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N. Korean Nukes Exaggerated; More Questions About American Nukes Too

3 hours 7 min ago

George W. Bush invaded Iraq to remove its – ultimately nonexistent – weapons of mass destruction. Barack Obama used cyber weaponry and sanctions to deter Iran from building its own atomic bomb. Now Donald Trump faces North Korea, but stopping its nuclear and missile program may prove impossible, creating what may be his first and perhaps defining international crisis. -Reuters

President Donald Trump is being urged to confront North Korea and also to build up the army which, some say, has been neglected in the Obama years and even before.

He needs to do this as well because North Korea is supposedly getting close to having a usable nuclear force.

This is a crisis everyone has seen coming. That’s why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been so desperate to court Trump, visiting him even before the inauguration. As North Korea launched an intermediate medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, Abe was once again with the president – this time on a golf and bonding trip to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida retreat.

… Pyongyang first demonstrated its ability to detonate a crude nuclear device in 2006 – becoming the only Iraq- or Iran-style “rogue state” to ever get that far. Since then, it has continued to develop not just the bombs but also the missiles to deliver them.

Ultimately, the regime would love to have the ability to strike the continental United States – a prospect Trump has tweeted to say “won’t happen”. For now, however, there are few signs anyone has a plan to stop it.

The article goes on about North Korea’s land-based “nuclear rockets” and the progress it is making in creating and distributing them.

But who is making these claims? One of the only ways to know is to measure earth quakes. America is doing that, but the Pentagon has nearly as many reasons to exaggerate the North Korean threat as North Korea itself.

We don’t believe that North Korea has much in the way of nuclear weapons. It may have none at all. Not even the “mini-nuke” that you can possibly pick up in both hands. But with Trump banging the drums for more armament, North Korea has suddenly become a big threat to the United States.

There is no real evidence for North Korea having a large nuclear force. But because we are told it is so, we should believe it. These are the same kind of observations that go back some 75 years to Hiroshima and Nagasaki even though its fairly clear that both cities were firebombed.

Some sort of nuclear device may have been dropped as well, but if it was nuclear device it wasn’t a very effective one. Sam Crawford, who ran the post-war nuclear program in Japan has said,

When the bomb went off, about 2 thousand people out of 250 thousand got killed [in Hiroshima] – by blast, by thermal radiation, or by intense x-ray, gamma radiation … You see, it wasn’t “Bing” like the publicity here [said]: a bomb went off and a city disappeared. No such thing happened. That was the propaganda for deterrent …

When I came back to this country, I was appalled, from a military standpoint, to find that our major planners in the War Department were using their own propaganda, 100 thousand deaths, Bing! …

You don’t hear much about the effects of Nagasaki because actually it was pretty ineffective. That was a narrow corridor from the hospital … down to the port, and the effects were very limited as far as the fire spread and all that stuff. So you don’t hear much about Nagasaki.

It makes very little sense that nuclear weapons have been around for 75 years but never have been used. Never as in not once. Except for the supposed uses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And there is a good deal of doubt they were actually used then. In fact, they are still basically the same size and shape.

Trump seems determined to build up the military to a size never before seen. In this he may agree with Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas and Sen. John McCain of Arizona. These two have asked for base military budget of $640 billion in 2018. That would be $100 billion more than in 2017.

The larger picture according to Pentagon budgets is up to one trillion over the next ten years or so to dramatically hike the Pentagon’s nuclear forces.

But the  entire history of nuclear warfare is muddied by a lack of real reporting and credible eye witnesses. The New York Times had only one reporter assigned to nuclear weapons during their formative years. That person turned out to be on the Pentagon payroll as well.

Conclusion: There are a good many questions as to how nuclear weapons work – and if they work and when they work. Before we spend another $1 trillion adding to such weapons, we should ask some hard questions about them. We shouldn’t believe everything we hear. When it comes to America’s “nuclear program” we should be skeptical.

Google and Facebook Are Not Really Private and Shouldn’t Do as They Please With Alex Jones and NaturalNews.com

Sat, 02/25/2017 - 12:22

Google isn’t a state. It’s not a service. It’s a private company. They can censor whatever they want. Use a different company. If they want to cut off 1000’s of people from their services, that’s fine. They are free to do so … This is capitalism, Google isn’t a right. Facebook and Twitter are not free speech. They are private companies. – 4Chan

Google really isn’t a private company. If it continues to attack alternative media like Alex Jones and NaturalNews.com, it may find lawsuits headed in its direction. The same may go for Facebook too.

By portraying itself as a private company, Google can do as it chooses, when attacking companies that don’t live up to its standards from an advertising point of view.

It can help cut off companies that don’t properly advertise according to the Google rule book. The rule book is general and vague. But Google is supposedly a private company so it really doesn’t matter. Google can do pretty much as it wants. And so can Facebook.

They have both cut or helped cut alternative new websites like those belonging to Alex Jones and NaturalNews.com.

Yet there is plenty to rebut this perspective. The best or most comprehensive article on Google along with the CIA and Pentagon is an Insurge Intelligence article entitled, How the CIA Made Google.

It shows that one of the founders of Google, Sergey Brin virtually reported to the Pentagon/ CIA while developing the project that would eventually become Google. Interestingly, later in the article, people close to the CIA and Pentagon are quoted as denying a close relationship. So obviously there is a good deal of sensitivity around the topic.

When it comes to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was funded indirectly by the CIA via Peter Thiel. Thiel is a cofounder of PayPal with Elon Musk of Tesla fame.

Thiel invested $500,000 into Facebook but supposedly this was a CIA investment. Thiel is very close to the CIA. His company Palanitir, supposedly worth some $20 billion, runs secret algorithms for the CIA and other intel agencies. It was just the subject of a Daily Mail story  here. Thiel is supposedly a libertarian but we don’t see how he can be.

Later, Thiel invested 12.7 million in Facebook. Companies that owe their existence and direction to public intelligence agencies are not private. They ought not to be run as they were.

There are even larger issues surrounding Facebook and Google. Like all large companies, they have taken advantage of intellectual property rights, corporate personhood, central banking and regulations – the more the better.

Regulations are helpful to large companies because large companies can follow them more closely than smaller ones. Over time, regulations can put smaller companies out of business. Meanwhile, Central bank fiat money is available in copious quantities to large companies like Facebook and Google.

Corporate personhood blames the company rather than the executive for problems. Thus in the case of any difficulties the company can receive a fine, but the corporate executive may escape untouched.

Intellectual property rights are the final and perhaps most important area when it comes to court decisions that have artificially expanded the might and size of corporations. Both Google and Facebook are built on intellectual property rights paid for by others.

Intellectual property rights expanded drastically post civil war. Before the war there were very few corporations but after the war, the Supreme Court handed down decisions that buttressed both corporate personhood and intellectual property rights.

More recently the Court has attacked intellectual property rights, but the basics remain pretty much untouched. Inventors are given a right to “own” their products for a long fixed period of time. This is fundamental to the wealth creation of Google and Facebook.

It shouldn’t be this way. Just because you have invented something doesn’t mean you own it for 20 or 30 years. Or if you do own it, you should protect it with your own money, not with taxpayer dollars.

Additionally, if something is not produced but is an idea, that idea is shared immediately on publication. That’s our perspective anyway. There’s no reason why the Supreme Court should protect an idea. If someone else uses the idea, he has not directly damaged you. The idea has been made available.

Without various investments and relationships, and most importantly without intellectual property rights, corporate personhood, central banking and regulations, both Google and Facebook would be a shadow of what they are now. There would be many more such companies and a good deal more progress would have been made as well.

Conclusion: Corporations are fictitious entities created basically by Supreme Court decisions. They shouldn’t exist as they do, and one day perhaps they won’t.

 

 

 

 

New Anti-Prostitution Law in Ireland Is Not Really About Trafficking

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 07:41

Ireland passes law making it a crime to buy sex … The country follows Canada, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Northern Ireland in introducing legislation designed to punish men who use prostitutes without criminalising those driven into prostitution.

Now sex is being recriminalized. If people want to work as prostitutes, they should be allowed to do so. Under laws now passed in several countries people won’t have the opportunity to work as they choose.

Not every prostitute remains involved in the sex trade for her entire life. Some go on to marriage, or have longer term relationships that provide an income while they do other things.

The article says that the law protects women from being forced into prostition via sex trafficking. But many women are not “trafficked’ and are involoved in prosititution because they can make a good living for a period of time.

More:

Under the new law which came into force on Wednesday, anyone convicted of using a prostitute in Ireland faces a maximum fine of 500 euros ($525) for a first offence and 1,000 euros for a second. Anyone who uses a trafficked woman faces up to five years in jail.

“This law will, for the first time in our history, firmly place legal responsibility on the exploiters rather than the exploited,” said campaigner Rachel Moran, who worked in prostitution for seven years from the age of 15, and has led calls for reform.

“It will have the effect of educating future generations … as to the simple wrongfulness of buying your way inside someone else’s body, and it will finally frame prostitution as the act of violence that it is.”

But not everyone sees prostitution as a miserable, dead end. Laura Lee, is a sex worker and also a law school graduate, She maintained that talk of sex trafficking in Ireland  was a kind of ruse.

“This has nothing to do with trafficking – that’s a smokescreen,” Lee is quoted as saying. “It’s hooded abolition and an attempt to put a complete stop to prostitution. We should be looking out for the most vulnerable women in society – not trying to make their lives ten times harder.”

Lee is going to court against the law and obviously thinks there are other issues at play. Culturally, Ireland has has a long history intertwined with Catholicism. It is certainly possible that has played a role in Ireland’s official perspective regarding sex.

The government admits research from Sweden and Norway did not conclude sex workers had been placed at greater risk but the law was passed anyway. Child pornography and general pornography laws were strengthened as well.

There are some who estimated hundreds of women in the country have been trafficked. Many of these women supposedly came from countries like Nigeria, Brazil, Colombia, Romania and Bulgaria.

These women are told they will be coming to Ireland to learn English and to get a job. Instead they are “trafficked” – placed in prison-like conditions and then raped and put to work as sex slaves.

The argument is that the law will make Ireland less attractive to traffickers, but trafficking may not have been a large problem in Ireland to begin with,

As a libertarian publication, we believe woman have a right to do what they wish with their bodies and their time. That does not mean we endorse sex trafficking of any other coercive sexual practice. We don’t.

Conclusion: But if woman wants to avail herself of prostitution, especially on the way to other careers and professions, she certainly ought not to be stopped. These laws are likely moral in nature, only masquerading as something else.

We Need a More Socialist Milton Friedman … Not

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 06:28

Milton Friedman had many ideas that I disagree with, and others that I think haven’t stood the test of time. But there’s no denying his influence over the world of economics; he was one of the field’s greatest popularizers and explainers. … For many Americans, the face of Milton Friedman is still the face of economics. -Bloomberg

No, we don’t need another Milton Friedman. We need a person who enunciates the real differences between socialism and free markets.

Friedman didn’t do that. On the big issues like central banking and taxation he was muddled at best. He was most eloquent and firm about smaller issues.

The result is a message that is not homogeneous or even well argued. His narrative is one that evades significant issues while celebrating minor ones.

More:

Economists now generally favor as much or more government intervention in the economy as the general public.

… Economics has also changed. The kind of simple supply-and-demand analysis that people learn in their Econ 101 courses — which economists call price theory — is no longer at the forefront of academic thinking. More complex theories are now the norm, and these new theories often require very different intuition and very different conclusions. Even more importantly, the whole discipline of econ has shifted away from theory and toward empirical studies.

We need a new Milton Friedman for this new age. Economics and the world have both changed, but public discussion is still too often based on the ideas of the 1970s and 1980s. Many writers are trying to remedy that situation, and educate the world about the new paradigms and the new ideas. But someone with Friedman’s academic pedigree — he won the Nobel in 1976, and was hugely influential within the discipline — would have more credibility than any writer.

This article doesn’t seem to want a Friedman after all, just someone who can promote “post-Friedman” ideas that are more socialist than not. Who are some candidates for this neo-Friedman role? The article lists Thomas Piketty and Joe Stiglitz as prominent economists who are also writers.

But Paul Krugman is closest to a modern-day Friedman  in the author’s opinion.

He is unrivaled in his ability to use economic theory, both simple and complex, to explain policy issues in a way the public can understand. Like Friedman, Krugman seamlessly integrates economic theory and political ideology ….

But still the author wants more. He believes the current crop, no matter how good, are too theoretical and not empirical enough.

He is looking for someone who will use real-life examples and illustrate concepts will real-life perspectives.

From our point of view, none of this will matter very much. Just because someone is empirical doesn’t mean they are correct. Just because economists are more socialist than ever doesn’t mean we should follow them.

The reason economics is held in low repute is not because of those who explain it but because of those who set its direction.

Even Friedman was not good enough. He advocate things like a steady state Federal Reserve. And he was the one who suggested to the federal government that prepayment of taxes would be a good idea.

Perhaps it was only supposed to last for the duration of the Second World war. Buy we are still living with it today.

We need someone like Murray Rothbard, but even more broad minded and willing to embrace a wide array of anarchical solutions and monetary possibilities, so long as they are private.

Conclusion: Socialism doesn’t work. The closer we can get to marketplace remedies for marketplace problems, the better.

Auditing the Fed Is Just the First Step

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 05:57

Audit the Fed’ movement finally gaining steam? …  In early January, Senator Rand Paul reintroduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, and Representative Thomas Massie introduced companion legislation in the United States House of Representatives, thereby continuing the “Audit the Fed” movement started by then Congressman Ron Paul. -American Thinker

The Paul-Massie bills may indeed have pushed “audit the Fed” forward, but ultimately it is up to Donald Trump. He was very firm about it during the election. But as with some other promises, he seems less certain now that he has won the presidency.

Even during the campaign Trump did not talk much about shutting down the Fed, which is necessary if Americans are going to regain a modicum of freedom. At least he spoke about an audit.

More:

If the Republican Party truly value small government and fiscal responsibility, then now is the time to use their majority in Congress to audit the Federal Reserve System. The Audit the Fed movement offers an alternative to the prevailing regime of secrecy.

The Paul and Massie bills, which are identical in wording, would expose the Fed’s international transactions, especially those undertaken with foreign governments or central banks. They would also look into monetary policy deliberations by the Fed’s Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee’s transactions.

… Specifically, the proposed legislation directs the Government Accountability Office to complete, within 12 months, an audit of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks.

The Fed is actually subordinate to Congress, which has the ability to coin money and regulate its  value. A Bloomberg has found in polls that up to 75 percent are not satisfied with the Fed’s transparency.

A one-time previous audit after 2007, revealed that the Fed, perhaps illegally, lent nearly $5 trillion to foreign governments and central banks around the world. These included the central bank of Libya.  The loans were meant to provide liquidity to overseas central banks. But no one gave the US central bank the authority to make these loans.

Who knows what the Fed has done since then. We don’t know either how serious Trump is about auditing the Fed since Steven Mnuchin, formerly of Goldman Sachs, does not necessarily seem inclined to follow through.

Conclusion; Auditing the Fed is the first step to shutting it down. The Fed continually depreciates money, and at some point this renders money more or less valueless. It makes Trump’s vow to fix the economy all but moot. Once the Fed completes its audit, we will know more or less what is found. Then it will be time for the next step.

RINOs Pitch Carbon Tax Plan to Trump Admin

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 14:46

Top Republicans Propose Carbon Tax Plan To Stop Climate Change … There’s a new climate change prevention plan in town, and unbelievably, it’s coming from some rather senior Republicans, the de facto party of science denial. Two former Secretaries of State – James Baker III and George Shultz – along with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., met with Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council this week in Washington D.C. -IFL Science

These are Republicans that may now be known as RINOs.  They propose a carbon tax, which they called a “conservative climate solution” and claim it is somehow a free-market approach.

A transcript from the Republicans delivered to IFLScience, said it was an alternative to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) caps and focus on renewable energy.

A “gradually rising carbon tax,” would do away with government suggestions on what people needed to adopt. Instead, “100 percent of the proceeds would be given back to the American people in the form of dividends.”

The trio reportedly added that, “America could meet the commitments that it made in Paris without any other policies. That is how effective the power of a marketplace solution can be. 223 million Americans stand to benefit financially from solving climate change.”

The Atlantic has a longish article on this program. In the Atlantic article we learn that while this may be an effective tax, it possibly wouldn’t be the only way of combating climate change. In other words, after the tax, we could, dismayingly, get another tax, or some other sort of economic disincentive. It certainly needn’t be the only one.

The Heritage Action for America think tank has already criticized the proposal, saying it runs counter to what President Trump is trying to do with the economy.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for a carbon tax,” said Michael A. Needham, the organization’s CEO. “Replacing Obama’s destructive regulatory regime with a destructive taxation regime will not make American companies more competitive or bring jobs back to abandoned communities. Beyond the policy implications, the Climate Leadership Council’s carbon tax proposal is just the latest example of policy solutions crafted by and made for cultural elites.”

This plan is being pitched as an incentive for creating jobs in the area of renewable energy. But it will obviously cost jobs as well. In fact, they may be pitching it as a job’s maker because there is no other way to justify it. Those who don’t believe in global warming point to a number of reasons why it may not exist.

There has been no prolonged temperature change since 1997. There is no consensus about global warming even among scientists who believe it to be real. Arctic ice has increased a great deal during the so-called decades of global warming. Climate models are not accurate and don’t predict the future. And the predictions that have been regarding global warming are not accurate.

Even if there is global warming, there is no firm evidence that it will be bad for the planet. The rise of even a couple of degrees could make large part of the planet a lot greener.

But it is just as possible the world is getting cooler rather than warmer. The bottom line is that no one really knows. But it has been proven in numerous ways that those promoting global warming have not been honest about their ideas.

They will calculate temperature changes based on data collected from areas that are warmer than they should be, heated up by ship’s exhausts and the like. To propose massive changes in taxation etc to address something that has a very good possibility of not happening is at least unwise. And even if it is happening, it may be a net gain rather than a net loss.

Conclusion: Unless it is proven with certitude that global warming exits and is making thing worse, the chances are that proposals like this are a non starter. Additionally Trump himself has called global warming a scam. And while he may be wrong on some issues, he probably has a good possibility of being correct when it comes to global warming.

 

McCain Fingered as Trump Leaker

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 13:06

White House Fingers John McCain As Media Leak; Believes U.S. Senator Eavesdropped on Trump’s Classified Phone … This could be the beginning of the end for embattled Sen. John McCain’s life in politics.  – True Pundit

Just the other day we wrote an article about John McCain and how he was trying to undermine President Donald Trump.

We suggested that if Trump could do something to rein in McCain that would be a net positive because McCain was being so destructive, not just to Trump but to the country generally.

McCaine tends to concentrate on areas that make him a male form of Hillary Clinton. Like Hillary he badly wants a war or vastly escalated tensions with Russia. He wants to stitch Ukraine firmly to the Soviet Union and wants to strip Russia of Crimea as well.

One reason McCain is so focused on international policy is because that’s where the wars are. For last 75 years, and even before that, America has been turned into a kind of beast of burden for international banking. It’s been made to shoulder numerous wars that were stalemated at best.

Gradually America is bleeding to death from these wars at the same time as China in particular has been raised up. McCain’s preoccupation is more with tearing America down. But meanwhile China is gaining in power and prestige.

The plan is to leave America behind, a shell of what it once was and transfer a lot more globalist involvement to China. This is the way you continue to build up globalist activity, which is what this group is after.

It’s not just China. The BRICs generally are being built up, including India, which is well down the road to a cashless society. Only Russia is being excised, presumably to make it a continued enemy of the US, as US needs at least one formidable enemy on which to expend blood and treasure.

Officials think the senator listened to some of Trump’s telephone conversations, including one with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  McCain is giving information on these conversations to mainstream media journos and other to injure Trump and even set him up for impeachment.

Conclusion: There are others besides McCain who are doing a lot of leaking, but McCain is definitely a major player. …  According to the article excerpted above, it’s time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to figure out McCain’s full involvement and along with the laws broken.

States Treating Gold and Silver as Real Money Now

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 21:01

State Deals Blow to Federal Reserve, House Passes Bill To Treat Silver and Gold as Money … As central economic planners at the Federal Reserve continue their vision of “prosperity” through crushing debt and dollar devaluation, some states are fighting back. The Arizona House took a major step toward sound money by passing a bill to eliminate penalties in the form of taxes on gold and silver specie. The move would be an important step toward currency competition and help undermine the Fed’s monopoly on money.

The Arizona House has removed a gold and silver inflationary tax. Meanwhile Utah and Oklahoma have declared gold and silver legal tender in their state, free from any taxation. Other states are mulling similar moves. It is a ways from being a major movement but the moves are “critical in dispensing with the idea that gold and silver are merely investments and speculation.”

More:

Several other rules exist around the country that provide further disincentive for sound money through specie. As the Tenth Amendment Center points out, dealers who buy gold and silver from the public are required to collect personal information from sellers and upload this information daily into law enforcement databases. Some dealers are barred from selling gold and silver to anyone for seven days, forcing them to tie up large amounts of capital and absorb market risk.

“Rep. Mark Finchem (R-Tucson) introduced House Bill 2014 (HB2014) on Jan. 9. The legislation would eliminate state capital gains taxes on income “derived from the exchange of one kind of legal tender for another kind of legal tender.” The bill defines legal tender as “a medium of exchange, including specie, that is authorized by the United States Constitution or Congress for the payment of debts, public charges, taxes and dues.” “Specie” means coins having precious metal content.

HB2014 was passed by a 35-24 vote.” Capital gains tax on gold and silver is especially misleading. It is more likely a tax on inflation than on the underlying metals. “This bill is an effort by one state to protect the people from such confiscation,” said Representative Finchem.

With this bill, the inflationary tax can be deducted from gross income on their state income tax. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Finchem argues that any perceived capital gain from gold and silver is not actually a gain, but a protection against losing money in the inflationary federal reserve system.

“It’s called inflation,” Finchem continued. “The Internal Revenue Service for many, many years has been taxing inflation as though it was a gain.”

The idea is that if more states can remove unjust taxation real currency competition will be in a position to return. “This isn’t going to end the fed’s monetary monopoly overnight, but it sets the foundation and opens the door for more market activity by the people,” Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center reportedly said. “

Forces at the state and federal level will want to kill the bill even before the Senate votes on it.  But William Greene, professor of economics at New York University is quoted as saying:

“Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”

Conclusion: The path back to real money is a slow one but states are embarking on it now. And as they continue, silver and gold are gradually seen as money again. That’s real progress.

Intellectual Property Rights Give Zuckerberg His Fake Size

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:00

Facebook Plans to Rewire Your Life. Be Afraid … Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto, penned clearly in response to accusations leveled at the social network in the wake of the bitter U.S. election campaign, is a scary, dystopian document. It shows that Facebook — launched, in Zuckerberg’s own words five years ago, to “extend people’s capacity to build and maintain relationships” — is turning into something of an extraterritorial state run by a small, unelected government that relies extensively on privately held algorithms for social engineering.

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest young men in the world with a company that spans the globe. And now he is putting that company to work defining what fake news is and is not. To help him in this task he has has recruited other like Snopes.

Snopes is run by a man who just divorced the co-founder to marry someone else. They seem to publish way too many articles for their small staff. Some have speculated the CIA is helping them. But no one is saying, exactly. So it’s speculation.

Zuckerberg says he’s done the best he can to build an unimpeachable references organization to help him decide what is fake and what isn’t. Presumably he will change it as necessary.

More:

In 2012, Zuckerberg addressed future Facebook investors in a letter attached to the company’s initial public offering prospectus. Here’s how he described the company’s purpose:

People sharing more — even if just with their close friends or families — creates a more open culture and leads to a better understanding of the lives and perspectives of others. We believe that this creates a greater number of stronger relationships between people, and that it helps people get exposed to a greater number of diverse perspectives. By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph — a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.

The article points that whatever Zuckerberg has intended to do, it has largely failed. That includes his upcoming effort to differentiate between real and fake news.

And it points out that Zuckerberg has actually made anxieties worse for a number of people. That’s because Facebook is ultimately a competitive situation with everyone trying to create a perfect online life. This caused people overall to have less life satisfaction when using Facebook, not more.

The same thing happens when new mothers get on Facebook to share the joys of newfound parenting. “Failing to get enough … validation causes depressive symptoms.” In other words the exposure to others who seem to be doing better than you, once again turns Facebook into software that is damaging to individuals rather than life-affirming.

But from our point of view, Zuckerberg shouldn’t be where he is anyway. The CIA apparently built up his operation and its size and scale is dependent on various post Civil War decisions. The CIA wants the real-time data that Facebook is collecting from over a billion people (or so we are told).

Chief among the court decisions are elaborations of corporate personhood and intellectual property rights. Also fiat, central-bank money and various kinds of regulation that only very large companies can fully fulfill.

For Zuckerberg, it is probably intellectual property rights that are among the most important parts of his empire. An article entitled From Zero to Zuckerberg tells the tale of just how critical IP is.

Firstly, protecting your IP enables your company to differentiate itself from other businesses and can act as its unique selling point, often helping it to secure future investment.

In fact, many VCs may not back a business at all if its IP isn’t protected. It can be seen as vulnerable to competitors — especially larger, cash-heavy companies who can swoop in and replicate it — and therefore too risky to scale. Put it another way, IP effectively ensures that the ‘new’ Zuckerberg can exist.

IP has virtually lifted Zuckerberg into the position he is in today. The idea that software telling people about the lives of other similar people can be worth literally trillions is based on what society has decided to protect

There is no reason why society should protect IP. If Zuckerberg want protection, he should pay for it himself. Right now you and I pay.

Zuckerberg is worth tens of billions based on post Civil War decisions that back up IP ideas that shouldn’t have been debated in the first place. The only people IP helps these days, for the most part, are those with the very largest companies like Zuckerberg’s.

IP helped Zuckerberg build what is essentially a false company. Now he is compounding the problem. Because of his size he is becoming an arbiter of what is and is not Fake News.

Conclusion: Zuckerberg will push forward on this track, perhaps oblivious to the ridiculousness of his position. He shouldn’t be where he is, and his current size has as much to do with the CIA as it does with IP determinations. Put together the two influences built a behemoth. It shouldn’t exist but it does.

Sunstein Has Major Accident, Mulls More Highway Regulation

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 10:41

Revolution in Highway Safety Needs a Little Help … Three weeks ago, I was walking home on a dark, snowy night in Concord, Massachusetts. The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital, hooked up to some kind of machine. I could not lift my legs or even my head. The doctors told me I had been unconscious for hours. They explained that I had been hit, full on, by a car whose driver apparently could not see me in the dark and the snow; that I had suffered a concussion; that I had four broken bones in my back; that I would probably be unable to walk for days; and that the recovery period could be long and tough. Still, they said, I had gotten lucky. They were right. I am fine. But a lot of people aren’t.

Everything that Cass Sunstein does – or is – somehow resolves itself into a reason why the US needs more regulation.

As you can see above, he recently had a severe accident and presumably that gave him time in bed to think about ever MORE regulatory activity.

Why would you think about regulations if you are bed with a broken back? You probably wouldn’t but you’re not Cass Sunstein.

More:

In the very month in which the nation’s capital seems to be overrun by deregulatory fever, it was announced that in 2016, more than 40,000 Americans died in accidents involving motor vehicles. That’s a significant jump from 2015, when traffic deaths also increased from the year before.

The United States should not accept that level of human tragedy. The good news is that the Department of Transportation knows a lot about what might help — and, yes, regulation is a part of the picture. In the coming year, the department’s new leadership and the White House ought to mount an aggressive effort, working alongside the private sector and state and local officials, to reduce deaths on roads and highways.

Sunstein points out that things likely improved so much on the roads between 1930 to 2014 partially because of road regulation.

The most comprehensive report finds regulation saved some 613,501 lives in that time. Regulation included in Sunstein’s words “occupant protections” like airbags, child restraints and brake systems.

Seat belts are responsible for a lot of additional safety as well. Usage had increased to nearly 80 percent according to Sunstein. Drunk-driving deaths have also been cut substantially according to Sunstein.

Quite apart from government, new safety technologies, driven by market forces, have been exceedingly helpful.

However, since 2014, regulation has not kept pace with deaths. Sunstein says too many are still not using seat belts. Too many are still getting drunk. Distracted driving has become a big issue.

The Department of Transportation has plenty of ideas on how to push back however, and have recently announced a Road to Zero initiative, to bring accidents to zero deaths inside of 30 years.

Cass says such a goal might seem wildly optimistic but it’s not for any administration that cares for the populace. He says he’ll elaborate in a second article – Part Two.

We can guess some of what he might say. It probably has to do with upcoming driverless cars, including electric cars and how they will take over the responsibility of driving.

The problem with such cars is that they take input from outside outlets. Thus if someone owes some money for a ticket, the car might not turn on until the ticket is paid. That could go for any bill.

It could go well beyond bills. The car could be shut down for any one of a number of reasons.

Secondly, all of this is being done by force. It is not going to be voluntary. Even now, if a seat belt is not being worn, the driver might be fined. And that goes for a number of different activities. There are a wide range of safety mandates and not all of them are equally necessary or even necessary at all.

Finally, there is an assumption that these safety mandates are part of the work of government even though they may not be. Just because the government sees a potential upgrade doesn’t  mean it has to make it.

From out point of view, the fewer regulations the better. If the car manufacturer wants to make safety changes, that’s good. If the government wants to do it, that’s not so good for a wide variety of reasons.

Ordinarily the market would deal with safety issues. Some cars would offer more safety features than others. There are unfortunately only two major car companies in America that are also based here. Because there are so few companies based in America, that competition has been lessened. There are too few companies and they are virtually part of the government anyway.

Ideally, there should be lots of smaller, regional companies with a myriad of competitive innovations. That would be a lot more possible if companies were responsible to themselves and  shareholders rather than government.

Conclusion: Sunstein is convinced that only government can adequately promulgate safety regulations. We think it ought to be the outfits themselves.

Sunstein Has Major Accident, Mulls More Highway Regulation

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 09:48

Revolution in Highway Safety Needs a Little Help … Three weeks ago, I was walking home on a dark, snowy night in Concord, Massachusetts. The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital, hooked up to some kind of machine. I could not lift my legs or even my head. The doctors told me I had been unconscious for hours. They explained that I had been hit, full on, by a car whose driver apparently could not see me in the dark and the snow; that I had suffered a concussion; that I had four broken bones in my back; that I would probably be unable to walk for days; and that the recovery period could be long and tough. Still, they said, I had gotten lucky. They were right. I am fine. But a lot of people aren’t.

Everything that Cass Sunstein does – or is – somehow resolves itself into a reason why the US needs more regulation.

As you can see above, he recently had a severe accident and presumably that gave him time in bed to think about ever MORE regulatory activity.

Why would you think about regulations if you are bed with a broken back? You probably wouldn’t but you’re not Cass Sunstein.

More:

In the very month in which the nation’s capital seems to be overrun by deregulatory fever, it was announced that in 2016, more than 40,000 Americans died in accidents involving motor vehicles. That’s a significant jump from 2015, when traffic deaths also increased from the year before.

The United States should not accept that level of human tragedy. The good news is that the Department of Transportation knows a lot about what might help — and, yes, regulation is a part of the picture. In the coming year, the department’s new leadership and the White House ought to mount an aggressive effort, working alongside the private sector and state and local officials, to reduce deaths on roads and highways.

Sunstein points out that things likely improved so much on the roads between 1930 to 2014 partially because of road regulation.

The most comprehensive report finds regulation saved some 613,501 lives in that time. Regulation included in Sunstein’s words “occupant protections” like airbags, child restraints and brake systems.

Seat belts are responsible for a lot of additional safety as well. Usage had increased to nearly 80 percent according to Sunstein. Drunk-driving deaths have also been cut substantially according to Sunstein.

Quite apart from government, new safety technologies, driven by market forces, have been exceedingly helpful.

However, since 2014, regulation has not kept pace with deaths. Sunstein says too many are still not using seat belts. Too many are still getting drunk. Distracted driving has become a big issue.

The Department of Transportation has plenty of ideas on how to push back however, and have recently announced a Road to Zero initiative, to bring accidents to zero deaths inside of 30 years.

Cass says such a goal might seem wildly optimistic but it’s not for any administration that cares for the populace. He says he’ll elaborate in a second article – Part Two.

We can guess some of what he might say. It probably has to do with upcoming driverless cars, including electric cars and how they will take over the responsibility of driving.

The problem with such cars is that they take input from outside outlets. Thus if someone owes some money for a ticket, the car might not turn on until the ticket is paid. That could go for any bill.

It could go well beyond bills. The car could be shut down for any one of a number of reasons.

Secondly, all of this is being done by force. It is not going to be voluntary. Even now, if a seat belt is not being worn, the driver might be fined. And that goes for a number of different activities. There are a wide range of safety mandates and not all of them are equally necessary or even necessary at all.

Finally, there is an assumption that these safety mandates are part of the work of government even though they may not be. Just because the government sees a potential upgrade doesn’t  mean it has to make it.

From out point of view, the fewer regulations the better. If the car manufacturer wants to make safety changes, that’s good. If the government wants to do it, that’s not so good for a wide variety of reasons.

Ordinarily the market would deal with safety issues. Some cars would offer more safety features than others. There are unfortunately only two major car companies in America that are also based here. Because there are so few companies based in America, that competition has been lessened. There are too few companies and they are virtually part of the government anyway.

Ideally, there should be lots of smaller, regional companies with a myriad of competitive innovations. That would be a lot more possible if companies were responsible to themselves and  shareholders rather than government.

Conclusion: Sunstein is convinced that only government can adequately promulgate safety regulations. We think it ought to be the outfits themselves.

 

 

What Trump Should Do to Oust McCain

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 10:46

John McCain Becomes Critic in Chief of the Trump Administration … Senator John McCain has long had a reputation as a political maverick. But with the rise of a president who has vowed to shatter the old order, Mr. McCain has emerged as an outspoken defender of longstanding Republican verities on foreign policy and as one of his party’s most biting critics of the new commander in chief. – New York Times

Why doesn’t President Trump just confront McCain on his denials that captured troops were left behind in Vietnam? That would be one way to go after McCain and the idea that he is an honorable man. What kind of individual argues for 50 years that there are no prisoners in Vietnam post-war when there possibly were at least a thousand or more?

For decades, McCain has been in the forefront of denying that Hanoi had prisoners it hadn’t released at the end of the war. Hanoi actually kept these troops as bargaining chips subject to further negotiations that never occurred. Now, with both Hanoi and Washington denying such left-behind troops, their chances of their freedom has dwindled to virtually nothing.

Sydney Schanberg back in 2010 wrote what is perhaps the most convincingly argued article for additional POWs retained by Hanoi after the end of the war. It has well over ten points developed in detail rebutting McCain’s claims.

Schanberg has been a journalist for nearly 50 years. The 1984 movie “The Killing Fields,” was based on his book The Death and Life of Dith Pran. In 1975, Schanberg was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting “at great risk.” He is also the recipient of two George Polk awards, two Overseas Press Club awards, and the Sigma Delta Chi prize for distinguished journalism.

More from the McCain article at the beginning of this story:

Newly re-elected to a six-year term and eager to wield the megaphone that comes with the chairmanship of the powerful Armed Services Committee, Mr. McCain has repeatedly pushed back on the White House’s national security policies in its first weeks.

In a star turn at a security conference in Munich on Friday, he delivered a forceful critique of President Trump’s “America First” vision before a receptive audience of experts and allied officials worried about American drift from a seven-decade-old Western alliance.

“Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times,” Mr. McCain said. “But you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out.”

“In many respects, this administration is in disarray, and they’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said.

This is the sort of rhetoric that McCain has been disseminating since Trump got into office. He also challenged Mr. Trump on the issues that media is “the enemy of the American people.” On many issues he comes down opposite to Trump.

This wouldn’t be so bad if Trump’s positions were horrible. But some of his positions are very good if you believer with Trump that globalists ought not to take over America. Overall, Trump abuses the presidency as much as previous presidents by taking powers that don’t belong to him. But in trying to beat back globalist interference he has been better than any president since Reagan.

Right now McCain is the bigger problem because he so obviously believes in much of the globalist agenda. There is little he rejects though he doesn’t come right out and say he is an explicit endorser. But he is.

Trump could rebut McCain in a number of ways but the most convincing might indeed be via the prisoner issue. Many prisoners were probably left behind in Vietnam though many have probably died by now.

In 1990, Col. Millard Peck, a decorated infantry veteran of Vietnam then working at the DIA as chief of the Asia Division for Current Intelligence, asked for the job of chief of the DIA’s Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. His reason for seeking the transfer, which was not a promotion, was that he had heard from officials throughout the Pentagon that the POW/MIA office had been turned into a waste-disposal unit for getting rid of unwanted evidence about live prisoners—a “black hole,” these officials called it.

Peck explained all this in his telling resignation letter of Feb. 12, 1991, eight months after he had taken the job. He said he viewed it as “sort of a holy crusade” to restore the integrity of the office but was defeated by the Pentagon machine. The four-page, single-spaced letter was scathing, describing the putative search for missing men as “a cover-up.”

Schanberg is right to raise the issues of the POW’s and McCain is wrong to continue his coverup. On the other hand, there are complicating issues. McCain himself was a POW and quickly and exhaustively cooperated with his captors. There may be personal issues as to why McCain does not want captives returned. He has termed the idea of POWs a “conspiracy theory.”

Conclusion: McCain obviously has deep anger issues regarding POWs. He is also an advocate of globalism. He is consistently on the wrong side of issues as they occur on the biggest questions of the day. Whatever else Trump does or doesn’t do, taking on McCain and effectively removing some of his power would be a big favor. There likely will be an explosion between these two sooner or later, if only because McCain is so angry.

The Fed Should Be Kept Independent?

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 09:20

President Trump, Keep The Federal Reserve Independent – It’s Too Expensive Not To … There is talk about that Donald Trump and his administration will try to bring the Federal Reserve to heel with some appointments to the board of that body. … But there’s a definite limit to how far this should go for, as not enough people know, the point of the Fed is to curb the enthusiasms of the politicians. And not leaving it operationally independent would be very expensive indeed, so much so as to be entirely counter productive. – Forbes

According to this article, it is better to leave the Federal Reserve alone because to do anything else within the context of a viable Fed would cost too much.

The article does admit that it is possible to change the Fed. In fact Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.), vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has already written to Janet Yellen indicating she has no authority to engage in certain regulatory practices.

Citing the “clear message by President Donald Trump” to put America first, he called on her to cease all international negotiations on regulations covering bank capital, systemic risk and other areas, and suggested that the Fed had no authority to engage in such activities.

McHenry went on to call the Fed’s activities “secretive,” and suggested that its participation in international forums was “killing American jobs.” His letter echoes the heated rhetoric by President Trump during the campaign in which he said that Yellen should be “ashamed of herself” for keeping interest rates low for political reasons.

This is a big battle shaping up regarding the Fed. The Fed apparently has not been given authority to carry out international negotiations. It’s not even an international body.

On the other hand, the Fed has to carry out these negotiations within the context of its growing globalism. Otherwise it has to admit its merely one more bureaucratic institution with a job to do. The Fed was not set up in this way.

The Fed has always exceeded its boundaries. In fact, it has never recognized boundaries to begin with. From near to its beginnings, in the 1920s, the Fed did much that was illegal. It consistently issued more notes than it had gold backing.

But this article argues nonetheless that the Fed’s independence is a very “valuable thing.”

The article point out that Trump can fill up to three vacancies on the board this year. So the central bank may not be exempt from a Trump-led shakeup, strategist, Mark Grant said on CNBC on Monday.

“The Fed of today is not going to be the Fed of tomorrow,” the chief strategist at Hilltop Securities said to “Squawk Box.”

Grant believed the Trump administration could fill key vacancies to advance their vision of the way the Fed should operate. But the article says the people that Trump appoints should not just be order takers. They should believe in the legitimate independence of the Fed.

The article notes that buyers of institutional debt will always want more interest. It is hard in a scenario where the Fed is not independent to imagine the Fed keeping rates low. Rates would go up and stay up.

So, Fed independence is something we don’t want to compromise. Simply because doing so will be so expensive.

But there is a larger issue which is whether the administration should or can get rid of the Fed entirely. Then it wouldn’t have to worry about the price of interest.

We are told it would simply be too expensive and complicated to get rid of the Fed altogether. But it could also be argued that it is too expensive and complicated NOT to get rid of it if you have the opportunity.

It has nothing really to do with expense. The Fed is a committed globalist institution. It will not suddenly turn into a passive bureaucracy. The people behind it didn’t spend all this time and money on it merely to give the government a kind of order-taking entity,

No, the Fed is supposed to control the value of money on behalf of the international bankers that run it from behind the scenes. The CIA at the very top is also run from abroad. As is even the Pentagon.

Conclusion: These institutions are the reasons the US is no longer in charge of its own destiny and hasn’t been for many years. Trump is no doubt going to try to rein in the Fed. But getting rid of it altogether would be an even better idea.

 

Daniel Pearl Lecture Full of Anti-Trump Puffery by Journal Reporter

Sun, 02/19/2017 - 13:45

Bret Stephens delivered the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture this week at the University of California, Los Angeles. Read the full text of his remarks below: I’m profoundly honored to have this opportunity to celebrate the legacy of Danny Pearl, my colleague at The Wall Street Journal … – Time Magazine

The Wall Street Journal doesn’t always tell the truth. This speech that deals in part with the unimpeachable integrity of the the Journal is simply untrue.

Take for instance a recent a recent article about PewDiePie, gaming vlogger Felix Kjellberg, calling him an anti-Semite. He is the most popular personality on YouTube with 53 million subscribers and counting. He’s not anti-Semite though the Journal did its best to make him so.

PewDiePie did videos that explored why it was so easy for people, especially Jews, to be insulted. One video involved two half naked video artists who were willing to say vile things about Jews for $5 dollars. PewDiePie points out this was his way of showing in the Internet era that people will do anything for tiny bits of money.

WSJ for some reason found it necessary to examine PewDiePie’s entire video output before coming up with nine videos that they claimed contained anti-Jew allusions. They also said that because he wore wire rim glasses, he was cultivating a look similar to Himmler’s.

Even if this were true, and we obviously don’t think it is, PewDiePie surely deserved a strong talking to, perhaps a warning. Instead he was stripped of a large TV show and the PewDiePie site itself was downgraded so he’ll receive less money from it.

Vox opined on PewDiePie, badly of course …

“It’s hard to look at his recent string of alt-right allusions as existing in a vacuum during a moment when neo-Nazi politics has abruptly jumped into the international spotlight. As much as Kjellberg might wish for his comedy to be seen as over the top and exaggerated, Disney and YouTube’s respective reevaluations of their business relationships with him are a bold reminder that we’re living in a historical period when joking about controversial subjects is a more tenuous proposition than ever — and one that could have serious real-world repercussions.”

The Wall Street Journal and Youtube stripped him literally of millions of dollars in order to send a “bold reminder that we’re living in a historical period when joking about controversial subjects is a more tenuous proposition than ever.”

In other words, PewDiePie was making jokes, as even Vox admits when evaluating the “evidence.” Nonethess, the Wall Street Journal, in pursuit of “truth”, held him up as someone whose motives were suspect and integrity was questionable – enough so he should lose possible millions in revenue.

From the Journal as regards the Pearl speech:

Some of you may have noticed that we’re living through a period in which the executive branch of government is engaged in a systematic effort to create a climate of opinion against the news business.

The President routinely describes reporting he dislikes as FAKE NEWS. The Administration calls the press “the opposition party,” ridicules news organizations it doesn’t like as business failures, and calls for journalists to be fired. Mr. Trump has called for rewriting libel laws in order to more easily sue the press.

When you work at The Wall Street Journal, the coins of the realm are truth and trust — the latter flowing exclusively from the former. When you read a story in the Journal, you do so with the assurance that immense reportorial and editorial effort has been expended to ensure that what you read is factual.

Not true, as we have just pointed out. PewDiePie was eviscerated because of a Wall Street Journal story that accused him of anti-Semitism and intolerance far beyond what he was indicating.

It said in his heart he might be closer to the alt.right than he let on. But that’s just supposition. Similarly the WSJ is filled with the “coins of the realm,” truth and trust. Except it’s not.

The accusations that Trump makes are agree to by a majority of Americans, 60-90 percent of whom just don’t trust the mainstream media, including the Journal.

We honor the responsibility to separate truth from falsehood, which is never more important than when powerful people insist that falsehoods are truths, or that there is no such thing as truth to begin with.

No you don’t. Yesterday we carried a story saying Trump might have syphilis. This is the sort of story, appearing in the very mainstream New Republic that leads Trump to say that the mainstream news media is perpetually vile and hurtful when it comes to stories about him.

The rest of the Pearl Memorial speech is a long peroration of what has going wrong under the Trump administration. Some of it is true, but most of it would be better delivered by someone who wasn’t at the Journal.

Trump is winning not because he is popular but because he is right. The news media is impossibly biased as a  whole, and anti-Trump.

The only real caveat is that Trump ought to go after the top level culprits, the ones who actually own the media that is so biased against him. This he has not done yet, presumable because it would bring him into conflict with our true masters, and he is not ready for that battle yet (and maybe never will be).

But this article in the end is simply untrue. The mainstream media pursues its own self interest. It only hits the truth inadvertently while pursuing its factoids for other reasons entirely.

Conclusion: Donald Trump will surely preside over at least a partial realignment of the news media as we know it today. It is losing too badly for it to continue on as it is. But it won’t change totally, only subside, biding its time. If he makes a bad enough mistake, it will roar back to life for the inevitable impeachment.

Castles, Canals, Even Airports, Seem to Show the Relentless Pace of Ancient Earth

Sun, 02/19/2017 - 12:22

Old Earth Ruins, Ancient Dams, Airports, Lifelines, Canal Systems and Underwater Structures … Rips the lid off the coffin of the credibility of mainstream history model.

This video by Newearth deals with ancient dams, canal systems and structures that once made up a thriving international culture before recorded history.

It is one of a series of over 50 videos made by Newearth who is an aficionado of Russian archaeology. Russian archaeology is a good deal more inventive than our mainstream archaeology.

Initially, Newearth followed several multi-volume works by inquisitive Russian archaeologists but in the past year she has ventured off and begun to address areas on her own.

There literally thousands – tens of thousands – of these videos by now. One can only listen to so many videos about ancient structures potentially over 12,000 years old before one concludes there is some big problem with what we’ve learned in school.

Newearth is among the better non-traditional commentators because her standards are high and she seldom deals in outright speculation, preferring to build on what she can see. Of course, many megalithic buildings have vanished into the swirling tide of time. These were huge castles, often built in very hard-to-get places.

These “castles” were not made as they are today. Some are built of megalithic rough-hewn boulders. Others are simply cut into the living rock itself. But the cuts themselves are immaculate, far better than we could do with many of today’s power saws, even if they were portable, which they are not.

Some buildings seem older than old. They are, she says, perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands of years old. Even older. Yet the machines that made them are more advanced than anything today, she points out.

Others, in extreme outposts in Russia, seem relatively new, Thus we are faced with the idea of advanced civilizations that no one know about today and that may be only a few hundred years old.

The ancient canal systems she covers in this video are worldwide and include at least one potential airport as well. Most of the canals in particular are now underwater but when photographed from high in the sky, you can make them out very well. They are straight and long. They certainly look like canals.

As Youtube itself advances, more and more people are discovering – rediscovering – these ancient artifacts and structures. Newearth has fanciful names for some of them.

Some she calls castles of the “elves.” Others are “gnome castles” because they were made for people of a very small stature. Myths say such people actually existed until recently and did indeed mine the earth.

Conclusion: Newearth says that she gets a lot of inspiration from myth. She considers many myths a good deal more truthful than modern archaeological explanations. These, she says, are more fanciful than even the most extreme myths in their insistence that all was accomplished by bronze chisels and mallets. Take a look. Even if you don’t believe, it will likely set you to thinking.

Trump Has Syphilis?

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 15:58
A Medical Theory for Donald Trump’s Bizarre Behavior … Many mental health professionals believe the president is ill. But what if the cause is an untreated STD? … Al Franken recently raised a provocative question about Donald Trump: Is he mentally ill? On HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher last week, the Minnesota senator claimed that some of his Republican colleagues have “great concern about the president’s temperament,” adding that “there’s a range in what they’ll say, and some will say that he’s not right mentally. And some are harsher.” Two days later, he told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “We all have this suspicion that—you know, that he’s not—he lies a lot…And, you know, that is not the norm for a president of the United States, or, actually, for a human being.” – The New Republic So according to the The New Republic, President Donald Trump may have syphilis and should explore treatment options as necessary with his personal physician.

He may have contracted it, according to the magazine, in the 1980s when syphilis was on the rise. If he didn’t get it treated, it would be far advanced by now.

Advanced syphilis, neurosyphilis, and manifest itself in numerous ways, according to the article.

“Commonly recognized symptoms include irritability, loss of ability to concentrate, delusional thinking, and grandiosity. Memory, insight, and judgment can become impaired. Insomnia may occur. Visual problems may develop, including the inability of pupils to react to the light. This, along other ocular pathology, can result in photophobia, dimming of vision, and squinting. All of these things have been observed in Trump. Dementia, headaches, gait disturbances. and patchy hair loss can also be seen in later stages of syphilis.”

More:

Last year, Jeb Bush said of his Republican primary opponent, “I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but the guy needs therapy.” Senator Bernie Sanders recently called Trump “delusional in many respects, a pathological liar.”

And Congressman Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, is introducing legislation that would require the White House to have a psychiatrist on staff. “I’m looking at it from the perspective of, if there are questions about the mental health of the president of the United States, what may be the best way to get the president treatment?” he told the Huffington Post.

Does Trump suffer from this condition? the magazine asks. “In Trump’s case, there are many diagnostic possibilities, and we have very little background information because the slim medical summary he released was vague, unverifiable, and possibly outdated.”

Trump was promiscuous, according to the article, in the 198os when syphilis was spreading. “I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world,” he reportedly told Howard Stern in 1997. “It is a dangerous world out there—it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider.”

It is incredibly important to rule out the disease, according to the article, because it is treatable even at a late date. And yet… we very much doubt Trump has syphilis. Since it is a treatable disease, if he did get it he could easily get rid of it. But surely he didn’t get it to begin with. Relatively speaking, very few people have gotten syphilis over the years, even when it was on the rise.

The magazine, previously owned by a Facebook co-founder is now owned by Win Mr. McCormack, an active Democratic fund-raiser. “He is the author of a book that details the sexual indiscretions of Republican politicians who espouse family values. Mr. Fish, who also produces documentary films, comes from a long line of Republican lawmakers. In 1988, he sought the Democratic nomination for the same Westchester County congressional seat his forbears had held, but was defeated.”

This article, which has been picked up and shared in numerous places in the last day or two, is another example of how low people can stoop to smear someone they don’t like.

The birther story was widely shared, but only by a fairly small segment of the alternative media and then widened on Facebook, via email etc. But this assertion has been made by The New Republic among other publications, and The New Republic is a kind of left-wing thought magazine and prestigious in certain circles. The article was written by a doctor with 30 years experience in infectious diseases.

From our point of view the article substantiates as lot of what Trump was talking about in his recent press conference. This article is delivered with both hate and venom from what we can tell.

Of course anything is possible but this is a very low probability event. The New Republic is a very anti-Trump publication. It is interested in embarrassing Trump, which is why it would suggest that Trump has a venereal disease. If they really wanted to get Trump checked, the owner among others would make a discreet call to the White House not blast it all over the news.

We have differences with Trump, big ones, centering around over-policing and the militarization of the US. But we would state these issues directly, as we have, without bringing up some ludicrous side issue like syphilis.

Conclusion: It’s an article that truly drips venom and malice and ought not to have been represented in the pages of a magazine that has been taken seriously for decades. That it did appear is more a comment about the magazine and its owner than it is on Donald Trump.

 

 

Fed May Raise Rates By 50 Basis Points in March or It Could Do Something Far More Dramatic

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 13:51

The Fed Should Raise Rates Next Month … Inflation in the U.S. rose in the year that ended in January by 2.5 percent — faster than expected, and well above the Fed’s target of 2 percent. It was the latest sign that the economy needs a rise in interest rates when the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee meets next month.

Earlier this year it looked as if rate hikes were being postponed again, at least until summer months. But now, thanks in particular to various derivative trades, we can see rates hikes could come sooner rather than later, perhaps as soon as next month.

The central bank has indicated a good deal of patience with rate hikes, not wanting to put an end to what little economic progress has actually been made.

Its also indicated that every month is a clean sheet. If new figures indicate that price inflation is kicking up, then the Fed intends to revise its interest rate decisions. And now, it seems, inflation is moving faster than previously expected.

More:

Granted, the signal from inflation is ambiguous … The unadjusted index of consumer prices is distorted month to month by swings in volatile energy and food prices. The Fed prefers to keep an eye on a different measure of inflation — the price index of personal consumption expenditures. This went up by 1.7 percent, excluding food and energy, in the year to December, still a little below the central bank’s inflation target.

In addition, the current low unemployment rate of 4.8 percent most likely exaggerates the tightness in the labor market. As the economy expands, some of the many workers who’d previously dropped out of the labor force altogether (and therefore don’t count as unemployed) have started looking for jobs. This is why, despite rising employment, the jobless rate actually edged up in January. An expanding labor force gives the economy a bit of additional headroom.

The article points out other factors that might lead to inflation. The Fed’s short-term interest rate around 0.5 to 0.75 percent is very low, while its swollen balance sheet continues to offer monetary prompts. Even a quarter-point rise at this point probably wouldn’t do much to influence rates.

Of course moving too early may have a negative impact on some jobs that are about to be created. On the other hand doing nothing could put Fed in a worse position, one where it has to tighten hard in multiple months to try to catch up with price inflation that has been gathering speed. For this reason, March is starting to look like a reasonable option for a rate hike that might be 50 rather than 25 basis points.

Another alternative, one the Fed could get started on, is to shut down the bank entirely. Then instead of of Yellen trying to guess where rates should be, the market could decide.

This can’t be done all at once of course. The first step would be to audit the Fed, which would reveal which banks and firms it gave money to during and after the crises stating in 2008. Yellen would be dead set against anything of this sort, but the chances of an audit have gone up dramatically with President Donald Trump.

After an audit revealed the Fed has spent trillions illegally around the world bailing out subsidiaries of the largest banks and firms, many American pols might be tempted to place the Fed under an umbrella that mandated mathematical solutions to interest rates.

But in fact this is no better than human decisions themselves. Mathematical rates have to be developed to begin with by human beings. So ultimately such rates are still part of a situation that includes human approaches.

Again the only real solution is a purely market driven one. In such a situation, rates would not be monolithic but vary from region to region and even city to city. This is another area where modern rates are inadequate. Rates are not supposed to be monolithic, but they are getting moreso rather than less so.

Conclusion: Ultimately, we should let rates do what they choose absent man-made interference. Rates were like this since the beginning of time. And someday they will be like this again. It might as well be sooner rather than later.

 

Tony Blair Wants to Rebuild His Career on the Back of Brexit

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 17:32

Tony Blair on Friday announced his “mission” to get Brits who voted to remain in the European Union to “rise up in defense of what we believe” while accusing the government of being “obsessed with Brexit” and bemoaning the lack of an effective opposition. In his first major speech since the EU referendum, the former prime minister told an audience in the City of London that people were misinformed when they voted for Brexit and that he wanted to “build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge.”

Tony Blair has hopped on the EU train just as it is sputtering and threatening to run off the tracks.

This is either a canny move or it is not. It is canny because the EU has few staunch defenders at this point, or certainly few that promise to be as staunch as Blair promises to be.

On the other hand, Blair remains one of the most blackballed men in England. He is blamed for the death of many British servicemen and for lying about it.

He is blamed by conservative individuals and by liberal ones. It is not a matter of party. So even if persists with this latest move, he has no guarantee that people will begin to back him.

No doubt this is one of the reasons that Blair has taken on this opportunity. It is such a big issue that he thinks people may forget about previous issues in order to back him on Brexit.

But he engages such antipathy that it is difficult to believe that too many will come around. In fact the wealth he has gained since leaving office makes things worse, even though he is putting some of it to use in creating the anti-Brexit movement.

More:

I want to be explicit,” he said at an event hosted by Open Britain, a cross-party political group campaigning against a “destructive” Brexit. “Yes, the British people voted to leave Europe. And I agree the will of the people should prevail. I accept right now there is no widespread appetite to re-think.

“But the people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind. Our mission is to persuade them to do so. What was unfortunately only dim in our sight before the referendum is now in plain sight. The road we’re going down is not simply Hard Brexit. It is Brexit At Any Cost.”

He added that the challenge now was “to expose relentlessly what this cost is, to show how the decision was based on imperfect knowledge which will now become informed knowledge, to calculate in ‘easy to understand’ ways how proceeding will cause real damage to our country.”

Blair added that while doesn’t know if Britain will succeed, not trying would gain him and others a rancorous verdict from future generations.

“They will say we don’t represent the people. We do, many millions of them and with determination many millions more.”

But, again, it is quite questionable how many people actually represents. Just because he is getting onboard with an issue that excites strong passions doesn’t mean that people are going to change their minds about him in particular.

Additionally it is not clear who he is going to attract. Some of the people involved have never been pro-Blair, not even when he was in office.

Blair spoke out on behalf of the EU, saying, “during all my time as PM there was no major domestic law that I wanted to pass which Europe told me I couldn’t.”

And he said that Brexit was such a main focus that other issues weren’t getting proper attention. He mentioned the crisis affecting the NHS and challenges to the economy and to the educational system.

Blair believes there are two major challenges when it comes to Brexit. One is the “effective cartel of media on the right” and the other is Labor’s “debilitation.”

His solution is to build a larger  movement that reinvigorates Labor while stretching across party lines. His new Tony Blair Institute, will also be European as well, focusing on building up relationships with Europe.

One can see from all this that Blair want to take advantage of Brexit to try to shake the difficulties that overlay his career as a result of warfare abroad. He want to build a new coalition the way he did in the early days of his career with New Labor.

Conclusion: It’s an audacious move. It’s not at all clear whether it will work. Blair won’t be happy just to get the word out. He’ll probably want to be included, front and center. So we’ll soon see how much he has poisoned his public persona. Perhaps too much. Time will tell.

 

Selling Food From Home Should Be Legal But It’s Not

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:49

Make It Legal to Sell Home-Cooked Food … As food delivery becomes ever more popular in the U.S., some innovators have been looking to do for meals what Uber and Lyft have done for rides. Good cooks or even professional chefs working at home can produce tasty food for people nearby, income for themselves, and tax revenue for cities and states. Or they could if it were legal to sell home-cooked food. In most states, it’s not. – Bloomberg

Have you ever been sickened by home-cooking? We’ve had problems sometimes with food bought elsewhere but never with food that is prepared at home. Never that we can remember anyways.

We’d venture to say that food prepared at home is probably as safe or safer than any other food.

But that’s not what regulators think. For them, food cooked at home is subject to myriad difficulties and dangers.

Regulators have all but banned food cooked at home from being sold commercially.

More:

In some states, it’s simply illegal to sell most food that’s been prepared at home, no matter what technology is in the kitchen.

… Even if the risk from home-cooked food were as high as or higher than that from restaurant-cooked food, the danger would have to be extraordinarily great to justify a ban.

Some home-cooking startups have tried to get around the present ban by using shared cooking spaces that meet restaurant-grade safety standards. But food prepared in such kitchens may run afoul of other legal requirements.

The article gives examples of the many kind of requirements that confine food to the home. It goes over licenses an ice-cream maker might need. You have to get a license from the Department of Public Health to sell to consumers.

But if you want to sell directly to restaurants, you have to get a license from the Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services.

But this license doesn’t actually exist. You can sell to consumers directly but not indirectly to a restaurant. That’s just one example.

Old laws, the article says, were established for hub-and-spoke distribution. But now we want a more flexible market.

We tends to think this is not true entirely. We believe it is the Internet itself that is giving rise to discontent about what can be sold and from where.

It’s one reason top elites are so set on reconfiguring the Internet so that it avoids controversial topics.

We’ve been right about the Internet. The ‘Net began by suggesting certain changes and is now suggesting changes to almost everything.

Additionally, despite suggestions that parts of the Internet are run by the alt.right, many important and influential sites are still libertarian oriented. This is driving top elites nuts.

Their idea is to virtually ban all but properly approved concepts, but even if this ban goes into effect, it won’t last. Inventions like the Internet are not static and tend to be used, one way or another until their innovations have been exhausted. That could take a long time.

The article also states that, “To determine what safety requirements are most appropriate for home kitchens, states need to build on our existing knowledge about food safety — including data gathered by the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control — to put together a clear picture of the risks involved.”

No it doesn’t. The market simply needs to do away with this “knowledge about food safety.” Leave it up to individuals. That’s what is going on anyway. You’re simply punished after-the-fact for any kind of food poisoning.

And chances are there won’t be any. Do you get food poisoning from food you cook at home? If you are trying to build a business you are going to be pretty careful about what you give customers to ear.

Conclusion: It is the market itself that disciplines you and makes sure you provide what is timely and necessary. If you do not do not deal with food in this manner, you go out of business. Regulations have little or nothing to do with it.

Market Monopolies Are Caused by Government, Not Technology, and Should be Removed by the Courts

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 14:00

Monopolies Are Worse Than We Thought … Economists are increasingly turning their attention to the problem of monopoly. This doesn’t mean literal monopoly, like when one utility company provides all the power in a city. It refers to market concentration in general — when an industry goes from having 20 players to having only 10, or when the four biggest companies in an industry start taking a bigger and bigger share of sales. This sort of creeping oligopoly acts much like a literal monopoly — it raises prices, limits market size and tends to make the economy less efficient. – Bloomberg

Market concentration hurts workers according to this article. It’s true, but makes no distinction between voluntary monopolies and imposed monopolies.

In some cases, monopolies are valuable and adopted voluntarily. For instance, light bulbs are standardized. This is a form of voluntary monopoly and customers do not react against it from what we can tell.

Then there’s the Federal Reserve, which has been given the power to regulate and print money.

The Fed is a government monopoly with all the negatives we associate with this kind of monopoly. It runs money for the sake of a handful of people and not for the larger good.

Additionally, the idea that the Fed could run money and regulate banks for the larger good is suspect anyway. It is not going to turn into an eleemosynary institution just because it has the ability to exercise a monopoly.

More:

I suspect that creeping monopoly will prove to be one of the main reasons for decreasing business dynamism. And it could even be a contributor to slow productivity growth.

In other words, many of the diseases in our economy can probably be traced, at least in part, to the problem of market concentration. In a previous post, I mentioned a couple of potential causes. The obvious culprit would be a more lax attitude toward antitrust enforcement.

If free-market fundamentalism caused the U.S. to be friendlier toward big mergers since the 1990s, this could have encouraged concentration. One problem with this story is that antitrust fines have actually been on the rise: Regulation can increase monopoly power by raising barriers to entry.

Even within a couple of grafs the author says two contradictory things. First he says the antitrust enforcement has made monopolies more common. Then he says that antitrust fines have been on the rise but that they too can encourage monopolies by creating barriers to entry.

The article says that if regulation is the main reason for monopolies than he will have to become “much more libertarian.” In fact it is already established that regulation is a main cause of monopolies.

However, the article doesn’t see it this way. Modern regulatory trends, he declares, have only been around since about 2000. Therefore blaming regulation for monopolies must not be true.

Additionally, the article mentions a recent paper claiming that a few “superstar” companies in various fields have naturally emerged as quasi-monopolies. Modern technology may simply have change the way companies relate to each other and to the market. “Those companies could simply be out-competing their rivals.”

Yet a third reason could be because technology has broadened competition and top brands are now far more ubiquitous. Big corporations can now more easily push out smaller ones.

Probably none of this is true. What builds big corporations with monopoly tendencies is what we have been saying all along: Monopoly force exercised through the court system, and by the legislature.

Remove intellectual property rights and corporate person-hood and you would go a long ways to naturally reducing the overly large size of corporations.

If technology is the culprit, then the problem will be complex indeed. But technology is not the culprit. America’s judicial system and legislature has created the problem and can solve it in large part by walking back a few of decisions.

Of course the chance of this are fairly minimal. The current system only makes thing more complicated over time.

Conclusion: But if the court at the federal level could be compelled to reexamine its decisions and then to change them, the US would become a much better place. Involuntary monopolies would become far fewer. And that would help everyone.

 

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