Assuming there is no fraud among the buyers and sellers in a market exchange, Caveat Emptor — the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for determining the quality and suitablity of goods or services before a purchase is made — is the cornerstone of free market ideology. Implicit in this belief is the necessary albeit patently absurd condition in economic price theory that reliable information is freely available to the all the parties and potential parties to an economic exchange. After all, if information were truly free, the data processing and data-free manipulation industry of the post industrial society and its contemporary successor, the post-information era (an era synthesized by the petri dish of Pentagon, but now acculturated by the media and Wall Street), would be a non sequiturs. Today, for example, we have an economy where advertisers can profitably invest large sums of money in subliminally marketing their wares on reality TV, an invention to dumb down people, and make them more vulnerable to the subliminal marketing techniques they are being subjected to by conditioning viewers to substitute vicarious fantasy for realty. Continue reading “Journal: Why Bail-Out Has Not Reduced Foreclosures”
A new online computer game attempts to capitalize on the current strain of right-wing paranoia and activism, embodied by Glenn Beck’s televised blustering and the Tea Party protests, by allowing players to inhabit a world of the near-future that represents a conservative nightmare. The game, called “2011: Obama Coup Fails,” is hosted by a website called The United States of Earth, and according to David Corn of Mother Jones, it was developed by “a small group of Ron Paul-loving libertarians living in Brooklyn.” See Huffington Post andPrisonPlanet.
The states of the Union are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, but this summer they have been looking more like toxic-waste dumps of futility. From coast to coast, from tundra to coral reef, state governments are in an awful fix. Their budget gaps are on track to add up to at least a third of a trillion dollars. In half the states, education funding is being cut, which means bigger classes, shoddier facilities, and fewer frills like music, art, languages, and library
books. States are closing parks, draining rainy-day funds, and shrinking services for children, the elderly, and the disabled. . . . . . . .
California, it turns out, is ungovernable. Its public schools, once the nation’s best, are now among the worst. Its transportation and water systems are deteriorating. Its prisons are so overcrowded that it has to turn tens of thousands of felons loose. And its legislature has spent most of the year in a farcical effort to pass the annual
budget, leaving little or no time for other matters, such as—well, schools, transportation, water, and prisons. This is “normal”: the same thing has happened in eighteen of the past twenty-two years. But the addition of economic disaster to legislative paralysis may have brought California to a tipping point.
A scheme to flood the market with counterfeit stocks helped kill Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers — and the feds have yet to bust the culprits
MATT TAIBBIPosted Oct 14, 2009
What really happened to Bear and Lehman is that an economic drought temporarily left the hyenas without any more middle-class victims — and so they started eating each other, using the exact same schemes they had been using for years to fleece the rest of the country. And in the forensic footprint left by those kills, we can see for the first time exactly how the scam worked — and how completely even the government regulators who are supposed to protect us have given up trying to stop it.
This was a brokered bloodletting, one in which the power of the state was used to help effect a monstrous consolidation of financial and political power. Heading into 2008, there were five major investment banks in the United States: Bear, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Today only Morgan Stanley and Goldman survive as independent firms, perched atop a restructured Wall Street hierarchy. And while the rest of the civilized world responded to last year’s catastrophes with sweeping measures to rein in the corruption in their financial sectors, the United States invited the wolves into the government, with the popular new president, Barack Obama — elected amid promises to clean up the mess — filling his administration with Bear’s and Lehman’s conquerors, bestowing his papal blessing on a new era of robbery.
As a Harvard grad, former Princeton professor, and the son of a respected rabbi, Ethan Nadelmann might seem like an unlikely advocate for legalizing marijuana. But when you meet him, it all makes a lot of sense.
David Lyons, Newsweek, 15 October 2009
The idea is not that drugs are good but that prohibition is bad. Nadelmann argues that marijuana prohibition is as counterproductive as alcohol prohibition was in the 1920s, and that we’d all be better off if the government would just regulate and tax it. Ironically, this would give the government more control over the drug, not less.
The huge cultural misunderstandings between Western forces and the Afghan people make it unlikely any counterinsurgency mission in the countryside will succeed.
By Gilles Dorronsoro
In the countryside, Westerners are essentially perceived as corrupt and threatening to traditional Afghan or Muslim values. Contrary to our self-perception, the villagers see the foreigners as the main providers of insecurity. The presence of coalition troops means IEDs, ambushes and airstrikes, and consequently a higher probability of being killed, maimed or robbed of a livelihood. Any incident quickly reinforces the divide between locals and outsiders, and the Afghan media provide extensive and graphic coverage of botched airstrikes and injured civilians. Continue reading “Journal: Strategic Analysis & Culture Matter”
Sequoia Voting Systems has inadvertently released the SQL (Structured Query Language) code for its voting databases. The existence of such code appears to violate Federal voting law. Read the announcement after the jump, just as received on the Open Voting Consortium mailing list earlier today.
The Linux “strings” command was able to peel it apart. Nedit was able to digest 800meg text files. What was revealed was thousands of lines of MS-SQL source code that appears to control or at least influence the logical flow of the election, in violation of a bunch of clauses in the FEC voting system rulebook banning interpreted code, machine modified code and mandating hash checks of voting system code.
I’ve got it all organized for commentary and download in wiki form at:
KEY POINT: Design is not just about physical structures, but about relationships as well as ideas. Will Durant has a great deal to say about this in Philosophy and the Social Problem.
KEY POINT: Information is the means by which we harmonize understanding of the threats, sustainable consensus on how to handle the threats, and implementaition plans, programs, and budgets across the twelve core policy areas. THIS ALLOWS both vertical and horizonal harmonization within the four levels of governments (local, state or province, national, and regional or global).
Earth is an information system within a larger Cosmic information system. We are coming off a millenium of information pathologies. Now is the time to pay careful attention to Ackoff and Fuller and get right things right.
On the one-year anniversary of the Banksters blowing a hole in the global economy, no employee of a major American bank or financial institution is behind bars. Compare this to what happened after the Savings and Loan heist almost 20 years ago.
No less than 1,852 S&L officials were prosecuted and 1,072 were jailed. Over 500 CEOs and top officers were indicted. What is going on here? Don’t we believe in holding people accountable anymore? Tell the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI to get cracking! Our motto? TOO BIG TO FAIL, BUT NOT TOO BIG TO GO TO JAIL!
Revised formula puts number of poor people at 47.4 million — 7 million more than official rate
A revised formula for calculating medical costs and geographic variations show that approximately 47.4 million Americans last year lived in poverty, 7 million more than the government’s official figure.
The disparity occurs because of differing formulas the Census Bureau and the National Academy of Science use for calculating the poverty rate. The NAS formula shows the poverty rate to be at 15.8 percent, or nearly 1 in 6 Americans, according to calculations released this week. That’s higher than the 13.2 percent, or 39.8 million, figure made available recently under the original government formula. . . . . . . .
Food stamp assistance currently is at an all-time high of about 36 million.
Michael Gaddy LouRockwell.com October 20, 2009Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of our quest for empire over the past six decades realizes that Obama’s contemplation of whether to send additional troops to Afghanistan is simply those who control him providing Obama with the opportunity to look “presidential.” The decision to send additional troops was reached prior to the situational comedy of General McChrystal’s leaked “confidential report” to the Washington Post and Obama’s National Security Advisor’s public admonishment of McChrystal’s failure to follow the chain of command. All of this is nothing but a well-rehearsed, though poorly camouflaged hoax. Additional troops will be sent to Afghanistan within a very short period of time and Obama really has no say in the matter. The question is: why?