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Links 1/13/12

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I actually like Friday the 13th because I’ve twice had Tuesday the 17th be a landmark good day.

Random Acts Of Kindness Multiplying At Bluffton Coffee Shop WSAV (hat tip Lambert)

Worm-Eating Plant Found—Kills via Underground Leaves National Geographic (hat tip Lambert)

Oxford don quizzed over the death of professor who was his best friend (in a case with echoes of Inspector Morse) Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Retraction Watch (hat tip Lambert). This site looks cool.

Monsanto Continues Expansion Despite Massive Public Opposition Natural Society (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Scientists: UN Soldiers Brought Deadly Superbug to Americas ABC (hat tip Lambert)

Rivals Eye American Airlines Wall Street Journal. Delta might buy American? Eeew. And how can this pass anti-trust muster?

Beijing Apple Store Pelted With Eggs at Botched IPhone Debut Bloomberg and Apple aborts China debut of iPhone 4S Financial Times

China: Get Ready for Turbulence The Diplomat

U.S. Sends Top Iranian Leader a Warning on Strait Threat New York Times

Roach Sees ‘Relatively Contained’ Recession in Europe Edward Harrison

Stop coddling Europe’s banks VoxEU

Russian Official Implies Foul Play In Mars Probe Failure Slashdot (hat tip furzy mouse)

How a self-sufficient America could go it alone Philip Stevens, Financial Times

US right steps up fight to halt Romney Financial Times. Huh? Do these guys want to throw the election to Obama? Romney is electable, not clear that any of the hard core right’s pick list is. Or is this really anti-Mormonism?

Transcripts show Fed wanted housing slowdown Financial Times (hat tip furzy mouse). This is funny in a sick way. It might be a good idea to have a decent reading on how big speculative excesses are before you decide to squeeze them out.

In an OWS Era, Americans Are Much More Aware of Class Tension Good News. Since readers sometimes get NC downer reality toxicity beyond the remedial powers of our daily Antidote, you can visit Good News, which sets out to find hopeful stories.

NY Fed in new move to sell AIG assets Financial Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). The Fed has been eager to unload this garbage barge for over a year. I take this to mean they think this is as good as the market is gonna get.

Virginia Bill to Consider Establishing a State-Owned Bank American Banker (hat tip Lambert). Mirabile dictu! The bill comes from a Republican.

US corporate creditworthiness falls, says S&P Financial Times. What do you expect with cheap credit on offer?

Banks Overhaul for Leaner Era Wall Street Journal. Right. Not much more opportunity to get consumers to lever up, and big companies are levered up.

Some Lenders to Students Face Greater U.S. Scrutiny New York Times

Foreclosure Nation: 2012 Could Bring Wave of Foreclosures Common Dreams (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Queens Broker Is Accused of Bringing Immigrants’ Ruin New York Times (hat tip Buzz Potamkin). Awful.

Refusing To Take Yes For An Answer On Bank Reform Simon Johnson

Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante? New York Times. They have to ask this question in the wake of Jayson Blair and Judith Miller? Put it another way, if they weren’t genuinely confused about truth v. truthiness, they would have trouble running stories that are largely dictation or bald faced propaganda (like the output of our modern Lord Haw-Haw, Adam Davidson).

Antidote du jour:

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140 comments

  1. Swedish Lex

    If the Republicans engage in some kind of faith-based cannibalism, then they will only get what they deserve.

    1. wanderer

      I’m LDS myself, and it has been almost amusing to watch the shock and confusion of many of my friends at the hostility and rejection the rest of the religious far right throws at Romney. It certainly hasn’t been a matter of LDS church doctrine or policy, but as a practical matter the LDS people have overwhelmingly chosen to seek their political alliances with the most bigoted and intolerant groups they could find, from the Birchers in the 1950s and 60s, to the Falwell types in the 1980s, and so on up to the present time. So their shock and suprise at finding themselves on the receiving end of the bigotry and intolerance of the rest of the religious far right is almost amusing.

      Almost, but not quite.

      And even now, they’re not really interested in exploring political alternatives. Even now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, an upstanding member of the LDS Church, is less than popular with the rank-and-file, largely because he’s a Democrat.

      Not that it would make a lot of difference if they did, since Democratic politicians get their money from Wall Street just like Republican politicians do.

      1. Skippy

        Warren Jeffs… and

        Background:

        From insights gained during and after my doctoral study of the psychology of cognitive-dissonance conflict, I have for many years become increasingly concerned about the profound mental torment of numerous innocent Mormon women, especially because the tormented are so often among Mormonism’s “best and brightest” with regard to:

        (a) intelligence,
        (b) education,
        (c) propensity for clear rationality,
        (d) sense of factual conscientiousness.

        http://packham.n4m.org/prozac.htm

        Skippy… from an LDS himself.

        1. F. Beard

          It is said wrt the Bible that every time an archaeologist’s shovel hits the ground in the Middle East that another atheist bites the dust.

          Meanwhile, Mormon archaeologists are the ones biting the dust as they seek to validate the Book of Mormon.

          I could not vote for Romney because he is either dumb, indifferent or cynical wrt his religion.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Why just the Middle East?

            Why don’t they dig in the South Pole? The Presence should be universal archeologically.

            NASA Martian rovers are too narrow-minded.

          2. F. Beard

            The Presence should be universal archeologically. LTPB

            Maybe the Presence chooses to do things His way and not yours?

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            His Way is.

            My way is to hope that archeologists would dig everywhere… here, in the solar system and the rest of the Cosmos.

          4. Binky the Bear

            Funny, as an archaeologist it was generally considered to be the case that Biblical Archaeology was the home of religious fanatics and religious capitalists. Actual evidence never comes into the picture, and anything you find had better have a hook to the bible and not the cruddy boring parts either, it’s a burial box that says John on it then it has to be John the Baptist or gtfo. Lots of money in the tourism part and one can make a good living at it. It was huge in the 1970s when blended with Von Danichen stuff.

          5. F. Beard

            My way is to hope that archeologists would dig everywhere… MLTPB

            SETI was digging and heard NOTHING.

            Scary, huh?

          6. Tertium Squid

            If I needed an archaeologist to tell me it’s okay to believe the Bible or Book of Mormon, my faith wouldn’t be worth ten cents.

          7. RW Jones

            Your holy book is every bit as much a pile of nonsense as the Mormon one, you self-righteous windbag.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          My cousin is an obedient *Mormon* woman-mother. In older age, no more tortured soul exists: tragically obedient *in her place* even as she denies, denies, denies (she must) her hopeless grief over her *lot in life*. Horribly pathetic. In the fold of the LDS, women are chattel, Q.E.D.

          Their plight reminds me of the Roman Catholic priest, who after 40 years of obedient service to Pope and Empire, finds that he “doesn’t believe it anymore.” Where does he go, then? Many become *counselors* in civilian life.

          Even Mother Teresa admitted that, in her heart of hearts, she did not believe the *miracle* of the Roman Catholic god and salvation. Despite this shocking confession, she was set on the road to “Catholic Sainthood.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Anyone can be forgiven for not believing, even a saint.

            It’s not a sin to doubt why you have been forsaken.

            Perhaps, to doubt is to believe.

            ‘Why have you forsaken Him?’ – there is an asnwer, but you are not commiting a sin to doubt…even just before you exit this world. An example has been set.

          2. F. Beard

            An example has been set. MLTPB

            To ask “Why have You forsaken Me?” is not doubt, it is an honest question from one who believes, else he would not bother asking.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Believe me, I’m just trying to find out.

            So, to question is to believe.

            To doubt is not.

          4. Mansoor H. Khan

            MyLessThanPrimeBeef says:

            “So, to question is to believe.”

            “To doubt is not.”

            Depends on the stance of the question.

            All kinds of questions are ok. What is not ok is if you find an see the truth and NOT accepted it openly.

            Or if you see the truth and reject it because it is not what you expected.

            Or if you see the truth and reject it because it is was not given first to a member of your tribe.

            Or even worse you become a hypocrite and obstruct the truth to and damage the community of believers.

            Allah told the prophet that he can only deliver the message and cannot guide anyone to accept the message. Only Allah guides those who sincerely seek it.

            But some can takes minutes to accept the truth others will take almost a lifetime (both are ok).

            Mansoor H. Khan

      2. alex

        “it has been almost amusing to watch the shock and confusion of many of my friends at the hostility and rejection the rest of the religious far right throws at Romney”

        As an American I find the whole idea that Romney’s religion would be an impediment to his election to be absolutely revolting.

        1. alex

          P.S. I’m not a Mormon, nor would I vote for Romney in a thousand years. But I do have this quaint attachment to both the letter and the spirit of the 1st Amendment and the Constitution’s prohibition of a religious test for office.

          1. F. Beard

            Americans can vote for or against a candidate for ANY reason including his religion. The Constitution limits what the US Government can do, not what the people can do.

            Or should Romney, if he loses, sue the South for religious discrimination?

          2. F. Beard

            @LeonovaBalletRusse,

            I won’t vote for Romney because:

            1) He is a Republican
            OR
            2) He is a Mormon.

            So sue me!

          3. Tertium Squid

            Interesting ontology – I personally don’t rely on cartoon shows for information about other religions.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe logic and grammar both.

            I don’t want to be accused of jumping to conclusions.

        2. Zugswang

          Yes, there SHOULD be no religious test, but it still happens, unfortunately. I’m fairly confident that I’ll be dead before we see an open atheist elected as a president or a senator.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am looking forward to the first Zen Buddhist president.

            It’s about time.

            Too bad Jerry Brown didn’t have more moonbeams.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Z — let’s chant it without cease:

            “There SHALL be no religious test … This is Constitutional Law!

            (repeat, ad infinitum)

          3. Mansoor H. Khan

            MyLessThanPrimeBeef,

            It looks like you are kinda in to Zen Buddhism.

            Please read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. It is an excellent subtle critique of Buddhism in very interesting way.

            mansoor h. khan

        3. dcblogger

          Romney’s religion is an entirely legitimate issue. Will Romeny respect my right to reproductive services? Not likely. Will Romeny uphold the teaching of science in public schools? I have serious doubts on that matter.

          We should not be squeamish about confronting candidates with their religious beliefs where there is credible evidence that those beliefs would affect their willingness to uphold the letter and spirit of their oath of office.

          Will Catholic politicians disregard their Bishop for the constitution? The Stupack amendment casts serious doubt upon that. Will Mormon politicians uphold the rights of women? Certainly Harry Reid has not.

          It is up to candidates to convince us that they are worthy of public office, it is not up to us to assume that they are.

          1. JTFaraday

            Well, at the end of the day, I think Mitt Romney will probably respect your right to all the health care financing products your money can buy.

      3. ScotW

        Go to Utah, examine State & local politics, and then tell me religion has nothing to do with politics. In Utah it rules everything, including the press. The Mormons have interjected themselves into all political issues. Don’t just go to SLC, but to the rural areas which have not been diluted by outsiders. I imagine that most devout Mormons believe that politics should be influenced (and ruled in Utah) by their faith.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          “The Church of Latter Day Saints* IS Utah.

          Utah IS “The Church of Latter Day Saints.

          This is indisputable. History in fact proves it. The Patriarchal Hierarchy of *Mormon* Emperor-Pope, Kings, Nobles, Princes, Harems, Serfs is a *RELIGIOUS EMPIRE*–just like Vatican City and its surroundings in Rome and the World.

          They have the audacious presumption to baptize thousands after their deaths, even if they were Jewish, Muslim, Protestant/Reformed/Roman Catholic, even if in life these people were adamant a-theists! And they KNOW that they are totally righteous in performing this service, that they are entitled to carry out this function for the dead. Women in this Empire are chattel, Q.E.D.

          Does this give us insight into the *Mind of the Mormon*? Why would the People of the U.S.A. elect an obedient *Bishop* of this Empire to be President of the U.S.A.? Isn’t it tragic enough that Mormons fill the ranks of the CIA?

          BILL BLACK/YVES SMITH 2012: OCCUPY DEMOCRACY for the 99%

      4. LeonovaBalletRusse

        wanderer, *Mormon* guys are trained to be the WEAKEST (even if the most stubborn in their ignorance and mind-control) MEN on the planet. Their wives are the most INTIMIDATED women on the planet. They belong together, but NOT as any President and First Lady.

        The Church of Latter Day Saints is a monolithic , patriarchal religious empire that exacts magical thinking and strict obedience from its minions. The SOLE duty of any “good” Mormon is to promulgate the religious propaganda and to bring the population of the entire world to its knees before the Mormon Emperor, and to convert every civic government to a Latter Day Saints Theocracy.

        In order to do this, the “Elders” (propagandists) must lie whenever to do so is to the advantage of the LDS quest for world dominion, even as they lie to themselves that they are *righteous* Latter Day Saints.

        “KNOW YOUR ENEMY.” Mitt Romney for the Church of Latter Day Saints, and Rick Santorum/Newt Gingrich for the Vatican/Holy Roman Empire, are all the same: AGENTS of a foreign power–a power foreign to the Constitutional Government of/by/for the the People of the United States of America.

        1. Wander

          Leonovo, you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, and lets leave it at that.

          However:

          “In order to do this, the “Elders” (propagandists) must lie whenever to do so is to the advantage of the LDS quest for world dominion,”

          We are good enough at math to know that we’re not gonna get world domination anytime soon.

          1. Skippy

            “Because of this emphasis on family, Mormons are also very concerned with their ancestors. They believe that they can perform ordinances for their ancestors after they have passed away, including being baptized into the Mormon faith. This practice is called baptism for the dead.”

            http://www.onegreatfamily.com/LearningCenter/Resources/mormon-genealogy.aspx?PID=60455&KEYWORD=mormon%20genealogy&gclid=CK3cqdiwz60CFYVKpgodbU9_kw

            Skippy… WTF talk about subverting someones living will and the Nazi style correct human – bad human – aspect… genealogy… barf. Btw grew up with the Bashas of AZ +.

            PS. coded books are a tell, still remember.

    2. Ignim Brites

      Google ‘Romney Tax Return’ for some insight into this. The last two candidates of great wealth, McCain and Kerry, didn’t fair too well, and these guys were both war heroes. Romney looks like money even more that Jamie Dimon.

    3. alex

      “If the Republicans engage in some kind of faith-based cannibalism, then they will only get what they deserve”

      You make the same mistake that Yves did where she says “Do these guys want to throw the election to Obama? Romney is electable, not clear that any of the hard core right’s pick list is.”

      The Republicans (and even more the Democrats) are not a monolithic entity. There are factions more concerned with having their own guy win the primaries than they are with winning the general election.

      1. Neo-Realist

        The movement conservative faction of the republican party fears that Romney is electable and that if elected, he will govern like a moderate/conservative democrat (like Obama) or at least in a similar fashion to his tenure as Mass Governor–pro choice, universal health care plan, etc. Furthermore, his willingness to flip flop to appease whatever audience he speaks to and a seeming possession of a strong pragmatic technocrat streak has created enough distrust among the conservative wing that he won’t govern on their purist terms.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Earendel, “Steven N. KAPLAN of the University of Chicago Booth School …” is the apologist for private equity. They are circling the wagons now; but there are buzzards flying above them.

  2. dearieme

    “I still remember his explanation of the divergence theorem using the wildebeest.” Tomorrow’s antidote?

  3. rjs

    re: How a self-sufficient America could go it alone

    did you post this to see if anyone would call out its nonsense?

    as we saw with the japanese earthquake, half the auto plants in the country shut down when the global supply chain was interupted..

    1. craazyman

      Cheery stuff. :(

      Is there a “Death, Depression, Despondency and Dying” blog somewhere for that sort of story. I just want a 3 bagger. That’s why I come here, to get the macro backdrop. Death can wait, as far as I’m concerned.

      1. tom allen

        “Because I could not stop for Death,
        He kindly stopped for me;
        The carriage held but just ourselves
        And Immortality.
        We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
        And I had put away
        My labor, and my leisure too,
        For his civility.”

        –thought for the Day from Emily Dickinson :-P

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Ah, wishful thinking.

          W.H. Auden was stark: “Not to be born is the best for man” (“Death’s Echo).

          So we make the best plays we can with a crooked deal, and some of us rise to great heights, enriching humanity. Others spend their lives lying, stealing, hating, murdering. The “Right to Lifers” ought to be challenged with: “Who are YOU to bring a human being into the world, and to insist that the frequent by-product of rape or pleasure be forced to be born into a tragic existence?”

          How many have said, often in childhood: “I wish I’d never been born” — and search in vain for a quick Exit. How many suicides are there in America and the world? Have we created a world hospitable to humanity?

          In C.21, we should cut to the chase. To bear a human being into the world is very, very, serious business. The *Christian Inquisition* found today, in clinics where 15-year-old girls and 45-year-old women come in agony over the outcome of *unsafe practice*, should be in high schools to ask: “What does “having babies” mean to you? “Someone to love?” “Someone to love me?” “Why would a baby/child/adult want YOU as a parent? Can you think of “the Other” instead of yourself in this matter? Because your child will NOT be you.”

          Just a little “thought exercise” for a Friday. This is why I do comedy onstage.

          1. craazyman

            That’s even more depressing than the first comment.

            What is this Friday the 13th or something?

          2. Tim

            You’re joking right?

            You must suround yourself with many a pitiful soul or perhaps nobody at all to think most people wish they had never been born.

            As horrible as life can and often is most people (we’re talking high 90%) would choose to be alive over never being born.

            Look at the level of happiness studies, most people even in 3rd world contries live very happily, even more so than us well off people in america.

          3. Mark P.

            Auden was channeling Nietzsche’s THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY, which has this ….

            ‘An old legend has it that King Midas hunted a long time in the woods for the wise Silenus, companion of Dionysos, without being able to catch him. When he had finally caught him, the king asked him what he considered man’s greatest good. The daemon remained sullen and uncommunicative until finally, forced by the king, he broke into a shrill laugh and spoke: “Ephemeral wretch, begotten by accident and toil, why do you force me to tell you what it would be your greatest boon not to hear? What would be best for you is quite beyond your reach: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best is to die soon.”‘

          4. Neal Deesit

            Philip Larkin’s take, in his poem,”This Be The Verse”

            They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
            They may not mean to, but they do.
            They fill you with the faults they had
            And add some extra, just for you.

            But they were fucked up in their turn
            By fools in old-style hats and coats,
            Who half the time were soppy-stern
            And half at one another’s throats.

            Man hands on misery to man.
            It deepens like a coastal shelf.
            Get out as early as you can,
            And don’t have any kids yourself.

    2. Jessica

      I was very impressed by this. If doctors refuse heroic end-of-life medical care and even a lot that is not so special (for example chemo when death is unavoidable anyway), after all they are the ones who see it in use and are in a position to judge its merits.
      At the same time, I doubt that these facts will change medical care much. Another symptom of our society-wide loss of the capacity for intelligent course correction, of which our economic policies are another good example.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        A good rule of thumb might be to ask the M.D.: “What would YOU do?” and hope to get a truthful answer.

        Great M.D.’s I have known are starkly realistic. How many M.D.’s *DIE* of a stroke? Didn’t the all-powerful Pamela Harriman *die* of her stroke?

        If you’ve lived your life well, especially a life of honor or privilege, in older age you *die* of a stroke or other super-debilitating *reversal of fortune*. Isn’t it a fact that the dream of many a privileged man is to *die in the saddle* as did Nelson Rockefeller?

        There are exceptions, of course. It’s best not to make assumptions. But if people really knew what would happen to them for years of decline in a *nursing home*, it is likely that they would not want to “live forever.”

        As has been said: “I don’t mind being dead, it’s the dying part I don’t want to suffer.”

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Wendy, the problem for those of us who are not doctors, or who do not have access to the gentle exit in a posh clinic in Switzerland, is that we must die miserably. Hypocritical, terrified, and ignorant “society” will not help the average person to “go gentle into that good night.”

      Even the NAZIs were provided a quick exit, as is anyone worth his salt in “Intelligence.” This is what Dr. Kervorkian heroically provided.

      As the Europeans declare in truth: America is the most hypocritical society on earth. What about the legions who now “cannot afford to live” and so face death by starvation and thirst–the most brutal horror one can share with a dying loved one (I have done this three times)? Can the American Medical Establishment and the Club of Rome not do better than this?

      What can we expect from “The People of No Mercy?”

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        And let me clarify the facts for those inexperienced with “death and dying” close-up and personal: Everyone who dies “of natural causes” dies ultimately of hunger and thirst, and this is grave suffering. Most “surviving loved ones” have never had the courage or the depth of love necessary to discover this fact.

        Read Sherwin B. Nuland’s “How We Die.” Be prepared.

  4. jsmith

    One really has to wonder if the comments at the NYT concerning the Iran story are truly to believed or are the posters merely paid government shills.

    To paraphrase the comments as of now:

    America, F*ck Yeah!!!

    This country has learned nothing through the needless murder of millions of innocent human beings and apparently many of us are cheering on another war.

    Disgusting.

    1. JTFaraday

      Since the NYT went to its new commenting system, all the early comments are of the “Trusted Commenter” variety that don’t need to pass through the moderation process before being posted.

      The NYT never did publish what criteria they used to determine which commenters were deemed safe for automatic public consumption…

    2. ScotW

      I posted a comment on the NYT’s January 11, 2012 article about the murder of the Iranian scientist. The comment was labeled a NYT Pick and was about 5 on Reader’s picks. Today, the comment is gone. It was very critical of the U.S. government’s role in fomenting violence against Iran. Glenn Greenwald has an excellent piece in Salon concerning the NYT’s quoting anonymous government sources without questioning the factual assertions. The NYT’s is so dangerous because of its undeserved label as the “liberal newspaper,” and its reach to people who actually think about the issues. More dangerous than Fox News who only preaches to the choir. We are on a march to war with Iran being led by Mr. Obama who needs to prove his machismo during this election year. The NYT’s is only too happy to help. Iran may state its desire Israel be wiped from the face of the earth, but only the U.S. and Israel will follow through on the threat of war. Getting Americans to stand in the shoes of another Nation’s citizens is an impossible task. Too many years of propaganda and preaching about “moral equivalency,” as in, “How dare you compare the United States’ killing of [fill in the blank victims] to what [evil nation] is doing.”

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        “prove his machismo” – Didn’t he do that already with *Osama bin daid*? Didn’t you see the dance at the end zone?

        He’s such a crooked wimp, to put it politely. Michelle wears the pants.

        BILL BLACK/YVES SMITH 2012: OCCUPY DEMOCRACY for the 99%

  5. Cap'n Magic

    To the Dominionists (aka ‘American Taliban’ or as I call them, Neo-Pharisees) that effectively control the GOP, Romney and fellow Mormons are just one step removed from Satan. Hell, even Santorum (and to a lesser extent the Mahler-like opportunist Gingrich) would be suspect because of their Catholicism.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Nah. They actually prefer someone who isn’t an American Taliban.

      This is just the standard fake outrage the elite and their shock troops always engage in–pushing America to the right.

      It doesn’t matter how fascist the Republicans pretend to be–there will always be a push for them to move to the right. It conditions the candidates and conditions the American public.

      We see the same thing with the business communities fake outrage against Obama. We are supposed to think that our political leaders appease the religious right or business interests for legitimate political reasons. That the business community is really worried about Obama’s socialism, for instance (which I’m sure is bullshit–I’m sure the business community is thrilled with what Obama has been able to pull off).

      1. Walter Wit Man

        And I’m not disputing that there are lots of right-wing voters that are Dominionist, or that they aren’t a strong force in the military.

        I just doubt that this is the animating force behind the GOP. I sense they are used by the forces that run the GOP rather than being the main goal. Business seems to be priority #1 and the club seems to be more open to Jews and Mormons and Catholics more so now than even a few decades ago.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Search YouTube for tragic tales of Dominionist destruction in Africa. These people are DANGEROUS. Very dangerous, extremely avaracious TYRANTS.

  6. aesop

    THE OWL AND THE BIRDS

    The Owl is a very wise bird; and once, long ago, when the first oak sprouted in the forest, she called all the other Birds together and said to them, “You see this tiny tree? If you take my advice, you will destroy it now when it is small: for when it grows big, the mistletoe will appear upon it, from which birdlime will be prepared for your destruction.” Again, when the first flax was sown, she said to them, “Go and eat up that seed, for it is the seed of the flax, out of which men will one day make nets to catch you.” Once more, when she saw the first archer, she warned the Birds that he was their deadly enemy, who would wing his arrows with their own feathers and shoot them. But they took no notice of what she said: in fact, they thought she was rather mad, and laughed at her. When, however, everything turned out as she had foretold, they changed their minds and conceived a great respect for her wisdom. Hence, whenever she appears, the Birds attend upon her in the hope of hearing something that may be for their good. She, however, gives them advice no longer, but sits moping and pondering on the folly of her kind.

  7. Jeff

    On Monsanto’s profit factory in your intestines:

    The Very Real Danger of Genetically Modified Foods

    A Chinese RNA study threatens to blast a major hole in Monsanto’s claim that “substantial equivalence” means no safety testing is needed. But researchers found that DNA can code for microRNA, which can, in fact, be hazardous.

    Chinese researchers have found small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to proteins in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood.

    http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/

    1. Mel

      That’s a strange story; not unusual in any way, but strange.

      “The same can’t be said of China. Its export-led growth model is rendered obsolete by America’s inability to continue to run huge current account deficits on the back of excessive domestic borrowing. Its huge size compared to previous export-led economies, notably Japan, is a major problem, but China also quite simply is the one left standing as the U.S. music stops. Export-led growth is a dud strategy now the United States is unlikely to be the easy market of first resort.”

      True enough, but try reversing the spin. China has a needy population and a huge manufacturing base. America has a huge business base, meant to live at the peak of the food chain, based on the financing of finance and the managing of management. The Chinese economy can shrink in financial terms without ceasing to live. Growing the existing American business winds up growing a deeper hole.

      The downside for China lies in the old Club of Rome report from the ’70s. Providing for physical needs requires physical stuff, and there’s only so much of that around. It was in response to that that the recent American economy evolved, War on Payroll and all. Low-growth physical industry got pushed off to expendable economies like China. Money to the consumer sector (wages, pensions) was pulled out, and the consumer sector was supplied through loans (credit cards, mortgages at various levels) so that all the money could be got back at the end :). Manufacturing costs, off-shore, were squeezed so that the loaned money would go as far as it could. And all the growth got moved to finance and management, where you see it now. The latest SOPA and PIPA legislation are examples of this working.

      (Whoo — proof-read that? Who has time?)

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Mel, thanks for the comprehensive info, quite strategically important. You did a splendid job of typing it on the fly. I didn’t catch a single typo while reading on the fly.

    2. Susan the other

      China just wont be exporting to the US like before. It will produce for domestic consumption – and that will reduce its imports. It might be a good model for the US. Where else can we go? Our two biggest trading partners are fed up.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I hear often that China will/should balance toward producing more for domestic consumption.

        I rarely hear that the US should/will balance toward consuming more domestic production.

  8. ambrit

    Friends;
    Why am I so uneasy about the Prez wanting authority to merge and consolidate government agencys?
    The first trial baloon looks like a globalization initiative for American Business Regulation and Financing. The SBA and Export Import under the same roof? Excuse me if I’m my usual clueless self, but aren’t the two more than just a little divergent in their aims? Add to this parts of Commerce and three other agencys and you get what looks suspiciously like the Homeland Security phenomena; supposed efficiencies turning into opacity and expansion.
    Just in; I clicked back to the Yahoo story from which I got the information to double check something, and found a rewritten, shorter, and suddenly Right wing slanted screed. The original piece was fairly evenhanded and gave a decent amount of detail. The new iteration dropped most of the detail and featured several new quotes from the “Disloyal Opposition” in favour of “balance and fairness?” It strongly reminds me of the “Ministry of Truth.”
    Version 1.2 of this comment momentarily. -30-

    1. Walter Wit Man

      It’s simply the continuation of Obama’s grand con into his next term. He got away with the first time, why not double down? He’s raising funds now anyway, so might as well point out to business that he’s their man.

      Obama has already rolled out the con that his business friendly regulation reducing measures are actually a good thing, via Cass Sunstein. And guess what after one term of this con? Obama has weakened regulation MORE THAN BUSH! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-xrNbUqJZk&feature=youtu.be

      Got that liberal Democrats? You done got punked! If you cared enough to notice.

      I am still amazed there are people that consider themselves liberal that are still falling for this absolute scam and fraud! Seriously, any liberal that claims they are voting for Obama to save the environment is a liar or a fool.

      I mean, Obama refuses to follow the law and set real clean air standards, and liberals aren’t up in arms? Obama allows deepwater offshore oil drilling? Whaaaat? After mocking the GOP for its drill baby drill policies the Democrats enact them themselves? And liberals are voting for and supporting him? Why?

      I blame the rank and file Democrats, many who are reading this blog right now, for these results.

      Next thing you know Obama is going to promise to get rid of the Bush tax cuts again (or save Social Security from the evil Republicans), and Democrat voters are going to get suckered again.

      It’s astounding.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        William K. Black/Yves Smith 2012

        There needs to be a Dem Convention coup. OCCUPY the DemConvention 2012.

  9. Susan the other

    Bill Gates, the CIA and Monsanto sound like a scary combination. The best way to fight this kind of steamroller will be better shopping unions. After other countries have refused Monsanto’s products, they will bring them home to roost. Instead of stopping Monsanto only with government regulations, we need to form co-ops and buy our agricultural products from countries like Hungary. If a big client in the US orders organic products and Hungary meets those orders can this be a breach of free trade?

    1. Birch

      UN International Year of Cooperatives.

      social.un.org/coopsyear/

      It’s shaping up to be a great year to start some new cooperatives. Buyers’ co-ops, producers’ co-ops, workers’ co-ops, credit co-ops. Cut the rentiers out of the bargain by funding it and doing it ourselves.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      CIA+Gates+Monsanto+Anschluss=terrifying

      “Free trade is piracy” says Dr. John Coleman: http://www.youtube.com — “Dr. John Coleman: the Club of Rome, Chatham House And The Committee of 300″ — original lecture given during early 1990′s. (see at your own risk)

      Let’s not forget that “free trade” was the imperial conquest strategy of The British East India Company-Victorian Reich, driven by the “Opium Wars” (still in force).

  10. b.

    Re: Truth Vigilantes. I suggest this as a chaser:

    “I couldn’t believe that nobody in the news media was willing to point out the lies. At the time, the Times actually told me that I couldn’t use the l-word either.”
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/untruths-wholly-untrue-and-nothing-but-untruths/

    Now compare:
    “As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie.”

    Meta-question: Is the NYT Public Editor a liar? If so, should he call himself out?

  11. Chris A

    Re: Simon Johnson’s baselinescenario.com piece, “Refusing to Take Yes For An Answer on Bank Reform”

    I found this piece from Johnson rather surprising. After noting that Jon Huntsman favors placing a cap on the asset size of large banks — based on assets as a percentage of GDP, as well as a cap on leverage (however that might be determined). He argues that the left and right should recognize the opportunity of a Republican presidential candidate essentially advocating breaking up the big banks. Hallelujah! To me, this sounds like a “Nixon goes to China” development in the sense that Congressional Republicans would assuredly block any remotely similar legislative effort and no other GOP presidential candidates have made any remotely similar suggestions. Obama hasn’t made this an important initiative, and presumably at this point, only an iconoclastic Republican candidate could.

    Johnson asks, “Why won’t people on the left see this opportunity and support it fully?” That’s all well and good, and I applaud Huntsman taking this on. I’ve nudged my Republican friends about this, to little response. Huntsman, it seems to me, ought to seem like a very attractive candidate to conservative Republicans, yet his candidacy has only recently registered much interest among primary voters.

    But what exactly is the left supposed to do? The question strikes me as rather naive. The rest of Huntsman’s campaign positions sound as nightmarish as those of the next candidate, but he’s right on this one important point. This is a critically important issue, but it’s only one major issue among many. Unfortunately, it’s out of the question for most people on the left to support him. So what exactly is to be done except to hope that Huntsman’s ideas on this issue take hold among Republican voters?

  12. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “Haiti had never seen a case of cholera until the arrival of the [UN] peacekeepers” from Nepal, who did not use proper sanitary procedures. Harvard reports the cholera “superbug” has killed 7,000 in Haiti.

    Note: they did not have to use “smallpox blankets” as in olden days.

    1. rps

      Or the conquering Spaniard soldiers raping and infecting the neofito’s, indigenous populations with syphilis at the missions in Santa Barbara, Dan Diego, San Francisco, etc… in the 1770′s well into the 1800′s. In 1831 the Mexican governor Manuel Victoria noted that venereal diseases were devouring the natives horribly.

  13. Don Levit

    Birch:
    One of the highlights of the ACA is the creation of co-ops.
    These are 501(c)(29) insurers.
    From a not-for-profit standpoint, I cannot comment on how a co-op could distinguish itself from its for-profit competitors.
    I have researched the IRC pretty extensively, and I can say confidently that a cooop must distinguisg itself from its for-profit competitiors to justify its federal not-for-profit status.
    In IRC section 501(m), it specifically states that insurers who are 501(c(3)s or 501(c)(4)s are not to sell commercial insurance.
    Commercial insurance is defined as insurance that is available to the public.
    So, not only co-ops, but also 501(c(3)s and 501(c)(4)s need to flourish.
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield IRC section 501(m) for the insurance they offered was no different from that which was available from its for-profit competitors.
    As a not-for-profit insurer, they are supposed to offer insurance that is not available commercially.
    Think of the possibilities for real competition with the Aetnas and United Health Cares.
    Don Levit

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Amazing.

      When they cut it down to 10 atoms, we can all imagine tiny, little pairs of human hands with 10 fingers each, some in other parallel universes perhaps, inside the quantum machine doing the calculation.

  14. kevinearick

    the short squeeze always gets out of hand…

    The Traveling Salesman Problem, To QE Infinity & Beyond

    The distance between dimensional and linear is perception of perceptions, relativity. Once you understand the implications of addition to 0, enabling separation of charge through algebraic construction and deconstruction, across the dimensional looking glass multiplexer, the rest is a piece of cake. Your senses, driven by DNA feedback evolution, result in the integral false assumptions, which enable derivative switching for you, creating the event horizon channels.

    A fusion/fission reactor is a complete circuit with no/all perception, that is no insulation between the proton and electron of dimensional protons and electrons. The empire does not die; it is rebranded through the flux into a new event horizon. You are no more limited by the empire assumption than the sun is limited by the planets surrounding it. Space time is a perception, the false assumption creating the event horizons, which are simply stepping stones.

    The law herded non-proprietary income into govt. proxy RE price inflation, resulting in negative feedback quantum backlash where the end of the consumption cycle intersects with the end of the geographic proprietary cycle. The problem is parental failure to provide children with the skills necessary to find or build their own event horizons, where their strings fit. The empire solution after the last heart attack was legal illegal immigration to reignite the ponzi, crammed down the throat of the pacific by the atlantic, from across the sea.

    Each event horizon has a unified field equation in the equation of equations, with its own time. If you recall the static/integrated business I/O model provided earlier, each product sub-process is a converging waveform, with amplitude, frequency, and TIME. Everything adds up to 0. Left to its own devices, algebraic reduction, legacy corporate may only implode.

    The Fed controls prices (inflation AND employment) by controlling currency circulation through credit channels, creating increasing pressure and decreasing volume under geographic saturation conditions. Communities cut their own throats by subsidizing big boxes with eminent domain instead of growing purely municipal interest, favoring individual responsibility with a gate that uniquely filters out empire judgment, which may only be implemented through a self-sustaining economy with tradable surplus, connected to the planet. Intelligently grant the kids credit, beyond the knowledge of the empire, as they pass though. We all make mistakes.

    Each corporation has a unique fear impulse control mechanism, or culture, and it lays off according to noncompliance. The suppressed signal in the conformers create magnified impulses across the glass in their private lives, upon which all corporations prey in the form of media controlled consumption, in a peer pressure positive feedback loop. They run from fear to comfort addiction.

    A black hole seeks to hide from itself by traveling in broad daylight. Corporate shorts disorder, calling the result order. Any change in direction increases the already maximized anxiety in peer pleasing participants. The question is not how you escape the prison. The question is where do you want to go with the integral. The derivative has no choice but to follow, and it is choice, individual responsibility, that the conformers are so bred to fear, creating the prison. The market result is that you bet on ignorance in a game of last man standing.

    Without equations to program, the empire operators are completely lost. Think about a protein and a galaxy. When you apply rotation/torque to the two dimensional wave, you get the three dimensional helix, which gives you a spring, storage and retrieval of activation energy cascade. When you add branches to the helix… Space travel then is a matter of increasing torque and decreasing friction. Your motor travels dimensionally. Skip your rock across the pond and into the sun. Build your instrument/meter and the motor will appear. The empire torques your spring for you.

    Choose the integrals that store energy of activation like rungs on a ladder. Your destination depends upon order of execution. The clock has keys and locks. Always complete the circuit beyond the knowledge of the empire. Temporarily employ relativity to separate torque from friction. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It is stored in relative dimensions. Learn to see the dimensions in your mind’s eye and the equations will appear.

    1. psychohistorian

      Nicely done. I like:
      “The market result is that you bet on ignorance in a game of last man standing.”

      Thanks.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      kevinearick, is this metaphorical report a result of “automatic writing” such as that experienced by the wife of Wm Butler Yeats (from which he came to write “The Vision”)? Is it a result of the experience of “Cosmic Consciousness” (see book by that name), recounting the life-changing enlightenment of such as Dante, Francis Bacon, and Balzac?

      If so, please sent it to George Soros, c/o INET.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      dcblogger, thanks for the link. I gave the book, “How To Liberate America From Wall Street Rule” and took a look around the website. It’s definitely worth investigating further. We need YVES SMITH to give us her opinion of it.

      YVES? In your spare time, …

    2. Valissa

      OK, this seems to be the crux of their approach…

      The report calls for building a money/banking/finance system of local financial institutions that are transparent, accountable, rooted in community and dedicated to funding activities that build community wealth and meet community needs. The proposed system will look quite similar to the one that existed in the United States before the wave of financial deregulation that began in the 1960s.

      These are lovely ideals, they truly are, including the lovely myth of the golden days of business yesteryear. I too wish everyone would just be nice and play fair and not cheat to win the game. It would be nice if there were some sort of supreme force that could make these dreams come true and and then enforce these noble principles forever in time. to be a bit colloquial… nevah gonna happen!

      Why? History doesn’t happen like that, social change doesn’t happen like that, and the world of power and money (which has always been there in some form or another) doesn’t work like that. I believe in being realistic about how the world works, and that that is the best starting point to start working for change. If people really want to change the business or financial world and how it operates, suggest they start a business themselves and then apply all the above ideals in your own community. Then if the trend catches it will be because it’s successful so others will want to emulate/copy your methods.

      It’s seductively easy to tell others how they should be doing things in order to make the world a better place.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Thanks for the feedback, Valissa. Yes, it does seem quite utopian; but if enough rich people find a way to profit from such a scheme, as an *innovation* and not a return to the past, it might happen.

        I think this is “running it up the flagpole time”.

        YVES, will you give us your opinion?

  15. Bill C

    @Yves: “Or is this really anti-Mormonism?”

    Of course it is. The basis of all bigotry is non-rational, and fundamentalism is always steeped in bigotry, often wrapped in rational wrappers, intended to deceive.

    Rational considerations like who is electable come far down the list of priorities.

    1. lidia

      Oh, so it’s “bigoted” to prefer not to vote for a person who thinks that when he dies, he’s going to become a God of his own planet? [I prefer not to vote for *any* religious nutters, but the Mormons are a little nuttier than most.]

      For fun, check out
      http://www.exmormon.org/

  16. George

    Romney is only electable in the weak sense : enough people may stay home on both sides that he wins.

    But the country would merely experience a continuation of the Bush-Obama administration.

  17. gordon

    The story of State banking rumbles on. I think the issue was last discussed here in this cross-post from Washington’s Blog (June 2011):

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/06/guest-post-the-giant-banks-are-already-state-sponsored-so-why-not-create-public-banks-to-at-least-share-the-gains-help-out-main-street-and-grow-our-local-economies.html

    The American Banker piece in todays’s link notes that it isn’t only Virginia: “The idea of creating a state-owned bank has been gaining traction in a number of state legislatures of late. Lawmakers in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii and several other states all introduced bills last year that sought to establish a state-owned bank or study the idea of creating one and it is expected that similar bills will be reintroduced early this year when state legislatures convene”.

    1. Clonal Antibody

      Ellen Brown has another idea that is also very interesting – Occupy the Neighborhood: How Counties Can Use Land Banks and Eminent Domain

      An electronic database called MERS has created defects in the chain of title to over half the homes in America. Counties have been cheated out of millions of dollars in recording fees, and their title records are in hopeless disarray. Meanwhile, foreclosed and abandoned homes are blighting neighborhoods. Straightening out the records and restoring the homes to occupancy is clearly in the public interest, and the burden is on local government to do it. But how? New legal developments are presenting some innovative alternatives.
      .
      .
      .
      Relief for Counties: Land Banks and Eminent Domain

      The legal tide is turning against MERS and the banks, giving rise to some interesting possibilities for relief at the county level. Local governments have the power of eminent domain: they can seize real or personal property if (a) they can show that doing so is in the public interest, and (b) the owner is compensated at fair market value.

      The public interest part is easy to show. In a 20-page booklet titled “Revitalizing Foreclosed Properties with Land Banks,” the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ……goes on to describe an alternative being pursued by some communities::

      To ameliorate the negative effects of foreclosures, some communities are creating public entities — known as land banks — to return these properties to productive reuse while simultaneously addressing the need for affordable housing.

      .
      .
      .
      .
      But states can still face obstacles to acquiring and restoring the properties, including a lack of funds and difficulties clearing title.

      Both of these obstacles might be overcome by focusing on abandoned and foreclosed properties for which the chain of title has been broken, either by MERS or by failure to transfer the promissory note according to the terms of the trust indenture. These homes could be acquired by eminent domain both free of cost and free of adverse claims to title.
      .
      .
      .
      .

      1. F. Beard

        including a lack of funds

        Which is why A Federal solution is needed. The Federal Government can create all the funds it needs.

        Poor Ellen. I quit being a fan when it became obvious that she is in love with credit creation.

        1. Clonal Antibody

          But Mr. Beard,

          But how do you get away from the fact that all money is debt? Money is nothing but a token of debt.

          Ellen just wants money to be created by public entities, and not private ones! In other words, non profit money creation, or if there is any profit, it goes back to the community.

          1. Mansoor H. Khan

            Clonal Anitbody said:

            “But how do you get away from the fact that all money is debt? Money is nothing but a token of debt.”

            No. Money is claim. And a claim can be an equity claim or debt claim.

            Structuring money as an equity claim (spending it into existence rather then lending into existence) is far better then structuring it as a debt claim. Experience and the scripture support this.

            mansoor h. khan

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Thanks for this report. It is a fact that many people buy and sell real property with a cloud on the title. This sounds like a MOVEMENT in the making.

  18. Hugh

    Romney is the most straightforward corporate of the candidates in either party. Among Democrats, Obama had the hopey changey thing going on masking his own strongly corporatist leanings. Paul has the libertarians. Palin, Bachman, and now Santorum have the religious conservatives.

    The idea here is that I don’t think anyone thinks that a candidate can win on a purely corporatist line. It has to be something plus corporatist.

    Anti-Mormonism is the gateway that opens up Romney to attack. His problem though is that he has no fallback line that movement conservatives or libertarians can identify with. I mean both Gingrich and Santorum are Catholics and that too might raise red flags on the right, but they also have histories as strong conservatives or at least strong anti-Democrats. Romney doesn’t have that. He has either signed up to or dumped whatever corporatist line fit best with his political ambitions at the time. I imagine that makes conservatives plenty queasy.

    But what is funny in all this is that most conservatives aren’t falling into the lesser evilism/electability trap that seems to be where Democrats live. You hear pundits (usually pushing the corporatist line) talk about Romney’s electability but ordinary conservatives? not really. So criticize conservatives as much as you want, say they are crazy, but they still remain way ahead of the Democrats in believing *gasp* that candidates should reflect their views to earn their votes.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, the truth is that they are all dogs, and soon they are going to be desperate. The “powers that be” will simply enthrone their choice.

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