When Pizzagate was making headlines late last year, Stephen Colbert was incredibly dismissive of the saga, and slandered anyone who would dare question its authenticity. Back in December (not long before this article was posted), he did a 10-minute segment on his show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where as the Daily Beast covered, he did everything possible to slander Pizzagate contributors but call for their prosecution:
“A conspiracy is what villains do. An agreement is what adults do,” he said. “Look around the country. Wouldn’t you agree we need some more adults? So WikiLeaks, Alex Jones, and the subreddit sub-geniuses—and I mean this in the nicest way possible: grow the fuck up.”
The entire segment, which has little if any comedic value and is more of a rant, is below:
The nomination of Betsy DeVos was fraught with criticism from the left. She was derided for having “no experience with public education, no political experience, no government administrative experience,” and her support for school vouchers/charter schools, among many other things. Notably, most of the criticism came from educators, many of them members of the teachers’ unions, who have had many years and more than enough funding to fix failing public schools, with little (if any) success.
Which all begs the question – if your student is enrolled at a failing public institution, why should he/she be forced to remain enrolled there?
Recently, someone shared the experience of “Madeline” (the mother of a Philadelphia school student) and “Steve” (the student himself). Their names have been changed for the purpose of this article, which as Madeline explains, is more than likely necessary, so they do not face reprisal from public school educators and administrators. For her and her son, having a choice has meant the difference between years wasted in a failing school, and a real chance at a real education.
It is pretty accepted knowledge that a number of lower-skilled jobs will disappear in the coming 5-10 years, due to the human element being replaced by autonomous machines. One of the most at-risk professions is that of Truck Driver, which as 13D Research points out, is one of the no.1 reasons you rarely (if ever) hear President Trump discuss automation in the workplace:
A widely circulated NPR graphic shows “truck driver” was the most common job in more than half of the U.S. states in 2014?—?in part because how the Bureau of Labor Statistics sorts common jobs, such as educators, into small groups. Indeed, truck driving is one of the last jobs standing that affords good pay (median salary for tractor-trailer drivers, $40,206) and does not require a college degree. According to the American Trucking Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. Entire businesses (think restaurants and motels) and hundreds of small communities, supporting an additional 5.2 million people, have been built around serving truckers crisscrossing the nation. That’s 8.7 million trucking-related jobs. It also represents one of Trump’s most important voting blocs?—?working-class men.
And while it may be further out on the timeline, if you think your job requires a higher, special element of skill and mental acuity that just cannot be automated, you are probably very mistaken. In fact, there are few (if any) jobs in which a machine would be inferior to a person. And this is not as far out in the future as you may think.
On March 2nd, Snapchat (SNAP) had its initial public offering (IPO) of shares. Raising $3.4 billion by selling shares for $17, the shares quickly traded higher, closing at $24.48. Trading $26.56 at the time this article was written, the shares reached an intraday high of $29.44 the morning of March 3rd.
As Zerohedge and MarketWatch covered, nearly all institutions have put a price target far below the current price level, finding the stock to be far overvalued:
In the past day since Snap’s SNAP, +12.07% market debut, there have been at least six coverage initiations from brokerages on Wall Street. Morningstar initiated coverage with a $15 fair value on the stock, Pivotal Research initiated with a selling rating and $10 target, Instinet initiated with a reduce rating and a $16 rating, Atlantic Equities initiated with a hold rating and $14 target, Aegis Capital initiated with a $22 target and SIG Susquehanna initiated with a neutral rating and $22 target.
On Monday, Senator Jon Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act to Congress. As The Hill reported, the significance of this bill to concealed carry permit holders cannot be understated:
The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act introduced Monday by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) would require states to recognize gun permits from law-abiding citizens in other states.
“This bill strengthens both the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and the power of states to implement laws best-suited for the folks who live there,” Cornyn said in a statement. “This legislation is an important affirmation of our Second Amendment rights and has been a top priority of law-abiding gun owners in Texas for a long time.”
This bill has been at or near the top of the NRA’s and gun rights advocates’ “wish list” for legislation (including myself) since Trump won the election. Though the removal of suppressors from NFA restrictions is a good first step, CCW reciprocity is the prize that gun rights advocates have wanted all along – and for good reason.
On Monday, February 13th, Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was assassinated in the shopping concourse at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. Allegedly, two women accosted him briefly and attacked him with VX nerve agent or a close derivative, which is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.
One of the suspects was apprehended shortly after the incident, and claimed that she thought the whole thing was a “prank” organized by a TV station, and that she thought she was spraying “baby oil” on Nam:
Aisyah thought the substance she rubbed on Kim’s face was “a kind of oil, baby oil, something like that,” said Andreano Erwin, Indonesia’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia. But Malaysian police said Friday that tests on Kim’s eyes and face revealed the presence of the VX nerve agent.
And if she really expected the authorities, or anyone else for that matter, to believe that VX could be confused with baby oil, she was clearly mistaken.
The city of Philadelphia recently implemented a “soda tax” at the start of the calendar year. As Philly.com recently reported, it hasn’t gone exactly as planned:
Two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in beverage sales and are planning for layoffs.
One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20 percent of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.
“People are seeing sales decline larger than anything they’ve seen up to this point in the city,” said Alex Baloga, vice president of external relations at the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.
The failure of this tax is about as surprising as seeing the sun rise in the morning. The Burning Platform in particular has covered the tax on many occasions: here, here, here, and here, and they’ve been excellent at demonstrating the lunacy of the tax itself:
A Zerohedge article posted this morning contained a clip from MSNBC, where co-anchor Mika Brzezinski said to control exactly what people think is the media’s job. I’m paraphrasing a bit, so below is the exact quote:
SCARBOROUGH: “Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, ‘Yeah you guys are going crazy. He’s doing — what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.'”
BRZEZINSKI: “Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”
I thought it might have been hyperbole… then I watched the clip for myself:
If you thought the last round of protest idiocy was counterproductive, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Just when you think they’ve hit rock bottom, the liberal protests hit new lows. The Guardian recently published an article detailing a revival in “tax resistance,” which is a practice of not paying your taxes to “resist” government:
Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, Donald Trumpis the dealbreaker. He’ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration.
Newman is not alone. A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance – last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries.
“My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people. It will contribute to the destruction of the environment and maybe more nuclear weapons. I think there will be a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy elite and Trump’s campaign for the working man and woman was an absolute fraud. If you pay taxes you are implicated in the system,” said Newman, an associate professor of English and history at Stony Brook University on Long Island, part of the State University of New York.
It is quite amusing that an educator from SUNY academia, which is in part financed by federal funding, managed to list everything he had issue with, while at the same time omitting everything the state does that he does not object to… notably paying his salary.
Early this morning, the FT leaked news of a takeover bid to be launched by the American food conglomerate Kraft Heinz to acquire the British-Dutch Unilever. Unilever quickly rejected the proposal, as seen below:
But as Zerohedge covered, the news from the deal already had a profound impact on the share prices of both companies, sending Unilever shares up 11%, and Kraft Heinz shares up 4% in pre-open trading.