Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Serious Conversation on Medicare and Social Security? What, Are You Serious?

Medicare and Social Security Tabs Coming Due by Michael Tanner: [emphasis mine]
Unless we want to drown future generations in a sea of red ink, we need to have a serious conversation about the future of entitlements.
The national debt has dropped out of the headlines recently, but that doesn't mean that it has gone away. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the debt officially topped $18 trillion. For those keeping score, that equals roughly 101 percent of GDP. In other words, we now owe more than the value of all goods and services produced in this country over a year. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt will climb to almost $27.3 trillion within the next 10 years.

Moreover, as Milton Friedman, pointed out, debt, like taxes, is just a measure of how we pay for the true cost of government, which is spending. That spending is currently on a path to reach 36 percent of GDP by mid-Century. That's just federal spending. Throw in state and local governments and government is soon expected to consume more than half of GDP.

As bad as these numbers sound, they actually understate the problem. That is because they don't include the unfunded liabilities of programs like Social Security and Medicare. While those liabilities don't show up on the country's official balance sheet, they nonetheless represent legal obligations of the US government. Including the expected shortfall from those programs brings are true debt to an unfathomable $90.6 trillion.

Yet, neither Democrats nor Republicans seem willing to face up to this problem. Democrats either deny that there is a problem or insist that the problem could be solved if only the wealthy paid higher taxes. But even if one thought that tax increases were a good idea, and could be implemented without killing jobs or slowing economic growth, it is simply impossible to increase taxes enough to close the budget gap. In particular, raising taxes on the wealthy falls far short of what would be required to pay for our current and future obligations.

Meanwhile, Republicans give frequent lip service to the debt crisis but pretend that you can deal with the debt crisis by eliminating "waste, fraud, and abuse" in the federal budget. Certainly, there is plenty of that, but you simply cannot balance the budget by cutting the usual suspects. Foreign aid amounts to less than 1 percent of federal spending. Federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting amount to a combined 0.02 percent.

In fact, as President Obama proudly, and correctly, points out, even in his bloated budget, domestic discretionary spending would amount to just 2.5 percent of GDP by 2023, a historic low. That is not to say we shouldn't cut those programs. Many are indeed wasteful. Some do more harm than good. Most would probably be better left to the private sector and civil society. Every dollar in savings is a good thing, but the sad fact remains that such cuts come nowhere near balancing the budget or significantly reducing the debt.

The simple truth is that there is no way to address America's debt problem without reforming entitlements, notably Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and our newest entitlement program, Obamacare. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone account for 47 percent of federal spending today, a portion that will only grow larger in the future. And although the spending for Obamacare has just begun, it too will soon consume an ever larger portion of the federal budget. Entitlement spending, not domestic discretionary programs or defense, is where the real money lies.

Social Security will run a $69 billion cash-flow deficit this year. And that's the good news. Every year after, that shortfall will worsen. All together, Social Security is facing future shortfalls worth more than $24.9 trillion. The so-called trust fund is simply an accounting measure, specifying how much money the federal government owes the program out of general revenues, not an actual asset that can be used to pay benefits.

Medicare is in even worse financial shape, despite the fact that health care costs have slowed in the past decade. Economists debate whether the slowdown will continue, but even if it does, Medicare faces unfunded liabilities approaching $48 trillion. And, if we return to double digit health care inflation, we could see Medicare's liabilities swell to more than $88 trillion.

We are far beyond the point where "tweaking" those programs—revising them around the edges, cutting a few dollars here, adding a little bit more in taxes there—will forestall the budgetary disaster lurking in our fiscal future.

Social Security and Medicare are generally seen as immune to reform, in large part because seniors, who vote, receive the benefits, while young people, who don't vote, get the bill. It is much easier for politicians to debate whether we should kill off Big Bird or make the rich pay their "fair share" of taxes. But unless we want to drown future generations in a sea of red ink, we need to put away childish things, and have a serious conversation about the future of entitlements.

Bubble Headlines

The $1.2 Trillion Student Loan Bubble - The Ultimate Subprime Debacle

Subprime Auto Market Begins To Crack - Delinquencies At 2008 Highs 

NFIB Chief Economist Warns "Bubble In US Net Worth Has Reached Unsustainable Heights"

I Could Not Agree More ...

that Today Was a Very Sad Day for America by Thad Beversdorf:
Well I found it incredibly sad today watching our legislators in our own house of Congress give the foreign leader of a beggar nation (to the tune of $4 billion per annum) a standing ovation like he had just solved all of America’s problems. But the fact is Netanyahu came to give a speech that was in direct conflict with that of the American president.

Now I’m no fan of Obama but I hold deep respect for the scope of the position of President of the United States of America. And to have a nation that takes money from our tax payers only to turn around and use that money to buy off our tax payers’ representatives so they will pass foreign policy only concerned with Israel, gives me a rotting feeling in my stomach.

These paid for policies entitle Israel to utilize our Intelligence, our technology, our brave young men and women soldiers and our tax payer dollars to fight wars that have no benefit but much harm to America. As for the legislators who would dare stand and plaudit a foreign leader whose intent is to circumvent our president here at home, and thus disrespect the presidency itself, well what can I say. These bottom feeders are about as low and filthy as it gets.

I was literally sickened by the whole display today. For it was proof that the nation is now entirely lost. America’s interests have been over run by foreign interests being targeted because our government is more concerned with their next campaign prospects than their duty and responsibility to America herself.

My initial reaction was anger. I swore and cussed hoping that somehow I could make it feel better than it felt. But alas that same sick throbbing in my gut hasn’t faded at all. There are many brilliant works being published these days in an attempt to bring America back into the light. But it seems that for every step forward these wayward bought and paid for scoundrels, who refuse to represent us in lieu of furthering their careers, push us three steps back.

For a legislator to allow himself to be paid off to support foreign interests above our very own interests is nothing short of treason. I don’t say that lightly, I mean that quite literally. If it is not treason to sell out the interests of one’s nation especially those who’ve sworn to uphold her interests, than there is nothing one could do to be prosecuted for such a crime. The legislators who stood and applauded today are the same folks that point to Edward Snowden and call him a traitor and accuse him of treason and call for his head.

The nation has be lulled by the media, which is our government’s main weapon against its own people, to believe the doublespeak. Patriotism is terrorism and terrorism is patriotism. And so we go, now faster and faster, down the septic drain into an underworld that has been described in great detail by those who have a sense for what the future will bring; Orwell, Rand, Hobbes and Plato.

Where or how it ends nobody knows but we know it will be a ‘them’ and ‘us’ kind of world. Where the haves, have everything and the have nots have nothing. We are well on our way, just look around. As I mentioned in a recent post the bottom 90% of Americans have lost 40% of their net worth since 2007. We are on the precipice of losing the remaining 60% upon this next collapse. But those on top will actually benefit.

You see the system is set up as a zero sum game. It takes a great deal of effort, creativity and ingenuity to actually effectuate value. It is far easier to simply steal wealth that is already created. And so it is always a transfer from the bottom 90% to the top 10%. But what the top 9.9% don’t realize is the top .1% will continue to transfer wealth until they have it all.

This sounds fantastic enough to be a movie or novel but this is how primitive behaviour works. And this is where Hobbes may have been correct. We will continue to fragment in to smaller and smaller familial groups until only one family rules the world. And that will be our New World Order. And once it is in place it will be nearly impossible to change.

Change will then require a revolution of astronomical proportions. But if we can find the antidote soon and wake from our trance we can change the world. Literally we can change the world. We still have a vote but we need to learn how to use it. I know when I talk about the grandeur like changing the world and the New World Order people tend to roll their eyes. But what you don’t realize is that we are not far from the finish line, their finish line.

Your grandkids and great grandkids will be wishing they were born in Russia or China the same way young Chinese and Russian kids used to dream about America. The corruption is so rife in today’s America that we no longer have any concern about the fact that the will of the people has been legislated out of the legislative process. We the people no longer have a say. And we don’t seem to care. And that is why we are doomed.

Does the state of Israel disgust me with its views of superiority, claiming to be the chosen people of god, and loyalty to no one but itself? Of course as it should everyone. Does the fact that one automatically becomes an anti-semite if one publicly argues that Israel is a dangerous and corrupt political machine that uses back rooms and money to get her way bother me? Yes of course it does as it should everyone. Does it bother me that the US government has become nothing but an errand boy to the initiatives of Israel and the military industrial complex royal families in exchange for campaign promises? Yes of course it does as it should everyone. These are the realities of our world.

This unscrupulous relationship affects the entire globe. It leads to wars that should not happen. Collateral damage that is overlooked. It results in the misallocation of resources and the enslavement of nations to dimly lit dictatorships. For this relationship, that publicly states a mission of democracy and respect for human rights, is actually the antithesis to such things. Its intent is to destroy any notion of self government. This is why the zionists have partnered so readily with the military industrial complex having historically been on opposite sides of the aisle.

But what these two groups of self serving ‘Johns’ looking for whores to pay off realized is that they have a common end game, and that is to rule the world. And they are well on their way. It is horrifying as an American to struggle with the idea that in 10 years China or Russia may be better places to raise a family. But these are not deliberate thoughts they are reactionary to what I see happening here at home. I’m scared for what is to come. I’m disgusted by how far we’ve fallen in so short a time.

Not 20 years ago we were leading the world into the longest period of global peace in modern history. And then the NeoCons came to town. The purchase of legislators by the neocons dates back to Rabbi Hillel Silver in the 1930′s and after. The threats against presidents who put their own careers before this nation have been going on for 200 years. And each time a legislator or a president cowers to such pressures the nation gets weaker. Each time an American citizen becomes diluted to believing patriotism is cheering on a foreign leader who has proven himself to be a parasite time and time again, robbing this country of her young soldiers and her wealth, America gets weaker.

And for those of you that counter this commentary with I must be anti Israel well you are absolutely right. I am. I having nothing against the Jewish religion or people but I do hold a special disgust for Israel. For those who know the true stories over the years, and those of you who know the real stories will know of which I’m talking about, there is no debate about the character of Israel. It is side by side with the deteriorating character of America now skimming the bottom of the barrel. Both have become entirely shameful. Political fortresses built on lies and dirty money and nothing good can ever hope to come of such things.

Time has and will continue to prove me right on this. I am certain. I only hope that honest and good Americans and Israelis number enough to fight the internal war that is ravaging both nations. I am hopeful but not naive. And so I prepare for the continued destruction of a nation, once so grand the entire world put her on a pedestal and admired her brilliance. Such a glow that only comes from inward goodness. That glow is gone because that inward goodness is dead.

Today was a very sad day for me. I literally felt a bit of my fire go out, a tiredness swept over me with that feeling of fighting the inevitable. Perhaps it is better now to expend our energy on preparing for the worst rather than preventing the worst. I don’t know. I do know today was a very sad day for America.
 And yes, it was a sad day for me too.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Justin Raimondo's Bibi’s Bile And Bombast - Cries Wolf, Wants War is right on the mark! I do not believe that foreign heads of state should address the U.S. Congress without the President being present.  Regardless of what I think (or don't) of Obama, I do respect the office which he holds and allowing Bibi to speak without his consent and/or presence is in poor taste.  Yes, I know, the Congress doesn't need the consent of the president, however, there are situations where cooperation is paramount, and this was one of those occasions. 

This being said, I now would like to see Iran's Ali Khamenei be offered the opportunity to address Congress as well.

 Here's Raimondo's post:
Here is the one big takeaway from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress:

“I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

“We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

“This is why – this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”

Shorter Bibi: Don’t bother trying to make peace with Iran – because we’ll start a war and drag you into it.

This is no idle threat. While Israel doesn’t have the military capacity to take out Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, an Israeli attack would inevitably embroil US forces in a military confrontation that would soon escalate throughout the region. In his speech, Netanyahu made a point of thanking the US for all the military support we’ve given them and he has good reason to be grateful: in arming the Israeli Sparta, we’ve handed him the means to blackmail us. This is “blowback” with a vengeance.

Beyond this threat to drag us into war, the Israeli Prime Minister doesn’t need to make any arguments, but he did anyway, if only for the sake of appearances.

The first argument is that the very nature of the Iranian regime makes them inherently untrustworthy, and therefore any deal that leaves Tehran with a nuclear capacity of any sort will inevitably be violated by the Iranians. An agreement would give them enough “breakout” time, estimated by Netanyahu to be “a matter of weeks,” to join the nuclear club as a fait accompli.

Yet “breakout time” is a deceptive phrase, one that is not just a matter of how many centrifuges are spinning out nuclear material. While achieving sufficient nuclear enrichment would take some months – assuming they got everything right, a big assumption – assembling a weapon capable of delivering a nuclear payload is a different matter entirely. Testing and development of a delivery system would take at least a year, if not longer. In the meantime, their efforts would be discovered.

The chances of making such a discovery are considerably reduced if there is no agreement: without inspectors monitoring Iranian nuclear activities, we’d be essentially blinded. If the world wants to prevent Iran from building a nuclear arsenal, the only way to do so is to be on the scene.

Netanyahu gives us the example of North Korea, which did indeed have monitoring by inspectors and cameras installed in its facilities, but “cameras can be turned off,” he said. Yes, they can: but then that gives the whole show away. Such a move by Tehran would immediately spark reprisals – not excluding military action. If Iran intended to build nukes, then why would they seek an agreement giving us access – why not just go ahead and start building them?

The truth is that the Iranians, according to our own intelligence community, stopped trying to build a nuke in 2003 and haven’t restarted their program. Netanyahu has been saying Iran is on the brink of acquiring the bomb for years – yet it hasn’t happened. According to the Israeli timetable, Iran should’ve gone nuclear fifteen years ago. After all this time of crying “Wolf!” perhaps we may be forgiven for discounting this umpteenth bout of hysterics.

Netanyahu’s second argument is that the agreement – which hasn’t been reached yet – is said to have an expiration date of ten years. This “sunset” clause supposedly shocked the Israelis, but like so much of what they say in public this is just a lot of hot air. After all, the Bush II administration had roughly the same position, as pointed out by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a recent Aspen Institute forum: “The Bush administration put on the table the proposition that Iran would be treated as a non-nuclear weapons state after it complied for some period of time with any agreement. And that is exactly what we are doing.”

Why didn’t the Israelis raise the alarm then? Because it’s a false alarm, and has nothing to do with the as-yet-to-be-reached agreement. While restrictions on enrichment would eventually end, intrusive inspections would continue – indeed, all signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) are subject to them, and Iran would certainly be no exception.

Israel, which to this day refuses to sign the NPT, has never had its nuclear facilities inspected. Tel Aviv’s arsenal is estimated to contain 100 to 200 nukes.

Netanyahu said nothing new in his peroration: it’s essentially the same act he’s been performing for years, a parody of Winston Churchill. The self-dramatizing, the hyperbole, the whining, the thinly-veiled jabs at his American “allies” – we’ve heard it all before. What stands out, however, given the venue, is the threat to “stand alone,” i.e. launch a war that would rope us in. Implicit in this threat is the possibility that Israel could unleash its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal on Iran – a threat made explicit a few years ago in an op ed piece by an Israeli academic with close ties to the Israeli government.

One would like to think this is a bluff. After all, the whole world would condemn Israel in the wake of such a horror, but there’s little reason to think this would deter Netanyahu. After all, according to him, an agreement would inevitably mean Iran would “soon” have a nuclear arsenal, and this represents an “existential threat” to the Jewish state. Given his “logic,” then, we have every reason to believe Bibi would push the button – and do precisely what he accuses the Iranians of preparing to do.

The other day, Matt Drudge ran a third-hand report that originally appeared in a Kuwaiti newspaper claiming President Obama had threatened to shoot down Israeli war planes on their way to attack Iran. At the time, I viewed this unsubstantiated rumor with a gimlet eye, but after listening to Bibi’s speech it takes on a more credible dimension. And if the report is true – if Netanyahu, during one of his fits of hysteria, really did seriously threaten to bomb Tehran – then Obama’s threat to intercept and shoot them down represents the first supportable use of American military power in recent memory.

If it really did come to that, I have no doubt that the American people – unlike their Congress – would breathe a sigh of relief. The only people in this country who want another war in the Middle East are the fanatic “end times” evangelical Christians and the neocons. Sixty-one percent of the American people support the current negotiations with Iran – and that same number represents the views of Republicans, with 66 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Independents concurring.

Netanyahu’s American trip was widely perceived as an election-year stunt designed to buttress the Prime Minister’s position back home, but in reality it has had the opposite effect. Butting heads with Israel’s chief patron and benefactor can’t be considered a wise election strategy. But the Israelis weren’t Bibi’s target audience: his ranting is aimed at the American people, and specifically their alleged representatives in Congress.

Bibi’s problem is that he wants war, and Americans want peace. Efforts to get Joe Sixpack riled up over the “existential threat” allegedly embodied by Iran have run into war-weariness – and, to be sure, an Israel-weariness that really began to show up after the last attack on Gaza, where the news accounts of children under fire from Israeli war planes brought home for the first time the ugliness of the Israeli occupation. Yet the American Congress has always been a bulwark of knee-jerk support for Israel, and this was underscored by the congressional reaction to the speech – the spectacle of the “peoples’ representatives” interrupting Bibi with wild applause forty times in a forty-minute speech while he sought to undermine an American President.

All in all, a disgusting display of obsequious servility to a foreign leader, with Republicans in the lead. Like North Koreans abjectly competing with each other to see who can applaud the “Dear Leader” the loudest, they scrambled to exhibit their undying loyalty to Bibi. Underscoring just how bizarre was this orgy of adulation, we have one National Review scribe actually scolding Sen. Rand Paul for appearing “less than enthused” during the speech. A panoply of tweets by various Likudniks is hauled out, gasping and guffawing at the Senator’s lèse-majesté. Like their North Korea equivalents, these people don’t even realize how pathetic they are. The rest of us, however, are beginning to realize it.

Fact of the Day

"The result of these [emergency] declarations is disastrous for civil liberties. These orders, all “necessary” in the face of crisis, allow the President to freeze an individual’s assets, confiscate private property, and limit trade. These directives can force retired veterans into military service, and allow for unlimited, secret patents for the military. In some cases, these laws allow the suspension of Habeas Corpus, meaning that the President can arrest, imprison, and detain individuals without review.

Fear is a powerful tool. This is not only well-known by those in positions of power, but exploited. Just like a child makes a parent check under his bed for the monster, U.S. citizens, out of fear, have called upon their elected leaders to be “proactive” against monsters like “drugs” and “terrorism.” Except, while a parent encourages teaches her child to reason, to not fear his imagination, the government tells the child the monster is not only real, but has friends. At any moment, these friends are going to come from under the bed, the closet, and the bedroom door to devour you. Unless, of course, Big Brother steps in to save you."
- Abigail Hall, United States of Fear

Good Questions!

Doug Bandow asks:
Why does the federal government deliver the mail?
Why does it have a monopoly over delivering the mail?
Yes, exactly why does the USG deliver mail and have a monopoly?  Read his latest on the USPS: Going Postal, Again.

Like him, I believe the USG should get out of the mail business altogether.  One of my favorite questions to ask Progressives is if they believe monopolies are bad.  In fact, even those that identify themselves as conservative answer, as the Progressives do, with an emphatic "yes, of course!"  I next ask if a government monopoly is bad, and generally speaking, while the "yes" answers aren't quite as emphatic, the general tone is of agreement.  Of course, I go for the jugular next by asking if the government should get out of delivering first class mail and this is where the backtracking begins.  Almost all Progressives believe the "safety" of our mail requires the government to deliver it.  While some conservatives feel the same, the majority agree that it could be privatized.  Try this game some time.  I think you'll enjoy it. 

America Is So Much Like China When It Comes to a War on Drugs

Would a Bigger Police State Win the Drug War? by Jacob G. Hornberger simply nails it!: [emphasis mine]
Most everyone would agree that China is not a free society. It is ruled by a brutal communist regime, one that has absolutely no regard for civil liberties and such criminal-justice principles as due process of law, trial by jury, right to counsel, and habeas corpus. When the state wants to go after someone, there are no institutional barriers that stand in its way.

China has something else: the war on drugs, the same war that the U.S. government has been waging for decades.

According to an article in the New York Times, despite a fierce, unrelenting war waged against drugs, drug use in China remains as big a problem as ever.

Why is that important to Americans?

Two reasons.

One, it shows that drug laws are part and parcel of tyrannical regimes. It is only in genuinely free societies that people are free to ingest any substance they want without being punished by the state for it.

In other words, the United States has the same type of governmental program as the brutal and tyrannical communist regime in China.

Two, the China experience shows Americans that no matter how much more the federal government were to crack down in the war on drugs, it wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. People would continue to ingest drugs, even while a large percentage of them were being incarcerated or otherwise punished.

In other words, if the U.S. government were to impose the same type of totalitarian police state as China as part of the war on drugs, it would destroy freedom without achieving the desired result.

According to the article,
China has some of the world’s harshest drug laws: those caught trafficking large amounts of drugs can face the death penalty, and the police have the authority to send casual drug users to compulsory drug rehabilitation centers, which human rights groups say are little more than labor camps.
Nonetheless, “Liu Yuejin, director general of the government’s anti-narcotics division, estimated the actual number of addicts at 13 million.”

In one week alone, Chinese police arrested 60,500 people suspected of drug-law violations. By the middle of December 2014, an estimated 180,000 drug users had been punished, with almost a third of them being sent to government-run rehab centers.

As we can see with China, drug laws are part of tyrannical regimes, not free societies. Moreover, even if a total police state were imposed here in the United States as part of the war on drugs, as is the case in communist China, it wouldn’t bring about the desired result anyway.

So, what’s the point of the drug war here at home? Americans should be leading the world to freedom and tolerance, not following the well-trodden road toward tyranny and oppression. What better place to start than by ending the war on drugs?

More ISIS Bullshit (From an Unexpected Source)

A day of disappointments: first, I disagree with the Sage, Thomas Sowell on some of his latest Random Thoughts post and next, I read Nat Hentoff's latest, U.S. Catholic League Reveals Why ISIS Must Be Destroyed and sat in stunned silence at its conclusion.  I went back, read it two more times, and came away, unsurprisingly, twice as angry.  This obsession with a group of dirtbags (ISIS), a group of this nation's on creation thanks to failed interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East must end!  Nat Hentoff, who has seen so much and done so much for the cause of liberty actually states that:
What ISIS has accomplished, for me, is to finally end my long-term, waning interest in Martin Luther King’s nonviolent direct action to restore individual liberties.
I continue to greatly admire Dr. King, but nonviolent action cannot cope with the unabated ferocity of ISIS.
Granted, this ragtag group of America's own making commits horrific acts, but to equate this group with the world's worst killers is taking it over the top:
Donohue explains further: “ISIS, following Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, wants to eradicate the collective memory of the people, which is why it goes beyond killing men, women and children: by destroying ancient works of art, and turning over graves, the totalitarians seek to erase the past, thus paving the way for the future.”
Hentoff poses a very valid question in the piece, to which I provide an equally valid, if not compelling answer, and here's the question:
But what will arouse us, We The People, to demand terminal action and international alliances for the destruction of ISIS?
First off Mr. Hentoff, I disagree with the use of the pronoun "us".  I am rightfully aroused about problems and issues in this country.  In fact, I also disagree with the use of "we", but let's save that for another day.  The way to destroy ISIS is for those to whom they propose an existential threat to take the steps necessary to do so.  In some sense, I feel guilty for writing this, because as I've stated, ISIS was formed from the chaos this country has caused in the Middle East as a result of its destructive foreign policy.  Only those best equipped to identify and destroy a member of ISIS can do so, and this group does not include the American military, most of whom cannot speak the language, know the culture, religions and ethnic groups to distinguish friend from foe.  To believe otherwise is to support the infamous line from the Vietnam War: "if he runs, he must be VC", only today it would become "if he runs, he must be ISIS".  We all know how Vietnam turned out - you know, that domino that if it fell, would lead to total domination by the communists.  The USSR is gone: how can a group of horrible terrorists even remotely pose such a threat? 

Lastly, you close with the following:
What will awaken and strengthen the spirit of liberty among Americans? In you?

The shock and fear of 9/11 did for a time, but here we are now. Are we in the land of the free and the home of the brave ready to smite ISIS?
I find your assumption that my spirit of liberty is somehow asleep, insulting and quite presumptuous on your part.  It isn't.  Never has been.  Your appeal to what amounts to that most destructive of all emotions, nationalism, is equally insulting and immensely dangerous.  It's the very post-9/11 world which has done so much to remind me to value my liberty, and that I should be on the alert for calls to trade that liberty for a sense of security.  No, I'm not an isolationist at all, rather, I'm a non-interventionist, and to think that ISIS poses any threat to the "land of the free and the home of the brave" is irrational.

Quote of the Day

"We can't choose a world where the US gets to spy but China doesn't, or even a world where governments get to spy and criminals don't. We need to choose, as a matter of policy, communications systems that are secure for all users, or ones that are vulnerable to all attackers. It's security or surveillance. 

As long as criminals are breaking into corporate networks and stealing our data, as long as totalitarian governments are spying on their citizens, as long as cyberterrorism and cyberwar remain a threat, and as long as the beneficial uses of computer technology outweighs the harmful uses, we have to choose security. Anything else is just too dangerous." - Bruce Schneier, The Democratization of Cyberattack

Six Years Too Late!

Still, to this day, I have never understood how, a newly elected president in the United States could have won the Nobel Peace Prize!  At the time, I too still had some hope for the "hope and change" Mr. Obama, but the fact that he did nothing up to that point to do anything about peace and yet win what I then thought was one of the world's most significant awards, was simply preposterous!  So finally, six years later, I read In "Unprecedented Move" Nobel Peace Prize Chairman Demoted For Decision To Give Obama 2009 Award.  This was the same man who voted to give the same prize, to the European Union in 2012!  I love the conclusion of the post:
She [Kaci Kullmann] did not deny that his ousting had anything to do with Obama who has since the aware become a neo-con warhawk, who has put some of the most bloodthirsty republicans to shame, and whose actions (and lack thereof) have led to not only global conflict intensity spiking To a 7-year high, but have generated untold riches to the shareholders of the military industrial complex.
There's certainly been so much peace in the world since 2009, agree? What a disgrace - then and now, that BHO has this award, but then again, the stature of the award is so much less today and it will take awarding it to someone like Thich Nhat Hanh to restore its former luster and meaning.

Random Thoughts From the Sage, Thomas Sowell ...

... and I'm not 100% in agreement with The Sage, which I point out in the reposting of his latest edition of Random Thoughts:
Random thoughts on the passing scene:

When President Obama keeps talking about "violent extremists" in the abstract, you might wonder whether Presbyterians are running amok.

The mainstream media seem desperate to try to find something to undermine Republican governor Scott Walker's rise in the polls. The worst they have come up with is that he didn't finish college. Neither did Bill Gates or Michael Dell. The Wright brothers didn't finish high school. Neither did Abraham Lincoln or George Washington.

Have you noticed that there seem to be an ever growing number of things that we are not supposed to say in public?

Given the Obama administration's repeatedly failed policies in the Middle East and the lost credibility of the president's glib pronouncements, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress may be many Americans' first chance to get a realistic assessment of the Middle East situation and its potential for international catastrophe.
[Semper Ratio: absolutely disagree with Mr. Sowell here!  First off, nothing "realistic" has ever come from Bibi's mouth.  This is the same man who back in 1995 predicted that Iran was but 3-5 years away from a nuclear weapons capability.  Granted, I'm not a fan of Obama's performance on the Middle East, but to think that Bibi's take is any more real or honest than Obama's is fantasy at best, delusional at worst.  Lastly, the Middle East, has been, for decades, an "international catastrophe" courtesy of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and this country's continued blind support of Israel.]

Attempts to bring order out of the chaos in the paper jungle of my office usually get nowhere until I finally break everything down into just two categories: (1) urgently needed and (2) trash to be thrown out.

It is going to take time to secure the border, and it ought to take time for Congress to explore the facts about immigrants from different countries before voting on new immigration legislation. Both processes can be going on at the same time. But those who want border security laws and immigration laws passed together -- "comprehensive immigration reform" -- are for denying us that time. Why?

State Department official Marie Harf said, "We cannot win this war by killing them" but instead we need to get to the "root causes" of jihads by providing "job opportunities." We tried getting at the "root causes" of crime back in the 1960s -- and crime rates skyrocketed. But we stopped the Nazis in World War II by killing them, instead of setting up a jobs program in Germany.
[Semper Ratio: Please, please stop the continued references to WWII!  Agreed that Harf's statement is stupidity on steroids, but equating jihadists in the deserts of the Middle East with Nazis in WWII is disingenuous at best.]

The old advertising slogan, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" may or may not have been true. But surely the West should know by now that what happens in the Middle East does not stay in the Middle East. Throwing Israel to the wolves and signing agreements with Iran will not buy "peace in our time" and allow us to further shrink the military and expand the welfare state.
[Semper Ratio: Has this country ever tried getting out of the Middle East and evaluating what happens? What will suddenly come to our borders?  As far as "throwing Israel to the wolves" - who has the nuclear weapons and who doesn't?  Some lamb Israel is!  Why doesn't the threat of nuclear annihilition felt by Iranians engender the same degree of concern here in the United States as that felt by Israel of even a potential threat of the same by Iran?  Shrink the military?  This country spends, by far, the most of any country on what is called "defense" (military).  It could use some shrinking, however, I do agree that money should not be spent on the welfare state.]

Academics often defend tenure, despite its many negative consequences, on grounds that it allows academic freedom for independent minds. Yet there are few places in America with more taboos and intellectual intolerance than academic campuses. The young are indoctrinated with demographic "diversity" that contrasts with a squelching of diversity of ideas on social issues.

It is remarkable how the Internal Revenue Service has been "losing" e-mails that Congressional investigators want to see and how "global warming" researchers have been "losing" the raw data on which their dire predictions have been based. In the social sciences, people just frankly refuse to allow their raw data to be seen by critics of such sacred cow policies as affirmative action.

The radical feminist movement, so ready to go ballistic at any little remark that can be twisted to mean something offensive to women, has been strangely silent while ISIS has been raping women and even little girls wholesale, and selling them as sex slaves. Is the silence of the radical feminists just political expediency or moral bankruptcy? Or both?

Secretary of State John Kerry says that there is less violence than usual in the world right now. Meanwhile the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, says the opposite, that terrorism is more violent and dangerous than ever. Since Clapper is Director of National Intelligence, maybe Kerry should have the title Director of National Stupidity.

We should never again put a first-term Senator in the White House. But, of the three Republican first-term Senators who are prospective candidates for the 2016 nomination for president, Marco Rubio is one of the very few politicians of either party to publicly admit that he was wrong on a major issue -- immigration. He may well be ready for the White House in 2020.
[Semper Ratio: Marco Rubio wouldn't be ready for the White House in any year.  I wish the Sage had ended after his first sentence, which I agree with.  One can't make that kind of statement and then start the next sentence with "but".]

Government Theft in Pennsylvania Continues ... Surprised? I Think Not

So, Pennsylvanians had enough of Republican Governor Corbett and voted in Democrat Tom Wolf.  As always is the case in politics, The Who's classic song Won't Get Fooled Again, in which they sing "meet the new boss; same as the old boss" rings true once again!  Governor Wolf presented his first budget and here's the headline in the Philadelphia Business Journal: Wolf proposes sales tax for legal and accounting services, cable TV.  He's raising the sales tax from 6% to 6.6%.  Next, as the headline states, he wants to personal tax, legal, accounting and "plenty of other" professional services (B2B remains unchanged).  Here's the understatement of the day from the article:
Under his plan, legal, accounting, advertising and plenty of other professional services would be taxed. Adding 6.6 percent on top of already high legal or accounting bills is surely not going to make firms or customers happy.
 Remember the immutable rules of economics: tax something, you'll get less of it; subsidize something, you'll get more of it.  Think people are just going to gladly pay more for these services today?  Of course not, but then again, politicians are superb at confiscating (aka 'taxing') and spending other people's money.

Next up:
The plan also taxes consumer services like cable TV and consumer goods like newspapers and magazines.
This will definitely help kill what few newspapers are left, but then again, some politicians somewhere will call for a bailout of this "historical industry", but I digress.  Magazines? Again, this will kill the print versions, which come to think about it, should appeal to Democrats especially, given the contribution to sustainability.  The article failed to mention if the electronic version of these media will be taxed, but I'm certain the politicians have discussed it, if indeed in fact it's not already in the proposal.  

Here's the list of items that are now taxable in the Keystone state:
  • Candy & Gum
  • Personal Hygiene Products
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Non-Prescription Drugs
  • Caskets & Burial Vaults
  • Flags
  • Textbooks
  • Catalogs & Direct Mail Advertising
Here are some other taxable items:
  • Airline Catering
  • Commission
  • Horses
  • Construction Of Memorials
  • Uniform Commercial Code Filing Fees
  • Investment Metal Bullion & Investment Coins
  • Cable Television
What isn't mentioned in the article were any references to Wolf's statements about "doing this for the kids" i.e., to "fund education". That meme will pick up steam again shortly, I'm sure.

Lastly, notice that not one mention is made about any proposal to make cuts or otherwise shrink the size of government, i.e., to "make" money by "saving" money?  Just take, never trim or cut!  That's the nature of politics and government. 

About That National Debt America: We Don't Owe It To Ourselves ...

... our children and their children, and those after them own that debt and it will have to be paid, no doubt, because as always, arithmetic wins in the end.  I recommend this short (just over 8.5 minutes) podcast with Professor Anthony Davies, as he debunks this myth that debt is somehow ok because, as Paul Krugman points out, "we owe it to ourselves".  Here's On National Debt, Do ‘We Owe It to Ourselves’?  Please pay particular note to the last minute or so.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nutrition 101

Great starting point for a new repository on nutrition.  Be sure to check out Health 101: Health, Exercise and Medicine too]

Let's start off by debunking the myths that are killing us.  All new updates will be in RED BOLD going forward:

American Government Dietary Guidelines Are (and Have Been) Killing You

New:  Low-fat diet advice was based on undercooked science  

New:  We should never have told people to stop eating fat 

New:  The glorious return of the egg: Why Uncle Sam is a horrible nutritionist 

New:  How a Select Committee of Dieticians and Politicians Misdirected America Into Eating a Diet That Was Never Satisfying & Lowered Sex Hormone & Mood Levels While Fattening & “Diabeticizing” America

Always A Must Read:  Are some diets “mass murder”? Note: YES, especially those that promote low-fat consumption!  See other "Always A Must Read" below, on the same subject.

Always A Must Read:  The Last Anti-Fat Crusaders  And WHO are the last of these crusaders? The government.  Crony-capitalism KILLS.

Always A Must Read:  Looks Like The Medical Establishment Was Wrong About Fat

11 Charts That Show Everything Wrong with Our Modern Diet 

All You Need To Know About Calories:

What You MUST Know about High-Fructose Corn Syrup & Sugar:

New: Is Sugar Toxic? [answer: YES!]

 Concerning Study: High-Fructose Corn Syrup More Toxic than Sugar, Reduces Lifespan
[Note: This is just nasty shit, so keep away from it. Know this too: one of the primary reasons for the increased use of HFCS is our nation's sugar lobby which receives subsidies from the USG in order to keep production low, resulting in the US paying some of the world's highest prices for sugar.  Translation: Your government is killing you.]

Is Sugar Really Just as Addictive as Cocaine? 
[Note:  Though the piece doesn't mention HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), it should be considered the same as sugar, if not worse.  Nice infographic]

John Yudkin: The Man Who Tried to Warn us About Sugar 
[1.5hr video in the article is worth the time.  Sugar is a killer, plain and simple; followed by wheat] 

Common ingredient is worse than salt for blood pressure

5 Things That Happen if You Quit Sugar for Life

 What If You Could Prevent Alzheimer’s?   [yes ... sugar and HFCS] 

How to Lose Weight by Identifying Hidden Sugars in Your Diet  Disclosure: I firmly believe that the ONLY way to lose weight it to eliminate sugar.


82% Fat Diet! It's Not the Fat That's Killing Us, It's the Carbs!!!

24 Diagrams To Help You Eat Healthier

Not Eating this Green Superfood? You’re Crazy [Note: it's avocados!]

Foods and Other Lifestyle Factors That Will Shorten Your Lifespan

5 of the Hottest Healing Foods of 2014 [Note: for #3, the best is 86% cacao]

Eat chocolate to boost your memory and avocado for high cholesterol

8 True Benefits of Drinking Coffee You Didn’t Know About

15 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Lemon Water Every Morning

Top 9 Anti-aging Antioxidants  Disclosure: I take Resveratrol and Alpha-lipoic acid daily. 

This Mineral Found to Reduce ‘All Cause Mortality’ Dramatically

The ketogenic diet: high fat, high hopes

6 Awesome Health Benefits of Coffee  and 10 Superfoods You Can Add to Your Coffee

Eating These 3 ‘Fatty’ Foods Can Make You Thinner

8 Impressive Health Benefits of Turmeric

My Top 5 Superfoods

Our Secret Weapon: The Green Drink

Study: Eating High-Fat Dairy Lowers Type 2 Diabetes Risk

12 Signs You Need to Eat More Protein

What’s the Deal with Fiber? 

Breakfast—Not the Most Important Meal After All... 

Butter Is Back—Processed Foods Are Identified as Real Culprits in Heart Disease

10 Reasons Green Tea Is The Healthiest Drink In The World

Top 10 Destructive Nutrition Lies Ever Told

Not All Carbs Are Bad: How You Can Tell the Difference

4 Foods That Have Surprising Medicinal Benefits

Study Shows That Coconut Oil Can Help Reduce Belly Fat

10 Shocking Facts About Processed Food

Four Great Fat Rich Foods To Start Adding To Your Diet

High-Carb Diet May Increase Your Risk of Dementia

The Health Benefits of Coconut Flour • A Gluten-Free Flour Substitute

5 Lies About Healthy Food That Are Making You Fat  [your body needs fat; plenty of it! Same with cholesterol.  Please, read the following books: Wheat Belly; Grain Brain]

7 Foods For Teeth That Your Dentist Wants You To Eat More Often  [not so sure about #6, as any sweetener will trip insulin production to some degree. I'm still researching this!]

10 Surprising Benefits of Walnuts You May Not Know About

18 food replacement hacks worth giving a shot

7 Unexpected Ingredients You Might Eating For Lunch Today

15 Best Anti-Aging Foods You Need To Start Eating Now [Note: I'd say '14' ... be careful about #3: stay away from wheat! And, I'm not on board with the 'anti-aging' - they're just good foods]

All Salt is Not Equal

10 Amazing Benefits of Oolong Tea You Didn’t Know

Supplement Alert: Antioxidants May Protect Cancer Cells Instead Of Protecting Us From Them  [note: key word here is "may" ... more studies need to be conducted, and, the raw data and methodology for THIS study needs to be peer reviewed as well]

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

6 Things You Need To Know About Protein

How To Win An Argument With A Nutritionist

The Top Foods That Lead To Inflammation–Avoid These At All Costs

7 Super Foods That Will Make You Live Longer

8 Foods that Speed Up Ageing While Promoting Sickness:
4. Artificial sweeteners are worse than sucrose. Ignore the aspartame and diet soda trap, too. You should actually avoid all sodas, including diet soda. Aspartame is a neuron excitoxin that can excite brain cells to death, putting you in the fast lane to dementia or even brain cancer.

Health 101

A health repository for superb articles on health, exercise and medicine.  [Be sure to check out Nutrition 101 too]

Check back often - your health depends on it!

New:  The Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness

New:  National Panel Reverses Idiotic Cholesterol Guidelines

Tackling Cancer With a New Paradigm

Study: Popular Over-The-Counter Drugs May Increase Dementia Risk  The potential culprit are anticholinergics.  More needs to be done on this of course, since remember: correlation does not mean causation.

How To Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death: Cholesterol Pills Won’t Do

The 82% Fat Diet!! It's Not the Fat That's Killing Us, It's the Carbs!

Foods and Other Lifestyle Factors That Will Shorten Your Lifespan

7 Factors to Consider if You’re Told Your Cholesterol Is Too High

Chronic Psychitis by Scott Alexander, whose blog I recommend as a daily read to everyone!

Scientists Only Just Figured Out Where Fat Goes When You Lose Weight

Pineapple Compound Bromelain Trumps Colonoscopy for Colon Health

Vitamin C Antidote To All Known Toxins Thomas Levy, MD

Metabolism Boosting Tips to Optimize Your Weight

Bad, Then Good (Potentially) News on Alzheimer’s Disease:

Now the good:

This Mineral Found to Reduce ‘All Cause Mortality’ Dramatically

Looks Like The Medical Establishment Was Wrong About Fat

Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Dementia Confirmed

Basic Tips For Being Healthy

Brushing and flossing are good for your brain?  [Answer hint: YES!!!!]

5 Surprising Factors That Make You Pack on Pounds

Extremely Important: Fluoride Treatment  5 Ways to Detox Fluoride

7 Facts about trans-Resveratrol

Walking More May Be Key for a Longer, Healthier Life

Study: Exercise Protects The Brain Against Depression

Nutritional Approaches to Mental Health

To Protect Your Heart, Your Sodium to Potassium Ratio Is More Important Than Your Overall Salt Intake

7 Tips to Ignite and Maintain Your Digestive Fire [note: I'm not so keen on #7, i.e., while I support the need for fiber, I'm not convinced of "whole grains" being the best source]

How Sugar Harms Your Brain Health and Drives Alzheimer’s Epidemic (aka "Sugar Kills and You Won't Even Know It - Literally")

Why Do People Gain Weight? (aka "Never Eat in These 11 Situations" - also explains the "freshman 15" though not explicitly)

9 Signs You Need to Eat More Fat

Must Read: Ketogenic diet beats chemo for almost all cancers Note: Doctor Thomas Seyfried is no quack!

Maybe We Don't All Need Annual Physicals

Fasting diets like the 5:2 'can help prevent diabetes by reducing cholesterol after 10 to 12 hours'

Is Alzheimer’s Caused by an Infection?

Are These the Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat?

Top Ten Ways the American Health Care System Fails

The Importance of Vitamin D for Normalizing Your Cholesterol Levels

How To Workout At Home Without Equipment Or Weights  I liked this, but the language is unnecessary IMHO.  I guess I'm just getting old.

Hero’s Workout Styles You Can’t Miss My favorite set of exercises.  These come courtesy of Neila Rey's Free Visual Workouts

80% of Strokes Are Preventable

The Best Exercise There Is, Hands Down  easy, here it is:
The single best exercise there is, hands down, is the one you’ll do.

69 Kettlebell Exercises That Quickly Help You Get in Shape

7 Simple Ways To Be Healthy And Avoid Getting Sick [watch the video on sugar!]

7 Benefits of the Bulgarian Split Squat

Can exercising for just 60 seconds a week transform your health? 

How To Lose Fat Fast

Ketogenic Diet Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Numerous Aging Markers

Free Visual Workouts

6 Illustrated Guides To Different Types Of Meditation

Set Goals by Time Instead of Distance or Quantity  [IMHO this is the critical success factor to getting back into an exercise routine.  Don't set distance or quantity goals, i.e., '2 miles' or '20 reps'. It works]

15 Reasons to Sprint More This Year

Placebo Effect Dictates Therapeutic Effect of Headache Medication

Flame Thrower: Top 10 Natural Ways to Reduce Inflammation

It Happened: Net Neutrality

So, an unelected group of essentially political hacks, has taken upon itself the task of regulating and destroying the internet: "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted in favor of reclassifying the Internet from an "information service" to being a "telecommunication service" and thus subject to same sort of Title II regulations that have governed voice telephony for decades."  Thanks assh*les.  Hopefully they'll lose when the (rightly) inevitable lawsuits begin, but the simple fact that they can even take such a vote borders on the absurd.

This is yet another example of government addressing a problem that doesn't exist.  Of course, at the end of the day, it's all the result of politics.

An H.L. Mencken quote come to mind as I ponder the simple thought that I did not want the internet regulated in any way, shape or form, and it's this: "we" deserve what we get, that in essence "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard"

Here are some of the best links on the entire sorry episode in American politics:

3 Charts That Show The FCC is Full of Malarkey on Net Neutrality and Title II by Nick Gillespie

FCC Passes Strongest Net Neutrality Rules In America's History [a different view]
The open internet finally got the protection it deserves from profit-hungry cable companies.

Dear FCC: Thanks for Listening to Team Internet!  [a different view]

Stop Calling Government Regulation of the Internet “Net Neutrality”

The Net Neutrality Scam

Net Neutrality Wins: What Now?

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a "Solution That Won't Work to a Problem That Doesn't Exist"

New:  GovInternetAbuse.Con 

New:  The FCC Is Toothless and Feckless

Proving My Belief That There is Truly Never a Bottom

This is simply horrible.   World's Largest Container-Shipper Warns Global Trade Is Slowing Down:

While it will hardly come as a surprise to many, especially those who have followed the historic collapse of the Baltic Dry index to levels which, all else equal, signify a global depression of epic proportions...

... and which led South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, to report a $3 billion loss in 2014, the recent comments of the CEO of the world's largest container-shipping group, Maersk Line, should put things into perspective, especially for those who say that the Baltic Dry is no longer indicative of anything but massively dry-bulk ship overbuilding and excess supply (some 8 years after the past cyclical peak).

Unfortunately, as Søren Skou, Maerk's CEO, admitted when he warned that global trade growth could slow this year from recent 4% growth ratnes, as Chinese, Brazilian and Russian economies disappoint, the Baltic Dry is still not only relevant and accurate but telling the real story of global growth, or lack thereof.

As the FT reports, container demand rose by about 4% in both 2013 and 2014 and Maersk Line, the Danish group that ships about 15% of the world’s seaborne freight, expects it to increase 3 to 5% this year. Actually make it 3%. Or lower. 

“I’m personally more towards the low end of that,” Søren Skou, Maersk Line’s chief executive, told the Financial Times. “Growth from a historical perspective is quite sluggish. It has a huge impact for us as an industry.”

Furthermore, in the ongoing debate whether the collapse in crude prices is due to excess supply or a global contraction, this is what the world's biggest shipper thinks: Mr Skou called the halving of oil prices in the past year “a net positive for container growth” but nonetheless said the opposing forces were potentially greater. 

In other words, yes supply isn't helping, but it is the lack of global demand that is pushing equilibrium levels lower, aka global deflation.

“The economies in Europe are still very sluggish. Brazil, Russia and China: those three economies used to drive a lot of growth, and right now we are not really seeing that to the same extent. The only real bright spot is the US, and even the US is good but not great,” he added.

Well, yes, because as even economists finally figured out, it is once again snowing in the winter.
Back to the Maersk CEO whose comments are seen as a good indicator of global trade as it carries goods and products between Asia, Europe, the US, Africa and Latin America: we learn that following what was supposedly the "hottest year on record" it snowed pretty much everywhere too, and what we, and Goldman, both said about the world being in contraction now is validated when looking at trade volumes:
He said that it was always hard to interpret the first quarter because of the Chinese new year but added: “To my mind volumes were sluggish. There is nothing in container volume numbers that suggest that the global economy is just on the verge of starting a new growth trend.”
Why is 4% growth (and certainly lower) important? Because just like 7% is roughly the growth number that China needs to hit every year to avoid social "disturbance", anything below this and suddenly you are talking mass corporate bankrutpcies due to oversupply, and a race to the pricing bottom by companies all of which are massively levered (in fact, as we have shown on numerous occasions, corporate leverage is the highest in history once more):
"Before if you acquired too much capacity you could kind of work your way out of it. In a 4 per cent environment capacity decisions take on a different perspective if you get it wrong. The good old days aren’t coming back,” he added.
And yet the biggest paradox, or perhaps most logical outcome, of all this is that just as margins are about to be squeezed across the entire global supply chain, the healthier companies are now rushing to do what the oil driller are doing, and overproduce, in the process pushing prices even lower in hopes of putting marginal companies, and those which don't have access to cheap and easy funds, out of business. Call it the Amazon effect, only here one is dealing with net debt leverage of 3x, 4x or higher. To wit:
Despite the warning, Maersk is about to order new ships for the first time since 2011 when it bought 20 Triple Es, then the world’s largest vessels capable of transporting the equivalent of 18,000 20-foot containers.

Mr Skou said a decision would be made between April and June with the likelihood that more Triple Es would be ordered, possibly slightly modified to take up to 20,000 containers. Maersk has said it needs the new ships to help it maintain its market leadership up until the end of the decade.
So with global demand lower as a result of slowing trade, and with Maersk about to boost ship supply even more, the result will be an even more aggressive drop in cargo and haulage prices as the deflationary wave hits yet another industry, in the process forcing seaborne transportation to be the latest to succumb to deflation, which for the highly levered sector means even more defaults are imminent now that China no longer is pumping nearly $4 trilion in total new credit every year. 

Is The Only Answer to Global Debt a "Debt Jubilee"?

Maybe.  I don't know.  Debt-To-GDP Ratios Demand Debt Jubilee.  I've penned many recent posts stating that when it comes to investing, other than staying in a bubble that I know is going to burst, what else can I do?  I know it's bad for me, but WTF!! I have no friggin' idea how a jubilee works, or even if it would work!  Intuitively I feel it can't be simple, and, someone has to lose.  Then again, countries cannot continue to live faced with these debt-to-GDP ratios: