mind your business

Saturday, August 18, 2018

If You Work For The Government You Shouldn't Be Allowed To Vote

There's a plot brewing among American conservatives to call an Article V Constitutional Convention– the first since 1787– and make some "radical" changes to dramatically restrict the power of the federal government:

"On the agenda for Convention of States: an amendment to require a balanced budget, term limits for congress, repealing the federal income tax and giving states the power to veto any federal law, supreme court decision or executive order with a three-fifths vote from the states."

Oh sure, like a balanced budget amendment would restrain Washington. Fine, they'll just raise taxes then.

Or they'll bury the hundreds of pages of these lobbyist-written appropriations bills with all kinds of accounting tricks to massage the numbers and keep holding the pedal to the metal on the whole federal system, full steam ahead toward the cliff's edge.

Repealing the income tax? They'll still find a way to stick it to the most productive members of society and make them pay for the loafers, the incompetent, and the hopelessly botched.

They'll institute a national sales tax, or real estate taxes, or massive tariffs, or– God help us– a brutal VAT.

You think state veto power will go anywhere? We already have the Tenth Amendment, but the Civil War pretty much settled it, that the states are not voluntary participants in the federal system as they thought they would be, but mere vassals.

The federal government has already violated the Tenth Amendment in so many ways on an ongoing basis at this point, there are entire cabinet level departments with trillion dollar budgets that Article I Section 8 and the Tenth Amendment together should have been enough to stop.

And term limits. Oh term limits. The eternal shibboleth of the pretend limited government crowd in America.

You think there's not an endless line of big government patsies to take the place of the last one when her term's up?

If they want to have a real radical Constitutional Convention, they should pass an amendment to make federal government employees ineligible to vote, with respect to federal elections, for the duration of their employment.

The text of the Qualified Suffrage Amendment could read something like:

Article 28 - "Employees of the federal government shall not be eligible for the duration of their employment plus four years to vote in U.S. federal elections."

Folks, there are two kind of people when it comes to the federal government– those who are paying for it and those who are getting paid out of it. And the ones who are paying for it should be the ones who get to decide how it's spent. Those who are getting paid out of it have a glaring conflict of interests.

B- b- b- but federal employees pay taxes on their income!

Yeah. They pay taxes– out of income that came from taxes!

That's like nine guys pulling a wagon with another guy on top of it, and the guy on top of it is pulling on the wagon, saying "See? I'm pulling too!" No you're not bro! You're getting pulled.

That's like me pouring someone a beer out of my own pitcher, and they take a big swig and spit it back into their own cup and say, "See? I helped add some beer to the cup too!" No. You didn't.

The United States is a democracy.

We outnumber federal employees.

We can do this.

Why These 30 Trusted Global Influencers Back Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies (Quotes)

1. Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder and Chair

"[Bitcoin] is working. There may be other currencies like it that may be even better. But in the meantime, there’s a big industry around Bitcoin. People have made fortunes off Bitcoin; some have lost money. It is volatile, but people make money off of volatility, too." (source)

2. Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder

Bill Gates told Entrepreneur, "Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient."

3. Jack Dorsey, Founder and CEO of Twitter and Square

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, expects bitcoin to become the single global currency within the next decade, he told the Sunday Times newspaper. Dorsey, who invests in Bitcoin, expects the currency to be used for every day purchases like coffee and said its ascendance to world currency status will happen over 10 years, "but it could go faster."

4. Steve Wozniak, Apple Founder

"I buy into what Jack Dorsey says, not that I necessarily believe it's going to happen, but because I want it to be that way, that is so pure thinking... Bitcoin is mathematically defined, there is a certain quantity of bitcoin, there's a way it's distributed... and it's pure and there's no human running, there's no company running and it's just... growing and growing... and surviving, that to me says something that is natural and nature is more important than all our human conventions... Only Bitcoin is pure digital gold... and I totally buy into that. All the others tend to give up some of the aspects of Bitcoin. For example, being totally decentralized and having no central control. That's the first one they have to give up to try to have a business model." (source)

5. Peter Thiel, PayPal Founder, Early Facebook Investor

"There will be one online equivalent to gold, and the one you'd bet on would be the biggest... [Bitcoin is] like bars of gold in a vault that never move, and it's a sort of hedge of sorts against the whole world falling apart." (source)

6. Eric Schmidt, Alphabet Inc. Executive Chairman

"[Bitcoin] is a remarkable cryptographic achievement. The ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value." (source)

7. Paul Buchheit, Creator and Lead Developer of Gmail and Google AdSense, and the one who suggested Google's former motto "Don't be evil" in 2000

"Bitcoin may be the TCP/IP of money." (source)

8. Tyler Winklevoss, Winklevoss Capital Management Founder

Tyler, who along with his twin brother, Cameron, invested $11 million in bitcoin in 2014 without selling a Satoshi since, says, "We have elected to put our money and faith in a mathematical framework that is free of politics and human error." (source)

9. Howard Schultz, Starbucks Chairman and Founder

"I believe that we are heading into a new age in which blockchain technology is going to provide a significant level of a digital currency that is going to have a consumer application. And I believe that Starbucks is in a unique position to take advantage of that." (source)

10. John McAfee, McAfee Associates Founder and Creator of McAfee Antivirus Software

"I have a doctorate in point-set-topology. It predicts BC at $2,431,013 in 3 years. other math systems - between $1,900,000 and $2,600,00." (July 2017)

11. Kim Dotcom, Founder and CEO of MegaUpload

"[Bitcoin] is a very exciting development, it might lead to a world currency. I think over the next decade it will grow to become one of the most important ways to pay for things and transfer assets." (source)

12. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

"I regret making [critical comments last year saying Bitcoin is a fraud]," Dimon said in a recent interview with Fox Business.

13. Jeff Currie, Global head of commodities research, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

"I don’t see why there is all this hostility to it," Currie recently said in an interview on Bloomberg television, "[Bitcoin is] not much different than gold."

14. Bill Miller, Miller Value Partners Founder ($2.3 billion in assets)

"I believe there is still a nontrivial chance Bitcoin goes to zero, but each day it does not, that chance declines as more venture capital flows into the Bitcoin ecosystem and more people become familiar with Bitcoin and buy it." (source)

15. Kyle Bass, Hayman Capital Management Founder

"I think it will be an asset class that will work over time. I’m not sure how to value it yet, I really have no idea ... I think there’s a digital gold rush that’s gone on. I think a whole bunch of people are going to lose a lot of money. These ICOs? You’re going to see a bunch of them go completely broke. A bunch of them are frauds, and that’s going to be problematic for all the people that just rushed in. And so I feel like it’s a bit of a mania at the moment, but I think in the long term, it’s a viable asset class." (Source)

16. James Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO

"[Bitcoin is] certainly something more than just a fad... The concept of anonymous currency is a very interesting concept– interesting for the privacy protections it gives people, interesting because what it says to the central-banking system about controlling that." (source)

17. Abigail Johnson, Fidelity Investments CEO ($2.4 trillion in assets)

"I'm a believer... I'm one of the few standing before you today from a large financial-services company that has not given up on digital currencies... The Internet wasn't just a more efficient way to send letters– it spawned new industries. Blockchain technology isn't just a more efficient way to settle securities– it will fundamentally change market structures– and maybe even the architecture of the Internet itself. This transformation could complement lots of other innovative areas that we see emerging, including the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. These platforms shouldn't develop in a vacuum." (source)

18. Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital founder, early senior executive at Facebook

"Reiterating my belief about $BTC. It’s the ultimate insurance policy against autocracy, currency curbs and other forms of value destruction." (source)

"It’s money 2.0, a huge huge huge deal." (source)

19. David Marcus, CEO of Paypal

"I really like Bitcoin. I own Bitcoins. It’s a store of value, a distributed ledger. It’s also a good investment vehicle if you have an appetite for risk." (source)

20. Chris Dixon, Hunch Co-Founder and Former CEO

"There are 3 eras of currency: Commodity based (e.g. Gold), politically based (e.g. Dollar), and now, math based (e.g. Bitcoin)." (source)

21. Peter Diamandis, X Prize Foundation Founder and Chair, Singularity University Founder and Chair

The author of two New York Times' bestsellers, "Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think" and "BOLD: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World," Diamandis says, "At its core, bitcoin is a smart currency, designed by very forward-thinking engineers. It eliminates the need for banks, gets rid of credit card fees, currency exchange fees, money transfer fees, and reduces the need for lawyers in transitions... all good things."

22. Marc Andreessen, Netscape Founder, Creator of Mosaic, The First Widely Used Web Browser

"A mysterious new technology emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, but actually the result of two decades of intense research and development by nearly anonymous researchers.

Political idealists project visions of liberation and revolution onto it; establishment elites heap contempt and scorn on it.

On the other hand, technologists – nerds – are transfixed by it. They see within it enormous potential and spend their nights and weekends tinkering with it.

Eventually mainstream products, companies and industries emerge to commercialize it; its effects become profound; and later, many people wonder why its powerful promise wasn’t more obvious from the start.

What technology am I talking about? Personal computers in 1975, the Internet in 1993, and – I believe – Bitcoin in 2014." (source)

23. Mike Novogratz, Hedge Fund Manager, Fortress Investment Group

The hedge fund billionaire told a forum of the Harvard Business School of New York in April 2017, "Ten percent of my net worth is in this space." Novogratz was referring to bitcoin and ethereum.

24. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

"Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays. So I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies. [Countries with] weak institutions and unstable national currencies [may see growing use]." (source)

25. Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President

"I think the fact that within the Bitcoin universe an algorithm replaces the functions of [the government]... is actually pretty cool." (source)

26. Edmund Moy, 38th Director of the United States Mint

"Bitcoin, and the ideas behind it, will be a disrupter to the traditional notions of currency. In the end, currency will be better for it." (source)

27. Leon Luow, Nobel Peace Prize nominee

"Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of the world’s most important developments." (source)

28. Ben Bernanke, Former Federal Reserve Chair

"[Cryptocurrencies] may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system." (source)

29. Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize Winning Economist

Back in 1999 before his death: "The internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash: a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A– the way in which I can take a $20 bill and hand it over to you, and there's no record of where it came from."

30. Nassim Taleb, Statistician, Hedge Fund Manager, New York Times Bestselling Author of "The Black Swan"

"Bitcoin is the beginning of something great: a currency without a government, something necessary and imperative. But I am not familiar with the specific product to assert whether it is the best potential setup. And we need a long time to establish confidence." (source)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Some Hard Questions for John McAfee About Docademic (MTC)

John McAfee, the cryptocurrency evangelist and insane libertarian billionaire who found a way in the 90s to monetize his paranoia by creating a wildly successful anti-virus software brand (I've always been prone enough to paranoia and conspiratorial ideation myself to wonder whether all the guys making anti-virus software weren't also the ones making all the viruses), has been flogging Docademic tokens (MTC coin) to his Twitter followers all year.

But on closer examination of MTC (Medical Token Currency), I have to wonder whether Docademic, like so many other tokenized services out there isn't just basically a big scam.

If not that, I at least have a really hard time seeing the value of Docademic as a cryptocurrency, or even whether it's actually accurate to characterize it as a cryptocurrency.

I might not know enough about it to really understand what it is, and I'm perfectly willing to entertain that possibility, so if you have any answers to these questions to set me straight, feel welcome to fire away in the comments. I'd like to hear from you.

But nothing I've been able to find looking through Docademic's website or on any cryptocurrency news pages that seem excited about it, has been able to answer any of the seemingly obvious questions that come to mind as I investigate Docademic.

For one: A medical token currency? What's the advantage of having a currency that you can exchange for only one kind of service? I mean what's the point of that?

It doesn't make any sense to me at all. It seems like a marketing gimmick riding the wave of excitement over bitcoin and the hopes of unwitting amateur investors hoping to get rich quick off the next hot ICO. I just don't see the advantage of a currency that you can only spend for one kind of good or service through one app.

Why Docademic and not Bitcoin or Dollars?

Why not just buy medical services through Docademic's app with bitcoin? Or with U.S. dollars? Now again, I'm perfectly open to the possibility that I'm missing something here and I just don't know enough to understand. But see this is going to be an obvious question that will occur to others, who are going to be skeptical of this, people who are skeptical of cryptocurrencies in general.

So the answer to this should be clear. If you have a stake in Docademic, I'd be happy to hear from you about this. Because the answer is far from clear looking at MTC's website.

It seems to me unnecessarily complicated for an unclear value add, that to use your service I first have to use my dollars or bitcoins to buy MTC, and then use MTC to buy the services I want. What am I getting out of the extra step you're making me go through to use your medical services?

If you go to the website for Docademic's About page, it is just extremely vague, feel good marketing, not any specific explanation of what MTC is doing that is so special, disruptive, relevant, interesting, or valuable.

Instead it's just the same vague cliches you see on every startup's website. We have a great team. We work hard. We have years of experience. We spent years developing this. Yeah, but what is it that you've been developing? No answer.

What services can you get through Docademic?

Telemedicine can hardly take the place of an in person visit to a doctor. Can a Docademic physician put a stethoscope to my chest and listen to my heart or my lungs? Can they do a blood test? Can they check my blood pressure?

The website says you get medical services, but they must be awfully scant if you're getting them through your smart phone.

Am I missing something here?

Docademic also touts health news every day, but I can get that already for free from a number of sources without buying any specialized tokens that are worthless outside this app.

The website just doesn't offer very much in the way of specifics about what value Docademic is really providing.

Certainly not enough to invest the kind of money that people have put into this. Docademic's market cap is currently over $18,000,000. Which for an app and cryptocurrency that's so vague, with such slim offerings, absolutely boggles my mind.

And John McAfee, who keeps gushing that this is going to revolutionize medicine and make the world a better place because health care prices are so ridiculous around the world– he's been saying this sort of thing all year, but I've never seen him explain exactly how Docademic is going to do that.

He's just hyping it.

Gary Johnson Is Not A Real Libertarian

He's a less handsome and less polished Mitt Romney.

Settle down. I'm not being mean.

Come on. Who's more handsome than Mitt?


What a sweet piece of Mormon

But Gary Johnson is not a real libertarian.

He's a competent manager of government.

That's how he got elected and reelected as a Republican to govern the state of New Mexico.

That's how he represented himself as the Libertarian Party candidate in the presidential races of 2012 and 2016.

A competent manager of government.

And he was a very competent manager in NM.

He displayed the rare ability to unflinchingly say no to all the legislature's bright ideas and really mean it. Over and over again. In the face of relentless opposition from the incredible force of inertia to keep stealing more for the government.

So don't misunderstand me. I'm not trying to disparage or belittle Gary Johnson with this post. He deserves the lion's share of respect as a remarkable human being, and an unusually– very laudably– tough and uncompromising politician.

But Gary Johnson is not a real libertarian.

Libertarian comedian Dave Smith summarized it perfectly back in 2016 on the Joe Rogan Experience:

"I just feel like Gary Johnson has this way of selling libertarianism as this kind of like:

'Well you know it's more practical if we do it the libertarian way.'

You know when he's asked about the wars, he'll say things like:

'I think if you look on average, these military interventions have hurt more than they've helped.'

That's not necessarily incorrect.

It's just like, who would talk about mass murder that way? It's like talking about slavery, and you're like:

'Well I just think overall, this is an inefficient way to get cotton.'

It's like Jesus, dude! And you're head abolitionist? Really? You're supposed to represent the abolitionist movement with that attitude?"

If you want to watch it for yourself Dave does a pretty good Gary Johnson impression. It's in the first 5 mins of this segment:

When Gary Johnson announced he'd be joining the 2018 Senate race Thursday, he went on Fox News and railed against the trillion dollar deficits. My man, that is some 2010 talk right there.

That is not going to work for you in 2018, in a two to one Democratic state that likes the trillion dollar budgets.

People don't even understand what a trillion is.

We can't wrap our brains around such a big number.

It has no emotional impact whatsoever.

People don't even understand what a billion is. Most people have no sense of scale for how much bigger a billion is than a million.

Put it to you this way...

A million minutes ago it was September 22, 2016.

So what do you reckon?

What year was it a billion minutes ago?

It was the year 116 AD.

And we're still doing this empire shit

A Libertarian Message

I'm not suggesting Gary Johnson should compromise his principles or water down his message to win the election.

I'm actually saying his libertarian message is too watered down to win or make a difference in the world.

This talk about the trillion dollar budgets are out of control...

That's competent manager Gary Johnson.

Not libertarian Gary Johnson.

And at this time of urgent moral crisis in the world, we don't need a competent manager. We need a courageous leader, a moral authority, a voice of conscience. We need libertarianism.

And the people want it.

They are almost always smarter, and better, than anyone gives them credit for, and they are ready for libertarianism.

If Gary Johnson wants to win in New Mexico, but more importantly, if he wants to be a relevant force at this time in history, what he should do is run a campaign of conscience.

Welcome to The USSA

He should tell the residents of New Mexico what they already know, that their federal government in Washington has become the evil empire that Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union.

He should point out the monstrosity of U.S. foreign policy, how "in Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA," how the U.S. continues to back Saudi Arabia's war crimes in Yemen, how children and innocent people keep dying in U.S. drone strikes all over Africa and the Middle East, how Donald Trump called for withdrawing from Afghanistan before becoming president, then as president sent thousands more U.S. soldiers to fight in an endless foreign civil war halfway around the world.

He should point out how the U.S. government continues to keep Julian Assange pinned to the inside of the Ecuadorian embassy in London six years now for the "crime" of doing actually relevant journalism and keeping the American people informed about what the most powerful people in their government are up to.

He should rail against how lawless this government has become, how flagrantly it violates its own rules, its own Constitution, on a daily basis, and spies on the American people as if we're the enemy too, through secret NSA programs and the unconstitutional Patriot Act, all in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. He should point out how we are now nearly two decades into the daily, humiliating, and illegal practice of stopping and searching every single person who wants to get on a commercial airline, without a warrant from a judge, also in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

He should talk about how millions of people remain confined in prison (as many at least as were sent to the Soviet Gulag) like animals or the most violent criminals for non-violent "crimes" like having some marijuana leaves in their pocket, and making their own choice about what to do with their own body, and their own brain, on their own time, in their own house, that they paid for, while Big Pharma with all its billions and lobbying dollars continues to advertise to parents to get their young children high on amphetamine salts so they'll sit still in class instead of just letting them run that energy off on the playground.

I want to see more of this Gary Johnson...

This Gary Johnson is a real libertarian:

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Gary Johnson Joins NM Senate Race to Represent Independents

The 2012 and 2016 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, announced Thursday that he will be joining the 2018 New Mexico U.S. Senate race on the Libertarian Party ticket.

After the previous Libertarian nominee for the November Senate contest, dropped out of the race a week ago, the Libertarian Party’s of New Mexico's central committee decided by unanimous vote to nominate Gary Johnson should he wish to run.

In an interview Thursday on Fox News' "Your World" with Neil Cavuto, Gary Johnson touted his independent record of governance and views about national politics, telling Cavuto he would represent independent voters in the U.S. Senate:

"I'd like to think I'm aligned with most people. Let's not forget that the majority of Americans today, 45 percent of Americans that register to vote are registering as independent.

Where's the representation when it comes to Democrats and Republicans? And I have dedicated myself to the inequality, or just the fact that we are a party system. Paraphrasing George Washington, he said, look, if our country ever devolves into political parties, we're done for!"

Johnson cites as another reason for running, the "exciting" possibility of being a swing vote in the U.S. Senate to hold back the growth of unprecedented expansions in federal spending over the last two decades, "The swing vote might actually determine senate outcomes. That's terribly exciting in my opinion."

In what may have been a swipe at his most challenging opponent in the three way race, incumbent Senator Martin Heinrich (D), Gary Johnson said he wouldn't go to the Senate to be a "wallflower," but a vocal deficit hawk, "We're looking at trillion dollar deficits, and where is the senator pounding the table and saying that this is unacceptable? I am not intending to go to the U.S. Senate and be a wallflower."

That aggressive and relevant parliamentary style, especially for a new junior senator, would be more in line with the approach of Tea Party Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who were elected during the Tea Party wave in 2010, and went to Washington to pound the table and demand fiscal restraint.

The Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Johnson articulated the libertarian ethos of his third party bid, saying, "The private sector does everything better than the public sector. Everything! And yet we continue to expand government, we expect government to do things that really it's incapable of doing."

This article was first published at the Independent Voter Network.
I am the author, and it is reprinted here in its entirety with permission from the publisher.