Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

not if they see us coming first

...so just don't get your hopes up, homey.

They only way we'll have First Contact is if they want to buy Manhattan Island for something like glass beads.

Hell, if they sold eternal life to the Koch brothers they might buy most the United States government. The Supreme Court, anyway.

Monday, June 27, 2011

not for the uncool

The United States spends $20.2 billion annually on air conditioning for troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan — more than NASA's entire budget, NPR reported.

In fact, the same amount of money that keeps soldiers cool is the amount the G-8 has committed to helping the fledgling democracies in Tunisia and Egypt...

"Soldiers", huh? So Joe Private gets to kick back on the base and pound brewskis while while the drone handlers, the mercs private contractors and Cheneyburton are out there sweating the real work?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

too big to fail

If you were energy tycoon kind of bank$ter, and you wanted to make really sure you got the chance to rape and pillage the entire countryside, you just might want to create an investment bubble that ensured endless depredation.

Natural gas companies have been placing enormous bets on the wells they are drilling, saying they will deliver big profits and provide a vast new source of energy for the United States.

But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells.

In the e-mails, energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves. Many of these e-mails also suggest a view that is in stark contrast to more bullish public comments made by the industry, in much the same way that insiders have raised doubts about previous financial bubbles...

It worked for Wall Street once. It shouldn't be surprising they're trying it again with the assistance of the same kind of people we've come to associate with Cheneyburton. Who wants to argue with the needs of 'Merika in a time of War?

an error in critical thinking

...With the possible exception of Jon Huntsman, the Republican presidential field is weak on candidates who could appeal to centrist swing voters, including moderate Republicans. But there is one 2012 prospect who has a proven track record of pursuing policies that owe a great deal to the moderate Republican tradition and who could potentially shake up the race for the GOP presidential nomination: President Barack Obama.

If Obama chose to run for reelection not as a Democrat but as a moderate Republican, he could bring about two healthy transformations in the American political system. The moderate wing of the Republican Party could be restored. And the Democratic presidential nomination might be opened up to politicians from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...

It's too late, Mr. Lind. The moderate Republicans already own the DINOcratic Party.
(via Avedon)

it's not just stranger than you imagine

it's stranger than you can imagine

Saturday, June 25, 2011

who's on first?

What is this problem of which you speak?

Jedi Master Krugman can not understand why the Serious do not address the problems with their economic models when they keep on being wrong, the Fed doesn't see why they need to do anything because, you know, happy days are here again, and Petraeus Caesar wants you to know ending the Long War is not His idea.

Those who would rule us see no "dis" in dysfunctional, it works quite nicely for them, thank you, and suggest strongly you get with their program.

The Force has a strong influence on the weak minded, and if you apply enough of it, those who like to use it think almost anyone can be overcome.

When you are a just a hammer the world is your nail.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

succeeding right out of a job

Vivek Wadwa over at The Company Post:

Vivek Kundra’s resignation last week from his post as the nation’s Chief Information Officer is an ominous event.

Kundra’s goal was to set government data free via an expansive Internet effort called Data.gov, and encourage innovation with government-collected data through the Open Government Initiative. He had hoped to slash tens of billions of dollars from the government information technology (I.T.) budget by democratizing who and which types of companies can deliver I.T. solutions to the government...

The program was off to a great start, with hundreds of thousands of data sets becoming available, and entrepreneurs building thousands of innovative applications. Then the ill-considered race to slash the Federal deficit started. The Obama Administration agreed to cut e-government initiative funding from $35 million to $8 million. Never mind that Kundra’s programs had already saved taxpayers $3 billion over the past two years.

Not surprisingly, Kundra resigned...

We may live in the richest nation on Earth, but most government agencies and large corporations still process their mission-critical transactions on ’60s-era legacy systems that were designed for machines with less processing power than an iPhone. And they’re more expensive. The I.T. systems for these mainframes typically took years to build and cost millions of dollars — and that doesn’t include the hundreds of millions more we spend to maintain them.

Today, software developers can churn out more sophisticated applications for thousands – not millions – of dollars. So, while grandma flips through photo albums on her iPad and watches streaming videos from Netflix, our government relies on cumbersome web-based systems that function by tricking mainframes into thinking that they are connected to cathode ray tube (CRT) terminals.

The problem is catching very prominent attention. When President Obama could not get a late-model Blackberry, he complained that the U.S. government was 30 years behind when it comes to technology...

What Mr. Kundra was fighting is the Company Standard. I'm sure hundreds of thousands of those hundreds of millions spent on outdated systems run by private contractors (think Raytheon, think IBM) got funneled to the best lobbyists and Congresscritters money could buy, ensuring an Austerity encounter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

fairly unbalanced

what if you held a war and nobody came?

The war hawks are already wringing their wings.

WASHINGTON — On Afghanistan’s battlefields, the most significant effect of President Obama’s latest orders will be felt at this time next year, when as many as 23,000 American troops who would have been on missions at the peak of the summer fighting season will instead be packing for home.

Saving the lives of many American soldiers and Afghani civilians, doubtless.

...This will make it more difficult, if not impossible, for commanders to carry out one of the military’s major goals for next year.

Senior officers said their military campaign plan for 2012 envisioned building on security gains earned by troops who had already flowed into Afghanistan’s south and southwest, with plans to turn some of those areas over to local forces. This would have freed American troops to pivot toward the fight in the volatile east, along the vulnerable border with Pakistan...

You know, along the border with our enemy ally Pakistan.

The Pentagon- and all its contractors- envisioned a rolling Endless War Surge, while the Laureate makes a minor- but commendable- move towards what he actually got the Prize for (not to mention elected to do for us).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

shut up and enjoy it

Your Betters think you should be quiet:

...Beyond the desire to render democratic opinion irrelevant, there is another, more specific reason why war advocates so frequently insist that critics should "shut up": because the policies they are implementing are so ludicrous and indefensible and redound to the benefit of a tiny sliver of the population. They can't be sustained if there is debate and examination over them...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

geriatric gerrymandering

The Company has learned that if you are opposed by any powerful special interest group, the best way to eliminate the opposition is to simply take it over, one way or the other.

So if AARP puts up organized resistance to Wall Street's desire to own everyone's Social Security accounts, they know how to handle that.

looking for the fruited plain

It's not Democracy, religion, or revolutionary zeal driving the Arab spring biz, although you can bet there are Company handlers out there trying to make the best of it.

Try hunger on for size as a global motivation for unrest and insurrection.

Friday, June 17, 2011

useful idiots and war pigs in sheep's clothing

For your consideration, The Editors at The New York Pravda, and some of their columnists.

This tripe is designed to appeal to the NeoLibs and the DINOcrat Hawks. The military has to function with certain socialist tendencies, because they're the only way for people to work together. Corporations do the same thing, which does not mean Wall Street is anything but an aggregate of enterprising pirates.

Traditionally this has been okay to obtain the plunder and maintain the Empire even if the neo liberal hawks wince when you use that word outside the restroom.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

we haven't nuked 'em for their oil


The White House, pushing hard against criticism in Congress over the deepening air war in Libya, asserted Wednesday that President Obama had the authority to continue the military campaign without Congressional approval because American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities...

You can be sure full-blown hostilities are one of the cards on the table in the Company's economic plan for prosperity.

Theirs, of course.

if they didn't exist, someone would invent them

The Westboro Baptist Church evokes such an intense response, no one questions the real need to have poor kids die in a war for oil.

It's a perfect psychological operation.

"...there's no plates like chrome"

When the going gets weird, the weird look Presidential.

But it doesn't mean they have to talk about the real issues at all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lyndon Baines Obama

Except you can bet it's not remorse for the kids he's killed that might keep him from running.

Can you say "cash in your chips"?

I knew you could!

any doctrine can be doctored

The Reptilians are back, telling you our economic and social problems are the Divine gift of God.

Pay no attention to the righteous men behind the curtain.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

planned obsolesence

Looks like the Hope and Change express is running out of gas on the final stretch to 2012:

...Private-sector job growth, such as it is, will be undercut by continuing mass layoffs of public employees. Foreclosures, driven by joblessness and falling home prices, are expected to further depress property values. These factors — along with a faltering stock market — will constrain consumer spending. So it is folly to believe that the economy is ready to stand on its own, if not for passing setbacks. And yet that is the view from Washington.

Federal support for the economy is ending. The stimulus from 2009 is all but spent, while the payroll tax cut and extended federal jobless benefits from 2010 are set to expire at year’s end. Foreclosure relief is paltry. The Federal Reserve bond buying program, which has buoyed the stock market, is scheduled to end this month.

In addition, Republican lawmakers are demanding immediate spending cuts as a condition for raising the debt limit, and the White House is likely to accede. Deep reductions would further damage the economy.

Mr. Bernanke warned of the danger in sharp near-term budget cuts and proposed a sound alternative: avoiding big cuts now in favor of enacting a credible plan for deficit reduction to be rolled out gradually.

Of course, doing no harm will not be enough. The economy needs help, like direct federal job creation and options for homeowners to reduce the principal on troubled loans.

Even that won't make any difference as long as the bank$ters are calling the policy shots. The economic problem has pretty clear solutions economic laureates have been pointing out, and the Laureate-in-Chief has been carefully avoiding. For example, Dr. Krugman:

...On Tuesday, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, acknowledged the grimness of the economic picture but indicated that he will do nothing about it.

And debt relief for homeowners — which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery — has simply dropped off the agenda. The existing program for mortgage relief has been a bust, spending only a tiny fraction of the funds allocated, but there seems to be no interest in revamping and restarting the effort.

The situation is similar in Europe, but arguably even worse. In particular, the European Central Bank’s hard-money, anti-debt-relief rhetoric makes Mr. Bernanke sound like William Jennings Bryan.

What lies behind this trans-Atlantic policy paralysis? I’m increasingly convinced that it’s a response to interest-group pressure. Consciously or not, policy makers are catering almost exclusively to the interests of rentiers — those who derive lots of income from assets, who lent large sums of money in the past, often unwisely, but are now being protected from loss at everyone else’s expense.

Of course, that’s not the way what I call the Pain Caucus makes its case. Instead, the argument against helping the unemployed is framed in terms of economic risks: Do anything to create jobs and interest rates will soar, runaway inflation will break out, and so on. But these risks keep not materializing. Interest rates remain near historic lows, while inflation outside the price of oil — which is determined by world markets and events, not U.S. policy — remains low.

And against these hypothetical risks one must set the reality of an economy that remains deeply depressed, at great cost both to today’s workers and to our nation’s future. After all, how can we expect to prosper two decades from now when millions of young graduates are, in effect, being denied the chance to get started on their careers?

Ask for a coherent theory behind the abandonment of the unemployed and you won’t get an answer. Instead, members of the Pain Caucus seem to be making it up as they go along, inventing ever-changing rationales for their never-changing policy prescriptions.

While the ostensible reasons for inflicting pain keep changing, however, the policy prescriptions of the Pain Caucus all have one thing in common: They protect the interests of creditors, no matter the cost. Deficit spending could put the unemployed to work — but it might hurt the interests of existing bondholders. More aggressive action by the Fed could help boost us out of this slump — in fact, even Republican economists have argued that a bit of inflation might be exactly what the doctor ordered — but deflation, not inflation, serves the interests of creditors. And, of course, there’s fierce opposition to anything smacking of debt relief...

Fierce opposition from the electorate? Heavens, no. From the people that own the candidates? Absolutely, yes. There will be no Recovery until it's profitable for the Right Sort of people.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

rule of lawyers

Just like the War on Drugs, where the narcs are the biggest dealers:

...The underground world of computer hackers has been so thoroughly infiltrated in the US by the FBI and secret service that it is now riddled with paranoia and mistrust, with an estimated one in four hackers secretly informing on their peers, a Guardian investigation has established.

Cyber policing units have had such success in forcing online criminals to co-operate with their investigations through the threat of long prison sentences that they have managed to create an army of informants deep inside the hacking community.

In some cases, popular illegal forums used by cyber criminals as marketplaces for stolen identities and credit card numbers have been run by hacker turncoats acting as FBI moles. In others, undercover FBI agents posing as "carders" – hackers specialising in ID theft – have themselves taken over the management of crime forums, using the intelligence gathered to put dozens of people behind bars...

Sunday, June 05, 2011

if a tree falls and the main$tream won't report it

...to the main$tream it did not happen.

The Guardian's Pravda division interviews Arundhati Roy and doesn't care for what it finds:

...There is intense anger in the book, I say, implying that if she toned it down she might find a readier audience. "The anger is calibrated," she insists. "It's less than I actually feel." But even so, her critics call her shrill. "That word 'shrill' is reserved for any expression of feeling. It's all right for the establishment to be as shrill as it likes about annihilating people."

...Guerrillas use violence, generally directed against the police and army, but sometimes causing injury and death to civilians caught in the crossfire. Does she condemn that violence? "I don't condemn it any more," she says. "If you're an adivasi [tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation."

Her critics label her a Maoist sympathiser. Is she? "I am a Maoist sympathiser," she says. "I'm not a Maoist ideologue, because the communist movements in history have been just as destructive as capitalism. But right now, when the assault is on, I feel they are very much part of the resistance that I support."

Roy talks about the resistance as an "insurrection"; she makes India sound as if it's ripe for a Chinese or Russian-style revolution. So how come we in the west don't hear about these mini-wars? "I have been told quite openly by several correspondents of international newspapers," she says, "that they have instructions – 'No negative news from India' – because it's an investment destination. So you don't hear about it. But there is an insurrection, and it's not just a Maoist insurrection. Everywhere in the country, people are fighting." I find the suggestion that such an injunction exists – or that self-respecting journalists would accept it – ridiculous. Foreign reporting of India might well be lazy or myopic, but I don't believe it's corrupt...

Heavens no, especially when you're one of the foreigners reporting, and the people your news service sells advertising to are the very same ones who are trying to get people to invest in India and outsource their labor there.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

he can't Stand Tall when he's on the Down Low

Bernie speaks, you listen:

...Will the president remain strong in his demand that any deficit reduction agreement include an end to Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy? Will he really fight to eliminate corporate tax loopholes? Will he end the absurd policies which allow the rich and large corporations to avoid paying tens of billions in taxes by establishing phony addresses in off-shore tax havens? Or, as he has done within the last year, will he give Republicans almost everything they want at the expense of ordinary Americans...

The answers to that would be no, no,no and you betcha.

As Avedon says:

...why did Senator Obama rush back to Washington to save TARP from the oblivion it deserved? Why did he vote against a 30% cap on usury? Why did he start babbling nonsense about the "Social Security crisis"?

And why did President Obama work so hard to keep Single-Payer not just off the table but beneath mention? Why did he extend the Bush tax-shift? Why did he start the whole "we have to do something about entitlements" meme rushing through Washington as soon as he got into office? Why did he create the Catfood Commission?

Con men are genial and charming. The fact that they don't use a gun may make them seem more genteel than a street thug, but a street thug only takes what's in your pocket today. A con man usually cleans out your bank account.

And Obama and his friends are going even farther - they're taking your house, your pension, and your future.

...There is no "better president" option among any of the leading or likely contenders. They all, including Obama, believe in the same things and they are all a disaster.

Obama himself spoke highly of the Ryan plan.

Of course, they are all a disaster. They're all owned by the same people. And Chaos is the Plan.

like the K-T layer

Welcome to the Anthropocene.

...The geological signal will be clear from industrial-scale mining, damming, deforestation and agriculture, as well as the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere and nitrates in the oceans. Even the presence of the first human-produced chemicals like PCBs, radioactive fallout and the humble plastic bag could be measured millions of years hence.

...There have been seven epochs since the dinosaurs died out around 65m years ago. The last time we passed a geological boundary, entering the Holocene around 12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, we were an insignificant species, just one of a couple of hominids struggling to survive in a world where so many of our cousins, like Homo erectus, had failed to make it.

Now our effect on the climate and our fellow species is having a global impact. "The fossil record will reveal a massive loss of plant and animal species, and also the scale of invasive species – how we've distributed animals and plants across the globe..."

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

consensual austerity

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a measure to increase the government’s debt limit, acting on a vote staged by Republican leaders to pressure President Obama to agree to deep spending cuts...

On everything except the Defense Department, the ongoing finanical bailout, and tax break incentives for Those Who Rule.

Nobody's going to ask GE for their billions in rebates back.

Virtual Operation Northwoods

It just got a lot easier:

The Pentagon, trying to create a formal strategy to deter cyberattacks on the United States, plans to issue a new strategy soon declaring that a computer attack from a foreign nation can be considered an act of war that may result in a military response...

...The new military strategy, which emerged from several years of debate modeled on the 1950s effort in Washington to come up with a plan for deterring nuclear attacks, makes explicit that a cyberattack could be considered equivalent to a more traditional act of war...