Pumping Us Up, by Eric Peters

Eric Peters examines the ethanol ripoff mandate. From Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Most people know they’re paying a lot of taxes every time they buy a gallon of gasoline.

Proportionately, few taxes are more regressive than motor fuels taxes – which currently amount to about 35 percent of the per gallon cost of gas (roughly, 50 cents in federal and state taxes on each gallon, which currently sells for a little over $2).

But there is a another tax on motor fuels which very few people even know exists that also dips deep into their pockets.

It is the federal mandate that each gallon of gas sold contain a certain percentage (currently, 10 percent) of so-called “renewable” fuels. This being chiefly ethanol alcohol, which is made of corn. About 40 percent of all the corn grown in the United States is not used to feed people or animals. It goes toward mandated-by-government ethanol production, which is then force-fed to American drivers every time they fill up.

This corn con is one of the greatest boondoggles in existence – hugely profitable to the companies which make this product no one really wants – but which they government requires them to buy.

 Ethanol is touted as “renewable,” which is true. It is also grossly inefficient. Ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline, so your car’s engine has to burn more of it to go a given distance. It is one of the reasons why modern cars – notwithstanding all their technological advances – don’t get get particularly good gas mileage.

Back in the ’80s, many cars achieved 40-plus MPG on the highway – even though they didn’t have the advantages of modern engine technology. But they did have the advantage of 100 percent gas – not 10 percent ethanol-adulterated “gas.”

To continue reading: Pumping Us Up

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The Value of Everything, by James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler draws an apt comparison between contemporary America and France just before the revolution in 1789. From Kunstler at kunstler.com:

We are looking more and more like France on the eve of its revolution in 1789. Our classes are distributed differently, but the inequity is just as sharp.

America’s “aristocracy,” once based strictly on bank accounts, acts increasingly hereditary as the vapid offspring and relations of “stars” (in politics, showbiz, business, and the arts) assert their prerogatives to fame, power, and riches — think the voters didn’t grok the sinister import of Hillary’s “it’s my turn” message?

What’s especially striking in similarity to the court of the Bourbons is the utter cluelessness of America’s entitled power elite to the agony of the moiling masses below them and mainly away from the coastal cities. Just about everything meaningful has been taken away from them, even though many of the material trappings of existence remain: a roof, stuff that resembles food, cars, and screens of various sizes.

But the places they are supposed to call home are either wrecked — the original small towns and cities of America — or replaced by new “developments” so devoid of artistry, history, thought, care, and charm that they don’t add up to communities, and are so obviously unworthy of affection, that the very idea of “home” becomes a cruel joke.

These places were bad enough in the 1960s and 70s, when the people who lived in them at least were able to report to paying jobs assembling products and managing their distribution. Now those people don’t have that to give a little meaning to their existence, or cover the costs of it. Public space was never designed into the automobile suburbs, and the sad remnants of it were replaced by ersatz substitutes, like the now-dying malls. Everything else of a public and human associational nature has been shoved into some kind of computerized box with a screen on it.

To continue reading: The Value of Everything

Sanctions Bill: An Ode to Hypocrisy, Groupthink, Smugness, and Cronyism, by Justin Raimondo

Congress enshrines a state of permanent US hostility towards Russia, Iran, and North Korea. From Justin Raimondo at antwar.com:

The Republican-controlled Congress couldn’t get it together on healthcare, infrastructure, immigration, or much of anything else, but, hey, they got together with the Democrats on a Russia sanctions bill: the “Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Act.” If you read the text, the proportion of moral preening, rheotorical rodomontade, and blustering bloviation is unusually high, even for a bill with Lindsey Graham’s and John McCain’s imprint all over it. That it also manages to violate the terms of the Iran deal is an extra added bonus.

The meat of the bill involves tying the President’s hands when it comes to actions intended to “significantly alter US foreign policy with regard to the Russia Federation” – with the explicit understanding that the default policy is implacable hostility. Under the terms of this bill, no action designed to improve relations with the Russians  is permitted. In order to take such actions, the President must first submit a proposal to the appropriate congressional committee, in both houses of Congress, which must then approve (or, more likely, disapprove) it.

This bill is, in effect, a de facto declaration of war – cold war, to be more precise. This is the Congress of the United States putting the nation – and the Russians – on notice that Cold War II has begun.

The bill is filled with self-justifying polemics, asserting that Russians have delayed or obstructed the Minsk agreements, when in reality it is the government of Ukraine which has refused to implement its part of the agreement by failing to hold local elections in eastern Ukraine, refusing to reform the constitution to comply with the Minsk accord, and continuing to bomb, strafe, and murder its own people in that region.

To continue reading: Sanctions Bill: An Ode to Hypocrisy, Groupthink, Smugness, and Cronyism

 

The Economic Collapse Began Long Ago, by Gerold

As SLL has argued, the US is in a slow-motion depression. Gerold at theburningplatform.com provides additional support. 

My forty-year old Godson was belly-aching about the lack of jobs. He whined it’s all the Boomers’ fault.

I tore a few strips off him. I asked him WTF am I wasting my time researching and writing these articles if he doesn’t read them. Since I had him cornered, I told him a few things he obviously didn’t want to hear.

We are in an economic depression. It was predicted in Strauss and Howe’s 1997 book “The Fourth Turning” [Link]  that occurs every four generations as a time of great turmoil. Their Generational Theory is a framework which explains where we are, how we got here and where we’re going. For more details see ‘Notes” at end.

This is a ‘Stealth Depression.’ The government is doing its utmost to hide it with fake statistics. Their ass media handmaidens are carrying their water telling us everything is wonderful. And, if my Godson believes the ass media, he deserves his fate.

At the bottom of this deception are fake inflation (CPI) statistics. They distort everything else because most economic data is ‘inflation adjusted.’ Consequently, when other economic data such as GDP growth is adjusted with fake inflation statistics, then those numbers are also distorted.

Note: there’s a difference between inflation (increased money supply) and Consumer Price Index (CPI), but I used the terms interchangeably to make it easier for my Godson to understand.

Anyone who buys stuff or reads John Williams ShadowStats [Link] knows that the actual inflation rate in 2017 is roughly 5% and NOT the bullshit 2% (or less) that the government claims. I say “roughly” because I rounded the numbers to make it easier for him to understand.

I wish I could have shown him the ShadowStats graph below.

Consequently, every so-called 2017 statistic that’s “inflation-adjusted” is off by 3%. (Hint: 2 – 5 = -3)

The government claims that (inflation adjusted) 2017 GDP growth is roughly 2%. Since it’s understated by 3%, it means the economy is “growing” at negative 1%. In other words, the economy is SHRINKING by 1%. And, that’s only this year.

To continue reading; The Economic Collapse Began Long Ago

Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence, by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Independent cyber investigators have examined the metadata into the intrusion, erroneously called a hack, into the DNC’s servers in July 2016. Their conclusion: it was a downloaded leak, not a hack. From VIPS at consortiumnews.com:

In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year. 

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?

Executive Summary

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see hereand here].

Independent analyst Skip Folden, a retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.

To continue reading: Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence

 

He Said That

From the Star Wars-themed fake paper submitted by Neuroskeptic to nine scientific journals and accepted by four:

May the farce be with you, by Lee Travis

This would be hilarious were it not so disturbing. From Lee Travis at defiant thinking.wordpress.com:

People put so much weight on what the “experts” say – it’s easier to abdicate our own research and critical thinking and rely on others who are supposed to know more than we do. It makes sense to an extent – no one has time to do their own research on every question that comes up, especially complicated issues like science or economics – but blanket trust placed in others, simply because they have a degree or have been published somewhere, can be a dangerous thing.

Case in point: A scientist who blogs under the name “Neuroskeptic” wrote a spoof academic piece and submitted it to nine scientific publications, to see whether any would publish what was clearly and explicitly a farce. He chose a Star Wars theme for his submission, writing under the names “Dr. Lucas McGeorge” and “Dr. Annette Kin,” and focusing on the “midi-chlorians,” fictional entities that live inside cells and give Jedi their powers.

The bulk of the paper was a copy-and-paste of the mitochondria entry from Wikipedia, changed with a simple find/replace to turn mitochondr* into midichlor*. He then added clear Star Wars reference, such as:

  • “Beyond supplying cellular energy, midichloria perform functions such as Force sensitivity…”
  • “Involved in ATP production is the citric acid cycle, also referred to as the Kyloren cycle after its discoverer”
  • “Midi-chlorians are microscopic life-forms that reside in all living cells – without the midi-chlorians, life couldn’t exist, and we’d have no knowledge of the force. Midichlorial disorders often erupt as brain diseases, such as autism.”
  • He inserted dialogue verbatim from one of the movies, including the monologue on the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.

To continue reading: May the farce be with you