Thursday, August 22, 2019

No more cardboard boxes? 3M invents an ingenious new way to ship products

Obviously not so good for irregular objects needing protection.  Yet it is also true that we can design to these shipping specifics as well. Thus we will see a lot of this system.  The real trick is that it does not lock onto the contents.

This is an ideal solution for shipping books which always demand costly box protection which is never perfect.

It is also not so hard to design protective forms as well from pressed fibers to apply before sealing.

All this supports a superior packing protocol

No more cardboard boxes? 3M invents an ingenious new way to ship products

The company is launching a new material that could reduce the time, materials, and space required to ship products by 50%.


By Katharine Schwab

Getting things delivered has never been more convenient. With just a few clicks, you can have a new bottle of shampoo sitting outside your door the next day, or that cool T-shirt you’ve been eyeing on Etsy. But when those items arrive at your door, there’s a good chance they’ll be in a too-big box, stuffed with lots of wasteful packaging filler.

That’s why the Minnesota-based materials company 3M is releasing a new type of packaging that requires no tape and no filler, and it can be customized to fit any object under 3 pounds—which 3M says accounts for about 60% of all items that are bought online and shipped. 3M claims that the material, called the Flex & Seal Shipping Roll, can reduce time spent packing, the amount of packaging materials, and the space needed to ship packages.

[Image: 3M]The roll is made out of three layers of different plastics that 3M developed, including a gray, internal adhesive layer that sticks to itself (you’ll see why in a moment). There’s also a middle cushioning layer that seems similar to bubble wrap to protect items during shipping, and a tougher outside layer that is tear- and water-resistant. It comes in rolls of assorted sizes, almost like wrapping paper: 10-foot, 20-foot, and 40-foot rolls are available now with prices ranging from $12.99 to $48.99, and a 200-foot bulk role will soon be available in August.

To use the Flex & Seal, you just place your item on the sticky gray side of the material, fold over enough material to encapsulate your item, and press the adhesive sides together to seal it up like a calzone. The gray side of the packaging will stick to itself, and not the object you want to ship, and 3M says the seal is robust enough to stay in place during shipping—no tape required. After about 30 seconds, during which you can reposition the item if you didn’t seal it to your liking the first time, the adhesive gets so strong that you have to tear the plastic a bit if you want to pull it apart. That protects your package from tampering, while making sure it’s easy enough to tear open or cut with scissors on the other side.

The Flex & Seal is one way that 3M is trying to get in on the gold rush of the on-demand economy. The U.S. Postal Service handled more than 6 billion packages in 2018, and UPS recently reported net income of $1.69 billion in the second quarter of 2019, up from $1.49 billion during the second quarter in 2018.

Many of those billions of packages are transported using cardboard boxes. Companies like Amazon and Target are racing to make their box designs more efficient, but these are incremental improvements. And for the thousands of smaller merchants that sell items via large marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, as well as small businesses and direct-to-consumer startups, putting together a box is time-intensive. They are often stuck doing things by hand.

[Image: 3M]When 3M started doing ethnographic research to understand the problems these merchants had, the team found that people were so accustomed to thinking shipping had to be done using boxes, filler, and tape that they didn’t even see it as a problem—just a necessary evil. “It was the bane of their existence,” says Remi Kent, who oversees business globally for 3M’s Post-it Notes and Scotch Brands. “But they didn’t know of any other alternative. They’d have up to 10 steps for preparing, packing, and shipping.”

On top of the manual labor of shipping lots of products, the rise of fast delivery has also raised consumers’ expectations for small brands, which are now up against the likes of Amazon. “[The online economy] . . . has changed the expectations on both ends, whether you’re an online marketplace owner and small business and you’re responsible for sending, but also the consumer expectations around how and when you expect to receive [packages],” Kent says.

3M is also looking into business partnerships with larger retailers, insisting that Flex & Seal could help them compete against each other to be the most convenient place to buy goods online. Amazon plans to spend $800 million to bring one-day shipping to Prime members, while Walmart aims to have one-day shipping nationwide for all customers, and even Target recently announced that it’s going to offer same-day delivery for 65,000 items. “Some of their business is automated [with robot-powered fulfillment centers], but some is done by hand,” Kent says. “We think we’re a better solution for those items done by hand.”

The Flex & Seal is recyclable—it’s made of the same material as disposable plastic bags. But similar to plastic bags, the only way to recycle it is to take it to certain retail stores and recyclers, which might be able to include it in their plastic bag recycling program. That means you can’t toss it in your recycling bin with old milk cartons and empty soda cans. Compared to cardboard boxes, which can be easily recycled, that’s a hassle most consumers likely won’t bother with. Kent recognizes this is a problem, and says the team is working on making it easier to recycle. “We’re looking at how could we change the construction of the material choices so it becomes easier to recycle at your home,” she says.

But Flex & Seal does have an environmental benefit, compared with cardboard, 3M says: Shipping companies would be able to fit more of this type of package in a single truck, making the supply chain more efficient and potentially reducing emissions (3M has not done the calculations to discern how much).

If Flex & Seal takes off, perhaps it will replace the cardboard boxes that usually land on your doorstep with thin, blue packages.

Northrop Grumman scramjet sets new thrust record in testing

New thrust records have been set in scramjet testing at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee

They are actually getting this work and that suggests that 24 Mach is in reach. That opens the door for eventual.larger craft that could could reach the scram jet threshold using one power plant before switching up to the scram jet to set up a jump into low orbit.  In fact once lifting out of he atmosphere a simple rocket pack can take it up easily enough.
There will be a decade more effort here but we will have this capacity soon enough.
Why we are building this is an open question though.  It is difficult to see the economics when a returnable rocket can punch through the atmosphere...
Northrop Grumman scramjet sets new thrust record in testing

Loz Blain

August 8th, 2019

New thrust records have been set in scramjet testing at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee(Credit: US Air Force Photo)

After a two-year upgrade of its test facilities, the AEDC Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee has finally been able to test the latest Northrop Grumman scramjet at simulated hypersonic speeds, setting a new thrust record in the process.

Scramjets, of course, can only operate at hypersonic speeds, as they rely on extreme intake air velocity to compress and heat the air before combustion can take place. Where a turbojet uses a compressor and a piston engine uses a compression stroke to achieve this effect, scramjets in some cases need no moving parts at all. Air comes in at hypersonic speeds, and is then forced into a narrowing channel which compresses it, and then fuel is added at the narrowest point, igniting and producing thrust as it leaves the chamber.

In this case, the test unit put out more than 13,000 pounds of thrust – a US Air Force record test figure for an air-breathing hypersonic engine. That might not sound very impressive, what with Boeing gearing up to put GE9X jets on its next model airliners that make more than a 100,000 pounds of thrust each, but hypersonic flight starts at five times the speed of sound and theoretically goes up to as fast as Mach 24, and this makes everything considerably more challenging.

Indeed, even testing the thing turned out to require a two-year upgrade of the AEDC's test facilities, because there wasn't a single test rig in the country capable of reproducing the airspeeds and thermal conditions needed to properly run this engine through its paces.

The scramjet engine in question was conceived during the X-51 test program around 10 years ago. At 18 ft (5.5 m) long, it's designed to handle 10 times the airflow the X-51 could, and is eventually slated to power a host of hypersonic military aircraft.

The nine-month test program subjected the Northrop Grumman engine to a total of more than 30 minutes of combustion time.

Is Asperger's syndrome the next stage of human evolution?

I do think that Asperger's Syndrome has been conflated with a broadly developed autism spectrum of symptoms in quite the same way we can dig out a hundred reports conforming to the Giant Sloth Meme in thousands of Big Foot reports.

Asperger's has famously been associated with clearly high performance individuals while Autism more generally conforms to a natural subset of the whole human population suffering from a form of physical damage that is subtle. That is why we have a rise in autism cases associated with negative reactions to the injection of foreign substances in our bloodstream.  I suspect that we are not getting more high performance minds though from all this.

The training of a high performance mind demands focus and intent.  Famously 10,000 hours in fact.  I do not think you get there otherwise.  I have met plenty of examples of individuals who had the capacity but never paid the price. 

Paying the price does significantly change your brain itself and establishes a different set of preferences in terms of relating to the world.  This can be easily seen as autism like when it is not.  Add in induced childhood preferences as well and you have a high performance alien mind for the casual observor.

Is Asperger's syndrome the next stage of human evolution?

: Tony Attwood | Australian Story

Has the Biblical Moses Been Identified in Secular Egyptian Records?

Moses crossing the Red Sea. Source: Davy Cheng / Adobe Stock.
The unusual story of Moses does fit neatly into the deeply obscured story of Hatshepsut.  Moses must have fled after the death of his protector and then he returned years later in order to extract his familie's tribe.   This led to a serious upheaval in Egypt for which he was certainly blamed.. Yet he also was then an old man already.

Regardless this sets the exodus at 1440 BC.,  This is an important date to have and any error should be small.  I also have 1159 BC for the end of the Atlantean world as well and 1179 BC or the end of Troy in the Baltic.  Thera happened around two centuries before the exodus then.

That also suggests that the Jews entered Israel around 1400 BC and had two and one half centuries to establish themselves there before their conflict with the Philistines began.  This was clearly a powerful echo of the Atlantean end in 1159 BC.

Has the Biblical Moses Been Identified in Secular Egyptian Records?
 8 August, 2019 - 18:59 Annette Duckworth

Moses was a prophet and a leader according to Abrahamic religions, but many scholars view him as a legendary figure rather than a real historic person. They do concede that a Moses-like figure could have existed in history, so is it possible to track this person down through historic records? It is the view of this writer that this is very possible and that in fact the Moses figure can be traced as that of the primary confidant of none other than Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut. The trail begins with Th Exodus. 

The Exodus and Moses Birth 

What is the date of the Exodus ? To find Moses in the Egyptian records, the first requirement is to fix the date of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. 

If we use the Bible as our primary source, we know that this occurred during the ‘ New Kingdom ’ period of Egypt, when the powerful Egyptian families of the south reasserted themselves and drove out the Hyksos invaders , who had been entrenched in the power centers of northern Egypt for over 100 years. 

The Hyksos’ stay in Egypt is known in history as the ‘Second Intermediate Period’. However, there is a difference of opinion among biblical scholars as to when, during the New Kingdom, the Exodus occurred. So, can we find anything to help us pin it down? 

If one accepts the biblical dating of Solomon’s time , we know that he started building his famous temple in 960 BC, and the text of 1 Kings 6 v1 states that this was 480 years since the Exodus .

Thus, we can fix a date for the Exodus of 1440 BC, when Moses was 80 years old. This would mean that he was born around 1520 BC and is an adult in the court between 1500 and 1480 BC. 

Where Does the Name Moses Come From? 

1500 – 1480 BC is the time of the pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, and she had a close confidant, described by the well-known Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley in her book on Hatshepsut, as the ‘Greatest of the Great’. 

The father of Hatshepsut was Thutmose l , and his name means ‘son of Thoth’, the god of wisdom, ‘mose’ meaning ‘son’. This is a common use of the word ‘mose’ as in ‘Ra meeses’, son of the sun god Ra, etc. 

The biblical text tells us that it was the pharaoh’s daughter who named Moses. Exodus 2 v 10 states that, “she called him Moses because she said, ‘I drew him out of the water’”. 

The finding of Moses. (Light snow / Public Domain )
But we will not find a Prince Moses in the court in Egypt because another bible reference, Hebrews 11 v 24, states that “ Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. 
Instead, we find that the close confidant of the queen is a man called ‘ Senenmut’. This appears to be a unique name, and one of its meanings is ‘mother’s brother’. Hatshepsut was born in the early 1530s, so they were close in age, so such a name makes sense. 
Why Would the Royal Heiress Adopt a Slave Child? 
If Hatshepsut is the woman who rescued and adopted Moses, what would make a woman of such high standing adopt a slave child? After her mother, Hatshepsut was the highest woman in the land, and such a woman would not consider saving the life of a slave child, let alone adopt him as her son. 
But when we look at the past, it is hard for us to remember that the people we are observing are just like us. They have thoughts and feelings like us, and Hatshepsut, at the time she found the abandoned baby in the basket, was a little girl, with the instincts to protect the helpless that we see so often in children. The text of Exodus 2 v 6 says “she saw the child, he was crying, and she took pity on him”. 
Hatshepsut knew that he was a Hebrew child, as the rest of the verse tells us. But she was too young to look ahead and understand the enormity of her action. Almost immediately she must have formed an attachment to him, and as he grew the attachment grew, and her loyalty to him would alter the course of her life.
So, What Do We Know of Hatshepsut? 
We know that Hatshepsut married her brother, Thutmose II, becoming his ‘Great Royal Wife’, his principal queen. She bears him two daughters but no sons and, following his death after a reign of only 13 years, his son by a harem woman is made the pharaoh, becoming Thutmose III .
This new pharaoh is an infant and Hatshepsut is made regent. She is effectively the ruler of the land, holding all the power already, and so it seems odd to Egyptologists that after just two years she makes herself pharaoh. 
Did she have ambitions to put her adopted son on the throne? This she could do if she were pharaoh, but not if she were only regent. She reigns as the senior pharaoh, jointly with Thutmose III for 22 successful years, until her death. 
She rules the country well. She sets up trading expeditions with the lands south of Egypt. She keeps a firm grip on Nubia, Egypt’s southern neighbor from which vast resources are acquired, including gold, cattle, slaves, and soldiers. She carries out extensive building works, both in Waset, the ancient name for Luxor, and around the country. 

Life-sized statue of Hatshepsut. She is shown wearing the nemes-headcloth and shendyt-kilt, which are both traditional for an Egyptian king. The statue is more feminine, given the body structure. (Pharos / Public Domain )
She extends the Temple of Amun in Waset, erecting 4 huge obelisks in his honor, two of which are still there, one still standing. It bears engravings as clear as they were when it was erected 3,500 years ago, reading – “Raised for the glory my father Amun that I may be given life”. She builds a magnificent mortuary temple for herself , where the gods are honored, known as the Temple of Deir el Bahri, which still stands and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. 
What Happened to Hatshepsut’s Memory After Her Death? 
Hatshepsut ruled her country well and was buried honorably, probably with her father Thutmose l in tomb KV 20, a tomb she had built for a double burial. 
After the death of his stepmother, Thutmose III continued his long reign of over 50 years, spending much of that time campaigning in the Levant, defeating the power of the Hittites to the northwest and the Mittani to the northeast and bringing the wealthy city states of Canaan firmly under Egyptian control. He is known as the ‘Napoleon of Egypt’ for his success as a military man. 
But 30 years after her death, all records of Hatshepsut came under attack. Her statues were removed from the temples, smashed and buried in a pit, and her reliefs were excised from the walls of the temples. In subsequent years, Hatshepsut’s name was omitted from the King Lists , a thing done to no other pharaoh except the great heretic pharaoh Akenaten but not to the one previous female pharaoh Sobekneferu who reigned briefly at the end of the 12th Dynasty.

On Left - A fallen obelisk of Hatshepsut. On Right - The image of Hatshepsut has been deliberately chipped away and removed. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 / CC BY-SA 3.0 )3
Removing all record of Hatshepsut’s name was intended, by the Egyptians, as the ultimate punishment, known as ‘damnatio memoriae’. All records of a person removed from history as if they had never lived resulted in the death of their soul for eternity. This effectively removed Hatshepsut from Egyptian history until all memory of her and why she had been so hated was lost. 
She was forgotten for over 1,000 years, until vague references to her were found by the priest Manetho in 300 BC when he was asked by the Greeks in power at that time to search out and list the pharaohs of Egyptian history. He found references to a female pharaoh called Amensis, who was identified by later Egyptologists as Hatshepsut, and recorded her as the fifth pharaoh of the New Kingdom Dynasty, but nothing more was known of her. 
It was thought that Hatshepsut’s mummy had been lost, but it has recently been identified lying abandoned in the tomb of her royal nurse Sitre, tomb KV 60. It was identified by a tooth fragment known to belong to Hatshepsut, and the mummy appeared to have been left without ceremony, perhaps in haste to hide it from those who would have destroyed it. The Egyptians believed that the preservation of the body was essential to survival in the afterlife, hence the lengths they went to, to preserve them. It was the ultimate punishment to destroy a person’s body. 
So, Who Would Have Tried to Remove Hatshepsut From History? 
The action against Hatshepsut’s (and Senemut’s) memory occurs either late in the reign of Thutmose III, when his son Amenhotep II was sharing the throne, or after Thutmose’s death, when Amenhotep II was reigning alone. It seems therefore to be Amenhotep II who is responsible for this destruction. 

Head of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep II. (Neuroforever / CC BY-SA 4.0 )
He would be at the correct time to see the return of Moses demanding the release of the Hebrew slaves. The story of the Exodus describes great hardship for Egypt, and one can understand Amenhotep’s fury against both Hatshepsut and Senenmut and wishing to destroy their memory. Being wiped out of history for the Egyptians was tantamount to eternal damnation. 
When Were Hatshepsut’s Statues Discovered and What Did They Reveal? 
During the 1800s, wealthy gentlemen such as James Breasted went to Egypt specifically with the hope of finding evidence to prove the biblical record . These men effectively established the science of Egyptology. 
But at that time, the statues of Hatshepsut still lay buried in the pit where they were thrown 30 years after her death. They remained there undiscovered until found by Herbert Winlock an American Egyptologist employed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Boston, United States in 1927, by which time the world at large was no longer interested in trying to prove the Bible. 
But not only was a hoard of statues of Hatshepsut discovered just east of the first court of her mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri. Another pit was found, containing over 20 hard stone statues of Senenmut, a huge number for a non-royal. In fact, to date, 26 hard stone statues of Senenmut have been identified which causes Egyptologists to wonder what was it about this man that he was given such status. 

Kneeling statue of Senenmut, Chief Steward of Queen Hatshepsut. (FA2010 / Public Domain )
What Do We Know About Senenmut? 
The first thing to confront us when looking at the records of Senenmut are the many beautiful statues of him as a young lad holding Hatshepsut’s elder daughter, the Princess Neferure . She is there wrapped in his cloak as a baby as he sits on the ground. 
He is holding her in his arms the way a woman would hold a child. In some examples he sits on a chair holding her on his lap. Some are of him standing holding Neferure as a toddler, but altogether they show a level of intimacy between the two of them, as we would have in photos taken of our children together.over?

Seated Senenmut – Moses – holding the princess Neferure in his arms. (Captmondo / CC BY-SA 3.0 )
He is said to be the tutor to Neferure, but statues of a royal child being held like this had never been made before this date. And this is breaking protocol because a non-royal is not allowed to touch a royal child in this way. 
And we know that Senenmut is not royal because he names his parents in one of his tombs, and they have no titles at all, showing that they are of humble origin. But the extraordinary thing about Senenmut is that he is treated as a royal. 
He has two beautiful tombs built for himself, one, TT 353 has the oldest known star chart, a work of great expertise, on the ceiling. And this tomb is actually within the sacred precinct of Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple. This is a sacred space and to have Senenmut’s tomb in such a place, sacred in itself, but also the personal space of the pharaoh, shows a degree of closeness between them that is shocking, unless there is an explanation for it. 

TT 353 Senenmut tomb. (Edal / CC BY-SA 3.0 )
The other tomb TT 71 has decorations described by the Egyptologist Peter Dorman in the book ‘ Hatshepsut from Queen to Pharaoh’ , page 131 as being clearly done “by artists from the royal ateliers”. Dorman also dismisses the suggestion that Senenmut may have been Hatshepsut’s lover. 
In this tomb TT 71, a sarcophagus belonging to Senenmut was found. It is made of quartzite, a material only allowed to be used by the royals. 
We know that Moses neither dies nor is buried in Egypt. And Senenmut is not buried in either of his tombs but disappears from Egyptian records. 
Besides the statues of Senenmut holding the infant princess, there are many statues made of him making offerings to the gods. These statues were made to stand in the presence of the gods, and again, it is not permitted for a non-royal to enter the presence of the gods; having your statue there was the equivalent of you being there in person. 
Here again he is treated as a royal. And all these statues are of a very young man, so it must be Hatshepsut who ordered these statues to be made. To be in the presence of the gods was a very favored position, because you would receive the continual blessings of the gods. 
We also find a number of reliefs carved in the most sacred space of all in the Deir el Bahri Temple, in the sanctuary of Amun itself. One is even carved in the back wall of the sanctuary, where the ceremonial boat which carried the idol of Amun was placed overnight before its return journey to Waset. For the images of a common citizen to be placed in such a sacred space, breaks every rule in the book, but Hatshepsut must have done this, and done it because Senenmut was the son she had adopted, and she was ambitious for him to rise high in Egypt. 
During the course of his years at the court of Hatshepsut, Senenmut is acknowledged by experts in Egyptology, to have held many of the highest titles in the land, showing that he truly was the ‘Greatest of the Great’, in Hatshepsut’s court. 
Senemut’s high standing in the court during the reign of Hatshepsut, coupled with him being wiped from the Egyptian historical narrative, and the correlation between the biblical and Egyptian dating, would suggest therefore that he was the person we know from the Bible as Moses. 
Having discovered the story of Hatshepsut and Senenmut, I decided to present it as an historical novel. It was published in October 2018 by Mirador. It is called ‘ The King and her children’ and is available from Waterstones and Amazon.

Top image: Moses crossing the Red Sea. Source: Davy Cheng / Adobe Stock. 

By A.R. Duckworth

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

How Qualified Immunity Became Absolute Immunity for Police Officers

There are obviously serious deficiencies in law enforcement protocols that generate these sorts of outcomes.

This has to be addressed at all levels and not piecemeal.  Before all this though it is necesaary to completely end the criminalization Meme realated to all forms of drugs in order to extract the enforcement system.

This may well allow a substancial down sizing. This also holds true for homeland security once it is clearly understood that false flag Meme was used to impose it.

It will not be too difficult to within the next decade to use persuasive passive surveillance to intercept crimanal potential as a matter of course.  This is going to happen anyway.  Criminality can become simply too difficult and we can also eliminate economic necessity through the elimination of poverty.

Other that that, it is absurd that we have allowed our police training to generate a paramilitary that lacks the discipline to never be trigger happy.    Swat Teams for a simple drug bust is absurd.

How Qualified Immunity Became Absolute Immunity for Police Officers

Chris Calton

When Israel Leija, Jr. was picking up food at a drive-through in 2010, police officers approached his car to arrest him. Leija was guilty of violating his probation, and when the officers informed him that he was under arrest, he sped away. For the next twenty minutes, Leija led the police on a high speed chase.

During the chase, the police used standard tactics to stop Leija. Anticipating his possible routes, they deployed tire spikes in three different areas. But one officer, Chadrin Mullenix, decided to think outside the box. Despite never having been trained to shoot moving vehicles, Mullenix asked permission from his supervisor to fire his M-4 rifle from an overpass at Leija’s engine block. He neglected to wait for a response, though, before taking the initiative. He fired off six rounds, none of which hit the engine, but four of the bullets hit Leija, killing him. After the shooting, Mullenix said to his supervisor, “How’s that for proactive?” in response to an earlier criticism from his supervisor for not taking enough initiative.

In the case of Mullenix v. Luna, Officer Mullenix was acquitted on charges of excessive force on the grounds of qualified immunity. Prior to the case Harlow v. Gitzgerald in 1982, qualified immunity was essentially “good faith” immunity; as long as officials believed “in good faith” that their actions were legal, they were protected from lawsuits. Harlow rejected the good-faith clause—which depended on the subjective evaluation of the officer—so that the only “qualification” for qualified immunity was that no “clearly established” law was violated. At face value, the subjectivity of the good-faith clause appears to provide an open-ended defense for police abuses, but by eliminating this condition, police officers actually gained even more immunity from liability.

In the case of Mullenix, the comment “How’s that for proactive?” would have demonstrated that he was not acting in good faith when taking the initiative to fire recklessly at a moving vehicle. Instead, the lack of any law specifically prohibiting his actions in unique circumstances was sufficient to grant him legal immunity. Given that statutory law cannot reasonably anticipate all the unique circumstances that officers will face, nearly any abuse of power meets the criteria for qualified immunity, even in cases in which an officer brazenly defies reasonable expectations for appropriate conduct.

The case of Philip Brailsford is an even more remarkable example of how qualified immunity serves as a license for police abuse. After customers of a La Quinta Inn mistook a pest-control gun for a weapon, the police were called in to investigate Daniel Shaver. When they found him, unarmed and drunk, Shaver was not violating any law. But Officer Brailsford, while wearing a body camera to record his activities, ordered Shaver to the ground and proceeded to play a sadistic game of Simon Says. As he pointed his AR-15 at the drunken father of two, Brailsford gave a series of rapid-fire “Simon Says” orders, telling Shaver “If you make a mistake ... there’s a possibility you’re going to get shot.” Unfortunately, as Shaver tried to follow the orders, crying and begging not to be shot, he did make a mistake—reaching back to pull up his sagging shorts—and Brailford pumped five bullets into him.

Like Mullenix, Brailsford was clearly not demonstrating good-faith discretion in his interaction with Daniel Shaver. Intoxicated with power, he was playing a cruel game that ended with the murder of a man who had violated no laws. All of this was captured on video. Inscribed on the gun he used to kill Shaver were the words “You’re fucked”—which the judge ruled to be inadmissible in court, consistent with the Harlow ruling that tossed out the good-faith clause. All Brailsford had to demonstrate was that he was not violating any clearly established law, and of course, there is not statute prohibiting a police officer from murdering somebody for failing in a game of Simon Says. Brailsford has since been acquitted and, after claiming to have PTSD from the slaying, is currently enjoying a retirement pension (he was twenty-six years old when he killed Shaver) of $2,500 per month.

The doctrine of qualified immunity essentially says that for a police officer to be held accountable, there must be a statute specifying all the particularities of his or her unique situation. Anything even remotely ambiguous falls under the broad category of “discretion.” In theory, legal immunity is “qualified,” but in practice, it is effectively absolute.

In the most recent case, occurring only weeks ago, a team of police officers in Georgia stormed the property of Amy Corbett. The officers were chasing a suspected criminal, and Corbett and her children had the misfortune of living near where the suspect was thought to be. While the children were playing outside, the officers made them lie down while guns were pointed at them. When the family dog, Bruce, approached the officers—showing no signs of aggressive behavior—Officer Michael Vickers did what thousands of police officers have done in similar situations: he fired on the family pet.

While the slaying of a beloved pet in front of children is horrifying (and not uncommon in these situations), Michael Vickers failed to kill the dog. When he fired his weapon, Corbett’s ten-year-old son was less than two feet away from Vickers. Somehow, Vickers fired his weapon so inaccurately that it landed in the knee of the boy lying only eighteen inches away. Unsurprisingly, after their son was forced to lie “for an extended period of time” in excruciating pain the family sued. Just like Mullenix and Brailsford, Officer Vickers was granted qualified immunity from the suit.

In cases such as these, qualified immunity does more than merely protect bad officers. Lawsuits serve two functions: they deter reckless behavior (such as firing a weapon while a child is less than two feet away, for instance), but they also provide restitution for victims. For Shaver, who provided for a wife and two children, restitution would be meant to compensate the family, at the very least, for the financial loss of a primary income-earner. In the Corbett case, the family remains fully responsible for the hospital bills to treat their son’s knee. Qualified immunity protects dangerous cops while simultaneously blocking any avenue for the victims to relieve even some of the consequences of police abuse.

There are several layers of negative incentives built into the criminal justice system. Civil asset forfeiture, for instance, encourages police to seize property from law-abiding citizens on the flimsiest of grounds, with scant recourse against bogus claims. But qualified immunity arguably serves as the most dangerous of the perverse incentive structures governing the police. Through legal evolution, the protection offered has expanded to an absurd degree, where an officer can record himself murdering a man as part of a sadistic game only to be rewarded with an early retirement. Police officers enjoy an almost untrammeled liberty for brutality, theft, and murder—those who do not abuse their authority restrain themselves not because of institutional structures, but despite them. Qualified immunity is the clearest example that the rule of law is dead (or, perhaps, never existed); government officials live by one set of rules, and the rest of us live by another.

Urban Housing.

The fundamental problem for cities is that success produces land price and condo price appreciation all based on a cushion of dead money in the form of land values or Strata title.  This drives citizen costs upward in a form of speculation that is shared out across time but not equally.

A viable solution, and we see plenty of experiments going in that direction is that we build land independent housing.  We may even allocate land blocks as part of development contracts in order to generate space.

We already have plenty of commercial mobile housing and design improvement is obvious as well to minimize raw costs.  The key point is that it is no trick to produce a sturdy foundation ( steel ) frame to set on a simple paved gravel bed that will not need to resist rolling loads.  Temporary water, power and sewer connections is no trouble either.

Central though is that the land can be allocated in five year blocks without serious fuss.  Considering that a cleared lot takes almost five years to clear a development permit, we almost have a solution as well.  It suddenly becomes the decider in the permitting process.  An A permit will be granted after such a five year latency period.

What is central is that housing units are completely mobile and cost under $50,000 and that means interest and amortization will be over twenty years for the building and this is enough to produce a monthly payment under $200.

All of a sudden we no longer have a homeless problem at all.  even better, cleared sites are immediately occupied by any number of such units easily to two stacked and side by side to fill up even a small lot with ten to fifty  units and fully justifying care and maintenance.  Because they are naturally temporay, no neighbor is inconvenienced for more than several years which eliminates the threat of value loss.

The central driver of homelessness is that developers have naturally pushed all social costs back to the governments who cannot really respond dynamically.   This solves that problem by producing a large inventory of low cap housing that can be owned by the residents as well.  Beats sleeping in your car.

Once a such a system is established and focused on land been cleared for multi family building, a large inventory of such land will open up and be continuously available.  This also allows such land to be banked as well.

Such a solution in hand allows the whole development dynamic to be much better managed as well.

add something else.  we can use most rooftops for these temporary houses.

How deep space travel could affect the brain

We have had strong indications that this was true. It certainly means we need radiation protection aboard ship.

Inasmuch as we know that plenty of craft are out there, the problem must be readily solved.  The strong EM fields may well do the trick, but a more robust passive layer will be preferred.

Again this problem has been tackled in the past and stamped secret.
;   .

 How deep space travel could affect the brain

Radiation exposure alters the electrophysiological properties of neurons in the hippocampus.

by Staff Writers

Washington DC (SPX) Aug 07, 2019

Exposure to chronic, low dose radiation - the conditions present in deep space - causes neural and behavioral impairments in mice, researchers report in eNeuro. These results highlight the pressing need to develop safety measures to protect the brain from radiation during deep space missions as astronauts prepare to travel to Mars.

Radiation is known to disrupt signaling among other processes in the brain. However, previous experiments used short-term, higher dose-rate exposures of radiation, which does not accurately reflect the conditions in space.

To investigate how deep space travel could affect the nervous system, Charles Limoli and colleagues at the University of California, Irvine, Stanford University, Colorado State University and the Eastern Virginia School of Medicine exposed mice to chronic, low dose radiation for six months.

They found that the radiation exposure impaired cellular signaling in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, resulting in learning and memory impairments. They also observed increased anxiety behaviors, indicating that the radiation also impacted the amygdala.

The researchers predict that during a deep space mission approximately one in five astronauts would experience anxiety-like behavior and one in three would experience certain levels of memory impairments. Additionally, the astronauts may struggle with decision-making.

China’s Biggest Problem Isn’t Trump, It’s a Broken Banking System

  China gses.png

Everything tells us that China has been building a bubble economy and even extending it globally.

What supports it is printing money or advancing more credit.  The question is how do we cash flow that economy to actually support the debt?  That may simply not be possible.

Again the CCP has chosen to ignore the credit business cycle while continuing to add interest to debt.  Our own experience has been with sudden collapses followed by a quick rebound that allows all stranded loans to be written down to free up fresh equity

At this point, a massive write down of non performing bank assets is surely called for followed by divesting assets with application of fresh equity.  The CCP does not like to divest and their past failure is not conducive to attracting new equity partners.  They find it impossible to close out losers....

China’s Biggest Problem Isn’t Trump, It’s a Broken Banking System


 Tho Bishop
This week the Bank of China announced a devaluation of the yuan to roughly ¥7 to $1, a par last seen in April of 2008. The Trump administration retaliated by designating China as a currency manipulator, a move Washington has long threatened but had never acted on.

The irony here is that China had been artificially propping up – rather than holding down – its currency for years, with some analysts contending that the yuan would fall 30-40% if allowed to float on the market. As one may expect from a political conflict, the move was less about facts and more about positioning as the trade war between Trump and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to escalate.

The market’s reaction to the re-engagement of this battle of wills between the world’s two largest economies is itself telling. Monday’s massive sell-off suggests the market had expected some sort of grand agreement between the two countries. Perhaps Wall Street thought Trump was desperate for a deal going into election season, or that political pressures in Hong Kong would soften Beijing. In any case, the rose-tinted glasses of financial markets highlights a more fundamental problem – they still think Trump’s trade policies pose the greatest risk to China’s economy.

Make no mistake, Trump’s tariffs have been a thorn in Xi’s side. Not only has it impacted Chinese exports to the US (down almost 8% in July), but – perhaps more importantly – the retaliatory tariffs on American goods (particularly agricultural products like soy and pork) have contributed to rising food inflation within the country. This rising costs of living, coupled with slowing economic growth – which Xi has dubbed “the new-normal” – certainly brings unique pressures to the Communist Party.

This is all, however, a lesser threat relative to China’s real issue: a banking system in crisis.

Two months ago, the Chinese government took over Baoshang Bank, a small Inner Mongolia-based institution. What’s noteworthy about this is not simply the actions taken by the government, but the fact that it was news at all. While the Communist Party certainly had the ability to keep their actions secret, with many speculating there have been similar takeovers in the past, they made sure to alert the financial press of their actions. Officials even chose Reuters, rather than a Chinese publication, for the announcement.3

Some have speculated that the actions by the government were meant to send the signal that the CCP is aware of larger problems in its regional banks and is prepared to take action should it need be. In fact, the government followed up this takeover with the establishment of a new deposit insurance program in order to “help financial institutions cope with risks and introduce an exit mechanism.”

At the end of July, another bank found itself in a crisis, this time the larger regional Bank of Jinzhou. Though designed differently than the explicit takeover of Baoshang, once again the Chinese government had to come to the rescue via state-backed financial institutions purchasing stakes in the failing financial institution.

While it’s perhaps possible Baoshang and Jinzhou are isolated incidents within the country, many China analysts are warning this is just the first tremors of an over-leveraged financial system beginning to suffer the consequences of years of artificial credit expansion.

After all, the country has undergone massive expansion of credit  in the past decade. Since 2008, China’s total debt to GDP has nearly doubled, surpassing 300% to GDP in 2019.  Given that the world is awash in high debt levels, it may be easy to tune out these sort of numbers, but there are a variety of reasons why China’s debt levels are particularly troubling.

For one, the largest driver of Chinese debt is less government but corporate debt. In 2017, non-financial corporate debt was almost 160% to GDP according to the IMF. (For comparison US corporate debt, itself high, stands at 48% to GDP.)  Even more troubling, within that is the fact that state-backed firms have been the most aggressive in taking on risk, accounting for 85% of all traditional loans made in the country.

China gses.png

Source: The Economist (Left) (Right)

Similar to American GSE’s in the lead up to the financial crisis, the state-backing of these firms have given these companies a competitive advantage in credit ratings, helping to crowd out private firms access to loans. Of course, it is precisely these state-backed firms who are less interested in profitability rather than fulfilling the desires of local government leaders. The result is that many of these loans were taken out for projects that would never be profitable. It is debt that will simply never be paid off.

There are other reasons why China’s debt situation is potentially more volatile than other countries.

As Diego Santizo of UFM noted last year:
The Chinese debt is overwhelming not because of the volume—more than $34 trillion —but because the figure has quadrupled in seven years (2007–14)...Not only the speed of the growth of debt, but also the debt’s composition is a concerning issue. Almost half of it comes from the real estate sector and related industries, and at least another 30 percent is the product of shadow-banking intermediaries, whose financial discretion is highly doubtful.
The aforementioned shadow banking is another issue that has long worried CCP officials.

Shadow banking involves financial institutions – often traditional banks – offering retail customers higher yields by taking deposits for what are called wealth management products. This money is then bundled and lent to companies that could not obtain a traditional loan. These products have been extremely attractive in the country due to their ability to pay out more than traditional bank accounts.
The very nature of shadow banking carries with it more risk than the traditional banking system. Given state-firm dominance of traditional loan markets, shadow banks have been a desperately needed source of credit for private firms, but at a higher cost. While Beijing tried – successfully – to slow the growth of the sector last year, they have abandoned these efforts in the face of the present trade war leading to growth in 2019.

To bring the story back around to the previously mentioned bailouts, much of the shadow banking industry occurs in the form of trust projects by regional banks, such as the Banks of Baoshang and Jinzhou. At the time of its takeover, it was believed that shadow banking investments made up 25% of Baoshang’s assets. Meanwhile, Moody’s warns that risky trust assets are growing rapidly within that class.

china trust assets.png

An additional red flag exists in that Chinese bank balance sheets are particularly convoluted. As Bloomberg noted, complicating Jinzhou’s bailout is the fact that the firms “books are so muddled that it still hasn’t been able to disclose its 2018 financials.” Further complicating matters is general distrust within Chinese auditing firms and the reliability of financial statements within the country, as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month. So the quality of these loans – in both the traditional and shadow banking system – is a huge question mark that Chinese regulators are having to work out as they step into these institutions. 

All of this helps illustrate why there is heightened concerned over China’s banking system.

Further, the failure of these firms has consequences for their peers. In the immediate aftermath of Baoshang’s bailout, we saw a dramatic rise in interbank lending rates and collateral requirements as large banks became more cautious with loans to similar-sized institutions. In fact, China’s “big four” banks saw their valuations fall to record lows this week as expectations rose that they would be asked to bailout smaller institutions in the near future, a sign that it’s widely believed that bank panics are far from over.

How many of these institutions are in trouble?

Kyle Bass, a hedge fund manager who has long warned that the Chinese banking system is underfunded, has claimed that there are “almost 500 banks in China that are labeled troubled by the government itself.” If true, it’s possible the CCP could soon be facing its greatest financial crisis in the modern era.

While it’s particularly difficult for an outside to have a solid view of China’s true economic strength, there is a strong reason to believe that the country faces a highly leveraged banking system full of loans of questionable quality and mounting defaults. While much of the media remains focused on Trump and trade, the greatest threat to the Chinese economy may be reckoning with a massive financial bubble from within.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Planned Three month 8000 point BEAR CRASH?

 I do not often say anything about the direction and condition of the market simply because i will be always wrong in terms of specifics where it really matters, even if correct in terms of the general direction.  Yet there do come days when the tide is ready to shift.  We are days away.
There is a high probability that we will now have a deep downward correction in the Indices.  Some part of this can be triggered by the failure of Deutche Bank.  We have already had a preliminary break in the market this past week.  What i am looking for though is a deep 8000 point decline over as much as three months.
This is meant to be shocking and it will allow the possibility of restructuring as well.
What is key to understand is the political timing.  The massive correction will be over by the end of the year.  After that the market will advance steadily over the next year supporting and cheering on the Trump reelection campaign leaving the opposition nothing whatsoever to exploit.  If there was ever a good time to have a planned market break it is now.
In the middle of all the bad news of banks in trouble we will also see the political elite been exposed for all sorts of sordid crimes.  That they are democrats is a bonus.  Welcome the Epstein black book.

Stock market gyrates as the economic picture gets blurred

Stan Choe And Alex Veiga, The Associated Press 
 Published Saturday, August 17, 2019 1:00PM EDT

You're not the only one confused about where the economy is headed. Just look at the stock market, where perplexed investors have been sending stocks on a wild ride in August.

And there could be plenty more where that came from. Two notoriously volatile months for stocks lie just ahead.

Stocks around the world jumped Friday to cap another tumultuous week. Investors have been frantically trying to rejigger their predictions about whether U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war and slowing economies around the world will drag the United States into a recession. In the U.S., the result was a week where the Dow Jones Industrial Average had four days where it rose or fell by more than 300 points -- with an 800-point drop thrown into the mix.

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On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 1.4%. The Dow climbed 1.2% and the Nasdaq picked up 1.7%. But each index still finished with a third-straight weekly decline.

Stocks, bonds and other investments heaved up and down throughout the week, with worries hitting a crescendo on Wednesday when a fairly reliable warning signal of recession flipped on in the U.S. Treasury market.

Friday marked the seventh time in the last 10 days that the S&P 500 swung by at least 1%, something that hasn't happened since the end of 2018, the last time investors were getting worried about a possible recession. At that time, they were concerned about rising interest rates, along with the trade war.

Don't expect the volatility to go away anytime soon, analysts say. No one knows when Trump's trade war will find a resolution, nor whether all the uncertainty it's created will push enough businesses and shoppers to hold off on spending and cause a recession. Some investors are digging in for trade tensions to last through the 2020 election.

"We're also heading into a tough season for the market," said Emily Roland, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management. "September and October tend to be the most volatile of the year for markets. We've been talking to investors for that reason to look for areas to prune risk within a portfolio."

The S&P 500 has lost an average of 1.1% in September over the last 20 years, making it the worst-performing month of the year. October's track record is better, but it includes the worst monthly performance in that stretch, a nearly 17% drop in 2008.

But Roland and other professional investors also caution that this kind of turmoil is actually normal for the market, when looking at it from a very long-term point of view. The U.S. stock market historically has had such bursts of tightly packed volatile days, interspersed between longer periods of calm. Since early 2009, whenever the S&P 500 has had a drop of 3% in a day, it either preceded or followed another such drop within a month 70% of the time.

"What's been abnormal is the super-low volatility" that investors have been enjoying for much of this bull market, which began in 2009, said Brian Yacktman, portfolio manager of the YCG Enhanced fund.

He sees the volatility as an opportunity to buy stocks at cheaper prices, and he's recently been partial to bank stocks, which have been hammered on worries that lower interest rates will hurt their profits.

"When you have volatility like this, you're actually buying the market on sale," said Rob Scheinerman, CEO of AIG Retirement Services. "That's a great thing."

Technology companies and banks did the most to drive Friday's broad rally as investors regained some appetite for riskier holdings. Utilities, which have been one of the safer havens for investors this month, lagged the market.

The S&P 500 rose 41.08 points, or 1.4%, to 2,888.68. The Dow, which had an 800-point drop earlier in the week, added 306.62 points, or 1.2%, to 25,886.01. The Nasdaq climbed 129.38 points, or 1.7%, to 7,895.99.

Investors favoured smaller company stocks, which pushed up the Russell 2000. The index rose 31.99 points, or 2.2%, to 1,493.64.

Even with the latest bout of turbulent trading, the S&P 500 is still having a good year. The broad market index is up 15.2% for 2019. Similarly, the Nasdaq is still up 19% for the year.

Long-term bond yields also climbed Friday. The yield on 10-year Treasury rose to 1.56% from 1.52% late Thursday.

The bounce for yields followed a weeklong slide that included a sharp drop on Wednesday that rang yet another alarm bell for the economy. The 10-year Treasury yield dropped below the yield on the two-year Treasury, a rare occurrence and one that has historically suggested a recession may be a year or two away.

Investors are hoping that the Federal Reserve will continue to cut interest rates in order to shore up economic growth. The central bank lowered interest rates by a quarter-point at its last meeting. It was the first time it lowered rates in a decade.

Benchmark crude oil rose 40 cents to settle at $54.87 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 41 cents to close at $58.64 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.66 per gallon. Heating oil was unchanged at $1.81 per gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.20 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $7.10 to $1,512.50 per ounce, silver fell 9 cents to $17.10 per ounce and copper was unchanged at $2.59 per pound.

The dollar rose to 106.29 Japanese yen from 106.11 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1093 from $1.1107.

The Econ Establishment Teams Up To Denounce Judy Shelton


This will help you understand where Trump is going in terms of global monetary policy. It makes the argument quite well for a far more disciplined exchange rate system.  I now understand his thinking and it is actually great news for the USA and actually for everyone except the CCP.

It is a bit of a read and there is much more to address when it comes to policy.  I want to see serious State level Banks for local public finance and i also want to see all the top too big to fail banks and corporations broken up.  Financial concentration needs to also be discouraged by a special insurance charge against their earnings to be collected by the USA government.  right now the government has the insurance cover without the necessary premiums.
Believe me, no one is ever going to invite me into those meetings..

The Econ Establishment Teams Up To Denounce Judy Shelton

Tags The FedU.S. EconomyMonetary Theory

08/08/2019Robert P. Murphy

Ever since President Trump nominated Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board, the economics establishment has been letting Americans know just how crazy she (allegedly) is. And to illustrate that the establishment is bipartisan, the condemnation of Shelton has come from both the left and the right. For example, an American Enterprise Institute fellow has an article in The Hill warning of “Trump’s bizarre Federal Reserve nomination,” while National Review’s resident monetary wonk, Ramesh Ponnuru, wrote in Bloomberg that Shelton not only has a history of pushing very bad policies, but now is apparently flip-flopping just to get the job. And on Twitter, an econ-watcher has a long thread detailing all of the self-evidently nutjob positions Shelton has advanced over the years. Why, she’s not just for the gold standard, but she’s against FDIC! And she thinks the Fed’s 2% (price) inflation target erodes your property rights. Can you imagine?!

And to show that I’m not just cherry-picking, here’s what a Google News search returned for me just now when I typed in “Judy Shelton”—and be sure to read the subheadings as well as the titles:


With this kind of opposition, it won’t surprise you to learn that Shelton has been quite forcefully condemning the whole central bank apparatus. Back in May, when she was being vetted by Trump (but before her actual nomination), Shelton gave an interview to the Financial Times in which she criticized the entire concept of the Federal Reserve:

How can a dozen, slightly less than a dozen, people meeting eight times a year, decide what the cost of capital should be versus some kind of organically, market supply determined rate? The Fed is not omniscient. They don’t know what the right rate should be. How could anyone?

She went on to condemn the Fed’s “Soviet” power over markets and likened US monetary policy to “Gosplan,” in which Soviet officials tried to centrally plan their economy.

This kind of radical talk spooks the “free market” commentators with major media perches. It’s all fine and good to quibble with the Fed’s latest rate cut, or even to suggest a new approach such as targeting nominal GDP. But to wonder aloud about why we need central planners in charge of our money and banking? That’s radical and dangerous. In the rest of the article I’ll touch on three of Shelton’s specific positions.

A Gold Standard, With Fixed Exchange Rates

Shelton has long favored some form of commodity backing of the dollar, including praise for the historical gold standard. (In his column offering qualified praise for Shelton, Joe Salerno pointed out that in her writings, Shelton has unfortunately failed to distinguish the true classical gold standard from the much more dubious Bretton Woods framework.) For example, in a 2018 proposal for the Cato Institute, Shelton argued (and here I’m drawing on the quotes contained in the link):

The current monetary regime permits governments to knowingly distort exchange rates under the guise of national monetary autonomy while paying lip service to avoiding trade protectionism…

It empowers central banks to channel the benefits of monetary policy decisions to some people at the expense of others, pitting wealthy investors against average savers. It facilitates cheap government borrowing. The shift toward increasing government influence over economic outcomes is anathema to the free market doctrines propounded by [Milton] Friedman.

If the United States does nothing to restore a rules-based approach to international monetary relations, our values come into question. We lose credibility by failing to challenge an international monetary anti-system that condones cheating by governments and central banks.

Now the Forbes writer who quoted the above from Shelton’s 2018 Cato piece was aghast at her heresy. After all, doesn’t Shelton realize that Fed policymakers needed flexibility to avoid a second Great Depression in 2008?

Yet this is the whole crux of the debate. Shelton and other proponents of sound money believe that it is “flexible” currency that leads to trouble. In the Austrian view (which is not identical to Shelton’s perspective which seems more supply-side), it was loose monetary policy in the 1920s that led to the inevitable crash in 1929. In contrast, those blaming the gold standard lament that policymakers’ hands were tied in the early 1930s and couldn’t inflate enough.

Likewise, the standard Austrian view is that Alan Greenspan’s loose monetary policy fueled the housing bubble in the early and mid-2000s, which then resulted in the bust of the 2008 financial crisis. Moreover, several Austrians warned of this ahead of time. Mark Thornton for example gave an eerily prescient description of what was to come, way back in 2004, and I used Austrian business cycle theory in October 2007 (which was 11 months before the crisis) to speculate that we could be in store for the worst recession since the early 1980s. (In full disclosure, I later gave erroneous warnings about imminent consumer price inflation during the Obama years, much to Paul Krugman’s delight.)

Sound Money and Free Trade

The connection that Shelton draws between free trade and monetary policy is this: Under a regime of central bank-controlled fiat money with flexible exchange rates, a government that wants to encourage exports doesn’t have to rely on the old-fashioned tools of tariffs and export subsidies. Instead, the government can simply use its central bank to devalue its currency, which will give, at least in the short run, a boost to exports by making its goods cheaper in the eyes of foreigners. (Note that this is actually a very complex topic; I explain some of the initial market reactions to a devaluation in this article.)

In contrast, Shelton is arguing that if we want truly free trade without governments leaning on the scales, then they need to have sound money with fixed exchange rates. In the Twitter thread I mentioned above, Shelton’s stance on exchange rates was supposed to be yet more evidence of how loony she was. Indeed, the tweeter linked to a 1994 article in National Review in which Milton Friedman himself quoted Shelton—way back then—championing fixed exchange rates, to which Friedman replied, “It would be hard to pack more error into so few words.”

This is something that can confuse the newcomer to free-market economics; indeed, I remember when I was confused by it, until reading an essay by Murray Rothbard when I was a young lad. (That Rothbard essay is “Back to Fixed Exchange Rates,” starting on page 306 in this fantastic collection.) Under the classical gold standard, say in the year 1910, the U.S. government would redeem $20.67 in currency for an ounce of gold (less handling fees), whereas the UK authorities would hand over an ounce of gold for 4.25 British pounds. These redemption rates by the respective governments implied an “anchor” for the dollar/sterling exchange rate of $4.86 per pound.

Now this was a “fixed” exchange rate in the sense that if the actual, market forex rate deviated too far in either direction, speculators would have the incentive to present the overvalued currency to the proper authorities to receive gold, ship it across the ocean, and deliver it to the other government and be paid in the undervalued currency. The speculators could then go back to the forex market and obtain more of the original currency than they started out with. Under the classical gold standard, this arbitraging process would cause a gold drain from any country that issued too much of its sovereign currency, relative to the other participants. Speculators would keep the actual market foreign exchange rate within a narrow band around the “fixed” exchange rate implied by the gold redemption ratios that each government had adopted. This system provided an extremely predictable foundation upon which global trade could flourish; it was as if the whole world were using gold coins as money, with the national currencies (dollar, franc, mark, pound, etc.) serving as mere details, somewhat akin to an American merchant today reckoning transactions in dimes rather than dollars.

In total contrast, when Milton Friedman is aghast at Shelton’s praise of “fixed exchange rates,” he assumes she means government price fixing of exchange rates under a regime of fiat monetary policy. In this type of scenario, a government “fixes” the foreign exchange value of its currency through coercion. And yes, if the government imposes a price floor on its own currency—inflicting punishment on any currency trader caught selling the domestic currency for less than the official floor—then all of the standard problems with price floors will emerge, including a “glut” of the domestic currency and a shortage of foreign currencies. The government will then typically supplement its price floor with other measures, such as “capital controls” and direct intervention in foreign trade.

As Rothbard explains in the essay linked above, the only thing worse than a world regime of fiat monies and floating exchange rates is a world regime of fiat monies and fixed exchange rates. But even though Milton Friedman’s “flexible exchange rates” are useful when governments issue different fiat monies (in order to prevent gluts and shortages in the foreign exchange markets), it is still much better, Rothbard argues, if all of the governments solemnly commit to redeeming their currencies for fixed rates of gold, which in turn imply fixed exchange rates among the currencies. This is the type of arrangement Judy Shelton has in mind, when she argues that fixed exchange rates are a necessary condition for truly free trade without political favoritism.

Abolishing FDIC

In the lengthy Twitter exposé the Shelton critic (Sam Bell) highlights her opposition to FDIC as particularly laughable. Yet the allegedly damning quotes he provides from her, seem self-evidently correct to me. An example:

Banks effectively are compensated by depositors for their expertise in selecting profitable, yet prudent investment opportunities. However, when government insurance exists, the fundamental arrangement between the furnishers of investment capital and the loan experts is grossly altered. Depositors no longer have to make judgments about the competence of bank management or the characteristics of the loan portfolios.

Except for quibbles about the distinction between checking and savings accounts, I think the above Shelton quote is quite straightforward. In any other area, students of economics understand “moral hazard” and how government guarantees can deaden the incentive for oversight. But when it comes to banking, several generations of Americans have learned since they were little kids that “laissez-faire failed us in the 1930s, and thank goodness FDR came in to make everything right.” Such a simplistic tale doesn’t explain why laissez-faire all of a sudden failed in the 1930s—after all, the U.S. had been more laissez-faire in all previous financial crises, and yet didn’t suffer the Great Depression. And as George Selgin pointed out to Sam Bell on Twitter, the Canadian banking system didn’t suffer from failures during the 1930s as the U.S. did, precisely because they had less regulation than the American banks.

Eliminating Interest on Excess Reserves

Besides highlighting her allegedly nutty policy views, the other big criticism of Judy Shelton is that she seems to have turned from ultra-hawk to ultra-dove in order to get Trump’s nomination. Specifically, Shelton excoriated the Fed’s artificially low rates during the Obama years, while recently she has been recommending that the Fed take interest rates down, possibly near zero. (Remember, this alleged flip-flop is the cornerstone of Ramesh Ponnuru’s critique.)

I don’t want to be naïve here; it is certainly possible that Shelton is adjusting her opinions to make herself palatable to Trump. However, her positions are not an outright contradiction, as most of her critics are alleging. During the Obama years, Shelton railed against the Fed pushing down interest rates through massive rounds of “quantitative easing,” i.e. the creation of money out of thin air through which the Fed bought up trillions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury debt. Shelton argued, correctly in my book, that this was a grossly unfair policy that punished regular savers and bailed out incompetent bankers, as well as fueling massive deficit spending.

Fast forward to today, when the Fed is raising rates. What Shelton is complaining about is that the Fed is doing this by paying commercial banks not to make loans to their customers. Specifically, the Fed has been raising rates by increasing the interest rate that it pays on reserves parked at the Fed. (Actually, the Fed has also been letting its balance sheet shrink too since early 2018, so the situation is very complex.) Shelton explains her actual views nicely in this interview with Heather Long. She isn’t arguing for QE4, rather, she wants the Fed to stop paying commercial banks for keeping their reserves parked at the Fed. It’s possible she’s being a bit coy about whether the market-clearing interest rate should be higher or lower than it currently is, but her actual policy views are coherent as far as they go.


In this lengthy article, it was not my purpose to put Judy Shelton on a pedestal. I disagree with some of her public statements, particularly her endorsement of Trump getting tough with China on trade. But the systematic attack on her in recent weeks has been grossly unfair. Indeed, some of Shelton’s most allegedly damning policy views are actually her greatest strengths, in my book. Anybody who would liken the Federal Reserve to the Soviet central planners is an independent thinker worth considering.

Robert P. Murphy is a Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute and Research Assistant Professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University. He is the author of many books. His latest is Contra Krugman: Smashing the Errors of America's Most Famous Keynesian. His other words include Chaos Theory, Lessons for the Young Economist, and Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action (Independent Institute, 2015) which is a modern distillation of the essentials of Mises's thought for the layperson. Murphy is co-host, with Tom Woods, of the popular podcast Contra Krugman, which is a weekly refutation of Paul Krugman's New York Times column. He is also host of The Bob Murphy Show.

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