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2017-09-15 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Education , 421 references
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Recently pointed out to me is what the so-called authoritative search engine of record has to say about history.

It has long been known that so-called "Wikipedia" is not an encyclopedia at all, as they intentionally bury information their "editors" do not want you to see, and will blackball people who try to fix it.  I went through this with them on my biographical entry and it took the threat of a lawsuit to stop it.  How does a dead person (that is, a historical figure) sue?  They don't, which means there's no lawful means to push back against intentionally biased "editing".

Over the last two decades schoolkids have been "using" Internet resources for various types of research.  It was revving up when I was running MCSNet; one of our larger contracts was to provide access to a large public library consortium all over the North Suburban area, along with Chicago's Harold Washington "main" downtown building. We wired dozens of facilities back when text-based access was the norm -- but of course libraries, historically, were usually about text.  Our first satellite dial-in location in Naperville was co-located in an independent bookstore.

The protocol of the day was known as Gopher, which was the predecessor to the web; it was light-weight by comparison and text-based, augmented with WAIS.

There has been a fair bit of digital ink spilled on utility providers (such as domain registrars and pipe sellers) pulling accounts and effectively blackballing people they don't like.  They justify this on a "Terms of Service" claim, but there's a large and essential difference between speech claimed to be "X" (insert whatever) and speech found to be "X" under due process protections.

The distinction doesn't matter when we're talking about discretionary business, but when it comes to utility services it's a different matter entirely.  There I believe a very clean argument exists that barring someone without judicial process (that is, due process of law) is illegal discrimination.  With the argument increasingly being made that the Internet is an "essential" service the utility argument gains sway.

Further, there are blatantly unlawful acts that some organizations, such as AirBNB and Uber, appear to have taken with regard to people they think are "Nazis" or "White Nationalists."  I remind you that public accommodation law bars discriminatory conduct of the sort these firms have engaged in -- repeatedly and publicly -- and that both public transportation and rental housing, whether short or long-term, fall under those laws.  The number of indictments against said firms?  Zero.

But the more-urgent call to action, and the reason for this post, is actually something far more-insidious and outrageous: The deliberate and outright re-writing of history to exclude not just points of view but people who were architects and major figures in various historical contexts all over the Internet -- including acts taken by major search engines such as Google.  This same paradigm is what is driving the desire to "rid the nation of Confederate statutes" and similar nonsense.

Folks, history is the study of facts.  And facts are often not pretty at all; they frequently involve extraordinarily bad actions and actors, never mind the many times more that are controversial in hindsight, whether they were controversial at the time or not.

It is utterly essential that we never lose sight of that, and that our children's education include a robust examination of history based on, and inclusive of, all of those facts.

As such it is utterly necessary that if you have children now or ever intend to have them that you demand and enforce, at the point of expulsion from office and replacement if necessary (and as many times as necessary), along with the firing of teachers who oppose same, an absolute ban on the use of The Internet for so-called historical research.

This explicitly includes Wikipedia, Google, any web-based media including the online publications of so-called "reputable news organizations", eBooks and similar.  Yes, that includes my blog.

Why?

Google "historical Europeans + white" and then click "images."  Have a look.  You'd never know who actually led the Continent -- and Britain -- for thousands of years.

The problem is that Internet-based "resources" can be and are routinely altered in undetectable ways and thus it is trivially easy to present lies by either omission or commission.  It is much harder to do the same with printed media; once printed, it's done unless someone burns or shreds it, both of which are visible to others and the changed copyright date makes clear that alterations have taken place.

Simply put you must do this, and you must do it now.

But you won't.

Because you won't -- you won't pack every single school board meeting from now until these changes are made -- we're going to lose our collective sense of history.  We're going to lose both the good and the bad from that; the context in which we evolved, the poor decisions and the good ones, and the literal erasure of the majority of those people and acts in their original historical context will be entirely lost in the body politic within the next set of students entering and in elementary school now.

Unless you're over the age of 60 you'll live to see it, but I assure you of this: You're not going to like it.

It is in fact exactly this paradigm and intentional obfuscation that has led to the rise of groups which hold that violence is an acceptable means to their ends.  The very lessons of history that teach us over the previous several thousand years that this is never acceptable have been literally scrubbed, along with the necessary context for people to understand how it happened, what the warning signs are, and why it must be stopped.

This is no accident folks.  It's an intentional act, it's being undertaken on a systematic basis, and we will lose western civilization if we do not stop and reverse it, at least in the educational system, right here and now.

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2017-09-14 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Health Reform , 204 references
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Gee, what happened here?

Vermont’s Attorney General has settled the state’s claims of fraud against Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who served as a technical consultant for President Barack Obama and as one of the chief architects of Obamacare.

Under the terms of the settlement, Gruber will no longer work as a taxpayer-funded economic consultant for the state’s health care system and he won’t seek to be paid any money he might be owed, reports the Rutland Herald, a Vermont newspaper.

Note that the Vermont AG also won't go after him under the Civil False Claims Act too.

What did they find?

Specifically, investigators concluded that Gruber sent two invoices — and possibly more — falsely charging the state and its taxpayers for work which was never actually completed by Gruber or any of his underlings.

So they found he billed out work that was never done, or at least wasn't done by either him or anyone that worked for him.

Gruber of course denies committing any sort of fraud, but I'd love to hear his explanation for invoicing someone for work that appears to have not been done.

That would be an interesting exercise that, sadly, we won't get to hear in open court.

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2017-09-13 08:22 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 1155 references
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Irma was never even an actual Cat 1 hurricane at Naples?

Does it matter?  Sure it does.  Remember, we were told how Irma was a "hurricane for the record books" and "most intense storm on record."

Of course this is all part of the global warming screamfest -- and expected from such jackasses as Rachel Maddow. 

We rely on real news, not "fake news" and made up bull****, however, when we make decisions that save or take lives.

If NOAA and the NHC have become corrupted then there is little left upon which we can rely.

So with that, I offer this, which Eric Hunsader tweeted:

This shows..... a strong tropical storm.

Note that the eye went directly over that location; it's obvious from the graph.

Hurricane wind speeds are defined not by the highest gust recorded but by the highest 1 minute sustained windspeed.  This was - maybe - a Category 1 hurricane at that point in time.  Marco Island might have gotten a Cat 2 impact.  Maybe.

But even as the approaching storm came into the Keys I didn't see anything that looked like Cat 3 sustained winds.  Gusts over 100kts, yes, those were reported.  But sustained winds at Cat 3 speeds?  Nope.

Just as telling and perhaps more-so are the damage pictures I've seen thus far.  The early "drone survey" images posted to Twitter and elsewhere in the Naples area showed moderate destruction -- of mobile homes.  Folks, mobile homes are destroyed by Cat 2 hurricanes -- reliably.  We're not talking about the roofs ripped off or some damage, we're talking about only pieces being left.  Cat 3s usually leave nothing but kindling when it comes to mobile homes.

Well-built structures start to fail (entirely) at Cat 4.

There's no doubt that Barbuda and Saint Marten got it in the face.  But context matters, as do facts.  The claim of 185mph sustained winds isn't backed up by a sub-900mb surface pressure.  That was simply never recorded and unlike anemometers that are often destroyed in heavy winds barometers are not.

Let me further remind you that 185mph sustained windspeeds are roughly equivalent to an EF-3 tornado.  I've seen the damage field from those; they reliably slab even well-built frame houses.

Was Irma a nasty storm?  Certainly.  It had a large circulation and did a hell of a lot of damage.

But lying for political purposes is not acceptable when it comes to such storms, and it appears that both the NHC and NOAA have done exactly that.  If you are making life-safety decisions you need accurate information, whether it is to choose to evacuate (or not), or if you are attempting to plan government or other organizational responses.  Lies for political purposes that exaggerate the severity of an incoming storm do real economic harm to real people -- they cause them to spend money, close businesses and otherwise disrupt their lives in ways that are not justified given the facts.

Finally, if you want something lighter and non-political (at all) head over to Sarah's blog today -- she's getting ready to put some artwork of hers on the block. A fair bit of it is hanging in our house, and it would look nice in yours!

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2017-09-12 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 476 references
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It was a nice idea; unfortunately it's crippled in its effectiveness by the lax polices and zero accountability of the cell carriers.

Hackers have discovered that one of the most central elements of online security — the mobile phone number — is also one of the easiest to steal.

In a growing number of online attacks, hackers have been calling up Verizon, T-Mobile U.S., Sprint and AT&T and asking them to transfer control of a victim’s phone number to a device under the control of the hackers.

Once they get control of the phone number, they can reset the passwords on every account that uses the phone number as a security backup — as services like Google, Twitter and Facebook suggest.

What do the carriers think about this?  Nothing.

See, it typically doesn't take one such attempt, because most of their agents will follow protocol and refuse without you in some way verifying who you actually are -- such as by using a PIN number you put on the account, and which the thief doesn't know.

So why is it that these guys get dozens or even hundreds of bites at the apple?

See, that's the problem, and it's an intentional problem.  In other words the cell companies could trivially log the number of bad attempts -- when you call into the company asking them to do something and don't know the password their call management software could increment a counter and after some reasonable number of failed tries in some period of time, say three, it would then require you to go to a physical store and present positive identification.

But nope, as is shown here:

Adam Pokornicky, a managing partner at Cryptochain Capital, asked Verizon to put extra security measures on his account after he learned that an attacker had called in 13 times trying to move his number to a new phone.

Verizon should be put out of business for this, and so should the rest of the cellular carriers.

One or two wrong responses is one thing -- yes, people forget, or they use a couple of different PINs and they get the wrong one the first or second time.

Thirteen times?  No, that's quite-obviously attempted fraud and not only did Verizon not lock his account against those repeated attempts after a rational number of failures to authenticate they didn't call him either nor did they follow their own rules despite being warned in advance that his account was under attack!

There's utterly no reason to allow this sort of horse**** to go on, but just like all the other scams of the day utterly nobody at the telcos will be held accountable for what amounts to being an accessory before the fact to grand theft.  The CEO of the jackwad firm deserves to have the entire loss taken out of his ass -- sideways.

Firms that intentionally ignore repeated hack attacks on a customer's account and not only fail to stop them they also fail to notify the customer that they're under attack need to be held financially and criminally responsible for the harm that ensues.

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2017-09-11 06:48 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 341 references
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In "The Bar" on the Ticker, where the grandfathered can discuss various topics among themselves (part of what was formerly "Tickerforum") as Irma was approaching I pointed out that if the storm took a somewhat-southerly path and impacted Cuba that due to the terrain there limiting inflow and the organization of the storm it would be materially disrupted -- to the point that would much limit the damage the US would take.

That turned out to be exactly correct.

It wasn't good for Cuba, of course.  We don't know exactly how much damage Cuba took but there are reports that at least one of their airports was destroyed.  It's probably fair to assume that anything on the northern coast or barrier islands where the storm traversed is either severely damaged or gone.  Of course Barbuda, along with other islands in the chain that took the full force were also severely damaged; St. Maarten (which I've visited before) is trashed.

I will also note for the climate screamers that Irma was not the longest-running "Major" in the modern record.  Ivan was.  We got hit by Ivan here.  This is not to denigrate Irma and the fact that as a Cat 5 she was a royal bitch, because she was -- but let's also remember that we've only had the sort of "accurate" watch on these things that we enjoy today since roughly the 1960s, when weather satellites showed up.  Prior to that you knew when there was a hurricane coming when.... well, it "got someone", either a ship, an island, or it got close enough to either that you could see it on radar.  Prior to WWII there was no radar either.  So arguing that Irma broke a record, or that "climate change" is responsible is just flat-out bull****.

A friend of mine in Venice is apparently without water service due to a main break.  I'm sure there are more of those, and of course the power is off in a lot of places throughout the state.  Flying trees and power lines don't get along very well.

The market seems to think hurricane impacts are bullish given the overnight hours.  Frankly, I think that's nuts; destroying capital is never bullish and when the "response" will be to borrow more money we don't have and spend it since there's no capital surplus left anywhere, either among people or governments it's even worse.  Of course among the "reinsurance" stocks everyone thinks it's grand since rates will be going up (and probably a lot) in that regard, which of course is "bullish" too when everyone's homeowner's and business insurance costs will be rising whether they were damaged or not.  Yes, this will be good for "profits", right?

Uh, no.

But boy it is good for certain people.  I have no argument with the linemen and women who are just waiting for the wind to die down so they can start restoring power, and who will be making $30,000 in the next month or so working 100 hour weeks.  Overtime is beautiful when you can get it like that, and it will certainly be good for them.  Think about that one when you local High School is pressuring your kid to go to college; instead, perhaps he or she ought to learn how to string wire.

But the idea that somehow our so-called "free market" will and should cheer events like this is sickening, especially when nobody has put back reserves for these events and nobody will in the future either.  Instead we'll hear about how "wonderful" the market's response is, and why paying $2.65 or more a gallon for gas that was $2.25 a couple of weeks ago is a "good thing" too.  The climate screamers will lie some more about CO2 and its impact (folks, more CO2 is good -- unless you want people to die from starvation, that is!) and kill a few million more birds with their windmill follies (speaking of which, how do they hold up under Cat 3+ hurricane winds?) while Musk will snicker at all the Tesla owners who he "unlocked" for a week while they were trying to flee.  Speaking of that, how's that going to work out for them when they try to return home with no power at any of the "Supercharger" stations?

Then there's the hotels and such who have and will make bank; all good for them, but not so much for those who evacuated and didn't get damaged.  They don't get to claim anything from insurance for that evac; it comes out of their pockets.  How many of them can pay off that credit card at the end of month?  Since we know that 75% of the population lives paycheck-to-paycheck the answer will be almost nobody.  But that's "bullish" too, right?  Wrong.

Anyway, 'nuff said.  The crooners will be "buy stawks, all the time" of course -- that's what they do.  The broken window fallacy will be out in force, as if the only capital goods destroyed were all old and worthless, thus replacing old with new will be a net positive.  There might be an argument for this in limited cases had there been capital surplus people and governments had accumulated over time, but between Obamacare and the rest of the government always spending more than they take in, along with the sorry and in fact near-bankrupt state of most individual Americans' finances, this is utter horse****.

The political aspect has already started and will get worse.  But you might want to consider the perspective of those who have modeled the atmosphere and gotten it provably right instead of all the screamers who have done so and repeatedly gotten it wrong, which is true of all of the so-called "global warming" models and those pushing them like heroin to a credulous population and political class, all of whom demand more of their heroin and fentanyl like good junkies groveling before their pusher.  If we could find two functional neurons between 330 million Americans we'd hang the climate screamers trying to steal by using natural events as their "bait", but we don't and thus they're all safe from said wrath.

Of course any amount of honesty in this regard wouldn't make for neat political headlines and more theft from you, nor can you whip people into a hysterical froth with the truth.

So that won't be what the media does or politicians focus on, nor will it be what you demand.  Enjoy the shoe-size IQ of the typical American in coming weeks and months.

Be well fellow readers, and beware believing the bull**** you're about to have served on your plate with a claim that it's "climate-friendly steak substitute."

I guarantee that if you take a bite it'll taste like bull**** -- because it is.

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