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Dooming Illinois?

Illinois Might Be Doomed to Financial Collapse

Once of the reasons that tax increases in Washington are such a bad idea (and one of the reasons why a value-added tax is an especially bad idea) is that the prospect of additional tax revenue kills any possibility of genuine entitlement reform. Simply stated, politicians won’t do the heavy lifting of fixing those programs if they think can use a tax hike to prop up the current system for a few more years.

However, if we don’t fix the entitlements, the United States faces a very grim fiscal future regardless of new revenue because the burden of government spending will be expanding faster than the growth of the private economy.

Indeed, tax hikes presumably will accelerate the problems by weakening economic performance, creating an even bigger gap between the growth of government spending and the growth of productive output. Sort of a double violation of my Golden Rule.

Tax Payers Are Escaping

Well, the same thing is happening in Illinois.

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Following Watson and blockchain, quantum computing to deliver next powerful set of services on IBM Cloud platform

Yorktown Heights, N.Y. – 06 Mar 2017: IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems. “IBM Q” quantum systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform. While technologies that currently run on classical computers, such as Watson, can help find patterns and insights buried in vast amounts of existing data, quantum computers will deliver solutions to important problems where patterns cannot be seen because the data doesn’t exist and the possibilities that you need to explore to get to the answer are too enormous to ever be processed by classical computers.

IBM also announced today:

  • The release of a new API (Application Program Interface) for the IBM Quantum Experience that enables developers and programmers to begin building interfaces between its existing five quantum bit (qubit) cloud-based quantum computer and classical computers, without needing a deep background in quantum physics.

Source: IBM

BREAKING: WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 Shows How CIA Spies on Your TV, Phone, PC, Mac, and More

A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run the majority of the world’s smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year. “Year Zero” shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 “weaponized” Android “zero days” which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors. These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

Source: thefreethoughtproject.com

Uber Uses Maneuver Theory (finding the gaps and exploiting them) to Subvert Trolls

Greyball: Uber’s Super Cool App to Subvert Trolls

What can a company do about trolls who use their technology to hurt the company and other consumers? It’s a tough problem for a technology company like Uber because anyone can download the app and summon a car and get picked up. Some of these accounts, inevitably, will belong to bad actors who are up to no good.

Reputation data for individual users are fantastic, but there’s still the problem that users can make new accounts. What can you do?

Several years ago, reveals the New York Times, Uber had a fantastic idea. For a suspected malevolent troll who used the service, the company dropped an extra layer on their smartphone application. The passenger would call a car, someone would answer the query, but then the ride would be canceled. This happened repeatedly. The beauty of this strategy is that the person doesn’t know it is happening and the process discourages the creation of new user accounts.

It’s not blackballing. It’s about being “greyballed,” which is the name of the application.

Peacefully Blocking Bureaucrats

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Bitcoin competing with Gold?

One Bitcoin Is Now Worth More Than an Ounce of Gold

Editorial note: the relationship between the Bitcoin price and gold is interesting as a symbol of Bitcoin’s market success, and the broader success of cryptocurrency general, but has no greater structural significance. Moreover, the market capitalization of the gold market is vastly higher. Even so, given the widespread perception of gold as a safe haven, this event could have implications for the future of Bitcoin and similar digital assets.

One bitcoin has now, at least briefly, been worth more than one ounce of gold, hitting $1239.9 at the bitcoin exchange Bitstamp, while an ounce of gold was priced at $1238.67. The last time a single bitcoin might have been worth more than an ounce of gold happened in November 2013, more than three years ago. Having taken place based on Mt. Gox pricing models, possibly manipulated due to internal Mt. Gox trading bot(s), the legitimacy of bitcoin’s first dance with gold parity faces continued scrutiny. Regardless, the price of gold in bitcoin terms is now trading at an all-time low.Bitcoin increased more than 125% over the course of 2016.

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Kansas student activist group “warns” foreign embassies about campus carry law

I hope out of the 160 foreign embassies she wrote she included the 107 countries that have higher homicide rates and tighter gun control than the United states. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

“Meaning many international students at Kansas universities would be surrounded by firearms without the legal right to also carry one — making it potentially even more dangerous for these students,” she wrote. “Considering the shooting of two Indian men who were presumed to be ‘Middle Eastern’ by a white supremacist in Olathe, Kansas last week, international students, especially those from certain countries or regions, are at a greater risk of being the victims of deadly violence once this campus carry law goes into effect.”

Source: guns.com

UPDATED: France had more casualties from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (532 to 527)

Not shocked…

Yet, despite the impression that President Obama has been creating, France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (Updated 532 to 527 in Tables below).  Note that these numbers don’t adjust for the fact that the US has 5 times the population of France.  The per capita rate of casualties in France is thus 8.19 per million and for the US it is 1.65 — France’s per capita rate of casualties is thus 4.97 times higher than the rate in the US.

Source: UPDATED: Crime Prevention Research Center

A Reignited War on Weed Will Harm The American Economy

The Last Thing America Needs Is a Reignited War on Weed – FEE

The marijuana legalization movement has been holding its breath, waiting to see how President Donald Trump will address the issue.

Public opinion and state law have leaned heavily in favor of decriminalizing the controversial cannabis plant over the last several years, signaling the inevitable downfall of the government’s war on drugs.

However, as numerous state victories gave advocates hope that the end of prohibition was near, the unexpected election of Donald Trump threw the legalization movement a curveball no one was anticipating.

Legalized marijuana is projected to create a quarter of a million jobs by 2020.

While the future of marijuana in America is still unclear at the moment, if Trump wants to keep his campaign promises of job creation and financial growth, he should strongly consider the economic benefits of marijuana legalization.

The Future is Green

As a presidential nominee, Trump spent much of his campaign promising national job growth. Reaching out to the blue collar working class, Trump promised to bring jobs back to American manufacturing.

However, if Trump is serious about fostering an environment of economic prosperity and job creation, he may want to set his sights on the burgeoning marijuana industry instead.

According to a recent report released by New Frontier Data, the marijuana industry is projected to create more than a quarter of a million new American jobs by the year 2020.

By the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ own projections, the legalized cannabis industry is expected to outpace growth in any other sector over the next few years, including American manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing jobs are expected to decrease by 814,000 over the next seven years.

Additionally, the marijuana industry is currently estimated to be worth about $7.2 billion. Given its current success and expected trajectory, the entire industry is expected to grow at a rate of 17 percent annually.

Likewise, the New Frontier Data’s report estimates that the medicinal market alone will increase its worth from $4.7 billion to $13.3 billion by the year 2020.

Of the 25 states that have decriminalized cannabis in some capacity, seven of those states have allowed for its recreational use. As a result, the recreational industry is also expected to increase its worth from $2.6 billion to $11.2 billion by 2020.

While these projections are bound to have positive effects on the national economy and create a plethora of new American jobs, the estimates will never come to fruition if the Trump Administration decides to backtrack on the progress made thus far.

Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana

Had Hillary Clinton won on election night, as many had expected, it is highly unlikely that the war on drugs would have suddenly come to a screeching halt.

Not only is Clinton’s own track record on the matter weak, but her husband also contributed greatly to the perpetuation of the problem.

Former President Bill Clinton helped escalate the war on drugs through his support of mandatory minimum sentencing laws and other policies that were prevalent during the “tough on crime” era of the 1980s and 1990s.

However, Mrs. Clinton’s terrible track record on the issue does nothing to excuse Donald Trump, should he make the same mistake.

 “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

While Trump is not a strict ideologue by any means, he has unfortunately chosen to surround himself with advisors and cabinet appointees who have struck fear into the hearts of advocates of marijuana policy reform.

Trump’s decision to nominate Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General only heightened this paranoia among his critics.

Sessions has been a longtime supporter of civil asset forfeiture, which essentially incentivizes law enforcement to use the drug war as a pretext for stealing property from anyone merely suspected of drug-related activity.

As if Session’s support for highway robbery weren’t bad enough, he has also gone on the record making outlandishly biased statements including, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Since Sessions has the legal authority to impose federal drug laws on the states, this comment is quite concerning, to say the least.

While Trump’s own comments on the matter have been somewhat neutral, Press Secretary Sean Spicer added fuel to the fire last week when he hinted that the White House might soon begin enforcing federal marijuana laws once again.

Under the direction of former Attorney General Eric Holder, the federal government agreed to more or less “look the other way” when states made the decision to legalize cannabis. This policy has allowed states like Colorado to add over $1 billion worth of revenue to their local economy and create new jobs for its residents.

Just a few days ago, Sessions publicly recommitted himself to the drug war by saying:

“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot. I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that.”

Ironically, the war on drugs, which Sessions adamantly supports, is responsible for that increase in potency, as economist Mark Thornton has demonstrated.

According to “the Iron Law of Prohibition,” when substances are prohibited, black market providers are incentivized to increase potency because more potent forms take up less storage space, are easier to transport, and sell for more money. This is considered necessary to mitigate the risk of being caught and incarcerated.

Session’s Reefer Madness-inspired statement is absolutely frightening considering his position of authority as Attorney General of the United States of America.

The White House might actually begin enforcing federal marijuana laws once again.

But in the spirit of maintaining optimism, there is still reason to hope that Trump’s alleged commitment to economic growth will overpower the draconian beliefs held by some of his cabinet appointees.

The Economic Savior

Trump was elected as the “no nonsense” businessman who was going to fix our national economy and create jobs for the American people. As America’s “economic savior,” his supporters firmly believed he was the candidate who would restore prosperity to the middle class. This is the promise that ultimately got him elected to the highest office in the land.

Since assuming office, he has shocked the public by actually fulfilling most of his campaign promises— which has been both slightly encouraging and downright terrifying.

While there can be no defense of his love for protectionist policies, he has still maintained his support for a free market economic system.

If this is true and he is as committed to economic reform as he claims to be, then perhaps the economic repercussions of marijuana legalization can change his mind, or at least drown out the backward influence of his advisors.


Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter is an associate editor at FEE. Brittany studied political science at Utah Valley University with a minor in Constitutional studies.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Billionaire Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son plans to invest in singularity

Insightful and a first mover…

Billionaire Softbank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son revealed Monday (Feb. 27) at Mobile World Congress his plan to invest in singularity. “In next 30 years [the singularity] will become a reality,” he said, Tech Crunch reports.

“If superintelligence goes inside the moving device then the world, our lifestyle dramatically changes,” he said. “There will be many kinds. Flying, swimming, big, micro, run, 2 legs, 4 legs, 100 legs,” referring to robots. “I truly believe it’s coming, that’s why I’m in a hurry — to aggregate the cash, to invest.”

“Son said his personal conviction in the looming rise of billions of superintelligent robots both explains his acquisition of UK chipmaker ARM last year, and his subsequent plan to establish the world’s biggest VC fund,” noted TechCrunch — a new $100BN fund called the Softbank Vision Fund, announced last October

Source: kurzweilai.net

Lookout, scarry: “‘Ghost guns’ may haunt us all for a long time”

I’d like to propose a gun control idea. This one aimed at curbing the number of new guns hitting American streets: Let’s make so-called do-it-yourself gun kits illegal.

How about “let’s not.”

What part of “…shall not be infringed.” is so difficult to understand?

How exactly do you think you will enforce manufacturing of frames when all one needs is a 3-D printer? How will you stop the same manufacturing of 3-D printed metal parts?

Why attempt to centralize and hamstring a manufacturing revolution in distributed manufacturing of inanimate objects, and destroy an entire industry?

Smells like a solution looking for a problem or crony capitalism to me.

Source: Albuquerque Journal

Trump And Russia: Just Pointing Out The Obvious — Capitalist Exploits

Chairman Trump may well be a child in a man’s body – erratic, lacking in finesse, as articulate as a gangsta rapper, contradictory, and missing the cognitive functions allowing one to think before acting. But.. But… he does seem smart enough to have thought a little about Russia. Thought alone is a welcome surprise from Washington.

The establishment for their part are fuming!

First their rice bowls are at risk, and to top it off they’re now publicly mocked. To egomaniacs this is worse than acne to a prom queen. As I mentioned a couple weeks back the mockery has come thick and fast:

CNBC’s John Hardwood decided to conduct a Twitter poll to see who the American people trusted when it came to the DNC hacks. Did they believe Wikileaks, who deny Russian involvement, or do they believe the intelligence community who has blamed Russia despite ZERO hard evidence being shown to the public?

The results were shocking and it stunned the media elite!

 

The absurdity over Russia has turned into a social meme. Few buy the narrative and those that do increasingly find mainstream thinking to be questioned.

Source: Capitalist Exploits

The FDA, Crony Capitalism, and Wealth and Health Destruction.

This Could Be the Last Stand for Vaping

The vape industry currently stands on the edge of complete demise thanks to regulatory overreach. However, two Congressmen, Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA), recently introduced legislation, which, if passed, may grant the e-cigarette industry a much-needed reprieve.

Over the past year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has targeted the e-cigarette industry, using false claims and fear-mongering to pass regulations that will likely put the majority of the industry out of business.

The new regulations were, of course, created in the name of protecting the American people from a potentially dangerous product. In reality, however, the only entity actually protected by these new laws is big tobacco.

In the Name of Cronyism

The FDA is, without a doubt, one of the worst offenders of cronyism within the United States government. And considering the size and scope of our federal bureaucratic system, this title is not easily earned.

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Authorities investigating whether Kansas triple shooting that killed one was a hate crime

Sometimes you are left scratching your head at what passes for reporting and press conferences.

Reporter lead in: “The FBI now investigating whether this is a hate crime.” FBI Talking Head: “Our role in this is investigation is to work jointly with local law enforcement to determine if an individual’s civil rights were violated.

Well, I for one am glad the FBI apparently has the special training to help out the rubes in that backward part of the United States.

It must take a lot of special schooling to figure out if someone’s individual civil rights were violated… or perhaps such wisdom and insight rubs off on you by working around such high functioning individuals one often finds in the federal bureaucracies.

Then there is this:

“I strongly condemn violence of any kind, especially if it is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia.” – Kansas Senator Jerry Moran

You know, because that violence that is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia is so much worse that the violence that isn’t.

Source: Yahoo

Don’t Ruin A Chance for Tax Reform with “Border Adjustments”

Don’t Ruin A Chance for Tax Reform with “Border Adjustments”

As part of an otherwise very good tax reform plan, House Republicans have proposed to modify the corporate income tax so that it becomes a “destination-based cash-flow tax.”

For those not familiar with wonky inside-the-beltway tax terminology, there are three main things to understand about this proposal.

  • First, the tax rate on business would drop from 35 percent to 20 percent. This is unambiguously positive.
  • Second, it would replace depreciation with expensing, which is a very desirable change that would eliminate a very counter-productive tax on new investment outlays. This is basically what makes the plan a “cash-flow” tax.
  • Third, any income generated by exports would be exempt from tax but the 20-percent tax would be imposed on all imports. These “border-adjustable” provisions are what makes the plan a “destination-based” tax.

I’m a big fan of the first two provisions, but I’m very hostile to the third item.

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Off duty officer vs. Mike Strickland’s escalation of force: Something is wrong here…

 

“The confrontation began over ongoing issues with juveniles walking across the officer’s property,” Anaheim police said in statement Wednesday.

This is most interesting.

You can watch the OODA Loops spin out of control as communications break down and either the wrong tactic is used or no tactic is selected at all due to the Sympathetic Nervous System or “SNS” reaction.

As the SNS response continued to rise all parties were beginning to think with their survival brain, hence the continued decline in communications which lead to anti-social behavior.

While one could write an article on the video tearing apart the officer’s tactics, or lack thereof (a training issue, not the officer’s fault). I won’t.

And while one could write an article critiquing and condemning the society and education system that fostered such blatant disregard for individual and property rights, I won’t do that either.

I will, however, state that had both sides had a modicum of respect for each other, other’s property rights, abided by the NAP, and had just a little bit of training, all these unpleasantries could have been avoided.

Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet, fortunately, were closer than most think (thanks technology!).

In the end, I hope the officer doesn’t face the same unjust consequences that as Mike Strickland is now facing for making the same sensible decisions to protect his life.

After all, two wrongs don’t make a right. And while a badge shouldn’t grant extra rights, it shouldn’t mean you have any fewer rights either.

Source: nypost.com

Repealing Obamacare Is Not Enough

American health care is not very effective in curing diseases. The National Center for Health Statistics projects over 1.6 million new cancer cases and almost 600,000 cancer deaths for 2016. Among those who suffer heart attacks, fewer than 50% are alive five years later.

Republicans do not want to repeal the regulations that make healthcare expensive and ineffective.

Medical treatment is so expensive that people need insurance to survive financial catastrophe in case they become ill or get hurt. Even middle class folks who need extensive medical care cannot begin to pay the costs. Those facts supported demand for Obamacare, the halfway point on the road to socialized medicine.

Republicans argue that American medicine was the finest in the world, with only minor problems, until it was ruined by Obamacare. But American medicine has been plagued with extraordinarily high costs and ineffective treatments for many years.

According to Forbes.com, in the Commonwealth Fund’s 2014 healthcare survey of the eleven wealthiest countries, the USA came in last.

Republicans campaigned to repeal Obamacare. But they waffle about its replacement, because they sense they have no answers to the problems that predated the disastrous Affordable Care Act. Republicans want medicine to be inexpensive and effective, but they do not want to repeal the morass of regulations that make it expensive and ineffective.

A Brief History of Medical Regulations

After the Civil War, there were virtually no regulations of medicine in the United States. People would choose their doctor and treatment, and doctors would thrive or languish according to the exigencies of the market. Profit-seeking medical schools flourished and graduated many practitioners.

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CCW Holder Wrongly Convicted in 5 Minutes, for Defending His Life from BLM Thugs

Those actions right there… yeah, potentially just saved lives.

Wait… where were the police to protect him?

If the same menacing crowd/individual were advancing on a police officer, what would the officer be allowed to do to protect himself?

What should any person be allowed to do in such a situation? Should they be allowed to fight or should they become a victim?

Laws that disarm people make victims out of people they disarm.

As the mob continued to surround and outflank him, they chanted “get him” and other nasty garbage. Mike did what any expert would teach any student to do; he retreated as best he could before being surrounded and overwhelmed by the ever growing mob. Realizing he was now nearly surrounded and in fear for his life, Mike drew his lawfully concealed firearm and used it to keep the crowd at bay. He never fired a shot, and in fact, his finger never touched the trigger.

Also, chose your words well, it matters…

Mike is an independent journalist/videographer who was covering a progressive anarchist “demonstration” in Portland, Oregon when he became surrounded by a mob of radical, anarchists.

Mike wasn’t being attacked by anarchists, radical or otherwise. How do I know?

Because attacking another person/property is very anti-anarchist, it’s downright collectivist, way on the other side of the spectrum of anarchy).

Apparently, Mike was being attacked by another front group of collectivists poorly disguising themselves as anarchists.

Source: ammoland.com

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