Six Californias moves ahead: Silicon Valley uber alles

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 11:28 am by George Smith

Today venture capitalist Tim Draper, dean of Draper University for Heroes and bringer of BitCoins to Argentine investors who need something like gold to replace their pesos, successfully submitted the necessary signatures to get his Six Californias referendum on the ballot in 2016. This, you recall, the campaign to free the Silicon Valley from the rest of us who aren’t destined to be disruptive world-changing entrepreneurs.

He put 4 – 5 million of his own money into it, considerably less than the 19 million spent on 30,000 BitCoins from Silk Road, which will — one assumes — still have good value after 2016.

“He’s got a pretty high bar to pass,” Corey Cook, director of the University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, told the San Jose Mercury News. “There’ll be a general skepticism of how dividing the state would improve it.”

And here is another swank video of a perfect Culture of Lickspittle moment, Draper singing “The Riskmaster” backed by WJM, a band of 11-year olds seen much more frequently than might be expected on Bay Area stages if their parents weren’t well-heeled investment managers and disruption consultants.

There is much video on YouTube and a photo spread at the SJ Mercury News here. Jello Biafra wept.

But there is no denying they do one music genre well: Perfect dad rock by 11-year olds for the pleasure of upper class parents throughout San Francisco, San Jose, Mountain View and Menlo Park. It’s a not inconsiderable audience and one that still has money to spend.

Readers will note pictures of the approving fathers and mothers in the Mercury News feature, one “who is managing partner and president of Palo Alto Investors, LLC, an investment management firm founded in 1989 with $1 billion in assets invested in healthcare.”

Another is a principal in something called the W20 Group, the website of which advertises its expertise in “pragmatic disruption” and “entrepreneurs in a state of ‘do’ — blowing up existing models one at a time.”

Endorsed by WhiteManistan’s Rock N Roll Bigot

Posted in Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 7:36 am by George Smith

Tripod, Ted, tripod.

Guy needs better minders. But who wants the job?


The Superhero of Venture Capitalists rides to the rescue of Argentine wealth

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Fiat money fear and loathers at 3:00 pm by George Smith

Why did Tim Draper buy up 30,000 Bitcoins from the US government?

So he can set up digital gold stockpile for other wealthy people in Argentina, where the upper tier on the society is distraught that inflation in the country’s crippled economy is devaluing their assets and all the debt they’re owed.

From one business journal:

Boost VC, the company founded by Tim’s son, Adam Draper, yesterday announced it had partnered with Tim to provide bitcoin liquidity to emerging markets, we learned in the press conference that was just the beginning of his plans.

Already, Boost VC has invested in bitcoin payment gateway, Bitpagos, with roots in Argentina, a nation with an average inflation rate of 205 percent between 1944 and 2013, making it a perfect place for bitcoin users, which are forecast to experience 11.1 percent inflation this year.

Argentina’s economy is in rough shape for its average citizen, so bad it has spawned a word — gasoleros, originally the title of a television series — to describe a lifestyle of just getting by.

BitCoins are not for the poor, whether they’re here or in Argentina, Turkey or Mexico.

And in Argentina, one way to avoid having your assets devalued by inflation is to invest in dollars. And there is a blackmarket operation for that in Argentina, which limits exchange of pesos for a maximum of $2,000/month, an amount most of its citizens cannot do because they simply do not earn enough money in the crippled economy.

Enter BitCoin, which doesn’t do anything to fix that, but is like gold.

From the New Yorker:

There is some evidence that very wealthy individuals in economically troubled countries—if not governments themselves—are turning to bitcoin as a more stable investment than their own currencies. Last year, Sergio Ruestes, an Argentine filmmaker, released a brief documentary about some of his countrymen’s enthusiasm for bitcoin as an escape from the rapidly falling peso, and as a means of circumventing capital controls such as restrictions on international money transfers and monthly limits on the purchase of U.S. dollars. The Economist recently reported that Argentina is home to more bitcoin-accepting businesses than any other South American country …

Draper is planning to use his digital wealth, in partnership with a company called Vaurum, to finance bitcoin-exchange services in the developing world. At a press conference, he praised bitcoin’s ability to “provide liquidity and confidence to markets that have been hamstrung by weak currencies.??? He singled out Argentina and its out-of-control inflation. “We are all going to be so much better off because of bitcoin,??? he said.

From the New York Times, on hedge-fund bond-holders, or as they’re sometimes referred to in Argentinian news, “vultures” circling its economy:

Argentina’s government has 30 days to decide whether it should try to make peace with a group of New York hedge funds that it has bitterly fought for years in a dispute that could change the global market for government bonds.

The hedge funds, after a series of important victories in United States courts, have managed to back Argentina into a daunting legal corner. Judge Thomas P. Griesa of the Federal District Court in Manhattan has told the country that it cannot make payments on its main class of foreign bonds without also paying the defaulted bonds that the hedge funds hold …

Argentina could allow a default at the end of July. The [hedge-fund bond holdouts], seeing that the government has gone to such lengths, might then decide to soften their stance. Alternatively, the holdouts may hold firm until next year to see if the next Argentine government is less combative.

The Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto BitCoin Elvis, the comic book, is coming.

Too bad we’re not big enough to reincorporate in Ireland or some other tax cheat economy

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:30 pm by George Smith

Evergreen. Should still be a hit single. Would be, too, if more people (those still thinking that maybe someday they’ll be wealthy, too, so don’t dare cause unrest) didn’t find the simple truth so uncomfortable.

From the wire:

David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, now lecturer at Syracuse University’s law school and business school, tells Yahoo Finance that these moves are nothing new. “A lot of that money overseas is being siphoned out of the U.S. through accounting devices … because of a 1986 law … that lets companies build up profits tax-free…. A lot of big companies like Apple (AAPL) literally turn a profit off their taxes.”

Bloomberg reported in March that U.S. companies added $206 billion to their overseas stockpiles last year and Microsoft (MSFT), along with Apple (AAPL) and IBM (IBM) accounted for 18% of that total. And the Congressional Research Service says 47 U.S. companies have “inverted” since 2003–almost double the number in the previous 20 years.

From Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz:

This white paper outlines concrete policy measures that can restore equitable and sustainable economic growth in the United States, in the context of the country’s recurring budgetary crises …

Reforms to corporate and personal income taxes will be essential in restoring economic vitality. Examples include implementing financial transaction taxes; increasing corporate tax rates while incentivizing investment in the U.S. and closing loopholes; increasing taxes on rent-seeking …

Tax arbitrage has become a major and highly profitable activity for firms — an activity with no social returns but high social costs.

Apple has become the prime example of how a clever firm can use its ingenuity to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by attributing profits to corporations that are essentially stateless, existing only in cyberspace, and which pay taxes to no jurisdiction. What makes these actions by our tech companies so galling is that these companies’ profits exist, in no small part, because of basic investments by government, for instance in developing the internet and the browser. These companies show a willingness to take from what the public has provided but not to give back commensurately.

In detail and what to do about it, here.

No article from the tech business wire would be complete without someone chosen to explain how this corporate thieving is actually proper, because contrary to what the Nobel-winning economist has explained, America is totally unfriendly to its big corporations:

But Mattie Duppler, director of budget and regulatory policy at Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist’s organization, says companies are just “trying to decrease their [tax] liabilities and be able to keep revenues at a place where they can continue to hire workers and continue to invest in [their] products…. but they can’t do that if they’re living in an environment that makes them globally uncompetitive and that’s what the United States is right now.”

Friedman: Smartphones and social media made Iraq beak up

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:29 am by George Smith

From the guy who said “suck on this:”

Why is this happening now? Well, just as I’ve argued that “average is over??? for workers, now “average is over for states,??? too. Without the Cold War system to prop them up, it is not so easy anymore for weak states to provide the minimums of security, jobs, health and welfare. And thanks to rapid advances in the market (globalization), Mother Nature (climate change plus ecological destruction) and Moore’s Law (computing power), some states are just blowing up under the pressure …

You can’t understand the spread of ISIS or the Arab Spring without the relentless advance in computing and telecom — Moore’s Law — creating so many cheap command-and-control Internet tools that superempower small groups to recruit adherents, challenge existing states and erase borders. In a flat world, people can see faster than ever how far behind they are and organize faster than ever to protest. When technology penetrates more quickly than wealth and opportunity, watch out.

The combined pressures of the market, Mother Nature and Moore’s Law are creating the geopolitical equivalent of climate change, argues Michael Mandelbaum, author of “The Road to Global Prosperity” …

We all remember how Facebook and one Google employee freed Egypt, right?

Then the entire Middle East followed.

And who can forget how Mark Zuckerberg solved the problem of shortages in organ donation over a glass of wine with wife?

Social media, smartphones and the web are integral to the Culture of Lickspittle. They allow for the creation of global fantasies of astonishing permanence.

So what happened to Wael Gonim?

The real world has not worked out so well:

One of the figureheads of Egypt’s 2011 uprising says he is staying away from the country “as Egypt no longer welcomes those who are like me”.

Wael Ghonim’s statement comes amid claims by fellow activists that Egypt’s government has returned to the authoritarianism of the pre-2011 era …

His activism led to an 11-day spell in police custody during the uprising, and despite his protestations, Ghonim subsequently became a poster boy for the revolution, both in and outside Egypt. Among many other plaudits he was one of Time magazine’s 100 people of the year.

Three years on, Ghonim once again appears to be an enemy of the establishment, targeted alongside other activists in recent days by a pro-regime television channel, al-Kahera Wal Nas. In a bid to discredit him and the 2011 uprising, the channel aired some of Ghonim’s private telephone conversations earlier this month. A presenter claimed the conversations demonstrated that Ghonim had used the revolution for his own gain.

In exile.

“[Some] states are just blowing up under the pressure [of Moore’s law, social media, and climate change,]” says Friedman.

That would be those in the neo-Confederacy, right?


WhiteManistan’s Rock n Roll Bigot exposes the plot to kill him for eating venison

Posted in Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 11:43 am by George Smith

Ted Nugent regularly whines about being openly called racist in columns and in his public statements. When he does this he often blames a dead person, Saul Alinsky, and then asserts he loved Rosa Parks or MLK.

Nugent’s bizarre confabulations have no effect on anyone with even a shred of brain power.

However, he fits perfectly with the attitudes of the white right and Tea Party, which in exhibitions of massive groupthink, tends to always assert that when called out for being bigoted, it is evidence of precisely the reverse — everyone else being racist.

In interview this week, promoting his new record ShutUp&Jam, Nugent can’t practice what he preaches. Although he says he wants to just shut up and play music, inevitably he always comes back to the itches he just hasn’t been able to scratch:

Interviewer: But I also think you must know that that statement [mentioning Martin Luther King, Jr.] coming from you, is going to piss some people off.

Nugent: Well only in the world where the liberal democrat driven media has repeated the lie and the nasty evil accusation of me being a racist. Yeah, in that world, sure. Here we are in 2014. That’s why the question I pose to you is absolutely undeniable. Here’s the society we live in, where people want to kill me because I eat venison. Really? And you’re in charge of my diet when? None of this surprises me. When you have such a rotten man, whose agenda has always be against America, against exceptionalism, against being the best you can be, against entrepreneurial risk and productivity, like Barack Obama.

When questioned in even the gentlest way Nugent becomes evasive and changes the subject to something that has nothing to do with the original query. In this case, trolls hating his Facebook page and allegedly wanting to kill him because he consumes deer meat.

The “kill me because I eat venison” is another one of Nugent’s odd mental tics, one he’s used frequently in recent interviews.

The bigot who is astonished that anyone would call him one, also includes this laff riot, from the same interview, in which the great venison plot is again mentioned:

Well, it means something. I get on Facebook and see people who want to kill me and my family because we eat venison. Now that’s sad, and it’s demonic, but in the world that we live in, I laugh so hard I can hardly see straight. That’s funnier than Richard Pryor’s afro catching on fire.


Chlorine season

Posted in War On Terror at 3:43 pm by George Smith

Summer means swimming pool and water feature recreation. Sanitary water requires the regulated circulation and injection of chlorine into water.

Things go wrong.

What usually happens is nothing too serious. Chlorine is immediately perceptible when in the air and people move away quickly unless they’re cut by a puff. Chlorine, a halogen, is immediately corrosive to mucous membranes, which means one feels it in the eyes and airway at once.

And this happened today in Michigan.

From the wire:

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – The Hazmat situation at Michigan’s Adventure on Friday, July 11 occurred near the lazy river, according to one of those affected.

The witness, who was in the lazy river at the time of the incident, said she “got a splash of chlorine” and started coughing while finding it difficult to breath. Other witnesses reported burning lips.

At least 25 people are being individually hosed down in the Michigan’s Adventure parking lot following the medical emergency …

It happens around the country, not infrequently, although it does not always make the front page of Google news.

From Maryland, a couple weeks ago:

HIGHLAND PARK (KDKA) – The Highland Park pool will reopen this afternoon, 24 hours after a chlorine leak forced the pool to close.

An issue with a chlorine canister Thursday caused a dangerous problem.

It happened around noon, before the pool was open for the day, workers were moving chlorine canisters when the top of one snapped off, causing a major leak.

The canisters are roughly 5 feet tall and hold about 100 pounds of liquid chlorine.

Decades ago, when I ran a community swimming pool, we had chlorine cylinders just like that.

They were robust. The delivery truck used to simply heave them off the back end onto macadam. It was not something I’d have recommended but they are made to take it. None ever burst or developed leaks, although the macadam of the lot took a beating.

However, once the protective shield comes off the top where a regulator is attacked, the copper fixture is more fragile. From time to time, leaks did develop.

And, in Ohio, the same week:

More than a dozen campers and staff at a Franklin Township day camp are recovering after they got poisoned by chlorine in an indoor pool Tuesday.

“We had several children who were coughing and vomiting,??? said Lt. Patrick Edwards of the Kent Fire Department. “We also had a couple of staff members who had the same symptoms.???

[A pool supervisor] said a camper accidentally hit the emergency shut off button for the pool pump. When staff restarted the pump, an excessive amount of chlorine shot into the pool while kids and staff were in it.

And this is exactly how many small exposures happen.

Chlorine is often added to the water through a bubbler in a pipe that carries inbound water from the filters to the swimming pool. If the water flow is interrupted and the chlorine is not simultaneously shut off, it builds up in the empty pipe.

When the water is turned back on it emerges as a bubble, or a puff, at the first outlet. If swimmers are around, they are exposed.

Usually, the results are not severe because the amount is never substantial enough. However, it can still result in a great deal of irritation to the eyes and throat, sometimes requiring a check by medical personnel.


Posted in Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 8:43 am by George Smith

An amusing video from Maine, satirizing Ted Nugent’s opposition to a referendum to disallow bear-baiting during season in that state.

Previously noted here.

And still no takers for the $7,000 red, white and blue acoustic guitar signed by Ted Nugent to raise money for his support bear-baiting in Maine cause.


Globally Networked Potato Salad Riches: Those pesky trolls

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:43 pm by George Smith

Between yesterday and today, Zack Danger Brown’s crowd-funded potato salad lost 30 thousand dollars.

Turns out, you can be a troll on Kickstarter quite easily, contributing a theoretical amount of money, then withdrawing the offer with no penalty before the fundraiser closes.

And this is, indeed, what is happening, to a certain extent. See comments here, of which one is excerptable:

This project set a precedence for crappy meme projects. To [sic] many people who want a get famous quick scheme is [sic] ruining what was once an awesome website for people who actually had unique products to bring to the market.

For this reason I am canceling my pledge as I do not want to have this project on my backer history… not even for a dollar.

And the Culture of Lickspittle is never slow to widely adopt its best ideas.

From the wires:

Following news that an Ohio man has raised upward of $52,000 to “basically just make potato salad,??? crowdfunding aspirants around the country are cooking up similarly half-baked ideas. Scroll through Kickstarter’s “recently launched??? page, and you’ll find projects seeking funds to make macaroni salad, ambrosia salad, homemade spaghetti, smoked wings and even Nutella-covered bacon. And that’s just for starters.

“Help me make coleslaw,??? asks one project creator.

“Pasta salad is better than potato salad,??? boasts another.

In this bizarre race to the bottom, there is even a Kickstarter hopeful seeking $8 to make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich …

Today’s new usage of the Silicon Valley word used to describe the future, abundance.

Kickstarter was quickly overrun by an abundance of anonymous tech industry assholes.

Quotable Keith Alexander

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 12:34 pm by George Smith

It didn’t come out quite the way he wanted it to. But it sure sounded good to the stenographer.

From Politico:

Gen. Keith Alexander, who resigned from the NSA/CyberCom earlier this year, on his move to the private sector: “It wasn’t me saying, ‘Wow, I can go make a lot of money doing A, B, C and D,’??? Alexander said. “I do think, like everybody else, I have some great insight in this area.” And, later: “A doctor who works at Walter Reed who’s a brain surgeon and retires, and he’s a world-class brain surgeon, would you find it acceptable that he could go to the Genome Center in Manhattan and work there???? he said.

Oh, Mr. Alexander! There’s a humanitarian quality to being brain surgeon, something sort of lacking in being the director of an intelligence agency.

Plus, there’s the thing were you have to go to medical school, be awarded the M.D. thing, that’s also not commensurate.

And, yes, there are MD’s who do research in neurology and genomics.

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