GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannFrom the week:

The economy: Canadians shocked when a minimum wage hike costs workers (Report) (Reality sucks)

The culture: Male sex robots coming … (Report) (Hmnn … For girls or boys?)

Government: U.S. border guards searching many more citizens’ phones (Report) (When will they start searching purses/pockets or stop us on the street for searches?)

The culture: Kansas “Swat” perp has previous bomb threat record (Report) (Locking nuts up proved too expensive so now we hope they stay on their meds …)

Corruption: A Michigan dairy farmer was sentenced to prison and a large fine for hiring illegal aliens (Report) (Government lures them here, lets them in and jails you for hiring them)

More corruption: Another false narrative – Black unemployment at all time low (Article) (Unemployment drops when you stop counting the long term unemployed)

The culture: Oprah Winfrey wants to run for President in 2020? (Report) (Why not, given those we’ve been electing?) Or maybe she doesn’t? (Report)

California: First the fires, now the mudslides demand evacuation (Report) (And after, people will move back in … again!) 5 dead in mudslide (Report) (Some 12 more, later)

The climate: Sahara desert covered in 15 inches of snow? (Report)

Bedbug comeback: The large U.S. cities are the most infested as the pests return, starting from the DDT ban (1972) (Article) (After effectively complete elimination)

Corruption: A grand jury is investigating Bernie Sanders’ wife (Report)

More corruption: Embezzlement plagues union offices around the U.S. (Article)

Science: Average age of death among ancient populations was about 70, not 40 as commonly believed (Report)

Iran: Protest fizzle? (Report)

Libya: Update (Article) (Some small progress toward reducing two governments to one)

Nevada’s Bundy trial for facing down Federal agents seizing Bundy’s cattle ended in dismissal (Report) (With prejudice, too – it can’t be refiled)

Technology: A new 65 inch TV screen you can roll up like a newspaper (Report)

Robots needed: Brawling airline pilots were fired for leaving their cockpit unattended while they fought (Report) (Passenger drones next?)

Labor Unions: Increasingly using “Worker Centers” to hide activities and bypass labor laws (Report)

Corruption: A New York Assemblywoman (D) was indicted for fraud/theft (Report)

Immigration: Non-citizens committed disproportionately more Federal crimes 2011 – 2016 (Article)

Seattle’s new soda tax is working about as well as Chicago’s (Report) (Government knows what’s good for us)

Government: Santa Monica (CA) plans to reshape itself to eliminate cars, reduce living space and increase population density (Report) (The city knows best …)

The Economy: Prez Trump’s reopening U.S. offshore oil/gas drilling will boost the economy via investment and production (Article) (It’s more likely to help than government spending programs)

Government: The House voted against restricting NSA’s snooping of citizens (Report)

The climate: Warming did not cause the cooling (Report) (The lesson: Climate is now political science)

The War on Reality: Universal Basic Income is looking less enticing in Finland’s 2 year experiment? (Report) (Yes, but you don’t learn that until the end of a long article)

The Internet: Prez Trump wants an internet tax (Report) (Government still going after control of the net)

The culture: 6 (apparently black) teens carjacked and ran over a (apparently white) Baltimore senior (Report) 2 Hispanic, 1 Native American teens assaulted their caregiver, severed his finger and stole his truck (Report) (Nutcases, apparenrly)

Mystery Aircraft surfaces in Florida (Report)

 Healthcare is now the largest employer in the U.S. (Report) (Consuming, not producing economic wealth, right?)

More Internet: Twitter has been “shadow banning” opposing views? (Article) (Letting a user post without informing him that he is no longer published)

Government/Economy: Explained short and simple (Article) (Politicians will hate this)

Corruption: Obama Justice Department and FBI outed helping media attack Trump? (Report)

Venezuela: Food riots in oil-rich, socialist paradise (Report)

Government: Seems the Inspector General has been investigating the politicization of the Justice Department and the FBI: over a million related documents have just been released.(Report) (Any bets?)

Corruption: Former President of a transporter of nuclear materials in/out of U.S. was indicted: Bribery, fraud, money laundering (Report)

California: Governor Brown finally admits the state lacks the money to pay promised pensions (Report) (Ending his political career?)

Politics: Reported discovery of an H.Clinton private server email linked to Trump/Russia investigation and Pakistani spy (Report)

Shithole countries” spoken by both Obama/Trump? (Report) (But Obama raised no ire, somehow)

Chicago: 4 dead, 15 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A man was arrested for posting naked phots of his ex wife (Report)

And that should be enough to start a new year …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannAs our year was renewed:

The culture: States where welfare pays better than minimum wage? (Report) (Universal Basic Income testing, right?)

A long, cold winter is expected in the Northeast and Midwestern U.S. (Report)

Government: U.S. snooping of private email continues unabated since outed by Eric Snowden (Report)

More government: The bureaucrats keep the recent Seattle area Amtrak derailment details from us for their convenience (Article) (Who’s hushing up the details of the 500 folks shot in Las Vegas?)

Killing people wholesale, then and now (Article)

Russia: Update/military status comparisons with China and the U.S. (Article) (Recalling Potemkin …)

Voting: The Supreme Court will rule on purging voter registrations based upon failure to vote at elections (Report)

A Clinton donor paid $500,000 to fund women willing to accuse Trump of sex harassment? (Report)

iIran:  2 Demonstrators dead, 200 arrested including 40 “leaders” (Report) Deaths rise to 12 (Report)

The economy: A tsunami of retail store closures is expected (Report)

California: Generous pensions face retrenchment in a state Supreme Court case (Report) (However goes the case, the state lacks the money)

President Obama: The odor of corruption rising as President Trump investigates his predecessor? (Report) (And if this is fact, what then?)

Government: Did the U.S. passport system fail, stranding passengers at all U.S. international airports? (Report) (It wouldn’t surprise, right?)

The economy: Some airlines are removing seatback screens, forcing use of phones to see movies? (Report) (We’ll bet that won‘t fly)

Norh Korea: China is increasing its military on the Korean border? (Article)

Wars around the world: Update (Article)

Science: Progress against HIV (Report)

Healthcare: U.K’s government health service has been forced to cancel non-emergency surgery? (Report)

The economy: The GOP’s fiscal madness, from President Reagan’s Budget Director (Article) (He’s right, you know – )

More economy: How government hides the real cost of solar energy paid by taxpayers (Report)

Still more economy: Universal Basic Income vs. the real world (Article) (Some adults still seek Santa Claus)

The culture: A wild brawl among Brooklyn high school cheerleaders in a school hallway (Report)

Israel: Update on Mossad, Israeli intelligence service (Article)

The economy: Sears will close 100 more Kmart /Sears stores (Report)

Science: The San Andreas Fault in California is demanding attention – Big quake coming? (Report)

Government: Wikileaks; Julian Assange may escape his Ecuador embassy refuge courtesy of the Trumpfolk? (Report)

Science: A diabetes drug is reversing Alzheimer’s memory loss in mice (Report)

Corruption: A different view of the “Russian election meddling” investigation (Article)

Communication: Can you hear a local, low power FM radio station where you live? (Article) (As the b9ig commercial audience heads for the internet, small, local and often volunteer stations are replacing them)

Corruption: The mysterious ex Democratic IT consultant/spy/criminal receives further court delays? (Article)  (An open trial may embarrass, right)

The economy: The growing economy is fake news and Trump will be holding the bag (Article) (Prez Reagan’s Budget Director again)

 Chicago: 1 dead, 23 wounded in New Years weekend shootings (Report)

A naked man and woman were arrested in a car on January 1st (Report)

And so came the new year …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannMedical practice became industrialized healthcare

Not a newsy week, but reality proceeds into the new year …

Science: The first report of an individual use of genetic modification tools to alter his own genes (Frankenstein redux?)

Unintended consequences: Navigation apps are turning quiet neighborhoods into traffic hell? (Report) (NOTHING is free …)

Ukraine: Fighting heats up (as U.S. promises arms for Ukrainians) (Report)

The War on Bitcoin is starting (Article)

The economy: New corporate tax law repatriates overseas cash and punishes partnerships and llc’s (Report) (Punishes small business with overseas sales)

Saudi Arabia is betting on an 80% rise in oil income to balance its books? (Report) The government’s squeeze on wealthy Saudis continues to siphon their wealth into government coffers (Report)

Economics: The U.S. shale oil/gas industry is an illusion running an economic loss? (Article) (So it isn’t just Saudis wanting pricier oil?) (But that will hurt growth, right?)

Iran: Mass antigovernment demonstrations arose in the streets of several cities (Report) (Next, the beating and jailing of demonstrators?) Early stages of regime change? (Article)

Russia: Will Russians follow Iranians into the streets over their diminished economy? (Report)

Science: A mysterious astronomical filament is stretching from the Milky Way toward its central supermassive black hole (Report)

Pakistan: The army still rules and supports terrorists from behind the scenes (Article)

Norh Korea receives oil despite sanctions (Report) (China/Russia’s pit bull is fed)

The culture: Times Square militarized for New Years’ Eve, access limited (Report) (Individual freedom passes into security with social changes)

Facial recognition scans of Americans traveling abroad are to be expanded at major airports? (Article) (Legality questionable, too)

Chicago: 5 dead, 20 wounded in Christmas weekend shootings. (Report)

A naked man was arrested walking the halls of an Andover hotel (Report)

And it’s cold outside …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannNibblings of news:

Vigilante justice holds sway as 97 men and 1 woman are taken down by unproven media sex allegations? (Report) (With more to come, right?)

China: A report on one Chinese government assimilation program for a non-Chinese minority – Uighers

Turkey: An ally of President Erdogan has offered an $800 k bounty for two American ex officials (Report)

Corruption: Military spending hides unconstitutionally? (Report)

Chile: Goes to the right in electing its new (old) president (Report) (He looks better now after the left came in to save the voters from him before?

Science: A plume of hot rock is slowly rising under New England, offering possibility of far future vulcanism (Report)

More science: An imaging breakthrough promises to revolutionize photography of many types (Report)

The economy: A clear, realistic description of the current U.S. economy and its prospects without political snake oil (Article)

More economy: How Fed cheap money constipates the economy (Article)

Science: A baby was born from an embryo frozen 24 years (Report)

California’s big pension plan cooks its books to hide underfunded obligations? (Report)

Russia: Update (Article) (Cheap oil hurts)

Government surveillance: China leads – but all others follow at their own pace? (Report)

The culture: Army Green Beret training standards are now lower than the ROTC camps of the 80’s? (Report) (No girls in the 80’s)

Economic corruption: Fiscal disaster by 2019 simply explained by Prez Reagans Budget Director (Report) (Trump’s GOP is spending like berserk Democrats)

Mexico: Update (Article)

Geopolitics: Orbital military weaponry progresses (Article)

Federal prosecution of the Nevada Bundy ranch standoff continues to self destruct with a mistrial declaration (Report)

Congress tries to sneak a long term snoop extension using a spending bill? (Report)

Iraq: Update on Kurds and Iranian penetration (Article)

Austria: The political right comes to power (Report)

Science: The egghead war over evidence of human presence in California too long ago (Article)

Health care: The Veterans Administration has been hiring doctors whose licenses were revoked (Report)

Government: Eventually obtained body camera evidence cleared a falsely convicted citizen (Report)

More Government: Analyzing America’s descent into corrupt, centralized quasi totalitarianism (Article) A look at an interesting study in political science)

Immigration: 19% of Federal prisoners are illegal immigrants – many more than their percentage in the population (Article) (Black prisoners at 38% similar case) (Why, is buried by politicians)

China: Hiding real problems behind fake data (Article)

Internet: Another demand for government regulation (Article)

Tribalism: Update – Perpetuating conflicts around the world (Article)

Chicago: 6 dead, 18 wounded in weekend shootings (Report) (One symptom of the world’s Potemkin economy)

A naked man murdered a supervisor and a postmaster (Report)

And thus the week

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BITCOIN AND THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

BitcoinBitcoin is a monetary version of that fabled little boy who advertised the Emperor’s nakedness. Noting that we have never again heard of that little boy, we expect the same fate for Bitcoin; governors seldom appreciate exposure.

Historically, governments have openly taxed and covertly stolen as much of their citizens’ wealth as they could. For any doubters, the exceptionally well documented history of Rome’s silver coinage may be helpful. Summed up: Roman coins contained less silver over time, a precursor of today’s “quantitative easing” and other manifestations of unbridled central bank money puffing. And always and everywhere, governments have disliked sharing their access to this ever-filled purse.

Inflating the paper money supply automatically deflates the purchasing power of a dollar; it provides more dollars available to claim an unchanged amount of real wealth. Paper and today’s electronic money are intrinsically worthless, their real value is limited to the amount of real wealth –things- that they can purchase. Governments have always spent more than they could afford by using money fraud, once by reducing gold/silver content of coins and now by inflating the supply of paper/electronic money. That is theft because people must provide full value to earn their wages but will receive a reduced value when they spend it later.

But now, we have Bitcoin, which is increasingly accepted as payment. New technology has provided an opportunity for monetary competition with governments and naturally, Bitcoin’s mysterious entrepreneur (and others) have run with it. And Bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies” are expanding in a financial Big Bang, gaining value as they proceed. And money buying Bitcoin is money that governments would prefer to see buying government bonds, stocks or anything denominated in dollars.

Folks watching central banks nearly everywhere dumping money onto their economies from helicopters and running up debts their great grandchildren won’t live long enough to repay are prime customers for  money that isn’t debased by politicians and is ascending, not declining in value. Bitcoin’s mere existence not only makes government money seem inferior, it also seems to offer an escape.

We point out though, that so far as we can see, Bitcoin consists of electrons, not even paper. Just like the money now taking over from cash courtesy of the respective governments in India and Sweden.  And intended at least by some, for the United States.  You are already using electrons to make payments over the internet; if you want to broaden your range with a cryptocurrency, fine. But we are a little leery about storing too much of our wealth in little, invisible particles… But then, we likely wouldn’t have bought stock in Henry Ford’s first factory, either.

Seems to us, now that money is just a politician’s promise – or a mysterious Australian’s – we should feel better with more tangible wealth. We’ve never seen an electron that looked like it could be trusted.

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannA new week’s worth:

War against the internet: Demonstrators demand government regulation (Report)

The culture: After 100 years, the largest Catholic church in North America is complete (Report)

More culture: More Americans turning to witchcraft; traditional religions decline (Report)

Immigration/Government: A U.S. deportation flight to Africa returned with all 92 deportees still on board (Report)

Science: Two 3,500 year old Egyptian tombs were found near Luxor (Report

The economy: Dissecting the glowing hype with cold reality: the con job explained (Article)

More economy: Retiree spending now covers their kids’ needs too? (Article)

Still more economy: Rising minimum wages are raising restaurant prices but reducing sales? (Article)

Government: The Pentagon will accept certain transgender enlistments despite President Trump’s opposition? (Report)

U.S. Education is mostly a boondoggle, per one professor, published in a very liberal magazine  (Report)

Congress: Minority leader Senator Chuck Shumer (D) had an affair with a high school cheeroeader? (Report)

The economy: The process by which the first central bank goes bust, has begun (Article)

Further economy: How reality sucks at an unwinding Federal Reserve (Letting air out of the Fed’s funny money will collapse the credit tent)

Bitcoin: Congress is putting out a contract with a new bill: Cryptocurrency Fairness Act) (Article)

Israel: New bombardments by missiles from Gaza

The Catholic Church: A discussion of the spreading internal cleavage (Interview)

Drones of most sizes in large quantities are now sold by China to anyone with the money.  (Article) (They’ll be turning up in more places in more hands for more purposes …)

Columbia/Venezuela: Update (Article)

Iran/No. Korea: Big time counterfeiters beat imposed sanctions with funny money (Article)

The Internet: Governments continue the search for more revenue and control, targeting Facebook, Google and other successful internet giants (Report)

The war on FM radio: Norway is the first country to outlaw FM broadcasting in favor of digital sources; several others plan to follow. (Report)

The recent Las Vegas mass shooting remains a mystery; officials refuse information (Report) (The media don’t seem to be digging too hard either from our view)

Turkey: President Erdogen’s regime is arming Turkish criminals in Germany? (Report)

Illegal immigration is back to Obama levels? (Report)

The economy: A prophecy that the Federal Reserve will (unwittingly) restore some economic reality in 2018 with accompanying pain (Article)

The European Union will sanction Poland over its court reforms? (Report) (How long will the union hold?)

Corruption: A “prominent lawyer sought donor cash for Trump accusers (Report)

More corruption: Government Nevada Bundy Ranch standoff case dissolving into a bad smell (Report)

NLRB policy holding franchisors liable for labor issues at franchised outlets has been reversed (Report)

The economy: A short, clear explanation for the Trumpfolk’s repeal of misnamed “net neutrality” (Report)

Chicago: 5 dead, 14 wounded in  weekend shootings (Report)

A naked man was arrested after causing a car crash (Report)

Which ought to be enough….

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HUMAN SEXCAPADES AS A POLITICAL TOOL: A SWORD WITH TWO EDGES

SexcapadesDecades old sex accusations silenced conservative comedian Bill Cosby and seem to have prevented conservative Roy Moore’s Senate election in Alabama at the price of tumbling liberal power Harvey Weinstein and targeting liberal Senator comedian Al Franken, plus others. Using sex charges in today’s politics seems blackly humorous, using a shotgun in a crowd.

Humans are rare among mammals in pursuing  sex in all seasons. This perennial lust likely explains how a species can require nine months to deliver one child who then requires over a decade to raise is nevertheless able to multiply and progress.

However, that sort of analysis does make the idea that we should discard politicians who are not sexual saints appear more than a little ludicrous. It seems also to require total ignorance of human history.

 

Boys will be boys and girls will be girls,

and ever the twain shall meet.

He will pursue her; she’ll take his pearls,

And the species will continue to compete.

 

Men are generally sexual aggressors; women generally compete sexually for men; advertising and fashion seem enough evidence. That is biology. The current “sexual harassment” shtick denies that, assuming that men are beasts and women are pitiful saints; an idea as false as the motives of many of those who hire and pay some of the suddenly outspoken victims.

Notably, none of the current charges seem to have been rape. Few of them are current or provide respectable evidence. Of course, that can also be said of the men’s denials. None of that reflects the reasons for selecting a politician; they should be picked for the probability that they will govern in accord with the wishes of the voters who select them. It will not do to elect a saint who will ruin the country. Much better a fallible human who will provide a livable one. If that one turns out a poor choice, look for a replacement next time. Note that we aren’t advocating election of visibly corrupt/criminal politicians who happen to be on our side; we are just interested in avoiding shooting ourselves in the foot.

It seems to us that voting for a candidate who promises to govern against one’s wishes merely because the politician who promises better has unsubstantiated accusers of decades old sexcapades  is likely to deliver said voters’ just desserts for irredeemable stupidity. And if current events are ay guide, the same can be said of politicians who raise the issue.

But feel free to disagree….

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