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Irony overload!

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[Markets] On America's Hostile Coexistence with China

Via ChasFreeman.net,

Remarks to the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies China Program

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Stanford, California, 3 May 2019

President Trump’s trade war with China has quickly metastasized into every other domain of Sino-American relations.   Washington is now trying to dismantle China’s interdependence with the American economy, curb its role in global governance, counter its foreign investments, cripple its companies, block its technological advance, punish its many deviations from liberal ideology, contest its borders, map its defenses, and sustain the ability to penetrate those defenses at will.

The message of hostility to China these efforts send is consistent and apparently comprehensive. Most Chinese believe it reflects an integrated U.S. view or strategy.  It does not.

There is no longer an orderly policy process in Washington to coordinate, moderate, or control policy formulation or implementation.  Instead, a populist president has effectively declared open season on China.  This permits everyone in his administration to go after China as they wish.  Every internationally engaged department and agency – the U.S. Special Trade Representative, the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security – is doing its own thing about China.  The president has unleashed an undisciplined onslaught.  Evidently, he calculates that this will increase pressure on China to capitulate to his protectionist and mercantilist demands.  That would give him something to boast about as he seeks reelection in 2020.

Trump’s presidency has been built on lower middle-class fears of displacement by immigrants and outsourcing of jobs to foreigners.  His campaign found a footing in the anger of ordinary Americans – especially religious Americans – at the apparent contempt for them and indifference to their welfare of the country’s managerial and political elites.  For many, the trade imbalance with China and Chinese rip-offs of U.S. technology became the explanations of choice for increasingly unfair income distribution, declining equality of opportunity, the deindustrialization of the job market, and the erosion of optimism in the United States.

In their views of China, many Americans now appear subconsciously to have combined images of the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, Japan’s unnerving 1980s challenge to U.S.  industrial and financial primacy, and a sense of existential threat analogous to the Sinophobia that inspired the Anti-Coolie and Chinese Exclusion Acts.

Meanwhile, the ineptitude of the American elite revealed by the 2008 financial crisis, the regular eruptions of racial violence and gun massacres in the United States, the persistence of paralyzing political constipation in Washington, and the arrogant unilateralism of “America First” have greatly diminished the appeal of America to the Chinese elite.

As a result, Sino-American interaction is now long on mutual indignation and very short on empirically validated information to substantiate the passions it evokes.  On each side, the other is presumed guilty of a litany of iniquities.  There is no process by which either side can achieve exoneration from the other’s accusations.  Guesstimates, conjectures, a priorireasoning from dubious assumptions, and media-generated hallucinations are reiterated so often that they are taken as facts.  The demagoguery of contemporary American populism ensures that in this country clamor about China needs no evidence at all to fuel it.  Meanwhile, Chinese nationalism answers American rhetorical kicks in the teeth by swallowing the figurative blood in its mouth and refraining from responding in kind, while sullenly plotting revenge.

We are now entering not just a post-American but post-Western era.  In many ways the contours of the emerging world order are unclear.  But one aspect of them is certain: China will play a larger and the U.S. a lesser role than before in global and regional governance.  The Trump administration’s response to China’s increasing wealth and power does not bode well for this future.  The pattern of mutual resentment and hostility the two countries are now establishing may turn out to be indelible.  If so, the consequences for both and for world prosperity and peace could be deeply unsettling.

For now, America’s relationship with China appears to have become a vector compounded of many contradictory forces and factors, each with its own advocates and constituencies.  The resentments of some counter the enthusiasms of others.  No one now in government seems to be assessing the overall impact on American interests or wellbeing of an uncoordinated approach to relations with the world’s greatest rising power.  And few in the United States seem to be considering the possibility that antagonism to China’s rise might end up harming the United States and its Asian security partners more than it does China.  Or that, in extreme circumstances, it could even lead to a devastating trans-Pacific nuclear exchange.

Some of the complaints against China from the squirming mass of Sinophobes who have attached themselves to President Trump are entirely justified.  The Chinese have been slow to accept the capitalist idea that knowledge is property that can be owned on an exclusive basis.  This is, after all, contrary to a millennial Chinese tradition that regards copying as flattery, not a violation of genius.  Chinese businessfolk have engaged in the theft of intellectual property rights not just from each other but from foreigners.  Others may have done the same in the past, but they were nowhere near as big as China.  China’s mere size makes its offenses intolerable.  Neither the market economy in China nor China’s international trade and investment relationships can realize their potential until its disrespect for private property is corrected.  The United States and the European Union (EU) are right to insist that the Chinese government fix this problem.

Many Chinese agree.  Not a few quietly welcome foreign pressure to strengthen the enforcement of patents and trademarks, of which they are now large creators, in the Chinese domestic market.  Even more hope the trade war will force their government to reinvigorate “reform and opening.”  Fairer treatment of foreign-invested Chinese companies is not just a reasonable demand but one that serves the interests of the economically dominant but politically disadvantaged private sector in China.  Chinese protectionism is an unlatched door against which the United States and others should continue to push.

But other complaints against China range from the partially warranted to the patently bogus.  Some recall Hermann Göring’s cynical observation at Nuremberg that: “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”   There is a lot of this sort of manipulative reasoning at play in the deteriorating U.S. security relationship with the Chinese.  Social and niche media, which make everything plausible and leave no truth unrefuted, facilitate this.  In the Internet miasma of conspiracy theories, false narratives, fabricated reports, fictive “facts,” and outright lies, baseless hypotheses about China rapidly become firm convictions and long-discredited myths and rumors find easy resurrection.

Consider the speed with which a snappy phrase invented by an Indian polemicist – “debt-trap diplomacy” – has become universally accepted as encapsulating an alleged Chinese policy of international politico-economic predation.  Yet the only instance of a so-called a “debt trap” ever cited is the port of Hambantota, commissioned by the since-ousted autocratic president of Sri Lanka to glorify his hometown.  His successor correctly judged that the port was a white elephant and decided to offload it on the Chinese company that had built it by demanding that the company exchange the debt to it for equity.  To recover any portion of its investment, the Chinese company now has to build some sort of economic hinterland for the port.  Hambantota is less an example of a “debt trap” than of a stranded asset.

Then too, China is now routinely accused of iniquities that better describe the present-day United States than the People’s Middle Kingdom.  Among the most ironic of such accusations is the charge that it is China, not a sociopathic “America First” assault on the international status quo, that is undermining both U.S. global leadership and the multilateral order remarkably wise American statesmen put in place some seven decades ago.  But it is the United States, not China, that is ignoring the U.N. Charter, withdrawing from treaties and agreements, attempting to paralyze the World Trade Organization’s dispute resolution mechanisms, and substituting bilateral protectionist schemes for multilateral facilitation of international trade based on comparative advantage.

The WTO was intended as an antidote to mercantilism, also known as “government-managed trade.”  China has come strongly to support globalization and free trade.  These are the primary sources of its rise to prosperity.  It is hardly surprising that China has become a strong defender of the trade and investment regime Americans designed and put in place.

By contrast, the Trump administration is all about mercantilism – boosting national power by minimizing imports and maximizing exports as part of a government effort to manage trade with unilateral tariffs and quotas, while exempting the United States from the rules it insists that others obey.

I will not go on except to note the absurdity of the thesis that “engagement” failed to transform China’s political system and should therefore be abandoned.  Those who most vociferously advance this canard are the very people who used to complain that changing China’s political order was not the objective of engagement but that it should be.  They now condemn engagement because it did not accomplish objectives that they wanted it to have but used to know that it didn’t.  It is telling that American engagement with other illiberal societies (like Egypt, the Israeli occupation in Palestine, or the Philippines under President Duterte) is not condemned for having failed to change them.

That said, we should not slight the tremendous impact of America’s forty-year opening to China on its socioeconomic development.   American engagement with China helped it develop policies that rapidly lifted at least 500 million people out of poverty.  It transformed China from an angry, impoverished, and isolated power intent on overthrowing the capitalist world order to an active, increasingly wealthy, and very successful participant in that order.  It midwifed the birth of a modernized economy that is now the largest single driver of the world’s economic growth and that, until the trade war intervened, was America’s fastest growing overseas market.  American engagement with China helped reform its educational system to create a scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (“STEM”) workforce that already accounts for one-fourth of such workers in the global economy.  For a while, China was a drag on human progress.  It is now an engine accelerating it.  That transformation owes a great deal to the breadth and depth of American engagement with it.

Nor should we underestimate the potential impact of the economic decoupling, political animosity, and military antagonism that U.S. policy is now institutionalizing.  Even if the two sides conclude the current trade war, Washington now seems determined to do everything it can to hold China down.  It seems appropriate to ask: can the United States succeed in doing this?  What are the probable costs and consequences of attempting to do it?   If America disengages from China, what influence, if any, will the United States have on its future evolution?  What is that evolution likely to look like under conditions of hostile coexistence between the two countries?

Some likely answers, issue by issue.

First: the consequences of cutting back Sino-American economic interdependence. 

The supply chains now tying the two economies together were forged by market-regulated comparative advantage.  The U.S. attempt to impose government-dictated targets for Chinese purchases of agricultural commodities, semiconductors, and the like represents a political preemption of market forces.  By simultaneously walking away from the Paris climate accords, TPP, the Iran nuclear deal, and other treaties and agreements, Washington has shown that it can no longer be trusted to respect the sanctity of contracts.  The U.S. government has also demonstrated that it can ignore the economic interests of its farmers and manufacturers and impose politically motivated embargoes on them.  The basic lesson Chinese have taken from recent U.S. diplomacy is that no one should rely on either America’s word or its industrial and agricultural exports.

For these reasons, the impending trade “deal” between China and the United States – if there is one – will be at most a truce that invites further struggle.  It will be a short-term expedient, not a long-term reinvigoration of the Sino-American trade and investment relationship to American advantage.  No future Chinese government will allow China to become substantially dependent on imports or supply chains involving a country as fickle and hostile as Trump’s America has proven to be.  China will instead develop non-American sources of foodstuffs, natural resources, and manufactures, while pursuing a greater degree of self-reliance.  More limited access to the China market for U.S. factories and farmers will depress U.S. growth rates.  By trying to reduce U.S. interdependence with China, the Trump administration has inadvertently made the United States the supplier of last resort to what is fast becoming the world’s largest consumer market.

The consequences for American manufacturers of “losing” the China market are worsened by the issue of scale.  China’s non-service economy already dwarfs that of the United States.  Size matters.  Chinese companies, based in a domestic market of unparalleled size, have economies of scale that give them major advantages in international competition.  American companies producing goods – for example, construction equipment or digital switching gear – have just been put at a serious tariff disadvantage in the China market as China retaliates against U.S. protectionism by reciprocating it.  One side effect of the new handicaps U.S. companies now face in the China market is more effective competition from Chinese companies, not just in China but in third country markets too.

Second: the U.S. effort to block an expanded Chinese role in global governance.

This is no more likely to succeed than the earlier American campaign to persuade allies and trading partners to boycott the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).  That has isolated the United States, not China.  Carping at the Belt and Road initiative and related programs from outside them does nothing to shape them to American advantage.  It just deprives American companies of the profits they might gain from participating in them.

The United States seems to be acting out of nostalgia for the simplicities of a bipolar world order, in which countries could be pressured to stand with either the United States or its then rival.  But China is not hampered by a dysfunctional ideology and economic system, as America’s Soviet adversary was.  What’s more, today’s China is an integral member of international society, not a Soviet-style outcast.  There is now, quite literally, no country willing to accept being forced to make a choice between Beijing and Washington.  Instead, all seek to extract whatever benefits they can from relations with both and with other capitals as well, if they have something to offer.  The binary choices, diplomatic group-think, and trench warfare of the Cold War have been succeeded by national identity politics and the opportunistic pursuit of political, economic, and military interests wherever they can be served.  Past allegiances do not anywhere determine current behavior.

The sad reality is that the United States, which led the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions that have been at the core of the post-World War II rule-bound international system, now offers these institutions and their members neither funding nor reform.  Both are necessary to promote development as balances of supply, demand, wealth, and power shift.   The new organizations, like the AIIB and the New Development Bank, that China and others are creating are not predatory intrusions into the domain of American-dominated international finance.  They are necessary responses to unmet financial and economic demand.  Denouncing them does not alter that reality.

Other countries do not see these organizations as supplanting pre-existing lending institutions long led by the United States.  The new institutions supplement the World Bank Group and regional development banks.  They operate under slightly improved versions of the lending rules pioneered by the Bretton Woods legacy establishments.   China is a major contributor to the new development banks, but it does not exercise a veto in them as the U.S. does in the IMF and World Bank.  The AIIB’s staff is multinational (and includes Americans in key positions).  The New Development Bank’s first president is Indian and its principal lending activity to date has been in South Africa.

Washington has chosen to boycott anything and everything sponsored by China.  So far, the sad but entirely predictable result of this attempt to ostracize and reduce Chinese influence has not curbed China’s international clout but magnified it.  By absenting itself from the new institutions, the United States is making itself increasingly irrelevant to the overall governance of multilateral development finance.

Third: the U.S. campaign to block China’s international investments, cripple its technology companies, and impede its scientific and technological advance.

The actions of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to prevent Chinese investment in American industry and agriculture are well publicized and are becoming ever more frequent.  So are official American denunciations of Chinese telecommunications companies like Huawei and ZTE amidst intermittent efforts to shut them down.  In an ominous echo of World War I’s anti-German, World War II’s anti-Japanese, and the Cold War’s anti-communist xenophobia, the FBI has begun issuing loud warnings about the menace posed by the large Chinese student presence on American campuses.  Washington is adjusting visa policies to discourage such dangerous people from matriculating here.  It has also mounted a strident campaign to persuade other countries to reject Chinese investments under the “Belt and Road” initiative.

In the aggregate, these policies represent a decision by the U.S. political elite to try to hamstring China, rather than to invest in strengthening America’s ability to compete with it.  There is no reason whatsoever to believe this approach can succeed.  China’s foreign direct investments have more than doubled over the past three years.  Third countries are openly declining to go along with U.S. opposition to intensified economic relations with China.  They want the capital, technology, and market openings that Chinese investment provides.   U.S. denunciations of their interest in doing business with China are seldom accompanied by credible offers by American companies to match what their Chinese competitors offer.  You can’t beat something with nothing.

It’s also not clear which country is most likely to be hurt by U.S. government obstruction of collaboration between Chinese and American STEM workers.  There is a good chance the greatest damage will be to the United States.  A fair number of native-born Americans seem more interested in religious myths, magic, and superheroes than in science.  U.S. achievements in STEM owe much to immigration and to the presence of Chinese and other foreign researchers in America’s graduate schools.  The Trump administration is trying to curtail both.

China already possesses one-fourth of the world’s STEM workforce.  It is currently graduating three times as many STEM students annually as the United States.  (Ironically, a significant percentage of STEM graduates in the United States are Chinese or other Asian nationals.  Around half of those studying computer sciences in the United States are such foreigners.)  American loss of contact with scientists in China and a reduced Chinese presence in U.S. research institutions can only retard the further advance of science in the United States.

China is rapidly increasing its investments in education, basic science, research, and development even as the United States reduces funding for these activities, which are the foundation of technological advance.  The pace of innovation in China is visibly accelerating.  Cutting Americans off from interaction with their Chinese counterparts while other countries continue risks causing the United States to fall behind not just China but other foreign competitors.

Finally: the U.S. military is in China’s face.

The U.S. Navy and Air Force patrol China’s coasts and test its defenses on a daily basis.  U.S. strategy in the event of war with China – for example, over Taiwan – depends on overcoming those defenses so as to be able to strike deep into the Chinese homeland.  The United States has just withdrawn from the treaty on intermediate nuclear forces in part to be able to deploy nuclear weapons to the Chinese periphery.  In the short term, there is increasing danger of a war by accident, triggered by a mishap in the South China Sea, the Senkaku Archipelago, or by efforts by Taiwanese politicians to push the envelope of mainland tolerance of their island’s unsettled political status quo.  These threats are driving growth in China’s defense budget and its development of capabilities to deny the United States continued military primacy in its adjacent seas.

In the long term, U.S. efforts to dominate China’s periphery invite a Chinese military response on America’s periphery like that formerly mounted by the Soviet Union.  Moscow actively patrolled both U.S. coasts, stationed missile-launching submarines just off them, supported anti-American regimes in the Western Hemisphere, and relied on its ability to devastate the American homeland with nuclear weapons to deter war with the United States.  On what basis does Washington imagine that Beijing cannot and will not eventually reciprocate the threat the U.S. forces surrounding China appear to pose to it?

Throughout the forty-two years of the Cold War, Americans maintained substantive military-to-military dialogue with their Soviet enemies.  Both sides explicitly recognized the need for strategic balance and developed mechanisms for crisis management that could limit the risk of a war and a nuclear exchange between them.  But no such dialogue, understandings, or mechanisms to control escalation now exist between the U.S. armed forces and the PLA.  In their absence Americans attribute to the PLA all sorts of intentions and plans that are based on mirror-imaging rather than evidence.

The possibility that mutual misunderstanding will intensify military confrontation and increase the dangers it presents is growing.  The chances of this are all the greater because the internal security and counterintelligence apparatuses in China and the United States appear to be engaged in a contest to see which can most thoroughly alienate the citizens of the other country.  China is a police state.  For Chinese in America, the United States sometimes seems to be on the way to becoming one.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, if Washington stays on its current course, the United States will gain little, while ceding substantial ground to China and significantly increasing risks to its wellbeing, global leadership, and security.

Economically, China will become less welcoming to American exports.  It will pursue import substitution or alternative sourcing for goods and services it has previously sourced in the United States.  With impaired access to the world’s largest middle class and consumer economy, the United States will be pushed down the value chain.  China’s ties to other major economies will grow faster than those with America, adversely affecting U.S. growth rates.  Any reductions in the U.S. trade deficit with China will be offset by increases in trade deficits with the countries to which current production in China is relocated.

China’s role in global governance will expand as it adds new institutions and funds to the existing array of international organizations and takes a larger part in their management.  The Belt and Road initiative will expand China’s economic reach to every corner of the Eurasian landmass and adjacent areas.  The U.S. role in global rule-making and implementation will continue to recede.  China will gradually displace the United States in setting global standards for trade, investment, transport, and the regulation of new technologies.

Chinese technological innovation will accelerate, but it will no longer advance in collaboration with American researchers and institutions.  Instead it will do so indigenously and in cooperation with scientists outside the United States.  U.S. universities will no longer attract the most brilliant students and researchers from China.  The benefits of new technologies developed without American inputs may be withheld rather than shared with America, even as the leads the United States has long enjoyed in science and technology one-by-one erode and are eclipsed.  As cordiality and connections between China and the United States wither, reasons for Chinese to respect the intellectual property of Americans will diminish rather than increase.

Given the forward deployment of U.S. forces, the Chinese military has the great advantage of a defensive posture and short lines of communication.  The PLA is currently focused on countering U.S. power projection in the last tenth or so of the 6,000-mile span of the Pacific Ocean.  In time, however, it is likely to seek to match American pressure on its borders with its own direct military pressure on the United States along the lines of what the Soviet armed forces once did.

The adversarial relationship that now exists between the U.S. armed forces and the PLA already fuels an arms race between them.  This will likely expand and accelerate.  The PLA is rapidly shrinking the gap between its capabilities and those of the U.S. armed forces.  It is developing a nuclear triad to match that of the United States.  The good news is that mutual deterrence seems possible.  The bad news is that politicians in Taiwan and their fellow travelers in Washington are determinedly testing the policy frameworks and understandings that have, over the past forty years, tempered military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait with dialogue and rapprochement.  Some in Taiwan seem to believe that they can count on the United States to intervene if they get themselves in trouble with Chinese across the Strait.  The Chinese civil war, suspended but not ended by U.S. unilateral intervention in 1950, seems closer to a resumption than it has been for decades.

As a final note on politico-military aspects of Sino-American relations, in the United States, security clearances are now routinely withheld from anyone who has spent time in China.  This guarantees that few intelligence analysts have the Fingerspitzengefühl – the feeling derived from direct experience – necessary to really understand China or the Chinese.  Not to worry.  The administration disbelieves the intelligence community.  Policy is now made on the basis of ignorance overlaid with media-manufactured fantasies.  In these circumstances, some enterprising Americans have taken to combing the dragon dung for nuggets of undigested Chinese malevolence, so they can preen before those in power now eager for such stuff.  There is a Chinese expression that nicely describes such pretense: ??????—???? – “a dung beetle with flowers in its hair still stinks.”

All said, this does not add up to a fruitful approach to dealing with the multiple challenges that arise from China’s growing wealth and power.  So, what is to be done?  ?????

Here are a few suggestions.

First, accept the reality that China is both too big and too embedded in the international system to be dealt with bilaterally.  The international system needs to adjust to and accommodate the seismic shifts in the regional and global balances of wealth and power that China’s rise is causing.  To have any hope of success at adapting to the changes now underway, the United States needs to be backed by a coalition of the reasonable and farsighted.  This can’t happen if the United States continues to act in contempt of alliances and partnerships.  Washington needs to rediscover statecraft based on diplomacy and comity.

Second, forget government-managed trade and other forms of mercantilism.  No one can hope to beat China at such a statist game.  The world shouldn’t try. Nor should it empower the Chinese government to manage trade at the expense of market forces or China’s private sector.  Governments can and – in my opinion – should set economic policy objectives, but everyone is better off when markets, not politicians, allocate capital and labor to achieve these.

Third, instead of pretending that China can be excluded from significant roles in regional and global governance, yield gracefully to its inclusion in both.  Instead of attempting to ostracize China, leverage its wealth and power in support of the rule-bound order in which it rose to prosperity, including the WTO.

Fourth, accept that the United States has as much or more to gain than to lose by remaining open to science, technology, and educational exchanges with China.  Be vigilant but moderate.  Err on the side of openness and transnational collaboration in progress.  Work on China to convince it that the costs of technology theft are ultimately too high for it to be worthwhile.

Fifth and finally, back away from provocative military actions on the China coast.  Trade frequent “freedom of navigation operations” to protest Chinese interpretations of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea for dialogue aimed at reaching common understandings of relevant interests and principles.  Ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea and make use of its dispute resolution mechanisms.  As much as possible, call off military confrontation and look for activities, like the protection of commercial shipping, that are common interests.  Seek common ground without prejudice to persisting differences.

In conclusion: both China and the United States need a peaceful international environment to be able to address long-neglected domestic problems.  Doing more of what we’re now doing threatens to preclude either of us from sustaining the levels of peace, prosperity, and domestic tranquility that a more cooperative relationship would afford.  Hostile coexistence between two such great nations injures both and benefits neither.  It carries unacceptable risks.  Americans and Chinese need to turn from the path we are now on.  We can – we must – find a route forward that is better for both of us.

Thank you.

Published:5/18/2019 10:29:57 PM
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[Markets] Visualizing The 150 Apps That Power The Gig Economy

Go back in time a decade, and you’d have a tough time convincing anyone that they would be “employed” through an app on their phone.

And yet, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins explains, in a short period of time, the emergence of the smartphone has enabled the gig economy to flourish into a multi-trillion dollar global market. And by leveraging apps like Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy, it’s estimated that 57 million people in the U.S. now participate in the gig economy each year in some shape or form.

What apps do these people use to turn their time, skills, hobbies, or assets (cars, home, parking spaces, etc.) into additional income streams?

App Examples

Today’s infographic comes to us from TitleMax, and it lists 150 different apps that are used within the gig economy – including many that pay gig workers directly.

Here are just some of the apps that are used in some of the major categories above:

Ridesharing
Uber and Lyft are what many think of when they hear about the gig economy. However, there are now dozens of rideshare apps out there to fill different niches – for example, Wingz offers flat-fee rides to the airport, while Curb connects riders with professional taxi drivers.

Errands
TaskRabbit, which was bought by IKEA, turns errands such as assembling furniture or cleaning a gutter into payable gigs. Meanwhile, apps like Dolly and Bellhops will connect you with movers, and LawnLove is for lawn care.

Art, Design, and Crafting
Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods, is one the of the best known brands in this category. However, there are many other niche options here as well – for example, UncommonGoods specializes in unique gifts, while Society6 focuses on gallery quality art prints.

Writing and Editing
Lulu and Kindle Direct allow you to publish eBooks online and sell them, while proofreaders and editors can get paid for their copy editing services through Gramlee.

Delivery
Fast and efficient delivery services are a centerpiece to the gig economy, and there are no shortage of options here. DoorDash, UberEats, Caviar, and GrubHub allow users to get food delivered to their doors, while apps like Instacart focus on grocery delivery.

Multimedia
We all know that you can create videos and monetize them on places like YouTube or Twitch, but did you know you can be a voice actor through services like VoiceBunny? You can also sell rights to your photos via Foap, or do freelancing work through Upwork or Fiverr.

Whether you are tapping into the gig economy for an extra income stream or you are incorporating gig economy services into your life for added convenience, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

Published:5/18/2019 10:01:18 PM
[Immigration] Crisis at the border deepens (Paul Mirengoff) The influx of illegal immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. has overwhelmed facilities along the Texas border with Mexico. Consequently, hundreds of these detainees will be flown to San Diego for processing. The plan calls for three flights a week carrying about 130 people per flight to arrive in the San Diego area from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Similarly, the Trump administration is preparing to send a thousand Published:5/18/2019 10:01:18 PM
[ACB] Aurora Cannabis Should Make You Nervous Published:5/18/2019 9:29:55 PM
[Politics] Jim Carrey not only wants Republican female politician ABORTED, HE DREW IT HAPPENING! Jim Carrey is absolutely losing it, and the rest of the brain-damaged idiot left is cheering him on. Not only does he wish that the female Governor of Alabama had been aborted, . . . Published:5/18/2019 9:29:55 PM
[Markets] Exposing The Regulatory-Industrial Complex

Authored by Llewellyn Rockwell via The Mises Institute,

Socialists want socialism for everyone else, but capitalism for themselves, while capitalists want capitalism for everyone else, but socialism for themselves.

Neither Ted Kennedy nor Jane Fonda practices a vow of poverty, nor are they taking any homeless into their mansions, while too many big companies try to short-circuit the market with government privileges. And one way they do it is through the regulatory agencies that acne Washington, DC.

If I may make a public confession (counting on the charity of Mises Daily readers): I used to work for the US Congress. I've since gone straight, of course, but the experience had its value, much as the future criminologist might benefit from serving with the James Gang.

For one thing, being on Capitol Hill showed me that, unlike the republic of the Founding Fathers' vision, our DC Leviathan exists only to extract money and power from the people for itself and the special interests.

Ludwig von Mises called this an inevitable "caste conflict." There can be no natural class conflict in society, Mises showed, since the free market harmonizes all economic interests, but in a system of government-granted privileges, there must be a struggle between those who live off the government and the rest of us. It is a disguised struggle, of course, since truth threatens the loot.

When I worked on Capitol Hill, Jimmy Carter was bleating about the energy crisis and promising to punish big oil with a "windfall profits tax." But I saw that the lobbyists pushing for the tax were from the big oil companies.

And, after a moment's thought, it was easy to realize why. There was no windfall-profits tax in Saudi Arabia, but it did fall heavily on Oklahoma. And as intended, the tax aided the big companies that imported oil by punishing their competitors, smaller, independent firms.

In the ensuing restructuring of the industry, also brought about by the price and allocation regulations of the Department of Energy, the big firms bought up domestic capacity at fire-sale prices, and then the Reagan administration repealed the tax and the regulations. Meanwhile, the big companies received contracts from the Department of Energy to produce money-losing "alternative fuels."

In every administration, the tools of inflation, borrowing, taxation, and regulation are used to transfer wealth from the people to the government and its cronies.

At times, one or another of these tools becomes politically dangerous, so the government alters the mix. That's why the Reagan administration switched from taxes and inflation to borrowing, and it's why the Bush administration, with the deficit a liability, calls for more taxes, inflation, and regulation.

A tremendous amount is at stake in the re-regulation of the economy advocated by the Bush administration. Just one clause in the Federal Register can mean billions for a favored firm or industry, and disaster for its competitors, which is why lobbyists cluster around the Capitol like flies around a garbage can.

While claiming to need more money for — among other vital projects — a trip to Mars supervised by Dan Quayle, the president is boosting the budget of every regulatory agency in Washington.

Here are just some of those agencies, and the way they function: Founded by Richard Nixon, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an antientrepreneur agency. Not only does OSHA target small- and medium-sized businesses, its regulatory cases are easily handled by Exxon's squad of lawyers, while they can bankrupt a small firm.

Also founded by Nixon, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issues regulations drawn up in open consultation with big business — regulations that often conform exactly to what those firms are already doing. Small businesses, on the other hand, must spend heavily to comply.

Another Nixon creation is the Environmental Protection Agency, whose budget is larded with the influence of politically connected businesses, and whose regulations buttress established industries and discriminate against entrepreneurs — by, for example, legalizing pollution for existing companies but making new firms spend heavily.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development was founded by Lyndon B. Johnson, but its roots stretch back to the housing policy of the New Deal, whose explicit purpose was to subsidize builders of rental and single-family housing. Since LBJ's Great Society, HUD has subsidized builders of public-housing projects, and of subsidized private housing. How can anyone be surprised that fat cats use HUD to line their pockets? That was its purpose.

The Securities and Exchange Commission was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt, with its legislation written by corporate lawyers to cartelize the market for big Wall Street firms. Over the years, the SEC has stopped many new stock issues by smaller companies, who might grow and compete with the industrial and commercial giants aligned with the big Wall Street firms. And right now, it is lessening competition in the futures and commodities markets.

The Interstate Commerce Commission was created in 1887 to stop "cut-throat" competition among railroads (i.e., competitive pricing) and to enforce high prices. Later amendments extended its power to trucking and other forms of transportation, where it also prevented competition. During the Carter administration, much of the ICC's power was trimmed, but some of this was undone in the Reagan administration.

The Federal Communications Commission was established by Herbert Hoover to prevent private property in radio frequencies, and to place ownership in the hands of the government. The FCC set up the network system, whose licenses went to politically connected businessmen, and delayed technological breakthroughs that might have threatened the networks. There was some deregulation during the Reagan administration — although it was the development of cable TV that did the most good, by circumventing the networks.

The Department of Agriculture runs America's farming on behalf of producers, keeping prices high, profits up, imports out, and new products off the shelves. We can't know what food prices would be in the absence of the appropriately initialed DOA, only that food would be much cheaper. Now, for the first time since the farm program was established by Herbert Hoover, as a copy of the Federal Food Administration he ran during World War I, we are seeing widespread criticism of farm welfare.

The Federal Trade Commission — as shown by the fascist-deco statue in front of its headquarters — claims to "tame" the "wild horse of the market" on behalf of the public. Since its founding in 1914, however, it has restrained the market to the benefit of established firms. That's why the chief lobbyists for the FTC were all from big business.

When then-Congressman Steve Symms (R-ID) tried to partially deregulate the Food and Drug Administration in the 1970s to allow more new drugs, he was stopped by the big drug companies and their trade association. Why? Because the FDA exists to protect them.

OSHA, CPSC, EPA, HUD, SEC, ICC, FCC, DOA, FTC, FDA - I could go on and on, through the entire alphabet from Hell. I have only scratched the villainous surface. But according to the average history or economics text, these agencies emerged in response to public demand. There is never a hint of the regulatory-industrial complex. We're told that the public is being served. And it is: on a platter.

*  *  *

This article was originally printed in the Free Market, September 1990. It is reprinted in The Left, the Right, and the State (2008).

Published:5/18/2019 9:29:55 PM
[Markets] Prescription For Violence: The Corresponding Rise Of Antidepressants, SSRIs & Mass Shootings

Via Ammo.com,

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a mass murder occurs when at least four people are murdered, not including the shooter, over a relatively short period of time during a single incident. Over the last 30 years, the United States has seen a significant increase in mass shootings, which are becoming more frequent and more deadly.

Seemingly every time a mass shooting occurs, whether it’s at a synagogue in Pittsburgh or a nightclub in Orlando, the anti-gun media and politicians have a knee-jerk response – they blame the tragedy solely on the tool used, namely firearms, and focus all of their proposed “solutions” on more laws, ignoring that the murderer already broke numerous laws when they committed their atrocity.

Facts matter when addressing such an emotionally charged topic, and more gun controllegislation has shown that law-abiding Americans who own guns are not the problem. Consider the following: The more gun control laws that are passed, the more mass murders have occurred.

Whether or not this is correlation or causation is debatable. What is not debatable is that this sick phenomenon of mass murderers targeting “gun-free zones,” where they know civilian carry isn’t available to law-abiding Americans, is happening. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 97.8 percent of public shootings occur in “gun-free zones” – and “gun-free zones” are the epitome of the core philosophical tenant of gun control, that laws are all the defense one needs against violence.

Therefore, when the media and politicians focus their ire on guns, specifically what types of guns are used, such as AR-styles, carbines, semi-automatics, and “high capacity” handguns, in the wake of such tragedies the American public are being intentionally drawn into an emotionally charged debate about legal gun ownership (irrespective of whether the murderer’s gun was legally or illegally obtained). This debate leads them away from the elephant in the room and one of the real issues behind mass shootings – mental health and prescription drugs.

Ignoring what’s going on in the heads of these psychopaths not only allows mass shootings to continue, it leads to misguided gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment and negate the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens. As Jeff Snyder put it in The Washington Times:

“But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow.”

Violence, especially random violence, is a complex manifestation of various thoughts, feelings, and external factors. When a multivariate analysis of these factors is conducted, it becomes apparent that it’s not just mental health issues that are leading to such an increase. There may be an underlying substance which plays a role in a high percentage of these violent acts – the use of prescription antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

At first glance, it makes sense that those involved in mass shootings may be taking antidepressants, as they’re clearly suffering from some sort of mental health issue. But the issue with SSRIs runs much deeper than just a random mental health break. These drugs are a prescription for violent crimes, and that’s a story the anti-gun media and politicians don’t want to talk about.

History of Antidepressant Use in the U.S.

To understand the rise in antidepressant use, one must first understand depression. Everyone, no matter how great their life, has periods of sadness, times when they feel down or low. This is especially true when faced with hardships or going through things like a divorce, the loss of a job, or the death of a parent.

This is not clinical depression. Clinical depression is a serious mental disorder that impacts how a person functions on a daily basis. Depression makes it hard to get out of bed. It makes it hard to go to work. It makes it hard to take a shower or answer the phone. It stops a person from functioning on the basic levels.

Understanding Depression

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSM-5, to be considered clinically depressed, a patient must experience five of the following symptoms most of the day, every day, for at least two weeks. What’s more, these symptoms must be so severe, they interfere with normal functioning:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling “empty”
  • Feeling guilty
  • Irritable
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Slow talking and moving
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Abnormal sleep patterns, whether sleeping too much or not enough
  • Abnormal weight changes, either eating too much or having no appetite
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is a serious, and sometimes life-threatening, illness. But in the modern world, it’s highly over-diagnosed. A study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics looked at 5,639 patients in the U.S. who were diagnosed with depression by their clinician and compared their symptoms to the DSM criteria for clinical depression. Of these patients, only 38.4 percent met the criteria, even though the majority of the 5,639 patients were prescribed depression medication.

Today, with the way antidepressants are prescribed, nearly one in four Americans will meet the criteria to be diagnosed with depression within their lifetime, and will be prescribed medications that interfere with how their brain functions.

The Rise of Antidepressants

In the 1950s, the first generation of antidepressants hit the market. The introductory class of antidepressants to gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval were monoamine oxidase inhibitors, known as MAOIs. Although highly effective, MAOIs can cause extremely high blood pressure when paired with certain foods or medications, and therefore require diet restrictions. Because of these restrictions, they’re rarely used today to treat depression except in cases where other treatments fail.

By the late 1950s, a new class of antidepressants became available – tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants are also highly effective for treating depression, but are prone to side effects. Even so, this class of antidepressants remained the go-to depression treatment for years. Other drugs were tested for depression treatment, but they hadn’t proved more effective than tricyclic and MAOI antidepressants, especially for severe depression.

Fast forward to the 1980s. America’s tranquilizer dependence was becoming problematic. Quaaludes were heavily over-prescribed for anxiety, resulting in overdose deaths, as well as an increase in deaths from vehicle accidents. The Feds stepped in and in 1984, classified Quaaludes as a Schedule 1 drug, making them illegal to sell, buy, and use.

Valium, a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety, was also extremely popular, and was the most prescribed medication in the U.S. from 1969 through 1982. In 1978, the year the medication peaked, more than 2.3 billion pills were sold in the U.S. But Valium was highly addictive and it was believed that a serotonergic medication was a better option to fill the void that was left when Quaaludes were outlawed.

In 1987, Prozac, the first SSRI, was released for depression. Along with it came the idea that depression could be the underlying cause of anxiety. The idea took off, as did the sales of Prozac, and within a few years, it overtook the antidepressant market. Soon, other SSRIs followed.

Along with these SSRIs came direct-to-consumer advertising, which became legal in 1985. By the mid-1990s, the FDA regulations became looser and direct-to-consumer ads exploded into the market. Prozac and other medications showed Americans through glossy advertisements that unhappiness, stress, and anxiety could be treated with a pill.

Instead of doctors recommending a specific medication, patients started coming in, requesting a medication they saw in a magazine or on television.

SSRI sales skyrocketed.

By 2010, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 were prescribed an antidepressant, making it the third most prescribed medication, topped only by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. When looked at over time, there has been a 400-percent increase in antidepressant use from 1988 through 2008.

SSRIs 101: What You Should Know

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of drugs commonly referred to as SSRIs, are the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. These second-generation antidepressants are marketed to doctors and patients as safe and effective, with relatively minimal side effects. SSRIs are designated to treat mild to moderate depression, as well as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

How do SSRIs work?

SSRIs work to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. A neurotransmitter that helps neurons communicate, serotonin is associated with many different body functions, but is best known for its influence on mood. Sometimes called “the happy chemical,” serotonin plays a role in a person’s happiness and general feelings of wellbeing.

Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, although the relationship is not clear. Research has not determined if the low neurotransmitter level causes depression or if depression causes the level of serotonin to drop. It should also be noted that a large amount of serotonin, up to 90 percent, is produced in the gut and may be influenced by what a person eats and drinks.

SSRI medication does exactly what its name says. When two neurons communicate, one releases neurotransmitters, which causes the other neuron to react in a certain way. Because this is constantly going on, these chemicals are always present in the brain. To keep the brain’s chemical balance correct, neurons regulate the amount of neurotransmitters released by a process called reuptake, which involves the reabsorption of the chemical by a neuron.

For instance, if there’s a high level of serotonin, the neuron knows to release less through reuptake, keeping the level balanced. If levels of the neurotransmitter are low, reuptake tells the neurons to release more.

SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, causing neurons to release more of the neurotransmitter, therefore increasing the amount of the chemical found in the brain.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of SSRIs, including:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)

When it comes to effectiveness, SSRIs don’t appear to have an influence on those with moderate to severe depression, with virtually no improvementseen when comparing SSRI use to placebos. Instead of a popular drug with a high efficiency, modern SSRIs have become popular based on an effective marketing campaign and little more.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Serotonin Syndrome

Sometimes serotonin levels become too high, causing Serotonin Syndrome. A potentially life-threatening disease, it occurs when serotonin levels in the brain increase to a toxic level, often caused by too much medication or taking two serotonin-increasing medications that use different mechanisms to increase the neurotransmitter.

Along with physical symptoms of excessive nerve activity, such as dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, and high blood pressure, those with the syndrome may also experience:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Excitement

The Connection Between SSRIs and Violence

Regardless if depression is overdiagnosed and America has a habit of over-prescribing mind-altering medications, there’s little doubt that SSRIs have a risk of increasing violence in patients, even in patients who have no previous history of violence or aggression before taking the medication.

This risk of violent behavior, both to the individual taking the medication and those around them, is so significant, it has led to the FDA mandating a black box warning on all SSRI medications. These black box warnings are designed to provide information and draw attention to the fact that the medication has serious and life-threatening risks.

As of 2004, all antidepressants in the U.S. are labeled:

“Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia, hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric.”

SSRIs Can Increase the Risk of Suicide

In one study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, patients suffering from depression, but free of serious suicidal ideation, were given fluoxetine. Within two to seven weeks of starting the medication, six patients developed an intense, preoccupation with violent suicide. Although all were immediately taken off the medication, this preoccupation persisted from three days to three months, depending on the case. In all six cases, the patient had never experienced such a severe level of depression or troubled state of mind before or with other psychotropic prescriptions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Surveillance for Violent Deaths, in 2013, 35.3 percent of those who committed suicide tested positive for antidepressants at the time of their death.

The risk of SSRIs and suicide is most prevalent in patients under the age of 25. It’s also more likely to occur shortly after starting the medication, after a dosage increase, or after a patient stops taking the medication.

SSRIs Can Increase the Risk of Violence Against Others

Some of the side effects caused by SSRIs can increase the risk of violence against others. Perhaps the most risky, emotional blunting (or detachment) has been linked to SSRI use and many people who’ve taken the drugs report “not feeling” or “not caring” about anything. There’s also been an established causal relationship between SSRI use and psychosis and hallucinations, both of which are known to increase the risk of violence in individuals.

According to a review of the FDA’s database, 484 drugs were identified as triggers to serious adverse events significant enough to warrant a case study during the five-year period from 2004 through 2009. Of these 484 medications, 31 were identified to have a “disproportionate” association with violence. These 31 drugs make up 78.8 percent of all cases of violence toward others in the FDA’s database and included multiple psychotropic medications:

  • 11 antidepressants
  • 6 hypnotic/sedatives
  • 3 ADHD medications
  • 1 smoking cessation drug

Researchers concluded that violence against others was a “genuine and serious adverse drug event” and that of the 484 medications, the drugs that were most consistently and strongly associated with violence were the smoking cessation medication, varenicline (Chantix), and SSRIs.

The list includes five SSRI antidepressants:

  • Fluoxetine: Prozac increased aggressive behavior 10.9 times
  • Paroxetine: Paxil increased violent behavior 10.3 times
  • Fluvoxamine: Luvox increased violent behavior 8.4 times
  • Venlafaxine: Effexor increased violent behavior 8.3 times
  • Desvenlafaxine: Pristiq increased violent behavior 7.9 times

While a surprise to the American public, this shouldn’t have been a surprise to the drug companies. During the clinical trials for paroxetine, hostility, which was the term to include homicidal idealization and aggression, presented in 60 of the 9,219 participants (.65 percent). Hostile acts were documented both while taking the medication and after tapering off. Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) taking the medication were the most at risk for becoming hostile, with a 17-times higher probability than the rest of those in the clinical study.

In a Swedish study published in PLoS, researchers looked at information on over 850,000 patients prescribed SSRIs in the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, which is a national database of all dispensed medications. They then compared the violent crimes committed during a three-year period and compared it to violent crimes committed by the same individuals when not taking the medications. When age was taken into effect, a significant association was apparent between violent crime convictions and SSRI use in patients between the ages of 15 and 24.

In one 2001 case, Cory Baadsgaard, a 16-year-old who attended Wahluke High School in Washington, was first prescribed Paxil, which caused hallucinations, and then was switched to Effexor. He started at a 40 mg dosage that, over the course of three weeks, increased to 300 mg. On the first day of that high dose, he woke with a headache and returned to bed. He then got up, took a rifle to his high school, and held 23 classmates hostage.

Baadsgaard’s testimony claims he has no recollection of the event, or of his principal convincing him to put the gun down and release the hostages.

In 2002, the BBC aired the documentary Panorama, which focused on paroxetine. The producers received 1,374 emails from viewers, the majority of whom told stories of violence or self-harm while taking the medication, particularly when starting and when increasing the dosage.

What’s more, in 2009, after investigating the connection between SSRIs and violence, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare revised the label warnings on these drugs to read: “There are cases where we cannot rule out a causal relationship [of hostility, anxiety, and sudden acts of violence] with the medication.”

Connection Between SSRI and Murder

In most cases, the vast majority of people who suffer from mental illness are nonviolent. Even those who self-harm are highly unlikely to hurt others. In fact, these individuals are more likely to become victims of violent crimes than the general public.

Yet after each mass shooting tragedy, the media fills with psychiatrists who say that the individual didn’t seek the help they needed and that with the proper treatment, the tragedy may have been prevented. But research doesn’t support that philosophy.

In fact, depression in particular doesn’t lead to violence, yet since the increase in SSRI antidepressants being widely prescribed, the rise in mass shootings has increased right along with it. And evidence shows that many mass shooters were either taking or had recently taken SSRIs.

Here are just some examples:

  • 1989: Joseph T. Wesbecker walked into his former employer Standard Gravure Corp and shot 20 workers, killing nine. He had been taking Prozac for a month. This shooting led to a landmark case, where the survivors sued the makers of Prozac, Eli Lilly. Wesbecker used a semiautomatic Chinese AK-47-style firearm, a 9mm pistol, and a .38 Special snubnose revolver – all of which he purchased legally, passing his background check.

  • 1995: Jarred Viktor was 15 when he was prescribed Paxil. Ten days after starting it, Viktor stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

  • 1996: At 18, Kurt Danysh murdered his father just 17 days after being prescribed Prozac by his family doctor, who failed to do even one psychological test. During his police confession, Danysh told police the medication made him feel odd, “I just act differently. I don’t have the energy or personality I used to. I spend half the time in a trance.”

  • 1997: Luke Woodham stabbed his mother, then traveled to Pearl High School, where he was enrolled, using a .30-30 to shoot two students and wound six others; he was stopped by his assistant principal (aka a good guy with a gun) who used his own .45 ACP handgun to force Woodham’s surrender.

  • 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel shot both of his parents, then carried a 9mm handgun, .22 rifle, and a .22 pistol to his Thurston High School, where he murdered two classmates and injured 22 more, all while taking Prozac.

  • 1999: Eric Harris, 17, with Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students, one teacher, himself, and wounded 23 others during the Columbine school shooting; he had been prescribed Zoloft and then Luvox before he used a 12 gauge shotgun received through a straw purchaser and a 9mm TEC-DC9.

  • 2001: Christopher Pittman, a 12-year-old, was prescribed Zoloft, which caused him to become agitated, jittery, and experience tactile hallucinations; Pittman told psychiatrist Dr. Lanette Atkins that he heard voices telling him, “Kill, kill, do it, do it.” He took a .410 shotgun and shot his grandparents, then burned their house down.

  • 2001: Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children. She was taking Effexor and was suffering from delusions about satanic possession. The murder of her children led Effexor to list homicidal thoughts in the medication’s side effects. Although it’s a rare side effect, manifesting in one in 1,000 patients, over 19 million prescriptions were written and filled in 2005. That’s an estimated 19,000 people suffering from homicidal thoughts because of the medication.

  • 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise was taking 60 mg/day of Prozac, the highest dosage for adults, when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather's girlfriend, murdered 10 students at Red Lake, Minnesota, and wounded 12 more, before shooting himself. He was armed with a .40 caliberpistol, .22 pistol, and a 12 gauge shotgun.

  • 2008: Steven Kazmierczak was prescribed Prozac, Xanax, and Ambien, a sleeping medication, three weeks before walking into Northern Illinois University, killing six people and wounding 21, with three pistols (one chambered in 9mm and two in .380 ACP) and a shotgun. Kazmierczak had stopped taking the antidepressant “because it made him feel like a zombie.”

  • 2009: Two weeks after starting Lexapro, Robert Stewart walked into his estranged wife’s work at Pinelake Health and Rehab, and opened fire. He killed eight elderly patients and wounded three others. He doesn’t remember the incident.

  • 2012: James Holmes, also known as the Batman Movie killer, was taking sertraline when he walked into the showing of The Dark Knight with two .40 caliber pistols, an AR-style .223 rifle, and a 12 gauge shotgun, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. In his personal notebook, which he sent to his psychiatrist the same day as the shooting, shows that as the medication decreased his anxiety, he lost his fear of consequences. As the dosage became higher, his thoughts became more obsessive and psychotic.

  • 2013: At the time of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, Aaron Alexis was a civilian contractor working at the yard and was prescribed trazodone, a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) that works much like an SSRI to increase serotonin levels in the brain. He killed 12 people and injured eight others.

  • 2014: Ivan Lopez was a 34-year-old U.S. soldier who shot 15 of his comrades, killing three of them, at his base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was undergoing mental health treatment through the Veterans’ Administration, which is known for over-prescribing medication. The VA confirmed that Lopez was taking antidepressants (the VA only uses SSRI antidepressants) during the time of the shooting and his subsequent suicide.

  • 2015: From the moment it occurred, the Charleston Church shooting has been deemed an act of white supremacy, a race crime against blacks. But two years after Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people and injured another, the court released documents that show it was more mental health than hatred that led to the murders. The documents confirmed he was taking antidepressants.

  • 2016: Arcan Cetin, who was just 20 years old, walked into the Cascade Mall where he shot and killed four women, one just a teen, and shot one man, who later died at the hospital. Records show that Cetin was under the care of a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression and ADHD, including Prozac.

The list goes on and on. And with the implication of patient privacy laws, getting information on the medication and mental health diagnoses of people has become harder and harder, even with mounting evidence that there’s a connection between SSRI use and violence.

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act commonly referred to as HIPAA, was set in place. HIPAA represents the U.S.’s first attempt at national regulations for the use and disclosure of a person’s personal health information, or PHI. HIPAA makes it more difficult for medical personnel to release information regarding a person’s medical care, diagnosis, and prescription drugs, including those involved with mental health related crimes.

For example, in the 2008 Virginia Tech shooting, perpetrator Seung Hui Cho had multiple interactions with the mental health department on campus, some for suicidal ideation, but yet his parents nor authorities were never notified. University officials stated privacy laws restricted them from sharing the information.

Beyond the necessity for communication prior to these horrific shootings, after the incident, the person’s records are often protected. Even in situations where the perpetrator dies during the shooting, HIPAA protects their records for 50 years.

Because of this, the American public doesn’t know what kind of medications these people were taking and if it may have had an affect on their actions. Just looking at public shootings over the last five years, there’s a huge list of murderers who were likely on SSRIs. Here are a few:

  • Zephen Xaver and the SunTrust Bank shooting
  • Ian David Long and the Thousand Oaks Nightclub shooting
  • Travis Reinking and the Waffle House shooting
  • Nikolas Cruz and the Parkland, Florida school shooting
  • Devin Patrick Kelley and the Texas church shooting

The Push for Stronger Mental Health Legislation

With the media’s coverage of mass shootings, more and more legislation arises limiting the rights of those with mental health issues. While no one wants firearms in the hands of the mentally ill, the lack of clear language surrounding mental illness, and the limitations caused by government red tape, make knee-jerk mental health legislation dangerous and lay a path for more government control.

In general, people with mental illness are rarely violent to other people. Many mental health experts and advocates agree that policies that focus on the violence of mental illness make scapegoats of the individuals, who are likely to never act violently against another person.

What’s more, according to the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study (MVRAS), substance abuse was significantly more responsible for violence committed by discharged psychiatric patients than their mental health. Those patients who didn’t abuse drugs or alcohol showed no higher risk for violence than the others in their communities without mental health issues.

Laws are being created that don’t focus on the research, but on the fear of guns, thinking that stricter gun laws will keep people safer.

Red flag laws are the newest gun legislation making their way through Congress. Considered a “protective order,” red flag laws will allow a family member or law officer to petition a temporary seize on someone’s firearms if they’re deemed a threat. What a “threat” consists of isn’t clearly defined.

There’s also a push for universal background checks on all gun sales, even those sold between private individuals, and the FixNICS campaign. The philosophy behind FixNICS is that the background check system can only be as strong as the records it contains. And it’s currently missing a lot, especially when it comes to mental health issues and domestic violence.

For instance, documentation of an individual diagnosed as “mental defective,” having been involuntarily committed to a mental health setting, or having engaged in domestic abuse disqualifies that person from purchasing or owning a firearm. When this information is present in the NICS, it flags the background check and stops the sale of the firearm. But too many of these records are missing.

That was the case with the 2017 Sutherlands Springs church shooting. The gunman Devin Patrick Kelley was prohibited from purchasing firearms due to a 2012 court martial for two counts of domestic abuse. The U.S. Air Force failed to provide this information to the NICS, allowing Kelley to erroneously pass his background check and to purchase an AR-style 5.56 rifle – which he used to kill 26 people and injure 20 more. He was confronted and pursued by a neighbor, another good guy with a gun.

Gun Control, Mental Health, and SSRIs: What’s the Solution?

When it comes to mass shootings, there’s no easy solution. Violence, especially random violence, is a complex manifestation of various thoughts, feelings, and external factors. While it may be impossible to fully stop mass murders, ignoring the fact that certain medications, including SSRIs, play a role in a high percentage of these violent acts, no justice is being served.

Gun control is obviously not the solution, as the rate of mass shootings has increased over  the last 30 years, at a time when multiple gun control lawshave been implemented. Taking firearms away from law abiding citizens has not and will not stop the problem.

Personal Responsibility

Instead, doctors need to educate patients and make them aware of the risks, as well as take the time to explain warning signs to loved ones. If patients are taking medication for a mental health disorder, including depression, then they should see a mental health professional and be involved in mental health treatment. After all, medication – even mental health medication – does nothing to fix the problem, it only masks the symptoms.

Patients need to take some responsibility for their lives, improving their health before reaching for a mind-altering pill to make them feel good about themselves. A healthy diet, physical activity, and time spent in nature are ways to boost the mood that can help relieve the symptoms of mild depression.

The FDA-Big Pharma Connection

Lastly, the government and big pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for not sharing what they know about the medications they create. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) looked at drug company sponsored clinical trials on antidepressants.

Of the 74 FDA-registered trials the study looked at, 38 had positive outcomes, 36 had negative outcomes. Thirty-seven of the positive outcome trials were published, but of the 36 negative outcomes trials, 22 were not published and 11 were written in a way that initially presented the data to convey a misleading positive outcome. Only three were published with unbiased and accurate information about the drug.

With this type of misrepresentation of clinical trials on medications, particularly antidepressants, the medical community and the public can’t trust medical literature for honest and reliable drug information, nor the government agency that’s designed to monitor new pharmaceuticals for safety. When medical professionals can not rely on the FDA to provide unbiased and honest clinical trial information, a true risk-benefit ratio can’t be determined and patients suffer the consequences.

Political Influence of Big Pharma

The connection between the FDA and big pharma goes beyond clinical studies. Drug companies lure FDA employees to sit on their regulatory boards. They hire their spouses. These pharmaceutical giants utilize the field’s leading experts, who happen to be the same experts who are invited by the FDA to sit on screening panels.

Big pharma’s influence over the FDA goes even deeper. Drug companies spend billions of dollars on political lobbying and campaign contributions. Direct payments support the FDA budget. And in response, the FDA conceals risks and looks the other way when necessary.

The FDA also gives its own kickback to the drug companies. Only FDA-approved medications can be prescribed for government health insurance programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and through the VA. And to ensure Big Pharma continues to sell its drugs, the federal program only allows treatment claims on FDA-approved drugs.

The FDA Approval Process

The FDA approval process is a laborious and expensive endeavor, which typically takes more than a year and can cost up to a million dollars to complete. The process allows drug companies to patent their product. But when it comes to natural supplements, they can’t be patented, and therefore don’t go through the FDA approval process. Therefore supplements, which are often highly effective with little to no side effects, can not claim to “treat” a condition, even when there’s research that supports that claim.

On the surface, this may not seem like too big of a deal, but let’s circle back to Prozac, which hit the market in 1988. In the fall of 1989, the FDA recalled the supplement L-tryptophan, an amino acid that’s a precursor for serotonin and highly effective in treating depression. The recall occurred after one supplement company had an additive that caused a flu-like reaction. On March 22, 1990, the FDA issued a complete ban of L-tryptophan for public sale. Four days later, on March 26, 1990, Prozac was featured on the cover of Newsweek, along with a lead article about its benefits.

In 2001, the ban on L-tryptophan was lifted and since, research has shown it has huge therapeutic potential in the treatment of pain, insomnia, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD),  bulimia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), attention disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic fatigue.

A quick note about PMDD. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, otherwise known as PMS. It officially became a medical condition in 2013 with the newest addition of the DSM-V. Yet in July of 2000, the FDA approved a new medication from Eli Lilly, the same pharmaceutical company that created Prozac. The drug was Sarafem and it was marketed to treat PMDD, which technically wasn’t even a fully recognized medical condition at the time.

Sarafem is, quite literally, the exact same medication as Prozac, only in a different color capsule. Why would Eli Lilly issue the exact same drug under a different name? It just so happens that the patent for Prozac expired in August of 2001, which allowed generic versions to be made. Eli Lilly changed the medication’s name, indicated it for this “new” disease, and the company had a new patent for Sarafem that would last until 2007.

Situations like this demonstrate that the more aspects the government controls, the worse this corruption and mismanagement becomes. Federal agencies in the hands of big pharmaceutical companies, and politicians using gun control to give a false hope to the American people, distracts them from the real cause of the current state of the nation and the frequency of mass shootings.

It’s time to personally explore the evidence surrounding the issues and come to your own conclusions.

Published:5/18/2019 8:58:16 PM
[Politics] Jim Carrey not only wants Republican female politician ABORTED, HE DREW IT HAPPENING! Jim Carrey is absolutely losing it, and the rest of the brain-damaged idiot left is cheering him on. Not only does he wish that the female Governor of Alabama had been aborted, . . . Published:5/18/2019 8:58:16 PM
[] Saturday Overnight Open Thread (5/18/19) Saturday Night's Alright For Baking *** The Saturday Night Joke A man was telling his buddy : "You won't believe what happened last night." My daughter walked into the living room and said : Dad, cancel my allowance immediately,... Published:5/18/2019 8:58:16 PM
[Entertainment] Elizabeth Olsen Once Auditioned to Be On Game of Thrones and it Didn't Go Well 2018 Toronto Film Festival, TIFF, Elizabeth OlsenThe mother of dragons could've looked a lot different and it might have been Elizabeth Olsen singing a song of ice and fire. The Avengers: Infinity Wars star revealed in an interview...
Published:5/18/2019 8:33:37 PM
[US News] Do you strive for perfection? You too might be a white supremacist

This one study about the characteristics of "white supremacy" seems to be making the rounds in high places.

The post Do you strive for perfection? You too might be a white supremacist appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 8:33:37 PM
[Uncategorized] Anti-Israel bias at Human Rights Watch (Part 2: Two decades of anti-Zionism) Founder and former Chairman of HRW, Robert Bernstein: "I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics" Published:5/18/2019 8:33:37 PM
[Immigration] DNA Tests Reveal 30% Of Suspected Fraudulent Migrant Families Were Unrelated

The following article, DNA Tests Reveal 30% Of Suspected Fraudulent Migrant Families Were Unrelated, was first published on Godfather Politics.

An ICE pilot of new rapid DNA testing at the border has found that nearly a third of those tested were not biologically related to the children in their custody. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted the pilot for a few days earlier this month in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, finding of about 30 percent ...

Continue reading: DNA Tests Reveal 30% Of Suspected Fraudulent Migrant Families Were Unrelated ...

Published:5/18/2019 8:33:37 PM
[Markets] One Bank Asks "Was That It" For The Selloff... And Answers

One week after Deutsche Bank's fund flow strategist Parag Thatte noted that the sharp market drop to start May, the worst in 50 years, was "overdue" as (i) the rally since late December had been unusually long (91st percentile) and strong (96th percentile); (ii) equities at the recent peak had already priced in a rebound in growth; and (iii) positioning had become extended according to a number of indicators, he is back late on Friday, wondering whether "this was it" for the correction. 

The reason: following an almost record rally to start the year, so far the selloff has been smaller and the rebound quicker than usual.

As shown in the chart below, at the recent bottom on Monday, the market was down almost 5% from the peak, in-line with normal selloffs (3-5%) which occur every 2-3 months but somewhat less than the 5-7% selloffs which typically follow long and strong rallies. If Monday indeed marked the bottom, Thatte notes that "the selloff would also be much shorter than the usual 2-3 weeks the market takes to find a bottom" although considering the escalating trade war with China, which now appears set to last for months, the probability of another sharp move lower is increasing by the day.

Meanwhile, at the recent peak the market had run ahead and was already pricing in a strong rebound in macro as well as earnings growth, according to DB estimates. Alternatively, at the Monday bottom, the market was back in line with current growth but with the latest modest rebound, it is again slightly ahead, leaving it vulnerable in the near term.

Last week's muted drop in S&P500 stood out starkly against the backdrop of yet another massive equity fund outflow (which hasn't stopped since the start of the year) at -$19.5 billion was the largest since December, taking the total in the last two weeks to -$40 billion, the largest since December. 

As the Deutsche Bank strategist notes, outflows were very broad based across regions and countries this week except for one notable outlier: China equity funds saw a large $2.6bn inflow, similar to those seen during market selloffs in October and December last year. Excluding China, the rest of EM saw large  outflows (-$4.3bn) as did the US (-$8.1bn), Europe (-$4.5bn) and Japan (- $1.8bn). As the market turned around on Tuesday, equity ETFs saw inflows return on Wednesday and Thursday.

Perhaps in delayed response to the sharp escalation in trade war, last week saw modest cuts in equity positioning, with equity futures net long positions which were at the top of their historical range going into the selloff, now reduced but only modestly so and remain elevated. Following the recent spike in VIX, vol control funds sold  $13-$15bn in equities on the sell-off but then partially reversed that buying  $5-7bn back this week as VIX moderated.

As discussed last week, trend-following CTAs trimmed S&P 500 exposure but are still long.  In aggregate, the complex remains net long S&P 500 but with lighter positioning relative to 2018. CTA positioning is most crowded in long USD and long Treasuries. Risk Parity bought-the-dip to add equity beta.  Equity L/S trimmed gross leverage despite low net beta.

Derivatives metrics like put/call ratios, S&P 500 option skew, and VIX jumped very quickly from indicating bullish equities positioning to more bearish but have now moderated. Investor sentiment surveys also swung sharply from bullish to bearish in the space of a week and it would be interesting to see if the subsequent market rebound leads to optimism again.

Looking at the latest CFTC data, the record short in VIX futures at the end of April reverted in May as volatility increased and long VIX ETPs saw corresponding outflows. VIX futures positioning is now in-line with historical averages.

Positioning and flows aside, the bigger risk is that liquidity remains very low which means outsized reactions to small changes in positioning and flows. Despite high futures volumes relative to cash this week, on-screen liquidity in S&P 500 futures is still very low relative to history.

Bid-ask quotes within 1 index point of spot have been less than 50% of their previous 5Y average since February 2018.

According to Deutsche, this low liquidity means small changes in positioning can have outsized market impact, similar to the dynamics in late December 2018 when low liquidity exacerbated the volatility spike and sell-off.

Which means that with both volume, volatility and liquidity sliding, all that would take for another major selloff a la December 2018, is another surprise tweet, similar to Trump's May 5 shocker, for the simple reason that, as Deutsche Bank concludes, the "rebound has been quicker than typical, with market pricing again ahead of current growth and much of the cut in positioning has already reversed... leaving the market vulnerable to negative catalysts."

Published:5/18/2019 8:33:37 PM
[The Blog] The Guardian: Call it “climate emergency”, not “climate change”

Climate alarmism strikes again.

The post The Guardian: Call it “climate emergency”, not “climate change” appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/18/2019 7:58:17 PM
[Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle] President Trump to Appear on ‘The Next Revolution’ with Steve Hilton this Weekend

By R. Mitchell -

FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Steve Hilton will present an interview with President Donald Trump on his program The Next Revolution on Sunday, May 19that 9PM/ET. During the interview which will focus on policy, Trump will discuss his stance on China and trade, as well as the economy, immigration and the 2020 ...

President Trump to Appear on ‘The Next Revolution’ with Steve Hilton this Weekend is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/18/2019 7:58:17 PM
[worldNews] Five foreign tourists killed in plane crash in Honduras Five foreign tourists, four of them Canadians, died on Saturday after a private plane they were traveling in crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from the island of Roatán, near the Atlantic coast of Honduras, local authorities said.
Published:5/18/2019 7:58:17 PM
[Markets] Myths & Misconceptions About Bitcoin (Finally) Debunked

Via Crypterium,

Cryptocurrencies have been in the market for a decade now, and its introduction saw them join the ranks of fiat currencies as a viable mean of payment. However, even with all the benefits that crypto offer today against traditional currencies, not many are enthusiastic about them. Why? While there is not a single answer to this question, one of the reasons might be the wrong beliefs around cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, blockchain.

A recent study shows that more than 60 percent of internet users are currently familiar with cryptocurrencies. Since familiarity breeds contempt, a lot of ‘familiarities’ and not enough information has bred some misconceptions about cryptocurrency.

For that reason, we’ve taken the time to debunk the most common myths and misconceptions about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Ready? Let’s get to it!

Crypto is a Replacement of FIAT Currencies

There was a time when TV was thought to kill radio; the US dollar was once anticipated to replace gold. And now cryptocurrencies are said to be a replacement for fiat money. Don’t get us the wrong way. We are all-in for this to happen, but the truth is that fiat currencies are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Nowadays, paying with cryptocurrencies is a truly seamless experience. You can either load them to a prepaid crypto card like the Crypterium Card or cash out directly to a regular bank card using an instant payouts service.

However, many people around the world continue to rely on traditional paper money. Brazil is a good example of strong cash dependency. Only last year, Brazil’s Central Bank published a report that reveals nearly half of the country’s workforce continues to get paid in cash. And that isn’t all. An additional research by the Brazilian Service to Support Micro and Small Enterprises outlined that 60% of local businesses doesn’t have POS terminals to enable card payments.

Bitcoin is Anonymous

Bitcoin is often described as ‘anonymous’ as it’s possible to move funds without providing any personal information. But that’s not entirely true. In fact, you should think of Bitcoin as ‘pseudonymous’ instead. Each transaction is registered on the blockchain under a wallet address. If that address is ever linked to your real identity, then you’re exposed!

Moreover, there are sophisticated instruments that are used by government and financial entities to track identities and that provide blockchain forensics for illegal activities.

Monero and Dash, for example, are regarded as the best privacy coins for offering higher ‘anonymity’ to their holders. In the case of Monero, transactions are divided into randomized amounts and mixed between stealth address, making it impossible to track the real origin.

Cryptocurrencies have no “Intrinsic Value”

“The idea that [Bitcoin] has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view,” said Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most influential investors. And guess what? He is right.

Now, do you think FIAT currencies have “intrinsic value”? Almost nothing in the world of trading and money has it. The value of FIAT money, issued by nations, largely depends on the support fixed by governments. Bitcoin, unlike the dollar or the euro, has a limited supply, which is certainly a point on its side as it can’t be easily manipulated.

Let’s stop for a moment and see if Bitcoin and crypto actually fit the attributes of money:

  • Acceptability: Money needs to be accepted by most people. Thanks to solutions like the Crypterium Card, you can spend cryptocurrencies all over the world.

  • Scarcity: For a currency to have value, it should be limited. Only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be mined, which means that supply is indeed limited.

  • Interchangeable: You can trade crypto against other cryptocurrencies, as well as the US dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, etc.

  • Transferability: Blockchain technology makes cryptocurrencies the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to send and receive money internationally.

  • Durability: Cryptocurrencies are stored on decentralized networks which guarantees longevity as long as these networks stay active.

  • Divisibility: You can conveniently buy fractions of cryptocurrencies. For example, you can buy 0.001 Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrencies are Untaxable

Although some countries such as Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, and South Korea don’t impose taxes on cryptocurrencies, other nations like Spain have already alerted tax payers about required contributions to the government arcs linked to their crypto activities.

Taxation on cryptocurrencies varies depending on how countries perceive digital assets. For example, in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia, it is taxed as a capital gain. In Germany, on the other hand, the taxation will depend on whether you are buying or selling it.

Cryptocurrencies are illegal

Back in the 1970’s, the Medellín Cartel?—?one of the largest organized drug cartels in history?—?was making $60 million in drug profits per day. Does it make the dollar an ‘illegal’ currency?

The fact that criminals use a certain currency doesn’t make it illegal. It is true that crypto is highly associated with illegal transactions. For instance, a study carried out in Australia showed that 46% of Bitcoin transactions were involved in unlawful activities. But this does not mean that it’s solely used for illegal dealings. Any other currency can also be used for illegal transactions.

The Government can shut down Cryptocurrencies

Since cryptocurrencies are hosted in decentralized networks, there is no specific person to ‘take down’ or arrest. The only way this can happen is if the entire internet infrastructure is shut down.

Bitcoin is Blockchain

Okey. Let’s not put everything on one bag. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and, just like any other crypto, runs on blockchain. Blockchain is not the same thing as Bitcoin. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that is used in many different industries, not just finance.

If we were to assume that Bitcoin is a train, then, in this case, blockchain will be the train tracks. As mentioned above, blockchain allows information to be stored in a decentralized database.

Cryptocurrency is a reward that the blockchain offers miners for developing the network. To date, there are more than 1500 available coins and there is a blockchain behind each of them. That said, we can conclude that blockchain can exist in other contexts than crypto; however, crypto cannot exist outside a blockchain.

The Crypto Market is a Bubble

We get it. When you see an asset fall in value by half in a few days, bubble is the first thing that comes to mind. But bubbles aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, when bubbles have the power to boost mass adoption. Just like it happened with the dotcom or internet bubble back in the 90s.

Once the bubble bursts, it helps the market get rid of certain players, especially the ones without strong value propositions. The crypto market has experienced a speculative bubble, but as predicted by Crypterium analysts back in December, the market is recovering consistently.

Published:5/18/2019 7:58:17 PM
[Immigration] US Revokes Citizenship Of Imam Connected To Terrorists

The following article, US Revokes Citizenship Of Imam Connected To Terrorists, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye is the imam that said: Fight “against Americans” is “legitimate jihad.” Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye raised money, recruited fighters and provided training for insurgent groups battling Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, according to the Department of Justice. What took so long? US has finally revoked citizenship of extremist Somali ...

Continue reading: US Revokes Citizenship Of Imam Connected To Terrorists ...

Published:5/18/2019 7:29:02 PM
[Syndicated Posts] President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Sunday, May 19, 2019

By R. Mitchell -

President Donald Trump has no public events on his schedule for Sunday. The president and first lady are staying in residence at the White House this weekend. Check back often as any updates to the president’s plans will be added here. Keep up with Trump on CDN’s Presidential Schedule Page. ...

President Donald Trump’s Schedule for Sunday, May 19, 2019 is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/18/2019 7:29:02 PM
[Markets] Impossible Foods, Now Valued At $2 Billion, Is The New Beyond Meat

Following in the footsteps of easily the most successful IPO in recent history, Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, maker of vegan meat substitutes, has just raised another $300 million. The company is now valued at about $2 billion, according to FT.

The latest round of funding raised by Impossible Foods was led by Temasek of Singapore and Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and has taken the company's total cash raised to over $750 million. Meanwhile, Beyond Meat's share price has tripled since two weeks ago when it listed at $25 per share. It now has a market cap over $5 billion and was last trading with a $90 handle. 

Impossible Foods' fundraising comes after the company just announced a partnership with Burger King, who is rolling out the "Impossible Whopper" to more than 7,000 restaurants, doubling Impossible's US footprint. The "Impossible Whopper" is just like the classic Whopper, but made with an Impossible patty, according to Impossible's promotional website for the partnership.

"What's in the patty? Mostly soy protein, potato protein, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and heme," the site reads. 

Source: BBG


José Cil, chief executive of Restaurant Brands, Burger King’s owner, said that the offering will attract new customers and that Burger King is targeting an international rollout before the end of the year.

Demand for Impossible burgers has led to shortages at some restaurants. The company is going to be using its newly raised capital to meet this demand.

David Lee, chief financial officer for Impossible, said the capital will be used to bolster production capacity: "We are challenged with unprecedented increase in demand. We’re doing everything to increase our supply."

Impossible Foods was founded not even a decade ago in 2011 by Pat Brown, a Stanford University biochemistry professor.

The company is targeting eliminating the need for animals in the food chain by the year 2035. It will be adding a second production line in California, where it already has a plant. Since the company launched in Singapore in March, sales have tripled in Asia with the substitute being used in traditional meat dishes, like dumplings.

Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have based their meat substitutes on molecular science, using cells that mimic animal protein using plant nutrients. The companies both claim that their products have the same taste and texture as beef. The products even "bleed" like regular burgers – except the "blood" is a protein created through genetic engineering in Impossible's burgers. Beyond Meat dumbs the "bleeding" down and simply uses beetroot juice.

Whether or not the substitutes will ultimately be a fad remains to be seen. But judging by BYND's trading and Impossible's ability to raise capital, investors don't look like they're going to be waiting for "beetroot juice in the streets" before buying anytime soon. 

Published:5/18/2019 7:29:02 PM
[US News] Bipartisan! Rashida Tlaib invites Justin Amash to her office to co-sponsor her impeachment resolution

Rep. Justin Amash is the toast of the liberal media (redundant, sorry) Saturday after calling for President Trump's impeachment.

The post Bipartisan! Rashida Tlaib invites Justin Amash to her office to co-sponsor her impeachment resolution appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 7:29:02 PM
[] Saturday Evening Movie Thread 05-18-2019 [Hosted By: TheJamesMadison] Pacing Here's a concept in storytelling that is super important to some people, but not to me. And because it's not that important to me, I kind of don't get it. Well, I get what it is and have a... Published:5/18/2019 7:29:02 PM
[Markets] War of Will wins 144th Preakness in race that included riderless horse War of Will wins 144th Preakness in race that included riderless horse Published:5/18/2019 6:58:22 PM
[TC] Equity transcribed: Away’s $1.4B valuation and CrowdStrike’s S-1 Welcome back to another transcribed edition of Equity, the wildly popular TechCrunch podcast that digs deep into the week’s news about … equity. There were no IPOs this week so there was only one episode, but it was jam-packed with news about direct-to-consumer scooters, luggage funding and fake meat. This is where tech has taken […] Published:5/18/2019 6:58:22 PM
[Uncategorized] Australia: Conservatives score surprise upset victory as voters reject Labor climate change and income inequality agenda A preview of US 2020, where Dems are running on climate change and income inequality? Published:5/18/2019 6:58:22 PM
[In The News] GOP House Lawmaker: ‘Trump Has Engaged In Impeachable Conduct’

By Chris White -

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash said he believes that President Donald Trump engaged in impeachable offenses and that partisanship is eroding the country’s constitutional system. “Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded ...

GOP House Lawmaker: ‘Trump Has Engaged In Impeachable Conduct’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/18/2019 6:58:22 PM
[Politics] Justin Amash JUST became the FIRST Republican congressman to call for Trump’s IMPEACHMENT! Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan just tweeted out that Trump should be impeached – he’s the first Republican to do so. He goes through a long twitter thread to explain that according . . . Published:5/18/2019 6:41:38 PM
[worldNews] Saudi Arabia to convene Arab leaders over recent attacks Saudi Arabia’s King Salman invited Gulf and Arab leaders to convene emergency summits to discuss the implications of this week’s attacks against the kingdom and neighboring United Arab Emirates, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Published:5/18/2019 6:41:37 PM
[worldNews] Saudi crown prince discusses regional developments with Pompeo: ministry Saudi Arabia's crown prince discussed regional developments, including efforts to strengthen security and stability, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudi Media Ministry tweeted on Sunday.
Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[Entertainment] Kate Middleton Is All Smiles on Rope Swing as She Previews New Garden Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019Kate Middleton has created a magical garden kingdom just in time for the Chelsea Flower Show. Kensington Palace's Twitter account shared a number of photos that previewed the Duchess...
Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[Crime] Three MS-13 Members Arrested In Brutal Murder Of 14 Year Old Girl

The following article, Three MS-13 Members Arrested In Brutal Murder Of 14 Year Old Girl, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Three members of MS-13 were arrested for ‘brutally murdering a 14-year-old girl Ariana Funes-Diaz with a machete and baseball bat because they thought she was going to tell police about a kidnapping they had carried out the day before. An autopsy revealed that Funes-Diaz died of blunt force trauma, according to officials with the Prince George’s ...

Continue reading: Three MS-13 Members Arrested In Brutal Murder Of 14 Year Old Girl ...

Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[structure:news] Mary Portas separates from wife Melanie Rickey after four years Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[The Blog] Maine bans one type of mascot

Up in smoke

The post Maine bans one type of mascot appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[Politics] Justin Amash JUST became the FIRST Republican congressman to call for Trump’s IMPEACHMENT! Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan just tweeted out that Trump should be impeached – he’s the first Republican to do so. He goes through a long twitter thread to explain that according . . . Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[Markets] Ohio Suicide Rate Jumps 24% From 2008 To 2017 Amid Deindustrialization Wave

America's manufacturing sector was established in Ohio. But decades of deindustrialization have left once-thriving communities across the state in ruins. Ohio's manufacturing jobs were slashed to half by 2016, and median household income fell below the national average.

At the same time, tens of thousands of Ohioans lost their jobs, became depressed under financial pressure, and from 2008 to 2017, the suicide rate in the state jumped 24%, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

Some of the highest rates were located in Appalachian Ohio, the southeastern part of the state, and the suicide rate among men was four times greater than women.

Rates skyrocketed 80% among young millennials (children 14 and younger) and 57% for baby boomers, according to a report published by the 28-organization public-private Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health.

During the period, there were 15,246 suicides across the state, for an average annual rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people, the report says, which equates to more than 520,000 years of life were lost over the decade. 

Summit County had 786 suicides from 2008 to 2017, at a rate of 14.51 per 100,000 population. Summit's economy experienced deep deindustrialization over the years, leaving surrounding communities in a state of shock.

Other counties and their suicides and rates were: Stark (591, 15.74), Medina (206, 11.95), Portage (189, 11.71), Cuyahoga (1,461, 11.41) and Wayne (125, 10.92).

Lori Criss, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said the suicide crisis is a significant concern for the State Health Improvement Plan.

"Our department and a number of others have initiatives that address suicide prevention and support families impacted by losing a loved one to suicide," Criss said. "This gives us a chance to really look at those and to grow them in intentional ways to have the impact that we need with specific communities or populations who are at higher risk."

The report shows nine of the 10 Ohio counties with the highest suicide rates are located in the Appalachian region.

Orman Hall, the study's author, explained these areas had experienced economic deprivation through deindustrialization.

Michelle Price, program director at the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, added that these counties had seen incomes collapse for farmers and industrial workers.

Other findings: The highest suicide rates were among white Ohioans; rate increases were more in rural communities than in metropolitan areas, and firearms accounted for half of all suicides.

With a manufacturing recovery nowhere in sight and a deepening trade war, it's likely suicide rates across the state will continue to move higher into 2020. When the next downturn strikes, one-off factors relating to financial asset losses could drive the rate to record highs.

Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[US News] Would the Jefferson Memorial get to stay? Pete Buttigieg wants buildings, events renamed

Pete Buttigieg's working on eliminating the Jefferson name from Indiana, and he'll do it for the whole country as well.

The post Would the Jefferson Memorial get to stay? Pete Buttigieg wants buildings, events renamed appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 6:37:19 PM
[worldNews] Bolivia's Morales defies term limits, launches bid for fourth term Bolivian President Evo Morales launched his campaign for a fourth term on Saturday in a remote coca-growing valley without addressing the biggest controversy in his bid - the fact that he is running at all.
Published:5/18/2019 5:57:42 PM
[Politics] Arnold Schwarzenegger DROP-KICKED in South Africa, makes a positive moment out of it Everyone is talking about this idiot who cowardly drop-kicked Arnold Schwarzenneggar while he was doing charity work in South Africa. He posted video of it – but doesn’t want the attacker to . . . Published:5/18/2019 5:57:42 PM
[Entertainment] Tyga Was Once Married to Jordan Craig, Mother of Tristan Thompson's Son Tyga, Jordan CraigSmall world! Los Angeles court documents first unearthed by TMZ and confirmed by E! News show that Tyga, Kylie Jenner's ex-boyfriend, was once briefly married to Jordan Craig. She...
Published:5/18/2019 5:57:42 PM
[Markets] Fund Managers Now Offering To Pay Investors To Manage Their Money

It’s not just interest rates that are going negative around the globe: in a world in which money is increasingly going to robot, passive and various other low-cost, ETF-based investors, some fund managers are desperate enough to attract new outside capital that they are offering a negative fee model, that will pay investors and clients to manage their money, according to FT.

With the rise of passive investing instruments and a centrally-planned market that’s making even the stupidest investors look like geniuses thanks to central bank intervention when there is even the smallest dip, competition among passive and active managers has reached a fever pitch, even though (as the chart below shows), passive is clearly winning and active investing is losing. And because profitability for many funds comes primarily from asset growth instead of performance, the competition has been to lower fees in order to attract new business. This led Fidelity to launch the first ever zero-fee funds last year.

But now, a boutique US fund manager called Salt Financial wants to take it one step further and offer funds that have expense ratios of negative 5 bps, effectively crediting customers $5 for every $10,000 they invest. While some say this is the next evolution in the space, others simply say it’s a marketing stunt. Ben Johnson, director of global ETF research at Morningstar said: "The fee war is now a PR war". 

Total net assets of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the United States from 2002 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars)
 

Asset managers relinquished $3.5 billion in income through fee cuts last year and have given up nearly $16 billion since 2014. Products with the lowest expense ratios – those under 5 bps - grew 20 times faster than products with expense ratios over 20 bps. And some of the biggest names in finance, including Blackrock, Vanguard and J.P. Morgan have been aggressive in slashing fees.

The company's Low truBeta US Market ETF has a management fee of 29 bps, but Salt would offer a discount of 34 bps, essentially netting the investor 5 bps. The negative fee will apply to the first $100 million invested in the fund for the first year.

President of Salt Financial, Alfred Eskandar, said that the company made the offer as a result of struggling to attract assets to the first ETF it launched last year. He continued, noting that "...advisers had contacted him and were interested in the product but were unable to invest clients’ money as the fund total had not reached $100m. This, he says, is due to misconceptions over the lack of liquidity in small funds and the higher chance that new products would shut."

He said: “When we launched we didn’t realize how closed off the market was to new providers — more than 80 per cent is out of reach.”

Eskandar compares the negative fee model to mobile phone networks that offer free phones as a way to attract longer-term business. Like those companies, Salt believes they can retain customers through strong performance. He continued: “New ETF issuers have two choices — they can do their best to survive for the six years it takes on average to get to $100m, or they can do something more drastic that gets them there quicker. How else can they compete in a market that isn’t a level playing field?”

Rosenbluth said that he expects small companies to offer similar types of incentives if they’re having trouble getting into the market: “There are hundreds of ETFs that have more than three years of history but less than $100m of assets. It seems like a logical step for an asset manager — rather than killing off the fund, giving it a last gasp of breath.”



He also expects negative fee incentives to be temporary. He pointed out that many managers already offer fee waivers and pay brokerage companies to feature on the platform. “Negative fees may be a taboo at the moment but it’s the logical extension,” Rosenbluth continued. 

Warren Miller, chief executive of Flowspring, said managers could offer some negative fee programs that are permanent: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat and there’s more than one way to monetise a fund.”

Last year, influential pension consultancy Mercer caught the attention of the industry by proposing that asset managers should pay investors to run their portfolios and provide performance guarantees.

Divyesh Hindocha, a partner at Mercer, wrote: “If you believe in a strategy, surely you should put a bit of your capital in it — why wouldn’t you?”

We first reported on Salt's negative fee ETF in March of this year. 

Published:5/18/2019 5:57:42 PM
[Entertainment] Khloe Kardashian and True Thompson Are Living Their Best Lives on Family Girls' Trip Khloe Kardashian, True Thompson, Malika Haqq, Turks and Caicos, InstagramKhloe Kardashian and True Thompson are enjoying some R&R on a girls' trip in a beautiful location. The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star and her 1-year-old daughter are...
Published:5/18/2019 5:27:59 PM
[worldNews] UK PM May says Brexit legislation to have 'improved package of measures' Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said she will present a "new bold offer" to lawmakers with "an improved package of measures" in a final attempt to get the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill through parliament before she leaves office.
Published:5/18/2019 5:27:58 PM
[Uncategorized] Elizabeth Warren Competes with Bernie Sanders for Dangled AOC Endorsement Pathetic much? Published:5/18/2019 5:27:58 PM
[News] Pediatric Endocrinologist Blasts ‘Poor Science’ Behind Child Transgender Therapy

The following article, Pediatric Endocrinologist Blasts ‘Poor Science’ Behind Child Transgender Therapy, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Paul Hruz blasts the ‘poor science’ behind child transgender therapy: ‘These children are very much being harmed.’ “It’s fairly important to recognize that what is being put forward with the goal of truly helping these individuals that are suffering is based on very poor science and any effort to draw attention to ...

Continue reading: Pediatric Endocrinologist Blasts ‘Poor Science’ Behind Child Transgender Therapy ...

Published:5/18/2019 5:27:58 PM
[Markets] Michigan GOP congressman seen as first of party to say Trump acts ‘impeachable’ Michigan GOP congressman seen as first of party to say Trump acts ‘impeachable’ Published:5/18/2019 5:27:58 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey: Not Just A Trade War, But A Shooting War With China Seems Inevitable

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

The Chinese came from nothing; only 40 years ago, they had nothing but a billion impoverished peasants. No money. No technology. No power. Today, they’re on par with the United States. But, if this trend continues – which it will – their economy will be triple the size of the US economy in 20 years.

Not just a trade war, but a shooting war with the Chinese seems inevitable. Because when tensions build up between states they eventually fight with each other. China is the major rising power. It’s got four times the US population, it’s soon going to be more economically powerful, and it’s going to reach military parity. It’s of a different culture than the US. The US government may figure it’s best to take them out while the balance still favors them. It’s a bit like the situation was with the USSR in the ’80s. They could see they were going into decline, and some Soviet generals figured it was “now or never” for a successful war. Fortunately they collapsed first.

The Chinese don’t like seeing US aircraft carriers off their coast any more than we would like to see Chinese aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Mexico or off Santa Catalina Island.

The last thing that we need is a war with the Chinese. But if something that’s been called the Thucydides Trap is valid – and I think it is – then it’s highly likely. It refers to the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, at the end of 5th century BC. The Trap is sprung when a reigning power strikes out at the advancing power while they still have a chance of winning.

The American military thinks that a shooting war is inevitable. And it probably is. Why? Well, 5,000 years of history teaches us that it’s better to start a war when you’re more powerful than your enemy rather than wait until they’re more powerful than you. It’s always been this way. The Golden Rule of statecraft is: Do unto others – but do it first. It’s a very dangerous situation.

The US may do something stupid, like fabricate an incident, and launch a preemptive strike against China. Or perhaps things just get out of control, as they did in World War I.

It would make about as much sense as the Peloponnesian War, or World War I. But these things can take on a life of their own.

The wars between European powers were bad enough. But when the US fought Japan it actually turned into a race war. What happened in the Pacific was far uglier than what happened in Europe. There were basically no prisoners taken.

The next big war – as opposed to a sport war, like those in the Middle East – is likely to be with China. That could make World War II look trivial by comparison.

The Next Financial Crisis Will Be “The Big One”

Nobody has a crystal ball, but I think you can see the dominos lining up. Will this be the big one, or will it just be another recession – an inconvenience, followed by even bigger bubbles? It’s a question of odds. And the more dominos that lineup – the political, economic, social, demographic, military, and cultural dominos – the more logical that this next one is going to be much bigger than what happened in 2008.

That’s why I use the analogy of 2007-2010 being the leading edge of this hurricane. We’ve had a very big eye of the storm because of absolutely massive money printing by central banks all over the world. It’s had the effect of throwing oil on the water.

When we go into the trailing edge of this hurricane, it’s going to be much worse, much different, and much longer lasting than the unpleasantness of 2007-2010. Why? Because that was caused by inflation and debt. We’ve had vastly more of that over the last decade to paper over the problems. I think we’re re-entering the hurricane now.

But there’s always some good news. Here the good news is that most of the real wealth in the world – skills, technologies, buildings, things of that nature – won’t disappear just because the economy collapses. Most of the real wealth will still be here. It’s just going to change ownership.

I look forward to moments of crisis – assuming that the system itself is maintained in more or less its present form. In other words, it’s possible to look forward to a financial crisis, if you can position yourself to weather it. Financial crises come and go. It’s possible to position yourself to profit from a financial crisis.

I’m not, however, looking forward to an economic crisis, or a political crisis. Those can have major consequences. And I’m absolutely not looking forward to a cultural crisis, which is by far the most serious kind. Unfortunately, that is what we’re facing at this point.

Let’s just hope that what’s coming this time, over the next few years, is limited to a financial crisis. But I don’t expect that’s the case. I think it’s going to be economic, political, and cultural as well.

*  *  *

If the trade war between China and the US turns into a shooting war, a complete economic collapse is sure to follow. That’s why we’re sharing our field guide to Surviving and Thriving During an Economic Collapse. Click here to download your free PDF copy now.

Published:5/18/2019 5:27:58 PM
[US News] ‘I strongly condemn the voices on Fox,’ says Pete Buttigieg, who’ll be doing a town hall on Fox News

So demonizing Fox News as strenuously as possible is part of the Democratic Party platform in 2020?

The post ‘I strongly condemn the voices on Fox,’ says Pete Buttigieg, who’ll be doing a town hall on Fox News appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 5:27:58 PM
[Politics] Arnold Schwarzenegger DROP-KICKED in South Africa, makes a positive moment out of it Everyone is talking about this idiot who cowardly drop-kicked Arnold Schwarzenneggar while he was doing charity work in South Africa. He posted video of it – but doesn’t want the attacker to . . . Published:5/18/2019 5:27:58 PM
[The Blog] A Trump-supporting conservative Prime Minister pulled off a surprise win in Australia

"This was the unlosable election for the Labor Party."

The post A Trump-supporting conservative Prime Minister pulled off a surprise win in Australia appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/18/2019 4:57:37 PM
[Markets] Israel Attacks Syria Two Consecutive Nights While Hosting Eurovision Finals

The Syrian government says Israel has launched airstrikes on the country twice in less than twenty-four hours amid a broader pressure campaign against Iran and its allies currently being waged by the United States that has sent regional tensions soaring. 

State TV reported anti-air defenses shot down "hostile targets coming from the direction of occupied territories" on Saturday night, a day after Friday night strikes first targeted the First Division HQ of the Syrian Army near al-Kiswe, south of Damascus, according to Reuters

Purported image of anti-air defenses operational over Damascus during Friday night's Israeli strikes. 

Authorities in Damascus said Syrian air defenses successfully intercepted multiple projectiles fired from the direction of Israel, though there appears a consensus in emerging international reports that details surrounding the second wave of strikes are vague and remained unconfirmed. 

The projectiles came from “occupied territory” and appeared over airspace in southern Syria, official news agency SANA said, in reference to Israel. However, there's yet to be confirmation from the Israeli side, which usually doesn't give it even though since at least 2014 it has conducted hundreds of similar attacks. 

Some of the details were relayed in a Times of Israel report as follows:

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Israel fired at least three missiles. Two of the strikes targeted a Syrian army brigade which supervises the country’s Quneitra province, he told AFP, while the third missile was destroyed by Syrian defenses.

Both the Friday and Saturday waves of strikes seemed to be brief in duration, suggesting either Hezbollah or Iran related facilities may have been the targets. 

Friday's attack was witnessed across Damascus as massive explosions were heard in the vicinity of the capital and anti-air defenses were filmed in action. 

According to the Times of Israel, Hebrew-language media presented Friday's Israeli attack as a confrontation with Iranian assets inside Syria. 

Notably Saturday's attack was carried out during the last night of the Eurovision finals song contest hosted in Tel Aviv.

Israel has faced global criticism after it conducted hundreds of airstrikes over Gaza early this month, in response to Hamas and Islamic Jihad launching a record number of their own rockets in a short period.

Some reports have suggested Israel halted its latest Gaza military campaign over fears Eurovision 2019 could have been canceled, damaging Israel's reputation internationally.

The final night of Eurovision underway as Israel launched a risky attack on southern Syria. Image via the AP/Daily Mail.

But now with the highly visible international event concluded, Israel could be right back on a war footing in both Syria and Gaza, as this weekend's strikes near Damascus suggest. 

Published:5/18/2019 4:57:37 PM
[Politics and Government] Austrian Leader Calls for Snap Election After Far-Right Vice Chancellor Resigns A 2017 video that was secretly filmed showed Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache promising government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch. Published:5/18/2019 4:57:37 PM
[Media] So what is Jake Tapper doing by telling us about the prisoner executed in Alabama so close to abortion ban?

Jake Tapper thought it was worth a few tweets to honor the victims of the man executed in Alabama.

The post So what is Jake Tapper doing by telling us about the prisoner executed in Alabama so close to abortion ban? appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 4:57:37 PM
[Artificial Intelligence] Sam Altman’s leap of faith Earlier this year, founder-investor Sam Altman left his high-profile role as the president of Y Combinator to become the CEO of OpenAI, an AI research center at its outset that founded by some of the most prominent people in the tech industry in late 2015. The idea: to ensure that artificial intelligence is “developed in […] Published:5/18/2019 4:57:37 PM
[World] Exxon Evacuates All Foreign Staff From Iraqi Oilfield On Security Concerns

At the end of a week that's witnessed a dangerous US military build-up in the Persian Gulf amid anti-Iran war rhetoric, Exxon Mobil has evacuated all of its foreign staff from Iraq's West Qurna 1 oilfield, flying them to Dubai until "the situation is secure," according to a company statement. 

Total staff evacuated is about 60, cites Reuters, and comes days after the US ordered all non-emergency personnel to leave the US embassy in Baghdad in an extremely rare security move, claiming intelligence that shows Americans are under immediate threat from Shia milias backed by Iran. 

Oil field in southern Iraq, via Iraq's Ministry of Oil

Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company, which owns the oil field from which the Exxon Mobil employees have been evacuated, announced Saturday that production is continuing without disruption at 440,000 barrels per day (bpd) under the operation of Iraqi engineers. 

“Exxon Mobil’s evacuation is a precautionary and temporary measure. We have no indication over any dangers, the situation is secure and very stable at the oilfield which is running at full capacity and producing 440,000 bpd,” a South Oil spokesman said.

And Exxon Mobile in a separate company press release said, “ExxonMobil has programs and measures in place to provide security to protect its people, operations and facilities. We are committed to ensuring the safety of our employees and contractors at all of our facilities around the world.”

The evacuation was reportedly completed early on Saturday in phases which had started on Friday: “Last night 28 employees were evacuated to the airport and the rest were sent to the camp. This morning they were evacuated to the airport and no (foreign) staff remain in the field,” according to a security firm which oversaw their emergency departure.

South Oil company in a separate statement noted Iraq's oil exports through its southern ports stood at 3.5 million bpd by Saturday, amid fears that a conflict between Iranian and US warships could choke global shipping through the vital Strait of Hormuz.

Published:5/18/2019 4:57:37 PM
[Media] Report: Salon Media Group up for grabs at the fire sale price of $5 million

You could own Salon Media Group for just $550,000 down.

The post Report: Salon Media Group up for grabs at the fire sale price of $5 million appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[World] Democrats can't spin away murders committed by illegals

A Kenyan citizen who's been living in the United States illegally has now been charged by authorities with the killing at least 11 women.

Yet all the Democrats still pretty are all go for open borders. The Democrats want to talk about amnesty and abolishing ICE and not ... Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM

[Entertainment] 25 best revenge movies of all time 24/7 Tempo took 343 movies found on the user-created lists of revenge films found on Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and narrowed them down by ratings.
     
 
 
Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[Markets] AOC stands with Buffett: CEO net worth should take a hit if bailout given AOC stands with Buffett: CEO net worth should take a hit if bailout given Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[Education] North Carolina Middle School Brings in Transvestites and Drag Queens for Kid’s ‘Self-Esteem’

The following article, North Carolina Middle School Brings in Transvestites and Drag Queens for Kid’s ‘Self-Esteem’, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A North Carolina middle school brought in a group of transvestites and drag queens to help teach kids to "be themselves" and push the LGBTQ lifestyle.

Continue reading: North Carolina Middle School Brings in Transvestites and Drag Queens for Kid’s ‘Self-Esteem’ ...

Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[Entertainment] James Charles Addresses "Misinformation" in New Video as Tati Westbrook Says She's Taking Time "To Heal" James CharlesJames Charles is not going down without a fight. The YouTube star posted a new video on Saturday just about two weeks after his very public feud with beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook went...
Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[worldNews] Cristina Fernandez surprises Argentina by running for vice president, not top job Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said Saturday she will run as vice president in elections later this year, a surprise move by the firebrand former leader who had been widely expected to be the main challenger to President Mauricio Macri.
Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[5c3c9edd-f27f-590b-88ed-ce964871326b] Judith Miller: Has the Trump-era made us numb to outrage? Americans should be very upset about these 4 things Where is the prophetic cry, 'I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore'? Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[Markets] Do We Really Have A Decade Left To Solve Climate Change?

Authored by Robert Murphy via The Institute for Energy Research,

Wise alecks on social media noted with amusement how Beto O’Rourke recently claimed humans had only ten years to act on climate change, thus one-upping Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who had previously gone out on a limb by putting the deadline at twelve years.

Snark aside, it’s important to point out that the “consensus science” as codified, for example, in the periodic reports from the United Nations do not support such a cliff-hanger mentality at all.

Our Political Figures Ignore the IPCC

The quickest way to make this point is to reproduce something I highlighted several years ago in an IER post where I caught Paul Krugman just making up stuff about climate change. Specifically, the following table comes from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the AR5 (Table SPM.2):

Source: IPCC AR5, Working Group III, Summary for Policymakers

To make it easier to read, I’ll excerpt the relevant left and right portions of the table below:

SOURCE: Adapted from IPCC AR5, Working Group III, Summary for Policymakers, Table SPM.2

There’s a lot of information in the table, but let me summarize the important elements vis-à-vis the recent claims from O’Rourke and Ocasio-Cortez. The beige cells in the adapted table above show the percentage increases in the total (undiscounted) mitigation costs necessary to achieve the far-left (white cells) atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in the year 2100, for the years 2030-2050 and also for 2050-2100, for two different scenarios of total emissions (either below 55 gigatons of CO2-equivalent, or above).

In other words, the beige cells show us how much a delay of government action through the year 2030 will increase the cost necessary to achieve the specified atmospheric concentrations for the year 2100 (white cells). Specifically, the beige cells show that by “doing nothing” about climate change until the year 2030, even in a high-emission baseline scenario, the IPCC’s best guess of the cost of achieving the aggressive outcome rises by 44 percent in the years 2030-2050 and 37 percent in the years 2050-2100.

Now to be sure, the rhetorical point of the above table in the AR5 was to encourage support for climate mitigation policies. The people who put together this table for policymakers wanted to show, “Hey, since we’re obviously going to have to deal with climate change eventually, we might as well get going, because the longer we delay, the more expensive it will be.”

IPCC: An Inconvenient Truth

My modest point here, however, is to show that this table now poses an awkward stumbling block for those—like O’Rourke and Ocasio-Cortez—trying to scare people into supporting ludicrously expensive and aggressive proposals to “fight climate change.” If O’Rourke and Ocasio-Cortez were anywhere close to being correct when issuing their ever-shrinking windows for action, then in the IPCC table above, the beige cells should have all had infinity signs, and in a footnote it would explain: “If we wait until 2030 to begin mitigation efforts, we will all die.”

But that’s not what the UN report told us. Instead, it reported that yes, the costs of achieving various climate targets (as measured by atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in the year 2100) would be higher due to delay, but even in a pessimistic scenario, the best-guess of the cost increase was 44 percent.

Conclusion

In this post, I highlighted one particular table from the most recent UN report on the science of climate change in order to show just how baseless are the recent claims that humans have years to act on climate change. Over at Reason, Ronald Bailey marshals more evidence—again, from the very “consensus science” documents we are supposed to rely on—to show that these claims are nonsense.

This whole episode is yet another example demonstrating the farce of the climate change policy debate. Whenever a critic disagrees with the most radical proposals that would—according to their own proponents—transform Western society, the critic is berated as a science denier. And yet, even a cursory examination of the actual technical reports shows that the prophets of doom are the ones who are spouting forth unsupported claims.

Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[] Saturday Afternoon Chess Thread 05-18-2019 As always, the chess/dress pr0n thread is an open thread, so there is no such thing as an off-topic comment. And TheJamesMadison's movie thread will be up later this evening. Easier Problem - To Play (980) Goal: White can... Published:5/18/2019 4:27:03 PM
[Politics] ILLEGAL ALIEN from Kenya charged with ELEVEN MURDERS of elderly women in Texas! This is just atrocious. A Kenyan illegal immigrant has been charged with the murders of 11 elderly women in Texas. From The Star, Kenya: A Kenyan living illegally in the US has . . . Published:5/18/2019 3:57:06 PM
[worldNews] UK's Brexit Party maintains big lead in EU election poll Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party has kept a big lead over both the ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party in a poll on voting intentions for the European elections.
Published:5/18/2019 3:57:06 PM
[Markets] Single-Payer Healthcare Is The Worst Kind Of Universal Healthcare

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

In the United States, thanks largely to Bernie Sanders, the term "single-payer health care" has become more or less synonymous with the phrase "universal healthcare."

This stems partially from the fact that "single-payer" is the term most often used to refer to foreign systems of universal healthcare, and also because most Americans know virtually nothing about how foreign healthcare systems work.

Moreover, when it comes to interacting with foreigners, Americans most often encounter the writings and opinion of other English speakers — which mostly means Canadians and British subjects. And it so happens both Canada and the United Kingdom employ single-payer healthcare systems.

Elsewhere in the world, however, it is not uncommon to find other countries that employ "multi-payer" and "multi-tier" healthcare systems that are nonetheless designed to provide universal coverage.

This is also especially important to recognize because single-payer healthcare systems are some of the worst systems in regards to freedom of choice and healthcare quality. This is because the primary benefit of single-payer healthcare — as so often recounted by its supporters — is that it is cheap.

But "cheapness" is not exactly the best criteria for judging a healthcare system, and the shortcomings of single-payer systems make this abundantly clear.

What Is Single-Payer?

So what makes a single-payer system distinct from other systems? As the name implies, a single-payer system is one in which there is only one source of payments or funding for healthcare transactions. This source, of course, is the government.

So, in a single-payer system healthcare services is paid for only through government funding. This can be done through a variety of mechanisms. For example, healthcare facilities can be directly funded and run by government agencies or they can be nominally private providers which receive all their payments from a government agency.

With single-payer systems there is no competition from other "payers" such as private insurance companies, or even cash-for-service firms.

Exceptions can be found in those services that are not deemed to be "essential" healthcare services. In Canada, for example, private health services are allowed in services legally defined as non-essential such as mental health, pharmaceuticals, some types of eye care, and long-term care.

Thus, strictly speaking, no system is a "pure" single-payer system that encompasses every conceivable type of care. Consequently, in both the UK and Canada, one will still encounter activists who think that the state-run healthcare systems are too laissez-faire. These critics claim coverage should be expanded to exclude private competition even more, and to expand the definition of "essential" services. It is not uncommon to hear claims that these systems are becoming "two-tier systems" (meant pejoratively) in which the implication is that there is one low-quality tier for ordinary people, and a high-quality tier for everyone else.

In practice, however, there is a reason most of the world points to the United Kingdom and Canada as examples of single-payer systems: they offer very few private-sector options for core services. While there are always some areas where private-sector activity allowed, these systems are fundamentally built on the idea of excluding private competition and private payments in favor of directly controlling healthcare prices and services.

What Are the Multi-Payer Systems?

In contrast to a single-payer system, numerous countries with universal healthcare systems employ multi-payer systems.1

In the case of Germany, there are multiple statutory tiers of healthcare. Most Germans below a certain income level are covered by a main tier of heavily-subsidized health care. But service providers are not government owned, and they compete for customers at all income levels, including those who use private insurance.

Switzerland, meanwhile, employs a private-sector-based insurance mandate similar in some ways to Obamacare in the US. That is, the Swiss are required by law to purchase health insurance or face legal penalties. Low-income Swiss receive subsidies to purchase insurance. The Swiss system also allows for small fees to be paid by patients at each doctor visit, up to an annual maximum.

A key difference between US and Swiss insurance mandates, however, is that Swiss health insurance is purchased at the individual level, and not through employers.

These multi-tier systems — which also include France and the Netherlands, among others — are not free-market systems, of course. In all cases, markets are heavily regulated in terms of mandates that providers cover pre-existing conditions. Other regulations are used in attempts to control costs.

Single-Payer: Bad for Both Freedom and Quality

Indeed, the drive to control costs is a central reason for the single-payer healthcare system. By outlawing competition for many procedures, and by making healthcare providers dependent on a single governmental payer, it becomes easy for governments to force down prices by limiting payments to providers, and by dictating what sorts of treatments will be allowed.

But the ability to force down costs is not necessarily a great measure of a healthcare system's desirability.

A "cheap" healthcare system can certainly be achieved by imposing price controls, and cutting out pricey treatments deemed un-economical by state bureaucrats. But this often results in long waiting times and loss of quality. Not surprisingly, wait times for treatment have been shown to be significantly longer in Canada than in Germany, Switzerland, and France.

Moreover, by prohibiting competition in core services, providers lack an economic incentive to improve the quality of care. As noted by the UK's Civitas organization, competition among providers — even in a heavily regulated and subsidized systems — is important to encouraging quality services. Referring to the German system, the Civitas researchers note:

Competing providers usually treat all patients but have an incentive to attract the high paying privately insured.This has a ‘levelling up’ effect on the quality of care available to all.

Similar dynamics are true in Switzerland, and even in Denmark where the state encourages competition between hospitals. In the UK, on the other hand, the state controlled National Health Service has no reason to improve or innovate outside of public outrage. As George Pickering has noted, quality in the UK has become an increasing concern with honest observers of the British healthcare system. One recent open letter from British physicians to the Prime Minister

further noted that it had become “routine” for patients to be left on gurneys in corridors for as long as 12 hours before being offered proper beds, with many of them eventually being put into makeshift wards hastily constructed in side-rooms. In addition to this, it was revealed that around 120 patients per day are being attended to in corridors and waiting rooms, with many being made to undergo humiliating treatments in the public areas of hospitals.

Yet, apparently unaware of how other systems function, many British voters continue to support the British single-payer system uncritically. Pickering continues:

the characteristics of the NHS [i.e., universal coverage] which Britons mistakenly believe to be a unique source of pride, are actually present in almost every other healthcare system in the developed world; yet these other systems lack the NHS’s hostility to innovation in medicines and practices. Furthermore, the high number of avoidable infant deaths in some of its trusts led to the NHS being brought under government investigation in April for standards of maternal care which regulators described as “truly shocking.”

The High Cost of Government Price Controls

By allowing providers to compete, it's harder for governments to control costs. Thus, it's not surprising that when it comes to government spending on healthcare subsidies, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Denmark are among the big spenders. In both Denmark and the Netherlands, about one third of the population chooses to buy private insurance.2 (In Switzerland, of course, the system is based on mandatory private insurance.) Prices are thus bid up as a result, for both government and the private sector.

But, taxpayers and healthcare consumers also get what they pay for.

While multi-payer systems often tolerate higher prices in the name of better choice and higher quality, single-payer outlaw choice in the name of "savings."

Defenders of single-payer systems will justify these roadblocks to high-quality service as essential for maintaining "fairness." As Canadian historian Ronald Hamowy has noted, there has been opposition in Canada to allowing even small clinics performing diagnostic services like MRI scans. This, it was argued, would allow rich people to "jump the queue."

The message is thus this: either you get healthcare services on the government's terms, or you don't get it at all.

Comparisons with the US System

Politicians in the US are increasingly willing to force markets toward some sort of universal health system. This certainly has its downsides, but the most alarming aspect of the current drive is the fact many of the loudest voices for universal healthcare are insisting on single-payer healthcare as the only alternative.

But, if US policymakers are going to continue to move the US healthcare system even further away from functioning markets, less damage would be done by avoiding a single-payer system and instead embracing a multi-payer system.

After all, the US is already a non-universal multi-payer system, and the US already has a system that heavily subsidizes healthcare through programs like Medicaid and Medicare. In fact, nearly one-half of all healthcare spending in the US is already paid by governments. And one-third of Americans already receive healthcare through some sort of government program.

Transitioning to a universal healthcare system is going to be costly — in terms of dollars — no matter what. But by adopting a single-payer system, Americans would be forced to endure high costs that aren't calculated in dollars: long wait times, rationed care, and few choices beyond the government-controlled system.

The innovation, quality improvements, and timely care offered by competing private firms would be largely destroyed by adopting a single-payer system. Although these advantages have been only partially preserved by multi-payer systems that allow some of the advantages of a free marketplace, those now clamoring for a single-payer system would have us believe this all must be abolished in favor of near-total government control.

Published:5/18/2019 3:57:06 PM
[a388b99c-fa82-5c10-8466-ecc0b9debc19] Liberty Vittert: What’s your actual chance of getting a mosquito bite? A statistician crunches the numbers If I could kill every single mosquito within a square mile of myself at any given time, I would. Published:5/18/2019 3:57:06 PM
[Markets] Key Words: AOC stands with Buffett in complaint that crisis CEOs were rewarded, but should pay Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez embraces comments from Warren Buffett, who earlier this month said the net worth of the CEOs should take the hit, not shareholders, if a bailout is necessary.
Published:5/18/2019 3:57:06 PM
[Entertainment] Country star Travis Tritt's tour bus involved in fatal crash in South Carolina Travis Tritt's tour bus was involved in fatal crash in South Carolina Saturday that left two people dead.
     
 
 
Published:5/18/2019 3:29:21 PM
[structure:news] School turns to the teachings of Aristotle in an attempt to boost pupil wellbeing Published:5/18/2019 3:29:21 PM
[Abortion] Federal Judges Stomp on Law Protecting Taxpayers from Forced Abortion Funding

The following article, Federal Judges Stomp on Law Protecting Taxpayers from Forced Abortion Funding, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Thomas More Society Represents Susan B. Anthony List In Defending Federal Title X Protect Life  and Stop Forced Abortion Spending Rule

Continue reading: Federal Judges Stomp on Law Protecting Taxpayers from Forced Abortion Funding ...

Published:5/18/2019 3:29:21 PM
[Uncategorized] Democrats Accelerate Efforts to Purge Pro-Lifers From the Party in 2020 A growing number of pro-choice Democrats are telling their pro-life colleagues that their days in office are numbered. But will their strategy work? Published:5/18/2019 3:29:21 PM
[The Blog] Fran Lebowitz to Maher: Maybe the Saudis can give Trump the Khashoggi treatment

That's murder, you know.

The post Fran Lebowitz to Maher: Maybe the Saudis can give Trump the Khashoggi treatment appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/18/2019 3:29:21 PM
[Markets] Obama's Top FBI Lawyer Distances Himself From Steele Dossier As DOJ Investigation Looms

James Baker - the Obama FBI's top attorney (general counsel) said on Friday that he was skeptical about the Steele dossier, and "concerned" about its veracity when the agency received it prior to the 2016 US election, according to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross. 

"It was more information that we viewed, that I viewed, skeptically from the outset, and I was concerned about it and had a jaundiced eye, or looked at it with a jaundiced eye right from the outset," Baker told MSNBC's Chuck Todd, adding "Steele was and had been a source that we thought was reliable. He’s reporting all this information. It looks alarming. We took it seriously, but we tried to vet it.

The dossier - a collection of memos compiled by an ex-British spy funded by Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and the DNC - was used by the FBI to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Steele alleged that Page provided the Trump campaign a Kremlin backchannel during the election. 

Baker also told Todd that he thinks the FISA warrants against Page would have been granted without the dossier, and took a pregnant pause when asked if the dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants on other people - saying "I don’t think I should comment on that, I’m not sure what else the government has confirmed," and adding "I don’t want to confirm or deny anything about other potential FISA applications.

Watch:

Meanwhile, Obama's former intel chiefs are at odds over who exactly pushed the dossier

According to Fox Newsan email chain exists which indicates that Comey told bureau subordinates that Brennan insisted on the dossier's inclusion in the intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russian interference. Also interesting is that the dossier was referred to as "crown material" in the emails - a possible reference to the fact that Steele is a former British spy. 

In a statement to Fox, however, a former CIA official "put the blame squarely on Comey." 

Comey, meanwhile, has attacked Attorney General William Barr for investigating him, tweeting on Friday "The AG should stop sliming his own Department.  If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found." 

Barr, has launched a wide-ranging investigation into FBI conduct during the 2016 election, making him public enemy #1 to the left. In a Friday interview with Fox News, Barr said that the use of the Steele Dossier in the FISA warrant was a "very unusual situation," especially one "that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and a somewhat jejue analysis. And to use that to conduct counterintelligence against the American political campaign would be a strange development."

James Baker, meanwhile, told Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes last week that he's 'nervous' about the DOJ Inspector General's ongoing investigation into FBI/DOJ conduct surrounding the 2016 election. 

Baker made clear that he wanted to speak "as openly as I possibly can" about the origin of the FBI's investigation into Donald Trump - "to reassure the American people that it was done for lawful, legitimate reasons, and was apolitical," according to the Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy. 

Things are getting hot in DC and it's only May... 

Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[fc9b7892-b2c6-5218-b6f0-920cd9e9fc42] Seth Lederman: Our vets fought to protect our freedom. We must fight for their freedom from PTSD and suicide After almost two decades of war, America is realizing the ramifications of PTSD. Over 2.7 million men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. The VA estimates that one fifth – or about 500,000 – suffer serious emotional problems. Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[Markets] Biden pitches himself as a uniter even as he tears into Trump Former Vice President Joe Biden sought to promote himself as a uniter of the country in a wide-ranging speech here on Saturday, even as he launched a blistering attack on President Donald Trump.
Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[Markets] Joe Biden pitches himself as a uniter even as he tears into Trump Joe Biden pitches himself as a uniter even as he tears into Trump Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[Politics] ILLEGAL ALIEN from Kenya charged with ELEVEN MURDERS of elderly women in Texas! This is just atrocious. A Kenyan illegal immigrant has been charged with the murders of 11 elderly women in Texas. From The Star, Kenya: A Kenyan living illegally in the US has . . . Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[worldNews] Austrian government collapses as far right leader caught in video sting Austria raced on Saturday toward a snap election as Chancellor Sebastian Kurz pulled the plug on his coalition with the far right after its leader was caught on video offering to fix state contracts with a woman posing as a Russian oligarch's niece.
Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[184225bc-7b83-5704-a122-5c9abf698c05] Meghan Markle-Prince Harry pal George Clooney jokes about sharing birthday with baby Archie George Clooney isn't too thrilled he shares a special day with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor — a birthday.  Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[Entertainment] People are loving Jim Carrey’s graphic painting of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey being aborted

Jim Carrey makes visible what they're all thinking; if only people we disagree with had all been aborted.

The post People are loving Jim Carrey’s graphic painting of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey being aborted appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[d63c8162-013a-54f8-baa7-41873c0e6a18] Selma Blair shows off tennis skills as she continues MS battle Selma Blair won’t let her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis keep her from living an active lifestyle. Published:5/18/2019 2:57:51 PM
[worldNews] Syrian state media: projectiles fired from Israeli territory Syrian air defenses targeted projectiles fired from the direction of Israel for the second night in a row, Syrian state media said on Saturday.
Published:5/18/2019 2:57:51 PM
[Markets] Why Cryptocurrency Is The Next Operating System For Capitalism

Authored by Chris Herd via Hackernoon.com,

Money won’t last Forever?—?that is Guaranteed

It didn’t exist when exchange evolved to become a feature of humanities first economic system, nor will it persist when there is no advantage to using it. That time is approaching far quicker than traditionalists care to admit.

The reality is that our evolution to a largely cashless society is almost complete. I rarely have money on me physically, I can count on one hand the number of times I have had cash in my wallet in the last 3 years. Paper cash and metallic coins are prehistoric.

That is what those who carelessly brandish Cryptocurrency a bubble fail to comprehend. Money doesn’t care what you think. It is simply a means of exchange. When it’s utility is replaced by something more efficient it will become extinct. Right now it is a protected species with a few purists trying to revive it. Unfortunately, the poachers are pulling down each pillar which underpinned the system one by one.

Soon it will fall.

With Fiat valuations no longer tied to any commodity?—?with its price being entirely independent and it’s valuation contingent on what we collectively believe it to be?—?give me one sincere and serious argument which convinces me fiat isn’t also a bubble.

Give me a coherent reason why that if we stopped believing in the value of paper money today it would be worth anything tomorrow. Without resorting to the argument of historical precedent, the size and scale of central banks or the promise these institutions have made to maintain a certain valuation what do you have to argue against it?

Fundamentally it is still a question of trust and belief. This forces you to consider that there might be a technological solution which forces a level or trust and believe that is inconceivable in a human-led system.

Your argument might still be that cryptocurrency is a bubble, but I raise you the perspective that all money is. It is a product of our beliefs married to our hope that its value will remain. Ditto stocks, shares, and bonds.

Money is, and has been for the last 30 years, an intellectual construct centered on humanities trust in Governance?—?but trust in these institutions is at a historical low. We don’t trust the reasons they give for the decisions they make, they’re incentives to act in our best interests or their ability to deliver a better future.

Cryptocurrency isn’t just the future because that is what a committed band of dreamers would have you believe. It is the future because it is a new operating system for a decentralized world.

It is the future because it takes back control of the things we are most dependent on for us to subsist. It is the future because it is already here making a difference in how we act. Bitcoin has enabled a whole generation of Venezuelans to have an alternative to crippling inflation left unchecked by corruption.

  • No longer do we have to trust a government to reign over us and carelessly prescribe dangerous monetary policy which we must accept.

  • No longer must we accept situations of austerity forced upon us due to government intervention in a financial collapse where there was no punishment for any of the individuals who caused it.

  • No longer is our future dependent on the whims of governments.

You can make any argument you like about Cryptocurrency being overvalued, about it being manipulated, about it not being a viable medium for high-frequency transactions to occur.

That’s fine but what price do you place on control?

What price would you put on trust programmed into an immutable ledger where those participating hold the keys to how the platform develops.Unilateral arbitrary decision making is replaced by consensus.

If you don’t understand the implications of that you’re not paying attention.

If you don’t understand how fiat money works, you’re not qualified to judge whether cryptocurrency will be successful or not, period. Equally, if you don’t understand the mechanisms for mining, the underlying technology that powers cryptocurrency or the economics of scarcity you aren’t qualified to tell anyone why it is a revolution.

So educate yourself and understand why things are changing, appreciate the technology underpinning the revolution. They can positively impact the progress this new system can make. Otherwise, you’re just another uneducated quack speculating to make a buck doing more damage than good.

With all that being true, if you believe in Crypto let the market come to you. Understand that the success of the system is contingent on an unwavering belief that throughout history innovation has always disrupted what currently exists.

If a system is better, exponentially so, then nothing will ever be able to stand in the way of progress. For the same reason, Google destroyed Yahoo, and Facebook vanquished MySpace, Bitcoin and Ethereum will destroy money.

In the same way Amazon has brutalized physical retail, Cryptocurrency will eradicate banks. If you don’t see this coming you aren’t paying attention.

Let the non-believers have their day, but the moment central banks pushed the button on quantitative easing they signed the death warrant of capitalism operating system that monopolized the world.

Capitalism isn’t going anywhere though. Cryptocurrency is simply a more efficient vessel which allows for its manifest destiny to be realized.

Progress is relentless.

Cryptocurrency is simply an upgrade

Published:5/18/2019 2:57:51 PM
[Politics] Biden Rejects Democrats' Anger in Call for National Unity His party may be enraged by Donald Trump's presidency, but Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden insisted Saturday that Democrats will not defeat the Republican president in 2020 if they pick an angry nominee.Facing thousands of voters in his native Pennsylvania for... Published:5/18/2019 2:31:37 PM
[TC] Immigrant founders, smartphone growth, SEO tactics, SoftBank’s financials, and AR tech How an immigration crackdown is hurting UK startups Our European correspondent Natasha Lomas spent the past few weeks investigating what’s been happening to immigrant founders and tech talent in the UK, who have been receiving more scrutiny from the Home Office in recent months. Natasha zooms in on Metail, a virtual fitting room startup, and […] Published:5/18/2019 2:31:37 PM
[Entertainment] 'Steel Magnolias' is 30! Go inside Julia Roberts' lavish, pink-drenched movie wedding Before she became a "Runaway Bride," Julia Roberts had an over-the-top pink wedding in 1989's "Steel Magnolias." That was the beginning of the drama.
     
 
 
Published:5/18/2019 2:31:37 PM
[f2c6ca6c-1509-5dc5-b1fd-30b974d2afd7] Arnon Mishkin: Trump’s got some big bets on the table. If just a few turn his way, he’ll win a second term OK, so here’s my bias: I’ve been very skeptical – particularly since the GOP lost the House as a wave of once reliably Republican suburban districts went Democratic – that President Trump would be able to repeat his 2016 victory and win a second term. Published:5/18/2019 2:31:37 PM
[Books] The Power Line Show, Ep. 125: The Antidote to Howard Zinn? “Land of Hope” with Wilfred McClay (Steven Hayward) Lo and behold, I opened up this morning’s Wall Street Journal to see a weekend interview with this week’s guest, historian Wilfred M. McClay of the University of Oklahoma, about his brand new book Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story. In the course of our conversation, we cover not only what’s wrong (but also partly right) about Howard Zinn, but how Bill got the audacious idea Published:5/18/2019 2:31:36 PM
[Politics] Patrick Madrid on WHY the rape and incest arguments for abortion don’t hold water I’ve got two radio clips for you to listen to from the Patrick Madrid Show on the issue of ‘rape and incest’ in regards to abortion. The first one is really amazing. . . . Published:5/18/2019 2:31:36 PM
[Politics] Patrick Madrid on WHY the rape and incest arguments for abortion don’t hold water I’ve got two radio clips for you to listen to from the Patrick Madrid Show on the issue of ‘rape and incest’ in regards to abortion. The first one is really amazing. . . . Published:5/18/2019 2:31:36 PM
[worldNews] Austrian government collapses after far right leader caught in video sting Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on Saturday for a snap election, pulling the plug on his coalition with the far right after its leader was caught on video discussing state contracts with a woman posing as a Russian oligarch's niece.
Published:5/18/2019 2:31:36 PM
[Middle Column] Australia votes 2019: Shock! Climate ‘action’ bombs. Pollsters crash. Skeptics Win
Published:5/18/2019 2:31:36 PM
[Markets] Candace Owens On Facebook "Hate Agents" Database; Gets 'Mistakenly' Banned For 'Racist Facts' 

A source within Facebook has revealed the existence of a list of "hate agents" - a spreadsheet of prominent right-wing and alternative media figures subject to enhanced monitoring, or who have already been banned, according to Breitbart's Allum Bokhari.

Included on the list is black conservative activist Candace Owens, who was 'mistakenly' banned from Facebook the same day that Breitbart obtained evidence of the list. 

According to the source, a Facebook employee who spoke exclusively to Breitbart News, the spreadsheet of “hate agents” that includes Owens was posted to an internal employee discussion group initially founded by Brian Amerige, the former Facebook engineer who quit the company over concerns about political intolerance.

The source claimed that the spreadsheet includes the names of prominent right-wing and alternative media figures who were recently banned from the platform.

Candace Owens is also included in the spreadsheet, in a separate category marked “extra credit.” -Breitbart

The "extra credit" category refers to people that Facebook has not yet banned, but will likely be investigated for potential violations of "hate speech" rules and subject to potential banning. 

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the existence of the list, which was created in April, and acknowledged that it's related to the high-profile bans of several alternative media figures such as Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer on May 2nd. 

According to the report, Breitbart's source was able to capture a partial screenshot of the spreadsheet before they were locked out by the list administrator in response to the internal leak. The screenshot reveals that Owens is indeed on the list, along with instructions for Facebook employees to "look into" her after "we're done with the above designation analysis." 

Screenshot via Breitbart

Meanwhile, Owens was "mistakenly" suspended from Facebook for seven days after she criticized liberal attitudes on African Americans. 

The post which triggered her banning asked black Americans to "wake up to the great liberal hoax" and recognize that "liberal supremacy" is a greater threat to black americans than white supremacy. 

This is the post which led to her suspension: 

Owens tweeted to President Trump, writing "I am censored for posting the poverty rates in fatherless homes.

Facebook has since reversed the ban according to Breitbartstating that they restored her post and removed her block "after confirming that the content didn't violate our policies."

A spokeswoman told Breitbart in a statement: "As we said earlier today, we mistakenly applied a temporary block to Candace Owens’ account that we have since restored. We recently announced a group of people that we removed from our services for violating our policies. Candace Owens was not one of those people."

Previous leaks from Facebook have exposed how the platform developed a “deboosting algorithm”designed to covertly suppress (or “shadowban”) certain content-creators on the platform, making their posts less likely to appear on the feeds of users. According to a Facebook insider who spoke to Project Veritas, this code has been used against prominent conservatives on the platform. -Breitbart

Last week the White House launched a new tool for people to use if they feel they have been unfairly discriminated against over social media. 

Those who feel they have been wrongly banned, censored or suspended on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter can go to "wh.gov/techbias" where the following message will greet them: 

"SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies.

No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump." 

Published:5/18/2019 2:31:36 PM
[Media] FAKE NEWS: Intercept contributor says ‘climate denier’ Bret Stephens has no business having a platform

New York Times readers think dissenters like Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss should be purged.

The post FAKE NEWS: Intercept contributor says ‘climate denier’ Bret Stephens has no business having a platform appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 2:31:36 PM
[In The News] Ex-FBI Lawyer Claims He Was ‘Concerned’ With Steele Dossier, But Still Used It To Get Carter Page Spy Warrant

By Chuck Ross -

Former FBI general counsel James Baker said Friday that he viewed the Steele dossier “skeptically” and was “concerned” about the veracity of the document when the bureau received it before the 2016 election. But despite those concerns, Baker was one of the FBI officials who reviewed the Carter Page surveillance ...

Ex-FBI Lawyer Claims He Was ‘Concerned’ With Steele Dossier, But Still Used It To Get Carter Page Spy Warrant is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[Entertainment] Matthew McConaughey finally receives his original high school diploma Actor Matthew McConaughey has finally received his high school diploma, more than 30 years after graduating.
     
 
 
Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[7f1d5a9d-3c9b-51b9-8150-89a6b83c21a3] Jim Breslo: California homelessness is so out of control, people are turning to boats – Dems are clueless California is the country’s wealthiest and most highly taxed state, but its politicians have utterly failed to tackle their most basic problem. Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[Entertainment] Amy Schumer Shares Photo of Her Pumping Breast Milk After Birth of Son Gene Amy Schumer, Breast Pump, InstagramBehold new mom Amy Schumer's "outfit of the day." The 37-year-old comedienne and actress posted on her Instagram page on Saturday a photo of her using an automatic breast pump...
Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[The Blog] Philadelphia’s soda tax bombed as predicted

"Unexpectedly"

The post Philadelphia’s soda tax bombed as predicted appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[9bcde8b0-71c9-52b7-b1bc-f3e0995b6ac9] Wendy Williams defends Kelly Ripa over ‘Bachelor’ franchise comments, calls shows ‘degrading’ Wendy Williams defended Kelly Ripa this week over the former “All My Children” star’s comments on “The Bachelor” franchise. Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[Politics] Bernie Sanders Proposes US Education Overhaul in Appeal to Black Voters Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders unveiled an education policy proposal on Saturday designed to pump billions of dollars into the public schools system, in a bid to appeal to black voters who shunned the U.S. senator during his previous presidential run.The... Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[US News] SAD: Reporter estimates a crowd of about 2,000 at Joe Biden’s kickoff rally

Those numbers wouldn't look quite as bad had Hillary not drawn more than double that number.

The post SAD: Reporter estimates a crowd of about 2,000 at Joe Biden’s kickoff rally appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[worldNews] Merkel says Croatia's euro ambitions very realistic German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday Croatia was well on track to join the European common currency by 2024, citing the youngest EU member's economic development.
Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[Markets] Iraqi Parliament To Vote On Bill That Would Ban US Military Troops From Iraq

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com,

Iraq has spent the better share of the last 16 years under US military occupation.

Despite this, time and again US-Iraqi relations have come to be defined by US hostility toward neighboring Iran, and Iraq’s desire to not get mixed up in that.

So while Iraq’s parliament was already bristling under Pentagon talk of staying in Iraq, and Trump saying that the US was staying in Iraq to “keep an eye on Iran,” the recent escalation of US rhetoric about a war against Iran has sparked action within parliament.

On Saturday, Iraq will be voting on a bill that would aim to expel all foreign troops from Iraqi soil, and singles out US troops in particular as needing to leave. The bill is endorsed by Iraq’s top two Shi’ite blocs, and is expected to pass fairly easily.

What happens then is the real question.

Iraq’s parliament is already being spun as “pro-Iran factions,” and it’s been a long time since US officials, Pentagon or otherwise, gave any indication that they thought staying in Iraq was up to the Iraqi government.

So while the Iraqi Prime Minister is warning the US that they can’t use Iraq to launch a war on Iran, the US is browbeating Iraq over its government-aligned Shi’ite militias, and doing everything they can to try to portray that Shi’ite-dominated Iraqi government as effectively in league with the Iranians, and subsequently a threat to US interests.

No matter what happens, it seems certain US-Iraqi ties will suffer for it. 

Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[CULTURE] Today a Milkshake, Tomorrow A Brick: Corporate-Backed Political Violence Is Here.

It was always coming. With the dovetailing of corporate social responsibility and social justice causes (i.e. “getting woke”), big global businesses are now moving into the territory of actively encouraging political violence towards conservatives. Burger King – which has an historically poor marketing performance amongst millennials – is seemingly trying to do something about it […]

The post Today a Milkshake, Tomorrow A Brick: Corporate-Backed Political Violence Is Here. appeared first on Human Events.

Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[Abortion] Miracles Happen! ‘Unplanned’ Movie is Causing Abortion Workers to Leave Their Jobs

The following article, Miracles Happen! ‘Unplanned’ Movie is Causing Abortion Workers to Leave Their Jobs, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Abby Johnson’s star is growing and growing. The “Unplanned” movie has been an overwhelming hit and exceeded expectations.

Continue reading: Miracles Happen! ‘Unplanned’ Movie is Causing Abortion Workers to Leave Their Jobs ...

Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[] Ace of Spades Pet Thread H/T Legally Sufficient *** Good afternoon Morons and Lurkers and welcome to the almost world famous Ace of Spades Pet Thread. Loosen up that pinch collar, sit, stay and be good. Let's enjoy the world of pets and animals.... Published:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[worldNews] Austria far right leader quits after video corruption sting; snap election possible Austria appeared headed for a snap election on Saturday after its far right party leader quit as the government's number two, over video showing him discussing state contracts in return for favors from a woman posing as a Russian oligarch's niece.
Published:5/18/2019 1:26:36 PM
[Markets] The Moneyist: My mom, 60, lives with a con artist with a history of theft, deception and bad credit This daughter is concerned her mother is being taken for all she is worth.
Published:5/18/2019 1:26:36 PM
[Uncategorized] Green justice advocates may soon rebrand “Climate Change” A new study says "Global Warming" is old and cold. New and hot: "Climate Crisis" & "Environmental Destruction" Published:5/18/2019 1:26:36 PM
[Democrats] New York Democrats Want Convicted Felons to Serve on Juries

The following article, New York Democrats Want Convicted Felons to Serve on Juries, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Democrat lawmakers in New York's state legislature are taking the lead in progressive lunacy to allow convicted felons to serve on juries.

Continue reading: New York Democrats Want Convicted Felons to Serve on Juries ...

Published:5/18/2019 1:26:36 PM
[Markets] Will The Fed Help Trump Fight His Trade War?

Authored by Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca via Council on Foreign Relations,

In a tweet on May 14, President Trump called on the Fed to “match” interest-rate cuts he expects from China “in order to make up for the business they are . . . losing” from his tariffs. But the Fed appears to be in no rush to oblige him. After the May FOMC meeting, Fed chairman Jay Powell opined that recent declines in inflation were “transient” and predicted that “inflation will move back up.”

Is he right?

In this post, we look at one important leading indicator of inflation: wages. Wage data are important because producers tend to raise prices to offset rising labor costs.

One way to gauge wage pressure on prices is to compare wage growth with price growth. When the gap is positive but small, upward pressure on prices is low; when it is large, pressure on prices is high. And as shown in the top left figure above, we find that the gap between wage growth and core inflation is now at its widest level in ten years. 

This fact suggests higher inflation to come.

One possible objection to our analysis is that we’ve failed to account for the possibility that discouraged workers, attracted by rising wages, will return to the labor force and drive wages back down. Yet we see no signs of this happening. According to OECD hours-worked estimates, the average U.S. employee now works more than at any time in the last decade—as shown in the top-right chart. 

Further, as the bottom-right chart shows, U.S. part-time employment is falling, even as total employment rises. These facts suggest that employers are being forced to squeeze more work out of existing workers, and that prices must rise to bring the gap with wages back down to more normal levels.

And this fact, in turn, suggests that the Fed won’t be helping Mr. Trump fight his trade war.

Published:5/18/2019 1:26:36 PM
[Media] Journalism prof says he’s quit listening to NPR Morning Edition after 25 years (for saying this about Trump supporters)

"When NPR is too right-wing for you..."

The post Journalism prof says he’s quit listening to NPR Morning Edition after 25 years (for saying this about Trump supporters) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 1:26:35 PM
[941669ba-4475-5267-89fb-3c709c4ac27a] Tomi Lahren: I'm a pro-choice conservative. I have had it with extremism on both sides of the abortion issue Most Americans are in the middle on the abortion issue but our politicians aren’t representing that very well.  Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[topics:organisations/netflix] George Cloony: 'Hollywood is no longer making the type of films I want to star in' Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[Quick Takes] Colleges from New York to California Now Offer Funding and Services for Illegal Immigrants "scholarships, mentoring, and more" Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[Entertainment] Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Dropkicked in the Back by an "Idiot" at South Africa Event Arnold SchwarzeneggerArnold Schwarzenegger was attacked by a man he later called an "idiot" while on a trip to South Africa on Saturday, but he didn't even know it until he went online. A viral...
Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[US News] Nancy Pelosi claims Dems have never said there is not a crisis at the border (ROLL TAPE!)

"When facts come back to slap you in the face."

The post Nancy Pelosi claims Dems have never said there is not a crisis at the border (ROLL TAPE!) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[Markets] Top Iran Commander Invokes 9/11 To Say US Is "Frail"; A "Full Intelligence War" Is On

lran is currently in "a full intelligence war" with the United States, according to statements by the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami on Saturday.

“We are in a full intelligence war with the United States and the enemies of the Islamic Republic. This war is a combination of psychological warfare, cyber operations, military operations, diplomacy, fear, and intimidation,” Salami, who became head of Iran's elite military force last moth, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency. He further noted Americans in the region face "great risks" at this point. “America has lost its power, and even though they look powerful, they are frail,” he said. 

The recently appointed head of the elite IRGC, Major General Hossein Salami.

But what's most likely to capture the West's attention is his invoking the 9/11 terror attacks: “In reality America’s story is the same as the story of the World Trade Center that collapsed suddenly with one strike,” he said, using the example both as a threat and to claim the mighty US empire can be brought to its knees with one strategic blow. 

His combative statements came days after he said provocatively that the IRGC stood on the “cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy.” In that prior address , Salami notified his forces, "This moment in history, because the enemy has stepped into the field of confrontation with us with all the possible capacity, is the most decisive moment of the Islamic revolution," according to Fars.

Washington has already deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and new Patriot missiles, along with a B-52 bomber group to the Persian Gulf region, but Saudi Arabia and other gulf states this weekend have reportedly agreed to host American forces "at sea and on land to deter Iran" according to a new report in Israeli media, citing Arabic sources:

Saudi Arabia and a number of Gulf states have agreed to let the United States deploy its forces at sea and on land to deter Iran from a possible attack, Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Saturday.  

An unnamed Saudi official told Al-Awsat that the "agreement was aimed at deterring Iran from a military escalation, including attacking American targets... and not with the aim of entering into a war with it." 

Saudi Arabia has blamed the IRGC of "sabotage attacks" on two of its vessels as they entered the Strait of Hormuz a week ago, which further involved damage to two other international vessels. 

Iran for its part dismissed these and other accusations as part of "psychological warfare" - according to one top Iranian parliamentarian and spokesman this week.

Meanwhile, even as the IRGC chief highlights an ongoing "full intelligence war," de-escalation could be on the horizon, given that multiple headlines Friday noted "Trump doesn't want war" and appears to be clamping down on hawks in his own administration

Trump tweeted something Friday which actually lends credibility to Iran's dismissing both the "sabotage" accusation and heightened bluster out of Washington over the past two weeks as a continuing Psyop  part of Bolton and Pompeo's broader "maximum pressure" campaign. 

Ironically, Trump and Gen. Salami appear somewhat in agreement over this being fundamentally an "intelligence war" and not yet headed toward an actual direct war, given the US president tweeted the following astounding statement "With all of the Fake and Made Up News out there, Iran can have no idea what is actually going on!"

Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[2019 News] Stunning victory for conservatives in Australia Stunning victory for conservatives in Australia. The left made the election all about Global Warming and Al Gore showed up just before the election to tell Australians to vote for the Labor Party. Conclusion: Australians don’t like Fat Albert and his hypocritical nonsense any more than Americans do. Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[fe469018-be78-5ef9-a82d-1be1b0ff9844] Halle Berry admits she knew this movie she starred in was doomed to flop Halle Berry had a confession to make during an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” this week. Published:5/18/2019 12:58:08 PM
[AMLP] 2 10%-Plus High Yielders With 15% To 28% Dividend Growth Published:5/18/2019 12:30:27 PM
[Column] Big revenues, huge valuations and major losses: charting the era of the unicorn IPO Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor From lab-grown meat to fermented fungus, here’s what corporate food VCs are serving up A record $2.5B went to US insurance startup deals last year, and big insurers are in all the way We can make charts galore about the tech IPO market. Yet none of them […] Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[Markets] Here's the stock play boosted by 'Game of Thrones' bandwidth hogs Here's the stock play boosted by 'Game of Thrones' bandwidth hogs Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[topics:things/musicals] Adrian Mole would not use SnapChat but stick to his diary, say young actors playing him in new West End musical Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[Foreign Policy] Mike Pompeo Slams John Kerry, ‘It’s Time To Get Off The Stage!’

The following article, Mike Pompeo Slams John Kerry, ‘It’s Time To Get Off The Stage!’, was first published on Godfather Politics.

As tensions between America and Iran increase, Secretary of State Pompeo has tired of John Kerry trying to butt into, and obstruct foreign policy.

Continue reading: Mike Pompeo Slams John Kerry, ‘It’s Time To Get Off The Stage!’ ...

Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[The Blog] John Deere, farmers feel effects of trade war with China, earnings down

Will farmers stick with President Trump?

The post John Deere, farmers feel effects of trade war with China, earnings down appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[US News] ‘A little rich’! Joe Biden gets introduced to a guy named Joe Biden after lecture against demonizing opponents

"My eyes have rolled to the back of my head."

The post ‘A little rich’! Joe Biden gets introduced to a guy named Joe Biden after lecture against demonizing opponents appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[Politics] Facebook has a LIST of ‘HATE AGENTS’ – and GUESS who is on it… According to Breitbart News, they have come into possession of evidence that a “hate agent” list exists at Facebook. Here’s what they know about it: Facebook maintains a list of “hate agents” . . . Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[Politics] Facebook has a LIST of ‘HATE AGENTS’ – and GUESS who is on it… According to Breitbart News, they have come into possession of evidence that a “hate agent” list exists at Facebook. Here’s what they know about it: Facebook maintains a list of “hate agents” . . . Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[Markets] Record-Setting Art Sales Confirm Global Liquidity Bubble

Authored by Jesse Colombo via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Art and collectibles prices have exploded in the past decade as a result of the extremely frothy conditions created by central banks. Hardly a week goes by without news headlines being made about ugly, tacky, or just plain bizarre works of art fetching tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars at auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s (often sold to rich buyers in China or Hong Kong). Make no mistake: we’re currently experiencing a massive art bubble of the likes not seen since the Japan-driven art bubble of the late-1980s that ended disastrously. Two art market records were made in the past week: the $91.1 million “Rabbit” sculpture by Jeff Koons, which set the record for the highest amount paid for a piece of art by a living artist, and the sale of Monet’s ‘Meules’ painting for $110.7 million, which set a record for an Impressionist work.

The New York Post reports on the Koons sale –

A sculpture of a silver rabbit by artist Jeff Koons sold at Christie’s auction house in Manhattan Wednesday for $91.1 million, setting the record for the highest amount fetched for a piece of art by a living artist.

Koons’ “Rabbit” surpassed the previous record, which was set just last November when British painter David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” sold for $90.3 million. Both totals include the auction house fees.

Art dealer Bob Mnuchin, the father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, made the winning bid for the Koons work, Bloomberg reported. Mnuchin made the purchase for a client, according to the report.

The sculpture, which stands just over 3 feet high, is made of stainless steel and based on an inflatable children’s toy, according to the auction house.

“Rabbit” by Jeff Koons is displayed at Christie’s in New York on May 3, 2019. Photo credit: AP

Reuters reports on the Monet sale –

One of the few paintings in Claude Monet’s celebrated “Haystacks” series that still remains in private hands sold at auction on Tuesday for $110.7 million, setting a record for an Impressionist work.

The oil on canvas, titled “Meules” and completed in 1890, is the first piece of Impressionist art to command more than $100 million at auction, said Sotheby’s, which handled the sale.

That also represents the highest sum ever paid at auction for a painting by Monet, the founder of French Impressionism and a master of “plein air” landscapes who died in 1926, aged 86.

“Meules” was one of 25 paintings in a series depicting stacks of harvested wheat belonging to Monet’s neighbor in Giverny, France.

The works are widely acclaimed for capturing the play of light on his subject and for their influence on the Impressionist movement.

“Meules” by Claude Monet is displayed at Sotheby’s New York on May 3, 2019. Photo credit: Reuters

Last month, I wrote about “bubble drunk” millennials in Hong Kong who paid $28 million for Simpsons art:

The Kaws Album’, KAWS. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Today’s art bubble (like many other bubbles that are currently inflating) formed as a result of the Fed and other central banks’ extremely loose monetary policies after the Great Recession. In a desperate attempt to jump-start the global economy again, central banks cut and held interest rates at virtually zero percent for much of the past decade. The chart of the Fed Funds rate below shows how bubbles form when interest rates are at low levels:

In addition to holding interest rates at record low levels for a record length of time, central banks pumped trillions of dollars worth of liquidity into the global financial system in the past decade:

Assets around the world – from art to stocks to property – have been levitating on the massive ocean of liquidity that has been created by central banks. For example, the S&P 500 has soared 300% since its low in early-2009:

In order to understand today’s art bubble, it is helpful to learn about the art bubble of the late-1980s that ultimately crashed and burned. Throughout the 1980s, Japan had a bubble economy that was driven by debt and bubbles in property and stocks. Japan’s economy was seemingly unstoppable – almost everyone in the West was terrified that Japan’s economy and corporations would trounce ours while destroying our standard of living in the process. Of course, few people knew how unsustainable Japan’s economy was at that time.

As a result of hubris and the enormous amount of liquidity that was flowing throughout Japan’s economy in the late-1980s, Japanese businesspeople and corporations started to speculate in art, often bidding previously unheard of sums that Western art collectors would never have dreamed of paying. For example, Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance paid a record $39.9 million for Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” at a London auction in 1987. Ryoei “wild fellow” Saito, Chairman of the Daishowa Paper Manufacturing empire, paid $160 million for the world’s two most expensive paintings – a Van Gogh and a Renoir. At the peak of the art market in 1990, Japan imported more than $4 billion worth of art, including nearly half of all Impressionist art that was on the market. Of course, the art market plunged along with Japan’s bubble economy in the early-1990s.

Vincent van Gogh “Sunflowers” 1888.

Unfortunately, today’s art bubble will burst just like the art bubble of the late-1980s. China, with its massive debt bubble, is currently playing the role that Japan played in the Eighties. While most people are probably not worried about the coming art market bust and won’t be directly affected by it, the point of this piece is to show how the art market acts like a barometer for the amount of froth there is in the global economy and financial markets. When the art market goes ballistic, that is typically a sign that the economic cycle is in its latter stages. We are fast approaching a time when art speculators will deeply regret paying $91.1 million for a steel rabbit sculpture and tens of millions of dollars for Simpsons art.

Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[worldNews] Forces loyal to Libya's U.N.-backed government receive military hardware A coalition of forces allied with Libya's U.N.-backed government of national accord (GNA) said it had received a shipment of armored vehicles and arms on Saturday as it tries to stop Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) from taking the capital, Tripoli.
Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[] Saturday Gardening Thread, May 18 [KT] Admirale's mate sent in the gorgeous photo of a tulip above from Andover, Massachusetts. Love it. Memorial Day is coming up, but we are still having some weather in parts of the country. Thinking about a trip? Also today,... Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[Politics] A Statue for Sojourner Truth Let us offer our modest support to Brent Staples of the Times in his bid to have included in Central Park statues of African American heroines of the women's suffrage movement. The Times issued on Wednesday a column by Mr. Staples on this head. He reckons the park's new memorial to the suffrage movement, coming soon, would be inadequate were it limited to Elizabeth Stanton and Susan Anthony. We agree. We are a long and ardent fan of the public statuary recognizing American heroes. We have lon... Published:5/18/2019 12:30:26 PM
[39862409-90e4-5e6f-93e3-eafaf1b9bc2c] Jennifer Lopez flaunts toned abs, athletic physique in Instagram photo Jennifer Lopez is proof that age is just a number.The 49-year-old actress took to Instagram this week to share a photo of herself wearing leggings and a bra, showing off her toned abs and arms. Published:5/18/2019 11:55:58 AM
[Entertainment] Prince Harry Attends Lady Gabriella Windsor's Wedding as Meghan Markle Stays With Archie Prince Harry, Lady Gabriella Windsor, Thomas Kingston, Royal WeddingPrince Harry made a solo appearance at the wedding of distant cousin Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston on Saturday, while Meghan Markle stayed with their newborn son Archie Harrison...
Published:5/18/2019 11:55:58 AM
[Markets] A new theory on why sleeping less than 7 hours per night can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes Decades of research has shown that chronic short sleep is associated with increased risk of clogged arteries, heart disease, and early mortality.
Published:5/18/2019 11:55:58 AM
[worldNews] Armenian court frees ex-president Kocharyan from pre-trial arrest An Armenian court on Saturday ordered former president Robert Kocharyan freed on bail from pre-trial detention, local news agencies reported.
Published:5/18/2019 11:55:57 AM
[Media] Place your bets! Will ANY Dem 2020 candidates take note of what just happened in Australia’s election?

"Perhaps the extreme left is out of touch with what people actually want from government."

The post Place your bets! Will ANY Dem 2020 candidates take note of what just happened in Australia’s election? appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 11:55:57 AM
[CULTURE] The Lived Experience of Candace Owens.

Culturally appropriating intersectionality.

The post The Lived Experience of Candace Owens. appeared first on Human Events.

Published:5/18/2019 11:55:57 AM
[Markets] US Accidentally Kills 17 Afghan Police After 'Miscommunication' During Airstrike

US airstrikes killed 17 Afghan police officers and wounded 14 others due to a "miscommunication" while fighting with Taliban forces, according to Stars and Stripes, citing Afghan officials. 

A small checkpoint guarding a highway outside Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, April 16, 2019. Via Stars & Stripes

The "friendly fire" incident, which took place in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province Thursday evening, occurred after Afghan security forces called in US air support amid heavy fire from Taliban fighters just outside the province's capital, Lashkar Gah. 

The incident began after a police officer and two of his men decided to take down a Taliban flag from a nearby water tower on Thursday night, within walking distance from a police training center. When they arrived to remove the flag, police tripped a mine, which exploded and alerted the Taliban to their presence. 

The guerrillas began firing on them. Police at the nearby training center arrived to assist the first three officers but were unable to drive the Taliban back, he said.

The police unit then requested air support. Residents of Lashkar Gah heard a very loud explosion around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, they said. -Stars and Stripes

The US military says they were told that the area was clear of allied units. 

"Unfortunately, they were not and a tragic accident resulted," said spokesman Colonel Dave Butler, adding "Afghan Security Forces as well as Taliban fighters were killed in the strikes." 

"We’re examining the miscommunication to ensure it is not repeated. We regret this tragic loss of life of our partners and are committed to improvement every day with every mission." 

The governor of Helmand province, Mohammad Yasin, said an investigation has been launched, calling the airstrike a "tragedy." 

Thursday’s attack comes about two months after miscommunication led to a U.S. airstrike that killed at least five Afghan soldiers and wounded nine others at a checkpoint in neighboring Uruzgan province, another area of heavy Taliban activity. 

In that March incident, a firefight had erupted after soldiers at a checkpoint began shooting at a patrol of their own troops, who were accompanied by American advisers on a planned nighttime raid outside the provincial capital Tirin Kot. -Stars and Stripes

As Stars and Stripes notes, fighting in Helmand has claimed the lives of more American, British and Afghan soldiers than any other area of Afghanistan during the 18-year war, as insurgents have held control over more than half of it, according to US military data from October. 

Published:5/18/2019 11:55:57 AM
[Markets] Not Just Florida: Border Patrol To Fly Thousands Of Illegal Migrants To San Diego

Yesterday we reported that the Trump administration would be dumping thousands of illegal migrants in Florida due to overcrowding at the border.

Now, we learn that San Diego will receive hundreds of migrant families from South Texas for processing, as the agency struggles to keep up with large numbers of Central Americans who have flooded into the country. The agency said that it was also considering distributing apprehended border-crossers to Detroit, Miami and Buffalo, New York, according to the Globe and Mail

Flights from Texas' Rio Grande Valley to San Diego were slated to begin on Friday - continuing three times a week indefinitely. Each flight will carry 120 - 135 people, according to the Border Patrol's interim San Diego sector chief, Douglas Harrison. Conservatively, that means at least 1,440 migrants per month, or 17,280 annually. 

"We don’t have an end date," said Harrison. "This is a contingency operation. We’ve got to give the people in Rio Grande Valley some relief." 

Plans to fly from Rio Grande Valley to Detroit, Miami and Buffalo were preliminary, Harrison said. Authorities were researching available airports and the ability for non-profit groups to provide temporary assistance.

Already, U.S. authorities are moving four buses a day from the Rio Grande Valley to Laredo, Texas, about 100 miles (160 kilometres) away. There is also a daily flight contracted through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Del Rio, Texas, about 275 miles away (440 kilometres) away.

Agents in the Rio Grande Valley will collect biographical information and do a medical screening before sending migrants to San Diego on flights contracted by ICE, Harrison said. Migrants will go from San Diego International Airport to a Border Patrol station, where they will be fingerprinted, interviewed and screened again for medical problems. Processing at the station typically takes hours. -Globe and Mail

ICE will decide whether to detain or release the families in San Diego. It has been longstanding practice to quickly release them into the community with notices to appear in immigration court. 

San Diego's Rapid Response Network - a coalition of civic and religious groups that help asylum-seekers with temporary shelter - will undoubtedly come under further strain. The network said that it would shelter migrants who are flown in from Texas, and that the influx of new migrants "underscores the urgent need for a permanent, long-term migrant shelter in San Diego."

Short flights cost the federal government about $6,000 each, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear how much longer flights cost.

Border Patrol agents do some processing remotely by videoconference, but Harrison said stations in the Rio Grande Valley had run out of room even to do that. San Diego, he said, had room to hold migrants for up to 72 hours and staff to process them, which stations on the northern border lack. -Globe and Mail

Arrests at the border have nearly tripled the number from last year - reaching 98,977 in April. Around 70% were families or children traveling alone - however in March, former Homeland Security Chief Kristjen Nielsen said that border smugglers are using "child recycling rings" to thwart US Customs and Border Protection

"We’ve broken up child recycling rings — if you can believe it — in the last couple of months, which is where smugglers pick up a child, they give it to adults to present themselves as a family once they get over — because, as you know, we can only hold families for 20 days — they send the child back and bring the child back with another family. Another fake family," Nielsen told Fox News's Tucker Carlson. 

The Rio Grande Valley is the most busy corridor for border crossings, followed by El Paso, Texas. The Border Patrol reports that it's detaining around 8,000 people at a time in the Rio Grande Valley - double its maximum capacity. On Friday, the agency said that it would open four new temporary structures that will have generators, lighting and air conditioning. 

Published:5/18/2019 11:26:24 AM
[Uncategorized] Secret Socioeconomic ‘Adversity Score’ Being Assigned to SAT Test Takers — Disclosed Only To Colleges Students may be penalized in college admissions without knowing it -- it's like being on "Double Secret Probation" Published:5/18/2019 11:26:24 AM
[Entertainment] Original Content podcast: ‘Game of Thrones’ burns it all down This post and podcast contain spoilers for “Game of Thrones.” Our original co-host Darrell Etherington returns for this week’s Original Content podcast, which is all about “Game of Thrones” — specifically “The Bells,” an episode that seems to have prompted more fan outcry than anything in the last seven-and-a-half seasons. The controversy, of course, comes […] Published:5/18/2019 11:26:24 AM
[Immigration] Trump May Invoke ‘Insurrection Act’ to REMOVE Illegal Immigrants From U.S.

The following article, Trump May Invoke ‘Insurrection Act’ to REMOVE Illegal Immigrants From U.S., was first published on Godfather Politics.

President Trump may use an obscure 1807 law called the Insurrection Act as his next step to help solve the illegal immigration crisis

Continue reading: Trump May Invoke ‘Insurrection Act’ to REMOVE Illegal Immigrants From U.S. ...

Published:5/18/2019 11:26:24 AM
[Markets] There’s no recession in sight, but the U.S. economy appears stuck in second gear The U.S. economy is in no danger of imminent recession, but it appears to be facing tighter caps on just how fast it can grow. Here’s why. Published:5/18/2019 11:26:24 AM
[Markets] Economic Preview: There’s no recession in sight, but the U.S. economy appears stuck in second gear The U.S. economy is in no danger of imminent recession, but it appears to be facing tighter caps on just how fast it can grow. Here’s why.
Published:5/18/2019 11:26:24 AM
[7cf01377-f24f-5318-89f7-c0265dc00c03] Country star Travis Tritt involved in fatal accident, 2 dead and one injured Country music star Travis Tritt was involved in a fatal car crash early Saturday morning where two people died after a car traveling the wrong way on a South Carolina highway collided with another vehicle. Published:5/18/2019 11:26:24 AM
[Markets] The tariff tiff and a Fed rethink are just two areas of stock-market angst The tariff tiff and a Fed rethink are just two areas of stock-market angst Published:5/18/2019 11:26:23 AM
[worldNews] Iran dismisses possibility of conflict, says does not want war Iran's top diplomat on Saturday dismissed the possibility of war erupting in the region, saying Tehran did not want a conflict and that no country had the "illusion it can confront Iran", the state news agency IRNA reported.
Published:5/18/2019 11:26:23 AM
[Australia] Australia Election Results: Prime Minister Scott Morrison Seizes a Stunning Win By granting Mr. Morrison his first full term, Australians signaled their reluctance to bet on a new leader at a time when the economy has not suffered a recession in nearly 28 years. Published:5/18/2019 10:59:01 AM
[2019 News] Dont let the door hit you on the way out So long, Salon, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Salon.com, the virulently left-wing online news site that never met an issue they couldn’t skew, is going out of business. Apparently, being a news site more interested in propaganda than the truth isn’t a viable long-term business plan. Published:5/18/2019 10:59:01 AM
[Entertainment] 'Jersey Shore' star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro's ex-girlfriend arrested for domestic battery “Jersey Shore” star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro’s on-again-off-again girlfriend has been arrested, accused of battering him. Nathan Rousseau Smith has the story.
     
 
 
Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[2020 Presidential Election] Breaking: Big Election Upset in Australia (Steven Hayward) Australia held a national election yesterday which all of the polls predicted for weeks would be won handily by the Labour Party. The ruling Liberal Party (which is the conservative party in Australian politics because they still understand the historic meaning of liberalism) has been on office for over a decade, and had struggled as ruling parties often do when they grow stale in office. In fact leadership struggles within Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[Quick Takes] Elizabeth Warren Event at George Mason U. Draws Hundreds, but Not Many Students "Warren took the stage to the tune of Dolly Parton’s “Working 9 to 5” with a large American flag draped behind her." Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[The Blog] Dems wonder: Will Mueller ever testify at all?

Hardest hit?

The post Dems wonder: Will Mueller ever testify at all? appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[Markets] Illinois Governor Wants To Hike Taxes: What Else Isn't News?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Illinois has its eyes on your pocketbook, again. This time: gas taxes, registration fees, Netflix, and Uber.

The Illinois Policy Institute reports Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office is using a major capital bill as a vehicle to grease lawmakers for a progressive income tax amendment. But the tax hikes to pay for it would make Illinoisans’ gas tax burden the second highest in the nation.

  • Gas tax hike ($1.2 billion): The preliminary capital plan relies on doubling Illinois’ motor fuel tax to 38 cents from 19 cents per gallon, effective July 1. This would make Illinois’ total gas tax burden the second highest in the nation. Under the proposed gas tax hike, drivers filling up in Chicago would pay 96 cents in taxes and fees on a $2.46 gallon of gasoline – an effective tax burden of 39%.

  • Vehicle registration fee hike ($490 million): The preliminary capital plan would also hike vehicle registration fees, imposing a new cost structure based on the age of the car. The current annual fee of $101 would jump to $199 for vehicles 3 years old or newer, $169 for vehicles 4-6 years old, $139 for vehicles 7-11 years old, and $109 for vehicles 12 years and older. The $199 registration fee for newer vehicles would be higher than any neighboring state and third-highest in the nation, according to Ballotpedia research.

  • New $1 per ride tax on ridesharing ($214 million): The plan would enact a statewide $1 per ride tax on ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Chicago already levies a 72-cent per ride fee on ridesharing services.

  • New 7% tax on cable, satellite and streaming services ($150 million): Chicago’s “Netflix tax” would expand statewide, with the state charging a 7% tax on users of streaming services, as well as cable and satellite customers. None of these services are currently taxed at the state level. Chicago currently stretches the definition of its 9 percent citywide “amusement tax” to include online streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify, as well as Playstation rentals.

  • Tax hikes on beer, wine and liquor ($120 million): Taxes on booze would rise by up to 50%. The per-gallon tax on beer and cider would rise to 27.7 cents from 23.1 cents; the per-gallon tax on wine would rise to $2.05 from $1.39, and the per-gallon tax on distilled liquor would rise to $12.60 from $8.55. Bob Myers, president of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, estimated Illinois loses out on up to $30 million per year to cross-border alcohol purchases.

  • New statewide parking garage tax ($60 million): Daily and hourly garage parking would be hit with a 6% tax while monthly and annual garage parking would come with a 9% tax. Chicagoans already pay among the highest parking rates in the country. The state does not currently tax garage parking.

  • Doubling the real estate transfer tax ($34 million): The proposal doubles the real estate transfer tax on non-residential real estate to $1 from 50 cents per $500 in value.

  • Hiking registration fees for electric vehicles ($4 million): The registration fee for electric vehicles would rise to $250 per year from $34 every other year.

Q: What do we call this?

A: A start!

This is ongoing and it will never stop.

Progressive Tax Push

Pritzker wants to amend the state constitution to allow for "progressive" graduated income taxes. He claims it will be a tax on the wealthy.

He is a blatant liar. It will be a tax on everyone. The wealthiest will leave. And even if they don't, there is already a general exodus. Illinois is losing population while neighboring states are gaining.

The most important point is that pension benefits to public unions and other unfunded obligations total nearly 50% of Illinois budget!

For discussion, please see Warren Buffett Would Not Locate a Business in Illinois: Let's Explore Why.

Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[747b8bb0-5b1d-55a3-95c3-802aa975135e] Arnold Schwarzenegger blindsided, dropkicked in the back during sporting event in South Africa A video posted online Saturday shows a currently unidentified man kicking former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the back. Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[8b9f23b0-6825-55dc-91c7-1c95955bf372] Walter Borneman: On Armed Forces Day, let’s honor those who serve and remember families fight wars, too Wars are indeed fought by entire families. One does not have to be on the frontlines to be profoundly affected by the fight. Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[worldNews] On Eurovision final day, Israelis cheer as Palestinians protest As singers made last-minute preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Israeli police threw a high-security cordon around the venue to head off attacks, or protests by boycotters who have urged fans to shun the event.
Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[Entertainment] Arnold Schwarzenegger attacked in South Africa (by a man yelling WHAT?) [video]

"Seems unhurt which is good news."

The post Arnold Schwarzenegger attacked in South Africa (by a man yelling WHAT?) [video] appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[Developer] Myneral.me wins the TechCrunch Hackathon at VivaTech It’s been a long night at VivaTech. The building hosted a very special competition — the TechCrunch Hackathon in Paris. Hundreds of engineers and designers got together to come up with something cool, something neat, something awesome. The only condition was that they only had 36 hours to work on their projects. Some of them […] Published:5/18/2019 10:59:00 AM
[e54e5183-9381-5a77-9b69-7fc4a010e174] Michael Caputo: It's time to stop China’s fentanyl For the sake of millions of Americans, our nation must stem the tide of fentanyl as we end this opioid crisis. Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
[Politics] Warren SURGES past Buttigieg, but is still in THIRD behind Biden and Bernie in Fox poll! A new Fox News poll shows Liz Warren surging past Booty-judge, but she still has yet to crack the elderly white male ceiling of the democratic presidential primary!! Here’s the info from . . . Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
[Politics] Warren SURGES past Buttigieg, but is still in THIRD behind Biden and Bernie in Fox poll! A new Fox News poll shows Liz Warren surging past Booty-judge, but she still has yet to crack the elderly white male ceiling of the democratic presidential primary!! Here’s the info from . . . Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
[2f6019c2-e0c5-5fbd-932d-669b7889b7e4] Lady Gabriella Windsor marries at St. George's Chapel, one year after Sussex royal wedding The celebration marks the third royal wedding at the 15th-century venue in less than a year. Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
[Christianity] On Oaths and God

The following article, On Oaths and God, was first published on Godfather Politics.

The attempt to remake our country into a secular wasteland without God continues unabated

Continue reading: On Oaths and God ...

Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
[Entertainment] Britney Spears Says "Of Course" She'll Perform Again as She and Sam Asghari Go Shopping Britney Spears, Sam AsghariFollowing months of personal turmoil, Britney Spears was all smiles as she went shopping with boyfriend Sam Asghari on Friday and had two messages for her fans. Britney recently spent a...
Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
[Markets] Facebook Admits Israeli Social Manipulation Company Spent $800,000 To Influence African Elections

In keeping with their spectacular reputation of violating privacy and rigging elections, Facebook has said that it removed "hundreds of accounts" from Facebook and Instagram that were used to influence elections in Africa, according to CNN. Only it wasn't Russia who was behind this latest intervention, but Israel.

Archimedes Group, an Israeli company, reportedly spent more than $800,000 in advertising (far more than the Kremlin allegedly spent on its "ad campaign" to crush Hillary Clinton and get Trump elected) and ran accounts that had nearly 3 million followers, for the purpose of targeting African elections. The group primarily targeted Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia. 

For perspective, the $800,000 reportedly spent by the group compares to the $100,000 that has been claimed by the U.S. mainstream media to have been spent for ‘Russian bots’ used to allegedly sway the 2016 US presidential election, according to RT.

The company "used fake accounts to run Pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement" and also "represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians," according to Facebook

Facebook's Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of cybersecurity policy said: “The individuals behind this network attempted to conceal their identities.

"This organization and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter," Facebook wrote in a blog post. It detailed the group's presence on the site by disclosing:

  • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 65 Facebook accounts, 161 Pages, 23 Groups, 12 events and four Instagram accounts.
  • Followers: About 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 5,500 accounts joined at least one of these Groups and around 920 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
  • Advertising: Around $812,000 in spending for ads on Facebook paid for in Brazilian reals, Israeli shekel, and US dollars. The first ad ran in December 2012 and the most recent ad ran in April 2019.
  • Events: Nine events were hosted by these Pages. The first was scheduled for October 2017 and the most recent was scheduled for May 2019. Up to 2,900 people expressed interest in at least one of these events, and a portion of their accounts were previously identified and disabled as fake. We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred.

Meanwhile, the website that reportedly links to Archimedes Group claims it "took significant roles in many political and public campaigns, among them Presidential elections and other social media projects all over the world."

"Archimedes has created and operates in it's [sic] own unique field within the social media realm."

RT notes that the firm has interesting similarities to a former Israeli social media manipulation firm:

Archimedes’ slogan is oddly reminiscent of another secretive Israeli social media manipulation firm, Psy-Group (motto: “Shape reality”), which closed its doors after coming under scrutiny during the Mueller investigation for its possible involvement in the election of Donald Trump. Psy-Group drew up a detailed prospectus for a Facebook meddling campaign seven months before the 2016 election, but supposedly never deployed it in real life. Both Psy-Group and Archimedes touted their ability to operate multiple fake online avatars simultaneously.

    According to Facebook's blog, here is a sample of the content posted by some of these pages:

    Caption: Faithful to only himself, Martin Fayulu criticizes and rejects the results of the presidential election, which has unfolded transparently and in an exemplary calmness. It is time for him to admit his defeat to president Tshisekedi who has been elected in a democratic way.

    Caption: Mali: Justice Survey on a Mysterious Gold Mine from Airbus to Mali

    Airbus group is quoted in a judicial investigation for scam on a Malian gold mine in balance sheet deposit, whose shareholders have been ruined. The investment project of the aerospace giant in this mine, LED by a close to Malian power, seemed intended to clear occult funds to facilitate the obtaining of military markets in the country. This is a very embarrassing new business….

    Incidentally, just a days ago we reported how another secretive Israeli company used WhatsApp voice calls to install spyware across countless phones.  WhatsApp, which is used by 1.5bn people worldwide, discovered in early May that attackers were able to install surveillance software on both iPhones and Android phones by ringing up targets using the app’s phone call function. The malicious code, developed by the secretive NSO Group, a notorious and controversial Israeli hacking and surveillance tools vendor, could be transmitted even if users did not answer their phones, and the calls often disappeared from call logs.

    It is unclear how many apps were infected with the spyware trojan, which could for example, allow anyone to get access to John Podesta's email password (and then blame say, Vladimir Putin for example) as WhatsApp is too early into its own investigations of the vulnerability to estimate how many phones were targeted using this method, although it is likely a substantial number.

    Still, one should perhaps ask: is it Russia - already the usual suspect for any alleged rigging on the internet - that is the true culprit here, or Israel, which never makes mainstream media headlines, yet whose actions are far more flagrant, bold and manipulative.

    Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
    [worldNews] Amid lull in air strikes, rebels reinforce NW Syria frontlines Air strikes stopped in northwest Syria over the past 12 hours, rescuers said on Saturday, as Turkey-backed rebels arrived at the fronts to help fight the army and its Russian ally.
    Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
    [Markets] The Wall Street Journal: Students were advised to falsely claim to be racial minorities in college-admissions scandal The man behind the scheme to help wealthy students get into elite colleges by cheating on tests and faking athletic credentials also advised some families to falsely claim students were racial minorities, exploiting the push to diversify campuses, according to two people familiar with the situation.
    Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
    [] Old trains and more old trains? [KT] The end of a dream? This has been a big month for train news so far. California's High-speed Rail You may recall that Gavin Newsom killed Jerry Brown's dream for high-speed rail from Los Angeles (much less San Diego)... Published:5/18/2019 10:25:40 AM
    [Politics] China Vows Support for Iran Amid Sanctions Dispute With US China's foreign minister voiced opposition to the U.S.'s unilateral sanctions against Iran and pledged to support Tehran's efforts to safeguard its interests, as the U.S. ratchets up pressure on the Islamic Republic's economy. Published:5/18/2019 9:56:08 AM
    [Australia] Australia Election: Prime Minister Scott Morrison Seizes a Stunning Win By granting Mr. Morrison his first full term, Australians signaled their reluctance to bet on a new leader at a time when the economy has not suffered a recession in nearly 28 years. Published:5/18/2019 9:56:07 AM
    [US News] OUCH! Bill de Blasio’s ‘largest crowd of the day’ in Iowa has even captured the White House’s attention

    "Packing them in!"

    The post OUCH! Bill de Blasio’s ‘largest crowd of the day’ in Iowa has even captured the White House’s attention appeared first on twitchy.com.

    Published:5/18/2019 9:56:07 AM
    [Middle Column] Who knew? The fourth largest nation has threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement
    Published:5/18/2019 9:56:07 AM
    [structure:news] The 2019 World Beard and Moustache Championships, in pictures Published:5/18/2019 9:56:07 AM
    [worldNews] Australia's conservative government on course for 'miracle' election victory Australia's Liberal-led conservative government was headed for a remarkable victory at the national election early on Sunday after uncovering a narrow path to victory that twisted through urban fringes and rural townships.
    Published:5/18/2019 9:56:07 AM
    [Markets] Five Years In Prison For Offending Someone Online...

    Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

    Let the weekly absurdity begin!

    New SAT scoring will combat Asian privilege

    The infamous SAT has been used since 1926 as a sort of university entrance exam to objectively test high school students’ scholastic aptitude. Until now.

    Test administrators announced plans this week to include an ‘adversity score’ for every student taking the SAT.

    This score will excuse poor test results if the student lives in a high crime neighborhood, went to a poor high school, is living in a single parent or low income household, and so on.

    And this should really put a dent in Asian privilege. Yes you read that right. With an average SAT score of 1223, Asians achieve the highest marks among all the ethnic groups tracked by SAT administrators.

    But these same Asian test takers also typically come from dual-parent, higher-income households. So they’ll be penalized because of their parents’ success.

    This is truly amazing thing to be teaching young people.

    Universities and the SAT administrators don’t want high school students to identify as strong, self-reliant, independent individuals who seek to solve problems and overcome adversity.

    Instead they’re encouraging young people to make their socioeconomic circumstances the strongest part of their identities. And, based on those socioeconomic circumstances, cultivate a guilt or victim mentality, and expect penalties or handouts for the rest of their lives.

    Click here for the full story.

    Harvard lynch-mob runs professor off campus

    Harvard Professor Ronald Sullivan has spent his career as a lawyer defending some of the poorest people in the country.

    He was previously the public defender in Washington DC and personally overturned dozens of wrongful convictions.

    Professor Sullivan also represented Michael Brown’s family after the teen was shot to death by police. Huffington Post even called him the “man who dealt the biggest blow to mass incarceration.”

    But now he and his wife– the first black student housing deans in Harvard history– have been run off campus by an angry mob of #metoo zealots.

    His crime: joining Harvey Weinstein’s defense team.

    Sullivan believes in justice for ALL, and that even a man like Weinstein who has already been convicted by the Twittering classes in the court of public opinion, is entitled to competent legal defense.

    “It is particularly important for this category of unpopular defendant to receive the same process as everyone else — perhaps even more important…

    “To the degree we deny unpopular defendants basic due process rights we cease to be the country we imagine ourselves to be.”

    Powerful words that absolutely ring true. But now all these whiny students at Harvard claim they no longer feel safe with Sullivan on campus, and they’ve demanded the university do something.

    Sadly, Harvard has buckled under the pressure, and they announced earlier this week that they would not renew his appointment as Faculty Dean at Harvard College’s Winthrop House.

    These Social Justice Warriors are starting to feed on their own.

    Click here for the full story.

    Prison for online trolls in Australia

    Online trolls could soon face up to five years in prison, if the Prime Minister of Australia gets his way.

    It’s already illegal to “menace, harass or cause offence” online in Australia. That’s right. It’s illegal to offend someone in Australia.

    And that cybercrime carries up to three years in prison if “reasonable persons” would consider the online behavior offensive or menacing.

    But the Prime Minister wants a stiffer penalty of up to five years for offending someone else’s delicate feelings.

    As usual, the government keeps their laws nice and obscure so that they can make the case that practically anyone has broken them.

    Click here for the full story.

    Charges dropped against Florida Man with “I Eat Ass” bumper sticker

    Speaking of offending people, last week a sheriff’s deputy in Florida arrested a man because he had a bumper sticker which eloquently read “I Eat Ass.”

    I almost have to admire the transparency. This man leaves no question about where he stands on the issue.

    The officer pulled the man over because of the obscene sticker, and insisted he removes all or part of it. But the man refused, citing his First Amendment free speech right to display potentially offensive bumper stickers.

    So the officer charged him with violating obscenity laws, as well as resisting arrest without violence.

    The prosecutors determined bringing a case against him would be met with a valid First Amendment defense, so the charges were dropped.

    Read the full story here.

    San Francisco chasing away tech companies with IPO tax hike

    San Francisco has long had what they refer to as an “IPO tax”; this is a tax on the value of shares that companies give to their employees.

    And the tax is on the value of the shares itself. So when a big company goes public and all those employee shares are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the city of San Francisco rakes in the tax revenue.

    Ten years ago during the last recession, San Francisco cut its IPO tax. There was a bit of revolt by some local tech firms who threatened to leave the city over the tax, and San Francisco wanted to prevent this exodus at all costs.

    But not anymore.

    Now the local government intends to raise the tax from 0.38% to 1.5%, an almost 4x increase.

    This is pretty hilarious given that they slashed the tax a decade ago to tempt companies to stay.

    But now that it’s cool and trendy to chase productive businesses away, San Francisco wants to jack up the IPO tax.

    This is in addition to new taxes passed in November on large corporations to support the homeless population.

    Published:5/18/2019 9:56:07 AM
    [Entertainment] Understanding your pup’s peculiar potty habits Understanding your pup’s peculiar potty habits
         
     
     
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    [Politics] Pennsylvania Can't Afford Biden's Tax Increases Published:5/18/2019 9:27:42 AM
    [ADM] Stocks To Watch: Retail On Display Published:5/18/2019 9:27:42 AM
    [Entertainment] Calvin Klein apologizes to LGBT community for ad of Bella Hadid kissing female robot Calvin Klein is apologizing after the fashion label came under fire for a video campaign showing Bella Hadid kissing female robot Lil Miquela.
         
     
     
    Published:5/18/2019 9:27:41 AM
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