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 91 
 on: March 21, 2017, 03:25:32 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
 By Bret Stephens
March 20, 2017 7:02 p.m. ET
583 COMMENTS

Tokyo

Japan is an excellent place to test the proposition that countries do better with low levels of immigration. In a land of 127 million people, there are just over two million foreign residents, and only a third of them are here for the long term. The number of illegal immigrants, which peaked at a modest 300,000 in the early 1990s, is down by 80%.

As for refugees, in 2016, Tokyo entertained 10,000 requests for asylum. It accepted a grand total of 28. Steve Bannon would smile.

The result, say immigration restrictionists, is plain to see. Japan’s crime and drug-use rates are famously low. Life expectancy is famously high. Japanese students put their American peers to shame on international tests. The unemployment rate clocks in at 3.1%. All this is supposed to be a function of a homogenous society with a high degree of cultural cohesion—the antithesis of cacophonous, multiethnic America.

Just one problem: The Japanese have lost their appetite for reproduction. To steal a line from Steve King, the GOP congressman from Iowa, the only way they can save their civilization is with “somebody else’s babies.”

Japan’s population shrank by nearly a million between 2010 and 2015, the first absolute decline since census-taking began in the 1920s. On current trend the population will fall to 97 million by the middle of the century. Barely 10% of Japanese will be children. The rest of the population will divide almost evenly between working-age adults and the elderly.

Imagine yourself as a 35-year-old Japanese salary man. You can expect that an ever-larger share of your paycheck will go to the government to fund the pensions and health care of your parents—who, at 70, can reasonably expect to live another 10 or 15 years, and who aren’t likely to vote for politicians promising to strip their entitlements.

Being Japanese, you were raised to make financial sacrifices for your elders, even if it means not having children of your own. Besides, it’s hard to want children with the economy in such bad shape. As Morgan Stanley’s Ruchir Sharma has noted, lousy demographics mean a lousy economy: The average rate of GDP growth in countries with shrinking working-age populations is only 1.5%. In 2016, Japan’s growth rate was 1%—and that was a relatively good year by recent standards.

What if the government paid you to have babies? Alas, along with millions of your countrymen, you suffer from what the Japanese call “celibacy syndrome” and aren’t interested in sex, never mind procreation. You’re also unhappy: In 2016, Japan ranked 53rd on the U.N.’s World Happiness Report, a notch above Kazakhstan but below El Salvador and Uzbekistan.

So Japan is in trouble, and the government knows it. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tinkered with formulas to bring in lower-skilled temporary workers for housecleaning and farm jobs, and he has promoted various tax breaks and subsidies to ease the burden of raising children and caring for aging parents.

But whatever their other benefits, “pro-family” policies won’t reverse the demographic trend. Only large-scale immigration can do that, and the Japanese won’t countenance it. The flip side of cohesion is exclusion. The consequence of exclusion is decline.

Which brings us back to Mr. King and the U.S. immigration debates. A decade ago, America’s fertility rate, at 2.12 children for every woman, was just above the replacement rate. That meant there could be modest population growth without immigration. But the fertility rate has since fallen: It’s now below replacement and at an all-time low.

Without immigration, our demographic destiny would become Japanese. But our culture wouldn’t, leaving us with the worst of both worlds: economic stagnation without social stability. Multiethnic America would tear itself to pieces fighting over redistribution rights to the shrinking national pie.

This doesn’t have to be our fate. Though it may be news to Mr. King, immigrants aren’t a threat to American civilization. They are our civilization—bearers of a forward-looking notion of identity based on what people wish to become, not who they once were. Among those immigrants are 30% of all American Nobel Prize winners and the founders of 90 of our Fortune 500 companies—a figure that more than doubles when you include companies founded by the children of immigrants. If immigration means change, it forces dynamism. America is literally unimaginable without it.

Every virtue has its defect and vice versa. The Japanese are in the process of discovering that the social values that once helped launch their development—loyalty, self-sacrifice, harmony—now inhibit it. Americans may need reminding that the culture of openness about which conservatives so often complain is our abiding strength. Openness to different ideas, foreign goods and new people. And their babies—who, whatever else Mr. King might think, are also made in God’s image.

Write bstephens@wsj.com.

Appeared in the Mar. 21, 2017, print edition.

 92 
 on: March 21, 2017, 02:30:16 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
https://patriotpost.us/humor/48074

 93 
 on: March 21, 2017, 02:11:06 PM 
Started by Crafty Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/03/21/trump-wont-allow-you-to-use-ipads-or-laptops-on-certain-airlines-heres-the-underlying-story/?utm_term=.d56be5183de4&wpisrc=nl_&wpmm=1

 94 
 on: March 21, 2017, 02:04:49 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
We Built the Russia Sanctions to Last
Europe has stayed united behind them, and now Merkel seems to have brought Trump along.
By Edward Fishman
March 20, 2017 7:00 p.m. ET


Western sanctions on Russia have always seemed on the brink of collapse. Business interests have opposed them, and perspectives on Russia within the European Union—which requires unanimity to make foreign-policy decisions—have been anything but uniform. Skeptics claimed the West has only a passing interest in Ukraine, whereas Ukraine’s geopolitical disposition is of crucial importance to Russia. The implication was that Moscow could surely wait out Washington and Brussels.

Yet here we are: Sanctions remain in place three years after the West first imposed them and two months after the inauguration of President Trump. And there are few signs that is about to change.

In an otherwise awkward press conference last Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Trump sounded harmonious notes on Ukraine policy. Mr. Trump praised Mrs. Merkel’s “leadership” on conflict resolution in Ukraine, and Mrs. Merkel noted that she was “very gratified to know that the American administration and also the president, personally, commits himself to the Minsk process.” That suggests Mr. Trump assured Mrs. Merkel he will stand by the existing policy of maintaining sanctions until Russia pulls back from eastern Ukraine.

As one of the diplomats involved in creating the sanctions, I am not surprised they have endured. We designed them to be sustainable—to apply meaningful pressure on Russia without risking a short-term economic crisis or overly burdening any one constituency in the U.S. or Europe. And good communication has prevented minor disagreements between Washington and European capitals from snowballing into threats to trans-Atlantic unity.

Why have sanctions proved so resilient? For starters, the EU has shown remarkable leadership and solidarity. Although semiannual decisions on whether to renew sanctions have caused jitters, the outcomes were never seriously in doubt. Despite frequent anti-sanctions rhetoric, no EU leader has challenged them head-on, and the EU’s biggest player—Mrs. Merkel’s Germany—has been a consistent supporter.

Even though any single EU member could veto sanctions, potential spoilers such as Russia-friendly Greece and Hungary have never posed a practical threat. That’s because a motion to break unanimity by a small country could cause a constitutional crisis in the EU. Many EU states might even refuse to implement a veto, undermining the legal and normative solidarity of the union writ large. None of the would-be spoilers are interested in accelerating the deterioration of the EU, so the veto option has never made sense.

Another reason sanctions have endured is that they haven’t harmed the U.S. or European economy in any serious way. Western sanctions on Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer by output, did not push oil prices upward, even as they froze some of the company’s major development projects. The same is true for sanctions against Russia’s six largest banks, which squeezed their finances but did not lead to broader contagion.

Because blowback was so limited, “sanctions fatigue” was turned on its head. Instead of becoming harder to stomach over time, sanctions faced their most intense business opposition in the beginning. As American and European companies have found alternative markets, living with Russia sanctions has become progressively easier for them.

A third reason for the durability of sanctions is that the U.S. and EU quickly settled on criteria for lifting them. In March 2015, all 28 EU leaders agreed that the core economic sanctions were “clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements,” the peace accords to resolve the Ukraine conflict. The Group of Seven leaders echoed the sentiment in June 2015.

This benchmark greatly simplified the EU’s semiannual decisions to renew sanctions. As long as Russia and its proxies continued to control parts of eastern Ukraine, there was no justification to undo sanctions. Only new rollback criteria endorsed by all EU leaders could alter this dynamic.

It is fair to ask whether the rise of Donald Trump has changed this equation. It isn’t far-fetched to assume Mr. Trump might try to cancel sanctions or that his rhetoric will erode cohesion in the EU.

The president does have the authority to end U.S. sanctions unilaterally. Unlike in the Iran context, Congress has been a paper tiger on Russia, frequently denouncing the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine but passing no significant laws that enhance or even codify existing sanctions. And in Europe, Mr. Trump’s “America first” rhetoric will only increase suspicions—hitherto groundless—that the U.S. is using sanctions to strengthen the competitive positions of American companies.

But it now seems doubtful that trans-Atlantic sanctions will end in the way most frequently envisioned: with the EU throwing in the towel. The irony of the present moment is that the EU—so often dismissed as “soft” on Russia—has emerged as the West’s bulwark. Even German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, one of Europe’s most vocal critics of sanctions, is encouraging Washington to hold firm.

Brussels’ unity on this critical issue should stand as a lesson that the EU is hardly feckless; it is a tremendous boon to American foreign policy. It may be frustrating to corral a bloc of more than two dozen European states, but when the EU settles on a policy, it can be a potent and steadfast force.

Mr. Fishman, a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, served at the State Department, 2013-17.

 95 
 on: March 21, 2017, 01:58:07 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
"He also won the peeing for distance women's championship."

 cheesy cheesy cheesy

 96 
 on: March 21, 2017, 01:57:22 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
A good article today about economist David Malpass, a friend/collaborator of our own Scott Grannis.
Another great Trump pick, the new undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.
http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2017/03/21/the_us_treasury_and_the_exciting_arrival_of_david_malpass_102597.html

While it’s fun to imagine Malpass eventually replacing Yellen, the great news for now is that he’s been appointed undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.  His arrival is essential.  That’s the case because the U.S. Treasury is the mouthpiece for the U.S. dollar, and Malpass knows dollar policy as few do.

What’s crucially important is that Malpass understands that money is decidedly not wealth.  If every dollar in the world were vaporized today, the U.S. would remain the world’s richest country tomorrow.  Malpass views money as Adam Smith did, as a medium of exchange that facilitates the exchange of actual wealth.  Wealth is what we humans produce, while money is but a measure that speeds our exchange of the goods and services we create.

The above matters a great deal now simply because the understanding of money within the political class is arguably at an all-time low.  More and more economists, pundits and politicians think the value of money can be tinkered with on the way to artificially grand economic outcomes.  Call it economic fabulism.  While in the real world money merely facilitates exchange and investment, to the fabulists who increasingly dot the economic landscape, money is the wealth.  And changes in its value can alter reality to our betterment.  To the fabulists, dollar devaluation is the path to prosperity.  They couldn’t be more incorrect.

What’s important is that Malpass expertly knows why the fabulists are incorrect.  He knows that the U.S. economy is but a collection of individuals, and individuals earn dollars.  By extension, he’s well aware that the American people aren’t made better off if the dollars they’re earning are being stripped of their value by monetary officials.

Taking this further, Malpass knows well that companies and jobs spring from investment.  That the latter is true explains why Malpass has written voluminous columns and reports, and has given countless speeches over the years preaching the virtue of money that is actually money.  Getting more specific, Malpass has long favored a dollar that is the same today as it is tomorrow, one year from now, and ten years from now.

When a dollar holds its value over time much as a foot will be twelve inches tomorrow and twelve years from now, those with wealth can most comfortably direct it toward future wealth creation.  They can invest.  Malpass knows that when savers put money to work as investment, they’re buying dollars in the future.  But when money is being shrunken, the cost of delaying consumption in favor of investing in future Apples, Walmarts and Microsofts becomes prohibitive.  While investment is the tautological source of new companies and jobs, why invest if any potential returns will come back in severely devalued dollars?

Malpass knows all of the above, and much, much more.  With the U.S. Treasury focused on dollar and tax policy, Malpass understands that taxes are nothing more than a price, or a penalty placed on work.  He knows that taxes raise the cost of getting up and going to work, and since he’ll be the international face of Treasury, he knows that country taxes amount to a daily competition for the investment that authors all advance.  Malpass knows that investment goes where it’s treated well; specifically investment migrates to where it’s not being devalued through currency machinations, or through nosebleed capital gains taxes that suffocate intrepid investing in the first place.

How does all this apply to the American voter? It says here that more than most in the punditry realize, voters have long been clamoring for the policies that Malpass has been preaching for decades.  Plainly stated, voters want economic growth, and to reap the benefits of growth through ever-increasing living standards.

What’s important is that all of the above can be achieved through the modest policy ideas that Malpass will bring with him to Washington.  Malpass does not come with arrogant solutions as much as he’ll bring common sense to the policy conversation.

Malpass will remind all around him that the average voter earns dollars, and as such is not made better off when those dollars buy less and less.  The average voter craves opportunity, and he’ll remind those in his orbit that dollar destruction is anti-opportunity because it’s anti-investment.

Most of all, the internationalist in Malpass will remind those in his midst that a global economy speaks to global options when it comes to investing.  Malpass will alert those around him to the simple truth that dollar devaluation and excessive taxation stateside will cause investment to exit the U.S., and with it the economic opportunity that individuals want regardless of Party affiliation.

Simply put, David Malpass understands economic growth intimately.  What a great development it is that he’ll be bringing his expertise to the U.S. Treasury.

 97 
 on: March 21, 2017, 01:57:15 PM 
Started by ccp - Last post by Crafty_Dog
"If you combine the other right leaning candidates vote percentages of Libertarian Gary Johnson and conservative alternative candidate Evan McMullen with Trump's total, 53% chose Trump or one of these over Hillary Clinton."

This raises the possibility of a potential interesting talking point:

If we assign the third party votes to the probable Rep/Dem candidate (e.g. Green to Hillary, Libertarian to Trump, etc) who would have won the popular vote?


 98 
 on: March 21, 2017, 01:53:45 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/new-documents-say-trump-aide-hid-payments-from-pro-moscow-ukraine-party/2017/03/21/92ec85f2-0e11-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.f58361f099e9&wpisrc=nl_&wpmm=1

 99 
 on: March 21, 2017, 01:41:34 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

So much winning...

 100 
 on: March 21, 2017, 01:40:45 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
He also won the peeing for distance women's championship.


Transgender Wins International Women’s Weightlifting Title


"Laurel Hubbard, a 39 year-old transgender who was born male, won her first international women’s weightlifting title in Australia breaking four national records in the process.

Hubbard beat the competition by 19 kilograms.

The New Zealand Herald reported:

Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has dominated her first major competition, taking out the Australian International in Melbourne on a night she made history as the first transgender athlete to represent New Zealand.

Hubbard, 39, won the women’s over 90kg division at the Melbourne event, setting four unofficial national records in the process. Hubbard lifted a combined total of 268kg – 19kg better than silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia of Samoa.

Australia’s Kaitlyn Fassina claimed the bronze medal with 223kg.

Hubbard looked visibly emotional as she lined up behind dais awaiting the official medal presentation. But she kept the tears at bay, smiling and waving as she stood atop the podium.

Earlier this month the Herald revealed Hubbard had been selected to make her international debut at the competition after usurping Rio Olympian Tracey Lambrechs at the top of the division."

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/03/transgender-wins-international-womens-weightlifting-title/

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