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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

final solutions

If pythons and anacondas are destroying the Everglades ecosystem, why not just tell the good ol' boys they can shoot as many as they want for as long as they want. Maybe offer a few bucks bounty per square foot snakehide.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

not a money making enterprise

Dr. Krugman's beef is that the Republicans and the Democratic austerity crowd don't understand what money is. It is NOT gold buillion sitting in a vault. It's about as real as points in bowling- and the point is to score points, not sit on the ball.

That is, if the goal is to make points in the game and not change its nature completely.

even a stopped clock is right twice a day

Newt is a cynical hypocrite, and doubtless would use the space program as a cash cow for his cronies, like they've used the Osprey.

On the other hand, his rhetoric is correct on this.

Humanity has to expand itself off the surface of the planet if it wants to survive and evolve into something better. The essence of the problem is that real space exploration requires design and implementation of self-supporting independent colonization, which is a no-starter here on Earth.

On the other hand (and in the multiverse there's always another hand), with the track record of pushing aircraft that fall out the sky and pointless military bases even the Pentagon doesn't want, salamanders like Newt shouldn't be trusted when trying to unveil New Frontiers for pork.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

friendly takeovers

what Company needs to buy companies when they can get candidates relatively cheap right now?

what it was intended for

no surprises here

WASHINGTON -- Nearly a decade after Congress created the Department of Homeland Security to prevent other 9/11-style terrorist attacks, a bipartisan group of experts says it is time for the agency to shift its focus from foreign enemies to working with local governments and the private sector so it can secure the border and critical infrastructure from homegrown threats.

"The growth of our expectations of domestic security, and the evolution of threats away from traditional state actors toward non-state entities -- drug cartels, organized crime, and terrorism are prominent examples -- suggest that the DHS intelligence mission should be threat agnostic," said a report by the Aspen Homeland Security Group, which is co-chaired by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

"Though the impetus for creating this new agency, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, was clearly terrorism-based, the kinds of tools now deployed, from border security to cyber protection, are equally critical in fights against emerging adversaries,"' the report continued...

"Threat agnostic" means all you scofflaws out there.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Luna, beotches

Talk is cheap, Newton. Whiskey costs money.

class traitor

George Soros:

Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros told Reuters Global Editor-at-Large Chrystia Freeland that he still supported President Barack Obama, but predicted voters would not be very enthusiastic about the 2012 elections if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated by Republicans.

“Well, look, either you’ll have an extremist conservative, be it Gingrich or Santorum, in which case I think it will make a big difference which of the two comes in,” he said. “If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them.”

But he acknowledged that a major difference between Romney and Obama would be their potential Supreme Court nominations and their stance on taxation...

“I personally believe that when it comes to policy, you shouldn’t be pursuing self-interest, but the public interest. And I think that the income differentials are too wide and ought to be narrowed.”

After all, the intelligent predator protects its prey.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

planet of the heavily medicated

Someone at Pravda sooner or later is going to realize a lot of what's going on today is supposed to keep us from getting anywhere.

...According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders now affect 18 percent of the adult population of the United States, or about 40 million people. By comparison, mood disorders — depression and bipolar illness, primarily — affect 9.5 percent. That makes anxiety the most common psychiatric complaint by a wide margin, and one for which we are increasingly well-medicated. Last spring, the drug research firm IMS Health released its annual report on pharmaceutical use in the United States. The anti-anxiety drug alprazolam — better known by its brand name, Xanax — was the top psychiatric drug on the list, clocking in at 46.3 million prescriptions in 2010...

But said lotus-eaters are a good thing. It says so, right there on the label. After all, surely there is nothing for the right thinking to fear in the world we live in. We are assured.

After all, these aren't the 'droids you're looking for, trooper.

Still, one cannot help but wonder if the 46 million people had a chance to actually do something about their fears what might be different in the world.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

changing the color of lipstick on the pork

Filing off the misquote won't seriously effect the disinformation on the monument.

Does anyone seriously think that Martin Luther King wouldn't try to smash this damned thing to rubble himself, built by Team Xinhua prison slave labor?

planet of the chimps

Of course, it couldn't be the Cheneyburton/Xie faction of the CIA trying to start a hot war to tank the economy before the election.

When if they really wanted to hit these guys without making waves they could just Disappear 'em.

Heavens no. There couldn't be opposing factions within the spook community. No one would want to precipitate open war in an election year.

planet of the velociraptors

As a mad scientist, I am obligated to say it would be much more interesting to do this with a couple hundred African gray parrots and release them.

deep vision

Thursday, January 12, 2012

paying their fair share

The trio who founded private equity powerhouse Carlyle Group took home more than $400m in compensation last year, according to a regulatory filing...

...The three co-founders each received a base salary of $275,000, a bonus of $3.5m, and a $134m share of the firm's investment profits...

...Thanks to a longstanding tax break, payouts to private equity executives can be treated as a capital gain, taxed at a 15% rate, rather than income, typically taxed at 35%.

Monday, January 09, 2012

"War is a Racket"

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."
-retired United States Marine Corps Major General Smedley D. Butler.

The entire text here.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

let's you and him fight

It's the reason for all the dogwhistling.

Let's face it, if the poor whites and blacks are fighting each other, they're not fighting for economic justice for all.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

taking one from column a and two sides from column b

Avedon makes a nice summary of our $electoral options here in the land of the brave and the home of the free

...we're dealing with an age in which people who watch the news on TV and read the papers think they aren't low-information voters, even though they are actually being wildly misinformed. Those people don't spend a lot of time doing further research on who the misinformers are, where the money is coming from, what the connections are between, say, Ron Paul and the Koch brothers and the John Birch Society, or the funders of the Heritage Foundation and the funders of the Democratic Leadership Council/Third Way bunch that is allegedly to their left in the fantasy "center". It's been a long time since most of those people have even heard a real liberal argument on TV, either from pundit/operatives or from elective officials themselves. Most of them have no clue that virtually everything they are seeing and hearing is a right-wing argument for right-wing goals. In fact, if we are to believe Jay Ackroyd, it is quite possible that the President of the United States himself does not realize that the stuff that comes out of his own mouth is just a pack of right-wing lies made up to serve right-wing goals - and I'm sure Obama doesn't think of himself as a low-information voter.

Nevertheless, we have a situation in which it is fair to say that:

The Republicans and the Democrats want to reduce or eliminate your ability to get redress in court against corporations or employers who sell you poison, wreck your environment, or treat you like slaves, under the guise of "tort reform".
The Republicans and the Democrats want to bust unions so that wages can be driven down and workers rights can be a forgotten relic of a quaintly sentimental age that is no more than a nostalgic dream.
The Republicans and the Democrats want to reduce the number of ordinary employees of the federal government who try to make things work and then go out and spend their paychecks in the real economy.
The Republicans and the Democrats want to privatize our public health and unemployment insurance programs that will cease to be useful to the public but still cost us even more money while killing even more people from lack of affordability.
The Republicans and the Democrats want to essentially privatize the school system, again reducing the educational capabilities of the schools while costing taxpayers more money.
The Republicans and the Democrats want to restrict (or eliminate) the public's access to the internet as a multi-directional communication tool.

And the only discernable distinctions between the two parties seem to be that:

The Republicans want to eliminate reproductive choice for women, while the Democrats aver that they sympathize with the (alleged) feelings of anti-choice campaigners but don't actually care about the issue except where they think it will win or lose them votes, and maybe not even then, but they are certainly willing to bargain reproductive choice away as fast as they can if it will buy them some illusory victory on the political playing field as defined by Big Media pundits.
The Democrats think overt racism and homophobia are unseemly and the Republicans don't, but the Democrats will sell out their "minority" constituencies if they can do so covertly in order to buy them some illusory victory on the political playing field as defined by Big Media pundits.
The Republicans and the Democrats want to continue our wars abroad and our ruinous Israel-right-or-wrong policies - except for Ron Paul.
The Republicans and the Democrats want to continue a federal war on drugs which not only imposes its laws against the individual states against the wills of both the voters and the leaders in those states, but also against other countries who try to weaken or reconsider their own part in the drug war - except for Ron Paul, who, remarkably, seems to be the only major political figure who has even noticed its racist enforcement and ruinous effect on the black community.
The Republicans and the Democrats are happy with treating whistleblowers like terrorists while letting the criminals the whistle is blown on carry on their crimes, except for Ron Paul, who says Bradley Manning is a true patriot.
The Republicans and the Democrats were cool with the extension of the Patriot Act - except for Ron Paul.
The Republicans and the Democrats are happy to have the president simply decide to assassinate American citizens and the elimination of due process - except for Ron Paul...

Of course, Ron Paul is an obvious crackpot. But that's part of the learned helplessness propaganda behind the $election: you should think only a crackpot would be for stopping the endless war on Terra.

Of course, she realizes that.

...My beef is that it's unforgivable that Ron Paul, of all people, is the only person on the national stage who is making any case for what should be liberal positions, and indefensible that people who call themselves liberals or progressives persist in making excuses for the lack of such a case coming from Obama, and even the fact that he most often makes the case for the opposing positions.

And until we get some national voices making the case for the genuinely liberal approach to those issues - and being heard - we will be in big trouble, because the only person who even makes something that, on the surface, sounds a bit liberal, is a crazy and dangerous right-wing crackpot named Ron Paul.

Learned helplessness. It's a Company mind control trick. The Force has a strong influence on the weak minded.

Monday, January 02, 2012

the Vision thing doesn't change on New Year's Day

Krugman finds you can lead people to knowledge, but you can't make 'em think:

...misplaced focus said a lot about our political culture, in particular about how disconnected Congress is from the suffering of ordinary Americans. But it also revealed something else: when people in D.C. talk about deficits and debt, by and large they have no idea what they’re talking about — and the people who talk the most understand the least.

Perhaps most obviously, the economic “experts” on whom much of Congress relies have been repeatedly, utterly wrong about the short-run effects of budget deficits. People who get their economic analysis from the likes of the Heritage Foundation have been waiting ever since President Obama took office for budget deficits to send interest rates soaring. Any day now!

And while they’ve been waiting, those rates have dropped to historical lows. You might think that this would make politicians question their choice of experts — that is, you might think that if you didn’t know anything about our postmodern, fact-free politics.

But Washington isn’t just confused about the short run; it’s also confused about the long run. For while debt can be a problem, the way our politicians and pundits think about debt is all wrong...

The question remains, wrong for whom? The Austerian bank$ters are doing fine these days, thank you. Which is the 300 lb gorilla in the room we aren't talking about: Austerity to stabilize the banks who created the need for it in the first place.

Similarly, the Editors at the New York Pravda bemoan the Republican game plan on energy and jobs:

...The payroll tax cut bill, which Mr. Obama signed last month, gave him 60 days to decide on the Keystone XL pipeline. That is not enough time to complete the required environmental review of a project that, in its present design, crosses ecologically sensitive territory and risks polluting an aquifer critical to Midwestern water supplies.

The Republicans’ claim that the pipeline will create tens of thousands of new jobs — 20,000 according to House Speaker John Boehner and 100,000 according to Jon Huntsman — are wildly inflated. A more accurate forecast from the federal government, one with which TransCanada, the pipeline company, agrees, says the project would create 6,000 to 6,500 temporary construction jobs at best, for two years.

The country obviously needs more jobs. Mr. Obama needs to lay out the case that industry, with government help, can create hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs without incurring environmental risks — by upgrading old power plants to comply with environmental laws, retrofitting commercial and residential buildings that soak up nearly 40 percent of the country’s energy (and produce nearly 40 percent of its carbon emissions) and promoting growth in new industries like wind and solar power and advanced vehicles.

By even the most conservative estimates, the power plant upgrades required by the new rule governing mercury emissions are expected to create about 45,000 temporary construction jobs over the next five years, and as many as 8,000 permanent jobs as utilities install pollution control equipment. And while the projects are new and the numbers tentative, the Energy Department predicts that its loan guarantee programs could create more than 60,000 direct jobs in the solar and wind industries and in companies developing advanced batteries and other components for more fuel-efficient cars.

Much more needs to happen. Europe has encouraged the commercial development of carbon-reducing technologies with a robust mix of direct government investment and tax breaks, loans and laws that cap or tax greenhouse gas emissions. This country needs a comparably broad strategy that will create a pathway from the fossil fuels of today to the greener fuels of tomorrow.

We are under no illusions that such an appeal by Mr. Obama would win support among Republicans on Capitol Hill. House Republicans voted 191 times last year to undermine existing environmental protections or reject Democratic efforts to strengthen them — even killing off a modest regulation requiring more energy efficient light bulbs — and in general have vowed to resist new energy strategies or do anything at all that might disturb their patrons in the fossil fuel industries.

American voters are smart enough to see through the ridiculous pipeline gambit. And they will surely listen if Mr. Obama makes a compelling argument for both protecting the environment and investing in clean energy industries that will create lasting jobs.

All of this is attributed to shortsightedness. But that doesn't even begin to describe the real motivations.

White at McClatchy:

U.S. refineries exported a record amount of refined fuels in 2011 to markets in South America, Central America and Europe. It was one reason why Americans spent a record amount on gasoline this year: Supplies that might have helped lower prices here had been shipped abroad. In 2007, U.S. exports of all kinds of fuel held steady throughout the year at 1.24 million to 1.25 million barrels a day, according to Energy Department statistics. But by 2011, exports of diesel, gasoline and other products surged. In November and December, U.S. fuel exports averaged between 2.77 million barrels a day and 2.89 million barrels a day, the highest ever. Meanwhile, U.S. drivers paid an average of about $3.50 a gallon for gasoline during the year, also the highest ever. Nationally, the average cost for a gallon of regular Friday was $3.269, or 19.8 cents a gallon more than ever on a Dec. 30, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. The trend was predicted as early as last January, when two analysts with the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration delivered a presentation to the 2011 Argus Americas Crude Summit in Houston. Joanne Shore, lead operations research analyst at the Energy Information Administration, and colleague John Hackworth said that U.S. refineries had found thriving and lucrative markets overseas for their products, even as they were shutting down domestic facilities because of low demand...

That's "low demand" meaning "prices not high enough", and you can bet those margin differentials are not needed for investment in developing alternative sources of petrochemicals.

Which brings us back to an awkward Op-Ed by Whatcroft that the Pravda editors sank out of sight, and quickly.

...Unknown knowns were things that were not at all inevitable, and were easily knowable, or indeed known, but which people chose to “unknow.”

Unknown knowns were everywhere, from Wall Street to Brussels, from the Pentagon to Penn State. Ireland merely happened to offer an extreme case, where “everyone knew.” They just chose to forget that they knew — about the way that Irish banks ran wild, how easy credit fueled a monstrous explosion of property prices and speculative house-building. Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister at the time of the rapid economic growth, merely boasted, “The boom is getting boomier,” preferring to unknow the truth that booms always go bust.

Beginning in 2008, the skies were lighted up by financial conflagrations, from Lehman Brothers to the Royal Bank of Scotland. These were dramatic enough — but were they unforeseeable or unknowable? What kind of willful obtusity ever suggested that subprime mortgages were a good idea? An intelligent child would have known that there is no good time to lend money to people who obviously can never repay it.

Or recall how we were taken into the Iraq war. That was the origin of Mr. Rumsfeld’s curious words 10 years ago. When he murmured about “things we do not know we don’t know,” he was touching on the unconventional weapons that Saddam Hussein might — or might not — have held.

In a sense, Mr. Rumsfeld was more right than he realized. Those of us who opposed the war may be asked to this day whether we knew what weaponry Iraq possessed, to which the answer is that of course we didn’t. Nor, as it transpired, did President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld or Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.

But that was the wrong question. It should have been not “what weaponry does Saddam Hussein possess?” but “Is Saddam Hussein’s weaponry, whatever it may be, the real reason for the war, or is it a pretext confected after a decision for war had already been taken?” The answer to that was obvious and could have been known to all, but too many people chose to unknow it.

Then there was another unknown known: the likely consequences of an invasion. Shortly before it began, Mr. Blair met President Jacques Chirac of France. As well as reiterating his opposition to the coming war, Mr. Chirac offered the prime minister specific warnings. Mr. Blair and his friends in Washington seemed to think that they would be welcomed with open arms in Iraq, Mr. Chirac said, but that they shouldn’t count on it. It was foolish to think of creating a modern democracy in an artificial country with a divided society like Iraq. And Mr. Chirac asked whether Mr. Blair realized that, by invading Iraq, they might yet precipitate a civil war.

This has been described in a BBC documentary by someone present, Sir Stephen Wall, a Foreign Office man then attached to Downing Street. As the British team was leaving, Mr. Blair turned and said, “Poor old Jacques, he just doesn’t get it,” to which Sir Stephen now adds dryly that he turned out to get it rather better than “we” did...

Sir Stephen, have you looked at how much money guys like Cheney made on the War on Terra and Iraq in particular? Perhaps the only ones not getting it are Sir Stephen and the Editors at The New York Pravda. But one suspects they are also heavily invested in the illusions they reflect.