about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.
Click here for the Washington Post timeline of NSA privacy violations. There
are plenty of links and other related stories too.
Keep in mind that this stuff is confusing and bureaucratic on purpose. The people who run these
entities are from a small group of interconnected families and friends of the families, or hired
jackals who do the dirty deeds knowing they will have payback for life. It's not an obvious
aristocracy, and is more like a governing class akin to what this country saw in the latter post
civil war 1800's when government patronage was all about kickbacks and bribery schemes that were
used to fund the party war chests.
Saturday, 17 August 2013 at 11h 17m 21s
The Debunked and Reused bad arguments against common sense
This goes back to the early 18th century, and the ideas of David Ricardi, and were then refuted in
the same way they can be refuted today.
Here goes. At the systemic level, all those businesses who pay minimum wage will have a labor
increase. Prices might rise, but not necessarily, because in a competitive market, the incentive to
raise prices will become tempered by the incentive to keep and woo customers. Some businesses will
absorb more of the increased labor costs than others, but all businesses will absorb at least some
of the labor costs, because otherwise they would lose revenue by raising prices since consumers will
for the most part shop where goods are cheaper.
People who assume raising the minimum wage kills jobs forget that the cost of labor is not the
motivation behind hiring someone for a job. If there is a revenue stream available, a business will
hire the necessary labor in which to manage the revenue stream. Profits are not going to decrease,
and if they do, such profits might decrease by barely 0.1 percent, and then only in the short term.
Once the market readjusts to the cost of labor, the profit margins will slowly revert back to normal
levels. As Ricardi showed 200 years ago, profit margins are not affected by the cost of labor.
Profit margins are affected by the cost of supplies, resources, transportation, and mismanagement --
not the cost of
This is an old argument used by the unenlightened elite to justify their foolish exploitation of the
masses. A rising tide can lift all boats, but only if the wealthy are willing to invest in the
distribution of mass society. An elite that prefers to insolate itself and procreate within itself
(like some Chinese and Russian monarchies of the not so distant past) will impoverish the masses and
blindly misunderstand the problem.
Minors+MLB 2012 ... 34 2B, 41 homers, 67/114 BB/SO ... 620 PA
Minors only 2011 ... 44 2B, 20 homers, 67/108 BB/S0 ... 629 PA
This year in 83 games at triple A, Ruf had 22 doubles and 7 homers before the call up.
His track record in the minors is a solid .300 hitter, save for one stint of 20 games in early 2011
when he batted .239. He also has an 18% strike out rate and a 10 percent walk rate.
In his 6 games so far, 19 PA, he's got 6 hits and 3 walks with 8 strikeouts. Half of the 6 hits are
extra base hits, 2 doubles and 1 home run. So far only 2 balls that he hits have become outs,
which does point to a little luck on one or two singles, so he could have a .250 batting average
instead of .375. The strikeout percentage is also 42% but it's only 19 plate appearances, and if
these rates hold, I think getting 20 doubles and 10 homers in the remaining 70 games is what the low
end potential can be.
Ruf will also have both OF and 1B eligibility in 4 more games.
The guy looks like he has an idea of the strike zone and looks better later in the game after he's
seen a few pitches. He appears to have the capacity to learn and make adjustments and looks like a
solid hitter to me, and with lots of power potential that you can't ignore. Look at those minor
leagues stats for the last 2 years. That 2012 year when he hit 41 home runs was in the East coast
league -- i.e., not inflated by the dry, high desert air from a lot of the Western league teams.
The power is real.
Howard is out for at least 6 weeks. He won't be in the picture until late August, early September.
The rumors of a Michael/Delmon Young trade notwithstanding.
In a 12 team points league … I'm all in with Ruf as a last OF/UTL spot.
In 3 years and 5 different stops in the minors, Miller has hit no less than .294, and has clips of
.415, .339, .320, and .356 in the other 4 stops. His ISO is in between .150 and .180 which is great
power for a shortstop. More specifically, during 137 games last year, Miller crashed 40 doubles and
15 homers, at a .325 clip with a 74/105 BB/SO.
In 13 games and 56 PA at the MLB level this year, he is hitting .286 with 14 hits, 5 doubles and
two triples, and a 7/13 BB/SO. That means 22 balls he hit became outs in 13 games. With a 20% Line
drive rate, 4 of those 22 balls hit into play could have been doubles and triples save for the good
defense that caught the balls. So he could have 18 hits out of 49 at bats, or .367 average.
In those 56 plate appearances, he has swung and missed 11.2% of his swings but he makes contact
90.4% of the time when the ball is in the strike zone. He is also swinging 37% of the time at
pitches outside the strike zone, which is above average on the negative side (Pedro Alvarez
territory, who has 38.7%) but since the strike zone contact is 90%, Miller is probably just an
anxious rookie. So far the batting eye and the .300 hitter cannot be discounted by the peripheral
He's also got 2 steals in those 13 games, and though he is not a huge SB threat, Miller did go 23
for 30 in 137 games of the 2012 minor league season.
I think he's gonna stick at the top of the Mariners lineup. The Mariners are also a much better
offensive team this year, even if Franklin goes down with a knee injury. At the shortstop position,
there aren't many better chances to get a guy who has the potential of a Jean Segura without the
surplus of stolen bases. Milwaukee and Seattle score the same number of runs, and Seattle is a
better team right now.
Take the plunge.
Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 15h 27m 21s
Subsidizing foreign military regimes
Do you realize how many foreign national regimes the United States tax payers subsidize? It's more
We give the Egyptian military 1.5 billion.
Hmm ... but instead the government elites cut education and unemployment insurance.
Of course military contractors get the bulk of 1.5 billion in contracts for weapons, and much of the
"aid" to foreign regimes is packaged in such a way that it gets spent on some contract to provide
weapons or security "services". Aid to Columbia, for instance consists of a lot of sales of
helicopters, jeeps, and automatic guns.
Friday, 28 June 2013 at 11h 9m 31s
New York Times says
Click the link. It's a rare 2 page editorial from the New York Times editorial board.
The government claims that under Section 215 it may seize all of our phone call information now
because it might conceivably be relevant to an investigation at some later date, even if there is no
particular reason to believe that any but a tiny fraction of the data collected might possibly be
suspicious. That is a shockingly flimsy argument — any data might be “relevant” to an investigation
eventually, if by “eventually” you mean “sometime before the end of time.” If all data is
“relevant,” it makes a mockery of the already shaky concept of relevance.
[SOURCE:Editorial | New York Times | 27
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 11h 33m 38s
Old slogans without substance
And when you elect people who think this way, who see government as something that is inherently
negative, then what you get is an insider network of fools who will just use the tax revenue to
pursue their own agenda, rather than their idea of the "people".
Whenever you hear someone say "government is the problem" what they are really saying is "giving
people too much power is the problem". However, it's not just any particular group of "people" that
is the problem but
the "right kind" of people that is the problem, otherwise why are they bothering to run for office
or take a position in the government they protest so much.
Government is inherent to a society of people living within whatever boundary of existence you want
to choose. Government is necessary for any group of people to make collective decisions and keep all
of us on the
most beneficial plane of existence. Government should be more powerful than private firms or
individuals, but government should also be accountable and kept in check. Any questions or debates
about government should be around how to account for and keep the power of government in check, not
about some simple syllogism about whether government is or is not the problem. That is childish
nonsense and should not be acceptable for adults over the age of 30.
Those who speak ill of government as a political slogan are
really just trying to use government for their own personal motivations of accumulation. That's why
so many so-called conservatives are corrupt. Very few of them believe the pablum they give the sops
them into office. They are just used car sales people, selling old decrepit political slogans so
they can get their own slice of the power.
Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 8h 11m 9s
Wealth Inequality in America
Friday, 21 June 2013 at 16h 32m 22s
Bayesian analysis of Using Two Independent Surveillance techniques
How much oversight is necessary when using surveillance techniques on a very rare event? How
frequently would innocent persons get caught up in surveillance schemes that are by their nature
upon the judgement of imperfect human beings?
These are questions I asked myself recently, and after a few days I feel that this can be a Bayesian
probability model. In this model there are three events with mutually exclusive results.
You are either "Bad" (criminal, terrorist, predator) or you are not bad .... P(Bad) or P(nBad)
You get a suspect hit with technique number One, or you don't .... P(S1) or P(nS1)
You get a suspect hit with technique number Two, or you don't .... P(S2) or P(nS2)
The P(stuff) means the probability of , or percent of expected occurrences, or rate per 100 persons.
So P(Bad) means the percentage of Bad, or how many out of 100 are gonna be bad.
Since being "Bad" is exceptionally rare, I used an initial rate of one person per 100,000 being a
very dangerous criminal, terrorist, or deadly predator. I also assumed that the potential of
innocent suspects was 1/10 th the rate of actual suspects, or 1 out of 10 potential suspects, which
I agree is somewhat unrealistically small, but for the initial run of the Bayesian test, I assumed a
good faith "best case scenario".
I also assumed the error rates of the two surveillance techniques are decorrelated, or independent
of each other, which ignores the affect of "group think" and time investment in certain suspects
that can often blind side investigations.
The effectiveness rate is the percentage of actual suspects given that you have a positive result
from either surveillance technique. I assumed this was 25% at first.
So what is the probability that you have a non-bad individual as a suspect given that you have a
suspect hit with either surveillance technique number one or number two.
Here is the formula
With the initial assumptions, the percentage of false positives is
=(10^5-1)/(10^5+0.25*10^6-1) = 28.57%
If we assume the effectiveness rate of either surveillance technique is 99% .. . than the number of
false positives is =(10^5-1)/(10^5+0.99*10^6-1) = 9.17%.
If we now assume that the base rate of "bad" is one per 10,000 ... there is no difference. Even if
we assume the base rate of "bad" is one per 1,000 ... again no significant difference.
So, the best case scenario is that 9 out of 100 persons considered a suspect by these two
surveillance methods will be innocent. The only way to reduce this rate is to reduce the number of
false positives. If this is reduced to 1 per 100 the percentage is 1/10 th .. or 0.917%
This is kind of like trying to find something very, very specific with only 10 words ( 1 out of 10
rate) or with 100 words. How many different factors or distinguishing characteristics are necessary
to obtain highly probable knowledge that a suspect is a criminal? It certainly can't be more than
100, or at least that's what I am assuming in this analysis. Very often, in criminal investigations
there isn't more than 10 degrees of information relative to the case at hand.
Keep in mind that you lose accuracy the more characteristics that are included. This is because
each multiple characteristic grouping is a subset of a larger grouping of less characteristics. For
instance, being a male is a larger group than a male with blond hair, or a male with blond hair who
also works night shifts at a bar. The percentage or rate per 100 DECREASES with the more
characteristics you include.
So, for instance, say a suspect has 7 characteristics : went on trip, makes regular large income
transfers, was born abroad, has history of making trips, associates with other suspects, known to
drink alcohol. Not all of these filters are close to 100% predicative, and some might increase or
based upon other characteristics. Even assuming all seven are 99% accurate and also independent
the effectiveness rate will be 93 percent. If one of the factors is only 90% predictive however,
the overall effectiveness drops to 85%. If two of the factors are only 90% predictive, the overall
effectiveness drops to 77%.
This is why I thought 1 out of 10 (90% effective) was unrealistic.
Using these "filters" an investigation swoops up 2,000 persons in a typical dragnet to protect
America, 180 innocent
persons are going to have to deal with legal costs and possible life-long repercussions by
inadvertently getting on a government suspect list.
If we assume 1 one per one hundred innocent rate, this becomes 18 innocent persons per 2,000
And these are both very low-end, best-case scenario assumptions. In the real-world there is a very
large potential to be much larger than 200 innocents per 2,000 suspect list.
This is why you need multiple layers of oversight and very top-level restricted access to these
types of programs. Keeping the collected data secure from malfeasance is another matter.
The whole fabric of the constitution is based upon the credo of "innocent before proven guilty". It
appears to me that the current elites who push the surveillance state as "necessary" and "nothing to
worry about" are turning this national credo around, so that now it seems that assuming guilt is
being used in order to defend the security and safety of the innocent.
Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 9h 52m 15s
Greg Mankiw and the Divine Right of Wealth
Greg Mankiw is a neo-conservative ideologue who pretends to teach Economics at Harvard University.
I say pretend because Mr. Mankiw is of the academic ilk that cannot separate personal philosophical
biases from the development of Economics as a science responsive to criticism and rigorous
investigation. Mr. Mankiw is the "goto" guy who writes academic papers that justify the elite view
of the status quo.
From 2003 to 2005, Mankiw was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W.
Bush. In 2006, he became an economic adviser to Mitt Romney and continued during Romney's 2012
On November 2, 2011, some of the students in his Economics 10 class walked out of his lecture. About
60 to 70 out of 750 students participated. Before leaving, they handed Mankiw an open letter
critical of his course, saying in part:
"we found a course that espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics that we believe
perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today ...
Economics 10 makes it difficult for subsequent economics courses to teach effectively as it offers
only one heavily skewed perspective rather than a solid grounding on which other courses can expand.
... Harvard graduates play major roles in the financial institutions and in shaping public policy
around the world. If Harvard fails to equip its students with a broad and critical understanding of
economics, their actions are likely to harm the global financial system. The last five years of
economic turmoil have been proof enough of this."
The students concluded their letter by stating they would instead be attending the Occupy Boston
demonstration then under way.
Mr. Mankiw's smug and often snarky reaction to legitimate criticism is either arrogance or
marginalization. In other words: he's better than you, and the points you make (although true) are
insignificant to the big picture only he understands.
Which brings me to the point of this blog post. Recently, Mankiw wrote a paper that explains the
reason the top 1% (or top 0.1%) have a disproportionate share of
wealth (in the United States or the globe) as due to their individual societal contribution, or marginal
productivity. Someone is rich and wealthy because they contributed more to society relative to
someone else. Or in mathematical terms, the change in social contribution per something else (the
derivative with respect to ...) is larger than other members of society.
There are so many criticisms of this "great person" or "marginal production" theory by people more
qualified than myself. I
have included two good ones below by Matt Bruenig at Demos.org, and one of my favorites, Australian
economist Steve Keen at Unlearning Economics.
[SOURCE:Steve Keen | Unlearning
Economics | 15 June 2013]
[SOURCE:Matt Bruenig | Demos.org | 19
I find the individualistic notions of economics by faux-academics like Greg Mankiw both ridiculous
and deceptive. All individuals
want to take credit for all they have gotten in this life, while at the same time minimizing or
completely ignoring the relevant
environmental or lucky aspects of their ascent. People who achieve a high position also tend to be
fairly ruthless and psychopathic, because these traits have an advantage in a competitive
environment that rewards monetary gain at the expense of almost everything else. It's kinda hard to
feel "good" about earning millions at the expense of creating externalities like birth defects and
low wage dead-end jobs, unless you are either ignorant or completely ambivalent -- which is a nice
way of saying you don't give a fuck.
Since the default un-analyzed mindset for any individual is a self-centered point of view,
individuals who achieve high social status will also tend (or want) to believe they deserve their
position. This is where people like Greg Mankiw play their social role for the elite who need to
feel like they have the "divine right of wealth".
Mankiw is no different than the court suck-ups
who told the King that he has a legitimate line of royalty and has been appointed by a higher
authority to enjoy a disproportionate share of the wealth of the realm.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 at 18h 3m 16s
What should be asked at the NSA hearings
This is what we all need to realize. Power can metastasize from even the most well intentioned
ideas. Given that the government has basically become the plaything of the corporate elite and the
plutocracy, the omnipotent surveillance state can be used for outside groups and interests. Someone
appointed to a position could get information, and then resign a year later, becoming rewarded by
the interest groups that benefited.
I don't know about you, but Mueller looks creepy to me.
What this means is more feds sitting in air-conditioned bunkers looking at various LCD screens of
video feeds from the drones they are using in a continuously increasing "limited"
Anyway, I got the blockquote below from a fellow who lives in San Francisco named Marc Perkel, and
it was posted on bartcop.
Congress is asking the wrong questions. I think if they really want to know what’s going on
they would give Snowden immunity and bring him back and get him to tell Congress what’s
really going on. But short of that, here’s what I would be asking if I were on the committee.
We now know you are getting information for the cell phone companies and major IT companies like
Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Are you also getting information from the banks? And if you are,
are you accumulating a database of credit card purchases?
Do you have the ability to include NSA code into operating system updates that would create a
back door for the NSA
to collect keystrokes, activate the microphone or cameras, read the file system, or modify the
operating systems of
Windows and mac computers or Windows, iPhones and Android phones?
If you have an NSA back door into our computers and cell phones, what do you have in place to
prevent China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada from discovering the back door?
If the NSA databases were hacked by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada,
what would the security implications be?
Since Edward Snowden had the access he had, what is the security implications for an evil
Snowden who was selling this information on the black market rather that trying to protect America
(rightly or wrongly) from itself?
With an operation this large did you have any reasonable expectation it would remain secret? If
not Snowden wasn’t it just a matter of time before we found out for someone else?
Wouldn’t it be better to give Snowden immunity and bring him back here rather than risk that he
be captured by an enemy and forced to reveal what he knows to an enemy?
Because the NSA has extracted this data and is keeping it outside the source companies, doesn’t
that increase the security risks and exposure of sensitive information?
Isn’t our position that there are 2 kinds of people in the world, Americans and foreigners, and
insult to 96% of the world’s population? Does this not cause them
to respect us less and have no respect for our privacy when we have no respect for theirs?
Does our spying set a world wide precedent whereby other countries will have the green light to
spy on us because we spy on them? Doesn’t this put the whole world at risk?
Assuming it was inevitable that this spying would eventually become public, doesn’t it put
America in greater danger by alienating the rest of the world
because we are spying on them? Isn’t this just the same argument as the torture argument, that
we increase the number of enemies more
than we prevent attacks? Isn’t this just going to be another terrorist recruiting tool?
When you tell us that you are lying to us for our own good then why should we believe anything
Don’t laws that undermine and nullify the constitution, even if it’s for our own safety, make us
a nation that is no longer under the rule of law?
That secret courts and secret warrants making secret law make us no longer America?
The secret NSA court orders require companies to lie to the public about what information they
are giving to the NSA. If these companies
tell the truth they are punished. What the government requires its citizens to lie and punishes
the truth, how is that not an Orwellian society?
What America lies to the world and we have secret courts that require citizens and corporations
to lie, doesn’t that weaken America as a world power?
Doesn’t that send a message to the world that we are not to be trusted?
Doesn’t the appearance that we are taking the same kind of steps that one would take towards
becoming an Orwellian society create at least
an apparent threat to the world and undermine our international relations?
With this kind of information is there not an opportunity for criminals, companies, or our
enemies to blackmail our elected officials?
For example, Senator Vitter is tracked using his smart phone GPS to 5 hotels. One could search
for all smart phones in his vicinity to determine
what women were with him at the same time and cross reference them based on how often these
women frequent hotels in these areas to
determine if he is seeing prostitutes again. And that this won’t be revealed as long as he
supports some cause – such as NSA spying? How do we know this isn’t already happening?
Doesn’t the NSA already effectively have a gun owner’s database? For example, if someone joins
the NRA with their credit card online, buys ammo
at Walmart with a debit card, and has his smart phone with GPS in his pocket while going to a
gun club or firing range, don’t we know that are a gun owner?
And because of their GPS phone, don’t we also know where they are so we can pick them up at any
If we see government misconduct, like we find a CIA torture camp, and we want to report it to th
press, doesn’t the fact that the NSA
has the news media’s phones and email tapped discourage whistle blowers from reporting things
that need to get out into the press to protect democracy? Doesn’t this threaten free speech?
Since this kind of technology can be used to create an Orwellian society, what safeguards do you
have to make sure that doesn’t happen? Have you considered this possibility and fully explored the
Taking all of the above questions into consideration, how do you repair the trust we should have
in our government and how to we assure the “foreigners” that we are going to respect their rights as
citizens of the planet?