Friday, July 30, 2010

Lawfare Can Cut Both Ways

UPDATE:Looks like there is lawsuit software out there for specialized niches like debt collection (from the New York Times, 12 July 2010):

...Collection law firms are able to handle such large volumes of cases because computer software automates much of their work. Typically, a debt buyer sends a law firm an electronic database that contains various data about consumers, including name, home address, the outstanding balance, the date of default and whether interest is still accruing on the account...

BEGIN ORIGINAL POST: The concept of lawfare (unrestricted law warfare) is generally associated with prosecutors in Country A going after people in Country B in retribution for some real or imagined offense that Country A thinks it can get away with as a pretense. More examples close to home are the strongarm tactics of various large corporate persons who impose their will on farmers who try to use heirloom seeds on a large scale or on small businesses who become too competitive - the large corporate persons file extensive lawsuits with an effort to bankrupt opponents.

Well, it can cut both ways. Check out this filing that is attempting to use RICO to go after a major servicer for mortgage companies (h/t Karl Denninger):

CLASS ACTION FILED| Figueroa v. Law Offices Of David J. Stern, P.A. and MERSCORP, Inc.

This is quite intriguing. On the surface it probably is just a law firm looking to shake down a potentially big client via a settlement, or to make a name for themselves in trying to take down these giants. Lawfare turned on the elites. Sounds like hours of fun for the whole family, especially in an era where we shift to net negative mood with all the attendant friction and anger.

Let's take this a step further. We are not only in an era of net negative mood that will only get worse (in my opinion), we are also in an era where everything from law journals to legal forms are all digitized. How difficult would it be to write various scripts to crank out lawsuits against corporate persons as part of an insurgent lawfare campaign? One key issue is the legal fees associated with the research it takes to fight against a huge legal spam attack dropped on a "small fry" by a corporate person's law team. If we have software based on contextual keyword searches and can combine it with something like the engine in White Smoke Writer, you could enable inexperienced lawyers to create lawsuits or fight back against them with immense digital leverage.

If things get as bad as I think they will, then we might need this kind of tool in the near future. When an ecosystem contracts, dominant species will fight to keep their niches in place instead of adapt. After watching the Fed allowing the pillaging of the American Taxpayer by banksters via TARP (and the many other country cousins put into place in 2008) and then watch as BP, plc was allowed to lie repeatedly in response to their spill in the Gulf and watch them deploy mercenaries on U.S. soil to clamp down on media coverage of the disaster they caused, I can only imagine things will get worse as corporate persons get more blatant in their manipulations of the existing system to retain their privileges, power and money. We need a hack to exploit this system for all it is worth. Something co-ops or small farmers or off-the-grid prepper communities could leverage to at least buy time and chew up billable hours that the corporate persons must pay. Of course, they would just buy or make their own software in response, but then we get to a Mutually Assured Destruction type of situation - which might be the best deal we can get as the Great Collapse unfolds.

Hmmmm, this smells like a development opportunity. Something to think about.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Odds and Ends

Some odds and ends that show the power of mass mood at work:

How crisis PR hasn't kept up with the turbulent times
By Matthew DeBord, The Big Money (Washington Post)
...[a] veritable deluge of crises since 2008 has shown that crisis PR is no longer up to the job. The BP oil spill, Apple's Antennagate, the fall of Goldman Sachs, Toyota's Great Recall, the sexual travails of Tiger Woods, the trysts of Al Gore, the loose lips of Gen. Stanley McChrystal -- all these combustions would have been fixed, in the good old days of 2007...

...But the new crisis paradigm is spinning hopelessly in the dark. By mid-2010, the stories were changing too rapidly to control, much less to revise. Like a violent postmodern vortex, the bad news sucked down all who struggled to escape it. Unsurprisingly, the Internet is to blame. But the phenomenon goes beyond the 24/7 news-and-comment cycle. It forces the PR world to confront something far more disruptive -- and something that will undercut its $700-an-hour fees.

The lesson now for companies that screw up is that you really have no chance: The currents are against you from the get-go. The courts of Twitter and online video sites, along with Facebook groups that deplore the transgressions, will overwhelm even the most elaborate crisis battle plan. The profession, quite simply, is at a crossroads. And it isn't in a position to ride out the bumps, because it's up against the kind of high-altitude turbulence that can shred the airframe...

Hat tip to reader Greg B who pointed this article out to me. It is a fascinating read and hits on a lot of points made by socionomic theory on how social systems can alter radically when mood shifts.

And then there is this gem:

Doomsday shelters making a comeback
By Keith Matheny, USA TODAY
Jason Hodge, father of four children from Barstow, Calif., says he's "not paranoid" but he is concerned, and that's why he bought space in what might be labeled a doomsday shelter.

Hodge bought into the first of a proposed nationwide group of 20 fortified, underground shelters — the Vivos shelter network — that are intended to protect those inside for up to a year from catastrophes such as a nuclear attack, killer asteroids or tsunamis, according to the project's developers...

Nothing we haven't already covered here at FutureJacked, but please note this is a story in the ultimate Mainstream Media outlet - USA Today.

Slowly, far more slowly than I ever imagined, negative mood seems to be building.

I'll say it again - enjoy this time.  Use it to prepare your mind, use it to prepare in a material sense and use it to enjoy the things that may not function well or at all in a coming era of restriction, poverty and want.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Socionomic Alarm Bell: Secession

Get those pens handy, friends. We'll be making a lot of changes to the map in the coming decade. An early warning sign of the coming wave of secessionist movements was just given a level of international approval:


For you Stratfor subscribers, George Friedman has a more in-depth and strategic review of this issue here.

A Few Thoughts on Surfing the Waves Down

I finally finished the huge 40 page Elliott Wave Theorist for July-August where Mr. Prechter does a study correlating the career of the Beatles and relates it to waves of social mood.  It is a fascinating study and well worth your time if you have any interest in trying to enter politics, create works of art for mass consumption or otherwise enter a field that is reliant upon mass cultural trends to support your efforts.

Different people will take various lessons away from this study.  Some key points I homed in on were:

  • "Social Mood" won't do your work for you.  If you are planning to catch a bottom in mood and then try and start a business or write a novel you think fit for the mood and times or find the right entry point to start a political career, you have to get working now (yesterday would have been better) and build up your skills to take advantage of the rolling waves of change we are going to have to surf in the coming decades.  Don't just think you can whip up a novel intertwining paranoia, conspiracy theories, murder and anti-heroes and expect a hit.  Writers write.  Get to it.  Same for a political career.  Start small now.  Get on a board or commissions.  Network.  Preparation is key.
  • Keep track as best you can of where you are in the wave count.  The era we are going to live through will have massive waves of pessimism and anger wash through it.  We may have to see or endure horrible things before it is all over.  Know that this too shall pass and be ready to act a rock of sanity when things get crazy, behave with reason and fortitude when others are succumbing to magical thinking and enjoy the moments that the coming phase will offer you.  Times of negative mood bring out toughness and serious actions.  Small-scale living, tight-knit communities and the joys of less stuff and more real social interactions are not all bad things.  Enjoy the moment.
  • Know that the this phase of negative mood is going to break up a lot of "bands" - whether it be marriages, political parties or entire countries.  Don't ignore this.  Be ready for it and be prepared to build up new and hopefully better structures from the ruins. 

Those are just some thoughts this article provoked.  If you subscribe to EWT and have had a chance to read it, feel free to leave a comment of what you took away from it. Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stupid Is...

I'm not sure I can blame the context of declining social mood and the associated correlation with bad decisions and accidents (Mark Galasiewski did an interesting study Aircraft Accidents correlated to stock market performance back in 2007) for the level of abject stupidity and petty lying that BP, PLC has stooped to in the ongoing oil spill disaster in the Gulf. This has got to be an upper management corporate culture thing:

Altered BP photo comes into question
by Steven Mufson, Washington Post
Apparently BP is no more adept at doctoring photos than it is at plugging deep-sea oil leaks.

A blogger has noticed that the oil giant altered a photograph of its Houston crisis room, cutting and pasting three underwater images into a wall of video feeds from remotely operated undersea vehicles. The altered photo is displayed prominently on the company's Web site...

...John Aravosis pointed out the alterations Monday evening on his Americablog.com and observed, "I guess if you're doing fake crisis response, you might as well fake a photo of the crisis response center." The photo doctoring comes as BP has promised transparency in a bid to regain the public's trust...

BP best pray that social mood remains stagnant at the very least.  If it plunges, they are going to be Scapegoat Number One - with good reason.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Socionomic Alarm Bell Goes Off

Think about this story in context of persistent high unemployment, a society that very likely is entering an extended period of deep negative sentiment (and all the baggage associated with that) and a budget crisis looming ahead that could force a significant number of men and women to move from military life to civilian life in a hurry:

'Scary' growth of gangs in war zones
by Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times
Being in a street gang is now forbidden for members of the U.S. armed forces. But you might not guess that if you were to visit U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to soldiers who have recently served there.

Jeffrey Stoleson, a Wisconsin corrections official, returned from Iraq in January with photos of gang graffiti on armored vehicles, latrines and buildings. Stoleson, a sergeant with a National Guard unit, was there for nine months to help the Army set up a prison facility outside Baghdad...

...Now back in Chicago, the officer said he has arrested high-level gang members who have served in the military and kept the "Infantryman's bible" -- called the FM 7-8 -- in their homes. The book describes how to run for cover, fire a weapon tactically and do the "three- to five-second rushes" seen in war movies.

"It's scary," he said...

Little, Really Little, Pink Houses for You and Me

Whether in teen-agers or cultures, you can often see a reaction against the "normal" way of doing things go to extremes in the opposite direction. Having lived for a time in an absurdly large McMansion in a subdivision where the houses were so similar I pulled into the wrong driveway on multiple occasions coming home from work (I wish I was joking), I can see how the following trend might get picked up in an era where, in addition to anger and polarization, you will also see frugality, learning the joys of less rather than more and I think it will all be colored by the green lenses of a strong environmentalist movement:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happiness as Disease...

Here is a fascinating study that would seem to validate some of the tenets of socionomic theory:


Happiness and Sadness Spread Just Like Disease
by Brandon Keim, Wired Science
There may be a literal truth underlying the common-sense intuition that happiness and sadness are contagious.

A new study on the spread of emotions through social networks shows that these feelings circulate in patterns analogous to what’s seen from epidemiological models of disease.

Earlier studies raised the possibility, but had not mapped social networks against actual disease models.

“This is the first time this contagion has been measured in the way we think about traditional infectious disease,” said biophysicist Alison Hill of Harvard University...

It will be interesting to see follow-ups to this type of work.  At the very least, it gives you a tool to help understand how your individual mood swings work in context of the larger social organism.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Few Items

Sorry for the lack of activity - very busy at the moment.

While I get the day job attended to, here are some articles/thought pieces that, in my opinion, will play well (socionomically speaking) assuming we plunge into a deeply negative mood phase:

The Aym article is there because it is full-blown juicy doomer porn - and quite possibly a marker for the kind of mindset we will be dealing with if/as mood deteriorates.  Watch how people interpret events, read the stories they tell themselves about the events and how that reflects on their mood at the time and contemplate the kinds of political and social reactions we'll see in response.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday

Have a great weekend, friends. Here's hoping we can continue along this choppy plateau of mildly net-negative mood. Every month the illusion holds is one more month we've delayed the chaos. Of course, it also means the coming wave of despair and anger will be that much deeper, but hey, take it like you can get it. Enjoy the moment.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More on Walls and Barriers

As I've blogged before, I think that walls and security cordons are going to flourish once the Bear Market returns in a big way.  Here's a story about an early adopter of that strategy - the NYPD - and the effects on the surrounding community:

'Like a war zone': Some NYC residents living behind barricades, checkpoints 9 years after 9/11
NEW YORK (AP) — The street below Danny Chen's window in lower Manhattan has changed over the last decade from a bustling four-lane thoroughfare to an empty road lined with police barricades.

To get home each day, Chen has to present his ID at a police checkpoint. When the officer lowers the metal gate into the ground to let him in, he drives through as quickly as he can. More than once, the barricade has risen too soon, lifting his wife's minivan into the air.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the New York Police Department barricaded off its headquarters on Park Row. About 2,000 residents in two apartment complexes found themselves living inside a security zone.

Nine years later, they still are...

I personally, think the stories about walls and bunkers will shift in tone to themes of security and community as mood continues to move into a negative phase and xenophobia begins to build (not irrationally in many cases, in my opinion, as I expect personal violence to skyrocket as well).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

I think the DJIA probably has a few hundred more points at most to the upside left in this short squeeze.  Regard this as a gift from the Bear, allowing those who wish to exit the equity markets to do so and be able to tell their grandchildren that they sold when the market was still above 10,000...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Odds and Ends

I find it interesting that Robert Prechter's call for a DJIA under 1,000 is starting to get traction in various "mainstream" media outlets.  Is mood shifting enough that the media outlets are feeling the need to feed growing bear constituency?  Who knows, but considering his call for a crash into triple digits has been around since Conquer the Crash was first released, I find the timing interesting if nothing else:

And the CNBC interview that has been making the rounds:

Prechter on CNBC: Market Pro: Long Bear Market Looming

Robert Prechter, president of Elliott Wave International, tells host Maria Bartiromo why he sees dark days ahead on CNBC's Closing Bell.

Download Your FREE 50-Page Ultimate Technical Analysis Handbook
In this free 50-page eBook from Bob Prechter's Elliott Wave International, you will discover some of the very best technical methods used by the top professional technicians in the world. You will learn which tools are best for analyzing chart patterns, which are best for anticipating future price action, even which are best for spotting high-probability turning points. Download Your Free Technical Analysis eBook here.

Of course, then there is this:

The great thing about it is that Mr. Hoffman and the rest of us will get to see, and very soon I think, whether or not the forecast matches reality in the coming years.

More BP

Also, please keep an eye on the announcements and stories coming out of BP and the Coast Guard regarding the "relief wells" being drilled.  The tone has changed.  It has shifted from "the relief wells are the only sure bet" to "[t]he relief well itself is not a slam dunk" over the course of a week or so.  Maybe BP is learning underpromise and overdeliver - or else they are getting jittery.  Maybe I'm too sensitive regarding this particular story.  Keep your eyes on it some and see for yourself.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Great Quote About Panic

Something to keep in mind as the U.S. plunges down deeper into Primary Wave 3 down:

...Systemic panic is a precursor to governmental and political collapse, the third stage in Dmitry Orlov’s five stages of collapse. (Financial, Commercial, Political, Social and Cultural). It’s happening in Greece right now. It signals the beginnings of the end. And even though systemic panic is far more devastating than individual panic, the adaptive response in both cases is the same. Get out of the way, “get small”, and stay out of the psychosis...

-Michael Ruppert, Collapsenet

Stay out of the psychosis should be Rule #1 for you between now and at least 2015. Socionomic theory tells us that the psychosis will get thick and compelling as we correct several centuries of positive mood. The most important tool you will need to survive and possibly thrive in the coming years is your brain - keep it in shape, keep it fed and if you must panic, do it alone so that those that count on you don't see it. We are close, friends, all too close, in my opinion, to the point of realization for most of the U.S. It won't be pretty when the reality of total bankruptcy and the implosion of the Welfare State come home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

Today, as we celebrate our independence from the United Kingdom, the cancer of corruption continues to feast on the entrails of the Republic. Enjoy celebrating as a British Corporation has strong-armed a branch of the U.S. military into suspending the First Amendment on the Gulf Coast.


Media, boaters could face criminal penalties by entering oil cleanup 'safety zone'
by Chris Kirkham, The Time-Picayune
The Coast Guard has put new restrictions in place across the Gulf Coast that prevent the public - including news photographers and reporters covering the BP oil spill - from coming within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the water or on beaches.

According to a news release from the Unified Command, violation of the "safety zone" rules can result in a civil penalty of up to $40,000, and could be classified as a Class D felony. Because booms are often placed more than 40 feet on the outside of islands or marsh grasses, the 65-foot rule could make it difficult to photograph and document the impacts of oil on land and wildlife, media representatives said...

Friday, July 2, 2010

When in the Course of Human Events

Happy Fourth of July

Enjoy the weekend. The rest of the summer may turn into quite the fireworks show.