Never Trust a Chekist

October 1, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

A good lesson from Mr. Schindler on how to read spies’ memoirs and how to learn from what they don’t say — or half-say. Though I do have to cry “unfair!” Now I really want to know who that traitor was who later became a prominent anti-Communist liberal. Could it have been…?

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

Russian intelligence officers are a congenitally cagey breed. They are never more deceptive when appearing to divulge important truths. Their memoir accounts in particular are to be taken with grains, perhaps bags, of salt.

One of my favorite memoirs from a KGB master-spy is Aleksandr Feklisov’s, published in English in 2001 as The Man Behind the Rosenbergs (the Russian original, published in 1994, has minor but not unimportant differences), which devotes a lot of attention to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as the title indicates.

Feklisov served under diplomatic cover in New York between 1940 and 1946. His actual job was with the Soviet intelligence station or rezidentura. During that long tour, he handled many Soviet agents in America, most famously the notorious Rosenbergs, who were executed by the U.S. government in 1953 for passing atomic secrets to Moscow. Feklisov had more than fifty meetings with Julius and his…

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Bank of England: “Climate change a ‘huge’ financial risk”

September 30, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

The only “financial risk” is being bilked into bankruptcy by the Green Cult and its cronies.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Bank of England has stepped into the climate fray, with a claim that climate change poses a huge financial risk to UK based businesses. For once I believe the Bank of England is absolutely correct (more below).

According to the Sydney Morning Herald;

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Britain’s insurers face potentially “huge” exposure to shifts in climate-change policy and Group of 20 nations need to do more to combat associated financial-stability risks.

“The challenges currently posed by climate change pale in significance compared with what might come,” Mr Carney said in a speech at a Lloyd’s of London dinner.

“Once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.”
England’s central bank has been looking into the economic and financial-stability risks posed by climate change and Carney spoke as the BoE published a report on…

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White House Blames GOP For $500 million Syrian Rebel Training Fiasco

September 29, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

But of course. Having craftily plotted to destroy Obama’s genius-level Syria strategy, Speaker John Boehner could retire a happy man.

Originally posted on Nice Deb:

We’ve had seven years now of Obama screwing things up and not taking responsibility for it, so it should come as no surprise that he is blaming the GOP for his latest fiasco.

Obama’s $500 million program to train and arm the Syrian rebels has flopped in spectacular fashion,so naturally the craven Obama regime is pretending they had nothing to do with it – it was all the Republicans’ fault.  Obama never thought it would work. He just went along because John McCain and Lindsey Graham were just so goshdarn insistent he couldn’t say no. He didn’t want to hurt John McCain’s feelings, so he magnanimously let him try something big.

It’s offensive frankly, that anyone would point fingers at this president, when the fault so clearly lies with the Republicans in Congress. Obama’s fighting to make the world a better place for you and me, and other people…

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Arctic sea ice still too thick for regular shipping route through Northwest Passage

September 29, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

But, wait. I thought all the polar ice was vanishing because of warming that hasn’t been happening for 18 years — and counting. I’m so confused! Enlighten me, Al Gore!

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

From YORK UNIVERSITY and the “paging Dr. Peter Wadhams” department…

Northwest_passage[1] Northwest passage routes. Stock Image: Wikipedia TORONTO, September 29, 2015  – Despite climate change, sea ice in the (NWP) remains too thick and treacherous for it to be a regular commercial Arctic shipping route for many decades, according to new research out of York University.

Prior to this research, there was little information about the thickness of sea ice in the NWP, which meanders through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Yet, next to ice coverage and type, sea ice thickness plays the most important role in assessing shipping hazards and predicting ice break-up.

“While everyone only looks at ice extent or area, because it is so easy to do with satellites, we study ice thickness, which is important to assess overall changes of ice volume, and helps to understand why and where the ice is most vulnerable to summer melt,”…

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Scholarly Evidence against the Welfare State

September 28, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

One of these days, we’re going to come to our economic senses. Soon, I hope.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I repeatedly try to convince people that the welfare state is bad for both taxpayers and poor people.

Sometimes I’ll add some more detailed economic analysis and explain that redistribution programs undermine growth by reducing labor supply (with Obamacare being the latest example).

And I’ve even explained that the welfare state has a negative impact on savings and wealth accumulation (these dramatic charts show Social Security debt in America compared to ever-growing nest eggs in Australia’s private pension system).

But if new research from the European Central Bank (ECB) is any indication, I should be giving more emphasis to this final point.

Culling from the abstract, here’s the key finding from the working paper by Pirmin Fessler and Martin Schürz.

…multilevel cross-country regressions show that the degree of welfare state spending across countries is negatively correlated with household net wealth. These findings suggest that social services provided by…

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Utah to raise taxes on the sick to pay for Medicaid expansion?

September 27, 2015

Make bees angry, get stung in return

Utah is one of the many states that has so far resisted expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. It’s a smart decision: While the Federal government (read, the entire nations through taxes or borrowing) pays for an initial 90% of that expansion, that percentage goes down over the years and leaves the state more and more on the hook. It’s a delayed budget-buster that would force a state to impose its own ruinous taxation; Medicaid already eats a huge portion of state budgets, and this would make the problem far worse.

So, the Utah legislature has refused to commit fiscal suicide by expanding Medicaid, but the Governor, Gary Herbert, is determined to pull that trigger. So, they’ve looked for a “compromise” that would garner more funding for Utah Medicaid. And what does that compromise entail? I bet you can guess…

New taxes:

According to the few specifics made public, the biggest component of the negotiated framework is to levy a new “assessment” on medical providers in Utah to help pay for the state’s share of expansion. But the so-called assessment is simply a new Obamacare tax on the sick that will not only raise health care costs for all Utahns, but add significantly to the national debt.

Provider Taxes Are Taxes On Everyone

Gov. Herbert says this plan will allow the state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare without the need to “raise taxes” to pay for it. But the proposed provider tax is still a tax – and not just on providers.

Hospitals and other providers won’t pay this tax. Although they may write a check and send it to the state treasury, they won’t bear the burden of a new tax. As Milton Friedman frequently explained: only people can pay taxes. This new Obamacare expansion tax will simply be passed along to Utahns seeking medical care.

Worse yet, this new tax will be borne not just by sick Utahns, but by taxpayers everywhere. This new scheme was designed specifically to draw in more money from federal taxpayers.

Here’s how it works: hospitals and other providers will pay an “assessment” to the Utah government. Utah will then turnaround and spend those dollars in order to trigger federal “matching” dollars for Medicaid expansion. In this case, federal taxpayers will have to kick in an extra $9 or more for every dollar Utah collects from the sick.

And remember: there is no magic pot of Obamacare money to cover those funds. Any federal money Utah spends on Obamacare expansion will simply be added to the national debt.

So, in summary, there are three major things wrong here:

  • Proponents of the measure, including the Governor, are lying to the people of Utah. Call it an “assessment” or a “fee” or even “broiled fish,” a tax is still a tax. John Roberts notwithstanding.
  • They are also lying when they say the tax will be borne by providers. Bullsh… Er… Nonsense. This cost will be passed on to those receiving services: the sick.
  • The federal government will have to borrow money or raise taxes to pay its share if this. Either way, that’s more from you and me.

And, on top of it all, Medicaid expansion is still a looming fiscal disaster for the Beehive State.

This stinks to High Heaven. The good people of Utah should contact their legislators and the governor’s office to remind them that a) they do not like even more of their hard-earned money being snatched from their pockets to pay for stupid ideas; and b) elections have consequences, especially for pols determined to do dumb things.

Asia’s coal power climate joke

September 26, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Obama wants to destroy the coal industry here, while California thinks it can heal the world on its own by forsaking the Demon Carbon. Meanwhile in Asia, they merely pay lip service to global warming while pressing on with building coal plants — and laughing at us behind our backs. And sometimes in front of them.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Mother Jones is celebrating that China has just committed $3.1 billion to help poor countries fight climate change. Mother Jones cautiously states they don’t know what China means by this statement. My guess is they know very well what China probably means – but they don’t want to detract from their climate story.

According to Mother Jones;

China followed up its promise Friday to create the world’s largest cap-and-trade program with yet another significant climate policy announcement: It will commit to spending $3.1 billion to help developing countries slash their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. China’s financial commitment, along with its new carbon market, are part of a comprehensive package of climate measures to be announced at a joint press conference featuring US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday in Washington, DC.

The new pledge, emerging from high-profile…

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