India’s Aadhaar Program and the Future of Biometrics

India’s biometric identification program, known as Aadhaar, has gone from an optional program to a mandatory one and is collecting more data than ever expected. In light of private information being published by government sources and lack of clarity on a number of fundamental issues, many are concerned about the security of the program and associated loss of privacy.
The World’s Largest Biometric Database
Over the last seven years, India has been building up the world’s largest biometric database. 1.17 billion people, nearly 90% of India’s population, have been registered in the Aadhaar database. By linking individuals to their biometric details, India has provided a form of identification for rural Indians, making it easier for them to register for bank accounts, get a driver’s license, or receive government subsidies. Registered users need only scan a fingerprint or retina to confirm their identity and access government or even private services. That is at least how the scheme was supposed to work – a voluntary system which would improve the livelihood of rural Indians.
Since its inception the scope of Aadhaar has expanded massively – it has become a de facto requirement for participating in even the simplest aspects of daily life. It began as a facilitating tool for certain activities, such as setting up a bank account and is now mandatory as a form of identification. In June, the government made it mandatory for banks to link their customers’ Aadhaar information with their bank accounts. Any accounts not linked by the 31st December 2017 will be shut down until the account has been linked. SIM cards will also have to be linkedto Aadhar by February 2018 or else be deactivated.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/11/2017.

CHICAGO POLICE KNOW WHERE GUN VIOLENCE IS COMING FROM, BUT THEY CAN’T STOP IT

Illegal guns get into Chicago through lone dealers, not large trafficking organizations, and that makes any legislative action taken to stop the flow totally impractical, according to Chicago police.
Police researchers say that most illegal guns come from nearby states like Indiana and Iowa after being stolen or resold by their original owners, according to a Tuesday report from the Chicago Sun Times. In this way, the trafficking of firearms is different from the trafficking of illegal substances, which relies heavily on national and even international crime organizations. As a result, the arrest of individual gun dealers does virtually nothing to stop the flow of illegal firearms.
‘You are a single salmon swimming upstream at Niagara Falls,’ Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Sun Times. ‘If your policing strategy is to decrease the number of guns in your city, good luck, because there are too many guns out there. It’s better to go after the person with the gun.’

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on OCTOBER 11, 2017.

Everyone Has Property Rights, Whether They Know it or Not

The Indian tribesman’s claim to his ancient stomping grounds can’t be reduced to a title search at the deeds office. That’s the stuff of the positive law. And this was the point I took away from a conversation, circa 2000, with Mr. Property Rights himself, Hans-Hermann Hoppe.
Dr. Hoppe argued unassailably – does he argue any other way? – that if Amerindians had repeatedly traversed, for their livelihood, the same hunting, fishing and foraging grounds, they would have, in effect, homesteaded these, making them their own. Another apodictic profundity deduced from that conversation: The strict Lockean stipulation, whereby to make property one’s own, one must transform it to Western standards, is not convincing.
In an article marking Columbus Day – the day Conservatism Inc. beats up on what remains of America’s First People – Ryan McMaken debunked Ayn Rand’s specious claim that aboriginal Americans “did not have the concept of property or property rights.” This was Rand’s ruse for justifying Europeans’ disregard for the homesteading rights of the First Nations. “[T]he Indian tribes had no right to the land they lived on because” they were primitive and nomadic.
Hoppean Homesteading Cultural supremacy is no argument for the dispossession of a Lesser Other. To libertarians, Lockean – or, rather Hoppean – homesteading is sacrosanct. He who believes he has a right to another man’s property ought to produce proof that he is its rightful owner. ‘As the old legal adage goes, ‘Possession is nine-tenths of the law,’ as it is the best evidence of legitimate title. The burden of proof rests squarely with the person attempting to relieve another of present property titles.’ (Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, p. 276.)

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 10, 2017.

A Desperate OPEC Asks US Shale For Help In Cutting Oil Output

While OPEC has been presenting an optimistic facade in recent months, repeating at every opportunity that the global oil market is “rebalancing” and demand is rising, the oil production cartel made a rare slip today when it addressed what should not be named in public: US shale production. Speaking on Tuesday, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo called on U. S. shale oil producers to help curtail global oil supply, warning extraordinary measures might be needed next year to sustain the rebalanced market in the medium to long term. Which is odd because in every other public address by OPEC members, we hear precisely the opposite: that the market is already in a state of “healthy rebalancing” and… the oil production cut which was supposed to last until this past June may now be extended beyond March of 2018.
‘We urge our friends, in the shale basins of North America to take this shared responsibility with all seriousness it deserves, as one of the key lessons learnt from the current unique supply-driven cycle,’ said Barkindo quoted by Reuters during a speech delivered at the India Energy Forum organized by CERAWeek in New Delhi.
‘At the moment we (OPEC and independent U. S. producers) both agreed that we have a shared responsibility in maintaining stability because they are also not insulated from the impact of this downturn,’ Barkindo said, referring to a slide in oil prices that spurred OPEC to agree production cuts late last year.
‘The call by independents themselves (is) that we need to continue this interaction.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 10, 2017.

Did the Indians Understand the Concept of Private Property?

One of Ayn Rand’s most notorious claims is that Europeans and their descendants were justified in driving Indian tribes off their landsbecause aboriginal Americans “did not have the concept of property or property rights,” and because they “wish[ed] to continue a primitive existence.” Rand also claims the Indian tribes had no right to the land they lived on because “they didn’t have a settled society,” and “had predominantly nomadic tribal ‘cultures.’” Rand even uses scare quotes around “cultures” to perhaps imply that Indian culture was not any type of culture at all.
Today, many critics of laissez-faire liberalism (i.e., libertarianism) continue to quote these lines in order to indict all defenders of private property, whom critics like to associate with Rand’s peculiar ideology.
As with so many accusations that conflate Rand’s beliefs with libertarians, this is misplaced. Many libertarian writers have approached the issue from a a perspective which assumes the tribes were treated unjustly. Leonard Liggio, for example, discussed the issue from this perspective in the early 1970s, and Rothbard repeatedly wrote with sympathy in Conceived in Liberty about the tribes who interacted with colonial Americans. To this day, Indian-tribe sovereignty, as weak as it is, continues to be an important check on federal power.
Regardless of how one views European and American policy toward the tribes, however, the argument that the tribes and individual Indians had no concept of property – and thus whites were justified in seizing tribal lands – is a terrible argument for a variety of reasons.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 9, 2010.

State Of Emergency Declared Across Southeastern US As Hurricane Nate Looms

Update (1 pm ET): With Nate expected to strengthen into a category 2 storm by the time it makes landfall in southeastern Louisiana late Saturday, the NHC has expanded its storm warnings to include the part of the Florida panhandle east of the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass Florida, which is now under a tropical storm warning. Meanwhile, mandatory evacuations are set to begin in Port Fourchon, Louisiana at 12pm local time Saturday for remaining staff at the port, according to storm update by the Greater Lafourche Port Commission. This follows mandatory evacuation ordered by Lafourche Parish, La., President Jimmy Cantrelle for areas below floodgates in Golden Meadow, La. In addition, the US Coast Guard has suspended marine traffic activity as of 8 am local time for sector Mobile, which includes the ports of Gulfport and Pascagoula in Mississippi, Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., in preparation for Hurricane Nate, according to an agency bulletin.
Staff at offshore oil rigs in the Gulf were ordered to evacuate, leaving nearly three-quarters of US Gulf of Mexico oil production was offline ahead of the storm. American Midstream Partners LP’s Destin gas pipeline and Enbridge Inc.’s Nautilus and Manta Ray lines are evacuating staff from Gulf platforms.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 7, 2017.

Chris Hedges On The End Of Empire: “The Death Spiral Appears Unstoppable”

The American empire is coming to an end. The U. S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits, along with the devastating effects of deindustrialization and global trade agreements. Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U. S. treasury in the form of bailouts. The nation has lost the power and respect needed to induce allies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to do its bidding. Add to this the mounting destruction caused by climate change and you have a recipe for an emerging dystopia. Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too.
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The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.
Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, which does not seem likely, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two. The global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China, already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut, or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and a few other states. Or maybe the void will be filled, as the historian Alfred W. McCoy writes in his book ‘In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power,’ by ‘a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral military forces like NATO, and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and Bilderberg’ that will ‘forge a supranational nexus to supersede any nation or empire.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 3, 2017.

California Assemblyman Promises Bill To Ban Gas Cars By 2040

San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting would like for you to know that he has every intention of introducing new legislation in 2018 that will (i) make it much more difficult for low-income Californians to buy affordable vehicles and (ii) increase greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, Ting didn’t word it in exactly that way but his proposal to ban combustion-engine vehicles will inevitably result in both of the unintended consequences above.
As the Sacramento Bee points out this morning, Ting has promised to introduce his destructive legislation in January saying at some point you just need to “put a line in the sand.”
France and the United Kingdom are doing it. So is India. And now one lawmaker would like California to follow their lead in phasing out gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. When the Legislature returns in January, Assemblyman Phil Ting plans to introduce a bill that would ban the sale of new cars fueled by internal-combustion engines after 2040. The San Francisco Democrat said it’s essential to get California drivers into an electric fleet if the state is going to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets, since the transportation sector accounts for more than a third of all emissions.
‘The market is moving this way. The entire world is moving this way,’ Ting said. ‘At some point you need to set a goal and put a line in the sand.’
‘California is used to being first. But we’re trying to catch up to this,’ Ting said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 30, 2017.

Japanese Banks Plan To Launch A Digital Currency Meant To Kill Off Cash

Japan’s central bank is currently planning to back a scheme that would permanently kill off cash. Using blockchain technology, the J-Coin is now under development by Japanese bankers.
The J Coin has the blessing of financial regulators as this will literally end Japan’s cash dependency. According to the Financial Times, the currency is meant to launch in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a way to streamline the country’s financial system. The idea for J-Coin is that it would sit alongside the Japanese yen, exchanged at a one-to-one rate, and be offered as a free service. In return, the banks that operate it would get detailed data on how people use it making people easier to track.
Currently, about 70 percent of all transactions in Japan are done with cash. That is a higher than average amount for developed countries where cash has been on the decline for some time now, according to Technology Review. But governments don’t like cash transactions because they are much easier to hide. India, for example, cited shutting down the black market as one reason it decided to push aggressively towards a solely digital money.

This post was published at shtfplan on September 27th, 2017.

McMaster Says US Has “Four or Five” North Korea Scenarios, “Some Are Uglier Than Others”

As tensions between North Korea and the U. S. continue to escalate with every Trump tweet and subsequent response by Kim Jong-Un, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said that the U. S. has prepared “four or five different scenarios” for how the crisis with North Korea will be resolved, adding ominously that ‘some are uglier than others.”
McMaster declined to comment on the extent to which North Korea’s deeply-buried nuclear program was vulnerable to U. S. military strikes — an assessment made of Iran before the 2015 framework agreement designed to stop its nuclear program.
He acknowledged that every military option assumed a reaction from North Korea that endangered South Korean citizens, adding it’s ‘foremost in our minds.’ That danger ‘is certainly taken into consideration in all our planning and war gaming, table-top exercise efforts,’ McMaster said.
Still, while McMaster said the threat from Pyongyang is ‘much further advanced’ than anticipated and the Pentagon said the president has a ‘deep arsenal’ to draw upon if needed, Bloomberg quoted U. S. officials who dismissed North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s comment that President Donald Trump’s warnings to Pyongyang at the United Nations amounted to a declaration of war.
That said, both governments have said ‘all options’ are on the table in dealing with the tensions. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, speaking in India on Tuesday, said the U. S. wants to keep engagement with North Korea in the diplomatic realm as long as possible. But on Monday Ri escalated tensions with his remark that North Korea would be within its rights to shoot down U. S. warplanes flying in international airspace. That startled markets, coming just days after the Pentagon sent planes near North Korea’s border.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 26, 2017.

India: The Genie of Lawlessness is out of the Bottle

Recapitulation (Part XVI, the Last) Since the announcement of demonetization of Indian currency on 8th November 2016, I have written a large number of articles. The issue is not so much that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is a tyrant and extremely simplistic in his thinking (which he is), or that demonetization and the new sales tax system were horribly ill-conceived (which they were). Time erases all tyrants from the map, and eventually from people’s memory.
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My interest has been mostly to use these events to document the underlying causes of such utter missteps, which technically must be called stupid, and to explain how the real disease runs much deeper and much wider, and that no solutions for this can be found in the next elections.
My interest has been to explore the socio-cultural foundations of India that keep it perennially poor, wretched, and diseased, a state from which it never seems able to escape. I have attempted to dissect the unwitting tendency of Indians to destroy any material or civilizational advantages, which in the last 300 years have all accrued as products of extraneous events: Free gifts of Western experience and civilization, management skills, and technology, all offered on a platter.

This post was published at Acting-Man on September 20, 2017.

To Combat “Hate,” Make Government Weaker

On 18 August 2017, the mayor of Boston Marty Walsh announcedthat the city should avoid the Commons on 19 August 2017 because of white supremacists and the chances of violence at a planned free speech rally. Predictably, thousands of people showed up to protest this group based on the words of the mayor. The mayor was rather unambiguous, ‘The courts have made it abundantly clear. They have the right to gather, no matter how repugnant their views are. But they don’t have the right to create unsafe conditions. They have the right to free speech. In return, they have to respect our city.’ The mayor said that unpleasant white supremacists were going to show up and spout hateful rhetoric, so avoid it at all costs so you aren’t subject to these repugnant views.
The problem here? To put it in the words of one very confused protester that was interviewed by the Boston Globe, ‘Excuse me sir, where are the white supremacists?’ As it turns out, this hate speech movement that Mayor Walsh was warning everyone about was a simple campaign stump speech by a Republican candidate for the Massachusetts State Senate. Who was this despicable white supremacist? Indian-American Shiva Ayyadurai. While his profile does have some bizarre claims, mainly his claim that he invented e-mail, this isn’t any stranger than claims many other politicians make and nothing in his background seems to indicate any form of racial animosity or racial supremacist beliefs, white or otherwise. If anything, his views indicate the opposite as he accuses the US of operating a caste system where academics and politicians take the role of the Brahmin in India and is anti-GMO. These are hardly hallmarks of a right-wing belief structure and have far more in common with the American left.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 15, 2017.

Don’t Trust Government To Protect Your Privacy

In a tale of questionable historical validity, the British colonial government in early 20th century India found itself confronting a fearsome pest: cobras. Though natives had long since adjusted to uneasy coexistence with the snakes, the occupying force did not take kindly to their ubiquitous presence. Seeking their eradication, authorities devised a bounty program to financially reward anyone presenting a severed cobra tail.
The program worked. Which is to say it precipitated a significant increase in severed cobra tails – the only thing the prize was truly capable of incentivizing – while also presenting enterprising individuals with a profitable opportunity: snake-breeding. Snakes need their tails neither to live, nor to reproduce, enabling a single snake to generate a stream of tails by way of countless progeny. The program had transformed the vipers into a financial instrument that would continue yielding ‘payments’ as long as the snake could reproduce.
Confronted with abysmal failure – snakes (many tail-less) were slithering through the streets in greater numbers than before the bounty project – the authorities abandoned the scheme. The dissolution of the program encouraged snake-breeders to release their now-worthless assets into the wild, where they quickly found their way back into the city. The infamous results, now known as the ‘cobra effect,’ depict those government interventions which generate more than the ‘garden variety’ unintended consequence. While virtually all government interventions have some unintended consequences, a few positively engender the thing they were enacted to counter.
Policymakers have spawned the ‘cobra effect’ in a host of other contexts, including an attempt to stamp out sewer rats in colonial Vietnam and a recent effort to decimate a feral pig population at Fort Benning, Georgia. In both cases, the bounty program incentivized fraud and a swift burgeoning of the pest populations.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Sept 14, 2017.

Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis: George Soros, Oil, & Lessons For India

“When George Soros comes to this or that country… he looks for religious, ethnic or social contradictions, chooses the model of action for one of these options or their combination and tries to ‘warm them up’,” Egorchenkov explained…
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The ongoing crisis in Myanmar including tensions between Buddhist and Muslim communities and the military crackdown by Myanmar Army and police seems to be a multidimensional crisis with major geopolitical players involved according to a report by Sputnik International.
As per the report Dmitry Mosyakov, director of the Centre for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RT that the conflict ‘was apparently fanned by external global players’ and ‘has at least three dimensions’.
‘First, this is a game against China, as China has very large investments in Arakan [Rakhine],’ Mosyakov told RT.
‘Second, it is aimed at fuelling Muslim extremism in Southeast Asia….
Third, it’s the attempt to sow discord within ASEAN [between Myanmar and Muslim-dominated Indonesia and Malaysia].’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 11, 2017.

Object Lesson: War on Cash Backfires on India’s Economy

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a surprise attack on cash in late 2016. He gave Indians a few days to convert the two largest denomination bills then circulating to bank deposits, after which point any undeposited notes would become worthless. The move was intensely controversial. Transactions completed using cash represented the vast majority of economic activity in the country.
In order to sell the program Modi employed a familiar strategy. He vilified the users of cash as tax cheats and criminals. He promised the measure would punish black marketeers, boost the Indian economy, and increase tax revenues. The latter may be true – forcing transactions onto the grid is good for nosy bureaucrats trying to impose taxes and controls.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 7 September 2017.