Dec 17

Not A Rant

TMC is busy today. I think I recently explained what ersatz means, right?

ps. Debt and the Deficit mean squat without inflation. Even Yellen admits that inflation is lower than Fed projections and far short of their goals.

(T)he Fed expects higher gross domestic product growth, a strong labor market and, hence, higher inflation in the coming years. Historically speaking, these trends have always been linked. But in recent years, something has changed. GDP growth now exceeds 2.5 percent annually. The official unemployment rate is at a generational low of 4.1 percent. But inflation? Despite forecasts from every stripe of economist, it simply hasn’t materialized. This past week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that inflation is running at 1.7 percent, lower even than the slow pace that had been expected by the Fed and most economists at the beginning of the year.

That’s in the Washington Post, king of the Debt/Deficit Hawk sissies. Target inflation is 2%, on average, and it has rarely exceeded that even on a monthly basis and never over the course of a year since the Financial Crisis in 2007-8.

(A)lthough the official unemployment rate is low, there are still millions who are underemployed or out of the workforce, and hence the employment outlook in America isn’t quite as rosy as it appears.

True that. Why it suggests “while inflation has not yet returned, it’s only a matter of time, so it’s prudent for the Fed to take action now, gradually, while it can.” is reversion to the WaPo corporate norm.

The End. Period.

Dec 17

Meet the new Head Writer for SNL

In case you missed it last week, Michael Che is the new Head Writer for Saturday Night Live. He is the first African-American to hold that position.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Michael Che

Ghosts of ek’smas Present

The Reason for The Season

Presents!

Under the Mistletoe

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

“The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay. The Shadow knows.”

That’s the actual closing line from The Shadow radio series, memorably voiced by Frank Readick and later by Orson Welles.

Dec 17

The Breakfast Club (hippopotamus)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for December 17th

Wright brothers conduct the first successful manned, powered flight of the airplane. U.S. test-fires the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile; Simon Bolivar dies in Colombia; television’s Tiny Tim marries his fiancee, Miss Vicky.

 

Breakfast Tune Backline Bluegrass~”I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”

 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 
The United States Is Now as Unequal as Russia. And That’s Before the Tax Bill.
Noah Lanard, Mother Jones

When it comes to income equality, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is probably not the company most Americans hope to keep. Nevertheless, both countries’ elites now capture roughly the same share of national wealth.

The new data comes from a comprehensive survey of global inequality released Thursday by the World Inequality Lab. The report, whose authors include renowned economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, brings together the work of more than 100 researchers. Its findings come as Republicans prepare to pass a tax bill that follows the same trickle-down philosophy that the report says is responsible for much of the rise in inequality in the United States.

The United States and Europe once had similar level of inequality, the 2018 World Inequality Report finds. Today, the United States is closer to sub-Saharan Africa than Europe in the share of income that goes to the top 10 percent. The authors explain that America’s “massive educational inequalities,” tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and surging salaries for executives are largely to blame for the shift. …

 
An Activist Stands Accused of Firing a Gun at Standing Rock. It Belonged to Her Lover – an FBI Informant.
Will Parrish, The Intercept

AS LAW ENFORCEMENT officers advanced in a U-shaped sweep line down North Dakota Highway 1806 last October, pushing back Dakota Access opponents from a camp in the pipeline’s path, two sheriff’s deputies broke formation to tackle a 37-year-old Oglala Sioux woman named Red Fawn Fallis. As Fallis struggled under the weight of her arresting officers, who were attempting to put her in handcuffs, three gunshots allegedly went off alongside her. According to the arrest affidavit, deputies lunged toward her left hand and wrested a gun away from her.

Well before that moment, Fallis had been caught in a sprawling intelligence operation that sought to disrupt and discredit opponents of the pipeline. The Intercept has learned that the legal owner of the gun Fallis is alleged to have fired was a paid FBI informant named Heath Harmon, a 46-year-old member of the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. For at least two months, Harmon took part in the daily life of DAPL resistance camps and gained access to movement participants, even becoming Fallis’s romantic partner several weeks prior to the alleged shooting on October 27, 2016.

In an interview with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a recording of which was obtained by The Intercept, Harmon reported that his work for the FBI involved monitoring the Standing Rock camps for evidence of “bomb-making materials, stuff like that.” Asked what he discovered, Harmon made no mention of protesters harboring dangerous weapons, but he acknowledged storing his own weapon in a trailer at the water protectors’ Rosebud Camp: the same .38 revolver Fallis is accused of firing. …

 
Leaked Documents Expose How Corporations Use Spies to Subvert People’s Movements Worldwide
Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

That governments deploy undercover law enforcement officers to infiltrate, gather information on, and subvert protest movements has long been common knowledge. Less well-known, however, is the extent to which some of the world’s most profitable businesses have hired private spies to keep tabs on political movements they perceive as a threat to their power and profits.

Hundreds of pages of newly leaked documents—reported on for the first time Tuesday by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ)—provide an unprecedented glimpse into this mysterious world of “corporate spies,” who have been hired by major companies like the German carmaker Porsche, the U.S.-based manufacturing giant Caterpillar, and the Royal Bank of Scotland to monitor anti-war demonstrations, protests against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and environmental campaigns against the destruction of the planet.

“The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread,” report the Guardian’s Rob Evans and Meirion Jones. …

 
NYT Prints Government-Funded Propaganda About Government-Funded Propaganda
Adam Johnson, F.A.I.R. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting

An op-ed by the president of the right-wing human rights group Freedom House, published in the New York Times Monday (12/11/17)—later boosted by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker—warned of the menace of “commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites and propaganda,” and their negative effects on democracy. Missing from its analysis was any account of how the government that funds their organization—86 percent of Freedom House’s budget comes from the US government, primarily the State Department and USAID—uses social media to stir unrest and undermine governments worldwide.

What the reader was left with was a very selective, curated impression that online social media manipulation is something done exclusively by brown and black people and those dastardly Slavs. The column condemns “surreptitious techniques pioneered in Moscow and Beijing to use the internet to drown out dissent and undermine free elections,” going on to cite online skullduggery in the Philippines, Kenya, Turkey, Mexico and Iran.

Missing from the piece by Freedom House’s Michael Abramowitz is any mention—much less discussion—of numerous reports detailing online manipulation by US and allied governments and Western PR firms.

No mention of the Defense Department’s $100 million program Operation Earnest Voice software that “creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda.” No mention of the US Air Force’s 2010 solicitation of “persona management” software designed to create hundreds of sock puppets, “replete with background, history, supporting details and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent.” No mention of USAID (the same government agency, incidentally, that funds Freedom House) secretly creating an entire social media platform to “stir unrest” in Cuba. No mention of the US State Department’s newly-created $160 million Global Engagement Center, targeting English-language audiences with unattributed Facebook videos combating, in part, “Russia propaganda.” …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

Singer of novelty song welcomes hippopotamus to Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City native Gayla Peevey has welcomed another hippopotamus to the city’s zoo, more than 60 years after her song about wanting one for Christmas helped the facility purchase its first.

The singer was on hand as the 26-year-old pygmy hippopotamus Francesca made her first Oklahoma public appearance since moving from the San Diego Zoo.

In 1953, the then 10-year-old Peevey sang the novelty hit, “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” It led to a statewide fund drive in which children donated dimes to purchase and bring a pachyderm to the zoo.

Peevey also was there in December 1953 when the Nile hippopotamus Mathilda arrived.

Francesca joins 43-year-old Wolee in the zoo’s pachyderm exhibit.

Pygmy hippos are listed as endangered with fewer than 3,000 in the wild.

Dec 16

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

How To Save A Life – Applying A Tourniquet

Tourniquets used to be the last resort to stop bleeding in an extremity. The thinking was that if left on too long the limb might have to be amputated. That thinking is out. Tourniquets are now the first thing that first responders will put in place. So what happened?

But in the mid-1990s, the American military began to change its approach to care of soldiers injured on the battlefield. There was a new focus on trauma care in the field, zeroing in on things like tourniquets, bandages and dressings. These devices could stop or slow life-threatening bleeding from a limb, the leading cause of preventable deaths among U.S. combat casualties during the Vietnam War. More military doctors and medics began to argue that tourniquets, when used properly, could spare lives and limbs. By 2005, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in full swing, the U.S. Army advocated the use of the tourniquet as a “stopgap” measure in combat, and began issuing tourniquets to soldiers.

John Kragh, an orthopedic surgeon and researcher for the Army, was deployed to Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2006. On his first day, he noticed a soldier brought in with a tourniquet tied around a limb and saw an opportunity to continue his research on tourniquet use with firsthand examples.

Over the next seven months, he and two nurses studied what happened as soldiers and combat medics got better at applying tourniquets in the field. In what is now a frequently cited study of modern tourniquet use, they reported that none of the 232 patients who received tourniquets lost limbs because of them.

“Big bleeding is bad. And if you can stop it, that’s good,” said Kragh. “And if you can stop it quickly, that’s better.”

The techniques honed on the battle field are now being in civilian life by civilians to save lives while waiting for help. During the mass shooting in Las Vegas, tourniquets were used to save several of the victims. No matter how fast EMS and first responders arrive on the scene, bystanders will be there first. Since we are not going to do anything to stop mass shootings, trauma surgeons now recommend that everyone be trained in using tourniquets. They are not hard to apply and when done correctly it can save a life.

Dec 16

Forty Years Of Scheming

I’ll have more posts about the Republican Cut Cut Cut Bill as analysis rolls in but here’s a quick take from Bernie Sanders, the most trusted politician in the United States.

Trump tax cuts a barely disguised reward for billionaire donors
by Ed Pilkington, The Guardian
Saturday 16 December 2017

Bernie Sanders has accused Donald Trump and Republican party leaders of capitulating to the demands of the Koch brothers and other wealthy rightwing donors in railroading $1.5tn tax cuts through Congress.

In an interview with the Guardian, the independent US senator from Vermont denounced the tax bill as payback for the billions of dollars that donors have invested in conservative politicians over decades. “What this is all about is nothing more than the Republican party very generously rewarding their wealthy campaign contributors,” he said.

The former presidential challenger said the reform of the tax code, which could clear both the House and the Senate and be signed into law by the the US president as early as next week, was based on the “rightwing extremist ideology of the Koch brothers. You can read it in what they were saying 40 years ago. What they want is an oligarchic form of society in which government plays virtually no role in public education, healthcare or addressing the needs of middle-class and working families.”

The end game, Sanders said, was that “you are on your own. You are 80 years old and you have cancer – good luck to you. Government is not there for you.”

(W)hile the bonus to corporations is permanently set in stone, benefits to working families would expire after a number of years. That would leave millions of middle-class families – 83 million, Sanders said – eventually paying more in taxes under the changes, while the most wealthy Americans would continue to cash in.

“This is nothing more than an effort to make the very rich richer,” Sanders told the Guardian. “It is based on the fraudulent theory of trickle-down economics that never worked, never will work.”

Sanders warned of a double blow to working people in which the vast increase in the deficit caused by the tax cuts would subsequently be used by Republicans to justify an assault on welfare benefits. Paul Ryan, the GOP Speaker of the House, has announced that he intends to turn to healthcare and anti-poverty programs next year to reduce spending, and conservatives continue to harbor ambitions of destroying Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Sanders said that “after running up a $1.4tn deficit over 10 years they are going to offset that deficit by making massive cuts to social security, Medicare and Medicaid. That is clearly the intention.”

Sanders’ claim that the tax cuts are a thinly disguised reward to billionaire extreme rightwing donors is supported by the statements of some Republican politicians themselves. Chris Collins, a New York congressman, told reporters that pressure from donors made the reform essential.

“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” he said.

Last month the leader of the powerful conservative Super Pac the Congressional Leadership Fund, made it clear to the Washington Post that lawmakers who stood in the way of the tax cuts in the House should not expect to receive any of the $100m the body expected to spend on candidates in next year’s midterm elections.

David and Charles Koch have leveraged their own vast wealth – they own Koch Industries, the second largest private company in the US, and are valued by Forbes at $49bn each – by creating a network of other similarly minded wealthy conservatives that runs parallel to the Republican party. In the 2016 election cycle it spent about $250m on candidates who followed their anti-government creed, and the plan for next year is to increase that investment to $400m.

The Koch network has thrown its muscle behind the tax cuts this year. One of its periodic retreats for super-rich donors in New York in October was devoted to the subject of tax reform and attended by the vice-president, Mike Pence.

“Anyone who has looked at the Koch brothers and folks like them who have contributed over the years probably billions of dollars in right-wing efforts should not be surprised at the policies coming from Paul Ryan and Donald Trump,” Sanders said.

The senator lamented the unprecedented speed with which the tax plans have been rushed through Congress, and the consequent lack of public debate. As a result, he said, many details of the legislation were still so sketchy they were impossible to understand.

One area that Sanders is especially wary of in the unfolding bill are provisions that would benefit hedge fund managers based on tax havens such as the Virgin Islands. “We believe the provision will apply to probably fewer than 10, maybe even as few as three, hedge fund managers that will result in some $600m in tax breaks over 10 years.”

He added that he had raised the issue on the floor of the US Senate, asking for an explanation from the Republican group, “but we have not been given one”.

Sanders said the tax cuts were particularly punishing for those working Americans who had voted for Trump last November partly on the expectation that his promised tax cuts would ease their financial burdens.

“The tax package is just another Trump lie. Many millions of middle-class Americans will pay more in taxes and if Republicans get their way – and we are going to fight them tooth and nail on this – there will be cuts to social programs that many of Trump’s supporters have depended on for years.”

I wish the News Media, including Ed Pilkington of The Guardian, would stop buying into the Republican “Tax Reform” label. It is nothing of the sort. It is flat out stealing from 80% of United States Citizens for the benefit of the .01% Plutocrats.

Dec 16

The Breakfast Club (Chanukah – Day 4)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

The Boston Tea Party takes place; World War Two’s Battle of the Bulge begins; Ludwig van Beethoven is born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. Noel Coward

Continue reading

Dec 15

Cadillac Mountain

This is a view from the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine. I took it at sunset while I was visiting a few months ago. The town below is Bar Harbor. The large white floaty thing is a cruise ship. As you can see it’s just about as big as the town.

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Now don’t get me wrong about Bar Harbor. There are some places in Maine that are quite upscale and expensive- Camden, Kennebunkport, Freeport- Bar Harbor is one of those. Were I to liken it to places in Connecticut it would be in the Greenwich/Westport class.

So, not poor, though there are places that are. Just the type of area you’d think the Republican Cut Cut Cut Bill should be getting some traction.

Or not.

Letter to Sen. Collins
By Bo Greene, Mount Desert Islander
December 8, 2017

Nine days ago, I sat so close to you that our chairs touched. For over an hour, I watched you listen, I watched you take notes and make eye contact with the designated storytellers in our Indivisible MDI group. You were a pro. I was proud to be there.

You said you agreed with almost every concern we shared with you. You smiled, you told us how impressive our efforts were, how much you appreciated our taking the time to meet with you the day before Thanksgiving. I listened carefully to you.

You said there were amendments that could mitigate some of the admittedly horrible stuff in the tax bill. You said the process wasn’t as bad as the one for health care, but it was far from regular order.

You said you shared our concerns — impacts on small business, education, health care. You said you care deeply about Mainers, who are certainly not, for the most part, part of “the 1 percent.” In hindsight, we should have pressured you about the morality of it all, but you seemed so reasonable and caring that we assumed your morals were the same as our morals. We were wrong. You lied. You can’t possibly care as you said you did and have voted as you did.

There are countless reasons the tax bill should have appalled you, yet you chose to focus on a few issues that you apparently thought would make the cruel and damaging bill palatable.

You previously stood tall against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, for which we lavished you with praise. You know that the only way for the ACA to work is to have all three premises of the bill working together: premiums based on age, not health; an individual mandate so that healthy and sick people are all part of the pool; and subsidizing coverage for people who simply cannot afford it on their own. You cannot support the ACA and then tolerate the removal of one of the three legs that makes the whole thing work.

Rather than the mandate, you chose instead to focus on the Alexander-Murray and Collins-Nelson bills. No matter whether these bills pass, this is the sabotage of the ACA that Trump has wanted all along. But if it looked as if you got your way on health care, that you stood up to the big boys, then apparently you felt okay about supporting the entire tax bill, a bill whose other provisions are terrible for middle and lower-class Americans, for our democracy and for the planet.

It’s important that you realize you have not pulled the wool over any of your constituents’ eyes. You’ve sold us out, bargained with the souls which we poured out to you, not just my group last week, but thousands of us, calling, texting, emailing, faxing, showing up at all your offices. We’re sharing our stories and the fears that keep us awake at night.

Don’t try and tell us you’ve gotten the same amount pressure from other Mainers to support the bill. We talk to your staffers more than you do. We know where the pressure has come from, and you have chosen party over people, donors over doers.

You are supporting your party’s desire for a segregated society where education and opportunity, even health care, are available only to the wealthy.

Do you think any American should have confidence in the process by which a 5,000-page bill was handed to senators an hour before it was to be voted on? We would object to this order at a Girl Scout meeting, let alone a massive piece of legislation that will affect every single American for decades.

That black cashmere sweater of mine that was literally touching your baby blue wool jacket at our meeting last week? That was my mom’s. She was a lifelong Republican.

I don’t need her to be with us now to know how she would feel about your choice to hurt millions of people so that your party could have its way. She would not support you on this one. She would welcome paying her taxes to support the social structures we need. She would fume with anger at the struggle her grandchildren will face trying to earn advanced degrees, like the one she was so proud to get while carrying her 11th child.

The “trickle down” from cutting the corporate tax rate will not stimulate our economy. It never has. Even CEOs admit they will not expand and create jobs. It’s a sham.

You do not need money from the party. If you did the right thing, you could run a re-election campaign on my teacher’s salary because we want to like you, to support you, to brag about our moderate, sensible senator.

You could be our hero, just like you acted last week when you told us how much you cared. But for reasons that are impossible for hardworking, independent Mainers to understand, you have decided to abandon us and stand with greedy, out-of-touch politicians and millionaires whose only agenda is creating an ever-widening gap between themselves and the rest of us.

The view over here, on this side of the gap, in the beautiful, proud, state of Maine, is a hell of a lot nicer. Too bad you’ve turned your back and can’t see it.

Bo Greene lives in Bar Harbor. She’s a teacher but at a guess she’s a 20%er, maybe even a 1%er, houses range from 6 figures to 8 figures there ($225,000 to $10,000,000+, you can get a 924 square foot trailer for $150,000). Those little white specks at the left of the harbor? The small ones are 32′ Sailboats, the big ones are… well, bigger.

Dec 15

Anybody here use the Internet?

Canadian Wi-Fi

Steve’s Sleeves

& Omerosa

Trickle Down

Dec 15

The Breakfast Club (Hanukkah – Day 3)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann sentenced to death; Bandleader Glenn Miller disappears over the English Channel; The Bill of Rights takes effect; Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull killed; Walt Disney dies at age 65.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

When people keep telling you that you can’t do a thing, you kind of like to try it.

Margaret Chase Smith

Continue reading

Dec 14

Not Done Gloating Yet

 

Ok. Now I’m done. Maybe.

Dec 14

Tulips

Perhaps you’re not familiar with the concept.

From around 1600 to 1643 tulips, imported originally from Turkey, became highly desirable commodities in the Netherlands which, at the same time, was awash in Gold and Silver from it’s extremely successful trading empire (at the time they had a larger fleet than either England or Spain). It’s easy to understand why, they’re pretty and fragrant and they seemed a good store of value since, though the flowers may wilt and perish, the bulbs will produce for many years (about the same as a cow actually, but you can’t milk or eat them). Moreover through breeding and genetic tricks the Dutch were able to produce never before seen unique varieties.

They were more valuable (at the peak of the market) than their weight in Gold and circulated, as currency might, as a medium of exchange.

Now a Modern Monetary Theorist could point out they lacked at least one essential quality, they weren’t legal tender and you couldn’t pay your Taxes in them, but all you had to do was take them down to the market and trade them for Gold right?

A bubble? We don’t even know how to value Bitcoin
Alicia Cameron and Kelly Trinh, The Guardian
Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bitcoin is a “speculative mania” according to the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. But it’s not so easy to say that Bitcoin is a bubble – we don’t know how to value it.

Recent price rises (close to $18,000 in the past three months) may be too great and can’t continue. But the Bitcoin market is only just maturing as an investment and as a currency, and so it may still have room to grow.

A bubble is when the price of an asset diverges from its “fundamentals” – the aspects of an asset that investors use to value it. These could be the income that can be earned from a stock over time, a company’s cash flow, the state of a country’s economy, or even the rent from property.

But Bitcoin does not pay out profits (like shares) or rent (like property) and is not attached a national economy (like fiat currencies). This is part of the reason why it is hard to tell what the underlying value of Bitcoin is or should be.

If we take a close look, we can see how the price of Bitcoin may be diverging from these fundamentals. For instance, it is becoming less profitable to be a miner, especially as the energy required increases. At some stage the cost may exceed the price of Bitcoin, making the network less worthwhile to both mine and invest.

Bitcoin may be the best known cryptocurrency but it is also losing marketshare to other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Litecoin. Bitcoin currently accounts for 59.4% of the total global cryptocurrency market but at the beginning of 2016 it was 91.3%. Many of these other cryptocurrencies have more functionality than Bitcoin (such as Ethereum’s ability to execute smart contracts), or are more efficient and use less energy (such as Litecoin).

Government policy, such as taxation or the establishment of national digital currencies, may also make it riskier or less worthwhile to mine, transact or hold the cryptocurrency. China’s ban on initial coin offerings earlier this year reduced the value of Bitcoin by 20% in 24 hours.

Without these fundamentals the price of Bitcoin largely reflects speculation. And there is some evidence that people are simply buying and holding Bitcoin in the hope it will keep rising in value (also known as greater fool investing). Certainly, the cap on the total number (21 million) of Bitcoins that can exist makes the currency inherently deflationary – the value of the currency relative to goods and services will keep increasing even without speculation and so there is a disincentive to spend it.

In the end, this is uncharted territory. We don’t know how to value Bitcoin, or what will happen. Historical examples may or may not apply.

What we do know is that the technology behind most cryptocurrencies is enabling new models of value transfer through secure global consensus networks and that is causing excitement and nervousness. Investors should beware.

To be fair you can’t eat Gold either (well, you can, it doesn’t hurt you but it doesn’t help you either) and Bitcoin doesn’t rot like Bananas or stink like Oil.

However it is a Tulip, worth whatever you can get for it, only it isn’t as beautiful or smell as sweet.

It is an example of inflation in luxury items and raw speculation. A fake Leonardo. Too much money chasing too few goods.

Dec 14

Language

So you remember that scene from the beginning of Age of Ultron where Captain America says “Language”?

Well, we have a certain degree of restriction here. Not that any contributor should feel bound by it but my cousin’s two boys know that I write online and where, and on occasion she’s been known to read aloud some of my funnier and shorter pieces for their amusement. TMC also feels that I should show some delicacy of expression for those who tune in at work.

I don’t generally find it difficult and indeed I pride myself on my ability to insult you without your hardly even knowing unless you have a Thesaurus or Dictionary handy. Still, in casual conversation, I’ve been reliably informed by an online poll that I swear like a 20 year old. You bet your betcha. I consider it quite the accomplishment since I’m over a century beyond that.

Such pleasantries are not observed at all sites however and I draw your attention to 2 pieces from Wonkette that caught my eye in the Google News Editors’ Choices this morning.

How Did Trump Family Survive All This Time Without People Reminding Them To Breathe?

Amazingly enough (or not so much) Jared, Ivanka, Melania, and The Donald himself didn’t vote for The Donald last election. This is because none of them could figure out how to properly complete an absentee ballot.

I won’t even post the next piece’s title but it points out that your typical Republican’s intellectual capacity should make them Darwinian losers except that evolution, like global warming and a spherical Earth, is a mere myth foisted on us by pointy headed scientists.

The body discusses yesterday’s appearance by Rod Rosenstein in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

I find them a hoot and a half (“world champion brain-thinkers”, heh).

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