Friday, October 13, 2017

Las Vegas Police Were On Mandalay Bay Premise When Shooting Began


Source: Bloomberg

The Hotel claims that police were on the premise, with their armed security guards, responding to an unrelated call just before the shooting began. The hotel has also revised their timeline of events and now claim security guard Jesus Campos was shot 40 seconds before Paddock began shooting at the concert goers, contrary to the 6 minutes given by the revised police timeline.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Las Vegas Police Contradict Previous Mandalay Bay Timeline


Source: USA Today

And it still doesn't add up. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan PD, Stephen Paddock shot a security gaurd and fired at a builing engineer, on the 32nd floor, 6 minutes prior to opening fire on concert goers across the street. Security guard Jesus Campos and building engineer Stephen Schuck were on the 32nd floor prior to the shooting. Schuck had supposedly gone to the 32nd floor to check on a fire exist door that wouldn't open.

Stephen Schuck, a building engineer at Mandalay Bay, on Wednesday told NBC News Today show he was on a higher floor the night of Paddock's rampage when he was called to check on a fire exit door that would not open. He said the hallway on the 32nd floor where Paddock was holed up was quiet when he arrived.About a third of the way down the hallway and I started to hear shots go off, Schuck said, although they apparently were not directed into the hallway. Security guard Jesus Campos yelled to take cover moments before Paddock started shooting into the hallway, Schuck said. I could feel them pass right behind my head," Schuck said. "Something hit me in the back and I took cover.Campos was shot in the leg. Schuck radioed to his supervisors to call police. Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday that the hallway shooting took place at 9:59 pm local time — six minutes before Paddock began his 11-minute assault on the 22,000 people gathered for a country music concert a few hundred yards from his hotel windows.

Immediately, this raises a red flag? If Paddock had wanted to take out as many people as possible, which it seems he did, he would have taken out any security that could spot him beforehand and foil his planned rampage. Why would he allow them to live and radio their supervisors? We also aren't told what hit him in the back. There is no implication he was injured so that part of his story is an anomaly. Another anomaly is that he describes the shooting as 'apparently not being directed into the hallway, but contradicts his previous statement by saying it was when Campos told him to take cover. While private rooms don't have security cameras hallway entrances and other common areas do; the hotel should have time stamped footage of this hallway shooting. Since they contend that it happened after the mass murder, contrary to the new police timeline, it would seem even more imperative for them to release this footage if their narrative of events is correct. As a side suggestion, maybe MGM should start arming their security guards.

RE: TJ Kirk's Hypocrisy Test

TJ Kirk, formerly known as the amazingatheist in the haydays of the evolution-creationist debates on Youtube, put forth the following question, presumably to conservative christians.



Fast forward to 5:40

This is a test to find out if you're a hypocrite. If a Christian baker doesn't want to bake a gay wedding cake, is that their right? I say it's not. Maybe you say it is, but that's not the test. This is the test: gay coffee shop owner kicks christians out of cafe, goes on vulgar rant. Do you think this gay coffee shop owner has the right to kick Christians out of his establishment just for being christians? If you're answer for this is different than your answer to the previous question, you've tested positive for being a fucking hypocrite. In my view businesses don't have the right to discriminate on the basis of religion or sexuality in either direction.

The question is based on a false premise though. The gay coffee shop owner in question kicked them out over anti-abortion flyers they had been handing out prior to entering his establishment, not simply because they were Christians. From the UK Mirror:

'A cafe owner kicked a group of Christians out of his coffee shop because he was 'offended' by their leaflets calling for the abolition of abortion.

Members of the Abolish Human Abortion group decided to take a break from leafleting at Seattle's Bedlam Cafe, but when the owner realised who was drinking in his shop, he reacted furiously.

Ben Borgman told the group to leave because he is gay .

In the video of the rant, he says: "I'm gay, you have to leave."

Asked if he is denying them service, he says "yes".

He continues: "This is offensive to me. I own the place. I have the right to be offended
"Do you tolerate my presence?

"If I got my boyfriend and f*** him right here would you tolerate it?"

The group members respond by saying they would tolerate it, and saying it is his choice, and point out that they have gone into his shop without making a fuss.

The coffee spot is decorated with the LGBT rainbow flag outside.

But that does not calm the furious Mr Borgman and he tells them they, and any of their friends, are not welcome.

The leaflet in question depicted rainbow colored hands dripping blood over a dismembered fetus and read 'This is the truly oppressed person in our Idolatrous culture of death.'


It's easy to see how Mr. Borgman could have taken offense to the flyer as it seems to convey the message that gays are responsible for abortion which the Christian group equates to genocide. Also, Christian bakers don't refuse service to gay customers just for being gay; typically, it's a conscientious objection to baking a cake tailored to a gay wedding e.g. with two grooms on top. Most wouldn't mind giving them a plain cake for them to decorate themselves.

And what is a right? Liberals don't seem to have a working definition for the term 'rights' and much less so a coherent theory of ethics. When they use the term 'rights', it usually means a gibsmedat e.g. I have a right to food, a house, a phone, free beer etc. and the rest of their argument is filled in with vacuous appeals to emotion and ad hominems.
TJ's thought experiment is at best a naive musing about something that could only occur in an ideal world with perfect justice; the stark reality is that all laws are either selectively enforced or not enforced at all; in the former case someone always gets the short end of the stick. Governments are nearly always discriminatory in enforcing their laws; sometimes its along ethnic and religious lines and other times its in favor of other public officials. Adding further laws tends to create more legal inequalities. This is readily noticeable with so called anti-poaching laws. Actual poachers and criminal syndicates involved in the ivory trade usually have enough money to bribe public officials. The indigenous tribes that hunt for subsistence do not, so they end up getting nailed for poaching. The short answer is that you shouldn't patronize people who hate you on the basis of whatever arbitrary categories you listed. Why would you support people who are against your existence? Bakeries and coffee shops are a dime a dozen, if one of them refuses you, go around the block and find another one.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Baka Woman's Testimony of Being Tortured By Eco Death Squad


Source: Forest Peoples Programme


Once, me, my husband Andre Bako, and my step brother Leon Béké left and went into the forest, just behind the village. There is a forest path from here. We arrived to where Leon has a hut, where he had a small field. A Bantu called Koba went into the forest and found us. He came out and told the ecoguards that we were there – that he didn’t know if we were hunting, but that we were there. The ecoguards came and found us and hit us. They made us sit on the floor, with our legs out and our feet flexed. They hit our bare feet with the flat edge of a machete. Then they hit us on our bottoms. They made us lie on our stomachs and stamped on our back. They hit us. My husband nearly lost his eye. It still hurts him today.They didn’t even ask if we were hunting or just walking. They just wanted us gone.

The forest they are forbiden to enter under pain of death, but which they depended on for their livelihood has been designated as Ngoyla-Mintom Reserve. This 'protect area' is a joint project between the World Bank and WWF. The WWF funds the eco death squads, mostly with USAID money, and the World Bank has invested $3.5M in the project. WWF is notorious for supporting human rights abuses against indigenous peoples around Africa while simultaneously allowing logging concessions on lands they claim to be preserving. And of course the World Bank is notorious for providing international corporate welfare regardless of the cost to human life.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A License To Speak (part 1)


Source: Institute for Justice

In some states it is illegal to offer dietary advice without the government's permission. Florida resident, military spouse and health coach Heather Kokesch Del Castillo learned first hand how far state's will go to protect their cartelized industries. In this instance, she ran up against the Dietetics industry and the state was willing to censor her. Heather moved from California to Florida in the summer of 2015 after her husband, who is in the Air Force, was transferred to a base in Fort Walton Beach. Heather earned a private health-coaching certification in 2013 from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The state of California did not require Heather to become a licensed dietetician to give diet advice to willing clients, but Florida's Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act defines 'dietetics' so broadly that it inlcudes offering any dietary advice for compensation. The Florida Department of Health first contacted Heather when they conducted a sting operation against her. One of their agents emailed heather pretending to be a man named Pat Smith who was looking for information that could help him personalize a weight loss program. In response, Heather offered him a free consultation and asked for his health history. The agent was not charged for any of the information provided to him and he was not solicited to buy anything from her. Heather does not sell supplements, perform diagnostic procedures, or claim to be a licensed dietetician. Her health coaching practice only involves talking to clients, on an individualized basis, about their food choices for compensation. She helps them sift through information that is already available to the public online. The Florida Department of Health subsquently issued a cease and desist and fined Heather $750 for giving dietary advice without a license. In order to continue her Health coaching service, Heather would have to spend 4 years getting a bachelors in Nutrition Science, complete 900 hours of internships, and pay $200 to take a board certified exam, but Heather has neither the time nor the money it would take to meet the state's requirements and neither does the vast majority of the population.
Similar cases have arisen in other states. Perhaps the worst example occured in North Carolina back in 2011 when the Board of Dietetics threatened a paleo blogger with imprisonment if he didn't stop offering dietary advice on his website or even through emails and phone calls. The blogger in question did not even demand compensation for his writing, he was simply offering his experience with different foods and supplements. If talking about food is restricted speech it is not hard to conceive that the government could place more contentious subjects behind licensing barriers. The recent fake news and Russian meddling hysteria, originally orchestrated by the Democratic establishment against the alternative media, offers ample opportunity for state governments to find fertile ground for the censorship of critics via licensing requirements.

Real World Examples Of Land Value Taxes

Keep in mind that the economic term ‘land’ refers to any scarce resource that isn’t a product of human industry.

Generally, there are three categories of land Value Taxes

  1. Ground rent in real-estate
  2. Resource extraction
  3. Externalities caused by pollution

Australia


Mineral Resources Rent Tax

The mineral resource rent tax is assessed on the value of extracted minerals, such as coal, before value is added through downstream activities minus mining expenditure. The value is based on the sale proceeds attributable to the raw material before it undergoes any processing. For coal and iron, the valuation point is the run-of-mine stockpile or when it leaves the point of extraction. Thus the mining profit in this case is actually a rent since it is obtained through exclusive use and disposal over a non-renewable resource that isn't a product of human industry. The effective rate is 22.5% so even here only a fraction of the rent is collected into the public coffers.

Western Australia


Land Tax

The land tax is assessed on the aggregated unimproved value of land held by the same owner. The value is based on 150% of the previous year's unimproved value of land. The tax is only levied on land that exceeds an aggregate value of $300,000 and even after that amount the government only recaptures a small percentage of the land value.

New South Wales, Australia


Land Tax

http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1956/27/sec3

Like the Land Tax for Western Australia, only a small percentage of the land value (between 1.6% and 2%) is taxed.

Estonia


Land Tax

The land tax is levied on the taxable value of all land (other than that which is specifically exempt) based on an official valuation. The owners of the land are liable to land tax. The annual land tax rate varies between 0.1% and 2.5% of the assessed value of the land. The council of the local authority is authorized to establish the rate of land tax.
British Columbia

Royalties on resource extraction

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/natural-resource-taxes/mining/mineral-tax

The taxes on resource extraction in British Columbia are applied to mining, oil and natural gas, and logging. This includes a mineral land tax levied on the freehold owners of mineral rights, a tax levied on the sale of standing timber or the right to cut standing timber, as well as royalties on oil and natural gas production. The mineral land tax is assessed by the size of the owner’s land and whether or not the land is used to produce minerals. The freehold owner is taxed at a fixed rate of 4.94 per hectare, up to 404,686 hectares, if they employ their land in mining, but are taxed on a sliding scale adjusted by the size of their land if they hold it out of use. A mineral tax is levied on coal, gemstones, industrial minerals, precious metals, and rare earth elements. The logging tax allows a deduction for logs processed into secondary forestry products between 35 and 65% of total processing income.

Norway


Petroleum tax

The tax is assessed on a company's net profit with deductions for the cost of exploration, R&D, financing, operations, and decommissioning. Additionally there is an extra deduction for normal returns on investment called uplift. The Petroleum tax is thus not a tax on any profits but on a subsoil rent at a rate of 54%. This special tax generated $49 billion in revenue for the Norwegian public in the last fiscal year. Like all land value taxes, the Petro tax is fiscally neutral and does not discourage profitable ventures. Furthermore, companies can write off profit losses that they accrue anywhere on the Norwegian shelf against their income.

Alaska


The Permanent fund dividend is funded by a 25% royalty on oil sale proceeds. It pays out an annual citizen’s dividend to all eligible residents of Alaska. The dividend for the last fiscal year was $1,022. The Alaska Permanent Dividend, like all of the other implementations listed above, is only a partial model because it only includes oil revenue.

Land value taxes, unlike income taxes, cannot be loopholed to death or dodged by setting up offshore shell companies or bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Compared to income taxes, the land value tax requires much less in overhead costs to administrate. There is no need to hire a tax preparer to file a return or have a top heavy bureaucracy like the IRS; the government or a delegated property appraiser will tell you your liability. The land value tax cannot be passed off to consumers like the VAT or sales tax. The land value tax is not only more efficient, it is also congruous with moral law, especially when used to fund a citizen’s dividend. Since all people have an equal normative claim to use the earth, any deprivation of this claim, through extraction or enclosure, should be compensated with the equivalent value of the natural opportunities lost. On the contrary, personal income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, VATs and sales taxes deprive an individual of a portion of the product of his or her labor and thus constitute a breach of self-ownership.

What Is The Law?

Morality Doesn't come From Government and, by logical deduction, neither do rights


Anytime a person condemns the action(s) of a government, company or private individual that is considered perfectly legal, they do so either purely out of self-interest or they do so because they implicitly assume the existence of a moral law that is independent of and superior to the legislation of the state. We would be in a much worse condition if we relied on legislatures and magistrates to tell us what is right and wrong. If we were to take the history of governments as a model for how people should conduct themselves, mass murder, enslavement, kidnapping, terrorism, forced sterilization, and robbery would all be acceptable behavior if it were done under seemingly noble pretexts. Of course no one with even the slightest intelligence would defend the claim that morality comes from government, but people often believe the equally absurd claim that rights, which are moral precepts, come from governments.

Intuitive moral sentiments


The strongest social instinct in humans is the norm of reciprocity; repaying benefits with like benefits and harms with like harms. Each individual can only maximize their fitness if they maintain a social equilibrium with every other individual, which is to say the give and take is mutually beneficial to each individual in the long run. Voluntary trade between buyers and sellers is the most obvious example of this, but it can also take the negative form of mutual restraint from harming other people's bodies, their progeny, or reducing their capacity to sustain their own existence. In voluntary trade, when one person provides a benefit without compensation from the recipient, the latter incurs a debt. Likewise, when one person or group of people harms another person they incur a debt to that person, but in this case the debt is repaid by the creditor's action instead of the debtor's action, in other words, inflicting an equivalent harm upon the debtor.

Society is analogous to an organism in the fact that it cannot survive (i.e. carry out it's functions) without the cooperation of its members. A society in which initiatory violence is universally permissible must ultimately cause a loss of social equilibrium and collapse, reducing the fitness of each of it's members. If each individual is permitted to aggress against every other individual then each individual will likewise be prone to equivalent acts of aggression from every other individual. The resulting loss of social equilibrium is similar to the loss of homeostasis in the body that reduces an organism's fitness. Of course, some might argue that if only the strongest individuals initiate violence then society might still function well enough to survive, but even for these individuals there will always be someone 'stronger' than them, so even in this case their fitness would be reduced if initiatory violence is allowed. Therefore, we know initiatory violence is immoral since it reduces the fitness of a society as a whole. We also intuitively know that certain actions are only permissible if another person or people are willing to allow said action and know the ramifications of said action. This is the notion of informed consent. Informed consent often makes a difference between borrowing another person's property and theft, consensual sex and rape, assisted suicide and murder; it is also why we consider fraud and other forms of intentional deception immoral, even though they are not violent acts. Informed consent is not necessary for all actions; one does not need informed consent to use their own property or to do what one wants to do with one's own body. Informed consent is only necessary when one's actions involves another person's body, mind or property because we recognize each person's autonomy. The sentiment of justice is therefore ultimately derived from the social instinct for reciprocity.

The moral sense agency


Side Note: Here, autonomy means freedom of action.

People will only protect their autonomy if they have a desire to preserve their autonomy; however, a desire to preserve one's autonomy is a purely selfish desire that comes instinctively without forethought, and therefore is not sufficient to maintain social equilibrium. Most people will value their autonomy above other peoples' autonomy, which would inevitably lead to hostile social relations i.e. maladaptation to social conditions. It is only when a desire for autonomy is coupled with mutual sympathy for each other's desire for autonomy that we reach social equilibrium. Evidently then, an equilibrium must be reached wherein each person's autonomy does not entail reducing any other person's autonomy.

How do we ascertain that the law of equal liberty is the moral maxim that all social relations ought to conform to?


We start with the observation that all evil (i.e. individuals afflicting other individuals) results from the maladaptation of character to social conditions: an incongruity between our faculties and their spheres of action.

Indeed, the findings of evolutionary psychology confirm that mental and social disorder result from a lack of congruity between our psychological adaptations and the social conditions of civilization. In other words, we are psychologically, and as consequence morally, maladapted to our social state.

We move to the next observation that people living in this social state still suffer numerous evils; therefore, their characters are not completely adapted to the social state.

What does the social state require in order for people to completely adapt to it?

It requires that each individual shall have such desires only, as may be fully satisfied without inhibiting the ability of other individuals to obtain like satisfaction. If the desires of each are not thus limited, then either all must have certain of their desires ungratified; or some must get gratification for them at the corresponding expense of others. Both alternatives necessitate individuals afflicting other individuals, implying maladaptation of character to social conditions.

Individuals must have freedom of action in order to satisfy their desires, but since it is requisite that each individual's desires should be limited to the desires that can be fully satisfied without inhibiting the ability of other individuals to obtain the same satisfaction, then each individual should have the freedom of action to do all that they desire provided they do not inhibit other individuals from having the same freedom of action to do all that they desire.

The law of equal liberty logically follows: every individual should have the freedom to do all that he/she wills provided he/she does not infringe upon the same freedom of any other individual.

The law of equal liberty can also be stated as: every person may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberty by every other person.