en German Press: "That Was No Presidential Speech; That Was A Declaration Of War" <p>Following yesterday's openly confrontational, deliberately protectionist presidential address, which in various circles has been dubbed the "American carnage" speech, some of Obama's closest foreign friends are scrambling to find a role in a world that has drastically changed in less than 24 hours. One of them is the foreign leader whom Obama spoke to last before vacating the White House, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who vowed on Saturday to seek compromises on issues like trade and military spending with U.S. President Donald Trump, adding she would work on preserving the important relationship between Europe and the United States. </p> <p>"He made his convictions clear in his inauguration speech," Merkel said in remarks broadcast live, a day after Trump vowed to put 'America first'. </p> <p>Speaking at a news conference in the south-western town of Schoental, Merkel - finding herself in a world where many of her legacy friends have been swept away by the tide of "populist anger" - suddenly struck a more conciliatory tone toward Trump than Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who on Friday said Germany should prepare for a rough ride under the new U.S. president. </p> <p>"I say two things with regards to this (speech): first, I believe firmly that it is best for all of us if we work together based on rules, common values and joint action in the international economic system, in the international trade system, and make our contributions to the military alliances," Merkel said. The conservative German leader, who is seeking a fourth term and enjoyed a close relationship with former president Barack Obama, is seen by liberals across the Atlantic as a voice of reason that counterbalances rising populist parties in Europe.</p> <p>"And second, the trans-Atlantic relationship will not be less important in the coming years than it was in past years. And I will work on that. Even when there are different opinions, compromises and solutions can be best found when we exchange ideas with respect," added Merkel.</p> <p>As <a href="">Reuters notes</a>, relations with the United States, Germany's biggest trading partner, are likely to be a hot topic in electioneering in coming months leading to a general election in September. And in the aftermath of the Trump speech, which defined Trump's "negotiating baseline", Merkel will have no choice but admit weakness in accepting compromises with a man who has criticized her decision in 2015 to throw open Germany's borders to asylum seekers fleeing wars and conflicts, and has said he believes other countries will leave the EU after Britain and that the NATO military alliance was obsolete.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>Yet while Merkel hopes for a fresh start with the new US president, her domestic institutions and media will be far less forgiving to any indication of weakness from the chancellor. For the best example so far, an article penned this morning by Gabor Steingart, chief in chief of Handelsblatt, Germany's leading economic newspaper, burned all compromise bridges when he said that "<strong>that was no presidential speech; that was a veritable declaration of war.</strong>" </p> <p>The savage criticism continued:"Threatening in tone. Cold and calculating in logic. Change minus the hope. Donald Trump used the traditional Inauguration Day address to settle a score with the U.S. political establishment going back decades. With four ex-presidents sitting a few feet behind him, the 45th president delivered a populist manifesto."</p> <p>He notes than any attempts at compromise will fail because "the new president loves a good fight, not consensus. He doesn’t want to hug, but to smother, to overwhelm" and add that "<strong>in domestic policy, the Trump agenda sounds like a blueprint for civil war; in foreign policy, it sounds like the dawn of a new ice age.</strong>" </p> <p>Hardly an amicable setting for Merkel to be demand compromises. </p> <p>For the German press what hope there is that the Trump phenomenon will be promptly overthrown lies in the face of three opponents: <strong>"Opponent No. 1</strong>: The other America. Across the country, an anti-Trump movement is growing"... "<strong>Opponent No. 2: </strong>The Media. Among publishers, producers, filmmakers and journalists, Trump has hardly any friends. CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Hollywood couldn’t warm to the volcanic personality of the new president."... "<strong>Opponent No. 3: </strong>The Political Party System. Washington is having an allergic reaction to Trump. Democrats and even Republicans are cooperating on Capitol Hill to investigate the Trump team’s contacts to Russia in a special committee."</p> <p>It is clear on whose side the German economic press is; the bigger question for Merkel is whether in the aftermath of this "war" by Trump, the German people will side with her, and distance themselves from the "American populist", or whether the backlash against the establishment will reverberate further, leading to even more pain for Merkel in the upcoming polls. </p> <p>Finally, should Merkel's "compromise" approach fail, will Germany respond to Trump's "declaration of war" in kind, and will it be simply trade, or conventional?</p> <p><em>Full <a href="">Handelsblatt letter below:</a></em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The Demons Have Been Unchained</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That was no presidential speech; that was a veritable <strong>declaration of war</strong>. Threatening in tone. Cold and calculating in logic. Change minus the hope. Donald Trump used the traditional Inauguration Day address to settle a score with the U.S. political establishment going back decades. With four ex-presidents sitting a few feet behind him, the 45th president delivered a populist manifesto.&nbsp; <strong>&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Until his victory, the nation’s political elite used days like these, he told America, to celebrate amongst themselves. Their triumph was not your triumph. Their well-being was not your well-being. But this time, power would transfer not just from one party to the other, but from Washington back to the people. In the people’s name, he will put America “first.” In their name, he will “take back” America’s factories. In their name, he will “exterminate” Islamic terrorism, end inner-city drug gang “bloodbaths” and get NATO partners like Germany to pay more for Europe’s security. <strong>In domestic policy, the Trump agenda sounds like a blueprint for civil war; in foreign policy, it sounds like the dawn of a new ice age</strong>. Not that he’s cold-bloodedly planning either one, but he knows where his fiery rhetoric will lead him. <strong>The new president loves a good fight, not consensus. He doesn’t want to hug, but to smother, to overwhelm.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yesterday was his day, but the days that follow may belong to his opponents. There are three main opponents that could bring him down politically. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Opponent No. 1: The other America</strong>. Across the country, an anti-Trump movement is growing. While only 10,000 people came to an open-air concert in Washington celebrating his victory on the night before the inauguration, 20,000 people took to the streets in New York to protest his elevation. Their signs shouted: Not My President. The security and surveillance costs around Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, at the corner of 56th Street, is costing taxpayers about a half million dollars – each day.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Opponent No. 2: The Media. Among publishers, producers, filmmakers and journalists, Trump has hardly any friends. </strong>CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Hollywood couldn’t warm to the volcanic personality of the new president. Even an unbroken Twitter assault has no chance against such a monolithic wall of media rejection. He hates them, and they hate him right back. He pushes forward his agenda, and they push back unabashedly with theirs. Trump enters The White House with the lowest approval rating ever of an elected president. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Opponent No. 3: The Political Party System. Washington is having an allergic reaction to Trump.</strong> Democrats and even Republicans are cooperating on Capitol Hill to investigate the Trump team’s contacts to Russia in a special committee. House Speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t see himself as a Trump follower but as a Trump successor. He is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, biding his time, waiting for an opening. Put another way: Not only Democrats are <strong>hoping for an impeachment proceedi</strong>ng. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>America is now on the brink of a <strong>new period of polarization</strong>. The demons in this fraternal battle have been unchained. The greatness that Trump seeks will not be borne under these conditions. An icy wind is blowing across the land. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yours sincerely, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gabor Steingart</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="690" height="388" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Angela Merkel anti-Trump Barack Obama Business Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign European Union Fail Fresh Start Germany Ice Age Mike Pence New York Times Newspaper North Atlantic Treaty Organization Politics Politics Reuters Stop Trump movement The Apprentice Trump Trump University Twitter Twitter White House White House Sat, 21 Jan 2017 15:12:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 586038 at The Fake News of Fakebook: Welcome to the Machine <p>Sometimes we need to take a step back and gain some perspective. &nbsp;<a href="">As we explain in our book Splitting Pennies - the world isn't always as it seems at first glance.</a> &nbsp;What's happening now, is much a result of what was planned and started 50, 60, and 70 years ago by a previous generation. &nbsp;Modern history and especially regarding USA really should be looked at since @ 1950, at the wind up of World War 2. &nbsp;And, the most significant element in global society, is quite possibly the first form of Artificial Intelligence: The Machine. &nbsp;The Machine, as referenced by Eisenhower on his farewell address as the "Military Industrial Complex" and later referenced by Pink Floyd as simply "The Machine" - is a form of AI that is very dangerous for the survival of mankind itself, let alone the waste of economic resources and others. &nbsp;Economically, looking at the military, it would seem that there really is an Alien conspiracy controlling powerful countries because the Military only destroys, it doesn't create.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;">This battle between The Machine and "The People" you can say took hold in America in the 50's and peaked in the 60's during the civil rights movement. &nbsp;Sides were formed, society was polarized. &nbsp;Common interests aligned themselves. &nbsp;Big business sided with The Machine as they saw new opportunities for profit and consumer control. &nbsp;It's important to have this perspective; often we write about the CIA, about the big banks, they are all cogs in a larger entity "The Machine" which has an intelligence of its own. &nbsp;It is not a complex intelligence, such as developed recently in computing - but nonetheless, as any intelligence is defined, it is a form of artificial intelligence. &nbsp;It has a simple goal - expand, survive, grow, evolve. &nbsp;Human collatoral damage, is irrelevant. &nbsp;Destruction of society, destroying the planet, doesn't matter to the survival of The Machine. &nbsp;War profiteers are like hosts to a virus, that perpetuate its operations.</span></p> <p>Of course, the best example of one of the many parts of The Machine is the CIA, but it is not the only one, nor the most significant part of the machine. &nbsp;Hosts to this virus like the forces behind Black Lives Matter, and other social destructive forces, are possibly even more significant, due to the fact that they are 'on the front lines' stopping any change or taming The Machine. &nbsp;The best explanation academically and intellectually is provided by Noam Chomsky, <a href="" target="_blank">you can checkout his latest book here</a> and see trailer from recent documentary below:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>The Machine is now in it's 3rd or 4th generation depending on how you calculate but in any regard, the current agents working for The Machine clearly don't even understand their own jobs, they are just mindless government workers raised on a violent culture programmed by Quentin Tarantino, like the <a href="" target="_blank">Rick Perry that didn't know what his job would be, that he accepted.</a>&nbsp; The government has become so bloated and inefficient, 90% of it could be deleted and we'd still function fine. &nbsp;But remember, the Government is no longer 'for the people' it's 'for The Machine'. &nbsp;It's unfair to say that specific people, or specific groups, are the sole cause of America's decline - it's not Globalists, it's not 'offshoring' - it's a lot more complex than that and frankly, USA is irrelevant too for The Machine. &nbsp;It just so happens that the USA has had and does have the most funded, technologically advanced military in the world. &nbsp;It's just strategic positioning. &nbsp;America isn't the most powerful country in the world because of 'freedoms' or 'ideals' it was simply a geo-strategic advantage during World War 2, on a number of levels, that enabled Superpower status, and the creation of The Machine which now operates on a global level.</p> <p>Fakebook is the new 'tool' of social control. &nbsp;During the 60's, 70's, and 80's the CIA popularized street drugs in order to control and quell the population, as well as various diseases (AIDS) and more modern methods (Chemtrails) and other tools. &nbsp;Fakebook is the current 'drug' of the era - what will be next? &nbsp;<a href="">We can get a glimpse at Darpa.</a></p> <p>This is what TRUMP is up against. &nbsp;And while politically, he's a nobody, a rogue from the 'forest' who as Gingrich said "Didn't go to the same schools, isn't part of a secret society;" in the final analysis, TRUMP is still part of The Machine, although a failed one - relying on his persona as a reality star to build his 'brand.' &nbsp;Maybe this is why the common man can relate to TRUMP so well, he's also been spit out by The Machine in different ways, in business - except he did it while part of the 'haves' and not the 'have nots' - probably TRUMP doesn't know what he's up against in the coming days and weeks ahead. &nbsp;We must remember especially regarding the mindless zombies that burn down bank of america branches and McDonalds drive throughs, what is at stake for bettering the lives of all Americans is not political, it is not about liberals and their idiocy - The Machine is something far greater, it is employed by both parties, Democrat and Republican - Rich and Poor. &nbsp;These are the dividing lines the Elite do not want you to understand! &nbsp;As long as blacks are fighting whites, women are fighting men, homosexuals are fighting heterosexuals - the divide and conquer plan of the Elite is easy to implement.</p> <p>This generation's war for the machine is being fought in the battlefield called 'social media' - and the platform hosting the Fake News - Fakebook.</p> <p><a href="">To learn about how this works regarding the financial markets, checkout Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.</a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-blog"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_blog" width="1920" height="1080" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Academia artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence Bank of America Bank of America Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency Computational neuroscience Cybernetics DARPA McDonalds Reality Science and technology Technology Sat, 21 Jan 2017 15:10:11 +0000 globalintelhub 586037 at Man Shot Outside University of Washington MILO Event, Gunman Spoke On Camera Minutes Before Incident (VIDEO) <p><img src="" height="392" width="600" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" /></p> <p>A day of&nbsp;protests&nbsp;across the&nbsp;University of Washington campus turned violent Friday&nbsp;evening after a&nbsp;32 year old man was shot in the abdomen outside of a Milo Yiannopoulos event. The victim, currently in surgery,&nbsp;was rushed to the hospital in&nbsp;critical condition, and&nbsp;the suspect turned himself in, telling police&nbsp;he fired in self-defense.&nbsp;This comes&nbsp;on the heels of a progressively violent day&nbsp;on campus&nbsp;as Anti-Trump Protesters clashed with police and Trump supporters;&nbsp;throwing rocks, bricks, firecrackers, and&nbsp;paint. Police helicopters and the FBI bomb squad had been deployed <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">earlier in the evening,</span></span></a> and pepper spray was used to control the crowd.</p> <p>In&nbsp;a Periscope stream&nbsp;recorded minutes&nbsp;before the incident, the shooter can be heard saying:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p style="text-align: left;">"<strong>I don't give a&nbsp;fuck man, I'm just&nbsp;here by myself. I'm not with anybody. I am speaking my mind, alright?"</strong></p> </blockquote> <div class="wpview-wrap"> <p class="wpview-selection-before">&nbsp;</p> <div class="wpview-body"> <div class="wpview-content wpview-type-embedURL"><iframe src="" height="464" width="618" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> </div> <p class="wpview-selection-after">&nbsp;</p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>Minutes later, a&nbsp;single shot rings out, which the shooter claims was in self-defense:</strong></span></p> <div class="wpview-wrap"> <p class="wpview-selection-before"><iframe src="" height="464" width="618" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p class="wpview-selection-after">&nbsp;</p> </div> <p><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>Earlier in the evening,</strong></span><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>&nbsp;<span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>a high school student&nbsp;on the UW campus was beaten up and had paint thrown on him:</strong></span></strong></span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Student assaulted but not filing charges. <a href="">#KomoNews</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Suzanne Phan (@SuzannePhan) <a href="">January 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="wpview-wrap"> <p class="wpview-selection-before">&nbsp;</p> </div> <p><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>And a&nbsp;protester became aggressive with a man filming their group: </strong></span></p> <div class="wpview-wrap"> <div class="wpview-body"> <div class="wpview-content wpview-type-embedURL"><iframe src="" height="348" width="618" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>Milo's cameraman was assaulted:</strong></span></p> <div class="wpview-wrap"> <p class="wpview-selection-before">&nbsp;<iframe src="" height="348" width="618" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p class="wpview-selection-after"><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>&nbsp;Weapons have been confiscated:</strong></span></p> </div> </div> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>According to reports from Seattle PD, anarchist protesters outside MILO’s event at Washington University tonight had baseball bats and sharpened signposts confiscated by law enforcement. Police in riot gear have formed a human wall between event attendees and protesters. -<a href="" target="_blank"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;">Breitbart</span></span></em></a></p> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Seattle Protesters Armed with Wooden Poles, Heavy Pipes, Shields <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Abby Martin? (@AbbyMartinM) <a href="">January 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>The Seattle cell</strong><span style="color: #333300;"> of the "Anti Fascist"&nbsp;group showed up in full force waving the same flag that can be seen in Thursday night's beating <span style="color: #0000ff;"><a href="" style="color: #0000ff;" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">outside of the "Deploraball</span></a> </span>in Washington, DC." This has moved beyond protesting, evolving&nbsp;into riots and domestic terrorism.</span></span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"The Tolerant Left" throwing shit and piss mix at us :)<a href="">#Milo</a> <a href="">#Inauguration</a> <a href="">#UW</a> <a href="">#DaddyTrump</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Scott Sterling ???? (@l_Renegade_I) <a href="">January 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <p><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>Here is a video recap of the incident from Seattle's KIRO 7:</strong></span></p> <div class="wpview-wrap"> <p class="wpview-selection-before">&nbsp;<iframe src="" height="348" width="618" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p class="wpview-selection-after">&nbsp;</p> </div> <div class="wpview-wrap"> <p class="wpview-selection-before"><a href=""><img class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-5339" src="" height="150" width="150" alt="flyers" style="float: left;" /></a><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>The shooting</strong> </span>comes a week after threatening&nbsp;flyers appeared across campus in&nbsp;advance of the&nbsp;MILO&nbsp;event, which listed the a photo and&nbsp;contact info of College Republican group president Jessica Gamble, encouraging people to harass&nbsp;Gamble and her father.</p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #ff6600;"><strong>This is some serious shit...</strong></span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="">@Lauren_Southern</a> shoved. <a href="">@Cernovich</a> pepper sprayed.<a href="">@Gavin_McInnes</a> fist-fight.<br />Gunshot wound outside Milo event.</p> <p>Stay safe everybody.</p> <p>— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) <a href="">January 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p></p></blockquote> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: 13px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;"><span style="line-height: inherit; font-size: 13px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;"><em><span style="font-family: Verdana;">Content originally generated at </span></em><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;"><em><span style="font-family: Verdana;"></span></em></span></span></a><em><span style="font-family: Verdana;">&nbsp;<span style="color: #ff6600; line-height: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;"><strong style="line-height: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-variant: inherit; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">*</strong></span>&nbsp;Follow on Twitter @</span></em><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #0066cc;"><em><span style="font-family: Verdana;">ZeroPointNow</span></em></span></span></a></span></span></p> Alt-right Breitbart News Conservatism in the United Kingdom Conservatism in the United States Donald Trump presidential campaign FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Gay men Milo Yiannopoulos Politics Politics of the United States Protests against Donald Trump Seattle PD Seattle WTO protests Time Twitter Twitter University of Washington War Washington University Sat, 21 Jan 2017 11:14:36 +0000 ZeroPointNow 586036 at Trump Signs First Executive Order To "Ease The Burden Of Obamacare" <p>Wasting precious little time, Trump returned from the evening's inaugural ceremonies and got straight to work in the Oval Office signing his first executive order to roll back portions of Obamacare.&nbsp; While details are scarce, per <a href="">CNN</a>, press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the action was meant <strong>"to ease the burden of Obamacare as we transition from repeal and replace."<br /></strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><strong>JUST IN: Pres. Trump signs documents allowing retired Generals Mattis and Kelly to be sworn into Cabinet and an executive order on Obamacare <a href=""></a></strong></p> <p><strong>— ABC News (@ABC) <a href="">January 21, 2017</a></strong></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Executive order just signed by <a href="">@POTUS</a> relates to <a href="">#Obamacare</a>. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) <a href="">January 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Trump's Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, has also sent a memo to all federal agencies to initiate an immediate freeze on all new regulations.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Press secy <a href="">@seanspicer</a> also says WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus directing federal agencies to initiate immediate regulatory freeze.</p> <p>— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) <a href="">January 21, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Bloomberg notes, The Congressional Budget Office said in a Jan. 17 report that <strong><em>as many as 32 million Americans would lose their insurance coverage over 10 years if the health law is repealed without an alternative policy in place.</em></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Trump told the Washington Post that <strong>a replacement plan will provide "insurance for verybody," </strong>and he said in a Jan. 11 news conference that he wanted repeal and a replacement policy to be<strong> passed "essentially simultaneously."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Changes to the structure of health plans under the law, such as what benefits insurers are required to offer or how much they can charge, could be made through administrative actions at the Department of Health and Human Services or by rewriting regulations.</p> </blockquote> <p>And here is the brief statement from Sean Spicer:</p> <p><object id="flashObj" width="480" height="270" data=";isUI=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="data" value=";isUI=1" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=5291211452001&amp;playerID=1764219419001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAETmrZQ~,EVFEM4AKJdRI6UgfPhFgV0s-3wZ2v95n&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="base" value="" /><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value=";isUI=1" /><param name="name" value="flashObj" /><param name="flashvars" value="videoId=5291211452001&amp;playerID=1764219419001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAETmrZQ~,EVFEM4AKJdRI6UgfPhFgV0s-3wZ2v95n&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /></object></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><strong>As someone once told Republicans: <em>"There are consequences to elections."</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="413" height="188" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 111th United States Congress ABC News American people of German descent CNN Congressional Budget Office Congressional Budget Office Department of Health and Human Services Excises Internal Revenue Code Internal Revenue Service Mike Pence Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Politics Reince Priebus Republican Party United States) Sean Spicer Statutory law Television in the United States Twitter Twitter United States Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:42:12 +0000 Tyler Durden 586034 at Chinese, Germans Bidding To Turn Abandoned Nuclear Wasteland Of Chernobyl Into Solar Farm <p>For 30 years the 1,000 square miles surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia have lay largely inhabited and remains one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world.&nbsp; But that's all about to change if a group of German and Chinese investors have their way about it.&nbsp; According to Ukraine's Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ostap Semerak, 39 separate entities have applied for permission to install 2 gigawatts worth solar panels on the land that would otherwise lie unutilized for centuries to come.&nbsp; Per <a href="">Bloomberg</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Chinese and Germans are among dozens of investors taking Ukraine up on its offer to turn the grounds of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters into a massive solar park.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Thirteen international investors are among the 39 groups seeking Ukraine permission to install about 2 gigawatts of solar panels inside the radioactive exclusion zone surrounding the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant,</strong> according to Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak. Two gigawatts is almost the capacity of two modern nuclear reactors, although atomic power unlike solar works day and night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“We have received requests from businesses that are interested in renting land for building solar power stations,”</strong> Semerak said in a phone interview from Kiev. “We are not looking to profit from land use, we are looking to profit from investment.”</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><img src="" alt="Chernobyl" width="600" height="586" /></p> </blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, the effort to attract the new investors required a modest <strong>85% rent reduction and guaranteed rates through 2030 </strong>to subsidize the solar farms which are otherwise not cost competive.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Chinese companies GCL System Integration Technology Co Ltd. and China National Complete Engineering Corp said in November that they plan to build a 1 gigawatt solar project on the site in several stages. A German renewables developer has applied to install 500 megawatts, Semerak said, declining to name the firm. The remaining project proposals are for plants that are about 20 megawatts in size.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Companies “have requested between 20 hectares and 1,000 hectares for projects,” Semerak said. In a push for foreign investment, <strong>Ukraine has lowered the rent charged for state property by 85 percent, he said.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The country set up a feed-in-tariff system running through 2030 that offers a fixed price which is reduced annually. Projects that sign on in 2017 will receive 17 euro cents (18 U.S. cents) a kilowatt.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>That said, there is one minor issue which could disrupt the otherwise genius plan, if we understand it correctly, which is that the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has waffled on providing financing and said <strong>loans will be contingent on "environmental due diligence."&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Seriously</span></strong>?<strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The lingering radiation at Chernobyl is a concern of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development</strong>, which is considering whether to finance the solar projects. Loans will be contingent on <strong>environmental due diligence</strong>, according to spokesman Anton Usov. <strong>The projects would have to be safe to install and operate and also be commercially viable to receive funding, he said.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“For any project above 10 megawatts in size, you would need someone on-site almost every day,”</strong> said Pietro Radoia, solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. <strong>“The bigger the project, the more daily small issues come up that have to be dealt with.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>After seeing some pretty ridiculous "environmental" concerns derail large M&amp;A projects in the U.S., we would love to see the consulting report that approves this deal.</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="705" height="360" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Alternative energy Belarus Chernobyl Chernobyl Exclusion Zone China Disaster Energy Energy conversion Environment Europe Feed-in tariff fixed Kievan Rus' Member states of the United Nations Nature Nuclear Power Nuclear power Nuclear technology Physical universe Pripyat radiation Radioactive contamination Renewable energy Republics Solar power Ukraine Ukraine Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:50:52 +0000 Tyler Durden 586032 at The Following Words Had Never Appeared In An Inaugural Address, Until Today <p>That Trump's inaugural address was provocative is putting it mildly. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the <a href="">initial reaction of the Financial Times</a>. Consider the following excerpt:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>For most presidents, a first inaugural address has been the occasion to set out a personal vision of the American idea. You do not necessarily lose points for failing to set out policy in granular detail. You are playing mood-music, making it as stirring as possible and positioning yourself in the grand flow of American history: reminding your audience of an essential continuity. <strong>Mr Trump’s theme was the opposite. From his first words, he stressed discontinuity: that his presidency would be a break. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington DC, and giving it back to you, the people.” </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That audience-shaping attempt, at least, had the right idea. Mr Trump made a lot of play with the second and first-persons plural: “This is your day”; “We will bring back our jobs.” But he positioned his “great movement” in a way that suggested not that the Washington government was the expression of democracy but its enemy<strong>. It was an unusually rancorous, backward look, given what he said about unity and solidarity. It was a dismissal of, rather than a humble doffing of the cap to, history. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>[R]ewarmed like a tray of unappetising leftovers, were the familiar slogans of the campaigning Mr Trump. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” “America will start winning again, winning like never before.” “All talk and no action.” “America first, America first.” They were greeted with what, at least on the television relays, sounded like distinctly halfhearted applause. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And here — during his sporadic attempts at the high style — were some awkwardly half-formed figures of speech. To say “we stand at the birth of a new millennium” sounds grand but, unless you have a 1,000-year regime in mind, if you can say that in 2017 you can say it any time you like. “We are one nation and their pain is our pain” would have worked if “they” had been specified. It wasn’t. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He spoke of “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation”; of how “a new national pride will stir ourselves (sic), lift our sights and heal our divisions”; of how “a new vision will govern”; of how “we will shine for everyone to follow”; of how “the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon”. Each of those phrases is intended to resonate — but each, like a bell cast with a fault, makes a slight clunk.</p> </blockquote> <p>And the punchline:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The speech’s most memorable phrase was “American carnage”. </strong>As well as being, unfortunately, the title of a thrash metal tour a few years back, it is memorable because it sounds slightly wrong. You want an audience to associate pride, dreams, prosperity, unity, freedom, hope and suchlike with the word “American” — not “carnage”.</p> </blockquote> <p>Etc. </p> <p>While we won't comment on the FT's visceral reaction to the speech (<a href="">full transcript here</a>) - clearly the establishment mouthpiece was not happy with the words that came out of Trump's mouth - and while readers can make up their own mind about Trump's address, we do want to point something out. </p> <p>Like everything else about him, Trump's speech was indeed a break from established tradition, and nowhere was this more obvious than in the selection of words that had <strong>never appeared previously </strong>in any US inaugural address.&nbsp; Some of them: <strong>bleed, carnage, depletion, disrepair, flush, Islamic, ripped, sad, rusted, sprawl, stealing, stolen, subsidized, tombstones, trapped, trillions, unstoppable.<br /></strong></p> <p>The full list is below.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="327" /></a></p> <p>Indeed, the speech was so unorthodox it even stunned Trump advisor Carl Icahn. As <a href="">he told CNBC</a>, "<strong>Donald surprised me coming on so strongly about the establishment. I admire him for doing that."&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>"I admire him for not just trying to say, 'Wow. Let's smooth it over. Let's be buddies.' I mean, he came on extremely strongly and he's giving you a look at what the future, I think, is going to be," Icahn added.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Icahn, Trump's special advisor on regulatory reform, said he expects the 45th president of the United States to take a confrontational approach, to some extent. Yet he argued that may be a good thing because it will promote change. </p> </blockquote> <p>"I think you have to break up this establishment. You have to stop the perception which we have in this country that the government is at war with business, that the government doesn't like business and that's what you've had for eight years with Obama," Icahn said.</p> <p>We have yet to see if Trump will indeed follow up with his promises, or his belligerent speech. We do have one last question, however: did Trump really "borrow" a part of his address from... Bane?</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Wait... what!?<a href="">#Inauguration</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Jahova (@JahovasWitniss) <a href="">January 20, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> <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="205" height="115" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Carl Icahn Doffing ETC Twitter Twitter Washington government Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:28:26 +0000 Tyler Durden 586025 at The Geopolitics Of 2017 In 4 Maps <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by George Friedman and Jacob Shapiro via,</em></a></p> <p>International relations and geopolitics are not synonymous... at least, not the way we understand them at Geopolitical Futures. &ldquo;International relations&rdquo; is a descriptive phrase that encompasses all the ways countries behave toward one another. &ldquo;Geopolitics&rdquo; is the supposition that all international relationships are based on the interaction between geography and power.</p> <p>Our brand of geopolitics takes this a step further and asserts that a deep understanding of geography and power enables you to do two things. First, it helps you comprehend the forces that will shape international politics and how they will do so. Second, it allows you to identify what is important and what isn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>This makes maps an extremely important part of our work. Writing can be an ideal medium for explaining power, but even the best writer is limited by language when it comes to describing geography. So this week, we have decided to showcase some of the best maps our graphics team (TJ Lensing and Jay Dowd) made in 2016&hellip; not just because these four maps are cool (though they are), but because we think they go a long way in explaining the foundations of what will be the most important geopolitical developments of 2017.</p> <h3><u>Map 1: Russia&rsquo;s Economic Weakness</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 679px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>This map illustrates three key aspects of Russia that are crucial to understanding the country in 2017. First is the oft-overlooked fact that Russia is a federation. Russia has a strong national culture, but it is also an incredibly diverse political entity that requires a strong central government. Unlike most maps of Russia, this one divides the country by its constitutive regions. There are 85 of these regions&hellip; 87 if you count Crimea and Sevastopol. Not all have the same status&mdash;some are regions, while others are autonomous regions, cities, and republics.</p> <p>The second aspect is that there is a great deal of economic diversity in this vast Russian Federation. The map shows this by identifying regional budget surpluses and deficits throughout the country. Two regions have such large surpluses that they break the scale: the City of Moscow and Sakhalin. Fifty-two regions (or 60% of Russia&rsquo;s regional budgets) are in the red. The Central District, which includes Moscow, makes up more than 20% of Russia&rsquo;s GDP, while Sakhalin and a few other regions that are blessed with surpluses produce Russia&rsquo;s oil.</p> <p>The third aspect follows from combining the logical conclusions of the first two observations. Russia is vast, and much of the country is in a difficult economic situation. Even if oil stays around $55 a barrel for all of 2017, that won&rsquo;t be high enough to solve the problems of the many struggling parts of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin rules as an authoritarian. This is, in part, because he governs an unwieldy country. He needs all the power he can get to redistribute wealth so that the countryside isn&rsquo;t driven to revolt.</p> <p>Russia is making headlines right now because of Ukraine, Syria, and alleged hacking. But the geopolitical position of Russia is better described by studying the map above.</p> <h3><u>Map 2: China&rsquo;s Cage</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 313px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>Maps that shift perspective can be disorienting, but they are meant to be. Our minds get so used to seeing the world in one way that a different view can feel alien. But that is even more reason to push through the discomfort. The map above attempts to do that by looking at the Pacific from Beijing&rsquo;s perspective.</p> <p>China&#39;s moves in the South China Sea have received a great deal of attention. In a Jan. 12 confirmation hearing with Congress, nominee for US Secretary of Defense James Mattish identified Chinese aggressiveness as one of the major reasons he believes the world order is under its biggest assault since World War II. But we believe the Chinese threat is overstated. This map helps explain why.</p> <p>China&rsquo;s access to the Pacific is limited by two obstacles. The first is the small island chains in the South and East China Seas. When we look at this map, China&rsquo;s motive in asserting control over these large rocks and molehills becomes clear. If China cannot control these islands and shoals, they can be used against China in a military conflict. (If there were small island chains off the US coast in the Pacific or the Atlantic, US strategy might look like China&rsquo;s.)</p> <p>The second obstacle is that China is surrounded by American allies. Some such as Japan (and to a lesser extent South Korea and Taiwan) have significant military forces to defend themselves from Chinese encroachment. Taiwan sticks out as a major spur aimed squarely at China&rsquo;s southeast coast. Those that don&rsquo;t have sufficient military defenses, like the Philippines, have firm US security guarantees. China is currently at a serious geographic disadvantage in the waters off its coast.</p> <p>This map, though, does not reveal a critical third piece of this puzzle&mdash;the US Navy outclasses the Chinese navy in almost every regard, despite impressive and continuing Chinese efforts to increase capabilities. But looking at this map, you can see why China wants to make noise in its coastal waters and how China is limited by an arc of American allies. You can also see why one of China&rsquo;s major goals will be to attempt to entice any American allies to switch sides. Consequently, China&rsquo;s moves regarding the Philippines require close observation in 2017.</p> <h3><u>Map 3: Redrawing the Middle East</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 413px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>It has become cliché to point out that the Middle East&rsquo;s current political borders were drawn after World War I by colonial powers like the United Kingdom and France, and that the region&rsquo;s wars and insurrections in recent years are making these artificial boundaries obsolete. What isn&rsquo;t cliché is doubling down on that analysis. We&rsquo;ve drawn a new map of the Middle East based on who controls what territory, as opposed to the official boundaries recognized by international organizations like the United Nations.</p> <p>The map above reveals what the Middle East really looks like right now. Many will object to some of the boundaries for political purposes, but this map is explicitly not trying to make a political statement. Rather, it is an attempt to show who holds power over what geography in the Middle East.</p> <p>From this point of view, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya don&rsquo;t exist anymore. In their places are smaller warring statelets based on ethnic, national, and sectarian identities. Other borders (like those of Lebanon and Israel) are also redrawn to reflect actual power dynamics. Here, a politically incorrect but accurate map is more useful than an inaccurate but politically correct one.</p> <p>Just as important as redrawing the borders of countries that no longer function as unified entities is noting which countries&rsquo; borders do not require redrawing. These countries include three of the region&rsquo;s four major powers: Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The borders of the other major power, Israel, are only slightly modified. (Egypt is an economic basket case and does not qualify as a major power, even though it has arguably the most cohesive national culture in the Arab world.)</p> <p>The Middle East is defined by two key dynamics: the wars raging in the heart of the Arab world and the balance of power between the countries that surround this conflict.</p> <h3><u>Map 4: Imagining 2017&rsquo;s Brexit</u></h3> <p><img src="" style="width: 550px; height: 490px;" /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Click to enlarge</em></a></p> <p>Analyzing this map must begin with a disclaimer: This is, first and foremost, an analytical tool and a means of thinking about Europe&rsquo;s future. It is explicitly not a prediction of what Europe&rsquo;s borders will look like in the future.</p> <p>The map identifies areas in Europe with strong nationalist tendencies. Those regions with active separatist movements are not italicized. The italicized regions are those demanding increased autonomy but not independence. In many of these regions, secessionist movements may be favored by a minority of the population. The point here is not their size, but rather that in all these regions, there is some degree of national consciousness that is dissonant with the current boundaries of Europe&rsquo;s nation-states.</p> <p>The European Union is a flawed institution because its members could never decide what they wanted it to be. The EU is not quite a sovereign entity, but it claims more authority than a free trade agreement. European nation-states gave up some of their sovereignty to Brussels&hellip; but not all of it. So when serious issues arose (such as the 2008 financial crisis or the influx of Syrian and other refugees), EU member states went back to solving problems the way they did before the EU. Instead of &ldquo;one for all and all for one,&rdquo; it was &ldquo;to each their own, but you still have to buy German products.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brexit shook the foundations of the EU in 2016. Elections in France and Germany and domestic instability in Italy will shake those foundations in 2017. But Brexit also opened the doors to a deeper question: How will national self-determination be defined in the 21st century? Not all of Europe&rsquo;s nation-states are on stable ground. The most important consequences of Brexit may end up being its impact on the political future of the United Kingdom. And in Spain, Catalonia already claims it will hold an independence referendum this year.</p> <p>Brussels, meanwhile, keeps trying to speak with one voice. This map communicates just how hard that is&hellip; not just for the EU, but also for some of Europe&rsquo;s nation-states.</p> <h3><u>Conclusion</u></h3> <p>The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Maps are worth many more. Our perspective on the world is rooted in an objective and unbiased approach to examining geography and power. Maps like these are foundational components for building that perspective. These four maps are especially helpful in thinking about the geopolitical forces that will shape the world in the year ahead.</p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em>Over the last couple of weeks, we&rsquo;ve shared some sneak peeks of our 24-page forecast, <strong>The World in 2017</strong>. If you&rsquo;ve enjoyed these snapshots, you can now download your free copy of a special report that further illuminates the year ahead. The report, <strong>Top 3 Economic Surprises for 2017</strong>, contains information on what the future holds for three geopolitically important countries. <a href="" target="_blank">Simply click here to get your free copy</a>.</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="704" height="343" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Asia Border China China Chinese navy Congress East China European Union European Union France Geography Geopolitics Germany headlines International relations theory Iran Iraq Israel Italy Japan Map Middle East Middle East Political geography Politics Region Saudi Arabia South China Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom United Nations United States Navy Vladimir Putin Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586020 at Friday Humor: Hillary Catches Bill Staring At Ivanka <p>While there is no proof that Bill is indeed ogling Ivanka Trump as this viral clip alleges, judging by Hillary's reaction (and Bill's stoic avoidance of Hillary), it is hardly that far fetched. In any case, it's been a long week, it's Friday, and its funny: <em>what difference does it make if this is a "fake clip."</em></p> <blockquote class="twitter-video"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Credit: <a href="">@beinlibertarian</a>! Hillary catches Bill staring at Ivanka <a href="">#Inauguration</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— James Slingsby (@luckyjimsling) <a href="">January 20, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> <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="287" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent Business Hillary Clinton Ivanka Ivanka Trump Nationality Twitter Twitter United States Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:13:35 +0000 Tyler Durden 586031 at Trump Takes Over 'Riskiest' America Since World War II <p>While most are well aware that President Obama is leaving office having almost doubled the national debt during his &#39;reign&#39;, the more concerning fact is that this debt-splosion came with the <a href="">weakest economic recovery in US history</a>. What this means simply is that <strong>Obama is handing Trump the &#39;riskiest&#39; America since World War II</strong> as debt-to-GDP is the highest since Truman.</p> <p>Combine <a href="">this</a>...<strong>Worst Recovery Ever...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 680px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Source: JPMorgan</em></p> <p>With <a href="">this</a>...<strong>Biggest increase in debt ever...</strong></p> <p><a href=" final debt.jpg"><img src="" style="width: 599px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And you get this... <strong>the highest debt-to-gdp since Truman...</strong></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 455px;" /></p> <p><em>h/t @Schuldensuehner</em></p> <p>Trump is taking over America in its most perilous economic state since World War II.</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="959" height="727" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Fiscal policy Government debt Illinois National Debt Politics Politics of the United States President Obama recovery United States Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586021 at The Epidemic Of Bad Ideas <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by David Galland via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Our education begins within a few minutes of arriving on planet Earth. </strong>That&rsquo;s when we begin to learn that crying and carrying on is rewarded with coddling and nourishment.</p> <p>That particular lesson stays with us throughout our lives, more so with some people than others. I especially love watching red-faced yuppies trying to argue canceled airline flights back into service.</p> <p><strong>We also are educated by the physical world.</strong> Running barefoot and stepping on a tack/bee/piece of glass/thorn/etc. teaches us the importance of protective garments. As does our first time staying out too long shirtless in the sun.</p> <p>Of course, our family members and friends also play an important role, teaching us the difference between wrong and right. Of course, as often as not, those concepts are subjective. Is it really &ldquo;wrong&rdquo; to question your elders? Or &ldquo;right&rdquo; to fall to your knees in prayer to an invisible superhuman at bedtime?</p> <p>Maybe, maybe not. But not being privy to the hard data proving either point in our formative years, we are expected to take these various ideas on board without questioning. And, for the most part, we do.</p> <p><strong>It is also clear that having a poor role model can have long-term deleterious results.</strong> A single mother on welfare who is addicted to crack is unlikely to instill in Junior a strong moral compass or the work ethic needed to get ahead in a competitive world.</p> <p><strong>Regardless, while still in the proverbial short pants, we are one day bundled up and sent off to begin our formal education.</strong> This is where things get interesting.</p> <p><em>Moving along, it seems appropriate to drop the virtual needle on Pink Floyd&rsquo;s classic, <a href="" target="_blank">Another Brick in the Wall</a>.</em></p> <h3><u>Bricks in the Wall</u></h3> <p>Once our parents hand the keys to our brains to professional teachers,<strong> any number of factors come to play in our education.</strong></p> <p>For starters, every graduating class of future teachers contains those who sit in the front and those who hide at the back. If you&rsquo;re lucky, your formative years won&rsquo;t be shaped by a guy with &ldquo;Dopey&rdquo; as a college nickname.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s not the worst roll of the dice. In my early schooling, I had a perennially pissed-off teacher by the name of Mr. Hirata. That I still remember his name is the direct result of his pulling a handful of my hair out by the roots in front of the class. My crime? Tossing a small glob of rice at another student during lunch break.</p> <p>Likewise, in the education of my own children, there was an intensely passive-aggressive female teacher (at least I think she was female) who clearly disliked boys. Not the best setting for my son, and another brick in the wall that ultimately led my wife and me to homeschool the kids.</p> <p>But stupidity, an excess of emotions, or gender bias are not the worst traits an educator might possess. While those may affect a subset of the student body, leaving them with a poor opinion of their educational experience, the real threat comes from bad ideas accepted by academics as good ideas.</p> <p>I subscribe to the theory that ideas are like living viruses: a strong idea, once released into the ether, will take hold and gain currency. The stronger the idea, the more likely it is to spread.</p> <p><strong>Unfortunately, even terrible ideas can spread virulently. The classic of the genre being Karl Marx&rsquo;s &ldquo;From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>That particular idea has literally cost&nbsp;millions of lives.&nbsp;Incredibly, despite having been proven false time and again since its first utterance, it continues to spread.</p> <h3><u>Violence as Policy and Other Insanities</u></h3> <p><strong>Throughout history, bad ideas such as those espoused by Marx have taken hold in the public arena and become institutionalized. </strong>This despite the inherent violence required by a system where individuals are forced to be subservient to the state.</p> <p>The iconic socialist revolutionary, Che Guevara, made the case that in a true socialist revolution, large swaths of the population <em>had </em>to die.</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">&ldquo;Is it possible or not, given the present conditions in [the Americas] to achieve socialist power by peaceful means? We emphatically answer that, in the great majority of cases, this is not possible. The most that could be achieved would be the formal takeover of the bourgeois superstructure of power and the transition to socialism of that government that, under the established bourgeois legal system, having achieved formal power will still have to wage a very violent struggle against all who attempt, in one way or another, to check its progress toward new social structures.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-left: .5in;">&mdash;<em>Che Guevara, Tactics and Strategy of the Latin American Revolution, 1962</em></p> <p>You may recognize that doctrine being applied eight years after it was written in <a href="" target="_blank">Pol Pot&rsquo;s regime</a><span style="text-decoration: underline;">.</span> More than 20% of the population died horribly in the reeducation camps where they were sent to learn how to think correctly. Or die. Actually, mainly die.</p> <p><img src="" style="width: 200px; height: 187px; float: right;" />If mass murder as policy isn&rsquo;t about as bad an idea as ever stalked the land, I don&rsquo;t know what is. Yet, there is still a large demand among the clamoring masses for T-shirts and posters emblazoned with Che&rsquo;s beret-bedecked cabeza. You know, because he&rsquo;s sooo cool.</p> <p>But I drift.</p> <p>The point I am laboring toward is that once bad ideas infest the educational system, they invariably jump the intellectual barriers and end up in the political system.</p> <p>It is thus that the low-information processors have so tightly embraced the Chicken Little idea that the sky is falling due to the degradation of the environment, and that the governments of the world have responded by spending hundreds of billions of dollars fighting a fiction.</p> <p>This despite all the flashing fluorescent signs that the idea holds no water. If it did, why the pivot from &ldquo;global warming&rdquo; to the catch-all broader notion of &ldquo;climate change&rdquo;? And why is there a steadfast refusal by leading climate alarmists to <a href="" target="_blank">publicly debate scientists who dispute the theory</a>?</p> <p>But that is just one small example of a long list of bad ideas that have crossed the blood-brain barrier.</p> <p><strong>Here&rsquo;s another. Not all that long ago, some bright light decided that voluntarism should be injected into the schools. For example, making it a class project to read to old folks or play with stray dogs down at the local animal shelter. Harmless enough activities designed to &ldquo;teach&rdquo; the young to be more civic-minded. Well, that idea has morphed from a one-off activity to being mandatory for graduation.</strong></p> <p><strong>And rather than providing the simple lesson that people can do a bit of good in their local community by volunteering, it has become indoctrination to advance Marx&rsquo;s mantra.</strong></p> <p>We know a nice enough family back in the States that can never just go on vacation. Rather, they feel compelled to head off to some backwater to do good works, paying for their &ldquo;holidays&rdquo; with donations dunned from friends and family members.</p> <h3><u>The Epidemic of Bad Ideas</u></h3> <p>Slapping together an abbreviated list of the bad ideas now sweeping aside intelligent thought across the land&mdash;both in the US and in most countries where people have too much time on their hands, we come up with:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Mother Earth Is Dying.</strong>&nbsp;What a dismal and stupid perspective. And doubly stupid because the same morose idea has infested the human imagination time and time again over the millennia. In the past, Gaia&rsquo;s purported assassins have taken the form of overpopulation, a new ice age, air pollution, swine flu, holes in ozone layers, dying bees, or whatever the hell. <p>Speaking as someone who has visited all points of the compass on planet Earth, if there&rsquo;s a problem humanity faces, it is underpopulation. Case in point, my partner Olivier Garret&rsquo;s sainted mother lives in the countryside about 20 minutes from Paris. Despite the area being populated since men and apes were dating, there are rolling green hills and forests as far as the eye can see.</p> <p>Dear readers in England might get a kick out of this illustrative quote from Paul Ehrlich, the dimwitted father of modern doomsday predictions:</p> <p>&ldquo;By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.&rdquo;<br />&mdash;<em>Speech at British Institute for Biology, September 1971</em></p> <p>Proving how hard it is to kill off bad ideas, to this day Ehrlich remains the president of Stanford University&rsquo;s Center for Conservation Biology.</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>All Cultures Are Good. </strong>You have to be naive in the extreme to accept this notion as true. Is an Islamic theocracy on par with living in a secular democracy where, for example, women have basic rights? Is African tribalism as an organizing system as valuable as one based on the rights of the individual to pursue life, liberty, and happiness? Is the Indian caste system really okay? <p>In my opinion, the idea that individual cultures should be preserved like museum pieces is one of the most dangerous ideas afflicting modern man. That which separates us does not make us stronger.</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Capitalism Is Bad.</strong> Wake up and smell the Starbucks! Or some other brand determined to unseat Starbucks by offering better coffee at a better price. Though far from perfect&mdash;and, sorry to break it to you, but like Santa Claus, there is no such thing as a perfect economic system&mdash;minimizing government interference in the free exchange of goods and services works best at elevating the quality of life for the greatest number of people. <p>Conversely, despite Marx&rsquo;s quip, the systems that work worst are invariably based on some group of elites using the cover of &ldquo;public good&rdquo; to pull the levers on a command economy.</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Political Correctness</strong>. Talk about a slippery slope. Today, virtually any action or word can be seen to &ldquo;micro-aggress&rdquo; against some sensitive soul. In response, universities and governments feel compelled to take active measures to protect those same souls. <p>The end result has to be a Gordian knot of soul-draining policies, regulations, and other complexities. Oh wait, why should it be a Gordian knot? Why not Gordiana or some other gender-neutral name? Sexist bastards!</p></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>White People Are Bad and a Dying Breed.</strong> And that goes double for white men, eeeww!&nbsp;Sorry toots, but in the US 75% of the population is Caucasian, and just under half of that number are men. And it&rsquo;s not just in the US that whites make up the demographic majority, by a wide margin. That is also the case in Canada, Australia, the UK, Europe, Russia, and many other countries. It may surprise you to learn that here in Argentina, the number is closer to 90%, and it&rsquo;s even higher than that in Costa Rica, among many others. <p>The idea that white people will effectively fade away anytime soon crashes and burns in the face of demographic facts. Regardless, focusing on the color of a person&rsquo;s skin in making policy is, per my comments above, looking for ways to separate us humans, and so I am 100% against it. As far as the notion that white people are somehow bad, that&rsquo;s just naked racism.</p></li> </ul> <p>I could go on. However, as the sun is high in the sky, it is time to move on to other tasks.</p> <p>As I slide toward the exit, I will sum up by expressing my concern that parts of the world, in particular the United States, are now cartwheeling down the slippery slope toward disaster. A disaster caused by the epidemic of bad ideas that have germinated in the educational system and subsequently taken root in the halls of political power.</p> <p>Of course, not everyone has been equally infected. Individuals with common sense and an inclination toward facts and the scientific method are largely immune and can only view with alarm the zombie-like madness caused by bad ideas.</p> <p>With the body politic so deeply divided, I really don&rsquo;t see how a serious sociopolitical crisis can be avoided.</p> <p><strong>Trump&rsquo;s inauguration, happening today, very well may serve as a starter pistol in unleashing the physical manifestation of the extraordinary conflict in the ideas held by approximately equal contingents of the population.</strong></p> <p>I will watch this particular parade closely and with deep concern, but very definitely from afar, here in the warm and pacific climes of the Argentine outback.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t forget to duck.</p> <p><em>(For those of you who want to read a scholarly dissertation about the takeover of the US educational system by socialists and progressives&mdash;two sides of the same coin&mdash;the National Association of Scholars recently released a comprehensive study entitled, &ldquo;Making Citizens&mdash;How American Universities Teach Civics.&rdquo; <a href="" target="_blank">It&rsquo;s long, but worth a scan</a>.)</em></p> <h2><u><span style="color: #0a4b7d;">Here Come the Clowns</span></u></h2> <p><strong>Mother, May I?&nbsp;</strong>Our clowny entry this week provides additional support for the contention that an epidemic of bad ideas has spread across the land.</p> <p>In the United Kingdom where the bureaucrats have, at least until recently, seemed keen to pattern their regulatory regime to achieve a society that rhymes with Orwell&rsquo;s <em>1984</em>, a woman was called to the bench and made to pay a fine of &pound;80 (US$98) for the offense of <a href="" target="_blank">pouring a cup of coffee down the drain</a>.</p> <p>One can only hope that, with Brexit, the dogma-blinded cretins in the bureaucracy there will be chased back into the shadows.</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="284" height="158" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia British Institute for Biology Chicken Little Cognition Concepts Creativity ETC Global Warming Ice Age Idea Idealism low-information processors Metaphysics National Association of Scholars Ontology Philosophy Stanford University’s Center for Conservation Biology Swine Flu United Kingdom Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 586024 at