Daily Reading #30

I have been cleaning up the 100+ tabs in my browser, so not so much current stuff.

US Foreign policy under Bush and Obama have produced a disaster for the world. Kissinger, Brzeznski and the Israeli-Neocons did this to us, ‘real politic’. BS, the world has memories, history is not driven only by power.  Karma makes for ups and downs, points of history they didn’t notice.  The combined dislike of the world means something in terms of power, it is how much you have to pay for your alliance. When the US was savior of the world, after WWII, we had most countries on our side, tho some used the threat of Communism to begin extorting modern danegeld from us. This Deep State-MIC-favored nations foreign policy has been a disaster for the world, no exaggeration. There is simply no way to win games as complex as a nation state with activist policies. Comparitively, by focusing strictly on dollars, some companies of relatively-infinitessimal scope  manage to make a profit, and we know how badly corporations scale. Ditto militaries (ours is out of control) and crony-capitalist industries.

The great exception is the corruption caused by the Deep State, that scales positively non-linearly. Crime pays so well without criminal input to the system that it is just another market for companies to enter. They have some control of the development of the law. It would be naive to assume they do not have a lot to do with what is illegal in our society, our entire morality is slanted toward opinions that benefited tobacco and big pharma and big alcohol.

Smart people have said many better variations of that ever since I was able to understand them. The wise rulers of our country have brought us to this pass, and will now try to blame the cascading failure on Trump, of course. Of course, he will deserve some of it, because he will be pursuing an activist federal policy, probably domestically and internationally. The government is organized so as to expand continuously, there is no end to the need for government services, new fiefdoms arise every year.

Nobody voluntarily gives up power. If Trump does that and forces devolution of government upon the states, he is George Washington magnified. (Just thinking about Washington’s ‘voluntary’ renunciation of a Kingship, it is easy to imagine a bunch of patriots who would immediately have started the revolution to deposed him, Cromwell’s radical puritan co-religionists were a large political power. Why have I not read that history?) He needs Nicholas Taleb on his list of close advisors, people who give him a briefing from their pov every few weeks, including serious contrarians in all arenas.

Most of our Federal government is a system that needs dismantled, not reformed. I don’t think ‘Drain the Swamp’, I think ‘dissassemble the apparatus that makes it profitable to act that way’. The alternative is to continue our endless rounds of reform and new corruption arising from the very apparatus that was once thought to be reform. Like drug laws. Like all of the marriage laws. Like the many morality laws. Push responsibility back on the most local levels. It will happen anyway, a trend that favors local labor. Like the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (the ones who issue the pollution permits). Push the power back to local communities and the downstream communities, things will be cleaned up. The Forest Service is one of the biggest proponents of logging, etc.

Abolition, not reform, is the only answer to America’s many problems.

This shows the Phillipines, Turkey (and by implication, all of the Silk Road countries, Syria through the West coast of Africa, the old silk road into Spain), drifting from Washington’s control :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-20/duterte-meets-putin-lashes-out-western-hypocrisy-while-fed-turkey-wants-join-shangha

Establishing peace is much more difficult than starting a war :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-mosul-offensive-latest-tal-afar-killers-iraq-sectarian-violence-a7419536.html

High tech military means you spend far more on defense than a 3rd world attacker will spend on the attack :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-19/american-militarys-real-problem-shooting-ants-elephant-guns

Political opponents fueled by outside $, no doubt, are behind the 100K protesters :

http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/asia/2016/11/indonesian-fire-play-161117101320534.html

Do you really think this doesn’t happen with the officials of all countries, including the US? It is less of a factor, perhaps, but the Podesta emails show that people write to their friends all the time with requests to help hire children.  A business that did business with high level people would of course value those contacts. Not just the oligarchy, every business in every small town, it is the way people behave :

http://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/2047045/jpmorgan-pays-us264-million-fine-settle-us-probe-nepotism-hires

Age does increase wisdom, conscious control of your mental processes is not best for all problems. Indirect approaches are more creative, wiser, in ‘insight problems’ :

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/11/another-reason-to-ditch-brain-training-a-declining-mind-may-make-you-wiser/

Smaller countries generally have more intelligent drug policies, unless they are under the thumb of the US, of course :

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/10/portugal-fifteen-years-decriminalised-drug-policy-161015091127668.html

I trust the Saker’s judgement, but don’t know this guy. Otoh, the Saker is against the Neocons, Deep State corruption is the problem, and the media’s crying wolf so often all bias me toward this view. I hope so, and have long thought that the rapid changes in comm tech and impossibility of keeping secrets in a world of electronic messaging were trends hard against the Deep State :

http://thesaker.is/fear-and-loathing-inside-the-deep-state/

It links to this WaPo hit piece on Flynn. I didn’t know what to think of Flynn before, now know he at least has opinions contrary to the Deep State. Excellent. I think ‘no management ability’ cannot be true, you don’t run a string of intelligence assignments like he has if you don’t have some :

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nearly-the-entire-national-security-establishment-has-rejected-trumpexcept-for-this-man/2016/08/15/d5072d96-5e4b-11e6-8e45-477372e89d78_story.html?tid=a_inl

Once they look for oil shale, it is found in massive quantities around other oil fields. Energy Returned On Energy Invested isn’t as simple as the Peak Oil people would like us to believe :

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Why-The-Permian-Just-Got-Even-Hotter.html

The economics behind Trump’s victory :

http://www.lrb.co.uk/2016/11/14/rw-johnson/trump-some-numbers

‘Poison Tap’ just a $5 dongle you plug into a USB slot, and it takes over the machine. Computer security requires physical secuirty :

http://www.dailydot.com/debug/poisontap-hacking-tool/

http://www.nature.com/news/canada-s-proposed-natural-gas-plant-stirs-more-controversy-1.20975

A war reporter  thinks we don’t get very good analysis of the war from war reporters, because it is hard to gather the necessary detail, and because propaganda is so overwhelming :

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n19/patrick-cockburn/diary

Russians had nothing to do with the DNC hacks :

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/11/19/russians-did-it-robert-steele-baloney.html

This German analysis says that poverty was the major issue, and Trump talked about that, Clinton bashed Russia :

http://journal-neo.org/2016/11/18/101-how-does-one-get-elected-these-days/

This says that Trump will not have sufficient power to re-direct US Foreign Policy :

http://www.voltairenet.org/article194066.html

This says Trump’s opposition is not just from MIC, our modern SJWs are intellectual descendents of the Puritans and must oppose him on ‘moral’ grounds :

http://www.voltairenet.org/article194055.html

I haven’t selected articles from Electronic Intifada, but should have, there are more than a few sensible posts there. Israeli policy is terrible for Jews, it will lead to the dissolution of the country. Kushner, Trump’s son in law, is the Israeli-Neocon in his administration, I hope the only one :

https://electronicintifada.net/opinion

https://electronicintifada.net/content/study-hypocrisy/18021

https://electronicintifada.net/content/will-icc-see-through-israels-sham-justice/18321

Except for Pence, of course. I am disappointed in The Intercept for this story. The frame is the standard ‘racist’ shit they label Trump and crew with, but the info on Pence seems OK. Pence is obviously some of the reason Trump got the Christian vote. Exciting times :

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/15/mike-pence-will-be-the-most-powerful-christian-supremacist-in-us-history/

These are from The Arabist :

The CIA began using NGOs as cover as long ago as the Peace Corps. Now, nobody can trust them, thus all of these laws :

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-rights-idUSKBN13A2EJ?il=0

The bad guys are the Jihadists in Aleppo

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-battle-idUSKBN1350GB

From the Angry Arab News Service. Rational and balanced Arabic views of the world’s press and politics. Pictures of Syrian Rebels in East Aleppo : they don’t look moderate :

http://angryarab.blogspot.com.br/2016/11/we-never-see-pictures-in-western-press.html

OK, that was really the Guardian. As with most leftist media, they are often sensible in foreign affairs, hopeless on any issues that overlap with Leftist ideology :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election

http://angryarab.blogspot.com.br/2016/11/max-fisher-on-saudi-iranian-war.html

Not everything is sensible.  This calls Trump’s victory ‘neofascist’.

Another press release supposedly about scientific progress, with not enough info to learn much. Bad research or bad PR, and there are no links to allow knowing which :

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-11/uoy-aah111516.php

I found that journal, not that article yet, but some interesting stuff. This discusses Altered States of Consciousness and the use of psychoactive substances in pre-history. The Americas rank first in terms of abundance and variety of psychoactive plants. 90% of groups world-wide incorporated ASCs into their belief systems. Alcohol is ubiquitous after pottery. Direct evidence for plant-based psychoactives is lacking throughout the Palaeolithic, but nobody has reasons they would not have been used, animals do, but lots in Neolithic and later. They make the point that cultures don’t stop using psychoactives one they start, and I make the point that chimps know what plants are good for their ailments, e.g. intestinal parasites :

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1751696X.2014.993244

Good summary article : Barak Obama spent 8 years expanding the National Security State. Now Trump inherits it and will do his own expansion. This lays out the mechanisms the oligarchy uses to control the US government :

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/donald-trump-barack-obama-surveillance-national-security-drones-foreign-policy/

Japan’s startling contrast with the US child rearing practices. Much more like I was raised on the farm :

How Japan Prepares Its Children for Independence

Emotions are complicated things, you don’t consciously experience all of them :

http://nautil.us/blog/you-can-have-emotions-you-dont-feel

I had a Chinese gf for a while who was part of the Red Guard generation. Her father was high up in Mao’s finance bureau, mother important in some other part of gov. Parents and brother were sent to the countryside, she joined the Army as a refuge, became a surgeon, spent time in Mongolia as a barefoot doctor. Tough life in those times for everyone.  This is a review of the histories now being published of those times. Same as Germany in the 30s, national propaganda can work very well. We are fortunate that we have the Internet preventing total info dominance of our MSM propaganda apparatus. These say that the aristocracy won, is still ruling China :

China: The Virtues of the Awful Convulsion

150 mutations in every lung cell for every year of smoking 1 pack of cigarettes / day.  :

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-11-day-year-mutations-lung-cells.html

Libertarian Free State project, no coercion and everything voluntary :

https://aeon.co/essays/what-happens-when-libertarians-try-to-build-a-new-society

Before WWI, there were no passports, no visas, you went where you wanted. “It takes less than a century to see the absence of freedom as a natural condition” :

http://swarajyamag.com/world/when-the-world-leaders-thought-passports-were-not-a-necessity

Internal divisions in the extremist Muslim movements, ‘far enemy’ vs ‘near enemy’. “People fear IS, but some fear their enemies more”. More detailed info about everyone’ strategy :

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n21/owen-bennett-jones/islamic-state-v-al-qaida

“For Paul Rogers, violent jihadism is a symptom first and foremost of global inequality, a revolt from the margins by people who see no evidence that increases in total global wealth are a benefit to them. On the contrary, improvements in education and mass communication only mean that they can appreciate more clearly the extent of their disadvantage and marginalisation. In that sense they are not all that different from the Naxalites in India, the Maoists in Nepal and Peru and the Zapatistas in Mexico.”

“The failure of Bush and Blair’s ‘war on terror’ is well established. But the consequences of the failure are perhaps too little reflected on. After 15 years of conflict, there are now many places on earth where Westerners dare not tread and Western politicians are reduced to defining victory as an absence of attacks at home. For the caliph and his sympathisers those are remarkable achievements. Before 9/11 the idea of establishing a caliphate would have been written off as a fantasy. Even if there are setbacks to come, the caliph and his supporters believe that time is on their side. It’s hard to disagree with Rogers’s prediction that these wars will carry on for decades, however much military force the global elite deploys to maintain the status quo. The former US defence secretary Leon Panetta predicts thirty more years of conflict, which is another way of saying there is no end in sight.”

Very good article. Prediction markets are one of the easiest ways of getting opinions from people with ‘skin in the game’. That lack is the problem with polls and will perhaps replace them. Prediction markets are the most accurate ways of predicting Presidential elections. No mechanism for prediction can deal with unknown unknowns, tho the article doesn’t deal with that :

http://www.nature.com/news/the-power-of-prediction-markets-1.20820

Such examples have inspired academics to probe prediction markets. Why do they work as well as they do? What are their limits, and why do their predictions sometimes fail?

Perhaps the most fundamental answer to the first question was provided in 1945 by Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek. He argued that markets in general could be viewed as mechanisms for collecting vast amounts of information held by individuals and synthesizing it into a useful data point — namely the price that people are willing to pay for goods or services.

“When someone starts to suggest a bet, people immediately start to clarify what they mean.”

Economists theorize that prediction markets do this information gathering in two ways. The first is through ‘the wisdom of crowds’ — a phrase popularized by business journalist James Surowiecki in his book of that name (Doubleday, 2004). The idea is that a group of people with a sufficiently broad range of opinions can collectively be cleverer than any individual. An often-cited case is a game in which participants are asked to estimate the number of jelly beans in a jar. Although individual guesses are unlikely to be right, the accumulated estimates tend to form a bell curve that peaks close to the actual answer. When investor Jack Treynor ran this experiment on 56 students in 1987, their mean estimate for the number of beans — 871 — was closer to the correct answer of 850 than all but one of their guesses5.

Funding mechanisms limit the growth of science, obvious to anyone who knows anything about the situation. Senior researchers I knew said they never wrote a proposal unless they knew the result, the experiment was already done :

http://www.nature.com/news/let-researchers-try-new-paths-1.20857

The entire food supply chain is ignoring the honey-bee death problem and glyphosate herbisides are bad for everything, including us. This evaluates food retailers for their attention to their supplier’s uses of pesticides and herbicides. The number of hives has not declined because suppliers just raise more queens and bees to repopulate the dead hives. Herbisides are a big cost in the industrial model. But, organic farming is more profitable than the industrial model, see Gabe Brown’s videos on Youtube. He is a pragmatist and has integrated their innovations one at a time, with improvements in production at each stage. His is dryland farming, but there are equivalent stories all across the US.  :

http://www.alternet.org/environment/if-you-want-help-protect-bees-deadly-pesticides-here-are-grocery-stores-avoid

The contrarian arguments of ‘low production’ are not true, exactly, by this account. I assume that the Berkeley Food Institute is trying to be very fair in its assessment, a meta-analysis of 115 studies comparing organic and industrial farming production, the gap is 20%. Gabe Brown could be more profitable than his fellow farmers for several reasons, among which his use of cattle to pasture and trample his cover crops, a replacement for the glyphosate in his version of no-til agriculture. So he started a local packing house, gets absolutely top dollar for locally-produced organic beef. You have to assume there are many, many such local markets for the best food, but that isn’t the same as producing enough bread and rice and corn.  We wouldn’t need nearly so much corn, because there would be more grass-fed beef, a consequence of the use of cover crops and the 1M pounds of beef pastured per acre in order to ensure that every acre is properly manured and the cover crop stamped into the ground.  Worm castings are 2 inches think by the time he plants, and the increasing amount of organic matter in the soil holds more rain, so he has better production than his neighbors in dry years. That continues to improve.

That is integrated farming, and no question is the future of farming.  It is applying local thinking to businesses, increasing the technology, replacing the mass-movement fads of the last 50 years of increasing FDA and USDA rule. Farmers aren’t dumb, we do not need a USDA. Local agricultural colleges would do a better job of focusing on local possibilities, they are largely driven by DC funding rather than their local statehouse. Much of the research has been done. There are a very large number of plants with fruits in the world, I saw a 3-volume set setting out all of the African plants with edible fruits, lots of detail on their climate and product, many for dry areas. There are 1000s of varieties of all food crops around the world. What is needed are more local researchers, people like Gabe Brown. They will happen for the same reason that produced Brown, financial pressure.  Every time crop prices decline and there is also a decline in yields because of climate variation, some group of farmers go broke. That trend increases yearly as the quality of soil, objective measures such as the amount of carbon, minerals and amount of water the top layers can hold without becoming waterlogged and producing runoff, continues to decrease. To avoid going broke, some will do like Brown did, experiment with cheaper production methods. Those kept him alive while he learned what he needed to know to become more profitable than his neighbors. But you can be assured that the agriculture industry, which has a large lobby in DC and the state houses :

Can organic crops compete with industrial agriculture?

Taleb is a great contrarian and is among our wisest commentators :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-20/nassim-black-swan-taleb-sums-obamas-legacy-3-painfully-real-tweets

Markets vs banksters. Banksers want Dodd-Frank because it is protection from their stupidity and keeps out competition :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-20/schumer-says-he-has-votes-block-dodd-frank-repeal-threatens-supreme-court-filibuster

The premise of this article is ‘you can predict future inflation by the recent past’. That is very wrong, e.g. the Weimar republic inflation went from low to hyper- in a few weeks. The discussion of economic trends is maybe OK. If liquidity is getting short in the financial system, the Fed no longer controls the interest rate. But it never did, it only controls the amount of money. Farmland prices have fallen fast in recent years :

Inflation 101: Prep School for Preppers

Obama’s stance on immigration is already having an effect :

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-19/obama-doj-halts-amnesty-lawsuit-uncharacteristic-display-humility

 

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