Friday, 26 May 2017

The Road Back To Serfdom.

Baltic Dry Index. 918 -16     Brent Crude 51.20

"The great merit of gold is precisely that it is scarce; that its quantity is limited by nature; that it is costly to discover, to mine, and to process; and that it cannot be created by political fiat or caprice."

Henry Hazlitt

Today a call to arms. Slowly over the past two years, the media has been increasingly “conditioned” for the case for “universal” state supplied “income.” Everyone, employed or not, will get a minimum state supplied level of income to survive in our new unemployed 21st century world. With automation and artificial intelligence coming, their argument goes, most of the population will become unemployable, or at best under employed. To head off social unrest and keep the one percenters “comfortable and secure,” the masses will need to be supported, rather like the “plunge protection team” supports the one percenters stock markets today from sudden selloffs. 

Since the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money, communist money, August 15, 1971, all of the world was forced on to fiat money, to keep America living beyond its means, fight never ending discretionary wars, bribe voters and special interests, thwart communism, and use universal inflation as a means to control forever escalating government debt. Now that Great Nixonian Error has reached its end game. Technology has advanced to the point that driver-less vehicles, trains, ships and planes, and computerised health care, are about to generate mass unemployment in the decades ahead. What to do with all those unneeded idle masses, seething with anger at their reduced lot in life?

Universal basic income provided by the state, seems to be the favourite trial balloon, or so today’s elite government socialist thinkers seem to think. Yesterday Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, became the latest proponent of universal state socialism for the masses, so the one percenters can live life trouble free. If it makes sense for the Berg, you know it must make sense for thee.

Mark Zuckerberg joins Silicon Valley bigwigs in calling for government to give everybody free money

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just wrapped up his Harvard Commencement speech
  • Zuckerberg touched on America's economics, health care system and the need to "modernize democracy"
  • Zuckerberg also called for universal basic income, echoing other elite members of Silicon Valley
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called on the need to consider universal basic income for Americans during his Harvard Commencement Speech.

Zuckerberg's comments reflect those of other Silicon Valley bigwigs, including Sam Altman, the president of venture capital firm Y Combinator.

"Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it's time for our generation to define a new social contract," Zuckerberg said during his speech. "We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas."

Zuckerberg said that, because he knew he had a safety net if projects like Facebook had failed, he was confident enough to continue on without fear of failing. Others, he said, such as children who need to support households instead of poking away on computers learning how to code, don't have the foundation Zuckerberg had. Universal basic income would provide that sort of cushion, Zuckerberg argued.

Altman's view is similar. A year ago, Altman said he thinks "everyone should have enough money to meet their basic needs—no matter what, especially if there are enough resources to make it possible. We don't yet know how it should look or how to pay for it, but basic income seems a promising way to do this." Altman believes basic income will be possible as technological advancements "generate an abundance of resources" that help decrease the cost of living.

But is “universal basic income” anything more than a one percenter scam? Cui bono from such a socialist, neo communist, unstable system? Who decides “basic income” and how will it match inflation in the decades ahead? What the state gives with one hand, the state can take away at any time. At some point, an all powerful state might just stop paying the basic income.  Better vote correctly too, or better still not vote at all if on universal basic income. Don’t step out of line, nor raise your head above the parapet. Your betters providing “universal basic charity” might not like that in any way. Mr Zuckerberg’s “free” healthcare system might suffer similar negatives, in addition to providing  a second class healthcare  to the non elites.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, even in our dumbed down, fake news, deep state, fiat money age. Universal basic income, free “money” from the state, is a road straight back into serfdom, until someone in power in the future decides these “parasites” are unnecessary to the elites running the state. Let Mr. Zuckerberg declare his rate of universal basic income, and volunteer to live on it for the next five years, as a service to mankind.

Today, I hope my call to arms will be met by far better minds than mine. As the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money increasingly fails, the world’s people, made in God’s image and likeness, deserve a far better future than a return to serfdom and a lighter touch slavery.

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”

Abraham Lincoln

In other news.

Trump Rolls Into Awkward First G-7 Summit With Echoes of Reagan

by Marc Champion
Donald Trump looks to have saved the worst for last in his lengthy first trip abroad as U.S. president: a G-7 summit that will involve debates on climate change and free trade with leaders who would probably rather be dealing with his predecessor.

From a red carpet visit to Saudi Arabia Trump described as “beyond anything anyone has seen,” the U.S. president had a first encounter with America’s traditional European allies at a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Thursday, where he told them they’d undershot what they “owed” to the alliance by $119 billion and must pay more.

On Friday he’ll sit down with a smaller group of rich democracies for a two-day encounter long on the multilateral policy debates Trump doesn’t like and short on the kinds of concrete arms-for-investment deals struck in Saudi Arabia that can provide gratifying wins to take home. Yet the leaders are likely to do all they can to avoid a public confrontation.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, hosting the summit at the foot of Sicily’s Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has focused the event on what everyone around the table can agree to: the need to fight terrorism. A special joint declaration on terror is being drafted in response to this week’s bombing of a concert in the U.K, according to an Italian official involved in the preparations.

Japan, meanwhile, hopes to secure language on the need to rein in North Korea’s missile tests, said an official with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s delegation. That’s another issue on which all seven nations can easily agree.

Security Focus

The focus on security should push more contentious policy areas such as trade and climate change into the background, said Jeremy Shapiro, a former U.S. State Department official now at the Brussels-based European Council on Foreign Relations. According to a French official involved in the preparations, the other leaders will try hard to persuade the president not to follow up on his threat to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris accords to reduce global warming, but avoid any six-against-one face-off.

True, governments can reduce the rate of interest in the short run, issue additional paper currency, open the way to credit expansion by the banks. They can thus create an artificial boom and the appearance of prosperity. But such a boom is bound to collapse soon or late and to bring about a depression. 

Ludwig von Mises.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, not the usual suspects of crooked politicians and lying, bent, gamblling banksters. 
Today, Germany’s Der Spiegel does Wikileaks.

Interview with Julian Assange 'WikiLeaks Will Always Be the Bad Boy'

Has WikiLeaks become a tool of Russian propaganda? Platform founder Julian Assange, 45, responds to the accusations, addresses the effects of hackers on Western elections and talks about the "WannaCry" attack.

Interview Conducted by Michael Sontheimer and Jörg Schindler  in London May 19, 2017  06:18 PM

SPIEGEL: Mr. Assange, after WikiLeaks published emails and documents from the Democratic Party during last year's presidential campaign, Donald Trump said: "I love WikiLeaks." But in April, CIA Director Mike Pompeo called the organization "a non-state, hostile intelligence service." Is the U.S. government stepping up the pursuit of WikiLeaks?

Assange: People love WikiLeaks when it is exposing corruption in their opponents. People oppose WikiLeaks when it is exposing corruption or dangerous behavior in themselves. We have exposed extremely dangerous incompetence in the CIA, with their giant hacking program and the group of hackers they have installed at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt. Now, Trump's CIA director Pompeo has started the counterattack.

SPIEGEL: He said: "This," meaning WikiLeaks, "ends now." That sounds rather threatening.

Assange: I think it is very serious that he chose to make WikiLeaks the dominant theme of his first speech as head of the CIA. Particularly when combined with the statement of the US attorney general that my arrest is a priority.

SPIEGEL: What WikiLeaks members are under investigation by the grand jury in Virginia, aside from yourself?

Assange: As far as I know, the grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks journalists Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell and Kristinn Hrafnsson. It is investigating me and Jacob Appelbaum, who is a supporter of WikiLeaks. And U.S. officials also recently said that they are going after the staff of WikiLeaks.

SPIEGEL: The most important WikiLeaks source, former U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning, was released from military prison on Wednesday, the result of a pardon from Barack Obama after she served seven years behind bars. Did she reveal details of a possible cooperation with WikiLeaks?

Assange: First of all, her release is an amazing victory for which we and many others have fought very hard. We are proud of that, though she should have been pardoned and compensated, not simply given clemency by Barack Obama. You must remember that the UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendes, found Manning had been subject to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. In her trial, she produced a statement that she had communicated with someone from WikiLeaks but, contrary to what CIA director Pompeo claimed, WikiLeaks had not instructed her.

SPIEGEL: Recently, you have been the focus of fierce criticism from a growing number of politicians and journalists who are linking WikiLeaks to Russian propaganda and disinformation.

Assange: That is all spin. After Hillary Clinton lost the election, she and her campaign manager John Podesta decided to blame it on FBI director James Comey, on Russia and on WikiLeaks.

SPIEGEL: The credibility of Wikileaks depends on it being non-partisan, on not having a hidden political agenda.

Assange: WikiLeaks' credibility with the public depends on our proven record of accuracy. In 10 years, we have published over 10 million documents. Not a single one of them had been proven to be forged. But of course, every source has its own interest. That's a basic law of journalism.

SPIEGEL: Do you know your sources?

Assange: We usually have very good insight into our material to authenticate it. In some cases, that means that we also develop insight into a source.

SPIEGEL: If the U.S. government were able to prove that the CIA documents WikiLeaks has published were submitted by Russian sources, that would damage the credibility of WikiLeaks severely, don't you think?

Assange: That is a media fantasy. The official position of the U.S. government, as expressed by Barack Obama in his last press conference as president, is that the it has no evidence whatsoever of collusion between WikiLeaks and Russia. U.S. officials have said they believe that the CIA documents don't come from a state party, but from an American private contractor.

SPIEGEL: But you can't deny that WikiLeaks lost a lot of its popularity since it published documents about Hillary Clinton and her campaign.

Assange: What are you saying? If we hadn't published Hillary Clinton's Goldman Sachs speeches, she would have won? Or should we have censured information to favor one candidate? WikiLeaks will never do that.

----- SPIEGEL: The initial WikiLeaks mission statement from 2006 said: "Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia." But we haven't learned much about these countries from your organization.

Assange: That's absolutely false. This wrong impression is the result of navel gazing in the West and the United States. When we publish in languages other than English, in New Nork they don't care.

SPIEGEL: But your biggest scoops, like documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Clinton emails or the recent CIA documents, have all targeted the United States.

Assange: Because the U.S. is an empire with 700 military bases spread across the world. That which exposes American power is of interest worldwide. When we published 2.3 million Syrian documents, including emails from Bashar al- Assad, it wasn't seen as a scoop.

---- SPIEGEL: What do you make of the global "WannaCry" attack?

Assange: The American National Security Agency, the NSA, built a giant stockpile of digital weapons, but 
lost control of it in 2013. The NSA, though, did not inform Microsoft and other companies so that they could fix their programs, for which the NSA had attacking tools.

SPIEGEL: Do you think worse is yet to come?

Assange: There are serious questions to be asked: Did the NSA and CIA conceal the fact that they lost control over most of their cyber weapons or did they inform president Obama and his administration? Following the Edward Snowden revelations, the U.S. government promised they would not hoard these vulnerabilities but inform IT corporations so they could fix vulnerable software. It turns out that that was a lie. Another important question is: What liabilities does the NSA bear for the damage the "WannaCry" attack has caused around the world?

Since love and fear can hardly coexist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

Laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling

Date: May 23, 2017

Source: Rice University

Summary: Laser-induced graphene made from an inexpensive polymer is an effective anti-fouling material and, when charged, an excellent antibacterial surface, report scientists.

Scientists at Rice University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have discovered that laser-induced graphene (LIG) is a highly effective anti-fouling material and, when electrified, bacteria zapper.

LIG is a spongy version of graphene, the single-atom layer of carbon atoms. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour developed it three years ago by burning partway through an inexpensive polyimide sheet with a laser, which turned the surface into a lattice of interconnected graphene sheets. The researchers have since suggested uses for the material in wearable electronics and fuel cells and for superhydrophobic or superhydrophilic surfaces.

According to their report in the American Chemical Society's ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, LIG also protects surfaces from biofouling, the buildup of microorganisms, plants or other biological material on wet surfaces.

"This form of graphene is extremely resistant to biofilm formation, which has promise for places like water-treatment plants, oil-drilling operations, hospitals and ocean applications like underwater pipes that are sensitive to fouling," Tour said. "The antibacterial qualities when electricity is applied is a great additional benefit."

When used as electrodes with a small applied voltage, LIG becomes the bacterial equivalent of a backyard bug zapper. Tests without the charge confirmed what has long been known -- that graphene-based nanoparticles have antibacterial properties. When 1.1 to 2.5 volts were applied, the highly conductive LIG electrodes "greatly enhanced" those properties.

Under the microscope, the researchers watched as fluorescently tagged Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in a solution with LIG electrodes above 1.1 volts were drawn toward the anode. Above 1.5 volts, the cells began to disappear and vanished completely within 30 seconds. At 2.5 volts, bacteria disappeared almost completely from the surface after one second.

Another weekend, and a long one on both sides of the Atlantic, with an interesting motor race both sides. Well on one side anyway. Sadly, the more interesting Indy 500 isn’t carried here, so I have to make do with the Monaco Procession of Cars. Have a great weekend everyone. In the weekend edition more on the Great EUSSR Scam.

Below, GB inflation since 1889 on the Great Nixonian Error of fiat money.

“In the church is a memorial to Mrs. Sarah Hill, who bequeathed 1 pound annually, to be divided at Easter, between two boys and two girls who "have never been undutiful to their parents; who have never been known to swear or to tell untruths, to steal, or to break windows." Fancy giving up all that for five shillings a year! It is not worth it!”  (25 pence in today’s money! And the five shillings were Sterling silver, not silver coloured steel.)

Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished April

DJIA: 20,941 +149 Up. NASDAQ:  6,048 +190 Up. SP500: 2,384 +152 Up.

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