Links 1/2/13

Roe deer numbers ‘changing woodland ecosystems’ BBC

Shell drill spill? Arctic Sea Ice (Chuck L)

New Fears Over Fracking Groundwater Contamination OilPrice

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2013? Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain

The Last Askari Counterpunch (Carol B)

Call for law to mark Delhi victim BBC

Defend government policy or resign, Israel’s ambassadors are told Independent (Chuck L)

Barack Obama’s foreign policy Real News Network (2008). Nathan: “I was very entertained by this. Susan Rice was Obama’s adviser then. She even says here how Obama has said he would go after high level terrorists in any country even if the host government was ‘unable or unwilling’. That’s one campaign promise he kept!”

Catfood watch:

Congress’s manufactured non-solution to its manufactured fiscal cliff crisis Heidi Moore, Guardian

Small deal will deliver more subpar growth Financial Times

Obama’s tax threshold concession bodes ill for debt ceiling talks Dean Baker, Guardian

For-Profit Nursing Homes Lead in Overcharging While Care Suffers Bloomberg

Why did a Train Carrying Biofuel Cross the Border 24 Times and Never Unload? OilPrice

Evidence Ruined by Storm May Subvert Cases New York Times

How greed and politics nearly destroyed the coast Asbury Park Press (Lambert)

For the Record: Gasoline was Most Expensive in 2012 WSJ Drivers’ Seat

Michigan Supreme Court Rules $3.75 Billion Of JPM Chase Held Mortgages Are Voidable MFI Miami (briansays). Wow, a rare and decisive win for homeowners and the rule of law.

All You Wanted to Know About Housing in Three Minutes Counterpunch (Carol B)

AIG Announces PR Blitz To “Thank” Taxpayers For Bailouts Firedoglake

The Man Who Could Have Saved Organized Labor New Republic

Is mathbabe a terrorist or a lazy hippy? mathbabe (Chuck L)

Quote Of The Year. And The Next. Ilargi

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Can't Help It

    I really like the quote in the Guardian article:
    “Praising Congress for the fiscal cliff deal is like giving an arsonist an award for putting out his own fire.”

    The US Congress is learning from Wall St’s best. They’ll go into the CDS business next.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think the key here is trust.

      You give the Peace Prize beforehand, trusting he will earn it.

      You give Congress a raise, trusting they will deliver. Sure enough, they did, thus deserving another raise before Fiscal Cliff II.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People who worked hard to give us that are probably thinking, ‘You ain’t see nothing yet.’

  2. Paul Tioxon

    Mathbabe, what there’s a difference between terrorist and hippie? hippies are in a permanent state of play, dropping out of capitalist society. That terrorizes the capitalist mode of production and alters the relation of capital to labor. It smashes the gears of commerce. ALL HAIL MARX AND LENNON!!,r:0,s:0,i:90

  3. fresno dan

    Is mathbabe a terrorist or a lazy hippy? mathbabe (Chuck L)

    “I hope we are a threat, but not to national security, and not by bombs or guns, but by making logical and moral sense and consistently challenging a rigged system.”

    Honestly Mathbabe, if you don’t understand that that makes you an existential threat to the BANKS (aka the US government) than you are just a hopeless idealist…

  4. SubjectivObject

    Roe deer; I predict they will be near extinct soon enough, along with every other animal bigger than a bread box.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Well, Fiscal Cliff I was such a profitable (for the 0.01%) thriller, the Hollywood-Kabuki industrial complex will shirley premier Fiscal Cliff II in the near future.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        My New Mayan Calendar says it’s only 1/2/2013.

        Who nows how much pork barrel spending it will take to solve sequestering and the budget ceiling. May need to cut corporate taxes too.

        Maybe throw in some “means testing” – if you have one polo pony – the USG will buy you another. Austerity is bad.

  5. jsmith

    Re mathbabe:

    Sorry, but OWS – like the European Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring – has been co-opted from its inception so as to provide an easily controlled venue by which people could blow off some steam all the while they thought they were actually participating in something genuine and worthwhile.

    In addition, while people were standing around in masses that were mandated to be apolitical by the OWS crowd, the police state was given a great training exercise for when the masses actually start to rise up against the system.

    If the police actions were too “rough”, why, all the better as it 1) scares off tepid supporters and 2) allows those protestors remaining within the fold to think that they are actually threatening the system.

    Without a philosophical foundation that actually threatens the system and provides a framework by which the common person can understand the continued exploitation they have been suffering under for generations, workers will get nowhere in this country.

    Let’s take Occupy Sandy. What a perfect opportunity that socialists of yesteryear would have utilized to drive home their point to those suffering from the negligence of the corrupt capitalist regime.

    Here’s some food that the capitalist system couldn’t provide you.

    Here’s some shelter that capitalism couldn’t provide you.

    Here’s some assistance that capitalism couldn’t provide you.

    Instead, mimicking the Red Cross, OWS – while commendably helping people – again missed yet another chance – gee, shucks, just unlucky I guess! – of moving the American people towards a better understanding of their situations.

    Here’s some food, support a Tobin Tax!!

    Here’s some water, let me explain a CDS to you!

    In a country where people are regularly charged with wholecloth horsesh!t terrorist charges on an almost weekly basis, for a person of the OWS to think that they are really scaring the powers that be shows just how successful the co-opting/manipulating of the movement has become.

    Gee, OWS is now doing the job the government should be doing and with nary a truly threatening word against the system.

    I’m sure TPTB are shaking in their boots.

    Please don’t do our work for us, OWS, you’re really not reinforcing the libertarian ideology that the government shouldn’t provide for its citizens by quietly taking its place when desparately needed.


    Unless you give the people a real existent philosophical framework that helps them appreciate what is happening to them and their lives – like socialism – and that directly challenges our neoliberal masters then I’m afraid it’s a waste of time.

    For more on the co-opting of said protest movements see.

    1. RanDomino

      You are completely clueless. Occupy Sandy is a brilliant implementation of actually replacing capitalism rather than just talking about it happening some day. These kinds of models and networks make capitalism obsolete in the here and now, without any of the alienating bullshit and stupid lectures loved by self-promoting would-be politicians like yourself.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I would like “alienating bullshit” defined as if it were a technical term. (This is a serious question; quoting [sigh] myself:

        [R]ecursive bullshit has been a feature of our discourse for some time, but in a campaign we’re trying to decode and filter freshly dumped recursive bullshit in real time, which is much more stressful and unpleasant, not least because the bullshit is carefully engineered by professionals to make us think and react in very precise ways (which is what campaign strategy is all about, after all). I wish I had a waldo to handle it!

        Is all bullshit not alienating? Is some bullshit less alienating than other bullshit? Is bullshit deployed for a putatively good purpose less alienating than other bullshit? And so forth.

        Again, actually a serious question. Because there’s so much bullshit about!

        * * *

        +100 on OccupySandy’s prefigurative qualities, with the usual reservations on scope, scale, what could go wrong, etc.

        1. diptherio

          The only non-alienating Bullshit is that which openly declares itself as such. The Church of the Subgenius, Robert Anton Wilson and others have made a high art of this sort of BS. I would put the miracle stories of most every culture into this category as well. As RAW put it, regarding Subgenius teachings, “profound wisdom disguised as utter bullshit.”

          This kind of BS can actually be liberating, as it allows otherwise inexpressible truths to find voice. It is the opposite kind of BS, “utter bullshit disguised as profound wisdom,” that is alienating. This negative type of BS has been on the ascendant in our society for quite some time (since the Sophists, perhaps) and is pretty much the only type of BS that is currently to be found in political discourse.

          Bullshit, in this bullshitters view, can be used for many different purposes, some positive, some negative. To extend the metaphor a bit, you can use bullshit to fertilize your garden and produce wonderful wholesome food to feed your family; or you can do like our politicians and just feed everyone the bullshit directly.

          It’s not BS, per se, that’s the problem, it’s the dudes slinging it.

          1. different clue

            Didn’t Norman Mailer once say “sometimes the only way to defeat bullshit is with superior bullshit”?

        2. Fíréan

          Good writers can express themselves adequately without resort to all-emcompassing or ambiguous words which require further explantion to the intended meaning in a particular context (whether they be profanities for not).

        3. RanDomino

          I meant that the alienation was bullshit, not that the bullshit is alienating. Specifically referring to the ‘Mass Movement’ model beloved by Marxists, in which you’ve got a huge faceless ‘mass’ of atomized individuals being directed by a central coordinating committee. A politician’s dream, because even if the entire rest of the population disagrees with the leaders, without being organized they can’t do anything about it.

      2. jsmith

        “These kinds of models and networks make capitalism obsolete in the here and now, without any of the alienating bullshit and stupid lectures loved by self-promoting would-be politicians like yourself.”

        And another nice feature of said models and networks, Ran, is that the obscenely wealthy get to keep both their wealth and the control of the means by which to make even more wealth.


        Capitalism is obsolete…now someone got tell that to the lord of the manor.

        But make sure not to alienate him, he’s so sensitive. Shhhh.

        Oh well, you guys have fun constructing your new super-kewel non-alienating polite verison of the political/economic future and I’ll stick to “self-promoting” – chortle – through my anonymous blog-posting advocacy of socialism – a system which seeks to above all reward the individual at the expense of the rest of society, right?

        Wait, that doesn’t seem to make sense, does it, Ran?

        Anyways, as I’m out for the day and as I am obviously stuck utlizing a vocabulary that suffers from the banality of having been used by billions of exploited workers throughout the course of history – BORRRRING!!! – I’ll let you respond unimpeded with a detailed rebuttal extolling the virtues of the networks and models you alluded to if you want.

        Take it away.


        1. RanDomino

          ‘billions of workers’, good one! Thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, and idle intellectuals.

          You want to appropriate the means of means of production? Fine. Go right ahead. Do it. Oh, you can’t? Because the organized forces of the State and capitalist thugs are stopping you? Well then you’d better get organized. Wait, no one’s joining you? Quick, don’t do anything different! Phew, close one- almost had to force theory to accommodate reality. Can’t have that.

    2. diptherio

      Uh, maybe you should have gone down there and helped them out, if you thought they weren’t doing it right. Maybe you could have discussed your critique of the movement while handing out blankets. Easier to just bitch on the interwebs, I suppose…

    3. hunkerdown

      We’ve got Westboro touring the country and delivering their pornographically sadistic message wherever they feel like. We’ve got all sorts of churches getting involved in political and partisan activities while remaining tax-exempt. We’ve even got multiple religions based on science fiction.

      Indeed, perhaps Occupy would be in a better position if their organizations went whole hog, found some antiquity to nestle themselves in and structure themselves under the umbrella of religion, with all the extra privileges that unlocks. Still hierarchical (ergo coordinated) enough to be somewhat effective, still loose enough to accommodate dissensus, still privileged enough to go where purely economic protest is banned, still principled enough to make the Pharisees uncomfortable.

      Or has a church of left-wing economics already been tried?

  6. diptherio

    Re: Quote of the Year

    This is what I’ve been saying for years, and everyone just calls me a pessimist. Though I hate to admit it, sometimes I feel closer to Malthus than Marx.

    One of the things with complex, inter-twingled systems, is that they don’t really do smooth phase transitions. The transition from one state of being to another is always chaotic and turbulent, whether it’s water freezing, a flutterby emerging from its chrysalis, or a society altering its structure. Smooth state transitions don’t really happen in nature, so it seems a little hubristic to assume that humanity could pull it off.

    And even if we could overcome all the standard hurdles to rational mass action, and implement positive widespread behavioral changes, there is no reason to expect that the result would be anything close to what we might hope. Because complex systems display acute dependence on initial conditions, altering any of those conditions will necessarily lead to unforeseen and unforeseeable adjustments higher up the superstructure; and of course, not all of those may be salutary.

    Systems of all types seem to go through peaks and troughs of complexity, becoming by turns more simple and then more complex, due to the internal dynamics of the systems themselves. One must assume that we are approaching such a peak of complexity in our society (or assume that complexity can just go on increasing ad infintum) and that a concomitant reversal and simplification is a surety; a matter of when and not if.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Meaning that we need to get as many people as possible through the choke point, and save as much of “civilization” as we can (modulo “civilization is the problem” permathread).

      There’s a reason I keep pushing this permaculture stuff…

      1. diptherio

        Yup. And thanks for the permaculture threads, btw. Personally, I’m quite happy that me and mine live out in the middle of nowhere (relatively speaking), and that I know people who can knap arrowheads out of old toilet lids. That might be important some day.

        The Occupy Movement did give me hope in this respect. People can, in fact, work together to meet communal challenges. Our camp wasn’t perfect, but waaaaay better than I expected.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Importantly — I’d like to think we can bring computing through the choke point — don’t put your data in The Cloud, or at least not any important data. See under When The Machine Stops.

          1. subgenius

            I like the idea that we could get the intertubes and stuff through, and have even been known to construct ad hoc peer-to-peer cellular-type networks from past-it’s-prime detritus of the last couple of decades…


            1) Look at the ratio of shit to a-little-less-than-shit to actually useful…not ideal…certainly not indicative of a system worth saving…what with the cost involved (monetary or just pain-in-the-ass).

            2) Look at the level of material investments and length of supply chains to make anything utilizing modern digital electronics.

            …any choke, this shit will fall apart fast, methinks.

          2. different clue

            A blogger named Ran Prieur has been thinking about these things. His blog is called Ran Prieur. His blog is worth reading over many hours by those who have the time and the personal computer to do such things. Some of his ideas and thoughts could very well be applied to this problem.

  7. AbyNormal

    from Professor Rhodes/recycled frack water…”If the waters are disposed of incautiously, there may be a real risk of water supplies becoming contaminated by substances that are naturally occurring, but nonetheless highly dangerous.”

    Koch 2010 Business Plan is to win significant new sales of water treatment systems. The acquisition of Kurion is a significant step in achieving this goal. In addition, the purpose of this acquisition includes the following elements:
    *Establishing Koch as a leader in environmentally-responsible specialized water treatment solutions.

    Kurion, four-year-old scrappy startup, which is backed by Lux Capital and Firelake Capital and Acadia Woods Partners

    Today 6am: Kurion announces leadership expansion

    (Koch n Kur explosion :-/)

    1. Aquifer

      “If the waters are disposed of incautiously, there may be a real risk of water supplies becoming contaminated by substances that are naturally occurring, but nonetheless highly dangerous.”

      WHEN the waters are ….. water supplies WILL be contaminated …

      There, “fixed” it …

      Koch has got it made – make money off making a mess, make money off cleaning it up – the beauty of “the system” …

      1. Nathanael

        Remember, fracking isn’t actually profitable — it’s a land-flipping scam. The only way for the land-flippers to make money is to be sloppy about disposal and irresponsible about well casings and so on.

        1. Aquifer

          Nat –

          Thanx, I do appreciate the thought, but you really don’t have to explain that to me – i didn’t pick the handle “Aquifer” out of a hat …

        2. Paul Tioxon

          The attorney general’s office said in an appeal to Superior Court that Judge Farley Toothman’s sentence for Robert Allan Shipman in June was unreasonable and “did not fit the crime.”
          Judge Toothman gave Shipman, owner of Allan’s Waste Water Service, seven years of probation and 1,750 hours of community service. He also ordered him to pay $257,316 in restitution, a $100,000 fine and a $25,000 charitable contribution to the attorney general’s office.
          Shipman was convicted of dumping drilling wastewater, sewage sludge and restaurant grease into streams, a mine shaft and elsewhere from 2003 to 2009

          Read more:

      2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        I’m looking for the Koch hostile take over of Perrier.

        Been worried about aquifer contagion too. About 80%-90% of our water still is pumped from a local aquifer. But we do get some “allocation” from the Colorado River. The story I’ve read says our officials have to take our allocation or lose it, so they now pump river water into our aquifer and use it on an as needed basis.

        So if they start “disposing” of fracking fluid in CO, and it does find it’s way into the CO River, then we f*kd too.

        1. AbyNormal

          I’m sorry to hear this H_T.
          I’m trying to rundown hard numbers on a ‘Rumor’, Koch/Kurion is looking for mucho tax dollars. (so far no luck)

      3. charles sereno

        Just as I barely got into Rhodes’ article, I was taken aback by the 15,000 psi pressures used in “fracking.” Do you realize that is 3 or 4 times the amount of pressure needed to explode the concrete pavement under your car? Awesome!

  8. diptherio

    Re: For-Profit Nursing Homes.

    I couldn’t read the article, actually. I used to work at a for-profit “skilled-nursing facility,” so I am well aware of the horrendous under-staffing and care issues. It is truly heartbreaking.

    I have probably a hundred stories of incredibly depressing scenes I got to witness while working there. I’ll spare you the heart-rending details but I will recommend, strongly, that everyone stay away from any enterprise run by the SAGE corporation. Not nice people.

    This is one sector where I think worker-owned co-ops could really take off. Seeing as how many of the baby-boomers are going to eventually end up in one of these facilities (thanks, in part, to our modern, mobile, labor force), it might behoove them to start creating more ethical alternatives to the for-profit system.

    One of the major things that is lacking for such an effort, as far as I can tell, are adequate funding mechanisms for cooperative businesses. Credit Unions can’t loan to them and banks, by and large, don’t want to, mostly because they (co-ops) seem “weird.” So, imho, if you want to improve the quality of care at nursing homes, creating an investment pool (or something like that) to fund worker-owned-and-managed care facilities would be an excellent place to start.

    There are enough healthcare workers and medical paperwork specialists out there, many of whom are absolutely disgusted with their present employers, that finding staff with the requisite skill sets wouldn’t be a problem. As always, it’s that initial start-up capital that is lacking.

    So whaddya say NC, who wants to start a Co-op Investment Fund?

  9. Jackrabbit

    Quote of the Year

    The perspective of the writer seems all wrong. It is written from the perspective of society without regard to how society makes decisions.

    “We” will NOT change after “we” hit a wall. Instead, SOME believe that they can manage through any crisis and are perfectly fine with the ‘collateral damage’ that results. Those SOME are taking us to a place that “we” don’t want to go.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The problme with men, though I don’t see why that’s a problme (as I have survived doing it so many times), is that we don’t ask for directions even when we are lost.

            So, maybe some nice person might ask, is this Fiscal Abyss where we are now, post Fiscal Cliff? Or do we have more to go, Alvin?

  10. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Michael Hudson, Chris Hedges, Ismael Reed: C.21 *The People’s Triumvirate*?
    Manifestos of We the People are made of this!

    “Never let a good crisis go to waste” said a worm once. Arise, People of Virtu!
    Let Patrick Henry speak our living mind. Benjamin Franklin’s friends are ours:
    “Allons enfants de la patrie! Le jour de gloire est arrivé.”

    Jean-Luc Mélenchon, are you catching the Vital Citizen Vibe in C.21?

    1. nobody

      “He calls the HBO series ‘The Wire’ ‘a Neo-Nazi portrait of black people’…” “[F]ocus[ing]…on blacks” “while ignoring the crimes of the big banks and corporations…”

      “[Occupy] is a white movement… They are exclusive…”

      These assertions are absurd.

      And while I never visited Oakland I seriously doubt that “In Oakland they [Occupy members] were mostly middle-class kids from out of town; at least 75 percent were not from here.”

      It seems to me that Reed, while having accurate perceptions of some things, also has strong opinions about things he’s barely acquainted with, and there is something quite disconcerting about Hedges’s antipathy toward anarchists and anarchism.

    1. nobody

      Me too! And yes it is. And one of this days I’m going to take a peek at Adam Smith in Beijing. Further down the road, Andre Gunder Frank’s ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age.

      As a complement and for a frame, I’d recommend Wallerstein’s short introduction to World-Systems Analysis.

    2. Unkle Smokey

      I often wonder why this excellent book is not cited more often. The chart in the back that shows the signal crises and terminal crises for each hegemony predicted the 2008 economic crisis quite accurately. The fact that each of the four hegemonies went through a similar production/trade phase and then a financial phase tells me there is more at work here than a few bad apples. It was inevitable that the US would move to finance-centered economy before crashing. Our belle-epoch was the Clinton 90s. It was over before practically anyone knew it had started. Funny and sad.

    3. Dr. Brian Oblivion

      Hmmm, that book title sounds like a reference to Eric Hobsbawn’s historical work Age of Empires, 1914-1991 (1994) (The Short Twentieth Century).

      Hobsbawn clearly recognized and identified the 1970s as the end of one and the start of the next period of history which isn’t always easy to do when writing about the history so close to the present. Recommended also.

      Both books were published the same year (1994) and both authors are deceased. Coincidence?

      History is far more interesting than even a private high school education would suggest. ;-)

      1. Unkle Smokey

        While Arrighi certainly refers to Hobsbawm in the book, I believe he gets the title from Braudel.

        It’s curious to me that marxist economists are much more likely to take a longer view of capitalism in trying to spot economic trends than economists from other schools of thought. It makes me think they don’t really want these trends identified as it would work against their interests.

        1. nobody

          Joseph Schumpeter once remarked that, in matters of capitalist development, a century is a ‘short run.’ As it turns out, in matters of development of the capitalist world-economy, a century does not constitute even a ‘short run.’ Thus, Immanuel Wallerstein borrowed Braudel’s notion of a ‘long sixteenth century’ (1450-1640) as the proper unit of analysis of what in his scheme of things is the first (formative) stage of the capitalist world-economy. Eric Hobsbawm similarly speaks of a ‘long nineteenth century’ (1776-1914) as the appropriate timeframe for the analysis of what he envisages as the bourgeois-liberal (British) stage of historical capitalism.

          “In a similar vein, the notion of a long twentieth century is adopted here as the appropriate timeframe for the analysis of the rise, full expansion, and eventual supersession of the agencies and structures of the fourth (US) systemic cycle of accumulation. As such, the long twentieth century is nothing but the latest link in a chain of partly overlapping stages, each encompassed by a long century, through which the European capitalist world-economy has come to incorporate the entire globe in a dense system of exchanges.”

          The Long Twentieth Century, p. 219

  11. Aquifer

    I really hate to “abuse” this blog to ask for help, honest, but i am getting monumentally frustrated – my home phone is on the fritz, i lost my cell and i cannot access either phone company online without information i do not seem to be in possession of – SO, does ANYONE out there have a working e-mail for Verizon??? (i tried using the site to e-mail, but it wouldn’t let me send my message – and they are my freakin e-mail provider for Pete sake!)

    Any help in this regard is appreciated …

    Otherwise will have to hop in the buggy, (hope THAT works) and wander around looking for a phone … :(

      1. Aquifer

        Mucho thanx – will try it. This whole thing is a Keystone cops affair and would be hilarious if it weren’t so damn annoying ….

        1. Keenan

          You are welcome. That address isn’t even obviously posted on Verizon’s site. I had to dig around for it in my e mails from them.

          1. Aquifer

            Yeah – i know, I looked for one there and couldn’t find one, so i thank you for that – i sent them a message and i got an automated – “will get back to you within 48 hours”!

            When i tried to use the e-mail contact page on the site – it kept dropping down a little window that said “don’t use these” and listed a bunch of notations . I scoured my message and removed anything that wasn’t simple English (no cuss words) and it still wouldn’t work …

            Finally got to swap my lost cell phone for another – though THAT was a pain as well (Virgin Mobile)… Will CALL Verizon tomorrow …

            But that rather illustrates, methinks, the problems that will arise when the whole damn thing goes down – they can’t even make it work when it’s “up” – how did we get ourselves in a situation of having to depend on these clowns?

    1. JohnL

      Fwiw I don’t believe Yves, Lambert, or any of the regular commentariat would regard such a request as “abuse”…

    1. different clue

      I remember reading somewhere that the pre-conquest Indian Nations used to manage huge land areas with applied fire and other management tools to create and maintain vast
      “deer garden/game gardens” to grow huge numbers of deer, turkeys, etc. And they would hunt and kill sustainably large numbers of these animals and share-out the meat. So “human predation” has precedent, as does managing land FOR humanly harvestable populations of edible animals to begin with.

      Indian Permaculture, if you will.

      1. Keenan

        Yes, exactly. In his book “Nature Wars”, James Sterba goes into some detail on the native americans management of forests to support nut tree productivity for their harvesting.

  12. Hugh

    Re what could have entered the public domain this year, copyright law was supposed to fulfill a public, not a corporate, good. It was supposed to encourage content creation by giving content creators a period where they could reasonably profit off their work. Now it is all about controlling content as much as harvesting profits from it, and doing so for periods of time far in excess of a human lifetime.

    I would cut the term of copyright down to 30 years total. In all but a few cases, 30 years is actually far longer than the marketability of most material. If an author, individual or corporate, can not make a reasonable profit from their work in that time, there should be no reason not to enter it into the public domain. Similarly, if the author has made a reasonable profit on the work in that time, it is only greed which would keep it out of the public domain.

    There is a public interest here. We support the authors and their industries through our purchases as well as our public infrastructure. The author recognizes that by bringing his/her/their work to the public, he/she/they accept that they have a less than absolute ownership of the work. This is really the way the system is set up now. It is just that the period of private/corporate control has been extended to obscene lengths. What has been increased for the corporate good can be decreased for the public good.

    On the Shell fiasco, it’s been known from the beginning that the Beaufort Sea is too dangerous and too pristine to drill in. So of course, “Drill, baby, drill” Obama OK’ed the start of drilling there. And the result as expected was that you had this Shell rig floating around in rough seas until it ran aground. This is an example of a perfectly predictable and predicted disaster. And because it is far away and politically inconvenient, it is getting remarkably little play.

    The fracking story and Beaufort Sea story go well together in that regard. That fracking posed major dangers to ground water and aquifers has been known from the beginning, and largely ignored by those, states and corporations, wanting to make a quick buck of it.

    Finally, I graphed gasoline vs. crude oil prices at FRED a few months ago.

    You can see the speculative plays in 2011 and 2012 in crude but also that there were even bigger ones going on in gasoline.

    1. Dr. Brian Oblivion


      Copyright was supposed to enrich creators and society, not totalitarian institutions dressed up as eternal artificial persons. Damages to the public domain (and to the public) in terms of money due to corporate avarice and malevolence is incalculable.

        1. financial matters

          I thought this was a well written article.

          “Perhaps there is a silver lining in the loss of sophisticated investors’ trust. The disillusionment of the elites, on top of popular outrage, could foment change. Without such a mobilization, all of us will remain in the dark, neither understanding nor trusting the banks. And the rot will spread.”

          1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            It was a good refresher on what “bank capital” looks like nowadays. Could be worse – reserves at the Fed and nothing at the bank. But not yet at least.

            But the thing I didn’t like about the article was there was some implicit support of the quaint idea that investors are supposed to determine if banks are solvent. They did rattle off the FED, OCC, SEC, FDIC and other regulators with access to the real books had some involvement in the matter, but did not come out in bold print and say THAT IS THEIR F*KING JOB!

  13. Herman Sniffles

    “The roe’s main woodland predators, such as lynx, no longer exist in the UK so human control can “be easily justified in ecological terms””

    So if there were lynx, hunting would not be justified? What if there were lynx, but the deer numbers just kept increasing.In that case would “human control” be justified or not justified? People are as irrational about hunting as they are about politics and religion.

  14. PQS

    Re: Quote of the Year

    Loved the quote. Agree with it.

    But the rest of the site was chockablock with Doomsday Prepper stuff….not that I disagree totally with “Being Prepared”, and certainly I appreciate any energy savings tips for home and farm, but really – some of that grim scenario stuff seems way over the top and a little hysterical. If I have to worry about the water supply, you can damned well be sure I am not going to worry about “being valuable to my employer.” Nor do I plan on just accepting lower wages lying down, as the site advises.

    I know, I know, “everything’s different” now between the Climate Crisis, Fracking, and Big Bidness…but don’t forget it is the Second Gilded Age. We already survived the First.

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