China’s social credit system ‘could be used against companies in international trade disputes’ | South China Morning Post

The report warned the corporate social credit system would cover all aspects of a company’s business in China. Their behaviour in a number of fields – such as tax, customs, environmental protection and product quality – will be rated as will their compliance with the government’s requirements.

China’s social credit system may soon target online speech

For companies, higher scores will mean lower tax rates, better credit conditions, easier market access and more public procurement opportunities, but lower scores could lead to sanctions and blacklisting.

CONTINUE READING at South China Morning Post — China’s social credit system ‘could be used against companies in international trade disputes’ | South China Morning Post

Why knowing Roman history is key to preserving America’s future – The Hour

The United States didn’t simply poof into existence, fully formed, from the brains of the Founders. History guided them as they crafted the American system of governance. This included the European traditions they were partially rejecting, but also elements from an older generation of republics that they wished to copy, especially the Roman Republic.

In 509 B.C., leading citizens in Rome overthrew a monarchy and created a republic that slowly took over the Mediterranean. For 500 years, this republic dazzled the world with its hard-working farmers, good laws, shrewd diplomacy and indomitable citizen armies.

The Founders knew this history well. They had read Roman historians like Sallust and Livy, reveled in the biographies of Roman statesman by Plutarch and were steeped in the orations of Cicero.

The Founders also preferred Rome’s approach to warfare over Britain’s. This preference explains why they denounced standing armies and made militias and conscription of citizen-soldiers the primary method for national defense.

CONTINUE READING at TheHour.com — Why knowing Roman history is key to preserving America’s future – The Hour

Maryland county becomes the latest government to ban the release of helium balloons – HideOutNow

Following a trend that seems to be sweeping the country, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, has made it illegal to release a helium balloon. The offense would be punishable by a fine of up to $250 dollars.
The primary reason for banning the practice is environmental. Environmentalists note that non-biodegradable balloon fragments often end up on beaches and in oceans, and they can also ensnare and kill wild animals and fish. Additionally, they have been known to cause power outages and other public nuisances.
A Queen Anne County Commissioner told WBUR-TV that the bill will not ban balloons, even helium ones, but rather merely releasing them into the air. “If you want to have balloons out at your kid’s birthday party or you want to have them at a wedding, get them… Tie them securely and then dispose of them properly when you’re done,” the official said.

CONTINUE READING at HideOutNow.com — Maryland county becomes the latest government to ban the release of helium balloons – Hide Out Now

Florida authorities arrest three people for picking berries without a permit – HideOutNow

In what some people are calling an example of nanny statism gone horribly wrong, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials announced that they had arrested three people for illegally picking saw palmetto berries on Friday.
According to the Panama City News Herald, a spokesperson for the FWC told the newspaper that they had been working on a sting to catch the berry bandits since last Thursday. The berries had been picked from a portion of Elgin Air Force Base that had wild saw palmetto plants growing.
The spokesperson, who was identified as Bekah Nelson, was further quoted as saying, “This is something that also happens in South Florida, but individuals that are attempting to harvest saw palmetto berries, and I believe that’s a misdemeanor to do so, you have to be permitted.”
The extract of saw palmetto berries is believed to be a homeopathic remedy for a number of conditions, including enlarged prostate, decreased sex drive, migraines, and hair loss. The National Institutes for Health disputes that saw palmetto berry extract has any medicinal use, and claims that peer reviewed studies have found that saw palmetto berry extract is no more effective to treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy than a placebo.
They are similar in character to an olive and used to be used by Native American populations in cooking; however, they are rarely used now in American food recipes.
The berries are estimated to have a value of about $4.45 a pound, according to the News Herald.
Many libertarians on twitter were quick to criticize the use of government force to arrest people for picking berries on public land.

CONTINUE READING at HideOutNow.com — Florida authorities arrest three people for picking berries without a permit – Hide Out Now

Meigs City closes police department | Local News | TimesEnterprise.com

Mayor Cheryl Walters said the decision was made primarily out of budgetary concerns.

“Money is awfully tight right now,” Walters said. “We just had to do something. We couldn’t continue on the way we were.”

In recent months the department has been racking up as many as 80 hours of overtime. That overtime was costing the city $21 per hour.

The mayor said the police department was using so much overtime that the city had to transfer money out of other funds just to cover payroll.

“We just couldn’t keep spending that way,” she said.

CONTINUE READING at TimesEnterprise.com — Meigs closes city’s police department | Local News | timesenterprise.com

War Is A Racket By Major General Smedley Butler – Free AudioBook

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier

Free AudioBook at LibriVox — War Is A Racket By Major General Smedley Butler – YouTube

NY finds $1B in hidden transfers by family behind OxyContin – HideOutNow

The family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma used Swiss and other hidden accounts to transfer $1 billion to themselves, New York’s attorney general contends in court papers filed Friday.
The transfers bolster allegations by New York and other states that the Sacklers worked to shield their wealth in recent years because of mounting worries about legal threats.
The filing, made in a New York court, follows decisions by that state and others to reject a tentative settlement with Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, announced this week, arguing it does not do enough to make amends for the company’s and family’s alleged roles in flooding U.S. communities with prescription painkillers.

CONTINUE READING at HideOutNow.com — NY finds $1B in hidden transfers by family behind OxyContin – Hide Out Now

Russian billionaire to lead new ‘space nation’ Asgardia

Asgardia is the brainchild of Russian rocket scientist Igor Ashurbeyli.

He wants it to be the first fully independent “nation” in space, with its own government, virtual currency, justice system and calendar.

At the moment, anyone can become a citizen of Asgardia.

But Dr Ashurbeyli has said he wants to attract the world’s most creative minds, and may eventually bring in a mandatory IQ test for potential Asgardians.

Dr Ashurbeyli wants Asgardia to become an official member of the United Nations, but to do so, it needs to be a functioning state or government.

Dr Ashurbeyli took the first steps towards it becoming one by holding parliamentary elections in December last year, and then later declaring himself Head of Nation.

CONTINUE READING at TheNewDaily.com.au — Russian billionaire to lead new ‘space nation’ Asgardia

‘They wanted me gone’: Edward Snowden tells of whistleblowing, his AI fears and six years in Russia | US news | The Guardian

Snowden also said: “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.

“An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer.”

He is concerned the US and other governments, aided by the big internet companies, are moving towards creating a permanent record of everyone on earth, recording the whole of their daily lives.

CONTINUE READING at TheGuardian.com — ‘They wanted me gone’: Edward Snowden tells of whistleblowing, his AI fears and six years in Russia | US news | The Guardian