Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Image hosting blues

For years now there have been image hosting services that have  offered a convenient way of hosting images that you want to display on your blogs or other sites. I used Photobucket for a while, then Tinypic, then Imgur. Imgur was so convenient that it seems to have sent Tinypic out of business.  I used Tinypic mainly between 2006 and 2010.

As well as convenience, Imgur offered an explicit guarantee that an image hosted by them would remain there "forever".  Once posted there it would stay there. Given that for various reasons one could not always stay subscribed to the same ISP, that was particularly appealing.  One might chop and change the host for your blog, home page etc, but the availability of your images would remain unchanged.

But that has now come to an end,  Images hosted on both Tinypic and imgur are now no longer securely hosted,  In the case of Imgur, political correctness has raised its head. Images connected to forbidden topics are now de-hosted.  They are no longer where you put them.  So much for the offer of permanence. 

I must be one of the most incorrect people on the net.  I routinely put up scholarly comments about race, social class and IQ! That's three forbidden topics.  So it was to be expected that some of my pictures would vanish from where they were previously held. The social media generally are hostile to conservative content. And that now includes Imgur.

As long as you keep comprehensive backup files -- which I do -- there is no great drama in reposting deleted images elsewhere. It takes me only a couple of minutes per image to do so.  A rather objectionable feature of the current situation, however is that Imgur are not satisfied simply to dehost a picture but post instead of the deleted image a brightly colored and unpleasant-looking image whih presumably represents a troll.  It certainly motivates you to rehost your image pronto.

But here's the interesting thing: EVERY image ever hosted on Tinypic is now replaced by the same troll.  Imgur seems to have taken over what remains of Tinypic and proceeded to blow a raspberry at each and every one of Tinypic's former users. They seem to be penalizing anybody who once used Tinypic.  It is at least juvenile behaviour. Why they could not simply let Tinypic vanish into the night is a puzzle.


Hillary's Attacks on Tulsi Gabbard Appear to be Backfiring

Gabbard is a much more attractive personality than Clinton so it was always Gabbard who would be believed

Hillary Clinton's bizarre accusation that the Russians are "grooming" Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard for a third party run at the White House appears to be having the exact opposite effect she intended. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,” Clinton said on a recent podcast.

That comment has led to an outpouring of support for Gabbard and harsh criticism of Clinton. In fact, Gabbard, who is barely registering in polls, is now fundraising off of the comment.

The Hill:

"Hillary Clinton accused Tulsi Gabbard — a combat veteran, soldier and Major in the Army National Guard — of being 'groomed' to be a 'Russian asset,'" reads a fundraising email sent by Gabbard's campaign on Saturday. "Tulsi fights back and demands Hillary join the race and face her directly," it continues.

Gabbard in the email said Clinton "finally came out from behind the curtain yesterday, accusing me of being a Russian asset" while asking supporters to pitch in $25 to her campaign.

"If this a fight she wants to have, one that has implications for all of us and the future of our democracy, then I challenge her to come out from behind her proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media, and face me directly," Gabbard added.

Clinton didn't reply directly. Instead, she politely cancelled an appearance at "The Most Powerful Women" summit in Washington where Gabbard is scheduled to speak.


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday backed out of  Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. because Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen are also scheduled to speak,  Fox News reported. Her team, however, said it was because of "scheduling conflicts."
I guess she prefers hiding behind her proxies.

All of this has led to a surprising turn of events. Tulsi Gabbard is rising in Iowa.


On Saturday, Gabbard found fans among the many Clinton skeptics across Iowa, where Clinton barely won the 2016 Democratic caucuses against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"What is this horrible thing that Hillary said about you?" one person asked Gabbard at a house party in West Branch.

Gabbard responded that "it revealed the truth that I have been experiencing for a long time now — which is that, because I have been trying to bring about an end to our country's long-held foreign policy of waging one regime-change war after the next . [sic] I am labeled as a traitor."

"This is a message that is being sent to every single American . [sic] who speaks out for peace," she said.

Donald Trump gleefully fanned the flames of Democratic discord by jumping into the fray with both feet.

"So now Crooked Hillary is at it again! She is calling Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard “a Russian favorite,” and Jill Stein “a Russian asset.” As you may have heard, I was called a big Russia lover also (actually, I do like Russian people. I like all people!). Hillary’s gone Crazy!"



Soak the rich with taxes and everyone will get clobbered

Not that long ago there was a broad political consensus that a fair and efficient tax system has a broad tax base and low tax rates. The grand bargain was no special interest loopholes and low tax rates to boost the economy and jobs. As recently as the 1980s, Democrats and Republicans joined together to pass a tax reform that lowered income tax rates to 28 percent, while eliminating deductions and carve outs. Nearly every Senate Democrat, including Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, Joe Biden, Bill Bradley, and Howard Metzenbaum, voted for this new system.

The tax reform worked. Economist Dale Jorgenson, then the chairman of the Harvard economics department, estimated that the net present value of the 1986 Tax Reform Act was well above $1 trillion to the economy because of lower tax rate penalties across the board. Politicians and the American voters had experienced the wreckage to the economy in the 1970s when tax rates stood as high as 70 percent.

The result was one of the worst decades for real middle class incomes since the Great Depression, skyrocketing unemployment, and a stock market that lost more than 60 percent of its value after inflation from 1968 to 1982. Working class Americans saw their retirement savings liquidated right before their eyes. High tax rates were not the only economic malady of that malaise decade, but they played a big part.

There was another practical reason for chopping tax rates down, as the rich found all sorts of clever and legal ways around paying those high tax rates. When the highest tax rate was between 70 percent and 90 percent, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans paid less than 20 percent of the income tax burden. Today, with a tax rate of 37 percent, the rich pay almost 40 percent of the income tax burden. High tax rates failed to soak the rich because they sheltered their income from taxes.

After both the Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts, reported taxable income by those in the highest income tax bracket almost doubled in less than a decade. All of this recorded history has been lost among current liberal politicians and academics. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and many others are longing for a return to the era of punitive tax rates on the rich as a way to reduce income inequality. Economist Emmanuel Saez of the University of California argues we should go back to 70 percent tax rates since they worked so well the last time we imposed them.

In the 1950s and 1960s, when tax rates were as high as 90 percent, the economy was mostly prosperous. But the rich never paid those tax rates. Effective tax rates were actually much lower. This was also an era before the birth of the $2 trillion modern welfare and regulatory state and the taxes to pay for it. Medicare, Medicaid, and the payroll taxes to pay for them did not even exist back then in those glory days.

When President Kennedy cut the tax rate from 90 percent to 70 percent, the economy soared during the 1960s. Growth rates zoomed to 6 percent. When President Reagan chopped rates from 70 percent to 50 percent to 28 percent, the economy saw another burst of prosperity that former Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley dubbed the “seven fat years.”

The business tax cuts under President Trump have contributed to the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years and the biggest middle income gains in at least two decades. High tax rates did not work in the 1970s, but they will be even more harmful in the 21st century. What is different today from 50 years ago is globalization, with jobs, businesses, and investment capital flow to places in the world where after tax returns are highest. If we raise the income tax rate to above 50 percent, businesses and investment capital will flee to lower tax jurisdictions. Ask nations like France or Greece or Venezuela what happened to their economies when they devised new wealth tax systems to “soak the rich.”

Or look at the massive losses of people and income from high income tax states like New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, and even California. These states are bleeding wealth as residents relocate to low tax haven states like Tennessee, Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Utah. Does Senator Sanders really want to make us look like Connecticut, where localities are banning homeowners from posting “for sale” signs because the mad rush to leave is crushing real estate values?

An even worse idea is higher estate and wealth taxes. This has never worked. The United States has an estate tax of roughly 40 percent to extract money from the Bill Gates, Warren Buffets, and Tom Bradys of the country. However, it generates only about 1 percent of federal tax receipts and many studies find that the deadweight loss to the economy far exceeds the value of the tax collected. Even communist and socialist countries like Russia and Sweden have given up and repealed their estate taxes because they were harming their economies so noticeably.



Fake news or disinformation?

Journalism isn't just dead — it's decomposed.

When Chris Wallace — in all Deep State unctuousness — asked Mick Mulvaney on Fox News Sunday to comment on a "well-connected Republican" who allegedly told Wallace there was a 20 percent chance the GOP would vote to remove the president from office, he not only was aiding in that decomposition,  he was picking up a shovel and helping dig its grave.

Wallace didn't identify who this "well-connected Republican" is or what he actually said in context, just the tidbit the host wanted to tell us. What Wallace was doing was engaging in propaganda, creating a smear based on the flimsiest hearsay.

But, as we all know, he's not alone. This was only one of a myriad of cases and far from the worst. The employment of anonymous sources by media has been debated (and attacked) for years but since Trump was elected, their use has escalated into the stratosphere.  Barely a day goes by that we don't hear something from some "source close to someone or other" or a "person in position to know" about things we learn, sooner or later, to be lies or, at best, half truths. Other times we read "experts agree" or other such terms of non-art. What we are really getting are leaks that are supposedly illegal but almost never prosecuted.

Almost all of our leading newspapers and networks engage in this activity, some pretending to have checks and balances that are inscrutable from the outside and likely conveniently fudged from the inside. To name a few outlets that come immediately to mind, the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal (in its front section), NBC, CBS, ABC and, of course, CNN are frequent culprits in this reliance on the anonymous. They do this repeatedly and win Pulitzers for the ensuing lies and misrepresentations. It's an old tradition, stemming back to the days when Walter Duranty lied about Stalin in the New York Times.

Trump made a mistake in labeling this "fake news." Besides being too colloquial, the term is too generic and allows for the possibility that in some cases at least this dishonesty may be an accident. People make mistakes, after all. Yes, but it's hardly ever true in these cases. It's usually quite deliberate deception. A much, much more accurate term would be disinformation, a technique frequently employed by intelligence agencies. It's a safe bet that many of these leaks arrived from ours. In that, our intelligence agencies were following in a grand tradition. The Soviets were experts at it. They wrote the book on disinformation.

Now the disinformation that is being put out is that Trump is on the rocks with Republicans. Mitt Romney may vote to impeach. Both The Washington Post and theWSJ have new stories warning of — or more properly "concern trolling" about — this disaffection. The word must be out. Chris Wallace was echoing the same narrative. The newly-minted NeverTrumper Matt Drudge is linking all this.

But is it true or is it disinfo? I'll go with the latter. In fact, given Trump's popularity with the Republican rank-and-file, it would be suicidal for incumbent Republican politicians to vote him out. They'd be out themselves at the next primary. And reporters at the WaPo and WSJ know that, unless they've been living under the proverbial rock or are willfully disregarding last week's Trump rally in Dallas that had more supporters standing outside the venue than any political candidate in recent memory has had inside. (I know--the polls say he's in trouble. Have you ever done a poll yourself? I have, several, for this website years ago, and learned some interesting things. Just as freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one, the results of a poll belong to the man who sets it up, i. e. asks the questions.)

What our media is doing is lying unabashedly as it has been doing since the outset of the Russia probe. Every one of the respected outlets listed above repeatedly reported the existence or the imminent proof of Trump-Russia collusion based on anonymous leaks.  None of it ever happened. It would be interesting to know what percentage of those leaks came from members of intelligence agencies. I suspect it would be a scary number.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"Hillary’s gone Crazy!"

Gone? Granny Maojackets von Pantsuit has been crazy as a sh*thouse rat for at LEAST as long as she's been a public figure.