Links 6/14/10

Public ‘want’ synthetic life say BBC

Boldly going nowhere: Nasa ends plan to put man back on Moon Times Online

The Truth About the Polygraph (According to the NSA) YouTube

Keep Your Health Plan Under Overhaul? Probably Not, Gov’t Analysis Concludes Investors Business Daily (hat tip reader Pat Caddell)

Iraq Central Bank Attack: At Least 26 Killed Huffington Post

The Spill, The Scandal and the President Rolling Stone. In case you missed it. A damning account of BP’s conduct and the Administration’s response.

Britain should back down over BP Clive Crook, Financial Times

A Disaster, Privately Managed New York Times. On BP’s continued stranglehold on information.

BP’s Deepwater Oil Spill – the Problem of Cleaning Up Marshes – and Open Thread 2 The Oil Drum

As businesses collapse, claimants still waiting for checks from BP Los Angeles Times (hat tip Calculated Risk)

TPG admits to big buy-out paper losses Financial Times

Contagion is spreading MarketWatch

The eurozone’s tragic small-country mindset Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

German media report: EU to prepare bail out Spain Eurointelligence

The phantom securities which haunt the BoE, quantified FT Alphaville

Did global imbalances cause the crisis? Kati Suominen, VoxEI

Is there a Global War between Financial Theocracy and Democracy? Les Leopold (hat tip reader John D)

Antidote du jour:

Picture 57

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  1. attempter

    Re corporatism’s “synthetic life” assault:

    The report revealed that people are comfortable with the the idea of creating life, but only if it is properly regulated.

    Most people really are just irreducibly stupid. Even when under extreme prolonged duress and after extreme prolonged abuse they start to learn a lesson, e.g. about the banks, when they’re given what’s merely a different example of the exact same process, they regress to being blank slates of ignorance and naivete.

    What should be needless to say by now, synthetic life, nanotech, GMOs, robotics, and all these other nightmares, have only two purposes and will be used in only these two ways:

    1. To further concentrate wealth and power in the hands of the super-rich.

    2. To improve and accelerate totalitarian control and violent repression of dissent.

    That’s assuming it doesn’t just run amok and destroy all life in some gray goo scenario. No sane person assumes it won’t.

    This kind of techno-psychopathy is just another form of class war from above and incipient terrorism. Yet it’s like the brainwashing is so complete that even if freedom advocacy can break it down somewhat in one case, there’s no way to break the general template. You have to take each case one at a time, and never mind that they’re all manifestations of the same principle.

    Re Obamacare:

    It says the claim that people would get to keep existing employer coverage was a bait and switch? I’m glad to see recognition of this spreading.

    Of course each and every promise of this bill was always a lie, and everyone who shilled for it (like Krugman) was always a criminal liar. The “public option” (and the “progessive block” fraud that went along with it) was only the most visible preliminary bait and switch.

    Anyone who knows Obama (or who can simply assess evidence) knows the real bait and switch was the lie that anyone not already paying extortion rates could keep his existing coverage. What could possibly be more clear than that the bill had one and only one purpose, and that was to bail out the parasitic health insurance rackets, to empower them to use the deputized thug power of the IRS to mug the people at gunpoint? It’s extortion at its purest.

    (Needless to say, alleged “regulations” like the rescissions ban or bans on exclusion for pre-existing conditions were also fraudulent. We knew that long before the bill was passed.)

    1. Ignim Brites

      I guess the point is to lend credence to the idea that monetary aggregates matter.

      1. Ignim Brites

        Well that’s amusing. But I do think the notion that monetary aggregates matter is pertinent given the talk of a double dip which will more likely a second cascade down.

  2. vlade

    Like Clive Crook’s article. To me for all terms and purposes BP was blessing in disguise for Obama as it allows him to vent all the pent-up popular rage from banking crisis against not even a US company (which if it has to sell US assets to an US company would be yet another coup).

    Oil spil is nice and visible – photos of dead dead dolphins etc. (even though about 50% of the birds and vast majority of the dolphins shows no visible oil – it’s just that much more people than usual are combing the beaches, so more dead animals is reported in general, and the bigger numbers show for better headline).

    Credit “spill” is not nearly so visible, and BP is probably far less involved in US poitics than banks, so it makes for an ideal target to distract the public.

    As undoubtedly some would interpret this as a defence of BP – it isn’t. All the responsible parties (again, not singling out BP only) should pay every cent due. But so should other companies, in other sectors.

    1. aet

      It’ll take some time yet before the economic cost of this spill comes close to what the credit crisis cost the US Gov, but that’s yesterday’s news.
      Isn’t it?

    2. i on the ball patriot

      Snowbama’s pushing and haranguing BP for faster results — the same browbeating method for results that BP used and that fostered excessive risk taking and created this mess — is a patsy scapegoat gift to BP in that they can now have a series of nice little mishaps and claim that they were pushed into excessive risk taking by Snowbama.

      It will get them off the hook as Snowbama then — read the taxpayer — will be on the hook and it will add ten to fifteen years to the ‘litigation’ in the scam rule of law. They are already headlining the Snowbama pushes BP meme.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    3. Cynthia

      Most Americans must be incapable of thinking abstractly enough to realize that the way BP screwed the Gulf coast is very similar to the way Goldman screwed America from coast to coast; otherwise, people across America would be filing damage claims against Goldman, just as the people around the Gulf are doing against BP.

  3. Ignim Brites

    Ref: Nasa ends plan to put man back on Moon

    Which is more likely in the year 3000? (1) Humans will be actively mining on the moon and Mars. (2) World population will be under 1 billion and world GDP a tenth of what it is now.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      3) Dumbass frat-boys will still be ruling the world.

      Dude, this will be sooooo cool dude. Dude, like, totally. No guts, no glory, dude. I say let’s do it!

    2. charcad

      Which is more likely in the year 3000?

      How about both? I don’t see that these outcomes are mutually exclusive.

      1. aet

        Perhaps the future will be much like the past…I would not know where else one could seek a pattern for it.

  4. Cynthia

    Les Leopold fails to mention that our moneyed elites have recruited the Christian Right to sell “financial theocracy” under the guise of “Biblical capitalism” with the intent to undermine secular democracy. And much to my dismay, the Bible thumpers of the tea party movement, consisting of mostly those living in red states, are gullible enough to fall for this nonsense about the Invisible hand being the right-hand man of God.

  5. i on the ball patriot

    Kati Suominen, Trans-Atlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, is a real snow job artist. Her system validating article (she sounds like George Soros), “Did global imbalances cause the crisis?”, is in reality a cover up and a deflection from the ruling elite’s Sucking Vacuums program for perpetual conflict in the masses. Yea Kati! Suck that elite butt!

    I know, because I am a Trans Ocean Fellow of the Save The Masses Project in Scamerica …

    Bye Bye Bubbles,
    Hello Sucking Vacuums …
    (Get Used To It)

    Intentionally blowing bubbles,
    It has always been the same,
    But now they’re sucking vacuums,
    Pernicious Greed has changed the game,

    The bubble hoppers are frustrated,
    Where is the next bubble to be?
    They do not see the game change,
    So they search endlessly,

    Vanilla Greed is also frustrated,
    They make profit when the bubbles roll,
    They also don’t see the game change,
    Pernicious Greed seeks only control,

    What once was pump and dump,
    To reap a tidy profit,
    Is now suck and pluck,
    To strip it and to off it,

    The middle class will soon be gone,
    Armed goons will take their place,
    Pernicious Greed will own the day,
    And control the human race,

    Vanilla Greed can save the day,
    If they heed what’s now in their ears,
    And if they don’t they too will feel,
    The Sucking Vacuums in their rears …

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  6. Timmy

    Uhmmm, guyss….get ready. The oil has enter the jet stream

    A team of dedicated South Florida researchers from the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (NOAA/AOML) were determined to check on whether oil was, as predicted, being pulled into the Loop Current and carried toward the Dry Tortugas.

  7. lalaland

    Are those Lynx below the links? How appropriate! hahahaha. Oh – they’re bobcats? Ok, fine….

  8. Hugh

    I am not sure why we even need NASA anymore. Since the moon landings, NASA’s manned space flight program has done nothing but move from boondoggle to boondoggle. The biggest of these was the shuttle program. The shuttle was designed to be much larger than it needed to be in order to carry military spy satellites into orbit. But then the military backed out because it couldn’t control the launch schedule, it wasn’t dependable, it was too public, and most importantly in all but a handful of instances, using a manned vehicle to move cargo into space is a lot like using an extremely expensive limousine to move coal. You can do it, but it’s a needless and unjustifiable expenditure of resources. Moving cargo into space is something that can be handled much more simply robotically.

    The other great post-lunar manned landing endeavor has been the International Space Station. It is not only massively overpriced but I don’t think anyone has ever come up with a intelligent reason of what it does. It’s too near Earth to be a stepping stone for deeper space exploration. And anything near Earth, like communication, weather, GPS, and spying, it either can’t do or is being done much better by non-manned satellites. In other words, it is a missionless white elephant. The only useful thing manned space flight has done in the last 40 years is maintenance on the Hubble, and if you will remember the last servicing mission to it, was not only delayed. It almost didn’t happen because the shuttle fleet was seen as so undependable.

    Although you would not be able to guess it from this, I am actually a proponent of manned space flight. I am just tired of the deadend thinking at NASA. A human presence in space and science done in space are both important missions, but they are not the same. In space, most science will always be easier and safer to perform using robots. But this in no way conflicts with human expansion into space. The truth is that it is close minded and possibly suicidal to attach all the fortunes of our species to a single planet, one whose resources we are rapidly consuming. That is one thing that can be said about our solar system it has vast quantities of both energy and minerals. But there is also the intangible. The first moon program was uplifting not just to the US and the USSR but everyone on the planet. It spoke to moving on to something bigger and better than our species current track record of genocide and hate. For that alone, a manned space flight program would be worthwhile. But we are ruled by small minded people who can not look past their own immediate self-interest. They would rather spend $140 billion a year to blow up things and people in countries most have never heard of.

    1. craazyman

      with the right sort of mind vibration you can send your awareness out anywhere in the universe, for free, and see what’s there and have telepathic conversations with alien beings of all sorts, everywhere. you can even talk to plants with sentient awareness :)

      space ships are a great fun science project, and its admittedly cool to watch them zoom around, but the real exploration will be purely driven by consciousness expansion and multi-dimensional discovery.

      1. gordon

        The age of manned space exploration – to go where no man has gone before, to meet alien beings and initiate political and trading links – is actually in the past.

        A few years ago, I took a younger family member to visit a full-size replica Dutch East Indiaman on display in Sydney harbour. He was a bit surprised to hear me refer to it as a spaceship.

  9. Hugh

    There are three distinct scams in Obamacare:

    First, there are $400 billion in government cuts over ten years mostly to Medicare.

    Second, there is the individual mandate which requires the uninsured either buy private crap insurance which most will find too expensive to use or face a substantial penalty (3% of income).

    Third, there is the lie that most people will end up keeping the insurance benefits they already have.

  10. RHS

    I have something to get off my chest to the Naked Capitalism community. Recently I have received a lot of both deserved and undeserved notice for comments I have posted here and elsewhere. Individually they are a work of a man of average intelligence together they are something larger than that. That something larger is not me but the thinking of people who are much smarter than me which was NOT my intention but has shown me that beauty can exist in the most unlikely of places.

    That said, I would like to address why these comments have received so much attention from the Naked Capitalism community. I think it is because they are intellectually honest in a time when that is rare. But the fact that intellectual honesty has become so popular, says to me that it is due to become much more common. I am proud to have got the got the ball rolling, it is now time for others that are more stable and brighter than me to pick it up and run with it.

    I have a lot of personal problems that I have to attend to, so I will not be posting for some time to come. I want to thank the Naked Capitalism community for the support they have given me. It has literally breathed life into my spirit.

  11. Ed

    Just one data point, but our employee provide health care premiums are set to have a large increase. This was in fact predicted by opponents of the health care measure, particularly opponents from the Left.

    After being hit hard by medical expenses last year, I am learning the hard way how to navigate through the current U.S. medical system. Basically use my health insurance more as bankruptcy insurance than anything else (keep it to limit what I can be charged so a hospital can’t bankrupt me), and insist on paying cash for any future doctors or emergency room visits. Also try to get any non-essential medical work done abroad, again paying cash. I’m going to try staying away from doctors, because I’m starting to get the impression that the quality of care in the US has declined.

    I’ve always preferred to use cash in transactions, but I’m going to try to use it exclusively as much as possible going forward, not just for anti-bankruptcy protection (when it runs out, it runs out, at least you don’t get in over your head and if you have income you will get more), but anti-fraud protection and general anti-bureaucracy protection.

  12. gordon

    So how much is the Gulf of Mexico actually worth? I stumbled across this estimate recently:

    “…We have an answer, or at least an estimate for the value of one critical piece of the Gulf Coast, from a report by Earth Economics executive director David Batker, released just before the spill. The value of the Mississippi Delta’s ecological services is between $12 billion and $47 billion annually. Environmental Defense Fund, which helped fund the study and is promoting Batker’s results, notes that the value is arguably greater than BP’s market capitalization before the disaster ($189 billion, though that has dropped precipitously since the spill)…”.

    Ack: The Gund Institute, U. of Vermont:

    1. gordon

      Correction: the linked article isn’t about how much the Gulf of Mexico is worth, it’s about how much the Mississippi Delta’s ecological services are worth. Sloppy, I know, but the article itself is partly to blame. Still interesting, though.

  13. Debra

    A little quibble with the first story.
    The article itself does not put emphasis on the idea that the public want “synthetic” life.
    The article is basically not so much about the content of the idea of synthetic life as it is about the ROLE of the people in deciding what scientists can/should do, and what they should/can not do.
    The article is about… the life of the city, basically.
    In this respect, it rejoins articles about.. the voice of the people in the current BP scandal, in controlling the actions of multinationals, for example.
    An article questioning… the nature of political representation.
    I think it is important to maintain this distinction, or at least, that the different levels appear.
    I for one, believe that in order to address the question of representation in the best manner possible, we need to go beyond the scientism belief, and NOT imagine that scientists are… dispassionate, impartial gods.
    We already had the means to know this… in WW2, with the Mengele “experiments”…
    And Mary Shelley warned us about this problem in the 19th century book, “Frankenstein”. Which was a hell of a good story, too.

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