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Links 1/11/12

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WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops Guardian and Leaked: US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops Natural Society

Fearful of Genetically-Modified Crops? You’re Too Late FastCoExist

We’re Eating Less Meat. Why? Mark Bittman, New York Times. Speak for yourself. I was a vegan ten years ago.

Live : Minamisoma blogger is on Ustream Fukshima Diary (hat tip reader mk – human sacrifice near Fukushima). Can’t verify but this does strike me as authentic.

The 10 worst states for retirees in 2012 This libels Maine! It nixes going Down East because the winters suck (true) but claims it has the coldest winters in the US. Huh? Did they look at population distribution? Most people live near the coast, which tempers the winters a lot. Please, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Minnesota have vastly nastier winters than Maine. And Brunswick is actually becoming a magnet for retirees.

Twitter lashes out at Google search changes Raw Story. Reminds me of Godzilla versus Mothra, except that movie had a happy ending.

PBS’s Dishonest Iran Edit FAIR (hat tip Lambert)

Mafia now “Italy’s No.1 bank” as crisis bites-report Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

The Greek parents too poor to care for their children BBC (hat tip Mark Ames). Sophie’s choice, updated.

Europe’s $39 Trillion Pension Threat Grows Bloomberg

Beijing’s air: like standing downwind from a forest fire Christian Science Monitor (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

How US Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration Truthout (hat tip reader May S)

Attack Film Depicts Romney as ‘Ruthless’ Rich Bloomberg.

Death of Private Danny Chen: Military Admits Chen Was Target of Race-Based Hazing on Daily Basis Truthout (hat tip reader May S)

Treasury emails outline Countrywide’s mortgage crisis McClatchy (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Opacity Protection: Vikram Pandit rolls out a ‘new way to measure risk’ Trust Your Instincts

Big Banks Face Inquiry Over Home Insurance New York Times. Over force placed insurance, but this probe comes from the NY Department of Financial Services, not the Attorney General’s office.

Why the Fed Needs to Talk More About Housing Chris Whalen

Antidote du jour:

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96 comments

        1. charles sereno

          Among humans, size of ears can be a “beauty mark.” Too small, bad. Too big (or sticking out), really bad. The distribution is skewed to the large side. Solution — For small ears, go all the way, like an ET. For large ears, flaunt it, like in the Antidote du jour.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Big ears, small mouth – as I wrote before, the species (genus Hetero ‘different from us Homo Not-So-Sapiens’ WiseguysRus) to replace us will look like that.

            More listening and less talking.

            Three times bigger heart. Probably transparent skin around the chest area so teenage Hetero WiseguysRuses can swoon over some idol with the biggest heart. “Ohhhhhhhh, look at the size of that heart!!!! I am in love!!!!”

        2. Maximilien

          I have an ear fetish (no kidding). I’ve always enjoyed playing with dogs’ ears, cats’ ears, children’s ears, even my girlfriends’ ears. This photo blew me away. All I saw was the huge, cute ears. I hope I get a fennec fox for my birthday. :)

  1. Jim Sterling

    The giving up children story makes me think of Dickens, Austen, or Bronte, all those children sent to stay with more comfortable relatives, or in cheap schools, or just left in the street or on the church steps. The return to Victorian Values!

    1. M

      My dad was born during the depression and he and two siblings were in an out of orphanges (US) for a few years. Oh the stories he told us growing up, which I sometimes thought must be exaggerated because I never heard of such a thing (my own childhood was fairly privileged) but the stories my aunt and uncle told were even worse.

  2. rjs

    We’re Eating Less Meat. Why?

    maybe it’s boomer demographics…we’re getting old…

    i dont know about anyone else, but i can’t handle a triple bacon cheeseburger anymore…

  3. Foppe

    My First “Occupy LA” Arraignment Hearing: Los Angeles Stalls Legal Action Against Arrested Occupy LA Protesters

    According to the LA Weekly, a judge threw out the city’s case against a guy named Lawrence Ziese, a legal observer who was arrested and kept in jail for 10 whole days, because the only evidence the prosecution could dig up against him came in the form of a bunch of photos of park hours signs. To clarify: the photo evidence showed just the signs–not the accused in front of the signs, or anywhere near the signs. Another big problem in the city’s trumped-up case against Ziese was that he was arrested a block away from the Occupy LA camp–which meant that he was outside the park. (According to one of my cellmates, Ziese was the vegan guy from our cell block whom I previously wrote about, and who hadn’t been fed for two full days by the time I was bailed out of jail.)

    They locked up Ziese for ten days, and couldn’t even come up with a good reason for why he was arrested? What a joke! No wonder the City Attorney is stalling the process…

  4. Foppe

    A decent post in response to the debate kicked off by Matt and Glenn last week, by Falguni A. Sheth.

    It may be time to stop reading the Nation even earlier than March of this election year. Katha Pollitt engages in a serious distortion of Glenn Greenwald’s position (among others) that we need to pay attention to politicians such as Ron Paul, who are raising questions about President Obama’s continuation of the same policies as GW Bush. Somehow, despite Greenwald’s umpteen ad nauseum disavowals, this point is equated—no, identified –with “support for Ron Paul.” Pollitt also muses on the fact that she hasn’t seen a lot of “leftish white women and people of color” who have supported Paul, but if they do, they staying pretty quite about it.

    Note, first of all, the old-school-lefty sweeping style of lumping all people of color with “leftish white women.” Women of color can’t have their own category–because they’re too complex and unruly with all their different identity-politic distinctions (y’know: Latina, African American, Asian, Asian American, South Asian, African, Indigenous, Mestiza, etc.), and so at least “people of color” can address them all in one big sweep. Also, the unwieldiness of mentioning them distinctly will cut into the too-important and limited space of the Nation’s columns.

    I can hear the talkback now: Q: What is with those identity politics anyway? Can “they” just put them aside for the purposes of political solidarity? A: NO. No, “we” can’t. To be fair, that question was not articulated by Pollitt, but by plenty of other libs/progs NEVER in print but often in semi-private and casual conversations. That publicly unspoken question speaks to one of the problems with Pollitt’s post. She may not be speaking for “people of color,” but she’s certainly using “their” collective silence to make a point about the sycophancy of white male pundits in relation to other strange white men.

    1. aet

      Nationalism, of and in any form whatsoever, and/or identification of the self as a member of any privileged and exclusive group, whether defined by religious or economic or linguistic or “ethnic” criteria, is the ONLY problem: the “differences” between people exist only in their minds.

      Here’s some ancient advice: Lose your contempt for others – and yourself, too – if you want to begin to live in a better world.

      But is that what people really want? As it is behaviour, not words, which must demonstrate the answer to that question – I retain my doubts.

      1. Valissa

        “Lose your contempt for others” great idea, the only problem with that is that giving up contempt also means giving up the real issue… which is perceived moral superiority. Hard to give up that smug feel-good satisfaction of being at a “higher” moral level than another. Both parties play to morality, just in somehwat different ways. Sadly the basis for politics has become issues of moral superiority rather than issues of good governance.

    2. Jeff

      “Leftish White women” are a goldmine for advertisers because of their propensity to buy things like Priuses, expensive fair trade clothing, Pakastani earrings, trips to spas and all the other forms of social rebellion against patriarchy.

      The Nation prints articles to enable the publication of
      advertising. Not the other way around.

      1. citizendave

        Jeff said “…The Nation prints articles to enable the publication of advertising. Not the other way around…”

        Jeff, if I understand your point, I disagree. I just renewed my Nation subscription yesterday. I’ve been a subscriber since 2004. I’ve watched the subscription price climb, they say mostly due to postage rate increases. The limited advertising that appears in The Nation only defrays the cost of publication. They depend a lot on The Nation Associates for donations in addition to the cost of the subscription. The current cost averages out to just over one dollar per week for the online edition, and about $1.50 per week for print delivered by mail. They say “nobody owns The Nation” meaning they are beholden to nobody, especially to anyone who pays for advertising space. Based on the ads they run, I’m convinced that it’s true. Recently they ran an ad for cigarettes, and some readers wrote letters to the editor, expressing outrage. To paraphrase their disclaimer, it helps to pay the bills, and it certainly does not constitute an endorsement. In any case, I’ve never thought The Nation publishes articles so they can make money by selling advertising. Was that really your point?

        1. Jeff

          Oh god, another literalist. I mean that Leftist White women are a demographic, not just for consumption of stuff but also ideas and concepts. How’s that gender studies degree coming along sparkina?

          1. citizendave

            Oh, dog, I still don’t understand. I’ve never thought of myself as a literalist. Maybe it’s the wine. Or the hour. Probably my fault. No longer seems worth pursuing. Tomorrow is another day.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Jeff, if they are against patriarchy, why do they buy Pakistani earrings?

        So many women are really confused. Most guys will concur, no doubt.

        “Know thyself” is an injunction ignored by most Americans, while girls and women are expressly steered away from this practice. This is why the earliest lessons of “feminism” (women NOT as chattel) have been *forgotten*.

        Freedom for women with independent minds is not facilitated by Jimmy Choos. As my late mother (mathematician, astronomer, dancer in her spare time) said: “Women won’t have equal rights until they can wear men’s shoes.” That’s right, trousers alone are insufficient. Secure men like secure women, where I come from (New Orleans). “Iron bars do not a prison make.”

  5. YankeeFrank

    Re Mafia Now Italy’s #1 Bank

    “Old style gangsters handing out cash in bars and pool halls had been replaced by apparently respectable bankers, lawyers or notaries, the report said.

    “This is extortion with a clean face,” it added. “Through their professions, they know the mechanisms of the legal credit market and they often know the financial position of their victims perfectly.”"

    They don’t identify the extortion tactics utilized by these clean-faced mafiosi in the article… gotta wonder how different from the non-mafioso controlled banks.

  6. Matthew Johnson

    Yves, you may not have noticed, but our winter in Minnesota is scary mild this year. It’s felt like spring since mid December and even the plants are getting confused. It’s such a dramatic change it has me really, really concerned about climate change. Far more concerned than I already had been. I’m a bit surprised it isn’t receiving more attention…

    1. rjs

      its been mentioned a couple times in comments to the past few days links…the continental US has gone a few days without a temperature below freezing, today may be another, but a change is on the way…

      1. rjs

        i misspoke. just realized i said “the continental US has gone a few days without a temperature below freezing”

        which is obviously wrong…what i should have said was “the continental US has gone a few days without a daily high temperature below freezing…

    2. Lambert Strether

      Up here in Maine, the January cold snap has so far mysteriously gone missing, and there’s no snow on the ground.

      On the other hand, the old timers say that winter comes into two halfs, and one is always bad. We’re now entering the second half, so there’s still hope for something awful!

      1. citizendave

        Same here in SE Wisconsin. We have green grass, and a rosemary plant in the garden has blossoms. Yesterday it was 52 here, two blocks from Lake Michigan, most extraordinary. I finished painting the house the day after Thanksgiving — the painting season normally ends mid to late October. Yesterday I did some outside carpentry repair work, and today I painted it — on January 11!

        I lived in Portland, Maine for a few years, ’72 to ’74, and 80-81. My Mainiac friends were sure winter in Maine was the worst, but I thought it was the just like Wisconsin. But one year in January I drove up to Aroostook County and was amazed to see, for most of the trip, snow piled nearly to the tops of the utility poles. Never saw anything like that around here.

        The forecast for tomorrow is snow, starting after sunrise, lasting 24 hours, 3 to 5 inches total. Another forecast said as much as ten inches. It has snowed twice so far, barely enough to cover the grass, and both times melted within a day. Most unusual.

        Here’s a Maine joke. The old timer (perhaps Bert, of Bert and I) says, in the slow drawl of a Down East accent, “We have two seasons around here. Winter. And the Fourth of July.”

    3. Yearning to Learn

      Unfortunately for Yves, Maine wasn’t libeled. The article did not say that Maine had the coldest winters, it simply said it was the furthest north.

      complaining that Minnesota is colder than Maine won’t help, because it is also on the 10 worst states to retire list. As are Illinois, Wisconsin. (the article specifically states that you “want to be south of the Mason Dixon line”).

      Maine may not be as cold as the upper midwest, but it’s certainly very very cold in the winter, even along the coast. (compared to traditional retiree havens like Florida, Nevada, and the “half backers” who go to North Carolina).

      it has been a great winter here in MN. in the TC area we have had 3 very minor snowfalls and really haven’t had standing snow all winter… consistently in the high 30′s and 40s, and even 55 yesterday. my grass is growing.

      as for winter coming in the second half of the season… let’s hope not! :)

      besides, our last 2 winters were near record worst, so it’s nice to get a change from that.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Did you read the article? It was about the 10 worst states for retirees (um did you MISS THE HEADLINE)? 9 of the 10 were nixed for taxes. Maine was nixed for its WEATHER, with its Northern-ness conflated with coldness of winters when they are not exact equivalents.

    4. Sock Puppet

      Same source has another story on the 10 best cities for retirees, and almost all are in states on the worst 10 list. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-10-best-us-cities-for-retirees-2011-09-29?link=MW_story_insert
      They even list Newark, NJ. They clearly have never been there.

      FWIW I’m very happy with my move from NJ to WA. No state income tax, much lower property tax, and mild climate and hydro keep the utility bills way down. Sales tax is a little higher, but I don’t buy much that has it. Medical insurance is also cheaper, as is car insurance. Lower fixed costs means that many personal services are cheaper too because the providers don’t need to pass on their higher property taxes etc. So overall a significantly lower cost of living and a great place to live.

      If you’re thinking about joining me though, don’t. It rains all the time, you’d hate it. Tell all your friends, don’t move to WA!

      1. mk

        I’m considering a move toward the pacific northwest, to northern CA, but there is a downside – it’s in the path of fallout from Fukushima which will be releasing radiation into the atmosphere continuously for years. Radiation comes down to land with the rain.

        1. Jeff

          Northern California is getting it in their rainfall too. I would also worry about the Cascadia subduction earthquake fault that may do serious damage to B.C., Seattle and Portland. It’s the kind that causes big tsunamis.

    5. financial matters

      The twin cities is my favorite place but definitely need to be able to enjoy the long winters. I often notice people there complaining about how cold it is with a big smile on their face..

      I was surprised that they got hit with the housing bubble, but everyone within a few miles of the uptown area thought they had a million dollar home and I think a lot of home equity loans went into remodeling older homes in that area.

      But get out a bit into the various suburbs and very affordable housing with a lot of attention to wetland preservation etc..

    6. Jeff

      Golden poppies are blooming on the roadside in Northern California. We get all our rain at once unfortunately.

    7. MikeJake

      Cleveland area has been in the 50s for almost a week. Last year was a record year for rain. I’m beginning to wonder if Lake Erie will even freeze this year; if it doesn’t, we’ll be getting dumped on with lake effect snow in April.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Did you guys read? I said I’m an ex-vegan, as in eating any meat is more than 10 years ago. That’s not defensive, I’m just being contrary.

      I tried it for 2 years, didn’t notice any health bennies, and it is a huge pain socially. I do think we should all eat as far down the food chain as we can, and suspect grain costs will/are forcing that.

      1. DP

        Sorry Yves, it says “I was a vegan 10 years ago” , not “I am an ex-vegan”, and given the story you were commenting on I took it to mean you were ahead of the curve and still were a vegan. I’ve read numerous books on diet and nutrition as it relates to health because of a chronic medical condition. None of them promote a vegan diet. As I’m sure you know, there are plenty of knowledgeable people who are militantly anti-vegan, insisting it does not meet human nutritional needs and causes health problems. Here’s one of many anti-vegan websites that goes into great detail:

        http://www.beyondveg.com/cat/frank-talk/index.shtml

        1. citizendave

          I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I made a promise to myself that if I survived the war I would stop killing things.

          I returned home from the war in 1970. In January, 1975 I succeeded in becoming a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) after working toward it since 1970. In 1978 my diet became exclusively vegan (which I sometimes spell as a contraction of vegetarian: veg’an, pronounced “veg” as in vegetable, “un” — the old joke is that a Vegan is an alien from a planet orbiting the star Vega). I was exclusively vegan for 14 years, until 1992. I went back to the lacto-ovo-vegetarian regimen. So I’ve survived as a vegetarian for 37 years.

          I am suspicious of anyone who claims a person following an exclusively vegan diet can’t get adequate nutrition. I view such claims the same way I view studies commissioned by the Petroleum Institute that deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

          I thought the article was not outrageous, although it didn’t really discuss vegetarianism. I’ve seen anecdotal evidence that people are eating less meat these days, generally for health reasons, or because they seldom feel like eating meat. The order of de-escalation is: beef is the first to go, followed by pork, then fowl, and finally fish. Some people tell me they are “mostly vegetarian”, meaning they are not exclusive and will eat meat when they go out to dinner.

          As for the question of moral superiority, I am not a vegetarian evangelist. What you do is up to you. I have my own reasons for what I do.

          The documentary “Forks Over Knives” is worth watching for anyone concerned about the health aspects of diet.

          1. Mia

            I’ve been vegan for 7 years, lacto-ovo vegetarian for 5 years before that, for environmental/ethical reasons. I’m not (primarily) claiming moral superiority–I realize it’s not for everybody, but for me, the transition to full veganism was much easier than anticipated. As for health, well, I ran my first marathon in 3:48 and I’m getting faster…

          2. citizendave

            Mia, I’m happy to hear your story. I know I need to exercise more, and I know I can get in shape again. I’m doing OK for 63 years. Since you mentioned environmental reasons along with ethical, I would add that while my original impetus was ethical, I soon realized the environmental benefit as well. And the health benefit comes as a bonus. And although I don’t like to preach, if everyone would eat the way you and I do, the whole nation’s cost of health care would plummet.

  7. ron

    “Refinancing for performing borrowers and restructuring for troubled loans is the route to salvation.”

    Refinancing underwater performing borrowers is needed but they still will have significant negative equity but lower interest rates don’t end the crisis nor does Chris say what restructuring troubled loans mean in a state like Calif with oversize negative equity. Besides mortgage holder negative equity the RE market has become marked by lower inventory and mostly distressed property all which translate into lower volume sales impacting an industry that lives off fee’s generated by home sales. RE agents,mortgage loan officers, title companies and banking staff levels will all be impacted sooner or later by the lower inventory and stale home turnover rate.

  8. craazyman

    These links are unusually depressing today. One problem with the internet is it lets you know in real time what idiots are doing anywhere and everywhere all over the world.

    It used to be the local idiots and then the national idiots you worried about. Now it’s global.

    This has possibilities for improving the condition of the human race, but it may also be a pharmaceutical industry plot to sell anti-depressant medication.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I sometimes wonder if the concept of holiday travel was a plot dreamed up by some conspiratorial travel agents.

      We Neo-Neanderthalists like to just appreciate the wonders in our backyards.

        1. craazyman

          I like to look at the artists illustrations of what the Neanderthals might have looked like. That fascinates me. I just like to stare at the pictures and imagine the reality like a movie, but more real than that.

          I bet they had immense powers of perception that we do not have. Like the way animals all run for high ground before earthquakes.

          I bet they could sense realms of energy that we can’t. But vice versa with abstract thought and logic, which is probly what knocked them out.

          1. craazyman

            My beloved Redskins could’ve used a few this year, that’s for sure. But we’re used to it by now. :(

          2. aletheia33

            they probably were fine with abstracts and logic and had the sense to know when to stop with that. they understood they’re just fine, as long as kept in their proper place, serving the heart, not starving the heart.
            they didn’t survive us, but it looks like we’re not going to survive us either unless we can learn to be more like them.

      1. craazyman

        yesterday’s competitiveness cartoons were bulls-eyes :)

        The more I think about that word the more deeply disturbing it becomes. It truly suggests a mass delusion.

        1. craazyman

          Merkel said it today. Every day they say it. Consoyvative, liberal, American, European, they all say it.

          I’m not making this stuff up:

          * * *

          Ms. Merkel praised Mr. Monti’s reform and debt-cutting efforts, especially how swiftly Mr. Monti has enacted sweeping changes since replacing Silvio Berlusconi in November. And she backed his calls turning the focus now to making Europe more competitive.

          “Everyone benefits from having markets without barriers,” Ms. Merkel said. “I want Europe to be strong; I want Europe to be competitive.”

          * * *

          I can almost hear Wagner and Nietsche! Just kidding Angie.

          What will they do when there’s nobody left to compete with because they’re all dead? That will be the moment of epiphany. And then what? There’ll be a mind vacuum like outer space, a pause, but only briefly, while instinct reframes its targets, and they’ll compete with each other till the last man reigns triumphant over nothing but itself.

    2. Anonymous Jones

      “One problem with the internet is it lets you know in real time what idiots are doing anywhere and everywhere all over the world.”

      One problem? It’s the paramount problem!

      I’m sure the primitive primate who, tens of millions of years ago, first thought of using a branch as a club immediately wondered, “Yeah, but then some idiot is going to use this tool too. Forget it.”

    3. aletheia33

      where to retire “to”? what a dilemma. the most attractive places with the highest overall quality of life, cultural sophistication, relatively enlightened governments, education levels, aesthetic and historic appeal (think white church steeples, town meeting, historic downtowns) have the highest cost of living. and guess what, high taxes are generally associated with high quality of life.

      besides, isn’t becoming an elder supposed to be a lot about devoting oneself to the general welfare and giving back something to society? if one has the luxury of “relocating”, in an economy where housing is totally frozen, presumably one has considerably more than just SS income coming in, so what is the big problem with contributing to the welfare of the fellow citizens of one’s state or town by paying taxes to these entities? and as for those other elders who only have SS, they will appreciate that support!

      beyond that, why would one want to go and live somewhere in retirement away from the satisfying, meaningful, fulfilling environment that one has, it is to be hoped, gradually constructed on the ground where one is, including friends, neighbors, involvement in one’s local community, one’s garden, perhaps a relative or two, even a grandchild or two, trusted health care providers, perhaps a church membership with many familiar, supportive co-parishioners, all the rewards that come with staying in one good place and building the good things of life there?

      oh wait, i forgot, we’re supposed to move and live wherever we can get work, and then when we retire we get to live where we’re happy living. what a great system we’ve got in america!

  9. ScottS

    Re: Attack Film Depicts Romney as ‘Ruthless’ Rich Bloomberg.

    In the middle of the most serious depression in our lifetime, is anyone going to vote for someone who looks and sounds like the guy who fired your dad?

  10. Hugh

    Romney is ruthless rich. He made his millions looting companies and firing people. His competition, including Obama, isn’t any better.

    Still I couldn’t help but notice how our media is doing its best to crown Romney the Republican nominee, you know after his two “wins”. I suppose this is because he is the most traditionally corporatist of the Republican candidates. Somehow they don’t want to point out that he “won” Iowa by 8 votes and that 75% caucusees voted for someone else, or that in New Hampshire where he had something like a native son phenomenon going on, he still failed to get even a majority, with 64% voting for someone else. Or that Iowa and New Hampshire are about as representative of the country as Minsk.

    It is all absurd, pointless, intensely anti-democratic.

    1. Jeff

      Anyone with a pulse and a hedge fund could have made money when he did. So much for his business experience.

      Question that I hope someone will ask him:

      Are you making money in today’s market?

      1. craazyman

        ha ha that’s funny.

        Here’s my one and only question for Mitt Romney: Hey Mitt! What’s your best 10-bagger?

        I don’t have any questions for Obama.

  11. Hugh

    Re Italy and the mafia, the writer Leonardo Sciascia (pronounced shasha) depicted the penetration of the mafia into Italy’s civil institutions way back when. His Il giorno della civetta was published in 1961, fifty years ago.

    But seriously what is the difference between kleptocracy and the mafia, except that the kleptocrats steal orders of magnitude more money from society than the mafia? Or that while the mafia kills individuals, the kleptocrats kill states?

    What was for Sciascia an existential evil are really just pikers compared to what we have now.

  12. Susan the other

    Raw Story: Romney is half Mexican. His father George was born in 1907 in Northern Mexico in a sort-of pioneer-polygamist Mormon town. He’s got lots of cousins still there. Maybe when Mitt visits he can’t walk down the street without passing 50 cousins and not even know it. This will help his persona. He can grow a thin, perfectly trimmed mustache and wear a sombrero.

  13. Susan the other

    What happens when genetic drift contaminates all food seeds but the seed corn is not viable and the Monsanto labs are levelled by a series of cat 4 tornadoes? Pollen grains are almost indestructible aren’t they?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Corporte efficiency demands that corporations be allowed to run for offices themselves.

      Cut out the middlemen.

      1. aletheia33

        at least we could have them sew on those badges with corporate logos showing who they’re in the race for, as some have suggested.

        actually, with the way screen ads are moving, it’s going to be hard for us to discern whose immobile face that is in the tiny center of the screen with all the ads dancing around it. but we will continue to pretend that they are separate–for awhile anyway.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      PQS, isn’t it time for one of those “Texas executions” of a corporation, I mean, just to PROVE they are people? (“Soylent is people!”)

  14. Dan

    Re “How US Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration”

    The subtext of this article is that if NAFTA hadn’t been imposed on us by the Rubinites in the Clinton Administration, Mexicans would stay home in a bed of roses.

    Population growth in Mexico and Central America is the main driver of immigration. Here’s the age distribution for Mexico. There is not enough land in Mexico for the demographic wave on the horizon.

    http://images.nationmaster.com/images/pyramids/mx-2010.png

    NAFTA imports this population while it lowers the wages of Americans and their ability to demand a livable wage and decent working conditions. The presence of illegals in large numbers in the U.S. is a socialized cost we pay for the privatized profit of the corporate squid. Those that advocate for open borders, including some in the OWS camps are as bad as the corporate parasites that have burdened our body politic. As usual, the American Working Class viewpoint is left out of the discussion.

    Without an endless stream of illegals, the wages of Americans in meat packing and many other trades, especially construction, would have to go up and it would return to the level that they once were, enough to earn a living and raise a family.

    Squeezed by the open border pro “free trade” right and the “immigrant’s rights, open borders” left, the disappearing Middle Class is left to compete at home with all of Central America’s surplus population for jobs, schools, public health clinics, housing and the other niceties of life that Rubin and Clinton never bothered to figure into their calculus. We have nowhere to migrate to.

    Also, without the safety valve of immigration, Mexico would have to face its own problems and implement land reform on the model begun by Pancho Villa, Madero and Huerta.

    Limiting population growth is THE ISSUE. We have done our part in the U.S.

    As to the proven model of money circulating in a local economy and keeping stores open and people working, what effect does this have:
    “according to the Pew Hispanic Center… “Mexicans sent home $21.13 billion in 2010.” That’s money that is gone, never to return to our communities and local economies.

    1. RanDomino

      That is some high-quality bullshit you’re spewing. I respect the amount of work it must have taken a think-tank somewhere to come up with it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The way it’s going, Americans – descendants of immigrants from Siberia, Europe, Asia, Africa, etc – might have to start moving again.

      It is in our genes.

      Go west, east, north and south, young men. Emigrate. United Emirates or anywhere there are jobs.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Dan, you are so swift. Doesn’t this go hand in glove with the putsch to close ranks between Roman Catholics, “American” Roman Catholics, “Anglican” Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Christian Zionists, Protestants, the Pope and the Bush Dynasty? NAFTA opened the door to the Mexican Roman Catholic “Anschluss” to increase the force of “American Christian” Reich IV. As President, George W. Bush honored Pope Benedict XVI with his expressed will that the Pope be “the moral arbiter” for the People of the U.S.A.–thereby conjoining Church and State in violation of his Oath of Office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the U.S.A.

      The Papal necessity is to “go where the *religious* are” — as a robber went to a bank for money in the 1930′s. To dominate the moral and social life of America has been the Roman Catholic Dream since the hey-day of Norman Vincent Peale, who knew what TV was good for: seduction of the ignorant.

      Then came the MonopolyFinance “Lebensraum” via TBTF and “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” into every State of the U.S.A. for the benefit of the 1% “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII” (York, PA, 1993), with Foreword by Morton C. Blackwell.

      This is the tale of “HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES” (Gotz Aly) REDUX. See: “THE WRECKING CREW” (Thomas Frank), “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” (Naomi Klein), and “THE BUSH AGENDA” (Antonia Juhasz).

      “We must suffer them all again.” (W.H. Auden: “September 1, 1939″)

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Dan, AND they helped to deal death to *feminism*–i.e. women reluctant to become the “Lovemothers” for New Reich on demand: “Know your place!”

  15. Hugh

    I am vastly unimpressed by the NYT article on eating less meat. I mean how can you take seriously an article with a quote like this in it:

    Even buying less meat because prices are high and times are tough is a choice

    Say what? That sounds mighty divorced from reality to me. And while the author sort of intimates that eating less meat is healthier, he doesn’t actually say why this is so. But the big tell in the article is that it makes no mention of the surge in obesity in the country. If people are replacing protein with starch because they can’t afford meat, then eating less protein actually is actually making them less healthy.

    1. Susan the other

      Agree about meat. Grains are more doctored than meat. Usually with fungicides. And in spite of the fungicides, grains still pass on a certain low level of fungus contamination. Fresh and green is the best. Soy is the silage of choice for cattle farms so beef is a concentrated form of GM and pesticide contaminants and we do not know what that will do to us yet. But If we ate the soy directly it wouldn’t be much better because we’d have to eat so much more of it. And soy contains estrogens which are also a big problem. We should take a safer approach. Instead of shutting down the meat inspectors (last week) we should beef them up. No pun intended. Ounce for ounce meat is extremely nutritious.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Susan, decades ago, Tulane fired the biologist who dared to report the genetic mutations in fish, due to estrogen in the waters.

  16. aesop

    THE LION, THE WOLF, AND THE FOX

    A Lion, infirm with age, lay sick in his den, and all the beasts of the forest came to inquire after his health with the exception of the Fox. The Wolf thought this was a good opportunity for paying off old scores against the Fox, so he called the attention of the Lion to his absence, and said, “You see, sire, that we have all come to see how you are except the Fox, who hasn’t come near you, and doesn’t care whether you are well or ill.” Just then the Fox came in and heard the last words of the Wolf. The Lion roared at him in deep displeasure, but he begged to be allowed to explain his absence, and said, “Not one of them cares for you so much as I, sire, for all the time I have been going round to the doctors and trying to find a cure for your illness.” “And may I ask if you have found one?” said the Lion. “I have, sire,” said the Fox, “and it is this: you must flay a Wolf and wrap yourself in his skin while it is still warm.” The Lion accordingly turned to the Wolf and struck him dead with one blow of his paw, in order to try the Fox’s prescription; but the Fox laughed and said to himself, “That’s what comes of stirring up ill-will.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Fox did not turn the other cheek.

      He’s one of those ‘an eye for an eye’ type of foxes.

  17. Jeff

    Californians may get to vote on labeling GMOs.
    If enough signatures can be gathered:

    http://www.labelgmos.org/

    “The Committee for the Right to Know is a grassroots coalition of consumer, public health, environmental organizations, and food companies in California that is seeking the labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).
    On November 9, 2011, the coalition submitted the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act to the State Attorney General for title and summary, prior to circulation as an initiative measure for the November 2012 election.”

  18. Hugh

    That article on Europe’s $39 trillion pension “threat” is such a steaming load. Those are projected costs and the article never says over how long. This is the same kind of squirrely deceptive accounting that has been used to tell us why in this country we can’t afford Social Security and Medicare. If our forefathers had done their accounts this way, they would have realized 200 years ago that they could never afford to have a country and given up on trying to have one.

    If you weren’t sure what was going on this quote should tell you:

    “This is a totally unsustainable situation that quite clearly has to be reversed,” Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington

    Yeah, Pete Peterson’s boys think Europe’s social safety net should be dismantled. I never saw that one coming. /s

    This article strikes me as part of a larger effort we are seeing targeting European social spending. In an era of kleptocracy, this is not about fiscal responsibility. The Europeans, like us, can afford their social programs. What they can not afford, like us, is their kleptocratic elites. That’s all this is. Doing away with social spending leaves that much more they can loot.

  19. citizendave

    Fitch says Italy is Eurozone’s biggest threat — page A9 in today’s Wall Street Journal print edition, and online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204124204577152233166213286.html.

    They cite lack of a region-wide plan to prevent contagion, large debt burden, and high borrowing costs.

    My wife and I were fortunate to be able to visit Italy last February. I’m certain, although I can offer no proof, that at one of the grocery stores we visited in Rome the prices were listed in both Euros and Lira. My thought at the time was they were doing that, after ten years, to help the old timers think about prices in the old system. But now I wonder if they have been thinking all along that it would all fall apart some day.

  20. barrisj

    Re: Iran…another assassination of an Iranian scientist, this time by a planted magnetic bomb onto his vehicle:

    Iranian nuclear chemist killed by motorbike assassins

    Tensions escalate with US and Israel as Tehran accuses the Mossad in fifth murder of scientist>

    A chemist working at Iran’s main uranium enrichment plant was killed on Wednesday when attackers on a motorbike stuck a magnetic bomb to his car.

    The assassination – the fifth against Iranian nuclear scientists in the past two years – is likely to further escalate tensions between Iran and the west.

    It took place at 8.30am, at the height of rush-hour in Tehran, according to witnesses quoted in the Iranian media.

    A motorcycle pulled up alongside a silver Peugeot 405 carrying the deputy director of the Natanz enrichment plant, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, 32.

    The pillion passenger stuck a charge to the door next to the chemist, which detonated as the motorcyclist drove off.

    The car’s driver was also killed and a pedestrian was wounded, but the charge used appeared to have a sophisticated shape that focused the blast into the car. While the door ended up in nearby trees, much of the car remained intact.

    Ahmadi-Roshan was the fifth nuclear scientist to be attacked in Tehran in 24 months. Only one target has survived the daytime attacks, apparently carried out by a well-trained hit team.
    [more...]
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/11/iran-nuclear-chemist-killed?newsfeed=true

    Now, it doesn’t take too much imagination to see who may be behind this filthy “targeted assassination” program, as it bears all the earmarks of Mossad, aided and abetted by the CIA. Another angle on the perps is reported here:

    Israeli Source: Assassination of Iranian Scientist Joint Operation by Mossad, MKO

    TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli sources confirmed that the terrorist attack which killed a senior Iranian scientist in Tehran on Wednesday was a joint operation carried out by the agents of the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, and the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO).

    “My own confidential Israeli source confirms today’s murder was the work of the Mossad and MKO, as have been a number of previous operations I’ve reported here,” Richard Silverstein, a senior Jewish American journalist, said in his weblog named Tikun Olam.

    “The method recalls another series of assassinations that occurred of Fereidoun Abbassi Davani (who was seriously wounded) and his colleague Majid Shahriari (who was killed),” Silverstein said in his weblog.

    He downplayed the effects of such assassinations in Iran’s scientific progress, and said, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it every time something like this happens: assassinations like the one today accomplish nothing. It doesn’t fundamentally harm Iran’s nuclear program. It doesn’t deter Iran or its scientists from pursuing the research and whatever scientific goals they may have. These are shameful acts by a shameful Israeli government exploiting Iranian terrorists for their own ends. I find it disgusting that Israel can get away with such acts with impunity.”
    [more...]

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010170807

    “I find it disgusting that Israel can get away with such acts with impunity.” . Well, it’s because it’s Israel, isn’t it obvious? Blowing up citizens of another country normatively is considered an act of terrorism, but Israel, as the US, can conduct such actions in the name of “self-defence” or “national security” – only so-called “non-state actors” are in fact deemed “terrorists”, while state-sanctioned murder is consistent with the “right” of nations to act in “self-defence”. Blowback is on its way, fools.

  21. Cap'n Magic

    American Banker: JPMChase quietly puts the breaks on collection lawsuits, dismisses in-house lawyers. Money quote: “A sampling of court records in the major cities in five states shows that Chase collection suits have virtually disappeared. In a sixth state, Illinois, contract attorneys continue to file small-dollar cases, though at a reduced rate.

    It is unclear whether Chase has stopped pursuing collection on many claims nationwide, or if intends to pursue the debts in some other fashion. The bank has not explained its apparent moratorium and declined comment.

    Chase’s halt does, however, follow scattered defeats in state courts and a whistle-blower’s allegation that it falsely overstated the balances of thousands of delinquent accounts it sold to a third party. Former Chase employees and debt collection experts insist that the bank would not have abruptly retreated from its collections efforts in the absence of trouble.

    In a sign that Chase acted with urgency, numerous regional collections teams were fired in mid-2011 at the order of the New York bank’s headquarters, according to people familiar with the events.”

    http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/177_7/jpmorgan-chase-consumer-debt-collection-1045606-1.html?zkPrintable=1&nopagination=1

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Roger, thanks for the link. Remember that quaint motto: “Do no evil?”

      It was always and ever shall be about the dough: Extraction Capitalism.

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