Protecting our borders!

Immigration anyone? I never write about it, but lots of people are talking about it these days.

Since 9/11, “Homeland Security” is supposed to take care of immigration, in the form of an outfit known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).

I guess there must not be an immigration or customs or border problem. Because I just read about a massive Homeland Security raid on a website which is accused of facilitating gay escort hookups. It is called Rentboy.com, and activists are screaming about discrimination:

“To many in our community this feels like a throwback to when the police raided gay bars in the ’50s and ’60s,” Justin Vivian Bond, a performer and an activist who is transgender, wrote in an email. “This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community feels like a real slap in the face after gentrification and the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations drove so many gay bars out of business and forced people to meet online instead of in person,” the activist added, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Danny Cruz said he had posted ads on Rentboy “to supplement income” for about seven years, starting when he moved to New York. He said he had talked regularly to the executives who were arrested, both about his business and about staying safe.

“I don’t see why the government would be interested in what two people do behind closed doors,” Mr. Cruz, who is now involved in the Sex Workers Outreach Project in Los Angeles, said.

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which participated in the investigation, said in an email that “any insinuation that a specific population was targeted is categorically false.”

The federal complaint says that although Rentboy.com, whose headquarters are on 14th Street at Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, had a disclaimer telling visitors that they could not exchange money for sex, that was “clearly” happening. Escorts, the complaint says, posted ads including penis size, pay rate and preferred fetishes, and the site’s visitors then contacted them directly. On a separate website, DaddysReviews.com, clients would review the individual escorts, the complaint says.

The seven current and former Rentboy executives were charged with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution, and each faces up to five years in prison.

Mr. Walls said: “As the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE is responsible for the enforcement of laws that promote the legitimate movement of people, goods and currency in domestic and foreign transactions. Our allegation with this case is that the business and its principals purported itself to be an escort service while promoting criminal acts, namely illegal prostitution.”

OK, regardless of what anyone thinks about prostitution (male or female), what in blazes does it have to do with HOMELAND SECURITY?

What galls me the most about the activists is that none of the bloody fools even seem to be questioning the idea that the federal government should be in the vice squad business, much less an agency that was given vast powers to go after terrorism.

Since when are gay escorts and their clients engaged in terrorism?

Unless this outfit was funneling money to ISIS or AL Qaeda, I am not getting it.

Share

Block Chain

From the article Flawed Fundamentals:

Well, as those of you who follow me know, I’ve taken time off of my investment advisory business to build digital swaps powered by the blockchain. The startupt venture, Veritaseum, is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this movement because not only is it significantly ahead of most banks efforts in automating swap trading, it eliminates counterparty risk…

BlockChain is the technology behind BitCoin. It will totally up end the financial structure of the world. There is quite a bit of discussion these days about the dollar losing reserve currency status. But what if all currencies lose their status?

The article also discusses the high cost of financial services. BlockChain looks to cut those costs tremendously.

Which brings up another point. What if fracking technology destroys oil and natural gas economies? The UK has started fracking. China has started fracking. Gas and oil (fracked) has been discovered in Central Europe. Israel has a HUGE reserve of (fracked) natural gas. Who will need the Saudis (and the rest of them including Russia) if most nations are self sufficient in oil and natural gas resources.

Some of my previous articles on fracking:

Saudi Arabia Is Fracked

Fracking Helping American Manufacturing

It Is A New World

Frack Nation

Share

Civilization and Savagery

The real gap in this country isn’t race, or income, or gender, or sexual orientation, or politics.

Share

Central Banking Warfare

The discussion of Central Banking Warfare begins at about 13 minutes in. But you should watch the whole thing to get a feel for her points.

You should also check out Narco Dollars for Beginners if you are not already familiar with it. And her main site Solari. Also her latest video Catherine Austin Fitts 2015 Forecast Volatile & Violent.

Share

Black Monday


 
 

 
 
If you want some actual financial commentary head over to Zero Hedge.

Share

Saudi Arabia Is Fracked

You may have heard that the Saudi stock market has fallen 7%. This is due to falling oil prices.

Which brings up the shale revolution. I have written about it recently. And I have been reading something that has opened my eyes even wider.

Read that last paragraph again. Some shale operators can make good money at $55 a barrel. At $65, they can make higher returns than they did three years ago with oil at $95. I have friends here in Dallas who are raising money for wells that can do better than break even at $40 per barrel, although they think $60 is where the new normal will settle out. Texans are nothing if not optimistic.

How are these new economies possible? Answer: they bent the cost curve downward. It has fallen fast and – more importantly – it will keep falling.

The same process that doubles the power of your smartphone every couple of years without raising its price, is also unfolding in the energy business. That’s why you see per-well production rising so fast in the Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Permian Basin fields. It’s not a result of more wells; rig counts have been falling this year. Rather, the producers are pulling more oil and gas out of the existing wells.

You might want to read the whole thing. And then look at this chart from the article.
 
Oil Economies

WTI oil (Oklahoma) at the time of this writing (24 Aug 2015 0611z) is $39.16 a bbl. Brent (Europe) is $44.27. The Saudis are in trouble. As is the whole Middle East. The fall in the Saudi stock market and the current wars are just the beginning.

Share

Privacy is getting ever more confusing

I’ve long had mixed feelings about abortion. I find it inherently gruesome, and the more developed the fetus, the more it becomes genuinely grotesque. Recent accounts (like the one of a technician sticking scissors under the chin of a developed fetal boy and then snipping through his entire face to extract the brain) give me the creeps, and remind me of Josef Mengele’s medical experiments. Maybe I’m a bleeding heart, but I wouldn’t want people to do that to a fetal puppy.

Still, I have a huge problem with the state forcing any woman to bring a fetus to term, and I do not think it is right to imprison women for having abortions, as long as they don’t wait too long. At a certain point (and I am not sure exactly when that would be), there is a semi-human being in there, who, though unborn, does have a vested right that should be respected. At minimum, that being should have the same rights we would grant to an animal. This would include the right not to be treated cruelly. If cruelty to animals is not to be tolerated, then neither should cruelty to fetuses. Yet merely expressing that thought would inflame passions of abortion rights activists who maintain that even developed fetuses cannot feel the same pain which most of us agree an animal could feel. This inconsistency arises from the political arena, and typifies the activist view that conceding any point means a betrayal of “principles.”

Many of these same activists (who think it is a woman’s right to mutilate her developed fetus without anesthesia – a right grounded in privacy), would never allow the same woman to sell sex for money, pose for pornographic photos or films, or ingest recreational drugs. That strikes me as a wildly inconsistent view of privacy. If the government is to be kept out of women’s (and presumably men’s) bodies in the name of privacy, why is the theory limited to abortion?

Of course, the thinking of your garden variety abortion rights activist is most likely not oriented towards restraining the government, but expanding it. The right to an abortion no longer means the state can’t imprison people for it; the right now means a right to have everyone else pay for it. Excuse me, but doesn’t that mean the government is now involved? By the same logic, drug legalization (a right to take drugs) would ultimately mean the government has to give everyone whatever drugs they want.

Anti-abortion people like to say that “we” are all “guilty” of “murdering” umpteen million babies. I have always maintained that I am not guilty of what someone else does, and that each woman is responsible for her own decisions. I don’t believe in collective guilt. But if everyone pays, does my argument hold water? That’s the problem with socialized medicine. At the rate things are going, I’ll soon be told that “we” are all responsible for everyone else’s obesity.

How do I opt out?

Share

“looking for consistent philosophy or even policies in Donald Trump’s statements is a pretty fruitless exercise”

Donald Trump reminds me of Gertrude Stein’s “there is no there there.”

His position on the drug laws is a perfect example:

In his incarnation as current Republican presidential front-runner, Trump is in no way a fan of illegal drugs. He’s claimed to have never tried controlled substances “of any kind.” Last June, he said that he opposes pot legalization. “I feel strongly about that,” he told Sean Hannity.

Today’s Donald Trump sounds like your average drug warrior. But it wasn’t too long ago that the real-estate mogul/reality-TV star publicly supported the legalization of drugs in the United States—and called out politicians for not having the courage to end the disastrous war on drugs.

WTF? Does this mean he no longer believes in his alleged courage? I’m agreeing with David Boaz that attempting to analyze this man is a complete waste of time. I have no respect for anyone who supports him (and of course such people would have no respect for me, because reasonable dialogue with with those who champion inconsistency is by definition impossible).

I’d call Trump a despicable fool, except I think he might be in it for the money. Getting Hillary elected may be in his economic interest.

MORE: In a discussion of Trump at Reason, Brian Doherty links  ”The Problem of Political Irrationality.”

AND MORE: Almost as if on cue (haha!), WorldNetDaily is playing the Alpha Male card in support of Trump.

Donald Trump is the prototypical, archetypal and testosterone-driven alpha male who rules by the sheer force of his personality, imposing physique, quick wit, mastery of repartee and almost hypnotic control over his gathering masses of adoring followers. He is Attila to the Huns, Henry V to the outnumbered English army, Winston Churchill to desperate allied forces, and now our fearless leader against the pagan forces of progressivism and political correctness. He is the unapologetic, quintessential warrior male of yore capable of vanquishing any and all opposition in his way.

Trump is not a clown, a bloviating buffoon, an intimidating bully, or just a really rich guy hoping to buy America as a shiny new toy. He is ambitious to a fault, relentless in his desire to control, own and build, and he has success written into the DNA of every cell of his body. Yes, he is egotistical, over the top at times, and less soft and sentimental than some would like, but I think he would do pretty well in that closed conference room with Putin or Kim. They would respect him but not necessarily like him. These are the ways of the warrior males who have ruled the world from the beginning of time.

You would almost think this was comedy.

NO, me so sorry! I TAKE THAT BACK!

I am unable to resist the sheer force of the man’s beautifully bad hair alone! … I respect the success of his DNA and and want him to rule over me!

MORE: In the Sunday Detroit Free Press, liberal writer Rochelle Riley (a Hillary supporter no doubt) has kind words for Trump, and compares him to H. Ross Perot:

Whatever his motivation, he is showing old-school politicians that people appreciate a little straight talk — even if some of it is abhorrent. We should thank him as he prepares to see his campaign end next year the same way Perot’s did.

Reminds me of the kind of brats I knew in childhood, who, when they couldn’t face losing, would overturn the board.

Hillary must love the man. And the pathetic GOP can’t win with him, and can’t win without him.

AND MORE: Maureen Dowd takes delight in Trump, gleefully rubbing salt in wounds:

He’s tapped into a hunger among those who want to believe that America is not a shrinking, stumbling power passed like a pepper mill between two entitled families.

Delusional though it may be, I also don’t want to believe America is that, but why should that endear me to Donald Trump?

Share

Macro camera, anyone?

Earlier I took this photograph with my camera:

p283_821_c_s

I had to photograph it outside because inside the camera just wasn’t giving me good images of the object. And even this one does not look as good as reality.

It’s very difficult with this Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-8, and it seems to me that macro photography used to be easier with my old Nikon Coolpix 7900.

Does anyone know of a good point and shoot macro camera? I don’t want to spring for a DSLR just to take macro pictures, as I am not a professional photographer and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars.

Share

“Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy”

I agree.

And I am agreeing with President Obama’s mentor, Constitutional Law scholar Larry Tribe.

More here:

the EPA, like every administrative agency, is constitutionally forbidden to exercise powers Congress never delegated to it in the first place. The brute fact is that the Obama administration failed to get climate legislation through Congress. Yet the EPA is acting as though it has the legislative authority anyway to re-engineer the nation’s electric generating system and power grid. It does not.

Not that a little thing like the Constitution matters to the environmentalists who want to run our lives. Like religious bigots, they think that they have exclusive possession of the “truth,” by which they mean their opinions, which they mischaracterize as “science.” And like religious bigots, they believe that there can be no debate, because they are on the side of good, and all who disagree with them are on the side of evil.

Unlike religious bigots, they now hold power.

This can be depended upon to get worse. Even if ordinary people were to wise up and vote, tyrannical administrative agencies like the EPA are not going anywhere.

Share

The Banksters

The only power bankers have is given to them by people who want to live beyond their means.

Share

Truth = Math?

Is there tension between truth and math?

I think there is. Not that there should be, but some people think truth is what they believe, regardless of the math.

Share

Another Productivity Crash

I’m thinking of a productivity increase. Like the one that exploded in the 1920s. Everyone was going to get rich from it. Instead the huge increase in farming productivity put millions out of work. Everybody wedded to the old supply chain. And a lot of people collateral to them.

We are in the middle of another huge productivity jump and just like the farming revolution – it is a job killer.

The epicenter this time is China where the productivity increases have been huge. But they over did it to keep things going. The usual. And now they have a LOT of adjusting to do.

Just about all the chatter on the ‘net expects a crash in September. Prepare. As best as you can.

Update: 18 August 2015 1144z

This comment (in an article about the demise of mass retailers) sums it up:

Centralization and Tech have massively reduced the need for people.

Share

Debt Free College

Democrat Martin O’Malley is promoting a Democrat plan for debt free college.

I have a better plan. Debt free education. All you need is determination and an internet connection. No Democrat plan for a government program required.

Share

What Is Wrong With China? In One Graphic

ChineseCementDemand2011-2013

The graphic and the following commentary are from Zero Hedge.

…the Chinese steel industry grew by 11X during the last 20 years, expanding from 125 million tons, which was already larger than the US and Japanese steel industries in the mid-1990s, to 1.1 billion tons today. But neither China nor the world can use that much steel, even as China’s aggressive “dumping” on the world market gathers force.

In fact, China’s steel production is already swooning—–with output in the most recent month down nearly 5% Y/Y and prices off 26% since January and 40% since the three-year ago peak. During the first half of 2015, China’s large and medium steel mills spewed $3.5 billion of red ink, and that just a warm up for the carnage yet to come.

In a word, China has upwards of 400- 500 million tons of steel capacity that will be idle once its construction boom stops and the rest of the world throws barriers up against its exports. That amounts to economically destructive malinvestment on an unprecedented scale. The idling of China’s giant steel mills, in turn, will create an economic void which will cause a massive collapse of business, employment and incomes up and down the iron and steel food chain.

An unwind of this magnitude is unusual in world history. The last time something even close happened was in farming when everyone was going to get rich from farm machinery, fertilizer, and food production. That would be the 1920s in America.

Countries in that era set up trade barriers in the hopes of limiting the spread of the contagion. It made things worse.

What can be done? Not much.

And China? They have a long history of Revolution when the Central Government loses The Mandate of Heaven.

And one other thing. Steel production uses a LOT of coal. Demand for coal will be declining. Not just because of Obama, but because of China too. And fracked natural gas.

Share

Betting Against The Education Industrial Complex

Bloombeg has this.

FlowPoint Capital Partners, the $15 million hedge fund co-founded by Charles Trafton, is betting against companies such as student-loan servicer Navient Corp. to profit from what it calls a college bubble bursting in slow motion.

The Boston-based firm is building positions against stocks of textbook publishers, student lenders and real estate companies that focus on college housing, Trafton said in an interview. Changes in the more than $1 trillion student loan market could hurt companies such as Navient, Sallie Mae and Nelnet Inc., according to a July investor letter from the firm.

Businesses “levered to runaway inflation in post-secondary education are susceptible to growth and margin shocks,” the firm wrote in the letter.

H/T this Zero Hedge article, which has some very nice charts.

I became an aerospace engineer sans degree. For the motivated college is unnecessary. And for the unmotivated college is unnecessary.

Share

Wild Theory Server

Just an idea, but what if the unsecure private e-mail server existed so that foreign governments who made large donations to the Clinton Foundation could hack the system and gain access to classified information that HRC could not give them directly? That would make this treason, if proved.

Ordinary American on August 13, 2015 at 7:14 PM

==

1) Why strip all the classification data off – because someone who had access to the server/info was giving it to unknown outsider(s) with Blumenthal being the simplest and Muslim Brotherhood/QUDS being the Golden Ticket.

*snip*

Offtopic assignment: Consider ALL that money the Clinton Foundation was “given” – what if it was payment by interested parties for NatSec data?

PolAgnostic on August 13, 2015 at 3:11 PM

Cribbed from a comment at Hot Air

Share

Did The EPA Poison The River On Purpose?

A retired geologist wrote a letter to the local paper outlining the EPA incentives a week or two before the dam “broke”. You can read about it at ZeroHedge

A week before The EPA disastrously leaked millions of gallons of toxic waste into The Animas River in Colorado, this letter to the editor was published in The Silverton Standard & The Miner local newspaper, authored by a retired geologist detailing verbatim, how EPA would foul the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money…

Bad luck or design? Well the government is involved. It could be both.

Simon’s Law:
It is unwise to attribute to malice alone that which can be attributed to malice and stupidity.

Update: 14 August 2015 2054z

Zero Hedge has an update from the geologist.

Share

“I don’t want people to think we’re always spying on them”

Typical. Military technology developed for use against terrorists is now being deployed against Americans in the War on Drugs. (And the war against unapproved sex.)

SAN DIEGO — Facial recognition software, which American military and intelligence agencies used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify potential terrorists, is being eagerly adopted by dozens of police departments around the country to pursue drug dealers, prostitutes and other conventional criminal suspects. But because it is being used with few guidelines and with little oversight or public disclosure, it is raising questions of privacy and concerns about potential misuse.

“Mission creep” is too mild a characterization.

Fucking bastards.

Does anyone expect this to be an election issue? I don’t. I think the majority of voters are just fine with throwing away what little freedom they have in the name of safety.

(And that’s assuming they even understand the constitutional implications, which is assuming a lot.)

Share

Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home

I still can’t figure out ( 46 years later) how that album cover got past the censors.

Share