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Today's Trumpery

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Preventive Priorities Survey: 2018

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[Results of a report from the Center for Preventive Action of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The U.S. is now the most unpredictable actor in the world today, and that has caused profound unease,” said Paul Stares, the director of the Center for Preventive Action. “You used to be able to pretty much put the U.S. to one side and hold it constant, and look at the world and consider where the biggest sources of unpredictability, insecurity are. Now you have to include the U.S. in that. … No one has high confidence how we [Americans] would react in any given situation, given how people assess this president.” This president might welcome the development. “I don’t want people to know exactly what I’m doing—or thinking,” Donald Trump wrote in 2015. “It keeps them off balance.” *RON*]

General John W. Vessey, Council on Foreign Relations, December 11, 2017

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The Council on Foreign Relations' tenth annual Preventive Priorities Survey ident…

Has Our Government Spent $21 Trillion Of Our Money Without Telling Us?

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[Forget the banksters for a minute, what about THESE crooks? "Given that the entire Army budget in fiscal year 2015 was $120 billion, unsupported adjustments were 54 times the level of spending authorized by Congress. The report indicates that just 170 transactions accounted for $2.1 trillion in year—end unsupported adjustments. No information is given about these 170 transactions. In addition many thousands of transactions with unsubstantiated adjustments were, according to the report, removed by the Army." *RON*]

Laurence Kotlikoff, Forbes, 8 December 2017



I am co-authoring this column with Mark Skidmore, a Professor of Economics at Michigan State University.

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” ~ Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, The US Constitution

On Ju…

A brief history of Bitcoin hacks and frauds

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[Bitcoins have been a juicy target for hackers since 2011. *RON*]

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, 5 December 2017

There's a lot of excitement about Bitcoin right now, with the value of the cryptocurrency recently soaring above $11,000—more than 10 times its value at the start of the year. This has caused many people to wonder if they should be getting involved in the Bitcoin craze.

But it's important to keep in mind that participating in the Bitcoin economy comes with big risks. Over the years, the Bitcoin world has been plagued by hacks, scams, and abusive practices. Users who don't take appropriate precautions can lose everything.

Here we present a short history of the Bitcoin world's most significant scams and hacks. It's worth noting that all of these attacks were against Bitcoin-related services, not the core Bitcoin software. As far as we know, the Bitcoin network itself is highly secure, though of course that's littl…

Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

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[The Pluto-populist playbook has been around since the days of the Roman Empire. *RON*]
Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate, 11 December 2017

In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.

NEW YORK – Donald Trump won the US presidency with the backing of working-class and socially conservative white voters on a populist platform of economic nationalism. Trump rejected the Republican Party’s traditional pro-business, pro-trade agenda, and, like Bernie Sanders on the left, appealed to Americans who have been harmed by disruptive technologies and “globalist” policies promoting free trade and migration.
But while Trump ran as a populist, he has governed as a pl…

Site C Dam Project Gets Green Light From B.C. Government

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[So Premier Horgan muttered a few inanities, sprinkled in some juicy lies, and buckled like a belt to vested interests. A true socialist hero, a real man of the people. See also: Site C Dam Project Will 'Irreversibly Damage' Indigenous Lands, UN Panel SaysDavid Suzuki: Flooding Farmland For B.C.'s Site C Dam Is Economic Folly. *RON*]
Dirk Meissner, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 11 December 2017

VICTORIA — The B.C. government had no choice but to complete the Site C hydroelectric dam rather than absorb a $4 billion hit to its bottom line by cancelling the project, which would have jeopardized plans for more spending on schools, hospitals and bridges, Premier John Horgan said Monday.

The price tag for Site C is rising, with the $8.3 billion dam on the Peace River in northeast B.C. now estimated to cost $10.7 billion.

The government estimated the $4 billion cost of terminating Site C would amount to $860 for each B.C. resident. Horga…

Today's Trumpery

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Special Ed Students Pay The Price Of B.C.'s Teacher Shortage: Teachers wanted

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[I'm not sure how much can be done about this. It's not just about having the money to hire new teachers. The Liberals spent more than a decade attacking teachers, firing them and, generally, driving them away to greener pastures, where they now reside with their own families in many cases. You can't just flip a switch and get them back instantly. *RON*]

Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 10 December 2017


VANCOUVER — Teachers have their pick of jobs in British Columbia, but the head of their union warns that some students are going without their specially trained educators who are covering substitute positions that districts haven't been able to fill.

B.C. Teachers Federation president Glen Hansman said students requiring one-on-one attention or support in small groups from special education teachers are shouldering the burden of staffing issues.

"The bulk of the time, it's the child who's supposed to be receiving special…

Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why

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["According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health. Put another way, a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. ... Black expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan, the World Health Organization estimates.

Nin Martin, Renee Montagne, National Public Radio, 7 December 2017

On a melancholy Saturday this past February, Shalon Irving's "village" — the friends and family she had assembled to support her as a single mother — gathered at a funeral home in a prosperous black neighborhood in southwest Atlanta to say goodbye.

The afternoon light was gray but bright, floodi…