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Links 2/11/12

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Some recession-hit horse owners freeing animals into wild herds McClatchy (hat tip Lambert)

At an Airline That Caters to Pets, the Humans Are Howling New York Times

Two people are dead because they unfriended woman on Facebook NetTech (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Somali famine ‘will kill tens of thousands’ BBC (hat tip reader May S)

Have Americans Given Up On McMansions? Atlantic Cities (hat tip reader May S)

The plan behind open-plan Gillian Tett, Financial Times. I suspect how you feel about this issue depends entirely on how extraverted you are.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Ignores Fukushima, Green-Lights First New Reactors in 34 Years Truthout (hat tip reader May S)

Greeks inflamed by bail-out demands Financial Times

Venizelos, uncut FT Alphaville

Greek Endgame in Sight Philomila Tsoukala, Credit Slips

The neocons’ big Iran lie Salon (hat tip reader May S)

Israel, MEK and state sponsor of Terror groups Glenn Greenwald (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

US JUSTICE DEPT: Switzerland’s Largest Private Bank Is A ‘Fugitive’ Associated Press

Romney Calls Himself ‘Severely Conservative’ Bloomberg. Finally, some truth in political advertising.

By contrast, we have Obama budget promises deficit cuts with growth Financial Times

Richard Nixon gets it Ed Harrison

SEC Launches Inquiry Aimed at Private Equity Wall Street Journal. This is way too obvious. The issues are legit. The timing is not.

False dawns and public fury: the 1930s are not so far away Martin Taylor, Financial Times

Glencore Gets Free Ship With a Fuel Discount as Charter Rates Go Negative Bloomberg (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Petroleum 3-Month Rolling Average Turns Sharply Lower; Negative Shipping Rates; Collapse in Global Trade Michael Shedlock

Mind-Blowing Charts From the Senate’s Income Inequality Hearing Mother Jones (hat tip reader May S)

Lanny Breuer’s Theory of Chatting Accountability for CEOs Marcy Wheeler

The big banks win again Matt Stoller, Salon

MF Global Trustee Sees $1.6 Billion Customer Shortfall New York Times. Aieee! Just like Lehman, the black hole is growing.

Antidote du jour:

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72 comments

  1. dearieme

    “Some recession-hit horse owners freeing animals into wild herds”: what a waste of good sausages.

  2. Bill G

    Politicians wouldn’t be using the SEC to dig up some mud on Romney would they? Naw. Probably a ham fisted attempt to elevate the discussion. But then again, I didn’t think the SEC still existed.

  3. craazyman

    Has Gillian Tett gone insane?

    Probly not. But how can she tout the open office? It’s a disaster. What happens if you want to go to sleep or surf the web for salmon fishing lodges in Iceland? I mean really.

    Several months back she also touted the God-like omnipotence of “liquidity” as an absolute force for good in the markets. Who could think that but a drunk or a beer distributor?

    Now she’s touting the open office. If you combine an open office with unlimited liquidity you get a night club. Actually that’s not bad. Maybe she’s just a hot blonde who’s unconscious and going on instinct. I guess her instincts are still good, even if her mind is wavering in regard to their application.

    1. juneau

      Well, sending pets for slaughter is a little scary to me. Why not do the same with other pets that are unwanted? I feel sorry for the horses. Why not euthanize? I guess it is asking too much but still, pets?

      There are many environmentally safe ways to feed starving people without feeding them pet animals. Like feeding them the oats the horses would have eaten.

    2. Keenan

      Tett misses slightly referring to Propst’s cubicle architecture as a rabbit warren. The structure is more evocative of a rat maze. Open office is just a softer version of Bentham’s Panopticon.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I’d settle for transparent skulls so we see what people are thinking

      Barrel eyed fish have transparent skulls. Why can’t we, the masters of the universe?

      1. Keenan

        RE: Transparent skulls:

        We’re probably not too far from something like that, maybe in the form of a brain networking card. I recall the late Sci Fi writer Arthur C Clarke predicting such a device in one of his novels, which he had termed a “brain cap”.

        Computers became more useful and more powerful when linked. Some techies – Mr Singularity, Ray Kurzweil for one – would likely view that as the next logical step for our species. Is humanity’s future the Borg of Star Trek? I’d rather not live in that world.

  4. Ned Ludd

    Of the country’s 9 to 10 million horses, about 700,000 die each year, according to Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle. But only 130,000 were being shipped to slaughter.

    That means most owners were acting responsibly, Pacelle said.

    If you raise a horse humanely, and no longer want it, it is environmentally responsible to send it to a slaughterhouse; it can become someone else’s food and was most likely raised in a better environment than your typical factory-farmed cow.

  5. jsmith

    The Greenwald article is a must read as it shows how yet again how truly two-tiered the “justice” system has become in this country.

    So, elected officials can openly advocate, raise money and donate to an organization officially proclaimed BY US LAW to be a terrorist organization but any peasant so much as claim they advocate for the Palestinians and they will be shipped off to Guantanamo.

    Nice.

    As concerns inequality, I finally think I have a plan to deal with the rich elite worldwide.

    Basically the global community designates some plot of land – Greenland, maybe? – as Richitonia where people making over some limit say $5 million? $10 million? HAVE to move to once they have surpassed the agreed upon limit.

    No matter what country they are from they are automatically picked up and shipped off with their families to Richitonia where they are free to do whatever they want with their money – build castles, swim in gold coins, etc – except raise a military or invest outside of Richitonia.

    In addition, they are free to travel but cannot spend more than one month in any given location.

    Basically, if the aristocrats want to live in a separate society from the rest of humanity then we should oblige them as it is the machinations of the elite that drive so much of the world’s misery.

  6. DC Native

    If you are a poor person and you steal a television or $50 from a 7/11, you will be hunted down by the local police, perhaps have your teeth kicked in, and immediately get sent to jail. Immediately. You will be cuffed, charged, and jailed. No questions asked.

    If you are rich and white and politically-connected, you have a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

    “Oh, I’m sorry for the confusion, officer. Here’s my ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. No, no. It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I won’t say a word about your mistake. Good day.”

    1. ambrit

      Dear DC Native;
      Well, no real disagreement here, but, what colour would you say the cat in the White House was? Better yet, what colour do you think he wants to be? (And no, Harvard trained lawyer is not a choice.)

    1. Jim

      Did the most recent winner of said scholarship argue in favor of assisting the militants in Egypt, who have reciprocated by imprisoning pro-democracy workers, including the son of a US official?

      1. different clue

        It isn’t the militants of Egypt who have detained pro-democracy workers in Egypt, including the son of a U.S. official. It is the Army of Egypt, acting through its pet legal enforcement personnel, who have done that.

        I don’t know any of the militants of Egypt but I suspect they are upset and chagrined. It rubs into their face just how thoroughly they have been cheated so far of what they thought was their victory.

      2. Procopius

        Perhaps I’m overly cynical from seeing NGOs in Vietnam, back in the day, and here in Thailand even now, but why do you use the term “pro-democracy” for the organizations that are being prosecuted in Egypt? Just because that’s what they call themselves? I notice the Egyption Army is saying they “funneled money to particular political organizations.” I have never lived in Egypt, so I don’t know, but past experience ans history lead me to suspect that at least some of those organizations were more devoted to protecting the investments of large American multinational corporations than to promoting democracy. Oh, yeah, and most likely enriching themselves in the process. I have seen some great

        1. Procopius

          Whoops! Internet (or browser) glitch. Should have continued:

          I’ve seen some excellent NGOs and some wonderful people, but I’ve seen a lot more slime parasites. Some (many?) NGOs are just covers for people who are enriching themselves at the expense of the donors. Just like some (many?) charities in The States. I note one of the defendants is the son of a high ranking State Department official. I wonder which category he falls into.

  7. Hugh

    That article False Dawns and Public Fury is very bizarre. It compares present conditions, mostly in Europe, to the 1930s, a comparison we have been making about the situaion in the US for years, but it does so from a peculiarly neocon/neoliberal perspective.

    Like so many pieces that come from our elites, no mention is made of who is responsible for the mess we are in now, be it the US or Europe. This is no surprise since the author of the article a former executive at Barclays would have to point the finger of blame at himself and people like him. Indeed Martin Taylor the author describes bankers as being scapegoated by an angry public and goes on to say, “this fury chimes with the widespread but false belief that the rich can pay for all the damage.” Well, I don’t know what wealth distribution is in Europe but in the US the top 20% own 93% of the country’s private wealth. If they aren’t going to pay for it, who will? And the rich did cause this mess, so why shouldn’t they pay for it?

    And then there is this:

    Working to a large extent together, the major central banks are applying palliative care on an unprecedented scale to the world economy. De-leveraging is still in its early stages, and the evil day, or decade, is being put off. This warm bath of liquidity not only helps the financial markets strengthen; it disguises from many of the victims of the crash the extent of the loss of wealth that the crash has engendered.

    This is all absurdly wrong. Deleveraging isn’t happening at all. The various manifestations of quantitative easing simply keep the casino and the leveraging going. Financial markets aren’t strengthening. They are being kept juiced by infusions of the public’s money. And note how deftly Taylor lays off, again, the burden of the crash on to its victims, not its perpetrators, the rich and the bankers.

    I mean I suppose it is something that the Financial Times is finally getting around to noticing that current circumstances are comparable to fairly dire periods of the relatively recent past, but it is not encouraging that they continue to draw the exactly wrong conclusions from them.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Banks Win Again.

    The way the system is set up, banks always win, as all casino owners know.

    If you don’t like it, go play another game.

    1. different clue

      Do all banks win the same? Or even operate the same type of casinos? Is there a difference between black hat megabanks and white hat microbanks and micro credit unions the way Move Your Money hopes there is? And also the way Catherine Austin Fitts believes there is?

      If the Move Your Money-ists and C. A. Fitts are both correct, perhaps Moving Our Money really is a step towards finding a better game to play.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Have we given up on McMansions?

    As long as we Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens exist, we will fantasize, delude ourselves, get addicted on Ponzi schemes.

    1. craazyman

      I’m ready for the tee pee.

      I went to the psychiatrist and said “Doctor, doctor! I feel like wigwams and tee-pees!!!!”

      He looked at me carefully and said “I think you are too tense.”

      hahahah

      ka-chiiing!

          1. ambrit

            Oh boy! You can apply some tense or analysis, as you wish, to those you meets as you bounds around finding the lay out of the land.
            To paraphrase Dylan: “You don’t need an economist to know, which way the money flows!”

  10. Valissa

    More silly news from The Onion… Poll Finds Majority Of Americans Would Like Things To Go Right For Once http://www.theonion.com/articles/poll-finds-majority-of-americans-would-like-things,27314/

    OK, so it’s not the funniest Onion spoof, but it is a GREAT excuse for me to post some Joe Bonamassa videos. He’s originally from Utica, NY, and is my current favorite guitarist!

    Joe Bonamassa – Further on up the Road (Featuring Eric Clapton) – Live at the Royal Albert Hall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEEfDdJyxPY

    Joe Bonamassa – Sloe gin @ Royal Albert Hall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46UFXQVSnKs&feature=related

    The Concert DVD Live at the Royal Albert Hall is totally awesome! Once of the best quality productions of a live performance that I’ve seen, not to mention the top notch blues. It comes in a CD version as well. Also highly recommend Joe’s next album “Dust Bowl”.

  11. charles sereno

    Here’s a teeny weeny poem by Yves with a wee contribution by Walt Wit Man –

    Justice Obama Style

    Theater
    For the masses

    Free passes
    For the massuhs

    I submit this totally without permission from the authors. If prosecuted or jailed (god forbid), I ask only that I’m permitted to take my beautiful bluebird with me.

  12. Hugh

    Romney is not severely conservative. He is a rich corporatist asshole who thinks that not only qualifies him for the Presidency but entitles him to it.

    This is just branding and is both deceptive and dishonest. First, “severely conservative” is synonymous with “extreme conservative” but since Americans tend to dislike extremes, this is a way of saying that he is extreme without actually saying it. Second, it’s funny how this branding works. George Bush who was an extreme conservative adopted the rubrique of “compassionate conservatism” to soften his image and make it easier to sell to voters. Romney is doing the reverse but for the same reason. He wants to harden his image to sell himself to conservative voters. It is important to note, however, this rebranding does not mean Romney is liberal in any sense. It is rather that he is a pure corporatist and simply doesn’t give a shit about the standard conservative values agenda. This actually places him quite close to Obama with the exception that Obama, in addition to taking up Bushian corporatism, also embraced his neocon imperial agenda as well. I really don’t get the feeling that Romney has given this any thought, again largely because Romney is a corporatist and not really anything else.

    1. Valissa

      Seeing Romney or anyone else attempting to depict him as some type of traditional conservative is quite hilarious to me. Hugh is SPOT ON here! Of course Romney is a corporatist!

      Could not find any cartoons sympathetic to the idea that Romney is a Conservative. However, there are lots of great cartoons showing the real Romney. [too bad I’m limited to 3 links]

      Hmmm, what to campaign on http://0.tqn.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/j/1/4/Romney-Exploratory.jpg

      Hmmm, how will he reconcile the paradoxes http://capitolcommentary.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Romney-debate-yourself-cartoon-flip-flop.jpg

      Who luvs ya baby? http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/files/2011/10/Romney-horsey.jpg

      1. Valissa

        OK, I couldn’t resist… so many great Romney cartoons to choose from… here a 3 more…

        Do words matter? http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Third_Party_Photo/2007/01/03/1167843849_9957-1.jpg

        Attempting to woo the base http://0.tqn.com/d/politicalhumor/1/7/a/H/4/Not-Excited-About-Romney.jpg

        Maybe he should stick to his successful rich guy image after all (at least that’s honest) http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_EopU1FfNN_Y/R0IQ5rL2zTI/AAAAAAAABPs/7cS0w9eTgFg/s400/Mitt+Romney+hunting+cartoon.jpg

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Valissa, thanks for the set of romney tunes. Actually, he does believe in something. He believes that he is the LDS gift of God to the USA!USA!, whose time has come to be President, so as to deliver Americans from evil. This, his true calling was framed decades ago, and his entire adult life has been leading to this moment of fulfillment of his Divine Election. Don’t believe me? Quick research reveals all.

          Santorum intends to do this from the RC sphere, but a bit more cynically.

    2. James

      Hugh,

      I read the same comment as code for “I’m essentially Christian, just like the rest of you “severely conservatives.”

      For me, whenever I see the word “Conservative,” I ALWAYS associate it with “Christian fundamentalist” first and foremost, regardless of any economic associations which may or may not logically follow.

      1. LucyLulu

        OMG, great minds think alike.

        I often refer to Romney as the return of the Stepford clones. There’s nothing that seems human about him, is there?

    3. Jim

      Hugh, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he actually increased the tax burden on corporations during the first years of his administration. Contrast that to many current Dem governors and mayors, who are cutting corporate taxes while increasing the burden on the working poor.

      I would not be shocked if, were he to win, Romney embraces a progressive fiscal policy.

      I think that’s where his instincts lie.

      1. LucyLulu

        I don’t know that he has stated any plans for corporate taxes but his plans for personal income taxes will cut taxes by 5% on the wealthy and raise taxes (slightly) on the poor. Overall, 2015 will see about a $1T net loss in revenues under his plan. The article about Romney’s, Gingrich’s, and Obama’s tax policies may have been one of the links posted here on NC.

    4. different clue

      Given that, would a President Romeny be much worse, or even much different than a President Obama Term Two? Those who don’t think so should perhaps invade the Republican primaries to vote for Romney. If Romney gets the R nomination, then many Obama-rejectors will feel free to vote Third Party or write someone in or leave the President line blank.

      Whereas if a genuine CLAN (Christian Land And Nation) authoritarian like Santorum or Gingrich or a Rapturanian Armageddonite like Paylin or Huckabee or Bachmann gets nominated; many Obama-rejectors will vote Obama again to spare themselves the grinding agony of a President Gingrich.

  13. Hugh

    As this comment got thrown into moderation, I thought it might get through if I used a few asterisks.

    Romney is not severely conservative. He is a rich corporatist a**hole who thinks that not only qualifies him for the Presidency but entitles him to it.

    This is just branding and is both deceptive and dishonest. First, “severely conservative” is synonymous with “extreme conservative” but since Americans tend to dislike extremes, this is a way of saying that he is extreme without actually saying it. Second, it’s funny how this branding works. George Bush who was an extreme conservative adopted the rubrique of “compassionate conservatism” to soften his image and make it easier to sell to voters. Romney is doing the reverse but for the same reason. He wants to harden his image to sell himself to conservative voters. It is important to note, however, this rebranding does not mean Romney is liberal in any sense. It is rather that he is a pure corporatist and simply doesn’t give a sh*t about the standard conservative values agenda. This actually places him quite close to Obama with the exception that Obama, in addition to taking up Bushian corporatism, also embraced his neocon imperial agenda as well. I really don’t get the feeling that Romney has given this any thought, again largely because Romney is a corporatist and not really anything else.

    1. James

      Romney and NoBama are both “virtual candidates” representing the same “virtual ideas.” First and foremost is the idea of a “virtual president;” i.e., a plug and play identity who can be replicated and thus be replaced at will. As in, this one’s dead and/or been “scandalized;” fine, plug this one in instead. Business goes on uninterrupted.

      1. James

        Might I add/reinforce, we’re ALL corporatists now!

        If you continue to subscribe to the current MSM bullshit at least.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, all true, but his a**holery is due to his extreme need to fulfill his Divine Mission as LDS President and Savior of USA!USA! Whatever it takes, you see: the end justifies the means. He is more than *elite*, he is the Divine Elect, the Sun King. don’t you git it?

    3. LucyLulu

      I don’t know if Romney is an extreme conservative or not. He changes with the wind. He needs to be more conservative to win the primary but will need to move center to have a chance to beat Obama in November. But irregardless of his political stance, I wholeheartedly agree with you, Hugh. He’s an asshole. And “vulture capitalist”, as Gingrich coined, is far more fitting than virtual corporatist. A good friend of mine used to help put the Bain deals together in the late 80′s and 90′s before she got out of the business, couldn’t stomach it anymore. She says they didn’t blink at raping and pillaging the companies they bought if it meant making a few extra bucks. OTOH, if it was more profitable to invest in them to expand, well, yeah, they’d do that, too. But first they’d change the terms of the deal on them, e.g. inking terms strictly on a cash flow basis then going through the balance sheet to justify changes after the fact. Bain’s team was much more sophisticated so the companies, often family owned, never knew what hit them. He’s scum, meaning he’ll fit right in to the job.

  14. AccruedDisinterest

    Unfriend is the new murder: “You dirty rat, you unfriended my brother, now your gonna pay.”

    Being horribly hansome, I can relate to poor Mitt’s severely conservative affliction.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      With such a pretty face, it’s got to be tough. The predators you have to fight off in childhood and youth!

  15. MichaelC

    Wow.

    Bankers aren’t the only ones who make false statements in court, apparently.

    Judge Suggests U.S. Misled Court on Immigration Policy

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204642604577213490788909520.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    The judge is Rakoff (hooray)
    The court is the US Supreme Court
    The misleaders are the solicitor generals office (DOJ)

    DOJ claimed there is a policy in place to help wrongly deported people return.

    Chief Justice John Roberts referenced that contention, made without citation, in his April 2009 opinion, writing that aliens deported erroneously wouldn’t suffer “irreparable injury” because the government would help them return if they later won their appeals. However, immigration lawyers said they hadn’t heard of deported clients being helped to return to the U.S. under a specific policy.

    Homeland Security and State Dept know nothing about such a policy. DOJ has some emails that explain the policy but they’re not disclosing them.

    Rakoffs not buying it.

  16. Valissa

    There’s a new Kennedy face in town, and he looks to be going after Barney Frank’s seat.

    New poll has Joseph P. Kennedy III far ahead in race for congressional seat http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2012/02/new-poll-has-joseph-kennedy-iii-firmly-ahead-race-for-barney-frank-congressional-seat/9el0svrrk9P0XC22uSKpAM/index.html

    Joseph P. Kennedy III is far out front of his possible Republican opponent in the contest for the congressional seat being vacated by Barney Frank, although the 31-year-old scion of the famed political dynasty has not yet officially entered the race, a new poll has found.

    If anyone is curious what he looks like, this article has a photo… love that red hair… he looks more iconically Irish than most in his family.

    Joseph P. Kennedy III: I’ll earn the vote http://news.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view/20220211joe_k3_ill_earn_the_vote_experts_warn_he_may_be_at_peak/srvc=home&position=also

    1. FaustCarton

      This frighteningly accurate depiction has been a reminder on the ‘sphere for a while now . It creates a feeling of uselessness in the struggle for a fair system, so dilligently maintained in these ‘pages’ and similar ones, that such attitudes existed then and were still ignored. (It seems that the cartoon may have been an inspiration to Taibbi’s great quote, although that may already be well known).

      It is so very unnerving to see the way the .01′s can continue to obstruct the brief and delicate lifetime opportunites of billions of us despite intelligent and measured opposition. I participated in the Occupy Sydney movement and now that great beacon of possibility is being destroyed with both batons and the infighting of its most prominent participants.

      Still, the striving for something, even though it be somewhat short of utopia, is worth the effort as the alternative is, ironically, to be willing to not see reality.

      The simple forms ( such as that Chomsky calls for) are surely just the removal of 1.the influence of corporate lobbying and 2.the control of fiat money by banks. Nothing more or less. Then we can be free to create and debate the norms,values and governance of our culturally diverse societies and to mix the necessity of international relations while sustaining localised economies.

      The fear of already being trapped in an Orwellian/Philip K.Dick-sian world is hard to overcome, but there is still time to change direction.

      If you were investing it would be prudent to avoid betting against the Fed. et al. We know they will print, yes? As such it would seem then that the one way to confront TPTB is to match them on the mass media in a group form that could not be ignored, headed by the likes of Bill Black, with the signed petition of every NGO and academic institution,and to then call on the ABSOLUTE non-violent mass marching by the tens and hundreds of thousands, simultaneously across the globe. If the mass media is where the uninformed are being cruelled then it one cannot bet against it either, and so you need a grouping that MUST be answered.

      Having only those two simple objectives could negate the other secondary differences we all naturally carry, and can expidate such an emergency petition.

      I suppose that shows my complete naivity too. Anyway, you should all be out dancing or talking with friends at this hour over there so I doubt my silly dream will be noticed anyway.

      Never give up Hope.

      1. Glenn Condell

        ‘I participated in the Occupy Sydney movement’

        Me too, though my ‘involvement’ was limited to standing around on the first few Saturdays with my reluctant 6 year old, listening to speeches both useful and pointless. I had to walk away at one point when an inflamed Aboriginal screeched into the mic for ten minutes for no discernible reason. Then there was the ‘end violence against women’ crowd.. I am with them all the way but there’s a time and place. Focus was not so much lost as non-existent, though the time Steve Keen talked was emblematic of how it could be in my admittedly utopian view.

        ‘It is so very unnerving to see the way the .01′s can continue to obstruct the brief and delicate lifetime opportunites of billions of us despite intelligent and measured opposition.’

        They haven’t had it all their own way since that cartoon was published. Roosevelt and Eisenhower and the sixties however proved to be temporary setbacks. Let’s hope Occupy can join their pantheon and stay there a little longer, take up residence in fact.

        ‘and now that great beacon of possibility is being destroyed with both batons and the infighting of its most prominent participants.’

        While it’s true that people in groups can manage to ruin a good thing on their own with counter-productive bickering, you do wonder how far such infighting can in reality be attributed to actors working for the same forces as the baton-wielders. When you consider how our politics have been colonised, Arbib being only the iceberg’s tip in terms of sub rosa control and Gillard’s sickening fealty the public face of it, it seems at least possible if not probable that ‘assets’ have infiltrated Occupies in key locations. With assets (whether by design or desire) in the media and bureaucracy adding some finishing touches.

        ‘The simple forms’

        Yes, public banking and money-free politics are the twin thrusts of any real change, but I would add that the politics needs to be transparently trustworthy and so paper trail elections must return in the US and a form of direct democracy must emerge everywhere.

        1. FaustCarton

          Not sure if you will be back to see this GC but thanks, good points, I was disheartened by all the ‘tangental’ protesting as well. That is the point I suppose, once we get the money out of the democratic process THEN we can have all the (hopefully) productive debates and resolutions on womens rights, socialism – austrian/libertarian, etc etc etc.
          I fully agree with transparent politics too, of course, with conscience votes and paper trails, yes, but I assume these issues of governance come with a territory free of media/corporate interference.
          Hope your 6 year old will remember the day and be a member of a free, peaceful and evolved society one day.

          1. FaustCarton

            PS I agree that Eisenhower gave a great warning at least, re the M.I.complex, but check into Roosevelt, I have read some diverse opinon on what he was really doing.
            Agree that our stooges in Oz are sad ( and boring) tips of a very cold hard iceberg. This country is big enough and lucky enough to make big money, and small enough to be corrupted with hardly any effort at all.

          2. Glenn Condell

            I’m still here Faust. I haunt dead threads.

            ‘Eisenhower gave a great warning at least, re the M.I.complex, but check into Roosevelt, I have read some diverse opinion on what he was really doing’

            He was a devious man for sure, but try to imagine any President since Carter (and even he would only be capable of it since leaving office) saying this:

            ‘We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
            They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.’

            It would seem like either an in-joke – an ill-advised sally, or gross overreach if Obama said it, but to be fair, even Clinton couldn’t have got away with it, always assuming it would actually enter his calculating and self-absorbed mind. Times have changed.

            You can imagine Eisenhower saying it, and Kennedy too perhaps. But otherwise, since FDR – Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, either Bush? And of those prior, only Washington, Lincoln and of course Jackson who went for the banks with even more gusto, could be said to have been up to uttering those words. It’s true FDR set up some some ‘liberal’ institutions which ended up being subverted into war funding and empire building via the banks (Matt Stoller limned some of this here a while ago) but it’s probably drawing a long bow to blame Roosevelt for outcomes derived from desperate measures.

            Eisenhower’s MI warning gets all the attention, for good reason, but he presided over a postwar expansion of economic equality, the rich taxed til their upturned noses bled, the poor looked after too, and with a great wide middle that most belonged to; the whole evening out productively. It was stifling and conservative yes, but give me a job and my own home with a back yard and a decent living til death and you can stifle me all you want.

            These men were their own men. Whatever their shortcomings, they were not owned. Obama pretends to oppose those who own him but only the ignorant listen and even they don’t really believe him any more. He’s a grifter, one of the best, but still a grifter.

            As for our lot, they now sound to me like the state or even local politicians of my childhood, bignoting nobodies whose actions ultimately don’t matter. That’s the irony of globalisation; the more globalised we are the more the centre matters to all of us, no matter how far away from it we are.

          3. FaustCarton

            GC – they ran out of reply buttons after your last post. Good on you for the follow up,thanks.
            I think that speech from FDR was given at a Uni on the East Coast somewhere about a week or two out from the election. It does seem like a brave attempt to stand up to the Bildeberg/Pilgrim Club, but I still wonder if He was behind the gold and silver confiscation of 1933? I agree that none of them post Kennedy could say anything even remotely approaching this.
            A question GC-do you follow the arguments in these last few links on NC (up to 14/2/12 Oz time) re the black bloc vs the non-violence groups?
            I think the staging here of the Rudd revival is just very sad. One of my naive hopes would be that all ‘polls’ must be required to ask a question to participants of the level of understanding of the issue they are being questioned on and then a follow up test question with the results to be clearly published alongside the results of the formal question. These continual polls are surely just part of the facade?
            Anyway hope to see you on the ‘barricades’, I’ll be the bloke near the centre, trying to keep up a brave smile!

          4. Glenn Condell

            Hi FC

            haven’t read all the pieces re violence v non-violence mainly because I already know where I stand – for the latter 100%. Firstly I’m a 90 lb weakling and win most of my fights by 100 metres, but also I know viscerally what a very conservative country this is, and there would be very little sympathy here for Greek-style insurrection, even (perhaps especially) from those you might expect to support it. Maybe it’s a sort of nationalism but I do feel we have something special here and the way we deal with what’s coming I hope will confirm that, by channelling the energy into light rather than heat.

            Of course, if they came for me or mine, if we start being rounded up, beaten and jailed by robocops for say online dissent or peaceful protest then I might change my spots. Never say never. But there is with massed non-violence (a) more potential for change, esp if the restraint contrasts with the official reaction, and (b) far less downside in terms of both public opinion, and the capacity of capital’s officialdom to react violently. If shop windows are smashed, if police stations are bombed, no matter how bad things are, a vast plurality of the Australians I know would sympathise with an even harsher response. So it’s a no-brainer.

            I don’t know if you saw the Uni students being casually gassed at Berkeley a while ago, who joined hands and chanted the cops out of the area. Had they got up and injured or even killed a few cops, talking heads would be hosting chin-stroking debates apportioning blame. Don’t give them the opportunity. No-one who saw that could plausibly support the police involved.

            And like I said before, those who advocate violence need to be screened to within an inch of their lives and be regarded with suspicion even if they appear to be clean.

            Re Rudd, all I can say is ‘meh’! Who cares? Deckchairs on one of the Titanic’s smaller lifeboats. Even Abbott varies only by degree – it’s just a question of the speed with which we are sold out. Point is, apart from Bob Brown, there is no-one who represents my constituency, the ‘get the Yanks the hell out of my polity’ constituency. Oh and the ‘stop relying on mining and madly chasing ‘growth’ and start to prepare for the future by increasing the resilience of communities with job guarantees and food security and local energy and life skills education’ constituency as well. No sign of them in either of the only parties that can govern.

            And with polls, I agree they tend to reinforce the status quo and tick lowest common denominator boxes. Polls need to be not just answered by the governed, but asked by them as well so that those who govern are asked the uncomfortable questions polls are careful to avoid. I wrote on another thread here a while ago, in response to someone who wondered if the 99@ in each country could somehow coalesce:

            ‘Question is, how? The early promises of a sunlit democratic upland globally when the info superhighway was ushered in seem to have bitten the dust.

            Every person of age on the planet should have a vote in the governance of their district, nation and planet. Each should be registered with a unique ID and able to vote for their reps of course but more importantly on any issue they want via plebiscites at all three levels, the questions/issues ranked along with the preferences google-style by a transparently administered open source platform protected by security guarantees each district and nation is obliged to honour. If the question isn’t raised yet, raise it. If other appetites match yours they will find it. Process of group editing follows to craft most popular form. Language barrier surely breachable by now. One vote per issue/query per citizen, logged, searchable, archived. No secrecy, no need for Anon/Wiki. All users have access to all results. Real-time democracy. No actual decision-making power, just indicative. No potential Iran war, no actual Iraq war, for starters.

            As the intro to the Six Million Dollar Man used to say: ‘We have the technology…’

            This mechanism as I say would have no formal executive power, but woe betide the pollie who ignored a raw majority of his/her voters, as measured by an instrument of the nation’s democratic apparatus rather than a private polling company.

            I will keep an eye out for you once OS flares again; I’ll be the hangdog fella with the remnant of a hopeful grin on his dial, being tugged at by a tyke who keeps saying ‘dad, this is borwing’.

            If you are involved in the organisation of the thing and need people to help, let me know. Tied down lots at work and home but will make time if I can. I use my own handle as you can see, and work at Usyd, so I’m easily found.

            All best.

  17. Patrice

    “Who ya gonna believe, the Associated Press or your lyin’ eyes”

    by Patrick Armstrong

    AP reported Saturday’s demonstrations in Moscow as follows.

    For the anti-Putin (”For Clean Elections”) demonstration in Bolotnaya Square: “The protest — which drew 120,000 people, according to organizers”.

    The pro-Putin (“Anti Orange”) demonstration at Poklonnaya Gora: “A separate rally in Moscow in support of Putin drew no more than 20,000 people.

    However, thanks to the New Media, we no longer have to swallow what the Associated Press says. Here are photos of the pro-Putin demonstration and here are films.

    http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/2012/02/who-ya-gonna-believe.html

    Here is a very partial list of media outlets that repeated AP’s version: Globe and Mail (Canada); Daily Mail, Guardian (UK); NY Daily News, Fox, ABC, NPR, Time, Salon (USA); Hurriyet (Turkey); Drogheda (Ireland); India Times (India). And so on. A Google search on “‘Putin drew no more than 20,000 people’ Moscow” returns over 7000 hits. A lot of news outlets apparently agree AP brings “truth to the world”.

    But not in this case. It’s time to ask yourself why you pay for your newspaper subscription.

  18. Fractal

    Click my name or visit link:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/feb/11/rupert-murdoch-media-empire-scrutiny/print

    Bribery criminal enterprise at News Corp UK imprints
    extended to London daily Sun. Five more Sun journalists arrested along with 1 active cop on Surrey force, 1 active duty military person and 1 active duty employee of Ministry of Defense (MoD). Brings total number arrested in Operation Elveden to 21 including Rebekah Brooks & Andy Coulson and 2 other cops.

    See additional links:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/feb/11/sun-journalists-arrested/print

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/world/europe/a-2008-e-mail-at-the-heart-of-a-hacking-scandal.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=print

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