Policy Analysis Market
Or the Terrorist betting pool as some were making out to be, has been killed. Most of the people who raised the strongest objections to it, never bothered to look into the soundness of the program how it would have worked.
Here is a typical example from David Morse at Commondreams
The announced purpose of the Policy Analysis Market, as it was known, was to harness the “anonymous forces of market capitalism” to predict the likelihood of acts of terrorism - much as commodity-trading speculates on the future price of coffee or pork bellies. The Pentagon’s justification was that “markets are extremely efficient, effective and timely aggregators of dispersed and even hidden information.”
But critics in the Senate raised moral, as well as tactical concerns, in pointing out the obvious. Not only were markets faulty predictors of the future (witness the last stock market bubble and its collapse),
I find it interesting that Morse, who writes about economic issues, cannot differentiate between equities markets and futures markets and the fundamental differences between the two. But anyhoo……..
but if anonymous online traders could bet on the probability of various acts of terrorism in the Middle East - assassinations and coups - the setup was an invitation to mischief, including insider-trading by terrorists themselves. This may have been the Pentagon’s real intent all along: to use its cyber-surveillance capability to track buyers and sellers. But even as a long-term sting operation, it was ripe for abuse by speculators of every stripe.
“Can you imagine,” asked Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who helped blow the whistle in the Senate, “if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in - and is sponsored by the government itself - people could go in and bet on the assassination of an American political figure?”
The new toy was the latest brainstorm from its Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, DARPA, created to spearhead the War on Terrorism, and headed by the notorious John M. Poindexter. DARPA was trumpeted by Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, as “brilliantly imaginative.”
The idea was anything but brilliant, of course. It was, as one Congressman put it, “unbelievably stupid.” A New York Times editorial called it “wacky,” and demanded Poindexter’s resignation, without asking how the idea had gotten past Wolfowitz. In response to the bipartisan outrage, Wolfowitz lost no time distancing himself from the project, suggesting that the brainstormers at DARPA “got too imaginative.”
Ok, now that we heard the screed, its time to iron a few of Morse’s wrinkles.
First, not just “speculators of every stripe” would be allowed to participate. Policy experts would make up the backbone of those eligible to participate in the futures market. Military experts like Bill Gertz from the Washington Times, former diplomats and intelligence officials, think tank members would be the main source for the project.
These individuals would use their vast expertise and resources [as well as free time] to make predictions about current events. The issues could be things as mundane as whether Islamic fundamentalists would gain more seats in the Turkish house of parliament to economic forecasts for Egypt, to speculation as to whether or not liberalized political reforms will continue in Iran.
This would not be a system in which unknown people from Al’Queda, or Hamass, or Islamic Jihad could participate.
Issues of terrorism would also be open to speculation, but the Policy Analysis Market was to give a more comprehensive outlook for the Middle East.
Financial incentives would not be given out on a cash basis either. It is not as if someone could wager $100million on the assignation of a political figure and then make sure they won the bet. The Financial portion would have been given in the form of grants to the individuals and think tanks that made the correct predictions as well as those who agreed with it. A real financial incentive to be right or wrong would go a long way in forcing people to look at situation in a more realistic way and not fog opinions and speculations with ideology.
After all we are talking about money here, and futures markets are very good predictive tools for what they pertain to. I have been told that if I want to know what the weather in Florida is going to be like in 6 months, just look at what 6 month orange juice futures are doing.
DARPA has also had some fantastic successes in the past 30 years with technologies and systems it had thought up. The internet is perhaps DARPA’s most used, and least well known.
All these things aside, nothing in the first half of Morse’s article had anything to do with the “real” objections to the Policy Analysis Market. Like every other lefty out there, they absolutely hate anything connected to free market economic ideas.
Poindexter’s follies are the quintessence of what this administration has been about from the beginning. This latest scheme simply exposes the tip of an ideological iceberg that is no less wacky or dangerous, but which has escaped such noisy condemnation because it floats in a sea of general acceptance. It is the ideology of privatization, carried to extreme.
At its most benign, this ideology rests on the very dubious assumption that every aspect of government, from elections to social institutions, to foreign policy, can be governed by the so-called free market. At its most vicious, it is simply monopoly capitalism masquerading as government: profoundly antidemocratic, as well as anti-competitive, with no thought beyond lining the pockets of the powerful.
And there we have it.
Larry Flynt at His worst
NATIONAL PRAYER DAY - PRAY FOR THE DEATH OF BILL O'REILLY
HUSLTER Magazine invites you to join us in prayer.
On Tuesday, August 5th at 12:45pm, we have organized a special gathering to pray to God for Fox News Channel blowhard Bill O'Reilly's death.
The service will be held in Los Angeles at Cornerstone Plaza, 1990 S. Bundy Drive. Located on the corner of Bundy Drive and LaGrange Av e.
DISCLAIMER: This serious gathering will truly take place, however if O'Reilly dies, it must be God's will.
For more information, please contact: Sean Carney 323-651-5400 ext. 7361
You know, there are many who don’t like O’Reilly, [I really cannot comment as my shitty cable provider does not even have Fox News], but to pray for his death is truly one of the most disgusting things I have head come out from the left in quite a while.
One has to wonder if this will make Matthew Rothschild’s McCarthy Watch
found in the Progressive Magazine or if that useless cunt Naomi Klein
will have anything to say about this.
On a side note, I think that the current plight of Flynt is one the quintessential definition of the phrase “poetic justice”. Here we have shining example a hate filled man once mired hedonism that because of an assassin’s bullet missing his heart but not his spine can no longer delight in the ladies that once surrounded him.
I suppose he has to compensate somehow.
Cuba Jams Satellite Transmissions to Iran
Considering that the left is so adamant about US imperial designs to topple the Cuban dictatorship via military action [
contends its because we are jealous of the "successes" of the Cuban socialist experiment], I am not surprised that this story
has not gotten more airplay.
Transmitters in Cuba are jamming the signals of at least four U.S.-based television stations owned by Iranian Americans who are critical of the Tehran regime and use satellites to transmit programs to Iran, according to broadcasters and a private U.S. firm that has pinpointed the source of the interference.
All the transmissions affected so far are beamed from Los Angeles -- which has a large population of Iranian exiles -- by privately owned stations that oppose Iran's theocratic government, officials of the four stations said.
Although the jamming only occurred for a few days, the timing of it is very important. It took place during the first week of July, when protests by Iranian students were at their largest level since the 1979 overthrow of the Shah.
The jamming is most likely being done from a facility just outside of Havana built by the Soviets during the Cold War to spy on the US and block anti Castro/Soviet radio transmission.
The Cubans are most likely doing this in exchange for Iranian oil. An incentive which could easily be “lost” through the work of a US Navy UDT on any tanker coming from Iran.
From the files of “What They Really Think”
The peace movement summed Up:
In the glow of the Iraq war's initial military success, most American peace activists felt profoundly demoralized.
- Paul Loeb
No I have not vanished from the face of the earth, I have just been extremely busy.