Links 2/23/11

Kiss Controller Hye Yeon Nam (hat tip Slashdot)

Dinosaur named ‘thunder-thighs’ BBC

Japan unearths site linked to human experiments Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Qaddafi’s Grip on the Capital Tightens as Revolt Grows New York Times and Defiant Gaddafi vows fight to death Financial Times

Gaddafi’s Next Move: Sabotage Oil and Sow Chaos? Robert Baer, Time

Brent-WTI spread Jim Hamilton, Econbrowser

Oil prices in ‘danger zone’ for global economy, says IEA’s Fatih Birol Guardian

China cracks down on lawyers and activists Financial Times

Is the Bundesbank spoiling for a fight over the destiny of EMU? Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund

Exodus: Dems trigger Statehouse showdown IndyStar

Is Scott Walker Cutting Off Internet Access To Thwart Protesters? ThinkProgress

Public Employee Unions Failing Badly At Public Relations Forbes

Wisconsin’s Walker Signs Bill Requiring 2/3 Majority for Tax Increases FireDogLake

Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute New York Times

Medical Malpractice Reform: Truth in Advertising Needed (Part Two of Three) rdan, Angry Bear

Why Budget Cuts Don’t Bring Prosperity David Leonhardt, New York Times. Did a memo go out? Leonhardt almost always hews to neoclassical orthodoxy. This is a big change for him.

Sale of the Century to Balance the Books Niall Ferguson. The privatization shills are out in forces. Read this to get a better picture of where Ferguson is coming from.

Disleveraging and shocks MacroBusiness

In China, Another Bout of Fannie-Freddie Fear Caixin

Lloyds takes £500 million hit on mortgage mishap Reuters (hat tip Richard Smith)

Inflation: Mervyn and me Paul Mason BBC (hat tip Richard Smith). You really need to watch this video. Here we have the governor of the Bank of England having an extended conversation with a journalist who is critical of the Bank’s interest rate policies. You’d never see anything even remotely like this in the US. And you’d never see Bernanke pointing out the financial sector’s culpability either.

Home Prices Slid in December in Most U.S. Cities, Index Shows New York Times. Remember, this fall took place in a period when banks slowed down their foreclosures due to the robo signing scandal.

Two followups, in way too many words Steve Waldman. Late to this, but I am not at all surprised at the second half of Steve’s post. Steve, where have you been? Didn’t someone tell you that knowing enough about Marx to discuss him intelligently means you had to have read him and therefore makes you a Marxist (at least in America)? I thought that was widely understood. And that’s too bad, because Marx was a great financial journalist.

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-02-23 at 5.32.53 AM

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58 comments

  1. attempter

    Privatization is easy to understand once you see it as the final enclosure onslaught. Once again the people are to be driven en masse off their own property, for no reason whatsoever other than pure robbery.

    Even if it were true that “balancing the books” were either possible or desirable (it’s neither; the books are nothing but fraudulent accounting, real “growth” ended years ago; and besides, if these books represented something real, nominal balance could easily be achieved by taxing the rich and corporations a fraction of their fair share), government officials would have no right to alienate public property. That’s a crime against sovereignty. It’s among the most profound forms of treason.

    The fact is that capitalism is never sustainable. Even its own textbooks admit that it quickly runs down and reaches stasis. Or, from the point of view of the profiteers, it stagnates. So the only way to prop up profit rates is to continually repeat the process of primitive accumulation, direct robbery in order to accumulate enough of a capital base to recommence capitalist investment.

    The classic example was Europe’s land enclosures. Subsequent examples were those of colonialism, imperialism, the IP regime, and financialization. Today capitalism is dead once and for all, since there’s no plunder frontier left. So the only thing left to do is carry out the terminal plunder, the direct robbery of whatever non-enclosed things are still left. Land, services, infrastructure, public heritage information, the water, the air.

    And by the time that’s all commodified, it’ll certainly be impossible for anyone to pay for any of it. But by then debt indenture will no longer be meant to extract money, but to enforce the “new” serf system.

    This feudalism will be far more cruel than the old, however, since today’s feudal lords are far more sociopathic and callous than the old medieval barons, while today’s serfs won’t even have the consolations of medieval christianity.

    This is where we’re headed if we don’t take back the country.

    1. liberal

      …government officials would have no right to alienate public property. That’s a crime against sovereignty. It’s among the most profound forms of treason.

      Yep.

    2. Redgerrymander

      It’s happening everywhere, all to the same songbook. Pure Shock Doctrine.

      Here in Toronto, we just elected our own anti-tax, anti-union Mayor. His first move after taking office was to cancel an ambitious public transit scheme that had been in the works for years. In its place, he proposed a half-baked plan to build a subway line to nowhere – without any financing, assessments or planning in place aside from a pretty map.

      His next move – with a plurality around 25% (he won a majority of a little over 50% with a turnout of less than half the population – is to take on the public unions, and especially the garbage workers, who are unpopular after a strike last year. His reaction was – surprise, surprise – a proposal to privatize garbage collection, based on faith-based ‘savings’ he’s sure will happen thanks to the magic of capitalism (unlike the cold hard fact that the union’s no-fire clause means he can’t lay off any unionized workers – who must be found other city jobs – meaning no savings on the cost of labor).

      Neither of these schemes will ever save any taxpayer’s money. That’s not the point. For anti-government types, mismanagement is a win-win, since it makes government look bad, increases deficits and – because all taxes are unpopular – causes further reductions to social spending.

      Same playbook here as in Wisconsin, right down using identical slogans and memes. I almost fell off my chair when I saw Tea Party activists using ‘Stop the Gravy Train’ signs during the demonstrations in Wisconsin. It was our new Mayor’s official election slogan, and god knows the way things are going these days, it might actually have been one of the same signs…

      1. attempter

        We often see this crackpot “democracy” argument (from Republicans, mostly) where c. 25% pluralities (and that’s pretty much the only results we see nowadays in the US, and you say it’s the same way in Canada) are claimed by their “winners” to constitute mandates for radical, aggressive action.

        Um, no. The “winner” of 51% of a depressed turnout (meaning half or more of the electorate despises the phony “choice” on offer) has no legitimate democratic mandate to do much of anything at all.

        1. Dave of Maryland

          But watch out for those election dates !!!

          It’s a very old trick to call a “special election” for some obscure date, stick some special proposal on the ballot, and when 10% of those registered to vote turn out & confirm it by a slim margin, impose the results onto the populace in general.

          Back 20 years ago, Santa Fe, NM, got themselves a municipal bus service by that route, funded by an increase in the city sales tax. The city fathers, however, took the money & used it for their own pet projects, thus starving the bus service. (I spent two years riding the broken-down result.) When asked their justification, one said that he himself had received more votes when he stood for election, than the bus proposal did. So whose money was it, really?

          Chicago has just suffered a phony election fraud. How many Chicagoans knew the FOURTH Tuesday of FEBRUARY was municipal election day ???? What was turnout like? Not as “registered voters.” As a percentage of the ENTIRE POPULATION? Ten percent? Twenty?

          Did you know the second Tuesday of MAY is now municipal election day in many towns & cities? This fad got started some 20 years back. Turnout is traditionally close to zero. The candidate with the biggest extended family – and lotsa friends – is the usual winner. With such a small turnout, in small or medium sized towns, I darkly suspect that unwanted candidates can be muscled out of contention. A few phone calls to key supporters, reminding them of what might happen if the right candidate didn’t win, would be enough. When turnout is that small, you know who your supporters are. You know where they live.

          These are only some of the ways in which elections have been corrupted and rendered worthless. Why was Rahm even on the ballot?

          1. attempter

            Actually, I would think an obscure election date could be an advantage to a smart alternative candidate with a motivated cadre of supporters.

            Shouldn’t they have a relative advantage, if there’s fewer yahoos going to the polls to brainlessly vote for the Republican or Democrat merely because that’s the parties they know?

    3. YankeeFrank

      Just wanted to say thank you Attempter for saying so clearly what so many of us are thinking. Keep up the great work. (You too Yves!! ;-)

    4. F. Beard

      “The fact is that capitalism is never sustainable. Even its own textbooks admit that it quickly runs down and reaches stasis. Or, from the point of view of the profiteers, it stagnates. So the only way to prop up profit rates is to continually repeat the process of primitive accumulation, direct robbery in order to accumulate enough of a capital base to recommence capitalist investment.” attempter

      I would argue that government backed usury is what is not sustainable. There is a way to do capitalism without debt, fractional reserves or commodity monies. That way is for corporations to issue and spend their common stock as money. Then why don’t they? Because it is more profitable for the corporations to borrow from the government backed usury and counterfeiting cartel instead?

      It would be nice to keep the good parts of capitalism while eliminating the bad. What we have is not true capitalism but a form of fascism for the sake of bankers.

      1. attempter

        I can’t imagine what the good part of capitalism is, but one of its many bad features, especially from the point of view of the capitalist himself, is that each sector inevitably matures, competitors achieve stasis selling an undifferentiated commodity at the same price, and profits become impossible.

        That’s what capitalism’s own textbooks say should happen, and by the 70s that’s what should have happened. By now we shouldn’t be paying rents in any sector, if the capitalist ideology hadn’t been a complete fraud all along.

        What really happened, instead, was that the biggest “competitors” used market muscle and corruption of the government to enforce oligopoly in every sector.

        That’s the real capitalism. Capitalism has been in the deployment stage for long enough and universally enough that we know, the way it’s always been is the way it really is and will always be. Textbook “capitalism” is the most utopian fraud of all, while rentier corporatism is the universal reality, wherever rentier propertarianism is allowed to exist.

        Usury is one of these universal features. In reality, capitalism = the tyranny of usury. If we want to purge usury from the earth, we have to purge idly hoarded capital itself.

        1. psychohistorian

          As the inventor of an alternative bicycle saddle that faces that sort of opposition in the bicycle industry in the face of NIOSH telling them explicitly there are problems, I feel it very personally.

          In the 50’s-60’s I was exposed to how Firestone and Goodyear kept radial tires out of the US for 10 or so years.

          The challenge that this faces us with is designing a political economy that evolves as part of its makeup. I’ll get back to you on that design……all it takes is social will.

      2. Lidia

        Pleasingly-Plump Beard, I don’t know if you ever saw a previous response I made to you: Capitalism is just like fractional reserve lending, only with real stuff. The 5% Profit/Interest/Rent/Dividend has to Come From Somewhere Else beyond the boundaries of the nominal system. It pretends to follow the same self-immolating exponentially-driven annientation.

        There is no Somewhere Else any longer, in particular after the opening of China, but also with the stark and inarguable decline in available real resources.

    5. Doug Terpstra

      From his ivy-choked ivory tower at Harvard, Niall Ferguson’s version of privatization is quite literally highway robbery. He would have us regress to the bandolero system of Mexico, extracting $5 tolls every fifty miles across the country. What a fantastic way to throttle an economy.

      And speaking of “terminal plunder”, does anyone remember Argenbright Holdings, the company that hired felons and dropouts at minimum wage to handle airport security? Yikes! Ferguson now wants to sell off the nation’s airports, dams, levees, and power networks to companies like that?

      He was dead wrong about Iraq, wrong about the nobility and stability of empire, and he’s utterly FOS about selling off productive commonwealth to crony robber barons in order to solve the problems of capitalism.

      1. attempter

        He’s certainly among those who have convinced me that we have far too many celebrity college professors, and could do without most or all of them.

        We could cut some of the fat he insists is such a crisis right there.

        1. Lidia

          The funny thing is, here he’s saying “Gov. Brown and Pres. Obama are broke”, but my question would be “who isn’t broke”? How can a company make a profit after buying a road, if people can’t afford the tolls it would take to pay off the private debt incurred to buy the road?

          This almost just seems as much like a way to Keep Expanding the Aggregate Debt Bubble as it is a way to enact a resource grab. Or maybe those are just two sides of the same coin?

          1. attempter

            Yes, the end goal is for the criminals to have stolen all the real assets while leaving everyone else in a state of literal debt slavery, which will be the basis for the new serfdom.

  2. rjs

    this aspect hasnt had much play:

    Changes to Medicare criticized; up to 70000 could lose coverage – Overshadowed in Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill is a provision that could lead to some 70,000 people losing health insurance. The measure would give the state Department of Health Services the authority to restrict eligibility, modify benefits and make other changes to Medicaid with less legislative review than required now. The proposal has drawn the criticism of health care advocates and Democratic lawmakers upset by what they see as unchecked power for the administration. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said changes and flexibility are needed to plug the $1.8 billion hole in the state’s Medicaid budget over the next two years. The program, which includes BadgerCare Plus, Family Care, SeniorCare and other health plans, accounts for half of the state’s estimated $3.6 billion budget gap.

    http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/article_503ea83c-3e44-11e0-bd46-001cc4c03286.html

  3. Michael H

    Re: Qaddafi’s Grip on the Capital Tightens as Revolt Grows

    “…the U.S. tendency to support repressive regimes only works if those regimes play ball. We can’t invade them all. Can we?

    Popular Democracy – once the acknowledged U.S. brand – now seems to threaten the American political establishment, at home and abroad. Right-wing demagogues and the corporate political stooges in Congress and the Supreme Court have thus far kept the locals in line by misdirecting popular anger…..

    America’s chickens will continue coming home to roost, in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and Latin America. Popular uprisings are not an Islamic plot against The Free World – wherever that may be now – but simply a logical consequence of denying people their basic human rights and hoping they’ll be too intimidated to object. But it is only the majority of Americans who appear intimidated…”

    from James McEnteer http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/james-mcenteer-our-chickens-will-come.html

  4. Philip Pilkington

    Jeez, Paul Mason is a complete idiot. He’s supposed to be the economics editor on Newsnight, but he just comes off as a heckler. Could he not have asked King why the BoE didn’t push for fiscal policy instead of monetary policy? You know, instead of coming across as a complete moaner…

  5. a

    Re: “Why Budget Cuts Don’t Bring Prosperity”

    Leonhardt uses 2008 as a base year and reveals that US real GDP is 2% better than German real GDP in 2011. He thinks this shows the US is doing better, when it shows the reverse. US population is increasing at about 0.85% per year, while German population is decreasing. So US real GDP should be better by at least 2.7% better after a three year period. The fact that it’s less than 2% means than real per capita GDP is doing better in Germany than it is in the US.

  6. liberal

    From the Ferguson article:

    As war breaks out in Washington over spending cuts, Newsweek columnist Niall Ferguson argues there’s a smarter way to salve America’s budget woes: Do what any private business would do and sell off assets—land, highways, railroads, and buildings.

    That’s exactly the worst thing to do: sell off rent-producing assets.

    1. attempter

      I wonder what rationale Ferguson claims for the continued existence of government at all, since he doesn’t want it to actually do anything in the public interest.

      His real rationale, and that of every neoliberal, is clear enough: Government should loot every cent’s worth of social wealth, hand it over to private gangsters, and then serve as hired thug for those gangsters.

      Centralized government and corporations comprise one evil, tyrannical nexus. The only sound citizen action is a united front to smash the power of both at once.

      1. Cedric Regula

        I think Chicago did the parking meter selloff thing already. Next, look to tax funded outsourcing of parking meter protection to the Pinkertons. No smashing allowed. They have Tasers nowadays.

        1. Cedric Regula

          Looking on the bright side for the potential of engendering public outrage, I’ll point out that it has been a few decades since Kent State so there is more of a chance that a protester has a heart pacemaker. Someone with a camcorder may capture the gory closeup of the protester’s heart exploding thru his/her chest and then the clip is posted on youtube because the footage is deemed unsuitable for younger viewers of regular TV.

          So maybe…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It may not be rent-producing – it’s only our dignity – but I still think we can get a lot for the name of ‘The United States of Goldman Sachs’…maybe $5 trillion.

      All we need is a good negotiator and I think we can get that from Goldman.

      Imagine your passport emblazoned ‘the holder is a citizen of USGS.’

  7. Dennis

    Can anyone explain why Ferguson is allowed to comment on economics? Last time I checked his great achievement was chronicling the Rothschild family’s ascent. But how that somehow translates into any kind of insight into economics or empire? The guy becomes more and more obnoxious with every public commit he emits.

  8. Cedric Regula

    Inflation: Mervyn and Me

    Quote of the Day

    From the text, Paul the Reporter says

    “However it might not be a bad idea to put a few ordinary people on the MPC. Because, in the end, all it has to do is tweak a dial, 0.25% this way or that. Anybody who has used a faulty shower mixer could do it.”

    1. Anonymous Jones

      It’s amazing how far you can go with little insight or intelligence as long as you’re telling the people with assets what they want to hear.

      I can’t even believe we’re spending so much time discussing Ferguson. Someone else even compared him to Milton Friedman. Oy, I have a lot of problems with Milty, but seriously. He’s not the poor man’s Friedman or even the homeless man’s Friedman. He’s more like Friedman’s pet rat (if he had a pet rat).

      Almost everything I’ve heard Ferguson say was so obviously biased and/or incorrect, I have trouble believing people can be so gullible as to entertain his backward notions, but it is amazing what people will believe when they really want to believe it.

  9. Cedric Regula

    Why Budget Cuts Don’t Bring Prosperity

    Yes, yes. So the nifty graph of US GDP returning to the bubble peak level indicates that the GDP accounting identity still works and we haven’t broken the Law of Addition… at least yet, anyway.

    But considering our unemployment rate is still nearly double and tax receipts nearly half, seems to me something went awry with the underlying Magikal and Thaumaturgical underpinnings of the GDP number.

  10. Cedric Regula

    Brent-WTI spread Jim Hamilton, Econbrowser

    Hamilton is much more of an oil expert than I am, so I generally accept whatever he says on the subject. But one observation I would add is that the volume of West Texas oil produced has fallen to the point where it’s sold by the beer mug, not by the barrel.

    So I would say the Brent price of $110 is more like what the “price of oil” is. If we want to compare to the $140 price spike we had and any imagined effects on the economy that may have had.

    Course then we need to correct for increases in after tax take home pay. US workers have been granted forgiveness on FICA withholding, and now have more disposable income to pour into the gas tank. Maybe it all works out in the end.

  11. petridish

    RE: Leonhardt

    “But this virtuous cycle can’t happen today. Interest rates are already very low. They’re low because the financial crisis and recession caused a huge drop in the private sector’s demand for loans.”

    How is it possible, at this point in time, for any credible financial journalist to even suggest this? Interest rates are low because Greenspan/Bernanke SET them there in order to blow the real estate bubble and encourage borrowing for consumption. The drop in private loan demand came from ten years of taking on too much debt without a commensurate increase in the ability to service that debt. It is ridiculous to continue to bemoan the loss of debt demand. It could not possibly have gone on forever.

    Once that fact is recognized, the solution becomes crystal clear: mass bankruptcy to put spending money back in American pockets (which is the purpose of government stimulus) and interest rate policies that encourage saving not borrowing.

    An economy that is 70% the consumer cannot recover as long as that consumer is paying 30% interest on toilet paper that they flushed away in 2005.

  12. Naked Capitalism Scripting???

    Dems leave Indiana House, blocking GOP labor bill

    Nearly all stayed away from the Statehouse completely and headed more than a 100 miles west to neighboring Illinois. Only three of 40 House Democrats were in the chamber when Republican Speaker Brian Bosma tried repeatedly to convene it, leaving the chamber short of the two-thirds needed for a quorum.

    ==> PS.. way too much very weird scripting going on with this blog lately, and makes me not want to be involved in the disrespectful invasion of privacy. I don’t know if this is motivated by a need to make cash, or if it’s political, or if there is malware connected to naked Capitalism, but there needs to be an explanation here, as to why there is an effort here inject spyware into the blogging here.

    Also see: Privacy advocacy groups “recommend that electronic commerce Web sites be

    conservative in their collection and use of customer data” (Schneider 332). Whatever steps

    companies take to protect personal information, they should follow four principles outlined by

    Mark Van Name and Bill Catchings in 1998:

    Use the data collected to provide improved customer service.

    Do not share customer data with others outside your company without the

    customer’s permission.

    Tell customers what data you are collecting and what you are doing with it.

    Give customers the right to have you delete any of the data you have collected

    about them. (qtd. in Schneider 332)

    I know, that’s too much to ask….

      1. rights of privacy??

        You may not display the Widget on a website containing content that is pornographic; that promotes or incites hatred or violence; that invades personal rights including rights of privacy; that violates any law including intellectual property laws; or that interferes with the functioning of other websites.

        Re: {WikinvestWire_UserName=”Nakedcap”;var scr = document.createElement(“script”);scr.type=”text/javascript”;scr.src=”http://plugins.wikinvest.com/plugin/javascript/relatedContent/blogger.php”;scr.onclick=”javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview(‘/OUTBOUND/plugins.wikinvest.com/relatedContent/blogger’);”;document.getElementsByTagName(“head”)[0].appendChild(scr);}

  13. hello

    Having a handful of third-party-hosted widgets on your site might make it seem more hip, but hipness comes at a cost; it will also guarantee your site will take longer to load. Additionally, you open your site to potential hanging and “downtime” if any of the third-party sites go down and also become open to XSS security vulnerabilities by the same measure, should any one of them become compromised.

    While the Javascript/DOM model could be considered flawed in that there is currently no cross-domain security or restrictions on what remotely-loaded script can do (it has the same permissions your local script does), it is arguably no wiser to blindly assume and trust that third-party code used on your site will not be compromised at any point. Despite security concerns, “remote ” is dead simple and works most of the time – so it’s a de-facto standard.

    webber@auroraadvisors.com

  14. Hugh

    Niall Ferguson is a soldier of kleptocracy. Kleptocracy is a construction. It is not just a bunch of looters. To be able to loot and create fresh looting opportunities, looters need corrupt politicians, complacent regulators, a complicit media, and elite validation supplied by a collection of self-serving academic clowns. Ferguson is a member of this last group. His job is to make looting sound reasonable. So he starts off that government is like private business and should act the same way, except of course, government is not like private business. It’s a very common trick, work in the false equivalence at the beginning, as if it is assumed and before anyone really has a chance to notice.

    You see a private business can go bankrupt, sell its assets and go out of existence, but federal, state, and most local governments cannot. New York City, Kansas, and the US government can’t just sell everything they own and close up shop because people will still need the services those entities provided. And that’s the key. Government has a different set of responsibilities than a private business. It has duties not only to the people but what they the people hold in common, that is governmental assets. So even if Ferguson is promoting selling only some government assets it comes back to this. Government disposes of its assets to serve public interests, not a private one, as would be the case in satisfying a one-time debt.

    You see a lot these kinds of sophisms from the paid apologists of kleptocracy: government should act like private business, you know the same private business that drove the world economy off the cliff a few years ago; private enterprise/free markets always do a better job than government, again think of the meltdown and who saved whose bacon, or compare Medicare’s low costs even with a sicker, older population to the much higher costs of private healthcare insurers; the government’s budget should be run like your household budget, when was the last time your family printed money or levied taxes?; or the equation of what is happening in the stock markets or the GDP with prosperity and recovery. You see the idea is to load up our discourse with so many lies that it becomes impossible to wade through them all. In such an environment, truth and falsity go by the wayside. What is important is prominence and repetition. That is where elite liars like Ferguson come in. His job is to give an intellectual imprimatur to the latest con.

  15. Gordon

    Re FDL piece on Walker signing bill requiring 2/3 majority for tax increases.

    Can he do this? Here in the UK it is a settled rule that Parliament cannot pass a law limiting its own future legislation.

    If we had a written constitution (we don’t!) it would no doubt include provision for constitutional changes – which could potentially limit future ordinary (non-constitutional) legislation – but any constitutional changes would require some sort of supermajority to be effective.

    Most voluntary associations have some equivalent. What is the position in Wisconsin?

  16. Max424

    Oil prices are about to ride…in…to…the…danger zone!

    Giggle. Where have they been the last 22 months? In the happy zone? In the “Zone of Blissful Unawareness?” Apparently so.

    What utter fools we are, we humans.

    1. aet

      No real reason for it, though: there is plenty of supply available besides Libya.
      Just the usual speculators, ripping people off.

    1. Cedric Regula

      hehe

      “The call ends with Murphy-as-Koch promising, “once you crush these bastards, I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.” “All right,” the other man says, “That would be outstanding.” [I’ve seen pictures in penthouse -my emphasis c.r.]

      But digging beyond the obvious, I did notice a tech detail that even Huffpost missed. The “reporter as Koch” said he was calling from The VOID , then clarified he meant Skype.

      But this meant that the reporter had read the complete Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.

      The VOID, nickname for The Void That Binds, is a quantum entanglement communication infrastructure provided by a universal godlike entity and is used by humans, AI intelligences, and even metahumans as they cavort about the space-time continuum in their daily, past and future activities. Once god got so upset he shutdown the comm link which is kind of like having your intergalactic, intertemporal, iiPhone disabled.

      When the “reporter as Koch” said the call was from The VOID, Walker’s staff (and Walker) should have know the call could have been from anyone.

      http://home.roadrunner.com/~lperson1/hyperion.html

  17. Kill the teaparty

    On Saturday night, Mother Jones staffers tweeted that a source had told them Wisconsin riot police were preparing to clear out demonstrators from the Wisconsin capitol building — something that didn’t end up happening.

    In response to that post, user JCCentCom tweeted “Use live ammunition.” He went on to tweet: “against thugs physically threatening legally-elected state legislators & governor? You’re damn right I advocate deadly force.”

    Weinstein said only later did he find out that JCCentCom was the Twitter user name for Cox, one of more than 140 attorneys in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. Weinstein wrote that Cox has expressed similar contempt for political opponents on his personal blog, Pro Cynic, which has since been disabled.

  18. Job opening in Ind

    – A deputy in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office is no longer employed by the office following online comments he made concerning protesters at the Wisconsin Legislature.

    “Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office,” the statement read. “We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants, we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.”

    I imagine he’s reloading now…

  19. Michael H

    According to this press release (unless it’s some kind of a sick joke), Niall Ferguson was on the list of judges, along with Lloyd Blankfein, for the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award 2008″:

    “We chose from an outstanding selection of books,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. “The finalists address what we think are the most important global issues spanning a broad array of industries and disciplines.”

    Talk about being shamelessly obsequious, “abhorrent” would be one word that comes to mind, in describing Niall Ferguson.

    http://www2.goldmansachs.com/our-firm/press/press-releases/archived/2008/business-book-award-shortlist-announcement.html

  20. Aloyisius

    The ruling elite must love the Walker/Wisconsin mess because it strengthens the illusion that we have a two party system.

  21. Anonymous Comment

    IMO, the most important article of the day:

    http://pragcap.com/hoenig-the-usa-has-undermined-capitalism

    Not that it’s gonna cause a big splash. However it is significant because I believe Hoenig is seeing the economy as a context in which we live instead of just numbers in an equation.

    Others may think they think that, but to really believe in reality, you have to put all the pieces together, even the ugly stuff.

    If you can not acknowledge where we are, and what really is going on, you can not help with where we need to go. And, oh, boy… we need to go. This is not where we are meant to be, and momentum would be good now. But it’s not always the way one thinks. Sometimes it’s the opposite. Darn, too late, j/k?.

    Now what? Ideas, people? Anyone, anyone… There are ideas, it’s just that until ‘they’ come to terms with all the previous bad ideas [aka crimes] and how to not make the same mistakes post haste, it’s hard to imagine where to go next.

    Once all the dust settles… sigh.

  22. Anonynmous Comment

    Oh just found… IMO, best non-Fed member quote of the day. It’s by Cullen Roche @ pragcap.com who I am so happy to say seems to have recently dropped the scales before his eyes. Not that I can verify that in any way other than this quote:

    “Today, in a misguided attempt to create a “wealth effect” via equities it appears as though [the Fed Chairman] has helped to generate a speculative boom in many commodities. This is not the direct cause of the unrest abroad, but it’s certainly not helping. But perhaps more importantly, the environment that [the Fed Chairman] is creating (commodity bubbles) actually increases the risk that we will relapse into a deflationary spiral (the very thing he is attempting to combat).” – Cullen Roche

    Where was Cullen in the cheerlead up to the Q’s. Kind of feckless, eh? But better late than once the MSM gets it. [meaning never. Meaning, onward.] Ok, so now what does that mean for actionable behavior? Meh.

  23. IMF Hearts Muammar Gaddafi

    “Less than two weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund’s executive board, its highest authority, assessed a North African country’s economy and commended its government for its “ambitious reform agenda.” The I.M.F. also welcomed its “strong macroeconomic performance and the progress on enhancing the role of the private sector,” and “encouraged” the authorities to continue on that promising path.

    By unfortunate timing, that country was Libya….”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/business/23views.html?_r=1

  24. Why do survellance here?

    Why do you these here?

    In July 2010 BBC News reported that a legal challenge has been launched in the US against a number of websites amid claims that they were engaged in “covert surveillance” of users through the use of a Quantcast Flash application to restore deleted cookies.[9]

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