Showing posts from January 2, 2015

Low Oil Prices Drive US Rig Count Down

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[No surprise here, but while this trend gets covered in industry magazines it is still largely being ignored in the mainstream media. These closures are affecting both vertical and horizontal wells (regular oil drilling and fracking). *RON*]
By Andy Tully,, 31 December 2014

The number of drilling rigs in the United States fell for the third consecutive week in December, indicating that lower prices and therefore lower profits are causing producers to cut costs, according to Baker Hughes, a leading American oil-field services company.

Onshore US drilling rigs fell by 37 to 1,499 in the week ending Dec. 26. Ten rigs were dropped in the previous week and 29 went out of service the week before that. This period saw the greatest drop since the worldwide price of oil began to fall six months ago, according to the Baker Hughes report issued Dec. 29. And it was the largest number of rigs idled since 2012.

As a result, “the rig count is falling …

NSA has VPNs in Vulcan death grip—no, really, that’s what they call it

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[Little boys with their toys, happily destroying liberty and democracy because they can. Virtual Private Network traffic repositories used to find keys, crack encryption of target traffic. *RON*]

by Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, 30 December 2014

The National Security Agency’s Office of Target Pursuit (OTP) maintains a team of engineers dedicated to cracking the encrypted traffic of virtual private networks (VPNs) and has developed tools that could potentially uncloak the traffic in the majority of VPNs used to secure traffic passing over the Internet today, according to documents published this week by the German news magazine Der Speigel. A slide deck from a presentation by a member of OTP’s VPN Exploitation Team, dated September 13, 2010, details the process the NSA used at that time to attack VPNs—including tools with names drawn from Star Trek and other bits of popular culture.

OTP’s VPN exploit team had members assigned to branches focused on…

North Korea/Sony story shows how eagerly US media still regurgitate government claims

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[The mainstream media is The 1%. "Any journalist understands full well that assuming government claims to be true, with no evidence, is the primary means by which U.S. media outlets become tools of government propaganda. U.S. journalists don’t engage in this behavior because they haven’t yet realized this. To the contrary, they engage in this behavior precisely because they do realize this: because that is what they aspire to be." *RON*]
By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 1 January 2015

The identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown. President Obama, in a December 19 press conference, announced: “We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack.” He then vowed: “We will respond. . . . We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

The U.S. Government’s campaign to blame North Korea actually began two days earlier, when The New York Times – asusualcorruptly …

Star economist Piketty refuses France's highest award, slams government

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[Of course Russia Times is enjoying this story, but I say good for Piketty. Interesting to read the list, at the end of the article, of those who have accepted the award and those who have turned it down. *RON*]
Russia Times, 1 January 2015

France’s prominent economist Thomas Piketty, whose book ‘Capital in the 21st century’ became a major bestseller of 2013, has refused France’s highest possible award, the Legion of Honor, saying the government should better deal with the economy.

"I refuse this nomination because I do not think it is the government's role to decide who is honorable. They would do better to concentrate on reviving [economic] growth in France and Europe," Piketty told AFP.

The economist was mentioned on the annual New Year’s list of renowned citizens in the government outlet “Journal Officiel”. Among others, Nobel prize-winning economist Jean Tirole was on the list.

Piketty’s name hit the headlines in 2013, when his bo…

Canadian CEO Pay Climbs Twice As Fast As Average Worker's Since 2008: Study

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[Top CEO pay averages 25% more in 2013 than in 2008, and is back at pre-recession heights. Top earner made $88 million. Average top CEO pay was 105 times Canadian average in 1998, now it is 195 times more. *RON*]
By Andy Blatchford, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 1 January 2015

OTTAWA - Canada's top-paid CEOs saw their compensation climb at double the rate of the average Canadian between the depths of the recession and 2013, a new study has found.

The country's 100 highest remunerated chief executive officers pulled down an average of $9.2 million in 2013, about 25 per cent more than the $7.35 million they amassed in 2008, said an analysis released Thursday by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

By comparison, the average Canadian income in 2013 was $47,358, about 12 per cent more than the 2008 level.

"It's a sort of a highly visible manifestation of growing income inequality in Canada," said the study&#…

Some say PM could justifiably shut down Parliament in crisis: survey

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[Continual fear mongering is working to achieve its goal of eroding public opinion toward democracy in favour of totalitarian tactics. *RON*]

By Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen, 1 January 2015

A small but growing minority of Canadians says the prime minister would be justified in closing down Parliament and the Supreme Court in the face of “very difficult times,” according to a survey.

The question about the two democratic institutions is part of the sweeping, biennial AmericasBarometer study, and Canadians were among the citizens of 26 countries surveyed for their views and attitudes about democracy and governance.

The Canadian part of the online survey, conducted by Environics Institute and Ottawa’s Institute on Governance in the summer, recently released its results. It found 23 per cent of respondents said the prime minister would be justified in shutting down Parliament when the country is facing a crisis or “very difficult times,” and 17 per cent…