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Welcome to BSAlert.com - This is the place to rant and rave about stuff that bothers you. Illogical things in the news, legal issues, class action lawsuits, toxic substances, government goofs, corporate hanky panky, misleading advertising, lies in politics or whatever!

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Clean google search toolbar! This removes the annoying affilliate links like "epionions" and other sites that have very little content but appear high in search engine results.



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Why Libertarianism Is More A Religion Than A Political System

Posted by Pile (1914 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

American libertarians are less a political party and more like a fundamentalist religious group who believe that the free market is their lord and savior. Here's why their platform might sound charmingly weird in theory, but in practice it's harmful.


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"9/11 Never Forget".... what?

Posted by Pile (1928 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

[Beating Dead Horses]
While everybody is remembering 9/11, here's something to think about.

Everybody says, "9/11 never forget"

What exactly are we supposed to remember?

What do most people remember about 9/11?

What is the purpose of remembering?

Is it to continue to harbor fear and anger?

Is it to continue to remember to hate Muslims?

Do most people even know why 9/11 happened?

Do they know that since 9/11, America has doubled down on the middle eastern policies that brought about 9/11? (Most recently with Trump wanting to put a US embassy in Palestine)

Do people remember that almost all the 9/11 attackers were Saudi Arabian, and that America has never waivered from their loyal support of the Saudis, going so far as to enact travel bans on virtually all other Muslim middle eastern countries EXCEPT Saudi Arabia? Even though Saudi Arabia has some of the worst human rights records in the world?

Does anybody remember we blew $7 Trillion invading Iraq after 9/11 and they had nothing to do with the attack?

Do people remember 4000+ American servicemen died in the Iraq invasion that was perpetrated by the George W. Bush administration? All based on lies that our own intelligence community exposed?

Do people remember the Bush administration violated international law setting up covert torture prisons around the world? They renamed "torture" to "enhanced interrogation techniques" to pretend what they were doing was legal.

Do people remember that, to date, NOBODY has been held accountable for the huge mess that was made?

I'm cool with people "Never forgetting" as long as they're remembering EVERYTHING THAT REALLY HAPPENED.


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Louisiana's "Bestiality Ten" - Senators Protect Animal Sex

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[Beating Dead Horses]
The Louisiana Senate voted on April 10th, on a bill criminalizing sex with animals. The measure passed on a vote of 25 to 10 in favor (with 4 abstaining).

The bill's author, New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says it's important that the state has a way to arrest someone for having sex with animals.

He told fellow lawmakers, "God forbid you vote against this bill, good luck explaining it."

Ten senators did vote against it.

Here are LA's "Bestiality Ten" - Make 'em famous!

Louisiana's "Beastiality TEN"

These 10 Louisiana State sentators voted AGAINST a bill criminalizing sex with animals.

1. Republican - President of the Senate: Senator John A. Alario, Jr., alarioj@legis.la.gov

2. Republican - Senator R. L. Bret Allain, II, allainb@legis.la.gov

3. Republican - Senator James R. "Jim" Fannin, fanninj@legis.la.gov

4. Republican - Senator Jonathan W. Perry, perryj@legis.la.gov

5. Republican - Senator Ryan Gatti, gattir@legis.la.gov

6. Republican - Senator Neil Riser, risern@legis.la.gov

7. Republican - Senator Jack Donahue, donahuej@legis.la.gov

8. Republican - Senator Dan Claitor, claitord@legis.la.gov

9. Republican - Senator Gerald Long, longg@legis.la.gov

10. Republican - Senator Beth Mizell, mizellb@legis.la.gov

Vote record: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1084427

In fairness, the bill did a few other things, most notably, it replaced an earlier law that outlawed, "Crimes Against Nature" that also was the infamous anti-"sodomy" law used to shame homosexuality, that was ruled unconstitutional in 2003. So lawmakers who voted against this bill can arguably claim they're not necessarily as much in favor of animal sex as they are homophobic assholes.

In any case, Congrats Senators!

Additional references: http://www.wwl.com/articles/louisiana-law-ban-sex-animals-wins-senate-vote-25-10


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Far Cry 5: It's Hip To Be An Apocalyptic Religious Drug Cult

Posted by Pile (4338 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

Computer/console games continue to become more advanced, graphical and intense, now resembling mini-operas of realism and, in many cases, blood and gore.

But are they going too far? The latest version of the popular Far Cry series, called "Far Cry 5" seems to alternatively criticize and glorify the rise of right wing, religious extremists in what some might consider a very realistic manner. But nowhere does this become more creepy and weird when you examine you choice of the game's three possible ending cinematic sequences. See for yourself...

**SPOILER ALERT** If you're not interested in playing through the games 14+ hour run time to see where it goes, continue to read this article..

Before we show you the endings, let's set the stage for this game for those who don't know.

Basically, the setting is rural Montana. A very David-Koresh-like doomsday religious cult leader is charged with kidnapping and the local sheriff is tasked to arrest him... this process causes the cult to activate into a paramilitary group, that takes over three regions on the game map, that you're tasked with liberating. The group also is cultivating some kind of drug that is used to control and brainwash people.

You play one of the "good" guys, who is with the local law enforcement, but at some point you're captured, given drugs and brainwashed into being a killing machine that is activated by a certain song.

The game is composed of a variety of missions where you wander around the map killing everything in sight, including tons of wild animals that apparently have all become rabid due to foraging on these cult drug flowers.

Far Cry 5 is one of those GTA-like games where you can wander around on the map and explore, and there's much to see and do and the terrain is quite beautiful. You complete missions to earn things and become stronger and more powerful. You collect weapons and various items as is common in these games.

Throughout the game though, there are cut scenes and narratives weaving into the open gameplay, teaching you about the purpose (and obsessive nature) of the religious group. For anyone familiar with the history of many protestant factions of Christianity, this "fictional lore" is a little too realistic, and for this reason, it's not out of the realm of possibility for certain factions of people to identify with the supposed "bad guys" in the game. In fact, that's what many may end up doing, which becomes obvious when you examine the endings...

The question is, how far can you go in these games before it might be worthwhile to argue over the value of certain narratives being promoted? You can decide... In an age where we have rampant domestic terrorism that seems similarly modeled after the ideology of characters in this series, it has to make you wonder what the developers were thinking?

Let's set up the three endings...

There are 3 endings in the video below.. the first and the third happen at the end of the game. The middle one happens at the beginning of the game.

1. At the end of the game, after liberating 2 of the 3 regions, you confront the head of the cult. He gives you a chance to walk away like he did in the beginning. You can choose to walk away or resist.

2. At the end of the game, you choose to continue to resist the cult leader.

3. A the beginning of the game, you can end the game in the first few minutes by choosing not to arrest the cult leader. If you walk away, the credits roll... this ironically, is the most moral and socially palatable ending of the three.

The second option is the most likely, and it shows you a rather bizarre outcome that ultimately has to make you wonder, WTF is up with the developers?

See for yourself...


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Best Buy Was Paid By FBI To Report On Customer's Computers

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Records posted Tuesday by the Electronic Frontier Foundation following a freedom of information lawsuit filed last year reveal that federal agents would pay Geek Squad managers who pass on information about illegal materials on devices sent in by customers for repairs.

The relationship goes back at least ten years, according to documents released as a result of the lawsuit.

The aim of the FBI's Louisville division was to maintain a "close liaison" with Geek Squad management to "glean case initiations and to support the division's Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime programs," the documents say.

According to the EFF's analysis of the documents, FBI agents would "show up, review the images or video and determine whether they believe they are illegal content" and seize the device so an additional analysis could be carried out at a local FBI field office.

That's when, in some cases, agents would try to obtain a search warrant to justify the access.

The EFF's lawsuit was filed in response to a report that a Geek Squad employee was used as an informant by the FBI in the prosecution of a case involving child abuse imagery.

One released document showed a $500 payment by the FBI to a "confidential human source" whose name was redacted that the EFF said was the same amount as a payment made in the prosecution of Mark Rettenmaier, a California physician and surgeon who was charged with possessing child abuse imagery, found after he sent in his computer to Best Buy for repairs.

The documents show that the FBI would regularly use Geek Squad employees as confidential human sources -- the agency's term for informants -- by taking calls from employees when they found something suspect.

But that relationship and data handover could violate Americans' constitutional rights to protections from unwarranted searches and seizures, the privacy group charges.

Because the FBI uses Geek Squad as informants, the EFF says that any search should be seen as a warrantless search carried out by proxy, "and thus any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal searches should be thrown out of court."



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Dale Hansen on "Responsible Gun Owners"

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[News Media]
Dallas sportscaster, Dale Hansen steps away from the sports desk to deliver an insightful yet scathing monologue on the country's current inability to address the increasing domestic terrorist problem.


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Is Blockchain/Crypto Currency Investment A Risky Scheme?

Posted by Pile (12450 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

[Essential Factoids]
[BSAlert *exclusive*]
There's tremendous hype all over the Internet and the media about Bitcoin, crypto-currencies, "blockchain" and this new "innovative technology" that is supposedly making people rich.

Or is it?

Is crypto currency the future?

Are you actually doing any "investing" when you purchase and hold crypto-currencies?

Or is this an elaborate Ponzi Scheme or an outright scam?

Let's cut through the chatter and reveal what you need to know about the modern state of crypto currency, the "blockchain" buzzword everybody is using, and whether this is something real, or nefarious?

Is crypto currency a scam or an amazing opportunity?

You can't afford to ignore the critics and skeptics if you really care about your money... Let's jump into the deep end and talk about EVERYTHING!

Those who have been in the industry for awhile certainly know what "crypto" is, but now laypeople are talking about it, so it's important to cover some of the basics:

What is crypto-currency?

In a nutshell, crypto-currency (of which there are literally tens of thousands of different systems) refers to a proposed method of trade that involves "digital currency".

What does that actually mean? Digital currency? It is currency, which is unlike traditional fiat currency and exists primarily as a "digital address" and sequence of codes.

Whoever has the code, owns the currency. If someone guesses/steals your code and executes a transaction with it, you just lost your crypto-currency. It's called "crypto" for short, because, supposedly the details of these codes are encrypted in various ways for your protection.

What is fiat currency?

Traditional fiat currency is often represented in coin and bill form, and is something you can hold in your hand and is easily transferable. In the case of the US dollar for example, it's mandated by law to be accepted virtually everywhere in your community.

Yes, traditional fiat currency can also be represented in "digital form" similar to crypto currency, as indicated in computers controlling peoples' banking accounts, but is subject to much more oversight and regulation. And there's a system to quickly and easily convert your banked currency to material form if needed.

Is there a material component to crypto currency?

Crypto currency, sometimes referred to as "alt-coin" typically does not exist in any material form. Like "fiat currency", it's a "placeholder" that represents a certain value that is used in the exchange of goods and services between parties.

But unlike traditional fiat currency, it doesn't translate well to bill, coins or other material items that can be physically exchanged. This is because what determines who owns the currency is based on who has the codes. You could print a bill that had the code on it, and that could technically be transferred to someone else, but every time crypto is transferred, these codes change. Plus a print of a code doesn't mean someone else doesn't also know the code and can take the currency without having access to the bill.

What is a "blockchain?"

This is a fancy new buzzword, and it's being used interchangeably with the term "crypto-currency" nowadays by various institutions who want to capitalize on the popularity of crypto.

Blockchain refers to the method by which many crypto currencies keep records of transactions.

A blockchain is basically a database of transactions, typically involving a few basic elements of information: the id of a buyer, the id of a seller, and a transaction amount, along with other information. This is stored in a database. It's not that much different than what might be called a "general ledger" at a bank.

If a "blockchain" is simply a ledger of transactions, why not call it that?

Because, "blockchain" sounds cooler and high tech!

It's easier to get hedge fund managers to invest peoples' retirements into something called "blockchain" than an old, un-exciting thing called a "general ledger." (Sorry, I'm a snarky person.. couldn't resist..)

What is special about crypto currency blockchains?

One element that distinguishes most crypto currencies from traditional fiat currency is the fact that there is no central regulation, or central repository of the blockchain (ledger).

For example, with Bitcoin, when a transaction is made, details on this transaction are sent to an array of different systems that maintain blockchains. The data is compared and collected and verified after a certain process. No single entity controls the blockchain. It's de-centralized.

It's also partially-anonymous. The people who execute transactions are only known by arbitrary IDs. The blockchain records that two parties exchanged currency and notes that the currency is now in the account of a different ID.

The past, present and future of crypto currency - it's not what it used to be.

The original concept behind crypto currencies like Bitcoin was fairly humble. And a lot different than it is now.

As I type this, the value of BTC is currently $12,870 USD to 1 BTC. By the time I finish this article, there's a very good chance the value may have changed anywhere from 5-20%. It's that volatile right now. Which is dramatically different from what it was intended to be.

The original concept was as a "micro-payment system" that could be used as a proxy for bartering goods and services, and in the early days, this is what happened. The value of Bitcon was fairly marginal and in and of itself, worth nothing, but if you had some BTC and could trade it to someone else for something, that was cool. The first material BTC transaction was on May 22, 2010 by Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer who paid a fellow Bitcoin forum user 10,000 BTC for two pizzas. People harp now that the bitcoin to buy those two pizzas is now worth millions of dollars. But back then, believe it or not, the guy buying the pizza got the better deal. And you can bet the pizza seller moved his bitcoin shortly thereafter. Nobody in their right mind could have predicted that seven years later 1 BTC would be worth more than ten grand (and even now, this is arguable).

In theory, crypto currencies make sense. They're supposed to be a simple, direct, peer-to-peer transaction system that is nobody else's business.

Unfortunately, that's the OLD crypto model. Now there's a new crypto model and it's completely the opposite of this. Crypto currency in its purest form was never intended to be used as a security and hoarded, or monitored based on its value in any other fiat currency. Now companies are treating crypto like stocks and offering "initial coin offerings." This is not what the originators of this technology wanted.

What is crypto uniquely good for?

Because of its decentralized nature and (so-called) anonymity, it lends itself to transactions between parties who aren't necessarily interested in being tracked (criminal activities, drug traffickers, money laundering, black hat transactions, and governments and people looking to move money around without others knowing).

Some argue it's a way to transfer money outside of prying government eyes and taxation, but even in America, crypto currency is subject to taxation. Many industry leaders have gone on record expressing concern and/or calling crypto currencies Ponzi schemes.

What should crypto currency holders be concerned about?

The list of concerns is significant enough to warrant a separate article, but here are a few things that aren't as well known (NOTE: some of these vary slightly based on the crypto currency obviously but there are many generalities in common):
  • The blockchain in all likelihood is not really "anonymous." - In fact, blockchains like Bitcoin keep records of every transaction ever. So from the moment of inception, every piece of Bitcoin that's changed hands is recorded. It may be meta information and not peoples' names or SSNs, but there are plenty of ways to ID people through meta information and once that's done, the money trail is public record.
  • What a crypto is "worth" is nebulous - Many exchanges are allowed to set their own transaction rates and details, and it's becoming harder and harder to painlessly convert crypto into traditional fiat currency, which is one reason why the prices are so high. There are lots of hidden hassles and fees involved.
  • The value of crypto currency right now is promoted based on its conversion to more accepted fiat currency such as dollars, which is incredibly ironic given the fact that advocates of crypto insist their currency is superior. In reality, the value of crypto should be based on how easy it is to use in its natural form.
  • Crypto is perfect for stealing - The more value a crypto has, the more appealing it will be to anybody and everybody who might try to crack codes and take the currency. It's basically a lawless expanse, which means there's no reason why governments and corporations might also invest in ways to suck value from the blockchain in ways most of us would find unethical. (ICO's are a good example - treating alt-coins like stocks is questionably ethical)
  • Many crypto coins are "mined" initially. This is a process where people run "mining" computers to guess the codes to discover new crypto units. These formulas are designed so coins are easy to mine initially, but become progressively more difficult and resource-consuming to mine later. Early developers get a huge amount of crypto early on. This, like a traditional multi-level-marketing scheme, sets the stage to primarily reward early adopters if they can continue the scheme long enough to pump value into the commodity. If you're late to this party, you're basically giving your money to the early adopters and putting tremendous pressure on yourself to see a profit. This is assuming the crypto you're investing in ever increases in value, which is statistically unlikely.
  • Technology has not kept up with the needs of Crypto - It's no longer economically viable to mine for Bitcoin and hasn't been for years, so the only way to profit in BTC is by taking advantage of others. There are also big problems with the growth of crypto and the blockchain and there's controversy over how to manage the transactions. Some might argue this problem is localized to a few crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, but the fact is, all cryptos are susceptible to these problems and until they are traded at the rate of ones like Bitcoin, there's no evidence they're any more technologically stable.
  • Not all crypto-currencies are the same, and this is as bad as it is good. For example, Bitcoin, the most valuable crypto currency is by design, limited to only 21 Million units in existence. Etherium however, at present, the second-most popular/valuable crypto currency has a fundamentally different model, with a virtually unlimited number of potential units being released, limited to 18 Million PER YEAR. Yes, people are "investing" in something that dilutes itself by 18 million units every year!
  • Because most crypto blockchains are designed to maintain a permanent record of transactions, it's becoming increasingly possible that the crypto currency someone is holding, could be "tainted" and traced back to criminal activity. You could be doing nothing illegal and have your accounts frozen by various authorities if they can trace the crypto you've been trading to something nefarious.
  • There are tens of thousands of crypto currencies out there (There's even a web site dedicated to making note of some of the many crypto currency failures) - Anybody can create a crypto currency. In the near future, I predict you'll be able to go to a web site and create your own crypto, and it will be for all intents and purposes, as potentially valuable as any other. It's not unlike to see in the future individuals who have their own currency. By the way this breathes new life into the corporate business model of "points" you can give customers based sales. Every company can now claim their "brand-bucks" program is cyber-currency and a commodity. Expect everybody from Starbucks to Amazon to have their own alt-currency.
  • Crypto Markets are being manipulated by wash trading - Wash trading is an illegal activity where one party sets up a sell order and then buys his own security. This is done to artificially create the appearance of a lot of traffic and volume in an exchange, or on a particular crypto/security. This practice is [technically] illegal, but it's not well regulated in the crypto markets. So even the appearance of demand for a crypto in the exchanges may be a fabrication.

People and institutions are now looking at crypto currency as an "investment" which is absolutely, positivily NOT what it was designed to be. And for this reason, a lot of people are going to lose a lot of money falling for the hype.

Crypto currency has even less intrinsic value than fiat currency.

Here's what's funny. Crypto currency advocates argue that fiat currency "has no intrinsic value", therefore there's not much difference between bitcoin and US dollars.

But this is a lie.

Let's say it again... Crypto currency has even less value than regular currency.

The US Dollar is a significantly more stable monetary concept than any crypto currency, for a number of very specific reasons:

  • It has maintained stability and usefulness for centuries.
  • It's regulated by the US government and a hierarchy of institutions with various checks and balances. (You may argue you don't like the nature of the system, but it still has checks and balances, much more than crypto as we'll see).
  • Everybody uses the dollar. It's the de-facto standard fiat currency in America and accepted in most other places around the world.
  • It's extremely easy to conduct transactions using US dollars.
  • There are numerous laws and regulations that guarantee peoples deposits in banks, and protect against fradulent transactions.

In sharp contrast, almost all crypto currency has virtually none of these benefits. There's tremendous value in a fiat currency that you know protects you from fraud, even if it involves your own incompetence. There's tremendous value in knowing that what a dollar buys today, you will also be able to purchase tomorrow. There's tremendous value in knowing that nobody is going to look at your dollar bill and go, "WTF is that? What do I do with it?" Or charge you a $20 "transaction fee" to convert it into something else. Beyond this, there's constant controversy about whether or not the blockchain technology has become unmanageable, and the de-centralized nature is giving way to a more centralized nature of exchanges, but the more popular an exchange becomes, the more likely it is involved in fraudulent activity.

But most importantly, with traditional currency at a bank, if the bank gets robbed, you're protected by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Company). And it's a lot harder to rob a bank of a million dollars than it is to break into an online exchange and instantly pilfer tens of millions in Bitcoin and other cryptos, which is now becoming common place. And when this happens, there is nothing you can do. Because you never really owned anything in the first place. You never owned anything that anybody guaranteed. You never owned anything that a majority of people in your community ever thought was of any specific value.

Why Would Crypto Currency and Blockchain Systems Be Considered A Ponzi Scheme?

In and of themselves, crypto is not a scam.

The scam part comes with anybody trying to tell you to "invest in crypto". That's when "blockchain", "bitcoin", "crypto", etc. BECOME A PONZI SCHEME.

The best way to illustrate why investing in crypto is a scam is to compare it to another popular investment: stocks.

Both crypto and stocks are sold in shares and have a particular value per share.

Investors buy these shares in hopes the price will go up. If they sell the shares when the price is higher they make money. If they sell when the price is lower, they lose money. That's pretty basic.

There are companies now promoting crypto like stock shares, offering what are called, "ICO's" - an "initial coin offering" much like an IPO is an initial offering of public shares. It gives people a chance to buy into crypto currency in the beginning. But, THIS IS A SCAM.

Because there's an inherent difference between investing in stocks verses crypto.

A stock represents shares in a material organization. If you own shares in Apple, you actually are a part owner of Apple, and part owner of all the assets Apple has. Even if Apple's stock price drops, you still have a proportionate share of the company's assets. And you can determine the relative value of their stock based on the company's assets. Traditional stocks have material valuation.

In stark contrast, crypto currencies have nothing. You aren't owning anything material. You do not have a share of anything you can examine or valuate. You merely have some numbers that indicate if you can find someone else to buy those numbers at a higher price, you might be able to turn a profit, but at the end of the day, you own nothing of value and never have.

With crypto currencies, the value of these shares is solely based on what you can get someone else to pay for them. This is completely arbitrary. At any point, this entire market could completely implode into nothing. That would never happen with a traditional company -- a traditional company has assets, and investors have a fiduciary duty to monitor and maintain the company's viability. There is nothing of the sort with crypto currency, except the standard network-marketing-style approach of constantly enticing other people into buying your crypto at a higher price than you paid.

The Only Way You Profit In Crypto Is At Someone Else's Expense

With traditional stocks, you earn profit often through the growth and success of the company. When they do well, the shareholders do well. Everybody benefits.

With crypto, you only earn profit at the expense of later investors who, are now required to hype the crypto up to a higher level, in order to create profit. This is an impossible, un-tenable business model. It's the exact definition of a Ponzi Scheme.

Crypto Isn't Bad As Long As You Don't Consider It An Investment

I'm not panning all crypto. It works for what it was designed.

The problem is, what's going on now, with "Initial Coin Offerings" and "blockchain technology investing" is bullshit. These are people and institutions that smell money and want in on the scheme.

The only way crypto would ever be ubiquitous is if it became very similar to existing fiat currency, and we have hybrid systems like this in place right now, such as credit card payment companies. So true crypto is only really useful when it's largely valueless, and used in small, inconsequential transactions (like 2 pizzas for 10k - that makes sense). Beyond this, it becomes another "Pet Rock" or "Dutch Tulip" that salespeople are trying to get you psyched over.

So does this mean, "I hate Bitcoin?" Not at all. I love the idea of crypto currencies.

What I hate are all the predators who are now in the market, trying to make the intangible medium, seem like a security. This makes the housing markets' "default credit swaps" look like gold bouillon. Please don't fall for it. There are better ways to create value without becoming part of a scheme that centers on misleading people.

- Mark Pile, BSAlert.com

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#MeToo Movement Wins A Few Battles, Losing War

Posted by Pile (6138 views) Add this story to MyYahoo Add this article to del.icio.us Submit article to Reddit Add story to Furl Add story to StumbleUpon [E-Mail link]

While the mainstream media focuses on today's accused sexual harasser, are women overall losing the war? Are they being distracted and misdirected at low-hanging-fruit? A very insightful editorial published in the New York Times raises the question...

It would be easy to end 2017 with the impression that, whatever its afflictions, it was at least a game-changing year for feminism.

“The Female Revolution Is Here” and could “Smash Patriarchy at Its Core,” social and mainstream media headlines declared. “We are blowing the whistle on the prime directive of the master/slave relationship between women and men.” “This is the end of patriarchy” — this from Forbes! — “the male domination of humanity.” Twitter, the newsstand and the street concur: This year witnessed a transformational moment in American sexual politics.

Surely the results of the #MeToo phenomenon are worthy. It’s a seriously good thing Harvey Weinstein is gone and that the potential Harvey Weinsteins will think twice or thrice or a thousand times before harassing women whose fortunes they control. But “the end of patriarchy”? Look around.

This month, President Trump signed into law a tax bill that throws a bomb at women. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act systematically guts benefits that support women who need support the most: It means an end to personal and dependent exemptions (a disaster for minimum-wage workers, nearly two-thirds of whom are women). An expiration date for child-care tax credits and a denial of such credits for immigrant children without Social Security cards. An end to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. And, barely avoided, thanks to Democrats’ objections: an enshrinement of “fetal personhood” in the form of college savings accounts for unborn children, a sly grenade lobbed at legal abortion.

Not to mention that Republican congressmen plan to pay down the enormous federal deficit the bill will incur by slashing entitlements that, again, are critical to women: Medicaid (covering nearly half the births in the nation and 75 percent of family planning), Medicare (more than half of beneficiaries 65 and older — and two-thirds of those 85 and older — are women) and so on.

And that’s on top of all the other Trump administration insults: reviving the global gag rule on abortion, suspending tracking of the gender wage gap, deep-sixing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order and much more.

Which leads me to wonder, if we get rid of a handful of Harveys while losing essential rights and protections for millions of women, are we really winning this thing? How is this female calamity happening in the midst of the Female Revolution? An answer may lie in a schism that has haunted women’s protest for 150 years.

American women’s activism has historically taken two forms. One is an expression of direct anger at the ways individual men use and abuse us. It’s righteous outrage against the unambiguous enemy with a visible face, the male predator who feeds on our vulnerability and relishes our humiliation. Mr. Weinstein’s face is the devil’s face du jour, and the #MeToo campaign fits squarely in this camp. The other form is less spectacular but as essential: It’s fighting the ways the world is structurally engineered against women. Tied to that fight is the difficult and ambiguous labor of building an equitable system within which women have the wherewithal and power to lead full lives.

The clarion cry against individual male predation and the push for broader gender equality may seem part and parcel, especially now. When Donald Trump is the titular head of the machine, it’s tempting to imagine that the machine itself has orange hair — and that to defeat Harvey Weinstein is to win. But the patriarchy is bigger than the patriarch.

The two forms of women’s protest intersect, of course. Just ask generations of female workers at Ford Motor Company, who know that workplace sexual harassment undergirds a system of oppression. But fighting the patriarch and fighting the patriarchy are also distinct — and the former tends to be more popular than the latter. It’s easier to mobilize against a demon, as every military propagandist — and populist demagogue — knows. It’s harder, and less electrifying, to forge the terms of peace. Declaring war is thrilling. Nation building isn’t.

How this plays out in feminism has been evident since the 19th century, when American women started the “social purity” movement against prostitution and “white slavery” of girls. The most popular women’s mobilization of the 19th century wasn’t for suffrage — it was for Prohibition, a moral crusade against demon men drinking demon rum, blowing their paychecks at the saloon and coming home to beat and rape their wives. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union quickly became the nation’s largest women’s organization.

Did that war against men behaving badly feed into the larger battle for women’s equality? In many ways, yes: Susan B. Anthony herself began as a temperance organizer. But a good number of women who railed against alcohol’s evils shrank from women’s suffrage. Fighting against male drunkenness fell within the time-honored female purview of defending the family and the body; extending women’s rights into a new political realm felt more radical and less immediate. Frances Willard, the temperance union’s formidable second president, eventually brought the organization around to supporting the female franchise by redefining the women’s vote as a “home protection” issue: “citizen mothers,” as the morally superior sex, would purge social degeneracy from the domestic and public circle. But Willard’s attempt to further conjoin morality efforts with the second form of activism — her “Do Everything” campaign for a shorter workweek, a living wage, health care and prison reform, among other things — was snuffed out upon her death, as the union’s leadership abandoned its support for broader social reform.

The challenge today is the one faced by Anthony and Willard: how to bring the outrage over male malfeasance to bear on the more far-reaching campaign for women’s equality. Too often, the world’s attention seems to have room for only the first.

A few weeks ago on a chilly morning in Pittsburgh, two women named Chelsey Engel and Lindsey Disler chained themselves to the entrance of the building that houses Senator Pat Toomey’s local office to protest the tax bill. “The situation is so catastrophic and so dire,” Ms. Disler said, her scarf-swathed torso shackled to the doors. “Something has to be done.” She delivered her words to two dozen onlookers and a few police officers, who, by 8:30 a.m., had sent the two women packing. Their protest barely registered outside a few area news outlets, on a day when the media was aflutter with reports of the latest celebrity accused of harassment, Peter Martins, director of New York City Ballet.

The two forms of female protest can even be positioned against each other. In the 1980s, the “War on Pornography” campaign set off the damaging “sex wars” within the women’s movement itself, at the very moment when a backlash against women’s equality was amassing its forces and Ronald Reagan’s administration was formulating policies that would disproportionately hurt half the country. The “sex-positive” feminists who worried about restrictions on free speech and questioned the condemnation of all pornographic material found themselves labeled, by anti-pornography feminists, as shills and pimps for the industry. Today we’re already seeing the long knives come out for sister travelers who have called for some due process and proportionality in confronting male harassers.

A similar quarrel surfaced in Hillary Clinton’s defeat last year. Some feminist-minded women deemed her an unacceptable choice to pursue the art of dealing and compromising necessary to running the state — and running it to the greater benefit of women — because she’d already compromised herself by staying with, and defending, Bill Clinton.

The forces behind this divide are so intractable in part because they are so psychological. To fight the devil is to be on the side of the angels, to assume the mantle of virtue and purity. The political arena, by contrast, is no place for angels, and its victories are slow and often incomplete. Without gainsaying the courage of “silence breakers,” one can note the flip side: that their words, especially now, can generate instant, and dramatic, response — and more immediate gratification than one gets from protesting economic and legal structures.

- By SUSAN FALUDIDEC. 28, 2017, New York Times Editorial Page


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How America Got Into Its Economic and Social Mess

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Noted economist, Robert Reich outlines his "Big picture" of what's happened to America over the last 80+ years and where we're going. A simple, yet powerful outline of the path and trajectory our country has been headed..


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