Journal: 100 years of Big Content fearing technology—in its own words

03 Economy, 04 Education, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Ethics, InfoOps (IO), Methods & Process
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For the last hundred years, rightsholders have fretted about everything from the player piano to the VCR to digital TV to Napster. Here are those objections, in Big Content’s own words.

By Nate Anderson | Last updated October 11, 2009 10:00 PM CT

It’s almost a truism in the tech world that copyright owners reflexively oppose new inventions that do (or might) disrupt existing business models. But how many techies actually know what rightsholders have said and written for the last hundred years on the subject?

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Journal: Klepto-Capitalism (Legalized Looting)

03 Economy, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Ethics, Government
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Chuck Spinney weighs in today on the manner in which the US citizen is being looted–right now, as this is written–by private equity firms (Allen & Co comes to mind, home to Bill Bradley and George Tenet), and point us to an article in Naked Capitalism worthy of review.

There has been a convergence of inattentive and under-informed citizens (including employees ill-served by labor unions that have themselves sold out); managers lacking in integrity and all too willing to serve as intermediaries in the destruction of public equity in favor of private equity; and of course Wall Street, which bought Congress, owns the Federal Reserve, and has crafted modern legalized looting or “klepto-capitalism.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quelle Surprise! New York Times Fails to Call Private Equity Looting by Its Proper Name

The New York Times tonight features a generally very good piece, “Buyout Firms Profited as a Company’s Debt Soared,” by Julie Creswell that falls short in one important respect: it fails to call a prevalent and destructive practice of private equity firms by its proper name.

Journal: The Demise of the Dollar

03 Economy, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence, Ethics, Government
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The demise of the dollar

In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

By Robert Fisk

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Phi Beta Iota: This is what happens when citizens abdicate their role as sovereigns over Congress, and allow Congress to sell out to Wall Street and the Federal Reserve (which is neither Federal nor a Reserve, just a front for Wall Street).

Journal: Regulating Wall Street: Idiocy on Top of Illusion

03 Economy, Commerce, Ethics, True Cost
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A Las Vegas Illusion

Roger Martin
Roger Martin

Roger Martin is Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the
University of Toronto

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Pre-order his forthcoming book

In response to the question: What does Wall Street have to change to  produce better leaders, a different culture and a more long-term focus?

Forget about it. Don’t even waste time thinking about it. The purpose
of Wall Street firms is to trade value for their own benefit not to
build value for the economy either short-term or long-term. While at
one point in its history, a non-trivial part of Wall Street’s activity
involved financing the growth of American companies, that is now a
minor piece of its business. Wall Street is primarily engaged in
encouraging individuals and companies to trade value between one
another and tolling the parties for the service, and trading against
the outside economy for its own account.

Phi Beta Iota: This author not only gets it, he provides a solution.  Wall Street, and the Fed, need to be creatively destroyed, and we need to restore bottom-up Human Scale locality-based business.  Government “regulation” of financial crime is idiocy on top of illusion.

Worth a Look: The Infrastructurist

03 Economy, 07 Health, Worth A Look
Sewer Economics
Sewer Economics

Here is the bit that got our attention:

What’s the financial argument? You reap $7 dollars in economic rewards for every dollar you spend in basic sanitation. That makes it a really, really good investment. In the developing world, it may cost a couple hundred dollars to install a decent latrine, but think of what you save in terms of health costs and what you would otherwise lose when your workers are off with dysentery or whatever. And in developed world we’re learning that if you don’t continue investing in infrastructure you just going to pay a lot more later. It’s that simple.

Author Rose George
Author Rose George
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

We have added this site to the Righteous Site blogroll.  There are gems–and humor, throughout–that reflect a remarkable public intelligence in relation to national infrastructure.

What is clear is that “the numbers” that are presented to the public for any given public works project are those that favor the decision that has already been made, one based on corporate numbers that seek to spend public funds to create capabilities that extract profit from the public at public expense.

Public intelligence is how we get government back into the business of sserving the public rather than serving as the wealth transfer mechanism from individual taxation to corporate profiteering.

Journal: True Cost of Hybrids, Dumb Government

03 Economy, 05 Energy, Commerce, Earth Intelligence, Government, True Cost Meme
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Steve Gorman

Sun Aug 30, 2009

As hybrid cars gobble rare metals, shortage looms

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Prius hybrid automobile is popular for its fuel efficiency, but its electric motor and battery guzzle rare earth metals, a little-known class of elements found in a wide range of gadgets and consumer goods.  . . . . . . .Worldwide demand for rare earths, covering 15 entries on the periodic table of elements, is expected to exceed supply by some 40,000 tonnes annually in several years unless major new production sources are developed.

Phi Beta Iota: The peresistent refusal of the White House and Congress in particular, all governments in general, to create strategic centers that can provide unclassified decision-support in the context of a strategic analytic model that embraces “true cost” accounting and “cross-policy cost harmonization” means that the USA in particular, and all governments generally, are “dumb” and are therefore in automatic betrayal of the public trust. Current references:  Intelligence for Everyone; Fixing the White House; Human Intelligence; The Ultimate Hack.

Journal: Cheery Waves Flags Washington’s Tangled Web Of Deception

03 Economy, Government



Posted 08/25/2009 06:06 PM ET

It’s not just that the wheels are coming off President Obama’s credibility; they’re also starting to come off the federal government in general.

Washington is no longer able to hide its failures behind the flag. Its mistakes are too obvious and too costly. Even ardent “my country, right or wrong” patriots are now distinguishing between America the nation, which we all rightly revere, and the political enterprise in Washington — which nearly everyone now distrusts.

The politicos in Washington have gone into business for themselves. And most folks — like newly price-conscious consumers — aren’t any longer buying the elixirs that Washington is peddling. They all cost too much, almost none of them work, and most have severe side effects.

Continue reading “Journal: Cheery Waves Flags Washington’s Tangled Web Of Deception”

Journal: Weak Signals–Social Dislocation Ahead

03 Economy, 11 Society, Civil Society, Government
Image Credit
Image Credit

From a source that must remain anonymous.

State governments are in serious trouble now and once the federally-provided Stimulus Funds are used up in FY10 many states willhave no choice but to cut significant numbers of staff as well as marginalize social & health services programs (not to mention Corrections,compliance programs like Environmental Protection) dislocating chunks of the American population. As you can imagine, the US has manydomestic problems ahead.

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Journal: Chuck Spinney Flags 8-14 the “foreclosure wave” – now, a tsunami of sorts

03 Economy, Commerce, Government
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The Foreclosure Wave” — Now a Tsunami of Sorts

Over the past two days, the popular foreclosure reporting firms released their monthly numbers and the takeaway was that the foreclosure crisis is getting worse. Indeed, the foreclosure crisis is worsening, but July’s actual foreclosure numbers do not pose much additional risk to the housing market because most of the worsening was seen in the pre-foreclosure pipeline (notice-of-default & notice-of-trustee sale). Based upon July’s results, the players that will feel most of the additional reported foreclosure pressure are the banks, mbs holders, insurers, and servicers.
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It is important to always remember that when one person gets a ‘good deal’ on a house, orders of magnitude more are thrown into a negative-equity (or deeper negative equity) position exponentially increasing their likelihood of loan default. Loan default leads to foreclosure and another ‘good deal’ on a house and so on and so on.

Journal: Chuck Spinney Flags Aurback, Posts Reflections on the Economic Bust

03 Economy, Commerce, Commercial Intelligence

My bills are all due and the baby needs shoes and I’m busted

Cotton is down to a quarter a pound, but I’m busted

I got a cow that went dry and a hen that won’t lay

A big stack of bills that gets bigger each day

The county’s gonna haul my belongings away cause I’m busted.

Ray Charles

Economic optimism is in the air — at least in rarified air of the twin palaces of Versailles On the Potomac and Versailles On the Hudson.  And if you believe the newspapers, there are growing signs that the economy is turning around, and America has dodged the depression bullet.

Continue reading “Journal: Chuck Spinney Flags Aurback, Posts Reflections on the Economic Bust”

Journal: Rolfe Winkler on Buffet’s Betrayal

03 Economy, Commercial Intelligence
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Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment: Warren Buffet is a fraud–so is George Soros and all the other allegedly “for the people” individuals who ultimately put personal profit above the public good.  Congress and the White House serve these people, not We the People, and that is the root cause of America’s demise.


When I was 14, Warren Buffett wrote me a letter.

It was a response to one I’d sent him, pitching an investment idea.  For a kid interested in learning stocks, Buffett was a great role model.  His investing style — diligent security analysis, finding competent management, patience — was immediately appealing.

Buffett was kind enough to respond to my letter, thanking me for it and inviting me to his company’s annual meeting.  I was hooked.  Today, Buffett remains famous for investing The Right Way.  He even has a television cartoon in the works, which will groom the next generation of acolytes.

But it turns out much of the story is fiction.  A good chunk of his fortune is dependent on taxpayer largess. Were it not for government bailouts, for which Buffett lobbied hard, many of his company’s stock holdings would have been wiped out.

. . . . . . .

But there’s nothing fair about Buffett getting a bailout, about exploiting the taxpaying public for his own gain.  The naïve 14-year-olds among us thought he was better than this.

What would Ben Graham say?