AuthorTopic: The Surlynewz Channel  (Read 671697 times)

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: The Surlynewz Channel/The Vampire Squid's Latest Scam
« Reply #675 on: February 16, 2014, 06:47:05 AM »
Long-- pack a lunch-- but ultimately fascinating.


The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet

Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever--

By Matt Taibbi
February 12, 2014 11:00 AM ET


Illustration by Victor Juhasz
Call it the loophole that destroyed the world. It's 1999, the tail end of the Clinton years. While the rest of America obsesses over Monica Lewinsky, Columbine and Mark McGwire's biceps, Congress is feverishly crafting what could yet prove to be one of the most transformative laws in the history of our economy – a law that would make possible a broader concentration of financial and industrial power than we've seen in more than a century.

Matt Taibbi on the Great American Bubble Machine

But the crazy thing is, nobody at the time quite knew it. Most observers on the Hill thought the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 – also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – was just the latest and boldest in a long line of deregulatory handouts to Wall Street that had begun in the Reagan years.

Wall Street had spent much of that era arguing that America's banks needed to become bigger and badder, in order to compete globally with the German and Japanese-style financial giants, which were supposedly about to swallow up all the world's banking business. So through legislative lackeys like red-faced Republican deregulatory enthusiast Phil Gramm, bank lobbyists were pushing a new law designed to wipe out 60-plus years of bedrock financial regulation. The key was repealing – or "modifying," as bill proponents put it – the famed Glass-Steagall Act separating bankers and brokers, which had been passed in 1933 to prevent conflicts of interest within the finance sector that had led to the Great Depression. Now, commercial banks would be allowed to merge with investment banks and insurance companies, creating financial megafirms potentially far more powerful than had ever existed in America.

All of this was big enough news in itself. But it would take half a generation – till now, basically – to understand the most explosive part of the bill, which additionally legalized new forms of monopoly, allowing banks to merge with heavy industry. A tiny provision in the bill also permitted commercial banks to delve into any activity that is "complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally."

Complementary to a financial activity. What the hell did that mean?

The Feds vs. Goldman

"From the perspective of the banks," says Saule Omarova, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, "pretty much everything is considered complementary to a financial activity."

Fifteen years later, in fact, it now looks like Wall Street and its lawyers took the term to be a synonym for ruthless campaigns of world domination. "Nobody knew the reach it would have into the real economy," says Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. Now a leading voice on the Hill against the hidden provisions, Brown actually voted for Gramm-Leach-Bliley as a congressman, along with all but 72 other House members. "I bet even some of the people who were the bill's advocates had no idea."

Today, banks like Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs own oil tankers, run airports and control huge quantities of coal, natural gas, heating oil, electric power and precious metals. They likewise can now be found exerting direct control over the supply of a whole galaxy of raw materials crucial to world industry and to society in general, including everything from food products to metals like zinc, copper, tin, nickel and, most infamously thanks to a recent high-profile scandal, aluminum. And they're doing it not just here but abroad as well: In Denmark, thousands took to the streets in protest in recent weeks, vampire-squid banners in hand, when news came out that Goldman Sachs was about to buy a 19 percent stake in Dong Energy, a national electric provider. The furor inspired mass resignations of ministers from the government's ruling coalition, as the Danish public wondered how an American investment bank could possibly hold so much influence over the state energy grid.

There are more eclectic interests, too. After 9/11, we found it worrisome when foreigners started to get into the business of running ports, but there's been little controversy as banks have done the same, or even started dabbling in other activities with national-security implications – Goldman Sachs, for instance, is apparently now in the uranium business, a piece of news that attracted few headlines.

Wall Street's War

But banks aren't just buying stuff, they're buying whole industrial processes. They're buying oil that's still in the ground, the tankers that move it across the sea, the refineries that turn it into fuel, and the pipelines that bring it to your home. Then, just for kicks, they're also betting on the timing and efficiency of these same industrial processes in the financial markets – buying and selling oil stocks on the stock exchange, oil futures on the futures market, swaps on the swaps market, etc.

Allowing one company to control the supply of crucial physical commodities, and also trade in the financial products that might be related to those markets, is an open invitation to commit mass manipulation. It's something akin to letting casino owners who take book on NFL games during the week also coach all the teams on Sundays.

The situation has opened a Pandora's box of horrifying new corruption possibilities, but it's been hard for the public to notice, since regulators have struggled to put even the slightest dent in Wall Street's older, more familiar scams. In just the past few years we've seen an explosion of scandals – from the multitrillion-dollar Libor saga (major international banks gaming world interest rates), to the more recent foreign-currency-exchange fiasco (many of the same banks suspected of rigging prices in the $5.3-trillion-a-day currency markets), to lesser scandals involving manipulation of interest-rate swaps, and gold and silver prices.

But those are purely financial schemes. In these new, even scarier kinds of manipulations, banks that own whole chains of physical business interests have been caught rigging prices in those industries. For instance, in just the past two years, fines in excess of $400 million have been levied against both JPMorgan Chase and Barclays for allegedly manipulating the delivery of electricity in several states, including California. In the case of Barclays, which is contesting the fine, regulators claim prices were manipulated to help the bank win financial bets it had made on those same energy markets.

And last summer, The New York Times described how Goldman Sachs was caught systematically delaying the delivery of metals out of a network of warehouses it owned in order to jack up rents and artificially boost prices.

You might not have been surprised that Goldman got caught scamming the world again, but it was certainly news to a lot of people that an investment bank with no industrial expertise, just five years removed from a federal bailout, stores and controls enough of America's aluminum supply to affect world prices.

How was all of this possible? And who signed off on it?

By exploiting loopholes in a dense, decade-and-a-half-old piece of financial legislation, Wall Street has effected a revolutionary change that American citizens never discussed, debated or prepared for, and certainly never explicitly permitted in any meaningful way: the wholesale merger of high finance with heavy industry. This blitzkrieg reorganization of our economy has left millions of Americans facing a smorgasbord of frightfully unexpected new problems. Do we even have a regulatory structure in place to look out for these new forms of manipulation? (Answer: We don't.) And given that the banking sector that came so close to ruining the world economy five years ago has now vastly expanded its footprint, who's in charge of preventing the next crash?

In this Brave New World, nobody knows. Moreover, whatever we've done, it's too late to have a referendum on it. Garrett Wotkyns, an Arizona-based class-action attorney who has spent more than a year investigating the banks' involvement in the metals markets and is suing Goldman and others over the aluminum case on behalf of two major manufacturers, puts it this way: "It's like that line in The Dark Knight Rises," he says. "'The storm isn't coming. The storm is already here.'"

To this day, the provenance of the "complementary activities" loophole that set much of this mess in motion remains something of a mystery. We know from congressional records that a vice chairman of JPMorgan, Michael Patterson, was one of the first to push the idea in House testimony in February 1999 and that, later that year, an early version of the bill put forward in the Senate by Phil Gramm also contained the provision.

But even one of the final bill's eventual authors, Republican congressman Jim Leach, can't remember exactly whose idea adding the "complementary activities" line was. "I know of no legislative history of the provision," he says. "It probably came from the Senate side."

Moreover, Leach was shocked to hear that regulators had pointed to this section of a bill bearing his name as the legal authority allowing banks to gain control over physical-commodities markets. "That's news to me," says the mortified ex-congressman, now a law professor at the University of Iowa. "I assume no one at the time would have thought it would apply to commodities brokering of a nature that has recently been reported."

One thing that is clear in the public record is that nobody was talking, at least publicly, about banks someday owning oil tankers or controlling the supply of industrial metals.

The JPMorgan witness, Michael Patterson, told the House Financial Services Committee at the 1999 hearing that his idea of "complementary activities" was, say, a credit-card company putting out a restaurant guide. "One example is American Express, which publishes magazines," he testified. "Travel + Leisure magazine is complementary to the travel business. Food & Wine promotes dining out . . . which might lead to greater use of the American Express card."

"That's how insignificant this was supposed to be," says Omarova. "They were talking about being allowed to put out magazines."

Even apart from the "complementary" provision, Gramm quietly added another time bomb to the law, a grandfather clause, which said that any company that became a bank holding company after the passage of Gramm-Leach-Bliley in 1999 could engage in (or control shares of a company engaged in) commodities trading – but only if it was already doing so before a seemingly arbitrary date in September 1997.

This meant that if you were a bank holding company at the time the law was passed and you wanted to get into the commodities business, you were out of luck, because the federal law prohibited banks from being involved in physical commodities or any other forms of heavy industry. But if you were already a commodities dealer in 1997 and then somehow became a bank holding company, you could get into whatever you pleased.

This was nuts. It was a little like passing a law that ordered you to leave the Army if you were gay in November 1999 – but if you were a heterosexual soldier as of September 1997 and then somehow became gay after 1999, you could stay in the Army.

To this day, nobody is exactly clear on what the grandfather clause means. If a company traded in tin before 1997 and then became a bank holding company in 2015, would it have to stick with tin? Or did the fact that it traded tin in 1997 mean the company could buy oil tankers and pipelines in 2020?

In 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – the most powerful branch of the Fed, the primary regulator of bank holding companies and the final authority on these things – put out a paper saying it had no clue about the exact meaning of the provision. "The legal scope of the exemption," a trio of New York Fed officials wrote in July that year, "is widely seen as ambiguous." Just a few weeks ago, the Fed's director of banking supervision, Michael Gibson, told the Senate, "I'm not a lawyer," and that it's "under review."

It almost didn't matter. For nearly a decade, this obscure provision of Gramm-Leach-Bliley effectively applied to nobody. Then, in the third week of September 2008, while the economy was imploding after the collapses of Lehman and AIG, two of America's biggest investment banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, found themselves in desperate need of emergency financing. So late on a Sunday night, on September 21st, to be exact, the two banks announced they had applied to the Federal Reserve to become bank holding companies, which would give them lifesaving access to emergency cash from the Fed's discount window.

The Fed granted the requests overnight. The move saved the bacon of both firms, and it had one additional benefit: It made Goldman and Morgan Stanley, which both had significant commodity-trading operations prior to 1997, the first and last two companies to qualify for the grandfather exemption of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. "Kind of convenient, isn't it?" says one congressional aide. "It's almost like the law was written specifically for them."

The irony was incredible. After fucking up so badly that the government had to give them federal bank charters and bottomless wells of free cash to save their necks, the feds gave Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley hall passes to become cross-species monopolistic powers with almost limitless reach into any sectors of the economy.

And they weren't the only accidental beneficiaries of the crisis. JPMorgan Chase acquired the commodity-trading operations of Bear Stearns in early 2008, after the Fed pledged billions in guarantees to help Chase rescue the doomed investment bank. Within the next two years, Chase also acquired the commodities operations of another failing bank, the newly nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland, which included Henry Bath, a U.K.-based company that owns a large network of warehouses throughout Europe.

As a result, entering 2010, these three companies were newly empowered to go out and start doubling down on investments in physical industry. Through a fortuitous circumstance, the cost of financing for bank holding companies had also dropped like a stone by the end of 2009, as the Fed slashed interest rates almost to zero in a desperate attempt to stimulate the economy out of its post-crash doldrums.

The sudden turning on of this huge faucet of free money seems to have been a factor in an ensuing commodities shopping spree undertaken by all three firms. Morgan Stanley, for instance, claimed to have just $2.5 billion in commodity assets in March 2009. By September 2011, those holdings had nearly quadrupled, to $10.3 billion.

Goldman and Chase – along with Glencore and Trafigura, a pair of giant Swiss-based conglomerates that were offshoots of a firm founded by notorious deceased commodities trader and known market manipulator Marc Rich – all made notably coincidental purchases of metals-warehousing companies in 2010.

The presence of these Marc Rich entities is particularly noteworthy. According to famed Forbes reporter Paul Klebnikov, who was assassinated in 2004 after years of reports on Russian corruption, Rich made a fortune in the early Nineties striking crooked deals with the Soviet bosses who controlled the U.S.S.R.'s supplies of raw materials – in particular commodities like zinc and aluminum. These deals helped create a fledgling class of profiteers among the bosses of the crumbling Soviet empire, a class that would go on years later to help push Russia out of its communist past into its kleptocratic present.

"He'd strike a deal with the local party boss, or the director of a state-owned company," Klebnikov said back in 2001. "He'd say, 'OK, you will sell me the [commodity] at five to 10 percent of the world-market price . . . and in return, I will deposit some of the profit I make by reselling it 10 times higher on the world market, and put the kickback in a Swiss bank account.'"

Rich made these reported deals while in exile from the United States, which he fled in 1983 after the U.S. government charged him with tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering and trading with the enemy after being caught trading with rogue states like Iran, among other things. The state filed enough counts to put him away for life, and he remained a fugitive until January 2001, when a little-known Clinton administration Justice Department official named Eric Holder recommended Rich be pardoned. A report by the House Committee on Government Reform later concluded that Holder had not provided a credible explanation for supporting Rich's pardon and that he must have had "other motivations" that he didn't share with Congress. Among other things, the committee speculated that Holder had designs on the attorney general's office in a potential Al Gore administration.

In any case, in 2010, a decade after the Rich pardon, Holder was attorney general, but under Barack Obama, and two Rich-created firms, along with two banks that have been major donors to the Democratic Party, all made moves to buy up metals warehouses. In near simultaneous fashion, Goldman, Chase, Glencore and Trafigura bought companies that control warehouses all over the world for the LME, or London Metals Exchange. The LME is a privately owned exchange for world metals trading. It's the world's primary hub for determining metals prices and also for trading metals-based futures, options, swaps and other instruments.

"If they were just interested in collecting rent for metals storage, they'd have bought all kinds of warehouses," says Manal Mehta, the founder of Sunesis Capital, a hedge fund that has done extensive research on the banks' forays into the commodities markets. "But they seemed to focus on these official LME facilities."

The JPMorgan deal seemed to be in direct violation of an order sent to the bank by the Fed in 2005, which declared the bank was not authorized to "own, operate, or invest in facilities for the extraction, transportation, storage, or distribution of commodities." The way the Fed later explained this to the Senate was that the purchase of Henry Bath was OK because it considered the acquisition of this commodities company kosher within the context of a larger sale that the Fed was cool with – "If the bulk of the acquisition is a permissible activity, they're allowed to include a small amount of impermissible activities."

What's more, according to LME regulations, no warehouse company can also own metal or make trades on the exchange. While they may have been following the letter of the law, they were certainly violating the spirit: Goldman preposterously seems to have engaged in all three activities simultaneously, changing a hat every time it wanted to switch roles. It conducted its metal trades through its commodities subsidiary J. Aron, and then put Metro, its warehouse company, in charge of the storage, and according to industry experts, Goldman most likely owned some metal, though the company has remained vague on the subject.

If you're wondering why the LME would permit a seemingly blatant violation of its own rules, a good place to start would be to look at who owned the LME at the time. Although it eventual­ly sold itself to a Hong Kong company in 2012, in 2010 the LME was owned by a consortium of banks and financial companies. The two largest shareholders? Goldman and JPMorgan Chase.

Humorously, another was Koch Metals (2.32 percent), a commodities concern that's part of the Koch brothers' empire. The Kochs have been caught up in their own commodity-manipulation schemes, including an episode in 2008, in which they rented out huge tankers and used them to store excess oil offshore essentially as floating warehouses, taking cheap oil out of available supply and thereby helping to drive up energy prices. Additionally, some banks have been accused of similar oil-hoarding schemes.

The motive for the Kochs, or anyone else, to hoard a commodity like oil can be almost beautiful in its simplicity. Basically, a bank or a trading company wants to buy commodities cheap in the present and sell them for a premium as futures. This trade, sometimes called "arbitraging the contango," works best if the cost of storing your oil or metals or whatever you're dealing with is negligible – you make more money off the futures trade if you don't have to pay rent while you wait to deliver.

So when financial firms suddenly start buying oil tankers or warehouses, they could be doing so to make bets pay off, as part of a speculative strategy – which is why the banks' sudden acquisitions of metals-storage companies in 2010 is so noteworthy.

These were not minor projects. The firms put high-ranking executives in charge of these operations. Goldman's acquisition of Metro was the project of Isabelle Ealet, the bank's then-global commodities chief. (In a curious coincidence commented upon by several sources for this story, many of Goldman's most senior officials, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein and president Gary Cohn, started their careers in Goldman's commodities division.)

Meanwhile, Chase's own head of commodities operations, Blythe Masters – an even more famed Wall Street figure, sometimes described as the inventor of the credit default swap – admitted that her company's warehouse interests weren't just a casual thing. "Just being able to trade financial commodities is a serious limitation because financial commodities represent only a tiny fraction of the reality of the real commodity exposure picture," she said in 2010.

Loosely translated, Masters was saying that there was a limited amount of money to be made simply trading commodities in the traditional legal manner. The solution? "We need to be active in the underlying physical commodity markets," she said, "in order to understand and make prices."

We need to make prices. The head of Chase's commodities division actually said this, out loud, and it speaks to both the general unlikelihood of God's existence and the consistently low level of competence of America's regulators that she was not immediately zapped between the eyebrows with a thunderbolt upon doing so. Instead, the government sat by and watched as a curious phenomenon developed at all of these new bank-owned warehouses, in the aluminum markets in particular.

As detailed by New York Times reporter David Kocieniewski last July, Goldman had bought into these warehouses and soon began pointlessly shuttling stocks of aluminum from one warehouse to another. It was a "merry-go-round of metal," as one former forklift operator called it, a scheme of delays apparently designed to drive up prices of the metal used to make the stuff we all buy – like beer cans, flashlights and car parts.

When Goldman bought Metro in February 2010, the average delivery time for an aluminum order was six weeks. Under Goldman ownership, Metro's delivery times soon ballooned by a factor of 10, to an average of 16 months, leading in part to the explosive growth of a surcharge called the Midwest premium, which represented not the cost of aluminum itself but the cost of its storage and delivery, a thing easily manipulated when you control the supply. So despite the fact that the overall LME price of aluminum fell during this time, the Midwest premium conspicuously surged in the other direction. In 2008, it represented about three percent of the LME price of aluminum. By 2013, it was a whopping 15 percent of the benchmark (it has since spiked to 25 percent).

"In layman's terms, they were artificially jacking up the shipping and handling costs," says Mehta.

The intentional warehouse delays were just one part of the anti-capitalist game the banks were playing. As an incentive to get metal under their control, they actually paid the industrial producers of aluminum extra cash to store the metal in their warehouses, fees reportedly as much as $230 a metric ton.

Both Goldman and Glencore reportedly offered such incentives, which not only allowed the companies to collect more rent (Goldman was charging a daily rate of 48 cents a metric ton) but also served to discourage industrial producers like Alcoa or the Russian industrial giant Rusal (which has Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg on its board of directors) from selling directly to manufacturers.

The result of all this was a bottlenecking of aluminum supplies. A crucial industrial material that was plentiful and even in oversupply was now stuck in the speculative merry-go-round of the bank finance trade.

Every time you bought a can of soda in 2011 and 2012, you paid a little tax thanks to firms like Goldman. Mehta, whose fund has a financial stake in the issue, insists there's an irony here that should infuriate everyone. "Banks used taxpayer-backed subsidies," he says, "to drive up prices for the very same taxpayers that bailed them out in the first place."

Dave Smith, Coca-Cola's strategic procurement manager, told reporters as early as the summer of 2011 that "the situation has been organized to artificially drive up premiums." Nick Madden, the chief procurement officer of Novelis, a leading can-maker, said at roughly the same time that the delays in Detroit were adding $20 to $40 a metric ton to the price of aluminum.

Coca-Cola was the first to file a complaint against Goldman over the warehouse issue, doing so in mid-2011, and many people in and around the industry weren't surprised that it was the world's biggest and most powerful corporate consumer of aluminum that came forward first. Other manufacturers, many believe, kept their mouths shut out of fear the banks would punish them. "It's very likely that commercial companies deliberately avoided an open confrontation with Goldman because it was a Wall Street powerhouse with which they had – or hoped to establish – important credit and financial-advisory relationships," says Omarova. One government official who has investigated the issue for Congress said even some of the country's largest aluminum users have been reluctant to come forward. "When some of these huge transnationals don't want to talk about it, it makes you wonder," the aide noted.

SStill, a few days after the Times published its aluminum-storage exposé in late July 2013, Sen. Brown held hearings to investigate the causes of the alleged manipulation. (One executive, Tim Weiner of MillerCoors, would testify that global aluminum costs for manufacturers had been inflated by $3 billion in just the past year.) After those hearings, and after word leaked out that regulatory agencies had launched investigations, Goldman curtly announced new plans to reduce the delivery times of its aluminum stocks. The bank has consistently maintained that its interest in the warehouse company Metro is not "strategic," that it only bought the firm "as an investment," and will sell it within 10 years. JPMorgan Chase and other banks announced that it might be getting out of the physical commodities business altogether. The LME, meanwhile, had already come up with plans to force its member warehouses to increase their output of aluminum.

A few weeks later, on August 9th, 2013, a company called CME Group – one of the world's leading derivatives dealers – announced that it would henceforth be selling a new kind of aluminum swap futures contract. The new instrument, the firm said, would be "the first Exchange product that enables the aluminum Midwest premium to be managed."

What this signaled was that before that moment, no one in the financial sector wanted to get within a hundred miles of selling price insurance against the Midwest premium, because it was so obviously corrupt. But then the Times let the cat out of the bag, and next thing you knew, now that everyone was watching, a major derivatives purveyor suddenly felt confident enough to sell a hedging insurance against the Midwest premium, given that it was now presumed, once again, to be free from manipulation and subject to market forces.

"That should tell you a lot about how completely people in the business understood that the metals market was broken," says Wotkyns.

One other bizarre footnote to the aluminum scandal: According to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, any company that becomes a bank holding company must divest itself of certain commercial holdings it may own within two years. To that two-year grace period, the Fed may add up to three additional years. This was done for both Goldman and Morgan Stanley. The aluminum scandal broke, coincidentally, just a few months before Goldman's five-year grace period was scheduled to end. There was some expectation that the Fed might order the banks to divest some of their commercial holdings.

But there was a catch. "Congress in its infinite wisdom left an ambiguity," says Omarova. Although the Bank Holding Company Act mandated that the companies had to be compliant at the end of the review period, it didn't actually specify what the Fed had to do if they weren't. When Goldman's review period passed, "the Fed took the position that nothing had to happen," says Omarova. "So nothing happened."

The aluminum delays were not just an isolated incident of banks scheming to boost rent revenue. Recently, evidence has surfaced that the same kinds of behavior may be going on across the LME. In order for a parcel of metal to be traded on the LME, it has to be what's called "on warrant." If you are the owner of a metal that you no longer want to be traded, you can "cancel the warrant" – essentially taking it out of the system. It's still in the warehouse, but in a kind of administrative limbo.

When the world LME supply of a metal features high percent­ages of canceled stock, that typically means someone is moving metals around a lot even after they've been put into storage – perhaps in a Goldman-style "merry-go-round," perhaps for some other reason, but historically it has not been something seen often in functioning, healthy metals markets.

In January 2009, before the American too-big-to-fail banks and the shady Swiss commodities giants bought into all of these warehouses, less than one percent of the total global supply of LME aluminum was "canceled warrant." Today, with world supplies of aluminum about double what they were then, 45.2 percent of the total stock is classified as canceled. In Detroit, where Goldman is supposedly cleaning things up, the percentage is even crazier: 76.9 percent of the aluminum stock has canceled warrants.

You can see hints of the phenomenon in other LME metals. Five years ago, just 1.3 percent of the LME's copper stocks had canceled warrants. Today, 59 percent of it does. In January 2009, just 2.3 percent of zinc stocks were canceled; it's at 32 percent today. Zinc incidentally has something else in common with aluminum – a shipping-and-handling-like premium, called the U.S. zinc premium in the United States, which has skyrocketed in recent years, increasing by 400 percent between the summer of 2012 and the summer of 2013, when the price plateaued just as the aluminum scandal broke.

Then there's nickel. Thirty-seven percent of the global stock is now classified as canceled. Five years ago, 0.5 percent was. One industry insider, who is very familiar with and utilizes the nickel market, says that despite the fact that there is a massive global oversupply of the metal, prices are being artificially propped up as much as 20 to 30 percent.

He blames the banks' speculative weigh stations, saying that nickel producers, despite low global demand, are cheerfully selling their stocks to bank-run warehouses, which are paying above-market prices to put raw materials into the merry-go-round. "They are happy to sell to the banks and to the warehouse supply, while they pray for demand to pick up," the insider said.

This leads to the next potentially disastrous aspect of this story: What happens if the Fed suddenly raises interest rates, and the banks, their access to free money cut off, can no longer afford to sit on piles of metal for 16 months at a time?

"Look at nickel," says Eric Salzman, a financial analyst who has done research on metals manipulation for several law firms. "You could see the price drop 20 to 30 percent in no time. It'd be a classic bursting of a bubble."

But the potential for wide-scale manipulation and/or new financial disasters is only part of the nightmare that this new merger of banking and industry has created. The other, perhaps even darker problem involves the new existential dangers both to the environment and to the stability of the financial system. Long before Goldman and Chase started buying up metals warehouses, for instance, Morgan Stanley had already bought up a substantial empire of physical businesses – electricity plants in a number of states, a firm that trades in heating oil, jet fuels, fertilizers, asphalt, chemicals, pipelines and a global operator of oil tankers.

How long before one of these fully loaded monster ships capsizes, and Morgan Stanley becomes the next BP, not only killing a gazillion birds and sea mammals off some unlucky country's shores but also taking the financial system down with them, as lawsuits plunge the company into bankruptcy with Lehman-style repercussions? Morgan Stanley's CEO, James Gorman, even admitted how risky his firm's new acquisitions were last year, when he reportedly told staff that a hypothetical oil spill was "a risk we just can't take."

The regulators are almost worse. Remember the 2008 collapse happened when government bodies like the Fed, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision – whose entire expertise supposedly revolves around monitoring the safety and soundness of financial companies – somehow missed that half of Wall Street was functionally bankrupt.

Now that many of those financial companies have been bailed out, those same regulators who couldn't or wouldn't smell smoke in a raging fire last time around are suddenly in charge of deciding if companies like Morgan Stanley are taking out enough insurance on their oil tankers, or if banks like Goldman Sachs are properly handling their uranium deposits.

"The Fed isn't the most enthusiastic regulator in the best of times," says Brown. "And now we're asking them to take this on?"

Banks in America were never meant to own industries. This principle has been part of our culture practically from the beginning of our history. The original restrictions on banks getting involved with commerce were rooted in the classically American fear of overweening government power – citizens in the early 1800s were concerned about the potential for monopolistic abuses posed by state-sponsored banks.

Later, however, Americans also found themselves forced to beat back a movement of private monopolies, in particular the great railroad and energy cartels built by robber barons of the Rockefeller type who, by the late 1800s, were on the precipice of swallowing markets whole and dictating to the public the prices of everything from products to labor. It took a long period of upheaval and prolonged fights over new laws like the Sherman and Clayton anti-trust acts before those monopolies were reined in.

Banks, however, were never really regulated under those laws. Only the Great Depression and years of brutal legislative trench warfare finally brought them to heel under the same kinds of anti-trust concepts that stopped the robber barons, through acts like Glass-Steagall and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. Then, with a few throwaway lines in a 1999 law that nobody ever heard of until now, that whole struggle went up in smoke, and here we are, in Hobbes' jungle, waiting for the next fully legal catastrophe to unfold.

When does the fun part start?

This story is from the February 27th, 2014 issue of Rolling Stone.



Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-vampire-squid-strikes-again-the-mega-banks-most-devious-scam-yet-20140212page=5#ixzz2tUq6O7nT
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline DoomerSupport

  • Administrator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 1157
  • Fiat collapsus rualt caelum
    • View Profile
Re: Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima is Poisoning Us
« Reply #676 on: February 17, 2014, 01:27:00 PM »
Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans

[Go to original to follow embedded links.]

by Chris Carrington

We all know that the radiation from the stricken Fukushima plant has spread around the globe and is poisoning people worldwide. We all know that the West Coast of the United States is being polluted with radioactive debris and that the oceans, the beaches that border them, and even the air is becoming more polluted by radioactivity as time goes on.

Bullshit. 

If this were the case, then there would be no way to hide it.  The level of information control would be such that I would know about it, and so would almost everyone else.

Let's start with something in pretty much every community in the US - a hospital.  Hospitals use nuclear materials every day as part of the diagnostic processes called "nuclear medicine".  From x-rays through to radioactive dyes, every step, every stage is monitored.  Staff of radiology departments have their exposure levels tracked every single day, and lifetime exposures known.  If there was additional environmental radiation, it would show up as anomalies in the tracking and hospitals all over the west coast would be trying to track down where the extra radiation is coming from - or face the exposure to legal action.     


Beyond the careful monitoring of every staff member who's working around low-grade nuclear medicine technology, there's the patients themselves. Take as another example a woman who's about to have a mastectomy due to breast cancer.  They inject her with a nuclear dye, and use that to track and remove the "sentinel node" - the first lymphatic node after the breast - and check it carefully for signs of cancer.  It's done to determine the risk of metastasis already having occurred, and drives the level of aggressiveness of follow-up therapy.

The patient and equipment is checked with a geiger counter before the procedure, then the equipment is checked again to make sure no radiological material remains on the equipment.  So dozens of relatively random persons are checked for radiation every single day.   

There's no way to cover up evidence on that scale.  If they tampered with the radiation monitoring equipment, it would not function properly for the tasks it is used for.  If and when radiation falls on our land, we'll know about it - if we still have modern medicine.

Then there's my own Geiger counter.  So far, its read background ever time I have turned it on.  In Fresno, over on the coast, even out in the first rains in California in almost a year, when any shit that fell on the street would be washing down that storm drain.  Nothing.

That doesn't mean I'm not concerned, the wife currently has the Geiger counter with her in Nome, and she will check every piece of seafood before she eats it, as well as checking background radiation in the area. 

So to reiterate, bullshit.  The radiation has not got here in measurable levels yet.
 
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 01:29:21 PM by Haniel »

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: Why the Obama Administration Will Not Admit that Fukushima is Poisoning Us
« Reply #677 on: February 17, 2014, 02:41:06 PM »

Then there's my own Geiger counter.  So far, its read background ever time I have turned it on.  In Fresno, over on the coast, even out in the first rains in California in almost a year, when any shit that fell on the street would be washing down that storm drain.  Nothing.

That doesn't mean I'm not concerned, the wife currently has the Geiger counter with her in Nome, and she will check every piece of seafood before she eats it, as well as checking background radiation in the area. 

So to reiterate, bullshit.  The radiation has not got here in measurable levels yet.

As loath as I am to argue with a man armed with his own working Geiger Counter, all I can tell you is that there are a lot of concerned bullshit artists out there, then. To say radiation hasn't hit is tantamount to arguing that climate change is a myth because it's cold in Minnesota in winter.

I am not an expert, But I am aware, and when you see a constellation of dots, it is an irresistible temptation to draw a line. Perhaps I am wrong, but that doesn't mean I'm crazy. Nor, clearly, are you and Mrs. L. as you are testing the fare. TEPCO's opaque handling of this affair, plus the US's refusal to test Pacific seafood for radiation, does nothing to reassure, yes?

Here's another bullshitter for you to consider:

Scientists Confirm Fukushima Radiation in California Kelp


Scientists analyzing kelp off the coast of San Diego confirmed the presence of cesium this week, a radioactive isotope directly linked to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Part of the ongoing “Kelp Watch 2014″ project, government and academic institutions have begun receiving results from samples of Bull Kelp and Giant Kelp collected along the California coast. Despite attempts by the media to downplay the ongoing disaster, the discovery has only confirmed the continued build up of radiation in West Coast waters.

“We’re trying to figure out how much is there and how much is getting into the ecosystem,” said Dr. Matthew Edwards, a professor from San Diego State University. “Things are linked a little more closely than sometimes we’d like to think. Just because it is on the other side of the world doesn’t mean that it doesn’t effect us.”

The discovery coincides with statements made by researchers at the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems in Spain, who predicted the early 2014 arrival of Fukushima radiation along the North American West Coast.

Although scientists claim the levels of cesium are safe, the public’s distrust has only grown given the government’s continued denial of other issues related to radiation.

Currently, more than 70 U.S. sailors involved in the USS Ronald Reagan’s 2011 Fukushima rescue efforts have been stricken with ailments such as brain tumors, thyroid cancer and leukemia. Despite the clear connection to Fukushima, the federal government has continued to deny any link.


[Surly note: they must be bullshitters, too.]

Following the recent discovery of radiation levels over 1,400% above normal on a California beach, thought to be from naturally occurring thorium in the sand, government officials rushed to call the levels completely safe. Independent experts quickly refuted the claim, even warning that children playing in the sand were at risk.

Given radiation’s ability to bio-accumulate in sea life, many fear that the massive animal die-off along the west coast is related to the continued consumption of radioactive isotopes. Sea stars and sardines have been especially effected, with other strange anomalies such as the discovery of “never before seen” conjoined gray whale calves off the coast of Northern Mexico, sparking increased worry as well.

While the government attempts to reassure the public that there is absolutely no risk whatsoever, tens of millions of doses of Potassium Iodide have been quietly purchased by the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Pentagon.

With experts predicting a 40 plus year cleanup at Fukushima, the likelihood of increased cesium in the Pacific Ocean seems inevitable.

Read more: http://www.storyleak.com/scientists-confirm-fukushima-radiation-california-kelp-2/#ixzz2tcUZZpvm

More bullshit:

Animal Anomalies: Is the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster a 'Tipping Point'?

Study Suggests Fukushima Disaster Caused Thyroid Abnormalities in U.S. Babies

Quote
...researchers also analyzed data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that indicated airborne levels of a variety of radioactive isotopes for 18 West Coast sites were 7.345 times normal. Eureka was 38.264, Anaheim 14.941 and San Bernardino 12.054. The airborne levels were viewed by the researchers as a proxy for relative thyroid gland exposures.

And here's an article embedded with videos and associated links, providing hours of fun for the entire family-- as loath as I am to post anything originating from the rense.com site, but it's a guy with a counter in real time. And recent. And I don't think he's bullshitting.

Fukushima Radiation in the Ecosystem, North American West Coast

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/LcQLxT49ZP0?feature=player_embedded" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/LcQLxT49ZP0?feature=player_embedded</a>

UPDATED: January 5, 2014This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter south of Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach) California.Background radiation reading is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it’s 150 CPM. The moister coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump up 5X. This is not normal at all. More thorough readings need to be done. Where is the useless government/media? Thanks to rense.com for originally publishing this video.Location:https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=Half Mo…Geiger Counter used:http://www.geigercounters.com/Inspect…Original video source and info:http://www.rense.com/general96/radiat…Radio interview about this video (excellent info):http://rense.gsradio.net:8080/rense/s…Massive starfish deaths on West Coast:http://www.naturalnews.com/043271_sta…http://www.news1130.com/2013/12/30/st…All sardines gone from West Coast of BC:http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Su…Bald eagles dying in Western US:http://enenews.com/high-alert-mystery…Unprecedented declines in Alaska and BC salmon:http://enenews.com/newspaper-is-fukus…Real-time radiation monitoring for North America:http://www.radiationnetwork.comNOTE: The Radiation Network website, for example, uses a threshold warning level of 100 CPM, mainly because it is unusual to observe levels of 100 or higher without something more going on in the area than just background level.From the Inspector Geiger Counter’s user manual: “CPM (or CPS) and total counts are the most direct methods of measurement; mR/hr (or uSv/hr) is calculated using a conversion factor optimized for Cesium-137, so this mode is less accurate for other radionuclides, unless you have calibrated the “geiger counter” for a specific radionuclide using an appropriate source. It is more appropriate to measure alpha and beta activity using CPM than using mR/hr. Conversion for alpha and beta emitters is calcuated differently, and the “geiger counters” reading in mR/hr may not be accurate.”

And if you are on that page, make note of the article that outlines the US's discussion of evacuating civilians form Tokyo, and how it was not acted on. Another testament to transparent, open government.

*** Of course, who needs Fukushima, when we have plenty of capacity to poison ourselves:

Alarm after ‘unusually high’ radiation levels at U.S. nuclear site — Gov’t: “We’ve never seen a level like we are seeing… I can’t tell you the amount” — Could be Plutonium — Employees “sequestered in place” — ‘Unclear’ how much radiation released — Unprecedented event


Indeed, bullshit is everywhere.

I cannot tell you how delighted I would be to be proven wrong.

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Karpatok

  • Contrarian
  • Sous Chef
  • *
  • Posts: 1427
    • View Profile
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #678 on: February 17, 2014, 02:57:46 PM »
   BRAVO SURLY: Speaking TRUTH to POWER. Please keep going. Locally of course. Karpatok

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: The Surlynewz Channel/The Devil's 2014 Missive To His Minions
« Reply #679 on: February 17, 2014, 04:50:39 PM »
Just came across this on ZH, and HAD to share it here. I don't always agree with CHS, but he's a fine writer, and he is on his game with this one--

The Devil's 2014 Missive To His Minions
Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,


The Devil pens a motivational letter to his minions in America.

Through means I am unable to disclose, I have obtained a copy of the Devil's New Year's missive to his minions in America. Though it appears He delivered his letter on January 1, it has taken me until after Lunar New Year to obtain a copy. The Devil's gleeful anticipation of America's ruination by 2015 should give us pause.


To my fallen angels Beelzebub, Lucifer and Leviathan, princes of Hell's demons, and to my minions, lackeys, toadies and sycophants in America:
As you know, the new year usually finds me quite despondent, as the Prince of Peace's influence waxes most atrociously around his birthday. But this year I am in fine spirits, nay, let me even declare myself absolutely giddy, for the destruction of the United States of America draws ever nearer.

Though my minions have long sown festering seeds of hate and disharmony in that now-benighted land, only recently have my favored weapons of destruction--leverage, debt, half-truths and endless, preening justifications for self-aggrandizement, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, anger and gluttony--have been unleashed to worm their way into the stricken heart of that Republic.
My most treasured hopes of destitution and conflict in the U.S.A. are nearing fruition.

First, my minions in the Federal Reserve--such loyal servants!--and the Federal government have continued to flood the land with leverage and debt, spreading the seeds of destruction under the false guise of prosperity. What a delicious irony, that the fools doomed to eternal damnation in my Empire believe themselves prosperous as they absorb the poison of exponentially rising leverage, debt and phantom collateral.

They have made a mockery of the rule of law, openly flouting "no one is above the law" by letting financial crimes go not just unpunished but rewarded. There are two sets of laws and two sets of books now firmly in place, one for the financial Elites and their political toadies, and another one for the tax donkeys beneath them. This blatant injustice that roams the land like a foul, slobbering beast will eventually ignite the firestorm I seek.

American extravagance has surpassed even my highest expectations, as purveyors of luxury goods reap record profits, and the childish desire for instant gratification has become the unspoken ruler of the land. Convenience is now worshipped as a god, sitting triumphant beside entitlement, greed and willful ignorance.

Convenience is, as you all know, the name of a peculiarly slick slide into Hell.

One of my favorite sins, gluttony, is running amok, with half of the people groaning under their own weight, sickened and weakened. My loyal minions in the fast-food and packaged food industries have followed my plans to perfection, and my lackeys in the marketing and media have fueled the instant gratification and ignorance which insidiously undermine even the greatest empires.

Pride--oh, how the Americans excel at hubris and pride! The Federal Reserve chair, bless her doomed soul, has declared herself confident about an economy that is nothing but a confidence game. Oh, what joy to hear her lies spoken with such confidence!

The mere thought of the word greed cause me to chuckle delightedly, as the U.S. excels as a haven for greed without bounds, a greed so boundless that the entire universe would be insufficient to satisfy its bankers, hedge fund managers, high-frequency traders, Imperial factotums and politicians. How happy I am to see their greed grease their way into Hell.

I feel like dancing a jig when I hear the unbridled sense of entitlement which has poisoned the American spirit. Cloaking their greed and avarice with rationalizations--"I was promised," "It's my right," "I deserve it"--brings them closer to me and my Domain with every bleated plea for more, more, more. It is wondrous indeed how my secret invention, "free money," debilitates once-independent souls, and places them on a one-way street to servitude.

Anger is now overflowing everywhere, building my empire with every thoughtless word. Politicians rage against each other, the people rage against the politicians, and behind the scenes my servants in the political action committees feed the anger with billions of dollars in campaign donations. How amusing to see the politicos lay claim to noble ideals even as they scramble on their knees to collect the millions tossed at their feet to do my bidding.

Oh yes, my bidding, for their greed, pride and anger are my bidding. By all means, politicians, do my work: give tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy, let financial crimes go unpunished, allow the financial Elites' looting to go unhindered, transfer the wealth earned by the citizens' sweat to the Central State's financial Elites when their trillion-dollar bets go bad--fuel the anger which will tear you from power, and tear the country apart.

I laughed with glee a few years ago when One Beholden To Me announced that he was doing "God's work"--how I love twisting together irony and lies! He fooled no one, of course, for even the most deluded souls know he is doing My Work, not the Lord's, but they are too distracted by games and ginned-up contests to care. Nothing has changed since the corrupt system tasted a whiff of what lies ahead in 2008; oh, how deliciously the lies and the debts are piling ever higher!

Not caring is doing my work, too, of course; in fact, it one of my favorite tools.

The nation bled itself for a decade with unwinnable wars, sacrificing its best youth on the altar of endless war--how can I not rejoice at this orgy of death, destruction and sowing of hate? The feeble liars at the nation's helm print endless sums to fund war and to prop up vile tyrants, but offer nothing for libraries or literacy or the curing of malaria. How can I not rejoice at a nation which finds trillions for war and next to nothing to fight the diseases of the poor residents of former colonies, including that Prince of Disease, ignorance.

As for sloth--that millions are being paid to sit around watching television instead of being productive creates the perfect breeding ground for resentment, malice and envy. How perfect to pay people to sit at home and rot away, with only their discontent and despair for company.

As you know all too well, idle hands end up doing my piecework for free.
It was almost beyond my dreams to find the nation's wealth and politics so dominated by a tiny handful of wealthy financial plutocrats--they are doing my bidding without hindrance, though I see by their troubled sleep that they know where their greed and rationalizations are taking them. To channel the nation's wealth to a few hands--what better way to nurture envy and anger?

If ignorance were treasure, the American political class must be declared wealthier than Midas, for its ignorance has reached a pinnacle I can truly admire. Ensnared by their lust for power, blinded by their greed for fame and perquisites, they look no further than the next election cycle, dooming their nation to division, disharmony and the desolation of permanent conflict over the dwindling productive assets of this once-great nation.

The people cry out to be saved by the government, as if it was a Savior instead of a vast combine chewing through the wealth of the nation, "investing" it in corruption, parasitic financial Elites, military misadventures, Homeland "Security"--ha, isn't that a jewel, as the nation withers from within--and the steady, unyielding oppression of the remaining productive members of society.

When the people cheer "We're number One," I cheer with them, for pride goeth before a fall. When they believe the half-truths, the illusions, the mispresentations, the misdirections and yes, the outright lies of the ruling class repeated by their toadies in the media, I can no longer restrain my delight, for lies and half-truths are my favored weapons of destruction. The leaders are themselves leaderless, blank, hollowed-out souls doing the bidding of their parasitic masters, focused only on keeping the corrupt and venal status quo together for a few more months, never looking out ten years.

Their worship of greed and self-aggandizement is worship of Me, and their frantic efforts to prop up pseudo-democracy and pseudo-free markets serve Me most effectively.

I delight in shortsightedness, an abject fear of change and transformation, the clinging to failure and pride, and the refusal to face reality.

For the U.S.A. is now an Empire of Debt and Lies, its fraudulent financial system built on misrepresentations of risk and value, and its "economy of confidence" a con game based on illusory wealth, parasitic skimming, government gaming and tax donkeys paying for their Financial Masters' idiotic mistakes.

This adolescent desire to believe the lies, because in believing the lies then nothing need change--this might be my most powerful destructive tool.
A hunger for fantasy and illusion, a fear of adaptation, a childish demand for instant gratification--these are forces I can rely on to lead the once-great country to absolute ruin.

And here is the beautifully evil part, my minions--no external enemy is required.The Americans are destroying themselves with their reliance on leverage, debt, denial, half-truths and overflowing servings of the Seven Deadly Sins, all of which they have elevated to "assets" in their hopelessly twisted values. To be supremely unproductive, a churner of lies and financial trickery, is now the most rewarded and admired state in America.

The spiritual rot is now so deep and pervasive that the people no longer even recognize the decay --they have been lulled into a false belief that this culture of fraud, embezzlement, manipulations, propaganda and parasitic financial Elites has always held sway. This is precisely how a people act when they have lost their way, spiritually and morally: they elevate sins to virtues, and forget the lessons of their past.

And of course everyone claiming that there is no spiritual vacuum sucking the nation dry, that the status quo is simply "business as usual"--they are doing my work, too, for habituating to all that is corrupt and reprehensible, all that is lacking in integrity and honesty, this is doing my work most admirably.

Americans no longer hate me, they hate sacrifice and honest introspection, with a passion that enlivens my enthusiasm for their self-destruction.

How can I not be pleased this New Year? At long last, the destruction of the United States by its own citizens is close at hand. Give me two years, minions, no more than four, and I shall insure they will finally begin reaping what they have sown.

Ignorance, my poor dear Americans, will not save you, nor will your ceaseless pathetic bleatings of excuses, justifications and rationalizations save you from the rank harvest of what you have so assiduously sown for the past five years. Indeed, your excuses and rationalizations push My poisoned blade deeper into your nation's heart with every lie, every excuse, every frantic justification for your own entitlement.

I await 2014 with high expectations, so crack on, My minions; our goal is within reach.

Most sincerely yours,
Satan
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Karpatok

  • Contrarian
  • Sous Chef
  • *
  • Posts: 1427
    • View Profile
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #680 on: February 17, 2014, 05:50:29 PM »
Excuse me Surly, but GO just posted this a couple of hours ago, or don't you read what anybody else posts anymore? Karpatok

Offline jdwheeler42

  • Global Moderator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 3337
    • View Profile
    • Going Upslope
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #681 on: February 17, 2014, 08:01:04 PM »
Excuse me Surly, but GO just posted this a couple of hours ago, or don't you read what anybody else posts anymore? Karpatok
Yeah, but GO left out the picture...  :evil4:
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline g

  • Golden Oxen
  • Contrarian
  • Master Chef
  • *
  • Posts: 12280
    • View Profile
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #682 on: February 17, 2014, 09:08:57 PM »
Excuse me Surly, but GO just posted this a couple of hours ago, or don't you read what anybody else posts anymore? Karpatok
Yeah, but GO left out the picture...  :evil4:

There is no picture in the original. Surly enhanced the article by inserting it.

No problem with the double posting Surly, have done it myself on occasion. If it's worth publishing once, having it up twice is even better.   :laugh: :emthup:

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #683 on: February 18, 2014, 03:19:07 AM »
Excuse me Surly, but GO just posted this a couple of hours ago, or don't you read what anybody else posts anymore? Karpatok
Yeah, but GO left out the picture...  :evil4:

There is no picture in the original. Surly enhanced the article by inserting it.

No problem with the double posting Surly, have done it myself on occasion. If it's worth publishing once, having it up twice is even better.   :laugh: :emthup:

I'll be damned.  :evil4: :evil4:  KK is right-- I DID miss that GO posted it. Guess I didn't go deep enough in the "recent posts." Ironic, because I certainly thought of GO when I read it. Not surprised that he found it.

I guess the good news is the the Diner Forum is sufficiently active for this to occur even for people who read it regularly.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: The Surlynewz Channel/Trolls Just Wanna have Fuh-uhhn...
« Reply #684 on: February 18, 2014, 09:09:39 AM »
Of general interest to some, and perhaps shedding light on the motivations of others. As always, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

New Study: Internet Trolls Are Often Machiavellian Sadists


In the past few years, the science of Internet trollology has made some strides. Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called Internet "trolls" (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That's bad, but it's nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of so-called trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called "Dark Tetrad": Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What's more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the Internet.

In the study, trolls were identified in a variety of ways. One was by simply asking survey participants what they "enjoyed doing most" when on online comment sites, offering five options: "debating issues that are important to you," "chatting with others," "making new friends," "trolling others," and "other." Here's how different responses about these Internet commenting preferences matched up with responses to questions designed to identify "Dark Tetrad" traits:


To be sure, only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoy "trolling." By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were "non-commenters," meaning they didn't like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall Internet users.

The researchers conducted multiple studies, using samples from Amazon's Mechanical Turk but also of college students, to try to understand why the act of trolling seems to attract this type of personality. They even constructed their own survey instrument, which they dubbed the "Global Assessment of Internet Trolling" or GAIT, comprised of the following items:

    I have sent people to shock websites for the lulz.

    I like to troll people in forums or the comments section of websites.

    I enjoy griefing other players in multiplayer games.

    The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt.


Yes, some people actually say they agree with such statements. And again, doing so was correlated with sadism in its various forms, with psychopathy, and with Machiavellianism. Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to troll because they find it pleasurable. "Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others," they wrote. "Sadists just want to have fun...and the Internet is their playground!"

The study comes as websites, particularly at major media outlets, are increasingly weighing steps to rein in trollish behavior. Last year Popular Science did away with its comments sections completely, citing research on the deleterious effects of trolling, and YouTube also took measures to rein in trolling.

But Erin Buckles of the University of Manitoba, the study's first author, actually isn't sure that fix is a realistic one. "Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments (e.g., banning users)," she commented by email. "Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner."
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: The Surlynewz Channel/A Movement of Movements
« Reply #685 on: February 20, 2014, 10:30:42 AM »
We Are a Movement of Movements

2014 the Year Everything Changed



By Rivera Sun www.riverasun.com
February 18th, 2014

I feel like shaking everyone and saying, don’t you get it? We don’t need a Movement of Movements – we are a movement of movements.

My friends, we have been trapped in old dominant paradigm thinking. We have been steeped in warmongering, hierarchical, competitive, control-based mindsets since birth. We think we are lacking something, or that we’re ineffectual at organizing, or we’re failing. We call for a Movement of Movements, like the War to End All Wars, a rallying cry that will amass the allies on the edge of the battlefield so we can massacre our enemies.

It makes me want to laugh – and cry.

We want to name, label, categorize, and control the emergent phenomenon of this revolutionary resistance. We want to take the wild flurry of activity that is erupting on a thousand fronts and turn it into an army for change. We want to call it something because then we can control it. This is what our lineage of science and religion has taught us: if we give it a name, it is ours. If we trademark the Movement, we can capitalize on it. If we organize it all in one place, we can make it work to what we consider its highest potential.

We need to let go. We need to surrender to this very large phenomenon and join with it. We need to trust each other, the causes, and the organic, emergent nature of what is happening . . . this is revolutionary. This is a way of participation that is radical in our society.

The long history of invasion, conquest, genocide, wars of aggression, and abuse of people and the planet has indoctrinated us in false beliefs that we must organize everything in order to survive. But these old patterns of competition and control are a worldview perpetuated by the wealthy elite, who profit from such mentalities at our expense. To this end, they have abused the theories and philosophies of the Judeo-Christian God and Darwin, alike. They school us in fear-based, violent mindsets to ensure that we will never pose a serious threat to their dominance. If we do not emancipate our minds from their worldview, we will remain blind to the greatest strengths of our movements.



We are a thousand points of light.

We are a thousand points of light.

Building a Movement of Movements seems to be the logical, strongest, and wisest approach to breaking our opponents’ power, but our real strength may lie in our myriad movements. The empowered elite are fighting us on all fronts. We have them surrounded on all sides. Our plethora of issues distracts them, divides them, and weakens their centralized position. They sit in the fortress of wealth and power, staring wild-eyed into the living, breathing, diverse jungle of opposition. There is nothing they would like more than to see us assemble all of our strength in one place and march down the road to their fortress. Then they could destroy us in one swoop. So, from the balustrades of their socio-political system, they taunt us and mock us, calling us disorganized and inefficient.

We are not disorganized. We are organized differently.

“We are the ivy crawling up the buildings, the moss breaking down the bricks, and the dandelions shooting up in the sidewalks. We’re as vast as the planet and as microscopic as infectious disease. The Dandelion Insurrection isn’t a handful of radicals. It’s all of Life itself!” – from The Dandelion Insurrection

We must learn to look at the interconnections of our myriad causes and wage struggle through collaboration, not control. Our causes are not at odds with each other, nor do they need unification under one name or coordination from a central command. Instead, we need to collaborate strategically, using our diversity of issues as our strength. If we look at the overlapping issues of health, economy, jobs, peace, surveillance, education, energy, housing, environment, democracy, and so on, we will seethat every movement is working to replace destructive, corrupt systems with constructive, life-supporting, sustainable alternatives. Our strength lies in our inherent unity, not in the label attached to it. Our only weakness is in our uncertainty . . . and the fact that we remain unaware of the power of our situation.

We can tap into the collective and coordinated strength of our many movements by learning to strategically collaborate with one another. A few key elements of such an approach are:

    1) Celebrate other’s achievements; the success of one cause is the success of the whole.
    2) Support each other’s efforts through solidarity, encouragement, resources, media campaigns, etc.
    3) Take time to analyze the interconnections of the movements. Search for untapped strengths and sources of support. Identify pivot points of change and opportunities for other movements to help sway a critical element of your own movement.
    4) Talk with each other. Find out how your efforts overlap and look for opportunities for strategic collaboration.

Our movements are revolutionary; their manner of collaborative, horizontal organization is the most natural, organic system on Earth. We terrify the empowered elite because we reflect, in our very structure, the most powerful force on the planet: Life. In what they call our disorganization, we embody the natural systems that the patriarchal, Puritanical European colonizers have been trying to repress and control for thousands of years. Our movements are as frightening to them as a liberated woman, or the pagan religions of old Europe that succumbed to the first invasion of the mentality that now engulfs the empowered elite around the globe. We are organic and uncontrollable . . . and we are, ultimately, unstoppable.

Instead of codifying our movements under one name, we must learn to recognize who and what we are. We are a movement of movements, a great multiplicity of motion. We are a thousand points of light. We are Life, itself.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #686 on: February 24, 2014, 03:55:47 AM »
Thoughts on language, control, and a few other things in light of the rampant paranoia in recent evidence on the part of some. Found this, posted it on the DDFB page and thought it worthy of appearing here. Nobody can "make" anybody do anything.
Pull up your big boy panties and get ready for the collapse that is coming.

"To he who has ears, let him hear."

The hijacking of language for control purposes, by Cognitive Dissonance of zero hedge fame-- THE SOVEREIGNTY SERIES – YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!

THE SOVEREIGNTY SERIES – YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!
GALLERY FEBRUARY 23, 2014 COGNITIVE DISSONANCE LEAVE A COMMENT
You Can’t Make Me!

Self Victimization through Personal Speech Patterns

The Sovereignty Series

We’ve all heard of word association tests administered by the psychiatric profession which are used to determine our unconscious psychological makeup. The same goes for various other tests, such as the Rorschach test, that are (supposedly) designed to detect underlying thought disorder and overall personality characteristics.

I have often spoken about the hijacking of language to control and manipulate people, both as individuals and as the collective herd. George Orwell’s classic “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is a wonderful examination of the concept of language hijacking. I suggest that regardless of whether you have read “1984” or not, that you do so again in light of what we all see coming round the bend.

I tend to cringe whenever I use the word ‘hijack’ because it implies that our language has been forcibly taken from us, transformed into a weapon to be used against us, and then placed back in our hands disguised as an everyday tool of essential living. Even if the process I just described is actually what happened (in practice it’s more evolution than blunt force trauma) in order for the hijacking to be effective it still requires our consent and willingness to utilize and embrace the weaponized language.

So let’s try something a little different here. Instead of a word association test I would like to try a phrase association test with you. And I’ll bet that even if you tried you could not stop yourself from inserting a word into the blank at the end of the following phrase.

“You make me so <……….>.”

The lists of words you may have inserted into the <blank> are wide and varied. As well if I were to structure the sentence differently, such as “Sometimes you make me…..” or “Every time you do that you make me…..” the list may grow even longer. Sometimes we even declare that “It makes me so……” thereby giving inanimate objects or situations control over us. If you give it some thought you can come up with all kinds of variations.

The one commonality among most, if not all, of the words we place after ‘make me’ are words or possibly phrases that describe emotions, usually strong (triggering) emotions. In keeping with the theme of hijacking a language in order to control or manipulate, one of the techniques used is to distort the meaning of words or phrases in such a way as to promote a ‘victim’ mentality.

Other examples of victim phrases are “You can’t fight city hall” or “There’s nothing we can do to change the situation”, both classics because what we really mean when we say those things is that since we can’t change everything immediately why even try. This is what non sovereign entities say to each other and to their masters. We beg for permission from the ‘authorities’ to do what we as true sovereigns would never consider asking permission to do. This ‘conditioning’ begins with the language we use to speak and thus to think.

So my question here is simple. Since when is someone else responsible, as in “You make me…,” for our emotional ‘State of Mind’? Think about that for a few seconds before you respond because I would be willing to bet that your initial response, the one that quickly rolls off your mental or physical tongue, would itself be a triggered response rather than a logical and rational answer.

Now before you say, “Well, that’s just something we say. It doesn’t mean anything.” I beg to differ. Just watch two people verbally fight, or even just argue, and count the number of times one assigns the other blame for their own emotional state. If there is any emotional attachment between the parties, or the confrontation is emotionally triggering, blame will likely be assigned to the other. That’s the beauty of left/right politics as a control mechanism, to promote triggering emotions in order to divide and pacify a population.



We are all guilty of this, including myself. Just ask Mrs. Cog. To counter this tendency I try to remain mindful of what I am saying at all times, especially when I’m feeling emotional or I’m triggered by something someone else said. For me one of the signs that I‘ve been triggered is when I won’t let the other person finish speaking or I’m just waiting for my turn to speak rather than actually listening to what they are saying.

I attempt to counter this in the same why I try to avoid using the words ‘I believe’. Often when I use that term I am simply regurgitating some doctrine or thought bubble that is commonly used among those I associate with. Or it is a label I can quickly assume or wear that enables the view I wish to express to be quickly or easily understood. What I should be saying is that ‘I think’ or ‘My opinion is’. Doing so changes the dynamic of my thoughts and speech because now I am expressing my own ‘State of Mind’ rather than repeating someone else’s.

One of the things that drives Mrs. Cog crazy, especially when we are having ‘words’, is that I sometimes reject her assignment of blame. She’s even turned the tables on me a few times to her everlasting amusement. More often though, whether or not we are having words, I try to slow down and think about what I am saying. If I force myself to take full and exclusive ownership of my emotional state by avoiding the “You make me…” statements, not only must I phrase my words differently, but I must think differently about not just whom I’m talking to or what I’m talking about, but I must also think differently about myself.

By accusing someone else of being responsible for my emotional outbursts I am in essence avoiding responsibility for my own actions. By blaming others for my ‘State of Mind’ I’m assigning myself to the ‘role’ of victim status. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be in this ‘State of Mind’. So you fix yourself and I’ll be all better. That is one of the definitions of a victim, someone who has no control over their ‘self’, who has had the control of their body and/or mind taken from them, often by force or deceit. Only in this case, because I self assign myself as victim, it is entirely by my consent that I am a victim.

While that assessment might sound simplistic and even childish, I contend that there are few conversations/arguments more childish than two or more adults blaming each other for their own (dysfunctional) emotional state. If you don’t believe me, just spend an hour or so in a public park or gathering place where young children are playing. You will hear little fights erupt now and then and if you are honest with yourself you will see the parallels between what is said on the playground and what is said in the heat of an argument with a friend, spouse or other loved one.

So……..are you ready to take the Cognitive Dissonance challenge? For one entire week starting from this moment let ‘us’ attempt to be mindful at all times, not just when we are emotionally triggered or in the middle of conflict or confrontation, but at all times, of the language we use that sheds us of personal responsibility for our own emotional ‘State of Mind’.

I suspect that at some point during our little experiment we will begin to recognize other words, phrases or mannerisms we regularly use that also directly or indirectly absolve ourselves of personal ‘blame’ or ‘responsibility’ for all manner of things. No one can ‘make you’ do, feel or say anything without your consent and the first consent we quickly (and often without conscious thought) give up/away is when someone else triggers our own inner emotional dysfunction.

The ultimate goal of this thought experiment is to elevate our awareness, our mindfulness, and our inner presence in order to begin to reclaim our own personal sovereignty. In my opinion (see, I didn’t say ‘I believe’) we cannot even begin to assert our own personal sovereignty if we can’t even accept responsibility for our own (emotional) State of Mind.

02-23-2014

Cognitive Dissonance
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Surly1

  • Administrator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 18541
    • View Profile
    • Doomstead Diner
Re: The Surlynewz Channel/Stasi for Generation Internet
« Reply #687 on: February 25, 2014, 04:03:42 AM »
From the "Even Paranoids Have Enemies" department:
Looking for proof about disruptors? For your consideration, a smoking gun.


The Conspiracy Theory Is True: Agents Infiltrate Websites Intending To "Manipulate, Deceive, And Destroy Reputations"-- 

In the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true.



And this time we have a pretty slideshow of formerly confidential data prepared by the UK NSA equivalent, the GCHQ, to confirm it, and Edward Snowden to thank for disclosing it. The messenger in this case is Glenn Greenwald, who has released the data in an article in his new website, firstlook.org, which he summarizes as follows: "by publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself." Call it Stasi for "Generation Internet."

Greenwald's latest revelation focuses on GCHQ’s previously secret unit, the JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group).

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums. Here is one illustrative list of tactics from the latest GCHQ document we’re publishing today:



Other tactics aimed at individuals are listed here, under the revealing title “discredit a target”:



Then there are the tactics used to destroy companies the agency targets:



Critically, the “targets” for this deceit and reputation-destruction extend far beyond the customary roster of normal spycraft: hostile nations and their leaders, military agencies, and intelligence services. In fact, the discussion of many of these techniques occurs in the context of using them in lieu of “traditional law enforcement” against people suspected (but not charged or convicted) of ordinary crimes or, more broadly still, “hacktivism”, meaning those who use online protest activity for political ends.

The title page of one of these documents reflects the agency’s own awareness that it is “pushing the boundaries” by using “cyber offensive” techniques against people who have nothing to do with terrorism or national security threats, and indeed, centrally involves law enforcement agents who investigate ordinary crimes:



Greenwald's punchline is disturbing, and is sure to make paradnoid conspiracy theorists crawl even deeper into their holes for one simple reason: all of their worst fears were true all along.

Quote
No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption.
 
The broader point is that, far beyond hacktivists, these surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they’ve been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats. As Anonymous expert Gabriella Coleman of McGill University told me, “targeting Anonymous and hacktivists amounts to targeting citizens for expressing their political beliefs, resulting in the stifling of legitimate dissent.” Pointing to this study she published, Professor Coleman vehemently contested the assertion that “there is anything terrorist/violent in their actions.”

At this point Greenwald takes a detour into a well-known topic: Cass Sunstein. Who is Cass Sunstein? Recall: "Obama Picks Cass Sunstein (America’s Goebbels?) To Serve On NSA Oversight Panel."

Quote
Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.
Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government. Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But while until now there was speculation that Sunstein's policies had been implemented, there was no proof. That is no longer the case:

Quote
... these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?
What is perhaps most disturbing is the level of detail these modern day Stasi agents engage in, paradoxically proposing social subversion without realizing they themselves would be susceptible to just that. And all it would take is one whistleblower with a conscience:

Under the title “Online Covert Action”, the document details a variety of means to engage in “influence and info ops” as well as “disruption and computer net attack”, while dissecting how human being can be manipulated using “leaders”, “trust, “obedience” and “compliance”:








The documents lay out theories of how humans interact with one another, particularly online, and then attempt to identify ways to influence the outcomes – or “game” it:




[One of their favorites, since it works so well, both within Occupy, and here. --S.]




Greenwald's conclusion is spot on:

Quote
These agencies’ refusal to “comment on intelligence matters” – meaning: talk at all about anything and everything they do – is precisely why whistleblowing is so urgent, the journalism that supports it so clearly in the public interest, and the increasingly unhinged attacks by these agencies so easy to understand. Claims that government agencies are infiltrating online communities and engaging in “false flag operations” to discredit targets are often dismissed as conspiracy theories, but these documents leave no doubt they are doing precisely that.
 
Whatever else is true, no government should be able to engage in these tactics: what justification is there for having government agencies target people – who have been charged with no crime – for reputation-destruction, infiltrate online political communities, and develop techniques for manipulating online discourse? But to allow those actions with no public knowledge or accountability is particularly unjustifiable.
So the next time you run into someone in a chat room or a message board who sounds just a little too much like a paid government subversive... it may not be just the paranoia speaking. For the full details "why not", read the formerly confidential slideshow below.

The Art of Deception

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Karpatok

  • Contrarian
  • Sous Chef
  • *
  • Posts: 1427
    • View Profile
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #688 on: February 25, 2014, 04:41:37 AM »
  Oh Surly. This is so true and wonderful of you to find the same enlightening article that I just finished. Thank you so very much. On a more positive note, thank you so much for what you have done for all of us. And you must thank Haniel too, because he has such a brilliant mind and also has done so much for everyone. Karpatok

Offline Eddie

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 19357
    • View Profile
Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #689 on: February 25, 2014, 05:56:36 AM »
Same old MO. You just never change. Sarcastic hit and run comment laced with innuendo.

So, yeah, I stood up for Haniel. Still do. I trust Haniel, for several good reasons.

Number one is that he literally saved this site from oblivion. He didn't have to do that.

He is also someone who is actively working in the real world to build a sustainable community. He is coming to my house. He attends Age of Limits. He actively corresponds with people who have boots on the ground, like Jason Heppenstall, and JMG, and  Kunstler.

He has a garden. Like me, he is actually trying to learn how to feed himself and his family . He is trying to learn how to build domes. He is connected to his own group of like-minded doomsteaders. So they have a different religion than me. So what. It's a  peaceful, sane religion.

You, K, are different. You are someone who shares very little of yourself. You only show up to bitch and moan about how the site has gone to the dogs, talk about what a scumbag the admin is, how the rest of us are a bunch of boot lickers and sycophants. You never add content to the site. You never participate in discussions except to conduct little hit and run attacks like the one above.

You stir the shit at every opportunity and  point the finger at other people. Your tools are innuendo and sarcasm and derision.

For some reason, I'm not sure why, some of the people who post here like you. Maybe they remember a time when you  acted like a normal person. Maybe you're just adept at pushing their hot buttons. I definitely agree with RE that you're a napalm artist.

I have no control over your behavior, and I  doubt you do either. But I like the idea of trying to build communities, both virtual and in the real world. I will do what I can to keep self-centered, mean, divisive people from conducting their recreational shit-throwing on the forum I've chosen to hang out on.

So take it for what it's worth. I don't feel like a napalm war today. No reason to go all caps on me. Just listen to what I'm saying and take it to heart. Some of us are trying to build a new way of living, and internet forum napalm will not stop us.



What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
Azozeo's News Channel

Started by Surly1 « 1 2 ... 5 6 » Far Out Newz

82 Replies
29760 Views
Last post March 19, 2020, 04:27:44 AM
by azozeo
0 Replies
1026 Views
Last post July 01, 2018, 08:07:18 PM
by Palloy2
0 Replies
711 Views
Last post August 05, 2019, 03:51:00 AM
by RE