News — At The Edge — 6/10

This week two technology related videos and articles about legal and political issues.

One video is Lord Martin Rees describing how we’re rapidly headed toward a post-human evolution. For him, whether we survive as a species is an open question with major reservations. (I’ve written multiple Medium articles focused on this topic — Our Twilight Zone & What Comes Next, Civilization’s Anti-Human, Not Machines and Macroscopic Evolutionary Paradigm).

The other video is Mary Meeker’s annual assessment of the Internet often considered the gold standard in Silicon Valley.

Legal issues illustrate how there are two sets of laws — one for the rich and powerful and another for everyone else. Political issues show how partisanship is now devoid of reality and obsessed with advancing ideological and special interest policy agendas regardless of facts or the public’s well-being. (Recently wrote an article focused on this topic called, Quicksand of the Past).

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Technology Issues

Curtains For Us All? Martin Rees -Great video/talk (50 min)

LORD MARTIN REES talks about the coming post-human world. He is a Fellow of Trinity College and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. He is the UK’s Astronomer Royal and a Past President of the Royal Society https://www.edge.org/conversation/martin_rees-curtains-for-us-all

Mary Meeker’s 2017 internet trends report (30 min. video)

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker is delivering her annual rapid-fire internet trends report right now at our 2017 Code Conference.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC8GwG6srqs

Legal Issues —

The super-rich are different: they pay less tax -

[Generally] randomized tax audits are usually both too small and too crude to reflect accurately the financial shenanigans of the most egregious tax-dodgers: the super-rich….

[B]y investigating…the ‘Swiss leaks,’ a record of bank accounts held at HSBC…and the ‘Panama papers’…that document the use of offshore accounts and shell companies…[matched] with wealth data from Denmark, Norway and Sweden…[led] to two conclusions.

  1. tax evasion is extremely concentrated….The average Scandinavian household paid around 3% too little in taxes in 2006; the richest 1%…with net assets of at least $2m, underpaid by around 10%. The truly rich…top 0.01% of households, with net assets of over $40m, short-changed the taxman by a whopping 30%….
  2. estimates of wealth inequality…based on tax data…understated the problem…[since] only around 2% of Scandinavian household wealth is held in offshore accounts, compared with the global average of 4%. Globalization has disproportionately benefited the rich…[and] made it easier for [them]…to hide their wealthhttp://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21722897-swiss-leaks-and-panama-papers-open-window-tax-dodgers-world

SEC Power to Recoup Illegal Profits Curbed by Top U.S. Court -

U.S. Supreme Court put sharp new limits on…securities regulators to recoup money from people found to have violated federal laws…[because of] five-year statute of limitations when it seeks ‘disgorgement,’ or the return of illegal profits….

SEC extracted almost $3 billion in disgorgement payments in 2016 — more than double what it collected in other types of penalties…[Court] said disgorgement ‘bears all the hallmarks of a penalty…[and] only some of the money collected by the SEC goes to the victims and that some of the funds end up with the Treasury. It is imposed as a consequence of violating a public law and it is intended to deter, not to compensate.’ https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-05/sec-power-to-recoup-illegal-profits-curbed-by-u-s-supreme-court

Political Issues —

Making Ignorance Great Again -

[What] happened on climate isn’t…[unusual] and Trump isn’t especially unusual for a modern Republican…[that don’t] do substance…assemble evidence, or do analysis to formulate or [justify]…policy positions. Facts and hard thinking aren’t wanted, and anyone who tries to bring such things into the discussion is the enemy….

How was Trumpcare put together? Did the administration and its allies consult with experts, study previous experience with health reform, and try to devise a plan that made sense? Of course not…..(Actually, the White House…analysis of an earlier version of Trumpcare…leaked to Politico [were]…more dire than…the C.B.O.)….[G.O.P.] doesn’t study issues, they just decide, and attack the motives of anyone who questions their decisions….

On climate change, influential conservatives have for years clung to…a crazy conspiracy theory….Do G.O.P. leaders…think this conspiracy theory is true? The answer…they don’t care….[Truth] exists apart from and in possible opposition to political convenience….

The same goes for claims…[limiting] emissions will…destroy millions of jobs….[Yet] they insist that the private sector is infinitely flexible and…the marketplace can solve all problems. But then they claim…markets would…die if we put a modest price on carbon emissions….This doesn’t make any sense — but it’t not supposed to. Republicans want to keep burning coal, and…say whatever helps produce that outcome….

Can you think of any major policy area where the G.O.P. hasn’t gone post-truth? Take budgeting, where [G.O.P.]…always justified tax cuts for the rich by claiming the ability to conjure up trillions in extra revenue and savings in some unspecified way….[Trump] budget not only pulls $2 trillion out of thin air but counts it twice, takes the game to a new level….

The president, backed by his party, is talking nonsense, destroying American credibility day by day. But hey, stocks are up, so what’s the problem?….Trump hasn’t faced a single crisis not of his own making.

As George Orwell noted…people can indeed talk nonsense for a very long time, without paying an obvious price. But ‘sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.’ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/05/opinion/trump-gop-paris-climate-accord.html?ref=opinion

John Dean helped bring down Richard Nixon. He thinks Donald Trump is even worse -

John Dean[can]…imagine what it’s like inside the Trump White House right now…[as] ‘a nightmare’…[beyond] the headlines…[for] unsung assistants and secretaries…[who] ‘don’t know if they’re a part of a conspiracy [and] whether to hire lawyers or not, how they’re going to pay for them if they do’….

[Dean] age of 32 [was]…Nixon’s White House attorney…and helped sink Nixon by revealing the president’s involvement in the cover-up…[and] pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and served four months….

‘Nixon was much better prepared for the job than Trump…[who] doesn’t know anything about the job, and it shows’….[Both] have authoritarian personas…though Trump is far more narcissistic and easier to read….[Nixon] taping system [caught]…his guard is down….’Trump is the same in public as he is in private….

I’ve been inside a cover-up. I know why…some things, you just couldn’t make [disappear]….[If] Trump people…could make this go away, they would….They would hire good P.R. people who would say….You make mistakes, you go out and you explain them and people are very forgiving’….Unlike Nixon, ‘Trump is…basically confessing obstruction of justice. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/john-dean-helped-bring-down-richard-nixon-he-thinks-donald-trump-is-even-worse/ar-BBBN1Il?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

Find more of my ideas on Medium at, A Passion to Evolve.

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May you live long and prosper!
Doc Huston

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Doc Huston

Doc Huston

4.6K Followers

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder — dochuston1@gmail.com