Ps. 95:2-4 – Shout Aloud to the Rock of Our Salvation!
…2Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 3For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods, 4In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also.…
“Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people.”
A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain.
For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods.
For I know that the LORD is great And that our Lord is above all gods.
A Psalm of David. I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to You before the gods.
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.
3. The thoughts of the greatness of Jehovah, of His sovereignty, and of His supremacy over the gods of the heathen, are characteristic of this group of Psalms. They are not new thoughts (Exodus 15:11; Exodus 15:18), but fresh reality had been given to them by His revelation of Himself in the humiliation of Babylon and its gods, and the deliverance of Israel.
That the Psalmist attributes any real existence to the gods of the heathen is not to be supposed. They are mere idols, things of nought (Psalm 96:5), gods in name but not in reality. He cannot have gone back from the teaching of Jeremiah 10:3 ff., in which the living God, the Eternal King, the Creator, is contrasted with helpless perishable idols; or have forgotten the scathing sarcasms of Isaiah 40:18 ff; Isaiah 44:9 ff.
Verse 3. – For the Lord is a great God. Thanks and praise are due to God, in the first place, because of his greatness (see Psalm cf. 2). “Who is so great a god as our God?” (Psalm 77:13); “His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3). And a great King above all gods; i.e. “a goat King above all other so called gods” – above the great of the earth (Psalm 82:1, 6), above angels (Deuteronomy 10:17), above the imaginary gods of the heathen (Exodus 12:12, etc.).
(3) Above all gods.—Not here angelic beings, but the gods of surrounding tribes, as accurately explained in Psalm 96:4-5. (Comp. Exodus 15:11; Exodus 18:11.) Commentators vex themselves with the difficulty of the ascription of a real existence to these tribal deities in the expression,” King above all gods.” But how else was Israel constantly falling into the sin of worshipping them? It was in the inspired rejection of them as possessing any sovereign power, and in the recognition of Jehovah’s supremacy shown by the psalmists and prophets, that the preservation of Israel’s religion consisted.
Krieger Fears Friday’s Missile Strikes “Mark The Official Start Of World War 3”
Sharing links unrelated to the reckless, criminal and unconstitutional act launched by Donald Trump and the U.S. government Friday night feels kinda inappropriate. As such, here are a few short paragraphs on what I think it all means. I’ll have more next week.
I think Friday night’s historically foolish action by the U.S., UK and France may mark the official start of World War 3.
You could argue it began long ago, but there’s always been hope for the trends to reverse. We’ve now likely gone over the brink, and the odds of turning this ship around is so low it doesn’t deserve serious consideration.
Russian leadership are not a bunch of fools, nor will they back down. After Friday night, they know for certain the U.S. empire is determined to castrate them globally at all costs in order to impede an inevitable emergence of a multi-polar world.
I don’t think Russia or Iran will respond with a shock and awe attack any time soon, nor will this likely spiral out of control in the near-term. It’s more likely we’ll see this all play out over the course of the next 5 years or so.
I also don’t expect this to go nuclear, but I think the chances the U.S. experiences an imperial collapse similar to that of the USSR (or like any historically unmanageable and corrupt empire) has become increasingly likely.
My view at this point is the U.S. and its global power position will be so dramatically altered in the years ahead, it’ll be almost unrecognizable by 2025, as a result of both economic decline and major geopolitical mistakes. This will cause the public to justifiably lose faith in all leadership and institutions.
I’ve been increasingly using Twitter to express my thoughts, so you should really check out my timeline there.
Here are a few tweets from the last 24 hours.
Syria first strike in World War 3 – Deep Analysis
From www.globalintelhub.com 4/14/2018
Syria has been bombed which calls for a deep analysis of what’s going on here. As we explain in our book Splitting Pennies – what really backs the US Dollar is BOMBS. Wall Street and the MIC (Military Industrial Complex) are inextricably intertwined, whether you are an armchair intellectual or an investor it’s important to understand this economic relationship.
The latest action in Syria is that policy in action. Let’s take a step back and understand this critical but boringly predictable development in Syria, the players involved, their respective relevant histories, and what markets can expect.
First let’s look at War Inc. or the Military as a business, or as we have outlined in a detailed article “Cult of War” (a good primer read if you’re not up on this topic). With 800 Billion + per year and a likely real spend of well over a Trillion USD, the US taxpayer needs to get something for their money. The Military is in a constant state of self-justification. The US outspends the enemy by such a large figure, there are stockpiles of bombs, planes, tanks, guns, logistic supplies, boats, aircraft carriers, satellites, and just millions of expensive assets getting dusty. The US could fight World War 2 on 2 fronts and a war in Space and still have assets left over. There are hundreds of military bases, millions of personnel, it has become just a massive super entity above Presidents, above the Elite, above Governments. By itself, as a form of Artificial Intelligence, the Military will do anything to prove the need it serves and survive. The glaring problem – no enemies! The number of real enemies is dwindling. But Syria has been on the CIA’s hit list for some time, controlling key Oil transport sites and other resources. Not to mention Israel has wanted to destroy the unfriendly regime for a long time. Cult of War needs to create conflicts of any size, it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ mentality. There’s no better training drill than the real thing.
The False Flag
False Flag operations are when a government or other body will secretly stage an event to make it look like it was the enemy, thus providing justification for war. False flag operations obviously need to be handled with laser like precision (ideally, but in reality such as in 911 they are botched). One of the first significant False Flags in American modern history is the sinking of the Lusitania, staged apparently by warmonger Winston Churchill in an attempt to bring the ruffian Americans into World War I:
The Lusitania set sail for Liverpool on May 1st, 1915 from New York harbor. It was carrying millions of rounds of ammunition and shrapnel. The previous captain Daniel Dow had resigned because of mixing civilian passengers with munitions. The ship was to have a British battleship escort called the Juno but was recalled before the rendezvous in spite of the knowledge that a Uboat was active in the path of the Lusitania.
False Flag operations are nothing new, Hitler burned down the government building and claimed to be able to catch the terrorists and restore order in Germany, finally naming himself Chancellor. Every powerful regime has a False Flag that they ‘own’ in order to justify their 10 year run in power. Their time is limited, people forget, so a new event is necessary every few years, custom tailored to the situation.
This false flag was planned and executed by MI5 (British Intelligence), although the details of the operation are as yet unclear. What is clear is that it is a Hollywood style staged event which was put together in the last minute with many mistakes and inconsistencies (they didn’t have a script supervisor!) as pointed out by countless fact-based witnesses and other governments:
Speaking with EuroNews, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizov, said “Russian military specialists have visited this region, walked on those streets, entered those houses, talked to local doctors and visited the only functioning hospital in Douma, including its basement where reportedly the mountains of corpses pile up. There was not a single corpse and even not a single person who came in for treatment after the attack.””But we’ve seen them on the video!” responds EuroNews correspondent Andrei Beketov.”There was no chemical attack in Douma, pure and simple,” responds Chizov. “We’ve seen another staged event. There are personnel, specifically trained – and you can guess by whom – amongst the so-called White Helmets, who were already caught in the act with staged videos.” “All these facts show… that no chemical weapons were used in the town of Douma, as it was claimed by the White Helmets.” “All the accusations brought by the White Helmets, as well as their photos… allegedly showing the victims of the chemical attack, are nothing more than a yet another piece of fake news and an attempt to disrupt the ceasefire,” said the Russian Reconciliation Center.
Of course, US warmongers will say that the Russians are protecting the Assad regime. There’s plenty of video and other evidence for internet sleuths to sort through in the coming days. But we have seen this so many times before we can guess the outcome fairly easily. It was a false flag, done by the British, in a sad and pathetic last attempt to save what remaining Elite aristocrats have over the masses, post Brexit. Although actual war is unavoidable in Syria now, one possible outcome of this is a populist movement against such politics, as is happening in Hungary.
Support of the US Dollar
So what’s the real reason the US chooses Syria to bomb and not Greenland for example?
1. The Petrodollar (via comment on The Gateway Pundit):
“The Chinese have recently issued the gold backed Yuan, which they, and others, have vowed to use to sell/purchase oil (amongst other things). The last two nations that tried to introduce a currency to compete against the petrodollar were Libya and Iraq. The US needs that pipeline through Syria even more than ever now, especially if they are to compete for European gas/oil markets (presently controlled by Russia and their pipeline) and the Chinese Yuan. But i’m sure none of that has anything to do with it…”
Syria is not only close to the Chinese they are also working closely with Russia. All of this is a non-USD system they are building, not controlled by DC. So of course, it has to be destroyed. This is outlined in great detail in the book Splitting Pennies.
It’s not only about Syria itself, you see. The GDP of Syria won’t make a difference on the USD. It’s about stopping a revolution. If Syria uses a Russian – Chinese financial and energy system perhaps it will spread to Jordan, Lebanon, and who next? If half the world is suddenly using a Yuan denominated trading market, it would threaten US hegemony. So all alternatives need to be stopped in their tracks, period. That isn’t an opinion it is the policy in DC based on research by companies like RAND.
Trump seems to be a victim of the international cabal that was a step ahead of him the whole time. In the opinion of this author, Trump is not a ‘plant’ from the beginning meant to deceive the voters. The UK is the master planner of this operation, including but not limited to the false flag. When domestic attempts by the deep state to derail Trump failed, they realized a coordinated effort from abroad was a better approach, one that Trump would be defenseless against, as his experience in international politics is zero (before getting into the White House). Hence, Trump’s involvement in this quagmire is meant to ensnare him in a series of decisions that will weaken his domestic position, alienate his base, while achieving goals of the War Party, Zionists, the Oil industry, and other interests in this confluence. Trump was forced with a choice: pick sides, choose the Russian facts (there was no chemical attack) or the British lies. Being attacked by the domestic media by idiotic yet influential forces, staging a dangerous trade war, and coming to the conclusion of a Russian collusion investigation, backed Trump into a corner. If he had chosen to side with Russia, it could have backfired and blown up in his face. Democrats, Leftists, and other Trump enemies would have pounced on the issue accusing him of being Putin’s lap boy all along. Being that this is Trump’s first rodeo, he doesn’t have the complex knowledge base or pool of advisers to deal with this strongly and independently. In fact he hasn’t been able to build a strong team of advisers independent of deep state snakes working against him. This is not his fault, it is just the reality of how intertwined everything is in DC. “Drain the Swamp” is a great marketing slogan, and a noble idea – but implementing it may prove impossible. And on the surface, everyone loves the hero story – an evil monster gassed innocent people, and we are ‘saving’ them. This is a great excuse to spend billions on bombs we don’t need and use them. He bought the party line of the MIC “We have to bomb the village to save it”:
“The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.”
“Tonight, I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions. We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria.”
God will bring comfort to those we are bombing? Really? Can he be any more offensive?
This is the beginning of a series of events that Trump cannot dig himself out of. The MIC won’t stop until the majority of Syria is destroyed and key resources are controlled by US forces. Some of us remember in the 90s there was ‘chatter’ that the NeoCons were planning a false flag in a major US City that was ‘nuclear’ – whether that was 911 or an event that never happened we’ll never know. But one thing is clear – they have the weapons, so they will kill all that stand in their way. Whether he is one of theirs or is being manipulated by them is irrelevant for his base which was largely anti-establishment and anti-war, anti-globalist, which he has proven to be the opposite.
World War 3
With the ascent of Russia, China, and smaller states building their armed forces without reason, it is only inevitable that they are used. War between China, Russia, the US and allies is inevitable. But wait – it’s not what you are thinking! There will not likely be strikes on US, Chinese, or Russian soil. Rather, as in the Hunger Games, war games will be played in theaters such as the South China Sea, Syria, and other hotspots.
World War 3 will likely last 50 – 100 years, like the cold war, it will be an going unresolved war in places like Syria. Flare ups and skirmishes will be the extent of the action. Nukes may be used but tactical nukes in a limited, regional capacity. PROBABLY. Of course, it could completely spiral out of control. But deep analysis indicates not. There needs to be just enough war to justify the military and not enough to destroy it. In the same way the MIC needs a war to justify its own existence, a complete obliteration of a major player would also be an endgame (including but not limited to a humanitarian outcry if a major city was destroyed in one bombing such as London or Berlin.)
Remember folks there was only one country that has used nuclear bombs to kill millions and that country is the United States of America.
The War Inc. model – 2 new players
China and Russia are both copying the War Inc. model from the United States. Both countries do not have any real threats (except from the United States, but as a game) with the exception of terrorism. Japan has no army and is not a threat to China. China has destroyed all the regional competitors and has no real major state enemy. Domestic politics may be a bigger threat to China than any foreign military (as China was once a chaotic, multi-state region). China is a little bit like the Soviet Union, but through the prism of their culture of course. The point is multi-ethnic super states usually collapse given enough time, as there are competing domestic interests at play. That is China’s focus not to be a military power, their external show of force is to play the American game. America needs an enemy. The China ‘copy and paste’ model, a threat to the IP of US tech companies, is also at play with War Inc.
Russia is an interesting case here. During the Soviet Union Russia was a defense oriented country that did little in foreign countries outside of the Iron Curtain. After decades of high quality propaganda, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, Russia realized that if they wanted to be a major player in the world and participate in the new growing economic power center they needed to switch to Capitalism, which they did in 1991. This was a hard shift, it is difficult for those outside Communist countries to understand what it means to ‘switch’ from a state controlled economy to ‘free market’ economy. Russia’s markets were so free in the 90s it led to massive growth by organized crime which was borderline legit business (they were like the Robber Baron’s of the industrial age in USA). Basically Russia is 80 years behind the US, socially. Since 1991 Russia has taken all the advice given to them by their Western economic advisers. They have implemented a stock market, there are entrepreneurs in Russia starting businesses on a daily basis, they even have a Silicon Valley style incubator in Moscow Skolkovo (and others – see more info on starting a venture in Russia here). Russia has implemented many reforms in their plan to make Russia a market leader. They have a long way to go, their manufacturing standards have become a joke when Putin opened the door of a Russian car and the handle came off. But the world seems to forget that this was the ‘Communist’ country that the West sold on a better, capitalist life. One of the trimmings of a Capitalist society is War Inc. The partnership between Syria and Russia is a natural one; there are critical oil pipeline routes in Syria and Syria is a Christian foothold in a predominantly Muslim region. Russia didn’t invent the War Inc. model however it is now operating it based on a business plan that was sent to them by Washington during the Cold War. It should come as no surprise that they are doing what they were convinced to do by Capitalist Generals in Washington. Billions upon billions were spent on Hollywood produced propaganda programs including films, radio (Air America), Television programs, news, and later internet campaigns. They are influenced by reports such as “What the bombing of Syria means for your 401k” and other reports. Russia is playing the role of War Inc. – a model copied directly from US interventions in Iraq and other places (Iraq is most similar). There is no real skin in the game for either country, Syria is just a proxy state to be used and abused for the war profiteers. This is the first time Russia is playing this role and it is playing it well. It wouldn’t be surprising if Russian and US generals were exchanging encrypted communications on their competing computer game theory simulations while contemplating their next moves with each others open feedback.
Vacuum dirt analogy
Why are vacuum cleaning manufacturers honest and politicians are not? Because when you buy a vacuum, you immediately see how it works (the dirt and particles are caught in the transparent tank). If a vacuum didn’t work or had poor suction it would be immediately apparent and people would return them or complain. Politicians control the information flow, especially during war, because they have power. This is especially true of government employees who are publicly elected. In private business there is a lot of oversight and ultimately you will fail or succeed, you can’t lie to investors quarter after quarter.
Armchair Intellectuals and the Great American Hobby
Finally, there is this class in America not sure how to describe them, perhaps “Saturday Night War Experts” – they support any show of US force. They are mostly middle aged males with health issues, mostly on multiple prescriptions, they enjoy watching infographics explaining the differences between cruise missiles and smart bombs, right after their 5th glass of Merlot. This class isn’t completely handicapped, but they choose to spend their free time sitting in Lazyboy chairs watching Fox News and other sources during wartime. When they’re not tuned in, they enjoy to debate with their friends different methods how the US could use its arsenal to completely destroy Syria or “Make it GLASS” as I’m sure all readers have heard someone say once. This grotesque hobby is what gives those in DC power to enact such measures. You don’t read headlines that Norway has unilaterally destroyed Sweden. In New Zealand for example there is a ban on Nuclear anything.
The info trade
During the last Iraq was there was an interesting correlation between US strikes, war actions and info, and the US Dollar. It was caused by speculators not real money flows. War is information and the markets live on information. All markets will be impacted by this war, it can even be a trading strategy by itself. Defense stocks will have a boost on successful missions. Key victories will lead to USD being bid up. It’s a busy time and there’s a lot happening. War traders must be tuned in 24/7 as the smallest bit of info that hasn’t hit the wires yet can cause markets to move. Traders need to become information junkies.
Don’t skip over the obvious facts that are staring us in the face. This is the beginning of World War 3 – but don’t worry – it’s good for the economy. Game on!
To read about the inner workings of this system checkout Splitting Pennies. Support great journalism and shop at www.ubuy.me and invest at www.alphazadvisors.com You read this quality analysis free – please share this article especially to friends with a TV!
Be cautious on Biblical Truth vs Mainstream media!!!!!!
Syria: What Just Happened?
What happened right after the second direct U.S.-missiles invasion of Syria, which had occurred on the night of April 13th, could turn out to have momentous implications – far bigger than the attacks themselves…
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons headlined on April 14th, in the wake of this U.S.-UK-France invasion of Syria that was allegedly punishing Syria’s Government for allegedly having used chemical weapons in its bombing in the town of Douma on April 7th, “OPCW Fact-Finding Mission Continues Deployment to Syria”, and reported that:
The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma.
The OPCW has been working in close collaboration with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security to assess the situation and ensure the safety of the team.
This means that the effort by the U.S. and its allies on the U.N. Security Council, to squash that investigation, has failed at the OPCW, even though the effort had been successful at blocking U.N. support for that specific investigation.
The OPCW is not part of the U.N., nor of any country; it, instead (as introduced by Wikipedia):
is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997. The OPCW, with its 192 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.
In conformity with the unchallenged international consensus that existed during the 1990s that there was no longer any basis for war between the world’s major powers, the Convention sought and achieved a U.N. imprimatur, but this was only in order to increase its respect throughout the world. The OPCW is based not on the U.N. Charter but on that specific treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was formally approved by the U.N.’s General Assembly on 30 November 1992 and was then opened for signatures in Paris on 13 January 1993. According to the Convention’s terms, it would enter into effect 180 days after 65 nations signed it, which turned out to be on 29 April 1997.
So, although the treaty itself received U.N. approval, the recent Russian-sponsored resolution at the U.N.’s Security Council to have the U.N. endorse the OPCW’s investigation of the 7 April 2018 Douma incident, did not receive U.N. approval. It was instead blocked by the U.S. and its allies. Nonetheless, though without a U.N. endorsement, the OPCW investigation into the incident will move forward, despite the invasion.
This fact is momentous, because a credible international inspection, by the world’s top investigatory agency for such matters, will continue to completion, notwithstanding the effort by the U.S. and its allies on the U.N. Security Council, to block it altogether. This decision was reached by the OPCW — not by the U.N.
Among the 192 signers of the Chemical Weapons Convention are U.S., Russia, and Syria, as well as China, Iran, and Iraq, but not Israel, nor North Korea and a very few other countries. So: all of the major powers have already, in advance, approved whatever the findings by the OPCW turn out to be. Those findings are expected to determine whether a chemical attack happened in Douma on 7 April 2018, and, if so, then perhaps what the specific banned chemical(s) was(were), but not necessarily who was responsible for it if it existed. For example, if the ‘rebels’ had stored some of their chemical weapons at that building and then Syria’s Government bombed that building, the OPCW might not be able to determine who is to blame, even if they do determine that there was a chemical attack and the chemical composition of it. In other words: science cannot necessarily answer all of the questions that might be legal-forensically necessary in order to determine guilt, if a crime did, in fact, occur, there.
If the investigation does find that a banned chemical was used and did cause injuries or fatalities, then there is the possibility that its findings will be consistent with the assertions by the U.S. and its allies who participated in the April 13th invasion. That would not necessarily justify the invasion, but it would prove the possibility that there had been no lying intent on the part of the U.S.-and-allied invaders on April 13th.
However, if the investigation does not find that a banned chemical was used in the Syrian Government’s bombing of that building, then incontrovertibly the U.S.-and-allied invasion was a criminal one under international laws, though there may be no international court that possesses the authority to try the case.
So: what is at stake here from the OPCW investigation is not only the international legitimacy of Syria’s Government, but the international legitimacy of the Governments that invaded it on April 13th. These are extremely high stakes, even if no court in the world will possess the authority to adjudicate the guilt — either if the U.S. and its allies lied, or if the Syrian Government lied.
For us historians, this is very important. And, for the general public, the significance goes much farther: to specific Governments, to their alleged news media, and to the question of: What does it even mean to say that a government is a “democracy” or a “dictatorship”? The findings from this investigation will reverberate far and wide, and long (if World War III doesn’t prevent any such findings at all).
* * *
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Be cautious on Biblical Truth vs Mainstream media!!!!! Mainstream jokia:)))))
4000 US Troops Launch Massive Military Drill On Edge Of Syria
Be discerning of Isaiah 17!!!! Psalms 83!!!!!
US Tanks In Europe Get Invisible Futuristic Missile Shield To Counter Russian Threat
Back in March, we detailed how the United States Army M1 Abrams tank, an American third-generation main battle tank, was in the process of being upgraded with an invisible missile shield that will destroy all chemical energy anti-tank threats and other threats before reaching the vehicle. We even said, “that Washington is preparing their main battle tank for the next evolution of hybrid wars.”
Known as Trophy, this is the world’s first and only fully operational Active Protection System and Hostile Fire Detection System for armored vehicles. This cutting-edge technology will provide M1 Abrams tanks with 360-degree security from all threats, as advanced algorithms are continually detecting, locating, and neutralizing anti-tank threats on the battlefield.
We even noted that the Trophy system was tested thoroughly on select M1A2 tanks in Europe and the Middle East. With much of the testing classified, there were still several unanswered questions surrounding what region(s) of the world the upgrades would go.
However, in a new report on Thursday, the United States Army has decided to deploy the missile shields for M1 Abrams tanks to Europe “as part of a sweeping effort to better arm its Armored Brigade Combat Teams and counter Russian threats in the region,” said Warrior Maven, as quoted by Fox News.
“Not only will we be fielding one set of Trophy on Abrams tanks to Europe, but also three other brigades,” Maj. Gen. John Ferrari, Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation, G-8, told Warrior Maven in an interview.
“The weapons plus-up for Europe-bound Active Protection System is woven into the 2019 budget request,” he added.
Scientists Say EU’s “Robot Bill Of Rights” Would Violate The Rights Of Humans
The decision by an influential EU Parliamentary Committee to approve what’s been described by critics and proponents alike as a robot “bill of rights” back in January has ignited a fierce backlash and prompted a group of dozens of AI researchers to write a scathing letter criticizing the EU’s approach to regulating robots.
In the open letter, 156 robotics and AI experts from 14 countries blasted the EU for trying to enforce “nonsensical” and “non-pragmatic” regulations that ultimately could violate people’s rights.
Here’s more from EuroNews:
In an open letter, more than 150 experts in robotics, artificial intelligence, law, medical science and ethics, warned the Commission against approving a proposal that envisions a special legal status of “electronic persons” for the most sophisticated, autonomous robots.
“Creating a legal status of electronic ‘person’ would be ideological and nonsensical and non-pragmatic,” the letter says.
The group said the proposal, which was approved in a resolution by the European Parliament last year, is based on a perception of robots “distorted by science fiction and a few recent sensational press announcements.”
“From an ethical and legal perspective, creating a legal personality for a robot is inappropriate”, they argued, explaining that doing so could breach human rights law.
Around the world, and in both the manufacturing and service economies, robotics is making swift gains as the number of industrial robots in circulation has climbed dramatically in recent years. According to projections published by Reuters IFR, their numbers will double again by 2020.
Draining The Data Swamp: Who Owns The “Virtual You”?
In our digital age, ownership, utilization, and monetization of data raises profound questions about personal rights, state rights and the limits of freedom…
For all the raft of unanswered questions or dismissal as a nothingburger, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s two-day grilling at Capitol Hill hopefully may unleash a serious global debate about our virtual selves.
US politicians, it seems, have discovered the merits of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The EU is actually at war with the GAFA galaxy (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) and environs. The question for the US revolves around the immense legal twists and turns on how and what to regulate.
As much as Zuckerberg may have conceded that the industry needs to be regulated, scores of congressmen pressed him on whether Facebook would enforce GDPR for US customers. He dodged the question multiple times, promising GDPR “controls,” but never “protection.”
An army of savvy lawyers at the Facebook HQ certainly envisaged that regulation might “stifle competition,” as some congressmen did not fail to point out. And some, naively, even gave the whole game away, asking Zuckerberg directly what kind of regulation he would prefer.
Capitol Hill may not have noticed that Facebook and GAFA as a whole work pretty much like political parties disguised as companies. The founders/CEOs are major shareholders. Decisions have the imprimatur of a board working as a sort of political bureau. Congress is the shareholder general assembly. And the militants are the salaried mass addicted to a visionary movement.
The whole process runs in parallel with the decline of traditional political parties. Even top counseling comes from the political arena, like former Obama operative David Plouffe, who moved to Facebook from Uber, and Joel Benenson, Bill Clinton’s top polls specialist.
And it’s certainly very much a political issue how cyberspace trumps actual physical space. GAFA is always looking for nations that offer comparative advantages and privileges to dodge regulation and annoying redistributive fiscal obligations.
That betrays a clear ideological choice. GAFA is all about Ayn Rand-inspired Libertarianism; minimum government and maximum freedom. Surf away from the crashing waves of the state. Regulation is for losers.
Ayn Rand happens to be the supreme idol of PayPal’s Peter Thiel, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Wikipedia co-creator Jimmy Wales.
And then there’s philosophy great Martin Heidegger.
Peter Thiel, Linkedin founder Reid Hoffman, Instagram inventor Mike Krieger – they all followed the Symbolic Systems program established in Stanford in 1986 combining neurosciences, logic, psychology, AI, cybernetics and, yes, philosophy, with an emphasis on Heidegger.
Add to it the role of Pluralistic Networks, founded by Chilean Fernando Flores, a former minister of Salvador Allende and co-author, with Terry Winograd (Google’s Larry Page’s mentor) of a book about Heidegger’s influence on information science, redefining intelligence, language and the limits of biology. Here we have Heidegger as the precursor of AI.
Liberal democracy vs freedom?
One of the big shows in Brussels for years has been the debate on why GAFA refuses to pay taxes. Libertarianism is incompatible with direct tax deductions or regulations. What matters most of all is the philanthropic value of those entrepreneurs and their social importance in creating jobs.
European egalitarian cynics, on the other hand, would describe them as a bunch of moguls bloated by un-measurable hubris praying to a doctrine of sovereign egotism.
GAFA + Microsoft’s market capitalization reached a whopping $2.9 trillion last year – bigger than India’s GDP; their collected revenues are larger than Sweden’s GDP.
According to the OECD, globally, states are not collecting as much as $240 billion a year in taxes. According to a 2015 report from the European Parliament, the EU loses as much as 70 billion euros a year because of “fiscal optimization,” due uniquely to the transfer of GAFA profits towards fiscal paradises.
So what we have is GAFA working as political parties, actively changing the world without ever submitting themselves to a vote. It’s a case of “freedom” being incompatible with Western liberal democracy. That’s exactly what PayPal founder Peter Thiel wrote in 2009; “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”
In The Black Box Society (Harvard University Press), Frank Pasquale stresses how the industry, facing no accountability, will end up risking the very own legitimacy of sovereign states.
Which brings us to the monopoly question. Zuckerberg was asked if he considered Facebook a monopoly. Brussels certainly does, in its drive to regulate an economic model based on systematic smashing of competition and limitless privatization of personal data (which the EU has been unable to stop). Once again Peter Thiel, one of Facebook’s earliest investors: “Competition is for losers.”
The main complaint in Brussels, as officials stressed to Asia Times, is that the EU’s “fair competition” model is being corroded. Yet the paradox is the EU – because of ferocious fiscal competition – is actually the largest tax paradise on the planet.
The EU condemns international tax evasion while the enemy inside is represented by Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Ireland – a sort of Bermuda Triangle of corporate tax. The savory combination of a single free market and a sophisticated service economy in which almost no physical goods cross borders offers unlimited opportunities for tax evasion. No wonder the digital giants have accumulated over $600 billion in tax-free profits.
The limits of ‘self-ownership’
While GAFA in the US essentially controls the politics limiting the capacity for regulation, Brussels will continue to insist the only path towards healthy regulation comes from the EU.
The other model is of course China. Beijing has domesticated its sprawling digital industry – which is a de facto extension of the state apparatus as well as a growing instrument of global influence.
When Zuckerberg was asked whether Facebook should be broken up – the monopoly issue once again – he said that would weaken the US’s competitive advantage against China, which by the way is fast disappearing.
Facebook’s customer base though is not American; it’s global. Inside the Facebook HQ, the consensus is that it is a global company. So all these issues at stake – from monopoly to regulation to privacy – are indeed global issues.
Zuckerberg dodged extremely serious questions. Who owns “the virtual you?” Zuckerberg’s response was that you own all the “content” you upload, and can delete that content any time you want. Yet the heart of the matter is the advertising profile Facebook builds on each user. That simply cannot be deleted. And the user cannot alter it in any way.
The GAFA galaxy, in fact, owns you when you click accepting those massive terms and conditions of use. As argued by philosopher Gaspard Koenig, director of the GenerationLibre think tank in France, data property should logically follow the evolution of property rights, land property, financial property and property of ideas, thus replacing the current figure of the “proletarian 2.0” at the heart of the value chain of the digital economy.
The whole debate may revolve in fact about algorithmic determinism. Every algorithmic model is influenced by economic and financial interests. “Our” data is de facto monetized by all those massive, user-friendly platforms. The four billion profiles generated every three months by Facebook are derived from content that real people produce and let Facebook use. Even Zuckerberg himself admitted he cannot lock down his own privacy settings.
Thus the key question that Libertarianism refuses to answer: If “self-ownership” is being configured as the future of our social contract in a secular world, how do we mere consumers profit from our rampant, digital marketization?
This Is How The US Postal Service Loses So Much Money
Lately, when he isn’t trying to blame China on America’s competitiveness woes, President Donald Trump has become obsessed with the online retailer Amazon. While there’s speculationthat Trump is using the reins of government to carry out a personal grudge because Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, also owns The Washington Post, the more recent obsession is based on his belief that the United States Postal Service is subsidizing Amazon’s activity.
The claim is that, based on a cost-plus method of pricing, Amazon is being subsidized $1.47 per package delivered by the USPS as a last-mile carrier. With an estimated608 million boxes shipped by the online retailer in 2017, Trump is implying that Amazon has shorted the postal service by $893 million.
Considering the USPS lost $2.7 billion, this further implies that Amazon is a key reason why the USPS is struggling financially. Trump goes on to state that Amazon should fork over the entire $2.7 billion to cover the difference.
A key problem here is the assumption that businesses operate on a cost-plus basis. This kind of thinking is a result of how warped government operations are, which frequently engage in cost-plus kinds of contracts. Cost-plus contracts are where the government agrees to cover all the applicable costs of performing the work plus a guaranteed profit. These forms of contracts are relatively unusual in the private business sector, where bidding on price are the primary form of activity. Because of the nature of cost-plus, and how they will frequently go over-budget because there is little incentive to control costs of performance, companies generally don’t engage in them. This means, in the world outside of tax-funded activity, the USPS has to compete with other package carriers like UPS and FedEx and doesn’t have the luxury of guaranteeing itself a profit on every activity.
When it comes to the USPS, the organization has significant fixed costs. In business planning, prices are usually lower-bound by the variable cost of activity. Any revenues that are collected above and beyond the variable costs are able to contribute toward fixed expenses. This is referred to as the contribution margin. Because the fixed component exists whether the product or service is sold or not, companies will be pressured to lower prices until they reach this contribution margin is exhausted. Companies then hope to generate sufficient volume at this margin to cover the fixed expenses. If the choice is between no sale and a sale below an optimal price with some contribution margin, the organization will usually go with the lower than optimal price to at least slow the resource deterioration.
The reason the USPS is in trouble and is struggling to cover its estimated $29 billion in fixed costs is because of its status as a partial legal monopoly. From the own words of the USPS, Congress has granted, with criminal penalty, the USPS total monopoly over the delivery of letters, with some carve-out exceptions (such as urgent or free of charge). Like most monopolies, the USPS had little incentive to keep costs controlled. In 1999, the USPS even went so far as to shrug off the burgeoning Internet, e-mail in particular, as some fad and engaged in sorting facility expansions with the expectation that letter volume would continue to grow. Since peaking in 2001, the number of letters delivered by the USPS has since collapsed to nearly half as much in 2017. The USPS costs, however, continued to increase, from $62 billion in 2000 to $72.3 billion in 2017, despite the collapse of business volume. The USPS was only able to remain solvent by leveraging its monopoly status by driving up the price of stamps from $0.34 for a first class stamp in 1999 to $0.50 later this year. But even this is running into limitations as the decline in mail volume accelerates.
This monopoly, however, doesn’t cover package delivery, putting the USPS in a strange position of having a legal monopoly on only part of its business. This creates the impression that the package business is subsidized by the letter business since the prices on the letter side aren’t limited by a competitive force. This then creates the further impression that the expenses, which were never controlled because of the historical reliance on letter delivery, should be evenly applied to package delivery as well. Thus the assumption there is a subsidy at all when in reality the costs are grossly overinflated due to a lack of market discipline.
When a private business is threatened by decreased volume, they usually have to trim operations to adjust their size to meet the new market demands. The USPS, on the other hand, does not do this. The organization continues to operate on the assumption it must make daily deliveries, six days a week, to every address in the nation. Even the old rural excuse has become weakened as the nation becomes more urban (assuming it was ever justified to tax city residents to provide city amenities to those who elected to live in remote places). Not that rural residents need a monopoly organization to deliver junk mail.
Repeal the Postal Service’s Monopoly
So what’s the answer to the failings of the USPS? Repeal the Private Express Statutes and let the USPS loose to manage its own affairs without Congressional interference in its operations. As Lysander Spooner famously proved back in 1844 with the American Letter Mail Company, the private sector can not only deliver the mail, it can deliver the mail profitably for a fraction of the cost of the postal service. This solves two problems:
- The appearance that Amazon is subsidized through the USPS is eliminated
- Profitable, stable delivery organizations can come into play
Repealing the private express statutes and getting government out of the mail delivery business may also very well save the USPS as not only can the USPS get out from under populist mandates, such as the overly generous retirement program and maintaining an absurd number of postal service locations; the USPS maintains over twice as many postal stops as McDonald’s has restaurants. It will also open up the market to more competition and competition breeds superior operations for competing members as creative methods of operation are more likely to be identified and can be mimicked, leading to superior operations for all players.
In the end, the “problem” with Amazon is self-inflicted by the government insisting it operates a monopoly letter carrier. Trump can fix the problem with one fell swoop by pressuring Congress not to pass laws imposing higher rates on Amazon delivered packages, which will only accelerate the failure of the USPS since Amazon would just pick an alternate carrier, but to open up unrestricted competition in mail delivery and cut the USPS loose from the government tether. It certainly worked out well in New Zealand.
“The US mission has not changed — the president has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday. She made this point in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that he had convinced Trump to keep US forces there. Macron also said he told Trump that it was necessary to limit the airstrikes in Syria, suggesting Trump wanted to go further. “We also persuaded him that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons sites after things got a little carried away over tweets,” Macron told reporters. He also said Syrian ally Russia is complicit.
ISAIAH 17 FULFILLMENT?????????????????