Periodic Posts

Posts made periodically by a particular author. The periodicity may be totally random.


How Much Do You Depend On Electricity And The Internet?   Recently updated !

Have you ever thought about how much you depend on electricity and the internet?

I had a horrible thought as I got some money out of an ATM machine recently.  Since I mostly use a credit card, I seldom need cash.  I may go to an ATM machine every few months just to make sure I am not down to my last dollar bill.

With the vulnerability of our power grid infrastructure and the increasing electronic dependence of most business transactions, what would I (or you) do if we had a regional or nation wide power outage that lasted for weeks?  Or maybe even days?  How would you eat?  How would you travel without gasoline electrically pumped into your car at the gas station?

As great a nation as we think we are, what would happen if someone or some group figured out how to crash our power grid?  What if some natural disaster took it  down?  What would rugged individualism get you?  At least I can go out and eat the bark off the trees in my yard.

I guess I never did get around to posting the link to the Naked Capitalism article What Will You Do When The Lights Go Out? The Inevitable Failure Of The US Grid.


Fracking’s Total Environmental Impact Is Staggering, Report Finds

Think Progress has the article Fracking’s Total Environmental Impact Is Staggering, Report Finds which contains a link to the original report.

“For the past decade, fracking has been a nightmare for our drinking water, our open spaces, and our climate,” Rachel Richardson, a co-author of the paper from Environment America, told ThinkProgress.

Maybe natural gas acquired by fracking is not such a clean transition away from oil.  We are heading toward disaster all the while we are fooling ourselves into thinking we are slowing our steady march toward that disaster.

If you want to consider Hillary Clinton’s part in this ongoing march, consider the Nation of Change article There’s Something Iffy About Hillary’s Pick to Set Up her White House.

Ken Salazar


Hillary Clinton and the TPP: What can we expect?   Recently updated !

Democracy now has two related videos.  Will Hillary Clinton Flip-Flop Again on TPP After Election Day? We Ask Her Adviser Joseph Stiglitz,  and Why Did Clinton Just Tap a Pro-TPP, Pro-KXL, Pro-Fracking Politician to Head Her Transition Team?

I am going to present them to you in the order in which they were recorded.

It was so difficult to watch an economist that I had respected prostitute himself in this way, that I just could not finish watching his degradation any further. Maybe you have the fortitude to watch it all.


Watching Joe Stiglitz embarrass himself in the above video was doubly hard because I had seen the video below first. Watching a demonstration of the naivete or the strong desire to convince himself of the unconvinceable is enough to make you want to mourn for Stiglitz. Perhaps viewing the videos in this order will make what Stiglitz had to say just a tad less embarrassing.



                

Teaching Kids Empathy: In Danish Schools, It’s … Well, It’s a Piece of Cake   Recently updated !

Alternet has the interesting article Teaching Kids Empathy: In Danish Schools, It’s … Well, It’s a Piece of Cake.

“Our job as the teacher is to make sure that the children understand how the other feels, and see why the other feels as they do. This way, we come up with a solution together based on real listening and real understanding.”

This is what is missing in our culture and our politics.   We cannot work together if we don’t give a damn about how the other person feels. This is exactly what I found missing in Ayn Rand’s books when I finally learned some empathy as a Sophomore in college.  This is exactly what is missing in Libertarian philosophy.


What we know about Russia’s role in the DNC email leak

Politifact has the article What we know about Russia’s role in the DNC email leak.

“The consensus that Russia hacked the DNC is at this point very strong, albeit not unanimous,” said cybersecurity consultant Matt Tait, who has been critical of Clinton’s email practices. “The consensus that Russia hacked the DNC in support of Trump is, by contrast, plausible, but something for which the jury at this stage is very much still out.”

The following plays a small part in the overall picture presented in the article.

As of yet, there’s no evidence anyone other than Russia breached the DNC. So unless someone hacked the Russian agencies, the Russian government is likely WikiLeaks’ source, Hennessey said. Additionally, Assange and the Russian government have a well-documented relationship, for example the fact that Assange has hosted a television show on RT, a state-owned network.

The connection of Julian Assange to Russia because of his appearance on RT is overblown as evidence of anything. The only place where American dissenters can have a voice seems to be on RT. No doubt that our government would want to discredit RT.


Chris Hedges and Cornel West in Conversation – Wages of Rebellion | The New School

YouTube has the video Chris Hedges and Cornel West in Conversation – Wages of Rebellion | The New School.

Sponsored by The Nation Institute and The New School (http://www.newschool.edu), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and acclaimed author Chris Hedges sits down for a one-to-one interview with public intellectual, academic and activist Cornel West.

We are riding the crest of a revolutionary epic: from the historic referendum against austerity in Greece to #BlackLivesMatter and the Fight for $15. In his new book, Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges—who has long chronicled the malaise of a society in moral decline — investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion, and resistance. In what will be a timely and thought-provoking conversation, Cornel West will engage Hedges’ on his message that popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization and together discuss the moral imperative of revolt.


One of the most profound 90 minutes I have spent. If you want to understand why we would support a person who hasn’t much chance of “winning” the election, I think this is the deepest answer you are likely to get.


The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet – Where Cybercrime Goes to Hide

Norton has posted this video on YouTube.

Norton explores the secret world of bulletproof hosting that’s hidden deep in underground bunkers, isolated at sea, and spread across the Web. Uncover the threats that lie within these services, such as botnets, malware, ransomware, and the black market, and learn how to protect yourself in “The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet – Where Cybercrime Goes to Hide”

 


I found this documentary to be very entertaining, but I am not sure what value this information is to me. It doesn’t hurt to be aware.


Central Banks Pushing on Strings Again

Naked Capitalism has the article Central Banks Pushing on Strings Again.

This month has seen the antipodean central banks both cut rates, with almost no flow through to mortgages to relieve consumer debt and an appreciation in their respective currencies, in perfect opposition to their stated goals.

This is not a new trend – far from it. What’s supposed to happen when the local economy slows is you pull the lever, Kronk, lower interest rates stimulate consumer spending, reducing savings rate as a deluge of money floods the economy, inflation goes up, wages go up, more spending and whoosh, in come the accolades from the captured business media elites.

Now levers are pulled left right and centre and nothing seems to happen, further hindered by a lack of communication from both monetary and fiscal authorities into the truth of the matter at hand – that a lack of confidence in the direction of the economy is what is holding back consumer spending, not lower rates.

I’d like to throw out the following challenge to conventional economic theory.

Does even a fiscal stimulus of a budget deficit always stimulate the economy?

I have been thinking that with our current system, the federal government finances deficits by selling bonds. So whatever liquidity they push into the system is offset by taking it right back out in the form of bonds sold.

What deficits really do to stimulate the economy is to redistribute a fixed amount of liquidity in the private sector. When this entails taking money from the wealthy who do not recirculate it, and putting it in the hands of working people who do circulate it, then we get stimulus.

When deficits don’t stimulate the economy is when the deficit is the result of tax cuts that leave the liquidity in the hands of the wealthy. Taking liquidity from the hands of the workers when we shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the workers is the opposite of stimulus.

I’d love to see some research done on this idea and some article published.