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No Posting 5/17-5/22

SLL will not post from 5/17-5/22. Posting will resume 5/23.

Robert

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Discrimination and Disparities II, by Walter E. Williams

The second part of Walter E. William’s review of Thomas Sowell’s latest book Discrimination and Disparities. From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

Part One

Last week’s column discussed Dr. Thomas Sowell’s newest book “Discrimination and Disparities,” which is an enlarged and revised edition of an earlier version. In this review, I am going to focus on one of his richest chapters titled “Social Visions and Human Consequences.” Sowell challenges the seemingly invincible fallacy “that group outcomes in human endeavors would tend to be equal, or at least comparable or random, if there were no biased interventions, on the one hand, nor genetic deficiencies, on the other.” But disparate impact statistics carries the day among academicians, lawyers and courts as evidence of discrimination.

Sowell gives the example of blacks, who make up close to 70 percent of NFL and AFL players in professional football. Blacks are greatly overrepresented among star players but almost nonexistent among field goal kickers and punters. Probably the only reason why lawsuits are not brought against team owners is that the same people hire running backs and field goal kickers. One wonders whether anyone has considered the possibility that professional black players do not want to be punters and field goal kickers?

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Unconstitutional Searches of Electronic Devices at American Airports Have Quadrupled, by Dagny Taggart

The government, particularly the TSA and border authorities, continue their wars on the First and Fourth Amendments. From Dagny Taggart at theorganicprepper.com:

“Go to any airport in this country and you’ll see how well our government is dealing with the terrible danger you’re in. TSA staffers are wanding 90-year-old ladies in wheelchairs, and burrowing through their suitcases. Toddlers are on the no-fly list. Lipsticks are confiscated. And it’s all done with the highest seriousness.

It’s a show of protection and it stirs the fear pot, giving us over and over an image of being in grave personal peril, needing Big Brother to make sure we’re safe.” – Ann Medlock, Home of the Brave

The federal government wants us to believe that its growing disregard for our First and Fourth Amendment rights is in the interest of national security.

Thankfully, there are organizations that are attempting to bring attention to the ever-expanding police state – and are even willing to fight them in court.

America is turning into a Constitution-free zone.

Since 2015, U.S. government searches of travelers’ cellphones and laptops at airports and border crossings have nearly quadrupled.

You might be tempted to believe that these searches are done for good reasons.

You’d be mistaken.

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Venezuela – Guaidó Got Snookered, by Moon of Alabama

It looks like if Trump wants to get rid of Maduro, the US is going to have to invade Venezuela. What could go wrong? From Moon of Alabama at ronpaulinstitute.org:

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Yesterday’s failed coup attempt in Venezuela significantly hurt the Trump administration’s international standing. It delegitimized its Venezuelan clients Juan Guaidó and Leopoldo López. After recognizing that their original ‘regime change’ plan failed (again) the White House starts to beat the war drums.

That wasn’t the plan:

The Trump administration, which has backed Mr. Guaidó since he first challenged Mr. Maduro’s authority more than three months ago, clearly thought the day would unfold differently.

There is no official explanation why the Trump administration believed that the comical coup attempt by Juan Guaidó and his master Leopolo López would work.

There are signs though that the government of President Nicolas Maduro set a trap. Several people in the top echelon of the Venezuelan government gave false promises that they would join the US proxy side. They snookered Guaidó into launching his coup to let him fail.

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Tipping Point: The Gilets Jaunes are winning, what’s next? by David Studdert

The French will probably get rid of Emmanuel Macron before he gets rid of the yellow vests. From David Studdert at off-guardian.org:

The weekend just gone, Manifestation 23, marked a seismic shift in the five month battle between the Gilets Jaunes and the French state. The Notre Dame fire has brought into the open the strategic shift in public opinion that has occurred over the winter; shifts all to the advantage of the Gilets Jaunes. While the cold winter months with their looming darkness only allowed us to glimpse two equal parties grinding away at each other in the gloom, the advent of spring and its clear light, reveals how the Gilets are gathering reserves of strength all over France, and how, now, they are slowly winning in Paris as well. The sight of French police surrounding Notre Dame and denying access to its ‘own’ population, starkly illustrates what the state seeks to deny. After all, these sort of monuments are the materiality through which states demonstrates their connection to the population, their right to rule and their own power.

The Neo-liberal state is crumbling and Macron is going be the sacrificial lamb. At this stage he will be lucky to last two months. His clumsy handling of the Notre Dame blaze has outraged and enraged more sections of the French population. Indeed throughout the five months of protest, and despite the wall to wall media propaganda, opinion polls consistently show continued and unwavering sympathy and support of the Gilets Jaunes.

In the sharp light of spring it is clear that Macron’s winter strategy: the Great National Debate, has achieved nothing for the government and more tellingly perhaps, has further revealed Macron’s own incapacity to either change himself or shift course. As one anonymous French state official reportedly said: ‘Mitterrand gave them an extra week’s holiday, but Macron can’t manage anything’. He simply seems unable in any form to communicate with either the Gilets or the people of France. His constant speeches, with their casual insults and lack of empathy, remain one of the best recruitment tools the Gilets possess.

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Why a Chernobyl-like Financial Disaster is Inescapable, by MN Gordon

A financial “fission” chain reaction is well underway and cannot be stopped. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986 – roughly 33 years ago – things went horribly wrong in the town of Pripyat, in northern Soviet Ukraine.  Reactor No. 4 at the V. I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, also known as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, was overwhelmed by an uncontrolled reaction.  There was no stopping it.

Two initial explosions blew the top off the reactor.  Once exposed, plumes of fission matter were wafted into the atmosphere by an open-air graphite fire.  Before long, this radioactive material precipitated onto Western Europe and the Western USSR.

Nine days later the fire was finally contained.  But not before an estimated 400 times more radioactive material was released than from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Twenty-eight firemen and operators died from acute radiation syndrome in the following days and months.

What exactly caused the Chernobyl disaster is still a matter of disagreement.  The first official explanation of the accident was later acknowledged to be erroneous.  But there is agreement on the fact that the nuclear disaster would not have happened when it did if the workers had played hooky and gone fishing.

Instead, an ill-planned late-night safety test to simulate a power-failure set in motion the very chain reaction that led to the disaster.  During the experiment, the emergency safety and power-regulating systems were both intentionally turned off.  Then the operators attempted to boost the reactor output; a violation of the approved test procedure.  Soon after, all control was lost…

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“The Quiet Panic” – Kyle Bass On Hong Kong’s Looming Financial & Political Crisis, from Zero Hedge

Hong Kong as a flashpoint for financial and political crisis is off most people’s radars, but Kyle Bass makes a good case that it shouldn’t be. From Kyle Bass at zerohedge.com:

In his first investor letter in three years, Kyle Bass, Wall Street’s most visible China bear, explains the rationale behind his latest massive macro bet: A carefully-constructed position that will produce carry for his investors while also producing a massively asymmetrical outcome should the looming crisis Bass describes come to pass, in either China or Hong Kong. The letter was previewed earlier in the Wall Street Journal. Bass also appeared on CNBC earlier today to answer some questions about his views on China and Hong Kong, alongside former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

Via Kyle Bass, managing partner of Hayman Capital Management

All,

For the better part of the last 36 years, since Hong Kong pegged its currency to the USD and ceded monetary policy to the Fed, Hong Kong has been a financial and political oasis for investment into mainland China and Southeast Asia. Today, newly emergent economic and political risks threaten Hong Kong’s decades of stability. These risks are so large that they merit immediate attention on both fronts. In this letter, we will discuss the origins of Hong Kong’s impending crisis, a brief history of Hong Kong, the economics of currency boards/pegs, the agreement that governs the United States economic and political relationship with Hong Kong, and how Xi Jinping’s China is forcing the Hong Kong Government to violate the agreement that requires Hong Kong to maintain its autonomy or lose most-favored-nation trading status and be treated as China itself is treated.

Economic Risk

The Economics of Hong Kong Have Changed Dramatically Since the Global Financial Crisis

Hong Kong was once vitally important to China’s economic position. At its apex in 1993, Hong Kong’s economy represented more than 25% of China’s GDP and was the most active port in the world.

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