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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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

Noted as the week weakly wandered by:

alfred_e-_neumannThe War on an annoyingly free Internet: China pursues tight internet control (Report) The Apple CEO agrees, Google, too

More Internet: “Safe spaces” to civilize the net? (Fine – until their use becomes mandatory …)

The culture: Los Angeles police cadets arrested for stealing police cruisers (Report)

Pope Francis added gasoline to the Catholic doctrinal bonfire with a Vatican publication explaining how adulterers may receive communion (Report) (Destroying his church in order to save it?)

Tesla: Reality looms through the hype as the smoke-induced vision fades … (Article)

Turkey: Prez Erdogan under the gun in a U.S. court; pursuit of corruption, or power politics update? (Article)

Bitcoin: The IRS is extending tax reality toward unprepared participants (Article) (Don’t say we didn’t warn you)

Corruption: Prez Trump asked why General Flymm was prosecuted for lying to the FBI after Hillary Clinton was not? (Report)

The culture: The war on U.s. home ownership (Not even ‘tiny houses’ allowable here)

More corruption: A window on U.S. east coast sexual criminal commerce (Article)

The economy: “This time is different” for the stock market (Article) (Skyrocketing stock values reflect reality, right?)

Yemen: Iran supported rebels re-took the capital, killing ex-president Saleh (Article)

Government: The Supreme Court approved President Trumps’ embattled travel ban (Report)

 Russia: Banned from 2018 Winter Olympics, for doping? (Report) (Yeah – but all the Russian athletes will still be able to compete)

U.S./Israel: Prez Trump will move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem regardless of Arab dudgeon (Report) (Some day, maybe?)

U.S. Foreign Policy: The State Department will not follow President Trumps’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? (Report)

Immigration: The Feds face a deportation backlog of 550,000 cases inherited from the Obama Administration? (Report) (What are the Trumpfolk doing about it?)

California: A legislator plans introduction of a bill to ban fossil fueled cars after 2040? (Report) (Making a law for 23 years from now ..???)

More immigration: A 17 foot python was caught in Florida’s Everglades (Report) (It ain’t just people, you know)

The economy: Americans spent $409 million on preparation of their income taxes last year, per the Tax Foundation (Report) (Over 2% of GDP, wasted on an inefficient, politicized tax code)

Science: Quantum entanglement has been found between biological particles (Report) ((f “quantum” rings no bells, never mind this)

California: State’s “Cal Pers” pension obligations exceed its resources by $138 B (Report)

The climate: Rising sea level data found to be faked by “researchers” (Report)

The economy: A new inflation index from the Federal Reserve provides different results? (Article)

Corruption: Former Massachusetts Senator Brian Joyce (D) was arrested for bribery (Report)

Britain: The government is delaying the E.U. exit for several years, denying the goals of the voters who demanded the breakup. (Report) (Without much notice; apparently, it’s not newsworthy)

The Catholic Church: Has lost Ireland (Report) (Will Pope Francis craft a restoration?)

The Federal Reserve: Is Prez Trump aiming for a new gold standard or eliminating the Fed? (Article)

Chicago: 3 dead, 19 wounded in weekend shootings (Report)

A naked man was arrested on an Arizona homeowner’s roof (Report)

And that was it …

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