Incompetence not unique to trump but all previous US administrations 1

Press TV. Listen here.

The incompetence and division in American politics is not unique to the administration of President Donald Trump and has rather spanned all US administrations, says a political analyst in Virginia.

Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com, made the comment in an interview with Press TV on Sunday while reacting to reports that said Britain’s ambassador to the United States had referred to Trump as “incompetent” and “inept.”

Leaked on Saturday, notes sent to the British Foreign Commonwealth Office showed Kim Darroch finding it unlikely for the White House to “ever look competent” under Trump.

“We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction driven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept,” Darroch wrote.

“It’s certainly true that the Trump administration demonstrates a lot of signs of dysfunction and internal division and incompetence and so forth, but that’s not necessarily original to the Trump administration,” Preston said. “We can go back to the Obama administration, the George W. Bush administration and some other earlier administrations and find several examples.”

Preston also pointed to what he said was a “rift” between the Trump administration and various European elites, which particularly stemmed from a conflict between Washington and the European Union over trade-related issues, the NATO and its funding.

PressTV-UK envoy: Trump career could end in disgrace

PressTV-UK envoy: Trump career could end in disgraceLeaked memos show Britain’s ambassador to the US warned London that President Donald Trump’s “career could end in disgrace.”

The British envoy also described the never-ending conflicts inside the Trump administration as “knife fights.”

The revelations came weeks after Trump paid a long-delayed state visit to Britain.

The US and Europe are already in the middle of a tense trade dispute, with Trump having imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU since last May, criticizing the bloc for the trade deficit in US-EU dealings.

PressTV-EU vows to respond to any US auto tariff move

PressTV-EU vows to respond to any US auto tariff moveA senior official with the European Union Commission says the bloc will respond to any US move to increase tariffs on cars made in the bloc.

Washington has also threatened to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on European auto imports, which would have a far greater impact on the European economy.

Moreover, Trump has repeatedly criticized NATO over how the alliance is funded and pressured other member states to increase military spending.

NATO members are required to spend at least 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on military affairs. This is while the US currently spends around 4 percent.

The American head of state threatened that Washington would “go its own way” in 2019 if other NATO countries did not increase their military spending levels.

The Spectrum and History of Anarchy w/ Keith Preston Reply

A recent interview with the Free Man Beyond the Wall podcast. Listen here.

Pete invited Keith Preston to come on the show to talk about the history of anarchists, the different schools and a look back in history to see if anarchism “has ever been tried.”

Keith has been an anarchist for over 25 years and has devoted much of that time to its historical study.

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What about the Workers? A Libertarian Answer Reply

By Sean Gabb

I was called this morning by the BBC. It wanted me to comment on the claims that Sports direct, a chain of sports clothing shops, mistreats its workers – keeping them on zero-hours contracts, sometimes not paying them even the minimum wage, scaring them out of going sick, generally treating them like dirt. Would I care to go on air to defend the right of employers to behave in this way? I am increasingly turning down invitations to go on radio and television, and this was an invitation I declined. I suggested the researcher should call the Adam Smith Institute. This would almost certainly provide a young man to rhapsodise about the wonders of the free market. My own answer would be too complex for the average BBC presenter to understand, and I might be cut off in mid-sentence.

Here is the answer I would have taken had I been invited to speak on a conservative or libertarian radio station on the Internet.

First, it is a bad idea to interfere in market arrangements. Sports Direct is in competition with other firms. Making it pay more to its workers, or to give them greater security of employment, would require it to raise prices and make it less competitive. A general campaign against zero-hour contracts and low pay would raise unemployment. In even a reasonably open market, factors of production are paid the value of their marginal product. Establish a minimum price for labour above its clearing price, and those workers whose employment contributes less than this to total revenue will be laid off. If I felt more inclined than I do, I could produce a cross diagram to show this. The downward sloping curve would show diminishing marginal productivity, the upward the supply of labour at any given price. The point of intersection would show the clearing price. Draw a horizontal line above this clearing price to show the minimum allowed price, and you can two further lines from where this intersects the curves to create a box showing the unemployment that would result. I leave that to your imagination. Or here is a representation I have found on-line:

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The Revolt Against Adulthood Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Why don’t you grow up, Nicky? That’s the tried old refrain that never seems to get older than I do. It seems like I hear it from pretty much all the token adult figures in my life; my parents, my therapist, my government. And maybe they’ve got a point. I am over thirty, unemployed, painfully single and I still live at home. To be fair, I’m also certifiably mentally ill. As a slowly recovering shut-in, my lingering agoraphobia makes it damn near impossible to hold down even a part time job. But If I’m to be 100% honest to a gut-shiving fault, which is pretty much my whole shtick, my aversion to adulthood is far more complex than my inability to properly regulate good and bad stress.

 I was raised in the wrong fucking gender by an establishment of adults who I was led to believe held the mandate of god himself, the ultimate adult figure. By in large, growing up, the adults in my life were cruel, petty, two-faced zealots who had their way with my trust until it quite simply ceased to exist. There is a very firmly moralist part of me that yells at the top of her deeply closeted preteen lungs, WHY THE FUCK WOULD I EVER WANT TO BE LIKE YOU!

 I’ve talked about this disembodied voice before. The invisible girl who’s tired of suffocating beneath the biological trappings of manhood. She wants to come out and play with matches but she’s not particularly intrigued by the late capitalist banality of modern adulthood. And, in 2019, she’s not alone.

It seems like I come from an entire generation of kids who are downright allergic to adulthood. We are a lost generation that has chosen in overwhelming numbers to stay single, unemployed and live at home. We also seem to be a culture that is defined by our collective nostalgia. We’ve somehow managed to make washed-up boy bands and thirty year old cartoons a downright viable industry. we’ve gathered on the Internet into rabid cults devoted to everything from anime to My Little Pony. In the process, we have also become the butt of an endless barrage of jokes from older generations for refusing to conform to what their interpretation of what adulthood is. But isn’t that precisely what adulthood is? An interpretation, not unlike other equally subjective concepts like normality and sanity, of what constitutes a successful existence in a collapsing society running on fumes?

So what is an “Adult” in 2019. What earns one that cherished class distinction in the waning hours of the American Century? According to postmodern western society, an adult is someone who pays their taxes and votes for sensible centrist warmongers.

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A History of Decentralization 5

aragon.black
Jun 11, 2019
14 minute read (full)

First let’s decentralize history…

This month’s thematic has been a real challenge for us and raised many questions in our minds. Why? The history of decentralization is complex and non-linear. But most of all, it is difficult to be considered from an objective point of view, stripped of the predominance of the state.

Talking about decentralization leads obviously to discuss about centralization; to find the ghosts of history, to cross-reference the victories and failures of social-political movements; to discover some contemporary alternatives to the generalized centralization of our lives. Unless we consider that a technology is neutral, in the end, we cannot talk about decentralization without talking about governancesuffragepolitics or apoliticismautonomyorganization… and the dominant model of centralization: the nation-state. Still, if a very vast literature and documentation concerns rise of states, it must be stated that the one granted to the opposite, i. e. the absence of a state, is almost non-existent. More…

81% of ‘suspects’ flagged by Met’s police facial recognition technology innocent Reply

The force maintains its technology only makes a mistake in one in 1,000 cases, but it uses a different metric for gauging success.

Facial recognition technology is tested during a recent event in the US. File pic

By Rowland Manthorpe and Alexander J Martin
news.sky.com

Four out of five people identified by the Metropolitan Police’s facial recognition technology as possible suspects are innocent, according to an independent report.

Researchers found that the controversial system is 81% inaccurate – meaning that, in the vast majority of cases, it flagged up faces to police when they were not on a wanted list. More…

The Dr. Strange of the American Revolution Reply

nautil.us
Brian Gallagher

“I ascribe the Success of our Revolution to a Galaxy,” Benjamin Rush wrote to John Adams, in 1812. He wasn’t invoking the astrological. It was commonplace then to associate a bright assembly of people with the starry band in the night sky that Chaucer called “the Milky Wey.” Yet Rush crossed out “a Galaxy” and wrote in, perhaps for the sake of specificity, “an Illustrious band of Statesmen—philosophers—patriots & heroes.” Historian Jill Lepore has written that, in the “comic-book version of history that serves as our national heritage, where the Founding Fathers are like the Hanna-Barbera Super Friends, Paine is Aquaman to Washington’s Superman and Jefferson’s Batman.” And Rush? I posed this question to Stephen Fried, author of the recent book, Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father. Fried replied, “Dr. Strange.” More…

Big Tech, Big Banks Push for “Cashless Society” 1

By Stefan Gleason, Money Metals Exchange

The War on Cash isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s an open agenda. It’s being driven by an alignment of interests among bankers, central bankers, politicians, and Silicon Valley moguls who stand to benefit from an all-digital economy.

Last week, Facebook – in partnership with major banks, payment processors, and e-commerce companies – launched a digital currency called Libra. Unlike decentralized, free-floating cryptocurrencies, Libra will be tied to national fiat currencies, integrated into the financial system, and centrally managed.

Critics warn Libra is akin to a “spy coin.” It’s certainly not for anyone who wants to go off the financial grid.

Many of the companies involved in Libra (including Facebook itself) routinely ban users on the basis of their political views. Big Tech has booted scores of individuals and groups off social platforms for engaging in “far right” speech. If Libra one day becomes the predominant online payment method, then political dissidents could effectively be banned from all e-commerce.

You can still obtain some degree of anonymity in the offline world by using paper cash. But that will become impossible in the cashless future envisioned by bankers.

Last week Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan touted new developments in digital payment systems while speaking at a Fortune conference. He said, “We want a cashless society…we have more to gain than anybody from a pure operating costs.”

They gain – at the expense of our financial privacy. A cashless society is the end of a long road to monetary ruin that began many decades ago with the abandonment of sound money backed by gold and silver.

Stefan Gleason is President of Money Metals Exchange, the national precious metals company named 2015 “Dealer of the Year” in the United States by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason is a seasoned business leader, investor, political strategist, and grassroots activist. Gleason has frequently appeared on national television networks such as CNN, FoxNews, and CNBC, and his writings have appeared in hundreds of publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Detroit News, Washington Times, and National Review.

What Would Civil War Two Look Like? Reply

This is one of the best analyses I’ve seen to date on what an actual Civil War 2 would look like. It’s political, geographical, and cultural analysis is spot on, although its main weakness is that it largely leaves out social class (which is fragmenting both the Red and Blue Tribe) as well as cultural/social cleavages among the Blue Tribe which are growing exponentially.

An actual Civil War 2 would not be the Red Tribe vs Blue Tribe per se (although that may be an impetus that gets the ball rolling). It would be more like the Lebanese civil war of the late
1970s/early 1980s with dozens of different factions. For example, in some geographical areas showdowns between rival gangs would be just as important as political rivalries. Also, the fragmentation of the state itself would be an issue (or multiple issues).

Tourist buses ‘no longer welcome’ in Paris city centre Reply

france24.com

AFP / Lionel Bonaventure (file photo) | A tourist double decker bus in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Paris aims to ban tourist buses from the city centre to spur visitors to walk, cycle or take public transport, tackling complaints about nuisances caused by mass tourism, the French capital’s deputy mayor said.

Emmanuel Gregoire told Le Parisien newspaper that the situation in Paris was not as bad as in tourist-swamped Venice or Barcelona but Parisians were concerned about the influx of tourist buses. More…

Neanderthals glued their tools together Reply

arstechnica.com
KIONA N. SMITH

Neanderthals glued their stone tools into place on wooden handles, a new study suggests. Archaeologists found chemical traces of pine resin on 10 stone tools from Grotta del Fossellone and Grotta di Sant’Agostino, on the western coast of central Italy. That’s pretty solid evidence that Neanderthals living in Italy were hafting their stone tools and securing them in place with resin between 55,000 and 40,000 years ago—long before Homo sapiens set foot in Europe. More…

Oregon’s Tsunami Risk Reply

New article from the lady who wrote “The Really Big One,” that Pulitzer Prize winning article about the inevitable super earthquake that is supposedly going to destroy a nice chunk of the coastal Northwest. If this kind of stuff interests you I’d recommend reading this article before reading the newer one that I’ve posted below.

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The New Yorker
by Kathryn Schulz

JULY 1, 2019

Other than asteroid strikes and atomic bombs, there is no more destructive force on this planet than water. Six inches of it, flowing at a mere seven miles per hour, will knock a grown man off his feet. Two feet of it will sweep away most cars. Two cubic yards of it weighs well over a ton; if that much of it hits you at, say, twenty miles per hour, it will do as much damage to your body as a Subaru. In rough seas, a regular ocean wave can break with a force of two thousand pounds per square foot, more than enough to snap a human neck. A rogue wave—one that is more than twice the height of those around it—can sink a nine-hundred-foot ship. More…

Why we disagree about human nature Reply

Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (Eds) Why we disagree about human nature.Oxford University Press, 2018. 206 pp. £30 hbk.

JULY 1, 2019

By Simon Jarrett

If one day a disturbingly precocious child were to ask what part you had played in the nature/ nurture war, what would you reply? Were you with the massed intellectual ranks who, since the philosopher David Hull’s ground-breaking 1986 classic ‘On Human Nature,’ have denied that there is any such thing as a common nature for all humans? Or did you join Stephen Pinker’s 2003 counter-revolution, when The Blank Slate sought to reclaim the ground for the Enlightenment, and the idea that there is something essentially the same about all humans across time, space and culture?

If you are not quite sure where you stand, or perhaps too sure where you stand, then this pleasingly eclectic collection of ten essays on human nature, and whether we can meaningfully talk about such a thing, will be of great help. Its contributors, who come from psychology, philosophy of science, social and biological anthropology, evolutionary theory, and the study of animal cognition, include human nature advocates, deniers, and sceptics. We could perhaps call the sceptics ‘so-whaters’ – they agree there may be something we can attach the label ‘human nature’ to, but query whether it really matters, or carries any explanatory weight. These people would take our (hopefully apocryphal) infant prodigy aside and say, ‘well there are some conceptual complexities here that make it quite difficult to give you a straightforward answer.’ More…

Video Games That Made People Question Their Beliefs Reply

Gita Jackson
Kotaku

When Scott Udall first played Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance shortly after it came out in 2005, he was in a vulnerable spot. Udall, who grew up Mormon in Salt Lake City, Utah, was very religious, and his family were all politically active Republicans. His parents had gone through a messy divorce, and he’d lost contact with his father’s side of the family. He found solace in Path of Radiance’s world, and when the sequel, Radiant Dawn, came out two years later, he was excited to revisit the characters. He didn’t realize when he started playing that Radiant Dawn would become a catalyst that shook him from his previously held convictions. More…

It took a decade for the Declaration of Independence to matter in American life Reply

Stanford News

Two Stanford historians discuss how the United States’ Declaration of Independence became one of the pillars of American civic life and other lesser-known historical facts about what happened on July 4, 1776.

On the historic day of July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress, Thomas Jefferson, its primary author, went on a small shopping spree and bought seven pairs of women’s gloves.

Declaration of Independence

Celebrating the Declaration of Independence on July 4 is an American tradition, but it took a while for that tradition to develop. (Image credit: todd taulman / Getty Images)

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Open Letter From Steve Forbes To Mark Zuckerberg Reply

by Steve Forbes

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:

Your company made big headlines when it announced it would be launching a cryptocurrency called the Libra in 2020. Not surprisingly, given the nature of the times, the project has been greeted with intense criticism and skepticism. Don’t lose heart. In one sense, the idea of a company creating its own kind of money is an old one. The airlines’ frequent-flier miles are really a form of money that customers can earn and use to buy trips and various other things. Credit card companies, hotels and numerous retailers have all sorts of loyalty programs in which people earn points that will let them buy all manner of goodies.

But if you play your cards right with the Libra, you could be to money and finance what Henry Ford was to automobiles. Your new currency could take its place alongside the inventions of coins and paper money many centuries ago. It could replace the U.S. dollar as the global currency. More…

The Gap Between Rich and Poor Americans’ Health Is Widening Reply

NPR
by Susie Neilson

Researchers compared Americans’ health status today with that of 25 years ago and found that health is worsening among lower-income Americans.

Orbon Alija/Getty Images

 

Income inequality in the U.S. has grown over the past several decades. And as the gap between rich and poor yawns, so does the gap in their health, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open Friday. More…

Rising US Inequality: How We Got Here, Where We’re Going 1

Stanford Business
Shana Lynch

An economist and a business advisor discuss what might happen if the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.

A tent is seen next to Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Reuters/Lucy NicholsonInequality is on the rise in the United States. Stanford experts discuss possible solutions. | Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The U.S. economy hit a historic high in 2018, and today unemployment is at its lowest rate in five decades. Yet wage growth for the vast majority of Americans has stalled, and more people are struggling to afford housing, health care, education, and other basics.

More…

The Long, Slow Death of Venice 1

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The local population is at its lowest since the 1950s, with no turnaround in sight, as tourists continue to chase locals out.

by Chiara Albanese, Giovonni Salzano, and Federico Vespignani

If you’ve been to Venice, you get it. Even the most jaded globetrotter can’t help but do a double-take at the sheer originality—and beauty—of the centuries-old city built entirely on water.

Yet even the quickest visit reveals that Venice is no longer a living city, with scores more tourists than actual Venetians crowding its lagoon, bridges and walkways. The numbers bear that out. The city’s population basically peaked in the 1500s, and though it rallied again to near 16th century levels in the 1970s, today there are just one third as many Venetians as 50 years ago. More…

11 Micronations in Europe You Never Knew Existed Reply

This needs to become a global trend, like McDonald’s.

By Harry Stewart

The culture trip.

We’ve all heard of places like Liechtenstein and the Vatican, tiny European nations with minuscule populations. Yet these are internationally recognized states—actual countries, if you will. Even more bizarre are Europe’s micronations: quirky little self-proclaimed lands which have come into existence for the strangest of reasons. Here are the most unusual on the continent.

The Republic of Saugeais

This tiny slice of eastern France actually formed as a state in jest back in 1947. The owner of a restaurant of the same name jokingly asked a visiting government prefect if they had permission to enter his kingdom. Upon further interrogation, the sharp-witted proprietor invented details of his kingdom on the spot, and was somehow officially appointed president of the new republic. Primarily made up of good-humored retirees, Saugeais once elected one of its many presidents after the latter received a particularly vigorous round of applause.

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