Showing posts from February 15, 2016

Martin Shkreli might have been scammed out of $15 million for Kanye's new album

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[A mental crash-and-burn methinks. Not much better on Kanye's side: something decidedly weird is going on. Kanye West releases Life of Pablo amid claims of debt and help from Zuckerberg and Shkreli*RON*]

Alex Lockie, Business Insider, 14 February 2016

In keeping with his persona as a hip hop aficionado and public villain, Martin Shkrelli recently sought to keep Kanye West's new "Life of Pablo" record from fans by buying it directly from the label for $15 million, but if his recent tweets are to be believed, he got scammed out of the money.

On Sunday, Shkreli tweeted that he came into contact with someone named "Daquan" and sent him a payment of $15 million via bitcoin to no result. The rest of his tweets were full of profanities and frantic ideas to get his money back.

Ultimately, he concluded that he would contact Satoshi, the creator of bitcoin, to get his money back.

Though Shkreli remained confident he could get…

Corporations Killed Medicine. Here’s How to Take It Back.

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[Corporate venality versus the public good. For most of human history, life-saving drugs were a public good. Now they’re only good for shareholders. *RON*]

By Fran Quigley, The Nation, 12 February 2016

Along the path toward the creation of a global capitalist system, some of the most significant steps were taken by the English enclosure movement.

Between the 15th and 19th centuries, the rich and the powerful fenced off commonly held land and transformed it into private property. Land switched from a source of subsistence to a source of profit, and small farmers were relegated to wage laborers. In Das Kapital, Marx described the process by coining the term land-grabbing. To British historian E.P. Thompson, it was “a plain enough case of class robbery.”

More recently, a similar enclosure movement has taken place. This time, the fenced-off commodity is life-saving medicine. Playing the role of modern-day lords of the manor are pharmaceutical corpor…

Cryptome’s searing critique of Snowden Inc.

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[An intriguing and otherwise unreported pointing a large j'accuse finger at Edward Snowden and Intercept. *RON*]
By Tim Shorrock, Money Doesn't Talk It Swears, 13 February 2016
The current corporate media business model of celebrity as an income producer and celebrity as a sensationalizing, titillating device for increasing the value of content is something we stay away from. It’s deeply cynical to sensationalize this trusted transaction, when someone come to you with a document and puts it forward to you. — Deborah Natsios, Cryptome This week, John Young and Deborah Natsios, the founders of Cryptome, one of the world’s oldest and best-known repositories of leaked intelligence documents, quietly posted a URL to an interview they conducted on February 6 during a conference in Berlin, Germany.

Young and Natsios are introduced, correctly, as “renowned figures within a larger community people interested in keeping governments and institutions…

The EU is finished if it doesn't allow Italy to fix its banks

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[The Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has accused the EU of behaving like the orchestra on the Titanic. "Rarely has European pigheadedness over-ruled reasonable pursuit of the national interest quite so destructively. Greece threatened to be the straw that broke the EU's back; it may yet prove to be Italy." *RON*]

By Jeremy Warner, Telegraph, 13 February 2016

If you want to know what proper “secular stagnation” looks like, go to Italy. The Italian economy has essentially gone nowhere since the turn of the century, which lest it be forgotten coincided almost exactly with the launch of the euro. Output today is roughly the same as it was then.

This might seem shocking enough; not even the Great Depression produced such prolonged misery. Yet the way things are going, Italians can look forward only to years more of the same.

Stagnating Italy poses new headache for stuttering eurozone

Attention last week focused on the travails of D…

Libya Is Turning into a Catastrophe - Where Are All the Pundits Who Cheered for Its Invasion?

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[It's easy to boost a war, it's hard follow up on the destruction left in its wake. "As ISIS furthers its grip on Libya and American troops ready to join yet another fight overseas, it's prudent to ask those in a position of power to at least follow up on the mess they themselves help create." *RON*]
By Adam JohnsonAlterNet, 10 February 2016

As the fifth anniversary of the NATO invasion of Libya approaches, news that the Pentagon is preparing to send troops to the north African country barely made headlines in the U.S. The Islamic State, and other jihadi groups LINK, now control almost two-thirds of the country and a unity government remains elusive. Libya, which had the highest standard of living before the 2011 invasion, has since become a failed state and a safe-haven for various radical groups. It’s also almost entirely been forgotten by most of the mainstream media.

Publications like New York Times, and The New Yorker h…

Scalia’s Absence Is Likely to Alter Court’s Major Decisions This Term

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[This gives meaning to Obama's comment that he will seek to replace Scalia 'in due time.' I.e., after the 4-4 tie works in his favour by saving the current batch of liberal legislation now before the Supreme Court that the Republicans had been aiming to eliminate. "six big cases are on the court’s docket this term — on abortion, contraception, unions, voting rights, affirmative action and immigration — and Justice Scalia’s death may affect all of them." *RON*]

By Adam Liptak, New York Times, 14 February 2016

WASHINGTON — Justice Antonin Scalia’s death will complicate the work of the Supreme Court’s eight remaining justices for the rest of the court’s term, probably change the outcomes of some major cases and, for the most part, amplify the power of its four-member liberal wing.

It takes five votes to accomplish most things at the Supreme Court, and until Saturday, that meant Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was in control when the …

The Sexual Misery of the Arab World

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["Paradise and its virgins are a pet topic of preachers, who present these otherworldly delights as rewards to those who dwell in the lands of sexual misery. Dreaming about such prospects, suicide bombers surrender to a terrifying, surrealistic logic: The path to orgasm runs through death, not love... Differences once defused by distance and a sense of superiority have become an imminent threat. People in the West are discovering, with anxiety and fear, that sex in the Muslim world is sick, and that the disease is spreading to their own lands." *RON*]

By Kamel Daoud, New York Times, 12 February 2016

ORAN, Algeria — AFTER Tahrir came Cologne. After the square came sex. The Arab revolutions of 2011 aroused enthusiasm at first, but passions have since waned. Those movements have come to look imperfect, even ugly: For one thing, they have failed to touch ideas, culture, religion or social norms, especially the norms relating to sex. Revolu…

When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism

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[Dowd at her sharpest. "Bernie has a clear, concise 'we' message, even if it’s pie-in-the-sky: The game is rigged and we have to take the country back from the privileged few and make it work for everyone. Hillary has an 'I' message: I have been abused and misunderstood and it’s my turn. It’s a victim mind-set that is exhausting, especially because the Clintons' messes are of their own making." *RON*]

Maureen Dowd, New York Times, 13 February 2016

WASHINGTON — THE Clinton campaign is shellshocked over the wholesale rejection of Hillary by young women, younger versions of herself who do not relate to her.

Hillary’s coronation was predicated on a conviction that has just gone up in smoke. The Clintons felt that Barack Obama had presumptuously snatched what was rightfully hers in 2008, gliding past her with his pretty words to make history before she could.

So this time, the Clintons assumed, the women who had deserted …