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Marco Rubio has repeatedly claimed he "wants more" from the Amnesty Bill now moving through Congress.
Yes, folks, it's an amnesty bill. Let's cut the crap and call it what it is, because only through calling something what it is can we debate it.
"Legalization" of those who are here illegally today is amnesty. I don't care whether it leads to citizenship now or later, the fact of the matter is that it rewards criminal activity by allowing those who stole from Americans and their resources to keep what they stole and remain here in America.
There is no restitution. There is no penalty of consequence. There is nothing except benefit for them and a gigantic magnet pulling even more illegal immigrants to America.
America is a nation of immigrants. I'm the offspring of immigrants and odds are you are too. Unless you're 100% native American you are a son or daughter of immigrants, directly or a few generations removed. Even if you can trace your heritage to the original colonists, you are the product of immigration.
But your parents, grandparents or other ancestors probably came here legally -- unless you're Hispanic. Then the odds are that your parents, grandparents or perhaps even you personally came here illegally.
Everyone wants to talk about "compassion" for the millions who are here already. But that's exactly identical to apologizing for bank robbers after you disarmed the guards and allowed millions of people to rob banks. After the fact you now want "compassion" for those who took the money?
And let's not kid ourselves -- that's exactly what happened. These people have come here, they have consumed our resources, they have sucked off the government tit. They don't pay taxes and by and large they don't cover their own costs. They have children who go to our schools, get free or reduced-price food that the rest of us pay for, they evade the taxation that pays for those schools, they show up in our hospitals with no money and no medical insurance, they drive on our roads with no car insurance and when they wreck and injure or kill us by doing so our insurance bills go up to cover the uninsured motorist -- them.
The correct way to deal with this problem is to demand that every single one of these people either leave or pay back twice what they got. You dropped a kid into our schools for the last five years? The per-pupil cost in your district is $8,000? Cough up $80,000 (twice the $40k cost) as the fine for forcing us to support your child's education through your crime, plus double the cost of any other social benefits you've received, pay all of your back taxes for every penny of under-the-table "wages" you've earned and then go to the back of the line and apply for residency.
Of course none of these folks have $80,000. If they did they wouldn't have come here illegally in the first place.
And that's the problem, in a nutshell. They came here because they could "get" rather than earn. That's theft and fraud and until we call things what they are we cannot make progress.
The Libertarians want to argue that there should be "free movement of human capital." Fine -- I'm good with it when, and only when, there is utterly no means to access any taxpayer service for those who cross borders in this fashion and anyone who tries it is immediately charged and prosecuted for felony grand theft. But not one second before.
The Democrats want to argue that this is about compassion? Fine -- see above. Put a stop to the magnet games and handouts and I'm ok with it.
In the early 1900s when millions of people came through Ellis Island there was no welfare system. You either worked hard and earned a living, assimilating into our culture, learning English and strove to become educated or you starved. Yes, there were groups that provided help but it was voluntary; Churches and other groups, most faith-based, did indeed provide help to those who couldn't help themselves and that's fine. But there was no Section 8 housing, no WIC, no Food Stamps and no free medical care.
You worked or you starved.
Now there is such a system and it is not only abused it is why these people come in the first place. Jose the roofer shoots a nail through his foot and you get the bill for that accident because Jose has no medical insurance or money and his "employer" isn't paying workman's comp insurance either because he's working illegally. Then Jose goes home and screws his wife or girlfriend, she gets pregnant and you get the bill for the prenatal care and birth because he has no money and neither does she, and they both access that care under EMTALA when things get ugly. Then to add insult to injury once Jose's wife or girlfriend gives birth the child is an American citizen, we refuse to deport either of the illegal invaders who begat that child and we give them welfare of all sorts.
Try that crap as a US Citizen in Mexico. Go there on "vacation" and try to work. Forget it -- you'll go to jail. Get hurt and demand that the Mexican hospitals treat you for free. Forget it -- you'll die. Think I'm kidding? I'm not -- I'm a diver and there are myriad warnings about exactly that risk if I choose not to carry dive insurance for recompression treatment. If I get bent in Cozumel I better either have a policy that will cover it outside the United States that the recompression chamber will accept or the ability to pay in cash before I get treated or I will be left crippled or even be allowed to die in agony -- literally.
This crap must stop and no bill that fails to put a 100% hard stop to it can be supported. What we have now is theft and fraud against the American people and ratifying that will simply bring more theft and fraud. We proved this the last time around when the promise was made to secure the border and stop the infiltration of people coming here for the social benefits rather than to provide labor and advance our economy. We were told the flood of illegals would cease; it instead accelerated.
I want a strong, vibrant economy that is open to all who wish to come here and contribute on the same terms as Americans. That means assimilating into America -- becoming Americans. It means an end to groups like "La Raza." If you wish to be an American there is no hyphenation in your identity and there is no subgroup to which you belong -- you choose to speak English because that is the language of the nation, you choose to live under the political and legal system of our country, you integrate into our society and you cut the crap about being "special", "different" or having a right to get a pass on the laws and customs that the rest of us all live under and with. Period.
If your first act was to break the law by setting foot on our soil in an act of furtive evasion of said law and you then accessed our vast resources under the table you must (1) admit your sin and theft of that which did not belong to you, (2) make full penance for every dime of cost you imposed on us at a penalty rate in recognition and admission that what you did was wrong and (3) go stand at the back of the line behind all those who did neither of those things.
Marco Rubio refuses to face this because he's "afraid" of Hispanic reaction, as are others. But he's pandering to the wrong constituency. The people he's pandering to and afraid of are not citizens and cannot vote -- at least not without committing even more felonies. Hispanic people who are here legally and are citizens are broadly (and rightly!) pissed off that there are millions of others who look like them that (1) damage their relationship with the rest of America by association and (2) are cutting in front of the line of their friends and family members who wish to come to America legally, willfully bearing the costs of citizenship to obtain the benefits.
The Democrats simply want to pander for votes and think they can turn the 20+ million illegals here into a new voting block by finding ways to give those who came here unlawfully the franchise.
That sort of thinking is exactly identical to giving bank robbers a controlling vote on whether bank robbery ought to be illegal.
Anyone with an ounce of common sense would discern that such a vote would destroy banking overnight.
The Democrats lack that common sense.
Does anyone on the other side of the aisle possess it?
There's another hearing going on right now regarding the NSA spying.
Let me be clear once again:
- I have no problem with the NSA paying attention to foreign communications for the purpose of interdicting terrorism. If that surveillance winds up connected to US persons then a warrant can be obtained under the clearly-existing standards of probable cause and from there you move forward. This is clearly Constitutional and is what is being described with the allegedly-foiled plots to bomb the NY Subway and NYSE.
- It is entirely different when the NSA vacuums up all data in the United States, whether one end terminates outside the US or not, and then later manufactures justification to do whatever they wish with it. That is not Constitutional.
There are those who argue that the latter is ok under the premise that a US Supreme Court decision (Smith .v. Maryland, 442 US 735 (1979)) held that a "pen register" (recording metadata) did not require probable cause be first demonstrated.
However, Smith .v. Maryland still dealt with an individual that was suspected of criminal activity. The holding was that probable cause was not necessary under the 4th Amendment as the data was being recorded by the phone company anyway.
Further, the holding was that there was no "reasonable" expectation (in society) that such data would not be interdicted and stored by government. This is clearly not the case in the aggregate for everyone's phone calls on a mass basis.
It is quite-clear that nobody in this country expects that the list of the phone numbers they dial and their physical location at all times that their phone is on will be both recorded and made available to others. In other words there damn sure is a reasonable expectation that this data will be used only for its legitimate purposes of providing phone service and billing for those calls, not for exposition to others at someone else's whim.
Extending metadata collection to everyone where no suspicion exists at any level, and effectively forcing the permanent retention of data that the phone company would otherwise discard quickly as its business reason to have it would disappear (and they thus would not normally retain it), along with rendering it effectively a public matter is wildly beyond any reasonable expectation that the people have for this information.
This has never been ruled Constitutional; the question has never come before the court and there is no way that anyone can make a coherent argument that their location on a 24x7 basis along with every phone call they make is "public" or "voluntarily disclosed" information for any purpose other than to enable the functionality of their phone and billing of the usage made thereof.
It is also clear that such a blanket grab is a seizure -- not a search.
Again, the premise of a pen register order is that the target is in some way suspected of committing a crime but all law enforcement has is a belief -- not probable cause.
Blanket vacuuming up and analyzing metadata is not the same thing and is clearly a seizure of that information. It does not belong to the government; under present law it belongs to the company (although that needs to be addressed as well!) and as such either it is being voluntarily given by the firm in which case we can and should refuse to do business with said firms or it is being seized without suspicion in which case the 4th Amendment clearly applies.
Delaying Peak-Oil With Nanoparticles
Science World Report
When petroleum companies abandon an oil well, more than half the reservoir's oil is usually left behind as too difficult to recover. Now, however, much of the residual oil can be recovered with the help of nanoparticles and a simple law of physics. Oil ...
Categories: Peak oil news from news.google.com
How renewable energy can help your home
Organised by Richard Davies of Transition Town Wimbledon, the evening will start at 7.30pm. There will be an opportunity to discuss local issues around renewable technology and energy use as well as the chance to share experiences and ideas with others.
Categories: TT news
Power Line (blog)
Energy Geek Week: Peak Oil RIP Edition
Power Line (blog)
Like the end of the whole peak oil hypothesis. The first figure below displays the 60 percent growth in proven global oil reserves over the last 20 years. This is not just the result of recent technological advances such as directional drilling and ...
Categories: Peak oil news from news.google.com
A summer storm may be brewing for stocks, warns Huffington Post’s Natalie Pace, and gold may yet again shine for investors.
Pace points out a trifecta of bad news on the horizon for the stock market:
The federal debt ceiling was breached on May 19 — to almost zero notice in the media. The Treasury suspended investments in federal worker retirement funds in order to remain solvent. This has bought the government until around Labor Day to come up with a deal to raise the ceiling… which will almost certainly come to another last-minute budget battle. Stocks will buck at the debt battle like they did the last several times this happened.
Fitch has also promised to revisit the “negative outlook” on U.S. credit this summer. Given that it indicated last February that they would need to see $3 trillion in savings over the next decade on top of the sequester cuts, it seems likely they will either remain negative or even downgrade. Another debt battle may put further pressure on them to downgrade.
The sequester also caused a downward revision of GDP, with Fitch estimating 1.9%, down from 2.3% pre-sequester. The next three quarters, therefore, should be much lower as well. The advance estimate for second-quarter GDP growth will happen on July 31… right in the middle of summer. Investors may not take the news well.
Finally, Ms. Pace adds that central banks all over the world have been hoarding gold. As we observed in our recent piece “The Zero Hour Scenario,” a major increase in demand coupled with a steady supply could send the barbarous relic upward again.
When Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time in history in August 2011, gold shot up to an all-time nominal high over $1,900 per ounce. As you may have read in these pages before, don’t listen to the media hype. Stick with gold for the long haul. If Pace is right, this summer, you’ll be happy you did.
When I became chairman of the Federal Reserve, there was a general feeling in this country that economic affairs, and inflation in particular, had reached a kind of crisis point. Things were not going very well. There was a feeling of uncertainty. There was a lot of speculation in commodities and the gold price, which was then free to fluctuate up to $800 an ounce. In an odd kind of way, that’s a good time to step into a job because people thought that something needed to be done.
The mood of the country was willing to accept action, which 10 years earlier they wouldn’t have been willing to accept. And once we got caught up in an anti-inflationary effort, there was a certain willingness to take very high interest rates and eventually a rather severe recession, with the hope and expectations that things would get better. And if we could restore any sense of stability in the currency, the country would be better off as long as we sustained that phase.
There was a lot of opposition and concern, understandably. It was a bad recession, but there was this underlying core that the country had not been on the right path economically and that it needed to be shaken up in order to restore stability. And that faith sustained the country.
It was a situation where a stronger approach was acceptable. And although it was controversial, there was a basic core of support and willingness to do it.
I repeat it all the time: Don’t let inflation get out of control and build a kind of momentum. If that happens, we will all find ourselves back in the days of stagflation and unacceptable economic performance.
Right now we are in a very difficult circumstance. We are in a financial world with lots of excess spending and lending. These many excesses put a lot of pressure on economic institutions. The question becomes how much pressure will they put on the economy as a whole?
In the past 20 years, we have had a very good run of economic activity and a lot of success in the financial world. But now we have reached a point of excess, maladjustments and tensions. Correcting them is going to be a little bit painful.
The period beginning in the mid- to early 1990s has been one of remarkable success and leadership in the world economy by the United States. But a lot of things have contributed to it. Price stability, which has been characterized with higher stock prices or lower interest rates, is one factor that has contributed to that success. Following a period of low productivity growth in the United States, the explosion of high-tech industries and high productivity in the 1990s also led to broader economic policies.
One crucial occurrence was during the Clinton administration. The movement toward a balanced budget was something that this country had not seen for a long time, and there was this worry that we would be so successful in running budget surpluses that the national debt would disappear in a few years. It was an indication of a sense of financial discipline that hadn’t existed earlier.
Now that has been eroded. In recent years, we had a small recession, which grew out of the excesses of the high-tech era and the extremely high stock prices for Silicon Valley-type firms. I’m afraid budget deficits, which to some degree are certainly tolerable and manageable in the light of the economic situation, will get us back in the habit of running deficits as a matter of course.
And of course, the big problem for this country fiscally is a need for more spending — an inherent need for more spending in Social Security, Medicare and other areas. That spending presents a very large fiscal challenge in coming years. It’s not here right now, but we’ll see whether a democracy can deal with an obvious problem that’s going to be present in not too many years; and the earlier we take action to deal with it, the better. But are we going to take action or not? That’s the crucial issue.
There will be all kinds of consequences and uncertainty if we don’t deal with these problems. Letting inflation get a little bit out of control and not dealing with economic problems effectively in the ’70s led to a very uncomfortable crisis. We don’t want to have to go through big recessions again to teach people fiscal responsibility. Instead, we should anticipate what needs to be done while maintaining the growth of the economy. And the threat will always be an unstable economy and an unstable currency. And that’s not just destructive to economic life. It can be destructive to America’s position in the world.
Ed. Note: Rampant inflation is hazardous to any economy. But it can be fought with sound money and a return to fiscal responsibility. Paul Volcker proved as much in his tenure at the Fed. Still, the current Fed chairman has learned nothing. Don’t allow Bernanke, or anyone else inside the Beltway, to destroy your wealth. Find out how to protect yourself by signing up for The Daily Reckoning email edition, right here.
In a case with important implications for individuals at the early stages of a police investigation, the high court said that a suspect must verbally invoke his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to prevent police and prosecutors from using any resulting silence and incriminating body language as evidence of guilt during a jury trial.
You must tell the police (or any arm of police) if you are not yet under arrest that you are invoking your 5th Amendment right to remain silent or your actions, including silence, are not protected.
So it's really quite simple -- refuse to talk to the cops -- period.
Is there any reason to communicate with any member of law enforcement for any reason whatsoever, including through mere silence, from this point forward?
Nope, other than to say the following: I invoke my 5th Amendment right to remain silent and Am I free to go?
That's it folks.
This ruling will, and should, do more to harm law enforcement than help it.
Make it so with your response.
Not long ago, Baltimore visionary Dave Troy lamented on the shallowness of startups that form when there’s an increased availability of investment capital.
“Consumer-facing, peer-to-peer commerce startups are hot, but how many tie-sharing services does the country really need? (Yes, there is hot competition in this space.) Ideas like these are attractive because they are easy to act on quickly. But harder problems like truly innovative biotechnology and next-generation manufacturing cannot be incubated in a few weeks by Red Bull-drinking, ramen-eating young programmers. We run the risk of creating the cult of the McStartup.”
This passage touches upon one of the more problematic reasons that companies form in the first place: because there is money to be made in a certain sector. This results in products and services that may not necessarily be innovative, but that answer an existent demand and might create some jobs in the process.
The problem, of course, is that this demand rapidly fades once the market fully matures. We’ve recently seen this happen with gourmet cupcake shops, which were hot a couple of years ago, until every hack piled on the bandwagon. Before you could say “gluten-free red velvet,” there was a sitcom on CBS about two girls who wanted to open their own cupcake shop.
Going strictly by averages, not every cupcake shop can be as good as the best. We eventually reach the point where there are more bad places than good ones, and that sort of situation can quickly spoil consumer interest in general, sending their attention elsewhere. The video game crash of 1983 was a prime example of this trend in technology.
The initial demand can be sparked by a single company that figured out how to make money. This is the other reason why many companies start: Someone discovered a new thing to monetize. With cupcakes, someone realized that they could charge $6 or $7 for a single cupcake and built a business around it.
The creation of demand or fulfillment of it are both solid schemes for starting a business, but they inadvertently turn the successful startups into growth-capped cash cows and unsuccessful startups into hamburger… McStartup style.
Approaching From a Different Angle
This cycle of fad and fad-to-be can be avoided when a startup focuses on solving problems, instead of answering to the market.
Take, for example, Project Gado. It’s a low-cost document-scanning robot that was created to answer a series of problems that founder Thomas Smith encountered as a student at Johns Hopkins.
There wasn’t a ripe-and-ready market to join, and Smith didn’t sit down at the designing table with the preconceived idea of building a semiautonomous robot. Instead, the conditions present in the Diaspora Pathways Archival Access Project (DPAAP) lined up and led him to create a quirky but effective robotic scanner that would allow small institutions to scan large collections of fragile documents on the cheap.
The DPAAP’s original mission was to organize the archives at Baltimore’s historic Afro-American newspaper and create searchable guides of the content there. Even though the paper had a massive collection of photos that are priceless artifacts of Baltimore history, Smith found that digitizing the visual media in the archive was actually not included in the project.
“A lot of the grants people can get for archival work actually prohibit digitization, so a lot of them are geared only toward organizations. The Mellon Grant the [DPAAP] worked under was $476,000, and they were literally barred from spending a single penny on digitization,” Smith said.
Defying the startup trends mentioned above, Smith actually went where the money wasn’t.
“I looked around and talked to more archivists and found that this was a problem a lot of institutions have. The University of Maryland archives has all the photos from the Baltimore News American, about 1.5 million, and a 1-million-piece postcard archive going back to the turn of the century. You have all these places that have these incredible collections, and they don’t have the resources to do digitization.”
With no experience building robots and no grants of his own, Smith cobbled together the first Project Gado for less than $500 and scanned about a thousand photos over the course of a summer. The first grant came in 2011, robot design was improved and turned into a kit, and a photo licensing strategy was devised as a means of drawing income from the scanning activity. With some major announcements expected in the near future, Project Gado continues to grow.
New startups don’t necessarily have to tackle pressing issues like biotech or next-gen manufacturing if they want to avoid McStartup status. Entrepreneurs need only to learn from Project Gado and similar social enterprises by putting problem solving just a little bit ahead of market demands.
Get out your tea leaves — it’s that time again.
“On Tuesday and Wednesday,” writes John Beveridge at the Herald Sun, “Bernanke and his board will discuss their next step as they try to engineer a staged retreat from some of the most extraordinary money printing stimulus the U.S. has ever seen.”
Once again, Wall Street will hang on each word with nauseating myopia trying to determine if infinite quantitative easing will soon become finite.
That’s the problem with a staged retreat: Everyone’s watching for it and reacts accordingly.
“Last month” Beveridge continues, “when Bernanke told Congress he was thinking about starting to wheel the punch bowl toward the kitchen if things kept going well, the party began to get out of hand. Markets and currencies gyrated as they considered what would happen if the U.S. Fed scaled back its program of buying $85 billion of government bonds every month.”
Our macro strategist Dan Amoss lays out the play-by-play in his Strategic Short Report:
“A key plank of the Fed’s exit strategy involves paying higher interest rates on excess reserves. This would have the effect of keeping the huge stock of recently printed money on deposit at the Fed, preventing it from entering circulation out in the real economy.
“While that may sound fine in theory, here’s the political problem: The Fed would wind up paying hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments on its liabilities — after it has already locked in low rates on its assets by buying low-yielding Treasuries and mortgage securities. Like a bank in a flat yield curve environment, the Fed’s net interest income would vanish — along with its annual remittances to the Treasury. These remittances have cut the U.S. Treasury’s financing burden by hundreds of billions of dollars since 2008…
“If the Fed loses the ability to pay interest on excess reserves (which Congress granted in the 2008 crisis), it will have to use much more painful ‘open market operations.’ Tightening policy using open market operations would involve selling Treasuries and mortgages into a collapsing, bidless bond market while erasing previously printed base money supplies. You can imagine what a disaster this would be for the prices of all ‘risk’ assets. The rush to sell everything (stocks, bonds, real estate) would be unprecedented.”
That’s why we figure that Wall Street’s palm readers will be left guessing after the Fed announces.
Mortgage rates have already spiked just above 4% last week and our credit addiction hasn’t really changed.
Below you can see what consumer debt looks like.
It’s dropped by about $1.2 trillion from a high of $14 trillion in 2008, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods:
Moreover, total debt across all sectors has risen to almost $60 trillion…almost 4 times the nation’s income.
Ironically, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan explained in these pages last week why such a debt kick is like dancing on the ledge:
“The comparable measure with respect to households is that if you don’t save adequately, you are wholly dependent upon the income you are getting. But as far as you’re concerned, unless you put money away for nest egg purposes, for retirement, for a variety of other purposes, you will ﬁnd that you are living an extraordinarily precarious existence. Savings is the buffer which is the gap between disaster and prosperity.”
“Gosh,” one reader commented after reading those words. “He espouses Austrian principles before and after he’s the head of the Federal Reserve. And our leaders try to have us believe that the institution isn’t politicized?”
Ed. Note. Preceding an exceptional piece by none other than Dr. Ron Paul, this piece was originally featured in the Daily Reckoning email edition — an issue that took a closer look at the perils of paper money. And Dr. Paul even recounted an amusing exchange with former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, confirming his seemingly dual personality. All that in one neatly compiled email, sent straight your inbox… absolutely free. If you’re not already receiving the Daily Reckoning email edition, check it out for free, right here.
When NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden wanted to talk to reporter Glenn Greenwald, he insisted that they use encrypted chat. Unfortunately, Greenwald didn’t know how to go about setting that up. In fact, he needed a tutorial in how to do it. Indeed, many people do. I was looking at the download figures of various encryption programs, and they are not impressive (about 52,000 for one popular program). Apparently, this approach to securing conversations is far from mainstream.
Why should anyone bother? Encrypted chat is like the “cone of silence” in the old Get Smart series, except that it actually works. It makes conversations impossible for outsiders to listen to. So far as snoops are concerned, the conversation might as well have not happened.
How can we be sure? The best case is precisely that Snowden trusted it. He knew exactly what the NSA could surveil and what was invisible. He knew that this level of encryption was NSA-proof. Otherwise, he would not have taken the risk.
Why would anyone but a whistle-blower need it? Let’s say you want to talk about a business deal with a remote party and it is extremely important that there be no security breaches. You would be crazy to use email, but even chat is a mistake. One party has a full record of it even aside from all issues of surveillance.
You don’t have to be breaking the law to use this technology. It might be useful for talking about health records or household finances or some issue that might be embarrassing to have on record or dragged up and put in your face later. There is a good reason for privacy. Encryption makes it possible.
The most common encryption standard today, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), was created by Phil Zimmermann in 1991. As an anti-nuclear peace activist, he wanted to make it possible for people to communicate with each other even in totalitarian countries that prohibited speech. To his amazement, it was the U.S. government that tried to stop the code from being released. In 1993, he was prosecuted for illegal export of munitions (go figure).
A huge protest ensued. The code swirled around the Internet like a crazy global storm — a clear sign that the Internet cannot be stopped from distributing information. Even more strikingly, MIT Press published the entire code in a book (that actually sold rather well) that was protected under the First Amendment. In time, the government backed down. It was a great victory for technological progress and the freedom of speech.
In other words, if the government had had its way, we might not have this type of encryption at all. But we do have it, thanks to a series of simultaneous discoveries of the logic of public-key cryptography in the 1970s. (From Wikipedia, I’m amazed to learn that William Stanley Jevons, economist of the late 19th-century marginal revolution in economics, actually anticipated the logic of public-key cryptography.)
PGP is not the only one. There is OTR (Off-the-Record) Messaging as well. Both go far beyond the encryption used in most Web commerce (SSL), which only masks the communications between your computer and a company’s servers, but such companies still maintain the data.
The technology has been around for a long time. But users have mostly not bothered. That could change in light of all the news about government snooping. For some communications in the future, people might be willing to give up some convenience of commercial programs for the security of encrypted communications.
By the way, here is an obvious and quick answer to the NSA’s claim that it must harvest as much data as possible as a way to stop terrorism and protect the American way of life from dangerous criminals. If you are a dangerous criminal or terrorist plotting an attack and you are not entirely stupid, it is very likely that you would choose cryptographic communications over commercial services.
Hence, the very communications that the NSA supposedly seeks are the ones that it cannot get. What, then, is the point behind the huge data centers and the invasions on everyone else’s liberty? The purpose is to control the rest of us and shore up its power. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to accept that truth. You need only have your eyes open.
If government criminalizes private communications, only government and criminals will have private communications.
A friend wrote me the other day and said, “I just had a startling revelation. Public-key cryptography is the only thing standing between us and a totalitarian state.” That is sobering, indeed.
This is why it is so important for any freedom lover to pay special attention to the uses of cryptography. It most certainly should be at the heart of any monetary system of a free people in a digital age. A digital money should be more like trading gold or physical dollars. We don’t need to cough up our identities when we spend physical stuff like gold or silver. The money itself should be separate from our person and all the data about our lives.
This is how Bitcoin uses cryptography. It makes money behave more like a physical thing. There are no chargebacks, promises to pay, layers and layers of trust, waiting periods for banks and regulators to verify, and so on. Nor is there any prospect of identity theft. This is a serious matter: There are some 17 million cases of identity theft associated with the uses of digital dollars each year. Bitcoin eliminates all of that by putting a cryptographic wall between us as persons and the money we use.
It’s for this reason that Bitcoin is getting more popular in unusual sectors of the population. I bumped into a charming video a few days ago. It was of a family farm. The kids were giving a tour of their goats, their pigs… and their gigantic Bitcoin mining operation.
It turns out that Bitcoin has become very popular in these settings. One person wrote me to explain why:
“My wife and I have been Bitcoin farmers for a while, although we don’t mine. Our little agorist homestead accepts Bitcoin for our beautiful purebred French Marans and Ameraucana chickens and their fancy chocolate and blue eggs. We stick with a small flock of just the two most valuable breeds on the market, raised free range on just over an acre. We ship fertile eggs all over the country to supply the growing backyard chicken revolution. You might be surprised to know that mailing eggs is a gray-market activity. In Texas, it costs a minimum of $100 a year to get a permit to mail live chicks, and regulations on the import of eggs vary wildly from state to state. Carefully packaged eggs containing live embryos can be shipped undetected and hatched in an incubator in three weeks. Egg regs are so restrictive in Virginia that most breeders won’t ship there. Bitcoin is a perfect medium to conduct commerce, considering the increasing prohibition of benign things.”
In our heavily patrolled, regulated, browbeaten and regimented system of commerce, the need to separate identity from the property of money itself has become a practical necessity. Without this ability, you risk everything and you don’t have the capacity to live out your dream. This is how cryptography has made it possible for commerce to continue even amid the police state. For many people, then, Bitcoin is not just about privacy. It is a lifeline to financial survival.
Original article posted on Laissez Faire Today
The investing community has become completely transfixed on the possibility of the Big Fed Taper.
In fact, the Taper has become every market pundit’s go-to talking point. Any mention of it has such an overwhelming effect that stocks immediately (and sometimes violently) react when a new, prominent opinion surfaces.
Case in point:
“Ben Bernanke is likely to signal that the US Federal Reserve is close to tapering down its $85bn-a-month in asset purchases when he holds a press conference on Wednesday, but balance that by saying subsequent moves depend on what happens to the economy,” declared Robin Harding yesterday in the Financial Times.
“The Fed chairman has a double communications problem. Markets seem reluctant to acknowledge the improvement that is leading the Fed towards a taper of QE3. But they also appear to be assuming, incorrectly, that any taper means the Fed has become less willing to support the economy’s recovery.”
That’s all it took…
In a matter of minutes, the broad market began coughing up its gains. At 2 p.m., the S&P 500 was up more than 1% at 1,644. After the FT article hit the wire, the rally vanished. By 3 p.m., the S&P was barely in the green, sitting at 1,630. Stocks finally fought higher into the close, capping an interesting (and somewhat telling) trading day.
If you’re a trader, this week’s FOMC meeting is a wrench in your gears. The market’s jumpy. Every single breath of news is going to shake stocks temporarily. That’s the situation this week—and there’s really no way around it.
Because of all the speculation surrounding The Big, Bad Taper, there’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” going on in this market. We’ve been here before. Not six months ago, traders sat on their hands as the Fiscal Cliff drama played out in dramatic fashion. Yet instead of a massive market crash, we were treated to the beginnings of a powerful rally.
In the short-term, expect some whipsaw action as nervous investors struggle through the news cycle. But unless you’re darting in and out of new trades every single week, you shouldn’t get too trigger happy in these conditions.
Ignore the circus. Take a wider view and obey the charts, and you’ll avoid becoming Taper road kill as investors, the market, and the media duke it out this week…
Recently I read that our challenge in the twenty-first century is to triple global energy demand “so that the world’s poorest can enjoy modern living standards, while reducing our carbon emissions from energy production to zero”.
Russia is at its 2nd and last oil peak. The easy oil is gone. The FSU export peak comes ahead of the production peak.
Russia is at its 2nd and last oil peak. The easy oil is gone. The FSU export peak comes ahead of the production peak.
During a Permablitz, an army of volunteers, friends, and neighbors descend on a home and transform the yard (back, front, or both) into a food-growing wonderland.
During a Permablitz, an army of volunteers, friends, and neighbors descend on a home and transform the yard (back, front, or both) into a food-growing wonderland.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.4 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The shelter index rose 0.3 percent and accounted for more than half of the seasonally adjusted all items increase in May. The energy index rose modestly, with the gasoline index flat but increases in the electricity and natural gas indexes accounting for the rise. The food index, however, turned down in May, with the food at home index falling 0.3 percent.
So from the headline you'd say "steady as she goes."
So how do the internals look on this?
There were some pretty-large increases in electrical cost this month -- in fact, more than the annualized rate of increase last month alone. Gasoline also went up, breaking a trend that had been solidly negative for a bit.
The other major jump was in lodging -- which I can confirm down here anecdotally. I don't know how well this will hold up, but this much is apparent -- the hotel folks here think there's plenty of demand to support higher prices and are charging what the market will bear. We'll see how that works out for them as the summer goes onward. I don't see, however, the traffic levels on the roads that one would expect to go with the pricing. Hmmm....
The other interesting claim is that health-related costs appear to be up around 3.5-4% annualized. If true and sustained this is a major change, but I'm skeptical because we've seen this pattern before -- and then you get a 12-15% print the next year. But this is (mildly) encouraging -- check back with me next summer to see if I still think it is.
All in all there are no big surprises in here.
Late last week I was in New York, attending a conference — a small affair with some of my favorite names in the junior resource sector.
Specialty metals, technology plays and something I call “dirty gold”… this intimate gathering had them all.
I gave the kickoff talk at the event. In short, I offered some macro-views about the junior resource space, including my ideas on what to look for in the current yucky market.
For you, I want to go into a little more depth. Below you’ll find a 4-step method to evaluating junior resource plays. Let’s get started…
Right now, the U.S. economy as muddling along. Big companies are hoarding cash, while the middle and small tiers wake up nervous every day. Business formation and job creation are weak, although the economy has a couple of strong sectors like energy, aerospace and geography-specific housing, to some extent.
One key problem is the size and regulatory weight of government at every level.
Obamacare looms — with its impending large premium increases next year. Government is way too big, and spends too much — and that’s when it’s not downloading your emails and cross-referencing them to your phone calls and credit card purchases, while tracking your whereabouts from your cell phone signal.
In general, the broad markets seem concerned about the looming end for the Federal Reserve’s policy of “Quantitative Easing” (QE), as well as the long (too long, some say!) period of low interest rates. Bond prices are weakening, as evidenced by Apple’s famous 30-year bond of late, now down 10% — three years’ worth of the face coupon.
In other macro-worry issues, we have the China economic slowdown, which has sucked wind from the sails of numerous commodity plays — iron ore, coal, copper and more.
Elsewhere, we have seemingly permanent Eurozone stagnation, the long-term moribund situation in Japan, and the slowdown in emerging markets across the globe.
These kinds of big issues tend to blur the optics of even the best of resource ideas. Still, for all the market pain of late, in the junior space — pain over the past year, actually — I believe there are numerous beaten down bargains across a spectrum of categories. That is, look for:
- Exploration Stories
- Development Stories
- Technology Stories
- Joint Venture and Takeover Stories
In a stock-picking market, you want to look for an investment inflection point, typically where the pace of discovery or development is about to accelerate. That, and look for positive, unique characteristics in a company, especially when they’re associated with significant de-risking events. For example:
- Resource Update
- Potential New Development Angle
- Technical Breakthrough
- Pathway to Cash Flow or Exit Point
Basically, you’re looking for solid assets with great management. Cash is fabulous, although right now the fact is that a lot of companies are running on fumes. So there’s financing risk out there with many plays with otherwise strong merits. Look at it as your chance to buy in on the next fund-raise, and pick up more shares of promising plays at a relative bargain.
Eventually, the markets for junior plays will turn — well, for the good ones. The world really does need a resource development pipeline. The future is bleak if the markets starve this kind of business model into oblivion. For now, the idea is to look for excellent ideas, and figure out if there’s something that can give the story a boost.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.
Byron W. King
Original article posted on Daily Resource Hunter
What Happens if We Focus on the 3%? (Spoiler: Local Economies Flourish)
I was at Transition Town Totnes's second annual Local Entrepreneurs' Forum in the town's Civil Hall. The event was designed to bring ... Rob Hopkins is the co-founder of both Transition Towns Totnes and Transition Network. His new book, The Power of ...
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