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

China’s Surveillance State Now Monitors Foreign Companies, as Well as Citizens

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 26, 2017:

A Cropped version of President George W. Bush ...

Xi Jinping, no friend of freedom

The Wall Street Journal’s claim that China’s surveillance state, which now records the behaviors of foreign companies operating there, is only intended to “monitor and rate” them falls far short of the communist government’s real intentions. Using sophisticated tracking technology — meters in chimneys monitoring air pollution, recording of excessive energy usage by a company’s meters, and so on — it intends to change the behavior of those companies to keep them in line with state policy and objectives.

China’s State Council — the government’s all-seeing eye — already monitors every citizen’s behavior.

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OPEC to Extend Oil Production Cuts Another Nine Months

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 24, 2017: 

Now that “everyone is on board” with a nine-month extension of last November’s agreement to cut production by OPEC, tomorrow’s meeting of the cartel in Vienna is expected to rubber-stamp that extension. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, upon returning from Iraq on Monday, said, “We think we have everybody on board. Everybody I’ve talked to indicated that nine months [is] a wise decision.”

Iraq was the most egregious cheater under the November agreement, first complaining that the production numbers upon which its “participation” was based were too high, and then being very slow in implementing those cuts. The slack was picked up by Saudi Arabia, which cut more than it agreed to.

The overall goal of the cuts is to

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Ford CEO Suddenly Retires: Early Casualty of AV Revolution

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 22, 2017:

During a conference call that followed the official announcement on Monday that Ford’s CEO Mark Fields was going to retire — his position to be taken by the head of Ford’s autonomous vehicle division — the company’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, said, “This is a time of unprecedented change. And time of great change, in my mind, requires a transformational leader. And thankfully we have that in Jim.”

That would be James “Jim” Hackett, who

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North Dakota Oil Production Jumps as Access Pipeline Nears Completion

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017:

The latest report from North Dakota’s state oil and gas division showed that crude oil production for March is back up over a million barrels a day, an increase of nearly nine percent since December and almost double what the state produced five years ago.

The boom is back.

In Bismarck there are hundreds more jobs being offered than takers, according to the Associated Press (AP), with “for hire” signs appearing once again in stores, shops, and restaurants downtown. In Williston there are 500 more job listings today than there were a year ago. Williston Republican state senator Brad Bekkedahl, whose district sits on top of the massive Bakken oil shale deposits, told the AP, “There is a long-term optimism that was not here a year ago.”

In the oil business, “long-term” is measured in months, not years or decades. In March 2012 there were 6,954 oil wells producing 580,000 barrels of crude every day. In March this year 13,632 wells produced 1.025 million barrels daily.

And it’s not all due to the Dakota Access pipeline,

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Russia, Saudi Arabia Release Trial Balloon: Extend Production Cut by a Year

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017: 

In a joint statement released on Monday, oil ministers from Russia and Saudi Arabia said the present crude oil production reduction agreement reached last November should be extended for another year. The original target was a reduction of world crude inventories down to its five-year average. Since the present agreement didn’t come close, it should be extended, said Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih:

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Bakken is OPEC’s Elephant in Its Living Room

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 15, 2017:

Setting the stage for the OPEC meeting on May 25, Saudi Arabias Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, promised on Friday that OPEC will do whatever it takes to rebalance the global oil market. Whatever that means, and whatever comes out of that meeting, it wont be enough torebalance the oil market (rebalance: raise the price of oil sufficiently to reduce significantly the deficits the cartels members are currently running).

If the cartel repeats and extends the present agreement by six months, its likely to have the same impact: immeasurably small. The last agreement promised to cut 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its overall production. It managed to cut production by less than half that, 800,000 bpd. In the grand scheme of things (world production of oil is just over 80 million bpd), this represents a one percent reduction in global production of crude. Wahoo.

What will be discussed in Vienna will no doubt include who is going to be doing the heavy lifting, and how much. Will there be exceptions to the extension as there is in the present one? Will there be failures to comply, as there were under the present one? Will there be sanctions applied to those who cheat? What about non-members? Will they somehow be persuaded to engage in the farcical extension? From here the meeting has all the makings of Shakespeares comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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Uber Facing “Existential Threat” From AVs?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 8, 2017:

When ride-sharing company Uber bought Otto, the company developing autonomous car driving software, last August, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said the purchase was “existential” to the company: “The world is going to go self-driving and autonomous … a million fewer people are going to die a year [worldwide]. Traffic in all cities will be gone. [There will be] significantly reduced pollution and trillions of hours will be given back to people — quality of life goes way up. Once you go, “All right, there’s a lot of upsides there” … If we weren’t part of the autonomy thing? Then the future passes us by.”

No less an authority than the Wall Street Journal agrees.

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Supreme Court’s Non-decision Expands Passenger Ridesharing Freedom

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 27, 2017: 

By declining to hear an appeal, the Supreme Court on Monday essentially declared that rules protecting the taxi cartel in Chicago were null and void, thus expanding passenger freedom. As an attorney with the Institute for Justice (IJ), which represented Chicago Uber driver Dan Burgess, explained: “Today’s decision makes clear what [IJ] has said for years. The Constitution does not require [city] governments to stick with outdated protectionist regulations in the face of technological innovation.”

When Uber and other ride-sharing companies entered the Chicago market several years ago, they soon became a thorn in the side of the taxi cartel that had operated under protectionist rules dating back to 1937. Those rules

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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.

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2020 Bob Adelmann