Open centered model best strategy for social change

There is a vast total-information-awareness surveillance network made up of global corporations and subservient (captured) governments engaging in the systematic infiltration and suppression of social justice activist groups. Their main method of control is the implementation of divide-and-conquer strategies.  When it comes to activists, their approach is to apply these strategies to what they have defined as four distinct groups: Radicals, who see the system as corrupt are marginalized and discredited with character assassination techniques.  Realists, who can be convinced that real change is not possible.  Idealists, who can be convinced (through propaganda) that they have the facts wrong.  And Opportunists, who are in it for themselves and therefore can be easily co-opted.   These suppression strategies, revealed on Stratfor documents from the WikiLeaks “Global Intelligence Files” (“as a result of Jeremy Hammond’s December 2011 hack”),  were reported in a MintPress News article written by Steve Horn: “How To Win The Media War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies

The anti-terrorist apparatus that the U.S. government established after 9/11 has now been turned against law-abiding citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. This apparatus consists not only of advanced surveillance technologies but also of “fusion centers” in state after state that coordinate the efforts of law enforcement up and down the line and collaborate with leading members of the private sector. Often, the work they do in the name of national security advances the interests of some of the largest corporations in America rather than focusing on protecting the United States from actual threats or attacks, such as the one at the Boston Marathon on April 15.

The emphasis is mine

How well-integrated is this coordination?  

There are two primary domestic public-private intelligence sharing partnerships at work at the federal level: Infragard and the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC).

Infragard is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership managed by the FBI Cyber Division Public/Private Alliance Unit (PPAU). As described by the FBI, Infragard is an “association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States.” There are 86 Infragard chapters nationwide. These Infragard chapters serve as representatives of private sector “stakeholders” in the many of the nation’s fusion centers.

DSAC is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership between the FBI, U.S. DHS I&A and several of the nation’s leading corporate/financial interests. Some of these corporate/financial interests comprise the DSAC Leadership Board. The DSAC Leadership Board consists of 29 corporations and banks, including several entities that have been the subject of OWS protests/criticism. Corporate/financial interests active in the DSAC Leadership Board include: Bank of America, MasterCard, Citigroup, American Express, Barclays, RBS Citizens, 3M, Archer Daniels Midland, ConocoPhillips, Time Warner and Wal-Mart. Along with DSAC chairmen from the FBI and U.S. DHS I&A, DSAC is co-chaired by a representative of these private sector interests– currently Grant Ashley, vice president of global security for pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co.

A comic in France stirs a movement of outrage

Alain Soral is a French author and philosopher whose political career included a membership in the French Communist Party and the National Front.  He is credited with developing the concept of “gauche du travail – droite des valeurs” (literally “left of labor – right of values”) which can be summarized as the simultaneous advocacy of  socialist/social ideas and measures in economic and social issues combined with conservative moral, ethical and religious values in ideological, ethical and cultural issues.  He is the founder of an extremely interesting movement called “Egalite et Reconciliation” which aims at reconciling native French people (called “Francais de souche” or “root French”) with those French people who recently immigrated to France (called “Francais de branche” or “branch French”) and to make them co-exist in complete equality.  Because of his numerous “politically incorrect” ideas and very overt statements, Soral is absolutely hated and feared by the French ruling class.  Even though Soral has also been completely banned from any public media,  He remains immensely popular with the general public and his books are all best-sellers.

Soral and Dieudo are very different people, they have very different backgrounds and they have very different personalities.  There even used to be a time when they were sharply critical of each other.  But when the French elites decided to basically destroy them they became closer together and now they are good friends, and they openly support each other, as a result we have this truly bizarre phenomenon: a White philosopher and a Black comedian have jointly become a kind of “two-headed Emmanuel Goldstein” of modern France: the elites absolutely hate them and the media as gone into a completely Orwellian “two minute of hate” frenzy mode trying to convince the French people that Soral and/or Dieudo are almost a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.  Needless to say, this thesis is so stupid that Dieudo makes fun of it in his shows while Soral ridicules it in his books and uses it to show that France is run by a tiny elite of vicious and arrogant SOBs.

In truth, one has to admit that the French elites are facing two formidable enemies.  Dieudonne is truly one of the most talented French comedian ever while Soral is without any doubt the most original and brilliant philosopher France has seen since WWII.  Furthermore, French law makes it rather difficult to completely ban a show or a book.  God knows, the French elites have tried, and both Dieudo and Soral have been taken to court numerous times for “racism” and “anti-Semitism”, both of them have been physically assaulted several times by the thugs of the “LDJ” (Jewish Defense League) and both of them are constantly harassed by the authorities (the French version of the IRS and the FBI).  Yet, this systematic campaign of persecutions has clearly backfired against its authors and given Dieudo and Soral a (well-deserved) martyr status.  Finally, Dieudo and Soral have shown that they are extremely sophisticated users of the Internet where their shows, special events, interviews, books, monthly news roundups have been extremely popular and are seen by many millions of people in France and abroad.

Gradually, Soral and Dieudo have built a real political movement which is active both on the internal front and on international issues.

As I mentioned, “Egalite et Reconciliation” or “E&R” stands for a full acceptance and integration of Muslim immigrants into the French society.  This is crucial because unlike the French National Front, E&R does not advocate the expulsion of immigrants out of France.  Not only that, but E&R even denies that immigrants are the real problem.  Of course, E&R does not deny that unemployment is huge in France, nor does it deny that a large percentage of crime and violence in France are committed by immigrants, but they see that as an effect of previous political mistakes and not as a cause of the problems of France.

11 Countries Are Meeting in Peru to Figure Out How They Can Control the Internet | The Top Information Post

11 Countries Are Meeting in Peru to Figure Out How They Can Control the Internet | The Top Information Post.

But now it appears that it’s going to be even easier for international copyright offenders to be tried in court by the interests–and lobbying power–of Hollywood. Starting today, 11 countries—Canada, America, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand—are having a secret (no members of the public and no press) meeting in Lima, Peru to figure out what can be done about copyright offenders who transmit Hollywood’s precious content over the interweb’s tubes without paying for it.

The meeting is held under the banner of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. They’re looking to sign an international treaty that will create world government-esque laws to handle anyone who downloads an early leak of Iron Man 3 illegally.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling this the “biggest global threat to the internet since ACTA.” If you remember, ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an international, internet-policing treaty that was shut down by the European Parliament with a 92 percent nay vote. Luckily for Europeans, no EU country is anywhere near the TPP negotiations in Peru right now—and European politicians are now quick to distance themselves from the policies that ACTA is trying to ram down the world’s throat.

But in North America, the ACTA movement is still very much alive. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government passed a bill in March that makes Canada more ACTA-friendly by allowing customs officers to destroy counterfeit goods and ratcheting up the criminal penalties against copyright offenders. And the United States has seized hip-hop blog domains without warning or trial, because they were alleged to host pirated material.

A leaked chapter outlining some preliminary discussion to re-examine intellectual property has revealed that TPP wants to add further checks and balances to restrict fair use. Those behind TPP want to make sure that if a teacher is trying to show some copyrighted material in their class for the purpose of education, or if a humorist using copyrighted material in an article for the purpose of satire, they’re doing so under what TPP calls a “good faith activity.”

The language in this leaked TPP chapter is incredibly dense and dates back to February 2011—so not only is it a confusing bit of writing, but it will also likely be revised over and over during this meeting in Peru. As it stands, the EFF is worried that “the United States is trying to export the worst parts of its intellectual property law without bringing any of the [fair use] protections.” And just like SOPA or CISPA, many people are concerned that the broad language in new legal terms like “good faith activity” will potentially lead to unjust prosecutions.

Can bees be trained to sniff out cancer? –

Can bees be trained to sniff out cancer? –

nsects offer key advantages over mammals and electronics, however, because of their antennae. For example, electronic nose devices have trouble detecting an odor amid more complicated conditions, like when there’s a greater mixture of gases, as is found in human breath. And studies have revealed that sniffer dogs identify odors correctly only about 71 percent of the time, while also requiring at least three months’ training. Bees, in contrast, have achieved an accuracy rate of 98 percent and can be trained in about 10 minutes.

In developing “Bee’s,” the Portuguese native needed something that enabled the user to easily transport bees into the instrument and safely suck them back out using a vacuum. The source material also had to be malleable enough to shape into a system with well-defined pathways that don’t impede their movement. She eventually settled on glass as the material because of its flexibility and transparency. “To know the results of a breath test, you’d have to see the behavior of the insects,” she says. “Everything is about their behavior.”

Prototypes have undergone field testing, and although it didn’t find any instances of cancer, it did turn up a case of diabetes that was later confirmed. It’s unlikely, though, that the concept will amount to anything beyond being an exhibition curiosity. While there was a brief period in which she felt ambitious enough to reach out to potential collaborators, the process proved so time consuming and unfruitful that she ultimately gave up. The only organizations that seemed even remotely interested in her idea were a handful of charities. So for now, “Bee’s” exists as one of those purely academic exercises to show, as she puts it, the “symbiotic relationship” humans have with nature and how “technology and science can better foster these relationships.”

“I think there’s only four labs in the world doing research into insects for disease screening, which shows you that this approach doesn’t go over well in the western world,” says Soares. “Medical and health technologies are a big business, and the bottom line is they just don’t see how something like this can be profitable.”

Glen C. Rains, an agricultural professor at the University of Georgia, largely concurs, though he adds that there are more complex issues besides economics. The entomologist, as well as licensed beekeeper, has dealt with numerous challenges while developing a similar device called the Wasp Hound, which uses a batch of five wasps to detect the presence of bedbugs. Rains’ system is a bit more elaborate in that it uses a camera to record the wasps’ behavior. The data is then fed into software that analyzes these movements to determine if the bugs actually did indeed detect these unwanted guests. After over a decade of development, Rains has forged a partnership with Bennett Aerospace, an engineering firm, to refine the technology for large-scale real applications.

New banking rules in the US, discussing the new Volcker Rule.

There are six big arguments against the Volcker Rule. Here’s why they’re wrong..


Today is the day we finally get to see the Volcker Rule, the new regulation that aims to prevent banks from engaging in speculative trading activity. (See here for an overview.)

Paul Volcker, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. (Bloomberg)

In all the excitement, a lot of commentators have been writing posts arguing that the Volcker Rule is either unnecessary or perhaps even counterproductive. Both Matt Levine and Tyler Cowen have summed up these cases well.

There are usually six different complaints about the Volcker Rule. By addressing them, we can lay out the case for why this rule is important and worth strengthening. I’ll take the complaints in order from least to most important:

1) “The Volcker rule isn’t a fix-all for Wall Street’s ills, and it might not even be a necessary component of reform. Why are we bothering to do this complicated thing?”

Let’s back up: The Dodd-Frank Act included a series of reforms that were designed to reinforce each other. The ultimate goal is to build a financial system that helps the real economy while also both preventing future crises and having the correct tools to deal with crises when they do happen.

In order to limit the government’s need to act as a safety net during a crisis, regulators are creating various tools that try to do three big things: First, the financial sector will have to internalize some of the costs of crises and insurance. Second, there’s more supervision of banks through things like capital requirements. Third, there are limits on the sorts of activities the banks can do.

The Volcker Rule mainly focuses on the third component — it prevents banks from engaging in “proprietary trading,” which essentially removes the parts of banks that gamble and act like hedge funds, because those parts can blow up quickly (see here for more).

It’s also a conceptual and cultural shift: Banks need to be boring again and focus on their core business lines. As Marcus Stanley of Americans for Financial Reform wrote, the Volcker Rule creates “a new definition of the dealer or market maker role that is more stable and reliable due to the removal of proprietary trading incentives.” This role will still support lending and credit but will also create a new “reliable utility role for dealer banks in the financial markets.”

That’s all just to say that there’s no one single “fix-all” reform here. All three components of financial regulation need to hang together. That involves a well-capitalized banking sector with high leverage, liquidity, and risk-adjusted capital. It also involves a sane over-the-counter derivatives market. And it requires a credible mechanism to force losses on to investors at firms that were previously “Too Big To Fail.” Those components have to work together.

2) “That’s fine, but seriously, this rule would have done nothing useful in solving the last financial crisis. It’s a solution in search of a problem.”

Perhaps. But “solving the last financial crisis” is only one of many goals here. There are other problems that the Volcker Rule does address, at least in part:

First, take resolution authority—the legal regime that’s designed to wind down very large banks and institutions that run into trouble. By preventing banks from engaging in proprietary trading, the Volcker Rule actually makes this task easier. Proprietary trading is notorious for creating quick, large losses, which makes it harder for regulators to deal with failing institutions (resolution authority typically involves nudging banks to better capital while giving regulators the tools necessary to take over failing firms—see more here).

The Volcker Rule also works in concert with other reforms, providing a backstop if those rules don’t work out. If derivatives regulations turn out to be insufficient, for instance, then the Volcker Rule still prevents large banks from carrying out huge bets on tail risk through the derivatives market.

The Volcker Rule would have also helped make the last financial crisis less extreme. “Certainly proprietary positioning played a role in the crisis,” says Caitlin Kline, a former derivatives trader who now works at the non-profit Better Markets. “Banks amassed inventories of high-yielding highly-rated products with largely overnight funding, and this street-wide carry trade helped cause a massive liquidity crisis and then solvency issues, which was a major factor. The Volcker rule will absolutely affect most front-office desk’s ability to warehouse huge positions like that.”