SUNDAY FUNNIES

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Posted on 27th July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

151321 600 Obama Golfs cartoons

151295 600 Social media solving the worlds problems cartoons

151303 600 Transparent Administration cartoons

151354 600 Bloomberg flies into Mideast fight cartoons

151403 600 ITS TOUGH BEING THE PRESIDENT cartoons

151309 600 Lay and Lie cartoons

151344 600 Obama and world crises cartoons

151402 600 Obamacare Ruling cartoons

151396 600 LOCAL CA Californians on Climate Change cartoons

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151380 600 Obama el Terrible cartoons

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151368 600 Russian Sanctions cartoons

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151340 600 Brooklyn Bridge flags changed cartoons

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151300 600 The Jerk cartoons

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151289 600 IRS smoking gun cartoons

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Via Cagle Post

QUOTES OF THE DAY

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Posted on 27th July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

“That all men are equal is a proposition which at ordinary times no sane individual has ever given his assent.”
― Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies

“The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”
― Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow

“Man is so intelligent that he feels impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.”
― Aldous Huxley

“…most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.”
― Aldous Huxley

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence – those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are overconsuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”
― Aldous Huxley, Island

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”
― Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

If Americans Knew What Was Happening In Israel …

26 comments

Posted on 27th July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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George Washington's picture

If my fellow Americans understood the history of Israel and Palestine, their views would change overnight … and they would demand that Israel no longer be given unconditional support and blank checks to do whatever they want:

Postscript: Former Israeli Minister: Calling people who criticize Israeli policy “anti-semitic. It’s a trick … we always use it”.

Gas Siphoning & Energy Theft

3 comments

Posted on 27th July 2014 by Reverse Engineer in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on July 27, 2014

siphoning-gas

LATEST RANT:  ANTI-DOLLAR!!!

ANTI-DOLLAR II Coming Soon to a Laptop Near You!

Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner

RE-BM-Camp3In what is likely to become an increasingly more prevalent problem, twice in the last week I had Gas siphoned out of my Spare Carz while I was not around.  The main reason I know about it is because in one case the siphoners left the Gas Cap off and under the rear wheel on the passenger side, so I didn’t see it before rolling over it and busting it.

Second case worse, besides Siphoning, the Perps also went under the car and cut one of the hoses (or maybe more).  The hose was on the ground under the car, I spied it when I got home.  Since I don’t know if this was the only Vandalism, I did not drive the car.  Don’t know if maybe brake lines were cut too.  Had it towed over to the shop for a checkup and repair.  $80 just for the tow.  Don’t know what the repair bill will be yet.  My ATT Road Service Plan doesn’t cover Vandalism.

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2008/06/lockinggascap.jpgFortunately the Tioga Bugout Machine which has the largest Gas Tank at around 50 gallons wasn’t hit so far.  I have a locking gas cap on that one.  I went to Auto Zone and bought Locking Gas Caps for the other two vehicles also now.  Main issue with locking gas caps is they are very easily defeated, all you need is a portable electric drill.  You drill into the cap and this prevents it from free spinning while the drill bit is embedded in the cap.  I figured this out when I lost the keys to a locking gas cap a while back.  Fortunately, most siphoners haven’t figured that out yet, and they just move on to a car without a locking gas cap.

I am considering now getting Security Cameras, but this is another expense and also pretty easily defeated if the siphoner wears a hoodie and duct tapes over his license plate, if the license plate even gets in the picture.

Large Scale Siphoning stories at Gas Stations are also starting to appear.

Thieves In South Florida Siphoning Fuel From Gas Stations

Organized crime groups in South Florida are reportedly siphoning gasoline and diesel fuel from stations in broad daylight.

John Peach, vice president of operations for Victory Petroleum, says that thieves park on top of underground storage tanks at gas stations and remove false bottoms from their large vehicles, usually SUV or minivans, and lower a hose into the tank, stealing thousands of dollars of gas within minutes.

Peach joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to talk about this growing trend in Florida.
Guest

John Peach, vice president of operations for Victory Petroleum.

Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

It’s HERE AND NOW.

South Florida is dealing with an unusual crime wave: Thieves stealing gasoline and diesel fuel from gas stations in broad daylight. The thieves are using a siphoning and then storing the fuel in the back of their car.

Joining us now is John Peach, Vice President of Operations for Victory Petroleum, which owns and operates almost 200 gas stations in and around Miami/Dade County. John, thanks for being with us.

JOHN PEACH: Thank you, Jeremy.

HOBSON: Well, how exactly does this scheme work?

PEACH: Sure. So these people, who operate in organized crime, essentially identify properties that they target as places where they can steal fuel from. They pull up above our tank field. It’s usually a two to three-man operation involving at least two cars. And they compromise the lock on our tank field, which were the underground storage tanks sit. And they…

HOBSON: This is right on top of the parking lot where you would pull in to get your gas.

PEACH: Yes, sir. Correct. While the person who is in the car that actually performs a siphoning is going about the act of siphoning, they usually have one to two people inside of the convenient store who keep an eye on our employees and our control systems, to make sure that nothing identifies that the crime is going on. In the car, which has a false floorboard, removes the floorboard; they break the lock that sits on top of the underground storage tank.

And they drop a siphon pump down into either the diesel or the gasoline tank, which is hooked up to a motor on the car battery. And they turn on the motor and they can take anywhere from – we’ve seen 70 up to 600 gallons in about 10 minutes.

HOBSON: Ten minutes and no one notices.

PEACH: We do notice. We’ve had instances where our employees have noticed that this was going on. Again, we do have control points in place that identify when things like this happen. We have security systems, cameras. We have alarms that monitor the tank levels with the product underground, so that if product is leaving the tanks – in a manner other than going out of pump, the hose into somebody’s car – an alarm would go off.

And obviously our employees just have general awareness or they’re looking outside to see what’s going on. But, again, these people are operating in organized crime so it’s tough to have your employees stop this. It’s really a job for the local police department to do.

HOBSON: And then they take this gas or this diesel, and they try to resell it on the black market. What is the black market for gas and diesel? How do you even do that?

PEACH: Sure. So what they do is after they steal the product from a retail gas property, like the ones that my company owns and operates, they transport it to wherever it is that they resell it. I would be speculating if I told you that I knew where they resold it. It’s our assumption that they sell it for under market value, because if they were selling this at retail this market wouldn’t exist.

HOBSON: How much are you losing over all? And how much can they make on this?

PEACH: We’re losing tens of thousands of dollars. And other companies in the industry down here in South Florida, Central Florida, and I would speculate but probably other parts of the country are also losing as much money.

HOBSON: And do you have any sense of how much they can make reselling it?

PEACH: I don’t but it’s my guess that it’s a thriving business. We have seen an uptick in this type of organized crime, as the price of the commodity has risen. Probably starting back in October or November, we had a measurable increase of this kind of crime. Obviously we represent a cross sample of the larger industry down here in South Florida, but our sample size is pretty appropriate in the sense that we are in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Naples, which represents most of South Florida.

And we’ve had properties that have been siphoned all over our geography. Also interesting to point out here that this used to be exclusive to diesel and, in recent months, we have actually had our first incidents of people siphoning gasoline from us.

HOBSON: Well, and I want to ask you about that because you say that having gasoline sitting in the back of a car is actually more dangerous than with diesel, right?

PEACH: Yes, sir. Gasoline is more explosive, that’s correct.

HOBSON: And what would it take to cause an explosion? It’s not just like driving around with a tank of gas in your car in the fuel tank. This is much more likely to be ignited by even a small spark, right?

PEACH: Yes, a couple of things to point out here. So the gas station environment, the retail gas environment, is a pretty well-controlled and secured; what I would refer to as a closed loop environment. So a truck brings product from a port, a rack, a terminal and then drops it in an underground storage tank. And then when they drop product into the underground storage tank, they recover the vapors that are sitting underground where the product used to be.

So in a perfect environment this is a closed loop circuit. When somebody introduces the act of siphoning into this environment without equipment – like a gasoline tanker or a truck – to recapture vapor, right there is where the problem begins. These people are operating siphon motors that we assume operate off a battery of their car. And we are also operating under the assumption that they don’t ground their vehicle properly. So this environment creates static electricity concerns, not to mention just general concerns of motors operating over 5,000, 8,000, 10,000 gallons of gasoline or diesel, very concerning.

In addition to that, we think about the gas tank or diesel tank on your automobile or my automobile, it’s logically placed. There was a reason that the automobile manufacturer put it where they put it on the car, to make sure that in the event of an automobile accident, the least problems could develop. And these people have, you know, 70 to 600 gallons of gasoline or diesel basically sitting in a very unsecured and illogically placed drum in the back of their car. So a common automobile accident would be very dangerous.

HOBSON: Do you think you’ll be able to catch all the people who are doing this?

PEACH: People get caught from time to time. If you look in the news and do a Google search, for instance, you’ll see that this kind of organized crime has existed for a while. From time to time these people do get caught. Sometimes they get caught just in routine traffic stops. Other times local law enforcement agencies see a case through.

But again, our concern in this is, it’s really three-fold. The act of siphoning, it’s dangerous, it’s dangerous to our customers. The act of transporting non-secured fuel on our city streets, it’s dangerous. You think about your friends, your family possibly getting in an automobile accident with one of these siphoning vans.

And then reselling fuel, you know, fuel is obviously a regulated industry, and you think about what they might be doing with the fuel before they turn around and resell it into automobiles. Again, those vehicles driving our city streets is concerning.

HOBSON: Now gas prices are going up a little bit right now, but they’ve held relatively steady for some times. Do you think this is just about the fact that gas is more expensive?

PEACH: No, I don’t necessarily think it’s just about the fact that gas and/or diesel has gotten more expensive. I think that these criminals have gotten more brazen over time with their success in procuring product from properties like ours in this manner. It used to be exclusive to nighttime and properties off the city grid. Now they’re doing it during daytime at properties that are deep in the city grid and highly visible, and I think with their success has come a more thriving market to turn around and resell this product.

HOBSON: That’s John Peach, vice president of operations for Victory Petroleum in South Florida. It operates almost 200 gas stations in and around Miami Dade. John, thanks so much.

PEACH: My pleasure. Thank you, Jeremy.

Now, while I think “Organized Crime” has some part in this, really it doesn’t take much organization, 3 or 4 guys can do it with hardware purchased at Home Depot.  Say you and 4 buddies in a Cul de Sac in some McMansion development each spend $100/wk in gas.  At $4/gal, that is 25 gallons each which is pretty typical between commuting and tooling around the neighborhood doing errands.  If you have a big enough tank and can scarf up 1000 Gallons in 10 minutes, pulling off one of these stunts every couple of months keeps all your tanks full up for FREE! You save $5000/year after tax income this way!

http://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/sideofminivan.jpg?w=652&h=432Now, one would think the Gas stations could have a better security system.  There could be some kind of Sensor that detects when a siphon hose goes down in the tank.  This would then automatically phone the local Gestapo to come speeding to the scene of the crime.

That might work if there are tons of free cops cruising the neighborhood, but most communities don’t have so many cops and this is pretty low priority on the crime list.  For a gas station out in a rural area, the chances the cops would make it to the scene before the perps have left with the gas is small.

This phenomena among many others is likely to make gas harder and harder to come by.  Smaller stations getting ripped off will have to shut down.  Prices will have to rise to offset the “shrinkage” as it is known in the retail biz when merchandise is shoplifted.

Far as EVs go, the problem is even worse with them, as there are miles of unmonitored electrical transmission cables where with the right setup, you could tap into the power supply and recharge your EV for free.  For tiny EVs like my EWz, I already mentioned how EZ it would be to go into a laundromat or coffee shop and plug in the batteries for a recharge. Also, here in Alaska because of the Cold in Winter, many places have outdoor electric outlets for you to plug in the Block Heater for your car.  If you are driving an EV, you could ALSO plug the car battery in too for a recharge while you eat dinner.  To stop this, every plug would need a Meter on it and a Switch controlled from inside the restaraunt, a huge expense there.

Even outside the EV issue, theft of Energy from the Electrical Grid is SOP for many countries in the 3rd World, from Brasil to India, just for basic power to run household appliances.

http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/content/2012/india/13344602-1-eng-US/india_full_600.jpg

http://static.progressivemediagroup.com/uploads/imagelibrary/Brazil%20slum%20TOP.jpg

http://www.bzconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/stealing.jpg

The issue is, if you make it basically a REQUIREMENT to buy energy, but a significant portion of the population is too POOR to buy the energy, THEFT will ensue.

Why is it a REQUIREMENT to buy Energy?  Well, first of there are LAWS which mandate it.  Here in Alaska for instance, your domicile MUST have Hot and Cold running water and Electricity if you have any kids.  If you are an adult living by yourself out in the Bush, you can live in a cabin with an outhouse, but soon as you procreate, if your domicile does not have these “necessities” of Industrial Living, Child Protective Services can remove your kidz and send them to the Foster Care system.

In about every Big Shity, if you don’t maintain the Gas Bill, Electric Bill, Water Bill etc to your McMansion, the local “authorities” can and will drop in to CONDEMN the property.  One of the Diners, WHD had this situation ongoing for a while before he finally fortunately got re-employed and was able to start paying these Bills again.

Beyond the energy to run your McMansion, why is it a near MANDATE that you buy energy for travel?

To get to & fro work if you are fortunate enough to still have a JOB, because of the way the infrastructure of the society was built out, in most places you MUST have a car to traverse the distance between work and home.  Even inside the few Big Shities with a decent Public Transportation system, you have to pay the Bus Fares and Subway Fares, in NYC these days now up to $2.50 a trip.  When I was riding these rails regularly in the 70s, the price was 25-35 CENTS. My parents generation rode the Subways for a NICKEL, but in the Great Depression, even that was too much for many to afford.

http://www.futuristspeaker.com/wp-content/uploads/US-Prison-Population.jpgIn every aspect of the society, from the domicile in which you live to the travel you do every day, consumption of energy is mandated, if not legally than by social pressure.  Anyone living without these “necessities” is a FAILURE, homeless people living in Tents don’t get much respect in the society, in fact probably less than people in PRISON, where once in you get 3 Hots & A Cot.  In this case the energy bills for the Prison paid for out of taxation, or further debt issuance in reality.

Today, the FSoA has more people in PRISON than any other country in the world.  Why are so many in there?  Basically because the Industrial Economy does not pay enough people a living wage to afford the energy cost of this lifestyle.  In the end, they turn to a life of “crime”, selling drugs or siphoning gas, prostitution, whatever it takes to get by.

http://www.tildee.com/uploads/1-12-2011/011A3F63-8E7C-4B05-B2E9-7E48AFF1C228.jpgLike the old Workhouses of the British Empire in the Charles Dickens years, Prisons here have become the final stop for the portion of the population that can’t get on the Gravy Train for one reason or another.  Maybe its poor education, maybe there are few opportunities where they live, maybe they are just stupid, but whatever the reason here the “solution” of dropping them in prison is pretty stupid itself.  It costs around $35K to keep anybody in prison.  If you just handed most of these folks $25K, they probably could get by without resorting to crime, but then why would anyone work a Menial Job paying $25K?  Not to mention, a lot of Prison Guards would go Unemployed here, and a lot of Private Companies running Prisons would go outta biz!

People who successfully negotiated the Industrial paradigm, got a “good” job paying a high income by and large do not grasp or understand that the number of said jobs are far less than the size of the population, and so always with this sort of economy 50% or more of the population can barely meet the bills, and that is when the paradigm is working and there is copious energy to waste.  when it gets to the point where the cost of GETTING to work to earn a Minimum Wage that is less than the cost of fuel to get to work, it no longer makes economic sense to GO to work. This situation is already in full swing in places like Greece & Spain, but already even apparent here on the Last Great Frontier, where there still is a little Fossil Fuel energy left to extract, and a low population too.

As the price of Energy rises, it becomes much more profitable and worthwhile to do Energy theft.  At low prices it is not worth the risk, but at high prices the risk is more worth taking.  Generally speaking, if the theft is below $500, it’s a misdemeanor.  From Kentucky:

Under a new law which went into effect on June 25, 2009, the dollar amount for felony offenses has been increased.

A class D felony now requires theft , extortion or damage to property of a minimum of $500, A class C felony now requires $10,000.

The worst you get for Class C Felony of this type is probably Probation.  Its not violent crime, not drug related crime, it doesn’t get a prison sentence usually, if you have a decent lawyer anyhow.  Also, unless you actually are doing this on the big scale, it’s a misdemeanor.  Keep your amount down below 125 gallons or so, even if the cops catch you, it’s not a big crime.  That is easily enough gas to run your SUV for a month.

For now, hopefully the Locking Gas Caps will be enough to deter the local siphoners from hitting my spare carz as Gas Station while I am not around.  However, if this is ALREADY occuring up here where things aren’t really too bad overall, they are bound to be a lot worse in more depressed areas of the country, and will get worse here over time.

I expect to see a great deal of Energy Theft going on as things progress in this spin down, at both the low consumer level of Gas Siphoners, and at the Nation State level of Militaries commandeering Oil Fields in various nations at war.  Joe Biden’s son already appears to be trying such Profiteering in Novorossiya.

This goes on until there is nothing left to steal, and the infrastructure for distribution breaks down on the Grand Scale.

On the local scale, don’t be surprised if you exit Walmart tomorrow and find your Gas Tank emptied.

RE

Typical Household Wealth Has Plunged 36% Since 2003

6 comments

Posted on 27th July 2014 by AWD in Economy

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America’s Lost Decade: Typical Household Wealth Has Plunged 36% Since 2003
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Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/26/2014 21:53 -0400


Does it feel like you’re poorer?
There is a simple reason why – you are! According to a new study by the Russell Sage Foundation, the inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36% decline… Welcome to America’s Lost Decade.

Simply put, the NY Times notes, it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.

The reasons for these declines are complex and controversial, but one point seems clear: When only a few people are winning and more than half the population is losing, surely something is amiss.

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As Russell Sage Foundation concludes, through at least 2013, there are very few signs of significant recovery from the loss of wealth experienced by American families during the Great Recession. Declines in net worth from 2007 to 2009 were large, and the declines continued through 2013. These wealth losses, however, were not distributed equally. While large absolute amounts of wealth were destroyed at the top of the wealth distribution, households at the bottom of the wealth distribution lost the largest share of their total wealth. As a result, wealth inequality increased significantly from 2003 through 2013; by some metrics inequality roughly doubled.

The American economy has experienced rising income and wealth inequality for several decades, and there is little evidence that these trends are likely to reverse in the near-term.

It is possible that the very slow recovery from the Great Recession will continue to generate increased wealth inequality in the coming years as those hardest hit may still be drawing down the assets they have left to cover current consumption.

The inequality-battler-in-chief remains unaware of the greatest irony of this surging rich-getting-richer as poor-get-poorer society:

Inequality in the U.S. today is near its historical highs, largely because the Federal Reserve’s policies have succeeded in achieving their aim: namely, higher asset prices (especially the prices of stocks, bonds and high-end real estate), which are generally owned by taxpayers in the upper-income brackets. The Fed is doing all the work, because the President’s policies are growth-suppressive. In the absence of the Fed’s moneyprinting and ZIRP, the economy would either be softer or actually in a new recession.

The greatest irony is that the President is railing against inequality as one of the most important problems of the day, despite the fact that his policies are squeezing the middle class and causing the Fed – with the President’s encouragement – to engage in the radical monetary policy, which is exacerbating inequality. This simple truth cannot be repeated often enough.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-26/americas-lost-decade-typical-household-wealth-has-plunged-36-2003

SOCIALISM ALWAYS ENDS THE SAME WAY

EVERYONE EQUALLY POOR, EQUALY DESTITUTE, THE DEATH OF THE MIDDLE CLASS IF FAVOR OF POVERTY. OBAMA BUILT A 110 STROM FSA AND DISABILITY ARMY. TAKE BACK THIS COUNTRY….

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SUSPICIOUS MIND

8 comments

Posted on 26th July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

6 companies own 90% of media consumed by Americans

57 comments

Posted on 26th July 2014 by AWD in Economy

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6 companies own 90% of media consumed by Americans…

When Media Mergers Limit More Than Competition

JULY 25, 2014
The much-admired Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black may be rolling in his grave at the prospect of a merger between 21st Century Fox and Time Warner Inc., which would reduce control of the major Hollywood studios to five owners, from six, and major television producers to four, from five.

“The widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,” he wrote in the majority opinion that decided a 1945 antitrust case involving major newspaper publishers and The Associated Press. “The First Amendment affords not the slightest support for the contention that a combination to restrain trade in news and views has any constitutional immunity.”

Fox and Time Warner may no longer publish old-media newspapers or magazines, but they certainly disseminate information and opinions that may be even more vital to the “welfare of the public” today than the newspapers of Justice Black’s era. HBO alone, one of Time Warner’s cable channels, produces “Real Time With Bill Maher,” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and acclaimed documentaries like “The Case Against 8,” about the struggle for marriage equality, and the “Paradise Lost” series, which examined the murder convictions of the group of white teenagers known as the West Memphis Three.

How many of those would be produced under the ownership of a Rupert Murdoch, or for that matter, any other media mogul who controlled close to 40 percent of all major film production and nearly 20 percent of all television?

“I don’t see a bright distinction between news and entertainment,” said Christopher L. Sagers, an antitrust professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. “One person shouldn’t own all the cultural creativity resources. If one person can limit content, that’s a huge loss to society.”

Advocates for consolidation in media, who include not just Mr. Murdoch, who controls 21st Century Fox, and their allies, but also other big media, cable and telecommunications companies, tend to brush off antitrust concerns when it comes to content creation. (Even Time Warner has been cautious about raising any antitrust defenses, presumably because, should it thwart Mr. Murdoch this time, it may want to acquire its rivals at some point in the future.)

After all, the rise of Netflix and the popularity of YouTube demonstrate that anyone can make successful original programming in the freewheeling digital era. And even as television producers have consolidated, critics have hailed a new “golden age” of television.

But this ignores the fact that in 1983, 50 companies owned 90 percent of the media consumed by Americans. By 2012, just six companies — including Fox (then part of News Corporation) and Time Warner — controlled that 90 percent, according to testimony before the House Judiciary Committee examining Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal.

“The situation is already terrible and this would make it worse,” said Susan Crawford, a visiting professor in intellectual property at Harvard Law School. Coupled with giant cable and Internet distributors, like Comcast and AT&T, “you’ve got two highly concentrated markets that need each other to survive and protect their profits,” Professor Crawford said. “The public interest side of this conversation is hopelessly outgunned.”

Antitrust experts said that a merger of 21st Century Fox and Time Warner posed far more serious regulatory issues than Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal. That’s because Fox and Time Warner are direct competitors in the businesses of film and television production. (Comcast didn’t produce much programming before it bought NBCUniversal.)

“This is quite different from Comcast and NBCUniversal,” said Scott Hemphill, an antitrust professor at Columbia Law School. “It’s a straightforward merger of two competitors.”

These so-called horizontal mergers always reduce competition, the only issue being whether it’s enough to warrant blocking the merger or imposing conditions on it. And both Fox and Time Warner would come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission, which is free to take a broader view of the public interest when examining mergers.

“It’s within the F.C.C.’s power as merger overseers to conclude that this merger would impose undue limits on diversity,” Professor Sagers said. “It could block it or it could impose conditions that would ensure diversity.”

A spokesman at 21st Century Fox declined to comment. But a person with knowledge of the company’s strategy said it saw no substantive antitrust issues other than in cable news. On the contrary, this person contended that a merger would encourage competition, because Fox has traditionally been a disruptive rival and innovator. A spokesman for Time Warner declined to comment.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/26/business/a-21st-century-fox-time-warner-merger-would-narrow-already-dwindling-competition.html

How The NSA Is Actively Helping Saudi Arabia To Crackdown On Dissent

2 comments

Posted on 26th July 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

It is not an exaggeration to say Saudi Arabia is one of the most oppressive, authoritarian regimes on the planet. Despite having been the main foreign instigator pushing for conflict in Syria, as well as its increasingly disturbing ties to the attacks on 9/11, it remains one of the U.S. government’s closest allies.

I’ve covered some of the human rights abuses of the Saudi regime on several occasions due to the fact that it so clearly exposes the total hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy. The most recent example was the recent sentencing of human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu Alkhair to 15 years in prison for “inciting public opinion,” i.e., effectively utilizing free speech. I covered this in detail in the post: Saudi Human Rights Lawyer and Activist Jailed for 15 Years for Free Speech Under New “Anti-Terror” Law.

Thanks to revelations from Edward Snowden, we now know that our taxpayer money is directly funding the ability of this autocratic regime to brutalize its citizenry. The Intercept reports that:

The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.

 

But as the State Department publicly catalogued those very abuses, the NSA worked to provide increased surveillance assistance to the ministry that perpetrated them. The move is part of the Obama Administration’s increasingly close ties with the Saudi regime; beyond the new cooperation with the MOI, the memo describes “a period of rejuvenation” for the NSA’s relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

 

In general, U.S. support for the Saudi regime is long-standing. One secret 2007 NSA memo lists Saudi Arabia as one of four countries where the U.S. “has [an] interest in regime continuity.”

 

But from the end of the 1991 Gulf War until recently, the memo says, the NSA had a “very limited” relationship with the Saudi kingdom. In December 2012, the U.S. director of national intelligence,James Clapper, authorized the agency to expand its “third party” relationship with Saudi Arabia to include the sharing of signals intelligence, or “SIGINT,” capability with the MOD’s Technical Affairs Directorate (TAD).

 

Over the past year, the Saudi government has escalated its crackdown on activists, dissidents, and critics of the government. Earlier this month, Saudi human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a so-called “terrorist court” on charges of undermining the state and insulting the judiciary. In May, a liberal blogger, Raif Badawi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes; in June, human rights activist Mukhlif Shammari was sentenced to five years in prison for writing about the mistreatment of Saudi women.

I’m still waiting for Hollywood celebrities to hashtag outrage about Saudi abuses.

Asked if the U.S. takes human rights records into account before collaborating with foreign security agencies, a spokesman for the office of the director of national intelligence told The Intercept: “Yes. We cannot comment on specific intelligence matters but, as a general principle, human rights considerations inform our decisions on intelligence sharing with foreign governments.”

Remember, your government loves you. Full article here.