and its satellite empire collapsed. Reeling from floods, famine and an overwhelmed bureaucracy, it could no longer afford the public distribution system many North Koreans had depended on for their basic needs. This change sparked a wave of grassroots barter and trade, which has swollen into the burgeoning market economy today.


from CNN

Unmasking the leftist Antifa movement
Antifa activists told CNN their goal is peace and inclusivity. But often, their methods are violent.


from Conservative Intelligence Briefing

Democrat Party Chairman Exploits Twitter Hack Against Lena Epstein
Brandon Dillon, Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, went on a twitter tirade last night against U.S. Senate candidate Lena Epstein. It seems the Michigan Democrat Party will stop at nothing to try to block Trump Co-Chairman Lena Epstein from defeating Debbie Stabenow for United States Senate in Michigan.


from FEE (Foundation for Economic Education)
[Information from this site may not be reliable.]

More Patronizing European Advice Won't Make Africa Rich
Last month, during a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, a journalist from the Ivory Coast asked French President Emmanuel Macron why there was no Marshall Plan for Africa. His response, which included a claim that Africa’s problems were, at least in part, “civilisational” triggered a predictable social media storm, complete with accusations of racism. The outrage, however, distracted from an important point: Africa does not need another development plan from Europe. African culture is not inferior and African history is not so unique and complicated that African countries cannot independently formulate sound development policies. The fact is, simply, over the last several centuries, African policies have been decided by non-Africans and that has left the continent in a developmental straitjacket.

Why You Vote for Corn Syrup Even Though It Might Be Killing You
The US government spends billions of dollars a year subsidizing American farms, providing massive benefits for some farmers and dispersing the costs among millions of taxpayers. Once all the costs and benefits of lobbying and paying for the subsidies are tallied up, it turns out that they make the country worse off. One tangible result seems to be that these subsidies increase the prevalence of certain sorts of unhealthy foods, like soybean oil and corn syrup, in our diets. Agricultural subsidies might not seem like a big deal in themselves, but the problem of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs applies to countless other programs, causing economic inefficiencies to pile up quickly. Public choice theory can help us understand why.

Capitalism Should Play a Bigger Role in Protecting the Environment
Protecting the environment is a worthy and important goal. That’s why some of us want to give the private sector a bigger role.

The Best Anti-Nazi Strategy Is to Let Them Speak
While the country is still reeling from shocking images of the violence in Charlottesville, VA last weekend, CNN reports the so-called “Alt Right” is planning nine events for this weekend, including a “free speech rally” in Boston. As expected, counter-protests are being planned, although local police in most areas are planning to take measures to keep the adversarial groups apart to avoid violence. I’m sure this strategy will be criticized because it will give White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and others of their ilk a safe space to “spew hate.” That’s right; it will. And that’s precisely why it’s the right strategy, for a number of reasons. It should have been employed in Charlottesville. Everyone involved would have been both freer and safer.

"Back to School" Is Not Inevitable
Our culture treats schooling as if it's inevitable. Like death and taxes, it's a necessary evil. Even if we know kids don't want to return to school – are dragging their heels or are downright obstinate – we laugh it off. Everyone knows school stinks. You just have to hold your nose and jump. For many progressive reformers, dating back to the days of John Dewey, the key is just to make schooling gentler. Spruce it up a bit, make it more engaging and relevant, paint the classroom walls a prettier color. Then it will be ok. I don't buy it. You can add curtains to the jail cells but it's no less a prison.

Why the Rich Actually Love High Taxes
So we always hear that the rich should pay taxes more, that our tax rates aren't high enough. If only we raise taxes we can solve a lot of our problems – inequality would go down and maybe we'd even have more economic growth. Now the funny thing about this view is it really doesn't comport with our historical experience at all. Whenever we have raised taxes on the rich, we have seen horrible offenses against inequality and economic growth. You can see what kind of pernicious effects that had on the inequality situation in the United States in the 1950s. The rich had all the money and they hid it from the tax man. Meanwhile, in doing so, they weren't deploying their capital in ways that were productive for jobs and economic growth. They were hiding it in all these little ways that Congress permitted them to hide it. The 11,000 pages in the tax code were a nest of cronyism.

Socialism – Not Oil Prices – Is to Blame for Venezuela's Woes
For about a decade, Progressives were in the grip of Venezuelamania. Venezuela’s version of socialism was their shining example, the model which the rest of the world should emulate. When the country’s meltdown could no longer be denied, they dropped it like a hot potato. And a long period of silence ensued. But recent events have forced the issue back on the agenda again.


from Gizmodo

Closest Approach Ever By a Large Asteroid Won't End Life on Earth, But Probably Should
At three miles wide (4.8 km), Asteroid Florence is a biggie. In fact, it’s the largest asteroid to pass by at such a close distance since NASA began tracking near-Earth asteroids, Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a press release. The rock, named after Florence Nightingale by the way, will zoom by Earth on September 1st, 2017, getting as close as 4.4 million miles (7 million km) to our pathetic, deserving rock. As a comparison, the Moon is around 239,000 miles away, and Mars is 39 million miles away at its closest. The International Space Station is 250 miles.


from The Heritage Foundation
[Information from this site may be unreliable.]

Taxes, Regulations Hurt Economy
If bigger government, higher taxes, larger subsidies, more regulations and double-digit minimum wages led to better middle-class incomes, the U.S. would be experiencing the fastest wage growth in its history. However, they don’t, and we’re not. Wages and incomes grow when the demand for labor grows.

Soaring Student Debt Costs Us All
There was a time when a small amount of savings and a part-time job could get students through college with little or no debt. But today, more students than ever are turning to federal loans to finance their college education.

5 Rules for Sending Contractors to War in Afghanistan
The odds of the U.S. pulling away from the fight in Afghanistan are near zero. There are good reasons for that—all revolve around preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups again. The tougher challenge is crafting the right way forward after three terms of indifferent presidential leadership. Innovations in contractor support should be part of the mix, if done right.

What Europe Should Be Doing to Prevent Another Terrorist Attack Like Barcelona
Not so long ago, scenes of death and carnage on the streets of major European cities were a rarity. Not so any more. In this year alone, there have been major Islamist attacks in London (twice), Manchester, and Stockholm. We can now add Barcelona to that list. Smaller scale acts of violence in France (on multiple occasions), Austria, and Italy have likely faded from most people’s memory, but they were inspired by the same ideology.

Planned Parenthood Loses Legal Battle Over Medicaid Funding in Arkansas
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that Arkansas' 2015 cancellation of a Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood is legally valid. This is good news for other states that decide to stop allowing taxpayers’ money to flow to Planned Parenthood. If states choose to decertify Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider, scarce government funds could instead be directed to the thousands of centers that actually provide health care for women without entanglement in abortion on demand.

Our Debt Problem Is Really a Spending Problem. Economic Growth Won’t Fix It.
$269 billion. That’s a big number, and yet it’s not the amount the federal government spends on any of its major activities like Defense, Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security. Rather, this is what the Congressional Budget Office currently projects the federal government will spend on interest payments on the debt for fiscal year 2017. This makes interest the fifth largest federal budget item behind Social Security, Defense, Medicare, and Medicaid. Nothing to worry about, right?


from The Hill

Member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board resigns over 'conflict in values'
The pastor of a New York megachurch said Friday that he has resigned from President Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board, citing "a deepening conflict in values" with the administration. Rev. A.R. Bernard, who leads the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, said in a statement that he had "quietly stepped away" from the panel several months ago, but submitted his formal resignation on Tuesday.


from Idaho Press-Tribune
Newspaper in Nampa, Idaho

The owners of R&C Farms in Shelley had quite a surprise when they woke up Friday morning. They walked out to their planted mustard seed field and discovered tire tracks leading to a truck and trailer that had been set up by a group of Canadian tourists. “They were here to camp for the eclipse. They came in the middle of the night and when we found them, my brother had to tell them to leave,” Josh Searle tells


from New York Times

Protesters Flood Streets, and Trump Offers a Measure of Praise
Tens of thousands of demonstrators, emboldened and unnerved by the eruption of fatal violence in Virginia last weekend, surged into the nation’s streets and parks on Saturday to denounce racism, white supremacy and Nazism.


from Religion News Service

Signs and wonder: How people of different faiths view the total solar eclipse
Pope Urban VIII had counter-magic performed and cardinals jailed amid predictions that solar eclipses in 1628 and 1630 spelled doom for his papacy, and he later issued a papal bull prohibiting Catholics from practicing astrology. A 1652 solar eclipse that blotted out the sun in Scotland and Ireland was widely interpreted as the beginning of God’s wrath, a sign of the imminence of the Day of Judgment. And months before a solar eclipse passed over London for the first time in nearly 600 years in 1715 it was heralded as “The Black Day or a Prospect of Doomsday.” Throughout history, eclipses have been viewed as bad omens or harbingers of doom, according to John Dvorak, a trained lunar scientist and author of “Mask of the Sun: The Science, History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses.” But they also have been understood as powerful manifestations of God’s greatness.


from The Spokesman-Review


from The Wenatchee World

Two homes, numerous outbuildings, vehicles lost in Monument Hill Fire
Two homes and several outbuildings and vehicles were destroyed in the Monument Hill Fire, as firefighters worked through the night Wednesday to protect other structures in the path of the wind-driven fire between Quincy and Ephrata. No one was injured in the fire, fueled by changing winds and dry conditions.


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