Hopefully, It’s a Start

The Libre Initiative is a conservative organization funded by a donor network organized by the Koch brothers, that pair of Left-wing bêtes noire.

This organization is

[a]ctive in nine states, including Colorado, Nevada and Virginia, Libre, which means free in Spanish, is an effort to organize Latinos around free-market political ideas.

It’s also helping Hispanic immigrants learn English and

offering recent immigrants practical services such as English-language courses, tax-preparation seminars and driver’s license classes….

It’s helping these folks fit into their new nation.

Economics and Secession

Spain’s economy may be beginning to recover, even to boom, from the global Panic of 2008.

In its second estimate of gross domestic product for the quarter, statistics bureau INE said the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy grew 3.4% in the July-to-September period compared with the year earlier period, up from a rate of 3.2% in the second quarter.

To be sure, these are only two quarters’ worth of data. It’s also unclear how much of this growth is spread throughout Spain, and how much is concentrated in the secessionist province of Catalonia.

Economic Contest

It’s not yet an economic war. Russia is beginning the contest with Turkey after that nation was so impertinent as to shoot down a Russian fighter-bomber that was the latest Russian aircraft to violate Turkish airspace, this time refusing to leave despite multiple requests and warnings.

…Moscow took aim at Turkey’s economy, ordering tougher checks on its food imports.

This isn’t a contest that Russia can win, though. The Turkish economy is in sounder shape than Russia’s, and Turkey isn’t particularly dependent on exports to Russia. Russia, though, already has banned food imports from the rest of Europe over the latter’s sanctions that responded to Russia’s invasion and occupation of significant parts of Ukraine. This latest move, delicate though it is, simply makes Russia more dependent on domestic food production.

Happy Thanksgiving

I first posted this in 2011. I think it bears repeating today.

Today I thought I’d share some thoughts on the matter offered by other folks who are a bit more articulate than I. In the meantime, be thankful for who we are and where we are: whatever straits we in which we find ourselves, we’re orders of magnitude better off than most everyone else in the world.

Speeding Up

John Kerry, the guy presently sitting in the Secretary of State’s chair, is in the Middle East, talking about speeding up the talking about what to do about al-Assad and the Daesh.

The goal is to accelerate everything.

Everything helps move everything else. If we can get a cease-fire, if we can get a political process, that greatly facilitates what we can then talk to Russians and others about in terms of coordination to go after Daesh[.]

An aside: why on earth would we want a cease fire with murderous thugs, whether Bashar al-Assad, as Kerry is going on about above, or with the Daesh?

Political Commitments

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, early in his campaign, refused to rule out running as an Independent, saying he didn’t want to give up the leverage.

Then he very publicly signed a pledge not to run as a third party candidate and to support the Republican nominee.

Now he’s renewing his threat.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump suggested Sunday that he would be open to running for president as an independent if he concludes Republicans aren’t treating him “fairly.”

With this demonstration of the value of his word, in what way is Trump distinguishable from the Democrats against whom he purports to be running—as a Republican or as an Independent?

A Thought on Immigration

Greg Ip has a piece on demographics in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal.

Next year, the world’s advanced economies will reach a critical milestone. For the first time since 1950, their combined working-age population will decline…and by 2050 it will shrink 5%. The ranks of workers will also fall in key emerging markets, such as China and Russia. At the same time the share of these countries’ population over 65 will skyrocket.

There are two competing factors that dominate those statistics: people are living longer, in particular in retirement, and women are bearing fewer children over their lifetimes. As Ip put it,

SEC Dishonesty

I’ve written before about the SEC’s internal administrative judge stacked deck system.

Judge Brenda Murray explained to [eight] brokers that the commissioners who run the SEC and approve all the civil charges filed by the agency don’t want its judges second-guessing them.

“So for me to say I am wiping it out,” Ms Murray said at the [motion to dismiss] hearing last year, “it looks like I am saying to these presidential appointee commissioners, I am reversing you. And they don’t like that.”

It doesn’t get any more blatant than that.

And yet, there’s this:

Moving in the Right Direction

For 13 years the countries of Southeast Asia have tried building a framework with China to resolve their territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

That plan has been eclipsed in part, officials at high-level talks in Malaysia this weekend acknowledged, in favor of a blunter strategy for dealing with China: strengthening alliances between countries anxious about Beijing’s increasingly assertive behavior.

This also runs counter to the People’s Republic of China’s strongly stated and often repeated preference for dealing with each of the South China Sea nations in strictly bilateral talks—one-on-one talks that the PRC could easily dominate.

Trust is a Two-Way Street

Of necessity, trust must flow both ways. If one does not trust another, the other cannot rely on the one even to behave in a predictable manner toward that other, much less be trustworthy in turn.

The IRS has begun pushing 501(c)(3) nonprofits—the sort of nonprofits that the IRS has been caught targeting punitively conservative versions of—to give up the social security numbers of their donors.

Under the proposed rule, the IRS would create an optional filing for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Those participating would, as part of their yearly report, turn over the Social Security numbers of any donors who give $250 or more to a charity in a given year.