logo Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register.
2019-09-19 08:55:46 CoV Wiki
Learn more about the Church of Virus
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Donations now taken through PayPal

  Church of Virus BBS
  General
  Society & Culture

  The Red Pill
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 11 12 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
   Author  Topic: The Red Pill  (Read 30562 times)
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1736
Reputation: 8.99
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #75 on: 2015-11-30 11:18:41 »
Reply with quote

Meanwhile in an opium den just off the DC Beltway, no wait that's crack house, the silk road beckons.

Cheers

Fritz


Silk Roads, Night Trains and the Third Industrial Revolution in China



Source:The Saker
Author:  Pepe Escobar
Date:  2015.11.29

Silk Roads, Night Trains and the Third Industrial Revolution in China
by Pepe Escobar

The US is transfixed by its multibillion-dollar electoral circus. The European Union is paralyzed by austerity, fear of refugees, and now all-out jihad in the streets of Paris. So the West might be excused if it’s barely caught the echoes of a Chinese version of Roy Orbison’s “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” And that new Chinese dream even comes with a road map.

The crooner is President Xi Jinping and that road map is the ambitious, recently unveiled 13th Five-Year-Plan, or in the pop-video version, the Shisanwu. After years of explosive economic expansion, it sanctifies the country’s lower “new normal” gross domestic product growth rate of 6.5% a year through at least 2020.

It also sanctifies an updated economic formula for the country: out with a model based on low-wage manufacturing of export goods and in with the shock of the new, namely, a Chinese version of the third industrial revolution. And while China’s leadership is focused on creating a middle-class future powered by a consumer economy, its president is telling whoever is willing to listen that, despite the fears of the Obama administration and of some of the country’s neighbors, there’s no reason for war ever to be on the agenda for the US and China.

Given the alarm in Washington about what is touted as a Beijing quietly pursuing expansionism in the South China Sea, Xi has been remarkably blunt on the subject of late. Neither Beijing nor Washington, he insists, should be caught in the Thucydides trap, the belief that a rising power and the ruling imperial power of the planet are condemned to go to war with each other sooner or later.

It was only two months ago in Seattle that Xi told a group of digital economy heavyweights, “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.”

A case can be made – and Xi’s ready to make it – that Washington, which, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya to Syria, has gained something of a reputation for “strategic miscalculation” in the twenty-first century, might be doing it again. After all, US military strategy documents and top Pentagon figures have quite publicly started to label China (like Russia) as an official “threat.”

To grasp why Washington is starting to think of China that way, however, you need to take your eyes off the South China Sea for a moment, turn off Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and the rest of the posse, and consider the real game-changer – or “threat” – that’s rattling Beltway nerves in Washington when it comes to the new Great Game in Eurasia.

Xi’s Bedside Reading

Swarms of Chinese tourists iPhoning away and buying everything in sight in major Western capitals already prefigure a Eurasian future closely tied to and anchored by a Chinese economy turbo-charging toward that third industrial revolution. If all goes according to plan, it will harness everything from total connectivity and efficient high-tech infrastructure to the expansion of green, clean energy hubs. Solar plants in the Gobi desert, anyone?

Yes, Xi is a reader of economic and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin, who first conceived of a possible third industrial revolution powered by both the Internet and renewable energy sources.

It turns out that the Chinese leadership has no problem with the idea of harnessing cutting-edge Western soft power for its own purposes. In fact, they seem convinced that no possible tool should be overlooked when it comes to moving the country on to the next stage in the process that China’s Little Helmsman, former leader Deng Xiaoping, decades ago designated as the era in which “to get rich is glorious.”

It helps when you have $4 trillion in foreign currency reserves and massive surpluses of steel and cement. That’s the sort of thing that allows you to go “nation-building” on a pan-Eurasian scale. Hence, Xi’s idea of creating the kind of infrastructure that could, in the end, connect China to Central Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe. It’s what the Chinese call “One Belt, One Road”; that is, the junction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Twenty-First Century Maritime Silk Road.

Since Xi announced his One Belt, One Road policy in Kazakhstan in 2013, Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Hong Kong estimates that the state has ploughed more than $250 billion into Silk Road-oriented projects ranging from railways to power plants. Meanwhile, every significant Chinese business player is on board, from telecom equipment giant Huawei to e-commerce monster Alibaba (fresh from itsSingles Day online blockbuster). The Bank of China has already provided a $50 billion credit line for myriad Silk Road-related projects. China’s top cement-maker Anhui Conch is building at least six monster cement plants in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Laos. Work aimed at tying the Asian part of Eurasia together is proceeding at a striking pace. For instance, the China-Laos, China-Thailand, and Jakarta-Bandung railways – contracts worth over $20 billion – are to be completed by Chinese companies before 2020.

With business booming, right now the third industrial revolution in China looks ever more like a mad scramble toward a new form of modernity.

A Eurasian “War on Terror”

The One Belt, One Road plan for Eurasia reaches far beyond the Rudyard Kipling-coined nineteenth century phrase “the Great Game,” which in its day was meant to describe the British-Russian tournament of shadows for the control of Central Asia. At the heart of the twenty-first century’s Great Game lies China’s currency, the yuan, which may, by November 30th, join the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights reserve-currency basket. If so, this will in practice mean the total integration of the yuan, and so of Beijing, into global financial markets, as an extra basket of countries will add it to their foreign exchange holdings and subsequent currency shifts may amount to the equivalent of trillions of US dollars.

Couple the One Belt, One Road project with the recently founded, China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Beijing’s Silk Road Infrastructure Fund ($40 billion committed to it so far). Mix in an internationalized yuan and you have the groundwork for Chinese companies to turbo-charge their way into a pan-Eurasian (and even African) building spree of roads, high-speed rail lines, fiber-optic networks, ports, pipelines, and power grids.

According to the Washington-dominated Asian Development Bank (ADB), there is, at present, a monstrous gap of $800 billion in the funding of Asian infrastructure development to 2020 and it’s yearning to be filled. Beijing is now stepping right into what promises to be a paradigm-breaking binge of economic development.

And don’t forget about the bonuses that could conceivably follow such developments. After all, in China’s stunningly ambitious plans at least, its Eurasian project will end up covering no less than 65 countries on three continents, potentially affecting 4.4 billion people. If it succeeds even in part, it could take the gloss off al-Qaeda- and ISIS-style Wahhabi-influenced jihadism not only in China’s Xinjiang Province, but also in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Imagine it as a new kind of Eurasian war on terror whose “weapons” would be trade and development. After all, Beijing’s planners expect the country’s annual trade volume with belt-and-road partners to surpass $2.5 trillion by 2025.

At the same time, another kind of binding geography – what I’ve long called Pipelineistan, the vast network of energy pipelines crisscrossing the region, bringing its oil and natural gas supplies to China – is coming into being. It’s already spreading across Pakistan and Myanmar, and China is planning to double down on this attempt to reinforce its escape-from-the-Straits-of-Malacca strategy. (That bottleneck is still a transit point for 75% of Chinese oil imports.) Beijing prefers a world in which most of those energy imports are not water-borne and so at the mercy of the US Navy. More than 50% of China’s natural gas already comes overland from two Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) and that percentage will only increase once pipelines to bring Siberian natural gas to China come online before the end of the decade.

Of course, the concept behind all this, which might be sloganized as “to go west (and south) is glorious” could induce a tectonic shift in Eurasian relations at every level, but that depends on how it comes to be viewed by the nations involved and by Washington.

Leaving economics aside for a moment, the success of the whole enterprise will require superhuman PR skills from Beijing, something not always in evidence. And there are many other problems to face (or duck): these include Beijing’s Han superiority complex, not always exactly a hit among either minority ethnic groups or neighboring states, as well as an economic push that is often seen by China’s ethnic minorities as benefiting only the Han Chinese. Mix in a rising tide of nationalist feeling, the expansion of the Chinese military (including its navy), conflict in its southern seas, and a growing security obsession in Beijing. Add to that a foreign policy minefield, which will work against maintaining a carefully calibrated respect for the sovereignty of neighbors. Throw in the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia and its urge both to form anti-Chinese alliances of “containment” and to beef up its own naval and air power in waters close to China. And finally don’t forget red tapeand bureaucracy, a Central Asian staple. All of this adds up to a formidable package of obstacles to Xi’s Chinese dream and a new Eurasia.

All Aboard the Night Train

The Silk Road revival started out as a modest idea floated in China’s Ministry of Commerce. The initial goal was nothing more than getting extra “contracts for Chinese construction companies overseas.” How far the country has traveled since then. Starting from zero in 2003, China has ended up building no less than 16,000 kilometers of high-speed rail tracks in these years – more than the rest of the planet combined.

And that’s just the beginning. Beijing is now negotiating with 30 countries to build another 5,000 kilometers of high-speed rail at a total investment of $157 billion. Cost is, of course, king; a made-in-China high-speed network (top speed: 350 kilometers an hour) costs around $17 million to $21 million per kilometer. Comparable European costs: $25 million to $39 million per kilometer. So no wonder the Chinese are bidding for an $18 billion project linking London with northern England, and another linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas, while outbidding German companies to lay tracks in Russia.

On another front, even though it’s not directly part of China’s new Silk Road planning, don’t forget about the Iran-India-Afghanistan Agreement on Transit and International Transportation Cooperation. This India-Iran project to develop roads, railways, and ports is particularly focused on the Iranian port of Chabahar, which is to be linked by new roads and railways to the Afghan capital Kabul and then to parts of Central Asia.

Why Chabahar? Because this is India’s preferred transit corridor to Central Asia and Russia, as the Khyber Pass in the Afghan-Pakistani borderlands, the country’s traditional linking point for this, remains too volatile. Built by Iran, the transit corridor from Chabahar to Milak on the Iran-Afghanistan border is now ready. By rail, Chabahar will then be connected to the Uzbek border at Termez, which translates into Indian products reaching Central Asia and Russia.

Think of this as the Southern Silk Road, linking South Asia with Central Asia, and in the end, if all goes according to plan, West Asia with China. It is part of a wildly ambitious plan for a North-South Transport Corridor, an India-Iran-Russia joint project launched in 2002 and focused on the development of inter-Asian trade.

Of course, you won’t be surprised to know that, even here, China is deeply involved. Chinese companies have already built a high-speed rail line from the Iranian capital Tehran to Mashhad, near the Afghan border. China also financed a metro rail line from Imam Khomeini Airport to downtown Tehran. And it wants to use Chabahar as part of the so-called Iron Silk Road that is someday slated to cross Iran and extend all the way to Turkey. To top it off, China is already investing in the upgrading of Turkish ports.

Who Lost Eurasia?

For Chinese leaders, the One Belt, One Road plan – an “economic partnership map with multiple rings interconnected with one another” – is seen as an escape route from the Washington Consensus and the dollar-centered global financial system that goes with it. And while “guns” are being drawn, the “battlefield” of the future, as the Chinese see it, is essentially a global economic one.

On one side are the mega-economic pacts being touted by Washington – the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – that would split Eurasia in two. On the other, there is the urge for a new pan-Eurasian integration program that would be focused on China, and feature Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, and India as major players. Last May, Russia and China closed a deal to coordinate the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with new Silk Road projects. As part of their developing strategic partnership, Russia is already China’s number one oil supplier.

With Ukraine’s fate still in the balance, there is, at present, little room for the sort of serious business dialogue between the European Union (EU) and the EEU that might someday fuse Europe and Russia into the Chinese vision of full-scale, continent-wide Eurasian integration. And yet German business types, in particular, remain focused on and fascinated by the limitless possibilities of the New Silk Road concept and the way it might profitably link the continent.

If you’re looking for a future first sign of détente on this score, keep an eye on any EU moves to engage economically with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Its membership at present: China, Russia, and four “stans” (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan). India and Pakistan are to become members in 2016, and Iran once U.N. sanctions are completely lifted. A monster second step (no time soon) would be for this dialogue to become the springboard for the building of a trans-European “one-belt” zone. That could only happen after there was a genuine settlement in Ukraine and EU sanctions on Russia had been lifted. Think of it as the long and winding road towards what Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to sellthe Germans in 2010: a Eurasian free-trade zone extending from Vladivostok to Lisbon.

Any such moves will, of course, only happen over Washington’s dead body. At the moment, inside the Beltway, sentiment ranges from gloating over the economic “death” of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), most of which are facing daunting economic dislocations even as their political, diplomatic, and strategic integration proceeds apace, to fear or even downright anticipation of World War III and the Russian “threat.”

No one in Washington wants to “lose” Eurasia to China and its new Silk Roads. On what former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski calls “the grand chessboard,” Beltway elites and the punditocracy that follows them will never resign themselves to seeing the US relegated to the role of “offshore balancer,” while China dominates an integrating Eurasia. Hence, those two trade pacts and that “pivot,” the heightened US naval presence in Asian waters, the new urge to “contain” China, and the demonization of both Putin’s Russia and the Chinese military threat.

Thucydides, Eat Your Heart Out

Which brings us full circle to Xi’s crush on Jeremy Rifkin. Make no mistake about it: whatever Washington may want, China is indeed the rising power in Eurasia and a larger-than-life economic magnet. From London to Berlin, there are signs in the EU that, despite so many decades of trans-Atlantic allegiance, there is also something too attractive to ignore about what China has to offer. There is already a push towards the configuration of a European-wide digital economy closely linked with China. The aim would be a Rifkin-esque digitally integrated economic space spanning Eurasia, which in turn would be an essential building block for that post-carbon third industrial revolution.

The G-20 this year was in Antalya, Turkey, and it was a fractious affair dominated by Islamic State jihadism in the streets of Paris. The G-20 in 2016 will be in Hangzhou, China, which also happens to be the hometown of Jack Ma and the headquarters for Alibaba. You can’t get more third industrial revolution than that.

One year is an eternity in geopolitics. But what if, in 2016, Hangzhou did indeed offer a vision of the future, of silk roads galore and night trains from Central Asia to Duisburg, Germany, a future arguably dominated by Xi’s vision. He is, at least, keen on enshrining the G-20 as a multipolar global mechanism for coordinating a common development framework. Within it, Washington and Beijing might sometimes actually work together in a world in which chess, not Battleship, would be the game of the century.

Thucydides, eat your heart out.
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1736
Reputation: 8.99
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #76 on: 2015-11-30 22:18:16 »
Reply with quote

A small point, but one really worth pointing out, as the Politico 'esplain' themselves and the state of the Union.

Cheers

Fritz


Forget Debt As A Percent Of GDP, It's Really Much Worse



Source:Forbes
Author: Jeffrey Dorfman 
Date: 2014.08.12

When central bankers, macroeconomists, and politicians talk about the national debt, they often express it as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP) which is a measure of the total value of all goods produced in a country each year. The idea is to compare how much a country owes to how much it earns (since GDP can also be thought of as national income). The problem with this idea is that it is wrong. The government does not have access to all the national income, only the share it collects in taxes. Looked at properly, the debt problem is much worse.

I collected national debt, GDP, and tax revenue data for thirty-four OECD countries (roughly, the developed countries worldwide) for 2010. The data are a bit old, but that is actually the last year available for government tax revenue numbers. The debt figures are for central government debt held by the public (so the debt we owe to the Social Security Trust Fund does not count) but the central government tax revenue includes any social security taxes.

Some people hate the notion of comparing a country’s financial situation to a family, but I think it is useful in many cases with this being one of them. For a family, debt that exceeds three times your annual earnings is starting to become quite worrisome. To picture this, just take your home mortgage plus any auto, student loan, or credit card debt, then divide by how much you earn.

If the answer is two or less, you are in great shape. If you are between two and three, you are pretty normal. Over three and you probably are feeling some financial stress with debt payments absorbing much of your paycheck.

When we look at national debt as a percent of GDP, we see few signs of danger by this rule. Debt-champion Japan is over 180 percent, Greece is just under 150 percent, with Italy in third place at 109 percent. The U.S. is in eleventh place (out of 34) with debt equal to 61 percent of GDP.

Economists and central bankers know this is not the same as the family debt to income concept, which is why they warn of danger at the level of 100, 90, or even 70 percent depending on which economist you talk to or exactly how you define the total amount of debt. The reason for the different standard is that the government cannot claim all your income as taxes or we would all quit working (or emigrate).

A better comparison is to examine each country’s debt to government tax revenue, since that is the government’s income. This also offers a better comparison because different countries have very different levels of taxation. A country with high taxes can afford more debt than a low tax country. Debt to GDP ignores this difference. Comparing debt to tax revenue reveals a much truer picture of the burden of each country’s debt on its government’s finances.

When I compute those figures, Japan is still #1, with a debt as a percentage of tax revenue of about 900 percent and Greece is still in second place at about 475 percent. The big change is the U.S. jumps up to third place, with a debt to income measure of 408 percent. If the U.S. were a family, it would be deep into the financial danger zone.

To add a bit more perspective, the countries in fourth, fifth, and sixth place are Iceland, Portugal, and Italy, all between 300 and 310 percent. In other words, these three are starting to see a flashing yellow warning light, but only three developed countries in the world are in the red zone for national debt to income. The U.S. is one of those three.

This does not factor the several trillion dollars owed to Social Security, yet it includes the Social Security taxes collected. If Social Security taxes are not counted, the U.S.’s debt to income ratio rises to 688 percent (still in third place). This tells you something about the likelihood of increasing Social Security taxes in conjunction with declining Social Security benefits.

Politicians do not enjoy spending funds on debt payments as it produces no photo ops and no grateful voters. Yet without quick and significant action on the federal budget, as soon as interest rates begin to rise toward normal the burden of the national debt on the federal budget will become heavy indeed. Something will have to give.

Measuring the national debt as a percent of GDP may be a common international norm, but it makes little sense since not all national income is collected in taxes. Looking at debt to government tax revenue, more akin to a family’s comparison of its debt to its income, the story of our national debt becomes much scarier.

Somebody needs to drag the President and Congress to a credit counselor quick to begin repairs on the government finances. Otherwise, one day sooner than we think, the creditors will be knocking on the door.
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1736
Reputation: 8.99
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #77 on: 2015-11-30 22:25:29 »
Reply with quote

Assume the position.

Cheers

Fritz


2015: IT IS 3 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT



Source:Doomsday Clock
Author: Atomic Scientists
Date: 2015

"Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth.” Despite some modestly positive developments in the climate change arena, current efforts are entirely insufficient to prevent a catastrophic warming of Earth. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia have embarked on massive programs to modernize their nuclear triads—thereby undermining existing nuclear weapons treaties. "The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty—ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization."

Context:


Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1736
Reputation: 8.99
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #78 on: 2015-12-03 19:03:58 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: David Lucifer on 2015-12-03 11:12:45   

Democracy is literally mob rule. Ask yourself if you've been indoctrinated to believe that is the best way to organize society.





I suspect we need a definition of Democracy : Mob rule may not be an accurate description.

And address the elephant in the room : What are the alternatives ?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Vriend v Alberta, Canada’s Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci wrote:

"(T)he concept of democracy means more than majority rule…. In my view, a democracy requires that legislators take into account the interests of majorities and minorities alike, all of whom will be affected by the decisions they make."

Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Winston Churchill once said:

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.dwatch.ca/democracy.html
Democracy Watch's
Definition of a Democratic Society

Democracy Watch's mandate, 20 Steps towards a Modern, Working Democracy, and its position that the System is the Scandal, are based upon the following definition of a democratic society (Click here to see other organizations' definitions of the key elements needed for a democratic society):
A DEMOCRACY IS a society in which all adults have easily accessible, meaningful, and effective ways:

-to participate in the decision-making processes of every organization that makes decisions or takes actions that affect them, and;
-to hold other individuals, and those in these organizations who are responsible for making decisions and taking actions, fully accountable if their decisions or actions violate fundamental human rights, or are dishonest, unethical, unfair, secretive, inefficient, unrepresentative, unresponsive or irresponsible;
so that all organizations in the society are citizen-owned, citizen-controlled, and citizen-driven, and all individuals and organizations are held accountable for wrongdoing.
-All children should also have easily accessible, meaningful, and effective ways to hold organizations accountable as set out in #2 above, but it is acceptable in a democracy to limit children's participation rights until they reach adulthood, mainly because psychological research has shown clearly that almost all children below a certain age do not have fully formed brains, and are not usually as capable of reasonable deliberation and discussion as adults.

-The following participation and accountability measures need to be in place in every organization (both government and corporate, public and private) in any society to fulfill the definition set out above (and Democracy Watch's campaigns push governments and corporations to implement these measures):

-a constitution that sets out the essential operating rules for the organization (or the country, province/state, and municipalities), including strong protection of fundamental human rights, and a clear separation between every government institution and any religious entity;
-an election system for choosing representatives that is fair and results in a governing body that represents citizen votes accurately -- for details, go to the Voter Rights Campaign;
-a direct decision-making process (initiative and referendum, for example) that allows citizens to initiate decisions and actions on issues that their representatives refuse to address -- for details, go to the Voter Rights Campaign;
-strong requirements with no loopholes that apply to every organization (especially every government or government-funded institution, but also every corporate organization (especially large corporations -- for details, go to the Bank Accountability Campaign and the Corporate Responsibility Campaign), media,  non-profit citizen group, and charitable social service agency) in the areas of:
-representativeness (elections, public consultation and direct decision-making processes that ensure true representation -- for details, go to the Voter Rights Campaign);
-openness (disclosure requirements and access-to-information laws that ensure transparency -- for details, go to the Open Government Campaign);
honesty (including an honesty-in-politics law with an easily accessible complaint filing process -- for details, go to the  Honesty in Politics Campaign);
ethics (including ethics rules, and limits on donations and gifts of money, property and services and on other related ways of influencing decision-makers, and strict regulations on lobbyists -- for details, go to the Government Ethics Campaign and the Money in Politics Campaign), and;
-spending rules (including strict waste-prevention measures), and responsiveness and responsibility in general operations (including publicly disclosed performance standards and regular performance reports -- for details, go to the Voter Rights Campaign) -- AND these requirements must also apply to every individual in their relationships with other individuals and with regard to their overall individual responsibility;
-to emphasize, the requirements must be strong enough and comprehensive enough to ensure that citizens not only own governments (as voters and taxpayers), corporations (as shareholders, workers and customers), unions and citizen groups (as members), and public resources (land, water, air, TV/radio airwaves, publicly generated research and infrastructure), but also that citizens effectively direct, control, and hold accountable governments, corporations, unions and other citizen groups, and public resources (See links for each issue area above under #4);
-watchdog agencies (including police) that are fully independent (from political or other biased influence), fully empowered (and required to investigate, rule publicly and penalize), and fully resourced (to ensure a high chance that violators will be caught) that strictly enforce the strong requirements in the areas of elections, public consultation and direct decision-making processes, access-to-information, honesty, ethics, spending, and general operations, and  strong requirements for individuals concerning relationships with other individuals and individual responsibility (See links for each issue area above under #4);
-courts/tribunals that are fully independent (from political or other biased influence), fully empowered (to investigate and penalize), fully resourced (to ensure justice is not unreasonable delayed) to handle disputes about rights and responsibilities in every other area of society (including protection of fundamental human rights) -- For details, go to the Voter Rights Campaign; and see links to other human rights groups listed on Democracy Watch's 20 Steps mandate page;
-a clear right for anyone to "blow the whistle" on any violation of any requirement, and to be protected from retaliation, and rewarded if the requirement violation is proven true (For details, go to the Government Ethics Campaign);
-a clear right for citizens to complain to the watchdog agencies, and to the courts/tribunals, if any requirement is violated, including the right to sue as a group (known as "class actions" -- See links for each issue area above under #4);
-penalties for the violation of requirements that are high enough to actually and effectively discourage violations of the requirements (See links for each issue area above under #4);
-every large organization (especially government and large corporations) required to assist the citizens affected by it to organize into, and sustain, a citizen group that will advocate for the interests of the citizens and help them hold the organization accountable (For details, go to the Citizen Association Campaign);
-easily accessible and independent means (TV, radio, print publications, Internet sites) for citizens to share key, accurate information with each other about every organizations' record in complying with the requirements set out above (For details, go to the Citizen Association Campaign, and also the OpenMedia.ca network of which Democracy Watch is a member);
-an economy large enough to finance the operation of all of the above organizations/investigative agencies/courts/citizen groups, and equitable enough so that every citizen (adults and children) has easy access to the above participation and accountability rights, and (For details, go to the Bank -Accountability Campaign and the Corporate Responsibility Campaign, and also see links to human rights, labour and social equity groups listed on Democracy Watch's 20 Steps mandate page);
-enough people with the needed skills, knowledge and integrity to ensure that the operations of the above organizations and agencies, and participation and accountability rights, actually function well, along with an effective education system and high enough level of participation by citizens that they actually direct, control and hold accountable their governments and other organizations (For details, go to the Voter Rights Campaign and to the website of Democracy Education Network (Democracy Watch's charitable partner organization).

However, it is important to note that even if all 14 measures set out above are in place and functioning effectively, it is still essentially impossible to stop three key undemocratic activities, and as a result these three activities (even if they don't occur very often) will always remain a threat to all societies aspiring to be democracies, as follows:
it is essentially impossible to stop secret gifts of money and favour-trading corrupting politicians and government officials;
it is essentially impossible to stop secret lobbying of politicians and government officials and government secrecy overall, and;
it is essentially impossible to stop police, security and armed forces from abusing their secret investigation powers by invading people's privacy and rights.
Copyright Democracy Watch 2011
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #79 on: 2015-12-04 09:51:51 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: Fritz on 2015-12-03 19:03:58   

I suspect we need a definition of Democracy : Mob rule may not be an accurate description.

And address the elephant in the room : What are the alternatives ?


Well considering that historically all governments evolved from protection rackets I think mob rule is a pretty accurate description (though of course those doing the indoctrinating don't want you to think of it that way).

What are the alternatives to some people owning other people? How about universal abolition?

Report to moderator   Logged
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1736
Reputation: 8.99
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #80 on: 2015-12-04 10:24:46 »
Reply with quote

"Put your money where your mouth is" approach to elections.

Cheers

Fritz


An Alternative to Democracy?



Source:Freakonomics
Author: Steven D. Levitt 
Date:  2012.10.31

With the U.S. presidential election nearly here, everyone seems to have politics on their mind.  Unlike most people, economists tend to have an indifference towards voting.  The way economists see it, the chances of an individual’s vote influencing an election outcome is vanishingly small, so unless it is fun to vote, it doesn’t make much sense to do so.  On top of that, there are a number of theoretical results, most famously Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, which highlight how difficult it is to design political systems/voting mechanisms that reliably aggregate the preferences of the electorate.

Mostly, these theoretical explorations into the virtues and vices of democracy leave me yawning.

Last spring, however, my colleague Glen Weyl mentioned an idea along these lines that was so simple and elegant that I was amazed no one had ever thought of it before.  In Glen’s voting mechanism, every voter can vote as many times as he or she likes.  The catch, however, is that you have to pay each time you vote, and the amount you have to pay is a function of the square of the number of votes you cast.  As a consequence, each extra vote you cast costs more than the previous vote.  Just for the sake of argument, let’s say the first vote costs you $1.  Then to vote a second time would cost $4.  The third vote would be $9, the fourth $16, and so on. One hundred votes would cost you $10,000.  So eventually, no matter how much you like a candidate, you choose to vote a finite number of times.

What is so special about this voting scheme?  People end up voting in proportion to how much they care about the election outcome.  The system captures not just which candidate you prefer, but how strong your preferences are.  Given Glen’s assumptions, this turns out to be Pareto efficient — i.e., no person in society can be made better off without making someone else worse off.

The first criticism you’ll likely make against this sort of scheme is that it favors the rich.  At one level that is true relative to our current system.  It might not be a popular argument, but one thing an economist might say is that the rich consume more of everything – why shouldn’t they consume more political influence? In our existing system of campaign contributions, there can be little doubt that the rich already have far more influence than the poor.  So restricting campaign spending, in conjunction with this voting scheme, might be more democratic than our current system.

Another possible criticism of Glen’s idea is that it leads to very strong incentives for cheating through vote buying.  It is much cheaper to buy the first votes of a lot of uninterested citizens than it is to pay the price for my 100th vote.  Once we put dollar values on votes, it is more likely that people will view votes through the lens of a financial transaction and be willing to buy and sell them.

Given we’ve been doing “one person, one vote” for so long, I think it is highly unlikely that we will ever see Glen’s idea put into practice in major political elections.  Two other economists, Jacob Goeree and Jingjing Zhang have been exploring a similar idea to Glen’s and testing it in a laboratory environment. Not only does it work well, but when given a choice between standard voting and this bid system, the participants usually choose the bid system.   

This voting scheme can work in any situation where there are multiple people trying to choose between two alternatives — e.g., a group of people trying to decide which movie or restaurant to go to, housemates trying to decide which of two TV’s to buy, etc.  In settings like those, the pool of money that is collected from people voting would be divided equally and then redistributed to the participants.

My hope is that a few of you might be inspired to give this sort of voting scheme a try.  If you do, I definitely want to hear about how it works out!
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #81 on: 2015-12-04 15:24:46 »
Reply with quote




Report to moderator   Logged
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #82 on: 2015-12-04 15:29:59 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: Fritz on 2015-12-04 10:24:46   

Last spring, however, my colleague Glen Weyl mentioned an idea along these lines that was so simple and elegant that I was amazed no one had ever thought of it before.  In Glen’s voting mechanism, every voter can vote as many times as he or she likes.  The catch, however, is that you have to pay each time you vote, and the amount you have to pay is a function of the square of the number of votes you cast.  As a consequence, each extra vote you cast costs more than the previous vote.  Just for the sake of argument, let’s say the first vote costs you $1.  Then to vote a second time would cost $4.  The third vote would be $9, the fourth $16, and so on. One hundred votes would cost you $10,000.  So eventually, no matter how much you like a candidate, you choose to vote a finite number of times.

Interesting idea. I first heard of it on Robin Hanson's Overcoming Bias blog.
Report to moderator   Logged
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #83 on: 2015-12-07 12:53:11 »
Reply with quote

Quotation of the Day…

http://cafehayek.com/2015/12/quotation-of-the-day-1554.html

is from page 78 of Harry Kurz’s 1975 English translation of Etienne de la Boetie’s 1552-53 The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude:

It is incredible how as soon as a people becomes subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and so willingly that one is led to say, on beholding such a situation, that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement.
Report to moderator   Logged
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #84 on: 2015-12-13 20:02:19 »
Reply with quote

After 40 years, $1 trillion, US War on Drugs has failed to meet any of its goals

[ed: to be fair, it failed to meet any of its *stated* goals. I'm sure it has been a fantastic success in supporting the govt]

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/05/13/ap-impact-years-trillion-war-drugs-failed-meet-goals/

MEXICO CITY –  MEXICO CITY (AP) — After 40 years, the United States' war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread.

Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn't worked.

"In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified."

This week President Obama promised to "reduce drug use and the great damage it causes" with a new national policy that he said treats drug use more as a public health issue and focuses on prevention and treatment.

Nevertheless, his administration has increased spending on interdiction and law enforcement to record levels both in dollars and in percentage terms; this year, they account for $10 billion of his $15.5 billion drug-control budget.

Kerlikowske, who coordinates all federal anti-drug policies, says it will take time for the spending to match the rhetoric.

"Nothing happens overnight," he said. "We've never worked the drug problem holistically. We'll arrest the drug dealer, but we leave the addiction."

His predecessor, John P. Walters, takes issue with that.

Walters insists society would be far worse today if there had been no War on Drugs. Drug abuse peaked nationally in 1979 and, despite fluctuations, remains below those levels, he says. Judging the drug war is complicated: Records indicate marijuana and prescription drug abuse are climbing, while cocaine use is way down. Seizures are up, but so is availability.

"To say that all the things that have been done in the war on drugs haven't made any difference is ridiculous," Walters said. "It destroys everything we've done. It's saying all the people involved in law enforcment, treatment and prevention have been wasting their time. It's saying all these people's work is misguided."

[ed: um, yeah, exactly]
___

In 1970, hippies were smoking pot and dropping acid. Soldiers were coming home from Vietnam hooked on heroin. Embattled President Richard M. Nixon seized on a new war he thought he could win.

"This nation faces a major crisis in terms of the increasing use of drugs, particularly among our young people," Nixon said as he signed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The following year, he said: "Public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive."

His first drug-fighting budget was $100 million. Now it's $15.1 billion, 31 times Nixon's amount even when adjusted for inflation.

Using Freedom of Information Act requests, archival records, federal budgets and dozens of interviews with leaders and analysts, the AP tracked where that money went, and found that the United States repeatedly increased budgets for programs that did little to stop the flow of drugs. In 40 years, taxpayers spent more than:

— $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in their home countries. In Colombia, for example, the United States spent more than $6 billion, while coca cultivation increased and trafficking moved to Mexico — and the violence along with it.

— $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs. High school students report the same rates of illegal drug use as they did in 1970, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses have "risen steadily" since the early 1970s to more than 20,000 last year.

— $49 billion for law enforcement along America's borders to cut off the flow of illegal drugs. This year, 25 million Americans will snort, swallow, inject and smoke illicit drugs, about 10 million more than in 1970, with the bulk of those drugs imported from Mexico.

— $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana. Studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.

— $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons alone. Last year, half of all federal prisoners in the U.S. were serving sentences for drug offenses.

At the same time, drug abuse is costing the nation in other ways. The Justice Department estimates the consequences of drug abuse — "an overburdened justice system, a strained health care system, lost productivity, and environmental destruction" — cost the United States $215 billion a year.

Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron says the only sure thing taxpayers get for more spending on police and soldiers is more homicides.

"Current policy is not having an effect of reducing drug use," Miron said, "but it's costing the public a fortune."

___

From the beginning, lawmakers debated fiercely whether law enforcement — no matter how well funded and well trained — could ever defeat the drug problem.

Then-Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who had his doubts, has since watched his worst fears come to pass.

"Look what happened. It's an ongoing tragedy that has cost us a trillion dollars. It has loaded our jails and it has destabilized countries like Mexico and Colombia," he said.

In 1970, proponents said beefed-up law enforcement could effectively seal the southern U.S. border and stop drugs from coming in. Since then, the U.S. used patrols, checkpoints, sniffer dogs, cameras, motion detectors, heat sensors, drone aircraft — and even put up more than 1,000 miles of steel beam, concrete walls and heavy mesh stretching from California to Texas.

None of that has stopped the drugs. The Office of National Drug Control Policy says about 330 tons of cocaine, 20 tons of heroin and 110 tons of methamphetamine are sold in the United States every year — almost all of it brought in across the borders. Even more marijuana is sold, but it's hard to know how much of that is grown domestically, including vast fields run by Mexican drug cartels in U.S. national parks.

The dealers who are caught have overwhelmed justice systems in the United States and elsewhere. U.S. prosecutors declined to file charges in 7,482 drug cases last year, most because they simply didn't have the time. That's about one out of every four drug cases.

The United States has in recent years rounded up thousands of suspected associates of Mexican drug gangs, then turned some of the cases over to local prosecutors who can't make the charges stick for lack of evidence. The suspects are then sometimes released, deported or acquitted. The U.S. Justice Department doesn't even keep track of what happens to all of them.

In Mexico, traffickers exploit a broken justice system. Investigators often fail to collect convincing evidence — and are sometimes assassinated when they do. Confessions are beaten out of suspects by frustrated, underpaid police. Judges who no longer turn a blind eye to such abuse release the suspects in exasperation.

In prison, in the U.S. or Mexico, traffickers continue to operate, ordering assassinations and arranging distribution of their product even from solitary confinement in Texas and California. In Mexico, prisoners can sometimes even buy their way out.

The violence spans Mexico. In Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of drug violence in Mexico, 2,600 people were killed last year in cartel-related violence, making the city of 1 million across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, one of the world's deadliest. Not a single person was prosecuted for homicide related to organized crime.

And then there's the money.

The $320 billion annual global drug industry now accounts for 1 percent of all commerce on the planet.

A full 10 percent of Mexico's economy is built on drug proceeds — $25 billion smuggled in from the United States every year, of which 25 cents of each $100 smuggled is seized at the border. Thus there's no incentive for the kind of financial reform that could tame the cartels.

"For every drug dealer you put in jail or kill, there's a line up to replace him because the money is just so good," says Walter McCay, who heads the nonprofit Center for Professional Police Certification in Mexico City.

McCay is one of the 13,000 members of Medford, Mass.-based Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of cops, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens and others who want to legalize and regulate all drugs.

A decade ago, no politician who wanted to keep his job would breathe a word about legalization, but a consensus is growing across the country that at least marijuana will someday be regulated and sold like tobacco and alcohol.

California voters decide in November whether to legalize marijuana, and South Dakota will vote this fall on whether to allow medical uses of marijuana, already permitted in California and 13 other states. The Obama administration says it won't target marijuana dispensaries if they comply with state laws.

___

Mexican President Felipe Calderon says if America wants to fix the drug problem, it needs to do something about Americans' unquenching thirst for illegal drugs.

Kerlikowske agrees, and Obama has committed to doing just that.

And yet both countries continue to spend the bulk of their drug budgets on law enforcement rather than treatment and prevention.

"President Obama's newly released drug war budget is essentially the same as Bush's, with roughly twice as much money going to the criminal justice system as to treatment and prevention," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance. "This despite Obama's statements on the campaign trail that drug use should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue."

Obama is requesting a record $15.5 billion for the drug war for 2011, about two thirds of it for law enforcement at the front lines of the battle: police, military and border patrol agents struggling to seize drugs and arrest traffickers and users.

About $5.6 billion would be spent on prevention and treatment.

"For the first time ever, the nation has before it an administration that views the drug issue first and foremost through the lens of the public health mandate," said economist and drug policy expert John Carnevale, who served three administrations and four drug czars. "Yet ... it appears that this historic policy stride has some problems with its supporting budget."

Carnevale said the administration continues to substantially over-allocate funds to areas that research shows are least effective — interdiction and source-country programs — while under-allocating funds for treatment and prevention.

Kerlikowske, who wishes people would stop calling it a "war" on drugs, frequently talks about one of the most valuable tools they've found, in which doctors screen for drug abuse during routine medical examinations. That program would get a mere $7.2 million under Obama's budget.

"People will say that's not enough. They'll say the drug budget hasn't shifted as much as it should have, and granted I don't disagree with that," Kerlikowske said. "We would like to do more in that direction."

Fifteen years ago, when the government began telling doctors to ask their patients about their drug use during routine medical exams, it described the program as one of the most proven ways to intervene early with would-be addicts.

"Nothing happens overnight," Kerlikowske said.

___

Until 100 years ago, drugs were simply a commodity. Then Western cultural shifts made them immoral and deviant, according to London School of Economics professor Fernanda Mena.

Religious movements led the crusades against drugs: In 1904, an Episcopal bishop returning from a mission in the Far East argued for banning opium after observing "the natives' moral degeneration." In 1914, The New York Times reported that cocaine caused blacks to commit "violent crimes," and that it made them resistant to police bullets. In the decades that followed, Mena said, drugs became synonymous with evil.

Nixon drew on those emotions when he pressed for his War on Drugs.

"Narcotics addiction is a problem which afflicts both the body and the soul of America," he said in a special 1971 message to Congress. "It comes quietly into homes and destroys children, it moves into neighborhoods and breaks the fiber of community which makes neighbors. We must try to better understand the confusion and disillusion and despair that bring people, particularly young people, to the use of narcotics and dangerous drugs."

Just a few years later, a young Barack Obama was one of those young users, a teenager smoking pot and trying "a little blow when you could afford it," as he wrote in "Dreams From My Father." When asked during his campaign if he had inhaled the pot, he replied: "That was the point."

So why persist with costly programs that don't work?

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, sitting down with the AP at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, paused for a moment at the question.

"Look," she says, starting slowly. "This is something that is worth fighting for because drug addiction is about fighting for somebody's life, a young child's life, a teenager's life, their ability to be a successful and productive adult.

"If you think about it in those terms, that they are fighting for lives — and in Mexico they are literally fighting for lives as well from the violence standpoint — you realize the stakes are too high to let go."
Report to moderator   Logged
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #85 on: 2015-12-14 13:28:44 »
Reply with quote

http://boingboing.net/2015/12/14/us-politicians-ranked-by-thei.html

It is even worse than I imagined. How deluded do you have to be to maintain faith in authority?

Report to moderator   Logged
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #86 on: 2015-12-14 13:32:23 »
Reply with quote

https://twitter.com/conradhackett/status/675692590767804416?s=09

Report to moderator   Logged
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1736
Reputation: 8.99
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #87 on: 2015-12-15 18:20:26 »
Reply with quote

Banking in the 'Commons' 'for 'the people by the people' ... the neofascist bankers and financial  fraudsters of mainstream banking won't like this.
The huge leaps forward that Iceland made in changing the political/banking, system is being rolled back to be inline with the gangsterism that is the western governments globally; lets see if they let it happen yet again.

This seems like a warning shot across the bow, folks aren't happy:


<snip>Iceland residents are debating this issue thanks to the rising popularity of an ancient Sumerian religion known as Zuism. Roughly 1% of the country’s population, or 3,100 people, have registered as Zuist in just the past few weeks in order to avoid paying Iceland’s religious tax, according to a recent report by the Guardian.<snip>
Cheers

Fritz


Left-Green: No to “Bank Breadcrumbs”
Source: icelandreview
Author: Vala Hafstad
Date: October 26, 2015 14:03


Chairperson of the Left-Green Movement Katrín Jakobsdóttir would like to see a “social bank” established in Iceland, rather than receiving “breadcrumbs” from state-owned banks, thereby referring to the Independence Party’s proposal to distribute 5 percent of the shares of state-owned banks among the public, according to RÚV.

The Movement’s leadership was reelected Saturday at its annual meeting in Selfoss.

A “social bank” would protect the public interest and not have profit as a sole purpose. The party would like to see Landsbanki become such a bank instead of a traditional investment bank.

“I think,” Katrín noted, “that here we see crystallized a certain policy difference between the two different parties&#8213;right, left. Because it has to with whether we want to see a bank working for all of society, or whether we want each and every one of us to get breadcrumbs from the profit created by large investment banks.”
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2627
Reputation: 8.99
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #88 on: 2015-12-17 21:08:02 »
Reply with quote

The Chilling Progressive Response to Mark Zuckerberg’s Charity
And One Billionaire’s Total and Utter Admiration for State Power

MAX BORDERS Wednesday, December 16, 2015

http://fee.org/freeman/the-chilling-progressive-response-to-mark-zuckerberg-s-charity/

Mark Zuckerberg is starting a charitable LLC to donate 99 percent of his Facebook stock to charity, and the usual suspects are all in a tizzy.

But in the process of analyzing this curious response, I was treated to a frightening glimpse into the mind of one particular progressive:

Krämer: I find the US initiative highly problematic. You can write donations off in your taxes to a large degree in the USA. So the rich make a choice: Would I rather donate or pay taxes? The donors are taking the place of the state. That’s unacceptable.

SPIEGEL: But doesn’t the money that is donated serve the common good?

Krämer: It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it’s not the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich want to decide. That’s a development that I find really bad. What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?

The interviewee, German shipping magnate Peter Krämer, is discussing the idea of tax-deductible giving in the United States. I hadn’t seen the exchange before, but it has been dredged up in an article critical of Zuckerberg’s decision to give.

Reading Krämer’s statement, one shudders. Or one ought to. To repeat: “So the rich make a choice: Would I rather donate or pay taxes? The donors are taking the place of the state. That’s unacceptable.”

The progressive objection writ large is that the state ought to be the only charity.

Unacceptable to whom?

The man who uttered these words is himself a German billionaire, apparently, but one who seems fully committed to the idea of the deutsche Sozialstaat. One wonders if Krämer plans to give his remaining billions to the state, or if he simply plans to hoard it.

In any case, here we have wealth that the state had no hand — visible or invisible — in creating. Even Elizabeth Warren ought to be assuaged by the amount of taxes Zuckerberg has already paid so that he can drive on the roads to get to work, or be secure in his commercial activities by the military-industrial complex.

Investors, users, advertisers, and Zuckerberg grew Facebook from a Harvard side project to a multibillion dollar company. (I’ll pass over the irony that I found the original article on Facebook, which was shared at no cost to the author.) And Zuckerberg is choosing to give his money to charity or to charitable causes, rather than the state.

So it would seem he has satisfied the conditions of just acquisition and transfer, if there is anything to the idea that his wealth was both peacefully acquired and transferred. Still, if your idea of justice has to do with being forced to dole out half of your wealth on principle to people with guns and jails, then we have really found the difference in starting points between progressives and the rest of us, who see more than just a little connection between risk and reward.

Now, to recap, this successful entrepreneur (Zuckerberg) would like to use some of his net worth to give to charity. Krämer’s objection — indeed the progressive objection writ large — is that the state ought to be the only charity, a giant, perfect monolith of determining the right and the good, meted out by wise elites. All tax loopholes should be closed such that fewer resources go to the voluntary sector. Leave the entrepreneurs just enough so they don’t stop laying those golden eggs. Then tell them this: To be just, you must channel your goodness into the state apparatus, with its attendant angels (bureaucrats, regulators, and cronies). For it is a moral monopoly.

Now, if all that were the case, it would lead us to some very curious conclusions:

People in government are perfect sweethearts who only have the goal of redistributing wealth from rich to poor so that everyone is equal — and such a goal is an unassailable ethic.
People in government are not using “charitable” dollars to kill citizens in the streets of Chicago or Ferguson, to bomb weddings in Pakistan, to spy on our private correspondence, to jail victimless criminals, to divert public resources into the pockets of cronies, or to bail out other profligate social states like Greece.
People in government already know the best way to help people &#65533;&#65533; that is, they already have preexisting knowledge about how best to help the sick, the old, and the poor, all without making them permanent, dependent wards of the state. Indeed, the state knows how to make everyone healthy, happy, and well cared for.
Of course, not one of these statements is true. In fact, we’ve already dispelled the idea of unicorn governance in these pages.

So when we think about how the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world give their money, we can at least take comfort in the fact that some of their resources are going to an actual charity — not to standing armies, corrupt politicians, violent police, layabouts, or state-funded indoctrination camps.

I’m sure Zuckerberg intends to use some of those resources on political candidates (you know, those great, anointed leaders who make everything better). But recall that he has already tried treating the government as a charity. And, predictably, that effort went into Newark Bay with the rest of Jersey’s sewage.

Once bitten, twice shy.

By putting his money into an LLC, Zuckerberg should have the flexibility to invest in double-bottom-line ventures, or even for-profit ventures that, like most companies, create real value in the world. After all, an IRS tax designation is not a magic wand that automatically makes a company create social value.

But an errant thought, which niggles in the minds of progressives, remains: “It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it’s not the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich want to decide.”

The assumptions, of course, are:

The state has the foundational “power” to give, but somehow nefarious entrepreneurs figure out how to get that power in the form of assets, even though such is the moral province of the state.

The rich, after people voluntarily made them rich, should never deign to attempt helping others in opposition to the means and ends of the state.
The state is and ought to be what determines what is good for the people — not the people themselves, nor those who would give to the people, nor those willing to experiment in order to find out how best to improve the lot of humanity.

This, folks, is a window into the progressive mind. And it leads us to a final question, which, happily, Kramer provides:

“What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?”

The answer to this question divides us utterly.
Report to moderator   Logged
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1736
Reputation: 8.99
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Red Pill
« Reply #89 on: 2015-12-18 11:36:01 »
Reply with quote

This comment I think really captures where we are at, and the frustration that is 'government' failing to deliver for the 'commons'; begging the question who are they plodding on for ?

<snip>
phil dude
-Silver badge-
modulated outrage...
I sometimes wonder if I have hit some sort of saturation threshold. No longer outraged at the blanket abuse of civil liberties (in the UK) or ignoring The Constitution (in the US)...
Perhaps I am more annoyed that they are spending *our* money on ineffective technological solutions, with *eye watering* inefficiency.
And then the bravado to tell us it is necessary with their vapid political campaigns...
P.
<snip>

Cheers

Fritz


Big Brother is born. And we find out 15 years too late to stop him



Source:The Register
Author: Duncan Campbell
Date: 2015.12.16

Exclusive The "Big Brother" comprehensive national database system feared by many MPs has been built behind their backs over the last decade, and even has a name for its most intrusive component: a central London national phone and internet tapping centre called PRESTON.

PRESTON, which collects about four million intercepted phone calls a year, has also recently been used to plant malware on iPhones, according to disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The phones were then targetted for MI5 "implants" (malware), authorised by a ministerial warrant.

The location and role of the PRESTON tapping centre has never previously been publicly identified, although published Crown Prosecution Service guidance to senior prosecutors refers to secret "Preston briefings" which they can be given if tapping evidence in a case they are prosecuting reveals that a defendant may be innocent. (The guidance also notes that the briefing may be given after exculpatory intercept evidence has been destroyed.)

Located inside the riverside headquarters of the Security Service, MI5, in Thames House, PRESTON works alongside and links to massive databases holding telephone call records, internet use records, travel, financial, and other personal records held by the National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC), a little known intelligence support agency set up by Tony Blair's government in a 1999 plan to combat encryption and provide a national centre for internet surveillance and domestic codebreaking.

Soon after, the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee were told that the spy agencies would fund NTAC as "a twenty-four hour centre operated on behalf of all the law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, providing a central facility for the complex processing needed to derive intelligence material from lawfully intercepted computer-to-computer communications and from lawfully seized computer data ... The NTAC will also support the technical infrastructure for the lawful interception of communications services including Internet Services."

The Home Office then commissioned and funded a technical plan to establish an interception network for the domestic internet, and allocated a £25m budget to get NTAC started.

In 2002, the Home Office announced that NTAC would continue to support the needs of law enforcement for a continuing flow of intelligence and evidence. Lingering concerns about NTAC's full planned role were shrugged off and forgotten after the 9/11 attacks.

Slurping and storing your bank card records ... because nobody's innocent

NTAC's officially authorised interception targets now also include international banks and airlines, in order to copy, decrypt and store personal credit card and banking transactions and flight bookings.

Some airlines such as BA have agreed to co-operate and voluntarily hand over their passengers' details to NTAC's data stores; those who do not agree, or have not been asked, have their data networks tapped under special warrants by NTAC in an operation codenamed CATSUP. Since 2006, NTAC has been managed by GCHQ and integrated into all agencies' operations.

Intercepted personal financial and banking information has been identified inside NTAC and GCHQ as FININT, and is subject to special handling arrangements, as is Travel Tracking Authorisations (TTA) which are based on similar sources.

In about 2008, Vodafone Cable, under its previous identity of Cable and Wireless, provided fibre optic cables to link intercepted internet communications and send communications data direct to NTAC.

According to engineers who have worked at major telecommunication companies' headquarters, including Orange in Bristol and Vodafone in Newbury, the companies were compelled by secret orders to connect optical fibre links direct to NTAC in London.

The links carry tapped internet and phone connections to NTAC, which acts as a distribution centre to other intelligence agencies and police forces. BT data centres are also directly linked to NTAC for the supply of subscriber information, telephone call records, and domestic internet interception.

Orders to install the secret connections to NTAC were issued using powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). In its 2014 Disclosure Report, Vodafone pointed out that "Section 19 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 prohibits disclosing ... the existence of any requirement to provide assistance in relation to a warrant."

"This duty of secrecy extends to all matters relating to warranted lawful interception", the Vodafone report adds. 2,795 warrants were issued during 2014, roughly double the numbers issued annually before NTAC was created. Each warrant can cover multiple lines or e-mail addresses.

The fact of lawful telephone interception has been public since the Interception of Communications Act (IOCA) was passed in 1985. But another law passed the year before has secretly been used to build a massive database at NTAC of every telephone call everyone in Britain has made over the past 15 years.

The existence of the telephone call record database at NTAC was completely secret until March this year, when the government started to allow hints in a series of official reports that it had been using a special power under the Telecommunications Act of 1984 to require all UK telephone companies to hand over "bulk records" of everyone's telephone calls.

During the passage of RIPA, and in many debates since 2000, Parliament was asked to consider and require data retention by telephone companies, claiming that the information was vital to fighting crime and terrorism.

But Prime Minister Tony Blair and successive Home Secretaries David Blunkett and Jack Straw never revealed to Parliament that at the same time, the government was constantly siphoning up and storing all telephone call records at NTAC.

As a result, MPs and peers spent months arguing about a pretence, and in ignorance of the cost and human rights implications of what successive governments were doing in secret.

When former shadow home secretary David Davis MP asked Home Secretary Theresa May in March 2014 "whether she has given directions under Section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 to the providers of telecommunications services for the acquisition of data in bulk relating to (a) thousands and (b) millions of people", he was fobbed off with the ritual excuse "as with the practice of previous Governments, we do not comment on security matters."

At the same time, telephone companies like BT also refused to confess as to whether they were handing over all customers' call records in bulk.

Finally, on November 4th, the Home Office took the lid off what had been going on secretly since 2000. Asking Parliament to allow mass surveillance of telephone records to continue, Home Secretary Theresa May admitted that "under Section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 ... successive governments have approved the security and intelligence agencies’ access" to [bulk] communications data from communication service providers", claiming that it helped MI5 "thwart a number of attacks here in the UK"

The next day, former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg revealed that he had been part of the deception: "When I entered government in 2010 ... a senior official took me aside and told me that the previous government had granted MI5 direct access to records of millions of phone calls made in the UK – a capability only a tiny handful of senior cabinet ministers knew about – I was astonished that such a powerful capability had not been declared either to the public or to parliament and insisted that its necessity should be reviewed."

It wasn't reviewed. Clegg blocked the failed 2012 Communications Data Bill, which the government has now reintroduced in a more ferocious and far-reaching form.

David Davis MP told The Register this week that "much of the debate for the last 15 years appears to have been a charade about data that the government very likely already held. It is also clear that the legislation that the government relied upon was being interpreted in ways that Parliament never imagined."

He intends to raise the significance of the long term concealment of the national call record centre in evidence to Parliament's review committee on the new Investigatory Powers Bill, which also seeks to legalise the massive collections of "Personal Bulk Datasets affecting millions of Britons" that the Home Office now admit has been taking place for a decade.

There are now dozens of intelligence "Bulk Personal Datasets" on millions of people, "the majority of whom are unlikely to be of intelligence interest", as the government has admitted in documents accompanying the draft Investigatory Powers Bill.

Intelligence agency staff have stated: "These datasets vary in size from hundreds to millions of records. Where possible, Bulk Personal Datasets may be linked together so that analysts can quickly find all the information linked to a selector", such as a telephone number or search query. The information retrieved "may include, but is not limited to, personal information such as an individual’s religion, racial or ethnic origin, political views, ... medical condition, sexual orientation, or any legally privileged, journalistic or otherwise confidential information."

NTAC has access to NHS information, according to official documents.

Before PRESTON, there was "TINKERBELL"

The Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee were told earlier this year that "Bulk Personal Datasets may be acquired through overt and covert channels" (such as by intercepting data links), and that the agencies, including NTAC, share Bulk Personal Datasets between them.

The legal authority for the acquisition and use of Bulk Personal Datasets was claimed to be authorised by the Intelligence Services Act 1994, but to be "implicit rather than explicit".

As the minister who arranged for the 1994 Intelligence Services Act to pass through Parliament, David Davis says that officials never conveyed, even secretly, how they saw the law as authorising the creation of a joined-up secret national database.

"What is becoming ever more clear in the latest revelations around the IP Bill is that the level of intrusive surveillance has for over ten years been massively more than the government ever admitted to Parliament, most particularly in the field of bulk data sets", he told The Reg.

Ironically, it was the revelation of Britain's first national telephone tapping centre, known to the police as "Tinkerbell", that forced the government to acknowledge and then legally regulate phone tapping. Tinkerbell was located in Chelsea, half a mile from where PRESTON now operates. I revealed the Tinkerbell centre in the New Statesman magazine in 1980, forcing the government to announce a white paper, appoint a judge, and finally to create the Interception of Communications Act.

That act also legalised bulk collection from overseas cables, I wrote at the time. Confirmation of that story has taken 30 years, to the time of Edward Snowden.

The Reg, seemingly alone in the UK press, has not been 15 years behind in hearing of and warning about the Big Brother national database. Our Christopher Williams, now at the Telegraph, got wind of the NTAC central database story in 2009, and also got the first scoop on the start of GCHQ's mass surveillance "Mastering the Internet" program, now revealed as Project Tempora in documents provided by Edward Snowden.

Vigilance on behalf of liberty has had little discernible impact, except in the field of semantics. Across 299 pages in the new Investigatory Powers Bill [PDF], the word "database" does not appear once.

Billions of call and internet records, stolen financial data, intercepted travel records, a heap of bulk personal datasets on matters including religion, racial or ethnic origin, political views, medical condition, sexual orientation, or legally privileged, journalistic or otherwise confidential information, all joined up together and archived in secret do not constitute a "database", whatever techie readers may think. And that's official.

Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 11 12 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
Jump to:


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Church of Virus BBS | Powered by YaBB SE
© 2001-2002, YaBB SE Dev Team. All Rights Reserved.

Please support the CoV.
Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS! RSS feed