Captain Kirk: The Earth is our only home. Everything out there in space is hellish. We need to start taking care of our home before it, too, becomes a hell.

At age 90, the actor William Shatner got to ride briefly into outer space. He was expecting an epiphany of connection to the Universe out there.

He was not prepared to feel a deep sense of grief.

(I have been making the same argument on this as Shatner for many years now.)

Here is what he wrote:

The age of extinction

My trip to space made me realise we have only one Earth – it must live long and prosper

William Shatner

Star Trek prepared me to feel a connection with the universe. Instead, I felt terrible grief for our planet. At Cop15, our leaders must negotiate to protect it

Wed 7 Dec 2022 10.00 ESTFollow William Shatner

Star Trek actor William Shatner, 90
Click to see figure captionThe age of extinction is supported byAbout this contentLast year, at the age of 90, I had a life-changing experience.

I went to space, after decades of playing a science-fiction character who was exploring the universe and building connections with many diverse life forms and cultures.

I thought I would experience a similar feeling: a feeling of deep connection with the immensity around us, a deep call for endless exploration. A call to indeed boldly go where no one had gone before.

I was absolutely wrong.

As I explained in my latest book, what I felt was totally different. I knew that many before me had experienced a greater sense of care while contemplating our planet from above, because they were struck by the apparent fragility of this suspended blue marble.

I felt that too.

But the strongest feeling, dominating everything else by far, was the deepest grief that I had ever experienced.

While I was looking away from Earth, and turned towards the rest of the universe, I didn’t feel connection; I didn’t feel attraction. What I understood, in the clearest possible way, was that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death.

I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, of adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.

I worry about the world my grandchildren will be living in when they are my ageThis was an immensely powerful awakening for me. It filled me with sadness. I realised that we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside.

I played my part in popularising the idea that space was the final frontier.

But I had to get to space to understand that Earth is, and will remain, our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable.

I was born in Montreal in 1931. During my lifetime, this world has changed faster than for any generation before us. We are now at an ecological tipping point. Without the bold leadership that the times require, we are facing further climate breakdown and ecosystems collapsing before our eyes, with as many as one million species at risk of extinction, according to the latest scientific assessments.‘We are at war with nature’: UN environment chief warns of biodiversity apocalypseRead more

And of all places, it is in the city where I was born that a crucial meeting of the United Nations is being held. At Cop15, the UN biodiversity summit in Montreal, taking place from 7 to 19 December, world governments will negotiate a global deal to stop the loss of biodiversity by the end of the decade. We need world leaders to give their diplomats a powerful mandate for these talks: agree on strong targets to change the way we produce food, to drastically cut pollution, and to conserve 50% of our planet’s land and ocean, with the active leadership of Indigenous peoples and local communities, who have historically been pioneers on all these necessary actions.

I was the oldest man to go to space.

I worry about the world my grandchildren will be living in when they are my age. My generation is leaving them a planet that might pretty soon be barely livable for many of Earth’s inhabitants. My experience in space filled me with sadness, but also with a strong resolve. I don’t want my grandchildren to simply survive. I want them, as an old friend used to say, to be able to live long and prosper.I will do everything I can so that we can protect our one and only home. Our world leaders have an immense responsibility to do the same in Montreal.

William Shatner is a Canadian actor who played Captain James T Kirk in Star Trek for almost 30 years.


He is also author of Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and WonderThe age of extinctionCop15OpinionEnvironmentConservationBiodiversityStar TrekWilliam ShatnerArticleCommentWilliam Shatner

The age of extinction

The Old Testament, like all religions, is a made-up fairy tale

Just a handful of the main clues that the Tanakh (or the first 5 books of the OT bible, or the Pentateuch, or טנ”ך) is full of it:

(a) Who exactly was observing the creation of the universe and writing this all down? Right there, you can tell that this is all nonsense.

(b) Not a single one of the insanely great explanations in physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, biology, and so on, concerning any aspect of the universe, that have been discovered by scientists over the past 200 years are foretold. What little ‘natural philosophy’ there is in the טנ”ך is completely wrong. Hmm – so much for omniscience.

(c) Despite centuries of work by archaeologists, they have found absolutely no archaeological evidence of any of the events in the book of Exodus. My own evidence: I lived, studied and worked on a kibbutz in Israel for two years. On a visit to the famous, ancient fortress/palace Masada, I looked out from the the top of that location, and could still see, plain as day, the remains of the temporary Roman military camp that was built two thousand years ago to besiege the Jews who had taken refuge there. Here is a stock photo of the site – a seriously dry desert, just like the Sinai peninsula, where signs of human habitation are not erased by rain and vegetation. So any sign of thousands of Israelites wandering for forty years in the dry-as-dust Sinai would be really, really obvious — but nobody has found a thing. So all that stuff, including the entire Passover story was completely made up, apparently during the Babylonian exile (which really did happen).

(d) Supposedly ‘finding’ (at least part of ) the text of the Bible in a ruined temple and declaring that this document was the real deal (2 Kings 22) and that none of god’s tribe were obeying the divine laws – this reminds me of the obvious fraudster Joseph Smith who made up invisible gold plates that only he could read, and used his ravings to found the Mormon church.

(e) If you analyze the (supposed) actions of god in the Tanakh as you would of a human being, you would have to concluded that he/she/it is a spiteful, jealous, and hateful being that also does an incredibly piss-poor job of protecting the one group he/she/it made a deal with, and often causes their near-extinction

(f) Why does an omnipotent god make all those crazy rules about what to eat, wear, sacrifice, and precisely how to get clean? Reasons are almost never given, but the most likely explanation is to bind the tribe of believers into a cult that will not mingle with outsiders

(g) How does anybody know what God is really saying, thinking, or doing? We have how many thousands of sects and major religions that say they understand the nature of God and/or the divine essence and/or the universe – and they all think that their doctrine was written down once and for all time and is true always, AND all the other religions are wrong. I agree with part of that: all those religions are wrong. In fact, reality is something that we continue to discover, and much (though not all) of what humans used to believe about the world is now demonstrably incorrect

(h) If an omnipotent and omniscient god really existed, and wanted to teach us humans a lesson, then why doesn’t he/she/it just slice off the side of a mountain – or use parking lots – or airplane runways — one in every major city, to make the message undeniable — and just spell that lesson out in whatever the local language might be? Any omnipotent and omniscient deity should be able to do that easily. If they existed.

(i) A much more likely explanation (instead of ‘aliens’ like this imaginary god) is that a priestly class found that they could live a really good life as a ruling class (or as the allies thereof), doing magical rituals and such wearing the fanciest clothes and living generally in the nicest houses, and in return getting to eat all the very best meats from the very finest livestock, instead of having to go out sweating, digging or hunting for themselves like everybody else, while pretending that they were in direct communication with this imaginary god and that if their rules are not followed to the T, then god will smite them, but if they obey the rules, then they can go smite other tribes and enslave them and take their wealth.

So I conclude that all those religions are all just con jobs (as have been a number of political movements, too)

Why do so many of us humans still fall for these con artists?

I admit that I did, for many years. I confess that it’s soothing, and you feel like part of a tribe, and you feel like you have a reason for existing.

Published in: on November 17, 2022 at 10:59 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

Why the 5 thousand years of zero growth?

According to the same book, it’s because not long after people adopted Neolithic technologies, which involved animal herding, farming, and sedentary life, then diseases could spread more widely among the crops, the animals, and the people. Many an early archeological site from this era shows signs of sudden abandonment of a town or village of some thousands of souls. Some of the ruins were burned, some not. Most plagues that kill fast such as typhoid, influenzas, yellow fever, malaria, plague, mumps, measles, and so on don’t leave marks on human skeletons, and are transmitted between humans and our herd animals. In all likelihood, populations would rise and then get wiped out by a plague of some sort affecting themselves, their animals, or their crops.

In other words, it probably was not a time of linear growth of human population (the 180 net new human beings average that I estimated in my last post). But, rather, a period when local human populations would rise and then fall, unpredictably. Apparently, hunter-gatherers limit their births, in part because a mother will carry and nurse a baby until it is a few years old; people who eat a sedentary grain diet are much more fertile. But their surroundings were more shitty (as in, covered with human and animal dung), so, as these settled Neolithic people procreated, lived close together, and had absolutely no defenses against mysterious pests, diseases and such, they also would occasionally die in droves — becasue NOBODY had resistance to any of those diseases.

Any survivors who had heard anything about plagues would learn to leave the town as fast as possible; and if they *ever* returned, would be totally justified in burning to the ground whatever remained.

Apparently it took five thousand years, or about 20 generations, for enough of our susceptible ancestors – the unlucky ones — to be weeded out, and the lucky ones, who just happened to have some genetic feature that provided immunity, to survive and pass along those lucky genes. All of us today are descendants of the lucky ones that survived plague after plague!

After that time, population increased remarkably. Let’s look at those figures

10,000 BC human population about 4 million

5,000 BC human population about 5 million (a rise of about 5 percent per millennium)

0 BC human population about 180 million (a rise of 35 percent per millennium)

2,000 AD human population about 6 Billion – which is about 33 times (not 33 percent, but 33 times) as many people as were present near the birth of Christ. So per milllennium, that is a much faster increase than ever before!

Published in: on October 11, 2022 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Most of us have already had a case of COVID

From the Johns Hopkins daily health newsletter:

=================

US SEROPREVALENCE 

A study published April 26 in the US CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) estimates that 58% of the US population, including 75% of children, have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Many of those infections occurred during the winter’s Omicron surge. The study reports on data from national commercial laboratories across all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Between September 2021 and February 2022, labs conducted convenience samples on blood specimens that were submitted for clinical testing in their labs, excluding samples that were testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies upon initial receipt. The median sample size for the group of labs was 73,869 each month, with a drop in the number of tests to 45,810 in February 2022, likely caused by disruptions from the surge in domestic infections fueled by the Omicron variant. The research team weighted samples by demographic data to produce estimates of seroprevalence. 

The team saw a slight, but steady, increase in seroprevalence between September and December 2021, increasing between 0.9-1.9% every 4 weeks. At the end of this collection period, the seroprevalence across the US sample was estimated to be 33.5%. Between December 2021 and February 2022, at the height of the Omicron surge, the team observed a spike in national seroprevalence, rising from 33.5% to 57.7%. Notably, during this period, children aged 0-11 saw an increase from 44.2% to 75.2% and those aged 12-17 saw a similar increase from 45.6% to 74.2%. Adult populations saw spikes in seroprevalence from 36.5% to 63.7% for individuals aged 18-49, 28.8% to 49.8% for those 50-64, and 19.1% to 33.2% among those aged 65 and older. The researchers noted several limitations in their study design, including restrictions of applicability tied to convenience sampling; limited race and ethnicity data; the potential for sampling bias due to the setting of sample collection; and the possibility that infection following vaccination resulted in reduced antibody titers.  

SARS-CoV-2 testing is only able to catch a fraction of cases occurring in the country, so serosurveys present an opportunity to better understand the scale of infections. Still, the study may not represent a full picture of COVID-19 in the country, nor does it indicate whether or not individuals with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies have persistent immunity to new infections. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky noted the study’s results and vaccine uptake show an increased level of community protection from SARS-CoV-2. She added that vaccination remains key in creating a more resilient population, urging those who remain unvaccinated, including those previously infected, to get vaccinated. 

What Economists Get Wrong

What Economics Gets Wrong (Almost Everything)

BY IAN WELSH 

ON APRIL 25, 2022 

Economics as a discipline is nearly worthless. What it teaches mostly isn’t true.

  • Decreasing price does not always increase demand and increasing price sometimes increases demand (aka. the law of supply and demand isn’t a law.)
  • People do not optimize utility (by any definition that is not circular).
  • People are not rational.
  • The market is not rational.
  • The market does not discount the future well at all.
  • Competitive markets are created by government, and destroyed by private actors.
  • Markets do not and never have properly priced externalities and never will do so while humans remain human. The only way to price externalities properly is thru government or custom (government in drag.)
  • Profit or loss in any enterprise in a modern economy is a social choice, entirely based on government and social decisions and mostly unrelated to fundamentals like energy in and energy out.
  • Railroads are far more efficient, energy wise than roads, but govt. subsidizes roads.
  • The vast majority of profit is based on market position and sustained profit is almost always based on having an unfair advantage that makes the market less competitive and therefore not have the virtues of competitive markets.
  • Genuine competitive markets don’t exist, and no businessman wants them to because they drive profits to almost zero.
  • The best economies the world ever saw went out of their way to keep wages and prices high, not to reduce them.
  • Any concentration of market power that is not regulated or broken up will engage in practices intended to buy/undermine government and destroy wages.
  • Higher CEO pay is correlated with lower company performance.
  • You cannot have a good economy for long without keeping the rich poor, weak and under your thumb. It is impossible.
  • Monetary efficiency between countries is bad. It should be hard to move large amounts money in and out of another currency or country.
  • Financial market efficiency is generally bad, and effectiveness and shock pads should be optimized for rather than financial efficiency.
  • Countries should, if it is possible, make or grow everything important inside their own borders and not trade for it.
  • People perform better when happy, healthy and at least moderately autonomous. The literature on this is so abundant it is silly. Bosses are authoritarian assholes because they like being authoritarian assholes who micro-manage employees. It’s what Bezos gets out of being Bezos.
  • Private money creation concentrated in a few hands is destructive to the economy, democracy and freedom (authority: Thomas Jefferson). It is also anti-competitive market, since you can’t compete with people who create money out of thin air.
  • Moderate levels of inflation are good, not bad, if they include assets, because they take away the control of people who won the past so they don’t control the present and the future.
  • Taxes should be low on ordinary people and high on anyone rich, including wealth and estate taxes. No one should be rich because their parents were.
  • People who lend money should lose that money if the person who they loaned it to can’t afford to repay it. The function of lending is “I know how to pick people who will use the money well.” If you can’t do that you deserve to lose the money, and govt shouldn’t collect it for you
  • bankruptcy should be easy, fast and leave people whole. Economically crippled people are not in the interest of society as a whole.
  • A UBI’s main function is allowing people to do what they want to do, and forcing bosses to make jobs good, not shitty.
  • Pensions should simply be handled by government or a general UBI.
  • Comparative advantage is a terrible strategy for improving your economy.
  • Free trade is garbage for most countries.
  • Raising the minimum wage is not correlated with increased unemployment
  • The unemployment rate measures supply driven wage push inflation pressure, not how many peole can’t get a job.
  • Initial capital for capitalism was primarily acquired by theft, first of European commons, then of non-European land, people and resources.

Essentially everything Economics teaches is wrong. If and when their prescriptions for action are followed, disaster ensues. With almost no exceptions every country which ever developed did so by not doing what economists say to do.

Economics also has a morally corrosive affect on those who study it.  People mostly don’t free ride or otherwise act according to the maxims of economics: but people who have studied economics do.

Because economics is wrong and harmful about almost everything, and because economists do not say “please don’t follow our advice”, Economics should probably be banned and all Economics faculties shut down.

DONATE OR SUBSCRIBE

Truckers Unite!

There was a time when driving a long-haul truck was a pretty good job. They had organized a strong union, and had decent wages, conditions, health care benefits, and more. It was said that in order for a person to get a job in that field, someone else had to retire.

(Yeah, I am quite aware that much of the Teamsters union leadership has been often extremely corrupt and in cahoots with organized crime. That sort of nefarious activity never benefits the rank-and-file workers!)

After deregulation began around 1980, many trucking companies sprung up that were anti-union, and required their drivers to work longer hours and more miles for less pay and fewer benefits. Right now, the annual turnover rate in the trucking industry is over 90% per year! Think about what that means!

Very simply, this is because driving a long-haul truck is now such a crappy job that workers very frequently quit. That’s why one sees billboards advertising for anybody with a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL), because the companies are desperate for warm bodies behind those wheels. One result of all these brand-new, inexperienced drivers, is that since 2009, there has been a serious increase in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses> Not only the absolute number of crashes, but also if you divide the number of such crashes by the total number of miles driven.

See these two graphs that I prepared using data from the US DOT. While this data does not go past 2018, my understanding is that the pronounced upward trend continued into the current pandemic era as well. Part of the reason is that drivers are exhausted — IIRC they generally don’t get paid for all of the time that they have to wait around for somebody either to load or unload their truck, nor for time stuck in traffic: just by the mile.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the many truckers that have to poop and pee into little containers in their sleeping compartments, because there is nowhere else to do that? Not fun.

It looks like nearly a 50% increase in the total number of fatal crashes from 2009 to 2018

If all long-haul truck drivers organized themselves properly into a strong, honest union, and were able to prevail against the billionaires and banks that own the big trucking firms, they could do a lot of good for themselves and the public as a whole by reducing their actual work hours to something manageable, thus avoiding exhaustion and many of the accidents and near-misses that happen when a driver is drowsy. In addition, with better pay and benefits and more reasonable hours, then we would have many fewer people uninsured or bankrupt, more stable family lives, more home ownership, and all the rest.

It would be a hell of a struggle though, because the bankers and billionaires (including Jeff Bezos, who owns the Amazon juggernaut) that own those trucking lines do not want to reduce their profit margins.

Remember: if all long-haul bus and truck drivers were to go on strike, then the whole country would grind to a halt.

It would be a far better struggle than the idiotic MAGA caravan that is currently going around the DC beltway, whose main complaints seem to be that they don’t like any of the COVID vaccines and that they think that the last election was stolen.

Judging by the signs on their vehicles, that pitiful handful of deluded men that I saw on the Beltway a few days ago appear to think that 20-to-1 odds **against** you is a good bet — because those who are unvaccinated are 20 or more times likely to get seriously sick and die from COVID than those who are fully vaxxed and boosted. (link)

I guess that’s the job of fascists: to prevent working people from uniting against the actual ruling class of billionaires and bankers, and instead to get workers to fight each other along racial, ethnic, or linguistic lines.

“Let me be like Jesus!”

Would you *really* like to be like and to live like Jesus did?

Steven Ruis explains


Dear God, Make Me Like Jesus

by 
Steve Ruis

Believe it or not, I saw this plea/prayer in print recently.

Make me like Jesus.

I am reminded of the skit created by the comedy duo of Burns and Schreiber, “The Faith Healer,” in which a faith healer was approached by a man with a mangled hand and then who prayed “Dear God, make that one hand like the other; dear God, make that one hand like the other!” and then the man had two mangled hands. I guess it was one of those “be careful what you ask for” things.

Okay, I will make you like Jesus.

First you will live to the age of thirty, not doing anything of note. You do not go to college, or play sports, or even get a decent job. You do not marry, nor do you have children.

Then you embark on a preaching mission, for which I will let you have a posse, that will last a year or three, I am not sure. You will travel around during that time (VW bus?) sharing your wisdom.

Then you will be executed by the government for sedition. This being a modern enlightened age, the trial, conviction, and execution will take many months, even years, but basically that is the upshot.

You will be buried and then resurrected, but because of modern funerary practices (a rich believer made sure you were buried with all of the accouterments), you will be locked into a metal casket buried in a concrete surround in a grave yard from which you will not escape and then you will die a second time, this time from suffocation.

Ta da!

Is that what you wanted?

Published in: on March 20, 2022 at 9:37 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

‘Beatings Must Continue Until Morale Improves’

The ‘Value-Added Measurement’ movement in American education, implemented in part by the now-disgraced Michelle Rhee here in DC, has been a complete and utter failure, even as measured by its own yardsticks, as you will see below

Yet, the same corporate ‘reformers’ who were its major cheerleaders do not conclude from this that the idea was a bad one. Instead, they claim that it wasn’t tried with enough rigor and fidelity.

From “Schools Matter“:

=======================

How to Learn Nothing from the Failure of VAM-Based Teacher Evaluation

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform is a most exclusive academic club lavishly funded and outfitted at Brown U. for the advancement of corporate education in America. 

The Institute is headed by Susanna Loeb, who has a whole slew of degrees from prestigious universities, none of which has anything to do with the science and art of schooling, teaching, or learning.  

Researchers at the Institute are circulating a working paper that, at first glance, would suggest that school reformers might have learned something about the failure of teacher evaluation based on value-added models applied to student test scores. The abstract:

Starting in 2009, the U.S. public education system undertook a massive effort to institute new high-stakes teacher evaluation systems. We examine the effects of these reforms on student achievement and attainment at a national scale by exploiting the staggered timing of implementation across states. We find precisely estimated null effects, on average, that rule out impacts as small as 1.5 percent of a standard deviation for achievement and 1 percentage point for high school graduation and college enrollment. We also find little evidence of heterogeneous effects across an index measuring system design rigor, specific design features, and district characteristics. [my emphasis – GFB]

So could this mean that the national failure of VAM applied to teacher evaluation might translate to decreasing the brutalization of teachers and the waste of student learning time that resulted from the implementation of VAM beginning in 2009?

No such luck.   

The conclusion of the paper, in fact, clearly shows that the Annenbergers have concluded that the failure to raise test scores by corporate accountability means (VAM) resulted from laggard states and districts that did not adhere strictly to the VAM’s mad methods.  In short, the corporate-led failure of VAM in education happened as a result of schools not being corporate enough:

Firms in the private sector often fail to implement best management practices and performance evaluation systems because of imperfectly competitive markets and the costs of implementing such policies and practices (Bloom and Van Reenen 2007). These same factors are likely to have influenced the design and implementation of teacher evaluation reforms. Unlike firms in a perfectly competitive market with incentives to implement management and evaluation systems that increase productivity, school districts and states face less competitive pressure to innovate. Similarly, adopting evaluation systems like the one implemented in Washington D.C. requires a significant investment of time, money, and political capital. Many states may have believed that the costs of these investments outweighed the benefits. Consequently, the evaluation systems adopted by many states were not meaningfully different from the status quo and subsequently failed to improve student outcomes.

So the Gates-Duncan RTTT corporate plan for teacher evaluation failed not because it was a corporate model but because it was not corporate enough!  In short, there were way too many small carrots and not enough big sticks.

What are the Big US Banks and the 1% Really Doing?

Michael Hudson explains, among other things, why we have high inflation: it is a way for the 1%, the ruling class, to get wealthier at the expense of the rest of us.

I don’t pretend to understand economics — after all, I’m just a lowly retired math teacher. But Hudson’s arguments are really chilling and extremely wide-ranging, but not easy to digest.

Here is one excerpt from a long interview. The full link: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/01/michael-hudson-what-is-causing-so-much-inflation.html

===========================

[Interviewer: W]hy do you think central banks are are shifting to gold?

MICHAEL HUDSON: They’re protecting themselves against US political aggression. The big story last year was – if a country keeps its reserves and US dollars, that means they’re holding US Treasury securities. The US Treasury can simply say, “We’re not going to pay you.”

And even when a country like Venezuela tried to protect itself by holding its money in gold, where is it going to hold it? It held it at the Bank of England. And the Bank of England said, “Well, we’ve just been told by the White House that that they’ve elected a new president of Venezuela, Mr. Guaidó. And we don’t recognize the president that the Venezuelans elect[ed], because Venezuela is not part of the US orbit.”

So they grabbed all of Venezuela’s gold and gave it to the basically fascist opposition, to the ultra right-winger. The Americans say, “We’re going to recognize an opposition leader; we’re going to pick him out of thin air and take all the money away from Venezuela.”

Countries all over, from Russia to China to the Third World, think the United States is going to just grab [their] money, any time at all. The dollar is a hot potato, because the US, basically, it looks like, is prepping for war over the Ukraine; it’s prepping for war with Russia; it’s prepping for war with China.

It has declared war on almost the entire world that does not agree to follow the policies that the State Department and the military dictate to it.

So other countries are just scared, absolutely scared of what the United States is doing. Of course, they’re getting rid of dollars.

The United States said, “Well, you know, if we don’t like what Russia does, we’re going to cut off the banking contact with the SWIFT, the interbank money transfer system.” So if you do hold your money in dollars, you can’t get it.

I guess the classic example is with Iran. When the Shah was overthrown. Iran’s bank was Chase Manhattan Bank, which I was working for, as a balance-of-payments analyst.

And Iran had foreign debt that it paid promptly every three months, and so it [the new regime] sent a note to the bank, “Please pay our bondholders.” And Chase got a note from the State Department saying, “Don’t do what Iran wants; don’t pay.”

So Chase just sat on the money. It didn’t pay the bondholders. The US government and the IMF declared Iran in default of paying, even though it had all the money to pay the bondholders.

And all of a sudden, they said now Iran owes the entire balance that’s due, on the theory that if you miss one payment, then you default, and we’re going to make Iran do what the Fed didn’t make Chase Manhattan, and Citibank, and Goldman Sachs do. They couldn’t pay and transfer, but they weren’t pushed under bankruptcy.

So by holding your money in the US bank, the US bank does whatever the government tells it to, and it can drive any country bankrupt at any point.

If other countries pass a tariff against US goods that the US doesn’t like, it can just essentially not pay them on whatever they hold in the United States, whether they hold reserves in American banks, or whether they hold reserves in the Treasury or the Fed, the United States can just grab their money.

And so the United States has broken every rule in the financial book, and it’s a renegade; it’s a pirate.

And other countries are freeing themselves from piracy by saying, “The dollar is a hot potato. There is no way that we can believe them. You can’t make a contract with the American government.”

Ever since the Native Americans tried to make land contracts in the 19th century with them, the United States doesn’t pay any attention to the contracts signed. And President Putin says it’s “not agreement capable.”

So how can you make a financial arrangement with a country whose banks and State Department and financial department are not agreement capable? They’re bailing out.

And what’s the alternative? Well, the only alternative is to hold each other’s currencies, and to do something that, for the last 2,000 years, the world has liked gold and silver, and so they’re putting their money into gold because it’s an asset that doesn’t have a liability behind it.

It’s an asset that, if you’re holding it, not England, not the New York Fed – the German government has told the New York Fed, “Send us back to the gold that we have on deposit there for safekeeping. It’s not safekeeping anymore.

Planeload after planeload of gold is being flown back to Germany from the U.S., because even Germany – satellite as it is – is afraid that the United States may not like something Germany does, like if Germany imports gas from Russia, will America just grab all its gold and say, “You can’t have it anymore; we’re fining you.”

The United States has become lawless. And so of course you can’t trust it; it’s like a wild cat bank in the the 19th century.

Published in: on January 11, 2022 at 11:21 am  Comments (3)  

Another Unsuccessful ‘Reformer’ to head NYC Public Schools

Someone named David Banks will most likely be the next head of New York City’s public school system. Gary Rubinstein, a math teacher and prolific blogger at Stuyvesant HS there, had never heard of the fellow, even though Banks had founded and led a network of nearly a dozen NYC public schools called the Eagle Academy for Young Men. So Rubinstein looked at the public record, and found that on just about all measures that Reformsters use, those schools are mostly failures. However, none of the local news outlets (NY Times, NY Post, etc) appears to have examined that record.

The record is not good. Read Rubinstein’s post for details.

I followed the links he gave, and found the following graphics for a number of the schools in that network. Feel free to explore some on your own by going here and then typing the word “eagle” and choosing any one of the schools.

Note the dark blue dots in the right hand graph in each case that I copied and pasted; they all, without exception, showed that the schools in that ensemble of schools, showed that they had both low average performance by the students AND had a low impact (meaning, they didn’t raise the academic performance of their students) by comparison with all of the other public schools in New York City.

Why do ‘reformers’ get a pass from the media, even though they never succeed at pulling off what they so boldly promise?

%d bloggers like this: