en What Bitcoin "Deserves" <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><strong><em><a href="" target="_blank">From the Slope of Hope:</a></em></strong> I will preface this by saying I don't have a dog in this fight. Whether Bitcoin plummets to its intrinsic value of $0.00 and makes people look like idiots, or whether it goes to a trillion dollars per Bitcoin, it doesn't matter to me. But I want to point out something I find just.......<em>weird</em>.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">The press (and, in particular, Bitcoin fanboyz) seem obsessed with the notion that the market cap, so to speak, of Bitcoin is DESTINED to ascend to some higher level. We see diagrams like this:</p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><img src="" width="1064" height="629" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 0px 1px 4px;" class="alignnone" /></p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">This is as if to say that Bitcoin "deserves" to be as big as........well......typically, all the gold in the world. I have no earthly idea where this notion came from. Bitcoin no more deserves to be as worth as much as all the gold in the world as I deserve to have the same net worth as Mark Zuckerberg. It doesn't make any sense.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">And I saw this just yesterday:</p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"><img src="" width="980" height="876" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 0px 1px 4px;" class="alignnone" /></p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">We are <em>here</em>? Are you serious? Or are you simply inhaling a substantial amount of the marijuana that's going to be legal in California in just a couple of weeks.</p> <p style="line-height: 1.71429; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1.71429rem; color: #444444; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">My hand to God. The human race has lost your mind. I think I'll return to my home planet.</p> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Cryptocurrencies Currency Economics of bitcoin Exonumia Life extensionists Mark Zuckerberg Numismatics Slope of Hope Sat, 16 Dec 2017 04:41:14 +0000 Tim Knight from Slope of Hope 609269 at The U.S. Is Not A Democracy, It Never Was <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Gabriel Rockhill via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy.</strong> Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a &ldquo;loss of democracy&rdquo; due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered <em>undemocratic exceptions</em>. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 492px; height: 307px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. </strong>This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.</p> <p><u><em><strong>What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth&mdash;a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short&mdash;has succeeded not only in buying the label of &ldquo;democracy&rdquo; to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.</strong></em></u></p> <p>To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article,<strong> five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy</strong> (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, <a href=""><em>Counter-History of the Present</em></a>).</p> <p><strong>To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people.</strong> Those who settled on the shores of the &ldquo;new world,&rdquo; with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning &ldquo;the people,&rdquo; was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.</p> <p><strong>Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. </strong>On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called &ldquo;founding fathers,&rdquo; the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the &ldquo;subordination&rdquo; so necessary for politics. When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than &ldquo;the filth of the common sewers&rdquo; by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves&mdash;meaning the overwhelming majority of the population&mdash;were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: &ldquo;it is not a democracy.&rdquo; George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as &ldquo;a despotic aristocracy.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a &ldquo;democracy,&rdquo; there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name.</strong> In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term &ldquo;democracy&rdquo; to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of &ldquo;Indian killer&rdquo; Andrew Jackson&rsquo;s presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a &lsquo;democrat,&rsquo; he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term &ldquo;democracy&rdquo; came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or <em>demos</em>. Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.</p> <p><strong>In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary &ldquo;democratic&rdquo; publicity campaign. </strong>The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a &ldquo;democracy&rdquo; because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed <em>equality before the law</em> in the United States presupposes an <em>inequality before the law</em> by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country&rsquo;s history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, &ldquo;criminals,&rdquo; minors, the &ldquo;clinically insane,&rdquo; political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the &ldquo;choice&rdquo;&mdash;overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme&mdash;regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. &ldquo;Multivariate analysis indicates,&rdquo; according to <a href="">an important recent study</a> by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, &ldquo;that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination [&hellip;], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power.</strong> Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in <a href=""><em>America&rsquo;s Deadliest Export: Democracy</em></a>, grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau &ldquo;extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the &lsquo;New Left&rsquo; in general&rdquo; (<a href=""><em>Cointelpro: The FBI&rsquo;s Secret War on Political Freedom</em></a>, p. 22-23). Consider, for instance, <a href="'s_Secret_Police.html">Judi Bari&rsquo;s summary</a> of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: &ldquo;From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case&nbsp;<em>Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General</em>&nbsp;documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing.&rdquo; In the case of the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (AIM)&mdash;which were both important attempts to mobilize people power to dismantle the structural oppression of white supremacy and top-down class warfare&mdash;the FBI not only infiltrated them and launched hideous smear and destabilization campaigns against them, but they assassinated 27 Black Panthers and 69 members of AIM (and subjected countless others to the slow death of incarceration). If it be abroad or on the home front, the American secret police has been extremely proactive in beating down the movements of people rising up, thereby protecting and preserving the main pillars of white supremacist, capitalist aristocracy.</p> <p><u><strong>Rather than blindly believing in a golden age of democracy in order to remain at all costs within the gilded cage of an ideology produced specifically for us by the well-paid spin-doctors of a plutocratic oligarchy, we should unlock the gates of history and meticulously scrutinize the founding and evolution of the American imperial republic.</strong></u> This will not only allow us to take leave of its jingoist and self-congratulatory origin myths, but it will also provide us with the opportunity to resuscitate and reactivate so much of what they have sought to obliterate. In particular, there is a radical America just below the surface of these nationalist narratives, an America in which the population autonomously organizes itself in indigenous and ecological activism, black radical resistance, anti-capitalist mobilization, anti-patriarchal struggles, and so forth. It is this America that the corporate republic has sought to eradicate, while simultaneously investing in an expansive public relations campaign to cover over its crimes with the fig leaf of &ldquo;democracy&rdquo; (which has sometimes required integrating a few token individuals, who appear to be from below, into the elite ruling class in order to perpetuate the all-powerful myth of meritocracy).<strong> If we are astute and perspicacious enough to recognize that the U.S. is undemocratic today, let us not be so indolent or ill-informed that we let ourselves be lulled to sleep by lullabies praising its halcyon past. Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one.</strong></p> <p>Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however,<u><strong> it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it.</strong></u> These forces&mdash;not those that have been deployed to destroy them&mdash;should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="492" height="307" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American Indian Movement Black Panther Party Classical Greece Communist Party Corruption Criticism of democracy Democracy E-democracy Elections FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Forms of government Government House of Representatives Ku Klux Klan Oligarchy Plutocracy Political philosophy Politics Politics Puerto Rico Reality Socialist Workers’ Party Supreme Court Third Point Types of democracy US government Workers Party Sat, 16 Dec 2017 04:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609264 at This Map Shows Where Millennials Are Buying Houses (And For How Much) <p><strong>Millennial homeownership rates </strong>are essential to understanding the housing market because <strong>they facilitate additional home sales for other people. </strong></p> <p><em><strong>How does this work?</strong></em> As <a href=""></a> explains, suppose you make an offer on a house. The current owner is also probably on the market, and he or she likely has a contingent offer on another house. This sets off a chain reaction <a href="" target="_blank">throughout the economy</a>. <strong>Millennial homeownership rates are therefore an easy way to judge the economic vitality of any given area.</strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s why <a href=""></a> created this new map...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="359" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href="">Source:</a></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Our viz takes millennial homeownership data from<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;Abodo</a>&nbsp;and maps it by metro area across the country.</strong> Abodo adopted the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which regularly collects a variety of information about the population, including the age of homeowners, the estimated value of their homes, and how long it would take to accumulate a 20% down payment. Our numbers are from 2015. We then overlaid this information across metro areas with bubbles representing the portion of millennial homeowners in each market: the bigger the bubble, the more millennial homeowners there are. We also color-coded each bubble to represent the median value of their homes&mdash;dark red circles mean the homes are worth over $500k, and dark blue means under $200k. This gives you a quick snapshot of the overall economy and the housing market.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The first trend you can see on the map is a clustering of red circles on both the West Coast and along the Northeast.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The most expensive city in the country for millennials is San Jose, CA, where the average millennial buys a home worth $737,077.</strong> Seattle, WA in the Northwest is also relatively expensive at $342,769. These are population-dense areas with <a href="" target="_blank">booming</a>&nbsp;tech sectors. At the other end of the spectrum, you can see clusters of blue bubbles across the Midwest in old manufacturing cities like Detroit, MI ($148,404) and Cleveland, OH ($160,251). <strong>Memphis, TN is the cheapest place for millennials at $142,795.</strong> Southern states like Texas and Florida are also relatively affordable thanks in large part to their suburban sprawl, which<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;Zillow</a>&nbsp;predicts will expand next year.</p> <p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s no surprise that homes are more expensive in California (think Silicon Valley) than the industrial heartland, but consider how homeownership rates change based on affordability.<strong> The red bubbles all tend to be smaller than the blue bubbles. This means that as homes get more expensive, millennials become increasingly unable to afford them.</strong> It&rsquo;s not like there&rsquo;s a surplus of ultra-rich millennials buying up all the houses in California and New York. Millennials are just as sensitive to high prices as everyone else.</p> <p dir="ltr">Let&rsquo;s break the map down into a&nbsp;top ten list of the urban areas with the highest rates of millennial homeownership, combined with the average price of their home. <strong>A full 42% of the millennials living in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN own their own home, the highest rate in the country.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p dir="ltr">1. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI: 42.4% and $222,528</p> <p dir="ltr">2. St. Louis, MO-IL: 40.2% and $167,791</p> <p dir="ltr">3. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI: 40.2% and $148,404</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN: 38.5% and $158,974</p> <p dir="ltr">5. Pittsburgh, PA: 37.5% and $152,731</p> <p dir="ltr">6. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN: 37.4% and $161,856</p> <p dir="ltr">7. Kansas City, MO-KS: 37.1% and $170,254</p> <p dir="ltr">8. Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN: 37.0% and $213,090</p> <p dir="ltr">9. Oklahoma City, OK: 36.7% and $172,485</p> <p dir="ltr">10. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD: 36.3% and $272,805</p> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Buying a home is often the biggest financial decision anybody makes, and that&rsquo;s especially true for young people. And there&rsquo;s a lot to consider when buying your first home, but one thing other than affordability to keep in mind is how many other millennials are in the same situation. <strong><em>If you&rsquo;re a millennial looking to buy a home, and you want to live next to other young people, you just might have to move to the Midwest.</em></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1524" height="709" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Affordable housing Census Bureau Community organizing Demographics Demography Detroit Economic bubble Financial crises Florida Housing Market Land law Millennials Oklahoma Property Real estate U.S. Census Bureau West Coast Zillow Sat, 16 Dec 2017 04:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609258 at Deconstructing The Almighty Russian Hackers Myth <p><em><a href="">Authored by Patrick Armstrong via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><strong>Sometimes things can be made more complicated than they really are. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width: 599px; height: 303px;" /></strong></a></p> <p><strong>And such is the case with the story that the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee so as to help Trump become president.</strong></p> <p>In July 2016 Wikileaks released a number of documents showing that the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president had been rigged. A month earlier the DNC had announced it had been &quot;hacked&quot; and the cybersecurity company it hired announced that the Russians had done it &ndash; one of the reasons they gave was that the hackers had helpfully left the name of the Polish founder of the Soviet security forces as a clue.</p> <p>Since then, this story has been broadly accepted and it has spun on and on for eighteen months. But it doesn&#39;t really make any sense.</p> <p><u><strong>Let us pretend that Moscow wanted Trump to win.</strong></u> Let us further pretend that Moscow thought that there was a chance that he could win despite the fact that almost all news outlets, pollsters and pundits were completely confident that he could not. And let us pretend that Moscow thought that, with its thumb on the scale, Trump could make it. And, the fourth&nbsp;if, let us pretend that Moscow decided to put its thumb on the scale.</p> <p><u><strong>How to do it?</strong></u> Let us pretend (number five) that the strategy was to try and discredit Clinton. Let us further assume (this assumption is the one that&#39;s probably true) that Moscow has very good electronic intelligence capacities. So, we imagine the scene in headquarters as they look for an approach; they quickly find one that is very good, a second that is pretty good and a third area that is worth digging around in.</p> <p><strong>The Russians would know all about the Uranium One matter</strong> where, as even the Clinton-friendly NYT admitted, &quot;<a href="" target="_blank">a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation</a>&quot;. <em><strong>It would be very easy for them to package this as a case of Secretary of State Clinton selling US policy for personal profit. </strong></em>Russian intelligence organisations would have a great deal of true information and would find it easy to manufacture material to fill in any gaps in the story. Presented as a case of corruption and near treason, the story could have done a great deal of damage to her. And, given that it had happened six years earlier, all the details would have been known and ready to be used. It would have been a very powerful attack that even the complaint media would have had difficulty ignoring.</p> <p><strong>We know, and it&#39;s very likely that the Russians did too, that she ran a private e-mail server on which there were thousands and thousands of official communications. </strong>The server was very insecure and we can assume that Russia&#39;s signals intelligence (and everyone else&#39;s, for that matter) had penetrated it. Think of all the real material from that source that could be revealed or twisted to make a scandal. That would make quite a campaign. Further, it is a reasonable assumption that Russian intelligence would have some of the thousands of e-mails that were &quot;bleached&quot;. There would be enough material for a months-long campaign of leaks.</p> <p>Finally, Hillary Clinton has been in public life for many years and there would have been ample opportunities, and, many would say, <strong>ample material in her scandal-plagued career, for the construction of many campaigns to weaken her appeal.</strong></p> <p><strong>So, a preliminary look would suggest that there were several angles of attack of which Uranium One would be the easiest and most effective.</strong></p> <p>But, failing that, or as a supplement to that, there was plenty of embarrassing and incriminating material in her illicit private server.</p> <p><em><strong>Now we have to pretend (number six), contrary to the universal practice of security organs in all times and places, that the (always assumed in the story to be implacably hostile) Russians would decide to forgo the chance of compromising a future POTUS in favour of a harebrained scheme to get another elected.</strong></em></p> <p><u><strong>But we&#39;re supposed to believe that they did. </strong></u>The Russians, the story goes, with all this potential material, with a solid hit with Uranium One, decide instead to expose the finagling inside the Democratic Party structure.&nbsp;And to expose it too late to make any difference. As I said at the beginning, sometimes things are easier to understand when you, as it were, turn them upside down.</p> <p>In the middle of June 2016 the DNC admits that its documents have been obtained &ndash; a &quot;hack&quot; they insist &ndash; and almost immediately, &quot;Guccifer 2.0&quot; pops up to claim responsibility and the DNC&#39;s experts (Crowdstrike) claim Russia was behind it. A month passes before Wikileaks releases the first batch of DNC documents showing the extent of the manipulation of the process by Clinton &ndash; who had, according to most counts &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">already secured the nomination about two weeks before</a>. A couple of days before the release, Trump gets the Republican nomination and a couple of days after that Clinton easily wins the Democratic nomination by a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">thousand-vote majority</a>.</p> <p>So, the first thing that should have occurred to the observer (but didn&#39;t) was, if the Russians had had this incriminating evidence that the Democratic Party nomination had been fixed in Clinton&#39;s favour, wouldn&#39;t it have been more useful to put it out at a time when Sanders who was, after all, the swindled one, might have been able to do something about it? Instead those supposedly clever Russian state hackers dropped the news out at a time when it made very little difference. No difference in fact: Clinton got the nomination and there was no comeback from Sanders&#39; people.</p> <p><em><strong>So, the &quot;Russian hackers&quot; made their arrow, shot it, hit the target and... no one cared. </strong></em>The people who devoutly believe in the Russian hacking story now have to explain (but don&#39;t) why the Russian state, apparently so determined to bring Clinton down, didn&#39;t immediately hit her with the Uranium One documents and anything else they had that could feed the flames of scandal.</p> <p>But, as we all know, they didn&#39;t. While long rumoured, and even briefly reported on, we only learned of Uranium One in a big way in&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">October 2017</a>&nbsp;and the fact that her server contained Special Access material (the very highest classified secrets) was confirmed authoritatively only in&nbsp;<a href="">November 2017</a>. If the Russian had really had this sort of information and the hostility to Clinton that we&#39;re incessantly told that they had, two years earlier would have been the time.</p> <p><em><strong>So, on the one hand we are supposed to believe that the Russian government is so clever that it can hack anything, has innumerable social media trolls that influence elections and referendums around the world (&quot;<a href="" target="_blank">control the American mind</a>&quot;), drives a &quot;fake news&quot; campaign at a fraction of the cost but with far greater effectiveness than the massed legions of the Western media, is a threat to practically everything we hold sacred...</strong></em><u><em><strong> but is too stupid to get it right. </strong></em></u>Possessing great and powerful secrets and a stunningly powerful machine to spread them, it chooses to fire a damp squib too late to make any difference and passes up the chance to have a compromised US president for it to control.</p> <p>In other words, it&#39;s nonsense: we don&#39;t really need the forensics of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">VIPS</a>; we don&#39;t need to argue with people who say it&#39;s fake news about&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Seth Rich</a>, or that&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Assange</a>&nbsp;is a Putinbot, or carefully ignore&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Murray</a>. Those efforts are useful enough but they&#39;re not necessary.<em><strong> In any case, the Russia story is a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Gish gallop</a>&nbsp;and a whole academy of wise men and women couldn&#39;t keep up with the latest.</strong></em> (Robert Parry bravely attempts to list the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">most prominent ones</a>&nbsp;from the Vermont power facility, through all 17 agencies to 14<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;not 4<sup>th</sup>.)</p> <p><u><strong>Just common sense will do it:</strong></u> <strong><em>if the Russians had wanted to bring Hillary Clinton down, they had far more powerful charges which they could have detonated much earlier. It is not plausible that all they had was the rigging evidence and that they then deployed it too late to have an effect.</em></strong></p> <p>Or, maybe they&#39;re not so all-competent in which case all the other stuff we&#39;ve had shoved down our throats for months about &quot;<a href="" target="_blank">Russian information warfare</a>&quot; is even bigger nonsense.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="621" height="314" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Clinton Foundation Corruption Democratic National Committee Democratic Party Donald Trump fixed Government Guccifer 2.0 Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton email controversy Julian Assange Nomination Politics Politics Russian government Russian intelligence Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Strategic Culture Foundation United States Uranium Uranium One WikiLeaks Sat, 16 Dec 2017 03:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609257 at Another Crypto Milestone: Japanese Company Offers To Pay Employees In Bitcoin <p>Less than a year after Japan legalized bitcoin as <a href="">legal tender,</a> part of the country&rsquo;s effort pioneering effort to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for incorporating - and regulating - digital currencies, one Japanese company is offering employees the option to be paid in bitcoin.</p> <p>Because what employee wouldn&rsquo;t jump at the opportunity to see their weekly paycheck fluctuate by 30% or more. Though given the digital currency&rsquo;s staggering appreciation so far this year, we imagine most of the company&rsquo;s workers will instead see it as an opportunity to lock in a raise every week.</p> <p>The company, Internet service provider GMO Internet, <strong>plans to offer workers up to 100,000 yen (about $890) per month in the digital currency, </strong>according to<a href=""> Russia Today.</a></p> <p>&quot;Employees can receive salaries in bitcoin if they want to. We hope to improve our own literacy of virtual currency by actually using it,&quot; company spokeswoman Harumi Ishii said.</p> <p><strong>The company said the offer would be available to nearly 4,000 of its domestically-based employees.</strong> As a further enticement, <strong>the workers will reportedly get <u>an extra 10% of their salary</u> </strong>if they choose to receive it in digital currency.</p> <p>This detail certainly piqued our interest. Bitcoin is, of course, tremendously volatile. <strong>But for the past 18 months, that trend has been mostly one-directional (which isn&rsquo;t to say there haven&rsquo;t been many significant downturns).</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 291px;" /></a></p> <p>While the company<strong> has depicted itself as a bitcoin evangelizer, offering employees a 10% bonus</strong> - a significant sum spread across 4,000 employers - seems suspiciously generous.</p> <p>The company said it&rsquo;s interested in promoting bitcoin after joining a trading and exchange business in May and is planning to launch a new cryptocurrency mining operation next year.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will operate a next-generation mining center utilizing renewable energy and cutting-edge semiconductor chips in Northern Europe,&rdquo; a representative for GMO said, according to <a href="">Russia Today.</a></p> <p>The firm, which is headquartered in Tokyo, operates over 60 companies in 10 countries. Given the group&rsquo;s size and financial power, the bitcoin salary initiative may potentially boost the mainstream adoption of similar practices worldwide.</p> <p>While many skeptics argued that bitcoin would never work as a currency (indeed, transactions can sometimes take hours to clear). Segwit 2x, the bitcoin software hard fork that was intended to relieve some of the strain on the bitcoin network, was proposed specifically to remedy this problem.</p> <p>Earlier this week, <a href="">we highlighted</a> a listing on real-estate site where the owner of a Miami condo specified that he would only accept payment for the property in bitcoin. Redfin said it was the first time it has observed such a demand on its platform, though twitter users quickly pointed out other examples dating back to 2013.</p> <p>Given the digital currency&rsquo;s performance this year, bitcoin has firmly broken into the mainstream. And with the Cboe having launched its new bitcoin futures products, firms like GMO will find it easier to hedge their positions. CME Group will launch a suite of similar products next week.</p> <p>Indeed, two years ago, the notion that a mainstream company would offer employees the option to be paid in bitcoin was almost unthinkable.</p> <p>But barring a major crash, we imagine this trend will continue.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="486" height="283" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin BitPay Business CBOE Cryptocurrencies Currency Economics of bitcoin Finance GMO Internet ISP Japan Money Northern Europe SegWit semiconductor chips Twitter Twitter Virtual currency Yen Sat, 16 Dec 2017 03:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609251 at Iran Joins EAEU - 45 Years Of US Foreign Policy Down The Drain <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Tom Luongo,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Iran is joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). </strong>By early next year, February by&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow noopener"><strong><em>this account</em></strong></a>, Iran will join the five founding members of the Union and open the door for Turkey to do so later in 2018.</p> <p>Between this and the end of the war in Syria, <strong>it&rsquo;s not hard to declare the Brzezinski Doctrine of U.S.-led Central Asian chaos as gasping its last breaths.</strong></p> <p>Iran finally joining the EAEU is a response to a number of factors, the most important of which is the continued belligerence by the U.S. Expanded economic sanctions on Iran and the EAEU&rsquo;s leader Russia has created the need for greater coordination of economic and foreign policy objectives between them.</p> <p><strong>And it is creating the new realities in the region that will reshape the word for the next hundred years.</strong></p> <h2><u>The Nuclear Gambit</u></h2> <p>In the dying days of the Obama administration it looked like the goal was to placate Iran to stop its pivot towards Russia and China. I believe that was the driving force behind Obama&rsquo;s negotiating the controversial nuclear deal.</p> <p>In effect, Obama tried to trade unfreezing Iran&rsquo;s hundreds of billions in assets held in Western banks for Iran to ignore our atomization of Syria and the creation of a complete mess there.</p> <p>When you stop to think about it like that how venal are we? After putting Iran under economic lockdown, having frozen its accounts, barring them from interbank communication with customers (SWIFT removal), inducing hyperinflation to sow regime change they would agree to allowing its ally, Syria, to be handed over to Wahabist animals.</p> <p>In exchange they would repudiate Russisa and be thankful for the opportunity to get their money back by signing a deal which forbade them from obtaining nuclear weapons?</p> <p><strong>Such is the &lsquo;logic&rsquo; of the mental midgets running our foreign policy under Obama.</strong></p> <p>So, now, having assisted Russia and the Syrian army in defeating ISIS Iran is making the smart move by further integrating its economy in need of diversification and investment by joining an economic union which should align all of Central Asia&rsquo;s interests along a similar path.</p> <p><strong>Chaos no longer. Zbigniew Brzezinski isn&rsquo;t just dead, his strategy is as well.</strong></p> <p>Left to the likes of Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and the dimbulbs of the Bush the Lesser administration before them, these buffoons were outplayed at every turn by Vladimir Putin, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.</p> <p>And the world will soon be a better place for it.</p> <h2><u>The Status Whoa!</u></h2> <p><u><em><strong>Everything about the status quo of the last thirty years is changing.</strong></em></u> Syria has made it clear to everyone that the U.S. is no longer infallible. In fact, it is close to incompetent in both military and diplomatic efficacy.</p> <p>The Russian intervention exposed the real roots of the conflict as well as the lengths to which our leadership would lie, cheat and steal to achieve its chaotic regional goals. President Trump is changing the direction of this ship of state, but it is a slow process being fought at every level by those embedded in departments up and down the bureaucracy.</p> <p><strong>That said, Iran&rsquo;s entry into the EAEU as a full member will break open the floodgates of new members into it. Russia has been courting everyone around the region as the EAEU members work on the rules and build the organization.</strong></p> <p>Adding Iran should see the union grow quickly and help facilitate China&rsquo;s Belt and Road Initiative projects get completed.</p> <p>Taking that one-step further, the bigger picture comes into focus with the establishment of the New Development Bank to challenge the U.S.-led Asian Development Bank, to fund infrastructure projects.</p> <p>With the flurry of big projects announced recently, including the new version of the IPI &ndash; Iran/Pakistan/India &ndash; gas pipeline this announcement isn&rsquo;t so much a diplomatic coup for Putin and Russia but rather a fait accompli.</p> <p><em><strong>It was always a matter of when not if Iran would join the EAEU. And with it on board, countries like India, Pakistan and Turkey can join and know that they have a level playing field on which to trade which will dampen down animosities and lingering disputes.</strong></em></p> <h2><u>Peak U.S.</u></h2> <p>As Federico Pieraccini points out this morning at&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow noopener"><strong><em>Strategic Culture Foundation</em></strong></a>, even the tensions between India and China have calmed down as it becomes obvious to all and sundry that the <strong>U.S. is simply neither willing under Trump nor able to maintain its dominance over central Asia anymore.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In this sense, the lack of interest from the Trump administration in certain areas of the globe is emblematic. While the chemistry between Trump and Modi appears to be good, the tensions between India and China, heightened by border disputes, seems to have nevertheless dissolved. Following on from the failure of the neocons to divide Russia and China, even the border tensions between India and China seem to be now dissipating. In addition, in Ukraine, even the decision to send lethal weapons to Kiev has been downplayed, and the country now faces a counter-coup led by Saakashvili (yes, him again). Ukraine is a country in a mess, experiencing first-hand the consequences of an evil Atlanticist posture with its vicious anti-Russia policies.</p> </blockquote> <p>Pieraccini&rsquo;s argument is the Trump is a mix of ineptitude and pragmatism when it comes to foreign policy. And that mix has led to the current state of affairs, where the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia are flailing about trying to remain relevant.</p> <p>I won&rsquo;t go nearly that far, as those countries all still have a powerful hand of cards to play, if only to stabilize most of what they currently have. And they will play those cards to the hilt in the creation of something approaching peace.</p> <p><strong>But, Iran is charting a new path, turning away from the open wounds in the West and towards the opportunities that lie all about them in every other direction. </strong>As I&rsquo;ve been saying recently, the framework for a Grand Bargain in the Middle East is possible. And Iran joining the EAEU is a strong indicator that it wants to join the larger world economy as a trustworthy actor.</p> <p>Putin has become the de facto negotiator for those allied against Israel and Trump is stepping up to do so for Israel. <strong>Once that deal is in place and Trump agrees to remove U.S. military presence in most of the region, then we&rsquo;ll begin to see what the world can look like without manufactured conflict.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="339" height="191" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asian Development Bank Central Asia China Donald Trump Economic integration Economy Economy of Armenia Eurasian Economic Union Eurasian Economic Union Foreign relations of Iran Hyperinflation India International relations Iran Israel John McCain Lesser administration Middle East Middle East Neocons Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Politics Presidency of Barack Obama Presidency of Donald Trump Saudi Arabia Strategic Culture Foundation SWIFT Syrian army Trump Administration Turkey Ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Zbigniew Brzezinski Sat, 16 Dec 2017 03:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609245 at Uber Cuts Ambulance Usage And Health Care Costs Across 766 US Cities <p>In recent months, it seems like there&rsquo;s been nothing but bad news for Uber, like having its operating licence <a href="">revoked</a> in London (&ldquo;not fit and proper&rdquo;), concealing a <a href="">massive cyber-attack</a>, <a href="">price gauging</a> a passenger $14,000 for a 5-mile ride and <a href="">reporting</a> a quarterly loss of $1.5 billion. Indeed, the company is becoming almost synonymous with problems. A Bloomberg story three days ago about Airbnb began &ldquo;With Uber&#39;s problems grabbing all the headlines, it&#39;s easy to overlook the fact that the other great &quot;sharing economy&quot; company, Airbnb, is also having issues caused by an overaggressive expansion and a tendency to ignore rules&rdquo;.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p> <p>For once, a slightly more positive story about Uber has emerged, although there is even an &ldquo;Uber&rdquo; downside to this. In brief, researchers have found that when Uber is launched in a city, ambulance usage declines significantly. From <a href="">The Mercury News</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In what is believed to be the first study to measure the impact of Uber and other ride-booking services on the U.S. ambulance business, two researchers have concluded that ambulance usage is dropping across the country. A research paper released Wednesday examined ambulance usage rates in 766 U.S. cities in 43 states as Uber entered their markets from 2013 to 2015.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Co-authors David Slusky, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas, and Dr. Leon Moskatel, an internist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, said they believe their study is the first to explain a trend that until now has only been discussed anecdotally. Comparing ambulance volumes before and after Uber became available in each city, the two men found that the ambulance usage rate dipped significantly. Slusky said after using different methodologies to obtain the &ldquo;most conservative&rdquo; decline in ambulance usage, the researchers calculated the drop to be &ldquo;at least&rdquo; 7 percent. &ldquo;My guess is it will go up a little bit and stabilize at 10 to 15 percent as Uber continues to expand as an alternative for people,&rsquo;&rsquo; Moskatel said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Slusky and Moskatel are submitting their paper to academic journals for peer review. The research was completed independently of Uber. The authors used the company&rsquo;s public statements to discover when the company entered each market and obtained ambulance usage from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System, or NEMSIS, a national repository for emergency medical services data.</p> <p>The reason behind the &ldquo;Uber-effect&rdquo; is economics. In the US, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the price of an ambulance ride to hospital is typically between $600-$1,000. As the <a href="">Daily Mail</a> noted in &ldquo;The rise of the Uber ambulance&rdquo; in April 2017.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Meanwhile, charges for ride-hailing apps charge rarely hit three figures - and customers know the approximate price when they request their ride. Ambulances, by contrast, send bills long after they are used, and often the final amount is unknown until the bill is received.</p> </blockquote> <p>This chart is from <a href=""></a>.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 240px;" /></a></p> <p>With health care costs having risen so much in recent years, even when people think they need emergency treatment, they increasingly have to weigh-up cost factors before phoning an ambulance. As Slusky told The Mercury News.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;If we want to reduce (health care) spending, we have to find ways to do things cheaper &mdash; and that&rsquo;s in all kinds of situations where you don&rsquo;t need the most expensive resource. We don&rsquo;t all need to fly first-class all the time.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Despite the obvious revenue benefit to Uber, the company was, not surprisingly, keen to distance itself from the idea that calling an Uber driver is a substitute for calling an ambulance.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re grateful our service has helped people get to where they&rsquo;re going when they need it the most,&rdquo; said company spokesman Andrew Hasbun. &ldquo;However, it&rsquo;s important to note that Uber is not a substitute for law enforcement or medical professionals. In the event of any medical emergency, we always encourage people to call 911.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>While we have some sympathy with Moskatel&rsquo;s contention that most patients are &ldquo;pretty good&rdquo; at assessing how sick they are and how quickly they need to get to hospital. However, there is obviously a risk for patients who suddenly need medical treatment on their way to hospital. Not surprisingly, The Mercury News was able to find an emergency room physician who was strongly against substituting ambulances with Uber rides.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Paul Kivela, president of the 37,000-member American College of Emergency Physicians, said he believes that for those low-risk patients who can&rsquo;t drive themselves to the emergency room, Uber is a good service. But many people, he said, may not be able to differentiate between a life-threatening emergency and an innocuous medical issue. So, he said, calling 911 is always the safest bet. &ldquo;A paramedic has the training and the ability to deliver life-saving care en route,&rdquo; Kivela said. &ldquo;Where I really have a hard time is believing an Uber driver is going to attend to you.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Despite the risks, even officialdom sees benefits from the rise of &ldquo;Uber ambulances&rdquo;. In April, <a href="">STAT</a>, a health and medicine news site reported.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Last summer, Washington, D.C., city officials began studying the use of ride-hailing to respond to what they describe as &ldquo;non-emergency, low-acuity&rdquo; calls, which accounted for nearly half the city&rsquo;s 911 calls in 2015, according to a report released in February. &ldquo;In our research, we found that many of these calls did not require an ambulance,&rdquo; said District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesperson Doug Buchanan. In fact, he added, it would be better if more people used ride-hailing services instead of an ambulance. &ldquo;We would love our residents to take that initiative,&rdquo; he said.</p> </blockquote> <p>The question of whether to transport someone who is ill to the hospital is a frequent source of debate amongst Uber drivers on forums like Many Uber drivers are firmly against it, citing issues like insurance cover, the risk that the person gets worse during the journey, or <a href="">this</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>No way in hell..I am not a medical professional and do not play one on TV<br />&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="296" height="169" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Ambulance American College of Emergency Physicians Business Business models Commuting Department of Health and Human Services Economy Emergency medical services headlines Health Location-based software Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego Sharing economy Social networks Transport Uber Uber protests and legal actions University of Kansas Washington D.C. Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609240 at F.B.I. <p><a href="" title="DONKEY POOP"><img src="" alt="DONKEY POOP" width="998" height="948" /></a></p> <script src="//"></script> B+ Baseball Hall of Fame balloting Education Politics Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:38:22 +0000 williambanzai7 609268 at It's Time To Rethink Education – Part 3 (The Future Of College) <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p>Over the next ten years, I suspect the<strong> concept of a college education will be questioned</strong> to such an extent, and by so many people, <strong>that all assumptions we currently hold dear will be discarded.</strong> The spark for this momentous shift will start, as is so often the case, with <u><strong>simple economics</strong></u>.</p> <p>Too many young people have taken on too much debt to get jobs that didn&rsquo;t require this education they were told they needed.<strong><em> We quite literally have an entire generation that understands this intimately, and this understanding will shape the way they see college, and education in general, as they raise kids of their own.</em></strong></p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-49613" height="384" src="" width="383" /></p> <p>As I write this, I&rsquo;m excited to say we live in one of the most extraordinary times in human history. <strong>The old way of doing things in virtually every aspect of human civilization has either broken down, or is breaking down as I write this. </strong>Communications, media, finance, money itself, etc. The list is seemingly endless, and education is no exception. In fact, I think education is an example of extremely low-hanging fruit and will be disrupted and decentralized in unimaginable ways in the years ahead.</p> <p><strong>If it was just a function of student debt, the changes in how human education functions going forward wouldn&rsquo;t be as extreme as I expect.</strong> As I mentioned earlier, the problem of widespread debt serfdom is merely a catalyst for the paradigm level change I foresee. As younger generations who grew up with the internet start to question how schooling works, from kindergarten to grad school, it&rsquo;ll become very apparent how archaic and stifling our current methods really are. I already highlighted many examples of this in <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Parts 1</a> and <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">2</a>, so I&rsquo;m not going to repeat myself. Today&rsquo;s post will center around the concept of college, and whether or not people will perceive it as a useful experience in the decades to come. I suspect not.</p> <p><u><strong>As it stands today, there are two main reasons everyone thinks you need to go to college</strong></u>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>First, many employers (ridiculously) require a college degree to get a job.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Second, it&rsquo;s become a societal norm and rite of passage.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s tremendous peer pressure to go to college so you&rsquo;re not the person who gets condescending looks at the party when you sheepishly confess that you didn&rsquo;t. </strong>In other words, we&rsquo;ve created an irrational expectation for a college degree driven by the desire to attain specific employment and social opportunities. As such, all it will really take to end this ritual of going to college is a society wide mindset shift. These sorts of things can happen, and I fully expect this one will.</p> <p>One contemporary example of how this sort of thing can take root can be seen in the burgeoning Bitcoin and crypto asset economy. This has been the most lucrative and dynamic spaces to work in over the past couple of years, and no one in it really cares what college you went to, or if you went at all. What matters at the end of the day is talent, and if you&rsquo;re a talented programer you&rsquo;ll find your spot. After all, we don&rsquo;t even know who Satoshi Nakamoto is and it doesn&rsquo;t matter. What matters is the code and it&rsquo;s ability to fundamentally change the world. I think this the mindset of the future, where dominator hierarchies are replaced by merit based hierarchies (holarchies).</p> <p>As Ken Wilber described (this will sound like gibberish unless you&rsquo;ve read my work around&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Spiral Dynamics</a>):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>That lessening of green&rsquo;s pervasive hostility and vindictiveness toward all previous stages of development is what we identied as &ldquo;step one&rdquo; in the requisite self-healing of green. There is at least a decent likelihood that this will&mdash;and to some degree already has&mdash;begun to happen.</em> <strong><em>On the other hand, &ldquo;step two&rdquo;&mdash;the realization that growth holarchies provide the actual basis of the value judgments that green is already making, and that these growth holarchies also are the only truly effective means to displace the dominator hierarchies that green correctly ranks on the bottom of the list of social desirables&mdash;is a bit less likely to occur at the green level itself, but will most likely depend upon the transformation to integral 2nd tier. </em></strong><em>My strong suspicion, therefore, is that green will perform a good deal of step one on its own, and that this will have a very positive effect on culture at large. (And conversely, to the extent that at least this first step is not taken, then the self-corrective drive of evolution will continue to push, and push, and push into existing affairs, driving more Trump-like &ldquo;disasters&rdquo; as evolution redoubles its efforts to force its way through these recalcitrant obstructions.)</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Many people reading this will say that what&rsquo;s happening with Bitcoin and crypto assets is just an exception. Others will proclaim that it&rsquo;s all just a tulip bubble anyway, and things will go back to the way they were after it pops. I completely disagree. Whether Bitcoin conquers the world or not time will tell, but the ethos it represents about the world (decentralization) isn&rsquo;t going anywhere.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">What was the right choice for an extremely bright young person over the last 5 years.<br />Go to college or work on Bitcoin?<br />This will be increasingly common going forward.</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) <a href="">December 15, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Moreover, as I explained in <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">yesterday&rsquo;s post</a>, my wife and I are seriously considering unschooling. I&rsquo;m not just blowing smoke on this, I&rsquo;m looking at potentially putting my money where my mouth is.</p> <p>Not only that, but it&rsquo;s increasingly clear to me that the college experience is in many ways making people dumber. To prove this point, I highly recommend everyone read an extremely important article written by two former professors at Evergreen college, Bret Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying, titled: <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Bonfire of the Academies: Two Professors on How Leftist Intolerance is Killing Higher Education</a>.</p> <p>Here are few excerpts:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>At colleges and universities all over the country, students are protesting in increasingly virulent and sometimes violent ways. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, shouting down those with whom they disagree. It has become rote for outsiders to claim that the inmates are running the asylum; that this is analogous to Mao&rsquo;s Red Guard, Germany&rsquo;s brown shirts, the French Revolution&rsquo;s Jacobins; and, when those being attacked are politically &ldquo;left&rdquo; themselves, that the Left is eating its own. These stories seem to validate every fantasy the Right ever had about the Left.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>As two professors who recently resigned from positions at a college we loved, and who have always been on the progressive-left end of the political spectrum, we can say that, while none of those characterizations is exactly right, there is truth in each of them&hellip;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>In 2015, Evergreen hired a new president. Trained as a sociologist, George Bridges did two things upon arrival. First, he hired an old friend to talk one-on-one to members of our community &mdash; faculty, staff, and students. We talked about our values and our visions for the college. But the benefit of hindsight suggests that he was looking for something else. He was mapping us, assessing our differences, our blind spots, and the social tensions that ran beneath the surface. Second, Bridges fired the provost, Michael Zimmerman. The provost, usually synonymous with the vice president for academics, is the chief academic officer at an institution of higher education. Zimmerman would have disapproved of what Bridges had in mind and would have had some power to stop it. But he was replaced by a timid (though well-liked) insider who became a pawn due to his compromised interim status and his desire not to make waves.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Having mapped the faculty and fired the provost, Bridges began reworking the college in earnest. Surprise announcements became the norm as opportunities for discussion dwindled.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The president took aim at what made Evergreen unique, such as full-time programs. He fattened the administration, creating expensive vice president positions at an unprecedented rate, while budgets tightened elsewhere due to drops in student enrollment and disappearing state dollars. He went after Evergreen&rsquo;s unparalleled faculty autonomy, which was essential to the unique teaching done by the best professors.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>All of this should have been alarming to a faculty in which professors have traditionally viewed administrative interference in academic matters with great suspicion. But Bridges was strategic and forged an alliance with factions known to be obsessed with race. He draped the &ldquo;equity&rdquo; banner around everything he did. Advocating that Evergreen embrace itself as a &ldquo;College of Social Justice,&rdquo; he argued that faculty autonomy unjustly puts the focus on teachers rather than students, and that the new VP for Equity and Inclusion would help us serve our underserved populations. But no discussion was allowed of students who did not meet the narrow criteria of being &ldquo;underserved.&rdquo; Because of the wrapping, concerns about policy changes were dismissed as &ldquo;anti-equity.&rdquo; What was in the nicely wrapped box turned out to be something else entirely.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Imagine being a parent who spent years of savings to send their child to Evergreen. Irate wouldn&rsquo;t even begin to describe it.</p> <p><strong>In the decades to come, the people who will increasingly shape our world probably won&rsquo;t have a college degree at all &mdash; and that&rsquo;s probably a good thing.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em><strong>If you liked this article and enjoy my work, consider becoming a&nbsp;monthly&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff6600;">Patron</span></a>,&nbsp;or visit our&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Support&nbsp;Page</a>&nbsp;to show your appreciation for&nbsp;independent content creators.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="421" height="229" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin College of Social Justice Cryptocurrencies Education Education ETC Germany None The Evergreen State College Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609255 at Man Says "Russian Mind Control" Forced Him To Kill His Mother <p><strong>Russian President Vladimir Putin has been blamed for a lot of nefarious actions lately. </strong></p> <p>From <a href="">swaying the US election in Donald Trump&rsquo;s favor </a>to orchestrating<a href=""> the UK&rsquo;s withdrawal from the European Union, </a>paranoid Democrats have apparently convinced themselves that there&rsquo;s no geopolitical disaster that Putin didn&rsquo;t have a hand in.</p> <p><strong>And now, one deranged Bakersfield, Calif. man is blaming &ldquo;Russian Mind Control&rdquo; for driving him to murder his own mother.</strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s right: We can add matricide to the list of misdeeds that have been attributed to the Russian leader.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 222px;" /></a></p> <p>Suspected murderer Matthew Jensen reportedly tried to kill himself with a small pocket knife after being stopped by police on Oct. 24.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the local <a href="">ABC </a>affiliate with more details about the grisly act:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Court documents detail the moments before, during and after a man allegedly stabbed his own mother to death in Tehachapi in October.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Documents detail Matthew Jensen&#39;s mental state, the number of times he stabbed his mother Barbara Jensen Teague, his claims as to his possible reasoning and that he had been released from a hospital for mental evaluation the day before her death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On October 24, J<strong>ensen was pulled over in Kingman, Arizona. At the time he was pulled over, documents show that Jensen attempted to kill himself using a small pocket knife.</strong> Jensen apparently slit both his wrists and stabbed himself in the chest. He was taken to Kingman Regional Medical Center where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was during that stop that the welfare of Jensen&#39;s mother became a priority for law enforcement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kern County Sheriff&#39;s officials went to the home in Tehachapi where the two lived together. <strong>After not getting an answer at the door, officials made their way into the home. That&#39;s where they found the body of Barbara Jensen Teague, covered in blood.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>According to the coroner&rsquo;s report, Teague was stabbed 42 times: &quot;17 to her right flank, 13 to the right side of her trunk, five to the back of her right arm, three to her right thigh, two to her back, one behind her right ear, and one inside of her left thumb. As a result of those stab wounds had three stab wounds to her right lung, five stab wounds to her liver, and multiple sta wounds to her small and large bowels.&quot;</p> <p>Documents showed that Jensen said he was &quot;incredibly happy&quot; while living with Teague. He claims to have entered her room while she was sleeping where he found her in the fetal position, and began stabbing her with a small knife.</p> <p>Documents show that Jensen said his mom &quot;thrashed and struggled&quot; and cried&nbsp; &quot;stop, stop&quot; as he stabbed her repeatedly.</p> <p><strong><em>Twenty minutes later, while his mother lay bleeding in her bed, Jensen loaded his dog into his mother&rsquo;s car and started driving east.</em></strong></p> <p>According to <a href="">ABC</a>, Jensen said &quot;the pain and the guilt of killing his mother caused him to cut both of his wrists with a Leatherman style tool, located in the car. Jensen said he also stabbed himself twice in the chest in attempt to commit suicide.&quot;</p> <p>But it wasn&rsquo;t until he had been transported to a holding cell and interrogated that he professed his motive for the attack.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>While being interviewed, Jensen said he was &quot;under Russian mind control&quot; and that he was hearing voices. He said &quot;the voices had told him to kill his mother. ... <strong>&#39;I did what they told me, I killed my own mother&#39;&quot;.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>After allegedly killing his mom, documents state that Jensen didn&#39;t remember anything. He said he remembered feeling compelled to kill himself, but instead killed her.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jensen said he remembered looking &quot;in her bedroom and she been stabbed to death. He stated &#39;Oh my God&#39;, no one could have done that but me&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Court documents also show that Jensen had been taken to Adventist Health hospital in Tehachapi on October 23, the day before his mother was found dead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His mom had said he was acting strangely the days leading to his being evaluated for a 5150 mental health evaluation.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to <a href="">ABC</a>, <strong>police said Jensen &quot;was calm and polite&quot;.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The police report recommendation stated, &quot;No further action needed, based on my interviews with (redacted) and (redacted) it appeared Jensen did suffer from some type of unknown mental health disorder. Jensen, however, at this time did not appear to be a danger to himself or others, nor did he appear to be gravely disabled to the point he could not care for himself, thus a 5150 mental health hold was not placed on him.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Jensen was initially being held in Mohave, Arizona before he was extradited to Kern County.</p> <p><strong>He&#39;s since pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.</strong> His next court date is Jan. 17.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="537" height="238" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Adventist Health hospital Donald Trump European Union European Union Jensen Jensen Motors Law Regional Medical Center Vladimir Putin Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609263 at