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Journal Journal: UBI is the modern version of Communism 1

In the last year or so there have been numerous stories on /. on the subject of Universal Basic Income (UBI). Many so called 'libertarians' left a number of comments on how they are supporting UBI because they think it might be more efficient than other forms of welfare.

Whether welfare is efficient or not is really irrelevant from point of view of individual freedom, putting a lipstick on a pig doesn't change the nature of the animal but I do want to bring to their attention this simple fact: UBI is the modern version of Communism and just like all other forms of collectivism, this form is doomed to misery, oppression, murder and finally economic failure.

Communism is absence of private ownership of means of production, possibly State ownership or in case of Marxism some form of collective non-State sharing. For voluntary forms of Communism or Marxism there is no need to reinvent the wheel, go to a modern day kibbutz, where people are participating voluntarily and this might be the best argument for *voluntary* form of cooperation to date.

However this is not the subject of my post. Here I am looking at the UBI imposed by the State, where the income taxes are collected from each person according to his or her income level (ability) and everybody is getting some minimum amount of money out of that pool on a monthly basis.

First of all automation, outsourcing and other forms of efficiencies are cited as the reasons for all of these UBI related ideas, so it is proposed that in some not so distant future people will no longer be able to earn a living by holding a job, because American (and maybe European) people are uncompetitive when it comes to automation and foreign labour. The reality is that labour and capital are always in competition and it is not necessary that capital should always win against labour in the market. Capital wins where government makes labour uncompetitive with various rules, laws, taxes and government intervening on behalf of unions that make it too expensive to hire labour and make it more practical to automate or outsource.

Once the labour is uncompetitive due to government intervention into the market the argument becomes that without UBI there will be no more jobs for people to take and so UBI is proposed as a form of welfare that is supposedly more efficient. In reality the reason why UBI is proposed has nothing to do with efficiency but everything to do with marketability of that concept. It is much easier to sell UBI to the public, majority of which is actually still working under the current system than to sell a welfare system that excludes people based on their income level. The argument is the same nonsense that was used to push through the SS and EI. Since everybody is supposedly going to receive the benefits it is sold not as a form of welfare (which has stigma attached to it) but as a form of universal entitlement that everybody gets.

SS and EI benefits (as well as Medicare) are completely unnecessary for the people who are self sufficient, the people running profitable companies, people who are much better at investing their money than a modern State apparatus could ever be. Yet SS and EI are advertised as 'universal' to make them look as if they are not a form of welfare but instead a form of insurance. Of-course the people who do not need SS and EI benefits also absolutely do not need to pay into the SS and EI system through payroll taxes. Yet without them paying into these systems the payments would be in even more deficit than they are today. The proponents of SS and EI state that these programs are sustainable and would be even more sustainable if the wealthy people didn't have a cap at 100K or so that EI and SS percentages are taken from. Of-course those are the very people (the wealthier income earners) who do not need SS and EI in the first place, they shouldn't be in those systems, they don't need that form of welfare and they shouldn't be paying those taxes. Originally SS was set up for widows and orphans, not for everyone. Eventually it was extended to everybody else to make those ponzi scams workable much longer. The self employed were excluded from the system completely, they could afford their own retirement and other savings, they didn't have to pay into those programs, eventually they were forced to pay into them to make the ponzi scams run longer. Today the argument is that the wealthy should not have a cap for SS and EI payments to make those ponzi scams run longer yet.

UBI would be similar to SS in a way making it 'SS for all', not only for the retired. But why am I defining UBI as a modern version of Communism? Lets start from the obvious: everybody who works will have to pay into UBI and everybody who does not will not be paying into it. So this is a technicality, but basically it says: from each according to his ability to each according to his need. However under Communism there cannot be private means of production, there is either State ownership of productive resources or some voluntary collective ownership (like in a family or in a kibbutz). So the real question would a UBI system mean that the ownership and operation of productive resources will be nationalized and otherwise collectivized? My contention is that it is inevitable that a UBI regime requires nationalization and collectivization of resources and of all means of production. I will explain this in detail and I will start with a simplified model.

Consider two villages where both villages share common currency (dollars):

* Village A has a population of 10 people, each one of them is working in something productive. There is a farmer, there is a blacksmith, there is a hunter, there is a doctor, there is a shoemaker, etc.

* Village B has a population of 10 people, one of them is a milk farmer who owns a cow, the rest are either unemployed or are service sector workers, they do not possess means of production.

The milk farmer produces 10 litres of milk a day that he can sell at $1 a litre thus making $10 a day. The farmer sells the milk for dollars but the reason he wants to receive dollars is to buy goods produced by other workers. The farmer wants to buy some bread, shoes, tools, he sometimes needs to visit a doctor. The farmer also may pay for some service like for a haircut. The people from village A are able to supply the farmer with the goods exchanged for his dollars, the people from village B are able to supply him with some services.

A person from the B village (an unemployed individual) decided to start a campaign for equality in the village because the income levels are so different. The milk farmer can make $10 and a service sector worker can only make a small fraction of that while an unemployed person does not get to eat unless he can figure out something useful to do as a service or he begs or robs somebody. The campaign starts picking up momentum across the B villagers since they agree, they are all poorer than the milk farmer. Village B forms a government and collectively introduces a motion that requires that everybody in the village must get a UBI of minimum $1 a day. For this to work each one of the villagers must contribute what they are able to make the total sum of $10 a day so that the $10 can be distributed to each villager at $1 a day. The total taxable income of the B villagers is maybe $15, $10 of which comes from the daily earnings of the milk farmer. A UBI income tax is established and the milk farmer is now taxed at about 80%, which makes the 80% of UBI amount and the remaining 20% come from the rest of the villagers.

At this point the milk farmer looks at his income of $10, $8 of which is taken away and $1 is returned to him, making his daily net income $3 and he decides that it does not make sense to generate income in the village. So instead of selling his milk in both villages, he moves most of his sales to village A, where he now makes $8 out of the daily $10 and maybe he is able to sell $1 worth of milk in village B. Then he leaves the $8 in the bank in village A and only takes home $1 a day. All of a sudden the daily UBI taxable income in the village B falls from $15 down to $6. Since there are 10 people in the village it is not possible to split the $6 among them at $1 amounts and besides this would mean that even at the taxation level of 100% there is still a UBI deficit of $4 a day.

B villagers (except for the milk farmer) get together and decide that this will not do, they have to make sure that they have their $1 a day of UBI but to achieve this they have to force the milk farmer to bring his income home. Milk farmer does not agree but he is met with overwhelming force of 9 guns pointing in his direction. At this point the farmer's ownership of his property, his means of production are confiscated from him because he is unwilling to work within the system. He might decide to continue working within the system but again, from point of view of how the business is done he has no choice in the matter, he is no longer the owner of his private property and of his means of production. It is nationalization for all practical purposes, whether the milk farmer goes with the program or not. Eventually of-course there is a movement to ensure that nobody with such horrible background as a private property owner can actually live at any level above somebody with much more acceptable background (like that of a labourer or that of an unemployed, the formerly unemployed are the ones with the most time to set political agenda, normally they will end up in the top echelons of the newly formed government).

This is actually the road that was taken a number of times on this planet where 'social justice' doctrines have been taken to their logical conclusion, the end result is overall poverty, destruction of the means of production given that nobody is actually allowed to own productive property as to not ascend above the rest and generally economic calamity that comes some time after the installation of this type of a regime.

UBI is a modern form of Communism, it is the rose under another name or more to the point it is the proverbial lipstick on a pig.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Can Capitalism and Democracy Co-Exist? 1

I'm going to say that no, finance-driven capitalism like we see in the US and UK cannot exist is inherently anti-democratic. Industrial driven capitalism has a better chance.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Not a Racist Country? Really? 23

A black man is gunned down by police for handling a toy gun in a Walmart. A gun that Walmart was selling.

But this white guy can carry a real, loaded rifle (and body armor) in front of a school, refuses to show ID to police and nothing happens.

Open Carry laws are clearly meant just for white people. Laws that only apply to one race are the definition of racist.

User Journal

Journal Journal: More Than Enough - Comcast declares war on Tor 31

If you haven't dumped Comcast yet, you better hurry:

Reports have surfaced (Via /r/darknetmarkets and another one submitted to us) that Comcast agents have contacted customers using Tor and instructed them to stop using the browser or risk termination of service. A Comcast agent named Jeremy allegedly called Tor an âoeillegal service.â The Comcast agent told its customer that such activity is against usage policies.
The Comcast agent then repeatedly asked the customer to tell him what sites he was accessing on the Tor browser. The customer refused to answer.
The next day the customer called Comcast and spoke to another agent named Kelly who reiterated that Comcast does not want its customers using Tor. The Comcast agent then allegedly told the customer:

"Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that arenâ(TM)t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day."

User Journal

Journal Journal: Privacy and Secrecy 9

These two concepts are presented as being synonymous in popular discussion. A "You can't have one without the other." kind of thing.

This concerns me greatly.

I could write at great length about the threat secrecy poses to human culture, and have before, but that's not what I'm going to do right now.

I've had conversations in the past where I claimed people never had privacy in the first place, that between the government and the schools and the banks and credit card companies and whatnot, their movements and activities have been monitored since the day they were born.

But this was never precisely right. Because privacy doesn't require secrecy. That is what I want to talk about.

First, a couple of illustrations:

When you go to the bathroom, it's not a secret what you're going in there for. We know you're going in there to release waste. You know that we know. But we would generally agree that this gives you privacy.

When you live with roommates, and you take your special someone to your room and hang a tie on the door, we know what you're in there for. You know that we know. But you still feel a sense of privacy, and you still do what you went in there to do.

So. What makes these situations private, when they're not even vaguely secret?

The lack of a requirement to interact.

It's a matter of social decorum. Good manners.

At the end of the day, I don't really care that you know I took a dump. What I care about is that I don't have to carry on a conversation about it. I don't even want to have the "conversation of the eyes". I want to forget, for a moment, that you exist.

I don't think I'm exceptional in this regard.

So, clearly, you can have privacy without secrecy.

Let's examine something a little more pervasive.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the last 15 years, you're probably familiar with the "Reality TV" concept.

These people are living in a fishbowl. They have no secrets, and they know it.

But you can clearly see that, despite this, they will seek out a space where they are physically alone so they can have some privacy. And you can clearly see them relax, because their need for privacy has been fulfilled.

Why? There are likely more people observing them that ever before... how can they possibly feel like they have privacy?

The answer is, they don't need to react to you. They don't need to respond to things you say. That automatic reflex we have to decipher what your eyes are saying never kicks in. That is what they really crave.

So. One more illustration. Not even anecdotal. Could not tell you when or where I heard this, but here goes:

The story is, there is an Asian culture where everyone is packed in so tightly, and their building construction affords them no secrecy because their walls are so thin that a man walking past your house can see and hear right through your rice paper walls.

Nevertheless, these people successfully find the privacy they need. Because they do not react to things that are none of their business. They know their place.

There is a lesson here for us.

We are grappling with a real problem in our civilization. We have forged tools with the power to extend our senses further than our great grandparents could have ever dreamed. But we have not yet demonstrated the maturity to handle it.

The result of this is that there is a small class of people who have access to vast amounts of information about everyone, and a large class of people who have very little access and what access they have has been carefully chosen to control their opinions.

The small class of people and the large class of people are both fighting to preserve this state of affairs. The large class are defending the "right to secrecy" because they feel they are fighting to protect their privacy from their ill mannered fellows. The small class are defending the right to secrecy because they have an unfair advantage over their fellows and they wish to preserve that state of affairs.

Simultaneously, you have people who are fighting for "transparency", because they recognize the unfair advantage that is held by a group that seeks to control them, and they wish that unfair advantage erased.

In this way, we are turned against ourselves by those who would rule us.

I've argued this point exhaustively in online forums under my standard pseudonym, and have been jeered at, and invited to publish my real name, address and banking information.

This is what we're up against. I've got skeletons in my closet, same as everyone. I'm flawed, but I'm confident I'm no more flawed than any of you. If the veils of secrecy came crashing down for one and all, I'm confident that it would be impossible for anyone to attack my character and reputation without being seen for a gross hypocrite.

But, to go first is to allow hypocrites to destroy you, and to fail in your attempt to address the problem.

It's a difficult problem. I'm not sure how to get from where we are to where I believe we need to be. I see it as a real possibility that we will destroy our own potential to grow beyond the limitations of our fragile flesh rather than develop the maturity to cope with this situation.

However, I think that creating a sense of the distinction between privacy and secrecy is an essential step towards having a dialog that will lead us there.

Thank you for reading.

User Journal

Journal Journal: In praise of e-cigs 9

I had tried everything. I tried the patch, the gum, the pill that made the smokes taste nasty, and nothing. No matter what I kept on smoking. Now after 30 years I FINALLY was able to throw away the cigarette...thanks to e-cigs.

For anyone who wishes to try quitting using e-cigs some advice. 1.- Do NOT use the ones that look like a cigarette, not only are the batteries VERY weak but trying to get one of those to drag like a cigarette will just leave you frustrated. 2.- Get what is called a "510 thread" or "Ego style" unit, these can be had for as little as $25 online. 3.- Watch some of the excellent tutorials to find which tips are right for you, a good place to start would be "indoor smoking" on Youtube.

Hopefully this will inspire at least one other person to give it a try and if this old dog can learn a new trick and give up the butts? Then you can too!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Over 9000?

You ever wonder what would happen to privdog privacy guard if it went over 9999? Well if you want to see for yourself head over to "" as so far my privdog has managed to roll over TWICE and IT IS STILL GOING. I think I may have found the spammiest spammy spam of sites in all of creation. Anybody find any worse?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Tapering..... in China. 5

and so it starts. The Chinese government decided to stop buying up US Treasuries and they are likely not going to roll over the US bonds that they already own, that would be Trillions of dollars that the Fed will have to print to buy up this incoming flood of the old Treasuries and without the Chinese in the US bond market, the Fed will have to buy up all of the new issued debt as well.

In this case what is good for the Chinese is bad for the Americans, Chinese are going to see a long needed deflation finally, while the Americans will see massive amounts of inflation, so much of which was exported to China previously, coming back.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A new democratic model 4

This is a work in progress, which I will continue to expand upon. I feel it is important to share it in it's unfinished, because I am frequently misunderstood when I attempt to communicate my ideas in conversation, and am attacked by people based on a false understanding of what I propose. This is intended to be a tool which I deliver as a gift to mankind, to use or ignore as they see fit, and not something I impose upon anyone.

The Principles:

Any person who wishes to participate in the running of society has the right to do so. They operate in the fashion that suits them best in each sector, and they do as they will with their spare time. They have the right to vote in the operation of the society they participate in and have their vote counted.

Some people cannot choose to actively participate in society. Children who are too immature to be safe, invalids who are unable because they are in too much pain, those too elderly to function properly.

People need to be involved to have the right to make decisions. If they are not involved, their vote should not count. To allow their vote to count is to those who are ignorant to rule. When one man knows, and another does not, the second should bow his head, and the first should take responsibility.

However, people who are not involved should still have the right to cast votes, propose changes to the system and express themselves just as any other. Wisdom can come from those who are young, elderly and infirm, and it is important that we respect that fact. We can all remember bearing witness to hidebound foolishness amongst our elders at some point in our youth, and those of us who are not yet elderly and infirm can rest assured that we most likely will be.

Those who are not involved and cast votes should not have their vote counted towards a decision, however, those who are involved are free to assign their vote to them, and those votes will count. Thus, a wise elder or visionary invalid who cannot participate through deeds may still be the voice of those who do participate through deeds, for as long as they believe his leadership is wise.

Children should be treated as a special case.

It is important that children continue to be born and that the system should treat them as future citizens of vital importance to us all and not the same as mature or invalid dependents who are cared for out of compassion.

Therefore, parents should be considered to have an additional vote that represents their child, for so long as they continue to nurture to them.

Children should still continue to be able to cast a vote for themselves when they are mature enough to understand what that means, participate in the process and develop their voice, and if mature adults choose to appoint a child as their representative, those votes should be assigned according to the choices of the child and not automatically be passed along to the childs parent.

All data and information should be available to everyone in principle, and it shall be an ongoing goal of society to see that all measures available to make it accessible in practice are implemented. Transparency of information shall never be compromised in support of other concerns, because it is essential to the sane and wise operation of a democratic society.

Where secrecy exists, the act of participating in democracy is itself insane and unwise. It is through exploitation of this truth that those with arcane knowledge make themselves parasites of the ignorant, leading to weakness and suffering of those kept ignorant, the inevitable execution of the parasitic ruler, and often the destruction of the entire human culture.

Preventing this situation from arising is the responsibility of all humanity.

The Tools:

The Watchers - A sensor network, intended to gather data and allow all people to be aware of the environment to the maximum practical degree

The Testaments - Personal mesh networked voting devices with record keeping and personal sensors, intended to allow a person to demonstrate their votes to their peers, review the ongoing operations of the culture and propose changes to the way things are run.

The Witnesses - Stationary mesh networked recording devices, intended to decentralize vote archives and create enough forensic evidence to make wide scale vote tampering impossible

The Web - Wired network, intended to act in a supporting role to the Watchers, Testaments and Witnesses where it is advantageous to use Artifacts of Mankind to analyze data and discover patterns.

The Transition:

This presupposes that the infrastructure for the new model for representative democracy has been designed and distributed and the vast majority agree in principle with its use.

I started writing this proposal with the idea of applying it strictly to legal systems, but realized that it really should govern all common systems, which would include all large scale infrastructure and commonly used systems for governing human affairs. This is a statement with far reaching implication and is going to have to be expanded upon significantly for it to make sense.

1) Cataloging:

We should create a catalogue of laws and systems, together with the justification for those laws and systems, an articulation of the sacrifice they represent, and an articulation of any conditions which would justify their being revoked.

The population should have x number of days to create a catalogue of the laws and systems which exist, together with the justification for those laws and systems continued existance.

2) Judgement:

The population should vote to determine if the closing period for contributions to the catalogue should be extended.

Any laws and systems which are not indexed after the closing period will be judged to be unsupported by anyone and therefore eliminated (there being no reason why they cannot be re-introduced at the end of the migration process)

The laws and systems should be indexed in terms of those which are justified by core values and those which are justified because of how they affect other laws and systems, and a map created that articulates these justifications.

The laws and systems sould then be considered in terms of the relevance of their stated purpose, how well they fulfil their stated purpose, and a consideration of how and if the current conditions are right for them to exist. The population should vote to keep them or remove them on this basis.

At the conclusion of this process, there should be no laws and systems which do not have justification, common support, and some thought put to the time when they might cease to be sane and wise.

3) Ongoing Operation

Any person may:

    a) Propose a new law or system with novel justification

    b) Propose that a new contraindication be ratified for an existing system
                  When the conditions of our culture are x, this rule will cease to be wise.

    c) Propose that a new sacrifice be ratified for an existing system
                  This rule causes hardship in x way, and that hardship should be acknowledged.

    d) Propose that the conditions for revoking an existing system have been met
                  This contraindication was set down long ago when this rule was made, and I propose that it now applies

    e) Propose a new law or system to supersede an existing system by meeting it's justification with:

                - less sacrifice (demonstratable justification)
                          We can meet need x with this different system, and hardship x which the previous system demanded
                          would cease to be necessary
                - less contraindications (deductive justification)
                          Existing system x will become a poor and unwise tool when condition x occurs, and this new system will meet
                          the need without the risk of becoming defunct under condition x.
                - both

A system will have to be agreed upon to determine at what point a proposal must be put to a vote. Possibilities might be that a certain critical number of people must "second" the proposal, or perhaps a critical percentage of the population.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Keystone XL Pipeline Will Raise Gas Prices for US Consumers

Unintended consequences:

There is no shortage of available crude oil, domestic or imported, in the
United States, and for the last few years there has been a glut at the nationâ(TM)s
largest crude oil terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. Canadian tar sands oil
would be processed for greater use in the U.S. only as other imported or domestic
sources are reduced. Replacing Mexican oil with Canadian oil would
only trade the closer source for the more distant.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ho Hos are back, no word on the Ding Dongs 5

On November 21, 2012, Hostess Brands was shut down and went through a bankruptcy procedure to restructure its debts. On June 7, 2013, Hostess is open for business again under the new management.

This is an example of what free market based restructuring looks like after a company goes through normal bankruptcy due to no longer being able to operate and carry on with its fiscal responsibilities to the lenders, bond and share holders. Obviously the restructuring made the company profitable again, the plants and equipment were bought at auctions, the unions and various obligations to those unions written off as they should be.

The socialist/fascist/collectivist media is complaining full force that many people lost their jobs, of-course that was the point - restructuring debts, restructuring operations, streamlining operations, ensuring that the business can continue without impossible liabilities.

If it were up to the socialists/fascists/collectivists, the government would have stepped in (right into it) and bailed out the unions as it did in case of GM and some others. Of-course GM is going to fail again because it is still structurally unsound, even more so than before.

Had GM been allowed to go through the same bankruptcy procedures, the plants would have been bought up in auctions by more responsible owners at large discounts and made profitable again, plants and equipment don't go to waste, capitalism reclaims discarded pieces of business to rebuild them specifically because they have no liability baggage attached to them after restructuring.

Instead when the government steps in, it ensures that the business continues as usual, the only way governments know how - by stealing from actual owners and loading business with more liability and debt ensured by the tax payers.

It is a good thing that Hostess was allowed to go bankrupt, GM and all the banks should have also been allowed to go bankrupt, they would have re-emerged, clean slate, made profitable again in a sustainable manner.

This time capitalism won, the brand is back in business and people can enjoy their wonder breads and whatever other products named with plenty of sexual innuendo.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Energy Industry Under Attack from Green Terrorists 5

"Just the other day, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers said, 'If the cost of solar panels keeps coming down, installation costs come down and if they combine solar with battery technology and a power management system, then we have someone just using [the grid] for backup.' What happens if a whole bunch of customers start generating their own power and using the grid merely as backup? The EEI report warns of 'irreparable damages to revenues and growth prospects' of utilities."

Solar Panels Could Destroy U.S. Utilities

User Journal

Journal Journal: Interpreting the Constitution = breaking the law. 2

I think it is funny what is happening on /. in terms of comment moderation, it seems like a very dedicated and coordinated approach. So I think that comment should get its own journal entry, here it is.

I make the argument that the Constitution is not in fact a "living, breathing, malleable document", that it is to the government what criminal code is to an individual.

The Constitution is the law and when the government officials say that the law needs to be interpreted rather than clarified and amended if it is unclear on something, what they are saying and doing is they are breaking it.

A murder trial involves figuring out whether murder was committed and whether the individual in front of the judge and jury did it and what the punishment should be. Of-course jury can nullify the law, but so far I hear that nobody tried doing that during a murder trial. So the trial does not include figuring out whether murdering people is bad, whether the legislature that set the law meant for people to be murdered under certain circumstances, if the person murdering them was doing it while pursuing criminals (or terrorists) as a government official for example.

Same thing must be done in case of the Constitutional law, same thing exactly - if something is unclear in the Constitution it needs to be clarified IN the Constitution.

However the Constitution must be followed, it is the chains around the hands and the legs of the government. It is supposed to be the chains that hold government within its limits. But what happened to that idea? The politicians figured out that amending the Constitution is too damn hard, they would rather break the law and call that "an interpretation".

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"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." -- Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards