No. 11 – Bruno Mars was the top-selling U.S. artist in track sales in 2014 with 12 million downloads, which helped boost his music sales royalties to $3.6 million.

  1. One Direction - $46m
  2. Katy Perry - $30.1m
  3. Justin Timberlak - $27.9m
  4. Billy Joel - $27.2m
  5. The Eagles - $26.2m
  6. Luke Bryan - $25m
  7. Paul McCartney - $23.5m
  8. George Strait - $22.5m
  9. Jay-Z - $22m
  10. Jason Aldean - $20.2m
  11. Bruno Mars - $19.9m
  12. Beyonce - $19.6m
  13. Cher - $16m
  14. Miley Cyrus - $16m
  15. Taylor Swift - $13.6m
  16. Dave Matthews Band - $13.3m
  17. Lady Gaga - $13.3m
  18. Britney Spears - $13.1m
  19. Zac Brown Band - $12.6m
  20. Eminem - $11.9m

j-aimeja-mie asked:

Hi, I really like the blog!! both pretty affirming, yet provoking. I'm a bit curious and so I was just wondering your view on the nature of governance: Do you think that democracy has some fatal flaws such as allowing an accepted majority to disadvantage minorities in need, perhaps for agendas of 'convenience' or 'security' of privilege? and if so, are there solutions that could fix running of governments to aid egalitarianism?

If liberal democracy (theoretically) recognize as ruler the people, according to the anarchists “ruler” should be the individual who has no need to delegate to others the management of its own interests nor to be “represented”, because he has the full right to choice. In addition, the anarchist thought denies the right of any majority to impose its will on the minority. Therefore it denies intrinsic value to the laws of men.
“Any law must appear first before the tribunal of our conscience” said the French anarchist geographer Elisée Reclus protagonist of the Paris Commune. “There is only one power,” Godwin wrote, “to which I can pay convinced obedience: the decision of my intelligence, the command of my conscience.”
Anarchism rejects then, besides any form of monopoly of the means of production (and products), that of knowledge, the hierarchical division of labor (both manual and intellectual) and any dichotomy and antagonism between town and country, mind and body.

Today’s world is run by advertising and by lies, by multinationals, the financial and military power; it is a world far more difficult to understand than the past. Yet capitalism has total control and it’s all-pervasive in respect of human beings as never before, a world seemingly democratic and free, which promotes in every possible way through propaganda its role of defender of the “security” of “citizens”, but is instead now completely devoid of freedom.

As Marx had well understood the structure of society is purely economic, not political. The bourgeois ideology of late imperialist capitalism instead paints itself first as a democracy, then possibly as an economic system (capitalism as the only possible system). The very idea of exporting democracy is to create more satellite liberal states to be submitted.
As a matter of fact the state developed as concealment and defense of class relations in civil society: “As the state of antiquity was above all the state of the holders of slaves in order to subdue the slaves, thus the feudal state was the organ of the nobility for holding down the peasant, both serfs and bondsmen, and the modern representative state is the instrument for the exploitation of wage labor by capital”.

The State has not always existed, its constitution is related to the appearance of private property and class and its shape follows the evolution of the relations of production, but its substance (that is to establish an “order” for the legalization and the consolidation of the capital) does not change.
Therefore it will cease to exist only in communist society, when it will be eliminated the economic and social structure that underlies it.

We could say the core elements of modern democracies are:

- The principle of legality and constitutionality.
- The affirmation of the democratic principle of popular sovereignty, which guarantees the political participation of citizens through representative democracy;
- Pluralism, namely the recognition and promotion of autonomous communities and social groups, which pose an intermediate level between individuals and the state;
- The separation of powers: the legislative, executive and judicial powers in the hands of different bodies of the state;
- A mixed economy in which the public initiative joins the private; orderly setup of public economics under increasing private management (privatization); the development of large, detailed laws for the protection of labor and social security.

Socialists, and especially the anarchists however criticize all these points as it is purely formal and reactionary liberties.
First of all representative democracy is not direct democracy (the voters can express themselves only through a representative and cannot dispute the operation of choice), secondly state laws are made in favor, supporting instead of opposing the large industrial groups, which in fact, the state often relies on as a client. And yet it is clear that pluralism is gradually transformed into a bipolar system in which emerging political parties differ only by secondary policies, and are subsidized by the corporative and financial power that dictate their political agenda.

The first function of the state, is therefore not the protection of its citizens, but the protection of the economic system itself (as with propaganda, as with repression), thus both the legislative and executive and judicial functions do nothing but benefit the capital (as the capital justify their existence).
In other words the state legitimates class society right through the limitation of individual freedom (that are turned into formal freedoms, the so called “rights”).

But the rights granted by the state, such as health care or education, are also fundamental rights for the existence of capital (workers should enjoy health and should be able to carry out multiple tasks).
A characteristic example is security: the state does not undermine the root of the problems, but they always create new laws and complications thus as to suppress the weaker social classes to the benefit of the richest (the prisons are enlarged and privatized, the people are scared, the working class is divided and unable to defend). Security also becomes a means of propaganda and aggression (for example in foreign policy) that keeps in check the public thanks to the growing militarization, the permanent tension touted by the media, the endlessly increasing fear generated by terrorism (often supported by the western intelligence services).

There is only one possible road to follow to fix the problem of inequality and lack of freedom: the abolition of class differences to be achieved with the expropriation and redistribution of the means of production and capital (class struggle), and the abolition of the state. The result will be the establishment of a society based on decentralization in small voluntary groups and on direct democracy without delegation.

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[347] Greek austerity as punishment and concept of oil market death

Case Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Available for Pre-Order

CryptoLabs has officially launched its Case hardware wallet at TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s Startup Battlefield.

First announced in November, Case is advertised as a pocket-sized bitcoin hardware wallet that includes security features such as multisig and biometric authentication. Case is now available for pre-order for $199 or roughly 0.83 BTC through payment processor PayStand.

Continue reading at CoinDesk



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Halperin: Carly Fiorina Is the Most Improved Candidate - Bloomberg TV

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“Keeping my finances in order. Affording to live and provide for my family, roommates, etc. I get as much work as possible. I work at Einsteins and I work a lot of hours. I’m not taking very many credits this year. I have to continuously ask, “Can I have more hours?” I’m on-call all the time. I honestly recommend not to procrastinate and always do 100% all the time.

-Jessie

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OTC 2015, Day 1: Elected officials ask oil and gas to keep improving communication

Otmane El Rhazi from The Barrel Blog.

Every hero needs a sidekick, every dog needs its day, and every oil and gas conference has to talk about bettering communication with the public, it seems.

The 2015 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week is no exception. Today is the first day of the conference, which regularly brings in about 90,000 attendees (or more) to hear from industry execs and elected officials and to learn about the companies, organizations and countries represented in booths and demonstrations.

One of the first panels was titled “Offshore Energy Development: Improving Federal & State Cooperation.” Ostensibly, the panel should have been about improving communication between the federal and state governments while working toward a more energy-diverse, energy-secure future in the US. In reality, it talked more about the relationship between the energy industry and the public.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory was there representing his state, and described how he has his eye on developing offshore oil and gas in the mid-Atlantic, beginning with seismic testing this fall. But he noted that any plans have to be sold to his constituents, and he repeatedly said residents don’t have a real idea where energy comes from, what sorts of energy are used in the state, and all the various parts of everyday life impacted by energy (i.e., almost every single part).

“I think you need to do more than 30- and 60-second commercials on TV,” he said, calling for more outreach, and, in particular, for showing that many energy production projects in the state could be economically beneficial and environmentally sound.

(The “energy-or-environment” argument came up a couple of times during the panel; moderator David Holt, of the Consumer Energy Alliance, at one point said it put forth a false choice and “everyone in this room is an environmentalist,” reminding me of this blog post from a few years ago.)

McCrory noted that elected representatives reflect the knowledge of the people who elect them — and so more education is needed to make representatives on all levels better.

US Senator Thom Tillis, also from North Carolina, added his support, saying that while many people may have some idea about energy and its effects, they may not realize that energy policy affects other areas, like agriculture.

US Representative Rob Bishop, chairman of the US House Resources Committee, made reference to the communication between federal agencies and states near the end of the panel, saying federal agencies should be forced to talk to each other because “they don’t do that now.”

He also said states should have more opportunities than just open-comment periods to weigh in on energy plans.

“They have to become an active partner,” he said.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Hopper, as the only non-elected official on the panel, said she welcomed input from states, industry insiders and more.

“We work best when we work together,” she said, adding she wanted to have an open-door policy to others who can provide insight the BOEM doesn’t have.

While the panel encouraged the energy industry to do a better job of communication with governments, the public, academia and more, McCrory also asked the industry to turn its attention inward, actively self-patrolling against those who are not good players “because they will pull us all down.”

I know I’m not an objective participant in this discussion; I’ve been at an energy publication company for just around three years, and while my knowledge is far greater than that of perhaps the average Joe, it’s also just a drop in the bucket compared with those who work in this industry.

So tell me what you experience: How do you talk about energy to those who aren’t in the industry? What do you or your employers do to educate the public? How should we go about reaching out to others? And, on related topic, how do we improve cooperation and communication between the federal and state governments? And how about communication among energy companies?

Greece

In the whole month of April 2015 there was a trade in Greek Treasury Bonds of $ 2.2 Million.  This is 0.02 % of the trade amount in the same month of last year. By the end of May, Greece needs to find $ 4.5 Billion. Are we heading to a Grexit?

Despite disappointing data, the atmosphere around the negotiations with other nations, is getting more constructive. Greece’s goal for now is to achieve a deal by Wednesday, partly because the country has to amortize € 200 Million by this day. Interest rates for Greece to find money on the markets rose to more than 13 % in April.  Hard times to come…