Cheetos Man, Rocket Man, and bond issues

So Cheetos Man delivered a clear message to his supporters that he will flex his dick at North Korea. This faux machismo rhetoric is designed to keep his supporters in the flyover states and the military pension types happy. In actuality, Rocket Man is following his daddy and granddad’s playbook for extorting more cash out of the U.S. Right now the U.S. Treasury is cutting the check while the Federal Reserve Bank in New York is preparing a bond issue in order to cover the cost. Good thing the debt ceiling was raised so that more tax dollars can be stolen in order to pay for it. (Sips a little tea and munches on the popcorn).

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Eroding the State means eroding each individual’s fear

In Murray Rothbard’s “Anatomy of the State“, he describes how the State came into being and how it maintains its control over its citizens. The State does a great head job on its subjects. For an example of how effective the State is at garnering loyalty, all one need do is look in their Facebook timeline and see how often the word “we’ is used during a political crisis; from a potential military conflict with North Korea to getting rid of Obamacare, citizens express the belief that they have skin in the political game.

According to Rothbard, the notion of “we” is fallacious. We are not the State. If so, “we” would be on the hook, for example, for the death of every young black male killed by police fire. “We” would be on the hook for burdensome taxes and unfair civil asset forfeiture carried out by government. “We” would also be on the hook for collateral damage from drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Iraq, even though almost no Americans had a personal relationship or gripe with any of the civilian victims.

Why do the masses fall into the “we” box? The short answer is fear. Fear drives the need for people to follow the State, no matter what form the State takes. Whether it is tyranny by the masses (democracy) or tyranny by a monarch or autocrat, it simply boils down to how the State manipulates fear in order to carry out predatory activity. People follow the State for a number of reasons.

People may be swayed by a need for belonging. Where the State can create a “national consciousness” narrative, people will follow it. People may also assume that the State has their best interest at heart. “We are here to save and protect you from the dangers that lurk out there, just like your parents protected you.” Thing is, for most of us, our parents weren’t the cause of the dangers that are lurking to destroy us. For example, stupid assumptions about communism sweeping through Asia and the impact that it would have on the West is what caused the rift between North Korea and the United States. Policy makers, however, take no account for this and rather hold themselves out as protecting Americans from “Rocket Man.”

People may be swayed by the “muscularity” of the State. Who would not want to pay allegiance to a nation-state with the world’s biggest consumer market or strongest military or persuasive narrative on freedom?

Rothbard points out that the State’s expertise in science is used to hold the allegiance of its citizens. For citizens already predisposed to admiration of this attribute, they may fear being excluded from the benefits of the State’s expertise.

I think anarchists underestimate the emotional place that sources the allegiance most people have for the State. I believe the emotional yearning for something bigger than themselves that plays savior in their lives is a barrier that anarchists will not crack with mere rants about how bad the State is.

A better approach is to persuade individuals to take a self-actualization approach to their fears; asking individuals to address the emotional filter that creates that delusion that the State has a monopoly on curing their fears. This will take a persistent education initiative in order to create and environment of real freedom from State tyranny. Fear as the battery of tyranny has to be squelched.

Anarchists are so far doing a poor job of shaking the veneer of fear that has been thrown on us. We have poor public relations.

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The Democratic Party has colonized Black America. Kick them out.

For at least the past fifty years, the Democratic Party has managed to successfully mine the Black American community for an important source of political capital: the vote. The Democrats have identified the Black community’s elite (or probably in some cases created them), and successfully persuaded them, with promises of privilege, power, and money, to message and persuade the masses to transfer votes to them. The masses in return receive low value trinkets, i.e. food stamps, low quality health care, sub-standard ratchet housing.

Power doesn’t like to share capital. Power will provide just enough in resources to maintain some calm among the have-nots. Distract the masses while high value resources and capital are being accumulated by a few households. The Democratic Party, as a surrogate for the few wealthy households, do a better job than Republicans at keeping the masses at arms length. While Republicans focus on non-emotional themes like military expansion, tax reform, job growth, or business expansion, the Democrats appeal to emotional issues such as health care, child care, social security, or civil rights.

There is a saying within the Black community that the community puts too much weight on its emotional lenses when assessing its political economy or when reacting to policy issues. Staying up in our feelings, especially feelings driven by past and current discrimination, have provided an opening for the Democratic Party to craft political packages that give the illusion of meeting a need. In exchange for their “Care Bear” packages, the Democrats extract hard political currency, the vote, from Blacks.

But are the items that the Democratic Party allegedly gives a shit about provided to Blacks in such a way as to make a substantial dent in Black America’s standard of living? As a survivability unit? In my opinion, the answer is no. Blacks are at the bottom of the economic totem pole in America, holding a fraction of the wealth that whites have, with an unemployment rate double that of their white counterparts. The dearth of wealth means no control of the factors of production that run an economy. Any achievements are in the “one-zee, two-zee” zone, achievements that tend to be reserved for elite blacks.

Is the Democratic Party holding Black Americans back? The answer is no. The Democrats offer nothing of substance, just rhetoric and trinkets that tickle emotions, but the decision to be powerless lies squarely on the shoulders of Black America. To be powerful, a people must choose self-determination. It would have been better for Blacks to appropriate the southeastern United States and start an independent colony there. It would have been a violent struggle but at least it would have resulted in resources, deep water ports, land, self-determination, and pride.

Posted in black American, consciousness, Democrats, diversity, economics, Political Economy, poverty, race, United States | 1 Comment

What is really behind universal basic income? #JoeBiden #UBI

Former vice-president Joe Biden is expected today to express his opposition to universal basic income, a concept where the federal government can save billions of dollars in social welfare payments by cutting every American a check for an amount that provides for some quality standard of living. Mr Biden takes issue with the concept because it strikes at the heart of meaningfulness of work; the value a person avails himself for taking the lunch bucket to the job and bringing home a wage that takes care of the family while taking a vacation once or twice a year.

Internet companies such as Facebook and Google see universal basic income as the right approach for mitigating job losses in a changing economy, one that is increasingly become knowledge based. The universal basic income would go a long way to closing the wealth and income inequality gap, these companies would argue.

I think Silicon Valley’s promotion of UBI goes a bit further than altruism. They represent an industry that has seen expansion in capitalization, revenues, and profits while employing a fraction of the labor employed by other large industries. Silicon Valley’s hiring practices have been under fire the past few years, particularly in the area of minority hiring. UBI, in my opinion, gives Google and Facebook a “Collect $200 and Go” card from these social policy issues.

Rather than making a contribution to closing the gap by increasing hiring opportunities, Internet companies rather pass that cost off onto the government by getting tax payers to foot a UBI bill. With guaranteed income flowing to consumers, Google and Facebook enjoy the benefits of a subsidized consumer; a consumer with enough disposable income to buy products that advertisers put in front of their eyes on social media.


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#USVI mobile broadband subscribers fed up with .@sprint service

The following text from a recently filed petition was provided by United States Virgin Islands resident, Genevieve Whitaker.

As Virgin Islands (U.S.) customers and persons who visit the islands we have endured for years poor cell phone coverage throughout all three islands even before Hurricane Irma hit the territory, devastating St. Thomas and St. John.

We are therefore seeking the immediate demand of the following: for Sprint to provide its customers in the Virgin Islands with full service as per their contractual agreements.

We also ask that our policymakers starting with our Governor, Governor Kenneth E. Mapp to engage the Chief Executive Officer of Sprint to find an immediate solution to why we continue to be subjected to substandard service.

Additionally, we seek support of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the Attorney General Office in opening and investigation into the matter to explore the legal options available to us (FCC complaint, Class Action, etc.).

Posted in broadband, Caribbean, FCC, Federal Communications Commission, Sprint, technology, U.S. Virgin Islands, wireless | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

To produce and consume

To produce and to consume are integral to any human’s basic survival. The right and the left have managed to turn these functions into political enterprises by pitting consumer against producer; by creating producer interests and consumer rights.

In short, they have successfully pit the individual against herself, particularly by ripping out her independence to do both.

Posted in capital, consumer protection, consumer welfare, economics, free markets, Political Economy, society | Leave a comment

American influence in Asia is dead

American influence in Asia is dead. The Trans Pacific Partnership initiative to open up further trade in Asia was a disaster. Now the icing on the cake is China’s crafty positioning regarding the U.S. spat with North Korea. China is telling the U.S. that whatever beef you have with North Korea is something you two need to work out. In private, the Chinese are probably telling the Trump administration the following:

1. We’re tired of you Yankee fuck faces screwing around in our turf. If you want us to call off the dogs, then you need to cut back on your attempts to enter our markets, and …

2. When we buy your worthless bonds (backed by the full faith and credit of your taxpayers), you are going to pay us a higher yield because as long as Cheetos Man is making deals with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, it is a sign that the President is mentally unstable….

Yes, China has the U.S. right where they want them….Grab the popcorn and tea. Should be a wild ride….

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The cave that was #Irma

Hurricane Irma kept us locked in our homes, many without electricity, including me and my son. Like the fictional character, ‘Bane’, from the “Batman Trilogy”, I was raised in the dark, with periodic power outages par for the course for growing up in the Virgin Islands. I joked with friends that my son may have to be sent home for his “WAPA training”; WAPA, being the territory’s water and power agency.

While many here in Florida and Georgia fought the idea of being in forced solitude, I relished the time being in Irma’s cave. It gave me time to reflect on self, something that 99% of us simply don’t take the time to do. Just imagine the increased clarity of mind and purpose if we took moments in a virtual cave to reflect on our fears or to formulate a vision for our growth.

We shouldn’t have to wait on events like Irma in order to enter that cave.

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Irma and self-reliance show need for a resilient grid.

As I sit here in Atlanta saying to myself, “so far, so good”, as the utility grid continues to deliver electricity to the West End and other neighborhoods, I am also thinking about people in my two home regions: the Eastern Caribbean and Florida. Irma’s pounding of the Caribbean has obliterated Barbuda and has the residents of St Martin scrambling for food as they fight for physical and emotional survival. My birthplace, St. Thomas, has seen its hospital destroyed and over 70% of its electricity infrastructure destroyed.

Irma, at the time of this writing, caused two million South Florida households and businesses to lose power, with an additional four million other households throughout the Sunshine State experiencing the same debilitating effects from the storm. Irma tells me that while no utility grid is storm proof, continued investment has to be made to ensure that recovery times after a storm are reduced, allowing those customers who rely solely on utility-provided electricity to access energy.

A resilient utility grid infrastructure also provides an important backbone service for consumers who are able to provide their own electricity. A growing number of citizens are producing their own electricity at their residences, choosing instead to be self-reliant. This capability to be self-reliant is supported by an energy grid that backs up a consumer for whom electricity-storing batteries are not available or when the sun is blocked or sufficient wind is not available to power their electricity generation.
For that residential energy generator, the utility grid connects her to the utility and via advanced communications technology, utility and generator to exchange information regarding a utility’s needs for excess electricity and a residential generator’s ability to meet that demand. Today’s grid is a “smart” one, using advanced communications technologies that allow utilities to better troubleshoot problems, determine where outages are, and communicate with ratepayers.

It is unfortunate that the self-reliance narrative has gotten either a bad rap or taken a back seat in the overall discussion about grid reliability and maintenance costs in an era where utilities are attempting to incorporate residential solar or wind into their grids. Contrary to popular belief, utilities have never expressed an opposition to self-reliance.

What utilities have made clear is that in order for them to provide a resilient electricity infrastructure, each ratepayer, whether they rely solely on the grid or use the grid to provide energy when the sun or wind is not available, should contribute to costs incurred for keeping the grid available, reliable, and resilient.

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Time for Afro-Caribbeans to play the long game and leave the #Caribbean

I was born in the Caribbean, so its difficult to say this but it may be time for Afro-Caribbeans to abandon this European outpost in the armpit of the Atlantic. It is easy to put aside nostalgic feelings about the place or abandon the awestruck feeling you get when taking in the areas natural beauty when you remember that the Caribbean is a European construct developed in part by clearing out its native Carib and Arawak Indian inhabitants while using the cheap labor provided by African, Indian, and Irish slavery and indentured servitude.

I would argue that there is nothing “African” about the Caribbean save a few bedtime stories courtesy of a West African spider-man and percussion-driven, African inspired kaiso music. The Caribbean’s architecture, monetary system, and legal system are all derived by European minds for the continued protection of the European financial and business interests that remain in post-colonial Caribbean.

As a European outpost with little in natural resources and much in poverty, there is next to nothing to exploit economically. Independent nations can only live on the lifelines provided by the World Bank and its alphabet soup derivatives but for only so long. You can’t live off of nostalgia and emotions for a place that you didn’t create or own little to nothing of. We didn’t build the beaches. We don’t own the hotels. We don’t own the oil companies or refineries.

What we do own is an opportunity to reconnect, to close the circle by exploring the opportunities on the continent to which we can trace a significant portion of our DNA—Africa. For those Afro-Caribbeans who have accumulated a level of skill and expertise, this is an opportunity to leverage expertise and capital in an area of the world that desperately needs our contribution.

I am not naive about the challenges of readjustment, realignment, and acclimation.  It took centuries to change the emotional filters of a people of African descent, so much so that the vast majority of Afro-Caribbean people would scoff at the idea of a return. We have to consider what are the benefits of trying to scrabble a life from beautiful but resource lacking rocks, especially when whatever profit is accumulated isn’t flowing to us, but to European masters and the World Bank.

Posted in capital, Caribbean, Economy, Ghana, human rights, Immigration, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Political Economy, poverty, trade, U.S. Virgin Islands, West Africa | Tagged , | Leave a comment