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Links 7/11/13

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Canada blast missing ‘probably dead‘ BBC :-(

US Wells Spilled More Oil in 2012 than Exxon Valdez Disaster OilPrice

India to overtake U.S. on number of developers by 2017 Computerworld

Fallout From Apple’s Loss on E-Books New York Times

Way To Go Florida: Governor Signs Law That Accidentally Bans All Computers & Smartphones TechDirt (subgenius)

The wheels are coming off the whole of southern Europe Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Europe’s Zombie Banks Project Syndicate

Egypt: Today’s Developments Moon of Alabama

Gulf States Embrace Post-Brotherhood Egypt Al-Monitor (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Snowden: I never gave any information to Chinese or Russian governments Glenn Greenwald, Guardian

Lawmakers see deceptive pattern on surveillance Washington Post. How perceptive of them!

What Leon Rosby’s Murdered Dog Means: The NSA, Free Speech, Citizen Reporters and More Lisa Derrick, Firedoglake

NSA scandal delivers record numbers of internet users to DuckDuckGo Guardian

On the run, Snowden turns to lawyers for help BBC. All Wikileaks (as in Fein is advising his father, not clear he is actually advising Snowden). Not sure re the caliber of said advice.

Latin America demands answers from U.S. on spying AFP

What am I missing in the Snowden affair? Richard Falk, Aljazeera

Obama is laying the foundations of a dystopian future Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, Financial Times

Federal Judge Authorizes Chevron’s Sweeping Subpoena Of Activists’ Internet Data ThinkProgress (Francois T)

Meat industry doesn’t want to tell you where your meat comes from Grist (Lambert)

Republicans in House Resist Overhaul for Immigration New York Times

Are private schools really better? Not for everybody and not everywhere VoxEU

Financial Engineering: The Simple Way to Reduce Government Debt Burdens Dean Baker

Deal Reached to Rein In Overseas Trading New York Times. Need to see details…

History repeats itself, financial-regulation edition Felix Salmon…but per above, probably not good.

Foreclosure Squeeze Crimps Las Vegas Real-Estate Market Wall Street Journal (Scott)

REITs Deepening Bond Losses as Leverage Forces Sales Bloomberg (furzy mouse)

Insiders Shift From ‘Buy’ to ‘Sell’ Before Bankruptcy Wall Street Journal

Is America experiencing a failure cascade? Fabius Maximus (Chuck L)

The wastefulness of automation Frances Coppola

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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83 comments

            1. Massinissa

              Seeing as how NC has shown this particular octopus before (I had forgotten about it but now I remember seeing it here), I do wonder if this picture was chosen as a sort of joke due to my quip yesterday about invertebrates.

              Touche.

              1. Chauncey Gardiner

                The image of the highly intelligent, very young, but short-lived octopus was not selected casually. It was selected as a metaphor due to its having numerous arms that emanate from a common center. Per Wikipedia, the octopus is often used as a metaphor for a group or organization which is perceived as being powerful, manipulative or bent on domination.

                Similarly, yesterday’s image of the grape and turtle can be interpreted as a grape from John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”. The turtle lends credence to this interpretation. Of course, there could be alternative interpretations, such as Dr. Seuss; i.e., “It’s turtles all the way down”, or in the case of today’s octopi image: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/octopus-animal-symbolism.html ; )

              2. ChrisPacific

                I would like to see the vampire squid make an appearance – it’s actually a very attractive animal given the right photographic treatment, and does not deserve the bad press it’s received from being unfairly associated with Goldman Sachs.

  1. Skeptic

    Way To Go Florida: Governor Signs Law That Accidentally Bans All Computers & Smartphones

    As the Rule of Law deteriorates, we may all either end up in jail or in litigation. The result of passing more and more laws, many of which the for hire legislators never read, may eventually result in Anarchy.

    1. from Mexico

      A vast and complicated maze of vague and ill-defined criminal laws with an even more obtuse web of regulations created by bureaucratic fiat, all which carry draconian penalties and which are selectively enforced, that’s certainly what Mexico, and the United States, have.

      These laws and regulations achieve no purpose other than providing a political weapon to go after “enemies” of the entrenched political class, e.g. Manning and Snowden.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We may al end up in jail…

      Earth, as a giant, floating prison – no one gets out.

      If you look at it at a certain angle, under a certain light, you will see that Earth is a giant, floating cemetery – almost everyone and everything that ever died is buried here, unless you shoot your own cremated ashes into space.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think ours is the only giant, floating cemetery in the universe.

        We are special that way.

  2. Skeptic

    NSA scandal delivers record numbers of internet users to DuckDuckGo Guardian

    Shouldn’t all media claiming to be alternative offer the same sorts of protections as DuckDuckGo and so state on their sites? Do alternative media, for instance, store ISP or email addresses? Each site’s policy and practices on privacy should be clearly stated and readable.

    Go Go DuckDuckGo, we need more Internet privacy products like you.

    1. MacCruiskeen

      Where the article says “You won’t find it offered as an alternative default search engine on any browser, on desktop or mobile”, that isn’t exactly true–some Linux distros are offering it set up that way. But knowing that is probably beyond the geek level of the author.

    1. AbyNormal

      i spent a good part of yesterday reading the stories…each one left me feeling like i was kicked in the gut.

      their words script the mutant best

      1. F. Beard

        I just got back from Squal-Mart (I avoid it as much as I can; today was an exception) and noticed the cashiers could work just as well sitting and be much more comfortable.

        So what kind of “Christian” owner would not have come to the same conclusion?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          What kind?

          The kind that reads all day long and makes its own interpretations, but never turns the other cheek…way too many corporations are like that.

          1. F. Beard

            Of course one should do his own interpretation:

            And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Matthew 13:10-13

            Parables are designed to make one think, to do one’s homework.

            but never turns the other cheek… beefy

            Never? No, not never. I’ve learned to mostly ignore the intolerable.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              You have the last word.

              I would not let corporations do that though. They don’t get to do their interpretations for greed. They don’t dictate how much brainwashing we get. We make sure they turn the other cheek.

              No, never let corporations do that.

              It’s ok if you do it though.

              1. F. Beard

                Without the government-backed credit cartel, it is likely that workers would largely own corporations and be able to dictate the work environment.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  The goal is not to own corporations.

                  The goal is wealth sharing, which is more than owning corporations.

  3. financial matters

    Strange things going on in the real estate market..

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323687604578467260571838502.html

    Nevada law making it a felony for banks to lie when doing a foreclosure so this has dried up foreclosure proceedings leaving many abandoned homes and spurring new housing development..

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-10/reits-deepening-bond-losses-as-leverage-forces-sales.html

    REITs leveraged up (using borrowed money) to buy homes and now are forced to sell them to make margin calls as people want to cash out with interest rates headed higher.

    —————-

    These two articles show some of the distortion in trying to reach a true equilibrium in the housing market.

    Banks were given a free rein and allowed to lie on their foreclosure proceedings essentially to whitewash the many fraudulent loans and loan securitizations that were made. The lack of prosecution and the rule of law on the many abuses throughout this process from the origin of the loan, to its securitization to its servicing to its foreclosure has helped to avoid true price discovery. Now we have an excess of abandoned homes while new homes are being built leading to 2 new bubbles.

    The REITS and hedge funds have bid up the price of houses using leverage with the low interest rates. With rising interest rates this leverage will operate in the opposite direction.

    1. susan the other

      And the matter-of-fact comment that housing drives the economy? Not good. This is what happens when the letter of the law meets systemic financial fraud. It’s armageddon because to find the real price, fraud must be revealed and fraud vitiates everything. Fraud nullifies the whole housing industry. The securitizers, aka the banksters, would take massive losses; the houses would revert to the owner-occupier; the investor would be entitled to big damages. Oops, can’t have any of that. REITs seem like a questionable way out of this mess. The mortgages rolled up in those agreements are all based on fraud too because they are the detritus of the implosion. Zombie titles all. And they will probably wind up on the Fed’s books just like MBS.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Low interest rates.

          It seems this ZIRP is designed to help the same people making money of the same scams twice.

          It’s like 03, 04, 05 and 06 all over again for loan brokers, hedgies, banksters, real estate agents, flippers, daytraders, home-builders…

          Did I miss anyone?

          1. financial matters

            “”Until hard-money dogmatism seized the centers of financial power in the West, real rates of interest over long periods of time averaged about 1.5% to 2%. Those were the rates that both lenders and borrowers came to accept as reasonable, equitable, and, not least, sustainable. They should also be the reference point for renegotiations and refinancing of existing loans, allowing a real rate of interest of 1.5% to 2% above the inflation rate in the country to which the payment is destined.”" (R.T. Naylor in ‘Hot Money and the Politics of Debt’ 1987)

            I think fraud is a much bigger problem than low interest rates. I remember several years ago when it was thought to be foolish to buy a cd yielding 5% because 15% returns were expected in the stock market. Now 8% returns seem unobtainable.

            Even major stock holders have little say in how corporations are run and they are very very CEO and management friendly. We have front running high frequency trading (the sting) and rampant bank mortgage abuse.

            It’s hard to tone back peoples expectations of gains in their retirement funds but it probably shouldn’t be generated by excessive interest payments or excessive speculation. But it would be nice to know there is a level playing field for capital gain. Where money can be invested knowing there are good regulatory controls.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              True, it goes back to fraud.

              ZIRP merely deepens the color palette for our fraudster friends.

              You fool them once, it feels great.

              You fool them twice, it feels even greater!

  4. diptherio

    If Your Cable Company Told the Truth

    Are you looking for a fast, reliable internet connection, a large selection of your favorite HD channels, with 24/7 access to the best customer support technicians, all at a fair price? F#@% you, you’ll take what we give you.

    Show of hands if you can relate…thought so.

  5. craazyman

    Is that an Octopus or a bugger from somebody’s nose? Is this a Richard Smith antidote?

    It’s getting harder and harder to tell reality from imagination. You have to click your heels three times and imagine what world you want to live in, and then you’re there like Dorothy. It’s funny that way. Maybe professor Everett was right about quantum theory.

    I feel things are falling apart but it might last another 20 years like this. Headlines are always the same each day so you lose track of what day it is anymore. Banks insolvent, Europe falling apart, global warming gonna kilss us all, your cable box spying on you, world about to blow up if the asteroid don’t hit first. Faaaak. Why leave the house? You can day trade from home and hope you get lucky. Then you can drink yourself to sleep. GLD gonna fly soon. And if the world goes to hell completely you can drink alone.

    1. spooz

      The thing that keeps ME up nights is worrying about whether senior citizen George Martin might pull a Robert Jordan and die before finishing his Game of Thrones series. The guy obviously has no compassion for humanity:

      “So I need to write faster. The last two books took a really long time, so I’m hoping this one [the Winds of Winter] will go a little faster. But I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”

      http://mashable.com/2013/03/22/game-of-thrones-george-martin/

  6. Thorstein

    I’ve been away for awhile (fighting fracking of all things in Naples, FL–what the frack?), but has anybody else here noticed a news blackout of Snowden on Huffpo? Search Huffpo for snowden and there are no hits since June 30.

    1. spooz

      Okay, just double checked Huffpo for other topics and found that they don’t order search results by date. If you dig through the Snowden search results, you’ll find the more recent stories.

    1. AbyNormal

      © 2005-2012 The Carbon Capture Report. A service of the *University of Illinois*. All results are generated by computer and no guarantees of any kind are provided regarding accuracy or completeness. http://oil.carboncapturereport.org/cgi-bin//profiler?key=yves_smith&pt=2#sthash.zZTHZSmN.dpuf

      At its peak performance, the rig can churn out 11.61 quadrillion calculations per second.
      http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/29/blue-waters-supercomputer-now-online-24-7/

      http://www.infostor.com/blogs_new/henry_newman/chinese-supercomputer-vs.-blue-waters.html

      1. craazyman

        Have we hit “peak data” yet?

        Or is the universe destined to inflate into one big hard drive full of uninterpretable nonsense by the Last Day.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s more likely the other way around, as you find Austranesians spread from the Pacific to at least Madagascar, not far from Egypt.

  7. Inverness

    Re: Québec-Lac Mégantic: The big American boss of MMA railway was booed and hissed when he tried to pin the blame on the train conductor, from the local residents quoted as saying, “I am here to see my son’s assassin,” and “It is quite sad to see him blame the little worker, who was just following the company orders (from Le Devoir, my translation, Le Patron de la MMA attise la colère, Marco Bélair-Cirono. I have no idea how to paste the link from this new mac).

    It is clear that the town residents seem to know what time it is, and Québec Premier Pauline Marois is pretending to, saying this will never happen again. I can imagine why she would see her put blame on the corporate bugger, and criminal investigations are supposed to follow. Let’s hope they actually go somewhere. But Marois does not seem to address an essential question: who decided it was okay to drive all of this oil through the center of a town “on tracks designed for wood, food, and just small amounts of petrol?” Where are the government watchdogs? Ha.

    It would be an interesting story to compare Lac-Mégantic to what the recent explosion in Texas. That would be a fascinating story…

    1. Pwelder

      Dating myself here – to me the most shocking aspect of the Lac-Megantic horror is that the whole train (70+ DOT-111 tankers, 5 locomotives, about a mile long) was crewed by one engineer. No brakeman, no fireman, no nothing. Remember the caboose at the back of your Lionel train set, where those guys would hang out? It’s history. There are no more cabooses (cabeese?)

      So it’s Friday night, and this poor guy has to lay down the train all by himself. To do it right (he says he did, may or may not be the case) he has to walk the entire train and set hand brakes on the individual cars. But there’s an easier way: You leave one of the locomotives idling, and this keeps enough air pressure in the brakes to hold the train. But if you do that, and (as happened here) a fuel drip catches fire in the idling locomotive, the volunteer firemen who respond to the call are going to shut down the locomotive. If you’re parked on any kind of a grade ( 1.2 degrees is a pretty good grade in the railroad world) and you haven’t set enough of the hand brakes, the air brakes will hold for a little while and then the train will be rolling out of control. By the time this one covered the seven or so miles down to Lac-Megantic it was probably doing 50+ mph.

      While the town was still burning, there were posters on the oil and gas bulletin boards who were convinced that this just had to be eco-terrorism. Which is silly, of course – aside from the fact that the time lines don’t give much of a window for evildoers, Occam’s razor applies here. It was Friday night. Friday nights bring more than their share of this kind of bad news.

      1. Inverness

        Pwelder, that’s quite reflective. I think you’re onto something.

        Reminds me of a Frontline special back in 2009 called “Flying Cheap,” about how airline safety inspections have been outsourced to very cheap foreign contractors. It’s all about cutting the amount of workers, worker training, and safety regulations.

      2. VietnamVet

        I was shocked when I heard that the 73 oil tanker train from North Dakota had a one person crew and was left running unattended on the main track. It was a disaster waiting to happen and it did; 20 confirmed dead and 30 missing and likely killed.

        The railroad president has accused the local engineer of not setting the hand brakes. Like a commercial airliner, a second train crew member notices and corrects any human errors that the engineer makes and would have done tie-up and blocking of the train which the engineer would have observed and assisted. Also, why wasn’t the train parked in the siding with a derail that would stopped a runaway? Was the engineer too fatigued or was it not required by the company since this is a difficult operation by a one man crew. Perhaps the siding tracks were unsafe. Pictures show grass growing between the rails. All together this is a picture of profits above all.

        Because money rules and the Canadian government approval of one man train crew for the railroad; 50 are dead in Quebec.

      3. Massinissa

        What kind of eco-terrorist would think burning a trainfull of petrol would be a GOOD thing? All that would do is emit more carbon!

    2. Sandwichman

      This was NOT the first time for Rail World Inc. CEO Edward Burkhardt. A major derailment with propane and LNG in Weyauwega, Wisconsin in 1996. In that case, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled derailment resulted from track failure and “Wisconsin Central management did not ensure that the two employees responsible for inspecting the track structure were properly trained.”

      This kind of “achievement” got Burkhardt’s management hailed as “A Better Way to Run a Railroad” by the Ayn Randian magazine, The Navigator. “Dagny Taggart would smile.”

      Inevitably, the success of Wisconsin Central attracted the animosity of those who resent achievement. The vultures were ready to pounce whenever misfortune struck. And they did pounce in the aftermath of a train derailment caused by a broken switch in the small community of Weyauwega, Wisconsin, in March 1996. Thirty-five cars derailed, almost half of them containing liquefied petroleum gas. One car exploded, but the heroic efforts of the train’s conductor minimized the extent of the fire. …

      But the Wisconsin newspapers climbed all over the railroad, sensationalizing its safety record and operating practices. The politically reflexive Federal Railway Administration picked up the cue, sending a small army of inspectors to the property to examine all aspects of the railroad’s operation. Fines were levied against the railroad, primarily for nit-picking violations of regulations whose impact on safety was questionable. For example, Wisconsin Central had been experimenting with a one-man crew on certain trains, a common practice in New Zealand and Europe. As part of the resulting “agreement” with the FRA, that experiment had to be suspended. Recently, the Wisconsin legislature passed a law prohibiting one-man train crews in the state.

      “Nit-picking violations of regulations whose impact on safety was questionable.” During his visit to Lac Megatic Wednesday, Burkhardt explained his philosophy, “We actually think one-man crews are safer than two-man crews because there’s less distraction.” Less “distraction” from the corporate bottom line, that is.

    1. susan the other

      No kidding. None of the histrionics of frantic capital. How refreshing. The wastefulness of automation. Creating far more than can ever be consumed. This productivity paradox brings inflation and deflation together into a single state: Flation. There is a solution but it sounds so Marx. Let the state control not so much the means of production but the wages of automation. It is almost unbelievable how capitalists have discounted the importance of labor.

  8. rich

    Barack Obama has rewarded some of his most active campaign donors with plum jobs in foreign embassies, with the average amount raised by recent or imminent appointees soaring to $1.8m per post, according to a Guardian analysis.

    The practice is hardly a new feature of US politics, but career diplomats in Washington are increasingly alarmed at how it has grown. One former ambassador described it as the selling of public office.

    On Tuesday, Obama’s chief money-raiser Matthew Barzun became the latest major donor to be nominated as an ambassador, when the White House put him forward as the next representative to the Court of St James’s, a sought-after posting whose plush residence comes with a garden second only in size to that of Buckingham Palace.

    As campaign finance chairman, Barzun helped raise $700m to fund President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. More than $2.3m of this was raised personally by Barzun, pictured, according to party records leaked to the New York Times, even though he had only just finished a posting as ambassador to Sweden after contributing to Obama’s first campaign.
    “It has the effect of diminishing perhaps the sense that the US is treating these countries with the respect they deserve,” Pickering said.

    Susan Johnson, president of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), which represents career US diplomats, added: “The giving of ambassadorships to people who have raised a lot of money for the campaign has increased and that’s a concern to us in particular.

    “There was some thought that with Obama being such a ‘change agent’ that he might really do things differently – but it has just been a bigger let down.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/10/obama-donors-top-embassy-jobs-rewards

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How much for the ambassadorship to the Republic of Mars?

      If not too expensive and still available, I would like to buy that.

      I think I can relate to things on that planet and help maintain good relations between our two great nations.

      Actually, I hope to make connections there so one day when I retire from ‘serving the public,’ I can go into Martian real estate business…you know, be given the exclusive rights to Martian subdivisions and immigration of humans from this planet to Mars.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Invest in Mars and get your free Martian ‘Green’ Card!

        Mars, the true state in the solar system – we don’t spy on our ‘Green’ card holders.

    2. Synopticist

      “There was some thought that with Obama being such a ‘change agent’ that he might really do things differently – but it has just been a bigger let down.”

      That’s just about the best short summary of his presidency to date I’ve ever read.

    3. Aristophon

      Here’s an idea for a “People’s State Department” or “shadow” State Department of sorts: Honorary Consul status for the progressive Latin American nations. Potentially both doing good for indviduals and small companies and implicitly rebuking the “Washington Consensus.”

      It would involve some real work and how much would be unknown. After all, How many Bolivians or Ecuadorians live within fifty miles of my trailer park commune? It could be one or two, could be be hundreds.

      This might be a thing people with a law degree or knowledge of regional businesses might consider. I’ve knowledge of an actual person who served in this capacity back in Texas (before I had to flee).

      Some small nations have entertained the idea. Were I fluent in Spanish I’d have already written to several Latin Foreign offices. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  9. rich

    Where the Hell Is the Outrage?
    by Richard Eskow

    From the first breaths of life to the last, our lives are being stolen out from under us. From infant care and early education to Social Security and Medicare, the dominant economic ideology is demanding more lifelong sacrifices from the vulnerable to appease the gods of wealth.”It’s an almost classic state of alienation,” writes Eskow, “in which people may be acutely aware of their own increasing difficulties (although sometimes they can be numb to that as well) but experience them in a state of isolation.”

    Middle-class wages are stagnant. Unemployment is stalled at record levels. College education is leading to debt servitude and job insecurity. Millions of unemployed Americans have essentially been abandoned by their government. Poverty is soaring. Bankers break the law with impunity, are bailed out, and go on breaking the law, richer than they were before.

    And yet, bizarrely, the only Americans who seem to be seething with anger are the beneficiaries of this economic injustice – the wealthiest and most privileged among us. But those who are suffering seem strangely passive.

    Why?

    Wealth inequity and other economic injustices are the product of deliberate policy choices – in taxation, Social Security, health care, financial regulation, education, and a number of other policy areas. So why aren’t Americans taking action?

    The “change” theories Krugman mentioned don’t tell the whole story. For one thing, it’s not true that the lives of the majority are frozen in an ugly stasis. Conditions continue to become objectively worse for the great majority of Americans. But these ongoing changes – in actual wages, in employment, in social mobility and wealth equity – have received very little media attention or meaningful political debate.

    It’s not that things aren’t changing. It’s that people don’t know they’re changing. And without that knowledge the public becomes a canary in a coalmine, only aware of its declining oxygen supply when it keels over and dies.

    It’s an almost classic state of alienation, in which people may be acutely aware of their own increasing difficulties (although sometimes they can be numb to that as well) but experience them in a state of isolation. That turns the anger inward, leading to crippling reactions like guilt and despair. And repeated individual failures – failures made increasingly likely in a skewed system – lead to a sense of learned helplessness.

    The Radical Rich

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/07/09-0

  10. Hugh

    Another day in kleptocracy. The idiots in Florida inadvertently banning computers in their state is another example of kleptocratic devolution. It is the application of Gresham’s law to the political sphere. Corrupt politicians drive honest ones out of government. Less competent, but cheaper to buy, corrupt politicians replace crooked but competent ones.

    Meanwhile Apple vows to continue to fight the good fight to rig markets, or perhaps I should say rig them more, given that US intellectual property law already grants media corporations control of content in perpetuity.

    The Snowden affair shows the surveillance state has already arrived. It also illustrates the two-tiered nature of the US legal system which relentlessly pursues a whistleblower even as it has turned a blindeye to Wall Street and the largest frauds in human history.

    Europe continues to fall apart, that is be massively looted. As here, change will only come when the old order is overthrown, and the wealth stolen by the rich and elites is returned to the service of the people. We will know something is up when we begin to see mass actions, multiple general strikes, riots, and the establishment of popular movements which challenge all existing parties and political authority. The longer the inequities and criminality of the current system persist, the more violent and explosive its overthrow is likely to be.

    1. Massinissa

      Mostly im just unconvinced that Americans are at all ready to start considering themselves anything other than americans.

      We are clearly not getting to the point where we refer to ourselves as members of regions or states, like we did back in the 1800s.

      Most people are very very proud of their identity as ‘Americans’, whatever that is supposed to mean these days. So I dont see how this is truly relevant.

    2. reslez

      Failure cascade works for MMOs because players have no ties except nebulous online friendship. It’s much easier to dissociate from others when no one can force you to stay. An EVE pilot’s ultimate psychological defense against the pain of losing a war is to simply not log in. A tactic Goonswarm’s The Mittani understands full well.

      In the real world, the people you hang out with and the organizations you belong to are dictated by geography and family. If you want to find a new crowd that isn’t determined by your current geography, you have to phsyically go somewhere else. This is effortful and expensive. You can’t arbitrarily swap yourself into a new family at will. And sometimes you’re forced to remain in an organization you otherwise wouldn’t choose because of financial or legal necessities. MMOs offer freedom of action that doesn’t exist RL.

      We should distinguish sticky RL interpersonal ties and logistics from mere human social constructs. Failure cascade can very well happen to mere ideas like “my country” or “the dollar”. Propaganda attempts to convince us of its necessity, but when it comes down to it, how much does “my country” actually affect my day to day life? Look how quickly torture went from “despicable Nazi tactic” to “something the good guys do to protect us”. When cascade happens, it is breathtaking.

  11. fracking

    Now seismologists at Columbia University say they have identified three quakes – in Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas – that were triggered at injection-well sites by a major earthquake a long distance away.
    “The fluids (in wastewater injection wells) are driving the faults to their tipping point,” said Nicholas van der Elst of Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, who led the study. It was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey.

    Van der Elst and colleagues found evidence that injection wells can set the stage for more dangerous quakes. Because pressure from wastewater wells stresses nearby faults, if seismic waves speeding across Earth’s surface hit the fault it can rupture and, months later, produce an earthquake stronger than magnitude 5.

    What seems to happen is that wastewater injection leaves local faults “critically loaded,” or on the verge of rupture. Even weak seismic waves arriving from faraway quakes are therefore enough to set off a swarm of small quakes in a process called “dynamic triggering.”
    Once these quakes stop, the danger is not necessarily over. The swarm of quakes, said Heather Savage of Lamont-Doherty and a co-author of the study, “could indicate that faults are becoming critically stressed and might soon host a larger earthquake.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/11/us-science-fracking-earthquakes-idUSBRE96A0TZ20130711

    1. skippy

      Looking forward to fountains of toxic waste water reaching for the sky when liquefaction occurs.

      skippy… for a real grandiose example of profit over risk… how about they jam pig excrement and carbon capture along with the wastewater… rapturelicious methinks!

  12. rich

    July/ August 2013 Special Deal The shadowy cartel of doctors that controls Medicare.

    That doctor spoke to me on condition of anonymity in part because all the committee members, as well as more than a hundred or so of their advisers and consultants, are required before each meeting to sign what was described to me as a “draconian” nondisclosure agreement. They are not allowed to talk about the specifics of what is discussed, and they are not allowed to remove any of the literature handed out behind those double doors. Neither the minutes nor the surveys they use to arrive at their decisions are ever published, and the meetings, which last about five days each time, are always closed to both the public and the press. After that meeting in April, there was not so much as a single headline, not in any major newspaper, not even on the wonkiest of the TV shows, announcing that it had taken place at all.

    In a free market society, there’s a name for this kind of thing—for when a roomful of professionals from the same trade meet behind closed doors to agree on how much their services should be worth. It’s called price-fixing. And in any other industry, it’s illegal—grounds for a federal investigation into antitrust abuse, at the least.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/july_august_2013/features/special_deal045641.php?page=all&print=true

  13. skippy

    Defective thoughts… that made a PhD hang up the phone… whence orated???

    I view it from readings and personal experience to $$$$ equals “truth” and as someone that leans to the empirical path rather than mystical one, is the nucleus of our dilemma. I must be going slowly crazy… are all incarnations of currency a form of liquid thought bias and any activity that is able to magnify – multiply those $$$$ purely on the basis of – its – “truth” deemed correct… empirically? Um… building pyramids to enshrine dead gawd kings a rational economic endeavor because it rationalizes society ie. gives it purpose thingy [humanity and the orb slaves to providing input to massive corporations or pyramids of ideological doctrine].

    Unfortunately I have connections in both the worlds of Finance and Hard Science and the discussions with the latter are better informed, provide better prospective, are measurable, where the previous is a purely esoteric philosophical doctrine. The consensus of the latter is that the incongruity’s of the former is reaching a significant failure point, both mathematically and in relationship to the environmental processes that proceed our species, regardless of philosophical preferences [mostly indoctrination].

    Yet is seems, the only way to advance is to force the debate onto unquestionable ground ie long term solutions, something the freemarketeers will not accept from the onset [anything non freemarket is godless communism sigh], a means to provide societal cohesion with out setting up a selfish paradigm [neoliberalism] that at the same time is not viewed as a form of totalitarianism (trickle down wealth is ok [ultimate form of totalitarianism in my book $$$$ = truth stuff], but, not philosophically exclusive where its not negatively measurable [unsubstantial claims on the future thingy].

    Incredibly [lulz] I can make this analogues’ to the Firecracker Regatta from Marina del Rey, Ca. to Ensenada, Mex. Hundreds of sailing vessels of all shapes and sizes embark on a enterprise, move from point A to B. Now the fleet is of diverse assemblage ie. big and small, high tech and low tech, professional and amateur, generators for blenders to provide power for honey strawberry rum cocktails et al and sans, luggage or what’s on your back, etc. Now you have the screaming meenies [win means everything... loss = human failure] vs. the lets have some fun crowd [ambivalent experience to be correlated later = people just enjoying being with others in a shared task]. So when all the racing is done its time to over crowed the harbor at Ensenada, first in, closest to the dock [safest next to land = amenity's] or suffer the consequences of having to tie up to the boats that preceded you.

    Now for the latter to get to shore… you must negotiate every boat between you and the shore, a toll is requisite, a drink partaken. Well depending to the length of that trip one may never reach shore, might wake up the next day in unfamiliar territory [unsure of bearings], engaged in pacts under inebriated duress to make land fall or safe passage, reach shore only to realize upon standing on terra firma that one is no shape to engage in what lays before… and lastly… it’s a – longer trip back – to whence one had solid bearings…amongst crew and vessel, ***mental safety***~~~

    So sorry for the gibberish… I try to encompass the know and the unknown… so unsure of it all… just want life to persist… in spite of our species failings.

    Cheers

    skippy

    PS. why was the running around on the cloud and rain covered rugby paddock in a ancient volcano’s cauldron, with kids and friends, more fun that making a million in the stock market????

    BTW… The Orator… [paraphrasing] between my heart and lungs is where all valuables reside…

    http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s3364370.htm

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