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2018-06-08 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 147 references
[Comments enabled]  

No jail for big pharma.... even when caught knowing their drugs are being used on the street.

Purdue Pharma, the company that planted the seeds of the opioid epidemic through its aggressive marketing of OxyContin, has long claimed it was unaware of the powerful opioid painkiller’s growing abuse until years after it went on the market.

But a copy of a confidential Justice Department report shows that federal prosecutors investigating the company found that Purdue Pharma knew about “significant” abuse of OxyContin in the first years after the drug’s introduction in 1996 and concealed that information.

Bush didn't want to go after them.  Remember that guy?  You know, the President who was very "war-on-drugs" ish?

Yeah, that guy.  He didn't want to jail those guys, and so the DOJ didn't.  They instead took a fine and called it a day, despite career prosecutors being sure they had a case -- and a good one too.

Of course now?

Well, 1 in 5 young people die of opioid-related causes.  One in five.

Now granted, you're not very likely to die at that age to start with, so there's not a big pool all things considered.  Accidents (car accidents in the main) are one of the big killers.  Booze of course coupled with vehicles is a big part of that.  But right up there is opioids.

At the same time we have people telling us how awful weed is.  The latest is the Faux Snooz nonsense coming out of Colorado, where they're all bent out of shape by people running grow houses and then shipping the (very illegal, as it is not regulated or taxed) product to other states (because you can't sell it in Colorado and make any money, you see.)

Of course there's two problems nobody wants to discuss.  Jack Daniels would be very profitable to bootleg if it was double the price in one state over another.  It doesn't happen because it isn't.

Second, however, and far worse, is where the crime and grows are being run from in Colorado.  Listen carefully and you might pick it up -- illegal Mexicans, illegal Guatemalans, illegal gang members, etc.

They're all ex-US gangs in some form or fashion -- so why are they in the United States, and is this really about drugs?


So there's two issues here.  One is that we have a substance that is very deadly and addictive as hell, yet the companies that make the crap and push it -- literally push it, in that one small town had over 400 pills per person shipped there recently, get away with doing it because they're all "legitimate businesses."

On the other hand we have illegal invader gangs from various nations, including Mexico, who we refuse to arrest, prosecute and then deport them.  How do these guys buy and rent property, move money, etc?  How's it happen without someone intentionally allowing it knowing good and damn well they're not here in the country legally?

Getting all those illegal invaders out of here might actually solve that problem; it seems that we don't have many US citizens all that interested in running drugs -- after all, if you want to get stoned just go to one of the places where it's legal! Why take the risk of going to prison for a couple of decades?

When you're an illegal invading gang-banger it's a different proposition because all your crimes are probably free.  You see, these people likely already murdered someone -- and once you do that then all the lesser crimes, and indeed all the following murders have no deterrent effect in the law because you can only give a man or woman one life sentence (or hang 'em once.)  That's a nasty little fact that none of the so-called "law and order" folks want to talk about, but that they refuse to have the conversation doesn't make it any less true.

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2018-06-07 15:45 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 136 references
[Comments enabled]  

.... you do not use "cloud connected" and other inexpensive cameras without them being handled by a highly-secure method that only you control.

Is your baby monitor safe?

Jamie Summitt, a stay-at-home mom in South Carolina, posted on a Facebook FB, -1.60% this week that her internet-connected baby monitor took a dark turn recently. She said the camera on her Wi-Fi-connected device mysteriously moved in the direction of her bed. The camera connects with an app to watch children remotely.

“All of a sudden I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the camera was moving...and it was panning over to our bed,” she wrote. “The exact spot that I breastfeed my son every day. Once the person watching realized I was not in bed, he panned back over to Noah asleep in his bassinet.”

These things are outrageously insecure, in some cases intentionally so as it makes the software easier for the authors to put together -- and the service easier too.

It's not (usually) malicious per-se, it's just easier.

This is why you want something like HomeDaemon-MCP, which securely encapsulates your camera stream and control functions, meaning your camera is not visible -- at all -- from the outside.  Ever.  Period.  For any purpose.  It cannot reach out and nobody can reach in.

The bottom line is that as soon as you let these devices connect to an outside place on their own for any reason at all, and especially if they go to a cloud service of some sort you are taking a terrible risk because the data is no longer in your personal hands.  If there are shortcuts that were taken, or just plain bugs, you're wide open and the more of these devices you have that can speak to outside places the more risk you have as well.

If you're in this line of business (providing these solutions) look to the right and email me.  I have the answer to this problem and it begins by segregating any of these sorts of devices so they cannot get outside at all, ever, in either direction.  Now if your gateway (HomeDaemon-MCP) is the only point of contact with it outside your house the attack surface is limited to that device and it's capabilities -- if someone can't hack that they also can't hack anything behind it.

Again, most of these devices if not all of them are ridiculously insecure starting with the video stream itself which is typically delivered over RTSP/H.264 and is completely unencrypted.  For most the news just gets worse from there.

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2018-06-06 09:12 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 127 references
[Comments enabled]  

Gee, all you "conservatives" are real happy about Pharma and Hospitals ripping off everyone else.

You've done exactly zippo to repeal the special dispensation that OPEC has.  Oh, you didn't know that dear reader?  Yes, our Congress specifically exempted government led and run cartels -- which at the time meant (and still does mean) OPEC -- from anti-trust.  Indeed, it was OPEC, specifically, that led to the legislation  Make sure you kiss the Saudi ring.....  So much for the US not granting "titles of nobility."

Indeed there are monopolies everywhere, and virtually all of them are illegal.

But nobody cared.

Until now.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was quick to slam Google on Thursday after reports surfaced that an error in the Internet search giant's Knowledge Panel listed "Nazism" as a tenet of the California Republican Party.

"Sadly, this is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives," McCarthy wrote. "These damaging actions must be held to account. #StopTheBias"

Held to account?

How, exactly, do you intend to do that?

Are you going to play Pajama Boy for us all?

Allen West has.

These top tech companies push progressive values within their organizations. We shouldn’t be surprised when they inflict them on the rest of us online.

So what do we do?

Any military man worth his salt will tell you that you can’t win if you don’t fight. Silicon Valley needs to understand conservatives won’t take this lying down.

If we don’t do something, conservative speech and ideals could easily be wiped out online. I think that makes this a battle worth fighting.

Battle eh?

Exactly how do you intend to "do battle"?

I'll tell you how you won't "do battle."

You won't blackball anyone who works for these companies, including their children, families and relatives.  Oh yes, that's legal; "I think you suck" is a perfectly legal reason not to do business with someone or even walk on the same side of the road.

You won't go after the advertisers, all oh whom are the entire reason these firms exist, in the same way.  Shut off Facebook's money spigot and the company will blow up within a month.  Ditto for the rest of these guys.  Oh sure, they won't run out of money in a month, but the share price be slashed to ribbons and the remains burnt to a crisp.  That's a legal retaliatory move too, by the way.  Look up all the executives and employees of every single firm that runs an ad and boycott them, along with their families.

There's more; you could try suing, but honestly -- it's a loser and it should be most of the time.  Why?  Because the First Amendment says Congress shall make no law.  It doesn't say Google has to listen to you.  Or Facesucker.

Even if Facesucker gives Chinese companies access to data it claimed you could restrict with your so-called "privacy settings."

Look folks, I hear all the yelling all the time.

What product or service have you removed from your life, telling the company why, that advertises on these networks?  There are dozens.  How many so-called "conservatives" have a Netflix account.  How many have PRIME? The list goes on and on and on.  Oh my, such "outrage" you display.

Battle eh?


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2018-06-05 09:06 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 125 references
[Comments enabled]  

Basic retail cost of hardware for a controlelr (power supply + Pi3 + Aeotec stick + microSD card + enclosure): $100.

Retail price for wall switches, dimmers, etc - ~$40/ea, presume 3 bedrooms each with a fan and lighting, living room lighting, family room lighting and kitchen plus an outdoor circuit for coach lights or similar.  Scale up or down as appropriate.  $400.

Retail price for motion and door sensors, $30 each.  Battery powered, no wiring required.  One in each bedroom (for lighting and intrusion), one in each other major living space, one on each garage door.  Assume two garage doors (nice house, remember?)  $300.

Two $70 Amcrest indoor 2k cameras plus one $75 1080p outdoor camera for the front door and one more for another outdoor location that needs monitoring.  Two wired (outdoor units), two wireless (power bricks included, with long cords)  $300.

Finally, add one quality deadbolt with secure remote operational capability so you can program door codes and have supervisory reports when it's opened or secured, whether by keypad code, the internal handle or remotely.  $200.

Now discount all that 30% since you buy in quantity and wholesale, which you keep.  We've got about an $1,300 hardware budget retail, of which ~30% is gross margin for you since you're the source, or about $350 per install.

Now there's software.  Charge a monthly $20 fee.  Enforced by certificate.  Gross margin is nearly 100% on this; the back end infrastructure is inexpensive to operate.  This is a recurring revenue stream.

Then there's installation.  Split that 50/50 with a builder or contractor who does the field work.  They charge $5,000 for the install, there's $700 in hardware, the $4,000 installation charge is split halves.  The contractor gets half and he doesn't do much work for it either since he's already installing wall switches and such in the house.  A switch is a switch is a switch.  He loves you.

Then there's ongoing maintenance and programming.  Charge per-incident.  You figure that one out, but whatever you charge for this it has an extremely high operating margin..

The consumer who has this in their house gets real-time, SSL-secured, "works anywhere" video on their phone, in real time, along with real-time monitoring and control limited only by his or her imagination and desire to put the "touch points" in the house -- and nearly-infinitely customization to suit their individual desires without writing a single line of code.  Individual user access control including multiple accounts, passwords and access permissions (e.g. your kid can see their room and maybe the family room's controls, but not your bedroom lights) is of course provided.

What do we got here?

Each installation has an up-front revenue to you of $2,300 and an annuity stream of $240/year.  This includes upgrades of the software (you could also sell it without that, say for $120 or $150 up front but then charge $100 per major upgrade.  Which works better?  You decide; Adobe thinks the $20/month model wins, and I think they may be right!)

In five years that's $3,500 gross, the install revenue has perhaps $250 worth of embedded cost in it (your time to do the original setup and programming, which is not hard) and the annual recurring has administrative (collection and payment processing) expense along with a very small amount of infrastructure spend for the license server.  Call it $20/account in operating cost; you can bill hourly if you are needed to do programming changes and such.

That's nearly an 85% pretax operating margin -- of course that's before you pay your people to do the administrative and similar work.  But can you get into the 30-40% pretax operating range on a forward basis?  I bet you can if you're any good at running a business.

Is that a bit rosy?  Maybe.  But maybe not.  Put 10,000 homes in like this across the country (there are 1.3 million new homes annuallyin a year -- that's an 0.7% penetration rate -- and you've got close to $30 million ex salaries and SG&A.

In one year, with less than 1% penetration.  Can you do better than that on penetration?  What if you reach 5%?

Oh, and that's with zero penetration in the major rehab and teardown/gut jobs, of which there are plenty, and zero retail sales to people who want to "roll their own" with installation and operation.

I'm not real interested in setting up and running another company but these numbers might convince me to do it if someone else doesn't come snatch this opportunity from me for somewhere around one tenth of one year's rationally-recognizable margin before SG&A.  That starts looking more-attractive to me when the Obamacare penalty "black hole" (which sticks you with an ~85% effective tax rate) disappears which happens on January 1st of this coming year.

And that projection is all before a mass-revulsion event occurs for the "other guys" when the inevitable "bad things" start happening with all these "cloud connected" alternatives which both do less and cost more -- and it's a good bet they eventually will.

Oh, and we haven't talked energy savings yet.  Yeah, there's an angle there in this code too, I believe it's patentable and separable from the system itself, and it's potentially a big one.  A real big one.

Let's talk.  Look to the right.

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2018-06-05 07:50 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 96 references
[Comments enabled]  

Look folks, this one is clear.

"Can the President pardon himself?"

Yesexcept in the event of impeachment.

This is not opinion, it's the Constitution and it's black-letter.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

There is no stricture that says "except upon himself."

The President may even pardon himself prospectively, exactly as Ford did Nixon (remember, Nixon had not been indicted at the time Ford pardoned him!)

The Presidential Pardon power is absolute.  A pardon cannot be rescinded once granted and it is Constitutionally legitimate to do so prospectively.

There is no legislative or judicial means available to stop it either; to do so you must amend the Constitution.  Good luck.

Now I assume that such an act would lead to immediate impeachment, and probably conviction on same in the Senate.  But that doesn't change a thing with regard to the pardon itself, which will stand.  The maximum punishment available in such a case is removal from office and a permanent bar from serving in any office of profit (personally or for money) under the United States in the future.

That's all there is.

There is no "scholarly" question here, nor one for the courts.  It's black-letter law.  If it is dishonored then the entirety of our government is a lawless band of thugs and deserves to have an immediate revolution take place.  I do not believe for one second that either the federal government or the military would back such an event, despite the preening and screaming by the loony left, which was perfectly fine with this when Ford pardoned Nixon prospectively as he had not been charged with anything at the time.

There is a question as to whether the DOJ can lay a charge against a sitting President.  There's a fairly clean argument that it cannot; that the sole remedy is to first impeach, and following impeachment then lay said charge or charges, which is explicitly contemplated and so-stated in the Constitution as well.

There are those who claim that the pardon power cannot be used to circumvent this.  Nonsense.  That which is not constrained by the black printed letters between the boundaries of the page is not constrained.  The Founders were not stupid and they expressly contemplated the potential for such an event, and wrote on it as you can see if you bother to read the actual text.  The political consequences of such an act are another matter -- they could be extreme, including the potential for civil unrest or worse, but that doesn't change a thing in terms of the actual black letter of the law.

So yeah, like it or not, a President (including this one) can pardon himself.  He might destroy the nation through the consequences of doing so, but he can do it and it is both valid and will stand.

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