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Brian Philips Online Course: The Principles of Property Rights

Brian Philips‘ online course on The Principles of Property Rights is now free online at Udemy.

Here is the course description:

Property rights have long been a part of America’s political heritage. Indeed, the Founding Fathers wrote extensively on the importance of protecting property rights. But property rights are under attack in America today. Part of the reason for the success of these attacks is imprecise or fuzzy thinking. Even many advocates of property rights are unable to clearly define the concept, and thus, they are unable to provide a consistent and principled defense. In this course, we will examine the principles that underlie property rights, as well as the principles underlying attacks on property rights. Only by understanding these principles can we clearly defend property rights and refute the claims of their enemies. Who is the target audience? Business owners harmed by regulations Property owners restricted by land-use regulations Organizations involved in defending property rights.

Link: The Principles of Property Rights

John Allison: The 2008 Financial Crisis Was Caused By Regulatory Policy

From A Conversation With John Allison, the CEO Who Led BB&T Through the Financial Crisis:

The Fool: In your opinion, what caused the crisis?

Allison: I view the crisis differently than a lot of people. I was a long-serving CEO when the crisis struck and I think the whole thing was caused by regulatory policy.

Yes, some big banks made mistakes. But it was a combination of government housing policy, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in particular, which had $5 trillion in liabilities and $2 trillion in subprime mortgages when they failed, and the Federal Reserve, which held interest rates below inflation, that contributed to the bubble in the housing market, along with bubbles in other markets.

I don’t believe the whole industry was failing. I think that’s ridiculous. It was a relatively small number of large institutions that were in trouble. Banks like Citigroup. I think they should have been allowed to fail and the world would be a better place today.

The whole idea that everybody would have gone broke if one of the big banks failed was absurd. We had been doing business with investment banks like Bear Stearns andGoldman Sachs, but we controlled our risk with those companies just like we did with any borrower. If they had gone broke, we would have lost money, but not nearly as much as we lost to residential builders in the marketplace.

It was a relatively small number of large banks and a handful of small banks that were in trouble. It was not an industrywide crisis, except to the degree that the regulators created a crisis by choosing to fail Wachovia, save Citigroup, fail Lehman Brothers, save Bear Stearns. The uncertainty caused by that response took what was going to be a normal correction and transformed it into a crisis, making everything worse than it had to be.

 

The Fool: How did regulators’ response to the financial crisis differ from their responses in past crises that you witnessed?

Allison: I went through the financial correction in the early 1980s, which should have been more severe because we were in bad trouble economically after the inflation of the 1970s. I also went through the correction in the early 1990s. In neither case did we have a panic. And the reason we didn’t have a panic was because at least you knew what to expect.

Thousands of banks and thrifts failed in the 1980s and 1990s. The unwillingness to let banks fail in the latest crisis — they were effectively bailing out everybody — prevented the natural correction process from happening.

We had rule of law in the past. In this crisis, we had no rule of law. When Washington Mutual failed, instead of taking the losses out of the FDIC fund, they took it from bondholders. That crashed the capital markets, which then caused Wachovia to fail. That was a regulatory decision.

The entire interview is definitely worth a read.

Link: A Conversation With John Allison, the CEO Who Led BB&T Through the Financial Crisis.

Simpson: “Big Gap” Between Objectivism and Conservatism

From Is Ayn Rand Affecting Trump’s America? An Interview with Steve Simpson | Merion West.

[Alex:] To what degree do you think Ayn Rand’s philosophy is influencing the modern Republican Party?

Steve: I would say very little honestly. It’s really hard to say that she’s influencing the Republican party. She’s definitely influenced the right, generally speaking, in a huge way, but that does not mean necessarily that conservatives are interpreting her ideas correctly.

I would put it this way: the right is just as afraid of Rand’s ideas as the left is; the right disagrees with her important ideas just as much as the left does. But what Atlas Shrugged has done is give people who are in favor of business, in favor of the free market, in favor of capitalism an ideal to aspire to. Atlas Shrugged is the only novel I’ve ever heard of that portrays businessmen as heroes. I think if you’re on the right and you think there is something good about capitalism, Rand gave the most ringing endorsement to that view that anybody could have given. So it makes really good sense that people on the right, who are sympathetic to capitalism, would like her novel, but that’s a very different thing from them saying they agree with her.

I think she’s influenced the right in general, but the caveat is that it does not mean those on the right necessarily agree with her. When you get to things like “Trump is the Ayn Rand presidency,” that’s nonsense. She’s influenced the right, but there’s still a big gap between Objectivism and what many conservatives believe.

Read the rest: Is Ayn Rand Affecting Trump’s America? An Interview with Steve Simpson | Merion West.

Black Lives Matter Group Advocates Racism Because They Hate Capitalism

Another example of why anti-capitalism and racism go hand-in-hand is evidenced in a Newsweek article, Black Lives Matter Wants to Bring Down White Capitalism With ‘Black Christmas’:

Activist group Black Lives Matter of Los Angeles (BLM) is calling for holiday shoppers to spend their money at black-owned businesses in a push for a “black Christmas” that aims to resist white supremacy through capitalism.

Group leaders say it’s time for people to “resist white capitalism” and divest from businesses that contribute to racial inequality. Melina Abdullah, a BLM leader who is a professor at California State University, Los Angeles (CSU-LA), is encouraging shoppers to use their money to support economic empowerment for minorities. “We say ‘white capitalism’ because it’s important that we understand that the economic system and the racial structures are connected,” said Abdullah during her weekly radio show, Beautiful Struggle.

[…]

“Anthony Ratcliff, another BLM leader and CSU-LA professor, was also on the radio show to explain the purpose of “black Christmas.” “Black Lives Matter and other organizations build a strong critique and understanding of racism and white supremacy and sexism and homophobia, transphobia, but we have to have as much hatred or vitriol against capitalism,” said Ratcliff. “Until we start to see capitalism [is] just as nefarious as white supremacy, we will always be struggling.” The advocacy group organized “black Christmas” last year too and called on consumers to shop at black-owned businesses….”

[…]

Previous black Christmas demonstrations have drawn attention, such as when protesters temporarily blocked roads to airports in San Francisco and Minneapolis in 2015. In Los Angeles that year, nine were arrested for blocking traffic on a major highway.

This, of course, is racism.

To refuse to buy a good from someone because their skin is white is racist. 

Racism is the species of collectivism that advocates judging individuals by their ancestry and skin-color as opposed to the content of their character. Contrast this to the capitalist policy of purchasing the best product at the best price, i.e., the one you find most profitable.

The solution to the plight of alienated black Americans is to be productive and color-blind. The only social (political-economic) system that leaves them free to do both is laissez-faire capitalism

Sadly, Black Lives Matter (BLM) leaders advocate the opposite policies of racism and political activism, with their advocacy of “Black Christmas” and physically blocking Airport roads.

Inequality Debate Ignores Fundamental Distinction Between Politics and Production

From: Richest 1% own over half the world’s wealth – Business Insider

The world’s richest 1% of families and individuals hold over half of global wealth, according to a new report from Credit Suisse. The report suggests inequality is still worsening some eight years after the worst global recession in decades.[…]

“The bottom half of adults collectively own less than 1% of total wealth, the richest decile (top 10% of adults) owns 88% of global assets, and the top percentile alone accounts for half of total household wealth,” the Credit Suisse report said.[…]

In most countries, including the US, a large wealth gap translates into those at the top accruing political power, which in turn can lead to policies that reinforce benefits for the wealthy.

The real question is: how many used political power to acquire wealth as opposed to honestly producing it economically? If someone created the wealth — like a Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos — then they rightfully own the assets they created.

Billionaire politicians and dictators (Castro, Putin, etc.) who earned their money through political means — theft and cronyism — do not.

Sadly Business Insider, like much of the anti-capitalist press, does not make that distinction.

Alt-Right and National Socialists are Hostile To Laissez-Faire Capitalism, Just Like The Alt-Left

Writes Jason Wilson in “Socialism, fascist-style: hostility to capitalism plus extreme racism: | The Guardian:

…some of the [Alt-Right] groups that marched evince a hostility to neoliberal capitalism, which is equal to that of the most ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders, the leftwing populist who mounted a vigorous challenge to Hillary Clinton during last year’s Democratic primaries – although for the far right it comes inextricably linked to a virulent racism. Many also support the enhancement of the welfare state.

For example, those marching under the red and blue banners of the National Socialist Movement (NSM) have signed up to a manifesto that supports a living wage, sweeping improvements in healthcare, an end to sales taxes on “things of life’s necessity” and “land reform” for “affordable housing”.

An establishing principle in the document written by their leader, Jeff Schoep, is that the state “shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens”. It calls for “the nationalisation of all businesses which have been formed into corporations”.

The manifesto of Matthew Heimbach’s Traditionalist Worker Party calls for “opportunities for workers to have jobs with justice”. And in a manifesto issued on the day of the Charlottesville march, the noted far-right figurehead Richard Spencer wrote that “the interests of businessmen and global merchants should never take precedence over the wellbeing of workers, families, and the natural world”.

Spencer has previously spoken out – including at the American Renaissance conference, a gathering of far-right activists in Nashville in July – in favour of “single payer” universal healthcare.

At the conference, Spencer gave Trump just three out of 10 when invited to rate him – because he was “too focused on the Republican agenda” of tax cuts and dismantling Obamacare.

These critiques of capitalism and mainstream conservatism are key to the socialist element of national socialism. Observers of the far right argue that understanding this is essential to demystifying the far right’s appeal, especially to the alienated millennial men currently swelling its ranks.

 

Alex Epstein Exposes The Lies and Biases In Al Gore’s Film “An Inconvenient Sequel”

From Al Gore can’t deny that his climate crusade involves great suffering | Financial Post:

Take the rising dominance of solar and wind, which is used to paint supporters of fossil fuels as troglodytes, fools, and shills for Big Oil. The combined share of world energy consumption from renewables is all of two per cent. And it’s an expensive, unreliable, and therefore difficult-to-scale two per cent.

Because solar and wind are “unreliables,” they need to be backed up by reliable sources of power, usually fossil fuels, or sometimes non-carbon sources including nuclear and large-scale hydro power (all of which Gore and other environmentalists refuse to support). This is why every grid that incorporates significant solar and wind has more expensive electricity. Germans, on the hook for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s self-righteous anti-carbon commitments, are already paying three times the rates for electricity that Americans do.

Stories about “100-per-cent renewable” locations like Georgetown, Tex. are not just anecdotal evidence, they are lies.

[…]

Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel gives a biased, self-serving, and convenient picture of fossil fuels and climate — convenient for Gore’s legacy, that is, but inconvenient for the billions his energy poverty policies will harm. As citizens, we must start demanding responsible thought leaders who will give us the whole picture that life-and-death energy and climate decisions require.

Adam Mossoff On Reforming The Patent System: First “Do No Harm”

From Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property:

On June 13, 2017, CPIP Founder Adam Mossoff testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. He and other witnesses testified about the impact of the Supreme Courts recent decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC on innovators and the possibility of future changes to patent law.

In his opening statement, Professor Mossoff primarily described how patent owners—particularly individual inventors and small businesses—will now be required to file multiple lawsuits all across the country to enforce their rights. This will drastically increase the cost of protecting their property from infringers, which for many innovators will be cost prohibitive. Professor Mossoff mentioned one such inventor, Bunch-o-Balloons inventor Josh Malone, who is being seriously harmed by the inability to protect his invention from rampant infringement. Together with the litany of other recent disastrous changes to our patent system, innovators are now in a precarious position when deciding to rely on patents to protect their inventions.

Professor Mossoff emphasized that Congress’ first priority should be “do no harm.” Rather than make another attempt to pass legislation further restricting patent owners’ rights, it would be better for Congress to simply do nothing. However, Congress could make the patent system better for innovators. One step already being discussed that would be a positive improvement is the suggestion to amend Section 101 to limit the scope of the judicial exceptions to subject matter eligibility. At the hearing, Professor Mossoff astutely noted that the first patent ever issued in the United States—being held up at that moment by Chairman Darrell Issa—would likely be invalidated under current patent eligibility standards.

Many questions directed at the witnesses asked for them to propose specific solutions to either perceived venue abuses or broader patent law issues. Professor Mossoff stressed that systemic changes to the patent system will not just affect a few bad actors, but all of the individual inventors, small businesses, universities, licensing companies, and R&D-intensive high-tech and bio-pharma companies who rely on the patent system to protect their innovations. These types of companies have been the fountainhead of the U.S. innovation economy for more than 200 years. “Reform” that only addresses the concerns of accused infringers, but not the costs to patent owners, is doomed to do more harm than good.

Professor Mossoff’s written testimony can be found here. Video of the hearing can be found here.

Al Gore, Bill Nye, and Leonardo DeCaprio Fear The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels

What do Climate Fortune Tellers — Al Gore, Bill Nye, and Leonardo DeCaprio — fear more than “climate change” and “global warming”?

Apparently debating Alex Epstein.

Writes the author of the best-selling The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:

I just learned this morning that the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, who was supposed to debate me next Tuesday at the 20,000 person Collision Conf, has withdrawn.

He gave no explanation to the organizers and certainly did not give me the courtesy of an apology–even though my team has been preparing for this event for weeks.

This is just the latest example of the bankruptcy of the opponents of fossil fuels.

Since the publication of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, not one person has written a remotely plausible fundamental critique of the book.

Why? Because it’s not reputable?

Impossible.

The Moral Case has been reviewed favorably by dozens of publications (including the WSJ), it has a 4.7 rating across hundreds of reviews on Amazon (very unusual for a book this controversial), it was an NYT and WSJ bestseller, and one of the most respected political commentators of the last 25 years named me “most original thinker of the year” because of my reframing of the climate issue.

Almost no opponents challenge *The Moral Case* because they don’t want to *confront a good argument*. Their interest is not the discovery of the policies that will advance human flourishing, it is the status/approval they get by being leaders of a mainstream crusade.

Since the publication of The Moral Case, whenever opponents have tried to refute me in live situations, whether through debates or hostile interviews, it has gone badly for them.

It’s getting harder and harder for me to find anyone prominent to debate me. Al Gore won’t take my $100,000 offer, Bill Nye The Science Guy is the Silent Guy when it comes to debating, and now Leonardo DiCaprio‘s man is evading debating.

I have no idea what happened in this latest case (because he didn’t have the character to tell me) but it wouldn’t surprise me if some YouTube browsing made him conclude that he would be better off attending to “urgent” business far away from the debate hall.

There is still an empty slot to debate me at Collision Conf next Tuesday–if we can fill it with a big name. (Otherwise I will do a full event on the moral case). If Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Nye The Science Guy, or (the latest “scientific” fossil fuel attacker) Neil deGrasse Tyson is willing to step up, I will happily pay for their First-Class fare. Leo, since I know you prefer to fly private jet when it’s time to go attack fossil fuels, I will pay $2000 of your (fossil) fuel.

You can reach me at alex@industrialprogress.net.

Related: Why We Should Celebrate Fossil Fuels on Earth Day (video)
Book: The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels at Amazon

 

Whistleblowers of Corrupted Climate Science Speak out

Lawrence Solomon: Finally it’s safe for the whistleblowers of corrupted climate science to speak out | Financial Post

Whistleblowers at the U.S. government’s official keeper of the global warming stats, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), claim their agency doctored temperature data to hide the fact that global temperatures plateaued almost 20 years ago.

[…]

None of the billions spent on research amounted to anything — none of the models proved reliable, none of the predictions were borne out, none of the expected effects materialized. The Arctic ice cap hasn’t disappeared, polar bear populations haven’t declined, hurricanes haven’t become more common, malaria hasn’t spread, temperatures haven’t continued to climb. What did materialize was fraud after fraud.

[…]

Likewise, a much heralded claim that 97 per cent of scientists believed the planet was overheating came from a 2008 master’s thesis by a student at the University of Illinois who obtained her results by conducting a survey of 10,257 earth scientists, then discarding the views of all but 77 of them. Of those 77 scientists, 75 thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produced the 97-per-cent figure that global warming activists then touted.

America Cannot Become Great Again By “Protectionism”

George F. Will highlights two important principles on productivity and protectionism, in A plan to make America 1953 again – The Washington Post:

1. Productivity Improvements Mean Less Workers Are Necessary

Since 1900, the portion of the U.S. workforce in agriculture has declined from 41 percent to less than 2 percent. Output per remaining farmer and per acre has soared since millions of agricultural workers made the modernization trek from farms to more productive employment in city factories. Was this trek regrettable?

[…] According to a Ball State University study, of the 5.6 million manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2010, trade accounted for 13 percent of job losses and productivity improvements accounted for more than 85 percent: “Had we kept 2000-levels of productivity and applied them to 2010-levels of production, we would have required 20.9 million manufacturing workers [in 2010]. Instead, we employed only 12.1 million.” Is this regrettable? China, too, is shedding manufacturing jobs because of productivity improvements.

2. “Protecting” Particular Companies From More Efficient Producers Decreases Jobs In Unprotected Industries (Shifts Unemployment)

Levinson notes that Ronald Reagan imposed “voluntary restraints” on Japanese automobile exports, thereby creating 44,100 U.S. jobs. But the cost to consumers was $8.5 billion in higher prices, or $193,000 per job created, six times the average annual pay of a U.S. autoworker. And there were job losses in sectors of the economy into which the $8.5 billion of consumer spending could not flow.

[…] In 2012, Barack Obama boasted that “over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires.” But this cost about $900,000 per job, paid by American purchasers of vehicles and tires. And the Peterson Institute for International Economics says that this money taken from consumers reduced their spending on other retail goods, bringing the net job loss from the job-saving tire tariffs to about 2,500. And this was before China imposed retaliatory duties on U.S. chicken parts, costing the U.S. industry $1 billion in sales. Imports of low-end tires from Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and elsewhere largely replaced Chinese imports.

In the long run, the best way to create real jobs, that raise the standard of living, is a free-market.

“Protecting” particular domestic sectors from foreign competition ends up punishing other Americans on the whole with higher prices, less jobs and a reduced standard of living.

The Dangers of Trump ‘Protectionism’

Writes Tyler Cowen on Trump’s Disastrous Pledge to Keep Jobs in the U.S.:

“…a policy limiting the ability of American companies to move funds outside of the U.S. would create a dangerous new set of government powers. Imagine giving an administration the potential to rule whether a given transfer of funds would endanger job creation or job maintenance in the United States. That’s not exactly an objective standard, and so every capital transfer decision would be subject to the arbitrary diktats of politicians and bureaucrats. It’s not hard to imagine a Trump administration using such regulations to reward supportive businesses and to punish opponents. Even in the absence of explicit favoritism, companies wouldn’t know the rules of the game in advance, and they would be reluctant to speak out in ways that anger the powers that be.”

“In other words, the Trump program for protectionism could go far beyond interference in international trade. It also could bring the kind of crony capitalist nightmare scenarios described by Ayn Rand in her novel ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a book many Republican legislators would be well advised to now read or reread.” [Bloomberg View]

United Nations vs Capitalism

From UN deletes tweet calling free market an “urgent threat” – UN Watch:

GENEVA, Sept. 5, 2016 — The UN human rights office deleted a bizarre statement on Twitter, published on its account with 1.5 million followers, in which it slammed “free market fundamentalism” as an “urgent threat,” after the head of a watchdog group questioned the tweet.

Though the UN tweet from Friday had garnered more than 160 retweets and likes, the world body removed it under criticism from Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch.

“This was a loony tweet, and it calls into question the judgment of the UN’s top human rights office,” said Neuer. “While millions of people are suffering from genocide, sexual slavery and starvation, it is far from clear why the UN would instead focus its attention on unidentifiable ‘urgent threats,’ let alone on economic subjects about which it has neither competence nor expertise,” said Neuer.

“Tellingly, the same UN human rights office has failed to issue a single tweet about this past month’s dire human rights crisis in Venezuela, where millions face mass hunger in part due to attacks on the free market in the failed economic policies of the late president Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, which included arbitrary seizure of businesses and private property.”

“If the UN did not have a strict policy of ignoring its own guaranteed human right to private property, established in Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then perhaps Venezuelan mothers would not be struggling to find food for their children.”

“Virulent anti-capitalism was a policy of the defunct Soviet Union, but it should not be embraced by the UN body which is supposed to be focused on human rights emergencies.”

 

Perhaps the Tweet should have asked is anti-free market fundamentalism — the belief in the infallibility of socialist, anti free market economic policies — an urgent threat to economic and political freedom?

The Obama Legacy: An Assault on the Bill of Rights

Absolutely chilling.

From Obama’s opposition to freedom of speech (Citizen’s United, campus speech codes, ); freedom to contract (forcing private businesses to pay for contraception, sterilization and (“morning-after”) abortion against their will and become an unwilling agent of the welfare state); freedom of expression (speech codes); denying the freedom of association and peaceful “free exercise of religion” (from “live and let live” to “bake me a cake, or else.”); assault on due process; restrictions on guns for self-defense;  the expansion of executive power by executive order at the expense of individual rights is absolutely chilling.

Recommended Read: The Obama legacy: An assault on the Bill of Rights | Washington Examiner

Piketty’s Socialist Inspired Theories Dismissed By Evidence

‘No Empirical Evidence’ for Thomas Piketty’s Inequality Theory, IMF Economist Argues – Real Time Economics – WSJ

Mr. Piketty hypothesized that income inequality has risen because returns on capital—such as profits, interest and rent that are more gleanings of the rich than the poor—outpaced economic growth. The evidence modern capitalism foments inequality, the former adviser to French Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal argued, was in capital’s rising share of income at the expense of labor’s contribution over the last four decades.

But Mr. Piketty’s thesis, posed by the French economist in his controversial 2013 tome “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” isn’t proved by historical data, says International Monetary Fund economist Carlos Góes.“There is little more than some apparent correlations the reader can eyeball in charts,” Mr. Góes says in a new paper published by the IMF. “While rich in data, the book provides no formal empirical testing for its theoretical causal chain.” Mr. Góes tested the thesis against three decades of data from 19 advanced economies. “I find no empirical evidence that dynamics move in the way Piketty suggests.”

In fact, for three-quarters of the countries he studied, inequality actually fell when capital returns accelerated faster than output.

Those findings support previous work by Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and political scientist James Robinson, now of the University of Chicago, suggesting Mr. Piketty’s thesis was far too simplistic for the complexities of real-world economies that are affected by politics and technology.

Washington Post Mounts The Case Against Trump

Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy – The Washington Post

DONALD J. TRUMP […] is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

[…]

    …there is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington. He was staked in the family business by a well-to-do father and has pursued a career marked by some real estate successes, some failures and repeated episodes of saving his own hide while harming people who trusted him.

[…]
   
    Given his ignorance, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished. Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.

    What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous. Allies are taking advantage of the United States. Immigrants are committing crimes and stealing jobs. Muslims hate America. In fact, Japan and South Korea are major contributors to an alliance that has preserved a peace of enormous benefit to Americans. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans and take jobs that no one else will. Muslims are the primary victims of Islamist terrorism, and Muslim Americans, including thousands who have served in the military, are as patriotic as anyone else.

[…]

    Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies.
   
[…]

    The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters. Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution. Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.

Sports Authority: Killed By Minimum Wages and “Showrooming”

From Why Sports Authority is throwing in the towel and closing all of its stores:

Phil Lempert, a Santa Monica-based analyst of consumer behavior and marketing trends, figures consumers haven’t seen the last of major retailers shuttering. Just last week, Sport Chalet announced the closure of all 47 of its stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. That chain is based in La Cañada Flintridge.

With the minimum wage going up to $15 an hour and more people turning to online shopping, more stores are going to close,” Lempert said. “It’s fine to say that everyone should have a living wage. But the money has to come from somewhere.”

Lempert said a growing number of retail outlets have fallen victim to “showrooming,” where customers will walk into a store, try on the shirt or jacket they like and then order it online at a significant discount.

“These stores have to look at not at how they will compete with other brick-and-mortar stores, but how they will compete with Amazon,” he said. “It’s become a holistic environment where people can buy things on their mobile phones and then have the products delivered by the time they get home.”