It's great that we have "low unemployment" in BritainOn paper, Britain is supposed to be doing well ó growing economy, low unemployment. So why did Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party get so many votes at the last election? (Answer: People still feel poor, their wages are not rising, and 1 in 7 workers is out of work.) Why did a majority of people vote for Brexit? (Answer: the economy for men is basically still in recession, and men don't like losing their economic power, so this was a good way of "taking back control.") And why are so many people trapped in the "gig economy," making minimum wage? (Answer: Because the true underlying rate of unemployment means companies can still find new workers even in a time of "full employment.")
"The Dictator Fallacy"fal∑la∑cy -
* a misleading or unsound argument.
* Logic. any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound.
Do you . . .
* believe in our Constitution with its different branches and its separation of powers?
* support the idea that The State should be managed by elected representatives?
* oppose monarchies, dictatorships, and other authoritarian forms of The State?
I bet you'd answer "Yes" to all of these questions. Unless you are a liberal.
Most liberals / social planers pretend, at some point, that they can design laws and programs that manage human behavior, leading to an ideal social result.
* Maybe even you believe you know the best way to solve a particular societal problem with a better organizational solution.
* Perhaps you admire and support a particular candidate who claims he has just the right incentive, program, or regulation that will do the trick.
Well, if you ever catch yourself (or another person), making such a pronouncement, then you can KNOW that either you (or they) are wrong. You see . . .
When you have "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," YOUR "grand design" won't work. Why?
Unfortunately, other people will also be involved. This is, after all, a representative government with separation of powers. Your scheme will be touched and affected by lobbyists, legislators, bureaucrats, and judges. Then it will be imposed on a group of people, many of whom will NOT cheerfully cooperate because they do NOT appreciate your brilliance.
By failing to appreciate these events, you have fallen victim to the "Dictator Fallacy".
The "Dictator Fallacy" is the belief that any law or program will be implemented in just the way you intended -- as if you were the king.
Your more perfect vision could only be actualized if you were the czar. Yet to want that power would be to denounce the Constitutional principles and representative democracy that you claim to adore.
There are at least six major ways your plan will go awry.
First, the legislative branch will have its say. They'll wheel and deal. They'll modify your perfect design. Senator Foghorn will secure a new federal building in return for his vote, while hordes of lobbyists will secure exemptions, loopholes, or extra benefits for their clients.
Second, the executive branch will then interpret the law. They will mangle your plan to fit their political goals. In accordance with The Slippery Slope Law of The State, bureaucrats and prosecutors will work diligently to stretch the limited power you intended to convey so that your focused plan will become swollen, unfocused, and perhaps, even abusive.
Third, the Courts will get in on the act too, forbidding some aspects of your design, while permitting other things you never intended. By this point, you might not even recognize your plan.
Fourth, the People will then react to the law. Some will comply; others will resist. Nearly everyone will look for loopholes. Attorneys, accountants, and consultants of all stripes will have a new industry, vested in navigating around your law to the greatest degree possible.
Fifth, the real "unintended consequences" of your plan will begin to manifest themselves. You may even discover what most policymakers experience; your proposal will boomerang, worsening the very problem you presumed to fix. Consider these examples . . .
* laws to curb narcotic use will entangle children in the violent, black-market drug trade
* fancy plans to restrict gun ownership will coincide with an increase in burglaries in your own neighborhood
Reality will laugh at your good intentions.
And here, we must go down an important rabbit trail. When our program fails, it is easy to be blind to the obvious. The very normal human reaction is to assume that things would've worked better if only our intelligent design had been followed -- that our uniquely brilliant scheme could've made The State more efficient and effective. We . . .
* bemoan the fact that legislators, bureaucrats, and judges mutilated our plans.
* complain that the people weren't made to see how this was for their own good.
Now, hopefully, it's evident. We'll NEVER witness your wonderful, pet plans, materialize. The only way that your more perfect vision could possibly have been implemented, was if YOU were the king.
Sixth, comes the most brutal blow of all.
The power you give a politician you love to do something you favor, is . . .
. . . the same power that people you abhor will use to do things you oppose.
Since you aren't a dictator you simply have to accept that officeholders change. Partisan majorities switch hands. The power you wanted to give to good people will always end up in the hands of bad people.
But for too many would-be dictators, "unintended consequences" simply means that they never intended for their opposition to acquire power again.
This is the trap that snares naive, do-gooders who . . .
* fantasize about what they would do if they were the boss, while forgetting that they supposedly despise dictators.
* fail to take into account that the people who really run things aren't as brilliant or purely motivated as they are.
Do you ever support expanding The State because you imagine that a larger State would do things the way you would do them if you were in charge? If so, then you have made yourself (and others) a victim of the Dictator Fallacy.
The Dictator Fallacy means that no matter how well-intentioned you are, no matter how good you think your idea is, your new regulation or initiative to solve a problem won't . . .
* be passed by you,
* administered by you, or
* adjudicated by you.
Nor will . . .
* everyone cooperate with your scheme.
* the new powers you create always be controlled by people you like.
You must choose . . .
* A limited constitutional republic, or . . .
* The horrifying Frankenstein creations that result from The Dictator Fallacy.
Obamaís ďsecretĒ listOf the 860 rules or proposed rules that the Trump administration has killed, 179 came from what he called Mr. Obamaís ďsecretĒ list. As Trump aides combed through the books, they found pending proposals that included rules on hardwood plywood research and new requirements for contamination control in cattle slaughter operations.
ďThey had a bunch of things that they wanted to regulate,Ē Mr. Mulvaney said of the Obama administrationís first term. ďThey just didnít want to tell you about it. They thought it would be bad for their re-election prospects in 2012, so they created a secret list of regs that were not disclosed to you folks. We are disclosing it.Ē
When Trump officials threatened to disclose the list, Mr. Mulvaney said, bureaucrats in various Cabinet agencies ďcame up with those 860 things that we got rid of.Ē
"Many have no idea how hard work can be. The same at my job. Even though they have the potential to be making at least $17 an hour after 2 years. Many want to work on their own terms which means showing up when they feel like it, as long as it doesn't interfere with their private or family/friend life, they want to pick and choose when they will work, leave when they want to. Go on vacation when they want to even though there are 150 people with seniority ahead of them.
They want a paycheck, just not the work that goes along with it."
(from comments below the article)
Best-Run States Are Low-Tax Republican, Worst-Run Are High-Tax DemocraticSeveral states, including Republican states, have decided to raise taxes this year to cover budget shortfalls. But a new study suggests that the states might find themselves in worse financial shape after the money starts rolling in.
According to the latest ranking of states by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the most fiscally sound states in the nation are all low-tax, GOP strongholds, while the 10 least-solvent states are almost all high-tax and heavily Democratic.
"The killer previously had been arrested for two bank robberies but was sentenced to only 364 days in prison by the judge, because a sentence of 365 days (1 year) would have required deportation." Nice.
Leftist applaud a speech comprised almost entirely of Adolf Hitler quotes.At the Impeach Trump March in Chicago 7/2/17. A group of protesters applaud a speech comprised almost entirely of Adolf Hitler quotes given by Shad Daley. This was 20 seconds after saying they need to fight fascism. After the speech, the organizing member of refusefascism.org was desperate to get Shad more involved. Another wonderful example of how the left doesn't understand their own hypocrisy and ignorance.
Ladies, Gentleman, and non-binary members of this congregation:
I would like to thank everyone for coming out today to support the constitutional rule of law, I stand here today, a veteran of these United States armed forces, and a proud 21st century patriot. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about this oppressive regime, and the repressive regime that constitutes capitalism as a whole.
We are Socialists, we are enemies of the capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with it's unfair salaries, rights it's unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.
Benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual... The state should retain supervision and each property owner should consider himself appointed by the state. It is his duty not to use his property against the interests of others among his own people. This is the crucial matter. This American Nation will always retain its right to control the owners of property... A policy of laissez faire in this sphere is not only cruelty to the individual guiltless victims but also to the nation as a whole.
For there is one thing we must never forget... the majority can never replace the man.
Life is like a mirror, if you frown at it, it frowns back, if you smile it returns the greeting.
Donald Trump seems to think that if you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough, that it will be believed. Itís not the truth that matters, but victory.
The doom of a nation can be averted only by a storm of flowing passion, but only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others.
"We simply canít allow backdoors in encryption"The encryption debate ends now. As a society we simply canít allow backdoors in encryption. Anyone who tells you otherwise has absolutely no idea how computers work.
Backdoors are a threat to the security of the entire world.
There is no more room for debate here, no more compromise.
As the Petya ransomware virus rampages across the planet, shutting down hospitals, schools and major businesses everywhere, obliterating data with a vengeance, we have all the proof weíll ever need that nobody can build a backdoor and keep it safe. Why? Because Petya and WannaCry both use powerful exploits that the NSA kept secret for years.
Right up until they couldnít.
And thereís more the come. The Shadow Brokers keep dumping cyberweapons from the NSAís Pandoraís Box. Expect more viruses and damage to critical infrastructure.
The worst part is that this isnít even surprising.
Eventually secrets will always leak from big, sprawling, bureaucratic entities. I want you to take a good long look at the list of US companies and agencies that were breached over the last decade. Go ahead. Take your time. Hereís a brief roundup of the worldís greatest hacking hits:
Internal Revenue Service
UK Ministry of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
Department of Veterans Affairs
Bank of America
Seventy different law enforcement agencies across the US
Florida Department of Juvenile Corrections
State of Texas
Democratic National Committee
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
JP Morgan Chase
And weíre going to leave the keys to a backdoor in the hands of people who canít even keep their own houses locked?
Thatís like handing a loaded gun to a raging derelict in NYC.
Ben Franklin said, ďThree people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.Ē
100% of tech experts agree we canít build backdoors only the ďgood guysĒ get to use. Itís not even remotely possible.
This isnít even the climate change debate. Iím talking 100% agreement, not 97%. Thereís no wiggle room. If youíre a politician looking to hire a ďred-blue teamĒ to fake-debate this you wonít find a single real tech person who agrees with you. Not one. So donít bother. Youíll find fools and other people who think that computers work like magic, powered by unicorns and pixie dust, or who march to talking points like Lemmings off a cliff. But you wonít find anyone who actually knows a thing about computers to agree with you.
Make no mistake: As soon as we cripple encryption with backdoors, weíve built a ticking time bomb. Weíve sacrificed real safety for the illusion of safety, something weíve gotten very good at as a society.
Itís not a question of if the keys to a backdoor get out, but when?
And when it does it will be a disaster for the entire world.
Nothing will be safe.
Banks will get raided with impunity and peopleís entire life savings will vaporize in seconds. People will die as critical medical equipment seizes up in ransomware attacks that make todayís global assaults look like childís play. Voting systems will collapse. Military communications will crumble.
And all because weíre no longer willing to accept risk in society. Weíve become so desperate to stop terrorism that weíve lost our minds. We canít make rational decisions anymore. We can no longer accept that there are always going to be bad people who do bad things.
The answer is not to punish everyone else, but to punish the people who did those bad things.
Instead, the prevailing ďlogicĒ is that we should cripple the entire system to give us the comfortable illusion that the bad guys will be easier to find. But they wonít. The Irish Republican Army blew up a lot of cafes in Britain in the 1960ís and 70ís long before we had encryption. The 9/11 scumbags didnít have WhatsApp. They killed 3,000 people anyway. And still we have the UKís Theresa May calling for backdoors, as well as the Australian government and the FBI in a coordinated attack on common sense.
You can spot a lying politician easily. If thereís a nasty attack, watch how the talking-heads pop onto TVs the very next day crying about the need to stop encryption. This makes them automatic liars because theyíll have no evidence encryption was even used in the attack. Itís literally impossible. Investigations donít move that fast. So the only rational conclusion is theyíre just exploiting a tragedy for their own agenda. Thatís why after the Paris attacks in 2015, the talking-heads were out in force, only to find out the attackers used plain text messages.
But Iím not even saying that the bad guys wonít use encryption. They will and they do. ISIS built their own secure messaging app.
Hereís the thing though: Iím betting ISIS wonít be giving us the backdoor keys to their messaging app any time soon.
So how is mandating backdoors to WhatsApp going to help?
Itís not. Because the politicians know this isnít about stopping terrorists. Itís about spying on average citizens and journalists and activists. Itís about being lazy. Itís about wanting centralized control of everything.
They canít help it, itís in their nature. A scorpion stings, even when the sting will sink them.
Itís real simple. If a politician is calling for backdoors, itís for one of three reasons:
They have no idea how computers work
Theyíre willfully ignorant
My guess is that 99% fall into bullet point three because experts have been telling them this over and over and over since the 1990ís. They know this isnít possible. They just donít care. Theyíre willing to compromise the security of the whole world because of their stupidity. And thatís not just stupid, itís dangerous.
They now use the boogeyman of terrorism to justify the passage of every single misguided and dangerously overreaching law.
Police can steal money from citizens for no reason like theyíre a bunch of crooked Mexican cops rolling tourists at Spring Break. Intelligence agencies can spy on every single person with impunity, while a secret court gives them a rubber stamp 97.97% of the time. Homeland Security can hold people indefinitely without trial. Our tourism industry is crashing. Nobody wants to come to our country because getting through the door is now such a nightmare.
What the hell are we doing?
The Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves. They didnít want Star Chambers and a complete lack of transparency from their leaders. Thatís why they threw those stamps in the sea.
How much more ridiculous does it have to get before we wake up?
Arenít we tired of compromising the rights and freedoms of everyone because of a few crazies? Thatís like punishing everyone in the barracks because one guy snuck in a jelly doughnut. It makes no sense.
Fuck the terrorists.
Weíre not supposed to change for them.
Weíre supposed to go right on doing what we like, because it drives them crazy.
Living openly, drinking, smoking and screwing, speaking our minds, praying and worshiping whoever we want without fear.
Instead weíve done the opposite.
Weíve compromised our freedoms across the board. We treat everyone in society like a child now.
By saying we need backdoors to stop terrorists, politicians are openly saying we need to compromise the security of banks, the stock market, hospitals, and the military. What sane person would think thatís a good idea?
Encryption is not the enemy. Itís essential to our national security. Insane, fanatical extremists are the enemy.
What the politicians canít admit is that they canít stop terrorism. Bad things happen in life. Itís horrible and awful and terrifying. We all wish there was a real answer. But there isnít. And Iím not willing to pretend there is just because it makes me feel better.
Hereís a list of Islamic extremist attacks since the 1960s. Take a look at the list of countries. Itís pretty much every country on Earth. It doesnít matter if we adopt the iron fist of authoritarianism, like China or Russia, or the completely open and flexible nature of democracy, it still happens.
But hereís the other thing the lying politicians wonít tell you. It doesnít happen that often. Far from terrorists rampaging through the streets and streaming over the border with ease, your chance of dying in a terror attack is 1 in 3.6 million. Your chance of being killed by a refugee? Even less. A lot less. 1 in 3.6 billion. Chances of being killed by those illegal immigrants that idiots like Paul Ryan use to gin up everyoneís fear? 1 in 10.9 billion. That is the same as your chance of dying in a plane crash which is 1 in 11 billion.
You actually have a better chance of winning the lottery, than dying from an illegal immigrant.
By the way, you have a 1 in 114 chance of dying in a car wreck in your lifetime.
Hell, youíve got a better chance of being hit by lightning than dying of terrorism. The chances are 1 in 161,856.
Oh and you have a 1 in 4 chance of dying of heart disease or cancer in your lifetime.
But we spend a paltry $10 billion a year on heart disease and cancer research and a trillion on trying to stop terrorism.
In other words, we focus all of our energy on the most improbable situations. I donít know what else to call that but a catastrophic flaw in human reasoning.
And like all the others flaws in human reasoning, itís pure cognitive dissonance. Blaming encryption for terror attacks is like blaming watermelons and the color green for your favorite team losing the Super Bowl.
Politicians are always looking for points to score, not real solutions. They look for any made-up phantom to blame for the chaotic and uncertain nature of life. Itís disgusting. Encryption is just another convenient scapegoat.
We need to start electing people who will deliver real, sane, competent solutions to problems, if such a person even exists. Iím not so sure. But I am sure of one thing:
The more we go down our current path of insane reasoning and fake fixes to real problems, the more lost we are.
The terrorists are winning.
Bin Laden didnít just destroy two buildings and kill 3,000 people in cold blood.
He made us turn inwards and destroy ourselves.
"I saw suffering like I've never seen"The violence that broke out Wednesday during Venezuela's Independence Day felt all too familiar. In fact, only last week I had seen for myself some of the chaos that has enveloped the country when I visited Caracas.
I was there to meet with local partners who have been begging for help in a humanitarian crisis that is still too often being overlooked. And, as I traveled around the city, I saw suffering and violence -- in plain view -- unlike any I had seen in all my years of working in active war and disaster zones.
I saw a young mother say goodbye to her 7-year-old daughter as a "fixer" (a paid smuggler) -- one of the few jobs in Venezuela growing in demand -- arranged to take the child into Colombia. The mother's tears blurred the view of her daughter and the man walking through one of five border checkpoints into the neighboring country and to an unclear future. I was waiting with her older daughter, a scared 12-year-old who was crying inconsolably because her sister had just been given away to a stranger.
But the mother faced a dilemma that many in the country are battling against. She cannot feed her family, which has been living off of one meal of corn flour a day, and believes that her youngest will have a higher chance of survival. She hopes someone on the other side will care for her child.
This scenario is one of the millions of equally tragic scenes unfolding right now in Venezuela. People are dying from lack of basic needs or being killed for speaking out against their poor living conditions. There are no operational medical facilities. For many, there is no medicine, there are no doctors, with scarce clean water leaving disease to fill the void.
The young people I spoke with told me that there are absolutely no jobs and no way to make money unless they engage in illegal activities. If children are not being sent off or given away to "fixers," then they are forced into prostitution or drug trafficking to survive.
From a rooftop, I watched a protest in the street that morphed into a combat zone.
Four white trucks with "GNB" on the hood shot what looked like tear gas into the crowd. What followed was utter chaos. People rushed the trucks, throwing anything they could find at the vehicles. The civilians seemed to have expected to be gassed because some wore makeshift masks made from swim goggles attached to water bottles stuffed with fabric that would hopefully offer some protection.
As the confrontation unfolded, I could see larger armored trucks approaching the area, and it was explained by my interpreter that they were mounted with water cannons that would be weaponized and used on the people. I was told it was time to leave -- quickly.
When preparing to go into Caracas, I knew it was extremely dangerous and violent. I was instructed never to have my phone out and warned that "People will kill you for it." Our movements were coordinated so that we would avoid being noticed because of the high number of kidnapping for ransoms of foreigners.
I'm a veteran of active war zones and volatile environments, but I found myself in the most violent city in the world.
Even with mass starvation made evident by everyone looking gaunt and wasting away -- resorting to eating garbage -- the government is not allowing aid to its people and is denying there is a crisis. NGOs that are trying to help have been accused of providing supplies, medicine, and food to people of the opposition -- protesters whom President Nicolas Maduro has labeled as terrorists.
Mere survival is challenging and with more and more people dying, the people are becoming desperate for change.
No one born in the past decade and a half remembers anything but dictatorship. Most lack a basic education, and when I ask them about their plans for the future, they tell me that they have no hope for a future if they stay in their country.
The lack of meaningful choices combined with witnessing their families and communities suffering, dying or being oppressed and imprisoned make the youth extremely vulnerable to the influence of organized crime and violent extremism. These criminal groups offer structure and purpose amidst chaos and anarchy and provide these young people something to fight for.
Gangs are using their networks to traffic essential food, medicine and water, which in turn only strengthens the rebel groups that control these routes -- the Colombian peace treaty with FARC has left a power and security vacuum, and various groups are trying to fill that void.
It's a worsening crisis that will have long-term and far-reaching consequences.
On my last day, I was relieved to be getting out of the country. But before I could get into the car that would take me to the "freedom bird," the one thing that we prepared to avoid, happened. I was stopped by a group of heavily armed men and accused of being a journalist. I prepared myself for the worst.
Journalists have been targeted, killed, robbed, beaten and detained at times just for being present. Foreign reporters have been denied entry into the country as the government wants to prevent the world from seeing what's happening.
The men were aggressive and rough and clearly "colectivos" who are pro-Maduro militants. They yelled at me demanding that I confess that I was a journalist and that I hand over any cameras or phones. After a torrent of pleading and convincing from my interpreter, they seized my phone and computer and took my flack vest.
This was not the first time I have been robbed or assaulted, but I was afraid. In the end, I got to leave. Venezuelans don't have that option.
"We have not exploited the countries from which these refugees are coming to Europe these days, we have not used their labour force and finally we have not invited them to Europe. We have a full moral right to say 'no'," Kaczynski said in a speech broadcast on television.
Last month the European Commission launched a legal case against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for refusing to take in asylum seekers, highlighting the feud within the 28-nation bloc over how to deal with migration.
Kaczynski, who has criticized the European Union's relocation schemes for migrants on many occasions, also said that the PiS could not be accused of being anti-European, as it backed Poland's joining the block in 2004 and now appreciates the inflow of EU funds.
"The fact that we appreciate them (the funds), does not mean that we have lost the right to various assessments, including those regarding the historical context," Kaczynski said, adding that Poland has never received any compensation for the losses it suffered during the Second World War.