Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Technology

Connecticut Bill Would Allow Police to Arm Drones

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 31, 2017: 

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile

Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile

The Connecticut State Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow local police to weaponize drones. The vote by the Judiciary Committee was 34-7 and the bill’s threats to privacy were downplayed by the committee’s co-chair, Republican John Kissel:

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Walmart vs. Amazon: Battle of the Behemoths

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 3, 2017:

English: Walmart Home Office, the headquarters...

Walmart Home Office, the headquarters of Wal-Mart – Bentonville, Arkansas

In one corner is Amazon, the book-seller that Jeff Bezos founded in 1994 that is now the most valuable retailer in the United States as measured by market cap: $425 billion as of March 31. In the other corner is Walmart, the world’s largest retailer when measured by revenue – $485 billion in 2016.

Amazon’s path to the finals is littered with the bodies of its former competitors, some still twitching but whose death is certain: Sears, J.C. Penney, Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s, and Target. Walmart is determined not to be carrion in this epic battle.

Accordingly, Walmart has made some serious moves by

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Austin Booted Uber and Lyft, Startups Struggle

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 24, 2017:

Every year the South by Southwest (SxSW) conference held in Austin, Texas, in March celebrates one or more high-tech “breakout” companies. In 2007 it was Twitter, in 2011 it was GroupMe, and in 2015 it was Meerkat.

This was supposed to be Fasten and RideAustin’s year, two of the local ride-sharing companies that had allegedly “filled the void” when city council member Ann Kitchen ran off Uber and Lyft last year.

Thousands of attendees flew in for the conference, and they needed a lift (or Lyft) but

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More Evidence that OPEC’s Influence is Waning

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 22, 2017:

A measure of the success – and failure – of OPEC’s agreement to limit crude oil production can be seen in the chart of NYMEX crude oil price behavior (Sources below) dating from last fall. When the agreement was inked back in November, crude was at $46.50 a barrel. The price soared and traders got excited, putting in long bets that set records.

By early January, reality began setting in as compliance among the cartel’s members and non-members (who agreed to go along for the ride) began to wane. The roof fell in a couple of weeks ago when inventory builds continued to set records, and the price dropped through support at $50.

In other words, in OPEC’s attempt to birth an elephant, it succeeded in birthing a gnat.

Saudi Arabia maintained a stiff upper lip during the Houston oil conference, stating flat out that

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Trump’s “Great, Great Wall” to be Big and Scary

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 20, 2017:

United States Customs and Border Protection of...

United States Customs and Border Protection officers, fully armed and armored for a counter-terrorism operation.

In his address to Congress earlier this month, President Donald Trump said, “We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border” to “restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders.” Now that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has begun issuing RFPs — requests for proposals — the wall is also going to be big and scary: “The wall design shall be physically imposing in height,” according to CBP officials.

It will be at least 18 feet in height, but CBP’s “nominal” goal is more like 30 feet above ground, and another six feet below ground (to discourage tunneling underneath it). It’s also going to be thick, as one of the requirements is that it must take someone at least an hour — and ideally more than four hours — to bore a hole in it large enough to allow him to crawl through it. That, theoretically at least, would allow enough time for border agents to respond to the attempted breach.

Its RFPs will entertain alternatives to the concrete wall many have already envisioned, responding to border agents’ suggestions that it have a “see-through” component,

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OPEC: A Lesson in Why Cartels Fail

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 15, 2017:

OPEC countries

OPEC countries

Every cartel comes together when individual members think they can obtain a greater economic benefit working together than they can alone. Every cartel breaks apart when members think they can do better alone. If a cartel is sanctioned by a government, it becomes a monopoly.

Since 1960, OPEC has largely stayed together with the collusion of governments and Big Oil interests around the world. But the fracking revolution, operating in the free market, is blowing up the model. Specifically,

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OPEC’s Death Throes?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 10, 2017:

American Petroleum Institute

The tsunami threatening to sink OPEC into oblivion began early Tuesday. At the time, crude oil was selling for $54 a barrel, with expectations that the price would move higher. Those expectations were reflected in the highest ratio of longs to shorts that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had seen in ten years.

And then came the announcement from the American Petroleum Institute that domestic crude oil inventories rose by a whopping 11.6 million barrels the previous week, against expectations of an increase of just 1.6 million. The selloff began, pushed along on Wednesday following the report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that

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Crude Oil Price Plummets, Catching OPEC by Surprise

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 9, 2017:

Wednesday’s crude oil price drop caught hedge fund managers, big money investors, day traders, and OPEC by surprise, with the sell-off, the biggest one-day drop in 13 months, continuing into Thursday. The five-percent drop on Wednesday pushed crude oil down to $50 a barrel, with Thursday witnessing a further drop to $49. Early Tuesday morning crude was selling at $54 a barrel.

The sell-off started with the announcement on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that

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Samsung to Expand in United States, Bringing Back 500 Jobs From Mexico

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 8, 2017:

English: Samsung Logo Suomi: Samsungin logo

The South Korean behemoth maker of consumer electronics, semi-conductors, ships, and telecommunications equipment was reported by the Wall Street Journal (quoting unnamed inside sources) to be investing $300 million in facilities in South Carolina and simultaneously bringing 500 jobs back from Mexico to work there.

It’s a tentative decision, according to Samsung in a statement it made to the Journal, with the company noting that “this is a complex process that, like all strategic business decisions, will not be made final until it is determined through proper due diligence and planning that it is the best option for Samsung.”

In ordinary times such a modest investment, made under such indeterminate conditions with such disclaimers, would hardly rate a few column inches at the back of the business section. But these are hardly ordinary times,

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Interior Secretary Repeals Another Obama-era Second Amendment Infringement

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 6, 2017: 

On his first day in office as Secretary of the Interior, newly minted Secretary Ryan Zinke (shown) issued Secretarial Order 3345 which “revokes Director’s Order 219,” effective immediately.

It’s a small thing, really, but hugely important in confirming that President Trump not only is intent on keeping his campaign promises but is determined to surround himself with people of like mind to help him keep them.

Director’s Order 219 was a parting shot issued by then-President Obama at the very end of his presidency that required the phasing out of the use of lead ammunition for hunting on Federal land. Specifically, it required that the

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Trump’s 2018 Budget Won’t Touch Social Security, Medicare

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 27, 2017:

English: The standard Laffer Curve

The standard Laffer Curve

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Fox News on Sunday that cuts in entitlement programs — i.e., Social Security and Medicare — won’t appear in the president’s budget: “We are not touching those now. So don’t expect to see that as part of this budget, OK? We are very focused on other aspects and that’s what’s very important to us.”

Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2018 (starting October 1, 2017) is expected to be presented to the House on Monday, March 13, just two weeks away. And there are a lot of moving parts that must be glued into place before then.

Those parts include

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Intel’s Announcement of New Arizona Plant Negates Trade Deficit Concerns

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 8, 2017:

US-DeptOfCommerce-Seal

Brian Krzanich, head of Intel, probably didn’t know he was making the case for free trade, despite the fact that trade deficits happen, when he announced from the White House on Wednesday morning his company’s plans to build a new plant in Chandler, Arizona. In a microcosm, his announcement perfectly expressed just how free trade between nations and their citizens generally benefits everyone. Krzanich said his company was planning to build a $7 billion microchip plant in Chandler that would directly employ 3,000 people with “high-paying jobs,” and generate a total of 10,000 jobs when support services for those new jobs are factored in.

Krzanich said that most of Intel’s customers are overseas. Last year Intel’s gross revenues exceeded $10 billion, so, doing the math, it’s likely that Intel will sell $6 to 8 billion worth of chips to foreigners. That creates a trade “surplus” for the United States of between $6 and $8 billion. That will offset some of the trade “deficit” just announced by the Commerce Department the day before, of about $500 billion, an announcement that was met with much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by economists claiming that that deficit put the United States at some type of unfair disadvantage to the rest of the world.

However, in the real world, trade deficits are not necessarily bad. When someone buys an automobile or a t-shirt or a cellphone, the money they spend winds up as revenues for manufacturers located overseas. Then those manufacturers have excess American dollars that are now available for investment. Many of those dollars get cycled back to the United States, either by buying U.S. goods and services, or U.S. treasuries, or real estate or businesses, which then generate more products to sell overseas.

In 2016, Americans bought from foreign countries $171 billion worth of automobiles, engines and auto parts, $94 billion worth of clothing, $80 billion of crude and refined oil products, $73 billion of cellphones and other household goods, $58 billion of pharmaceutical drugs, with the balance made up of telecommunications equipment, toys, games, sporting goods, televisions, and video games.

In return foreigners — individuals, companies and governments — bought from the United States $65 billion worth of civilian aircraft and engines, $86 billion on travel to the United States, $78 billion on “intellectual property rights” (mostly leases or patents that foreign companies pay to American companies), $70 billion on financial services, with the rest made up of soybeans, chemicals, and newsprint.

The difference is $502 billion. Americans spent $502 billion more abroad than foreigners bought from us. Is that a problem?

Not for companies such as Intel. Its highly regarded technology, in the form of microchips that outperform its competitors, is in great demand worldwide. Foreign companies will use some of those American dollars that Americans spent to buy them. Intel, for its part, will invest billions in new plants and in hiring new people, paying them good salaries, in order to supply that foreign demand. Intel certainly hopes that foreigners will continue to buy them in massive quantities so that it can continue to expand, build, and hire, and so forth.

As Dan Griswold, writing for Cato, put it: No one would do business with anyone else unless both were better off afterwards:

Nations do not trade with each other: people do. America’s trade deficit with the rest of the world is only the sum of the individual choices made by American citizens. Those choices, to buy an import or to sell an export, only take place if both parties to the transaction believe it will make them better off.

In this way, the “balance of trade,” is always positive.

However, Griswold is likely putting too kind a face on trade deficits, per se, for while free trade seems universally beneficial, the use of fiat money — money not backed by a valuable asset such as gold — in the process of trading could lead to hyperinflation in a country, causing widespread devastation. Whether one calls that a trade problem or a currency problem, it is still a problem inherent in trade, maybe especially for the United States. See the article “So I’m Told Trade Deficits Are Good.”

In general, though, if politicians made it even easier for companies here and abroad to do business, then everyone would be even better off, and concerns about trade “wars” and “tariffs” and “mercantilism” would fade back into the woodwork where they belong.

First, Big Taxi. Next, Big Box Stores. Now, Big Car Dealers.

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 25, 2017:

English: Tesla Motors opened its showroom in M...

A Tesla “Gallery” storefront

An unfettered free market has but one goal in mind: to serve a customer – the guy with the money in his pocket – better. It’s driven by the profit-motive: better service means more customers bringing more money to the improviser who has figured out how to do it profitably. Adam Smith said it much more elegantly:

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Ford to Sell and Finance Its Autos Online

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 24, 2017:  

Ford said on Monday that it would join forces with software developer AutoFi, Inc. to allow customers the freedom to purchase a Ford or a Lincoln automobile and obtain financing for it online without forcing them to endure the usual three- to five-hour long sales pitch in one of its showrooms.

The software will allow shoppers to compare models, prices as delivered, available options, and choices of financing among different lenders. Once the sale and financing are completed, the customer stops by the dealership to pick up his car. Nice and easy.

AutoFi’s CEO Kevin Singerman said he really wasn’t trying to disrupt the sales process:

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New Job Announcements Before Inauguration More Political than Economic

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 18, 2017:

President-elect Donald Trump has mercilessly hammered American companies with overseas operations, and the message is coming through loud and clear: bring them back, keep them here, or pay dearly once he is in office.

Ford changed its plans, cancelling a project in Mexico and expanding a facility here. Fiat did the same as did Toyota. Sprint’s plans to add new jobs coupled with Lockheed Martin’s willingness to work with Mr. Trump even before he is president all reflect the new reality: Trump plans to keep his campaign promises and create jobs here.

What makes the recent announcements by General Motors and Walmart suspicious is that they not only are timed to appear just before the inauguration, but they also

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Trump’s 36-Year-Old Son-in-Law Won the White House for Him

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 11, 2017:

Jared Kushner’s father-in-law, Donald Trump, gave him an early birthday present, naming him to his new administration as a senior advisor on Monday. The next day Kushner turned 36.

Married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka (shown), Kushner responded to the “all hands on deck” message following Trump’s nomination at the Republican National Convention last summer. Kushner dropped everything and started building a national political campaign from scratch. Blessed with precious little political experience, but with smarts (degrees from Harvard and New York University), Kushner saw the problem: no staff, no money, no experience, no strategy, no nothing. So he called on some of his contacts in social networking, asking for referrals to the brightest and the best to help.

He found Brad Parscale, a web designer in San Antonio, and built a team of 100 people around him. Calling the team “Project Alamo,” the two learned the ropes quickly: traditional TV, radio, and print advertising were 1) expensive, and 2) not very effective in reaching the people Trump needed to win. Instead, through trial and error, Kushner spent less and less on TV and radio and focused on the social networking tools Facebook and Twitter. Said Kushner:

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Trump Names Son-in-law as Advisor; Media Raises Nepotism Issues

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 10, 2017: 

Jared Kushner of the New York Observer.

Jared Kushner

President-elect Donald Trump named his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior advisor in his administration on Monday:

Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted advisor throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration.

 

He has been incredibly successful in both business and politics. He will be an invaluable member of my own team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda, putting the American people first.

The anti-Trump media jumped at the chance to question Trump’s decision, claiming that it violated anti-nepotism rules put in place after President John F. Kennedy named his brother, Robert Kennedy, as attorney general.

Jamie Gorelick, an attorney advising Trump and Kushner on the matter, said there’s little to be concerned about:

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Trump to Tech Execs: There’s a New Sheriff in Town

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 16, 2016:

As Donald Trump opened Wednesday’s meeting with the dozen or so executives from the technology industry, all was sweetness and light:

You are a truly amazing group of people. There’s nobody like you in the world. In the world! There’s nobody like the people in this room. [Anything we] can do to help this go along, we’re going to be there for you.

You call my people, you call me. It doesn’t make any difference.

This was a masterful performance. It conveyed

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Trump Meets With Tech Executives

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 15, 2016:  

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

Donald Trump opened the gathering of high-tech industry executives on Wednesday, nearly all of whom vociferously opposed him during the presidential campaign, by calling them “a truly amazing group of people.” If any of them thought the meeting would be confrontational, they were disappointed.

Trump went on:

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OPEC Agreement to Limit Production Boosts Crude Price 11 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 1, 2016:

Coat of Arms of Saudi Arabia

Coat of Arms of Saudi Arabia

The global price of crude oil jumped more than 11 percent since OPEC announced on Wednesday its first agreement to limit production by the cartel since 2008. There are many moving parts to the agreement — perhaps too many.

First, the cartel’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, has promised to

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.