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Why does this surprise anyone?

Hours after the leaders of the world's 20 most developed economies sought to boost confidence by promising to increase global output by $2 trillion over five years, Japan said it had fallen into recession.

That leaves the country — the world's third-largest economy — on a long and growing list of troubled economies. China is slowing as well, and Europe can't seem to take off.

Among major economies, only the United States and Britain are growing at decent rates, and how long that lasts depends on how much trouble their trading partners are in.

No we're not.

You must subtract the amount of "QE" in percentage terms of the economy from the nominal growth rate.  This is basic algebra; you must remove the same term from both sides when you solve an equation; you cannot add (or remove) it from only one side.

Yet that's the fraud that exists when you state "GDP" without removing all deficit financing and monetary emission from the figures!

It is, in fact, the predicate of this series:

Growth?  What growth?

And yes, credit emission is not limited to central banks or governments -- in point of fact they're not the largest source of the problem in that they step in only when private banks can't or won't!

Everyone wants to scream "END THE FED!" but in fact if you ended the Fed you'd do nothing for two reasons:

  • The Fed is not the largest source of the problem; that is (by a huge margin) found in the private banking cartel.

  • The Fed can only buy US Government securities.  Therefore, if there is no deficit there is no Fed buying activity.

It's that simple folks when you boil it all down.  The Fed can want to engage in QE but if there are no government bonds to buy then it is unable to do so.  Without continued new emission of more and more bonds (that is, more and more deficit spending) The Fed is unable to perform "QE"; it is not mathematically possible given the boundaries they are forced to operate under.

The reason that such attempts cannot work is that the smaller is never able to upstage the greater.  That is, a minority position is never larger than the whole.  By definition it is impossible for The Fed or any other Central Bank to violate this precept; it is simple arithmetic.

So why do it?

That's easy: It's far easier to steal, and you're less likely to get shot doing it, if you steal by subterfuge than engaging in your theft through a straight-up "in your face" assault.

But it is The Federal Government and their cronies, not The Fed itself, that is doing the stealing.

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This clown needs impeachment -- now.

This is not an option for the House.  Any President who willfully and wantonly refuses to faithfully execute the laws of this nation must be impeached and removed from office.  It is a duty of the Congress, not an option that Congress has.

Tonight you heard Obama appeal over a young girl who "came here" and is a great student.  He quoted scripture (not that I believe he has ever actually read it.)  We all know Presidents don't write their own speeches in the modern day, at least we do if we have a brain in our heads.

To declare that the law will not be enforced on a blanket basis for huge groups of people because the President disagrees with the Congress -- which has the absolute right to set immigration policy -- is a complete stick in the eye to any premise of The Rule of Law that you might believe remains.

I note that to refuse to decide is still a decision, and Congress is within its rights to do exactly that.  Congress has no imperative to pass anything; it acts through absence of legislation more often than it legislates, in point of fact, and this is exactly what the founders intended -- and how all Constitutional Republics that are functional operate.

I find it particularly galling that Obama cited the "innocent" child who was "caught up" in the illegal acts of his or her parents.  Not only does he propose to shield the "innocent child" he also proposes to shield the actual lawbreakers, the parents, themselves as well!

This is tantamount to endorsing the taking of hostages in the form of children to force the government to grant both of you amnesty.  What you should get as an adult for doing this is prison time -- first for your lawless act, and then again for taking you child hostage and using him or her in this fashion.  That latter act ought to be a felony, standing alone.

But tonight Obama instead celebrates it.

Well, tell that to the actual innocent people who have had their property stolen under "civil forfeiture" yet they're never charged.  Double standard?  It's worse than that -- it's just a complete absence of anything that could be called The Rule of Law at all -- it's not even vestigal in the United States any more.

So here you go folks -- if the Congress will not immediately impeach, and you know they won't, then they're going along with it.  And that means that there is not just a lawless President in Washington DC there are 536 lawless individuals and their minions comprising the entirety of the executive and legislative branches that have decided that THERE IS NO MORE RULE OF LAW IN AMERICA.

We've seen literal hundreds of examples over the last few years and I've written about many.

My only remaining point of amazement is that this nation's citizens are willing to put up with it.

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You knew it was coming -- the death of the "like" meaning anything -- at least for commercial entities.

The party’s over for advertisers on Facebook–at least for those brands who were enjoying the free advertising they received through “organic” posts, i.e. brand messages that would pop in people’s news feeds like any other status update from a friend. Starting next year, Facebook will start weeding those organic posts out, reports WSJ.

Only about 5% of these "reach" people now; after the first of the year, zero.

The impact of this is quite profound: "Likes" no longer result in anything meaningful in terms of penetration of your message.  This turns the model up until now on its ear; you could promote your company through doing things that led people to "like" you, but now you must instead simply buy advertising, and what's worse, all that effort you spent in the past has been devalued to zero.

Here's the real problem Facebook has -- does advertising actually sell on their network?

That is, does it result in tangible benefit that exceeds cost?  I don't think it can given the metrics the company reports in terms of how much advertising revenue it is getting today on a per-user basis.  The only logical explanation for this is that firms think they're getting the rest of the value (and more, since you must make a profit all-in on your advertising or it's simply burning money instead of investing it in your brand) from their "organic" traffic -- that is, the "Likes"!

Well, that's gone now folks, and there goes the only rational explanation for the revenue number in the first place.

This looks like a classic case of business hubris to me, and if I'm right this firm crashes and burns in a big way during 2015.

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I've said this before in many more words, but I'm going to be more-succinct and concise this time around.

Let's start with this article from Engadget:

Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook. Normally these companies are mortal enemies. But, when it comes to curbing government surveillance, they're all on the same page. They've joined forces to form the Reform Government Surveillance coalition. The group is calling the US Senate to pass the USA FREEDOM Act, which could go up for vote as early as this week. The bill would enact a number of important reforms regarding the government's collection and use of data. For one it would end the practice of bulk metadata collection from the internet. It would also demand greater transparency from both the government and the tech companies themselves.

This bill, bluntly, is hokum.  It's utter and complete nonsense and will do exactly nothing to address the problem.

Let me tell you first what the bill would do:

  • It will require a specific search term (or terms) to be included in the FISA warrant application for call detail records, and end blanket data ("metadata") collection.

  • It would limit the term of any such order to 180 days (which can be extended, but would require a second application to the court.)

  • It would require the destruction of all records that are not foreign intelligence information, or those produced under an order that are once the authority to access and use them expires.  That is, you can get the warrant but if you don't go after someone with the information you gain from it you can't keep the data.

  • Does allow an immediate override by the US Attorney General but concurrently application must be made for said warrant, and if it is denied or never sought the data must be destroyed and any evidence or information produced must be destroyed unless it documents a threat of death or serious bodily harm.

  • Requires an audit by the IG's office of the DOJ of 2012 - 2014 (ab)uses of the previous authority to determine whether the legal standards required for said record-keeping were met, and for production of that report to Congress.

  • Extends these protections to National Security Letters (today there are literally no requirements of any substance on those, and that's horse****.)

In response to this Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey opined in the pages of the WSJ that this is NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.

smiley

This bill in fact goes nowhere near far enough.

Look folks, here's reality: Weakening encryption protection via any means whatsoever will never improve our national security.  It will, in point of fact, eventually get millions of Americans if not half the population killed.

Let me explain.

First, the 4th Amendment is quite clear and specific: For anyone subject to the US Constitution, which means any US Citizen, the requirements for interception and surveillance by anything not voluntarily in the public view are quite clear.  Go read the 4th Amendment if you need a refresher.

Requiring this is not onerous, provided you actually have something called "evidence" of wrong-doing.  If you don't, and you're a cop no matter what sort of cop, then **** off.

If you are conducting intelligence gathering on non-US persons outside of the United States then none of this applies to you anyway and there is thus no impact of this law on your operations no matter who you are or what agency you work for, and you know it.

It is only when you want to look at the activities of US persons or those inside the US that this issue comes into play.  

Period.

Therefore last night's "standing" by both McConnell and Paul is nothing more than grandstanding.

Second, and I want to emphasize this: If we weaken cryptography in any form, no matter how, we are claiming that we are smarter than everyone else in the world in that nobody but us will ever discover what we did and use it against us.

That is flat-out stupid and eventually it will get huge numbers of Americans killed because our enemies, and we do have them, will discover what we did, use it to penetrate our systems, and when they do they will then disable or destroy those systems that control critical infrastructure in the United States.  The damage that can be done by such an attack is utterly catastrophic and we are fools to enable that behavior.

You must accept that when you weaken a lock so that you can break in, whether it is by keeping a "master key" or otherwise, that someone else may discover that key and when they do they can walk in the door exactly the same way you want to reserve the ability to.

If you want to wake up one day with every nuclear power plant in the United States offline with no operating generators, a crashed electrical grid, hours remaining until they all melt down and spew radioactive waste across the countryside while at the same time our oil refineries, pipelines and natural gas facilities have all exploded due to their control systems being tampered with in a coordinated hacking attack enabled by our stupidity in putting back doors into our encryption processes and software then go ahead and support this.

IF YOU SUPPORT THAT SORT OF CRAP YOU ARE SIGNING YOUR OWN DEATH WARRANT AND THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THAT WILL BE HAPPY TO EXPLOIT WHAT YOU DO IN EXACTLY THIS WAY.

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From Bill Still:

My commentary:

Very nice and utterly immaterial.

Here's why -- hydrogen is in a very high energy state as a "raw" material.  Fuel cells operate on hydrogen and oxygen, and thus are considered "clean" in that their only "waste" product is water (H2O.)  However, the hydrogen has to come from somewhere, as it does not exist anywhere on its own in nature; it is always in a compound.

Since that energy state is lower than that of hydrogen as an element you must add energy to break that bond and extract the "neat" hydrogen, which is then used in the fuel cell.  If you start with water (H2O) and break the bond you must, by the laws of thermodynamics, put in more energy than you will get back at the wheels because the laws of thermodynamics do not permit a "free lunch", or even getting back everything you put in.

The most-common place people talk about getting the hydrogen from for these vehicles is natural gas, which is (mostly) methane, or CH4.  Well, that's fine; you can get the hydrogen out by using what is called a "reformer"; by putting in some energy you can break the chemical bonds.  You now have carbon (which usually is combined with oxygen and forms CO2, that evil gas that Obama and Gore hate) and hydrogen.  While the fuel cell itself produces no "greenhouse gas" the process produces lots of it; in fact, exactly the same amount as would be produced if you just burned the same amount of natural gas!

So no, folks, these are not "zero-emission" vehicles any more than an electric vehicle is when the source of the electricity is a coal or natural gas fired boiler!

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