Tuesday, January 27, 2015

nafeez ahmed: how the cia made goo-gol


medium |  In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to “fuel hatred and violence” in situations considered “appropriate.” Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.

What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.
There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. 

If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.
As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.

Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.
The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.  Fist tap Dale.

why the guardian axed nafeez ahmed's blog


jonathan-cook |  Why is writing about Israel so difficult at the Guardian? There are several reasons.

The first, as I have regularly observed in my blog, is related to the general structure of the corporate media system, including the Guardian. It is designed to exclude almost all deeply critical voices, those that might encourage readers to question the ideological basis of the western societies in which they live and alert them to the true role of the corporations that run those societies and their media.
Israel, as an intimate ally of the US, is therefore protected from profoundly critical scrutiny, much as the US and its western allies are. It is okay to criticise individual western policies as flawed, especially if done so respectfully, but not to suggest that the whole direction of western foreign policy is flawed, that it is intended to maintain a system of control over, and exploitation of, weaker nations. Policies can be dubious, but not our leaders’ moral character.

The problem with Israel is that its place in the global order – alongside the US – depends on it being a very sophisticated gun for hire. It keeps order and disorder in the Middle East at Washington’s behest and in return it gets to plunder the Palestinian territories and ethnically cleanse the native population. It’s a simple story but not one you can state anywhere in the mainstream because it questions not just a policy (the occupation) but Israel’s very nature and role as a colonial settler state.

Beyond this, however, special factors pertain in the Guardian’s case. As Ahmed notes, in part this is related to the Guardian’s pivotal role in bringing to fruition the ultimate colonial document, the Balfour Declaration. For this reason, the Guardian has always had a strong following among liberal Jews, and that is reflected in its selection of staff at senior ranks.

In this sense, the editorial “mood” at the Guardian resembles that of an indulgent parent towards a wayward grown-up child. Yes, Israel does some very bad things (the occupation) but, for all its faults, its heart is in the right place (as a Jewish, colonial settler state practising apartheid).

dayyum brah..., petraeus a partner at KKR, you a partner in cellblock D at leavenworth...,


NYTimes |  Jeffrey A. Sterling, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, was convicted of espionage Monday on charges that he told a reporter for The New York Times about a secret operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.

The conviction is a significant victory for the Obama administration, which has conducted an unprecedented crackdown on officials who speak to journalists about security matters without the administration’s approval. Prosecutors prevailed after a yearslong fight in which the reporter, James Risen, refused to identify his sources.

The case revolved around a C.I.A. operation in which a former Russian scientist provided Iran with intentionally flawed nuclear component schematics. Mr. Risen revealed the operation in his 2006 book, “State of War,” describing it as a mismanaged, potentially reckless mission that may have inadvertently aided the Iranian nuclear program.

On the third day of deliberations, the jury in federal court in Alexandria, Va., convicted Mr. Sterling on nine felony counts. Mr. Sterling, who worked for the C.I.A. from 1993 to 2002 and now lives in O’Fallon, Mo., faces a maximum possible sentence of decades in prison, though the actual sentence is likely to be far shorter. Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of Federal District Court, who presided over the weeklong trial, allowed Mr. Sterling to remain free on bond and set sentencing for April 24.

the hon.bro.preznit that only conservatards can see?


csnnews |  Conservative talk-radio host and best-selling author Mark Levin said the “stench” of the 1930s, referencing the appeasement policies of Neville Chamberlain and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, was surfacing in the United States today, and President Barack Obama’s actions display “all the signals of an anti-Semite.”

Levin further said, “this president’s anti-Semitism is what’s catching on” across America’s college campuses, across the intellectual landscape, and in some segments of Congress.

“I’m going to tell you something and it’s going to be very uncomfortable,” said Levin on his Jan. 23 nationally syndicated radio program.  “I don’t care how many wealthy Jews Obama surrounds himself with, I don’t care how many wealthy Jews contribute to his campaign.”

“This man has all the signals of an anti-Semite,” said Levin, who is Jewish. “And I’m not going to take that word back. I believe this in my heart and my soul. It’s not about Israel, it’s about what’s in Israel.”

skin in the game and eugenics...,


yaledailynews |  Yalies receiving financial aid are the recipients of something extraordinary, something unavailable to nearly anyone even a generation ago: a nearly free education. Yet that last word — nearly — is the operative one. Upperclassmen, even those on full financial aid, still have to pay this University $6,400 a year in “student effort,” factoring in both the term-time “self-help” and summer contribution (freshmen, meanwhile, pay $4,475). This means that anyone on financial aid will have to pay Yale $23,675 over their four years here — the equivalent of a brand new Chevy Camaro.

Does Yale need this money? According to the admissions office, roughly 50 percent of undergraduates are on financial aid. Thus, Yale raises approximately $16 million from the student effort. To put this in perspective, that number accounts for less than four-tenths of 1 percent of the amount the endowment increased last year alone.

In other words, the student effort is virtually meaningless to Yale, from a financial standpoint. For students, though, it presents a considerable hardship. Students who need to work have less opportunity to join more demanding, supposedly “prestigious” extracurriculars that can help land internships or jobs. In a YCC survey, more than half of respondents on financial aid reported that the student effort requirement limited their potential summer opportunities. Fifty-six percent of students reported “having to tap into family income and/or family savings to cover part of the student income contribution” — this, in spite of the fact that Yale eliminated the family contribution a decade ago. The YCC sent this report to the administration; they know these facts.

So, why keep student effort? The phrase used over and over again in justifying the existence of the student contribution is that students on financial aid should have “skin in the game.” As in, they should have a financial stake — even a small one — in their education.

There is a word for this argument: eugenic. This argument is predicated on the unstated assumption that rich kids deserve their easier lives, that they deserve to be at Yale more. This argument demands that poorer kids work because that is what poorer kids are supposed to do, while richer kids get a free pass. Even the vocabulary of “self-help” and “student effort” is stunningly paternalistic.  Fist tap Big Don.

social welfare for citizens is healthier than sovereign subsidization of banksters...,



Monday, January 26, 2015

if you forget how to live, what exactly are those benefits again?


ICH |  Here's one example of an experiment that is happening all around you, and may well happen to you one day. If you get run over today and you break your hip, you will probably be given diamorphine, the medical name for heroin. In the hospital around you, there will be plenty of people also given heroin for long periods, for pain relief. The heroin you will get from the doctor will have a much higher purity and potency than the heroin being used by street-addicts, who have to buy from criminals who adulterate it. So if the old theory of addiction is right -- it's the drugs that cause it; they make your body need them -- then it's obvious what should happen. Loads of people should leave the hospital and try to score smack on the streets to meet their habit.

But here's the strange thing: It virtually never happens. As the Canadian doctor Gabor Mate was the first to explain to me, medical users just stop, despite months of use. The same drug, used for the same length of time, turns street-users into desperate addicts and leaves medical patients unaffected.

If you still believe -- as I used to -- that addiction is caused by chemical hooks, this makes no sense. But if you believe Bruce Alexander's theory, the picture falls into place. The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to. The medical patient is like the rats in the second cage. She is going home to a life where she is surrounded by the people she loves. The drug is the same, but the environment is different.

This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It's how we get our satisfaction. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find -- the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about 'addiction' altogether, and instead call it 'bonding.' A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

Autonomous Meaning REDUX originally posted 7/17/08

Extract from William Pensinger's Strategic Assessment Part 10.
I do not consider the essential quandary in the existing global circumstance a mere matter of whether or not Al Qaeda and Associates is going to win “the clash of civilizations”; much, much more is involved in the prevailing historical conjuncture than simply one take on coercive imposition of planetary monoculture prevailing over another such take. But people don't see it; and not seeing it, they cannot see what AQ & A is actually all about; and not seeing what AQ & A is all about, they cannot comprehend its self-organizational initiative; and not cognizing the organizational dynamic, they cannot see how “what AQ & A is actually all about” regressively embodies very large issues the human species is fatally foundering upon. And these non-comprehenders, because of their inability to comprehend, regard such usage as “fatally” in “fatally foundering” as hysterical exaggeration. The human species is not, repeat not, they insist, launched upon a collective and cooperative martyrdom operation modeled upon lemming behavior, no matter what ecologists like Peter Turchin might think. Hah! What else could the editorial exemplars of normotic illness at The Economist possibly conclude? Aye, open up, that yon of yours, and you find… nowt! Bloomin' mercy, it's beginning to notice! And it will soon be all! Nothing is the number when you die! The “why” of their non-comprehension is firstly, even predominantly, a matter of psychological ineptitude, most especially introspective incompetence. An incompetence with consequences. They do not believe that everything is connected to everything else. In spite of the unconscious being infinite sets, they do not believe in Germanic, indeed Hegelian, notions like superintegration and overdetermination. They believe that reality is as fragmented as their inner state, as are their perceptions and proprioceptions, as is the knowledge base -- and that “the mechanism of meaning” and “history as force” (vector sums of Newtonian force-structures) verify, and will continue to verify, truth-value validity of the involved “identitarian” 1T2 outside-inside isomorphism. And they make judgments based on cultivation of this tacitly held imputed schematic isomorphism. Such reliance on mere sculpture! In spite of the haptification of space and the concretion of time.

self-fulfilling diagnosis of normotic illness? REDUX originally posted 1/12/10

ScientificAmerican | California scientists have discovered clusters of autism, largely in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, where children are twice as likely to have autism as children in surrounding areas.

The 10 clusters were found mostly among children with highly educated parents, leading researchers to report that they probably can be explained by better access to medical experts who diagnose the disorder.

Because of the strong link to education, the researchers from University of California at Davis said the new findings do not point to a localized source of pollution, such as an industry, near the clusters.

“I suspect access to services plays the major role,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, senior author of the study published Tuesday in the journal Autism Research.

She added, however, that there could be other reasons why higher-educated parents lead to more autism. Environmental exposures, such as chemicals from consumer products, could be more common in those households, she said.

“Certainly there may be some consumer products to which more educated persons are more likely to be exposed. There is undoubtedly a possibility of higher exposures in the more educated,” said Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of public health sciences and an autism expert at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the birth records of about 2.5 million babies born in California between 1996 and 2000. Nearly 10,000 were later diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Autism is a neurological disorder involving impaired social development and communication skills. Experts believe that it is caused during pregnancy or early infancy since symptoms often arise by age two or three.

The new research is the first time that anyone has looked for geographic areas with high incidence, or clusters, of autism, according to lead author Karla Van Meter, an epidemiologist.

The 10 clusters were located in: the Torrance, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys and Calabasas areas of Los Angeles County; the Laguna Beach/Mission Viejo area of Orange County; the La Jolla/Del Mar area of San Diego County; San Francisco; the Sunnyvale/Santa Clara area; the Redwood City area; and Fresno. Two other possible clusters were also found in the Norwalk/Cerritos area of Los Angeles County and the Modesto area.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

gray state the rise


activistpost |  This is the raw, uncut an unfinished version of Gray State: The Rise. One upload made, possibly by the original uploader, was then removed out of respect for family and contributors. A news story makes it clear that Crowley was on the brink of releasing the final version a few weeks from December 17th which might be the last time anyone had contact with him. It is unclear if the world will ever see that version. Since the video of his project is publicly available, we have posted one below. Two other upload sources for it are here and here.

The content centers on the ruling elite, government corruption, deliberate economic devastation, police state tactics - militarization of police and brutalization, problem-reaction-solution, mass indoctrination/propaganda, all forms of surveillance, counterterrorism, left/right political paradigms, individualism, communism, cognitive dissonance, military and war.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

aawww.., lack of game recognize lack of game in the comments section...,



theatlantic |  Last month, an improbable Internet exchange inspired many who noticed it to reconsider what's possible when debating politics online. It began when MIT professor Scott Aaronson published a blog post on a sexual harassment controversy. A predictably heated argument ensued in the comments section. Then, 171 comments into the thread, Aaronson achieved a breakthrough: He posted a reply so personal, vulnerable and powerful that it transformed the character of the conversation. And all sides emerged better able to see one another's humanity.

The comment that begat this small Internet miracle wasn't perfect. Neither were the responses to it–as ever online, some needless cruelty and lack of charity followed.

But Aaronson and his interlocutors did transform an obscure, not-particularly-edifying debate into a broad, widely read conversation that encompassed more earnest, productive, revelatory perspectives than I'd have thought possible. The conversation has already captivated a corner of the Internet, but deserves wider attention, both as a model of public discourse and a window into the human experience. It began with the most personal thing that the professor had ever publicly shared.

but do you have to destroy the lectures, problem sets, solutions, and structured materials too?


insidehighered |  Walter H.G. Lewin’s debut as a massive open online course instructor was announced with some fanfare: “Afraid of physics?” a press release asked in January 2013. “Do you hate it? Walter Lewin will make you love physics whether you like it or not.”

That made his MOOCs a good fit for Faïza Harbi, 32, a private English tutor living in Montpellier, France. Harbi spoke openly to Inside Higher Ed but asked that her maiden name be used. She said she decided to take a physics course after struggling with the subject in high school. She was not familiar with the rock star professor, whose more than four decades at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, innovative and hugely popular video lectures and hundreds of scholarly articles had earned him international acclaim.

To connect with other learners in the MOOC, Harbi searched Facebook for groups dedicated to the course but found none, so she created one herself. On Nov. 24, 2013, someone with the profile name Walter Lewin requested to join the group. Believing it to be a parody account, Harbi approved the request and asked for proof. Within minutes, she received an email with a screenshot of her Progress page -- a tool only individual learners and their edX instructor can access (MIT's MOOCs are offered through edX).

Harbi said she was surprised -- not just by the fact that she was communicating with the real Walter Lewin, but also that she was doing well in the course. She takes medications for anxiety and depression, which she told Lewin makes it difficult for her to concentrate. Lewin, Harbi said, told her he would help her regain some self-confidence.

It would take almost a year before Harbi, with the help of MIT’s investigators, said she came to understand that Lewin’s interest in her was not motivated by empathy, and that their first conversations included inappropriate language. Shortly after contacting her, Harbi said, Lewin quickly moved their friendship into uncomfortable territory, and she was pushed to participate in online sexual role-playing and send naked pictures and videos of herself. After about 10 months, Harbi said, she resumed self-mutilating after seven years of not doing so.

The harassment, however, “started day one,” Harbi said. Eventually, she said she discovered she was one of many women, which MIT confirmed.

how those who teach, criticize, and caretake view musical chairs on the deck of the titanic...,


theatlantic |  I’m uncomfortable with any culture that encourages you take on an entire identity, rather than to express a facet of your own identity ("maker," rather than "someone who makes things"). But I have much deeper concerns.

An identity built around making things—of being “a maker”—pervades technology culture. There’s a widespread idea that “People who make things are simply different [read: better] than those who don’t.”

I understand where the motivation for this comes from. Creators, rightly, take pride in creation. In her book The Real World of Technology, the metallurgist Ursula Franklin contrasts prescriptive technologies, where many individuals produce components of the whole (think about Adam Smith’s pin factory), with holistic technologies, where the creator controls and understands the process from start to finish. As well as teaching my own engineering courses, I’m a studio instructor for a first-year engineering course, in which our students do design and fabrication, many of them for the first time. Making things is incredibly important, especially for groups that previously haven’t had access. When I was asked by the Boston-based Science Club for Girls to write a letter to my teenaged self (as a proxy for young girls everywhere), that’s exactly what I wrote about.

Making is not a rebel movement, scrappy individuals going up against the system. While the shift might be from the corporate to the individual (supported, mind, by a different set of companies selling a different set of things), it mostly re-inscribes familiar values, in slightly different form: that artifacts are important, and people are not.

It’s not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with making (although it’s not all that clear that the world needs more stuff). The problem is the idea that the alternative to making is usually not doing nothing—it’s almost always doing things for and with other people, from the barista to the Facebook community moderator to the social worker to the surgeon. Describing oneself as a maker—regardless of what one actually or mostly does—is a way of accruing to oneself the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products.

bubble-ology from fracking to student loans, or, "they majored in liberal arts and they're lazy liberal f__ks on top of that...,"


wikipedia |  The higher education bubble is a hypothesis that there is a speculative boom and bust phenomenon in the field of higher education, particularly in the United States, and that there is the risk of an economic bubble in higher education that could have repercussions in the broader economy. Enrollment at more than 40 percent of private colleges and universities declined during 2012, forcing the institutions to offer steep tuition discounts to fill seats.[1] President Obama nearly doubled the federal Pell Grant Program, from $19 billion in 2009 to $36 billion for 2013.[2]

According to the theory, while college tuition payments are rising, the rate of return of a college degree is decreasing,[3] and the soundness of the student loan industry may be threatened by increasing default rates.[4] College students who fail to find employment at the level needed to pay back their loans in a reasonable amount of time have been compared to the debtors under sub-prime mortgages whose homes are worth less than what is owed to the bank.[5]

Friday, January 23, 2015

can't forget kuntsler's recent take on this either


Clusterfuck Nation | Events are moving faster than brains now. Isn’t it marvelous that gasoline at the pump is a buck cheaper than it was a year ago? A lot of short-sighted idiots are celebrating, unaware that the low oil price is destroying the capacity to deliver future oil at any price. The shale oil wells in North Dakota and Texas, the Tar Sand operations of Alberta, and the deep-water rigs here and abroad just don’t pencil-out economically at $45-a-barrel. So the shale oil wells that are up-and-running will produce for a year and there will be no new ones drilled when they peter out — which is at least 50 percent the first year and all gone after four years.
Anyway, the financial structure of the shale play was suicidal from the get-go. You finance the drilling and fracking with high-yield “junk bonds,” that is, money borrowed from “investors.” You drill like mad and you produce a lot of oil, but even at $105-a-barrel you can’t make profit, meaning you can’t really pay back the investors who loaned you all that money, a lot of it obtained via Too Big To Fail bank carry-trades, levered-up on ”margin,” which allowed said investors to pretend they were risking more money than they had. And then all those levered-up investments — i.e. bets — get hedged in a ghostly underworld of unregulated derivatives contracts that pretend to act as insurance against bad bets with funny money, but in reality can never pay out because the money is not there (and never was.) And then come the margin calls. Uh Oh….
In short, enjoy the $2.50-a-gallon fill-ups while you can, grasshoppers, because when the current crop of fast-depleting shale oil wells dries up, that will be all she wrote. When all those bonds held up on their skyhook derivative hedges go south, there will be no more financing available for the entire shale oil project. No more high-yield bonds will be issued because the previous issues defaulted. Very few new wells (if any) will be drilled. American oil production will not return to its secondary highs (after the 1970 all-time high) of 2014-15. The wish of American energy independence will be steaming over the horizon on the garbage barge of broken promises. And all, that, of course, is only one part of the story, because there is the social and political fallout to follow.
The table is set for the banquet of consequences. The next chapter in the oil story is more likely to be scarcity rather than just a boomerang back to higher prices. The tipping point for that will come with the inevitable destabilizing of Saudi Arabia, which I believe will happen this year when King Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz, 91, son of Ibn Saud, departs his intensive care throne for the gloriousJannah of virgins and feasts. Speaking of feasts, just imagine how the Islamic State (or ISIS) must be licking its chops at the prospect of sweeping over an Arabia no longer defined as Saudi! The Saudis are so spooked that they announced plans last week for a kind of super Berlin-type wall to be constructed along the northern border with Iraq. But that brings to mind a laughable Maginot Line scenario in which the masked invaders just make an end run around the darn thing. In any case, Saudi Arabia will already be disintegrating internally as competing clans and princes vie for control. And then, what will the US do? Rush in there shock-and-awe style? Bust up the joint? That’ll make things better, won’t it? (See American Sniper.)

things 'bout to get real in the kingdom


Global Guerrillas | Last week I wrote that ISIS would attack Saudi Arabia this spring.  This week the opportunity to attack with a high likelihood of success arrived: The King of Saudi Arabia died today.  Unfortunately for the Saudi's, King Abdulla died before his Kingdom's gambit to gain control of ISIS paid off.   Here's what they were trying to do but failed to pull off in time:  
  • Saudi Arabia has been pumping oil like crazy to drive the price of oil down.  It worked.  Prices dropped.  Lower oil prices are undercuting the funding ISIS gets from its illicit oil sales across the region.
  • Given time, the Saudis believed that this reduction in funding from oil sales would eventually force ISIS to approach Saudi Arabia for financial support.  When it did ask for financial help, the Kingdom would be able to gain the leverage necessary to neutralize the threat it posed (as it did with al Qaeda decades earlier).  
  • Needless to say, this gambit didn't work.  ISIS proved much more resilient financially than al Qaeda and other non-state groups are.  ISIS has many, many more sources of income than donations from sympathisers and oil sales.

shut 'em down before the markets go boom!



oilprice.com | U.S. oil and gas rig counts dropped to their lowest level in over four years, falling by an additional 74 units for the week ending on January 16. The lower count provides fresh evidence that low oil prices are forcing drillers to pare back operations and slash spending.
While that may soon begin to cut into actual production figures, a new Wood Mackenzie report finds a lot of nuance in the oil patch, painting a complex picture of what to expect in 2015. The report identifies several trends beyond the simple narrative that low prices will force a cutback in drilling.
First, Wood Mackenzie estimates that at $40 per barrel, many producing wells could be shut in. In fact, about 1.5 million barrels per day of production would be “cash negative” – meaning it wouldn’t even make sense to continue pumping at the most marginal wells, which tend to have extremely low-output. These “stripper wells,” which only produce 15 barrels of oil per day or less, have high costs given their level of production.
Wells producing such a tiny flow of oil may seem like a non issue, but with hundreds of thousands of them dotting the country, they collectively account for about one-tenth of the nation’s production. As these wells become unprofitable, production should start declining.
Elsewhere, larger projects face a complicating set of factors that could slow drilling, but not as fast as some think. That’s because slowing activity is also pushing down the rental rates that drillers pay for rigs. With weak demand, drillers can negotiate down rig prices. This leads to lower costs, helping drillers stay in the game.
Another interesting twist occurring from lower oil prices is the fact that the economics of natural gas production have been relatively enhanced. To be sure, natural gas prices are also low, but over the last several years, the revenues generated from a barrel of oil were so much greater than the equivalent form of energy in natural gas. That pushed companies to focus on wet gas and oil.
For the equivalent amount of energy, natural gas priced at $3 per MMBtu is equal to about $17 to $20 per barrel of oil. That is still significantly lower than the $50 oil is trading for now, but the disparity is not nearly as severe as when oil was trading for $100.

neighborhood looking unfriendly for the kingdom



BBC News | Less than 48 hours had passed after the latest agreement between the Houthi rebel movement and the Yemeni government, and the ground had shifted once again.
The resignations of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, newly-appointed Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, and the entire cabinet were quickly followed by reports that the parliament had rejected their requests.
Given Yemen's mercurial political playing field, another new configuration could be just around the corner.
The tension from four days of fighting and negotiation between the rebels and Yemeni security forces seemed to have reached a resting point, with President Hadi and Houthi leaders reaching an agreement on Wednesday.
That agreement essentially saw Mr Hadi capitulate to rebels' demands in exchange for a ceasefire, release of a kidnapped presidential adviser, and the withdrawal of rebel forces from some key positions in Sanaa.
Yet a day later, the presidential adviser had not been released and rebels still surrounded the presidential palace and Mr Hadi's private residence.
Empty promises
Judging from their mass resignation, Mr Hadi and his government decided that operating under the rebels' thumb was untenable and found little reason to believe the Houthis would ever fulfil their end of the bargain.
Either they have given up entirely, or they are now playing their strongest card.
The Zaidi Shia movement, whose traditional stronghold is the northern province of Saada, led massive anti-government rallies over the summer and then suddenly infiltrated the capital with its heavily-armed militia and tribal supporters, taking de-facto control Sanaa by mid-September.
The government, political parties, and the Houthi movement signed the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA) on 21 September, but it has largely gone unimplemented.

endgame: 2015 will reveal why these overseers are being treated with kidgloves...,


cluborlov |  The US is making a desperate attempt to knock over a petro-state or two or three before its shale oil runs out, with the Canadians, their tar sands now unprofitable, hitching a ride on its coat-tails, because if this attempt doesn't work, then it's lights out for the empire. But none of their recent gambits have worked. This is the winter of imperial discontent, and the empire is has been reduced to pulling pathetic little stunts that would be quite funny if they weren't also sinister and sad. Take, for instance, the words spoken by the US State Department's remote-controlled Ukrainian prime minister Yatsenyuk in Berlin recently: it turns out that the USSR invaded Nazi Germany, not the other way around! We are coming up on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany; and so there is no better time to do—what exactly? The Russians are confused. But the Germans took this howler on board and stayed mum, so score one for the empire!

Or take the Charlie Hebdo psy-ops in Paris, which, for anyone paying attention, was eerily reminiscent of the Boston Marathon bombing almost two years ago. Boston still hasn't got rid of all of the idiotic “Boston strong” stickers (no, Boston was not destroyed by a few firecrackers and a few amputee actors bursting bags of fake blood to pretend that they just had a leg blown off). And now Paris is festooned with eerily similar "I am Charlie" stickers. Killing a handful of innocents is, of course, standard procedure: few real atrocities help render the “conspiracy theory” version of the events unthinkable for anyone under imperial mind control because, you see “They are the good guys” and “good guys” don't do such things. But that mind control is slipping away, and even some national leaders—such as Turkey's Erdogan—publicly declared that the event had been staged. Also similarly, the supposed perpetrators were summarily executed by the police before anyone could find out anything about them. It's become quite clear by now that such events are being cooked up by the same bunch of not-terribly-creative hacks. They seem to be recycling the PowerPoints: delete Boston; insert Paris. But the French have defended their right to insult Moslems (and Christians) with impunity (but these rights are sure to be taken away when nobody is looking)—but not the inexplicably important Jews or gays, mind you, because that will get you a prison term. Score another one for the empire!

Or take last year's shoot-down of Malaysia's flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine. The western public officials and press instantaneously blamed "Putin-supported rebels" with the shoot-down. When the results of the ensuing investigation lead to a different conclusion, they were made secret. But now the Russians have a Ukrainian defector in witness protection who has identified the Ukrainian pilot who shot down the airliner, using an air-to-air missile fired from a fighter jet. Since the rebels have no air force, an air-to-air missile was an unusual bit of ordnance for the Ukrainians, and was clearly loaded up just for this occasion. So we know who, how, and why; the only remaining question is, for whom; bets are, the hit was ordered from Washington. This was big news in Russia, but western media has self-censored the story out of existence and, whenever the topic is mentioned, continues to repeat the "Putin did it" mantra, so... score another one for empire!

But a bunch of deluded people muttering to themselves in a dark corner, while the rest of the world points at them and laughs, does not an empire make. With this level of performance, I would venture to guess that nothing the empire tries from here on will work to its satisfaction.

Saudi Arabia is generally displeased with the US, because the US has been failing at its job of policing the neighborhood and generally keeping a lid on things. Afghanistan is reverting to Talebanistan, Iraq has ceded territory to ISIS and now only controls the territory of the bronze age kingdoms of Akkad and Sumer, Libya is in a state of civil war, Egypt has been “democratized” into a military dictatorship, Turkey (a NATO member and a EU candidate member) is now trading primarily with Russia, the mission to topple Syria's Assad is in shambles, the US “partners” in Yemen have just been overthrown by Shiite militiamen, and now there is ISIS, initially organized and trained by the US, threatening to destroy the House of Saud. Add to that that the US-Saudi joint venture to destabilize Russia by formenting terrorism in Northern Caucasus has completely failed. It couldn't organize even a single terrorist action to disrupt the Sochi Olympics. (Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar bin Sultan lost his job over that fiasco.) And so the Saudis are pumping flat out not so much to help the US as for other, more obvious reasons: to drive out high-priced producers (US included) and to maintain their market share. They are also sitting on a stockpile of US dollars, which they want to put to good use while they are still worth something.

rule of law: the brother minister overstands space and time to school contemporary negroes...,


rule of law: humanizing and explaining overseer loehmann - there will be no consequences in cleveland...,


NYTimes |  Officer Garmback, 46, who had joined the force in 2008, was at a nearby church when the call came. With him was his partner, Officer Loehmann, 26, hired just eight months before.

Officer Loehmann had grown up in Parma, a largely white suburb of Cleveland, but he commuted 30 minutes to an all-male, Roman Catholic high school on the city’s east side, Benedictine, where many of the students were minorities.

People who knew Officer Loehmann there recalled him as quiet and serious, active in the band and the German Club. The Rev. Gerard Gonda, the school’s president, said Mr. Loehmann had a solid record at Benedictine, where as a junior he was in Father Gonda’s theology class. “He had a very low-key personality, and I would say kind of a gentle personality,” Father Gonda said.

The Rev. Anselm Zupka, who taught Officer Loehmann at Benedictine and was also his confirmation sponsor at his local parish, said “Timmy” had embraced his Catholicism to an extent that Father Zupka suggested to him that he might want to enter the monastery.

But the teenager had other ideas. “He was always interested in police work, because that’s what his father did,” Father Gonda said.

Officer Loehmann had long wanted to emulate his father, Frederic, who served in the New York Police Department for 20 years before becoming a federal marshal. So in 2011, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and sociology from Cleveland State University, according to his personnel file, and the next year, he went to work for the police in Independence, Ohio.

But there, according to police records, he had emotional problems related to a girlfriend. At a shooting range, he was “distracted and weepy,” a supervisor said. One of his supervisors concluded that Officer Loehmann “would not be able to substantially cope, or make good decisions,” during stressful situations. After six months, the department allowed him to resign.

rule of law: no consequences for extrajudicial murder by former overseer wilson in ferguson


NYTimes |  Mr. Holder said that the Justice Department’s investigation into Mr. Brown’s death would be independent from the one conducted by the local authorities. While the F.B.I. and local officials conducted some interviews together and shared evidence, the analysis and decision-making were separate. Mr. Holder resisted calls from local officials to announce his conclusion alongside the county prosecutor last year, in part because he did not want it to appear as if they had reached their decisions together.

Federal investigators interviewed more than 200 people and analyzed cellphone audio and video, the law enforcement officials said. Officer Wilson’s gun, clothing and other evidence were analyzed at the F.B.I.’s laboratory in Quantico, Va. Though the local authorities and Mr. Brown’s family conducted autopsies, Mr. Holder ordered a separate autopsy, which was conducted by pathologists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s office at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the officials said.

The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year, the law enforcement officials said. To bring federal civil rights charges, the Justice Department would have needed to prove that Officer Wilson had intended to violate Mr. Brown’s rights when he opened fire, and that he had done so willfully — meaning he knew that it was wrong to fire but did so anyway.

The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision, though it is not clear when. Dena Iverson, a department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case Wednesday.
The Ferguson investigation drew Mr. Holder into the spotlight on the issue of race, one he cares about deeply. He traveled to Ferguson, spoke of his experiences as a victim of racial profiling and emerged as a peacemaker during the tense days after the shooting, when the police used tear gas on demonstrators and the National Guard was summoned.

The shooting also inflamed longstanding tensions between Ferguson’s black residents and the police. Residents told investigators that the police used traffic citations in minority neighborhoods as a way to raise money for the city.

“These anecdotal accounts underscored the history of mistrust of law enforcement in Ferguson,” Mr. Holder said in September after returning from Ferguson, a suburb about 10 miles northwest of St. Louis.

It is not clear when the broader civil rights inquiry of the police department, known as a pattern or practice investigation, will be completed. Under Mr. Holder, prosecutors have opened more than 20 such investigations nationwide. The Justice Department recently called for sweeping changes to the Cleveland Police Department and negotiated an independent monitor to oversee the department in Albuquerque.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

why it's taking the u.s. so long to make fusion work...,


HuffPo |  Fusion scientists make an incredible proposition: We can power our cities, they say, with miniature, vacuum-sealed stars. According to those who study it, the benefits of fusion power, if it ever came to fruition, would be enormous. It requires no carbon drawn from the ground. Its fuel -- hydrogen harvested from seawater -- is inexhaustible. It emits no gases that warm the planet. And unlike its cousin fission, which is currently used in nuclear power plants, fusion produces little radioactive waste, and what it does produce can be recycled by the reactor. 

The only hurdle, as many U.S. physicists tell it, is the billions of dollars needed before the first commercially viable watt of power is produced. Researchers lament the fact that the U.S. hasn't articulated a date for when it hopes to have fusion go online, while China and South Korea have set timetables to put fusion online in the 2040s.

A so-called magnetic confinement fusion reactor would work by spinning a cloud of hydrogen until it reaches several hundred million degrees Celsius -- at which point it would be so hot that no known material could contain it. Instead, high-powered magnets in a vacuum would envelop the ring of hydrogen plasma.

Spun with enough heat and pressure, the positively charged hydrogen atoms, stripped of their electrons, would begin to overcome their usual tendency to stay apart. They would fuse into helium, spitting out an extra neutron. When those neutrons embed into a surrounding blanket of lithium, they would warm it enough to boil water, spin a turbine and make electricity. The long-term goal is to create a self-sustaining reaction that produces more energy than is put in.

The oil shortages of the 1970s kick-started federally funded fusion research. When petroleum-pumping nations in Middle East turned off the spigot in 1973 and then again in 1979, much of the world, including the U.S., was rattled by gas shortages and high prices. With Americans waiting in mile-long lines to fill up their tanks, there was a keen national interest in finding any fuel to replace oil.

The crises prompted Congress and President Jimmy Carter to create the Department of Energy, which immediately began to channel funding into alternative energy programs, including fusion. By the end of the '70s, experimental reactors were being built at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Princeton -- including the latter's Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor, the "TFTR" whose outdated sign Michael Williams now walks past.

Adjusted for inflation, the U.S. was spending over $1 billion per year on magnetic confinement fusion research by 1977, according to Department of Energy figures collected by Fusion Power Associates, a nonprofit that promotes fusion research. But by the time Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, gas prices had dropped. Eyeing cuts to government spending, Reagan and his Republican colleagues in Congress tightened funding for research into fusion and other alternative energy sources.

"The Republicans hated the Department of Energy because they were messing around with the private sector energy business," said Steve Dean, a former Department of Energy official who oversaw fusion experiments in the 1970s and now runs Fusion Power Associates.

the psychopathologizing of anti-authoritarian behavior?


zerohedge  |  This post is about an issue that is by now a bit dated (though the topic as such certainly isn’t), but we have only just become aware of it and it seemed to us worth rescuing it from the memory hole. In late 2013, the then newest issue of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM for short) defined a new mental illness, the so-called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD.

As TheMindUnleashed.org informs us, the definition of this new mental illness essentially amounts to declaring any non-conformity and questioning of authority as a form of insanity. According to the manual, ODD is defined as:
[…] an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.
Note: I believe this article strongly misrepresents the childhood diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder  - but - it is consistent with a Gurdjieffian account of human psychology as well as very amusing.  A couple of the comments appended at zerohedge are priceless.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

tune in to what I'm try'na say to you...,



hoaxland been crippling minds that want to believe for generations now...,


bibliotecapleyades | My friend and colleague Mike Bara and I are going to attempt the impossible in the next few hundred pages: we’re going to try to describe, and then carefully document, exactly what’s been going with NASA in terms of that classified data and information. It won’t be an easy task. The predisposition of most Americans - even after the Challenger and Columbia disasters and a host of other “missing” spacecraft - is to place NASA somewhere on par with Mother Teresa n terms of public confidence and credibility. This is, in major part, due to the average American’s (to say nothing of the media’s) inability to figure out a reason why NASA - ostensibly a purely scientific Agency - would actually lie. NASA is, after all, holding high the beacon of our last true heroes, the astronauts. I mean, what’s to hide regarding moon rocks, craters and space radiation?

If we’re right, a lot.

However, even a hint that NASA - or, more precisely, its leadership - has been carrying out any kind of hidden agenda for over 50 years is, at best, met with disbelief. The vast majority of NASA’s nearly 18,000 full-time employees are, in our analysis, innocent of the wrongdoing of the few that we are going to describe.

To even begin to understand the extraordinary case we are presenting in this book, to fully appreciate what NASA has been quite consciously, deliberately and methodically concealing from the American people and the world for all these years, you have to begin with NASA’s turbulent past - specifically an account of its origins in the increasingly dangerous geopolitical environment Americans were thrust into in the wake of World War II. The governmental institution known as NASA is a department of the Executive Branch, ultimately answerable solely to the President of the United States, an Agency created through the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.

NASA ostensibly is,
“a civilian agency exercising control over aeronautical and space activities sponsored by the United States.”
But contrary to common public and media perception that NASA is an open, strictly civilian scientific institution, is the legal fact that the Space Agency was quietly founded as a direct adjunct to the Department of Defense, tasked with specifically assisting the national security of the United States in the midst of a deepening Cold War with its major geopolitical adversary, the Soviet Union. It says so right in the original NASA Charter:
“Sec. 305... (i) The [National Aeronautics and Space] Administration shall be considered a defense agency of the United States for the purpose of Chapter 17, Title 35 of the United States Code...”
In another section of the act, this seldom-discussed defense responsibility - the ultimate undercutting of NASA’s continuing public façade as a strictly civilian, scientific agency - is blatantly spelled out:
“Sec. 205... (d) No [NASA] information which has been classified for reasons of national security shall be included in any report made under this section [of the Act]...”
Clearly, from this and the other security provisions incorporated in the Act, what the Congress, the press and the American taxpayers get to see of NASA’s ultimate activities - including untouched images and data regarding what’s really on the Moon, on Mars or anywhere else across the solar system - is totally dependent on whether the President of the United States (and/or his legal surrogates in the Department of Defense and the “intelligence community”) has already secretly classified that data. This is directly contrary to everything we’ve been led to believe regarding NASA for over 50 years now. After NASA was formed, almost before the ink was dry on the Bill that brought it into being (which, among many other detailed objectives, called for “the establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from, the opportunities for and the problems involved in the use of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes”), NASA commissioned a formal “futures study” into the projected effects on American society of its many planned activities (including covert ones). Carried out as a formal NASA contract to the Brookings Institution - a well-known Washington, D.C.-based think tank - the 1959 study was officially titled “Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs.”

The results of this multi-disciplinary investigation were officially submitted to the administrator of NASA in late 1960, and after the Kennedy Administration was elected, to Congress in April 1961. One area of unusual interest covered in the report - easily overlooked amid mountains of interminable statistics and analyses  - was a quiet assessment of the near-certainty of a NASA discovery of intelligent extraterrestrial life:
“While face-to-face meetings with it [extra-terrestrial life] will not occur within the next 20 years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit Earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our [NASA’s] space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus.”
This quietly inserted sub-section of Brookings is revealing on many levels, and it forms the documented basis of our case - that the NASA “you thought you knew” doesn’t actually exist, and that NASA has been deliberately concealing and classifying its most significant discoveries because of “national security” rationales.

Brookings officially affirmed NASA’s expectations that the Agency would fly to nearby planets in the solar system, and would thus be physically capable, for the first time, of confronting “extraterrestrials” right in their backyard. Did any skeptics even know this official document existed, before we made it public in 1996?

staggering levels of randomness stirred into a mass-hypnotic stew...,


wikipedia |  Project Camelot was a social science research project of the United States Army that started in 1964 and was cancelled after congressional hearings in 1965.[1] The goal of the project was to assess the causes of conflict between national groups, to anticipate social breakdown and provide eventual solutions. The proposal caused much controversy among social scientists, many of whom voiced concerns that such a study was in conflict with their professional ethics.[2]

Chile was to be the test case for the project, but Claudio Bunster was alerted almost immediately to its possible military nature when Johan Galtung showed him a letter from the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) inviting him to a seminar to discuss the project in 1966 at the American University in Washington DC. The seminar was actually held in the summer of 1965 but by then the initial exploratory mission to study the feasibility of running such a project was being phased out and the project itself was officially cancelled on July 8, 1965.[2]

The project's purpose was described by the army as follows:

the documentation shows the phenomenon of long-term mass hypnosis is durable and real


nbcnews |  A UFO enthusiast has gathered more than 100,000 pages of government documents related to reports of flying saucers and other unexplained aerial phenomena -- and posted them online for amateur Men in Black and professional conspiracy theorists alike. 

The U.S. Air Force declassified the massive trove of files over the years covering more than 10,000 cases from the secret government Project Blue Book, which investigated sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) from 1947 until the project was closed in 1969. 

But until last week, people could only view the full collection by visiting the National Archives in person. 

Now these hints of little green men are online thanks to John Greenewald, the UFO enthusiast who collected and digitized the files on a free online archive, the Project Blue Book Collection, through his web site The Black Vault

His goal was to "give the public the easiest way possible to access these things," Greenewald said. "People are coming out of nowhere to look at this thing and it has definitely surprised me quite a bit."