Friday, October 25, 2013

Four Articles, a Lecture, and Three Interviews: The ‘Economy’, Snowden and the Future, Columbus and the Indians, Syria, Barrett Brown, US Foreign Policy, Poverty and Health, and the Coming Depression

Further information at: Not-so-Random Information: Introduction and Table of Contents

1) Twenty (Important) Concepts I Wasn’t Taught in Business School – Part I - “Twenty-one years ago I received an MBA with Honors from the University of Chicago. The world became my oyster. Or so it seemed. For many years I achieved status in the metrics popular in our day ~ large paychecks, nice cars, travel to exotic places, girlfriend(s), novelty, and perhaps most importantly, respect for being a ‘successful’ member of society. But it turns out my financial career, shortlived as it was, occurred at the tail end of an era ~ where financial markers would increasingly decouple from the reality they were created to represent. My skill of being able to create more digits out of some digits, (or at least being able to sell that likelihood), allowed me to succeed in a “turbo” financial system that would moonshot over the next 20 years. For a short time I was in the 1% (and still am relative to ‘all humans who have ever lived’). Being in the 1% afforded me an opportunity to dig a little deeper in what was really going on (because I quit, and had time to read and think about things for 10 years). It turns out the financial system, and therefore my career, was based on some flawed assumptions that ‘worked’ in the short run but have long since become archaic, putting societies at significant risks.

“Around 30% of matriculating undergraduate college students today choose a business major, yet ‘doing business’ without knowledge of biology, ecology, and physics entirely misses first principles ~ my too long but also too short summary of the important things I wasn’t taught in business school is below.”…

2) ‘Snowden and the Future’, a talk given by Eben Moglen at Columbia Law School on October 9th, 2013

3) Columbus and the Indians: By Howard Zinn - “Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
"They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."…

4) What Are We Doing in Syria? - “Guest host Phil Donahue examines the deadly civil war in Syria and the consequences of another American intervention in the Middle East. Our guests include NPR correspondent Deborah Amos and historian and analyst Andrew Bacevich.”

5) Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years in Jail - “The mid-June sun is setting on the Mansfield jail near Dallas when Barrett Brown, the former public face of Anonymous, shuffles into the visitors hall wearing a jumpsuit of blazing orange. Once the nattiest anarchist around, Brown now looks like every other inmate in the overcrowded North Texas facility, down to his state-issued faux-Crocs, the color of candy corn.

“Brown sits down across from his co-counsel, a young civil-liberties lawyer named Ahmed Ghappour, and raises a triumphant fist holding several sheets of notebook paper. "Penned it out," he says. "After 10 months, I'm finally getting the hang of these archaic tools." He hands the article, titled "The Cyber-Intelligence Complex and Its Useful Idiots," to his lawyer with instructions to send it to his editor at The Guardian. Brown used to write for the British daily, but since he's been in prison, it's written about him and his strange legal ordeal that has had him locked up for nearly a year while he awaits trial next month. Should he be found guilty of all the charges the federal government is bringing against him – 17 counts, ranging from obstruction of justice to threatening a federal officer to identity fraud – he'll face more than 100 years in prison.”…

6) US Foreign Policy: Moral Hazards and Absolute Evil - “In Pt 2 of 4 of Reality Asserts Itself, Paul Jay and Max Blumenthal discuss US foreign policy from Bush to Obama and the concept that in "defense of civilization", every crime is acceptable.”

7) Poor concentration: Poverty reduces brainpower needed for navigating other areas of life - “Poverty and all its related concerns require so much mental energy that the poor have less remaining brainpower to devote to other areas of life, according to research based at Princeton University. As a result, people of limited means are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that may be amplified by — and perpetuate — their financial woes.

“Published in the journal Science, the study presents a unique perspective regarding the causes of persistent poverty. The researchers suggest that being poor may keep a person from concentrating on the very avenues that would lead them out of poverty. A person's cognitive function is diminished by the constant and all-consuming effort of coping with the immediate effects of having little money, such as scrounging to pay bills and cut costs. Thusly, a person is left with fewer ‘mental resources’ to focus on complicated, indirectly related matters such as education, job training and even managing their time.

“In a series of experiments, the researchers found that pressing financial concerns had an immediate impact on the ability of low-income individuals to perform on common cognitive and logic tests. On average, a person preoccupied with money problems exhibited a drop in cognitive function similar to a 13-point dip in IQ, or the loss of an entire night's sleep.”…

8) Paul Craig Roberts: By Winter Unemployment Explodes, More Foreclosures-Worse than Great Depression - “Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts says, ‘The country is not being run by the President. It is being run by spy agencies and private interest groups, Wall Street and military security complex . . . They run the country. The President is a puppet, a figurehead.’ Dr. Roberts contends, ‘If you are a lawless state, which the United States is, it obeys no international law. It does not obey the Geneva Convention . . . It tortures people. It doesn’t obey the Constitution. It doesn’t obey anything. It does what it wants. . . . If you are a lawless state, you disguise yourself as a democracy.’ Former President Jimmy Carter agrees. Just last week, Carter said, ‘The U.S. has no functioning democracy at this moment.’ Why hasn’t the mainstream media picked up this astounding comment from a former Democratic President? Dr. Roberts says, ‘Five firms now own what used to be a large dispersed independent media. Nobody can open their mouth, they’d get fired. They have become a propaganda ministry for government and corporations.’ Dr. Roberts goes on to say, ‘My prediction or expectation is by winter, the second downturn of the Great Recession will be in place. Unemployment will explode, more foreclosures are coming. It’s going to be worse than the Great Depression.’ Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.”

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