Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I guess they don't have Internet down in Oklahoma.
Or maybe Garth Brooks is still on dialup, or is too busy taking his kids to school to know what's really going on.
Apple destroyed the music business. Apple must be stopped.
Isn't that like fighting in Afghanistan when Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan?
But this is the same government Mr. Brooks wants to protect and save the music business.
That damn Apple, allowing people to BUY single tracks! Things were much better prior to the iTunes Store, when listeners just STOLE THEM! Hell, why don't we wipe out not only iTunes, but Amazon, let's forgo licensing any Internet distribution, that'll solve the problem!
As for half a day of silence... Only an old fart residing in the nineties would believe that radio still has that kind of power, that everybody's still listening. Under the first sale doctrine, we own our music, and we're listening on our iPods without worrying about what the broadcasters are purveying in between the twenty two minutes of commercials per hour.
Well, we've got to ban the iPod too!
But didn't the RIAA already try that? Suing to stop its predecessor, the Diamond Rio? They didn't win that one...
I sympathize with where Mr. Brooks is coming from. Creators should be compensated. Then again, how much? Just because you're a musician, are you entitled to be rich, to fly on a private jet?
Tell that to every other industry that's been mauled by the Internet...
No more online travel booking! You can't use Orbitz, you must go to a travel agent!
And while you're at it, no more Internet news. You've got to buy the aged news in the newspaper every morning. Or worse, listen to the inane talking heads on TV. Less information is better!
Funny how those who used to have power don't like the Internet flashlight, that sends a beam into the nooks and crannies of the power elite's business.
While we're at it, why don't we bring back Tommy Mottola! And J. Lo! You can't watch videos online, you've got to sit endlessly in front of the television, waiting for them to come up on MTV! And if you like a niche act, not a superstar like Mr. Brooks, if you like Steve Earle more than Brad Paisley, you never get to see him at all! Tough noogies!
Vegas is the right place for you Garth. It's where all the has-beens go.
I don't mind a conflicting opinion. It's ignorance I abhor.
You've got to start with the facts. People can steal music at will. How do you create a better mousetrap, that allows everyone to partake whilst paying? That's the Spotify model, that's the MOG model, that's the future we're working towards.
But you'd rather jet us back to the past.
It's like Michael J. Fox sitting at home watching reruns of "Family Ties", doomed to endure the terrible effects of Parkinson's disease. Mr. Fox didn't ask to get sick. Just like the Internet was not founded to allow people to steal music. But rather than accept his fate and stay in the past, Mr. Fox has established a foundation, he's fighting Parkinson's, he wants to go back to the FUTURE! Where he's no longer twenty, but he's older and disease free.
You get to a better place not by quelling rebellions, by denying technology, but by starting in the present and working towards the future. Isn't that the model you employed Garth? Seeing KISS and recasting their success in country music?
I've seen you perform. You're phenomenal.
But like the progenitors, your inspiration, the men in make-up, you're a has-been. And few want your new music. The way you earn our trust is making it less about you, and more about us. Hey, isn't that what the Net's about? Stop talking horseshit about retirement and truly get in the game. Create some great new material. Start tweeting, employ Facebook to get the message out. See what it's really like out there before you start running your mouth, commenting when you're clueless.
Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The guidelines for the creation of the mix were: Mixes are limited to 45 minutes each like half a T90 tape. If you go over, listeners will encouraged to stop listening at the 45 minute mark to turn the tape over. Mixes can be made in any way you see fit on any medium. House is a feeling, so stray where you will genre-wise but beware that by venturing into particularly niche territory you may give the game away.
Stan Freburg – excert from a radio show
Jeffrey Lewis – I Ain’t Thick
Beat Happening – Our Secret
Quixote feat Lisa Li Lun – Before I Started To Dance (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
Arab Strap – The First Big Weekend
Vorn – Employee Assistence Program (excert from)
The Pin Group – When I Tell You
Tall Dwarfs – Paul’s Place
The Clean – End Of My Dreams
Davy Graham – I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometime
The Fall – Container Drivers
King Biscuit Time – C I Am 15
Deskee – Let There Be House
Download it from Stink-finger home of the BMP.
Download link (right click – save as): http://www.stink-finger.com/audio/StinkFingerPodcast5.mp3
Filesize: 41 MBLength: 00:42:41
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
By Les Leopold
October 05, 2009 "Alternet' -- It's great to know that during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans, according to Forbes, actually increased by $30 billion. Well golly, that's only a 2 percent increase, much less than the double digit returns the wealthy had grown accustomed to. But a 2 percent increase is a whole lot more than losing 40 percent of your 401k. And $30 billion is enough to provide 500,000 school teacher jobs at $60k per year.
Collectively, those 400 have $1.57 trillion in wealth. It's hard to get your mind around a number like that. The way I do it is to imagine that we were still living during the great radical Eisenhower era of the 1950s when marginal income tax rates hit 91 percent. Taxes were high back in the 1950s because people understood that constraining wild extremes of wealth would make our country stronger and prevent another depression. (Well, what did those old fogies know?)
Had we kept those high progressive taxes in place, instead of removing them, especially during the Reagan era, the Forbes 400 might each be worth "only" $100 million instead of $3.9 billion each. So let's imagine that the rest of their wealth, about $1.53 trillion, were available for the public good.
What does $1.53 trillion buy?
It's more than enough to insure the uninsured for the next twenty years or more.
It's more than enough to create a Manhattan Project to solve global warming by developing renewable energy and a green, sustainable manufacturing sector.
And here's my favorite: It's more than enough to endow every public college and university in the country so that all of our children could gain access to higher education for free, forever!
Instead, we embarked on a grand experiment to see what would happen if we deregulated finance and changed the tax code so that millionaires could turn into billionaires. And even after that experiment failed in the most spectacular way, our system seems trapped into staying on the same deregulated path.
Instead of free higher education, health care and a sustainable economy, we got a fantasy finance boom and bust on Wall Street which crashed the real economy. We have our 400 billionaires, and we have 29 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. We have an infrastructure in shambles. We have an environment in crisis. We have a health care system that would make Rube Goldberg proud. And we have the worst income distribution since 1929.
I hazard to guess that each and every Forbes 400 member could get by with a net worth of $100 million. I don't think that would kill their entrepreneurial drive or harm our economy--in fact it would be a major boon to the economy to step back from the edge of such massive concentration of wealth. The real problem is getting there form here. A wealth tax that kicks in when you become worth more than $100 million would be a good start. The Eisenhower tax rate on adjustable gross income over $3 million a year would help as well.
And please let's not call it socialism, now that we've placed the entire financial sector on welfare to the tune of over $13 trillion in subsidies and guarantees. (By the way, the yearly budget outlays for means tested programs for low income citizens is about $350 billion per year. So Wall Street's welfare is about 37 times as large as welfare for poor.)
So if narrowing the income/wealth gap isn't socialism, what is it? It's the America that thrived in the 1950s and 1960s. It's the America that created a middle-class and vowed never to let the financial gamblers return us to another depression. It's an America that put its people to work and built an infrastructure that was the envy of the world.
Where's Dwight David Eisenhower when we need him?
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading
By Robert Fisk
October 06, 2009 The Independent
In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place – although they have not discovered the details – are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China's former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security."
This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.
The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.
Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.
China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq – blocked by the US until this year – and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.
Furthermore, Chinese exports to the region now account for no fewer than 10 per cent of the imports of every country in the Middle East, including a huge range of products from cars to weapon systems, food, clothes, even dolls. In a clear sign of China's growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China's reliance on US monetary policy, to help rebalance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.
Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements – the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system – America's trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington's control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.
The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. "The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies," a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. "The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won't be able to use the US dollar."
Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years' time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.
The US discussed the trend briefly at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh; the Chinese Central Bank governor and other officials have been worrying aloud about the dollar for years. Their problem is that much of their national wealth is tied up in dollar assets.
"These plans will change the face of international financial transactions," one Chinese banker said. "America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate."
Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
October 03, 2009 Asia Times
The United States and Western "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" crowd - hysteria running at fever pitch ahead of Thursday's multilateral nuclear talks in Geneva - could do worse than have a word with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
Lula actually talked to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad face-to-face for over an hour on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week. He invited Ahmadinejad to visit Brazil in November. About the meeting, he went straight to the point, "What I wish for Iran is what I always wanted for Brazil - a peaceful, civilian nuclear program."
Lula is an island of common sense in an ocean of hysteria. French President Nicolas Sarkozy publicly gave a December deadline for Iran not to make a "tragic mistake", as in provoking Armageddon. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini reiterated the Group of Eight was giving Iran only three more months.
United States President Barack Obama - now running three wars (Iraq and the AfPak combo) - demanded that Iran (which is not at war with anybody) demonstrate "its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu announced to the UN, "the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fundamentalism and the weapons of mass destruction". Impervious to irony, Netanyahu obviously forgot that Iran - like Iraq in 2003 - has no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Israel not only has WMDs, but still refuses to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or allow its weapons to be inspected, as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rushed to clarify. As for religious fundamentalism, Zionism is more than a match to Iran's Shi'itism.
As if this was not hysteria enough, leaks in Britain revealed that the head of M-I6 Sir John Scarlett and the head of Mossad Meir Dagan may have established that Saudi Arabia is ready to allow Israel to bomb Iran. The House of Saud remained mute. But not the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) - which de facto controls Iran's missile program. They successfully tested long-range Shahab-3 and Sajjil solid-fuel missiles with a maximum range of 2,000 kilometers. Ergo, even more hysteria.
General Hoseyn Salami, commander of IRGC's air force, told the IRINN TV network that Iran had a firm "no first strike" policy in terms of a missile war with Israel, and defended the tests as linked to the approaching anniversary of the 1980 Iraqi attack on Iran - the beginning of a horrible eight-year war that killed at least 250,000 Iranians. (The US, by the way, supported in that war a character who later personified the "new Hitler", Saddam Hussein.)
Now compare all this to the Western reaction to what's happening this Thursday in Beijing on China's National Day parade for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China; an array of two types of surface-to-surface conventional missiles, a new land-based cruise missile, surface-to-surface intermediate and long-range missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, and nuclear intercontinental missiles will all be shown off in an asphalt catwalk. Not a peep from the West. It's as if this was part of Beijing Fashion Week.
A non-secret secret
The all-out hysteria reaches ludicrous overtones when it comes to the disinformation campaign around the now iconic Iranian back-up nuclear enrichment plant, built at the base of a mountain inside an ultra-protected underground facility controlled by the IRGC some 30 kilometers northeast of the holy city of Qom. The plant was built with heavily reinforced concrete and is about the size of a football field, enough to hold 3,000 uranium-refining centrifuges.
The site was duly reported by Tehran in a letter to the IAEA, according to the rules this is done six months before a site becomes operational. Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, also the head of Iran's nuclear program, has stressed there was never anything "secret" about the plant; and justified its construction because of "threats" against Iran.
Ahmadinejad - an engineer - for his part stressed the plant would only be operational in 18 months. And it will be open to IAEA inspections according to a timetable already being discussed. This is the bottom line: if the IAEA inspects, there's no way the plant will churn out nuclear weapons.
From Tehran's point of view, this all makes sense; a back-up plant protected by the IRGC near Qom is a given after the George W Bush administration and Israel have repeatedly threatened to bomb Iran. Location is everything; imagine Israel bombing the outskirts of Qom. It's as if the Pentagon bombed the Vatican.
As for Washington, it might have known about this "secret" plant during the George W Bush administration - as those usual suspects, "senior officials", confirmed to US corporate media. But that raises the question: why did Israel and the US not expose it when it was "secret", that is, still not reported to the IAEA?
Anyway, what remains excluded from the hysteria-saturated news cycle is that the new not-so-secret plant will not enrich uranium beyond 5% - the suitable level in a civilian energy program. A nuclear weapon demands 90% enrichment. The plant will not produce uranium hexaflouride, or UF6, which is used for enrichment. The bottom line, once again; the Qom backup plant changes nothing in terms of Iran's nuclear program as recognized by the IAEA.
Talk first, bomb later
And that brings us back to Lula. Brazil, just like Iran, is a signatory of the NPT. Just like Iran, it is enriching uranium. Just like Iran, it does not allow unlimited, invasive IAEA inspections. And just like Iran, it has in the past kept some aspects of its nuclear technology "secret".
Brazil enriches uranium to less than 5%, as part of its $1 billion nuclear industry, which will invest on seven new atomic plants to diversify the country's consumption of oil and hydroelectric power. Brazil plans to start exporting enriched uranium before 2014. Brazilian centrifuges could be used to produce highly enriched uranium. But that's a matter of political will. The letter of the Brazilian constitution effectively forbids the building of nuclear weapons.
In Iran the situation is actually similar. Both the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have made it very clear that nuclear weapons are against Islam.
Obviously, the US State Department will always dismiss any comparisons between Tehran and Brasilia. After all, Brazil is a Western-style democracy and Iran is now, after the last presidential elections, a military dictatorship of the mullahtariat. Brazil may be a natural leader in South America, but it's not threatening anybody; while Iran, a regional leader, threatens Israel's "secret" nuclear hegemony in the Middle East. But in both Iran's and Brazil's case, the heart of the matter is the same: running a successful nuclear program is, above all, a question of national pride.
Sanctions cannot possibly work. And once again the current hysteria glaringly shows how, when it comes to Iran, double standards rule.
Washington was forced to admit sanctions did not work with the dictatorship in Myanmar. Now Washington wants to talk. Sanctions will not work on Iran either. It's ridiculous, for instance, to imagine Iraq joining a Western-enforced gasoline embargo on Iran. Besides, Persians are too proud and loaded with too much history to succumb to threats.
Israel, sundry Sunni Arab puppet rulers and dictators, the pathetic American right and the European right, these all fear Iran's regional clout and want to bring the regime down. The nuclear dossier could not be a more convenient cover story for regime change.
As much as the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat may be distasteful for the world and for a lot of Iranian citizens, the end does not justify the means. And the means won't lead to the desired end, as an attack on Iran will make the whole population rally behind the regime. Something is profoundly rotten in the so-called "international community" kingdom - minus Russia and China, by the way - when it lets global policy be determined by someone like Netanyahu.
Obama and Lula meet this Friday in Copenhagen to see whether Chicago or Rio will win the race to host the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. The chemistry between them is excellent. Obama could do worse than check up on Lula on his face-to-face meeting with Ahmadinejad.
But as it stands, it's more like the "international community" is being led in an Olympic race to bomb Iran.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).