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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why do people want money?

Answer: Because they can buy stuff with it.

Rebuttal: that's just circular reasoning. "Circular reasoning is often of the form: 'A is true because B is true; B is true because A is true.'" So people want money because they can buy stuff from other people with it, and they can buy stuff from other people with it because other people want money? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard! The truth is that today's currency is fiat money. It's valuable because the government that prints it says it's valuable.
Most of the world’s money is called fiat money, meaning it is accepted as money because a government says that it’s legal tender, and the public has enough confidence and faith in the money’s ability to serve as a storage medium for purchasing power.

A fiat system is based on a government’s mandate that the paper currency it prints is legal tender for making financial transactions. Legal tender means that the money is backed by the full faith and credit of the government that issues it. In other words, the government promises to be good for it.
This explanation assures us that our government promises to be "good for it." So, by that explanation we can conclude that money is a debt incurred by the issuing nation to the owner of the currency? Fine, I want to redeem the debt that the USA has incurred. I'll turn in my dollars tomorrow. The USA is good for it right? I'll suppose I'll take gold bullion. That's the most transportable right?
One of the long-standing myths about modern currency is that it is backed by the U.S. gold supply in Fort Knox. That is, you can trade your greenback dollars to the U.S. government for the equivalent amount of gold bullion at any time.

At one point, this was true of most paper currencies in the world. However, the U.S. took away the government backing of the dollar with an actual gold supply (known as leaving the gold standard) in 1971, and every major international currency has followed suit.

The obvious question is, "Without gold, what does guarantee the value of our money?" The answer is: nothing at all.

The only reason a dollar, or a franc, or a Euro has any value is because we have a stable system in which people are known to accept these pieces of paper in return for something valuable. Or, as Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman puts it, "the pieces of green paper have value because everybody thinks they have value."
"Gosh!," Jack exclaimed in amazed wonder. So a government says that its fancy paper is valuable and abracadabra it suddenly just is valuable. Well, by that logic why doesn't Obama declare that CO2 is valuable and then everyone will hold their breath ... global warming, unemployment, poverty, saving the whales ... problem solved solved solved and solved!

Obama's Not So Secret Betrayal

How does Obama make decisions? It's really simple actually. He asks one basic question, Will the proposed action help America, or will it harm America? If the answer is [help America] he hinders the plan. Keystone XL Pipeline. If the proposed action will do harm to America, then Obama helps it along. Ending the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.

Imagine refugees from the now defunct USSR or East Berlin being sent back to their communist oppressors by the nations of the free world. You don't have to imagine it, after World War II America and Great Britain did exactly that!
With the invasion of Western Europe in June 1944, thousands of Russian prisoners fell into the hands of the Allies. Many were forced laborers who had been working on the Atlantic Wall for the Todt Organization. Others were simply refugees. However, the Western Allies were surprised to discover that thousands had willingly joined the Wehrmacht. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov asserted in May 1944 that the number of Russians serving in the German armed forces was “insignificant.” Actually, approximately one million of Stalin’s subjects had joined the other side.

By late June the British Foreign Office decided to repatriate all Russian POWs, callously disregarding the consequences of such a policy (early in the war Stalin had made it clear that any Soviet citizens who were even temporarily out of Communist control would be regarded as traitors. Official Orders threatened “deserters” and POWs with draconian measures). On June 24, 1944, Patrick Dean, the Assistant Legal Adviser of the Foreign Office, declared: “In due course all those with whom the Soviet authorities desire to deal must … be handed over to them, and we are not concerned with the fact that they may be shot or otherwise more harshly dealt with than they might be under English law.”

Saturday, January 7, 2017

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Even though Tom and Joe both use the same set of words, what they each mean by what they say is so colored by preconceptions, misconceptions and simple inattention that more often than not, what they are saying to each other is heard by the other as something completely different. Tom says, "I love America!" Joe also says, "I love America!" What are they really telling each other?

When Tom says that he loves America he means that he learned America's history and its heritage at the feet of his father, a patriot who willingly joined the Army during the Vietnam war. Tom's father joined the Army knowing that he might soon have to go overseas to an enemy land, and in the process of eventual battles might even be compelled to sacrifice himself if need be, leaving behind forever all the scores of forsaken family and friends he'd ever known, and the scores more he never would, and also leaving behind his own young son, Tom.

Tom's father made his decision to join during the Vietnam war without even really understanding why there was a war. He didn't need to know why there was a war because he trusted America's leaders to be the kind of patriots that he was. Tom's father trusted America to have patriot leaders who truly love what America is, what it represents, and what we all hope it eventually will become.

Tom was taught by his patriot father that at its essence, America is Freedom. It's the freedom to say what you think, the freedom to try and succeed as well as to try and fail. It's the freedom to compete. America is the freedom to be a winner and a loser. America is safety from powerful men with money and guns who would seek to subjugate, confiscate, eliminate, and finely extirpate the very freedom that Tom and his father so rely upon. Tom and his father know that these petty tyrants—these enemies of freedom—really do exist, but they also know that America with its 2nd Amendment guarantees the freedom to own weapons and to be armed in order to protect ourselves and every other American from the evil desires of these tyrants and would-be kings.

Joe also says he loves America. What he doesn't bother to mention, is that he also loves every other country on Earth. Joe knows that every culture and its attendant societies are special in their unique way and each deserve to exist uncontaminated by the provincial thinking and unnecessary protections inscribed within ancient documents like America's Constitution. In the same way that Joe loves an America where all women have the freedom to wear a bikini and attend a University, Joe also loves the completely different sort of freedom found in Saudi Arabia, where women are free to wear a hijab and burqa while staying safely at home, protected from the lustful stares of strange men.

Joe understands one thing more clearly than all the less enlightened hicks and bigots who he so despises. He understands that America is nothing special. It's merely one of many equally valid cultures. Joe believes that going to war to protect one aggressor from another more powerful aggressor is the very definition of arrogance. Who are we to decide who governs whom?

Joe was only taught one thing by his father, never count on your father. Joe was taught by his mother that if you fill out the correct forms and wait long enough in the proper lines, America will eventually give you a place to live and food to eat. What's not to love about that?

Both Joe and Tom love America. Tom loves it for what it is and for what its people can accomplish, and he truly admires its historical heroes, men like George Washington, Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale, Abraham Lincoln, to name just the barest fraction of American heroes waiting their deserved turn to be mentioned. Even though Joe hates America as it is, he loves the idea of the America as he thinks it should be. Joe despises America's income inequality and its constant meddling in foreign affairs. He never tires of pointing out the manifest character flaws he believes are to be found in every single American hero—with the one exception of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of course—who were variously: racists, misogynists, homophobes, transphobes, bigots, and bitter clingers. Most importantly, Joe loves America mainly because of what it does for him every month. He Love-love-loves his EBT-card, section 8 housing, and his ever growing collection of Obama-phones.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Our replacements are already on the drafting board.

Universal Basic Income. Call it what it is. Allowance. You can earn more but you are guaranteed that figure, whatever it happens to be this year. Suppose they set it at $500.00 per month. With a selection of similarly nonproductive UBI recipients, the crowd of you could inhabit an apartment and live in spartan comfort. With six of you drawing $3000.00 per month you could pay the utilities, and even have the very occasional luxury dinner or night out. That—along with my very own communist fantasy UBW (universal band width)—and a commune of sponges like yourselves could while away their days and nights doing nothing at all. Think cows. Think sponges. Think drifting absorbers of nutrients. Even a carrion eater like a maggot or a buzzard is more productive than your sort would be.

I can already hear the naysayers objecting that it wouldn't work, that there aren't and never would be a sufficiently abundant community of productive workers able to afford such a vast horde of layabouts living out their days simply laying about. If it were ten years ago I too would have stated with absolute certainty the impossibility of such a world. After all, who would voluntarily submit to what seems on its face mere slavery? I work. You laze about. No!

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. If you could quit your job today, and yet keep your income with the obligatory yearly cost of living increases, for the rest of your life, would you take it? You take the rest of your life off. Watch TV. See movies. Go on the occasional vacation as finances permit. Spend time with family, grandchildren, cousins uncles aunts, etc. Give that hobby a real go. Play sports, watch sports. Gamble. Learn a new language a musical instrument, ice sculpture, et cetera. ... experience all the thousands of things that a person suddenly freed from a lifetime of labor can experience. Would you take the deal?

If you said no, if you said that that you would rather continue working day in and day out then ... why not stick a broomstick up your bum and sweep the floor as you go about your sanctimonious day.

For the rest of us who would retire today given sufficient funding, what do you think about Finland's social experiment?
Finland has an ambitious New Year's resolution in mind: learn how offering free money for two years helps the unemployed get back to work.

Starting January 1, 2017 and lasting until 2019, the federal social security institution Kela will distribute roughly $590 each month to 2,000 jobless Finns.

Regardless of whether they find work during that period, the money will keep coming in at the beginning of each month — a trial version of basic income, one of the past year's most popular theories of how to solve poverty.

Under universal basic income (UBI), people receive a standard amount of money just for being alive. By handing out the money to everyone, regardless of their income status, UBI advocates say the system prevents people from falling through the cracks.
You say it will never work? Of course it won't. Those who are ambitious and want more than subsistence living will get a job and those who don't won't. In neither case will the substantial monetary outlay change those basic tendencies. In essence, nobody is going to go out and get a job just because you give them a check every month. Intuitively we could certainly intuit the reverse.

UBI isn't just pie in the sky however. What if there were no jobs. What if everything was done not because of humanity, but in spite of it. What if the world went on and we humans became ever more redundant, ever more the unnecessary third wheel? Look at Insurance, transportation, farming, education, etc.

I stopped not because I ran out of things that robots and computers would replace, but because there wasn't anything left that they wouldn't. How could such an automated world exist with humans unless there was such a thing as universal basic income?