Australia tries for gag order to hide corruption

If you can't solve a problem, sweep it under the rug.

Australia bans reporting of multi-nation corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam

Today, 29 July 2014, WikiLeaks releases an unprecedented Australian censorship order concerning a multi-million dollar corruption case explicitly naming the current and past heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and other senior officials. The super-injunction invokes “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia's international relations”. The court-issued gag order follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.

Bank of England admits money is a racket

Money is a fiction, a creation of humanity. If the way we're creating it doesn't serve our needs -- and it obviously doesn't -- then we need to create it differently.

The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it (the Guardian)

Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy", co-authored by three economists from the Bank's Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

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It's this understanding that allows us to continue to talk about money as if it were a limited resource like bauxite or petroleum, to say "there's just not enough money" to fund social programmes, to speak of the immorality of government debt or of public spending "crowding out" the private sector. What the Bank of England admitted this week is that none of this is really true. To quote from its own initial summary: "Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits" … "In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money 'multiplied up' into more loans and deposits."

In other words, everything we know is not just wrong – it's backwards. When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There's really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it. They will never get caught short, for the simple reason that borrowers do not, generally speaking, take the cash and put it under their mattresses; ultimately, any money a bank loans out will just end up back in some bank again. So for the banking system as a whole, every loan just becomes another deposit....

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Just consider what might happen if mortgage holders realised the money the bank lent them is not, really, the life savings of some thrifty pensioner, but something the bank just whisked into existence through its possession of a magic wand which we, the public, handed over to it.

pibble saves injured chihuahua

Yet another pit bull whose love puts most of us primates to shame.

Jonie Loves Chachi: Hero Pit Bull Saves Injured Chihuahua Pal (ABC News)

A pit bull is being hailed as a hero for carrying an injured Chihuahua to safety -- and now the two dogs are looking for a loving home together.

Pit bull Jonie was found carrying her injured friend, Chachi, inside her mouth, roaming around a Savannah, Georgia, neighborhood on July 10.

Chachi, a long-haired Chihuahua mix, had suffered an injury to his left eye. Jonie, a white Lab-pit bull mix many times larger than Chachi in size, was walking around with Chachi in her mouth and putting him down every now and then to lick his wound.

"test" of bulletproof vest leads to murder charges

Doing stupid things can get you killed.

Man charged with shooting friend in botched test of bulletproof vest in Baltimore (Baltimore Sun)

Three people stood in the basement of a Westport home before 4 a.m. Wednesday to film a stunt in which they planned to test a bulletproof vest. Darnell Mitchell put it on, looked into a video camera and proclaimed himself ready to take "deuce deuce in the chest."

But, police said, Mark Ramiro missed the body armor when he pulled the trigger on the .22 caliber handgun, and he now faces murder charges in the 28-year-old's death.

Roko’s Basilisk and the ridiculous side of technofuturism

I am interested in technology -- my degrees are in Computer Science, after all, and I still mostly pay the bills by creating software and wrangling machines. And I am interested in the future, since as the cliche goes, that's where we'll spend the rest of out lives. But hardcore technofuturism is full of pathetic, confused people, like poor Ray Kurzweil, who wants to build a computer simulation of his dead father. It's mostly old silly religious ideas dressed up in new silly science fiction. They replaced the Rapture with the Singularity, and now they're replaced Pascal's Wager with Roko’s Basilisk. It would merely be sad-to-amusing -- except that some of these people have a lot of money and influence.

The Most Terrifying Thought Experiment of All Time (Slate)

One day, LessWrong user Roko postulated a thought experiment: What if, in the future, a somewhat malevolent AI were to come about and punish those who did not do its bidding? What if there were a way (and I will explain how) for this AI to punish people today who are not helping it come into existence later? In that case, weren’t the readers of LessWrong right then being given the choice of either helping that evil AI come into existence or being condemned to suffer?

... It was a thought experiment so dangerous that merely thinking about it was hazardous not only to your mental health, but to your very fate.

separate entrances for the working class

Is it time to sharpen the guillotines and give the aristocrats what they deserve yet?

Building Will Have a Separate Door for Poor (Daily Intelligencer)

New York City moved just a little closer to all-out class warfare over the weekend, when the Department of Housing Preservation and Development approved a plan for an Upper West Side condo building with a separate door for the poorer people who are being allowed to live there. Extell Development, the company building the 33-story luxury complex at 40 Riverside Drive, proposed the controversial arrangement last year as part of its application for the Inclusionary Housing Program, which gives developers tax credits and other perks in exchange for creating some affordable units alongside their less affordable ones.

big hole in Obamacare?

Courts should go with what the law -- be it the Constitution or the ACA -- actually says, not with what we want it to say, not what we believe is fair, or what we believe the authors meant to say, or even what the authors say they meant to say. Laws are insanely complex enough without adding "well, it says this, but that's not what it means" to it." "Original intent" is a bogus legal philosophy.

Now, I haven't looked up the text of the law. If it's true (as the article claims) that "other portions of the law specifically say that a federal exchange set up for a state is by definition a state exchange" for purposes of the Act, then this doesn't reflect what the law actually says and will certainly be overturned. If that's not true, if there is a gaping hole in the law as written, blame lies with the politicians who wrote it, voted for it, and signed it into law, not with judges who discovered the error and applied it as written.

Two Republican Judges Gut Obamacare, Threatening Health Care For Millions (The Huffington Post)

The two judges seized on text within the law that said subsidies would be provided to people who purchased insurance on exchanges established by the states. But 36 states declined to set up their own exchanges, and chose to rely on the federal government's exchange instead. Because the law doesn't specifically say that people who bought insurance on the federal exchange also get subsidies, the law's opponents argued that therefore such subsidies are illegal.

"The problem confronting the [ACA] is that subsidies also turn on a third attribute of Exchanges: who established them. Under section 36B, subsidies are available only for plans 'enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the [ACA],'" the majority opinion ruled, rejecting the counter-argument that other portions of the law specifically say that a federal exchange set up for a state is by definition a state exchange.

screw the forest, we need another Walmart!

<headdesk>

Endangered Florida Forest Lands To Be Bulldozed For A Walmart (The Huffington Post)

In a move that’s enraging environmentalists, the University of Miami in early July sold 88 acres of endangered pine rockland in Miami-Dade County. The purchaser, Palm Beach County developer Ram Realty Services, will clear out much of the area and punch in a 158,000-square-foot Walmart, as well as an LA Fitness, Chik-fil-A, Chili’s and 900 apartments, the Miami Herald reports.

Preservationists worry the development will strip the land of its rare plants and harm its threatened and endangered animals, including two rare butterflies, the bald eagle, the indigo snake and the Florida bonneted bat, per the Herald.

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Russian conspiracy theories on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

I thought the 9/11 truthers had taken the art of the paranoid conspiracy theory as far as it could go, but wow, I think we have a new champion.

The Russian Public Has a Totally Different Understanding of What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (New Republic)

And that’s when they’re not simply peddling conspiracy theories, which have become a kind of symbiotic feedback loop between state TV and the most inventive corners of the Internet. The best of the bunch is, of course, an elaborate one: MH17 is actually MH370, that Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared into the Indian Ocean. According to this theory, the plane didn’t disappear at all, “it was taken to an American military base, Diego-Garcia.”

Then it was taken to Holland. On the necessary day and hour, it flew out, bound for Malaysia, but inside were not live people, but corpses. The plane was flown not by real pilots; it was on autopilot. Or take-off (a complicated procedure) was executed by live pilots, who then ejected on parachutes. Then the plane flew automatically. In the necessary spot, it was blown up, without even using a surface-to-air missile. Instead the plane was packed with a bomb, just like the CIA did on 9/11.

NYPD cop chokes man to death for allegedly selling loosies

Eric Garner was killed by a New York City police officer last Thursday, choked to death in an assault by several cops. The crime of which he was accused? Selling untaxed loose cigarettes. Witnesses say he had just broken up a fight, but rather than pursue and investigate that act of violence they harassed, assaulted, and murdered Garner.

Two officers and four EMTs and paramedics have been suspended over the incident, pending investigation.

About 500 Americans are killed by police each year. Some of those, of course, are legitimate cases of defense, but "police privilege", the perceived "right" of cops to harass, beat, taze, pepper-spray, and shoot civilians who don't properly knuckle-under, is becoming more and more of a threat to our lives and liberty.

Staten Island man dies after NYPD cop puts him in chokehold — SEE THE VIDEO (NY Daily News)

A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.

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But Esaw Garner and other family members said it was a trumped up claim.

“They’re covering their asses, he was breaking up a fight. They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him,” she said. Garner’s family said he didn’t have any cigarettes on him or in his car at the time of his death.

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