MLK Jr. Would Not Accuse Trump's "shi*thole" Comment as Racist, but "Racial Ignorance" (DMR)

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I know that I’m going to start a firestorm with this post, but I think that this is a conversation worth having. It seems that not a day passes that headlines don’t carry news of accusations of racism. To be sure, racism certainly is alive and well; I do not want to give the impression that I’m downplaying that reality. It is alive, and it cuts more than one way.

That said, I think that the frequency of knee-jerk, reactionary accusations of racism against people for equivocal remarks causes society to be far too sensitive and even unable to recognize true racism when it manifests. (In other words, if everything is racist, then nothing is racist.) It diminishes attempts to address indisputable and/or egregious displays of racism, thus undermining the very goal it means to achieve.

Yes, I have in mind Donald Trump’s calling Haiti and African nations “sh*tholes.” To be sure, I am NOT excusing that remark. Should he have said it? Absolutely not. Was it Presidential? No.

Was it a racist remark though? I’m not so sure–certainly not sure enough that I think it should dominate headlines as such. Trump is a tactless man with a small vocabulary, and the preponderance of the evidence indicates that he communicates this way on a broad range of topics, including on many that are not even tangentially related to race. Furthermore, he did not proactively bring up Haiti or African nations, and he probably wasn’t talking only about them (Central America also apparently was an intended target). His remarks were in response to their being mentioned both in the immigration bill and orally in the meeting.

Additionally, Trump’s remarks were not directed at individual people, nor were they directed at specific demographics. They were quite clearly directed at countries–at geographic political entities. As far as I can tell, this is how Trump conveys that he believes that these are countries with significant problems.

In order for that to be a racist idea, it would need to be discriminatory and wrong. It isn’t though. There is a reason that Americans aren’t beating down the doors of Africa in an attempt to move there.

It is invariably true that Haiti and a large number of African nations have problems that would lead many good, accepting, open-minded people to think–perhaps in different words–what Trump said. Race and tribal warfare. Religious violence. Rape as a weapon. Infanticide. Economic and kinetic warfare against populations by their own governments. Apartheid (until appallingly recently). Extremely high unemployment rates. The use of women and children as instruments of terrorism. Abject poverty. AIDS.

Do these describe all of Africa? No. Do they apply to all African countries? No. One or a combination of them do, however, apply to a too-large number of African countries–disproportionately so. There is much to love about Africa. The picture there is far from universally negative, but it remains true that problems like these are relatively more prevalent there.

This is not to say that there is anything lesser or inadequate about Africans themselves. There isn’t. They are victims of extremely poor governance and of circumstances that frequently are beyond their control. They need our help. Alleged Trump racism isn’t what’s causing these problems though. Extractive, kleptocratic leadership in many African countries is the primary cause of these problems. (For example, can one really look at the Congo and at its horrendous leadership and objectively believe that only racism could possibly cause someone to develop a negative opinion of it?)Additionally, Trump’s remarks were not directed at individual people, nor were they directed at specific demographics. They were quite clearly directed at countries–at geographic political entities. As far as I can tell, this is how Trump conveys that he believes that these are countries with significant problems.

Trump should not have said what he did for many reasons, including the reality that it will probably harm our relations with some African countries. The remark was cold and unwarranted. Was it racist though? I don’t think that we can say for sure that it was.

I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr: Trump’s remark probably wasn’t a sign of racism. Rather, it was probably just a sign of “racial ignorance.”

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DMR: Challenge for Trump: Job growth is slowing

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Here’s something to consider regarding the U.S. economy.

The pace of job creation slowed dramatically in Obama’s last year, and it slowed even more during Trump’s first year. (I point this out to show that job creation generally has very little to do with a President’s policies even though all Presidents will take credit for gains and blame someone else for losses.)

These days, we are constantly bombarded with one politician or another claiming that his or her new policies, regulations, or tax plans will “create new jobs.” Why should we renegotiate trade deals? “Create new jobs.” Why should we cut taxes? “Create new jobs.” And on and on.

While creating new jobs isn’t a bad thing, of course, a lack of jobs also isn’t a problem facing our economy right now. There are more than 5 million unfilled jobs in our economy–employers literally cannot fill them all. The problem, therefore, isn’t too few jobs; rather, the problem is too few workers. There simply are not enough participants in our labor force to fill even those jobs that are currently available.

Cutting tax rates and reducing regulatory burdens are important (though spending should be cut as well in order to keep these things from piling up more debt for us), but these will not solve the labor force problem. What can we do then? One avenue is to enact policies that increase the labor force participation rate. This is frequently cited as one justification for the need to reform our welfare system. Indeed, our welfare system does need to be reformed: it is too expensive and does not do enough to encourage its recipients to reenter the workforce. That said, increasing the labor force participation rate is a short-term solution–a Band-Aid. Why? Because that means increasing the number of workers out of the population that currently exists.

Therein lies the real problem: regardless of our labor force participation rate, the absolute size of our potential labor force is now shrinking. In order for the labor market to continue growing organically, each American woman must have MORE than 2.1 children. That hasn’t been the case in this country in a long time, and as of today, each American woman has an average of only 1.5 children. That means that our organic labor force is shrinking–more and more older people and fewer and fewer younger people.


For a while now, the overall size of our labor force has been growing because of immigration. Americans no longer have enough babies to keep it growing, so we’ve used immigration to grow. Now immigration is quickly falling off as well, so not only will our labor force resume its overall shrinking, but our population as a whole will begin to shrink. This will mean slower economic growth (perhaps even stagnation eventually), lower government revenue, more debt (all else equal), and standards of living that either don’t rise or that rise only very slowly.

If we want to lower our debt, increase our standard of living, increase the rate of economic growth, and increase government revenue without increasing tax rates, then we must ensure that our labor force continues to grow. (This is especially true when one considers how much larger China and India’s labor forces are than our own, something that could give them a considerable advantage over us over the long term.) Thus, there really are only two types of policies that we should be pursuing to this end: those that encourage families to have more babies and those that encourage more immigration.*

*Caveat: “More immigration” doesn’t mean no-holds-barred, beat-down-the-borders immigration. It means tailoring immigration quotas annually to the needs of our economy and issuing visas based on these needs.

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LIBERTARIAN BOOK CLUB: Liberalism by Ludwig von Mises

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Tom Woods Liberty Classroom

We are a monthly book club for anyone who wants to learn more about Libertarianism. We will discuss each book’s chapter/section in separate posts, so everyone will be able to read along at their own pace. We typically also focus on books which are available for free so that everyone can participate.

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Liberalism is Mises’s classic statement in defense of a free society, one of the last statements of the old liberal school and a text from which we can continue to learn. It has been the conscience of a global movement for liberty for 80 years. This new edition, a gorgeous hardback from the Mises Institute, features a new foreword by Tom Woods. It can also be downloaded here.

Ch1, pgs. 18 -26
From Tom Wood’s Forward:
“The liberal sets a very high threshold for the initiation of violence. Beyond the minimal taxation necessary to maintain legal and defense services—and some liberals shrink even from this— he denies to the state the power to initiate violence and seeks only peaceful remedies to perceived social ills. He opposes violence for the sake of redistributing wealth, of enriching influential pressure groups, or trying to improve man’s moral condition. Civilized people, says the liberal, interact with each other not according to the law of the jungle, but by means of reason and discussion.”

Intro. Mises:
“If it is maintained that the consequence of a liberal policy is or must be to favor the special interests of certain strata of society, this is still a question that allows of discussion. It is one of the tasks of the present work to show that such a reproach is in no way justified . . . In the customary rhetoric of the demagogues these facts are represented quite differently. To listen to them, one would think that all progress in the techniques of production redounds to the exclusive benefit of a favored few, while the masses sink ever more deeply into misery. However, it requires only a moment’s reflection to realize that the fruits of all technological and industrial innovations make for an improvement in the satisfaction of the wants of the great masses.”

While Mises endeavors to explain liberalism rationally, he says that you can’t explain anti-liberalism that way because they are not rational. He calls it Fourierism – a kind of neurosis that is basically envy.

Ch 1 The section on property reminded me a lot of what Rothbard wrote in New Liberty. Not surprising since I am sure Rothbard cited Mises a lot.

On Freedom: “Muddleheaded babblers may therefore argue interminably over whether all men are destined for freedom and are as yet ready for it. They may go on contending that there are races and peoples for whom Nature has prescribed a life of servitude and that the master races have the duty of keeping the rest of mankind in bondage. The liberal will not oppose their arguments in any way because his reasoning in favor of freedom for all, without distinction, is of an entirely different kind. We liberals do not assert that God or Nature meant all men to be free, because we are not instructed in the designs of God and of Nature, and we avoid, on principle, drawing God and Nature into a dispute over mundane questions. What we maintain is only that a system based on freedom for all workers warrants the greatest productivity of human labor and is therefore in the interest of all the inhabitants of the earth.”

The section on Peace reminded me of . . .

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I really liked section 2, talking about how by nature individuals will seek out beneficial relationships through mutual exchange. It’s not that we believe that business is benevolent, but that like Adam Smith had said: it is not from their own generosity that the butcher and baker offer their service but of their own livelihood.

Former President Obama has repeatedly tried to infer cryptography is a threat to the /people/ if government doesn’t have a skeleton key to everyone’s digital house and digital papers by saying “Everyone is walking around with a swiss bank account in their pocket.”

The first time I heard him say it out loud some years ago now, I thought to myself “that sounds expletive ideal!” .

The answer to the underlying and ongoing incessant plea by government to give them permission to do what they are already doing without permission, spying on the /people/, is of the form PRIVACY SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

Given that the governments have proven themselves without honor and have violated any trust or hope thereof to defend from plunder in the act of plundering themselves, privacy going forward will be kept by intellectual strength. This is not a request, this is an action a person takes, or doesn’t take: responsibility for their own digital information security.

If you didn’t read the chapter you probably won’t get how that all relates together in terms of the shenanigans they’ve been up to since his observations were originally written. Trusting the other end to hold all the keys and the data has proven unwise, hasn’t it?

Ch 1, pgs. 27-41
I have some qualms about how Mises frames the discussion on equality. He finds fault with nineteenth century liberals (here I think we can substitute Thomas Jefferson though Mises noticeably does not call him out by name) because they argued for the equality of all men on the basis of natural rights theory. Mises argues that is preposterous because all you have to do is look at people to see they are not equal. But when Jefferson said all men are created equal he certainly did not mean that all men are identical.

Since he rejects equality as a reason for giving equal treatment under the law, he therefore resorts to making utilitarian arguments. He basically says that elites best not deprive the poor and working class of equal treatment because they are outnumbered and will meet resistance – usually bloody. However, you will recall that in New Liberty, Rothbard will argue that it is a mistake to make utilitarian arguments and that we must always argue from first principles.
In section five Mises argues that the luxuries of today inevitably become the necessities of tomorrow. I am glad to know that in the future we will all fly first class, have yachts, chauffeur driven limousines, and luxury boxes at the ballpark.

Section Six:  “In requiring of the individual that he should take society into consideration in all his actions, that he should forgo an action that, while advantageous to him, would be detrimental to social life, society does not demand that he sacrifice himself to the interests of others. For the sacrifice that it imposes is only a provisional one: the renunciation of an immediate and relatively minor advantage in “exchange for a much greater ultimate benefit. The continued existence of society as the association of persons working in cooperation and sharing a common way of life is in the interest of every individual.”

In Section Seven, everyone should see the problem with this:
“There is, to be sure, a sect that believes that one could quite safely dispense with every form of compulsion and base society entirely on the voluntary observance of the moral code. The anarchists consider state, law, and government as superfluous institutions in a social order that would really serve the good of all, and not just the special interests of a privileged few. Only because the present social order is based on private ownership of the means of production is it necessary to resort to compulsion and coercion in its defense. If private property were abolished, then everyone, without exception, would spontaneously observe the rules demanded by social cooperation.”

Mises here to me seems to be arguing that anarchism is incompatible with private property. Of course, most of us now understand this to be incorrect and the present-day Mises Institute could be called the Anarcho-Capitalist Institute.

Mises writes: “Liberalism is not anarchism, nor has it anything whatsoever to do with anarchism.”

He may be right about that, which is why Rothbard used the term libertarianism to describe anarcho-capitalism and deliberately distinguished it from liberalism which he viewed as a sort of proto-libertarianism.

Mises goes on this same line to a sickening degree in Section Eight. When reading this I thought of this meme, but in place of “proud conservative” I guess you could photoshop Mises’ face.

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Ch 1, pgs. 42-59

Mises confuses me again in Section Nine:

“The champions of democracy in the eighteenth century argued that only monarchs and their ministers are morally depraved, injudicious, and evil. The people, however, are altogether good, pure, and noble, and have, besides, the intellectual gifts needed in order always to know and to do what is right. This is, of course, all nonsense, no less so than the flattery of the courtiers who ascribed all good and noble qualities to their princes.”

That I agree with completely. However, he closes that same section:

“Only a group that can count on the consent of the governed can establish a lasting regime.”
So he begins by criticizing democracy and closes by praising it. In between he seems to be making another utilitarian argument in favor of democracy.

Section 10 I like. Basically he argues that fascism at the time of his writing was popular because it was a response to the evils of Bolshevism.

“Many people approve of the methods of Fascism, even though its economic program is altogether antiliberal and its policy completely interventionist, because it is far from practicing the senseless and unrestrained destructionism that has stamped the Communists as the arch-enemies of civilization”

He was very prescient here:

“But when the fresh impression of the crimes of the Bolsheviks has paled, the socialist program will once again exercise its power of attraction on the masses.”

Section 11: Found this depressing considering it was written several decades ago:

“Other countries do not go so far, but nearly everywhere some restrictions are imposed on the sale of opium, cocaine, and similar narcotics.”

Mises argues that once you concede government the power to prohibit certain substances you have lost the argument that they should not be able to prohibit certain reading material.

Section 12: He makes another utilitarian argument. The state should be tolerant of religious beliefs, not because every individual has freedom of conscience, but says Mises, because intolerance will lead to social unrest by persecuted religious.

We of course today would prefer no state around to be tolerant or intolerant of anything.
Section 13 Mises wrongly suggests that suppression of conduct detrimental to the social order requires a state. As we saw from Rothbard though that is not the case at all.

Ch 2, pgs. 60-84
In The Organization of the Economy, Mises points out the difference between redistributing capital among the working class and the communal ownership of property, but of course rejects both.

In “The Impracticality of Socialism” he says that while the common criticism that “most men will not exhibit the same zeal in the performance of the duties and tasks assigned to them that they bring to their daily work in a social order based on private property” is correct, it does not get at the heart of the matter: “What renders socialism impracticable is precisely the fact that calculation of this kind is impossible in a socialist society.”

In Sections 2 and 3 Mises says that since the world is not a paradise, people like to direct their unhappiness at the institution of private property and that governments by their very nature always attack private property. Below is a perfect example of that from a recent interview with New York City Mayor DeBlasio.

Mises says that while many people today understand that private property can not be dispensed with completely, they think government intervention is necessary to even the playing field. He explains though how every single government intervention in the voluntary exchange of goods and services can only make the market less efficient i.e. Back to Hazlitt’s consequences seen and unseen.

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Ch 2, pgs. 85-94​

In section seven Mises argues that we have nothing to fear from natural monopolies. Reminded me of this Tom Woods episode

I would summarize section six as that capitalism is not perfect, just better than any other economic system conceivable. Reminded me of this: 

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Ch 3, pgs. 105-117
Section 3.1 is brief, but I think complex.

Mises argued that for classical liberals, there is no divide between domestic and foreign policy: The same principles that apply to one apply to the other. And I would summarize that principle as non-interventionism: no intervention by government in the domestic economy and no intervention by government in the affairs of foreign governments – i.e. Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

So far, so good, but

Mises goes on to extol the virtues of cosmopolitanism vis-a-vis nationalism. Also fine. But he then argued a that national unity is itself a product of liberalism. THAT seems to conflict a bit with the point he just made, and quite a bit with the book we read by Tom DiLorenzo where he made the case that DISUNITY within a nation is a force for good when it comes to libertarianism and advocated secession and nullification as tools to advance liberty.

Ch 3, pgs. 118-141
Section 3.4 Mises argues that ethic conflicts within heterogeneous nations can only be avoided when said nation completely adopts a liberal program. As per Rothbard though:

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Ch. 4, pgs. 155-169
We often hear complaints that libertarianism does not advance due to some failure or another in tactics or strategy on the part of libertarians. In Section 4.1 Mises dismisses that concern saying that liars and tricksters need tactics and strategy but that if people can’t see the truth for themselves there is no hope for them.

Mises goes even further:

“Most people do not have even the intellectual endowments required to think through the—after all very complicated—problems of social cooperation, and they certainly do not have the will power necessary to make those provisional sacrifices that all social action demands.”

Well that is certainly downer, leaving all political activity completely useless. (He makes that explicit in the next section). I am left wondering what is the point of his even writing and publishing books if he believes that?

Ch. 4, pgs. 170-187
Section 4.3
“There are, therefore, only two parties: the party in power and the one that wants to be in power . . . As their demands are, in principle, limitless, it is impossible for any one of these parties ever to achieve all the ends it envisages . . . Every party seeks, nevertheless, to attain to such influence as will permit it to satisfy its desires as far as possible, while also taking care always to be able to justify to its electors why all their wishes could not be fulfilled.”

Certainly seems apropos today regarding the GOP’s failure to repeal ACA, defund Planned Parenthood etc.

Section 4.4.
“Society cannot, in the long run, exist if it is divided into sharply defined groups, each intent on wresting special privileges for its own members”

To me that is almost like saying “Society can not in the long run exist. Period.” Mises I think unwittingly makes the case for radical individualism. Or It’s saying politics will cause society to cease, if we keep it up.

Section 4.5 he returns to the idea that liberals must fight force with ideas not counter-force.
Section 4.6. He returns to the idea that critics of liberalism will claim that liberalism is the special interest of capitalists, but that that is false because capitalism ultimately benefits not just one class of people, but everyone. In a liberal system property rights belong to all, not just to capitalists.

Ch 5
In Chapter Five, Mises argues that the enemies of capitalism have lost the debate that alternatives to capitalism can lead to greater material wealth, so they have moved the goalpost and now claim that material wealth is a societal ill. Mises replies though that a return to primitive asceticism would result in the deaths of billions of people.

“Liberalism is no world view because it does not try to explain the cosmos and because it says nothing and does not seek to say anything about the meaning and purpose of human existence . . . It seeks to give men only one thing, the peaceful, undisturbed development of material well-being for all.”

Summary
As I mentioned a few times in earlier chapters, my beef with Mises is that he is a minarchist. That is a step backward after having read Rothbard. Rothbard and Hoppe take the foundation established by Mises to its next logical progression. I know it is not really possible, but it would be great if we could read books in historical order of their logical progression toward anarchy-capitalism. If you want to read the precursors of Mises, the first appendix of this book is a good place to start.

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Liberty Lovers Shouldn't Support Trump Just Because He Pisses Off Leftists

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Tom Woods Liberty Classroom

So it’s not a secret. I am not a fan of Donald Trump.

And I don’t care at all about Russian conspiracies. I just think he’s not what the country needs. I don’t hate Donald Trump as a person.

My issue is with supporters. And actually it’s not with all supporters. It’s with supporters who claim to be pro-liberty. Now I don’t believe there is a perfect candidate. There are always going to be politician with things in that platform that are just going to fall short of my personal expectations. I don’t begrudge people for that. But there are things about Trump’s platform that are complete non starters.

To me I find that it has almost made some people in the liberty movement far more docile. As if there shouldn’t be any criticism or skepticism towards Trump. The excuse being “I’m forced to defend him” or “He pisses off the left”. First these are weak excuses. It is possible to disagree with the left, and disagree with Trump. This isn’t “take the side of Republican Authoritarianism or become a socialist”. Also I find that one year into his presidency, we should be over the whole “he pissed off the left” excuse.

I’m not going to tell people who they should or shouldn’t support. That’s none of my business.

But more and more I find that people who are liberty minded are OK with things just because they’re anti-leftist, and not pro-freedom. And while this is a bit fun, at times I feel there isn’t enough critical dialogue about where the liberty movement goes from here.

And of course occasionally Trump will do things you personally like. But at his core, he’s not pro-liberty bin the slightest. And I feel people who are his core supporters and his base are different than libertarians who are on the “well he pisses off the left”.

I also find that people are afraid to be on a different side of the “pro-authoritarian right”. Because somehow someway there is this expectation that these are somehow our new generation of libertarians. When honestly they’re the same threat to liberty as the left is. Remember both sides of the aisle believe in freedom. They just believe in freedom for certain people or certain types of freedom. Anything other than a full embrace of freedom is a problem. So any fantasy that you’re going to convert people who believe in the tyranny of police, billions of economic intervention, stop and frisk policies are somehow going to be some sort of ally to liberty is nonsense. And I don’t think we should have any problem pissing off this group similarly to how we have no issue pissing off the left.

I just find that since Trump’s presidency, I’ve seen libertarians just join in the fun of partisanships and counter productive bashing of “the other”. and anytime you’re willing to call out the issues of big governemnt (even the big government that righties love), you’re called “hyperbolic” or “counter productive”. As if right wing authoritarianism cares anymore about freedom than left wing authoritarianism.

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It's a Horrible Time to Buy Bitcoin but Perfect for this Cryptocurrency

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There are many problems with cryptocurrencies.  That is all starting to change.  

One criticism of cryptocurrencies is their highly speculative nature which has a roller coaster effect on their market value.  Extreme returns can be met with losses just as quickly.  Determining the true value of a cryptocurrency is extremely difficult to ponder, especially if the crypto doesn’t have any clear legitimate use in the real world.

There are also barriers to entry in the public’s adoption of cryptocurrencies.  It takes savvy to understand blockchain technology, research and select an appropriate online wallet, use private posting keys, etc.  It’s amazing how few crypto-investors have ever even read a white paper.   

The Latium Platform solves for these valuation and these barriers of entry by creating an easy to use market place where anyone willing to complete a task is rewarded with LATX tokens based on smart contracts.

Think of the emergence of the ‘gig economy’ since the recession of 2008.  Services like Uber, Lyft, AirBNB, Fiver, Upwork and others have connected those who want services to those who can provide it worldwide.  No longer is employment limited to a local or state employee pool.

The Latium Team will be releasing the Alpha version of the Latium Platform Friday, December 29th, 2017.  Even though many who aren’t crypto-savvy won’t be purchasing tokens outright, they will be able to create a Latium account and receive crypto from completing tasks.

By implementing a smart contract-based, global reputation system, Latium aims to disrupt the multi-billion global labor market through the blockchain and make the employer-employee relationship more transparent. 

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The Latium platform can be used for task creation, meaning that anyone needing a task completed (logo design, ride-share, assassination) can now use LATX to pay for the labor.  This gives LATX an intrinsic value within the system rather than the purely speculative value given to most cryptocurrencies and tokens.

This platform will also integrate a reputation system which will make the entire employee/employer relationship much more transparent while also filtering out spam and unwanted content.

Of note, John McAfee, Founder of McAfee Anti-Virus, has joined the Latium team in an advisory role.

I foresee a couple results in this use of blockchain technology.

1. Lower unemployment rate
2. Higher level of efficienc
y in output for platforms like social media sites and apps
3. Reduction in the rate of spamming in community driven platforms
4. Most importantly, the widespread adoption of LATX as it is more utilized in commerce by common-folk.

Go check out Latium’s platform and get in on their token sale while they are still offering bonuses!

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DMR:  Analyzing the Tax Bill and Trump's National Security Strategy

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There’s some good news and some bad news as we roll into Christmas vacation.

Since I like to end with good news whenever possible, I’ll start with the bad.

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The first topic I wanted to mention is the GOP tax plan. Actually, the news isn’t all bad. For this one, it’s both good and bad–a mixed bag. There are two parts to this: how the plan was constructed and the merits of the plan itself.

The way in which the plan was constructed is one of the universally negative aspects of the bill and is a prime example of how poorly Washington functions.

The bill, whose partial initial purpose was to simplify our tax code, ballooned in a matter of weeks to nearly 500 pages and many hundreds of thousands of words. (So much for simplification, right?) On top of that, it was written entirely by Congressional Republicans. There was no attempt to reach across the aisle. There was no attempt to seek the CBO’s input. In fact, the bill was thrown together so quickly that the CBO didn’t have time to score it, most think tanks didn’t get a chance to weigh in on the entire text, and members of Congress–Republicans–were admitting that they didn’t have time to read much of it.

This is a reform effort that will dramatically impact both our economy and our government’s finances, and it appears to have been done in haste and without much due diligence.

As evidence of this, consider what happened 20 December.

Only after having voted for the bill did the House discover that portions of it violate Senate rules. Now the House will have to vote on it again on 21 December.

Businesses don’t run this way. Most Americans don’t run their lives this way. Our government shouldn’t run this way either.

That said, the bill that emerged actually wasn’t all bad. So what about its merits? First and foremost, it thoroughly overhauled our corporate tax system. It may well be the most significant corporate overhaul ever. Among other things, it reduced the corporate tax rate to 21% and switched the U.S. to a territorial rather than a global tax system.

It created incentives for companies to bring cash back to our country too. This is universally a good thing. Our corporate income tax system was incredibly uncompetitive. Even with these major changes, we’re not even close to the most competitive country out there. We’re in the thick of the pack now though. These changes were long, long overdue. This will promote growth, increase the number of jobs, and could increase investment as well. (That part remains to be seen. There are good arguments both ways.)

There were also substantial changes to the personal income tax system. This is where the both-good-and-bad part starts to come into the equation. There were many changes to the way that our personal income tax system works. For the first few years after the bill’s passage, most Americans will see a very small reduction in their tax bills. That’s where the good part ends though.

Some Americans will actually have their tax burden increased. Even though their income tax rates may fall, the fact that so many deductions are being eliminated means that they may still end up having to pay more than they did before this bill (we’re looking at you Californians). Even for those Americans who do experience a reduction, it is likely to be relatively small. After around 2020, almost half of Americans could actually be paying more in taxes than they would have under the “old” system. Unfortunately, the half of Americans who are having their tax burden increased are the half who earn the smaller amount of income. Those who earn more will get to keep their reduced burden for longer.

By 2025, almost all of the personal income tax changes will then expire. That’s right: The personal income tax deductions were not made permanent. They are temporary. This means that whether the personal income tax changes were a good or a bad thing isn’t immediately obvious. Clearly most Americans would agree that having more money–even in one year–is good for them. There’s quite a bit of evidence, however, that temporary tax cuts have very little impact on the economy, can create imbalances and even bubbles, and can even harm Americans who plan their budgets around their new tax rates only to find them shoot up again shortly thereafter.

I believe that politicians at that time will just extend the tax cuts permanently (they are seeking reelection, after all).  This will throw off all of the accounting tricks that make this bill ONLY cost an additional $1Trillion in debt…  It will then cost more.

On the whole, the bill makes a large number of necessary, long overdue changes. I can’t shake the feeling that this was also an enormous missed opportunity though. The original goal of simplifying the tax code wasn’t met. Both the corporate and individual codes remain as long and as complicated as they’ve ever been. On top of that, as I said, many of the bill’s provisions are temporary anyway.

This brings me to my last point and the one point that is unquestionably bad: Why are those provisions temporary? The short answer: They almost certainly had to be. This last point is my primary concern with the bill and is the only true reason that I question the wisdom of the bill as it is currently written. (There are ways to reform our tax code without piling trillions of dollars in additional debt onto our backs.)

The previous sentence is the point: This bill adds a tremendous amount of new debt to our government. At an absolute minimum, it will add an additional nearly $500 billion to our national debt (according to The Tax Foundation). Most other analysis puts that total closer to $1 trillion or even $1.5 trillion. Bear in mind that that is debt above and beyond what we’d have already accumulated. We’ll still be accumulating the “other” debt too.

Republicans are now up against a harsh reality. They’ve campaigned for years on cutting the tax burden. For years–decades even–our government had a small enough debt load that we could easily have done this without significant adverse impact. The cold, hard reality now though is that we have such an enormous debt load (105% of GDP) that we’re actually quite constrained in how much–and for how long–we can reduce people’s tax burdens without causing government solvency problems.

Thus, Republicans opted to have most of this tax bill’s changes expire in less than a decade in order to slow the accumulation of debt.

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This is why Republicans have actually added more to the national debt than Democrats have. We want to increase military spending, increase infrastructure spending, and keep welfare spending the same (apparently) but reduce the government’s revenue. If that’s what you plan to do, then there’s only one way to fund it: more debt. In other words, young people today and people yet to be born are having their futures mortgaged.  This is IMMORAL, even if it means we save 4% on our tax bills, personally.

After all of this new debt is accumulated, what will happen? Well, our rates will go right back up again. We’ll be back where we started, only with a lot more debt. What, then, did we really accomplish for individuals? In all likelihood, we’ve hurt them over the long term for one reason. Mark my words: Our debt load is so large and growing so quickly, that bickering over the temporary nature of tax cuts will one day seem to be a luxury. Unless we get our fiscal house in order, we are only borrowing from people’s futures. A day is coming when our tax rates will have to be RAISED in order to keep our government solvent. Eventually our debt will impose realities like that. This is what we are setting ourselves up for.

The Republicans like to think that their tax cuts generate enough new growth to pay for themselves. The reality, of course, is that they don’t. Even the most politically conservative analysis supports me on this.

They do cause some additional growth, but they don’t cause enough to fully pay for cuts, and they never have. Not a single tax cut package has ever fully paid for itself with new growth. That’s why you must cut spending. Cutting spending is how you make the equation balance. We tell ourselves that our tax cuts mean that we don’t have to cut spending because the lower tax rates will generate enough new growth to pay for themselves. This is only a psychological need: We tell ourselves this so that we feel better about the long-term problems we know that our debt accumulation will cause. We want to believe it. The problem is that it simply isn’t true. (On a side note, we’re likely to experience even less growth from this tax bill now than we would have a couple of decades ago when we first started talking about it because our labor force is now shrinking. Regardless of tax rates, there’s only so much new growth that can be generated from a shrinking labor force. We don’t have enough babies and now also discourage immigration. There isn’t a third way to grow a population or a labor force over the long term.)

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Anyway, I said that I’d end on a positive note, and I will. The new national security strategy that Trump announced yesterday is tremendous. It places additional emphasis on jihadist networks, as well it should. It shines a spotlight evermore directly at North Korea, as well it should.

The most important aspect is this though: It labeled China a “strategic competitor.” You can bet that that is absolutely true. China is not a friend of the United States or of the global trade and sovereignty rules whereby the U.S.-led system operates. China sees themselves very much in competition with the U.S., and it’s time we stepped up to the plate. China plays on a market field that has no foul lines. It’s time for us to level that playing field.

While many Americans are complaining about Mexico’s impact on our economy (which, contrary to much of what is shared on Facebook, actually provides an enormous boost to our economy), China steals our long-term prosperity. When it comes to engaging with the rest of the world, China looks out for China first. Thus, when it comes to engaging China, we should look out for ourselves first.

Sometimes diplomacy is called for, but most of the time you need to call something what it is. The era of holding China’s hand and pretending that they’re are our friend must end. China is a competitor that plays by its own rules at the expense of Americans’ economic interests, and it’s time for us to meet that challenge head on.

I applaud Trump for making this change. It’s time. Let’s gear up and fight for our long-term economic wellbeing.

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Source: Liberty LOL – DMR:  Analyzing the Tax Bill and Trump's National Security Strategy

Jason Stapleton Program: Jason Stapleton explains the 5 Principles of Liberty

A snippet from The Jason Stapleton Show

Jason Stapleton Promoting the 5 Principles of Liberty; Peace, Tolerance, Individualism, Limited Government and Free Markets. JasonsStapleton.com

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Don’t forget to follow the Unofficial Jason Stapleton Recommended Reading List Twitterbot @JasonSuggests

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The Cake-Baking Supreme Court Decision could Create new Class of Slavery

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Tom Woods Liberty Classroom

Ultimately, there are only two possible outcomes facing the American people after the Supreme Court rules in this case:

1 – Some Americans will be offended.

Or…

2 – Some Americans will be forced into involuntarily servitude at the point of the federal government’s gun.

This is really not complicated.

SCOTUS will, by judicial fiat, create a de facto new “amendment” to the Constitution, allowing offended persons to enslave those who offended them, or they will simply tell the offended persons to take their business elsewhere. (They could also tell them to bake their own damn cake.)

This is not about “equality” to the radical, activist elements of the LGBTQWKRPINCINCINNATI crowd. This is about retribution and backdoor reparations.

Yes — homosexuals have been unfairly and unjustly treated by elements of our society, and even by our laws, since before our country’s Founding — but asking for government to force another human into your service is not the moral path to equality.

Being offended is not justification for tying up either the courts or another citizen’s hands.

I fear this decision.

It basically comes down to Justice Kennedy.

One man . . . ONE FREAKIN’ MAN(!!!) has the power to either create a new classification of legalized slavery, or tell those offended that some animals ARE NOT more equal than others.

There needn’t be religious rights, gay rights, or free speech arguments presented in this case. It’s far more cut-n-dried than that:

Do you have the right to enslave a person who offends you?

That’s the only question that matters in this case.

If the gay couple loses this case, what do they actually lose?

(Go ahead . . . take your time. Let me know when you’re done making your list.)

If the baker loses the case, what does he stand to lose?

(Hmmm?)

If this were truly about equal rights, I’d be standing with the gay couple — but it’s not. This is about one group punishing another group for their multi-generational sins, and doing so at the expense of a single individual’s liberty.

Their intent is to force the baker into their service, against his will. If he refuses, they want him to pay a fine or lose his business. If he refuses to pay, they want him visited upon by armed agents of the government. If he resists, they want those agents to use force in order to bind and imprison him. If he refuses to be taken, they expect him to be shot.

What does the baker desire from the gay couple? Nothing other than to be left alone. Hell . . . he didn’t even want their money.

So . . . we can either be offended, or we can be slaves.

What say you, Anthony McLeod Kennedy?

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NET NEUTRALITY: Who Do You Trust More?  Government or Free Markets?

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Do you trust “The Government” or “The Market” more?

I have no doubt that Comcast and other large Internet Service Providers do not have MY personal best interests in mind. Not exactly.

They have this thing called ‘profit motive’.

But in a Free Market, if they continue to screw someone over or charge too high of prices, people will stop using their services and it’s an opportunity for another business to undercut them. They go out of business if they can’t offer the best product at the cheapest prices, because someone else will. Because “Profit Motive”.
There are entire YELP-like industries designed around measuring how well companies

This entire Net Neutrality Debate is simplified in one question.

Do you trust “The Government” or “The Market” more?
This is the only question you need ask yourself.

Let’s discuss all these atrocities they are saying ‘could occur’…. Why haven’t we seen them from 1994-2014, twenty years with NO NET NEUTRALITY at all, and none of these horrors occurred.

Sure some companies had some fights and guess what they all solved it and moved on. It never affected you for a moment, you didn’t even know it happened until the TV or the great Facebook told you about it.

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The internet is the most awesome tech ever created, why?

More than two decades to evolve free of regulation, that is why.
Some are too young, you don’t remember how regulation has always been the problem and never once been the solution. When phones were highly regulated, great screams poured out when deregulation was proposed. They said it would be ‘suicide for our communication networks and capabilities’.

“The corporations will charge you for every feature”, “Long distance will triple!”, “They will shut your phone off if you say something they don’t like!”, “they will tap your phone”, on and on it went….any of this sound familiar?

Do you remember what telephone service was like before DEREGULATION?

I’m talking about back in the good old days when it was highly regulated?
Here are some facts about that time…

  1. You could not own a phone you had to rent it!
  2. You could not unplug a phone and move it, they said you could damage the system or kill yourself because you were untrained (YES REALLY, similar to why ‘trained attendants’ have to pump my gas for me when I drive through New Jersey). They would plug your phone in and staple the jack in. If you wanted to move your phone you had to pay to have a tech come move it to a new jack.
  3. If you wanted a second phone in your house again you had to pay a phone tech to come install it. Over $100 (in 1980 dollars) to plug in a phone! Yes, seriously!
  4. Long distance was over 1 dollar a minute; “in-state long distance” was higher.

But “oh please, please almighty government that has screwed up EVERYTHING else it has ever touched, come regulate the internet just a little bit.”

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The sheep are so easily led by a terms “net neutrality” and “free and open internet”, it all sounds so nice right?

It actually amounts to one thing “government regulation of the internet”, every time you hear or read the term “net neutrality”, translate it in your head to read”government regulation of the internet” and see how much support you have for it in a week or two.

But what about GEOGRAPHICALLY disparate communities with only one provider?!

First research this: Why aren’t there competing ISPs where you live? Does your local ISP have a monopoly that was granted to them from government regulation? Or does the cost of internet infrastructure truly outweigh the population in an area?
If there is no incentive to bring a second company into such a small population, chock that up to your ‘cost of living in the boonies.”

​The argument that “Cheap Abundant Internet is a Right because everything we do is online” will be withheld for another time (it’s not).

There are never really any true monopolies, even Standard Oil would see competitors the moment they increased prices.

The ‘out in the boonies’ problem you have can probably only be fixed with a US Postal Service-style monopoly. But then you’d be getting USPS Government quality Internet.

The problem we have in this case (geographically, only one provider) is the kind of problem that the market corrects for, over time, though. It spurs the next innovation that will reduce the cost of DSL/Satellite solutions which will free us of the old physical fiber lines.

Just think, the ‘telephone poles’ we are so accustomed to seeing in our neighborhoods are 99% obsolete for telephone connectivity these days. Who has telephones in their house anymore?

Let the market innovate out of your problem. Yes, I know that means it sucks in the meantime.

Final Thoughts

If the internet would be SO AWFUL without net neutrality why was it awesome from 1994-2014 when we had nothing even approaching “net neutrality” for those 20 years?

If it’s meant to help ‘the little guy’ compete with large media, then why is large media lobbying to get it passed?

Could it possibly be that large media LOVES legislation that they can lobby for that helps them and hurts others?

Could it be that large media firms can afford the teams of lawyers needed to comply with large regulation, knowing that the startup “little guy” can’t?
Most people who hate big business these days don’t even understand that these big businesses have politicians in their pockets in order to protect their market share and protect them from the ‘little guy’ who can innovate to make things better and cheaper for us.

Just think, if government started regulating the net in 1994, you’d still hear modem noises followed by “YOU’VE GOT MAIL” every time you logged on 23 years later!

Thanks Free Market!

Don’t Fall for the Following Scare Tactics in Hopes Government can get Involved

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Source: Liberty LOL – NET NEUTRALITY: Who Do You Trust More?  Government or Free Markets?

All Government Results in Corruption; Demand LESS Government

Tom Woods Liberty Classroom

Politics results in corruption either way. If big government values are the political flavor of the moment big money interests (big business, big labor, etc.) will agitate and lobby for new taxes and regulations that hurt their competition. If small government values are the political flavor of the moment big money interests will agitate for less taxes and regulations in a careful manner that benefit them and not their competitors. One side isn’t more or less corrupt than the other, [politics is the game of the powerful at the expense of the powerless](http://ift.tt/2BDT6aK). As a libertarian I want little as possible to be determined in the realm of politics but it’s not just a matter of rolling back policies. Libertarian ends means empowering people to be the solution themselves. People need to understand how they can start charities and businesses to solve today’s problems so their demand for government involvement isn’t the avenue for someone else’s corruption. Special interests will always use your frustration, anger and fear as the door to get their project enacted. How do you outlaw corruption? You can’t. I want a government so small that it’s not worth the company’s dime to lobby for abuse of government power. That’s really all lobbying is: greasing the palm of politicians who need money for re-election for favors that benefit the company and protects them from innovators and more efficient companies. I’d love to see a law that states “Lobbying is illegal”. But, just as the law states “Drugs are illegal”, it would never happen. Lobbyists would merely change their business cards to read “Consultants”. What are your thoughts on how we can limit lobbyists using politicians? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhe286ky-9A

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Source: Liberty LOL – All Government Results in Corruption; Demand LESS Government