Community College or “Workforce Development” Institution?

hvactraining-school
I was already an adult with a worldview when I started taking classes and working as a student employee for a small community college outside of Houston circa 2000, during the process of transition to a “workforce development” institution.
Indeed, since private trade colleges had successfully established that state-funded community colleges were direct competitors for their customer base, either they should get equal state funding, or community colleges should get none.
So, to compete with the private institutions that took part of its funding, the community college had to appeal to local industry to plug budget holes and develop curricula that produce graduates that were of value to them. They were the customers and the student body was the product.
They changed ‘student employees’ into ‘student associates’ and put all of us through re-hashed Zig Ziglar workshops to teach us the value of taking pride in having a job regardless of how crappy that job is – (you know, “Everyone is Michael Jordan of something! Even if it’s scrubbing toilets! You GET to go to work!).
The administrator who was running the program ran into me while I was doing my job in financial aid and asked me what I thought of the workshop. I said that since I was already 28 and had been put thru these same workshops at every minimum-wage paying, retail job I’d ever had, I wasn’t too impressed and worried for the quality of education the students would be receiving if they were going to be molded as pliant economic units rather than be encouraged to think for themselves. The administrator frowned and walked away. Later, I was informed that I didn’t need to attend further workshops.

Recently Uncovered Meme circa 1550s Bemoans Technology

Selection_046

Internet archaeologists have uncovered a 500-year-old internet meme made by old people who thought they were being clever for decrying the latest technology of the time, READING BOOKS.

10170716_10152483889358663_8160598492457375875_n

The cycle of old people bemoaning youth and technology is a habit that still dominates society today; the image above is a current example of the ancient meme also created by an old person who THOUGHT they being clever with this, but of course, they were completely wrong.
Not only do today’s old people find themselves more and more alienated from youth and technology, they are losing other ideological standings in society as less young people tolerate their racism and destructive politics.

scumbag-baby-boomer-elite-daily-4
Don’t feel bad for today’s old people.

Their generation got to enjoy being the wealthiest generation in American history, and for a while there, they were the largest. But now that the institutional racism that benefited old, white people for the last 50 years is being exposed with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, old people are resorting to accusing young people of “keeping racism alive” by being racist against the white cops and their history of racism by highlighting the racism by only talking about all their racism instead of the nice wonderful, white people things they do like help old people and stop criminals who happen to be black.

Now that so many of them are starting to drop dead from all TV Dinners and fast food they’ve eaten all their lives and their spending power has been dramatically reduced by the loss of their pensions, (you know, “thanks Obama”) their political influence is also starting to dwindle. Soon, the “Millennium Boomers” will be offsetting the policies that transfers young people’s wealth to old people with a new political landscape.

THIS is why I use MEGA for my Cloud Storage Provider!

MEGA FACE

How can Users Trust their Cloud Storage Providers?

One of my facebook friends just posted this link on her timeline.

Cloud Storage Provider

Social Media abuzz about Dropbox

Turns out Dropbox, (and other cloud storage providers) are accessing data beyond the ‘sync’ folder. This is exactly why I stopped using dropbox over two years ago. It is no secret that I pimp MEGA Cloud Storage BECAUSE of its end-to-end encryption and encrypted servers; NO ONE knows what is being stored in the cloud except the one who stored it. This kind of think makes companies like PAYPAL nervous enough to stop doing business with MEGA over fear of NOT being able to know what data is being stored and obviously is anathema to companies like Dropbox which has full access to its user’s computers.

Of course, I’ve written about this before. 

 

Dropbox Accesses All The Files in Your PC (Not Just Sync Folder) and Steals Everything

I’ve heard a lot about Dropbox until now. They were not so interesting but a little controversial. But now, I have discovered something quite striking.Dropbox syncs not only its own folder but also everything in local drive (C:) without any user consent or permission. I caught it red-handed while working with my DLP (data loss prevention) endpoint agent that I adjust DLP system to work properly on production environment.

 

PLEASE NOTE: You can see new updates at the end of the article.

 

DLP endpoint agent monitors real-time traffic of user activities inside applications/programs, such as the cut/copy/paste, print, and print screen operations. Also it supply forensic monitoring that allows full visibility of content traffic. Of course by using DLP agent, you can monitor which program accesses a file that triggers predefined DLP rule. From this point on, I’m telling you step by step how that event happened. And all the things that I mention is DLP agent’s catching illegal movements of Dropbox program according to custumized DLP policies.

 

1.) Dropbox Installation Directory and Configurations

I have connected Dropbox to “C:/Users/Mekin.pesen/Dropbox“. Normally, Dropbox installs itself on “C:/Users/ABC/AppData/Roaming/Dropbox” directory. As you see below, Dropbox says that “only checked folders will sync to this computer”:

 

2.) Customizing a Security Policy and a Rule

At this point you should enable defaut policies and rules to catch something or make a new policy from scratch. You can also enable any regulatory compliance standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX or PII (Personally Identifiable Information) which is social security number, government ID card number etc. According to your rule, if any of this predefined information or activity conditions match a DLP policy rule, it triggers an alert.

 

3.) Making New Tricky Files That Can Trigger an Alert

I made some tricky Word (DOCX) and RAR files so that all of them can get caught by a predefined rule. I put them into directories that are NOT surely my Dropbox sync folders (C:/Users/Mekin.pesen/Dropbox) . I put files under:

  • “C://” drive directory
  • “C:/users/mekin.pesen/desktop
  • Recycle Bin: “c:/$recycle.bin/” (yes, I’m serious!)

 

4.) Bewildering Results

Consequently, all my tricky files was accessed by Dropbox immediately, although I didn’t put them into original sync folder (C:/Users/Mekin.pesen/Dropbox):

 

The file c:/catch-drop-the-box.rar” was accessed by “Dropbox”


Please click on the image to see full log image.

 

The file “c:/users/mekin.pesen/desktop/catch-drop-the-box.rar” was accessed by “Dropbox”


Please click on the image to see full log image.

 

The file c:/$recycle.bin/s-1-5-21-……../$rx0kysg.docxwas accessed by “Dropbox”


Please click on the image to see full log image.

 

At the same time, I looked at the firewall log too. And I saw someting taken out from my computer in silence:

 

All the firewall logs showed Dropbox movements. The logs also showed me a number of Amazon AWS destinations. But I was not sure whether they belonged to Dropbox services. Then I searched all addresses that belonged to Dropbox and found these IP ranges:

NetRange:       199.47.216.0 – 199.47.219.255
CIDR:           199.47.216.0/22
NetName:        DROPBOX
NetHandle:      NET-199-47-216-0-1
Parent:         NET199 (NET-199-0-0-0-0)
NetType:        Direct Assignment
OriginAS:       AS19679
Organization:   Dropbox, Inc. (DROPB)
RegDate:        2010-10-15
Updated:        2013-11-19
Ref:            http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-199-47-216-0-1

NetRange:       108.160.160.0 – 108.160.175.255
CIDR:           108.160.160.0/20
NetName:        DROPBOX
NetHandle:      NET-108-160-160-0-1
Parent:         NET108 (NET-108-0-0-0-0)
NetType:        Direct Assignment
OriginAS:       AS19679
Organization:   Dropbox, Inc. (DROPB)
RegDate:        2011-10-12
Updated:        2012-03-02
Ref:            http://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-108-160-160-0-1

 

All the things I have explained up to here shows us that Dropbox moves through your computer illegally. And it never limits itself to the original sync folder. All these is a proof of an untrustworthy or fraudulent way/behaviour.

 

Keep in touch and follow updates:

&

M. Mekin PESEN
Information Security Specialist

 

ALL UPDATES

Thank you very much, folks! There are lot of comments about the article. I have not enough time to reply all comments. Thank you for your understanding, my apologies. I will share any claim, proof or other things coming from you:

 

1.) There are lot of valuable and informative comments at:

 

2.)

Selection_0433.) Darren P Meyer has new claims and suggestions about my article. You may read it to satisfy your curiosity and to learn how to test his suggestions. But his claims neither prove nor guarantee exactly that Dropbox does not access/steal/collect your files which is not in your sync folder. Because you could not monitor Dropbox traffic every time!https://one.darrenpmeyer.com/blog/dropbox-is-problably-not-stealing-all-your-files.html

4.)

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Most Americans Are Slaves And They Don’t Even Know It

TV Jesus

Most Americans Are Slaves And They Don’t Even Know It

Most Americans spend their lives working for others, paying off debts to others and performing tasks that others tell them that they “must” do.  These days, we don’t like to think of ourselves as “servants” or “slaves”, but that is what the vast majority of us are.  It is just that the mechanisms of our enslavement have become much more sophisticated over time.  It has been said that the borrower is the servant of the lender, and most of us start going into debt very early into our adult years.  In fact, those that go to college to “get an education” are likely to enter the “real world” with a staggering amount of debt.  And of course that is just the beginning of the debt accumulation.  Today, when you add up all mortgage debt, all credit card debt and all student loan debt, the average American household is carrying a grand total of 203,163 dollars of debt.  Overall, American households are more than 11 trillion dollars in debt at this point.  And even though most Americans don’t realize this, over the course of our lifetimes the amount of money that we will repay on our debts is far greater than the amount that we originally borrowed.  In fact, when it comes to credit card debt you can easily end up repaying several times the amount of money that you originally borrowed.  So we work our fingers to the bone to pay off these debts, and the vast majority of us are not even working for ourselves.  Instead, our work makes the businesses that other people own more profitable.  So if we spend the best years of our lives building businesses for others, servicing debts that we owe to others and making others wealthier, what does that make us?

In 2015, the words “servant” and “slave” have very negative connotations, and we typically don’t use them very much.

Instead, we use words like “employee” because they make us feel so much better.

But is there really that much of a difference?

This is how Google defines “servant”…

“a person who performs duties for others, especially a person employed in a house on domestic duties or as a personal attendant.”

This is how Google defines “slave”…

“a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.”

This is how Google defines “employee”…

“a person employed for wages or salary, especially at nonexecutive level.”

Yes, most of us might not be “legal property” of someone else in a very narrow sense, but in a broader sense we all have to answer to someone.

We all have someone that we must obey.

And we all have obligations that we must meet or else face the consequences.

At this point, Americans are more dependent on the system than ever before.  Small business ownership in the U.S. is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are self-employed has fallen to unprecedented levels in recent years.  From a very early age, we are trained to study hard so that we can get a good “job” (“just over broke”) and be good cogs in the system.

But is that what life is about?

Is it about being a cog in a system that ultimately benefits others?

Perhaps you don’t think that any of this applies to you personally.

Well, if someone came up to you and asked you what you truly own, what would you say?

Do you own your vehicle?

Most Americans don’t.

In fact, today the average auto loan at signing is approximately $27,000, and many of them stretch on for six or seven years.

What about your home?

Do you own it?

Most Americans don’t.

In fact, overall the banks have a much greater “ownership” interest in our homes and our land than we do.

But even if you have your home totally “paid off”, does that mean that you actually “own” it?

Well, no, not really.

Just see what happens if you quit paying your property taxes (rent) to the proper authorities.

So if they can take your home away from you for not paying rent (property taxes), do you really own it?

That is something to think about it.

What about all of your stuff?

Do you own it?

Perhaps.

But a very large percentage of us have willingly enslaved ourselves in order to acquire all of that stuff.

Today, the typical U.S. household that has at least one credit card has approximately$15,950 in credit card debt.

And if you do not pay off those credit card balances, the credit card companies will unleash the hounds on you.

Have you ever had an encounter with a debt collector?

They can be absolutely brutal.  And they use those tactics because they work.  In fact, they are so good at what they do that many of those that own debt collection companies have become exceedingly wealthy.  The following is from a recent CNN article

Yachts. Mansions. Extravagant dinner parties. Life is good for the founders of one of the nation’s biggest government debt collectors.

That firm, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, rakes in big money from government contracts that allow it to pursue debtors over toll violations, taxes and parking tickets. While the debts often start small, the Austin-based firm charges high fees, which can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the bill.

After growing this business from a small Texas law firm in the late 1970’s to a nationwide debt collection powerhouse, the firm’s founders and top brass have walked away with millions of dollars.

And I haven’t even mentioned our collective debts yet.

We have willingly chosen to collectively enslave ourselves on a local, a state and a national level.

It is bad enough that we are doing this to ourselves.  But we are also cruelly saddling future generations of Americans with the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet.  The following is from my previous article entitled “Barack Obama Says That What America Really Needs Is Lots More Debt“…

When Barack Obama took the oath of office, the U.S. national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars.  Today, it has surpassed the 18 trillion dollar mark.  And even though we are being told that “deficits are going down”, the truth is that the U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal 2014.  But that isn’t good enough for Obama.  He says that we need to come out of this period of “mindless austerity” and steal money from our children and our grandchildren even faster.  In addition, Obama wants to raise taxes again.  His budget calls for 2 trillion dollars in tax increases over the next decade.  He always touts these tax increases as “tax hikes on the rich”, but somehow they almost always seem to end up hitting the middle class too.  But whether or not Congress ever adopts Obama’s new budget is not really the issue.  The reality of the matter is that the “tax and spend Democrats” and the “tax and spend Republicans” are both responsible for getting us into this mess.  Future generations of Americans are already facing the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet, and both parties want to make this mountain of debt even higher.  The only disagreement is about how fast it should happen.  It is a national disgrace, but most Americans have come to accept this as “normal”.  If our children and our grandchildren get the opportunity, they will curse us for what we have done to them.

So can we really call ourselves the “home of the brave and the land of the free”?

Isn’t the truth that the vast majority of us are actually deeply enslaved?

Price Volatility No Match for Bitcoin’s Potential

Bitcoin Accepted

Fluctuations Have Little Bearing on Pertinent Transfers, Remittances

Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology have been out on the market for six years. Given all the potential, it’s still early days.+

No one knows for sure how successful bitcoin will be: it could be supplanted by superior technology, remain limited to certain groups and niches, become the world’s financial clearing system, or descend to the masses as an everyday currency. Bitcoin is so versatile it could find a place in many sectors beyond money and finance.+

This uncertainty leads to diverging opinions about how much we’re willing to spend for every unit. Bitcoin’s volatile price is the result of such varied subjective valuations, and beyond disagreement, the participants themselves change their minds all the time. Furthermore, the bitcoin market is still small enough to where a transaction of a few million US dollars can directly impact its price.+

All these variables usually produce a daily price volatility of about 3.8 percent. Is that a lot? Yes, it’s higher than for gold and most fiat currencies. Will it remain high forever? We don’t know, but the mounting capitalization and the test of time that inherently reduces the uncertainty tied to new things could well result in a more stable price in the future.1

Now, does this volatility affect every bitcoiner? No. While you can use bitcoin for saving, investment, or arbitrage opportunities, a lot of adopters use it mainly as a means of transferring value, and in this case the price doesn’t matter so much.+

For those seeking a better remittance system or a cheaper, freer, and more inclusive solution over bank transfers, bitcoin is a revolutionary technology regardless whether its price tag is US$1 or $1,000.+

Imagine a man working in Europe who must send money every month to his family in Argentina. His options are basically limited to a remittance company, or having a bank account in both countries. These traditional mechanisms are faced with the lower, official exchange rate imposed by the Argentinean government, which results in the family taking a 30 percent cut when the euros are converted to pesos. And both the remittance company and the bank charge non-negligible transfer rates.+

Let’s contrast this with a completely legal bitcoin solution. The man in Europe buys the bitcoins (in cash or through a bank account linked to a broker or exchange) and sends them to his relatives in Argentina, who in turn sell them in the local bitcoin market.+

The Argentinean Central Bank’s confiscatory and fictional conversion rate is no longer a problem thanks to bitcoin, whose currency unit behaves like a commodity and thus is valued at around the same price everywhere in the world. Brokers and exchanges still take their cut, but it’s much less expensive.+

As we can see, it is of little importance how much a bitcoin is worth when you use it to transfer value. The price only determines how many bitcoins will be transferred, and the volatility of a few hours between buying and selling usually poses no problem. Even then, some companies already allow you to “freeze” the value of a bitcoin transfer, and they assume the risk for you.+

Argentina is not the only concern for money transfer. There are many countries with commercial embargos (Crimea), or with limited availability of currency for flight tickets (Venezuela), or even legal business sectors that no payment processor wants to touch (the encrypted cloud storage service Mega refused by PayPal).+

In these days of barriers and financial repression, bitcoin is not only a cheaper and more privacy-oriented alternative, sometimes its decentralization and lack of intermediaries are the only way out.+

Bitcoin’s price matters — but the freedom that comes with it matters even more.+

Translated by Daniel Duarte. Edited by Fergus Hodgson.+

Franco Daniel Amati

Based in Buenos Aires, Franco Amati is an IT consultant who specializes in digital currencies, blockchain solutions, and cryptography as means for greater decentralization, individual freedom, and privacy. He’s the co-founder of Bitcoin Argentina and Espacio Bitcoin. Follow @franamati.

Bitcoin Bingo!

Now that Bitcoin is increasing

its’ market cap back up to $4Billion, we are also seeing the flood of mainstream news article about bitcoin. Here’s a game you can play as the new wave of FUD inevitably is stirred up with the tide of news; it is called Bitcoin Bingo!

Bingo with Bitcoin news

Bitcoin News Bingo

The way you play the game is to Google “bitcoin” and mark out the words as you see them appear. When this card was originally created in December 2013, we could play black out in a half-day. A lot has happened in the bitcoin ecosystem since then, so it surprising to me that journalists are still going to this same well and not doing any new research…well, no I’m not surprised. I guess I’m really just embarrassed for them.

 

AirVPN is a VPN That Takes Your Anonymity Seriously

VPN

TorrentFreak asks:

“WHICH VPN SERVICES TAKE YOUR ANONYMITY SERIOUSLY?

VPN services have become an important tool to counter the growing threat of Internet surveillance, but unfortunately not all VPNs are as anonymous as one might hope. In fact, some VPN services log users’ IP-addresses and other private info for months. To find out how anonymous VPNs really are, TF asked the leading providers about their logging practices and other privacy sensitive policies.

spyBy now most Internet users are well aware of the fact that pretty much every step they take on the Internet is logged or monitored.

To prevent their IP-addresses from being visible to the rest of the Internet, millions of people have signed up to a VPN service. Using a VPN allows users to use the Internet anonymously and prevent snooping.

Unfortunately, not all VPN services are as anonymous as they claim, as several incidents have shown in the past.

By popular demand we now present the fourth iteration of our VPN services “logging” review. In addition to questions about logging practices, we also asked VPN providers about other privacy sensitive policies, so prospective users can make an informed decision.

AIRVPN’s Answers:airvpn

TF: Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you to match an IP-address and a time stamp to a user of your service? If so, exactly what information do you hold and for how long?

AirVPN: No, we don’t keep such logs.

TF: Under what jurisdiction(s) does your company operate?

AirVPN: Italy.

TF: What tools are used to monitor and mitigate abuse of your service?

AirVPN: We use internally written tools to mitigate attacks against our VPN servers as well as DDoS attacks originating from clients behind our servers.

TF: Do you use any external email providers (e.g. Google Apps) or support tools ( e.g Live support, Zendesk) that hold information provided by users?

AirVPN: No, we don’t.

TF: In the event you receive a DMCA takedown notice or European equivalent, how are these handled?

AirVPN: They are ignored, except when they refer to web sites running behind our VPN servers. Due to our service features, it is perfectly possible to run web sites from behind our servers: we also provide DDNS for free to our customers. For these specific cases, we can act similarly to a hosting provider and we verify that the web site is compliant to our Terms of Service. We have had web sites spreading viruses and other malware (verified without any doubt) and we intervened to quickly stop them when we were warned about the issue.

TF: What steps are taken when a valid court order requires your company to identify an active user of your service? Has this ever happened?

AirVPN: Since we can’t provide information that we don’t have, an “ex-post” investigation is the only solution, if and when applicable. So far we have had no court orders of this kind.

TF: Does your company have a warrant canary or a similar solution to alert customers to gag orders?

AirVPN:No, we don’t. While a warrant canary’s effectiveness is questionable, we recommend to use technical means to solve the problem at its roots. When a customer can’t afford to trust us for the sensitivity of his/her activities, he/she can simply use Tor over OpenVPN, or OpenVPN over Tor, to get an immediate protection which a warrant canary, not even if updated every day, will never be able to provide.

TF: Is BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic allowed on all servers? If not, why?

AirVPN: Yes, it’s allowed on every and each server. We do not discriminate against any protocol or application and we do not monitor traffic or traffic type.

TF: Which payment systems do you use and how are these linked to individual user accounts?

AirVPN: We accept Bitcoin, a wide range of cryptocoins, PayPal and major credit cards. About PayPal and credit cards, the usual information pertaining to the transaction and account/credit card holder are retained by the financial institutions, and it is possible to correlate a payment to a user (which is good for refund purposes when required). When this is unacceptable for security reasons, then Bitcoin or some other cryptocoin should be used. Bitcoin can also be provided with a strong anonymity layer simply by running the Bitcoin client behind Tor.

TF: What is the most secure VPN connection and encryption algorithm you would recommend to your users? Do you provide tools such as “kill switches” if a connection drops and DNS leak protection?

AirVPN: Our service setup, based on OpenVPN, is the following: 4096 bit RSA keys size, AES-256-CBC Data Channel, 4096 bit Diffie-Hellman keys size, HMAC SHA1 Control Channel, TLS additional authorization layer key: 2048 bit.

Perfect Forward Secrecy through Diffie-Hellman key exchange DHE. After the initial key negotiation, re-keying is performed every 60 minutes (this value can be lowered unilaterally by the client). Due to the serious doubts about NIST standard Elliptic Curves parameters being manipulated by NSA, we feel to share Bruce Schneier’s considerations to not use ECC.

Our free and open source client Eddie (under GPLv3) for Linux, Windows, OS X Mavericks and Yosemite, implements features which prevent the typical DNS leaks in Windows and any other leak (for example in case of unexpected VPN disconnection). Leaks prevention, called “Network Lock”, is not a trivial kill-switch, but it prevents various leaks that a classical kill switch can’t block: leaks caused by WebRTC, by programs binding to all interfaces on a misconfigured system and by malevolent software which tries to determine the “real” IP address. In the future, probably before the end of 2015, our client will be available, as usual free and open source according to our mission, for other VPN services too.

We provide guides, based on firewalls and not, to prevent leaks on various systems for all those persons who can’t or don’t wish to use our client Eddie.

TF: Do you use your own DNS servers? (if not, which servers do you use?)

AirVPN: Yes, we use our own DNS servers.

TF: Do you have physical control over your VPN servers and network or are they outsourced and hosted by a third party (if so, which ones)? Where are your servers located?

AirVPN: Our servers are housed in datacenters which we have physical access to, provided that the access is arranged in advance for security reasons. Datacenters must comply to some technical and privacy requirements. With rare exceptions, a datacenter must have a PoP to at least one tier1 provider. Without exceptions, datacenter must be network neutral, must provide bandwidth redundancy, minimum uptime of 99.8% and our servers must have a dedicated port and a guaranteed bandwidth. We have servers located in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA. We work or have been working with big and small providers, such as Amanah, IBM, Leaseweb, Voxility, HugeServers, Serveria, YesUp, Teknikbyran, just to name a few.

AirVPN website

CNBC Commentary: Bitcoin’s golden moment: BIT gets FINRA approval

bitcoin Fry

Bitcoin’s golden moment: BIT gets FINRA approval

Online wallet and exchange services such as Coinbase have made it incredibly easy for the everyday investor and user of bitcoin to buy the currency. But what if you want to buy and hold bitcoin as an investment? Or, what if you want to diversify your investment portfolio into this new asset class, but do not have the expertise or resources to securely procure and store bitcoin?

One solution to this problem has been the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), which holds bitcoin in a trust in which investors can then buy shares. The BIT has been a private vehicle open to accredited investors since 2013, but that is about to change.

On March 1, 2015, Grayscale Investments (the sponsor of the BIT) announced that it has received regulatory approval from FINRA for the fund to trade publicly on an electronic platform operated by the OTC Markets Group.

This announcement ensures that the BIT will be the first publicly traded bitcoin investment fund and could pave the way for more stability in the price of bitcoin. It is also possible that a publicly traded fund like the BIT could have the same effect on the price of bitcoin as the SPDR Gold ETF had on the spot price of gold.

When GLD began to trade, the spot price of gold was trading just above $400 per ounce. Prior to launch of the GLD, in order to purchase and store gold, investors needed to call a broker who specialized in buying spot gold and then arrange for storage. This meant opening new accounts and paying for vault space.

Alternatively, many investors opted for the simple solution of buying gold coins and storing them in a safe deposit box. However, this method was not very efficient and as a result investing in gold was difficult for the average investor.

Once investors had an ETF option, the diversification into gold began in earnest. Propelled by ease of investment and a well-timed financial crisis, the price of gold more than quadrupled to over $1900 in 2011.

I have previously written about the inverse relationship between the price of bitcoin and merchant acceptance. There has been a flawed assumption that merchant acceptance will push the price of bitcoin ever higher. However, the evidence suggests differently. In fact, it appears that increased merchant acceptance has been a drag on the bitcoin price. The following chart illustrates that as bitcoin transactions increase the price declines.

The best explanation for this phenomenon is that as merchants receive bitcoin they immediately convert to fiat currencies. This selling pressure could be a big driver of the downward slope in price despite corporations like Dell and Microsoft accepting the digital currency. However, the public listing of the BIT could change this relationship.

There is really nothing mysterious about financial markets, they simple represent a place where buyer and seller agree on price, but disagree on value. If the seller values fiat currency more than bitcoin (perhaps to pay employee salaries in US Dollars) then they are more likely to accept a lower price.

On the other side of the bitcoin transaction is the buyer which currently consists of long term investors. A falling price suggests that the sellers either outnumber the buyers or are more aggressive in terms of price.

Presently there is very little competition between buyers, but an easy on-ramp to investing could change that dynamic. As long term investors enter the space the BIT may provide the needed competition for a scarce resource that will push the price higher. This is exactly what occurred when GLD was launched.

Competition for a scarce resource is not a development unique to digital currency – this is the way markets have operated for thousands of years.

Dynasty or Di-Nasty?

buslinton

Are you ready for the next “choice?”

Bloomberg View: Bitcoin Still Confuses Bankers

Fed Chairman Bernanke Testifies On Monetary Policy To Senate Banking Committee

Bitcoin, the poster child for digital currencies, is proving something of a headache for central banks. Should they ban it, regulate it, embrace it, undermine it or just ignore it? Their best bet would be to let Darwinism take its course, and resist the regulatory impulse to interfere with either Bitcoin’s survival or demise. And, if it lives, they should step aside and celebrate innovation rather than try to block its progress.

Bitcoin has always posed a challenge to central bankers’ exclusive power to mint money, but it’s never been clear how the official guardians of monetary stability would respond to it. Reports published in recent weeks by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England suggest they’re scrambling to keep all of their options open. Schizophrenia is setting in.

 

Buy and Sell Bitcoins Easily with Coinbase- Click Here

 

The ECB’s kaleidoscopic list of central bank views on what Bitcoin is or isn’t illustrates the quandary. Sweden and Finland deny it is a currency at all; the latter also disqualifies it as an instrument of payment, while the former taxes it as an asset. Germany regards it as a unit of account, akin to the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights, so not legal tender but still a form of financial instrument. The Federal Reserve regards the technology as not “sufficiently mature,” but worthy of “further exploration and monitoring”; it also says it doesn’t have the right to regulate digital money.

The ECB’s new report suggests there are as many as 500 different virtual currency platforms, mostly tweaks of Bitcoin’s open-source system. The bank is highly skeptical, however, of whether anyone is using anything other than Bitcoin to actually make payments. Yet even if it commands more than 80 percent of the virtual currency market, as the ECB estimates, Bitcoin remains a minnow in the world of finance. The ECB contrasts the 69,000 daily Bitcoin transactions globally with the 274 million non-cash payment transfers each day just in the European Union. It also highlights that in both number and volume of transactions, Bitcoin is dwarfed by regular payment systems:

Bitcoin Volume
SOURCE: ECB

 

 

The ECB warns that digital currencies currently have fundamental flaws, including the lack of refund rights if your account makes payments you didn’t authorize, whether by fraud or accident, plus the existence of what it calls “scamcoins” designed exclusively to bilk participants. It also acknowledges why users might like Bitcoin. Cheaper transaction costs, a true disregard for geographical borders, faster settlement and the perceived anonymity of the system all offer advantages over traditional methods of moving money.

Bank of England report published last week follows the central bank orthodoxy of denying that digital currencies can count as money because of their miniscule role in buying and selling goods:

Data suggest that digital currencies are primarily viewed as stores of value — albeit with significant volatility in their valuations — and are not typically used as media of exchange.

The way the world is using Bitcoin may hasten its demise. Its value has rallied 48 percent since January’s lows, but that still leaves Bitcoin down 70 percent since its peak just over a year ago. That makes it a pretty disastrous store of value:

Bitcoin

As my colleague Noah Smith argued in January, money is distinct from a risky long-term asset. People don’t expect the value of money to increase in value over time, and part of the definition of what constitutes money versus an investment is that money is a medium of exchange. You buy things with money; you don’t buy stuff with your investments. As Smith put it:

The sooner people give up the hope that bitcoin will skyrocket in price, the sooner they will be willing to spend bitcoins in everyday life, the way they now spend dollars. The quicker bitcoin as an investment dies, the quicker bitcoins as currency can come to life.

Nevertheless, the surprising conclusion of the Bank of England report is that it might consider introducing its own version of Bitcoin. The technology involved “may have significant promise,” it said. “A central bank-issued digital currency might be a more easily controlled means of settlement and exchange,” said Michael Kumhof, a senior research advisor at the central bank.

That proposal sums up how central banks are likely to deal with Bitcoin in the future. They’d clearly prefer virtual currencies to die a natural death. Absent that outcome, they’ll attempt to drag the digital platforms into existing oversight frameworks, and smother them in the suffocating embrace of rules, codification and administration.

Ensnaring digital currencies in a web of officialdom would destroy their principal attraction to users — the fact that they’re not part of the existing financial infrastructure, operating instead in a digital hinterland removed from government interference. That would be a pity.

To contact the author on this story:
Mark Gilbert at magilbert@bloomberg.net

Kim Dotcom Has Big Plans For Bitcoin And Blockchain Technology

about_MEGA_silhouette

Kim Dotcom Has Big Plans For Bitcoin And Blockchain Technology

by TRADERMAN
Cryptocurrency writer for BTCfeed.net and Founder of Razor’s Forex Trading Blog —>http://razorsforex.blogspot.com

It is slowly dawning on everyone how centralized and corrupt the political and monetary system of the world has become. In 2010, Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks organization found out how quickly they can be ostracized by the financial establishment and online payment processors such as PayPal, that cave in to the will of the US corporatocracy. WikiLeaks had only one option left, turn to Bitcoin or die. Kim Dotcom, the founder of MEGA (file-sharing service), has found himself in the same position as WikiLeaks. PayPal has decided to distance themselves from Mega by severing their multi-year business relationship as a result of a report released by NetNames, funded by MPAA. The report accused Mega of not being a “legitimate” cloud storage service i.e. safe haven for movie pirates. According to statement released by MEGA, “MEGA is aware that Senator Leahy (Vermont, Chair Senate Judiciary Committee) then pressured Visa and MasterCard to cease providing payment services to the companies named in that report.”

MEGA made an effort to demonstrate that their service is legitimate, but PayPal did not like the end-to-end encryption that provides complete anonymity to users of MEGA.

Read more about MEGA’s end-to-end encryption on our other affiliate profile page. Click Here

[PayPal acknowledged that the business is legitimate, but advised that a key concern was that MEGA has a unique model with its end-to-end encryption which leads to “unknowability of what is on the platform”.]

Paypal would like to have people believe it is “concerned” by MEGA’s encryption system, but it is highly unlikely that was the sole reason for their abrupt withdrawal. According to MEGA, “Visa and MasterCard then pressured PayPal to cease providing payment services to MEGA.”

Many other online cloud storage services (Google, Microsoft, Apple) do not seem to have the these types of issues of course. As long as the government can freely snoop, you are “good to go” in the eyes of the US corporatocracy. MEGA is proud to stand up to the pressures of the MPAA and it’s puppets, “MEGA will not compromise its end-to-end user controlled encryption model and is proud to not be part of the USA business network that discriminates against legitimate international businesses.”

Bitcoin Warrior

Just like WikiLeaks, MEGA now has to turn to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, as a means of facilitating their “unapproved” business transactions. Kim Dotcom does not just plan to incorporate Bitcoin itself into MEGA, but has repeatedly hinted in several tweets, at a potential blockchain based system called MegaNet, that will run on mobile devices. That famous saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, seems to be quite applicable here. In their blind crusade, the MPAA and ignorant government officials are digging their own graves! Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will provide the means for unobstructed technological innovation to take place, outside the approved boundaries of the western corporate-owned government complex.

 

 

Earthbus is PROUD to partner with MEGA for all of our storage needs!

CLICK HERE to start your own MEGA account right now!

“Just Don’t Look”: The Passive-Aggressive Approach to Defeating Advertising “Monsters” That Anyone Can Do

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The REAL Internet: Get AirVPN Using Bitcoin

Air VPN - The air to breathe the real Internet

I decided to update the page where I feature a business that takes bitcoin which I have used and recommend; click here to check it out.

Streaming media blocked outside of the US or UK is a great benefit to using a VPN, but the most important parts of using a VPN configured router is universal security of your network for all of your devices. Security from malware as well from snooping apparatchik of a hostile (or “friendly”) government who might be spying or who might be working for the copyright-cartels who want to monitor everything shared in order to prosecute. Certainly, VPNs provide a freedom of choice which ISPs who throttle bandwidth for certain types of internet traffic in favor of other, more profitable content seek to withhold as their right.
This is the real benefit of choosing a type of provider like AirVPN, circumventing censorship, georestriction, and traffic shaping.
They allow all protocols; Net Neutrality respected.
If media is still the most important thing, then you will be amazed at how fast un-throttled torrents will download.
 
For me personally, I believe file-sharing is a Privacy and Freedom of Speech issue and that indefinite copyright claims cannot co-exist with the right of people to freely and privately share their culture/speech with each other in order to further human development. If in the course of my communication with others that I must share my copy of a song, movie, or book–then either we have the right to privately share our thoughts and what makes up our understanding of our world or we cannot say no to 3rd party intrusion. People who cannot say no are also known as slaves.

To Show Their Solidarity Against the Marchers

JE SUIS HYPOCRITES

“Guerilla Marketing,” Influence, and Deceit are Not New to People Paying Attention

Selection_032

In 1998, I was sitting at the end of a bar talking with the bartender and a couple of people sitting on the other corner. From my place, I could see down the length of the bar past the couple to the area where the wait-staff picked up their drinks and beyond to where other patrons gathered on stools and standing to put orders in with the bartender on the opposite side. While the four of us talked, obviously the bartender continued to work, and during one of the moments while he was away from us, an “event” happened; a PR event known as “guerilla marketing.”

Because of our conversation, we had missed the beginning of the event, but basically it had begun with an argument over something innocuous but vocal, which easily dragged others into it. I admit, it was a long time ago, and we were having our own conversation 6 feet away, so I was aware of what was going on, but I wasn’t hearing what the real argument was; it was one of those typical, pointless bar conversations such as (this was not the real subject), “Hey,what are the seven deadly sins?” Followed by right and wrong answers and jokes and then a slight disagreement about one of the answers based on some feigned, comical ignorance can be entertaining for that kind of small venue.

This was what was happening, there was a rather entertaining disagreement about something in particular that had attracted the attention of others around them. As the exchanged escalated, a bet was made for who had the right answer and the stakes were the guy who was wrong had to buy shots for everyone at the bar. This really got attention from the people from the other end of the bar who were all lined up to put in their drink orders; suddenly the couple and I having our own conversation were subsumed by people crowding in to hear the answer and to see if they’d get a free shot.

So have I illustrated the scene enough? Basically, we’d not been paying attention to the “event” as it was unfolding, it was not until we were interrupted and crowded that we began paying attention to the focus of the crowd. It was at that moment the actual “reveal” occurred with a “neutral party” announcing who was right and who had to buy the bar a shot of whatever. The crowd cheered, the guy who lost made a big announcement mentioning the ridiculous name of some nasty Jägermeister knock-off he was buying everyone and within a few minutes, a couple of “hot girls” had distributed coasters with the name around to everyone.

The bartenders were pissed because they said that had happened more often and it really disrupted the flow of the bar. There weren’t enough glasses and enough people to wash them fast enough for a stunt like that and it caused a hole in the night’s register. Think about it, the same work it took to distribute $3 shots could have distributed the $5-$7 well drinks the people in line were to order.

This was going to be a Facebook Post

Because of FB algos and distance in time and space from old acquaintances, not everyone who this post was intended for will ever even see it; I considered making this visible to the small group of people who were involved with Occupy Tulsa, friends in the media, and a few others who would understand why I included them. But then after working on it for a bit, I decided to take it over to my neglected website as it fits with the theme I write about often…. the fact that reality is much more fluid than what a culture can afford to have its adherents realize for themselves, thus there is very little authentic ‘public’ life without intrusive, deceitful actors selling a particular way of life.

The information in this leak is 10 months old, but it resurfaced on my rss feed this morning.
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/document/2014/02/24/art-deception-training-new-generation-online-covert-operations/

Looking over the internal documents of the GCHQ, I identified many tactics that we observed happen with occupy. Particularly the “sensemaking” section under “Gambits of Deception” triggered flashbacks to then entire “Danfany” episode, of which black hats like the “Christian Machiavellian” and others took advantage and made the entire group look like idiots to the media. The media, of course, being none to happy to show the “high jinks” to the sceptical public who had supported the efforts in the beginning, but then quickly distanced itself from the drama they observed in the “open forum” of the General Assembly.

This further confirms the power of an intent and fucatory mal-actor at shaping daily perception of events and others.

Back to that night in 1998, we drank our shots and commiserated with our bartender friend and went on to the business of the rest of the night.

I didn’t give the “event” a second thought that night.

A few years later, however, while perusing books at a thrift store, I found a marketing book with a section on “guerrilla marketing.” The term was new to me and attracted my attention. As I skimmed, quite to my surprise, there was a section highlighting the effectiveness of “guerrilla marketing” using the example of “spontaneous events” at bars and restaurants. As I described at the beginning, a contrived discussion ends with everyone in the bar getting a free shot of the brand name.

Because the book was a marketing book, it talked about the percentages of people who were more likely to unconsciously order that shot for the night and how many continue to reflexively order the brand at that bar during future visits. The retention numbers were impressive since they were all built on the fact that most of those people would never know that they were witnessing what was essentially a live-action commercial in real-time. Most sub-consciously identify with the other patrons at the bar and because these attractive people were at the same bar as them mentioning a particular name as their drink which they wanted to share, the brand is memetically associated with their handsomeness, the spirit of sharing, and a general good time.

They will NEVER know that the same crew probably went on to hit every other bar on that street which had ordered a case of the stuff they were being paid to advertise.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/

Manipulating Emotions; It’s Not Just Facebook!

Recently, a new bit of clickbait has been showing up on my Facebook “news stream.”

I’ve seen it get posted by at least 3 different people on my timeline and I have watched their threads degenerate into arguments. In the last case, the OP commented,

Apparently this post caused some angry private messages, not by me or to me, but because of this post and its threads. I only posted this as information and to discuss the topic. We are all here for our own reasons and we have our own views.. it is important that we respect those views and keep our tempers in check.

I think the piece itself is full of, what us “radical linguists” (there are others, dozens!) see as “hidden language;” in that, the words and phrasing that this author has used are meant to pull up other, words from other, more emotional arguments in readers’ heads.

Words, indeed, are the ‘what’ in the question of “What creates the world?” To be simplistic, what do we use to define words but other words?

There are numerous examples I could point out, but the one that takes the cake for being having a major caveat built into it rendering it the basis for an argument was number 12:

“We currently have fewer soldiers, sailors and airmen in war zones than any time in over 10 years.”

Do you see it? Its the same kind of caveat as when W Bush said,

“Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories regarding the attacks of September 11.”

What I see in both those statements is a huge, hidden categorical syllogism that renders the statements factually, yet not logically true.

While *we* may have less troops in the war zones themselves, the amount of troops controlling drones from comfy chairs in a bunker outside of Boulder, CO is left up to the reader to discover on their own, if the notion of how much the drone war on weddings in Afghanistan has expanded since Obama has been in office.

As far as conspiracy theories about September 11th goes, Mr. Bush wasn’t encouraging the UN not to tolerate conspiracy theories, just the “outrageous” ones. Presumably he means the ones not repeated Ad Nauseum on Fox, CNN, and CNBC et al in between commercials for Proctor and Gamble products.

Basically, I believe the language used in the article and its hidden categorical syllogisms is what actually accounts for the source of the bickering from the emotional responses this article induced.

As for my personal reactions to many of the statements, I’m neither a democrat nor a republican, but I used to be called “liberal” until I started the questioning the nature of the state itself, that is, collusion and force. While many of the statements with their sources may be accepted at face value, they are at the expense of context. I disagree that the unemployment numbers going down are an example of a positive thing since one must be aware of how much the labor pool has shrunk since 2008 in order to have proper context for a 5.9% unemployment rate. Also, looking into the breakdown of the actual unemployment numbers in the tables by demographic attributes, and the number which tracks the ‘underemployed for education level’ which is nicknamed the “PhD.s flipping burgers” is well over 14%. That represents a great deal of loss when one considered the amount of money that it took to educate these people and all the economic factors that were calculated based on that level education (e.g. future earnings potential x economic activity multipliers) which is now, ultimately lost investment. So I think the politics of the piece are not so much “liberal” or even “democrat” as much as it seems to be cheer-leading the government itself.

While I used to spend a great deal of “activist energy” on demanding change and hoping for better laws to stop bad things from happening. It really wasn’t until I started learning more about how money works, what creates it, who has to bear the risk for its creation, and its intimate relationship with debt that I began to understand the ‘collusion’ on the part of the political class with the real, invisible authoritarians who “own the world;” e.g. the people (both human and Corporate) who privatize labor and the capital it creates in trade for little green pieces of paper created at taxpayer expense. The notion of “redistribution of wealth” is ridiculous in the US since every dollar is created out of debt. Now, if there is discussion of redistribution of debt or risk from those who are least able to defend themselves from it back onto those responsible for creating it and externalizing it, I’ll be right there.

At one time, Samuel Huntington opined on the good old days when the president (Truman) could run the government the with the help of one or two Wall Street lawyers; I wish the same could said today, but judging from the luminaries (sarcasm) which the Obama character placed into the key economic positions in his government (Geitner, Summers, Paulson, et al), perhaps the good old days of a “strong executive” is back.

To the financial sector and the central bankers that feed it, it doesn’t matter which party occupies the set-decorations that pass as the US government, whether its a mush-mouthed son of a carpetbagger passing himself off as a Texan or well-spoken son of Frank Marshall Davis (just to mix up the story a bit), what passes for political debate and the pop-culture will always be shaped by the words which the mouthpiece media is fed to deliver as the story of record.

The government’s roll is to be the force, the tool that is used by the authoritarian private state that owns the US to enforce policies that lead to genocide, ecocide, and economic exploitation by law.

Depression Quest | An Interactive (non)fiction Game about Living with Depression

I've also told my partner that it felt like my arms would work

I’ve described it as feeling like I’m swimming in glue

Depression’s cycle is made worse by its power over sufferers which forces them to internalize their struggle and which renders friends and family’s attempts to “help” more destructive than supportive.

Tragically, it is this misunderstanding of the depressed persons thought-processes by everyone (including/especially the depressed person) that their concern inadvertently reinforces the overwhelming sense of self-loathing that is present with depression.

As the cycle plays out over and over during one’s lifetime, the depressed person alienates others who attempt to help and those friends misinterpret the rebuffs to their efforts as dismissals of their friendship.

You may know people who are severely depressed, chances are you’ve experienced their flakiness first-hand when you had plans to meet and they didn’t show up, or when they did show up, they were socially awkward until they drank a little and over-shared about something very emotionally and out-of-character, or they said they’d call you and you hadn’t heard or seen them again in three months.

When you do get them out, it even seems like they have a good time and even go home very late; but then again, without explanation, they drop off the face of the planet for extended periods of time. While they say they are busy, they are actually “busy” with pacing their apartment stressing over how they aren’t doing what they should be doing or didn’t do what they should have done and now its too late.

They probably made excuses about going to bed early, but chances are they literally laid in bed all night awake and thinking about what they should have done that day to make their life normal and easy to live as everyone else seems to be able to do without effort and what they are supposed to prepare be doing the next day to make their life normal but have no clue what its supposed to be.

Periodically, the depressed person will suddenly gain a sense of the difference between who they feel like they are now and the person they were before the last/latest ongoing “episode” and experience shame, guilt, and remorse for not only losing that person they imagine they were, but also for being responsible for killing all the relationships with the people they cared about all because of not feeling like they could, or knew how to communicate to others what it is like to try to make decisions or simply “be” with depression.

This game is one interpretation of this struggle. It attempts to show what it is like to try to get through normal life as a person with depression. It’s like a ‘choose your own adventure,’ except you’ll notice some of the choices that ‘regular people’ would make are not available… and I mean they are present so you can see them, but they are crossed off and not an option. This was a particularly poignant feature I’m glad creator Zoe Quinn included; just because the depressed person intellectually knows that something is wrong and can see there are options that other people may reflexively choose, it doesn’t mean one would even consider those options if they weren’t crossed off.

I recommend playing several times so you can choose the options ‘as you would’ as yourself, a non-depressed person and then again with the other options to see what plays out for the character. If you are also depressed, play the game to try to gain some perspective on yourself and to gain some vocabulary to use and try to share your experience with others.

Hopefully this game will show you that there are others who are struggling to put those feelings and thoughts into words too; let this be an opportunity to, if nothing else, to try to relate your experiences to your loved ones through this lens. This is a chance to share the game with the people in your life to say, “Hey, check this out–does this make sense to you?”

Please follow it up with, “Because it REALLY makes sense to me and I’d like to talk about that.”

Overall, it’s not the best game and it’s not the best representation of what it is actually like to live with depression’s voice in one’s head everyday all the time; but I think it is a good start for “regular people” who know a person with depression (or who don’t realize they do).

I hope this game will make someone suddenly put a bunch of incidents with that person together in their mind in such a way they say,
“OOOOHHHHH…. wait a second…. I thought that guy just was being a lazy jerk for not coming to my party/anniversary/wedding/etc…. and those times he’d drink a little and start bitching about work and then get so angry about how much he hated people he’s ‘forced’ to work around…. and all the times he’d sarcastically criticize people who were successfully doing what they loved to do and making a living with it…. and then afterwards, he’d disappear into his house for months sending out cryptic, self-effacing messages about his embarrassment about his behavior…..I GET IT NOW. He was really expressing frustrations with what he imagined was himself, but which no one else seemed to see.”
http://www.depressionquest.com/

Nest

…and be grateful for the person who sticks around.

Love of Billionaires in a Zero-Balance Economy

The Billionaire is the one telling you how hard it is to steer properly.

If, in a zero-balance economy made up of entries on balance sheets and where one person’s entry on the asset column of their balance sheet is an equal entry on the debts column of another person’s balance sheet then, some people have more “money” BECAUSE others have less or none at all.

But don’t read that wrong. I’m not subtly suggesting that “wealth” should be “re-distributed” from those with it to those without it. Their “wealth” is based on corresponding “debt.” Redistributing “wealth” within a system tilted so that assets flow towards these people and debt and risk flows towards others will do nothing without correspondingly redistributing the debt that made that wealth possible in the first place. The fallacy is that they accumulated that wealth without successfully externalizing the Risk of their investments onto others least able to defend themselves from it.

Poor people are poor because wealthy people are wealthy. Don’t repeat that too loudly without offending people who believe in the old Horatio Alger stories that say anyone can be wealthy by “hard work and dedication” ….. oh, AND LUCK. “If you work hard, someday you may be walking home from the factory and the boss’s daughter may have lost control of her horses so you’ll be able to be there to save her and impress the boss so much that he’ll put you in charge.” Only in America.

This little rant has been inspired by the new book Billionaires:Reflections on the Upper-Crust published by the Brookings Institution Press. 

People in the US love their billionaires.
What did Soros say?
What did Rupert say Soros said?
Did you hear that Bill Gates is donating millions to that charity?
Wow, Richard Branson is so cool, I wonder what he’s going to do next?
Yeah, Zuckerberg is a dick, but I’d be a dick too if I were a billionaire.
But you really can’t say anything bad about Warren Buffet, he’s just a nice old man from Omaha who must have a brilliant mind.
How dare you criticize George Kaiser and his Family Foundation! He gives money to programs that help poor women in prisons’ children so they can get an education. What would Tulsa do without him?

Its Always A Good Time to Start Composting

http://earthbus.org/gardentower

I really like the idea and the look of this composter. If it actually works, it would be even cooler. I know most my friends and readers of this site are in North America, but you all may not know I’m in South America now; so I can’t get one of these delivered to me. If you know anything about me, you know I love nothing more than raising up a nice crop of compost, so if you can, buy one of these and let me know how well it works or otherwise what your experience is with it.

If I get positive reports back to me, I may have to have one of you “mule” one down to me.

Terracotta Composting 50-Plant Garden Tower by Garden Tower Project

Terracotta Composting 50-Plant Garden Tower by Garden Tower Project

Terracotta Composting 50-Plant Garden Tower by Garden Tower Project

Is “the state” JUST the Government? Or is There Something More Creating our Ways of Life?

Updatedpyramid

One point where I seem to split from many of my friends who call themselves “anti-government,” market capitalists, and even anti-capitalists to some extent, is that I apply the term “State” to include not just the government, but also all industry that directs technological and infrastructural developments (like car/oil companies for example) which depends on protectionism, the ‘mental colonizers’ such as the Public Relations industry & subordinate mouthpieces on the nightly news, and the all of the institutions (whether NGOs, non-profits, or large universities) whose board members all seem to come from the same upper echelons above .75 depicted here.

These are the institutions sculpting what ‘daily life’ for most humans looks like and what ‘proper goals’ should set by individuals for aspiration. These organizations claim the exclusive right to decide what the future will look like and silently conspire to create an atmosphere of TINA.

There
Is
No
Alternative

I think illustrations like this support my view on The State more than their fear and distrust of ‘Government’ and misunderstanding of the source of Capital, who creates it, who owns it, and who steals it to be used as it is today.

If we take the illustration literally, and visualize all the workers on the bottom of a pyramid of power, then we can see that the broadest part of the pyramid on the bottom SHOULD be rebelling due to all the weight and stress foisted upon them. However, talking this thought experiment out a little further, let’s imagine the workers on bottom as stratified further…not top to bottom, but instead visualize concentric circles.

The outside most part of the group is actually the biggest circle surrounding a smaller, middle circle which surrounds a tight little group in the middle of all the workers. This tight little group never sees outside of the other workers and bears majority weight from above, all the way up to the top of the pyramid.

Needless to say, these are the most oppressed workers who shout the loudest about the unbearable weight of all the upper classes above them. But their oppression doesn’t just come from above, it comes from the outside, largest circle of the bottom pyramid as well.

You see, the majority of the people around the outside of the bottom level of the pyramid are actually bearing LESS WEIGHT from the people above and they have access to the most fresh air.

Therefore, there is our answer of why the bottom classes are so easily swayed by a “democratic” majority that keeps the inner circles in line by shouting down their complaints of the weight from above.

For the core oppressed to gain the freedom of life outside of the concentric circles around them, they not only have to fight the oppressive weight from above, they also must struggle with making their peers understand how they are complicit in allowing the majority of the weight to stay on them while believing they are struggling against the same forces.

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