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Mars Attacks: Tell a Big Enough Lie: The U.S. Obesity “Epidemic”

by Mars ( 148 Comments › )
Filed under American Exceptionalism, Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Communism, Cult of Obama, Democratic Party, Education, Environmentalism, Fascism, Food and Drink, Free Speech, Guest Post, Health Care, Healthcare, Marxism, Media, Political Correctness, Progressives, Regulation at May 18th, 2015 - 8:44 am

You’ve all heard it again and again on the news. The United States is number one in obesity worldwide. Or is it number two, with Mexico now taking the top spot? Would you believe it’s none of the above? The United States is number 18. Not a great number but not worth the outrage and panic the left puts forward. This may surprise everyone with the constant hammering by the Left and the Media about America being the fattest country on earth. This is interesting in the face of these facts. This report was released this month, but I have seen this information as far back as three years ago. Yes, they continued to lie to us even with their own WHO and the CIA Factbook both contradicting their narrative and containing the real data for the entire time that they have promoted the lie.

Why would they do this? Actually it’s pretty obvious in the face of Universal Healthcare, Moochelle Obama, and the school lunch program “reworking”. The left is determined to save your life no matter what you want. It is once again about control. As long as the myth is out there, it gives them reasons to limit what you are allowed to eat. They can place limits on what can be sold, they can place limits on what you buy and eat, they can tell your children they are not allowed to bring lunches from home and must eat their Moochelle mandated Kale and Quinoa salad. They are getting more arrogant about their lies lately, even with the true facts out there in print, they will still throw the lie forward again and again, knowing that the press will follow like obedient lapdogs.

Try finding the true statistics on Obesity online. I’ve been trying to find the reports that I originally found, and the search engines are flooded with nothing but the lie. I was lucky this story came around recently otherwise I wouldn’t have had anything to post. Especially since the WHO reports (yes, there are several going back years) and the CIA Factbook report were behind paywalls. I have no doubts there will be thousands of articles about American Obesity posted in the next few weeks in order to bury this CNN report back to where it won’t be seen.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/01/health/pacific-islands-obesity/

How paradise became the fattest place in the world

By Meera Senthilingam, for CNN

Updated 5:44 AM ET, Fri May 1, 2015

“Vital Signs is a monthly program bringing viewers health stories from around the world”

(CNN)They’re remote and beautiful. A place many long to escape to for sun, sea and serenity. But the Pacific islands have another reality for the residents living there — a life based on imported food, little exercise and remote access to healthcare.

The result? The most obese nations in the world.

‘A deadly epidemic’

“One third of the world is either overweight or obese right now,” says Emmanuela Gakidou, professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Gakidou’s recent paper used data from countries across the world to identify the global burden of obesity and trends seen in different populations. “The Pacific islands have a lot of countries with very high levels of obesity,” she adds.

Among the top 10 most obese countries or territories globally, nine are Pacific islands, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), making this paradise the fattest region of the world.

“Up to 95% of the adult population are overweight or obese in some countries,” says Temo Waqanivalu, program officer with the WHO’s Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases department. As a Fijian Native, Waqanivalu has worked on the issue for over a decade and seen the epidemic evolve first-hand, aided by the cultural acceptance of bigger bodies as beautiful. “In Polynesia the perception of ‘big is beautiful’ does exist,” he says. “[But] big is beautiful, fat is not. That needs to get through.”

Percentages for obesity range from 35% to 50% throughout the islands, according to the WHO. The Cook Islands top the ranks with just over 50% of its population classified as obese.

“It’s a deadly epidemic,” says Waqanivalu.

Measuring up

Obesity is measured through an individual’s body mass index (BMI) and a measurement above 30kg/m² is defined as clinically obese.

Pacific islanders tend to have a naturally big build, says Jonathan Shaw, associate director of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australia. “With Pacific islanders, their frame is typically bigger,” he explains, “but that still doesn’t account for the obesity we see.”

Poor diets and reduced exercise have become a major public health concern for the region as they are not only a cause of obesity — associated diseases are also rife, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, the latter of which has a known genetic basis among locals.

“This is a population with a genetic predisposition and when exposed to Western lifestyles results in high rates of diabetes,” says Shaw. “[This is] undoubtedly caused by high rates of obesity.”

The epidemic began through the tropical region turning its back on traditional diets of fresh fish and vegetables and replacing them with highly processed and energy-dense food such as white rice, flour, canned foods, processed meats and soft drinks imported from other countries. One of the root causes of the change is the price tag.

“All over the world, poor quality and highly energy-dense food is the cheapest,” says Shaw. As demand for healthier alternatives remain low, their market is small.

This is exemplified by fishermen often selling the fish they catch to in turn purchase canned tuna. “[You] can buy a few meals with what you get selling fish,” says Waqanivalu.

The new food environment locals find themselves living in has accelerated the trend towards consuming processed food. “It’s significantly cheaper,” adds Waqanivalu. “It’s cheaper to buy a bottle of coke than a bottle of water.”

As with other regions of the world, increased urbanization and sedentary office cultures have further aided the rise in obesity among Pacific islanders.

“A lot of physical activity was in the domain of work,” says Waqanivalu, referring to fisherman heading out to sea and others working their land on plantations. “The concept of leisure-time activity is new,” he says.

The tropical climate desired by sun seekers is less attractive to those needing to keep fit. “In tropical countries there is a desire to avoid physical work and even walk,” says Shaw. “We’re all driven to conserve energy.”

All in the genes?

Some scientists believe that Pacific island populations have evolved to maintain their larger build — a concept known as the “Thrifty Gene” hypothesis. For this region of the world, the concept is based on the fact Pacific islanders once endured long journeys at sea and those who fared best stored enough energy in the form of fat to survive their journey.

“We have the remnants of those people … and their metabolism as well,” says Waqanivalu. The increased risk of obesity among native Pacific islanders is shown on the islands of Fiji, where the population has a more mixed ethnicity. The country stands at the lower end of the region’s spectrum with 36.4% of the adult population classed as obese. Just more than half of the Fijian population are native iTaukei, with the remainder mostly of Indian origin, according to the CIA World Factbook. “That explains the lower rates,” says Waqanivalu.

The naturally higher BMI of the people in the region has, however, prompted calls to increase the cut-off for the level of BMI denoting obesity in the Pacific region from 30 to 32 kg/m². A lower cut-off has been suggested for Asian populations based on the same premise, as Asian countries — including Korea, Myanmar and Cambodia — make up the majority of the lowest 10 countries globally in terms of obesity..

Childhood consequences

After the global trends in obesity seen in her study, Gakidou’s real concern is the rates her team saw in children in the Pacific. “The rate for children is high … about one in five children [are obese],” she says. “This has repercussions in the long term.”

Repercussions include diabetes, which is already a burden on health services in the region. “The concern in children would be early onset of diabetes,” says Gakidou.

The WHO has made a series of recommendations to improve the situation and is implementing them through policy changes in the countries. “Type II diabetes is emerging in young children 10-11 years old,” says Waqanivalu, who has also heard reports of a child as young as seven years old being affected. “[It’s the] tip of the iceberg in children.”

But Waqanilu is confident his department is making some progress through recommendations such as increased taxation on soft drinks, improving trade in the region, controlled marketing of products targeting children through schools, and policies to promote healthier diets and exercise.

“The whole food environment needs to be changed,” he says. This has been the ambition of the Healthy Islands Vision — initiated by the ministers of health for the Pacific island countries in 1995 — which aims to combat obesity and diabetes among its health priorities.

Health systems also need strengthening to better handle the consequences of obesity. “We have definitely made steps but need to make strides for this to be sorted in our time,” says Waqanivalu.

Is there an obesity epidemic in the US? Yes, definitely. Does it help to lie about the statistics? No, not unless you have an agenda to promote.

Currency Wars

by coldwarrior ( 252 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Economy, Open thread at May 5th, 2015 - 8:13 am

Dr Doom’, Professor Roubini, explains the latest in the Central Bank Wars, this time it’s about currency:

 

The Dollar Joins the Currency Wars

 

NEW YORK – In a world of weak domestic demand in many advanced economies and emerging markets, policymakers have been tempted to boost economic growth and employment by going for export led-growth. This requires a weak currency and conventional and unconventional monetary policies to bring about the required depreciation.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 20 central banks around the world have eased monetary policy, following the lead of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan. In the eurozone, countries on the periphery needed currency weakness to reduce their external deficits and jump-start growth. But the euro weakness triggered by quantitative easing has further boosted Germany’s current-account surplus, which was already‎ a whopping 8% of GDP last year. With external surpluses also rising in other countries of the eurozone core, the monetary union’s overall imbalance is large and growing.

In Japan, quantitative easing was the first “arrow” of “Abenomics,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reform program. Its launch has sharply weakened the yen and is now leading to rising trade surpluses.

The upward pressure on the US dollar from the embrace of quantitative easing by the ECB and the BOJ has been sharp. The dollar has also strengthened against the currencies of advanced-country commodity exporters, like Australia and Canada, and those of many emerging markets. For these countries, falling oil and commodity prices have triggered currency depreciations that are helping to shield growth and jobs from the effects of lower exports.

The dollar has also risen relative to currencies of emerging markets with economic and financial fragilities: twin fiscal and current-account deficits, rising inflation and slowing growth, large stocks of domestic and foreign debt, and political instability. Even China briefly allowed its currency to weaken against the dollar last year, and slowing output growth may tempt the government to let the renminbi weaken even more. Meanwhile, the trade surplus is rising again, in part because China is dumping its excess supply of goods – such as steel – in global markets.

Until recently, US policymakers were not overly concerned about the dollar’s strength, because America’s growth prospects were stronger than in Europe and Japan. Indeed, at the beginning of the year, there was hope that US domestic demand would be strong enough this year to support GDP growth of close to 3%, despite the stronger dollar. Lower oil prices and job creation, it was thought, would boost disposable income and consumption. Capital spending (outside the energy sector) and residential investment would strengthen as growth accelerated.

But things look different today, and US officials’ exchange-rate jitters are becoming increasingly pronounced. The dollar appreciated much faster than anyone expected; and, as data for the first quarter of 2015 suggest, the impact on net exports, inflation, and growth has been larger and more rapid than that implied by policymakers’ statistical models. Moreover, strong domestic demand has failed to materialize; consumption growth was weak in the first quarter, and capital spending and residential investment were even weaker.

As a result, the US has effectively joined the “currency war” to prevent further dollar appreciation. Fed officials have started to speak explicitly about the dollar as a factor that affects net exports, inflation, and growth.‎ And the US authorities have become increasingly critical of Germany and the eurozone for adopting policies that weaken the euro while avoiding those – for example, temporary fiscal stimulus and faster wage growth – that boost domestic demand.

Moreover, verbal intervention will be followed by policy action, because slower growth and low inflation – partly triggered by a strong dollar – will induce the Fed to exit zero policy rates later and more slowly than expected. That will reverse some of the dollar’s recent gains and shield growth and inflation from downside risks.

Currency frictions can lead eventually to trade frictions, and currency wars can lead to trade wars. And that could spell trouble for the US as it tries to conclude the mega-regional Trans-Pacific Partnership. Uncertainty about whether the Obama administration can marshal enough votes in Congress to ratify the TPP has now been compounded by proposed legislation that would impose tariff duties on countries that engage in “currency manipulation.” If such a link between trade and currency policy were forced into the TPP, the Asian participants would refuse to join.

The world would be better off if most governments pursued policies that boosted growth through domestic demand, rather than beggar-thy-neighbor export measures. But that would require them to rely less on monetary policy and more on appropriate fiscal policies (such as higher spending on productive infrastructure). Even income policies that lift wages, and hence labor income and consumption, are a better source of domestic growth than currency depreciations (which depress real wages).

The sum of all trade balances in the world is equal to zero, which means that not all countries can be net exporters – and that currency wars end up being zero-sum games. That is why America’s entry into the fray was only a matter of time.

Saturday Lecture: Warp Drive, Scotty!

by coldwarrior ( 13 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Open thread, Space Exploration, Transportation at May 2nd, 2015 - 8:27 am

Good morning all and welcome to The Blogmocracy Physics Lab and Mushroom Farm. Our boys at NASA are actually working at something to get us off of this rock and on to our destiny in the stars. As you know, our remaining days here is numbered. We are in a terminal position and will die here. So we MUST leave this rock if we are to survive. What they are working on shouldn’t work. It violates the Law of Conservation of Momentum.

Granted, these are small steps. but man took small; steps to leave Africa, then to populate Europe and Asia, then to cross the Land Bridge into the Americas. Sailors and explorers have taken the small steps to colonize new lands and discover what was unknown. We have no choice, we are wired that way.

Evaluating NASA’s Futuristic EM Drive
April 29, 2015 by José Rodal, Ph.D, Jeremiah Mullikin and Noel Munson – subedited by Chris Gebhardt
no alt

A group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center has successfully tested an electromagnetic (EM) propulsion drive in a vacuum – a major breakthrough for a multi-year international effort comprising several competing research teams. Thrust measurements of the EM Drive defy classical physics’ expectations that such a closed (microwave) cavity should be unusable for space propulsion because of the law of conservation of momentum.

EM Drive:

Last summer, NASA Eagleworks – an advanced propulsion research group led by Dr. Harold “Sonny” White at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) – made waves throughout the scientific and technical communities when the group presented their test results on July 28-30, 2014, at the 50th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Those results related to experimental testing of an EM Drive – a concept that originated around 2001 when a small UK company, Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd (SPR), under Roger J. Shawyer, started a Research and Development (R&D) program.

The concept of an EM Drive as put forth by SPR was that electromagnetic microwave cavities might provide for the direct conversion of electrical energy to thrust without the need to expel any propellant.

2015-04-19-005958This lack of expulsion of propellant from the drive was met with initial skepticism within the scientific community because this lack of propellant expulsion would leave nothing to balance the change in the spacecraft’s momentum if it were able to accelerate.

However, in 2010, Prof. Juan Yang in China began publishing about her research into EM Drive technology, culminating in her 2012 paper reporting higher input power (2.5kW) and tested thrust (720mN) levels of an EM Drive.

In 2014, Prof. Yang’s papers reported extensive tests involving internal temperature measurements with embedded thermocouples.

It was reported (in SPR Ltd.’s website) that if the Chinese EM Drive were to be installed in the International Space Station (ISS) and work as reported, it could provide the necessary delta-V (change in velocity needed to perform an on-orbit maneuver) to compensate for the Station’s orbital decay and thus eliminate the requirement of re-boosts from visiting vehicles. Despite these reports, Prof. Yang offered no scientifically-accepted explanation as to how the EM Drive can produce propulsion in space.

2015-04-19-010043Dr. White proposed that the EM Drive’s thrust was due to the Quantum Vacuum (the quantum state with the lowest possible energy) behaving like propellant ions behave in a MagnetoHydroDynamics drive (a method electrifying propellant and then directing it with magnetic fields to push a spacecraft in the opposite direction) for spacecraft propulsion.

In Dr. White’s model, the propellant ions of the MagnetoHydroDynamics drive are replaced as the fuel source by the virtual particles of the Quantum Vacuum, eliminating the need to carry propellant.

This model was also met with criticism in the scientific community because the Quantum Vacuum cannot be ionized and is understood to be “frame-less” – meaning you cannot “push” against it, as required for momentum.

The tests reported by Dr. White’s team in July 2014 were not conducted in a vacuum, and none of the tests reported by Prof. Yang in China or Mr. Shawyer in the UK were conducted in a vacuum either.

The scientific community met these NASA tests with skepticism and a number of physicists proposed that the measured thrust force in the US, UK, and China tests was more likely due to (external to the EM Drive cavity) natural thermal convection currents arising from microwave heating (internal to the EM Drive cavity).

However, Paul March, an engineer at NASA Eagleworks, recently reported in NASASpaceFlight.com’s forum (on a thread now over 500,000 views) that NASA has successfully tested their EM Drive in a hard vacuum – the first time any organization has reported such a successful test.

To this end, NASA Eagleworks has now nullified the prevailing hypothesis that thrust measurements were due to thermal convection.

2015-04-26-182409A community of enthusiasts, engineers, and scientists on several continents joined forces on the NASASpaceflight.com EM Drive forum to thoroughly examine the experiments and discuss theories of operation of the EM Drive.

The quality of forum discussions attracted the attention of EagleWorks team member Paul March at NASA, who has shared testing and background information with the group in order to fill in information gaps and further the dialogue.

This synergy between NASASpaceflight.com contributors and NASA has resulted in several contributions to the body of knowledge about the EM Drive.

The NASASpaceflight.com group has given consideration to whether the experimental measurements of thrust force were the result of an artifact. Despite considerable effort within the NASASpaceflight.com forum to dismiss the reported thrust as an artifact, the EM Drive results have yet to be falsified.

After consistent reports of thrust measurements from EM Drive experiments in the US, UK, and China – at thrust levels several thousand times in excess of a photon rocket, and now under hard vacuum conditions – the question of where the thrust is coming from deserves serious inquiry.

PLEASE READ THE REST. The article is too long to post here

Economy soars to historic heights in the 1st quarter!

by Husky Lover ( 195 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Cult of Obama, Democratic Party, Economy, Humor, Satire at April 29th, 2015 - 9:47 am

The greatest economic boom since the foundation of the Ramanaya Empire in India circa 20,000 BC continues to be unstoppable. The great prosperity unleashed by the policies of the Obama regime and the money printing of the Federal Reserve is unparalleled in human history. Americans across the land are grateful for the good times they are enjoying economically. The 1st quarter numbers were historic and shows the great strength of our economy!

U.S. economic growth braked more sharply than expected in the first quarter as harsh weather dampened consumer spending and energy companies struggling with low prices slashed spending, but there are signs activity is picking up.

Gross domestic product expanded at an only 0.2 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That was a big step down from the fourth quarter’s 2.2 percent pace and marked the weakest reading in a year.

A strong dollar and a now-resolved labor dispute at normally busy West Coast ports also slammed growth, the government said.

The economy is doing great and the stock market is just awesome. Things are looking up thanks to the great Obama, our glorious leader leading us to prosperity and eternal Hipness!

H-1b: US workers being fired AND forced to train foreign replacements

by 1389AD ( 47 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, unemployment at April 12th, 2015 - 9:00 pm

1389 Blog has been following this story since 2007.

Are you an American citizen in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields? Do you ask why nothing happens when you reply to a job advertisement? Check this out:

PERM: Fake Job Ads defraud Americans to secure H-1b green cards for foreigners

Uploaded on Jun 16, 2007 by programmersguild
Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explains how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers. See what Bush and Congress really mean by a “shortage of skilled U.S. workers.” Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and thousands of other companies are running fake ads in Sunday newspapers across the country each week.

Fox: Senators seek probe of claims US workers fired, forced to train foreign replacements

(h/t: Weasel Zippers)

A popular visa program allegedly is being misused by U.S. companies to lay off thousands of American workers and replace them with foreign labor.

And, adding insult to injury, many of the laid-off workers allegedly have been forced to train their replacements, in what one anonymous whistleblower called a “humiliating” experience.

The allegations have caught the attention of a bipartisan group of senators — including immigration hawk Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Illinois’ Dick Durbin — who are calling for a federal probe. A letter sent by 10 senators urging an investigation specifically cited reports of the firing and hiring practices at Southern California Edison, California’s second-largest utility. The incidents are concentrated in the IT field, and involve American workers being replaced by H-1B visa holders.

“A number of U.S. employers, including some large, well-known, publicly-traded corporations, have reportedly laid off thousands of American workers and replaced them with H-1B visa holders,” the senators wrote.

In the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, the senators urged the departments to “investigate the unacceptable replacement of American workers” to see whether laws were broken.

The H-1B program is supposed to be used to bring in, on a temporary basis, skilled workers with highly specialized skills not readily available in the U.S. They are often used in the technology sector to bring in engineers and computer programmers.

Further, U.S. employers can hire foreign workers for up to six years and must pay them the same rate they would pay other workers with similar qualifications, or the prevailing wage for that job and location, whichever is higher. This is done to prevent foreign workers from depressing U.S. wages and from being exploited.

But reports have surfaced that the replacements are happening at an alarming rate. And former Southern California Edison workers have complained to lawmakers that they were replaced by less-skilled workers at lower costs.

Anonymous workers who were displaced by the visa holders also submitted written testimonials to lawmakers detailing their firings. Several claimed they were forced to train their replacements, and threatened with losing their severance if they did not.

“We had no choice in this,” one anonymous worker who claimed to have been one of those let go from Southern California Edison, said in a letter. The worker described how when the two vendors were picked – Infosys and TCS, both major Indian companies – SCE employees were told to “sit with, video chat or do whatever was needed to teach them our systems.”

If they did not cooperate, according to the testimonial, “we would be fired and not receive a severance package.”

Another worker described this process as “humiliating.”

“DHS will respond directly to members of Congress,” an agency spokesperson told FoxNews.com on Saturday. “Still, it is important to note that U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.”

In a statement, Southern California Edison said it abides by the law and will cooperate with any investigation that concerns the issues mentioned in the senators’ letter.

The company explained that it’s reducing its information technology department from 1,400 to 860. Of those left, 97 percent are permanent California residents and 3 percent are on H-1B visas.

Southern California Edison said it’s contracting with IT vendors to fulfill certain contracts and that most of those workers are permanent U.S. residents and aren’t working under H-1B visas.

“By transitioning some IT operations to external vendors, along with SCE eliminating some customized functions it will no longer provide, the company will focus on making significant, strategic changes that can benefit our customers,” Southern California Edison’s emailed statement read.

But the senators, in their letter, raised several questions about how the replacements were being done. They said it appears the workers are often not employees of the U.S. company laying off workers – but are contractors working for foreign-owned IT consultants.

The H-1B program stipulates that applicants must have a valid “employer-employee relationship” – and the senators questioned whether that was the case here.

They also asked whether the companies “engaged in prohibited citizenship status discrimination” (against American citizens); and whether the visa petitions showed “any evidence of misrepresentation or fraud.”

Continue reading…

One of the few good things – albeit far more than a day late and a dollar short – that Dick Durbin has done thus far was to sign on to this investigation. May that good deed account to the salvation of his immortal soul.

I was forced out of IT work when the market dried up in 2008 on account of the economic collapse precipitated by the Democrat takeover of Congress, compounded by outsourcing, offshoring, and the H-1b visa. I retrained myself in newer IT skills, but as a female over 50 years of age without current business experience using those skills, I was unable to find employment in the IT field. I have taken an entirely different career path since then, and would be uninterested in returning to IT even if H-1b were to be repealed tomorrow.

Can We Add Agency Law To Our Growing List Of Grievances?

by Flyovercountry ( 94 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Fascism, Progressives, Regulation, Tranzis at March 5th, 2015 - 8:58 am

Tip of the hat to The Daily Caller whose video I did not embed here due to their insistence upon the usage of autoplay, something I view as evil. Please click here, for their story, complete with a recorded phone conversation in which an apologetic banker gets to tell a business owner who had held an account at said bank for over a decade, that the government had forced his account to be frozen for no other reason than the fact that the government no longer appreciates his industry’s contribution to our economy.

Yes, Operation Choke Point is an evil perpetrated by Barack Obama and Eric Holder. The fault dear Brutus however does not lie in our stars that we are underlings, but in ourselves. There are many who would point to the 60’s as the beginning of the Progressive’s gaining their stranglehold on our nation. Some point to FDR and the, “New Deal,” as that beginning point. I’ve heard that our troubles with the progressive movement date back to Woodrow Wilson and his Presidency. However, I would like to point out that the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments did far greater damage, even before Wilson took his position as our Chief Executive. (I realize that the Seventeenth Amendment became part of our Constitution about a month after Wilson’s Inauguration, but it was ratified before Wilson actually took office.) Many experts in our nation’s history will state that Teddy Roosevelt was the first Progressive to affect our national agenda, and granted he gave us a big push in that disastrous direction, and redefined the Executive Branch, but he was not where it all began. This all started with the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. This was the first victory of the Progressive Movement, and it has grown into the behemoth that allows Barack Obama to act as a man elected to be our emperor, rather than our President.

For those who are not familiar with it, the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 established our very first Federal Agency. This agency was vested with the ability to create its own rules, its own authority to enforce those rules, and its own system to adjudicate the process for any who wished to push back against the decisions of the agency. Quite literally, we had managed to create an entity that had contained within its scope of operation, a body that was vested with all of the powers of governance, thus doing away with the separation of powers. Since that date in our history, any and all legislation has been written purposefully vague, only ever including a desired outcome, with the specific rules to be determined later by either an existing federal agency, or through the creation of a new federal agency. It is With this wonderful exercise of genius that the destruction of our Constitutional Protections began. Agency Law was created with the establishment of the ICC in 1887. It should also be noted here, that it took almost exactly five years for the agency purportedly designed to keep the railroad men from becoming too powerful for the liking of those who lobbied for this legislation, to be peopled entirely with those, “robber barons,” so feared and vilified that the agency was thought necessary. Funny how that works out.

Once that happened, what we see today, even though it has taken 128 years to get here, became inevitable. Give Barack Obama credit for this at least. He saw the potential to simply ignore the U.S. Constitution afforded to him by this set of circumstances, and has taken full advantage of it. All he needs to do is suggest or ask that one of the agencies situated under the federal umbrella, write some additional rules to add to the scope under which they operate, and he pretty much can enact unilaterally anything he wishes to codify as law. Yes, technically such efforts can be overturned by our Judicial Branch, and indeed many of these actions have been thus far. However, our Judicial Branch moves too slowly to monitor or even address every such indiscretion. Even if it were capable of keeping up, Agency Law itself has become so ingrained in our society, such Judicial oversight and pushback has itself become all too rare.

In our history, there have been two Presidents who’ve tried earnestly to do something to put an end to, or at least reign in this system run amok. The first was Richard Nixon, and I’m sure you all remember what happened to him for his efforts. The second was Ronald Reagan, who also failed, and in fact discussed that failure as being his lasting regret.

So far, 26 states throughout the fruited plains have formally adopted ballot initiatives in favor of an Article V Convention for the purpose of proposing and debating Constitutional Amendments. I am most definitely in favor of this. By the way, many of the Liberals in our nation are as well, since they’re convinced that they would be able to alter the First Amendment to, “correct,” the Citizens United Decision.

One amendment that I’d like to see come to fruition would be something to put an end to Agency Law. Consider for one moment what this system has allowed for a President with dictatorial ambitions to do in only the short amount of time from early November until now. Barack Obama has rewritten our Immigration law, repealed the Second Amendment, pledged to unilaterally raise our taxes, promised to confiscate our 401k’s, threatened to fire the entirety of the retail financial services industry, instituted cap and trade, inflicted net neutrality, signed some very questionable treaties without the requisite Senatorial Consent, changed existing law, and all of this done with the statement that he gave Congress the chance to do what he wanted before he did it alone.

Don’t blame the Bamster however. While his actions are bad enough, it was we the people who didn’t realize that gridlock was itself a perk, gifted to us by the founding fathers, rather than a problem as proclaimed by the low information voting crowd. Barack Obama is merely the messenger, who has alerted us to a huge problem, and one that hopefully we can figure out how to correct.

Ronald Reagan campaigned on a platform that included ending the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. If the single most popular President in the modern era could not rid us of the two most unpopular facets of the federal behemoth, as he’d promised to do while campaigning, then what chance would anyone have to actually do something about reducing the size and scope of government? We keep talking about the symptoms, meanwhile, the cancer grows free. Something must be done to reign this monster in, and unless Agency Law itself is addressed, nothing will be successful.

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

Mars Attacks: Net Neutrality and a Very Dark Puzzle

by Mars ( 157 Comments › )
Filed under American Exceptionalism, Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Business, Censorship, Communism, Cult of Obama, Economy, Education, Fascism, Free Speech, government, Guest Post, History, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Political Correctness, Politics, Progressives, Regulation, Socialism, taxation, Technology at February 27th, 2015 - 1:40 pm

I have been noticing for a very long time now that there seems to be a cohesive puzzle being assembled by the left in regards to the internet. Through time I’ve been able to pick up the pieces of this puzzle, but today with the imposition of new regulations under the guise of Net Neutrality the puzzle becomes much clearer. I believe that the Net Neutrality regulations are the “frame” of this puzzle. Here are some of the pieces of collected through the years, see if you can see the same picture I do.

2011
http://www.wired.com/2011/06/internet-a-human-right/

http://www.dailytech.com/Obama+Reveals+National+WiFi+Plans+Claims+it+Will+Cut+Deficit+by+10B+USD/article20887.htm

2015
http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Obama-Pitching-More-Access-to-Fast-Internet-288518261.html

http://gizmodo.com/fcc-redefines-broadband-to-bring-you-faster-internet-1682516928

And now the new Net Neutrality regulations.

Through speeches since his election Obama has referred to a Free and Open Internet constantly, with stress on the word free. Many time there have been references to poor people who can’t afford internet. This coupled with everything else I posted above paints a dark picture for the future. One of the stumbling blocks for the people who want everyone to have access to the internet has been the fact that the average paying customer has been offended at the idea of people getting “broadband” speeds for free while everyone else has to pay for them. By changing the definition of broadband, the FCC has just managed to open up a huge amount of speed variations that they can now force companies to give away while not calling them broadband.

Second, by reclassifying broadband the FCC can force companies to meet a minimum standard for broadband service, which will require a complete reworking of the internet infrastructure. Where will this money come from ? Well, I figure the government will suddenly appear to save the day the way they did with the banks. There will be massive strings attached. The worst part is this money they will be handing out will already have come from the companies themselves in the form of the new utility taxes and regulatory fees that come with Title II reclassification of a utility. (The speech writes itself, I can already see Obama pontificating on this very subject. “90% of this country are getting below broadband speeds,………. this is a problem,………… a problem that can only be fixed…. by investing in the American Infrastructure”. /insert applause from mindless drones./ “The people of this country…….. deserve better……….and I intend to see that that happens.” As we all know “investing in the American infrastructure is left speak for massive tax hikes.)

There is even more to this than my little conspiracy theory.

Net Neutrality is a horror story in it’s own right. Who here is old enough to remember the Ma Bell monopoly that the government created out of the depression and allowed to run wild until the late 70’s? Well here is someone who does. He’s a member of the FCC’s own commision, Commissioner Ajit Pai.

http://www.fcc.gov/article/doc-332260a5

h/t Calo

In his oral dissent Commissioner Pai lays out exactly why this is such a dangerous set of regulations, and exactly what this means for the future of internet service. It’s not pretty, higher prices, slower speeds, less competition. It’s all there. And the best part? The regulations weren’t even written by the commission. The White House itself created a shadow FCC to write the rules they were going to impose. Here’s some of the people invited in to the White House to regulate the rest of us.

What the press has called the “parallel FCC” at the White House opened its doors to a plethora of

special-interest activists: Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Public

Knowledge, just to name a few. Indeed, even before activists were blocking Chairman Wheeler’s

driveway late last year, some of them had met with executive branch officials. But what about the rest of

the American people? They certainly couldn’t get White House meetings. They were shut out of the

process. They were being played for fools.

And the situation didn’t improve once the White House announced President Obama’s plan and

“ask[ed]” the FCC to “implement” it. The document in front of us today differs dramatically from the

proposal that the FCC put out for comment last May. It differs so dramatically that even zealous net

neutrality advocates frantically rushed in recent days to make last-minute filings registering their concerns

that the FCC might be going too far. Yet the American people to this day have not been allowed to see

President Obama’s plan. It has remained hidden.

This brave commissioner and the other republican on the commission attempted to get this regulation put out in the public eye where everyone could see it and review what it actually entailed. They were rejected by the 3 socialists on the commission. Make no mistake this set of regulations came DIRECTLY from the White House. Once again the President is making rules where he does not have the authority to do so. As an interesting aside to this, within Commissioner Pai’s dissent he shows a whole bunch of evidence and statements detailing how this is going to destroy small ISP companies. Some of the ISP’s that are about to be destroyed…the very Municipal (ie government) ISP’s he was lavishing praise on not long ago.

http://ctmirror.org/2015/01/14/white-house-pushes-fast-affordable-internet-praises-manchester-bristol-in-p/

To really see what is happening take a look at this thank you letter from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, one of the groups at the forefront of trying to impose Net Neutrality.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/fcc-votes-net-neutrality-big-win

What makes this letter interesting is not it’s general obsequiousness but the fact that they acknowledge that there is a vague statement in the regulations that would allow the FCC to pretty much do anything it damn well pleased, up to and including censoring content. (This is the same statement the the EFF has been trying to get them to drop since the regulations were first discussed.) It should also be noted that a year ago when the Chair of the FCC was trying to put into place much more limited rules over Net Neutrality, the EFF itself stated that the FCC had NO AUTHORITY TO DO SO.

The fact remains that the Net Neutrality regulations were a great bait and switch perpetrated on those that pay little attention to what is actually going on. I hope the gamers and video streamers that have been worshiping this disaster enjoy their new slower, much more expensive internet plan. Our only hope at this point is that the courts act on this takeover. (I nearly said unprecedented but I would have been wrong. This is exactly the same as FDR’s takeover of the telecom industry in 1934.)

Strangely enough, probably the best statement on Net Neutrality comes from the Secretary General of the European People’s Party.

EUROPE GETS IN ON THE ACTION: The secretary general of the largest party in the European Parliament is adding to the chorus around net neutrality. Antonio López Istúriz-White of the center-right European People’s Party over the weekend chided President Obama for lambasting European regulations while at the same time calling for tough net neutrality rules from the FCC.

“The president’s position is riven with contradictions,” Istúriz-White wrote in a Financial Times op-ed. “He promotes burdensome regulations at home that could put the development of the Internet on ice in an attempt to protect one set of actors in the ecosystem. In another breath he calls on Europe to follow the very same successful U.S. model he wants to jettison to make life in Europe easier for that very same group of Over The Top players!”

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/overnights/233548-overnight-tech-pressure-building-ahead-of-net-neutrality-vote

Why indeed, does the President want to stifle progress and development at home, while promoting the opposite abroad?

A Good Start, Make Him Veto It!

by coldwarrior ( 184 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Energy, Open thread, Politics at February 24th, 2015 - 7:00 am

Get the Democrats ON RECORD!

Congressional Republican leaders are expected to send President Obama legislation authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, The Hill reports.

While the bill passed Congress more than a week ago, Republican leaders delayed sending it to the White House in order to prevent Obama from carrying out his veto threat while Congress was out of town.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and many other Republicans have urged Obama to reconsider his promise to veto the bill, pointing to estimates that it could create as many as 40,000 jobs.

Some members of Obama’s own party have indicated that they too think his veto threats are a mistake. Defying the president, 28 Democrat House members on Jan. 9 voted in favor of passage of legislation authorizing the Keystone pipeline which passed by a 266 to 153 vote.

One day before that vote, three top leaders of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to veto the pipeline legislation.

“The Blue Dog Coalition stands ready to work with you and Congressional leaders to provide stringent oversight of construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, but we cannot miss this opportunity to create good paying jobs and put America on the path to be less reliant on oil from our foes,” wrote Democrat Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Jim Costa of California.

Support from Democrats was not strictly limited to the center of the party, as progressives such as Assistant Leader James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas joined Republicans in voting for Keystone.

The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 62-36 on Jan. 29, with nine Democrats crossing party lines to support the project.

In arguing for delay, the administration has said that congressional action would undercut the ongoing process underway for the transnational pipeline which is being overseen by the State Department.

Saturday Lecture Series: Vector Autoregression and Oil

by coldwarrior ( 38 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Economy, Energy, Open thread, saturday lecture series at February 14th, 2015 - 7:00 am

Good Morning, All! Welcome to the Blogmocracy’s Applied and Experimental Econometric Modeling Lab and wood-fired pizza joint. Today we will discuss Vector Autoregression and it’s uses.

Vector Autoregression (VAR) is a very powerful prediction system used in the Voodou of Econometrics. You will need to have your entrails and chicken parts in good working working order and a proper Hounfour at the ready to attempt the VAR.

 

First you need an Autoregression model. In AR the output variable depends on its own previous values. It is a time series model that can attempts to predict the variable (prices) by their value before when a ‘shock’ occurred. So, if Demand changed and changed the price, demand is the shock that changes the price. Any change in that varible of ‘demand’ can then be predicted for the future in levels of shock by price of the good.

The notation AR(p) refers to the autoregressive model of order p. The AR(p) model is written

 X_t = c + \sum_{i=1}^p \varphi_i X_{t-i}+ \varepsilon_t .\,

where \varphi_1, \ldots, \varphi_p are parameters, c is a constant, and the random variable \varepsilon_t is white noise.

At this point it is appropriate to throw the chicken bones on the floor and divine what you will happen to your neighbor next time he parks in your spot…that spot that you shoveled all of the global warming from…

VARs allow multiple evolving variables such as demand, supply, and any other thing that can and has happened that effected what you are studying. how does supply and demand effect the price of oil? A look into the past allows predictability into the future.

A VAR model describes the evolution of a set of k variables (called endogenous variables) over the same sample period (t = 1, …, T) as a linear function of only their past values. The variables are collected in a k × 1 vector yt, which has as the i th element, yi,t, the time t observation of the i th variable. For example, if the i th variable is GDP, then yi,t is the value of GDP at time t.

A p-th order VAR, denoted VAR(p), is

y_t = c + A_1 y_{t-1} + A_2 y_{t-2} + \cdots + A_p y_{t-p} + e_t, \,

where the l-periods back observation yt−l is called the l-th lag of y, c is a k × 1 vector of constants (intercepts), Ai is a time-invariant k × k matrix and et is a k × 1 vector of error terms satisfying

  1. \mathrm{E}(e_t) = 0\, — every error term has mean zero;
  2. \mathrm{E}(e_t e_t') = \Omega\, — the contemporaneous covariance matrix of error terms is Ω (a k × k positive-semidefinite matrix);
  3. \mathrm{E}(e_t e_{t-k}') = 0\, for any non-zero k — there is no correlation across time; in particular, no serial correlation in individual error terms.[1]

A pth-order VAR is also called a VAR with p lags. The process of choosing the maximum lag p in the VAR model requires special attention because inference is dependent on correctness of the selected lag order.[2][3]

You may now go to your Vodouisant and light the candle and pray to Simbi to intervene for you to Bondye, then pull out your CJ Voodoo doll and bind his fingers so he can’t get to his Cheetos.  See, Voodou and Econometrics are easy and fun!

So, we can attempt to predict the future by what has happened in the past by showing the relationship that variables have had on the thing that we want to study.

 

Goldman: Here’s Why Oil Crashed—and Why Lower Prices Are Here to Stay

Oil prices have gotten crushed for the last six months. The extent to which that was caused by an excess of supply or by a slowdown in demand has big implications for where prices will head next. People wishing for a big rebound may not want to read farther.

Goldman Sachs released an intriguing analysis on Wednesday that shows what many already suspected: The big culprit in the oil crash has been an abundance of oil flooding the market. A massive supply shock in the second half of last year accounted for most of the decline. In December and January, slowing demand contributed to the continued sell-off. Goldman was able to quantify these effects.

The Culprit Is in Blue

Goldman’s model is simple on its face, looking at just two variables over time: the price of oil and the value of U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500). The idea is that the stock market is a pretty good indicator of economic demand. So when stocks move in tandem with oil prices, demand is in the driver’s seat. When the price of oil moves in the opposite direction of stocks, the shock is coming from supply.

It’s a bit more complicated than that—for the statistically inclined, Goldman uses a “vector autoregression with sign restrictions”—but you get the idea. In the following chart, they split apart the effects of demand shocks (left) from supply shocks (right).

Demand & Supply

The chart on the left shows what you might expect: strong demand leading up to a precipitous decline during the recession beginning in late 2008. The supply chart on the right shows a shock of undersupply in late 2007, leading to years of relatively steady supply expectations. Oversupply shocks picked up, beginning in 2012, as U.S. shale-oil production exceeded expectations, culminating in a piercing shock of oversupply last year that sent markets reeling.

The big take-away: “[T]he decline in oil has been driven by an oversupplied global oil market,” wrote Goldman economist Sven Jari Stehn. As a result, “the new equilibrium price of oil will likely be much lower than over the past decade.”

 

If your predictions are then confounded, you may send Uncle Gunnysack out to take care of that uncooperative neighbor. Have a great Saturday!

 

Belief In Global Warming Is A Threat To Our National Security

by Flyovercountry ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Progressives, Regulation at February 13th, 2015 - 7:00 am

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post which highlighted the dangers of forcing law enforcement authorities to misappropriate resources by investigating fallacious reports alleging criminal activity. Unfortunately, the Liberal practice of deflecting attention from real problems and towards make believe problems does not end at the borders of law enforcement. It continues into just about every other aspect of our societal existence. The most dangerous of those places of course, at least from an existential point of view, is our National Security.

While we all thought this scene from the movie, “Up,” was cute,

I think we can all agree that it’s no way to run a railroad.

The day before Barack Obama’s most recent bit of Kabuki Theater, AKA this year’s State of The Union Address, NASA and the NOAA trumpeted their, “finding,” that 2014 was the warmest year, ever! You remember 2014 don’t you. Some of us recognize it as the year that ended a month and a half ago. It’s also the year when we first heard the phrase, “Polar Vortex.” That was the Environmentalist’s way of explaining to those of us who make up the sloped forehead, knuckle dragging, anti-science crowd, why it was so freaking cold from mid December through mid April. I also, possessing an adult memory and all, remember bitching about how there was a palpable lack of good swimming days over the summer, seeing as how that season was also freakishly cool as well. So, and I’m only asking the question here, when exactly was it the warmest year ever?

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who found the claim to be suspicious. About ten minutes after the politicos at NASA and the NOAA made the claim, real scientists began refuting it. The purpose of the lie however achieved its objective, which was to bolster Barack Obama’s poll numbers for his theatrical performance, and convince Americans, if only for a day or two, that our big problem is with Global Warming, and not with those Islamic Thugs hell bent on waging a war against us.

Of course, lost in all of those refutations linked to above is the small fact that both NASA and the NOAA have been caught recently actually fudging the very data that they’d used to confirm those computer models that predict the demise of all life on our Planet to begin with. The official purpose for fudging the data? Glad you’ve asked. It of course, and you really can’t make this stuff up, was so that the confirmation bias used in the predictive models created to make the case that we’re doomed would actually reflect that doom, rather than the reality that the whole thing is a con game with us, meaning you and me, cast in the role of the mark.

Get that? They created a theory based solely on a computer model, then fudged data to confirm the computer model, and told us to be scared because the real data was somehow flawed when it didn’t confirm the computer’s predictions, which just has to be right, because science.

As important as the whole scam is however, is the reason behind the scam, as well as what other nefarious purposes it has become useful for. Yesterday, I was literally inundated with snippets of President Zero’s Vox interview. Apparently, The Bamster sat down with the folks at hard core lefty talking points dissemination central, and managed somehow, to cause them to scratch their heads with his refusal to accept reality. According to the Obama Administration, Global Warming is having a greater effect upon the daily lives of Americans than any other threat faced by our nation today. So, let ISIS alone you riders of the proverbial, “High Horse,” because not only was Islamic Aggression defeated by those evil Crusades 1000 years ago, (which by the way was the actual reason why those wars were waged,) but whether we know it or not, Capitalism threatens our very existence today, or something.

Never mind the fact that every other period of warming throughout world history had heralded wild expansions in economic activity, improvements in living standards for all of man kind, and unprecedented wealth creation. It is a make believe danger which necessitates our very real misappropriation of considerable resources, so that we may pretend to thwart for the good of the Unicorn infested Universe inhabited by our man child President, said make believe danger. What should worry you is that our Chief Executive has made it an absolute point, and he’s not even bothering with any pretense any longer, to deflect our national attention away from real danger in order to scare us with something completely fabricated. Each drone used by the EPA to fly over a farmer’s private property in search of some new puddle to protect after a rain storm is one less drone available to fly over territory controlled by ISIS to protect Americans against maniacs who’ve made human sacrifice a part of their Friday religious ritual.

But hey, why worry so much about what reality holds? All we really need to do to confront our problems in the Unicorn infested Universe is tweet out some cleverly worded hashtag. This is of course preferable to those violent solutions which as any fool will tell you, only begets violence in return. Just ask anyone who’s met a member of the Religion of Peace lately how true that particular bit of sophistry happens to be. Will the last free American please turn out the lights?

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.