Oil Strikes and our Economy

“Economists” cited by The Wall Street Journal say that the Iranian/Houthi strikes against a couple of major Saudi Arabian oil production facilities are unlikely to do much to our economy. Despite their anonymity, those…sources’…assessment is accurate.

Among other things, we’ve made ourselves essentially self-sufficient in oil and natural gas production, have become the world’s leading producer, and we’re a net exporter of oil and natural gas.  That last, especially, means we’ll easily be able fill any shortfall from the Saudis’ damage.  (Production cuts from that damage are likely to be short-lived in any event.)

In addition,

The VA Strikes Again

Several times.

First up is this petty (and more) move by the Veterans Administration.

Congressman Brian Mast (R, FL)a retired Army Ranger, spoke out on Thursday after he was evicted from his congressional office space in the West Palm Beach Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
The move came after Mast, who lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, grilled a Department of Veteran Affairs official at a hearing earlier this year.

After a spate of veteran suicides in VA facilities, Mast questioned a number of VA officials last April.  Now the VA wants him out of that office space:

Personal Responsibility

Business executives lack it. Or at least those who sent a letter to members of the Senate demanding action on gun control.

The letter asks senators to pass legislation requiring background checks on gun sales and said failing to take action on the issue is unacceptable.

With no trace of irony, the letter insists

We are writing to you because we have a responsibility and obligation to stand up for the safety of our employees, customers and all Americans in the communities we serve across the country[.]

So you have to satisfy our responsibility for us.

Interest Rate Foolishness

Mario Draghi, in his last act as European Central Bank MFWIC, has lowered ECB benchmark interest rates and set the central bank on a long-term campaign of bond-buying.  His…idea…is to stimulate inflation and push the inflation rate to more normal levels.

Couple things about this.  The Wall Street Journal thinks this commits Draghi’s successor to this foolishness for the long term.  Of course, it does not.  His successor can undo this business when he takes office.  The difficulty will be solely within that successor’s political courage.

Intransigence

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that if he’s reelected later this month, he’ll begin annexing territories in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.  Naturally, the Palestine Liberation Organization and its European Union apologists are in a snoot over it. An anonymously presented EU spokesperson says

The policy of settlement construction and expansion…is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context, undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace[.]

The PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi says that

Coaching

Recall then-judge Aaron Persky, the judge who thought a college swimmer’s future well-being was more important than the fate of the unconscious girl he raped. Recall further that he thought the rape was so inconsequential that he functionally condoned it with a slap-on-the-wrist sentence of six whole months in jail—reduced to three months because of the rapist’s “good behavior” in jail.

Persky lost a subsequent recall election, held because of his coddling of the rapist.

This is, also, the same…judge…who tried to freeload off the public, tried to get them to pay the legal costs he incurred from the steady stream of frivolous lawsuits he instigated in an effort to block that recall election from happening.

Regulatory Capture

America’s automotive companies want ever stricter emissions standards.  Or so says Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund.

This, of course, is nonsense.

If car companies truly want stricter emission standards, they can do so without the cover of a government mandate.  Nothing is stopping them from setting and meeting their own stricter standards.  This is, after all, a (largely) free market economy, and it’s at the heart of a (largely) free nation.  Car companies can make their own decisions without Big Brother’s instruction.

Unions for Socialism

That’s the situation in Oregon, the new front-runner for socialism in the US, surpassing even California.

[T]he Oregon AFL-CIO wants voters to limit self-checkout kiosks in grocery stores.

The State’s Attorney General still has to sign off on the union’s ballot measure, ironically titled the Grocery Store Service and Community Protection Act, but that’s a formality in a State that favors Antifa violence over law and order and actual protection of communities.

The union claims—and it’s serious—that

self-service checkouts add “to social isolation and related negative health consequences” for shoppers.

And

…contribute to retail workers feeling devalued….

A Different Sort of National Security Threat

This one demographic; it’s the potential for population collapse in the People’s Republic of China.  Most of the nations of the world outside Africa face population declines, but none seem as severe as the PRC’s is looking to be.

In 2016, after the one-child policy was abandoned, there were 17.86 million births. This dropped to 17.2 million in 2017 and 15.2 million in 2018—the third-lowest rate since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

That might be an accelerating drop, although three data points don’t make for a strongly measured trend.

“Impartiality Is the Source of a Newspaper’s Credibility”

That’s the headline of Walter Hussman’s piece in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.  Impartiality certainly is a contributor, but the Critical Item for a newspaper’s credibility—for any journalistic entity—is integrity.

To set themselves on the path back to honesty, and so to believability—not just credibility—members of the journalism industry must address these items:

  1. identify at least some of their sources
  2. if an anonymous source refuses to be identified, show two things

-the source actually exists
-why the source should be believed

  1. if the anonymous source is a whistleblower, show that the source has exhausted all internal whistleblowing channels before deciding to leak