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Fri, 09 Dec 2022
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Agriculture Creates Population Explosion, Which Has Now Hit Limit

Richard Manning, author of Against the Grain (2004), discusses the 'Green Revolution' and the end of cheap oil. It's only about 5 minutes, and well worth the time.


Dollar

Mitt and Mormonism: Does It Matter?

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Mitt on his mission.
Romney is America's first non-Christian presidential nominee. He's a Mormon (aka Latter Day Saints Church member - LDS). Does it matter? More on that below.

Before he entered politics, he spent years as a Massachusetts Mormon leader. He began in the mid-1970s. From 1986 - 1994, he was president of the Boston Stake. It's similar to a Catholic diocese. Before that he was a Belmont and Cambridge bishop. His duties involved organizational work and counseling.

Later he taught Sunday school and oversaw church programs for teenagers. He overstepped by lecturing women on their sex lives and roles as homemakers. A 1994 Boston Phoenix cited an anonymous woman. As bishop, Romney discouraged her from having an abortion vital for health reasons.

The same article mentioned an area professor. She urged him to address domestic abuse. He refused and wouldn't do it. He's an elitist. He surrounds himself in church, business, and political life with powerful white men.

He's insensitive about ordinary popular needs. He doesn't convince people he cares. He calls homosexuality "perverse and reprehensible." His dark side is largely hidden.

He believes in traditional gender roles. Male dominance is fundamental. Women should be child bearers and homemakers.

Arrow Down

Weak job growth beyond government's control

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© Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Current and former military personnel stand in line while checking in at the Opportunity Job Fair at the old Naval Training Center in San Diego, California. The economy created far fewer jobs than expected in August, adding to evidence that the recovery remains in low gear.
No matter who ends up occupying the White House in January, many of the forces that have kept unemployment high and jobs growth slow will be beyond his control.

With job growth stuck a slower pace than in any recovery in the last half century, the presidential campaign now turns on which candidate -- President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney -- has the better plan to boost employment. The latest jobs data will do little to change the debate.

The economy added just 96,000 new jobs in August, well below the roughly 130,000 economists had been expecting. Gains in the prior two months were revised down by a combined 41,000. Manufacturers cut 15,000 jobs last month, while another 7,000 government jobs were lost. Temporary employment fell by almost 5,000 workers.

Other recent employment measures have painted a somewhat better picture. Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, and a private survey by payroll processor ADP found that companies created some 200,000 new jobs in August. Another private report showed that service sector companies, such as hotels, retailers, and financial services firms, expanded at a faster rate last month.

Comment: 4 years into the Great Recession and everyone's still playing the optimist card. Europe (Euro) is collapsing with Spain, Italy and Greece growing more enslaved to the IMF and World Bank. It's not a sputtering economy, it's simply that money isn't moving from the hands with it to the hands without it. Bank loans are stifled as each (propped up, fake) economic bubble continues to pop.

Here's something you might consider in preparation for what's to come: Social Harmony in Times of Global Dischord

You can of course keep on dreamin', as if the following were not reality.




Arrow Down

World Economy Entering Into Financial Hurricane Season

The North Atlantic hurricane season runs from mid-August to October, with a strong peak in storm activity around the middle of September. A less familiar but even more destructive pattern of disturbances is the financial hurricane season, which coincides with the meteorological one almost to the day. Most of the great financial crises of modern history have occurred in the two months from mid-August: the Wall Street crashes of Oct. 22, 1907, Oct. 24, 1929, and Oct. 19, 1987; Britain's abandonment of the gold standard on Sept. 19, 1931; the postwar sterling devaluation on Sept. 19, 1949; the collapse of the Bretton Woods global monetary system on Aug. 15, 1971; the Mexican default that triggered the Third World debt crisis on Aug. 20, 1982; the breakup of the European exchange-rate mechanism on Sept. 16, 1992; the Russian default on Aug. 17, 1998, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on Sept. 15. 2008 - and this list could go on.

The coincidence between financial and meteorological hurricanes may not be entirely fortuitous. The global economy, like the world's atmosphere, is a finely balanced complex system.

In such systems, small perturbations can accumulate to trigger big effects. And just as the meteorological tipping points tend to occur when autumn air circulation starts to disrupt the humid air accumulated in the summer doldrums, something similar seems to happen to financial markets when trading becalmed by the summer holidays returns to normal. The result can be sudden and violent reaction to events accumulated over the summer that markets had seemed to ignore.

R2-D2

Drone Club

predator drone
The first rule of Fight Club?

You don't talk about Fight Club.

Obama isn't a member of Fight Club; he's a member of Drone Club - which targets individuals in foreign lands, including American citizens and their families, for extrajudicial assassination by drone. And the first rule of Drone Club?

You don't talk about it.

Cow

$83,046 For A 3 Hour Hospital Visit in the US - Health Care or Money-Making Scam?

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The fastest way to go broke in America is to go to the hospital. These days it seems like almost everyone has an outrageous hospital bill story to share. It is getting to the point where most people are deathly afraid to go to the hospital. All the financial progress that you have made in recent years can literally be wiped out in just a matter of hours. For example, you are about to read about an Arizona woman that was recently charged $83,046 for a 3 hour hospital visit. How in the world is anyone supposed to pay a bill like that? I have a really hard time understanding why a visit to the doctor should ever be more than a couple hundred bucks or why a hospital stay should ever be more than a couple thousand dollars. Outrageous hospital bills are a real pet peeve of mine and I have not even been to the hospital in ages. What makes all of this even more infuriating is that Medicare, Medicaid and the big insurance companies are often charged less than 10 percent of what the rest of us are billed for the same procedures. There is a reason why 41 percent of all working age Americans are struggling with medical debt right now. It is because our health care system has become a giant money making scam. Millions of desperate Americans go into hospitals each year assuming that they will be treated fairly, but in the end they get stuck with incredibly outrageous bills and in many cases cruel debt collection techniques are employed against them if they don't pay.

So why do we have to pay so much for medical care? Back in 1980, less than 10 percent of U.S. GDP went to health care. Today, about 18 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward health care.

Info

Monsanto, Which is Fighting Efforts to Label Genetically Engineered Food in California, Supported Labeling Such Food in Britain

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Monsanto fully supports the labeling of foods with genetically engineered products.

In the United Kingdom.

St. Louis-based Monsanto, a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds and chemicals such as the herbicide Roundup, has donated $4.2 million to efforts to defeat Proposition 37, a controversial measure on the November ballot that would require labeling for genetically engineered foods.

But in the late 1990s, Monsanto ran advertisements in Britain that supported food labeling, which is common in Europe.

The European Union first approved labels for genetically engineered food in 1997, and specific rules covering corn and soy came a year later. Monsanto's ads in Europe apparently ran after the decision to label foods had been made. Labeling rules in the United Kingdom went into effect in early 1999.

Pirates

"Managing" the Plaza: America's Secret Deal with Mexican Drug Cartels

In a story which should have made front page headlines, Narco News investigative journalist Bill Conroy revealed that:
A high-ranking Sinaloa narco-trafficking organization member's claim that US officials have struck a deal with the leadership of the Mexican 'cartel' appears to be corroborated in large part by the statements of a Mexican diplomat in email correspondence made public recently by the nonprofit media group WikiLeaks.
A series of some five million emails, The Global Intelligence Files, were obtained by the secret-spilling organization as a result of last year's hack by Anonymous of the Texas-based "global intelligence" firm Stratfor.

Bad tradecraft aside, the Stratfor dump offers readers insight into a shadowy world where information is sold to the highest bidder through a "a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world."

One of those informants was a Mexican intelligence officer with the Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional, or CISEN, Mexico's equivalent to the CIA. Dubbed "MX1″ by Stratfor, he operates under diplomatic cover at the Mexican consulate in Phoenix, Arizona after a similar posting at the consulate in El Paso, Texas.

His cover was blown by the intelligence grifters when they identified him in their correspondence as Fernando de la Mora, described by Stratfor as "being molded to be the Mexican 'tip of the spear' in the U.S."

In an earlier Narco News story, Conroy revealed that "US soldiers are operating inside Mexico as part of the drug war and the Mexican government provided critical intelligence to US agents in the now-discredited Fast and Furious gun-running operation," the Mexican diplomat claimed in email correspondence.

Coffee

Fooled you once: Democrats Retreat on Civil Liberties in 2012 Platform

gitmo
© Flickr/US Army
US Soldiers jog by a guard tower at Camp Delta in 2010.

What a difference four years makes.

In 2008, Democrats were eager to draw a contrast with what they then portrayed as Republican excesses in the fight against Al Qaeda. Since then, the Obama administration has in many cases continued the national security policies of its predecessor - and the Democratic Party's 2012 platform highlights this reversal, abandoning much of the substance and all of the bombast of the 2008 platform. Here are a few places where the differences are most glaring:

Bad Guys

Obama campaign brags about its persecution of whistleblowers

Drone strike Yemen
© Reuters
A US drone strike in eastern Yemen on Sunday was claimed by a security official to have killed six suspected Islamist militants. The Yemeni government has contradicted this, saying the intended target was 'completely missed', and 13 civilians were killed instead.
Excuse me if I don't join in Democrats' sycophantic cheerleading for an Obama presidency that has shredded laws and liberties

For several decades, protection of whistleblowers has been a core political value for Democrats, at least for progressives. Daniel Ellsberg has long been viewed by liberals as an American hero for his disclosure of the top secret Pentagon Papers. In 2008, candidate Obama hailed whistleblowing as "acts of courage and patriotism", which "should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration".

President Obama, however, has waged the most aggressive and vindictive assault on whistleblowers of any president in American history, as even political magazines generally supportive of him have recognized and condemned. One might think that, as the party's faithful gather to celebrate the greatness of this leader, this fact would be a minor problem, a source of some tension between Obama and his hardest-core supporters, perhaps even some embarrassment. One would be wrong.

Far from shying away from this record of persecuting whistleblowers, the Obama campaign is proudly boasting of it. A so-called "Truth Team" of the Obama/Biden 2012 campaign issued a document responding to allegations that the Obama White House has leaked classified information in order to glorify the president: