Mar 08

Today’s News 8th March 2017

  • What The Hell Is Going On?

    Via Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

    “The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.” –  H.L. Mencken

     

    “The older I get the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what they do.”Andrew Carnegie

    I’m 53 years old. The older I get the less sure I am about things I was sure about when I was 25 years old. I believed stocks for the long run was an unquestioned truth. I believed our economy was based on free market capitalism. I believed stock prices were based upon profits and cash flows. I believed a home was a place to live – not an investment. I believed the Catholic Church was run by good men doing good things. I believed journalists and the media were watchdogs working on behalf of the public. I believed our military was protecting our interests. I believed politicians legislated on behalf of the people. I believed the main purpose of bankers was to loan money to businesses and consumers in order to support economic growth. Boy, was I dumbass.

    My skeptical nature, reliance on data I’ve personally vetted, and judging our leaders based on what they have done versus what they say, has allowed me to escape the Matrix. I wasn’t truly awakened until I watched Bush, Cheney, Powell, the rest of the neo-con prevaricators and fake news mainstream media utilize propaganda to railroad Americans into a $6 trillion unnecessary war, resulting in 36,000 American casualties, the destruction of a country and the creation of thousands of new Muslim terrorists.

    I’ve spent the last fourteen years pushing back against the establishment narrative, documenting the fake data published by government apparatchiks, and trying to open the eyes of as many people as possible to the propaganda utilized by the Deep State to keep the ignorant masses dazed, confused and distracted. The country is in deep trouble because what the majority believe regarding the economy, politics, religion, and culture just ain’t so.

    “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”Mark Twain

    Since the start of this year I’ve found myself in a mental funk. I’m tired of the lies. I’m tired of incessant media propaganda. I’m tired of politicians. I’m tired of economic experts. I’m tired of hucksters touting their “the end is near” tale to sell me something. I’m tired of faux mainstream media journalists and their whining about Trump being mean and threatening the First Amendment.

    They don’t know jack about the First Amendment, as they work for one of the six media conglomerates whose job it is to produce fake news supporting whatever narrative keeps their Deep State benefactors in power. Regurgitating lines written for them by corporate propagandists is not journalism and has absolutely no relationship to the First Amendment. Over the last decade the only place to find some truth has been the alternative media thriving on the uncensored internet. That’s why the establishment wants to regulate the internet.

    The fake news blitz by a Deep State, flailing about trying to retain their power and wealth, has reached frantic proportions. The left wingers, egged on by Obama and funded by Soros, hold increasingly inane protests with themes like: wear a vagina hat to support feminazis; hug an illegal immigrant; everyone I hate is a Nazi; and women take another day off and no one notices. The traitorous neo-con warmongers like McCain, Graham, and Kristol see their enormously profitable never ending global conflict agenda at risk. The military industrial complex needs enemies. The left wingers and neo-cons have joined forces to utilize the fake Russian election intervention propaganda in a last ditch desperate attempt to derail the Trump presidency before it starts.

    The relentlessness, bitterness, and blatant disregard for the truth exhibited by Trump’s vast array of opponents have made TV virtually unwatchable. I’ve found myself mentally checking out. Why waste mental energy debating hacks, mental midgets and paid trolls for the establishment? After spending years obliterating fake government statistics on a daily basis, I find continuing to do so is just mental masturbation with no ultimate satisfaction. Confronting left wingers and neo-cons is like wresting with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

    I’ve always been an observer. I’ve been observing how certain both sides are regarding their positions on illegal immigration, Muslims, Russia, Obamacare, Supreme Court nominees, executive orders, jobs, taxes, climate change, school choice, oil pipelines the First Amendment, Second Amendment, the rule of law, and the Bill of Rights. I find it exhausting. We’re lost in a blizzard of lies. I’m not certain about anything. I will remain skeptical of everything uttered by all politicians, all government bureaucrats, all corporate executives, all central bankers, all media pundits, all religious leaders, all corporate paid journalists and especially Wall Street shysters.

    “Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.”H.L. Mencken

    The dissonance between what I have been observing and what is being flogged by the establishment mouthpieces in the corporate mainstream media has never been greater. Some of my observations are anecdotal, others are based on real unadulterated truthful data, a few are based on simple common sense and the rest are based on my understanding of what happens during Fourth Turnings.

    When you understand the cyclical nature of history you are not surprised when events lead to reactions among the masses which take the linear thinking status quo by complete surprise. The 2008 global financial implosion and the subsequent election of Donald J. Trump by the deplorable white silent majority completely blindsided the oblivious establishment, but were entirely predictable if you had studied previous Fourth Turnings throughout history.

    I’ve been making a horrific sixty mile round trip commute into Philly for the last ten years. The average daily commute has been about two hours, as the entire route has been under some sort of construction for the entire decade. A fantastic one way commute is forty five minutes. I regularly have ninety minute commutes, and I’ve experienced a few which breached the two hour mark. It became immediately evident to me something changed as this new year got under way. My morning and evening commute has been consistently in the forty-five minute range for the last two months. There are less cars and trucks on the road. The question is why?

    This only happened once before over the last decade – during the 2008/2009 recession. In a shocking correlation (especially for brain dead tax and spend liberals), when there are less jobs, there are less drivers on the roads going to work. I tried to think of other reasonable explanations for why traffic appeared to be contracting so dramatically. But lo and behold, certain data can’t be easily manipulated by the government. Gasoline demand is plunging, with the year over year trend crashing to levels last experienced during the 2001 recession. Gasoline demand was higher during the 2008/2009 crisis. Demand was higher when oil was over $100 per barrel. Based on this crash in gasoline demand, Goldman Sachs issued a report saying we should be in a recession.

    Total miles driven are dramatically slowing down. It’s not because of electric cars or fuel efficiency, as the vast majority of the 17.5 million vehicles being hawked to the math challenged driving public (using low payment leases and six year 0% loans) are pickups, SUVs, or luxury sedans. The Fed induced and subprime debt fueled frenzy of vehicle sales (aka long – term rentals) has seen vehicle sales skyrocket from 10 million in 2010 to an all-time high above 17.5 million in 2016, while auto loan debt has soared from $700 billion to over $1.1 trillion during this same time frame. The truthfulness of the 17.5 million sales number may be in question, as dealer lots are stuffed with record levels of inventory. With a record number of cars in the hands of consumers, how could gasoline usage and miles driven crash?

    Vehicle Sales

    More questions emerge to those with critical thinking skills. If the unemployment rate is really 4.8%, how could 40% of the employable population (102 million) not be working? This explains the lack of cars on the road during my commute. Obama and his minions jabber about the tremendous jobs recovery during his reign of error. In 2007 there were 122 million full-time workers among a working age population of 233 million, or 52.3%. After Obama’s eight year economic “recovery”, there are 125 million full-time workers among a working age population of 254 million, or 49.2%.

    We’ve added 3 million full-time jobs in the last 9 years, and the captured mainstream media touts this as a success story. The deceitfulness – it burns. When 125 million full-time workers, of which 22 million are non-producing government drones, have to support 102 million non-working Americans, most living on the dole, you have a financially unsustainable paradigm. Trump’s slogan should be Make Americans Get Off Their Fat Asses and Work Again.

    The explanation for the plunge in gasoline demand and miles driven is quite simple if you haven’t drunk the mainstream media kool-aid about the fantastic economy, low unemployment, and soaring consumer confidence. Americans drive their vehicles to work, to shop, and to eat out. Truckers are the backbone of our just in time big box retail society. If Americans are driving less, there are less people with jobs, less spending at bricks and mortar retailers, and fewer people eating out.

    If truckers are logging less miles, retailers are ordering less inventory, manufacturers are selling less widgets, and the economy is contracting. The entire economic improvement narrative is based on soft data about feelings from consumer confidence surveys and dozens of other easily manipulated surveys. Propagandists are experts at convincing clueless dolts it’s raining when their government is actually pissing down their backs.

    Despite government reports about expanding retail sales and strong holiday sales, real info from real retailers tells the true story. Major retailers have announced 1,500 store closings in the first two months of 2017, including:

    • JC Penney – 140 stores
    • Sears – 150 stores
    • Macy’s – 68 stores
    • HHGregg – 88 stores
    • The Limited – 250 stores
    • Abercrombie & Fitch – 60 stores
    • Wet Seal – 171 stores
    • CVS – 70 stores

    Kohl’s, Target, Macy’s, Sears, and dozens of other retailers reported awful holiday sales. Wal-Mart was lauded for generating a 1% comparable store sales increase. There is virtually no store expansion by large retail chains. During the 2000 to 2007 period these chains were each opening hundreds of new stores per year. We are in the midst of a long term retail contraction which is just picking up steam.

    The closure of these stores combined with rising interest rates are a toxic concoction for real estate mall developers. The Fed allowed them to extend and pretend for the last eight years. The jig is up. A wave of retail and mall bankruptcies is baked in the cake. The government reported retail sales growth is driven by Fed induced auto sales (leases and loans), home furnishing sales financed at 0% over five years, building materials stores offering 0% financing, Amazon and until recently restaurant and bar sales.

    Since I don’t go into malls or many retail establishments, and rarely eat at chain restaurants, my observations of retail and restaurant traffic are based on how full their parking lots are at peak hours. When the economy was in bubble mode prior to 2008, mall parking lots were jammed and you had a ninety minute  wait to get a seat at Outback or Olive Garden. Today, you can get a parking spot at a big box retailer near the front door on a Saturday afternoon.

    Malls are ghost towns, with Space Available as the hot new location. Except for peak dinner time on a Friday or Saturday (if then) there are no longer long waits to get a table at one of the struggling chain restaurants. We reached peak retail and peak overpriced restaurants a few years ago. The downward spiral, due to demographics, declining real income, and over-saturation, is irreversible.

    Image result for restaurant performance index

    As usual, with propaganda distributed by the government or industry organizations, they present a positive restaurant performance index based on false hope and delusional expectations. Restaurant chains like Applebees, Outback, Ruby Tuesday, Chilis, Buffalo Wild Wings and many other major chains have been reporting declining same restaurant sales. Industry comparable restaurant sales are lower than two years ago.

    Outback’s parent company announced it will close more than four dozen locations of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. Ruby Tuesday is closing 100 locations. Despite government reports showing strong restaurant sales over the last eight years, annual traffic to U.S. restaurants has been flat or up just 1% since 2009, when there was a 2% drop in the wake of the Fed created financial crisis.

    The “increase” in sales was generated by price increases of 2% to 3% per year. Now these chains are paying the price for high prices, shitty food, and poor service from their college graduate millennial staff. With higher taxes, soaring Obamacare costs, student loan and auto loan debt up to their eyeballs, and low paying service jobs as their career, even clueless millennials have gotten a clue – they don’t have the money to eat out four times per week.

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows the majority of Americans have fallen further behind since 2009, with only the establishment and those leaching off the establishment profiting from the suffering of senior citizens and the former middle class. When real personal spending plummets at the highest rate since 2009, you just might be in the midst of a recession.

    As consumer confidence surveys, ISM surveys and Fed surveys provide fake news about consumer and corporate feelings about a glorious future, the hard data tells the truth. How could households feel confident when real median household income fell by $558 in December and is down by $529 year over year? How could Obama and his lapdogs in the mainstream media pontificate about the record economic recovery when real median income is 2% lower than it was nine years ago?

    How can anyone deny the average American household has been experiencing a depression since 2000, when real median household income is lower today than it was at the turn of the century? Do you think the lack of income growth over the last 17 years may have played a part in the deplorables electing Trump in November?

    The corporate fake news media will continue to produce the false narrative as directed by their Deep State employers. The credibility of journalists can be summed up in two pithy sentences by Hunter S. Thompson.

    “The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits—a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.” – Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    In Part Two of this article I’ll show how the Deep State/establishment/ruling class/status quo have utilized their mastery of propaganda techniques to convince the masses inflation and debt are beneficial to their interests and why Trump’s election is the pushback by a citizenry who are beginning to awake and are mad as hell.

  • 5 Dystopic Movies That Are Coming True Right Now

    From ‘border walls’ to ‘biometrics’ and from ‘economic collapse’ to the ‘surveillance state’, is life imitating art… or was it all a guidebook?

    As The Daily Sheeple’s Melissa Dykes notes, it’s actually kind of hard to watch some of these… things are hitting way too close to home these days.

  • Q&A: How Can I Stop My TV Spying On Me?

    Following today's publication, by WikiLeaks, of documents exposing the CIA's secret hacking program – describing tools that can turn a world of increasingly networked, camera- and microphone-equipped devices into eavesdroppers, AP's Frank Bajak answers the public's biggest questions. Bajak warns consumers, there's "not much you can do if you don't want to sacrifice the benefits of the device," but offers a silver-lining of sorts for the average joe, the "tools that appear to be targeted at specific people's (devices).. and many intrusion tools are for delivery via 'removable device'."

    Smart televisions and automobiles now have on-board computers and microphones, joining the ubiquitous smartphones, laptops and tablets that have had microphones and cameras as standard equipment for a decade. That the CIA has created tools to turn them into listening posts surprises no one in the security community.

    Q: HOW WORRIED SHOULD CONSUMERS BE?

    A: The intrusion tools highlighted by the leak do not appear to be instruments of mass surveillance. So, it's not as if everyone's TV or high-tech vehicle is at risk.

     

    "It's unsurprising, and also somewhat reassuring, that these are tools that appear to be targeted at specific people's (devices) by compromising the software on them — as opposed to tools that decrypt the encrypted traffic over the internet," said Matt Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania computer scientist.

     

    The exploits appear to emphasize targeted attacks, such as collecting keystrokes or silently activating a Samsung TV's microphone while the set is turned off. In fact, many of the intrusion tools described in the documents are for delivery via "removable device."

    Q: WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT A COMPROMISED INTERNET-CONNECTED DEVICE FROM COMMUNICATING WITH SPIES?

    A: Not much if you don't want to sacrifice the benefits of the device.

     

    "Anything that is voice-activated or that has voice- and internet-connected functionality is susceptible to these types of attacks," said Robert M. Lee, a former U.S. cyberwar operations officer and CEO of the cybersecurity company Dragos.

     

    That includes smart TVs and voice-controlled information devices like the Amazon Echo, which can read news, play music, close the garage door and turn up the thermostat. An Amazon Echo was enlisted as a potential witness in an Arkansas murder case.

     

    To ensure a connected device can't spy on you, unplug it from the grid and the internet and remove the batteries, if that's possible. Or perhaps don't buy it, especially if you don't especially require the networked features and the manufacturer hasn't proven careful on security.

     

    Security experts have found flaws in devices — like WiFi-enabled dolls — with embedded microphones and cameras.

    Q: I USE WHATSAPP AND SIGNAL FOR VOICE AND TEXT COMMUNICATION BECAUSE OF THEIR STRONG ENCRYPTION. CAN THE EXPLOITS DESCRIBED IN THE WIKILEAKS DOCUMENTS BREAK THEM?

    A: No. But exploits designed to infiltrate the operating system on your Android smartphone, iPhone, iPad or Windows-based computer can read your messages or listen in on conversations on the compromised device itself, though communications are encrypted in transit.

     

    "The bad news is that platform exploits are very powerful," Blaze tweeted. "The good news is that they have to target you in order to read your messages."

     

    He and other experts say reliably defending against a state-level adversary is all but impossible. And the CIA was planting microphones long before we became networked.

    Q: I'M NOT A HIGH-VALUE TARGET. BUT I STILL WANT TO PROTECT MYSELF. HOW?

    A: It may sound boring, but it's vital: Keep all your operating systems patched and up-to-date, and don't click links or open email attachments unless you are sure they are safe.

     

    There will always be exploits of which antivirus companies are not aware until it's too late. These are known as zero-day exploits because no patches are available and victims have zero time to prepare. The CIA, National Security Agency and plenty of other intelligence agencies purchase and develop them.

     

    But they don't come cheap. And most of us are hardly worth it.

    Source: AP

  • China Imports Spike As Lunar New Year Skew Creates Biggest Trade Deficit In 3 Years

    When the headline prints hit tonight on China's trade data, offshore Yuan dipped and ripped…

     

    As China faced its first trade deficit in 3 years (-$60bn vs +172.5bn exp)…

    Obviously there is some major seaonality…

    With imports exploding 44.7% YoY (and exports missing expectations dramatically +4.2% vs +14.6% exp). But it appears the economists forgot about this year's lunar new year holiday falling in January (vs Feb last year).

     

    As Bloomberg points out, the results were skewed because the week-long Lunar New Year holidays that shutter factories and ports across the nation occurred in February 2016 versus late January in 2017, distorting base year comparisons.

    Even though the specific data point is entirely worthless, we note that Imports from U.S. rose 41% to 163.5b yuan in Jan.-Feb., General Administration of Customs says in statement.

    For now it appears Bitcoin is suffering the most post-data (but this could be renewed selling pressure from this morning ahead of this weekend's ETF decision)

  • Hawaii To File Lawsuit Over Trump's New Travel Ban

    If Trump was harboring any hopes that his “new and revised” travel ban would sneak through unopposed, they were just dashed by the state in which Trump’s ex-presidential nemesis was born. 

    Just as the federal government said Washington state and Minnesota had consented to dismiss their cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Hawaii announced it plans to challenge Trump’s new travel ban, according to legal documents as well as tweets from one of the lawyers involved.

    “Here we go,” tweeted Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal Tuesday night, and one of Hawaii’s lead attorney. “Proud to stand w/State of Hawaii challenging Pres. Trump’s ‘new’ Executive Order issued yesterday.”

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    “To be sure, the new executive order covers fewer people than the old one,” Katyal said in an interview with CNN. However, he added that the new order though still “suffers from the same constitutional and statutory defects.”

    The state will file its complaint and temporary restraining order in federal court by Wednesday, according to a document published on the website of the Hogan Lovells law firm, based in Washington.

    After Trump’s initial immigration order faced quick backlash, with protests breaking out across the country and many lawmakers speaking out against it, the president on Monday issued a new revised order on immigration which revised the original one by exempting green card holders, removing Iraq from the list of banned countries, and being phased in over a period of time. It still bans travelers from six mostly-Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days and bans all refugees from entering the country for 120 days.

    According to a briefing schedule set forth in documents filed in federal court by the state of Hawaii on Tuesday, the federal government will file its response by Monday and oral arguments would take place on March 15.

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  • The Next Domino To Fall: Commercial Real Estate

    Via Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

    Unless the Federal Reserve intends to buy up every dead and dying mall in America, this is one crisis that the Fed can't bail out with a few digital keystrokes.

    Just as generals prepare to fight the last war, central banks prepare to battle the last financial crisis–which in the present context means a big-bank liquidity meltdown like the one that nearly toppled thr global financial system in 2008-09.

    Planning to win the next war by assuming it will be a copy of the last confict is an excellent strategy for losing the next war. The same holds true for the next financial crisis: reckoning that it will be a repeat of 2008 is an excellent way to be caught completely off-guard.

    Crises may rhyme, but they don't repeat. The next Global Financial Meltdown won't start in subprime mortgages–that sector has been wiped out, written down, or passed on to the poor tax-donkey taxpayers.

    The next crisis also won't arise on money-center banks, either. Central banks have figured out how to bail out the banks, and have rebuilt the bank balance sheets by stripping hundreds of billions of dollars in interest from savers.

    (Sorry, widows and orphans–your interest income had to be transferred to the big banks. We're sure you understand why the banks are more important than you are as you enjoy yet another meal of canned beans and saltine crackers.)

    The central banks and state treasuries around the globe may be confident they can bail out the banks, but what if the next domino to fall isn't a bank? What if it is a "safe, high yield asset" held by institutional owners such as pension funds, insurance companies and REITs (real estate investment trusts)?

    What if the next crisis isn't a spot of bother caused by excessive leverage, but a systemic collapse of collateral as an entire sector–retailers holding millions of square feet of bricks-and-mortar store space–falls off a cliff?

    Consider this chart of sky-high commercial real estate (CRE) valuations…

    and this photo of a decimated major mall…

    and this partial list of retail closures, some due to bankruptcy, others due to downsizing, and others that claim to be downsizing but are actually the initial stages of liquidation.

    Talk about an overvalued market set up for a fall. It isn't just malls becoming empty retail wastelands–it's Corporate America shifting to flex-work and work-at-home, slashing the need for floor after floor of costly business-park office space.

    It's about restaurants moving to smaller spaces as they move to serving more meals via delivery services.

    Commercial real estate is grossly overbuilt in retail and office space. Combine sky-high valuations with cratering demand and billions in short-term CRE loans that must be rolled over into new loans, and we don't have a liquidity crisis, we have a collateral crisis— the assets supporting the debt are no longer worth the loan balance.

    Unless the Federal Reserve intends to buy up every dead and dying mall in America, this is one crisis that the Fed can't bail out with a few digital keystrokes. Gordon T. Long and I discuss this brewing crisis and its potentially devastating consequences in our program Is Retail CRE The Next Financial Implosion? (YouTube)(34:12).

  • If You Think Your Job Is One That Cannot Be Automated, You're In For A Rude Awakening

    Via Duane of FreeMarketShooter.com,

    It is pretty accepted knowledge that a number of lower-skilled jobs will disappear in the coming 5-10 years, due to the human element being replaced by autonomous machines. 

    One of the most at-risk professions is that of Truck Driver, which as 13D Research points out, is one of the no.1 reasons you rarely (if ever) hear President Trump discuss automation in the workplace:

    A widely circulated NPR graphic shows “truck driver” was the most common job in more than half of the U.S. states in 2014?—?in part because how the Bureau of Labor Statistics sorts common jobs, such as educators, into small groups. Indeed, truck driving is one of the last jobs standing that affords good pay (median salary for tractor-trailer drivers, $40,206) and does not require a college degree. According to the American Trucking Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. Entire businesses (think restaurants and motels) and hundreds of small communities, supporting an additional 5.2 million people, have been built around serving truckers crisscrossing the nation. That’s 8.7 million trucking-related jobs. It also represents one of Trump’s most important voting blocs?—?working-class men.

    And while it may be further out on the timeline, if you think your job requires a higher, special element of skill and mental acuity that just cannot be automated, you are probably very mistaken.  In fact, there are few (if any) jobs in which a machine would be inferior to a person.  And this is not as far out in the future as you may think.

    Just imagine, how Truck Drivers would have reacted if ten years ago, you told them that they would be at risk of being replaced by a machine?  And this isn’t some far-off vision of the future… it is happening now:

    But like many of the blue-collar jobs the President promised to save during his campaign, the future of these 3.5 million trucking jobs is less than certain. Fully automated trucks could put half of America’s truckers out of a job within a decade, The Los Angeles Times reported last year. This isn’t an imagined future. It’s already happening. Otto, an automated trucking company acquired by Uber, made a delivery of beer last year and has been approved to travel two routes in Ohio.

     

    Last year, Noel Perry, an analyst at industry research firm FTR Transportation Intelligence, told The International Business Times: “Despite a shortage in high-quality drivers, pay hasn’t gone up in five years. Trucks are easier to drive.” So-called “soft-automation” features, like automatic braking and lane assist, mean the trucks can already be driven by less experienced operators commanding smaller salaries. Even ahead of automation, the profession is losing traction. Perry’s final remark to IBT strikes to the heart of the matter?—?“The free market produces jobs, the government doesn’t.”

    Now imagine, telling lower level lawyers, doctors, programmers, accountants, etc, that their jobs are at risk now.  While many people would scoff at the notion, they are likely the same people who scoffed at the notion of trucks being automated ten years ago.  Denis Sproten explained a lot of the history and future of automation of labor recently:

    A short introduction, first there were the luddites, destroying machinery, which automated mundane tasks. People tell us, we should be happy that we don’t need to do these anymore. This is all history, from which we moved on:

    • Working the fields / weaving: Let’s assume that required a machine with IQ 80 or MIQ of 80, production increased and more products were sold on markets, consumption increased, transportation was needed and distribution of goods into shops. More roads were needed etc, we found a replacement occupation in the next layer.
    • Working as a driver / service industry : assume it requires a machine of IQ 100-110, more complex tasks, product knowledge, navigation, forms to be filled, start of knowledge industry. These jobs are being replaced now as we get automated trucks, drones delivering, online shops replacing shops on the street.
    • Working in an office Knowledge Industry : assume it requires an IQ of 100-120, even more complex tasks, which involve creation of new products, design, programming, lawyers, accountants, doctors etc. We are not there yet, but we soon will have AI which can do basic tasks of doctors, writing news articles, design thinking, algorithms which categorise knowledge and lets you search it.

     

    People are being pushed to become Data Scientists, AI programmers, math geniuses writing algorithms, all jobs which likely require an IQ of 130+. Programs can now write music and are starting to be creative.

     

     

    The trend I see is that, yes we will be able to find new jobs, but they will require really highly intelligent people, which covers only a small percentage of the population, no matter how much education they have received. Maybe becoming cyborgs will be the answer, if we believe Elon Musk.

    More “intelligent” machines below the scale of a true “A.I.” means a growing number of jobs will be “outsourced” to machines, and they will never be coming back.  Even now, you likely find yourself with less reason to visit the doctor, because you can just go on WebMD and see if there is a simple solution to what ails you.  Imagine that function being extrapolated across a series of machines at the basic level of medicine, to serve your needs for more common medical questions/issues.  Wouldn’t that eliminate the need for a significant number of medical professionals?

    Medicine is just one example, because truly nothing is off limits.  “Humans Need Not Apply” explained this masterfully over two years ago – if you think your job is “safe” because “a machine could never do it,” you better think again.

    (Note: This video is 15 minutes long, and while I’m hesitant to post lengthy videos, since the attention span of viewers for short clips drops significantly after one minute, you may reconsider your job security after seeing this one.)

    All of this is a precursor to a topic I plan on discussing in the future – not if, but when, a machine is created that is as capable (or more likely, far superior to and more capable than) as a human being.  What will that machine look like and be capable of?  How will it view and process the existence of humans, and/or threat human beings pose to its own existence?  It is something you have seen in many sci-fi movies, and discussed by many billionaire business moguls and scientists.  Still, there are many aspects of A.I. that have not been touched on by the ongoing discussion, mostly related to how a machine would react, knowing that it is superior to its human creators.

    In the meantime, while the machines created today and in the near future might not be more capable than their human creators, they are going to become exceedingly efficient at the jobs they are built to do.  And one of those jobs a machine might replace, is yours.  Whether this is something that a politician is willing to discuss or not, you should think long and hard about what it will take for a machine to replace you in the workplace, and what you will do with your life if that happens to you while you’re still in your working years.

  • Snowden: What The Wikileaks Revelations Show Is "Reckless Beyond Words"

    While it has been superficially covered by much of the press – and one can make the argument that what Julian Assange has revealed is more relevant to the US population, than constant and so far unconfirmed speculation that Trump is a puppet of Putin – the fallout from the Wikileaks’ “Vault 7” release this morning of thousands of documents demonstrating the extent to which the CIA uses backdoors to hack smartphones, computer operating systems, messenger applications and internet-connected televisions, will be profound.

    As evidence of this, the WSJ cites an intelligence source who said that “the revelations were far more significant than the leaks of Edward Snowden.”

    Mr. Snowden’s leaks revealed names of programs, companies that assist the NSA in surveillance and in some cases the targets of American spying. But the recent leak purports to contain highly technical details about how surveillance is carried out. That would make them far more revealing and useful to an adversary, this person said. In one sense, Mr. Snowden provided a briefing book on U.S. surveillance, but the CIA leaks could provide the blueprints.

    Speaking of Snowden, the former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower, who now appears to have a “parallel whisteblower” deep inside the “Deep State”, i.e., the source of the Wikileaks data – also had some thoughts on today’s CIA dump.

    In a series of tweets, Snowden notes that “what @Wikileaks has here is genuinely a big deal”, and makes the following key observations “If you’re writing about the CIA/@Wikileaks story, here’s the big deal: first public evidence USG secretly paying to keep US software unsafe” and adds that “the CIA reports show the USG developing vulnerabilities in US products, then intentionally keeping the holes open. Reckless beyond words.”

    He then asks rhetorically “Why is this dangerous?” and explains “Because until closed, any hacker can use the security hole the CIA left open to break into any iPhone in the world.

    His conclusion, one which many of the so-called conspiratorial bent would say was well-known long ago: “Evidence mounts showing CIA & FBI knew about catastrophic weaknesses in the most-used smartphones in America, but kept them open — to spy.

    To which the increasingly prevalent response has become: “obviously.”

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  • Only In Cali – Strip Poker Playing Ex-Mayor Stole Money From Kids Programs To Fund Filipino Fetish

    Last summer we wrote about the arrest of Stockton, California’s mayor, Anthony Silva, after an FBI investigation resulted in charges of playing strip poker and providing alcohol to minors at a youth camp he ran for impoverished children (see “Politicians Gone Wild: Underage Strip Poker, Meth For Sex, & White Males Need Not Apply“).

    As if that weren’t bad enough, Silva is back in the news today after once again being arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on a whole new slate of charges including embezzlement, money laundering and grand theft with aggravated white collar crime enhancements.

    Charges were brought by the San Joaquin District Attorney and allege that between 2010 and 2014 Silva stole “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from the Boys and Girls Club of Stockton through a variety of embezzlement schemes.  That said, the depth of the embezzlement is still unknown as the DA is reviewing a total of $2.7 million that flowed out of Club accounts over the four year period in question. Per ABC 10:

    The DA alleges in the six felony counts, from January 1, 2010 to February 24, 2014, Silva defrauded and ripped off hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Stockton Kids Club.

     

    They allege he pocketed the cash into his own personal bank account, taking control of Kids Club bank accounts and credit cards.

     

    The DA said $2.7 million in a three year period flowed out of the Kids Club accounts in the form of “at best” 50,000 checks.

     

    “How and where it went, we don’t know,” Deputy DA Robert Himelblau said.

    So what did Silva spend the money on?  Well, apparently a good portion of the funds went to cover several trips to the Philippines as well as the monthly dues associated with an online dating website called “filipinocupid.com” and numerous stays at his local Motel 6.  We assume his Motel 6 stays were funded by the hour which helped to preserve at least some cash for the poor kids of Stockton.

    “He destroyed 45 years of good work at the Boys & Girls Club, a well-respected and heavily endowed institution for his own personal, ill gotten gains,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said.

     

    Silva allegedly used the cash on dating website filipinocupid.com. He also allegedly used the money on trips to the Philippines, South Lake Tahoe, Motel 6 and Best Buy.

     

    Silva is also accused of what Himelblau called “double dipping.” He explained employees who work at the Stockton Kids Club are paid by the Stockton Unified School District.

     

    But, Himelblau said evidence was found that Silva also pocketed grant money given to the Kids Club by the national Boys & Girls Club.

     

    “Then what Mr. Silva did was create a duplicate set of time cards and submitted them to the national Boys & Girl Club. That’s the double dipping scheme. Those are the documents Mr. Silva signed saying he would not receive reimbursement for duplicate services,” Himelblau said

    Silva plead not guilty to all 6 charges and is currently being detained on a $1 million bail. 

    It’s no wonder that TV ratings are in the tank…it’s almost impossible to make up content salacious enough to compete with reality.

     

    http://interactive.tegna-media.com/video/embed/embed.html?id=2531501&type=video&title=Anthony%20Silva%20pleads%20'not%20guilty'%20to%20financial%20crimes&site=103&playerid=6918249996581&dfpid=32805352&dfpposition=Video_prestream_external§ion=home

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