Friday, June 24, 2016

Stagnating Capitalism

When I'm in the car listening to the Sound L.A., I keep hearing one of those "stop the I.R.S." ads promising to stave off some huge tax lien or wage garnishment. But the funny part that always trips me out is where the guy talks about "our current economic downturn." I mean, how many people buy that idea that we're in an "economic downturn"?

A lot, probably. But we're not.

We've been out of recession since June 2009, but super obviously, the country's economic prospects have not improved for untold millions of people. (Just ask all those white working class voters who've been swarming to Donald Trump's banner of "Make America Great Again.")

In any case, there's a new review essay on the economic crisis at the July/August 2016 issue of Foreign Affairs, "Capitalism in Crisis: What Went Wrong and What Comes Next."

One of the books there is by Paul Mason, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, which I've had my eye on for some time. But you know the story: I've got a lot on my plate, heh.


Abigail Ratchford Spilling Out

At Egotastic!, "Abigail Ratchford Spilling Cleavage in Skin Tight Dress."

FLASHBACK: "Abigail Ratchford Slow-Motion Bouncing Video."

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove Set to Head New 'Brexit Government' After David Cameron (VIDEO)

At the Telegraph UK, a live blog, "Boris Johnson and Michael Gove prepare to head new 'Brexit Government' after Cameron departure":

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are preparing a “dream team” bid to take control of the leadership of the Conservative Party in the wake of the most dramatic week in modern British political history.

David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister yesterday morning after Britain voted to leave the European Union sparking a major political, economic and constitutional crisis.

Within hours of the surprise vote, Mr Cameron had resigned, the Bank of England intervened in the financial markets to prevent a crash and the Scottish government threatened to hold another referendum on splitting from the rest of the United Kingdom.

In a statesmanlike address from the Vote Leave headquarters, Mr Johnson positioned himself as a Prime Minister in waiting by urging unity in the nation and speaking of the bright future that now awaits an outward-looking Britain.

“I want to speak to the millions of people who did not vote for this outcome especially young people who may feel that this decision in some way involves pulling up the drawbridge or any kind of isolationism. I think the very opposite is true.

“To those who may be anxious at home or abroad this does not mean that that he UK will be in anyway less united nor indeed does it mean that it will be any less European.”

He added: “We cannot turn our backs on Europe. We are part of Europe. Our children and grandchildren will continue to have a wonderful future as Europeans travelling to the continent, understanding the languages and cultures that make up of common European civilisation.”

It is now expected that Mr Johnson will stand as leader, with Mr Gove, the Justice Secretary, becoming the Chancellor in a “Brexit Government”, sources claimed...
Keep reading.

#Brexit: A Referendum on Elites and Immigration

At the headline and on Twitter, that pithy little snippet comes closest to nailing what happened.

At Politico, "British voters unleash a trans-Atlantic tsunami: And it's headed for American shores":

LONDON — British voters didn’t just shock the world and the financial markets by voting to leave the European Union hours ago: They also ignored President Barack Obama, handed Hillary Clinton a potential economic burden and injected new energy into the populist currents roiling politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

The surprise 52 percent - 48 percent result in favor of leaving the European Union — which British networks projected just before 5 a.m. local time — came after a tense night of vote-counting throughout the United Kingdom. British Prime Minister David Cameron later announced he's resigning, citing a need for "fresh leadership." The British pound rose and fell rapidly as the anti-EU “Leave” movement piled up big margins in the northeast, swamping wins by the “Remain” camp in London, Birmingham and Scotland.

In addition to driving down the pound by nearly 10 percent, the vote slammed global markets, with shares in Asia down well over 3 percent in early trading. Futures markets also indicated a big swoon coming on Wall Street early Friday morning with shares expected to drop more than 3 percent. That would amount to a Dow drop of close to 600 points, a plunge frighteningly reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis.

Market analysts struggled overnight to reckon with the potential global impact of the Brexit vote. "Massive institutional uncertainty is now being superimposed on economic fragility and financial fluidity," said Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz.

Central bankers and heads of state around the world sought to calm the financial markets and limit the damage from the vote on Friday morning.

But make no mistake: A Brexit represents nothing less than the partial splintering of the world’s largest political union and trading bloc — an $18 trillion economy. Many fear that other European countries will now hold their own exit referendums, leading to a chain reaction that will reverberate across the Atlantic. The Brexit vote could also break apart the UK, scramble transatlantic political unity amid growing tensions with Russia, and complicate U.S. trade ties.

It will almost certainly hit the U.S. economy, warned Harvard professor and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.
"The economy is more fragile to a negative shock than at anytime since the second World War," Summers told POLITICO. "Always before when had a downturn there was room for monetary policy action to counteract that. Today there is essentially no such room."

In addition to volatility hitting U.S. markets, the surprise win for the Leave side is likely to ripple through the 2016 presidential campaign....

In addition to volatility hitting U.S. markets, the surprise win for the Leave side is likely to ripple through the 2016 presidential campaign. The Brexit vote became largely a referendum on elites and immigration, the same themes likely Republican nominee Donald Trump has put at the center of his bid for the White House.

Trump, who spoke favorably of Brexit, applauded the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU Friday.

The result could also suggest that polls showing a lead for Clinton are underestimating the extent to which voters across Western democracies are fed up with career politicians and concerned about Islamic terrorism and immigration. UK polls and online betting markets heading into the Brexit vote appeared to show a small but solid leave for Remain, similar to the leads Clinton holds in most U.S. surveys.

"Polls consistently underestimating right-wing support," Weekly Standard editor BIll Kristol tweeted. "Cameron & Bibi, now Brexit. So if polls show Clinton up 5, could Trump be even?"

The larger issue for the Clinton campaign will be potential economic fallout from the UK's decision to leave the EU. Indeed, if the apocalytpic economic predictions leading up to Thursday’s vote turn out to be accurate, get ready for a Brexit-fueled economic slowdown that could bleed into the presidential race...
Still more.

U.K's Guardian After #Brexit — A Roundup

I was wondering (out loud, on Twitter last night) how the Guardian (the repository of correct-thinking U.K. progressivism) was going to take Brexit?

Well, now we know.

See, "The Guardian view on the EU referendum: the vote is in, now we must face the consequences":

A prime minister is gone, but that is of nothing compared to the fallout for the economy, our union and Europe. It will all have to be grappled with, and so too will the economic neglect and the social alienation which have driven Britain to the exit door.

The British people have spoken. The prime minister has resigned. Already, the consequences of what the voters said and why they said it have begun to reshape Britain’s future in profound and potentially dangerous ways. The country has embarked on a perilous journey in which our politics and our economy must be transformed. The vote to leave the EU will challenge not only the government and politicians but all of us whose opinions have been rejected.

Britain’s place in the world must now be rethought. That will demand the kind of debate about our alliances that we have not had since the Suez crisis forced a post-imperial reality on Britain. Once again, the country’s very idea of itself will have to be reimagined too. The deep strains on the nation’s fabric that are partly expressed as a pro-European Scotland, Northern Ireland – and London – and an anti-European England and Wales must be urgently addressed. And a new relationship with a Europe that is in no mood to be generous must be negotiated. As a gleeful Nigel Farage pointed out early on Friday, there are also already voices from the populist right in Denmark, France and the Netherlands arguing for their own definitive vote. And while the Bank of England successfully steadied the City after dramatic early falls in the value of shares and a tumbling pound, these things will take careful management if they are not to translate into a new crunch on the banks, a recession or even – as George Soros warned earlier in the week – a sudden inability to finance the balance of payments.

David Cameron – instantly, utterly and forever broken by his defeat on Thursday – grasped that he could not lead the country through the coming turmoil. In a graceful little speech in Downing Street he accepted failure and announced that his successor would be in place by the time of the party conference in October. No speech, however, could have salvaged his standing in the history books. Mr Cameron will go down as the man who gambled the country’s future as a way out of a party difficulty. His original folly was compounded by his refusal to stand firm against his internal enemies on the detailed plans for the plebiscite, despite the authority of last year’s newly won mandate. And then the campaign itself, on which he kept tight control, failed. Project Fear’s fundamental mistake was that it did not understand that far too many Britons, already living insecure and uncertain lives, felt they had little to lose. By focusing on the City and big business, the campaign had nothing to say about the victims of the myriad failures of so many local economies. Mr Cameron won the party leadership by outflanking his rival on Euroscepticism, and in his decade at the top he did nothing to promote a positive vision of the EU. He followed rather than led; and in this sour atmosphere he bet his shirt on the notoriously fickle vehicle of a referendum, and lost.

Now the vote is in, the overriding sense is of surprise and uncertainty. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the two generals of the leave campaign, tried to instil some authority. There was “no haste” to start exit negotiations, they declared. But within the hour, the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon declared that in these “materially different” circumstances she would set in process the machinery for a second independence referendum. She and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are demanding that they be treated as parties to any negotiations. Moves for a Scottish independence vote will add to the demand for a border poll in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin has already called for such a vote. As campaigners, the leave politicians were sometimes shambolic and often contradictory; now they have been handed victory, they have unleashed forces well beyond their control.

The immediate outlook for progressive and even humanitarian values in the UK is not encouraging...
Oh brother.

The "outlook for progressive and even humanitarian values"?

It's like the world is coming to an end.

And well, frankly, it is for the global left, for which the E.U. is the Promised Land of the Marxist collectivist ideological project. The absolute shock among the Guardianistas that their vision of Utopia was decisively repudiated at the polls recalls nothing short of the horror at the realization of one's imminent if not immediate mortality. It's hard to take, so cognitive coping seeks to blame and ridicule the reactionary, racist, and so-called xenophobic people who're allegedly taking Britain back to the Stone Age.

It's so freakin' glorious to watch I'm beside myself with glee.

Trolling through the Guardian's Twitter feed is like a crystal ball Rorschach test into the global left's psychological torment. There's so much contempt and hatred, combined with lingering disbelief at the audacity of the rubes, that it's too much to link up here at the post. But here's a taste of this deep, dark leftist hate and recimination:
* "Michael Morpurgo: the EU was the most positive political project in my lifetime - Few talked about the huge achievement it was to create such a union once this awful tissue of propaganda, falsehoods and hate began. But at the time of its creation, memories of war made its importance very real."

*  "Arts hit back at Brexit: 'I feel nothing but rage' - Leading figures from the arts – including Lucy Prebble, Anish Kapoor, Ivo van Hove and Barrie Rutter – reveal their shock, anger and revulsion at the vote to leave the EU."

* "The Britain I knew is gone: what Brexit feels like from abroad: David Shariatmadari - I turn my back for what seems like a minute and the country I grew up in no longer exists. And worst of all, it need never have happened."

* "Martin Rowson on the Brexit vote – cartoon: During the campaign the very worst impulses were given free rein and voice - Britain is now not greater but smaller, weaker and more vulnerable."

* "As a lifelong English European, this is the biggest defeat of my political life - Timothy Garton Ash: Britain voting to leave the EU feels as bad as the fall of the Berlin Wall felt good. It will likely spell the end of the United Kingdom, and the impact on Europe itself could be even worse."

* "I’m an Austrian in the UK – I don’t want to live in this increasingly racist country: An Austrian living in the UK and a Briton living in the Netherlands are united in their dismay at the attitudes that the EU referendum result reveals."
There's lots more like this, but you get the picture.

Somehow, considering the country's history, I think Britain will survive.

Global Markets Tumble After #Brexit Vote

I expect that markets will stabilize as the political and economic ramifications of the vote become clearer. Of course, good leadership couldn't hurt. Prime Minister Cameron's resignation is obviously a stark move, but meetings between U.K. and E.U. representatives are supposed to start right away. From reading around on Twitter, a good scenario would be for Britain to negotiate membership without voting rights in the European Free Trade Association (and perhaps the European Economic Area as well, which is problematic, since that would entail the "free movement of persons" among member states, and that's probably the main reason the British voted to leave).

But more on that later.

Here's the Wall Street Journal, "Markets Roiled as U.K. Votes to Leave EU: Global stocks plummet after win by ‘Brexit’ supporters":


Britain’s surprise vote to leave the European Union battered the British pound by more than 11%, sent global stocks tumbling and broke records in government-bond yields as the world’s financial markets braced for an uncertain future for the politics and economies of Europe.

It was a historic drubbing for investors who had stacked up bets that the U.K. would choose to stay. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, said Friday he would step down.

Stocks in Asia, Europe and the U.S. fell sharply, along with oil prices, as investors sought safety in gold and government bonds.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 611.21 points, or 3.4%, to 17399.86, wiping out its year-to-date gains. The S&P 500 index fell 3.6%, dragged lower by bank stocks, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 4.1%.

“We haven’t had what I would say is a crash, but we’ve given back gains we’d taken months to make,” said Chris Semenuk, manager of the TIAA-CREF International Equity Fund.

European stocks closed with steep losses. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 7%, its steepest drop since 2008. Goldman Sachs sent out a note Friday predicting the index’s losses related to a British exit from the EU, or “Brexit,” could total 19%.

The drop in sterling helped keep London’s export-heavy FTSE 100 somewhat insulated from the turmoil in the U.K. The index fell 3.15%. The FTSE 250 index, which tends to be more geared toward the U.K. economy, fell 7.2%, its steepest drop since 1988.

European bank shares posted especially sharp losses, with British bank Barclays PLC down 18% and Spanish lender Banco Santander SA down 20%.
Keep reading.

Democrat Party Gun Logic

At Director Blue, "DEMOCRAT GUN LOGIC: An Illustrated Tale."


Obama's Illegal Alien Amnesty Hits a Deadlock

Following-up from yesterday, "Supreme Court Blocks Obama's DAPA Illegal Alien Amnesty Program."

Here's your leftist human interest angle, at the Los Angeles Times, "Immigrant rights activists vow to keep fighting after Supreme Court deadlock":

Deportations photo Bs7P--gCAAAIZP6_zpssxo982oj.jpg
Rosa Maria Soto ached to visit her dying mother in Sonora, Mexico, one final time. But family members worried that the immigrant rights activist who lacks legal status would not make it back across the border to her Phoenix home. A phone call from her brother — the only one of her nine siblings still in Mexico — was strung with tears.

“He said to stay here, keep fighting,” Soto, 62, recalled. So she did.

But Thursday, Soto felt defeated when she learned that the Supreme Court deadlocked on the legality of President Obama’s immigration plan that would have given deportation relief and work permits to 5 million people who came into the country illegally.

The mother of three children and six grandchildren in the United States, Soto would have potentially been protected under the program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.

Still, she, along with other activists and families facing uncertain futures, have vowed to continue the push for reform. Some took to rallies to insist that the deadlock had stopped nothing.

"Obama, escucha, estamos en la lucha," protesters outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix chanted. Obama, listen, we are in the fight.

“The war has not been lost,” insisted Apolonio Morales, political director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director at the Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center, said the group will push for the case to be reheard by the high court, and for the Justice Department to seek a stay while the court decides whether to rehear it.

“This is a case of national importance and it deserves a full and fair day in court,” Hincapié said. “We will also be looking at other ways to minimize the harm from the nationwide injunction.”

The children of immigrants without legal status say the recent news has only deepened the anxiety they feel about being deprived of the people who sought to provide them with a richer life.

“We live every day with an overwhelming fear of losing our parents to deportation,” said Zaira Garcia, 23, who has three sisters. The Austin, Texas, resident — an organizer with the immigrant rights group FWD.us — has parents who would have been eligible for Obama’s plan. She cried when she learned of the deadlock...
Keep reading.

Stop Underestimating Donald Trump

Who's underestimating him?

I'm certainly not.

Trump had a bad couple of weeks surrounding Judge Curiel and a bit from the political correctness following Orlando. But that "bad" couple of weeks is from the point of view of establishment analysts. Yeah, I thought myself he was hitting too hard on the judge, but terrorism's a winning issue for the GOP this year, and Trump's going to bring over disaffecteds and low-turnout constituencies. And it's not just going to be the "white working class." He's going to bring people out to the polls, and those could be minorities and former Democrats in leftist cosmopolitan enclaves. It's really new territory this year in terms of demographics, and a lot will depend on this issue of mobilization. Who comes out to vote? Apparently, younger people in Britain whined more than participated, and if we get an inkling of that kind of thing in November, I guarantee you it's going to hurt the left.

But see the establishment take from WaPo's, James Hohmann (via Althouse), "Stop underestimating Donald Trump. 'Brexit' vote shows why he can win":

Britain's stunning vote to leave the European Union suggests that we've been seriously underestimating Donald Trump's ability to win the presidential election.

When you consider all his controversies and self-inflicted wounds over the past month, combined with how much he's getting outspent on the airwaves in the battleground states, it is actually quite surprising that Trump and Hillary Clinton are so close in the polls. He's holding his own, especially in the Rust Belt.

The British campaign to exit the European Union (known as "Brexit"), like Trump's, was fueled by grievance. Those agitating to cut off formal ties to the continent were less organized and less funded than those who wanted to stay connected, but that deficit didn't matter in the end, because the energy was against the status quo.

"Basically, they took back their country. That's a great thing," Trump told reporters in Scotland, where he is visiting one of his golf courses.

"They have declared their independence from the European Union and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy," he elaborated in a statement. "Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first. They will have the chance to reject today's rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people. I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again."

In the short term, the impending fallout from Brexit will make the presumptive Democratic nominee look good. She advocated for Britain remaining in the union; Trump advocated for leaving. The markets were tanking Friday, and this vote will set off a tsunami of repercussions that could meaningfully damage the global economy. People's 401(k)'s might take a shellacking, and interest rates may spike. Any long-term benefits from breaking away will not be apparent until after the general election.

British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned overnight, triggering political chaos and a succession battle. Scottish leaders are already saying they will push for a new referendum to secede from the U.K.

Looking ahead to the fall, though, loud alarm bells should be going off inside Clinton's Brooklyn headquarters. Globally, there are strong tides of anti-establishment anger, nationalism and populism that bode poorly for the Secretary of State.

"Trump's slogan, 'Make America Great Again,' could easily have been adapted to the messaging of those in the 'leave' campaign," the Washington Post's Dan Balz writes from London. "That desire for a return to an earlier time - to make Britain great again - is expressed through the issue of control. Those who have pushed for Britain to leave the EU want to reclaim a measure of sovereignty by wresting power from the bureaucrats in Brussels. . . . They feel about the EU bureaucracy as tea party Republicans do about the federal government."

Trump still seems far more likely to lose than win, especially when you think about the Electoral College map. But the results across the pond spotlight five forces that could allow him to score an upset:

1. RESENTMENT OF ELITES

... Polls show a long-term trend of voters losing faith in experts and institutions. Surveys suggested that the British resented Barack Obama and other foreign leaders who strongly urged them to remain in a union that they did not feel was serving them.

Forced to choose between their heads and their hearts, the Brits went with their hearts.

2. XENOPHOBIA

... There was a lot of media coverage in the past few days about how the nativist appeals might have gone too far and turned off some moderates in Britain. There were some over-the-top posters and claims about Turks and Syrians flooding the country. But they clearly proved more effective than detrimental...

3. ISOLATIONISM

... Trump wants to scale back U.S. support for NATO and has suggested that he sees Eastern Europe as some kind of Russian sphere of influence. This scares the Baltic States, such as Estonia, which are constantly at risk of being annexed by Vladimir Putin. The NATO alliance, like the EU, has been a bulwark of the post-World War II international system. This now threatens to unravel.

The EU is plunging into an existential crisis. The 28-member union will splinter and significantly weaken, The Post's Anthony Faiola reported from Berlin and Michael Birnbaum filed from Brussels...

4. FLAWED POLLING

The polls showed a neck-and-neck race, and surveys in the past few days showed movement in the direction of "Remain" after Cox's murder. In the end, though, "Leave" prevailed by 4 points...

5. COMPLACENCY

The Remain campaign was burdened by complacency.

Millennials, who overwhelmingly wanted to remain in the EU, did not turn out at the same rate as older voters, who wanted to leave...

As Tim Naftali, an esteemed political historian at NYU noted in two posts:

"Low turnout in Remain areas suggests unwarranted complacency. U.S. Dems beware."
See the whole post at the click-through.

How #Brexit Will Change America and the World

From Daniel Greenfield, at FrontPage Magazine, "Britain is free of global government. America can be next":

Yesterday the British people stood up for their freedom. Today the world is a different place.

Celebrities and politicians swarmed television studios to plead with voters to stay in the EU. Anyone who wanted to leave was a fascist. Economists warned of total collapse if Britain left the European Union. Alarmist broadcasts threatened that every family would lose thousands of pounds a year if Brexit won.

Even Obama came out to warn Brits of the economic consequences of leaving behind the EU.

Every propaganda gimmick was rolled out. Brexit was dismissed, mocked and ridiculed. It was for lunatics and madmen. Anyone who voted to leave the benevolent bosom of the European Union was an ignorant xenophobe who had no place in the modern world. And that turned out to be most of Britain.

While Londonistan, that post-British city of high financial stakes and low Muslim mobs, voted by a landslide to remain, a decisive majority of the English voted to wave goodbye to the EU. 67% of Tower Hamlets, the Islamic stronghold, voted to stay in the EU. But to no avail. The will of the people prevailed.

And the people did not want migrant rape mobs in their streets and Muslim massacres in their pubs. They were tired of Afghani migrants living in posh homes with their four wives while they worked hard and sick of seeing their daughters passed around by “Asian” cabbies from Pakistan in ways utterly indistinguishable from the ISIS slave trade while the police looked the other way so as not to appear racist. And, most of all, they were sick of the entire Eurocratic establishment that let it all happen.

British voters chose freedom. They decided to reclaim their destiny and their nation from the likes of Count Herman Von Rompuy, the former President of the European Council, selected at an “informal” meeting who has opposed direct elections for his job and insisted that, “the word of the future is union.”

When Nigel Farage of UKIP told Count Von Rompuy that “I can speak on behalf of the majority of British people in saying that we don't know you, we don't want you and the sooner you are put out to grass, the better,” he was fined for it by the Bureau of the European Parliament after refusing to apologize. But now it’s Farage and the Independence Party who have had the last laugh.

The majority of British people didn’t want Count Von Rompuy and his million-dollar pension, or Donald Tusk, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and the rest of the monkeys squatting on Britain’s back.

Count Von Rompuy has lost his British provinces. And the British people have their nation back.

The word of the future isn’t “union.” It’s “freedom.” A process has begun that will not end in Britain. It will spread around the world liberating nations from multinational institutions.

During Obama’s first year in office, Count Von Rompuy grandly declared that “2009 is also the first year of global governance.” Like many such predictions, it proved to be dangerously wrong. And now it may just well be that 2016 will be the first year of the decline and fall of global governance.

An anti-establishment wind is blowing through the creaky house of global government. The peoples of the free world have seen how the choking mass of multilateral institutions failed them economically and politically. Global government is an expensive and totalitarian proposition that silences free speech and funnels rapists from Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan to the streets of European cities and American towns. It’s a boon for professional consultants, certain financial insiders and politicians who can hop around unelected offices and retire with vast unearned pensions while their constituents are told to work another decade. But global government is misery and malaise for everyone else.

The campaign to stay in the EU relied on fear and alarmism, on claims of bigotry and disdain for the working class voters who fought and won the right to decide their own destiny. But the campaign for independence asked Britons to believe in their own potential when unchained from the Eurocratic bureaucracy. And now Brexit will become a model for liberation campaigns across Europe.

Prime Minister David Cameron Resigns After Britain Votes to Leave European Union (VIDEO)

At London's Daily Mail, "David Cameron stands down as British Prime Minister after voters trigger a political earthquake - and global market panic - by backing vote to leave the European Union in historic referendum."



I'll have lots more on this throughout the day.

The vote was a massive political statement with international structural ramifications that are truly epochal. As I noted last night on Twitter, "It's like end of the Cold War."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Deal of the Day: Save Over 30% on Bluetooth Enabled Instant Pot

At Amazon, Instant Pot IP-Smart Bluetooth-Enabled Multifunctional Pressure Cooker, Stainless Steel.

Plus, Skechers USA Men's Glides Razan Slip-On Loafer.

Also, Savings in Men's Clothing.

More, from Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton.

Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines.

And, George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones 5-Book Boxed Set (Song of Ice and Fire series): A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons.

BONUS: Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels, Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government.

Why Doesn't Feminism Accept 'Normal' as an Identity?

Robert Stacy McCain is posting at Medium, "Gender, Sexuality and Psychological Maladjustment" (via the Other McCain):
One of the most remarkable controversies of our era is the conflict between transgender activists and radical feminists. Michelle Goldberg outlined this dispute in an August 2014 article for the New Yorker:
Trans women say that they are women because they feel female — that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a “female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.”
Having written a book (Sex Trouble: Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature) critical of feminist ideology, I cannot be accused of supporting Lierre Keith’s ideas about patriarchal oppression. Nevertheless, in their disputes with the transgender cult — and yes, the movement has developed a cult mentality in recent years — radical feminists are on the side of scientific truth. “Male” and “female” are biological categories, determined by chromosomes and anatomy. This is simply science, not politics, and the rhetoric of the transgender cult is not actual feminism, but is instead a weird mutant strain of postmodernism, heavily influenced by the “gender theory” popularized by Professor Judith Butler. Radical feminists have taken alarm at the way transgender activists have used the Internet— blogs, YouTube channels and other social media — to promote “transition” as a panacea for every problem young people may experience with their sexual identity. There now exists a vast online community of amateur advice sites on every aspect of transition. Medical providers of “treatment” — hormones and surgery — are now encouraging transgenderism even among preschool children, and some misguided parents appear to be exhibiting Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, by pushing their children toward “transgender” identification.

What is happening here? The rise of transgender mania — for which Bruce “Caitlin” Jenner is the celebrity poster boy/girl — can best be understood as a belated consequence of culture shifts that occurred 40 or 50 years ago, especially in the field of psychology. Whereas once heterosexuality was officially understood as normal, and homosexuality defined as deviant, this understanding was cast aside by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973. If there was no such thing as normal sexual behavior, then it was no longer possible to describe any sexual behavior as abnormal. Pandora’s Box had been opened, and the potential results of this were difficult to predict.

Parents who have more or less traditional expectations for our children find ourselves compelled to protect our children against a culture which increasingly condemns “normal” as a synonym for oppressive. Progressive intellectuals consider you a very bad parent if you expect your boys to be masculine and your girls to be feminine, and you are simply hateful if you expect your children to be heterosexual. Advocates of “gender-neutral parenting” denounce parents who encourage their sons to play sports or who permit their daughters to watch Disney princess movies (which are full of “heteronormative” messages, Women’s Studies professors warn us).

“Until I started studying radical feminism, I never thought of ‘normal’ as an achievement,” I wrote in April 2015 after examining the way gender theory is taught in universities. As our society has lost any consensus of what “normal” adulthood should entail, a growing and quite vocal segment of the culture have demanded that the traditional family and religious morality must be destroyed. This cultural conflict produces profoundly confusing messages for children growing up in a society where there is no generally accepted definition of what kind of adult they should grow up to be.

Amid this confusion, it has become apparent that, in many cases, the transgender cult is exploiting the vulnerability of young people with serious mental illnesses. Many young people buy into a prevailing attitude that “transition” is a cure for problems of identity and social maladjustment. Many of the harshest critics of the transgender movement are those who are “destransitioned,” having quit the process of sex-change “treatment.” One mentally ill 21-year-old lesbian who abandoned this process described herself as “angry as hell” about her experience with “transition-happy therapists and doctors” who “decided to try to medically correct” her, based on their belief that she would “stand a better chance at being a more normal man than a normal woman.” But what is “normal”? And who is qualified to decide?

The egalitarian mentality — the idea of that social hierarchy is always oppressive and that liberation is always the answer to our problems — tends to undermine every source of authority in society. When ordinary people are unable to distinguish between right and wrong, between normal and abnormal, they are compelled to appeal to “experts.” But how do we decide who is qualified as an “expert”? In regard to transgenderism, we find that many people seeking “treatment” end up in a worse condition than they were before they resorted to this expert-approved process. And now we have activists seeking to require schools and other public facilities to accommodate transgenderism despite concerns for women’s safety. What we realize, eventually, is that sane people are being compelled to adjust their own expectations in order to accommodate the demands of mentally ill people who are unable or unwilling to adjust to reasonable standards of social behavior...
Keep reading.

PREVIOUSLY: "Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism."

Yasiel Puig Inside-the-Park Walk-Off Home Run as Dodgers Sweep Nationals at Home (VIDEO)

This was definitely one of the most spectacular walk-offs I've ever seen.

What an amazing finish.

I had the game on, but left to go pick up my wife from work around 9:30pm. When I came home I forgot about the game. When I went back upstairs to my room the Nats had scored a go-ahead run, 3-2, in the top of the 9th. So I sat down to see if the Dodgers could come back, and boy did they ever.

The video's at MLB's YouTube page, "6/22/16: Dodgers complete sweep on Taylor's miscue."

And on Twitter:


Astronomical Housing Market, High Taxes Prompt Exodus of California Residents

It's not like this is new or anything, although this time they're reporting from the heart of the progressive Silicon Valley la la land.

At the San Jose Mercury News, "California's skyrocketing housing costs, taxes prompt exodus of residents":
Living in San Jose, Kathleen Eaton seemingly had it all: a well-paying job, a home in a gated community, even the Bay Area's temperate weather.

But enduring a daily grind that made her feel like a "gerbil on a wheel," Eaton reached her limit.

Skyrocketing costs for housing, food and gasoline, along with the area's insufferable gridlock, prompted the four-decade Bay Area resident to seek greener pastures -- 2,000 miles away in Ohio.

"It was a struggle in California," Eaton said. "It was a very difficult place to live. ... It's a vicious circle."

Eaton is far from alone.

A growing number of Bay Area residents -- besieged by home prices, worsening traffic, high taxes and a generally more expensive cost of living -- believe life would be better just about anywhere else but here.

During the 12 months ending June 30, the number of people leaving California for another state exceeded by 61,100 the number who moved here from elsewhere in the U.S., according to state Finance Department statistics. The so-called "net outward migration" was the largest since 2011, when 63,300 more people fled California than entered.

"The main factors are housing costs in many parts of the state, including coastal regions of California such as the Bay Area," said Dan Hamilton, director of economics with the Economic Forecasting Center at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

"California has seen negative outward migration to other states for 22 of the last 25 years."

A recent poll revealed that an unsettling sense of yearning has descended on people in the Bay Area: About one-third of those surveyed by the Bay Area Council say they would like to exit the nine-county region sometime soon.
Keep reading.

Remember, as I always say, this is the "once Golden State."

British Reality Star Ashleigh Defty Wet and Wild in Sexy Bikini on Holiday in Cyprus

At the Sun UK, "HOT BOD! Ex 'On the Beach' babe Ashleigh Defty gets wet and wild in sexy bikini on holiday showing off her sensational figure - The reality star was seen showcasing her toned figure in Cyprus."

She's on Twitter as well, naturally.

Newport Beach Barbecue Competition (VIDEO)

The Kansas City BBQ Society's hosting the event.

God, that looks fabulous!



Campus Crybabies Come to Congress (VIDEO)

There's nothing else to call these idiots other than spoiled brats.

They're stupid little entitled children.

This juvenile "sit-in" in the House chamber sullies the institution and demonstrates the left's complete ideological farcicality.

At the American Conservative, "Campus Comes to Congress":

The Speaker of the House of Representatives was shouted down by Democratic Congressman as he attempted to regain control of the House of Representatives. Actual U.S. Congressmen behaving like a bunch of giddy Oberlin undergraduates.

They had better not give in. Look, on gun control matters, I am generally — generally — more sympathetic to Democrats than to Republicans. But this mob insurrection on the House floor is profoundly unsettling. I have not looked closely at the legislation, so it is entirely possible that I might support the Democratic proposal. But to attempt to get one’s way by showing utter contempt for rules of the House? No. No, no, no. Their passion does not justify their behavior.

This country is in trouble.
Hat Tip: Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, "THE NEW KNOW-NOTHINGS: “The gullible young radicals covering the White House, and how they got that way,” as charted by Benjamin Weingarten at City Journal:
Supposedly liberal and tolerant campuses create “safe spaces” limited to certain identity groups and those of a certain ideological inclination. In reality, safe spaces are safe only from the diversity their inhabitants claim to cherish. Activist students decry institutions based in “imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, and a cissexist heteropatriarchy,” as one group of aggrieved black students at Oberlin described it. One can’t escape the impression that liberal arts schools are more focused on coddling the next generation of community-organizing social-justice warriors than on educating them.

The end product is a cultural and political elite made up of entitled leftists ill-equipped to deal with the realities of a competitive world. As Ronald Reagan would say, the problem with America’s elites is that they know so much that isn’t so. They see things as they wish them to be rather than as they actually are. They can be easily manipulated because they’ve never examined their own assumptions. And this makes them ripe for the plucking by Ben Rhodes and his ilk...
Minority Leader Pelosi gives actually gave a shout-out to the leftist media for providing an "echo chamber" for the childish Democrat playground antics.

We're in trouble, alright.

Rebuilding America Now: Hillary Clinton Can't Claim to Stand for Women (VIDEO)

This is great!

At the New York Times, "Ad From Trump Ally, Citing ’90s Scandals, Depicts Hillary Clinton as Anti-Woman."



Dad Tries to Save Baby Left in Hot Car by Putting Her in Fridge (VIDEO)

At CBS News 11 Dallas, "Panicked Dad Put Baby In Fridge After Finding In Hot Car":

MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas father and former teacher in the Celina Independent School District is free on bond. Michael Shannon Thedford was arrested after his 6-month-old daughter died after being left in a hot car yesterday.

Thedford posted $20,000 bond late Tuesday night. He has been charged with manslaughter.

Thedford told investigators he dropped off his three and 5-year-old children at a daycare center, while his wife was at work. He said he went home and went to sleep, forgetting his 6-month-old daughter was still strapped in car seat inside the minivan.

Thedford said when he went outside and found the baby not moving, he immediately took her indoors and put her in the refrigerator, with the door open. He then called his wife and 911, and attempted CPR...
More.

Via Drudge.

Supreme Court Blocks Obama's DAPA Illegal Alien Amnesty Program

This is major.

At WaPo, "Supreme Court won’t revive Obama plan to shield illegal immigrants from deportation":

Deport Illegals photo Bs8MoA_CIAAO70d_zps5218de52.jpg
The Supreme Court handed President Obama a significant legal defeat on Thursday, refusing to revive his stalled plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and give them the right to work legally in this country.

The court’s liberals and conservatives deadlocked, which leaves in place a lower court’s decision that the president exceeded his powers in issuing the directive.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.
And at LAT, "Supreme Court deadlock deals defeat to Obama immigration plan":
The Supreme Court deadlocked Thursday over the legality of President Obama’s sweeping immigration plan, dealing a defeat to the White House.

The tie vote leaves in place lower court orders from Texas that have blocked Obama’s plan to suspend deportation and offer work permits to about 4 million parents who have been living illegally in the U.S.
It's a tie. Sends it back to the lower court and let's that decision stand.

Great news, heh.