GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannThis week:

China: Economy going scary? (Article)

Corruption: Puerto Rico governor and officials nailed? (Report)

Immigration: Klobuchar (D) says Trump’s ICE raids are distraction from amending immigration laws (Report) (Seems likely)

The economy: U.S. housing costs inflation far outstrips income growth (Article) (Continued decline in living standards)

Science: Ancient tree discovered with record of earth’s magnetic field reversal in its rings (Report)

 The culture A transgender weight lifter won 2 gold medals in women’s events (Report)

Science: Worldwide earthquake frequency ominously up (Article)

The culture: Government is privatizing censorship to social media companies? (Article)

Government: FBI to increase social media surveillance (Article)

The economy: Global debt hit 329% of global GDP – Developing countries hit new record (Article) (Unsustainable)

The economy: A looming, drastic reorganization of everyday American life awaits (Article)

China: Economic data range between fake and frightening? (Article)

The economy: The costly mess surrounding the next generation of U.S. communications (Article)

The culture: Cops bust fake Ferrari/Lamborghini factory in Brazil (Article)

The economy: “We’ve reached the end of the road” (Article) (An ad, but also an arrurate warning)

The culture: Employer snooping employees (Article) (Showing government how it’s done?)

U.S. Manufacturing: Boeing’s quality woes deepening (Article)

Chicago: 9 killed, 32 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A man was arrested for chasing a naked woman (Report)

And that’s all …


EDITORIAL:         Governance Via News and Social Media, the New U.S. paradigm

President Obama reacted to the availability of the internet and a servile “news” media by adopting perpetual campaigning as his governance style. President Trump, reacting to a rabidly adversarial media, added barrages of tweets to the style. Recognizing the usefulness of these tools, Congressfolk now appear on the same stage. Governance as soap opera.

Unfortunately, whatever their professional levels as governors, their current public performances present more ham than thespian talent, public performances that derade the dignity appropriate to their offices and to their country. Grabbing for microphones in front of cameras to call each other nasty names is no way to govern the earth’s most powerful country; this should not be tolerated by its citizens. The perpetrators should be replaced forthwith and the unethically politicized journalists who have done so much to bring this about should be replaced with them.

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannGathered from the week:

The economy: 55 African nations will create a “free trade zone”? (Report) (Better than tariffs ..)

More economy: Debunking the myth of a tight U.S. labor market (Article)

Still More economy: Facebook to compete with governments by issuing its own money (the Libra) causes panic in Congress? (Report)  (Governments hate competition)

More economy: British giant supermarket Tesco joins Amazon and French Carrefour testing cashierless store (Report)

Corruption: Amazon and the Pentagon cozying up per the Wall Street Journal (Article)

Sudan: Struggling for power kills people (Article)

The climate: Is global warming the “greatest scientific fraud of all time”? (Article)

The economy: A $15 hr minimum wage will cost thousands of jobs? (Article)

China: Update (Article)  (Expansion distracts from a slowing economy?)

Corruption: Government media official guilty (Report)

The economy: Federal deficit rocketing upward since last election (Report) (Trump owns it?)

Federal Health and Human Services dept now spends $100 B per month? (Report) (Medicare/Medicaid etc.)

The trade War: U.S. businesses backing out of China? (Article)

Afghanistan: An approaching end may resemble the beginning? (Article)

The world economy: U.S. vs China, a view from outside Washington (Article)

Finance: Facebook’s electronic money (the Libra) raises panic  (Article) The People’s Bank of China worries too (Article)  Big GOP donors show interest (Article)

Gun Control: San Luis Obispo police chief’s gun stolen from restaurant ladie’s room? (Report)

Iran: Caught cheating on nuclear deal by U.N. inspectors but U.N. doesn’t notice? (Report)

The climate: Researchers report no significant man made climate change? (Article)

Eritria: Forcibly closed last Catholic hospital (Report)

Government: President Trump demands Bitcoin, Libra be regulated? (Report) (Uh huh – governments hate competition)

California: Healthcare coverage extended to 18-24 year olds includes illegals? (Report)

Corruption: U.S. Virgin Islands

Pakistan: The games of the Pakistani military (Article)

Chicago: 6 dead, 63 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A naked woman was arrested after striking a deputy (Report)

And that’s all …


EDITORIAL:    A Little Political Irony …


It seems verifiable historical fact that since about 1932, the Democrat party has navigated the course of American government policy. Republican placeholders have at times slowed the progression and shifted the emphasis a little, but never altered the course. So:

  1. Why are Democrats so vehemently upset at a President Trump who is so obviously supportive of policies of President Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson?
  2. Why do they demand acceleration of the policies that have produced the results that they now hate so much?

Silly questions, right?

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China USCommunist China abandoned socialism overnight to head off the economic collapse then overtaking its Communist sibling, the Soviet Union. The traditional one party government and its police state remained in charge by handing much of the economy into private hands, inviting them to become rich. The government also bought, borrowed or stole everything useful available from the West that might accelerate economic growth, producing the greatest economic explosion ever seen.

China’s equally traditional corruption was at first, helpful, bribed officials are pleased to open doors for those making them rich. With growth however, the corruption spreads a permanent, costly layer of sand in the economic gears.  And China’s explosive growth period seems to be over, as the world’s economy slows. Should this persist, the government faces difficulties: Chinese total debt resembles that of the United States at about two and a half times gross domestic product and the forced draft spending has left vast economic distortions in place; think of China’s “ghost cities” for example. There is still much poverty.

Large scale socio-economic change seems threatening to any government and police states are the most paranoid of all. China has designed and tested its new, high tech “Social Credit” system and is presently expanding its use around the country. The system closely monitors citizens at home and in public via cameras, electronics and informers; the internet is walled off from the rest of the world and heavily censored. Citizens are assigned a score based upon their conformance to desired behavior; if the score is too low, punishment follows. The opportunity for large scale calamity seems obvious; Mao’s Great Leap Forward comes to mind. But it is underway and clearly reveals the government mindset and a constricting future for citizens.

From the other end of the spectrum comes the United States, historically no police state but a democratic republic. The government’s trademark concern is the welfare of the citizens, not fear of them. Two parties contend at election; politicians are replaced by voters.  However, human societies and their governments are never static for long; the governments always pursue expansion, driven by the ambitions of the governors. A government dedicated to caring for its citizens inevitably becomes more parental, those citizens, more childlike as de Toqueville pointed out. Children must be controlled, for their own good. The U.S. is proceeding without hesitation though more cautiously, down the same path to control its citizens that is expanding in China.

Facial recognition databases are under construction; cameras are appearing at airports and other public places. Cell phones and cars are tracked via satellites. The NSA and other government agencies monitor internet media and communications. Personal financial transactions are monitored, suspicious’ amounts of cash and cars are seized by police, cell phones and devices are searched at borders without warrants. The TSA screens and must approve travelers. Internet social media are increasingly subject to political censorship and both government and private employees are losing their jobs over politicized opinions posted on social media and personal websites. Businesses are subjected to boycotts for political reasons. Congress and federal agencies undercut the political process and interfere with elections. And Congress is presently considering the “Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety Act” which seems likely to produce the classical government informers network beloved of tyrants. Nearly everything is politicized and naturally coming under political control.  Both politicians and media are working hard to disarm the citizens. The only obviously missing piece seems to be China’s reeducation camps, and the various pieces are awaiting assembly.

The Chinese Communists remained in power by giving up socialism; their next test will come from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Both are geese laying golden economic eggs and both are glaringly democratic affronts to the police state. If they are seen to suffer less at the next economic decline, they will be intolerable. China can liberalize its government as it has already done economically or it can clamp down on its two sources of political contagion, likely destroying much wealth production in the process. This should be fascinating to watch.

“What is this I see before me, handle toward my hand – a dagger?” Shakespeare’s famous line fits the decision the U.S. government will face as the economy grinds down next time. It will hold all the pieces needed to maintain order (called “security”) in difficult times, all it need do is assemble them into its own “Social Credit” system. Indeed, assembly seems inevitable anyway. And the advent of President Trump has led America’s Democrats at least to act as though they want to build a single party state.

Perhaps human DNA is such that eventually, all human governance ends, no matter from where it starts, in the same place.

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Some scholars assure us that no one lived in North America much before some 15,000 years ago and that the Clovis culture from shortly after that time represents the continent’s first inhabitants. We don’t know whether 97% of scientists agree that is settled science but we do know that some recent discoveries seem to support earlier people in residence. People whose traces ominously vanished a couple thousand years before the Clovis folk turned up, per some of the evidence.

Those Clovis are attributed to the temporary land bridge between Asia and North America during the last glaciation. That’s from the DNA of old bones dug up with Clovis stone spear and arrow points. Regardless, those Clovis and any predecessors were undeniably the first North American immigrants, unless of course, someone we haven’t noticed preceded them. It seems assumed that American Indians are their descendants, unless they are someone else’s. We’re pretty low on witness testimony.

In any case, they were immigrants, immigrants that came in and appropriated an undefended land. They did not always welcome the later arriving Europeans and we know how that turned out. Today, present inhabitants are told that they have a duty to welcome new hordes of immigrants, immigrants who, just as todays locals’ ancestors did, want to impose their cultures upon that of their hosts. Humans always cling to their cultures, even if only in barrios. When they can impose their cultures at large, they do – it’s sometimes called “conquest.”  Apparently, it’s what people do when they can. Before the Europeans came, some of those Indians invaded each other, something that doesn’t seem to come up much in classrooms.

In the Middle East where all that oil lies and in Africa, European and U.S. governments, local bullies such as Iran and Turkey plus ambitious Moslem fundamentalists are producing hordes of refugees  desperate to leave their dead relatives and find peace in Europe. In Latin America, hordes of descendants of enslaved Indians are desperate to flee corrupt, quasi feudal societies and find opportunity in North America. One can hardly blame them.

Still the irony persists; upon arrival, they do what they can to impose their failed societies upon the locals, tempting ambitious politicians to help. (Note for instance the Spanish spoken during the recent Democrat U.S. presidential debates.)

Much of the preeminent wealth and advancement in the United States directly reflects the relatively low corruption provided by its post-Reformation Judeo-Christian culture and its nearly universal reliance upon a single language. Nowhere else on the planet comes close to sharing these advantages on a comparable scale. Never the less, Americans have largely abandoned the sources of their minimal corruption and are busily removing the underpinnings of their common speech. Filling schools, streets and commerce with alien languages spoken by people from traditionally more corrupt cultures seems a good way to accelerate the result. Those acquainted with Judeo-Christian culture are referred to the story of the Tower of Babel.

Every modern country has a carefully delineated legal boundary and maintains control of crossings; stability depends upon that. The United States is no exception nor are those European governments presently admitting significant numbers of relatively indigestible Moslem refugees. Both situations reflect post-Christian politicians interested in building supportive government clientele at the expense of others. Businesses in high cost countries searching for lower cost labor are a supportive cast in this. But politicians who face elections and businessmen who sell to the voters cannot afford to speak of it. They must find other plausible explanations.  The dismal economic reality that living standards for high cost producers necessarily decline while those of lower cost competitors, rise is politically unacceptable; reality indeed sucks.

That is the reason that Democrats sanctify illegal immigrants and multiculturalism while most Republicans remain circumspect and President Trump bellows about his absent wall while his border authorities dump busloads of newly collected border violators into various American cities. The wall provides a distraction and an excuse while the immigration laws providing the quietly desired access for cheap labor and instant government clients remain unaddressed.  Politicians are more concerned with their present power and wealth than with the future of their society. That too is how people act.

If past history is any guide, the next sharp reversal of welcoming immigration policies seems likely to accompany the next significant economic recession affecting the linked Western economies. That may also defund much of the refugee-producing meddling in oil producers, helping more potential refugees to remain at home. Mass deportations have occurred in the United States have followed the return of soldiers from foreign wars and recessions, both situations that tempt politicians to exploit competition for jobs. However, published propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, the general pattern has been that deportations have risen steadily with population and mostly, irrespective of the President’s political party. President Clinton holds the current record, followed by President Bush.

Too much immigration, legal or illegal, is obviously a risk. Too little can be risky too, especially when fertility rates decline as Japan is learning. That suggests that governments should use policy to maintain a balance, but socio-political shifts regularly interfere: You don’t encourage immigration when voters are out of work, nor are immigrants much attracted then.  A periodic fuss over the numbers of newcomers seems built into the U.S. system. The only obvious cure seems likely to become available only when the government no longer needs to concern itself overmuch with the voters’ opinions, a point at which border guards usually turn to face the other way.

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannFrom the week:

The war on the internet: A new Senate bill would make websites legally responsible for users’ posts (Report)

The culture: Protected vultures killing livestock on Kentucky farms? (Report) (Like protected wolves in New Mexico)

The Culture: The U.S. is channeling the decay of the Roman Empire? (Article)

Alaska: Adding a rail connection to the lower 48 (Report)

The economy: Chicago’s impossible fiscal future (Article)

The culture: How Orwell’s dark vision is materializing? (Article)

The climate: Are solar hijinks threatening the earth’s food production? (Article)

WARS around the world: Annual status update (Article)

China: Fording tourists to install a spy app that steals personal data? (Article)

How the Federal Reserve wrecks the economy over and over again? (Article)

 The war on the internet: Twitter blocked account over tweets about New Sealand mosque shooting? (Report)

Science: Biological data storage coming? (Report)

Iraq: Explained: What happened after Saddam fell (Article)

Immigration: Some surprising statistics (Report)

The economy: Estimate of employment automation expected (Article) (Human labor likely to become cheaper?)

Chiropractor fined $1,000 for social media post questioning vaccines (Report) (Canada)

The economy: The Federal Reserve’s new game? (Article)

More economy: Channeling Casey Jones … (Article)

Chicago: 5 dead, 51 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A naked woman was arrested after breaking into a home, claiming to be the devil (Report)

The end

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alfred_e-_neumannFrom the week:

Unstoppable hypersonic missiles: A new arms race (Article)

Cyberwar: U.S. ramps up attacks on other countries (Article)

U.S. border: Warrantless searches of journalists’ devices (Report)

Science: DNA-edited human baby secretly born in China? (Report)

The culture: Obama era officials advising Iran how to defeat Trump? (Report)

Turkey: President Erdogan’s candidate loses race for mayor of Istanbul (Article)

The war on the internet: The persecution of Julian Asange (Wikileaks) proceeds (Article)

Iran: Air defense update (Article)

California will tax residents who do not buy health insurance? (Report)

The war on the internet: Facebook will give data on hate speech suspects to French courts (Report)

Libya: Update on the endgame (Article)

Smuggling people: Update on a growth business model (Article)

America’s fake economy (Article)

Corruption: CA GOP Congressman faces trial for misuse of campaign funds (Report)

More corruption: Merrill Lynch nailed for precious metals trading fraud (Article)

The culture: Teacher filmed porn in school (Report)

High tech culture is increasingly vulnerable? (Report)

The economy: The economists who got it right – and go unheard (Article)

More economy: Is the U.S. already in recession? (Article)

Iraq: Update (Article)

Censorship: Twitter will censor President Trump’s tweets? (Report)

Yellowstone supervolcano: More quakes(Report)

Yellowstone supervolcano: Inexplicable geyser activity not to worry over (Article)

China: Massive capital flight? (Article)

Apple moves assembly of Mac Pro to China (Report)

Chicago: 4 dead, 16 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A naked man running through a Walmart parking lot was arrested (Report)

And there you have it …



EDITORIAL:         PROPOSED: Four GENERAL Principles of Human Government

  1. All clusters of humanity produce a minority that preys upon/troubles/annoys the majority.
  2. All clusters of humanity produce governors that batten upon protecting the majority from the troublesome minority and promise further protection in return for greater power..
  3. The governors of all human clusters inevitably divert increasing resources from the general benefit of the cluster toward their personal benefit.
  4. The impact of these principles increases for the governors and decreases for the governed with the number of individuals in the cluster.

Would John Adams, Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson disagree?

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannGarnered from the week:

Sabotage: U.S. and other governments planting sleeper malware in each other’s power grids? (Report)

China: Continuing cyberattack espionage (Report)

Giant power outage hit Argentina, Uruguay and others (Report)

Israel: Wife of Prime Minister convicted of corruption (Report)

The culture: U.S. map most common spoken language (excluding English/Spanish) by state

New Zealand: Man sentenced to 21 months in prison for sharing video of mosque shooting (Article)

Russia fingered for Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine in 2014 (Report)

Government: Police deploying street surveillance robots (Report) (Hmnn – cost effective?)

Healthcare: Trump’s new rules restore competition to health insurance system (Report) (Socialists will explode)

The economy: U.S. credit card debt rises, repayment slows (Article)

More economy: U.S. truckers see sagging demand (Article)

Still more economy: U.S. steel plants are cutting back (Article)

China: Some details on the omnipresent surveillance state (Article)

U.S. government’s massive biometric database moving to Amazon cloud (Report)

California: Mini quakes continuing on major fault (Article)

Immigration: Obama deported aliens faster than Trump has done? (Report)

Science: Computer memory breakthrough promises huge energy savings (Report)

The internet: Google Chrome is now surveillance software? (Report)

Chicago: 6 dead, 22 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A naked man was arrested after a strange dance at McDonald’s (Report)

That’s all, folks …

EDITORIAL       Trumpery of the week


A couple of reports from this week’s flurry of mud pies tossed at the Prez by the media seemed somewhat informative, though our take is not the one probably intended. First, the report that President Obama deported aliens faster than Prez Trump has been doing that reinforces our suspicion that the Border Battle is more show than substance.

Second, we suppose that the last minute call-off of a military strike against Iran was no such thing but instead, a carefully planned warning to the Iranians, who had killed no one in downing a U.S. drone. We suspect there may be some unreported activity to vex the Ayatollahs as well. His Democratic and Republican attackers fault him for both warmongering and cowardice of course but the President seems to be using his head in spite of them.

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