The gun, she smokes

One of the main reasons I am a vaccine skeptic is that the organizations which vaccine advocates repeatedly cite in their attempt to claim vaccine safety are caught concealing information that indicates the opposite:

 Documentation received from the National Coalition of
Organized Women (NCOW) states that between 2009 and 2010 the
mercury-laden combined flu vaccinations have increased Vaccine Adverse
Events Reporting Systems (VAERS) fetal death reports by 4,250 percent in
pregnant women. Eileen Dannemann, NCOW’s director, made abundantly
clear that despite these figures being known to the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC), the multiple-strain, inactivated flu vaccine containing
mercury (Thimerosal) has once again been recommended to pregnant women
as a safe vaccination this season….

Despite evidence that the CDC knew of the 4,250 percent increase in
fetal death reports in 2009/2010, in order to ensure the continuance of
the vaccine program for pregnant women, the CDC published a study in
AJOG authored by Dr. Pedro Moro of the CDC in the fall of 2010. The
study articulated that there were only 23 miscarriages caused by the
single flu vaccine in 19 years between 1990 – 2009, an average of 1.2
miscarriages per year. This study formed the basis of a CDC worldwide
publicity campaign that the flu shot was safe for pregnant women by
willfully and strategically excluding the 2009 pandemic data, which was
available to them.

For those who blithely argue that all vaccines are developed scientifically and therefore safe – a fascinating approach from a logical perspective – and insist that the CDC should be considered more reliable than other government regulatory agencies such as the BEA or the SEC, I wonder how they can defend the notion that the CDC data is trustworthy when it is confirmed that the organization is making knowingly false statements concerning the safety of vaccines known to cause adverse effects.


The wrong side of the curve

The UK discovers the Laffer Curve matters:

In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of
more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs. This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top
rate of income tax shortly before the last general election. The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that
increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for
the Government. It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying
the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes.

Anyone who believes in the myth of human progress has to have their faith shaken by the total inability of governments to grasp the concept of cause and effect despite literally thousands of years of historical evidence upon which to draw.


Financial innovations?

Or maybe those rising stock prices are the result of all that additional productivity now made possible by 3G/4G, Android, and iPad:

Lauren is correct.  Look at the TNX compared to when QE was instituted in all cases and then what happened when it ended.  When The Fed intervenes it says it is trying to depress interest rates but in fact the opposite happens.

Why?  Because interest rates are the time-value of money including the expected devaluation.  When you raise that figure rates go up.

In addition credit and currency are fungible.

Peter has long argued for “coming hyperinflation.”  He’s been dead wrong.  He’s wrong because the inflation already happened through the issuance of bogus credit.

Doubt me?  What do you call stock prices going up by a factor of 14 over the last 30 years?

Some of you will recall I tried to explain that credit was money to Mr. Schiff, but to no avail.  It’s not that M2 doesn’t matter, it’s just that Z1 matters more.  What I don’t understand is why those individuals who say that debt doesn’t matter always insist on increasing taxes.  If debt doesn’t matter, then why tax anyone?  We’re already borrowing and spending more money than we used to tax-and-spend, so obviously, there is no need to fund the government through taxation.


The half-life of the secular utopia

Post-Christianity is all secular fun and games until the vacuum is filled.  And we all know how nature fills about vacuums:

Muslim immigrants in a town near Copenhagen have forced the
cancellation of traditional Christmas displays this year even while
spending lavishly on the Islamic Eid celebration marking the end of
Ramadan.

The controversy has escalated into an angry nationwide debate over
the role of Islam in post-Christian Denmark, where a burgeoning Muslim
population is becoming increasingly assertive in imposing its will on a
wide range of social and civic issues.

A spokesman for the Danish Conservative Party, Tom Behnke, says he fears there are people who want to convert Denmark into a Muslim country. In an interview with DR News, Behnke said: “I think it is deeply alarming that our integration efforts are so ineffective that the moment there is a Muslim majority, we do away with good-old Danish traditions and introduce Muslim traditions instead. We are living in Denmark, and people have to adapt to the situation that applies here.”

When asked whether housing associations with a Muslim minority should sponsor an Eid party, Behnke replied: “We have to remember that in the past, an Eid festival was the Muslims’ victory celebration after they had slaughtered the Christians, so I don’t know how much there is to celebrate in Denmark. Still, people should be allowed to celebrate whatever festivals they want to, but they also must respect the festivals in the country they have come to.”

Behnke added: “There is no point in wanting to convert Denmark into a Muslim country because you yourself have a Muslim background. That must never happen. On the contrary, we must have mutual respect for one another. This is a lack of respect for Danish traditions and culture. We must not have a Denmark where Danish traditions disappear as soon as there is a Muslim majority.”

Of course, the only way for Denmark to avoid losing its Danish traditions is to not have a Muslim majority.  As I have repeatedly attempted to spell out for the atheists and agnostics in our midst, there is not and there will never be a secular science-based utopia.  It is a fundamental category error to pretend it is even remotely possible.  What passes for secularism is merely the transitional state between one dominant religious form and its successor. Post-Christian culture is neither secular nor scientific, it is pagan and pre-Western civilization.

There are two choices on offer.  The secular enlightenment isn’t one of them.  What passes for progress is actually a large-scale societal reversion of significant proportions, and neither technology nor ever-increasing quantities of debt, (which presently pass for wealth), are going to prevent that.

Based on what we’re observing, the half-life of a secular society is about twenty years.


5772nd verse, same as the first

The Jews never seem to learn from their own history:

Circumcision is one of Judaism’s most important laws and for
generations of faithful it has symbolized a Biblical covenant with God. But in Israel, more and more Jewish parents are saying no to the blade. “It’s such a taboo in Israel and in Judaism,” said
Gali, nursing her six-week-old son, about the decision not to have him
circumcised.

When I was a kid reading the Bible, I always found it to be inexplicable how the Jews would no sooner be saved by God than they would do something bound to piss Him off and land them in some nasty soup.  Now that I am older and a bit more versed in the perversity of human nature, I merely wonder what the inevitable consequence of their willful disobedience is going to be.

And yet some say religion doesn’t provide any predictive models….


The important questions

I think they are not being sufficiently addressed by America’s foremost philosophers, by whom I of course mean the ladies of The View:

The ladies on The View are never short of opinions and they quickly weighed in on the Chris Brown Twitter argument with comedy writer Jenny Johnson.  Elisabeth Hasselbeck went as far as to call Chris Brown’s words verbal rape as she lambasted the singer after he shut down his social network account.  Speaking on The View, Elisabeth, 35, said: ‘I think it’s disgusting, first of all. But also, it seems like verbal rape to me.’

This is, you understand, the most vital intellectual discourse currently taking place on the American scene.  And yet, our vaunted philosophers failed to consider the most important question raised by the subject, which is whether or not abortion should be legally permitted in the event of a verbal rape resulting in pregnancy.

Perhaps Dr. John Scalzi, our resident expert on matters of rape and abortion, would be so kind as to render his expert opinion on the subject.


Mailvox: The evidence for God

I really fail to understand why so many Christian apologists have such a difficult time answering such easy questions:

Don’t know if you’ve ever seen this before.  In my opinion this little kid embarrassed Eric Hovind. Eric may even have a valid point he’s trying to make but I’m not sure exactly what it is. I know its hard to present a coherent summary of evidence for God very quickly (your debate with Dominic has really given me some food for thought when thinking about evidence for the existence of a deity) but what would you give as a very short, snappy answer to someone who asked “What is your evidence for God?”

I don’t know who Hovind is, but I tend to agree.  I stopped watching after Hovind said “without God, you can’t know anything.”  Even if that is perfectly true, it’s an incredibly stupid answer.  One might as reasonably answer “without oxygen, you can’t know anything”, and to as little effect.

The correct answer concerning the evidence for God is precisely the same as it is for practically everything else in the historical record, which is to say the copious documentary evidence available.  We can no more reasonably doubt the existence of God than we can doubt the existence of Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, or any other human being who existed before the invention of audio and video recording and for whom there are physical artifacts that support the documentary evidence.

Can skeptics produce plausible explanations for why so much false documentary evidence of God exists if He does not?  Sure.  Just as I can plausibly explain that the myth of George Washington was invented in order to provide Americans with founding Romulus-style figure of reverence in order to compensate for their lack of kings and common history.  I mean, there were no cherry trees in Virginia.  And isn’t it ludicrous to take literally the myth of Washington’s rjection of the proffered crown when the story is a patently a straightforward imitation of the Roman dictator Cincinnatus.

As for the other part of the question, where the boy declares that communication with God is simply a part of one’s brain talking to him, I would have asked the kid how he was able to distinguish between one part of my brain talking to me and an alien transmission from Alpha Centauri.  I would have also asked him precisely what part of my brain was doing the talking, and to what, precisely?  I would have pressed him until it became obvious that he knew nothing of neuroscience, was simply parroting something he’d been told, and that his assertion was actually less credible than the God hypothesis.

It’s one thing to claim that your brain must be talking to itself when you’re the only one who hears it.  It’s another when other people hear it too.

Most modern Christian apologists are incompetent because they approach the discourse as a chance to explicate theology rather than understanding that it is a form of intellectual combat where the goal is to discredit the interlocutor.  So, like Hovind, they explicate a little theology that looks like an irrelevant evasion while simultaneously managing to get intellectually discredited by young boys.  Frankly, I’d be surprised and a little disappointed if I didn’t have the kid in tears and questioning his faith in science within minutes after asking such a pair of stupid questions.

First things first.  Destroy the interlocutor.  Answer every question directly, on his terms, and then go after the vulnerabilities they reveal with a flamethrower.  Only then, when you are standing upon whatever quivering ashes remain, can you explicate further if you wish.


Imagine what they’d find in New York

It sounds as if the Kabul Bank was an exemplary example of Western-style banking:

Afghan and American officials had for years promoted Kabul Bank as a prime example of how Western-style banking was transforming a war-ravaged economy. But the audit, prepared this year for Afghanistan’s central bank by the Kroll investigative firm, gives new details of how the bank instead was institutionalizing fraud that reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars and obliterated Afghans’ trust after regulators finally seized the bank in August 2010 and the theft was revealed.

Going further than previous reports, the audit asserts that Kabul Bank had little reason to exist other than to allow a narrow clique tied to President Hamid Karzai’s government to siphon riches from depositors, who were the bank’s only substantial source of revenue.

At one point, Kroll’s investigators found 114 rubber stamps for fake companies used to give forged documents a more legitimate look. And the auditing firms used by the bank never took issue with loan books that were “almost entirely fraudulent,” Kroll found, recommending that the Afghan government explore suing the last such auditor, A.F. Ferguson & Co., a private Pakistani firm with a franchise under PricewaterhouseCoopers.

What, one wonders, is the Federal Reserve’s reason to exist other than to allow a narrow clique to siphon riches from the American people?  Given the observable facts in evidence, it certainly can’t be the stated purpose of guaranteeing stable prices, much less the ex post facto rationale of assuring full employment.

At least the Kabul Bank had external audits, however fraudulent they were.  The Federal Reserve can’t even claim as much.


Mortality

You know you’ve officially reached middle age when people you knew in your youth start dying of adult things like heart attacks and cancer.  I got an email from a friend today; a man who’d graduated with him, with whom I’d ridden to school from 7th through 9th grade, died recently of cancer.

He wasn’t a friend and I never really knew him, even though we were sitting next to each other practically every day for three years.  (In other words, there is absolutely no need for expressing any condolences.)  I didn’t dislike him, but I didn’t like him either.  I can’t say I’d even thought about him one single time since he graduated the year before me more than 25 years ago.  But, by all accounts, he turned out to be a good man, a good Christian, and a good father.

And yet, it seems impossible that he could be in his forties, lead alone dead.  When I think of him now, I still picture a slightly overweight blond guy, 17 years old and of average height, wearing a t-shirt that is a little too tight and an air of calm superiority.  Of course, when I look in the mirror, I wonder who that weary-eyed Lovecraftian monster staring back at me could be. 

Our time here is short.  Make the most of it, in the knowledge that one day you’ll be accountable for it.


WND column

The Liberty Curve

Most people instinctively understand the truth underlying the concept of the Laffer Curve. It articulates the elasticity of taxable income, which is to say, it shows how the amount of taxable income tends to change in response to changes in the income tax rate.  This is because most people understand that they modify their behavior in response to positive and negative stimuli.