Fed Notes Friday

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“Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t you think?” – L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz.

So, today, a report from the Federal Reserve to Congress, from the brainless to the brain dead.

Federal Reserve policymakers see an economy that may be past full employment, financial market prices that are high and overall growth that continues to gather steam.

Those conditions remain appropriate for further interest rate increases, though inflation pressures remain fairly muted for now, according to a key report to Congress the central bank released Friday.

The monetary policy report provided a wide-ranging view of conditions for new Chairman Jerome Powell, who took the Fed’s reins earlier this month. Powell will present the report along with remarks during congressional testimony Tuesday.

“The FOMC expects that, with further gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will remain strong,” the report said, echoing language from prior Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

Translation: We still have absolutely no idea what we’re doing but things seem well regardless.

I sincerely hope this Friday afternoon finds you well.

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The Boys: Cultural Questions and Answers

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Two good stories today about the decaying culture.

The first, a very good Times piece by Michael Ian Black, a little confused on the effects of feminism, asks for help:

I believe in boys. I believe in my son. Sometimes, though, I see him, 16 years old, swallowing his frustration, burying his worry, stomping up the stairs without telling us what’s wrong, and I want to show him what it looks like to be vulnerable and open but I can’t. Because I was a boy once, too.

There has to be a way to expand what it means to be a man without losing our masculinity. I don’t know how we open ourselves to the rich complexity of our manhood. I think we would benefit from the same conversations girls and women have been having for these past 50 years.

I would like men to use feminism as an inspiration, in the same way that feminists used the civil rights movement as theirs. I’m not advocating a quick fix. There isn’t one. But we have to start the conversation. Boys are broken, and I want to help.

In the second Fred Reed delivers the answers, uncomfortable but incontrovertible; as he notes, “The causes can be argued, but the fact cannot.”

I think feminism plays a large part in the collapse of society in general and specifically in pushing boys over the edge. In my school years boys were allowed to be boys. Neither sex was denigrated. Doing so would have occurred to nobody. Then came a prejudice against boys, powerful today

All of this affected society in its entirety, but especially white boys. They are constantly told that being white is shameful, that any masculine interest is pathological, that they are rapists in waiting. They are subjected to torturous boredom and inactivity, and drugged when they respond poorly. They go to schools that do not like them and that stack the deck against them. Many are fatherless. All have access to psychoactive drugs.

Add it up.

Unintended consequences? Or part of the plan? Either way…

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Norman Rockwell.

The Robot Wars May Already be Over

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Sun Tzu famously said, “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” Few would dispute the general.

And so it may be that the robot wars, not quite yet underway, may already be decided. Let’s hope there is a robot exception to the general martial rule.

When I was a child there was a comic book, which I sometimes read, called Magnus, Robot Fighter. Titular character Magnus – you guessed it – fought robots, in the 41st century. It was harmless fun, then.

Now we know the timing was about 2,000 years off. Word came the other day that one of Boston Dynamic’s DARPA darlings has been redesigned to fight off pesky humans. In a test the dog-like bot battled a man for entry through a door and won. The man was unarmed and was likely no Magnus. That was yesterday.

Today a scientist warns near future bots will need special control chips in order to prevent them from wantonly murdering people, door disputes or not. Maybe it’ll be like psych meds for droids. So encouraging.

The US physicist outlined the evolution of robots in future, but it’s absolutely terrifying.

He believes robots will eventually become so advanced they run the risk of replacing the human race.

And to stop them having “murderous thoughts” before killing us, humans will need to act fast and chip them with preventive technology.

Okay, my sources are The Star and a defunct 70’s comic book. But one can see where this is going.

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Magnus, Gold Key.

Banning Bump Stocks

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Last fall, following the shooting in Las Vegas (which I think we were supposed to forget happened), a class action lawsuit was filed against a maker of bump stocks, Slide Fire.

The Complaint is HERE. I didn’t follow the case and won’t. Originally I figured it would go nowhere; now it’s a moot point. The suit was filed immediately in a case that still consists of nothing but unanswered questions. No investigative report. Multiple narrative changes. Adamant ISIS declarations. And admonishment from the FBI that it may be a year before anything is known factually (if ever).

Anyway, again, it no longer matters.

Yesterday, in the wake of the Florida high school shooting, President Donald John Trump directed AG Sessions to administratively ban the devices – which were not used in the Florida shooting. More from the Daily Mail.

President Donald Trump called on politicians on both sides of the aisle to back stronger background checks for prospective gun owners on Tuesday.

‘Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!’ the president tweeted.

Hours earlier, Trump took action to outlaw bump stocks like the one used in the Las Vegas massacre last fall.

‘I signed a memorandum directing the Attorney General to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,’ Trump said in the wake of a Florida massacre in which the killer did not use such a device.

His push for stricter gun controls comes after thousands of students and parents have called on his administration to implement changes to prevent future mass shootings.

Sell. Out.

This isn’t merely an affront to the Second Amendment, it’s an APA-driven assault on the Article One legislative authority of Congress. I suppose none of this matters at this rather late hour.

Nothing to address the rapidly declining culture. Nothing about the schools themselves. Nothing about the constant link between the shootings and psychotropic medication. Nothing about the massive failure of existing laws and law enforcement. Nothing about the illegality of most of those existing laws. Nothing. A feel good measure that doesn’t even feel good. And won’t help anyone.

Since he took office last year I’ve been trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. That ends now.

You get what you vote for. Congratulations.

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Another Charge From Mueller

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This one might be actionable or subject to extradition.

An attorney who worked for a prominent law firm was charged with making false statements to federal authorities as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.

Alex Van Der Zwaan was charged Feb. 16 with lying to the FBI and Mueller’s office about conversations related to his work on a report prepared by his law firm on the legitimacy of the criminal prosecution of a former Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.

Prosecutors charged Van Der Zwaan by criminal information, which typically precedes a guilty plea. He is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Washington. He didn’t immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

Van Der Zwaan was an associate in the London office of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom. “The firm terminated its employment of Alex Van Der Zwaan in 2017 and has been cooperating with authorities in connection with this matter,” the firm said in a statement.

Last year, Van Der Zwaan married the daughter of Russian oligarch German Khan, according to the London Tatler. Khan is a shareholder of Alfa Group, a Russian banking and investment concern, and a board member at LetterOne Holdings, the investment vehicle set up by the founders of Alfa Group.

The unsealing of Van Der Zwaan’s case came four days after Mueller accused 13 Russians of a sophisticated disinformation campaign using a troll army that targeted the 2016 campaign and sought to sow discord in the U.S.

I still don’t see anything resembling collusion between Trump and the Ruskies. I do see a pattern of people getting charged with lying to the FBI. And this guy was an attorney at a mega firm, one of the most monied on Earth. It just goes to show the old adage: if you’re not talking, you’re not lying. The FBI is the police.

Do not talk to the police. Really.

There really is no good reason. If they suspect you or your associates of a crime – any crime – they can generally find something to charge you with. Don’t help them. Don’t make it easy.

On the other hand, if you know of someone who is venturing into the world of “professional school shooting,” and you tell the FBI, they do nothing. Nothing, except for a little CYA after the shooting career starts. Again, no point in the communication.

This is our “premier” law enforcement agency…

Russians: The Mueller Indictment

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So, now we have it – 37 pages of indictment against 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian organisations.

READ THE WHOLE THING HERE.

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It seems to me there were two purposes behind the Special Counsel’s investigation from the beginning: 1) actually investigate election tampering, etc., and; 2) find or manufacture evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump. The latter part was the heart and soul of the “Russia, Russia, Russia” mania gripping the media, the Democrats, etc.

The indictment finds and alleges no collusion whatsoever between the President and any Russian malfeasors. In fact, it finds no impropriety by any American.

With the recent developments in the FBI/FISA debacle and with no evidence of collusion anywhere, it may be that Mueller decided to wrap this one up. It could also be that he did a proper investigation and that this is the result.

The issue is, of course, developing. More later, likely.

Read. Discuss. Etc.

More Laws??

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Following the school shooting in Florida, the media, the idiot pols, and the hysterical mass media repeat the clamor to “Do something! Anything!” As with any any problem on Earth, the solution has to be another law, right?

In this particular case, let’s consider that:

The alleged shooter was on psych meds, like all school shooters;

He was expelled from the school for threats and violent behavior;

The police were called to his house 39 times! in a year;

The FBI received a tip he might be a potential school shooter and did nothing;

The subject school, like nearly all government schools, was a “gun free” zone;

A law to legalized lawful arms carry in “gun free” zones was shot down in FL last year;

In Florida, Wednesday, it was illegal to: bring a gun to a school; point a gun at any person; disrupt educational process; shoot people; commit murder … ;

As with all terrorist and most American felons, the shooter was previously know to authorities – this one was known to everyone from the teachers to the FBI.

What new law could have made any difference here? The even the odds Bill I mentioned the other day might have. About the only intelligent thing I’m hearing from any politician is the Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, calling for expanded Florida Baker Act provisions to temporarily detain potentially mentally ill criminals – before they act.

This case looks like the complete and utter failure of law and law enforcement.

Maybe it’s not the law. Maybe it’s the people. Something to think about.

Florida High School Shooting

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Not good on Valentine’s Day, any day.

Reports say at least 1 dead with 20-50 injured. Suspect allegedly pulled fire alarm to draw out targets.

Local Story

National News

You may find this one hard to believe as all Florida schools are “gun free” zones, effectively (we’re told) protected by statutory force fields against crime and terror. Maybe that’s not the case.

Last year twin bills to even the odds were dropped in Tallahassee. Such would have opened up legal weapons carry in schools and at other “gun free” venues. The effort  failed: SB 908 was indefinitely postponed and died in Senate Judy; HB 803 died in a subcommittee.

A whole lot of dying, needless perhaps.

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Drudge.

UPDATES:

17 dead;

Suspected shooter: expelled former student Nicolas de Jesus Cruz, 19;

Suspect previously known to authorities (for similar threatening behavior);

Suspect in alive and in custody;

Pelosi, left, even Legs Network, predictably peddle gun control  (like “gun free” zones?).

MORE UPDATES:

Suspect followed social media sites for “resistance” groups out of Syria, Iraq. Hmmm???

 

Developing. Updates if/when warranted.