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Links 11/7/11

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Consciousness: The Black Hole of Neuroscience Big Think (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Oklahoma shaken up after earthquakes Los Angeles Times (hat tip reader James B)

Why Thomas S. Roche Dreams of a Zombie Apocalypse 10 Zen Monkies (hat tip reader Sugar Hush)

Here Comes the Sun Paul Krugman, New York Tines

Greece Reaffirms Commitment To The Gyro The Smew

Greece agrees on unity government; Prime Minister Papandreou will resign Washington Post. So an internal power play resolved over the weekend to keep the Troika happy.

Euro, Asian Stocks Fall Before Italy Vote Bloomberg. The leaking dam syndrome.

IMF, G20 fail MacroBusiness

Europe’s rescue fiasco leaves Italy defenceless Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph (hat tip reader Scott)

Peter Daou on Iran Lambert Strether

‘BP’s behaviour’ sinks $7B deal Telegraph (Australia; hat tip reader 1 SK)

This is Not a Joke. The “Family Research Council” is Angry Bear (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Occupy Sydney protester arrested calls Magistrate Carl Milovanovich a ‘scumbag’ in court Telegraph (hat tip reader 1 SK)

Exclusive Video: #OccupyDC Protesters Hit by Driver…Who Police Let Go Crooks and Liars

Thomas Ferguson: How to Take Back Our Political System From the 1% Alternet

Occupy DC Protestor Seemingly Hit by Car Feet Away from Stop Sign Jonathan Schwarz. DC has as many surveillance cameras as central London. It should be plenty possible to ascertain what happened.

A Chill Descends on Occupy Wall Street: The Tangled Purse Strings Fritz Tucker. Lambert Strether does not like the sound of this.

Get Occupy Wall Street news by e-mail here

The War on the Home Front Frances Fox Piven, TomDispatch (hat tip reader Aquifer)

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Streets behind: US property market resistant to attempts to revive it Financial Times

What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral. Barry Ritholtz, Washington Post

Antidote du jour:

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64 comments

  1. Rex

    Not sure what is more interesting, the chameleon or the sculpture-like branch he’s standing on.

    Then there is the bug in the lower-right corner that is trying to hide but is probably about to disappear.

  2. Rex

    Unrelated to today’s links; just sharing…

    The other night I was watching a rerun of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” from May, 2008, which happened to be on the local FOX station. At the end of the closing credits I noticed a page of scripted text that only displayed for a second or two — much too fast to read. I had recorded the program on my DVR so I backed it up and paused it. This is what it said.


    CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #212

    I believe that the voices of fear; both from without and within, can only be dispelled by trusting the voice that comes from the heart. Be still and listen to it. If it speaks of love and compassion for others, for the world itself, it just might be the voice of God — or a reasonable facsimile. If, however, it snarls with fear of the unknown, fear of losing what you have or of not getting what you want, then it might just be the voice of Rupert Murdoch — or a reasonable facsimile.

    Quite satisfying to notice this for the first time as the program was playing on a FOX station.

    And now a search finds this…
    http://bigbangtheory.wikia.com/wiki/Chuck_Lorre_Productions

    Cool. Many Easter Eggs. A new game to play. But it’s hard to stop reading that spoiler page.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      Chuck’s been putting a tag like that on the end of his shows for a long time. Every episode of Dharma and Greg, for example.

  3. rjs

    re: OK quakes, that’s the thats the woodford shale play, in the anandarko basin…looks suspiciously like another fracking quake swarm…

  4. Anonymous

    From the last link

    The Big Lie made a surprise appearance Tuesday when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, responding to a question about Occupy Wall Street, stunned observers by exonerating Wall Street: “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp.”

    and in the same spirit of shifting the blame, let’s recall G.W. Bush speech at the UN in 2001: “We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September 11th – malicious lies that attempt to shift blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror. And no government should promote the propaganda of terrorists.”

    Well, what Bloomberg’s done during 9/11/01 ?

    1. Susan the other

      Barry Ritholz is always good on the subject. He is an honorable example of self-regulation – a trader/analyst who depends on honest business. And he too is being studiously ignored by the administration and congress, i.e. “government.”

  5. Still Above Water

    Re: Consciousness – The persons asking those questions obviously need to experience hallucinogens. ;)

    1. Dave of Maryland

      The people studying consciousness have the wrong consciousness to study consciousness. A few LSD trips might get them started.

      1. aletheia33

        tripping aside, how about just some exposure to the science traditions of the East, where they developed this amazing, non-drug-dependent method of studying the mind known in the West as meditation.

        1. Valissa

          Yup! And the ancient Greek philosophers posited two ways of knowing, Logos and Mythos. I always find it very amusing when scientists and intellectuals attempt to use Logos mode to explain everything, or just dismiss Mythos as mythology (and therefore untrue). Just try finding a good explanation of Mythos on the internet… that’s pretty funny too since Logos mode is generally used for that as well. Of course it’s only humorous if you enjoy epistemological absurdity ;)

          “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
          -Albert Einstein

          1. craazyman

            You always nail this stuff Valissa, and other stuff I’ve noticed from time to time, I’m impressed by your mind. John 1:1 explains it all too.

            -Dr. Profffeser Delerious T. Tremens, PhD, NFL, GED, DNA Emeritus Chairman Dept of Contemporary Analysis University of Magonia

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            This reminds me of that cynic Rochefoucauld who said, we do not praise others, ordinarily, but in order to be praised ourselves.

            Furthermore, he said, when we disclaim praise, it is only showing our desire to be praised a second time.

          3. skippy

            Just saying here. Albert Einstein spent his last days here on earth. Scribbling on sheets of paper, trying to complete his unifying theory. Unable to fathom why his god made it so hard to seek, an obviously elegant formula. For why would such a being be so chaotic.

            Skippy…just a human.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Why did God make a year 365.2421… days?

            Why not a whole number?

            Did he make a mistake?

            Does he have 365.2421… fingers?

            Why the chaotic number?

            Mabye our cabalist/gematria friends can comment on this.

          5. Valissa

            MLTPB, despite studying Kabbalah/Qabalah for over 20 years and having a degree in math, I never grokked gematria. Oh well… to each their own imagining of underpinnings of reality!

          6. Skippy

            @Valissa, ha. I learned a long time ago, not to shout at the universe.

            @MyLessThanPrimeBeef. was it ten years ago the book “the Bible Code” came out? Great hook up an all ready dis-fragmented bit of text, to powers of computational grunt and magnify the effect. Head spins.

    2. Praedor

      What is more interesting about consciousness is its seeming irrelevance. It is post hoc rather than propter hoc. Experiments repeatedly show that you make “conscious” decisions BEFORE you actually become conscious of them. The conscious decisions we make are actually made pre-consciously with all of us only becoming actually aware of our “conscious” decisions fractions of a second AFTER the decision is made.

      Consciousness is merely a means of making one aware of decisions just after they are already made…I suppose so that we are not totally surprised by what it is we’ve decided to do?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wonder if we just surgically remove that little man in the brain, we would stop thinking that we are thinking.

          1. craazyman

            serously beef, I didn’t learn much in college but I did take a Plato class and found it quite fascinating. I still remember I wrote a paper -=bac in the days of typewriters and longhand — on the Famous 3rd man argument in the dialog Parminedes — a concept somewhat similar in structure to the one you observe here.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think I am a ‘green thinker’ – I recycle used ideas.

            Be a green thinker.

            Don’t throw even trash ideas into a mental landfill.

            Recycle…ideas.

      1. Maximilien

        @MLTPB: From “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce:

        CARTESIAN, adj. Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, “Cogito ergo sum”—whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: “Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum”—”I think that I think, therefore I think that I am”; as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.

        Bierce

  6. tomk

    “The Spokes Council, in fact, doesn’t have enough regard for working people, students and people with dependents to have one of their three weekly meetings on a weekend afternoon”

    That passage from A Chill Descends is so resonant. I hope OWS will not let the money tear the movement apart as it is tearing our human world apart.

    1. Praedor

      Too late. All I see are a bunch of “facilitators” (ie, self-appointed LEADERS) getting dollar signs in their eyes at the thought of $500,000 in free money.

      The fear was always about the movement being co-opted by some outside group only for it to end up being co-opted by the insiders suffering the same elitist, selfish, power-hungry ailment as is suffered by the 1%.

      I’m now glad I haven’t given money to the protest. I was thinking about it but now there’s not a chance in Hades I’ll do so. Well done OWS “facilitators” (ie, self-appointed LEADERS).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The real downtrodden are the 99% of the 99% of the 99% of the 99% of the 99% of the 99% of the 99% of the 99%…

        However small slice you cut it, there is always an elite 1% there.

        It’s the fractal nature of things.

        (Sorry for re-posting this same idea from a few days ago)

        1. Foppe

          Which is why formalizing structure (and procedural rules) can be so important: to counteract the influence of informal elites. Now, as is obvious, the problem here is that they have already started working together, and are as yet unrecognized in doing so; which is why awareness of the composition of those informal groups is important.

  7. Goin' South

    Thanks, Yves, for your own article about issues surrounding the Black Bloc in Occupy Oakland and the pointer to this article about the Spokes Councils in Occupy Wall Street.

    Neither makes me pessimistic about the movement’s progress. The Occupy GA in my city was canceled yesterday in lieu of a working groups confab. One can see some of the same issues arising as are arising in NYC, though there was none of the explicit dissing of the GA that occurred in the meeting described in the linked post. There’s a natural tendency for some to try steering others, but overall, good faith prevailed.

    Remember Graeber’s history of OWS. It grew out of something initially organized by the usual vanguardist Lefties (Trots, etc.). Now that OWS, re-fashioned by small-a anarchists, has been successful, the vanguardists haven’t gone away. They’re still around, hoping to gain from the movement’s augmented visibility and power. On top of that, there’s naturally going to be some frustration with a true consensus, open system among those who are anxious to “get something done.”

    What has been reborn through Occupy is the dream of a society not run by the rich/powerful. We’re learning how to do this in our place and time, no easy task. We may find that things work better in small organizing groups which then form ad hoc cooperative efforts. We may learn that things work better if they’re community/neighborhood based. It may dawn on us that a drive for efficiency over inclusiveness and respect for minority views is one of the things that has perverted our social relations in the recent past.

    We must keep trying, keep learning, keep forgiving our own and others’ mistakes. Otherwise, the 1% will laugh and point, saying, “See. We’ve been doing you a favor all these years, making your decisions for you. Forget all this silly democracy stuff. Sit back. Pop a cool one. Turn on the football game. Leave the hard stuff to us.”

    1. aletheia33

      in addition to fritz tucker’s piece “a chill descends,” his 2 other pieces (october) on his blog, as well as his blog as a whole, IMHO are worth checking out to get a sense of his history as writer and teacher (as he describes himself).

      i agree that the news he bears is distressing and that vigilance is much needed at this time in following the efforts to establish a workable, egalitarian form of democracy at OWS/zuccotti. i do have some skepticism toward this messenger based on the tone of his reporting, the lack of clarity of his reporting and writing, and his emphasis (without always a clear reason) on the details of his own participation/contributions to the effort. but this could just be me.

      at any rate, a single report in such a loaded context does not strike me as adequate for forming a clear understanding of what actually happened and what will necessarily result. i’m anxiously looking for further comment on “a chill descends” from other observers on the ground or otherwise well qualified to comment/report.

      that said, one of lambert strether’s comments is what i’ve found most disturbing so far:
      (http://correntewire.com/occupy_wall_street_who_decides_how_donations_are_spent#comment-202527, 11/05/11, 6:14 p.m.):

      “I was watching @Dicetroop’s reporting from the GA where the first Spokes proposal was voted down; and all my antenna on corrupt discourse and bad arguments by Spokes Countil proponents were really quivering (and my track record on such things IMNSHO is not so bad).”

      wish i could have watched the same reporting, but apparently it’s not available now?

      pending further clarification, i gladly second goin’ south’s comment above.

      1. Valissa

        Why I believe Fritz’s reporting, two personal examples…

        1. Many years ago, in my idealistic youth I was studying meditation and various spiritual matters with a certain group. There came a point where the group started to discuss buying some land and building a community. At that point it immediately devolved into petty arguments and control issues. One big issue was the idea of having a curfew, and that music should NOT be played after 10pm… this was for the benefit of the early riser meditators… and not everyone was one of those. There were many more examples of that so the group finally let go of the commune like goal.

        2. Some years after that, when I was living in Portland, OR, I attended a workshop on Community Building. As people took turns talking about what they wanted about community it became obvious that everyone had their own blissful (and unrealistic) ideas of what community was and wanted to enforce their ideals on everyone else. Tolerance and consideration of other’s needs was not a concern, meeting their own emotional needs for a certain type of group was. Although it was an excellent workshop in many respects I left the workshop deeply disturbed by that.

        btw, the same host group that offered this work also offered an excellent workshop on Consensus Building taught by a long time Quaker. I am glad to see the consensus mode being used by OWS, but that mode has it’s limitations as groups get larger and less homogeneous.

        Having been active in various groups in my younger years, I know quite well that you can’t involve every person in every decision or you will never get anything done. The larger a group is the more the need for representational democracy rather than pure democracy. As others here have stated… democracy is a messy business, as is politics, there is no “purity”. Every group has drama queens, power and/or control freaks, free riders, people with mental and emotional problems, etc… how any group (and in this case OWS) ultimately deals with those folks while still trying to accomplish meaningful goals determines the future of the group.

        Despite the above comments, I wish the OWS all the best and hope they can nudge the elites towards some necessary changes.

        1. Praedor

          Indeed, direct democracy is unworkable in any grouping of large size. The additional problem is “consensus” is that it is also “majority rules”, which means “dictatorship of the majority”. It means minorities get trampled and tossed by the wayside.

          1. psychohistorian

            I wanted to thank Valissa for her comment but then I read yours.

            I look at it this way, we have endured the current class based system in “Western socialized” countries for how many centuries?

            Isn’t it time to try something else? How much worse could we do collectively?

            And lastly, what we have going on now is not sustainable for the 99% or even a big subset of that. The wheels have fallen off and I believe that there is the potential to create something new that addresses your dictatorship of the majority. Valissa’s comment about the lack of acceptance of all needs to be publicly discussed (IMO, within the bigger context of sharing). From that discussion and others should come some social contract rules about freedom, sharing, responsibility, cooperation, competition, power and probably a few more.

            We have not been able to have public discussions about those types of things before because the boundaries were set by the media and on up the control stack. I remain optimistic that given the chance that humanity would like to be a better species than we are demonstrating at the moment.

    1. Anon

      The play the IMF has used for decades all over the “developing” world comes home to roost in Europe.

      Banksters screwed up the global financial system with their insane greed and failed theoliberal ideology, and now Greece and others have got to pay by sacrificing their humanitarian social programs, you know, like healthcare, education, workers’ pensions.

      Just so that everyone in the world can end up like the Chicago-schooled US: 50m without health insurance, 40m on food stamps, millions without full-time jobs, millions of children living in poverty, millions whose housing prospects and 401(k) retirement funds have gone up in smoke. In the “richest” country in the world.

      Makes a whole lot of sense. Not. Such a waste of human potential, human capability.

  8. Freude Bud

    Wishing that solar will solve the US’s energy situation is not going to make it so.

    To begin with, the primary problem vis-a-vis oil is transportation, which solar would not make a dent in at any stage in the near to medium future until a huge investment in transmission lines is made.

    Secondly, the reason solar from China is so competitive is because it is heavily subsidized by Beijing, not because of huge advances in productivity.

    I’d love to see Moore’s law apply to solar PVs, but I haven’t heard such talk in the industry. To get a sense of how competitive solar is, take a look at primary energy production in the US–http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/#summary. Total primary energy production for July was 6.49 quadrillion Btu, solar, at 0.01 quadrillion Btu represents 0.15% of total energy production in the US. If you think that’s because of an evil conspiracy to keep solar down, you’re nuts.

    Thirdly, looking at natural gas and fracking the price of NG is now, on a Btu basis, often cheaper than coal. (And that’s for front month futures prices, I believe the spot price for coal is regularly $10/ton more expensive than the front month futures price.)

    There may well be serious difficulties regarding groundwater and fracking, but it is worth noting that of all the evidence–and fracking has been around for many decades now–there is only one example of fracking having possibly contaminated groundwater. (That’s because the formations being fracked are well below the structures that hold water, generally speaking–but there could be migration of methane up into groundwater.) Hopefully the industry will address these concerns, if it doesn’t it will rightfully be punished.

    Either way, there can be no doubt that fracking is increasing supply of both oil and gas, which could bring down prices both for transportation and power generation. Solar has roughly doubled its energy production since 2005, but even at that rate its role in the overall energy picture is tiny and will do nothing to address the question of transportation.

    1. Praedor

      You only see the forest, not the trees. I could turn my carbon footprint down to the size of a cat if I could afford PVs up to 2kW at my house. If virtually EVERY house had no less than 1kW of PV on their roofs in ALL states where it makes any sense (most of them) than the need for power from the grid would be reduced TREMENDOUSLY.

      With 2kW of panels on my home, for many days I would be operating at a net negative draw on the grid. This can be expanded to virtually every home and business owner in the country. ALL new homes should be REQUIRED to have no less than 1kW of PV on their roofs/property. There should be a concerted effort to retrofit almost ALL pre-existing homes with no less than 1kW of PV.

      I am currently building my own PVs from cells and attaching them to tempered glass sheets with PV-specific polymer. The cost is high but it is still a lot less than a current factory-made panel of the equivalent power output (I get 130W from my homemade panels). I would LOVE to be able to buy factory panels for the cost of making them myself. At the moment, I have enough cells to produce ~1.5kW of panels so long as I don’t break too many cells in the process of soldiering them together (they are SUPREMELY fragile).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That TREMENDOUS amount of power saved from the grid is solar energy taken from the immediate areas around the PVs.

        That solar energy is normally absorbed by the nearby soil and in the surrounding air. When you take that TREMENDOUS amount of energy away, how does it impact the little creatures in the garden, around the house? Does it make the nights colder?

        Does it change convective air flow on a large scale where you have vast areas covered with PVs and other areas not?

        1. Praedor

          Nonsense. That solar energy I will be partially using (as would anyone else who uses it) is merely light and heat that would otherwise be absorbed by my dwelling’s ROOF. There are no plants, no plankton, no people being blocked from producing vitamin D due to me “stealing” sunlight from them.

          In any case, even if the arrays are placed on a structure in the yard, it doesn’t “steal” sunlight. Grass or weeds or flowers will STILL grow in the shade of the panels. What a bizarre statement or argument you make. Surely it was tongue-and-cheek. In any case your other worries about worms, gardens, etc, is ridiculous. What about the damage YOUR DWELLING has caused? Your DRIVEWAY. You SIDEWALK. Your SHED, FENCE, etc? Panels are a net good on houses, not a net negative by ANY stretch.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I don’t know. Tha’s why I am asking.

            The light and heat is not 100% absorbed by the roof, a certain percentage is reflected into heating the surrounding areas.

            And the amount that is not going into the roof now might make the nights colder.

            What about the damage YOUR DWELLING has caused? Your DRIVEWAY. You SIDEWALK. Your SHED, FENCE, etc? ——— I agree about the already existing damage. I am trying to find out about any additional damage.

            I think we should also look into how convective air circulation will be impacted.

            In any case, I don’t know.

            Just hoping to get some answers.

          2. JR

            Energy captured by household solar panels will degrade, after conversion to electricity and providing useful work, into waste heat that will dissipate into the immediate area.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            JR, that dissipated heat is the same, assuming the same consumption pattern, wethere the input energy was from around the house or some nuclear power plant 100 miles away.

            We are not dissipating more heat.

            But with solar panels on the roof now, we take away energy that was there before.

    2. curlydan

      “Hopefully the industry will address these concerns, if it doesn’t it will rightfully be punished.”

      yeah, right. \/\/

  9. Jim Haygood

    From The Diplomat:

    As the Occupy Wall Street protests continue in downtown New York, talk has turned to plans to occupy the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in midtown next week. Why? On November 7, the New York Historical Society plans to honor former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger with the 2011 History Makers Award at a dinner and ceremony there.

    Kissinger has been derided by progressive critics who hold him responsible for some of the United States’ most nefarious Cold War policies.

    Certainly in Southeast Asia there appears plenty of ammunition for Kissinger’s critics. For a start, between March 1969 and May 1970, the United States engaged in aerial bombing campaigns in both Cambodia and Laos. Codenamed “Operation Menu,” the bombings … were indiscriminate and claimed thousands of lives.

    After telling Kissinger that the US Air Force was being unimaginative, Nixon demanded more bombing, deeper into the country: ‘They have got to go in there and I mean really go in … I want everything that can fly to go in there and crack the hell out of them. There is no limitation on mileage and there is no limitation on budget. Is that clear?’

    “Five minutes after his conversation with Nixon ended, Kissinger called General Alexander Haig to relay the new orders from the president: ‘He wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn’t want to hear anything. It’s an order, it’s to be done. Anything that flies, on anything that moves. You got that?’ The response from Haig, barely audible on tape, sounds like laughter.

    http://the-diplomat.com/asean-beat/2011/11/05/ows-vs-kissinger/

    Tired of sycophantic suck-ups like the New York Historical Society, giving aid and comfort to reptilian old war criminals such as Kissinger?

    Do what I did: give the NYHS’s socially-prominent, one-percenter management and board a piece of your mind at:

    communications@nyhistory.org

    Or head down to the Waldorf Astoria this evening and disrupt the festivities, as the NYHS revelers slurp soup from the skulls of Kissinger’s victims.

    1. Susan the other

      It is highly possible that the bloodless Kissinger faction would have let the troops, our troops, be cornered, surrounded and killed. This was just before we beat a hasty retreat and it is my belief that Nixon wanted the GIs to get out safely. As safely as possible. It would not ever surprise me to learn that Kissinger, and whoever was under his spell, didn’t even care about the welfare of the GIs. But Nixon did.

  10. larry

    In the neuroscience article on consciousness, there is a claim that neither consciousness nor black holes are quantitatively characterizable. This isn’t true. Hawking’s equation for black holes is: S=c^3kA/4hG, where h is Planck’s constant. It is not known whether Hawking’s equation is true, but it doesn’t follow from this that black holes are quantitatively uncharacterizable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe black holes are quantatively uncharactizable to our limited brain, but not to a superior space aliens’ brain.

  11. Susan the other

    Peter Daou on Iran. Why stop there? There are any number of competent government models in other countries which could be invited to submit proposals to govern the USA. We should outsource our government. Clearly. I mean, our fucking government has outsourced its own citizens, right?

  12. sleepy

    I had an interesting experience with “professional” community organizers several decades ago.

    The issue was a train track that would essentially cut off part of my neighborhood when trains were on it.

    At a community meeting to address that, I proposed that I write a letter to whoever was in charge of scheduling the trains. I was a new attorney at the time, and thought this would be a good idea.

    I also lived in the neighborhood.

    The professional leader shot my idea down, basically arguing that it was not a grassroots sort of idea coming from a lawyer, and that it would not help build the idea of community.

    Building a “community” was the goal I guess, rather than actually attempting to solve the problem.

    1. Praedor

      THAT explains quite a bit. About Obama, the “facilitators” at OWS and other groups. Truly.

      That statement by the “organizer” or “facilitator” would also have immediately induced me to leave and do it ANYWAY while flipping the clown the finger: “HERE’S your ‘community’ you moron!”

      1. sleepy

        Thanks for your response.

        Although this was back in the seventies, that experience has always stayed with me. I was in my twenties, fresh out of law school and had the idealism that my signature on a letter could bring about positive results. I was out to slay dragons–for free.

        At age 60, I now know better about the futility of legal redress, for the most part. But the lesson of this particular example of “community organizing” stayed with me.

        1. sleepy

          I should add–

          The neighborhood was approximately 70% african-american and 30% white. The community “leader” who did not live in the neighborhood as I did was white as I am also.

          I got the feeling that the white organizer was trying to build some sort of consciousness and activism on behalf of my black neighbors rather than try to address the immediate problem of the train.

          A white lawyer trying to fix the problem was a no-no in that regard.

  13. Jon

    America v. Paul Bergrin – Stephen Lendman

    US Prosecution against WH torture whistleblower.

    “Challenging the system invites trouble. Unjust prosecutions often follow. Bergrin understands. His ordeal stemmed from doing his job.

    A once formidable advocate and prosecutor, he’s now defending himself in the trial of his life. His freedom hangs in the balance.

    He represented US soldiers accused of killing four Iraqis near Samarra during Operation Iron Triangle in May 2006. The case made international headlines when evidence showed Col. Michael Steele gave orders to “kill all military age males.”

    It was no ordinary murder case. It involved government conspiracy, cover-up and intrigue against scapegoated soldiers to absolve higher-ups throughout the chain of command to the top. Bergrin wanted them held accountable. As a result, he’s in the dock.

    A 139 page indictment covered 33 charges, including murder, conspiracy to murder, violent crime, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, witness tampering, cocaine trafficking, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, maintaining drug-involved premises, bribery, prostitution related travel, conspiracy to travel to aid prostitution, evading currency transaction reporting requirements, and filing false tax returns.

    If convicted of murder, conspiracy to commit it, racketeering, violent crime in aid of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, distribution of cocaine, and/or conspiracy to distribute it, he faces up to life in prison.

    Charges against him were fabricated. At issue is suppressing hard truths, convicting lawyers trying to expose them, and intimidating others not to try.”

    http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/11/america-v-paul-bergrin-in-court.html

    1. Paul Repstock

      This is a wrinkle even the Nazis didn’t dream up. Make defence impossible by imprisoning the lawyers.

      Disent is now illegal, any action of word or deed which is not in accordance with the state’s edict is an attack upon the state and is therefore Treason!

  14. sidelarge

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/07/eurozone-crisis-eu-demands-ecb-rescue

    Schäuble kept up his country’s hard-line stance during an earlier visit to Finland. “If Italy will deliver, will reduce its debt, there is no problem,” he told reporters, insisting that the country was too big to be rescued by the EFSF which has already committed some €250bn of its current €440bn firepower. He added: “There is a trade-off between short-term pain and long-term gain.”

    =======================

    You have to give it to him: it takes some real balls or tinfoil antenna to continue to spew this ridiculous “short-term pain, long-term gain” austerity pun even at this point.

    The hardest “troika” to crack may be the one that consists of Merkel, this guy, and the head of the Bundesbank, not the other more popular one.

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