Don’t Look Now But . . . China?

While everyone was getting on his Great American Barbecue yesterday for the July 4th holiday and awaiting the Greek referendum today, the Chinese stock market was crashing again. It’s down 12 percent over the last week, almost 30 percent in the last month.

Tyler Cowen is on it, with a simple message: Greece is small; China is large. Uh oh.

From behind the FT’s paywall:

The Shanghai index is firmly in bear market territory, down 28.6 per cent since the June peak, while the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite has fallen 33.2 per cent.

There were also signs on Friday that the stock market turmoil is beginning to reverberate beyond China. The Australian dollar, often traded as a proxy for China growth, is down 1.2 per cent to a six-year low of US$0.7539.

The 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese daily newspaper, on Friday quoted multiple futures traders as saying they had received phone calls from the China Financial Futures Exchange instructing them not to short the market.

China’s financial titans are attempting to set up a “market stabilization fund.” This doesn’t sound good.

Meanwhile, Tyler Cowen won the Internet yesterday with this line about Greece: “Look at this way: if you lost a public relations battle to Germany, you are probably doing something very badly wrong.”

UPDATE: More from The Atlantic.

Anne Bayefsky explains

The United National Human Rights Council is a body whose essential purpose is to stigmatize the Jewish state for imaginary crimes. The Obama administration therefore deems it important for the United States to fund and participate in the work of the body, such as the farcical investigation of alleged war crimes conducted by its Gaza Conflict Commission of Inquiry. Having concluded its investigation and issued its report, the commission concluded that both Israel and Hamas may have committed war crime in the course of Operation Protective Edge last year, but the commission unloads on Israel.

The commission has posted its report and other materials online here and here. In relevant part, it is unadulterated rubbish with a generous admixture of anti-Semitism.

On Friday the UNHRC voted in favor of a resolution backing the commission report. Forty-one of the 47 UNHRC council members voted in favor of the resolution, including the eight sitting European Union members: France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Latvia and Estonia. Only the United States voted against.

Why, oh, why are we funding and participating in this charade? Because President Obama thinks it useful and for him, of course, it is.

The Times of Israel reports on the proceedings here. The ToI report offers this summary:

The Gaza commission report, headed by Mary McGowan Davis, placed blame on Israel and Hamas for their actions during the war but focused more on Israel’s role. It also accepted the Palestinian death count, which has Israel killing 1,462 civilians out of a total of 2,251 Palestinians who died — a 65 percent ratio. Israel has said that up to half of those killed on the Palestinian side were combatants and lay the blame for the civilian death toll on Hamas for placing its military infrastructure among civilians.

Anne Bayefsky took a rather more combative approach to telling the truth about the report (video below). In her remarks she penetrates the mystery of the intentions explaining Hamas’s actions in the course of the war, something the committee professed itself unable to do. You won’t want to miss this instructive video.

“Green” Taxes Out of Control in Great Britain

At breakfast this morning, I did something I hadn’t done in years–I read a physical newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph. The headline on the front page reads, “U-turn on ‘excessive’ green taxes.” The story documents one more step in the inevitable unraveling of “green” energy policies. Britain’s new Conservative government has something to do with it, too:

The cost of subsidizing new wind farms is spiraling out of control, government sources have privately warned.

Officials admitted that so-called “green” energy schemes will require a staggering £9 billion a year in subsidies–paid for by customers–by 2020. This is £1.5 billion more than the maximum limit ministers had originally planned.

Of course it is. The numbers inevitably will get worse, too.

The mounting costs will mean every household in the country is forced to pay an estimated £170 a year by the end of the decade to support the renewable electricity schemes that were promoted by the coalition.
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George Osborn, the Chancellor, believes the figures demonstrate the need to rein in the cost of policies to tackle climate change.

As a first step, he will use this week’s summer Budget to announce that he is abandoning targets set under the coalition to increase the level of environmental taxes in a move he hopes will save customers and businesses billions of pounds.

Green energy isn’t dead yet–not while billions can still be made through cronyism–but the handwriting is on the wall.

Congratulations, Joe!

I have been in London for the last five or six days, hence not writing about the news. The occasion is Joe Malchow’s wedding, which was yesterday. Joe has done the technical work on this site since he was a freshman at Dartmouth, which must be at least ten years ago. He has overseen the evolution of the site and is responsible for the design and software we are now using. In addition, Joe and a partner are in the internet advertising business and have developed techniques to maximize ad revenue for sites like ours. So we owe Joe a lot. Along the way, he has become a good friend.

Joe met his lovely wife Olivia at Stanford Law School. She is British, and the wedding festivities took place in her home town, Blackheath, which is near London. The wedding was in Olivia’s family’s Catholic church, where she was baptized. It is a beautiful place:

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The reception was at Eltham Palace, where, among other things, Henry VIII lived as a boy:

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Paul came up from Paris for the day, and we had a mini-meeting of the Power Line editorial board. As usual, no decisions were made, but champagne and other adult beverages were consumed:

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One of the families involved–not Olivia’s, presumably–has a tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence aloud each 4th of July. So we did that. It is easy to forget how much good stuff is in the Declaration. Unlike most people, I especially enjoy the recitation of grievances against King George. Some of them still resonate today, unfortunately.

It was a wonderful occasion, and we wish Joe and Olivia all the best.

For the rest, London seems very much itself, happily:

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I may get off a post or two, but it will be another four or five days before I am back in the U.S. and paying regular attention to the news.

For the 4th: Old-Fashioned American Story Telling from . . . LA?

People knock LA for not having a real literary culture. “What happens to civilization when it hangs its hat in LA?”, asks longtime Power Line friend Christopher Flannery today on the debut of the new site Even in LA.  The site offers old fashioned—that is, patriotic—short story telling.

Beauty in a man or a country is the outward glow of inward goodness. It is the goodness that is most worthy of love, but beauty calls attention to the loveworthy thing. Beauty awakens love, and since no man or country can live without love, and since I live in this country, I was thinking about what it is that makes America beautiful, what it is that makes America good. I was doing this in the freedom that seems at home in America and even in my native city of Los Angeles—even in L.A.—when these stories started to come.

It is our hope that these stories may in some small way move the better angels of our nature to touch the mystic chords of memory that strengthen our bonds of affection and make us friends. In our case, these mystic chords stretch not only from battlefields and patriot graves, but from back roads, school yards, and bar stools, city halls, summer afternoons, and old neighborhoods—from everywhere you find Americans being and becoming Americans.

You can buy an album of these short stories Chris has scored and recorded with David Tucker from the site, or listen to them online. In just world, there’d be a public radio show by these guys: the Coastal Frontier Companion, or something. Maybe that will come next.

How Are We Having This Conversation?

Lo and behold, the New York Times has finally branched out into satire. The following interview appeared on July 2 at their Opinionator blog site:

George Yancy: I’d like to begin with an observation — maybe an obvious one — that the task of engaging race or whiteness in philosophy has been taken up almost exclusively by nonwhite philosophers. My sense is that this is partly because whiteness is a site of privilege that makes it invisible to many white philosophers. I also think that some white philosophers would rather avoid thinking about how their own whiteness raises deeper philosophical questions about identity, power and hegemony, as this raises the question of personal responsibility. I have found that it is often very difficult to convince white philosophers that they should also take up this project in their work — they tend to avoid it, or don’t consider it philosophically relevant. Do you agree?

John D. Caputo: “White” is of the utmost relevance to philosophy, and postmodern theory helps us to see why. I was once criticized for using the expression “true north.” It reflected my Nordo-centrism, my critic said, and my insensitivity to people who live in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, no such thing had ever crossed my mind, but that points to the problem. We tend to say “we” and to assume who “we” are, which once simply meant “we white male Euro-Christians.”

Wait—stop the tape! You mean this isn’t satire? This is for real?  Yup, it is. Caputo is the Thomas J. Watson professor of religion emeritus at Syracuse University and David R. Cook professor of philosophy emeritus at Villanova University.

But it gets better. Caputo goes on to say:

I think that what modern philosophers call “pure” reason — the Cartesian ego cogito and Kant’s transcendental consciousness — is a white male Euro-Christian construction.

Like most post-modernist professors of jargon, Caputo isn’t ever clear about anything, but he appears here to be saying that reason itself is “socially constructed,” and therefore subjective or arbitrary, or something. The close corollary is that language is also “socially constructed” and just a tool for power.  Whenever I meet such people I have two questions: Why are we having this conversation—if in fact we really can’t talk to each other?  Moreover, if language is an arbitrary social construction, then how are we having this conversation? May I answer by interpretive dance instead of sounds from my mouth? Why not?

But a third question comes to mind: if reason and language are just a mask for power, and power is the real foundation for social existence, how come post-modernists don’t join the NRA?

P.S. You can skip the whole thing unless you are a connoisseur of the academic abyss, but it’s worth clicking the link to check the comments. Even New York Times readers find this tedious.

(Hat tip: Blake Neff at the Daily Caller.)

In Council Bluffs, the mania of Bernie

From deep under cover, reader Dave Begley emails us this lively report on last night’s campaign activities in Iowa, featuring Bernie Sanders’s standing room only rally in Council Bluffs:

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I attended Bernie’s meeting last night in Council Bluffs, Iowa (photo above). There were about 3,000 people there and many were from Nebraska. I wore my Carleton College shirt and was in complete disguise. The average age was about 30 compared to an average age of about 50 at Jindal’s event.

Bernie spoke for 75 minutes. Way too long. He has to cut at least 20 minutes if not more. Bobby did his stump speech in 30 minutes. Nothing personal or funny from Bernie; all policy.

Bernie did get several standing ovations. People were very fired up. People are very frustrated and angry and he hit several hot button topics.

Not a single mention of Hillary and I think that is a giant mistake. For him to win this thing he has to get votes from casual voters and to do that he has to attack Hillary’s weak spot: honesty.

“Enough is enough” was his theme.

Lots of class warfare talk about income inequality with all sorts of stats.

Called for a higher minimum wage, single payer healthcare, free college, paid FMLA, break up the banks, public finance of campaigns, no TPP, cut student loan interest rates, reclaim manufacturing jobs, massive infrastructure program and stop global warming.

Jindal and other GOP candidates would also like to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and one way to do it is with lower energy prices. Bernie, however, didn’t mention that point. It has already started here because of super low natural gas prices.

Trump has called for a massive infrastructure rebuild (including a border wall) so I was happy to see Bernie and The Donald on the same page.

Wants billionaires to pay their “fair share” of taxes but no numbers mentioned. I didn’t see local billionaire Warren Buffett in the crowd, but he is a big backer of Hillary anyway.

He thanked the Pope for his recent letter on the environment and I wanted to puke. From Bernie’s point of view, the debate is over and the science is settled. It is all about the billionaire class selling fossil fuel and causing the world to burn up by the end of the century. I had to laugh at that prediction as not a single person in that room will live to see 2099.

Weird moment when he said that Republican “family values” was code for denying women contraception but he got another standing O.

He recited at great length the decline in the middle class over the last 20 years but gave Barack a complete pass. He said that the GOP wouldn’t go along with Barack and so it was not Obama’s fault. Nothing is.

Both Bernie and Bobby pointed out the massive problems we have, but they have entirely different solutions.

Bottom line is that Bernie might well win Iowa and New Hampshire. Both are small states that favor the candidate that can get people fired up. Bernie was on fire last night.