The New York Times has an article with the following headline: "Revelations of N.S.A. Spying Cost U.S. Tech Companies".
While I don't have issue with the article itself, I'm going to have to disagree with the headline. Ultimately, it's not the revelations themselves that are the problem, it's the NSA's actions that have been costing U.S. tech companies ...
The presumably upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling is the big news story of the US today. Personally, I think they should just go with an up and down vote, but there is all these messy fights about wanting to attach conditions to the debt ceiling. Despite the ugly political fights, however, I have a feeling that things will go like this:
- The August 2 deadline will continue to approach, with no end in sight to the debt ceiling fight. In fact, Republicans will make increasingly outrageous demands, making it seem even more likely that the United States might default on part of its debt.
- With the huge amount of uncertainty and fears of a default by the United States government, the stock market will plummet drastically near the August 2 deadline.
- Goldman Sachs will make a killing with all the shorts it would have made. Right before the deadline, they will also buy up a whole lot of stock at rock bottom prices.
- In a dramatic vote immediately before the deadline, Congress will agree to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans may or may not be trying to deliberately cripple the American economy for working class people for their own political benefit, but they would never be allowed to actually block the raising of the debt ceiling. Goldman Sachs might like destroying parts of the economy to gather wealth from shorts, but even they might balk from a default which could threaten the wealth of even the incredibly rich.
But what do I know? I'm just a poor, cynical guy with no first-hand experience with the inner workings of any political or financial system, who probably has no idea what he is talking about.
Without even having read the book, the blurb for the The Annunaki Enigma Armageddon 2010 is enough to make me sure that it would quite a disaster. I definitely would not have seen it if I weren't subscribed to the science fiction section at Fictionwise, but the blurb was so much of a train wreck that it was hard to ignore:
Somewhere near the end of the year 2012 world governments are on the precipice of all out war. The United States has become a socialist state — a part of a "One World Order". The global economies are falling apart and there is an effort to correct a pseudo-scientific theory that the world is suffering from global warming brought on by the industrial countries. The politicians have attempted to create a significant revenue source by correlating the warming theory to the burning of carbon-based fuels. A carbon tax is invented and those in power are pleased. This adds further injury to the failing world economies. As this cataclysmic series of events further destroys the once vigorous monetary systems of the world, healthcare in the United States becomes state run. ...
And this is only half of the blurb! It might actually good if it were a satire, but it doesn't appear to be one. With the entire blurb basically a litany of extreme ideology (and quite a bit of delusional ideology at that), along with the complete absence of any indication of a plot, I have to wonder what the blurb writer was thinking. Did he (or she) really think anyone would want to read the book after that blurb?
In response to a South Korean defense minister raising the possibility of a first strike if North Korea showed clear signs of attacking with nuclear weapons, North Korea accused the South of declaring war. The defense minister was being unwise: he should have been vague enough to make North Korea wonder if South Korea would ever strike first, while not making statements that the North could unambiguously use in accusations without making themselves look like even bigger jerks than they usually come across as. On the other hand, North Korea is yet again vastly overreacting (as usual).
Maybe for most people in the world, a "you just declared war on us" claim from a neighboring nation might be cause for great alarm. But for the average South Korean, it wouldn't be cause for panic, even if it does increase worry, since the North Korean government has been regularly saying things like that for decades. And it's rather hard to stay in total fear mode for so long when total open warfare has not broken out during all that time. No doubt such aggressive posture by North Korea is ulcer-inducing for military planners, since this might be the one time that the North actually starts something drastic, but North Korea has been crying wolf far too many times for the average person.
The average person in North Korea might have similar attitudes regarding aggressive proclamations from the South Korean government, except I suspect they never actually get to hear about them ...
One thing that always occurs to me when there is a mass shooting is that they often don't seem to be fundamentally different from suicide bombings. In both types of events, the perpetuator usually ends up killing and wounding a lot of people, and the perpetuator almost always end up getting themselves killed, by getting themselves blown up, shooting themselves, or getting shot by cops. And yet, suicide bombings are invariably described as terrorist acts while mass shootings are treated as 'merely' very tragic events (well, except perhaps if the shooter is Muslim). The one fundamental difference between a mass shooting and a suicide bombing seems to be that there might be less property damage from the former, even if in practice there might be different proportions of motives.
Not terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but the different perceptions have been bugging me ...