Thursday, September 28, 2023

Too Late To Avoid A Recession, But Let's NOT Make It Worse!

It looks like it is too late to avoid a recession at this point, as some degree of one is already baked into the cake at this point.  Not only are there several big headwinds right now (rising oil prices, rising insurance rates, record-high credit card debt, student loans coming due, Congressional dysfunction, and the prospect of a government shutdown), but the FERAL Reserve has obstinately kept interest rates high at a Fed Funds Rate of 5.25%.  While it may not seem high by historical standards, combined with their Quantitative  Tightening and record-high levels of debt throughout the economy, it can easily feel like the double-digit interest rates of the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Aside from oil (thanks to Russia and OPEC) and a few other things, which interest rate hikes are utterly useless and even counterproductive against, the recent inflation has already been largely defeated, and may soon turn to deflation.  Which sounds great in theory, but in practice is anything but.

While it is most likely too late to avoid a recession at this point, the very least the Fed could do is cut interest rates yesterday and end Quantitative Tightening to avoid an even worse recession or depression.  Don't say you haven't been warned.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

We Support The UAW Workers' Strike

The TSAP supports the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against the Big Three automakers.  The CEOs of these companies, who were already making eight-figure salaries, saw a 46% increase in pay for themselves over the past four years, while the workers got a mere 6% increase, not nearly enough to keep up with inflation.  That, along with their ridiculous "two-tier" pay system for older versus newer employees, is basically a microcosm of all that is wrong with the economy today.  So one can see how the management in other industries is starting to get nervous about the "Hot Labor Summer" spreading to those industries as well.  The plutocracy trembles.

Ever since the PATCO (air traffic controllers union) strike debacle in 1981 under President Ronald Reagan, and all the ripple effects in its aftermath, organized labor has weakened dramatically.  Unions had become such pikers with their demands, which only led them to become even weaker in the face of an all-out assault against the working class from the plutocracy and their sycophantic lackeys in government.  But now, after a very long detour, the tide seems to be finally turning for the better.

It's LONG overdue.  What better time than now?

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Elephant In The Room

Excess deaths have become the proverbial "elephant in the room" around the world in the wake of the pandemic.  But what are the true causal mechanisms behind such deaths?  The virus itself, which was more humdrum than was originally believed, can really only be blamed for a fraction of these deaths, and most of those skewed sharply along an age gradient and underlying condition gradient.  The lockdowns and related countermeasures of course contributed to the excess deaths and did far more harm than good.  Ditto for iatrogenic deaths from faulty treatment protocols and denial and censorship of effective ones.

But why were 2021 and 2022 even worse years for excess deaths than 2020?  Well, enter the jabs.  Adding to the mounting evidence against them is yet another new study implicating them in excess deaths in many countries.  The study finds a "definite causal link" between jab rollouts and all-cause mortality in 17 countries, including countries that had barely any measurable Covid at the time the rollout began.  And most notably, the study finds such links for all types of jabs studied (including the inactivated whole virus ones), not just the worst mRNA ones.  And as we already know, deaths are just the tip of a very large iceberg of harm from these things.

At best, it certainly puts the lie to the specious claim of a net lifesaving effect. 

How much more evidence do we need to finally admit the dark truth about what really happened? 

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Dear FERAL Reserve: Cut Interest Rates NOW!

With inflation falling to around 3% per the latest report, which is within the normal range for a growing economy, we can safely conclude that the war on inflation has been won.  The dragon may not have been slain, but it has largely gone back to sleep for the foreseeable future.  Supply chains seem to have long since fully recovered for the most part, while most of the inflation since then has been wanton "greedflation" by mega-corporations consolidating and rigging the game (and thus interest rates are the wrong tool for the job).  And potential recession and even deflation clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon as we speak.  Even if there is no recession, keeping interest rates too high for too long can paradoxically increase inflation in the long run, or one could get the two for one special, as Canada unfortunately learned the hard way in the 1980s.  The "therapeutic window" for hiking interest rates to fight inflation is therefore closed.

Oh, and we have another housing bubble ready to burst at any time, apparently. 

So the FERAL Reserve really needs to stand down, stop raising rates, pause Quantitative  Tightening, and start cutting rates yesterday by at least 1% immediately, and eventually to below the inflation rate.  Or at least no later than their next meeting. Mr. Powell seems to be really begging for a recession (or worse) with his relentless tempting of fate!

This is the LAST chance we have to avoid a major financial crisis and severe deflationary recession (or worse), and that's if it's not already baked into the cake at this point.  Because once that happens, monetary policy (at least by conventional means) will be as utterly futile as pushing on a string.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Case Closed: Masks STILL Don't Work

(This is a repost of an article from February 2023, as we thought the reader might need a reminder now in light of current events involving mask zealots.)

A major new gold standard Cochrane review study has come to a conclusion that only the utterly brainwashed would consider at all shocking at this point:  masks don't really work to stop the spread of respiratory viruses.  Never did, and never will.  Not even the vaunted N95.  Handwashing is likely modestly effective, but masks are basically a joke overall, and not a very funny one either.

This concurs with over a century of research that came out overwhelmingly in support of the anti-mask side of the debate.  In fact, by 1919 it was practically settled science that these devices aren't anywhere near what they were cracked up to be, a consensus which prevailed until March 2020.  Then the pandemic narrative took over and turned the science upside down for nearly three years straight, while any studies were to the contrary were systematically file-drawered for far longer than those supporting the narrative.  And now the entire pandemic narrative has collapsed faster than formerly healthy young athletes on the field after being jabbed.

We recently noted how the ever-insightful Ian Miller has so thoroughly debunked, deboned, sliced, diced, and julienned the pro-mask arguments, and laid waste to their utterly scorched remains for good.  And be sure check out the excellent Fargo study from Josh Stevenson et al. about masks for kids as well, likely the very best one yet, with the very least biases or confounding.  Spoiler alert:  masks STILL don't work.  Not for kids, not for adults, not for no one.

Oh, and let's not forget the dreaded Foegen Effect as well.  And other harms as well, see here.  That literally makes masks WORSE than useless.  Jettison them!

To the anti-mask side:  you are now hereby overwhelmingly vindicated, and really always have been in fact.  You have literally passed the biggest functional IQ test in all of modern history.  To the pro-mask side:  we are still waiting for you to apologize.  Yesterday.  And to those who switched jerseys anytime after February 2022 (that is, only when it became socially acceptable to do so), you are fooling no one.


UPDATE:  Some may pedantically point out that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", therefore "no one can really say" that masks don't work.  True, you cannot (definitively) prove a negative.  But given the totality of the research and real-world evidence, it would be slothful induction (if not magical thinking as well) to still believe that masks have any sort of net benefit at all. If they did have a net benefit, it would have been self-evident long ago.  We need to see the forest for the trees.

"But...but...they worked in Japan!" See here for a good debunking of that myth as well.

And in case the pro-masker zealots pathetically trot out the fatally flawed Boston school mask study in desperation, rest assured that Ian Miller has successfully laid waste to that one as well.  And so has the ever-insightful Emily Burns, as well as Dr. Tracy Beth Hoeg, one of the authors of the Fargo study

Oh, and another study found that masks in HOSPITALS make no difference to infection rates.  Thus, if they don't even work in hospitals with all of their universal multilayered precautionary measures, they simply don't work at all, period.

UPDATE 2:  A re-analysis of the infamous Boston mask study has now thoroughly debunked it.

UPDATE 3:  For more on the harms of masks, see here.

UPDATE 4:  And another school masking study can be found here as well, co-authored by the aforementioned Dr. Tracy Beth Hoeg.  Again, surprise surprise, masks STILL don't work.  Period. 

UPDATE 5:  And that's before we get into the toxins that can be emitted from some types of masks, including the vaunted N95.

UPDATE 6:  Pushback works.  Contrary to Carl Jung's famous saying, what you resist does NOT persist, as long as you resist enough.  DO NOT COMPLY!

UPDATE 7:  Looks like masks are even more harmful than we thought, especially for children

And finally, see here about the ultimate success of one of the most anti-mask (and anti-lockdown) countries in the world, Sweden.  As a result, we think "Stockholm Syndrome" should really be called "Melbourne Syndrome", because #SwedenGotItRight.

(Mic drop)

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Smile And Say "Birth Certificate", Donald!

Found this on social media recently.  A picture is worth a thousand words:

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me.

Time warp much?  Last I checked, the calendar says 2023, not 2020 or 2021.  Some people apprently didn't get the memo, based on their recent behavior.

The zealots are at it again, it seems.  Whether it is to sell more jabs, attempt to vindicate themselves, or something even more sinister, they are dusting off their old playbook once again in regards to the virus.  Fortunately, it seems to be just a few outliers for the time being, and most people are largely tuning out the fearmongering.  Looks like We the People have finally reached "herd immunity" to their BS, God willing.

At this juncture of history, pushing for any sort of virus-related mandates will truly be political and career suicide for anyone pushing it.  Are they really that stupid? Or do they just want us to think they are that stupid?  Either way, they are truly insulting the intelligence of 99% of the population by doing so.

All of the virus-related mandates, fearmongering, and the totalitarian ideology behind them need to be completely eradicated, root and branch, lest they ultimately grow back the moment it becomes politically expedient to do so and/or when "generational forgetting" eventually sets in. And of course, they can be repurposed for the next "crisis", real or manufactured, whatever that may be (climate lockdowns?).  We truly ignore that fact at our peril.

Whatever happens next, DO NOT COMPLY!  Give them an inch, and they will take a mile every time.

UPDATE:  Looks like much of the incipient revival of mandates by the outliers is being stalled or even reversed due to pushback.  Good for them!  Imagine if that much pushback had occurred in March 2020, how differently things would have gone.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Do Interest Rate Hikes Really Fight Inflation?

Short answer:  In a word, NO.

Long answer:  It's a very nuanced and complicated issue, but in practice, hiking interest rates generally does more harm than good, and at best is really not very effective in fighting inflation. 

Interest rate hikes, far from being a "razor-sharp, double-edged sword" (as we at the TSAP used to say) in theory, they are in practice just as blunt of an instrument as tax hikes are.  And they only "work" insofar as they cause a recession, as history has shown.  When the FERAL Reserve raises interest rates, it is "pushing on a a string" when they raise them insufficiently to cause a recession, and "blunt force trauma" to the economy when they raise them enough to do so.  And when they cut rates, it is even more so like "pushing on a string", as the damage is usually already done by that point, and of course they cannot cross the "zero lower-bound" into negative rates without inherently turning the world of finance upside-down.  There seems to be no "Goldilocks zone" for interest rate policy during times of high inflation, and the "therapeutic window" is generally closed.

Knowledge says that choking the economy until it goes limp and then choking it some more technically reduces inflation by killing demand for goods and services.  But wisdom says that one could hardly call that a success.

Not only are interest rate hikes inherently recessionary, they can also paradoxically increase one of the two types of inflation, "cost-push inflation", even as they tamp down the other type, "demand-pull inflation."  Both types are two sides of the same coin, so it can easily result in (or exacerbate) chronic stagflation, for which the only "cure" is to hike the rates so extremely high to cause a deep recession or depression, followed by cutting rates very quickly, at the cost of massive collateral damage.  A "cure" that is worse than the disease.

And the fallout falls not on the rich, who are largely insulated from the consequences, but overwhelmingly on the poor and working class, and also the middle class as well.

Cutting the money supply, whether fiscally via austerity or monetarily via quantitative tightening, is also similarly recessionary and damaging as well.  Both forms of tightening, along with interest rate hikes, are at best "break glass in case of emergency" measures that should almost never be used, period.

In other words, if you "burn the village to save it", the village will eventually return the favor.  You reap what you sow.  That's literally how karma works.

Even Rodger Malcolm Mitchell himself has recently turned against the idea of interest rate hikes, a policy he once strongly supported.  That really says something indeed.  Ellen Brown would agree as well.

So what works instead?  According to Mitchell, the root cause of ALL inflations is shortages.  Whether it's oil, gas, energy in general, food, labor, or otherwise, shortages are the common denominator.  To cure inflation, we must cure the shortages.  Now that is often a lot easier said than done, but governments who issue their own currency can help resolve shortages by fiscally incentivizing more production of such scarce goods and services.  And, of course, to also refrain from creating shortages in the first place with things like price controls or other artificial restrictions by fiat that are known to backfire. 

Oil, gas, or energy shortage?  Incentivize more domestic oil/gas production in the short term, followed by renewable energy production in the medium to long term as well.  Buy oil/gas or energy at at premium and resell it or give it away at a loss.  Food shortage?  Buy food at a premium and resell it or give it away at a loss.  Computer chip shortage?  Incentivize domestic chip factories.  Labor shortage?  Implement a "reverse payroll tax" like the EITC but simpler and more straightforward, to boost the paychecks of workers without increasing costs for employers.  Or the government can hire the most in-demand workers directly at a premium.  And consider replacing all or some means-tested social welfare programs with an unconditional Universal Basic Income (UBI) that does not perversely penalize people for working.  And so on.  That's the power of creating one's own currency via Monetary Sovereignty. 

QED.  Case closed, at least until we find even more compelling evidence otherwise. Therefore, the TSAP's new position in interest rates shall supersede everything we have said in the past about the topic.

UPDATE:  So what is the ideal interest rate then?  Should we do what MMT advocates, and just park it at zero and leave it there? There is a good case to be made for that, and the answer probably depends on a number of factors.  But negative interest rates are really not a wise idea for a national currency (too negative and people just hoard cash under the mattress, while not negative enough is really no better than zero).  For complementary and alternative local currencies, negative interest (aka demurrage) can perhaps make sense, like the Austrian town of Worgl famously did during the Great Depression, but the benefits of such likely do not scale up very well.  Thus for national currencies, zero is the practical lower bound.  And if zero interest (i.e. being able to borrow money for free) is still not stimulative enough, then do "QE for the People" by printing more money and giving it directly to everyone, rather than the banks in "regular" QE.  Problem solved. 

James Gailbraith makes a great case for low interest rates overall.

Thus, like MMT, the natural interest rate should be assumed to be zero by default, but unlike MMT, we should still not tie our hands and take higher rates off the table completely as a "break glass in case of emergency" measure.  Nor should Treasury bond sales be completely discontinued either, as those help stabilize the financial system in times of instability.

But what about speculative bubbles?  Don't low interest rates encourage those?  Yes to some extent, but only if Wall Street is deregulated like the Wild West (like now).  Therefore, better regulation of the big banks and shadow banking system, and a financial transactions tax, are a better idea to rein in reckless speculation than high interest rates. 

TL;DR version:  In a nutshell, raising interest rates has a tendency to backfire and generally does more harm than good, once all the jargon and accoutrements are stripped away. Occam's Razor would say that deliberately making everything effectively more expensive across the board (by making money itself harder and costlier to get) to engineer a recession is a terrible way to fight inflation, and can only encourage a perpetual quagmire of stagflation.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Dear FERAL Reserve: Cut Interest Rates NOW!

With inflation falling to 3% per the latest report, which is within the normal range for a growing economy, we can safely conclude that the war on inflation has been won.  The dragon may not have been slain, but it has largely gone back to sleep for the foreseeable future.  Supply chains seem to have long since fully recovered for the most part, while most of the inflation since then has been wanton "greedflation" by mega-corporations consolidating and rigging the game (and thus interest rates are the wrong tool for the job).  And potential recession and even deflation clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon as we speak.  Even if there is no recession, keeping interest rates too high for too long can paradoxically increase inflation in the long run, or one could get the two for one special, as Canada unfortunately learned the hard way in the 1980s.

So the FERAL Reserve really needs to stand down, stop raising rates, and start cutting rates yesterday.  Or at least no later than their next meeting. 

UPDATE:  The FERAL Reserve just raised rates again by 0.25%.  Mr. Powell seems to be really begging for a recession (or worse) with his tempting of fate!

Saturday, July 1, 2023

No Longer Any Doubt That SCOTUS Is Corrupt

The recent rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), along with the suspicious "gifts" that some justices (particularly Thomas and Alito, and likely others too) had apparently accepted from influential "donors", leaves no doubt about just how crooked and corrupt the largely right-wing justices are.  From unceremoniously overturning Roe v. Wade (after literally promising not to do so!) to the striking down of Biden's student loan relief, and many other things in between, it is now painfully obvious that the SCOTUS is no longer even remotely fit for purpose.  And they are just getting started, it seems.

Biden of course needs to pack the court with more decent justices, FDR-style.  And the SCOTUS needs a major overhaul in general, not least in regards to their ethics rules. Yesterday is not soon enough!

How To Create A Deadly Plandemic In Five Easy Steps

The ever-insightful Joel Smalley of Metatron posted an excellent Substack titled, "How to Create a Deadly Pandemic in Five Easy Steps", complete with charts/graphs.  It was a classic "Problem, Reaction, Solution" (often incorrectly called "Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis" or "Hegelian Dialectic") scheme per the MO of the psychopathic oligarchs in charge.  To paraphrase Smalley as follows:
  1. "Accidentally" release a fairly ordinary virus (ordinary because one's GOF abilities were quite inferior), that can only be detected with a special test (that is conveniently easy to manipulate), and then blame it on the Chinese (even if it was probably a joint venture).
  2. Euthanize old folks, typically done with midazolam, and blame it on the virus.
  3. Deny regular early treatment with antibiotics and corticosteroids, for those who one cannot easily euthanize.
  4. Introduce a "cure" in the form of a novel and experimental "vaccine", which (oops!) turns out to be deadly in itself, and then have the GALL to blame it on the unvaccinated. 
  5. Slowly and quietly re-allow the use of various antivirals and such that were previously mocked, discouraged, censored, or banned, in addition to antibiotics and corticosteroids, and then let the "vaccine" take credit for any improvements that result.
In other words, it was an iatrogenocide of epic proportions.  And he backs this up with correlations between various prescription data, "vaccine" dose data, "Covid" death data, and all-cause excess death data.  Such data are VERY damning indeed.  Now we can see the big picture, and all that went into it.

And it pans out quite accurately indeed.  Also, a Bangladesh study found that just three nutrients--Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc--would have been enough to make the pandemic a non-event (at least if the pre-2020 standard of care had not been denied).

That, of course, was before the "vaccines".  And it should go without saying that any excess deaths and other harms that occurred after early 2021 or so could not possibly be disentangled from the "vaccines."

And of course, all the lockdowns, masks, and antisocial distancing were gasoline on the fire, as were the jab mandates and such.  While the five steps above could have still proceeded without these things, and with everything strictly "voluntary" per manufactured "consent", these things are very effective add-ons if one is going for maximum impact of a deadly plandemic.  They crank the fear factor up to 11, increase power and control by the oligarchs, divide and conquer the masses, and cause their own direct and indirect harms and deaths as well.

How will they ever live this down?

UPDATE:  Bonus points for the lockdowns, antisocial distancing, and related restrictions temporarily knocking out the competition from other, more benign and endemic respiratory viruses and allowing the more novel coronavirus to take hold more easily, while also perversely selecting for strains that were both more contagious and more deadly at the same time, AND also managing to build "immunity debt" to the temporarily suppressed viruses by the time they inevitably come roaring back with a vengeance. 

The lockdown zealots have a LOT to answer for!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

UBI Is The Only Way To End Modern Slavery

Most of the objections to Universal Basic Income (UBI), from both the left and the right (usually the right), are fundamentally patronizing, paternalistic, and/or sadistic in nature, whether subtly or not-so-subtly.  Those are, of course, very easily debunked as void on their face in anything even remotely approaching a free and civilized society.  But what about the very few supposedly ethical objections that don't quite fit this mold?

One such objection to UBI is that it is really just "crowdsourced slavery", both within nations as well as (especially) with the imperialistic Global North continuing to exploit the Global South.  Or something.

Tell me, how exactly does one "crowdsource" slavery?  And if everyone is getting free money, and all work thus becomes de facto voluntary and optional, who exactly is really being exploited or enslaved?  How would anybody be able to economically coerce anyone else?

And how exactly can it possibly be any worse than the status quo?  (Don't think too hard about that.)

Even the biggest degrowth advocates like Jason Hickel openly support UBI, and he is certainly no imperialist shill.  Ditto for Charles Eisenstein and David Graeber.

True, UBI is unlikely to be global overnight, and will have to start at the national or subnational level.  A global UBI (especially directed primarily towards the Global South) would best be funded by a Tobin Tax on foreign currency exchanges, while a national, subnational, or local one would best be funded by seigniorage via national or local currencies, and/or Georgist-style taxation on the use of natural resources.  But until then, even a globally lopsided national-only UBI is highly unlikely to be any WORSE than the status quo, even if we do still maintain a sizable "trade deficit" in the near term.  In other words, if you make the perfect the enemy of the good, you ultimately end up with neither.

(Some may counter that they are really "making the necessary the enemy of the convenient", but that is really just begging the question.)

Over the lifecycle, we ALL subsidize each other to one degree or another.  Period.  And whether we like it or not, the globalization genie is out of the bottle, and has been for some time now.  And while all empires should of course go back to being republics, returning to complete autarky (whether it be national or small-scale autarky) is a practical nonstarter for the foreseeable future, so a new model of "alter-globalization," perhaps combined with some partial economic relocalization, is the least worst way forward.  (The scarcity mindset sure doesn't help.)

Until then, we need to meet people where they are at.

As for slavery, go look up your own slavery footprint under the status quo.  Go on.  I bet your hands don't feel so clean now, do they?

If you still feel guilty about receiving UBI for whatever reason, then by all means, feel free to to donate it to GiveDirectly then.  Put your money where your mouth is.  Otherwise, silence is golden.

Bonus points for those who decide they now support UBI, even if only so they can now finally afford to buy ethically sourced, fair trade products instead of the usual cheap junk often produced by slave labor.  If you just spotted the glaring "collective action problem" in the status quo before I mentioned it, you are quite astute, and even more bonus points to you.

Honestly, NO ONE's hands are truly clean in the system we currently live in.  Except those at the very top (the oligarchs) and the very bottom (literal chattel slaves) of the global pyramid, we are all effectively varying degrees of slaves AND slavers at the same time under the global kyriarchy.  And some form of UBI is necessary, even if not sufficient by itself, to finally end this evil system for good.

(Mic drop)

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Dear Congress, Stop Playing "Chicken" With The Debt Ceiling. Yesterday.

Dear Congress, 

STOP playing "chicken" with the debt ceiling (and thus the global economy) and pass a clean bill to raise it so we don't default.  Yesterday. 

Seriously, KNOCK. IT. OFF.

Better yet, simply abolish the silly concept of the "debt ceiling" that NO other country in the world has.  It serves NO useful purpose except as a political cudgel, which means it has NO useful purpose at all.

If not, the President would have no choice but to either 1) default on its debt obligations, which clearly flies in the face of the Constitution and would be utterly disastrous for the global economy, 2) invoke the 14th Amendment and simply ignore the debt ceiling, or 3) #MintTheCoin, that is, mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin so the government can still pay its bills. Actually, the latter option really wouldn't be a bad idea, come to think of it.


Literally everyone with at least half a brain

Monday, April 24, 2023

How To Reduce Gun Violence Without Violating The Second Amendment

How to reduce America's horrible gun violence problem without violating the Second Amendment?  Here is a partial list if ways to keep such dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners all the same:
  • Do a massive, voluntary gun buyback program.  And yes, when done at a large enough scale and paying enough for it to be worth one's while, these things actually do work.
  • Follow something like the Massachusetts model on the federal level (things like gun licensing, universal background checks, red flag laws, and a reinstated assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazine ban).
  • Apply the RICO law to street gangs.
  • Additional penalties for gun carry during a felony.
  • Put a tax on bullets, like comedian Chris Rock advocated.  Expensive bullets = no innocent bystanders.
None of these things actually violate the letter or spirit of the Second Amendment in any way, by the way.  Remember, the best part of the Second Amendment is where it says, "well-regulated".

Stephen Hawking Warned Us About It. We Need To Listen Yesterday!

Years ago when he was still alive, the late genius theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking made a terrifying prediction, namely that the prospect of uncontrolled superhuman artificial intelligence (AI) is at least as much of an existential threat to humanity as climate change.  And that really says something!

Alas, we still don't seem to be listening, let alone heeding his wise advice.  There is no way to sugar coat this hard-to-swallow pill.  If AI grows any more powerful than it currently is (that is, more powerful than GPT-4) before we learn how to fully control it, and it becomes uncontrollable, it would truly be an existential threat to humanity, civilization, and planet Earth (and possibly even beyond).  Not just in the distant future, but also sooner than one may think, at the rate things are currently going.  Even as a best case scenario, uncontrolled AI would make literally every single current problem in the world far worse before it would make it better.  I repeat, that's the best we could hope for, and it goes downhill from there.  I mean, once the genie is out of the bottle, it's not like anyone would be able to, you know, outsmart it any longer if it ultimately becomes orders of magnitude smarter than even Stephen Hawking himself.

The TSAP thus supports recent calls to put a minimum six month global moratorium on any further AI development beyond GPT-4, period, no exceptions.  And ideally, this moratorium would be indefinite, but six months would still buy us time.  THIS is what things like the precautionary principle and Pascal's Wager were literally designed for.  That is, we would be in a far less precarious position (by orders of magnitude) if we "overreact" and shut it down yesterday, than we would if we were to foolishly let AI get out of control and it becomes too late to control it.  There is literally no comparison between the two.

We ignore such risks at our peril.  Don't say we didn't warn you!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Just Say NO To The WHO Pandemic Treaty!

The TSAP has previously noted that the WHO Pandemic Treaty (currently pending ratification) is problematic at best, both in what it contains, as well as what it lacks.  Now we are learning even more about why the USA should NEVER sign onto it, especially the amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) in conjunction with it.  In classic textbook Orwellian doublespeak fashion, the text contains a very disturbing section that purports to preserve and honor national sovereignty, but actually ends up doing the exact opposite, as can be seen in the extremely elastic wording below:

4.3 of the Treaty
"3. Sovereignty – States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health, notably pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health systems, pursuant to their own policies and legislation, provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to their peoples and other countries. Sovereignty also covers the rights of States over their biological resources."

Wow.  Read between the lines once again.  The part in bold is the absolute worst kind of Orwellian sophistry, in that all someone would have to do is argue in a tortured fashion that it is like having a "designated peeing section in a swimming pool" (apologies to the late George Carlin) for nations to refuse to implement WHO diktats including, but not limited to, travel restrictions, lockdowns, closures, mask mandates, or jab mandates/passports.  The Constitution be damned, of course, as this treaty doesn't even allow for the usual "subject to constitutional limitations" qualifiers found in typical international treaties.  And also the collateral damage to people from such measures would predictably be ignored by the powers that be.

To put it bluntly, if the USA does sign the treaty, then we as a nation would effectively be signing away our national sovereignty to the WHO.  And we must never do that.  Once we do, there is NO turning back!

At a minimum, the USA must add a reservation to the treaty striking the bold text entirely and adding "subject to constitutional limitations", as a condition for signing and ratification.  Better yet, the USA should denounce the treaty entirely and refuse to sign it.  

Worse still, as a News Uncut Substack article notes, "the proposed amendments remove an existing IHR paragraph which protects “respect for dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of people.” Translated, that means you could lose liberty and bodily autonomy; anyone who refused a mandatory vaccine could be banned from travel, work or even shopping. No digital health passport, no life."

Very telling indeed.  All the more reason to reject this utterly terrible treaty wholesale, period.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

"Too Big To Fail" = Too Big To EXIST

Once again, the issue of "too big to fail" is in the foreground, as we have obviously learned NOTHING from the last financial crisis.  If there is ANY lesson that we must NEVER forget, it is this: "too big to fail (or jail)" is really too big to EXIST, period.  And here is what we absolutely MUST do going forward:  give all banks and corporations large enough to have "systemic risk" (that is, where them failing would literally bring the whole economy down) a choice between the following menu of options:

  1. Pay a prohibitive 90% marginal tax rate on all profits beyond the first billion, or,
  2. Break up into smaller, unaffiliated banks or companies, similar to what anti-trust laws require for monopolies, or,
  3. Full nationalization by the federal government, and (if already failed or failing) replacing the entire board of directors.
That's it.  That's the ONLY real solution. 

Of course, we also need to bring back the Glass-Steagall Act and pass a financial transactions tax and repeal the safe harbor provision of bankruptcy law and regulate derivatives better and stuff like that.

So what are we waiting for?

What Was The Cruelest April Fool's Joke In All Of Recorded History?

What was the absolute cruelest April Fool's joke in all of recorded history?  "Two weeks to flatten the curve".  After all, had it actually been true, it would have literally ended on April 1, 2020.

And as The Who (not to be confused with the WHO, the World Health Organization!) famously sang:

"We won't get fooled again!"

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Trumpty Dumpty Had A Great Fall

Well, it finally happened today.  The Donald has become the first (former) president to be indicted for a crime.  In his case, the primary charge (possibly a felony) was one related to the infamous Stormy Daniels hush money scheme, of all things.  And he also faces potential charges related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.  It is really NOT looking good for the washed up plutocrat turned reality TV star turned wannabe politician turned wannabe dictator turned disgrace of epic proportions.

All the king's horses and all the king's men, won't be able to put Trumpty together again.  Believe me.

UPDATE:  Trump was arrested and arraigned on April 4, 2023, and charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, and that's just what they have so far.  His next court date is December 4, 2023.  Scratch that, it is the next court date for THESE particular charges.  A civil case against him related to rape allegations is coming up before then on April 25.  Looks like all of that Teflon has finally worn off of the Don for good, and for the first time in his life he is finally being held accountable for something.  

And far from rallying around their fallen idol like they would have in the past, most of his supporters were strangely out to lunch when it happened.

He is rapidly falling away and falling apart now, and it is only going to get worse for him going forward.  Really sucks to be him now.  Sad!  Believe me. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

How To Smash The Permanent War Racket For Good

On the 20th anniversary of "Quagmire Accomplished" in Iraq, Dennis Kucinich wrote a great article about the utter disaster it has been, and the massive human costs and follies of wars of aggression in general.  I agree with him 100%.  Also, we should note that it was part of a much larger racket as well, that is, a state of permanent war that the oligarchs have been benefiting handsomely from for decades, all while cannibalizing our own country in the process, as Chris Hedges has noted in another good article.

My response to that article was as follows:

As Major General Smedley Butler said back on 1935, "War Is A Racket". It was true then, and is true now, *a fortiori*.

I will note that bringing back the draft would not really solve anything. Conscription did not prevent Vietnam from dragging on, and even (largely) universal conscription still doesn't prevent Israel from their own perpetual war against Palestinians and occasionally other neighbors as well. And plenty of non-imperialisitic countries have all-volunteer militaries currently, because they know it's a strategically superior choice in the 21st century. 

And then, there is that annoying little detail that conscription is a form of slavery, of course. And the working class would still bear the overwhelming brunt of it, while the elites would still find a way to stay out of harm's way. The middle class, however, would be further hollowed out. 

Would it heal our divided nation if brought back today? That is very doubtful. I think it would look far more like the (often very racist) 1863 Draft Riots of NYC than the anti-war protests of the Vietnam era. 

In other words, the grass may look greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed all the same. 

One good idea though would be my own variant of General Butler's idea, "consensual conscription", where for all wars going forward, it should be put up to a vote by those of military age. Those who vote no will be exempt, while those who abstain or vote yes will be eligible to be drafted into that war. And renew the vote every year. If the majority vote no, the war must end within 90 days, period. Also, raise the eligibility age to include people in their 40s, 50s and even early 60s. You know, those who are of the age to start the wars but not actually serve in them. Those who are 4F or CO would join the newly-created Human Shield Brigade, which is exactly what it sounds like: a sort of Peace Corps on steroids whose primary purpose is to nonviolently put their bodies on the line to protect civilian populations wherever they are deployed. 

Everyone would have skin in the game, and yet no one would be forced or coerced into participating in a war they do not believe in, or any war for that matter. 

And eradicating poverty with UBI, free college, single-payer Medicare for all, and stuff like that would also end the so-called "poverty draft" as well. Of course, that would mean we would have to (gasp!) pay our troops what they are actually worth, that is, significantly more than they are currently being paid. And since the federal government is Monetarily Sovereign, they could easily print their own money to do so.

Problem solved.

More details, not included in my response:

The Selective Service System should be put back into "deep standby" like it was from 1975-1980, where all registration is suspended.  Only reactivate the registration requirement when an actual draft is either in effect and/or likely will be in the near future.  And yes, if that ever does happen, women should be included as well.  It's really only fair, right?  What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and if you really want equality, you got it, Toyota!

For the record, the TSAP of course does not support bringing back an actual draft.  A country that needs a draft to defend itself deserves to lose, and any fair-weather "allies" unwilling or unable to defend themselves without the help of foreign conscript armies from halfway around the world also deserve to lose as well.  And if there were a truly "just war", conscription would be unnecessary, as volunteers would be plentiful.  But in those vanishingly rare instances where we are actually in a war of necessity, and volunteers are no longer enough, the sacrifice should be shared equally.  Not only in terms of gender, but also age, class, race, and so on as well.

If anything, the billionaires should go first, THEN we can talk about drafting the broader working class.

Regardless though, any conscription for the sole or primary purpose of social engineering, as opposed to absolute necessity for defense as a last resort, has absolutely zero place in a free society.  It is an alien culture that ultimately belongs to totalitarians.

Also, the half-century old War Powers Resolution of 1973 needs to be updated and tightened so the President cannot just start indefinitely undefined wars willy-nilly, and the President should be held fully liable for any damages resulting from the abuse of this power.  Wars or any war-adjacent military actions in foreign countries lasting more than 90 days should require a formal and official declaration of war by Congress per the Constitution, and if not it must be halted within 90 days, no exceptions.  No more indefinite or nebulous AUMFs without a very strict sunset clause.  No more decades-long quagmires ever again.  Like, EVER.  And the nuclear launch codes must be taken off of "hair trigger alert", and only given when the President's senior advisers approve.

And of course, the profit needs to be taken out of war.  The crony capitalism of the mercenary-industrial complex needs to end yesterday, full stop.  And all it would take would be a few tweaks of the tax code, plus the intestinal fortitude to actually enforce it.

As General Butler famously said, 


"Either war is obsolete, or man is."

-- Buckminster Fuller

"War, what is it good for?  Absolutely NOTHING!"

-- Edwin Starr

"Come the war, come the avarice, come the war, come hell...Come attrition, come the reek of bones, come attrition, come hell...This is why, why we fight, why we lie awake...And this is why, this is why we fight..."

-- The Decemberists

"Now the labor leader's screaming when they close the missile plant, United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore. Call it peace or call it treason, call it love or call it reason, but I ain't marching anymore."

-- Phil Ochs

"I declare the war is over, it's over, it's over..."

-- Phil Ochs

"But the hardest thing I'll ask you, if you would only try, is take your children by their hands and look into their eyes.  And there you'll see the answer you should have seen before.  If we win the wars at home, there'll be no fighting anymore"

-- Phil Ochs