British children walk out of lessons on climate strike
Youngsters marched on Parliament Square in London and gathered in other cities carrying banners marked with "Climate change is worse than homework", "Act now for our future" and other slogans. A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said that while the government welcomed the students' engagement, the disruption to schools and lessons would be difficult for teachers.
02/16/2019 - 07:53 AM
Vatican defrocks former US cardinal McCarrick over sex abuse
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing confession and sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Holy See said Saturday.
02/16/2019 - 07:53 AM
Have You Talked to Your Spouse About Social Security? Here’s Why You Should
Couples who coordinate on Social Security stand to get more out of it.
02/16/2019 - 07:36 AM
Exclusive: China ride-hailing giant Didi plans Chile, Peru launches to take on Uber
Didi has moved senior executives from China to lead its expansion in markets like Chile and Peru, and began in recent weeks advertising for driver operations, crisis management, marketing and business development personnel in those countries, an analysis of LinkedIn postings show. Didi's widening expansion, if successful, could make for a bumpier ride for San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc in Latin America, one of its fastest growth regions, as it gets ready to go public as soon as later this year. The two firms are already battling in Brazil, where Didi bought local start-up 99 in January last year, and Mexico, where the Chinese firm lured drivers with higher pay and bonuses for signing up other drivers and passengers.
02/16/2019 - 07:35 AM
3 Reasons Canopy Growth Investors Should Brace for More Losses
Here's why the $5 billion cash cushion Constellation Brands provided will dwindle faster than expected.
02/16/2019 - 07:33 AM
Consumers Want Security Online -- And They're Willing to Share Personal Data to Get It
They're also willing to embrace new tactics, including biometrics.
02/16/2019 - 07:31 AM
Analyst Warns S&P 500 Could Struggle to Go Higher After Recovery
Todd Gordon, a long-time stock analyst and the founder of TradingAnalysis.com, is “nervous” about the current state of the S&P 500. The index crashed just before Christmas to below 2350, but has affected a steady recovery in the meantime. By press time it had gained 2% on its numbers 3 months ago. Gordon tells CNBC in a recent interview: The 200-day moving average right here — we have tried it once, twice, three, coming back on a fourth time. This is going to be a deadly battleground. I want to short it but I want to be very diligent and
02/16/2019 - 07:30 AM
Lavrov Offers U.S. Talks on Extending Arms Accord: Munich Update
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Munich Security Conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
02/16/2019 - 07:22 AM
5 Facts About High-Yield Dividend Stocks Every Investor Should Know
A fat yield can signal a great opportunity -- or trouble. Here's what you need to know about tantalizing yields.
02/16/2019 - 07:17 AM
Stocks Staring Down Earnings Recession Fuel Wall Street Clash
Just days after Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson announced the S&P 500 profits would turn negative for the first six months of 2019, Brian Belski at BMO Capital Markets said such fears are “overblown.” At the argument’s core is the strength of an earnings machine that’s been underpinning the record 10-year bull market. Based on the average of analysts estimates, U.S. firms are on the cusp of suffering two consecutive quarters of profit declines, the common definition of a recession. To Morgan Stanley’s Wilson, the earnings deterioration is so widespread that analysts probably won’t stop trimming their estimates until the expected growth rate turns negative for the entire first half.
02/16/2019 - 07:00 AM
A Superyacht Charter for Spring Break—You Choose Where to Go
The 197-foot nomadic yacht Slipstream is ready to cruise the globe at a moment’s notice—with plenty of toys in tow.
02/16/2019 - 07:00 AM
'I didn't need to do this.' Critics say Trump quote undercuts national emergency for border wall
Thirty minutes into an off-the-cuff defense of his national emergency, President Trump made an admission that handed ammunition to his opponents.
02/16/2019 - 07:00 AM
Anti-OPEC Bill Sponsor Expects ‘Positive Reception’ From Trump
“My sense is that the administration is waiting to determine whether we can actually get it through both houses of Congress before they spend any capital on it,” U.S. Representative Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican, said in an interview on Friday. The "No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act" quickly cleared its first hurdle when it was approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, but a floor vote hasn’t been scheduled yet. The proposed law would subject the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to possible antitrust action by the Justice Department through an amendment of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the law used more than a century ago to break up the oil empire of John Rockefeller.
02/16/2019 - 07:00 AM
The Refinery Eating Alberta’s Money
The North West Redwater Partnership’s Sturgeon refinery some 350 kilometers (215 miles) north of Calgary -- partly designed to process as much as 37,500 barrels a day of oil-sands bitumen that Alberta collects from producers as royalty payments -- is months late in honoring its part of the deal. The imbroglio highlights the kinds of unexpected pitfalls Alberta might be setting itself up for with a slew of moves to rescue its beleaguered oil industry.
02/16/2019 - 07:00 AM
Trump emergency declaration faces fights in the courts
WASHINGTON (AP) — Let the lawsuits begin.
02/16/2019 - 06:51 AM
Are You Rich? Max Out These 3 Tax Breaks
You shouldn't leave this money on the table.
02/16/2019 - 06:51 AM
Read This Before Asking for a Tax Extension This Year
Tax extensions are great for filers who truly can't get their returns in on time - but they have their drawbacks.
02/16/2019 - 06:37 AM
U.S. tells European Union to recognize Guaido as Venezuela president
The European Union must recognize Venezuelan congress leader Juan Guaido as the president of the South American country, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday, pressing not just individual European governments but the bloc as a whole. In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Pence said Guaido, who has declared himself interim leader and has won U.S. and international support to replace Nicolas Maduro, deserved that "the rest of the world" recognize him, and called Maduro a dictator who must step down.
02/16/2019 - 06:35 AM
Ivorian President Reiterates Support for Euro-Pegged Currency
The leader of the world’s No. 1 cocoa producer was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris on Friday. The “false debate” needs to stop as the CFA Franc is “stabilizing for our countries,” Abidjan.net reported, quoting the president. Last year, while addressing business leaders in the West African nation’s commercial capital, Abidjan, Ouattara said the regional currency protects the country from inflation and helps companies to compete against foreign businesses.
02/16/2019 - 06:32 AM
The Guggenheim’s Got Religion
The Guggenheim Museum's provocative new show is Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future. First, a précis. Between 1906 and 1915, the Stockholm-based af Klint (1862–1944) created 193 paintings and works on paper to decorate a never-built multilevel temple. It's religious art. They're mostly abstract, with swirling, spiraling, and geometric forms painted in vivid colors.These works, some ten feet tall, are a series conceived as a progression, more or less a storyline on the course of the soul, so at the Guggenheim we have a total program. So vast a conception and execution in itself is extraordinary. It has parallels in complex religious spaces decorated at the same time by the same artist or designed by a single art impresario and implemented by artists under his or her direction. Think Giotto's Arena Chapel, where everything is fixed and each vignette is part of a unified narrative.She never sold anything from the series. She was never part of the mainstream European art market, by her choice. Neither was any artist working in Stockholm. She didn't exhibit these works, though she was a respected part of the art establishment there. When she died — she was hit by a bus — the art went to her nephew. She decreed that nothing could be exhibited for 20 years, as she felt the world wouldn't be ready until then. Time flies, and it's 2019. Starting in the 1980s, her work became a Swedish story. She was then considered an eccentric who blended French symbolism, local folk art, and art-nouveau style into something unusual but distinctly Swedish. Now, we have this remarkable, much discussed show.Af Klint is a paradox. She isn't a transformative artist herself, though the show seeks to rattle the standard art-history timeline by injecting her style of pure abstraction a few years before Mondrian's or Malevich's or Kandinsky's. That's inside baseball. I don't think anyone cares who did what first. There was a lot of radical change in art happening at the time, incrementally and abruptly. This isn't the Kentucky Derby.It's safe to say that it's always been a big world with lots of people making lots of art, almost all bad or inconsequential, some quirky good, some goofy good, and some, like af Klint, who might be living under a rock somewhere, doing something truly visionary. The art-history canon — who did what when and who did it well — is no more set in concrete than any piece of history. Af Klint removed herself from not only the art market but the museum, scholarly, and critical cultures of her day as well as the public. The evolving opinions of each jostle and meld to create and adjust canon.Will she add more than a nuance to art history? I'm not sure. Her temple was never built. We don't know how, in her time, or if, it would have promoted spiritual feeling. Her story is as much one of Lutheran theology and the history of religion. I saw the show at the Guggenheim a few days before I saw the show at the Morgan Library on J. R. R. Tolkein, the author of The Lord of the Rings. They are similar in that both created elaborated immaterial worlds, hers spiritual, his fantastic. Now that she is part of the dialogue, her place in art history will evolve, as it should. I think the prevalent reading of her work before the Guggenheim show — in my words, "an eccentric blend of French symbolism, local folk art, and art-nouveau style into something unusual but distinctly Swedish" — is probably still a sound and fair one.But, still, visionary she is. Af Klint believed she was condensing and expressing a new view of the world, human life, the soul, and the afterlife. Part of her allure as well as her burden is the absence of ego. She saw herself as a medium. She worked for many years with a group of women, known in Stockholm as The Five, holding seances during which they summoned spiritual forces. She never saw herself as a genius working solo, which is how art historians like to present great artists. Her art is refreshingly ego-free and communal. The existence of a mighty individual genius is less relevant since she and others communed together with the spirits. Left: The Ten Largest, No. 7., Adulthood, Group IV, 1907, by Hilda Klint. Tempera on paper mounted on canvas. (Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet) Right: Tree of Knowledge, No. 5 (Kunskapens träd, nr 5), 1915, from The W Series (Serie W), by Hilda Klint. Watercolor, gouache, graphite and metallic paint on paper. (The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm. Photo: Albin Dahlström, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm)* * *Af Klint might at times evoke the doddering spiritualist Madam Arcati in Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, or, more precisely, Margaret Rutherford playing Madam Arcati. Leave all of this aside. She's not on a silly mission. She considered herself a mystic with access to secrets including the origin of life, the character of God, and the enchanted language of nature. Automatic writing, in this case painting or drawing, was her language.In the 1870s, her altogether Christian, mystical beliefs were organized into a movement called Theosophy. These beliefs were ascetic and anti-materialist and shared by many artists, such as Kandinsky, who saw themselves as ardent Christians. It's part of a fascinating and intense thicket of new belief systems drawing from many sources, including Freemasonry, a Christian version of the Kabbalah, and revolutions in science. Her art is abstract, but that doesn't mean it's not representational. Af Klint believed she conveyed the unseen but real.My basic problem is that I don't think the art she made for her temple project is, overall, all that good. She was well trained and part of Stockholm's art establishment. She's certainly competent. To a viewer who knew nothing about the artist, they appear as aesthetic objects, often solemn, buoyant, and intriguing, sometimes all three. That's a challenge to achieve. An aesthetic take must be a starting point, and I would argue it's usually an end point, too, since art exists first and foremost as a freestanding object we perceive with the senses. Its base is the aesthetic realm.I thought the oil and metal-leaf pictures from the Altarpiece series from 1915 were great. Many of the Swan pictures, also from 1915, are ugly, clumsy things. Mostly, she worked in the unforgiving medium of tempera. There, change is impossible since the paint dries instantly. Since af Klint believed she was hearing divine voices while she worked, I don't think she found this a problem. If some of her work feels contemporary, in part it's because it has a billboard look. The colors and forms combine a fun pop-art sensibility that glides toward the wild side as if nudged by a wee nip of acid. Some of it looks like bad sign painting. Some of the edgier art uses grids and diagrams and evokes the innards of a computer.The Guggenheim is brave to do the show, given that she's virtually unknown. It consumes most of the museum. The spiraling Guggenheim building is itself unique and perfectly suited to her work, in which spirals and pulsing organic forms are foundation motifs. The show delivers an impressive, timely lesson in how central religious belief has always been to artists. It will give most visitors a new understanding of how variously expressive abstract art can be. It's a well-presented lesson in the intellectual and spiritual foment of fin-de-siècle Europe, too. It's well worth seeing. Left: Group I, Primordial Chaos, No. 16 (Grupp 1, Urkaos, nr 16), 1906-1907, from The WU/Rose Series (Serie WU/Rosen), by Hilma af Klint. Oil on canvas. (The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm. Photo: Albin Dahlström, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm) Right: Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece (Grupp X, nr 1, Altarbild), 1915 from Altarpieces (Altarbilder), by Hilma af Klint. Oil and metal leaf on canvas. (The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm. Photo: Albin Dahlström, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm)* * *The catalogue is incisive and succinct. The best part of it is a transcript of a public conversation among five artists and scholars discussing her work. Their observations are subtle. They see af Klint's work as open to many takes. As I read the transcript, I can see how they're working through the pictures individually and in concert. I wish more catalogues would publish discussions like this. They tell us many things, the most important is that a sign of good art is its openness to multiple interpretations. The group was smart, undogmatic, and coherent. Now, that's a rare combination. A big part of their discussion involved how much af Klint's biography should or must inform her art.I've written often on the sad, bewildering mismatch between art historians and religious art, or, more precisely, art historians and deeply religious artists. It's like that nightmare date between two estimable people who can't seem to get the pieces of the puzzle to fit together. Scholars usually run from religion and do everything they can to promote secular concerns as key motivational forces for artists when a spiritual impulse was far more divisive. In af Klint, there is no mistaking her genuine Christian feeling. The show tries to develop this basic fact without giving the impression it’s a distasteful job or, worse, an autopsy.I'm not exactly elderly, but in the Oriental rug business, I'd be a semi-antique with some wear. Still, the abundance of young people seeing the show was heartening as well as a little sad. On the one hand, I'm thrilled to see them looking at art, and the Guggenheim is a magical, inspiring place for it. On the other, they're looking for something spiritual, something beyond the vendettas and hubris of their day, access to a soulfulness that their culture is busily thwarting.
02/16/2019 - 06:30 AM
Collusion: The Criminalization of Policy Disputes
What a weasel word “collusion” is.In Washington, Senator Richard Burr (R., N.C.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has now seen fit to pronounce that, after two years of investigation, the panel has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian regime. Meanwhile, in a nearby courtroom, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s senior staffer, Andrew Weissmann, told a federal judge that an August 2016 meeting between the then-chairman of the Trump campaign and a suspected Russian intelligence officer “goes . . . very much to the heart of what the special counsel is investigating” -- which sure sounds like Mueller’s collusion hunt is alive and well.What gives?Readers of these columns know that the “collusion” label has been a pet peeve of your humble correspondent since the media-Democratic “Putin hacked the election” narrative followed hard on the declaration of Donald Trump’s victory in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016.The reason for the collusion label is obvious. Those peddling the “Putin hacked the election” story have always lacked credible evidence that Trump was complicit in the Kremlin’s “cyber-espionage.” They could not show a criminal conspiracy. Connections between denizens of Trump World and Putin’s circle might be very intriguing, and perhaps even politically scandalous. But only a conspiracy -- an agreement by two or more people to commit an actual criminal offense, such as hacking -- would be a reasonable basis for prosecution or impeachment.This dearth of proof was significant. The Russians apparently started hacking operations in 2014, long before Trump entered the race. The FBI first warned the Democratic National Committee about penetration of its servers in September 2015. By the time Trump won, the Bureau and U.S. intelligence agencies had been working hard to understand the nature and extent of Kremlin-directed hacking operations for two years. The investigation was so high-level, so intense, that shortly before the election, there were confrontational conversations between CIA director John Brennan and his Russian counterpart, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, and later between President Obama and Russian president Putin.Yet, as thorough as the investigation was, no one could credibly say Trump was a participant in Russia’s malfeasance. The best Obama’s notoriously politicized CIA could say was that Trump was Putin’s intended beneficiary.Unable to establish conspiracy, Trump’s opposition settled on collusion. It is a usefully slippery word. Collusion just means concerted activity -- it can be sinister or benign. It can refer to a conspiracy or to any arrangement people have together, including those that may be sleazy but non-criminal.This commitment to ambiguity came in handy for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he appointed Robert Mueller to be special counsel. After President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, and then shamefully talked Comey down for the consumption of Russian diplomats visiting the White House the next day, Rosenstein came under intense pressure. Because he had written the memorandum originally used to justify Comey’s dismissal, congressional Democrats slammed him for complicity in what they portrayed as Trump’s obstruction of the Russia probe. Rosenstein wanted to appease them by appointing the special counsel they were demanding.Special counsels, however, are not supposed to be appointed unless there is a solid basis to believe a crime has been committed. Rosenstein was lawyer enough to know that a president’s firing of an FBI director -- a firing that Rosenstein himself had argued was justified -- could not be an obstruction crime. And he knew that there was no proof that Trump had conspired in Russia’s cyberespionage. So . . . how to justify appointing a special counsel?Easy: Make it a counterintelligence probe. That way, there would be no need for a crime, since such investigations are just intelligence-gathering exercises.What’s that? You say there’s no basis in the special-counsel regulations to appoint one for counterintelligence? You say the Justice Department does not appoint prosecutors for counterintelligence investigations, which are the FBI’s bailiwick? So what? The special-counsel regulations expressly say that they create no enforceable rights enabling anyone to challenge the Justice Department’s flouting of them. Rosenstein knew he could ignore the rules and there was not a thing anyone could do about it.So instead of a prosecutor investigating a crime of conspiracy, we have a bloated staff of prosecutors gathering intelligence about “collusion”: Every contact between anyone connected to Trump and anyone connected to Russia.Some of this could be valuable information. That brings us back to that August 2016 meeting Andrew Weissman was talking about, between Trump’s campaign chairman and a suspected Russian intelligence operative. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, had high-level contacts and conducted multi-million-dollar business with oligarchs close to the Kremlin. Konstantin Kilimnik, his partner in Kiev, certainly is suspected of having a “relationship with Russian intelligence,” as Weissmann obliquely put it in the court session.That “relationship,” however, goes back to the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union fell and the United States was quite content to do business with lots of people who had “relationships” with Russian intelligence, the Kremlin, and even the Communist party. One of Kilimnik’s first jobs when he left the Russian military was to work for the International Republican Institute -- the democracy-promoting enterprise that Senator John McCain ran for over 20 years. Kilimnik started there as a translator -- hired for the skills he’d learned at the military academy that prepared translators for service in Russian intelligence. It didn’t seem to bother anyone -- by the early 2000’s, Kilimnik was running the IRI’s Moscow office.My point is not to defend Kilimnik. Not only has Mueller already him indicted for witness-tampering conspiracy in Manafort’s case (a charge to which Manafort has pled guilty). Kilimnik also hovers as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Samuel Patten, a lobbyist friend of Manafort’s who has pled guilty in a separate Justice Department case to being an unregistered agent of Ukraine and to violating the prohibition against foreign contributions to political campaigns -- enabling Kilimnik and two Ukrainian oligarchs to donate to the Trump presidential-inaugural committee and attend the inauguration festivities.The point is that if we are going to obsess over collusion rather than the actual crime of conspiracy, then we need to evaluate the Russian contacts of Trump associates in the context of everyone who has interacted with Russia in the last quarter-century. Under administrations of both parties, Washington has maintained that post-Soviet Russia was a perfectly fine country to partner with and do business with. Did the Trump campaign hope to tap Kremlin-connected sources for campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton? That seems undeniable. But it is not a crime per se. How does it rank on the scale of unsavory political behavior? You’d have to compare it to, for example, Democratic-party entreaties to the Kremlin -- back when the Russians were our Cold War Soviet antagonist -- for help in the campaigns against Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.I did not like candidate Donald Trump’s blandishments toward the Putin regime. It was part of why Trump was closer to the bottom than the top of my preferred GOP candidates. I thought his performance as president in the meeting with Putin in Helsinki was appalling. But we are talking here about policy disputes. Trump has a right to be wrong, even seriously wrong, on a policy matter. That does not make him a Russian agent.If members of Trump’s campaign were corruptly selling accommodations (such as sanctions relief) to Russia, then by all means prosecute them to the full extent of the law. But if the campaign was exploring whether sanctions relief could be traded for Russian actions in America’s interests -- just as Obama told us sanctions relief for Iran was being bargained in exchange for what he claimed were advances of America’s interests -- that might have been wrong-headed or naïve, but it wasn’t criminal.Apparently Senator Burr thinks of “collusion” as criminal conspiracy, and he thus realizes that there was not one. Special Counsel Mueller, by contrast, has been unleashed to probe collusion not just in the form of criminal conspiracy, but in whatever form: All manner of contacts with a regime that, just the blink of an eye ago, President Obama was mocking Mitt Romney for regarding as a geopolitical foe, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped Moscow build its version of Silicon Valley -- notwithstanding Defense Department and FBI worries that we were thus improving their military and cyber capabilities.What is “collusion,” then? Increasingly, it looks like the criminalization of policy disputes.
02/16/2019 - 06:30 AM
What to Do About the Rebirth of Socialism
'The most important political event of the twentieth century,” wrote Irving Kristol in 1976, “is not the crisis of capitalism but the death of socialism.” Plenty of self-described Marxist and socialist regimes existed throughout the world, Kristol recognized. It was rather the ideas behind such regimes that had reached a moral and intellectual endpoint. Nor was this passing away entirely to be cheered. “For with the passing of the socialist ideal,” Kristol went on, “there is removed from the political horizon the one alternative to capitalism that was rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition and in the Western civilization which emerged from that tradition.”The inheritors of the socialist ideal were totalitarian states on one hand and stagnant social democracies on the other. By the end of the twentieth century, these too had passed. China (and later Vietnam) decided that to get rich is glorious, the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact states collapsed into squabbling nationalities and kleptocracies, the socialist autocracies that had depended on Moscow for support receded into irrelevance. What Kristol called “a dwindling band of socialist fideists” remained behind, the last remnant of a dwindling faith. “People who persist in calling themselves socialist, while decrying the three quarters of the world that has proclaimed itself socialist, and who can find a socialist country nowhere but in their imaginings -- such people are anachronisms.”Not anymore. If the death of the socialist idea was the most important political event of the last century, then the rebirth of this ideal must rank high in significance in the current one. Just as nationalism has reasserted itself on the political right, socialism has grown in force on the left. In the 21st century, the two ideologies are estranged and antagonistic twins, paired in Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. The Democratic victory in 2018 has elevated socialism to a height it has not reached in the United States in more than a century. Only in recent weeks, however, have defenders of democratic capitalism become aware of how great the socialist challenge really is. Only now are we beginning to formulate a response.Take your pick of the headlines. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the most talked about Democrat in the country. Her fellow member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Rashida Tlaib, opened the 116th Congress by saying, “Impeach the mother****er.” Their comrade Ilhan Omar apparently wants to offend every Jewish American by the end of her term. The Green New Deal, Medicare For All, eliminating employer-based health insurance, marginal tax rates of upwards of 70 to 90 percent, requiring corporations above a certain size to obtain a federal charter, the expropriation of wealth, heavy inheritance taxes, free college, universal basic income, abolish I.C.E., the anti-Semitism that has long been socialism’s fellow traveler -- what was once radical and marginal is now embraced and celebrated by a large and vocal part of the Democratic party.Why? The answer goes a long way toward explaining the resurgence of nationalism as well. In “Socialism: An Obituary for an Idea,” the essay quoted above, Kristol exhumed the ideology’s intellectual remains. He explained that the ideal of utopian socialism offered “elements that were wanting in capitalist society -- elements indispensable for the preservation, not to say perfection, of our humanity.” Socialism supplied the values, aspirations, goals, and mechanisms of meaning that democratic capitalism could not.As Michael Novak observed in his 1982 masterpiece The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, what we call capitalism is really three systems in one. There is the economic system of entrepreneurship and free exchange. There is a moral-cultural system governing norms and behavior. And there is the political system of democratic pluralism and individual freedom. Socialism returns at times when the democratic capitalist trinity is out of whack, at places where the moral-cultural and political systems fail to provide answers that legitimize the economic system. Socialism is the attempt to derive from the political sphere the direction and purpose to human life that is the traditional province of morality and culture.The separation of the moral and cultural from the political and economic was the crack in the foundation of democratic capitalism. “A society founded solely on ‘individual rights,’” Kristol wrote, “was a society that ultimately deprived men of those virtues which could only exist in a political community which is something other than a ‘society.’ Among these virtues are a sense of distributive justice, a fund of shared moral values, and a common vision of the good life sufficiently attractive and powerful to transcend the knowledge that each individual’s life ends only in death.”Thus, if people do not see the fruits of the economic system as just, and if the moral-cultural system fails to satisfy people’s deepest longings, they will look increasingly to the political system to lessen the gale of creative destruction or to silence it altogether. The viability of democratic capitalism, then, depends on its moral and cultural character. “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and trust,” James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 55, “so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.”It was Kristol’s view that the founders of democratic capitalism simply assumed that such qualities would be always present. “Capitalist society itself -- as projected, say, in the writings of John Locke and Adam Smith -- was negligent of such virtues,” he wrote.It did not reject them and in no way scorned them, but simply assumed that the individual would be able to cope with this matter as he did with his other ‘private’ affairs. This assumption, in turn, was possible only because the founders of capitalism took it for granted that the moral and spiritual heritage of Judaism and Christianity was unassailable, and that the new individualism of bourgeois society would not ‘liberate’ the individual from this tradition. It might free him from a particular theology, or a particular church; but he would ‘naturally’ rediscover for himself, within himself, those values previously associated with that theology or church.Things did not work out as planned. The bourgeois values of honesty, fidelity, diligence, reticence, delayed gratification, and self-control that once reigned supreme have been contested for many decades by an ethic of self-expression, self-indulgence, instant gratification, and demanding the impossible. Our politics is a competition for control over what Michael Novak called the “empty shrine” at the center of pluralist democracy. The champions of Christianity and militant secularism, free speech and political correctness, meritocracy and diversity, the entrepreneurial instinct and an inflamed egalitarianism, and historical memory and limitless iconoclasm struggle for a dominance that is never fully attained.Both the right and the left are uncomfortable with the democratic capitalist trinity. Both would rather have the empty shrine be replaced with something else. That is why you see laments for the loss of political community, as well as critiques of inequality, on both Fox News and MSNBC. “The original socialist criticism of the bourgeois world is, to a remarkable degree, a secular version of the indictment which the ‘reactionary’ Catholic Church was then continually making, though to a world increasingly deaf to Christian tonalities,” Kristol wrote. If the chimes of church bells were faint in the era of Charles Fourier, where can they be heard today?The socialist comeback has been ascribed to the war in Iraq, financial crisis, post-crash job market, student debt, high cost of homeownership, and rise of Donald Trump. I sometimes wonder whether this secularized desire for uniformity and order in a fractured, turbulent, confusing, and so often plainly unfair world is just another peak in the sound wave of Christianity’s long withdrawing roar. If the scale of the challenge is that vast, conservatives have much work ahead of them.Fortunately we have the writings of an earlier generation who confronted similar problems. We might learn from Kristol’s distinction between socialism and the welfare state and think through how reform of the latter may slake the thirst for the former. “Practically all of the truly popular and widespread support for a welfare state would be satisfied by a mixture of voluntary and compulsory insurance schemes -- old-age insurance, disability insurance, unemployment insurance, medical insurance -- that are reasonably (if not perfectly) compatible with a liberal-capitalist society.”Kristol was also concerned with the power of large corporations, and with the backlash such giants provoked. Today’s conservatives might address the failures of Too Big to Fail, take seriously the unique issues raised by the tech giants, and be willing to reconsider their opinions of, say, antitrust law. “And, even more important, what can a liberal-capitalist society do about the decline of religious beliefs and traditional values -- a decline organically rooted in liberal capitalism’s conception of this realm as an essentially ‘private affair’ neither needing nor meriting public sanction?” Here is the toughest question to answer. At the very least we must defend religious freedom, and promote religious and civic education, if we are ever to address the denuded moral and cultural system that has become the breeding ground of the socialist revival.This article was originally published on the Washington Free Beacon.
02/16/2019 - 06:30 AM
India's semi high-speed train breaks down a day after its launch
India's first locally built semi high-speed train broke down early on Saturday on its way back to New Delhi from Varanasi in northern Uttar Pradesh, a day after its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Vande Bharat Express can run up to a maximum speed of 160 km/hour. The train eventually reached New Delhi and will resume a commercial run from Sunday, said the tweet.
02/16/2019 - 06:22 AM
Merkel calls Russia a partner, urges global cooperation
Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a robust defense on Saturday of Germany's foreign trade relations and ties with Russia, urging global leaders meeting in Munich to work together to tackle the world's problems. Addressing an audience including Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, Merkel defended plans for a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that he has criticized.
02/16/2019 - 06:08 AM
Social Security's Woes May Make Your Golden Years Less Lustrous
Social Security's once-rock-solid foundation is buckling.
02/16/2019 - 06:06 AM
Emergency declaration is clearest sign Donald Trump and Republicans are divided going into 2020 campaign
Trump's decision to declare a "national emergency" to help build his border wall comes over the objections of many congressional Republicans.
02/16/2019 - 06:00 AM
Canada Farmers Swap Soybeans as U.S-China Spat Drags on Prices
Soybean acres in Canada are poised to drop for the second straight year as farmers shift acres to more profitable crops. In addition to the price concerns, some growers are also worried that demand for the nation’s supplies will wither if China and the U.S. eventually strike a trade deal. “I’m probably going to switch into some oats and barley and maybe a little bit of canola and wheat,” said Bill Campbell, the president of Winnipeg, Manitoba-based industry group Keystone Agricultural Producers.
02/16/2019 - 06:00 AM
In Venezuela's Backyard, Here's a U.S. Invasion That Ended Well
Three decades after President George H. W. Bush sent in 26,000 troops to overthrow the military strongman Manuel Noriega, the country of 4 million is Latin America’s economic darling, a functioning democracy in a region of instability. “I wasn’t in favor of it, and it came at a high cost for Panama,” said ex-President Ernesto Perez Balladares, who won the first election after the coup and belongs to the party closely affiliated with the military.
02/16/2019 - 06:00 AM
Merkel says US calling European cars a threat is 'frightening'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday labelled as "frightening" tough US trade rhetoric planning to declare European car imports a national security threat. "If these cars... suddenly spell a threat to US national security, than that is frightening to us," she said. "All I can say is it would be good if we could resume proper talks with one another," she said at the Munich Security Conference.
02/16/2019 - 05:48 AM
Famed Cullinan mine banks on big diamonds to drive down debt
The owner of one of the world's most famous diamond mines could be about a decade away from clearing its multi-million-dollar debts, in a sign of the struggles facing an industry assailed by synthetic rivals and uncertain demand. Petra Diamonds bought Cullinan in 2008, aiming to breathe new life into the South African mine renowned for yielding the largest rough gem diamond ever found - 3,106 carats - and being the world's main source of rare blue diamonds. The London-listed miner, which acquired Cullinan from industry leader De Beers, borrowed heavily to revamp the facility and began mining a new section of ore last July.
02/16/2019 - 05:47 AM
Nigeria's Last-Minute Postponement Throws Vote Into Disarray
While the electoral commission said the postponement just over five hours before polls were due to open Saturday was for logistical reasons, it reinforces opposition criticisms that state institutions under Buhari aren’t independent and are incompetent. The decision early Saturday may heighten tensions in what has been a tight race in Africa’s biggest democracy between Buhari, a 76-year-old former military ruler, and businessman and ex-vice president Abubakar, 72. “There is a possibility that popular anger and the manner of the postponement could galvanize more people to come out to vote,” said Cheta Nwanze, head of research at SBM Intelligence in Lagos, the commercial capital.
02/16/2019 - 05:43 AM
Lion Air plane skids off runway at Indonesian airport
A Lion Air passenger plane skidded off a runway outside a city on the Indonesian island of Borneo on Saturday during heavy rain, the airline said, adding no one was injured. The aircraft was operating a Jakarta-Pontianak service, with 182 passengers and seven crew members onboard, Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said in a statement. The Boeing 737-800NG plane skidded off the runway as it was trying to land at Supadio International Airport, a regional hub airport that services a small number of international flights.
02/16/2019 - 05:28 AM
Breaking: Major Crypto Brokerage Coinmama Hacked, 450,000 Users Affected in Massive Worldwide Breach
Coinmama, one of the largest crypto brokerages in the global market with 1.3 million active users, suffered a security breach on February 15. The official statement of the exchange disclosed that 450,000 email addresses and passwords were leaked in a massive global hacking attack involving 24 websites and some 747 million records. The Coinmama team said: Today, February 15, 2019 Coinmama was informed of a list of emails and hashed passwords that were posted on a dark web registry. Our Security Team is investigating, and based on the information at hand, we believe the intrusion is limited to about 450,000
02/16/2019 - 05:21 AM
Metrics May Point to Ether Being Undervalued
There is a dichotomy between theory and practice of what fundamental demand indicators should be driving the price of ether.
02/16/2019 - 05:00 AM
How to save money: A step-by-step guide for millennials
Put down the latte and listen up: If you're like the millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, saving money needs to be on the top of your to-do list. Like, stat. Understanding personal finance can be intimidating. You know how much money you make and you're trying to save a little bit here and there, but the reality of mounting student loan bills and other living expenses can weigh heavily on millennials -- which is why it's difficult to think of the bigger picture.Listen: a personal finance app (or two or three) can be your best friend in terms of getting smarter about how you save -- and spend -- your money. (We recommending starting with YNAB, but more on that later.) Read more...More about Personal Finance, Millennials, Apps And Software, Mashable Shopping, and Tech
02/16/2019 - 05:00 AM
Venezuela's Exit From U.S. Sanctions? Show Maduro the Door
The Treasury Department said Friday it would “consider lifting sanctions” on those who take concrete steps to “restore democratic order” in the country, as it imposed fresh penalties on five of Maduro’s close associates, including Venezuelan Oil Minister and PDVSA Chairman Manuel Quevedo. The move is the latest in a series of steps the U.S. has taken to chip away at Maduro’s inner circle.
02/16/2019 - 04:00 AM
Should We Worry About Viking Line ABP’s (HEL:VIK1V) P/E Ratio?
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! The goal of this article is toRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:58 AM
Don’t Sell Avensia AB (publ) (STO:AVEN) Before You Read This
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! This article is written for those whoRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:53 AM
US Regulators File Charges Against Apple Insider Trading Lawyer, for Insider Trading
The job of a top lawyer at Apple Inc. was to ensure that no employees violate the company’s insider-trading policies. It turned out that he was the one who was trading Apple Shares illegally, according to US regulators. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Gene Daniel Levoff, who served as Apple’s senior director of corporate until September 2018 and was also a part of the company’s disclosure committee. According to the filing, Levoff exploited his well-placed position to manage his Apple shares trading privately. He would gain access to the company’s periodic earnings results and draft public
02/16/2019 - 03:50 AM
Could Alligator Bioscience AB (publ)’s (STO:ATORX) Investor Composition Influence The Stock Price?
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! Every investor in Alligator Bioscience AB (publ)Read More...
02/16/2019 - 03:49 AM
Who was Gary Martin? Alleged Illinois gunman seemed fine hours before killing co-workers
Gary Martin began a gun battle with police officers who arrived within minutes after frantic calls came from where he worked, according to authorities.
02/16/2019 - 03:45 AM
How Should Investors Feel About Ricardo plc’s (LON:RCDO) CEO Pay?
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! Dave Shemmans became the CEO of RicardoRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:45 AM
Read This Before You Buy Hostelworld Group Plc (LON:HSW) Because Of Its P/E Ratio
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! This article is for investors who wouldRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:40 AM
Is SpareBank 1 BV’s (OB:SBVG) CEO Being Overpaid?
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! Rune Fjeldstad became the CEO of SpareBankRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:36 AM
HNA cuts stake in Deutsche Bank to 6.3 percent: SEC filing
Chinese conglomerate HNA has cut its stake in Deutsche Bank to 6.3 percent, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. HNA, even with the reduced holding, would remain one of the largest shareholders in Germany's largest lender. Spokesmen for HNA in Germany and Deutche Bank declined to comment.
02/16/2019 - 03:34 AM
Why Kenmare Resources plc’s (LON:KMR) Use Of Investor Capital Doesn’t Look Great
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! Today we'll look at Kenmare Resources plcRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:32 AM
A Holistic Look At XLMedia PLC (LON:XLM)
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! Attractive stocks have exceptional fundamentals. In theRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:27 AM
Taking A Look At Swallowfield plc’s (LON:SWL) ROE
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! While some investors are already well versedRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:23 AM
Do Insiders Own Shares In Alcadon Group AB (publ) (STO:ALCA)?
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! The big shareholder groups in Alcadon GroupRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:14 AM
Is Hanza Holding AB (publ) (STO:HANZA) Potentially Underrated?
Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card! I've been keeping an eye on HanzaRead More...
02/16/2019 - 03:10 AM
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