Sentinels of Liberty

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Mission: The Sentinels of Liberty is a state network of like-minded Patriots of varied backgrounds and skill sets who collectively work together to prepare for events (either of a temporary or long-term nature) that threaten the stability and security of the United States of America or the integrity of the State of Texas.

As an independent organization, we will strive to work with other states who wish to adopt our approach as independent but affiliated organizations.

We will prepare ourselves by practicing the skills we have learned and by training to learn new skills.

Our preparedness training will be conducted both in the classroom and in the field and will include any topic that would improve our capabilities to perform in a state of emergency.

We will have the capability in the event of a state of emergency to provide safety and security first to our families, secondly to our local teams, third to our communities, and to other Sentinels.

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Vision: To become a state network of trained, dedicated, and highly skilled American Patriots who are willing to uphold the principles of Liberty that the United States of America was founded upon.

Latest News

AISD Votes for Radical Sex Education

03/01/2019
This week, Austin ISD voted unanimously to adopt radical sex education standards modeled by Planned Parenthood and the leftist LGBT lobby which begin in elementary school. In middle school, students will now learn about "sexual orientation and gender identity" and emergency contraception. Texas Values and other concerned parents were on hand to testify against these proposals but unfortunately, the board claimed: "Austin values are not Texas values" and adopted the standards, which will now direct the writing of curriculum.

UK ministers resign over Brexit deal

11/15/2018

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/uk-ministers-resign-over-brexit-deal-3561891/


British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a grilling by lawmakers Thursday following the release of terms of a newly drafted Brexit deal. Three senior ministers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, resigned over the proposal. The draft EU withdrawal agreement brings the U.K. one step closer to a so-called "soft" Brexit on March 29, 2019. The EU???s 27 members will need to approve the deal at a November summit, with the treaty then moving to the British Parliament for approval.

Yesterday???s initial Brexit deal is a small step in a long road towards a post-Brexit Britain. The deal proposal addressed two easy issues, the settlement of Britain???s exit bill to the EU, and the regulation of citizens??? rights on both sides. It also provided a compromise on a difficult one, the Irish border, one that would let the UK keep its territorial integrity and avoid a hard border in Ireland, but also provide the EU with a guarantee it needed it would not unilaterally renege. What does this mean for investors? For the moment, very little. If the parliamentary hurdle is cleared, a prerequisite for a Brexit ???transition period??? until January 2021, it would be positive over the shorter term, as it extends the current period of stability for two years. Currently, we believe the chances of not passing are even, especially after the resignation of newly appointed Brexit minister Dominic Raab. Passing of the bill would also put the train on its tracks towards an amicable negotiation on what the future trade relationship with the EU looks like. The deal, however is a milestone, not a solution. It does not address the main issue for investors, which is clarity on what post-Brexit Britain looks like.

FedEx To Discontinue NRA Discounts

11/03/2018

https://www.getzone.com/news-fedex-to-discontinue-nra-discounts/?trk_msg=CG3DLQBME20K9DKRS4PPJT2JVS&trk_contact=PIPE4CFJGR5GITRPIBNP9ULQE4&trk_sid=ISCEQR3EMD8M48L69A60V87E40


FedEx, the U.S. shipping group, is ending a program that offers discounts for business members of the National Rifle Association, the company confirmed to Reuters Breakingviews.

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It???s a quiet reversal: eight months ago, FedEx stood by the gun-rights lobby group as other companies scrapped deals. They were reacting to the NRA???s stance after the Parkland School Shooting. Companies including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and car-rental firm Enterprise ended member discounts. At the time, FedEx said that while assault rifles of the kind used in most American mass shootings shouldn???t be in civilian hands, it did not believe in ???discriminating??? between organizations it works with.

The change in their position comes just days after a gunman killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue. FedEx says the closure of its NRA discount program from Nov. 4 has no connection to that incident or any other shooting. Rather, the NRA just didn???t bring in enough business to merit its own deal. It???s among dozens of organizations FedEx plans to move to new pricing programs, and the company has been notifying customers since early October.

That, though, is still significant ??? perhaps more so than largely political gestures. It suggests the NRA no longer has the economic clout to inspire fear in the corporate world.  Companies are becoming less timid. When retailers Dick???s Sporting Goods, Walmart and Kroger pledged to end sales of assault rifles earlier this year, their shares didn???t suffer. As customers and investors change their views, businesses no longer need to take an overtly political stance ??? they can just follow the money.

As reported by www.reuters.com


Capital One, Discover tighten lending

10/30/2018

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/capital-one-discover-tighten-lending-3458076/


Capital One and Discover are tightening lending standards for their credit cards, an atypical move in a buoyant economy that could portent longer-term worries about the financial health of American consumers. In announcing their intention to ???become more cautious??? in handling credit limits, the lenders said they are circumspect in ???how much longer the economic recovery will last." Although, they haven???t specifically observed any indicators that consumers??? ability to pay their debts is flagging.


A concerning signal coming from Discover & Capital One. Especially considering the policy disparity between them and FICO, who recently approved efforts the make it's credit scoring model more lax: "Capital One and Discover are gauges of many Americans??? ability to handle debt. Discover generally doesn???t market to affluent customers, and Capital One has a large number of customers with less-than-pristine credit scores, making both companies a window into a part of the economy that is often the first to show cracks. Some 33% of Capital One???s domestic card balances, for example, are owed by subprime borrowers, according to the bank."



Food supply fears spark mass recalls

10/23/2018

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/food-supply-fears-spark-mass-recalls-2577225/


More than a dozen chains including Whole Foods, Walmart and Trader Joe???s have recalled a combined 4 million pounds of food due to fears of potential contamination from salmonella and listeria. The issue began when a Canadian supplier to grocery stores and distributors nationwide began recalling vegetables used as ingredients in the chain???s food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration says that it has begun an investigation. Food companies have witnessed an increase in ???costly recalls??? this year due to a surge in multi-state outbreaks of foodborne illness and advances in pathogen detection.

Soros Agents Applaud Latest Facebook Purge

10/14/2018

Facebook has conducted yet another targeted attack on wrong-thinkers and while some of the victims are befuddled as to why the axe fell on them, the leftist media establishment is clamoring for more heads to roll.

Over 800 accounts, some of them with millions of followers, were blasted into oblivion by the social media behemoth in its latest purge. ???Today, we???re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,??? a Facebook blog post read. Facebook accused the banned sites and accounts of using ???sensational political content??? to drive traffic. Among those users banned were Right Wing News, which had some 3.1 million followers, and Nation in Distress, which also had over three million followers.

Matt Bergman of Punk Rock Libertarians, a site that had 190,000 followers before being obliterated, told RT.com that Facebook is able to apply its ???standards??? any way it sees fit to purge users:

???Their terms of service agreement is probably a million words long. Nobody has ever read it all the way through and I would think that if they wanted to they can ban CNN, they can ban you guys, if they wanted to, they can ban anybody.???

Big Media Complicity

If Bergman is right, there should be a lot more cyber-executions coming. And that???s just fine with The New York Times. In an absurdly authoritarian October 11 articleTimes reporter Sheera Frenkel ominously notes the rise of ???domestic disinformation??? on social media. See, it???s not just Russian bots anymore. It???s American citizens who are the new threat to democracy.

???There are now well-developed networks of Americans targeting other Americans with purposefully designed manipulations,??? Molly McKew, an ???information warfare researcher??? at the New Media Frontier organization, told Frenkel.

What is the New Media Frontier? Basically, it is Molly McKew declaring herself an information warfare expert and The New York Times quoting her as such. Fake news, much? McKew is, in fact, a longtime professional lobbyist who previously worked for the Podesta Group. Exactly what qualifies her to be an expert on information warfare is anybody???s guess, but that didn???t stop the NYT from deceitfully quoting her as such in an article about the dire threat of deceitful news.

The hilarity continues with the Times quoting another ???expert.??? Ryan Fox of an organization called New Knowledge, ???a firm that tracks disinformation,??? told Frenkel, ???[t]hese networks are trying to manipulate people by manufacturing consensus ??? that???s crossing the line over free speech.???

Manipulating consensus is a bad thing? You mean, like an NYT newsletter claiming that Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance to win on the very eve of the 2016 presidential election? We???ll patiently wait for the intrepid Mr. Fox to start tracking that breathtaking display of disinformation.

Enter Soros

Frenkel???s thoroughly ridiculous article also unsurprisingly quotes the George Soros-funded Media Matters For America. This group can be currently found openly calling for Facebook to take its purge to the next level.

???Facebook???s takedown removed a plethora of bad actors who have used networks of pages and groups to coordinate and amplify the spread of anti-immigrant and racist content. However, other similar far-right disinformation pages on the platform are still up,??? Media Matters??? Natalie Martinez writes on the organization???s website.

Her article goes on to list several more ???right-wing??? sites that need to be scrubbed from history by Facebook, without offering any substantial information as to just what these outlets??? alleged crimes may be. Martinez was most saddened, however, that Facebook had yet to take action against what Media Matters considers the most effective practitioner of wrongthink:

???And although this takedown has impacted a number of pages that push false political news and hate speech, it likely won???t affect currently active high-performing right-wing meme pages and networks.???

Thus the door is opened to target political satire in the U.S. fake news spider web. Many believe the European Union is using supposed copyright concerns to suppress politically incorrect satire at this very moment. There are many ways to tackle a target you are trying to destroy.

The Facebook purge is another step down a terrible road. An unregulated social media giant is attempting to play arbiter of what is and what is not news. Major news organizations and political sabotage groups are working in perfect synchronicity to bolster these actions. The implications should be crystal clear: They are trying to construct a thoroughly controlled media.


FEMA test of emergency 'presidential alert' text messages coming this week

10/01/2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday will test two alert systems that can send messages to phones, televisions and radios nationwide.

The tests were originally scheduled for Sept. 20, but were postponed until Oct. 3 due to Hurricane Florence.

The first test involves FEMA's wireless emergency alert system and will take place at 2:18 p.m. It's the first national test for the system, according to FEMA.

The test message will pop up on any phones connected to wireless providers participating in the alert system, FEMA said. The message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" with the following text:

"THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

Cell towers will broadcast the message for 30 minutes. FEMA said some phones that are not compatible with the system and will not receive the message.

Phones must also be within range of an active cell tower to get the test. Each phone should receive the test message only once.

The wireless alert system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children and other emergencies. It will use the same special tone and vibration as other wireless alert messages such as tornado warnings and Amber Alerts, FEMA said.

Users cannot opt out of the test.

The second test will start at 2:20 p.m. It involves the emergency alert system that allows the president to communicate with the nation on radio and television during a national emergency, FEMA said.

The test will last about a minute and will be similar to routine monthly broadcast tests, according to the agency.

More details are available on FEMA's website.


Google is getting inside your car

09/18/2018

The world???s biggest car-manufacturing alliance has agreed to use Google???s Android operating system to power dashboard displays. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which sold 10.6 million vehicles globally last year, will debut the system in 2021, ???giving drivers better integration of Google???s maps, app store and voice-activated assistant,??? writes The Wall Street Journal. Google, which like Apple has long sought to displace interfaces designed by carmakers, would be able to collect data from apps inside the vehicles with customer permission.


Hurricane Flo hits North Carolina

09/14/2018

Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina on Friday morning, bringing with it winds of up to 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane, which has been downgraded to a category one, made landfall near Wrightsville Beach.Rescues were underwayearly in New Bern, N.C., as forecasters say the storm could bring a dangerous amount of rain. More than 400,000 people had already lost power early Friday, while local energy suppliers warned that as many as 3 million people could be left without power.


Hurricane Florence warnings issued

09/10/2018

The East Coast is bracing itself for the most powerful storm in three decades, reports CNN. Hurricane Florence will hit North and South Carolina later this week, bringing with it the possibility of up to 20 inches of rainfall, as well as ???water up to 15 feet high [could] strike the coast.??? Residents in the Carolinas are being warned that ???there is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence.???


Colleges resort to tuition matching

09/04/2018

The battle for students at some colleges has gotten so hot that some are willing to match tuition at rival schools, The Wall Street Journal reports. Public universities in Michigan, South Dakota and Nebraska allow students from out of state to pay as if they lived in-state, even though out-of-state tuition is usually two to three times that of in-state. Local high school graduate populations have been dwindling and many private schools face a perception that they are not affordable for many students.


Google Tracking 70% Of Retail Purchases Thanks To Secret Deal With Mastercard

09/02/2018

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-31/google-tracking-70-retail-purchases-thanks-secret-deal-mastercard


Over the past year, certain Google advertisers have been able to use a "potent new tool" which allows them to track whether ads they run online translated to sales at physical stores throughout the United States, thanks to a secret deal between the Silicon Valley tech giant and Mastercard, reports Bloomberg

Illustration: Tam Nguyen, AdAge

Most of Mastercard's two billion customers weren't aware of this arrangement, since neither Google parent Alphabet Inc. nor the credit card company told the public about the deal which was brokered after four years of negotiations. The alliance, says Bloomberg"gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending," as part of the search giant's "strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others." 

Through this test program, Google can anonymously match these existing user profiles to purchases made in physical stores. The result is powerful: Google knows that people clicked on ads and can now tell advertisers that this activity led to actual store sales.

...

It works like this: a person searches for "red lipstick" on Google, clicks on an ad, surfs the web but doesn???t buy anything. Later, she walks into a store and buys red lipstick with her Mastercard. The advertiser who ran the ad is fed a report from Google, listing the sale along with other transactions in a column that reads "Offline Revenue" -- only if the web surfer is logged into a Google account online and made the purchase within 30 days of clicking the ad. The advertisers are given a bulk report with the percentage of shoppers who clicked or viewed an ad then made a relevant purchase. -Bloomberg

Last year Google boasted that that the service, called "Store Sales Management," had access to "approximately 70 percent" of US credit and debit cards. 

Last year, when Google announced the service, called "Store Sales Measurement," the company just said it had access to "approximately 70 percent" of U.S. credit and debit cards through partners, without naming them. -Bloomberg

Since Google doesn't define what this means, Bloomberg speculates that it could mean "70 percent of the people who use credit and debit cards. Or it could mean that the company has deals with companies that include all card users, and 70 percent of those are logged into Google accounts like Gmail when they click on a Google search ad." 

The deal is likely to raise broader privacy concerns about the volume of consumer data is in the hands of data technology companies such as Google. Of note, "Since 2014, Google has flagged for advertisers when someone who clicked an ad visits a physical store, using the Location History feature in Google Maps."

"People don???t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,??? said Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) counsel Christine Bannan. "There???s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they???re doing and what rights they have.???

Google reportedly paid Mastercard millions of dollars for the data, according to two people who worked on the deal. The companies also discussed sharing a portion of Google's ad revenue, according to one source. A Google spokeswoman denied any revenue sharing agreement with its partners - while addressing privacy concerns: 

"Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users??? personally identifiable information,??? the company said in a statement. ???We do not have access to any personal information from our partners??? credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.???

The company says that google users can opt out of ad tracking using their "Web and App Activity" online console (though no word if the service will continue to secretly track your purchases like Google's location history, which tracks users regardless of whether they've turned the feature off.) 

Mastercard spokesman Seth Eisen said that the company shares transaction trends with merchants and service providers to assist them in measuring "the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns." 

The information, which includes sales volumes and average size of the purchase, is shared only with permission of the merchants, Eisen added. "No individual transaction or personal data is provided," he said in a statement. "We do not provide insights that track, serve up ads to, or even measure ad effectiveness relating to, individual consumers."  -Bloomberg

According to people familiar with the program, Google has approached other payment companies fopr similar deals - however it is unknown whether they actually signed any. Google, meanwhile, confirmed that the service only applies to people who are logged in to one of its accounts and haven't opted out of ad tracking. 

Google is testing the data service with a ???small group??? of advertisers in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman. With it, marketers see aggregate sales figures and estimates of how many they can attribute to Google ads -- but they don???t see a shoppers??? personal information, how much they spend or what exactly they buy. The tests are only available for retailers, not the companies that make the items sold inside stores, the spokeswoman said. The service only applies to its search and shopping ads, she said. -Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg, Google's first attempt to link consumer browsing habits with spending came in the form of it's mobile payment service; Google Wallet - however adoption never took off.

As we mentioned earlier, Google has been pinging advertisers through their Location Services feature when a user visited a store, however the advertiser wasn't able to know whether the shopper made a purchase. 

So Google added more. A tool, introduced the following year, let advertisers upload email addresses of customers they???ve collected into Google???s ad-buying system, which then encrypted them. Additionally, Google layered on inputs from third-party data brokers, such as Experian Plc and Acxiom Corp., which draw in demographic and financial information for marketers. -Bloomberg

In May, 2017, Google introduced "Store Sales Management" which let companies with personal info on consumers such as encrypted email address, upload information into Google's system and synchronize advertising expenditures with offline sales. The second component injects card data. 

Early indications suggest the Mastercard deal has been a boon for Google. "Malcolm said her agency has tested the card measurement tool with a major advertiser, which she declined to name. Beforehand, the company received $5.70 in revenue for every dollar spent on marketing in the ad campaign with Google, according to an iProspect analysis. With the new transaction feature, the return nearly doubled to $10.60," according to Bloomberg

"That???s really powerful," Malcolm said. "And it was a really good way to invest more in Google, frankly."


Argentine rates now highest in world

08/30/2018

Argentina's central bank lifted its key interest to 60%, the highest in the world, a day after President Mauricio Macri asked the International Monetary Fund to rushpaymenton a $50 billion line of credit. The moves come as the government tries to convince investors it can fund itself through next year amid raging inflation and a plunging peso,reports Bloomberg.


As Land Confiscations Loom, South Africa Rules 300,000 Gun-Owners Turn Over Their Weapons

08/28/2018

A report from The Citizen explains what Section 24 and Section 28 entail:

???Section 24 of the Act requires that any person who seeks to renew a licence must do so 90 days before its expiry date Section 28 stipulates that if a firearm licence has been cancelled??? the firearm must be disposed of or forfeited to the state. A 60-day time frame was placed on its disposal, which was to be done through a dealer.???

Now that the High Court???s initial ruling has been overturned, gun owners who failed to renew their firearms licenses must hand in their firearms to the nearest police station, where authorities will then proceed to destroy them.

Many na??ve political observers will paint this event as a casual gun control scheme, but any astute student of politics will recognize that the floodgates are now open for further encroachments ??? not only on the gun rights of South Africans, but also on others facets of theirs lives.

A look at South Africa???s current political climate will give us an idea of the potential ramifications of this gun control scheme.

Political Trouble Brewing in South Africa?

Though South Africa witnessed rising levels of economic freedom shortly after Apartheid ended in 1994, the country has taken a more interventionist path to economic development in recent years.

This situation is becoming more pronounced with the South African National Assembly recently voting 241-83 to amend the South African constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

The socialist-leaning African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parties are leading the charge for expropriation under the banner of fixing racial disparities that have supposedly remained intact since Apartheid???s conclusion.

While land confiscation has not been officially finalized, South Africans should worry about the direction their country is going.

And how does gun control fit into this equation?

Gun Control: A Tool for Tyranny

No matter how socialist apologists rationalize it, the redistributionist agenda the South African government is pursuing will not be implemented passively. Ultimately, it must be carried out by force.

The kind of force socialists seek is a monopolized kind, which extreme forms of gun control like gun confiscation help facilitate.

The history of gun confiscation is one of repeated cases of tyranny.

From countries such as Cuba to the Soviet Union, aspiring demagogues have used gun confiscation to disarm the populace. Logically, an unarmed populace will put up little resistance against their tyrannical acts.

In South Africa???s case, farmers and their workers are already suffering ongoing attacks against their property. One could only imagine what it would be like for these persecuted farmers once they are stripped of their right to self-defense.

For many Americans who have enjoyed historically unprecedented gun rights, South Africa???s gun control experience may seem distant and strange.

But make no mistake about it, South Africa???s latest flirtation with gun control is not based on good intentions, especially when considering the political climate the country is enduring.

South Africa should serve as a fair warning to Americans of the dangerous consequences gun control poses.


The Pundits Still Don't Understand Venezuela

08/26/2018
Authored by Jos?? Ni??o via The Mises Institute, International analysts are not giving us the full story on Venezuela. Political commentators have given their spin on the topic of Venezuela???s economic crisis. To their credit, some of them get the surface level details correct on the contributing factors to Venezuela???s collapse - destruction of civil liberties and property rights. However, the mentions of Hugo Ch??vez???s nationalizations of oil fields while correct, miss a key historical component - Venezuela had a nationalized oil industry before Ch??vez came into power. Venezuela???s oil industry was nationalized during 1976 under the auspices of then President Carlos Andr??s P??rez. Ch??vez only expanded upon the previous interventionist projects that were laid out well before coming into power. And this is not just nitpicking. To understand Venezuela???s current collapse, we must have a clear picture of the past 60 years of Venezuela???s political history. There is no denying that Venezuela was more stable in the past decades, but the seeds of its very undoing were planted during those glory years. Ultimately, creation of the petro-state helped facilitate this decline. From Free Market Oil to State-Owned Oil Contrary to popular belief, Venezuela???s previous prosperity was not just based on its oil endowments. From the early 1900s up until the 1960s, Venezuela enjoyed high degrees of economic freedom - low regulations, low taxes, sound property rights, and a stable monetary policy. These factors played a major role in cementing Venezuela???s status as one of the richest countries in the 1950s on a per capita basis. But several troubling trends emerged after 1958, when Venezuela returned to democracy. First, the Venezuela government established a new constitution which granted the State considerable powers over economic affairs. This political order would be cemented through the Punto Fijo Pact ??? a bipartisan agreement between the two political parties Acci??n Democr??tica (Democratic Action) and COPEI (Christian Democrats). Both parties believed that the State could take petroleum revenues and channel them into generous welfare programs. For them, Venezuela would not be a truly independent country until the government had complete control over its oil reserves. Oil Nationalization: The Beginning of the End The oil nationalists finally got their wish in the 1970s. Carlos Andr??s P??rez???s government took advantage of the massive influx of petroleum rents brought about by the 1970s energy crisis and took concrete steps to nationalize the oil industry. This was finally achieved in 1975, when P??rez???s government signed a law nationalizing the petroleum sector. The creation of a petro-state was complete and Venezuela???s institutional underpinnings would never be the same. Instead of relying on citizens to pay taxes in exchange for the protection of their property rights and civil liberties, the Venezuelan government would bribe its citizens with government handouts derived from petroleum revenue to maintain its power. P??rez wasted no time using this power-grab to go on a spending spree. While politically popular, P??rez???s extravagant spending program resulted in the extreme centralization of political power and runaway bureaucratic influence. Another salient feature of the petro-state was crony capitalism. The State would frequently dole out petroleum rents to politically-connected corporations. When the State actively picks winners and losers, businesses spend more time lobbying the government instead of actually producing goods the market desires. The Dominos Begin to Fall Although oil nationalization did not result in an immediate collapse, it opened the door for Venezuela???s economic decline. By the start of the 1980s, the party was over. With a stagnant economy and increased public debt caused by the previous decade???s spending binge, the Venezuela government felt it needed to take action to jumpstart the economy. On February 18, 1983 (notoriously known as Black Friday in Venezuela), the Venezuelan government implemented the largest devaluation of its national currency the Bol??var to date. This marked the beginning of Venezuela???s so-called ???lost decade??? of economic malaise. Sensible, Yet Insufficient Reforms By the end of the 1980s, Carlos Andr??s P??rez came back into office, campaigning to revive Venezuela???s spending bonanza of the 1970s. But his campaign rhetoric abruptly changed once he took office in 1989. P??rez recognized that Venezuela was both debt-burdened and economically shackled by its government. P??rez initially turned to the IMF for help ??? recommending several sensible reforms such as privatization, spending cuts, and tariff reductions. Sadly, these reforms were not fully implemented thanks to massive opposition coming P??rez???s own party, Democratic Action. As P??rez???s second administration progressed, political tension mounted as seen in upstart Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Ch??vez???s failed coup attempts in 1992. P??rez would eventually be impeached for corruption charges in 1993, leaving Venezuela???s political order in shambles. Did Hugo Ch??vez Have it Right? Hugo Ch??vez???s political coalition had every right to complain in the 1990s. Venezuela???s bipartisan political order from 1958 to 1988 delivered lackluster results. In this time period, Venezuela???s per capita GDP grew at a paltry -0.13%, meaning that Venezuelan population grew faster than the wealth created during this period. Charles Jones of Introduction to Economic Growth classified Venezuela as a ???growth disaster???. Only a handful of Sub-Saharan countries and Nicaragua, a country under socialist rule and a victim of a bloody civil war, joined this economic hall of shame. Sadly, Ch??vez used the same petro-state structure for his own tyrannical ends. He doubled down on the errors of the previous decades and brought the country to its knees through easy money, economic controls, land confiscation, and vote-buying. Although Ch??vez rapidly expanded upon what the P??rez government in the 1970s had instituted, this historical event reminds us that well-intentioned interventions can be used by the next round of political operatives for nefarious purposes. Bureaucracies aren???t flawed because they are unelected or lack qualified people. The problem lies in the institutions themselves, which destroy the profit motive and lack any meaningful system where proper economic calculation can be made. All genuine reforms should start and end with plans to reduce and ultimately remove government involvement out of all sectors of the economy. The cancerous tumor of state intervention does not require a Band-Aid; it needs a full removal.

Monsanto now facing 8,000 lawsuits

08/24/2018
Agrochemical company Monsanto is now facing 8,000 lawsuits relating to its glyphosate-based weedkillers, up from 5,200. Shares in the company???s German owner Bayer have dropped 11% since a former groundskeeper successfully sued Monsanto for $289 million earlier this month. He claims Roundup weedkiller caused his terminal cancer. Bayer???s $63 billion deal to acquire Monsanto was completed this month.

Sears is closing more stores

08/23/2018
Sears Holdings will shutter 46 stores ??? 16 Kmart and 33 Sears branches ??? across the U.S. in November, the struggling retailer announced. Liquidation sales are expected to begin as early as next week. Sears has been "trimming its real estate footprint as sales dwindle" and has announced hundreds of store closures for this year. CEO Eddie Lampert has put forth an offer to buy the chain's Kenmore brand for $400 million.

Google slapped with tracking lawsuit

08/21/2018
A lawsuit has been filed against Google for illegally tracking smartphone users ??? even after they???ve opted out. The plaintiff, in San Diego, is seeking class-action status on behalf of U.S. users of Apple iPhones and Android phones. An Associated Press report earlier this month detailed how, even after a user turns off ???Location History,??? per the search giant's instructions, Google continues to record movements. Google accused of tracking users' movements even when Location History is turned off. Allegations include tracking Android phones as well as iPhones with Google apps installed. Buyer beware! The Alphabet-owned company appeared to concede as much when it revised a help page to say the setting of the function doesn't affect "other location services on your device," including Search and Maps.

Apple Folds To China Censorhsip, Pulls 25,000 Apps From China AppStore

08/20/2018
First it was Google that succumbed to Chinese censorship, when in the name of revenue growth it was revealed that the company that would "do no evil" would offer a censored version of its browser in China (even as its employees reportedly revolted over the clandestine project), and now it is Apple's turn. According to the WSJ, under pressure from Chinese state media, Apple said it removed illegal gambling apps from its App Store in China???a move that could help quell the latest challenge for the American tech giant in its most important market outside of the U.S. The Journal notes that Apple had been criticized by Chinese news outlets for "not doing enough to filter banned content and applications" and on Sunday, state broadcaster CCTV, which last month reported that Apple???s app store allowed illegal gambling apps disguised as official lottery apps, said that 25,000 apps had been removed. ???Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China,??? Apple said in a statement Monday. ???We have already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store, and we are vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store.??? Apple offers more than 1.8 million apps in China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Apple didn???t confirm the number of apps it took down or when it had removed them, but 25,000 would amount to about 1.4% of that total. To be sure, Apple occasionally cleans up its App Store in the U.S. as well, removing outdated or spam apps. But it's not remotely close to the enforced crackdown that Apple undergoes every so often in China. Last year, In China, Apple said it removed nearly 700 virtual private networks, or VPN, apps from its App Store last year in response to new local restrictions. VPN is used by individuals and companies to send secure emails, transmit data and access websites blocked in China. The state media attacks came at a vulnerable time for Apple, which like other U.S. companies operating in China, is caught in the middle amid growing trade friction between Washington, D.C. and Beijing. The purge follows just two weeks after China threatened Apple with "anger and nationalist sentiment" if the company doesn't share more wealth with its local employees: a clear warning that Apple may be a casualty should the US-China trade war escalate further. As the WSJ further notes, U.S. companies are paying close attention to the messages they get from the Chinese government and the state media in this sensitive trade environment, said Ben Cavender, a director at China Market Research Group who focuses on consumer technology and retail. ???They are going to move very quickly to try to rectify that problem, because this is a situation where there could be a lot more backlash in the government in terms of regulations,??? Mr. Cavender said. In its latest report on the app housecleaning, CCTV also said that illegal apps that were banned from the App Store would still be working on devices of users who had downloaded them. It also said that fake positive reviews for the illegal apps had misled some users. ???Apple itself has set up the rules on how to allow apps onto its store, but it didn???t follow that, resulting in the proliferation of bogus lottery apps and gambling apps,??? it said in its report. Apple???s strong ties to China leaves it exposed should trade tensions ratchet up. China accounts for about one-fifth of its revenue. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also assembles its iPhones in China, which means the iPhones are a Chinese export that could potentially be subject to tariffs in the trade row. The bottom line: in order to preserve its precious Chinese revenue stream, Tim Cook will do anything China demands, although that may set up the company for a climatic showdown, when it is torn between conflicting demands from Trump and Xi. So far the company has been spared that particular dilemma.

New Mexico Jihad Compound Mysteriously Destroyed By Authorities

08/17/2018
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-16/new-mexico-jihad-compound-mysteriously-destroyed-authorities

Kavanaugh Confirmation May Mean More Second Amendment Cases Before the Supreme Court

08/15/2018
Kavanaugh???s confirmation isn???t a done deal. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate. The terminally ill Sen. John McCain is not expected to vote, which means presumed Republican supporters have a one-vote majority strictly along partisan lines. While adding a relatively young and conservative judge to the Court is significant, Kavanaugh won???t change the make-up on the Supreme Court on the Second Amendment. Kennedy voted for an ???honest reading of the U.S. Constitution??? and voted with the 5-4 majorities in Heller and McDonald. ??? Gun Owners of America (GOA) Executive Director Erich Pratt: ???Gun Owners of America is optimistic that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be a huge improvement over the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on many constitutional issues, including the Second Amendment. Initial reports suggest that Judge Kavanaugh deeply respects the Second Amendment, even though he was not the strongest of the finalists. Nevertheless, Judge Kavanaugh filed a pro-gun dissent in Heller II, arguing that Washington, DC???s ban on semi-automatic firearms was arbitrary and unlawful. In fact, his dissent was so well argued that GOA???s subsequent legal briefs have repeatedly held up his dissent as the model to follow. In another case, Kavanaugh correctly interpreted the Firearm Owners Protection Act to find that a defendant could not be sentenced to 30 years in prison for use of a fully automatic firearm if he was unaware that the gun fired automatically. Kavanaugh also supported the prevailing opinion in the Citizens United case, which affirmed GOA???s voice in the political arena. GOA hopes that the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh ??? and that the Supreme Court will take up more Second Amendment cases, thus repealing the onerous and unconstitutional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms that exist throughout the country.???

New Mexico Judge Releases Jihadi Terrorist Camp Suspects Despite Pleas By Sheriff, FBI

08/14/2018
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-14/new-mexico-judge-releases-jihadi-terrorist-camp-suspects-despite-pleas-sheriff-fbi

All four West Virginia Supreme Court justices were impeached by the House of Delegates

08/14/2018
The four justices were impeached over various articles addressing abuses of authority, including excessive spending on office renovations. One of the justices, Robin Davis, stepped down, which opens up the opportunity for a special election for her replacement this fall. https://twitter.com/i/moments/1029372063063130112?cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email

Netflix CFO is leaving the company

08/13/2018
Netflix CFO David Wells will step down, the company announced. Wells, who joined the company in 2004 and has served as chief financial officer since 2010, will help Netflix choose his successor and stay on until that person takes over. "I intend my next chapter to focus more on philanthropy and I like big challenges but I'm not sure yet what that looks like," Wells said. The search for a new CFO will include ???both internal and external candidates,??? according to Netflix. Netflix is facing new challenges amid a consolidating media industry. With announcements like the AT&T-Time Warner merger and the Fox-Disney deal becoming more commonplace, Netflix???s position as a leader faces growing risks. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/netflix-cfo-is-leaving-the-company-2155915/

Google never stops tracking users: AP

08/13/2018
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/google-never-stops-tracking-users-ap-2157963/ Google tracks your whereabouts even when you???ve opted out, according an Associated Press study. The search-engine giant automatically stores time-stamped location data through some apps after users turn off Location History on their smartphones, researchers at Princeton University have confirmed, the AP says. Google, owned by Alphabet, sells data such as foot-traffic metrics to advertisers.

Anti-NRA Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway resigns from City Council after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges

08/12/2018
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas-city-council/2018/08/09/dallas-mayor-pro-tem-dwaine-caraway-will-plead-guilty-federal-corruption-charges