You’re Getting Milked

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If you have a pulse and have been to the stores or even shopping online lately (hey, it’s the holidays so of course you have), you know that prices are on the rise.


And this is amazing, because–


Major factors point to pricing that should be driven down:


Commodities–which are the basic raw materials from agriculture to oil and gas and metals and mining–are at a more than 16-year low!


Manufacturing has moved to low cost sourcing countries (China, India, Vietnam, Africa, etc.)


Technology continues to benefit us in terms of cost-efficiencies from the transformation to robotics and automation.


Yet, we keep on seeing prices move ever higher:


Just a few examples…


– “Housing market is on fire” with existing home prices exceeding the pre-recession peak!


– “Car prices at records highs – and rising


– “Food prices are sky high“–it’s not your imagination.


Fashion “prices rising so fast


Health care spending is “again accelerating”


– “College costs are so high and rising.


Forget the B.S. of the basket of inflation stats your being feed…you know that your bills are going up, while your income is stagnant.


The real question is why is the middle class always getting milked–whose interest does it serve? 😉

Not Bias, Just Plain Old Hatred

Not Bias, Just Plain Old Hatred

I read a book review in the Wall Street Journal on Profiles in Denial by William Storr about David Irving the notorious Holocaust denier.

He is a “‘revisionist’ of all things World War II,” but apparently is particularly keen on Holocaust denial, as someone who according to Wikipedia is an “anti-semite, and racist who…promotes neo-Nazism.”

The Holocaust denial goes deep for Irving and even upon visiting Majdanek concentration camp, he tells his group “This is a mock-up of a gas chamber. Those cylinders are carbon dioxide not carbon monoxide…There are handles on the inside of these doors,” so the prisoners could let themselves out.

Actually, the door was locked with huge bolts right on the outside and was sealed airtight, but to Irving it’s as if these didn’t exist.

The book discusses how cognitive biases such as confirmation biases help people “find confirming evidence for our beliefs, ignoring or rationalizing away all discriminating evidence.”

But I think this is really beyond the point with someone like Irving, who according to The Guardian is a discredited British historian and Nazi apologist” and was actually jailed for a “three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz.”

The State Prosecutor said of Irving “He’s not a historian, he’s a falsifier of history…this is about abuse of freedom of speech.”

Judge Peter Liebtreau called Irving “a racist, an anti-semite, and a liar.”

So this is no simple bias or mind game for Irving, but apparently a convenient way for him to pursue his hatreds under the guise that everything was and is really okay.

So rather than “Never forget,” is is far more beneficial for those that would wish it to happen again that they lull people to believe that it never even was to begin with.

Interesting that another famous Holocaust denier is no less than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered, was a “myth” (Washington Post).

By the way, Ahmadinejad also said “9/11 was an inside job.”

People like Irving and Ahmadinejad are not about confirmation bias, but rather about distortion of truth to further their own evil destructive aims.

In the case of Ahmadinejad, it’s that he wishes to see Israel be “wiped off the map” (New York Times).

And in the case of Irving, he has said, “there will…probably be another holocaust in the next thirty years…oh, and if the Jews are lucky, there will be a David Irving or Adolf Hitler [may their names be obliterated] to protect them” (The Independent).

Oh, G-d forbid!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Emergency Alert Or R U Kidding?

Emergency Alert Or R U Kidding?

BBC News Technology (9 July 2013) reports on how the U.S. Emergency Alert System (EAS) was hacked.

The EAS is a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was set up “to allow the president to talk to the entire country within 10 minutes of a disaster.” It also provides the public with alerts on local weather emergencies, such as tornados and flash floods.

EAS replaced the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1997 and with it came security weaknesses.

Earlier this year, those vulnerabilities were tested and exploited when the Montana Television Network was hacked with an alert of a zombie attack.

And it provided advice on how to survive–“Do not approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”

This is reminiscent of the hoax in 1938 when over the radio came a warning that a meteorite had smashed into New Jersey and aliens were attacking New York–an adaptation of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds.”

Well yesterday it was aliens, today it’s zombies, and tomorrow it could be an phony announcement of an invasion by country XYZ or perhaps a imminent detonation of a thermonuclear warhead somewhere over the continental U.S.

Imagine the panic, confusion, and potential loss of life and property from the ensuing chaos.

It goes without saying that this is not a way to inspire confidence by the citizens in case of a true national emergency.

If we cannot count on the systems meant to survive an emergency then how can we be expected to survive the emergency itself?

The EAS may interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with those loud and annoying tests, but what can really ruin you day is a cyber attack on the system that broadcasts something much nastier and more ominous–and you don’t really know whether it’s the real thing or just another hack. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to UWW ResNet)