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Links 2/13/12

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The Chart Is a Lonely Hunter: The Narrative Eros of the Infographic.

Novel illness name of the week Language Log. There’s gold in them thar codes.

Occupy Movement Regroups, Preparing for Its Next Phase Truthout.

Concerning violence advocates and the Black Bloc in Occupy.

Athens passes demanded austerity bill FT. Banks firebombed.

Images of Athens posted at Occupy London. These give a better idea of scale than mainstream tight close-ups.

Live Blog on Greek Crisis Toronto Globe and Mail.

Florida Homeowners Find Little to Cheer in Deal With “Gangsters” Bloomberg.

Too Many Unanswered Questions, and Too Little Relief (Times editorial). “[U]nsparing follow-on investigation” needed. [Reach me that bucket, wouldja hon?]

Manufacturing rebounds, but is it a renaissance? McClatchy.

Next up on Obama’s agenda for settlement: BP Southern Studies. Gulf oil spill trial to begin 2/27/2012 in NOLA unless a settlement is reached.

In The Know Panel Analyzes Obama’s Furious, Profanity-Filled Rant At Nation America’s Finest News Source.

Congress nearly eliminates funds for lead poisoning Alternet. Saddling hundreds of thousands of urban children with persistent cognitive damage and elevated blood pressure for life.

Frozen to death as fuel bills soar Daily Mail.

The End of Wall Street As They Knew It New York Magazine.

The End of DSK As We Knew Him?

“See Something Say Something” Campaign Reminiscent of the Stasi.

Trader Joe’s Signs Fair Food Agreement On Tomatoes With Immokalee Workers HuffPo.

Federal Circuit upholds $371 million patent award McClatchy (Buzz Potamkin). 38 years…

“Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leader’s Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort” Rolling Stone. Lt. Colonel’s bombshell report [PDF].

In Syria, Why Are We Fighting On the Same Side with Al Qaeda?

How the Iraqi electrical grid works McClatchy. People have their very own electric cables. Libertarian paradise!

Nuke dangers nowhere near resolved says PM’s Fukushima crisis adviser Japan Times (MS).

Electric bike sales soar in China Economist (MS).

Thousands in Hong Kong vow protest over mainland cars South China Morning Post.

Water is being turned into a global commodity Truthout. What could go wrong? (MS)

British court decides that Nathaniel Rothschild is indeed Peter Mandelson’s “puppet master” Independent. Shocker.

Having an easy-to-say name will help you get promoted Telegraph (Valissa). Bosses react negatively to names that are hard to pronounce.

Aaron Swartz on the Attention Economy Technology Review. Of course, anybody who’s contributed so much so young is facing jail.

Antidote of the day from Steven V: Hoople.

NOTE For readers who sent in pictures: I’m sure you’ll be the first to understand that if your cat was not selected, that is due to a failure of cuteness recognition on my part, rather than any “cuteness deficit” suffered by your cat.

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85 comments

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Most people I konw can pronounce Attila the Hun.

      It sounds just like it spells. Nothing difficult.

      I predict a succession of quick promotions.

    1. Yves Smith

      No, I think you are misreading this.

      Cats that don’t like snow stay right next to houses until their humans let them back in. They can usually find a tiny clear spot.

      This cat has chosen to plow into the snow and looks to be playing savage cat.

  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    When we become truly the masters of the cosmos, when everything depends on us keeping it alive, then everything will evolve to be cute to us.

    Thus the Zen saying:

    Everyday is a good day
    Everything is a cute thing.

    You have to be really powerful to feel everyting in the world is pretty…or just delusional (for those not really poweerful enough).

  2. Benedict@Large

    Photos from Sunday’s riots in Athens:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/02/201221221456127197.html (large format) and
    http://roarmag.org/2012/02/greece-athens-syntagma-austerity-riots-parliament-vote/ … Protest groups (multiple, many non-violent) ranged from 10-20,000, with and estimated 100,000 overall. 40 buildings were burned, and police were pelted with rocks and (many) firebombs. Police have said they may cease riot control operations
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/10/us-greece-police-idUSTRE8190UC20120210 and may begin arresting Troika representatives for inciting riots. Protests were not confined to Athens. Also, anti-German sentiment is extreme (10 photos, large format)
    http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-78449.html

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Arresting Troika reps for inciting riots…interesting.

      Like African Americans rioting and destroying their own neighborhoods is not a wise thing, Greeks rioting and burning their own properties is not wise either.

  3. Praedor

    You know what can keep you warm during times of horrible cold, increased energy prices, and austerity? Using the homes of the 1% for heating fuel. Using the clothing of the 1% as fuel. Using everything the 1% owns as fuel.

    If you dessicate the 1% themselves using the fires from burning their ill-gotten shit, you can then go on to burn the 1% themselves for fuel too. They are fatty from a life of never working an honest day in their lives…and fat is a nice fuel.

    1. aletheia33

      once this gets started, one is not immune from being used as fuel by some other part of the 99% that doesn’t like the look on one’s face all of a sudden.

  4. Walter Wit Man

    Congratulations to Lambert for catapulting the propaganda; his intellectually bankrupt term, “violence advocates”, is being propagated and is successfully dividing Occupy and lends support to real police violence (the only real violence that has occurred).

    As David Graeber noted, it’s these “non violence advocates” that can more accurately be described as promoting violence (indeed, they struggle to come up with any real examples of of violence by protesters). Not only are these violence concern trolls encouraging other protesters to enforce a loaded definition of “non violence”, often using actual violence to do so, but they are also justifying the massive and disproportionate use of state violence against protesters. After all, the ‘concern’ about the non existent protester “violence” serves to justify the police crack downs.

    One has to ask who benefits from this strange concern trolling? The “movement” is being divided and police crackdowns are being justified by putative supporters right at a moment when street protest is feared the most.

      1. David Graeber

        Yup in 800 occupations there was one incident where a Black Bloc broke some windows. In Oakland, home of the most violent police in the US. The home of Oscar Grant. The place where Marine veteran Scott Olsen was shot in the head during the eviction of a completely non-violent encampment a month before.

        So which do you think it was: that Oakland police have been the most violent in the US for decades because a Black Bloc broke some windows in October 2011, or Oakland is the one city in America where Occupy has given birth to a significant Black Bloc because activists there know that whatever they do, they will be violently attacked?

          1. Walter Wit Man

            You mean like when Chris Hedges asks people to confront the police, commit crimes and “physically defy the violence of the state?”

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOde31QYbI0

            He also told people now is the time for confrontation at this same speech and asked people to commit civil disobedience. People also wore masks at this event.

            Shorter Chris Hedges: “Follow me comrades. Into the breach. Follow my example of civil disobedience. It is so critical everyone must do it” [black block people then organize building takeovers, port shutdowns, and some one day of targeted minor vandalism . . . . then] “Vandals! How dare they commit different forms of civil disobedience than my beautiful protest. They are making us look bad. Arrest them! Expel them! Why can’t people in Oakland have protests like I did that day?”

            Seems like Chris Hedges is the agent provocateur to me.

            See also Hedges on Greece. And Derek Jensen as well if these reports about him are to be believed.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Dragging in Hedges? Who cares? Principals, not personalities. I know the numbers are small. That’s not the question. The question is, should they stay small? A non-violence advocate would say Yes. A violence advocate would say No, or equivocate (the favorite equivocation is “violence is inevitable”). So what do you think, Walter?

              NOTE “There is a chance Hedges and others like him are sincerely motivated.” I love word games, I really do.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            And my speculation (based on Hedges bizarre behavior) is that Hedges is better described not as an agent provocateur, but as a handler–someone who tried to become a leader (and established his bona fides by being arrested and giving that amplified speech in front of the White House) so that he could intentionally disrupt or steer the Occupy movement (like Michael Moore and the Democrats).

            He’s playing mind games: “Stand up. Sit down. Come here. Go over there. Wrong! Obey me!”

            We are seeing this coordinated effort before Spring–to neuter the potency of street protest as the shit is about to go down . . . .

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              And I thought my hat was foily. Live and learn, I guess.

              Adding… Like, it couldn’t be that there are plenty of people who really want Occupy to succeed as a mass movement, and that it might be legitimate for them to express their concerns? Being, as David Graeber’s extremely effective slogan points out, part of the 99%?

          3. Walter Wit Man

            I’m simply speculating based on the evidence I have. There is a chance Hedges and others like him are sincerely motivated. But it seems like such odd behavior,

            “Commit civil disobedience with me comrades (which, for Hedges and Jensen, mostly involves writing books and being on radio and t.v. and getting treated as an important person). No, not that kind of civil disobedience. Arrest them! Expel them!”

            And I remind you the government now claims all civil disobedience is terrorism.

            Trying to cut off the left flank to feed to the military/police state is not an effective strategy. This is not the conduct of a serious fighter. It is mindfucking.

        1. JTFaraday

          How about a big story, propagated in the blogosphere if nowhere else, that puts OO into its recent and historical local context?

          Up to and including the most recent development that their police force is about to go into federal receivership. A thing of which one might be suspicious, especially if one thinks the eviction crackdown on Occupy across the US last fall was coordinated at the federal level, as people seem to think.

          Certainly, if OO and other occupations continue this Spring, issue is not going to just go away.

          Is there someone out there who could do that?

          1. okanogen

            Exactly, right? One in 800 actions are violent, that sounds positively useless. If it is so inconsequential, just get rid of it and move on with moral superiority clearly maintained!

            It seems so easy, and yet many say it is impossible.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Let the throwing under the bus begin!

            One, property destruction is not violence. You repeatedly conflate the two (just like the enemies of Occupy do–hmmmm). I know you are smarter than this so you are being intentionally obtuse for some reason.

            Two, what an incredibly high standard you have for including people in the 99%. I guess all those inner city black and brown kids that have engaged in tagging (which is really a political act of civil disobedience) aren’t wanted in your movement. Are you going to do background checks on potential Occupiers or simply set up a snitch system? I’m curious how you’re going to “enforce” your exclusionary rules.

            Because indeed it is incredibly arbitrary. You would have fellow protesters punished for a very small number of minor infractions, while you run interference for massive police violence (the police were responding to violence, according to your logic).

            Next to be thrown under the bus will be the people that look funny, wear black, have rings, tattoos, or funny hair (here I’m thinking of DCBlogger’s post at Corrente where she posted a picture of a person dressed as a punk and implied only clean people are worthy of being in her 99%–preferable candidates are white D.C. lawyers wearing khaki pants and short hair, or something . . . you know, “all walks of life”).

            We’ve already seen those with criminal records be forced out (which is a lot of people because we live in the biggest police state in the world).

            Of course addicts and the homeless are under attack as well.

            Once you start hunting down subversives in your midst (for misdemeanors and infractions even!), the game is over. If anyone is working for the police it is the people that want to turn on their fellow protesters and turn them into the police. You’re the ones that keeps threatening to bring the police in! The same police that are above the law and committing massive violence.

          3. dcblogger

            Property destruction most certainly is violence. A broken window is a very serious matter. Occupy DC both at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, very mixed, but non-violent crowds.

            Nobody is talking about throwing anyone under the bus, just don’t be violent when protesting. That is a pretty forgiving standard.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            It’s clear, is it? Give me a break. You’re being dishonest.

            There are many people that do not consider property destruction to be an act of violence (unless accompanied by an implicit threat, etc.) . Plus, it’s not in my dictionary.

            What dictionary are you using?

            According to your twisted logic (and, coincidentally, the logic of the police/military state), shutting down a port is violence because it destroys property rights, trespassing is violence because it destroys an owner’s exclusive use of his property. Spraying graffiti is “violence” because . . . why exactly?

            Yet you say not one word about the people swinging chairs and metal poles to “enforce” these petty property crimes (while the bankers property crimes go unpunished–good work vigilantes). You seem to be justifying and minimizing massive police brutality and demanding people in Oakland hew to your standards of dress and conduct (no mohawks or black clothing, evidently).

            Plus, if you want to expand the definition of “violence” then why not call our financial policies in this country violence? Is breaking Wells Fargo’s window any more violent than a corrupt financial system that keeps millions of children unsure of where their next meal is coming from?

      2. Walter Wit Man

        I see little violence in that video to worry about. In fact, the so-called “non violence advocates” in the above clip appear to be committing more unjustified violence than the black bloc people. [I define violence as the use (or threat) of physical force to control or hurt (an)other person(s).]

        My review of the clip:

        The first few seconds appears to show a black bloc guy tagging a building while it seems a Whole Foods Liberal* (WFL) is off screen and attempting to stop the tagging via physical force (and yelling). The tagger sees the threat and skedaddles while other black bloc guys use a light amount of force to block (and shove) the WFL and stop him from interfering or attacking the guy tagging the wall.

        The Black Bloc “violence” is probably justified in this case because it prevented the WFL from attacking the tagger and was minimally applied to achieve that goal (and they quickly let WFL up while some black bloc guys were protecting him from any retaliation).

        Then at :42 we see a small woman attempt to grab or stop the black bloc guy from kicking the fence down. For a WFL it’s interesting that she fixes her bandanna to cover her face just before she engages in her vigilante effort.

        Note that kicking the fence would certainly be an infraction level vandalism charge and she probably has committed a greater crime trying to stop it–one should not engage in vigilante justice by making citizen arrests unless life is endanger or there is at least a major felony. The black bloc guy easily evades the vigilante WFL.

        Then at :49 we see another black bloc guy come up and lightly shove the WFL vigilante on the shoulder, apparently in retaliation. This force is less likely to be seen as defensive force because the other black block guy has already fled the confrontation. So this light shove does constitute the greatest level of unjust force I’ve seen a black bloc person use and does constitute violence. But it’s minimal and done in retaliation to her initial use of force.

        Then at 1:14 our vigilante woman returns to interfere with and grab more fence kickers. The kickers are able to avoid her.

        Then at 1:54 two men jump in to defend the property and one picks up a chair in a menacing manner threatening to hit some of the black bloc guys, the other making some threatening gesture, and one black bloc guy strikes the chair guy on the leg with a flag pole causing chair guy to slam the chair down. This is violence by all sides, or threatened violence. Again, one does not have a right to threaten force (hitting someone with a chair or stick) to stop vandalism and the black bloc guys were probably legitimately defending themselves by applying just enough force (the leg hit) to stop the chair guy from hitting them.

        At ~2:00 a guy is holding what looks like a metal pole, and swings wildly near the camera, and then climbs atop the planters waving his pole around threatening to hit people. He appears to be another “non violent advocate” who happens to advocate violence in defense of misdemeanor or infraction vandalism. A woman attempts to calm him down. Everyone is lucking it didn’t escalate from here (see Graeber’s warning in this regard), and it looks like the black bloc guys were the ones that diffused the situation by leaving the confrontation and moving on to the next target.

        Other than that, all I see on the clip is property damage.
        In fact, it’s the “non violent advocates” who first use violence in the clip. Indeed, most black bloc protesters seemed to flee confrontation and protected each other from vigilantes using a minimal amount of force.

        The real violence is what the police have done. They have hurt hundreds and falsely arrested thousands. If you are truly concerned with violence I suggest you start there.

        *See, I can play word games too, like those that intentionally misuse words like “violence advocates.”

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Well, vigilante happens to be factually accurate while your slur, “violence advocates”, is not factually accurate.

            An analogy: if I say the drug war is an abysmal failure that unfairly targets black and brown communities and violates their civil rights and should be ended, you would be the one saying that I advocate drug use.

            I’m not advocating drug use. It’s part of human nature and one cannot eradicate drug use. I’m saying the violent “policing” of drug use makes things worse.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Rather than allow myself to be deflected into a maze of hazy analogies, let me answer by asking two questions that have actual relevance today: Do you support violence disclaimers for Occupations, as for example that found in Occupy Marines? Do you believe that Occupations that do not have them should?

              I do like the subtext, though: The grotesquely disinformative “peace police” talking point. Word play at its best!

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I would not support those pledges. For a couple of reasons:

            1. It’s an attack on a group of activists disguised as a pledge to a platitude. It’s mindfucking. Diversity of tactics is not the same as violence. In fact, the black bloc claim to be engaging in a form of non-violence up to this point, right? In the video DCBlogger linked to, they use force defensively and proportionally, when attacked by violent property defenders. The black bloc are attacking property, not people. They have responded in kind when attacked by police or other protesters (but in a very minimal way).

            Most Occupy protesters have committed some form of property crime–it’s dangerous to single out one group for their admittedly dramatic form of violating property law. Are we going to draw the line at the dollar amount of the property destruction (cause in that cause a port shutdown is way worse than a broken window) or are we only going to allow pure people to engage in acts of civil disobedience? Like Chris Hedges, who gave an amplified speech in front of the White House under falling white snow with people wearing white masks filing by . . . . [which makes for a compelling contradiction to the look of the black bloc protesters--as in produced to be that way]

            2. I’m starting to see the consensus-based approach as a form of mass control and as a means to enforce group think. I’m was very interested to learn that the “one no vote” rule was a method of mind control in acid fascist and sex cults, and it bears a striking resemblance to the consensus ‘rules’ of Occupy. It’s a way for the majority to constantly hound the dissenting voices, no matter how small, and ties the group up trying to enforce total group think (which is not natural or healthy for humans).

            Anyway, my thoughts on this are developing . . . . but I have a natural revulsion to people that want to exclude a minority from the group and use rhetoric like “cancer” and apply mindfucking techniques.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            You are not arguing/discussing in good faith. As with Hedges, I find your behavior out of character and bizarre.

            I respected you by explicitly addressing your points and concerns . . . for e.g., I addressed your concern of my use of “vigilante” and I even defined my usage of “violence.”

            You didn’t respond in kind, you won’t define “violence”, you won’t explain your usage of “violence advocate”, instead you are doubling down on your dishonesty by throwing the term around precisely because people like me are ticked off by the dishonest use of it.

            Talk about nailing jello to a wall.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            Plus, I should note that you are editing your comments after the fact, and it appears to me that DCBlogger also edited a comment above.

            This is why I won’t post at your site.

            You don’t value open and honest debate and you will use your moderator position to put your finger on your side of the scale. You aren’t as heavy handed here as you are on your own site, so far, but you deal from a stacked deck. You evidently would rather cater to a cadre of like-minded posters rather than foster a community where open and honest discussion is encouraged.

        1. Okanogen

          Property destruction isn’t violence? Awesome! Every nacht is Kristalnacht.! Alternatively, what’s your address? I can bring over twenty masked friends to definitely NOT commit “violence”. Won’t hurt a bit.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Now you’re being silly.

            Kristalnacht? Uh, I think you have the power dynamics reversed here. As in comically reversed. If anything, the black bloc people are the targets, the Jews in the ghetto. The undesirables. Like in the Jewish ghettos, some are physically resisting. But the black bloc resistance is a petty tame level of civil disobedience and not an armed resistance–it’s non violent in fact and very tame under the circumstances (because we live in a police state). Especially if one compares it to the property destruction and actual violence going on in places like Greece or Egypt.

            Also, the black bloc people were not threatening violence against individuals in the way that the brown shirts were when they went on a rampage in Jewish neighborhoods. An example of this would be what you proposed happen to me. If you were to send 20 people over to break my windows to intimidate me, all dressed in black, or white (which is Chris Hedges preference–he’s okay with protesters wearing white masks), that carries an implicit threat of violence directed toward me personally.

            Whereas the property destruction analyzed above was very targeted at the most powerful corporations in the world. What was it? Two too big to fail banks and Whole Foods? The black bloc were careful not to threaten violence at any individual and as I analyzed above, seem to have gone out of their way to avoid violence that day.

          2. okanogen

            Ah, so it’s the intent that matters, not the act. So if the brownshirts had just been kinder and gentler while doing their work, it wouldn’t have been bad. Got it. Of course you do know that the reason the Jews stores and businesses were targeted is because, in those days, they were propogandized as actually being the 1%? Of being the bankers and the wealthy merchants that were unfairly cheating the struggling German masses out of their fair share of the economic pie? They primarily weren’t in the ghettos, yet.

            Well we can make sure you aren’t home then. If it makes you feel any better. Then there won’t be any intimidation.

            But what of those minimum-wage Starbuck workers? The bank security guard that makes maybe $28K/year working two to three jobs supporting his family of five? Do you imagine they see the black-hooded roving gangs running at them with sticks, spray cans and bags of unknown implements, and when they start beating at the windows sendng showers of glass at them, tear down the fences and smash all the furnishings think “Thank god, the Black Bloc has arrived to free me from the tyranny of wage slavery?”

            Yeah, didn’t think so.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            Of course intent matters. There is a difference between accidentally dropping a glass on the floor and intentionally throwing a glass on the floor. There is also a difference between throwing a glass in anger to break it (either alone or around another person) and throwing a glass in anger to intimidate another person (as in giving threats while one throws the glass near another person: “if you do X I’m going to hurt you.”). For instance, if the black bloc people broke a car window while people were in the car that would could constitute a threat of violence.

            The brown shirts were part of the dominant political force and had the backing of the most powerful people in Germany. The working class Jews were relatively powerless. The brown shirts were sending a message to the Jews–a message that was clear based on what eventually happened–they were first put in the ghettos and then shipped off to death and work camps.

            The Oakland police are the current brown shirts, intimidating the protesters by using terrifying violence.

            Your sense of proportionality is way out of wack.

        2. MontanaMaven

          “Whole Foods Liberal is purrrfect”. Thank you for your step by step analysis. Words do matter. And particularly troubling was a post by Tina Dupuy on another so-called liberal site “Crooks and Liars” in which she says

          If Occupy is to succeed it has to purge the extreme (read: ineffective waste) elements now commandeering the movement.

          An eloquent reply to her is at stillhavetoprotest.wordpress.com The author, by the way, does not see black bloc tactics as helpful and would encourage other tactics. However,

          Even if we disagree with a tactical decision that has been made by other occupiers, nothing they did justified the police response against them. Solidarity, in this instance, is the only option. Dupuy openly calls for a purge of these “elements” which she describes as “ineffective waste.” She says we should denounce the Oakland Commune. If Dupuy is willing to throw people who throw bricks into windows under the bus–saying in essence that they deserved tear gas, bean bag rounds, and flash-bang grenades–what’s next? The people camping who “provoke” the police by holding their ground? This a classic “which side are you on” moment. It’s very clear Dupuy has taken the side of the police and the state.

          “extreme elements”? “ineffective waste?” These are our brothers and sisters. “Purge”? Really? Leftists were purged from the union movement and the Democratic Party. Look how that worked out.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Thanks Montana Maven,

            I think I got WFL from somewhere else . . . can’t remember where I picked it up . . . but it is indeed a slur (although tame and accurate) and I am not proud to be provoked to respond to a slur with a slur in kind.

            But I was annoyed by the whole “violence advocate” (VA) thing and as I note above the people that claim to want to have a nuts and bolts discussion about these terms are avoiding this very discussion.

            I would love to see a point by point refutation of my take on the events in DCBlogger’s clips, for instance. And better yet, compare it proportionally to the police and state violence.

            I too am troubled by the red-baiting type of language used–which is why I was riled up to respond as forcefully as I have.

  5. CaitlinO

    And the cat will assure its grandkids that the trek through the snow to the potty was uphill in both directions.

  6. AccruedDisinterest

    “See Something Say Something” would work far more efficiently if we were paid to inform on our fellow would-be evil-doers. And then maybe a year-end bonus for having say, ten or more reports. Let the free market work its magic.

  7. barrisj

    Re: War in Afghanistan and military lies…Paul Rogers, writing at the openDemocracy website, has been all over the “we’ve turned the corner” shite put out by various US commanders the past several years. All the absolute crap put out to captive media about the “successes” of COIN, dealing the Taliban “severe and irreparable damage”, the “stunning success” of midnight raids by JSOC teams in “decapitating” mid-level Taliban operatives – these raids are no more than the Operation Phoenix program redux run during the Vietnam War, just mass arrests and assassinations, with the accompanying delusions that such tactics actually “win” wars. Once the Americans finally decamp from Afghanistan, I’m quite confident there will be a never-ending cascade of books examining the grotesqueries and failures of US policy there, as happened after the ignominious retreat from Vietnam.
    Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it

  8. Tyzão

    Headline: Banks get “penalized” 8.5 billion dollars by Florida AG, who turns around and uses the money to fund Civil Courts in order to expedite foreclosures

    You just can’t make this stuff up!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      All settlement money, like all traffic fines, should go to refunding taxpayers.

      That’s how I imagine a non-for-profit government should be run…like a co-op.

      A for-profit government keeps that money for it to spend, instead.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Tyzao, the Florida AG must be in breach of contract with his co-conspirators. The conspiracy between AG+Governorss of States and the Obama Administration *National Mortgage Settlement* stipulates the quid-pro-quo–i.e. money goes to the State slush fund. Wisconsin and Missouri have honored the contract that brought this settlement to pass:

      “Missouri Now Second State Diverting Foreclosure Funds For Homeowners To Its Own Troubled Budgets” by Travis Waldron, Think Progress |Report at http://www.truthout.org — LINK:

      http://www.truth-out.org/missouri-now-second-state-diverting-foreclosure-funds-homeowners-its-own

      You see, the Florida AG got out of line. In his case, we’ll see if breach of contract (though likely not recorded in print) is penalized. The Rule in Our Time: Don’t mess with the Mob.

      Really, wasn’t it obvious? Surely no one is surprised.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LINK above does not work. At http://www.truth-out.org – please search:

        Headline on website: “Missouri Will Balance Its Budget With Foreclosure Settlement Funds”

        Headline of article precisely (not drawn from link as posted above):

        “Missouri Now Second State To Divert Foreclosure Funds Away From Homeowners Into Its Own Troubled Budget” by Travis Waldron, 13 Feb 2012.

        Perhaps someone will provide a better link. Thank you.

        1. Tyzão

          http://www.truth-out.org/missouri-now-second-state-diverting-foreclosure-funds-homeowners-its-own-troubled-budget/1329160481

          Isn’t this an ultra vires conflict?

          Its the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Punish the banks for their crimes, give them impunity by fining them, then hand the excercisement of that punishment over to the states, who take the proceeds to go and expedite the will of the banks, which was the cause of the punishment to begin with…

          so exhausting to care about ones home these days

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Tyzao, thanks for the link and the comments. It’s enough to make your head explode, and I guess that’s the desired outcome.

          2. Doug Terpstra

            As usual, Obama pursues change toward the worst possible outcome. Not only does the settlement insult the victims and reward gang-banksters for their crimes, it also accelerates pending foreclosures, ruins title law, and destroys real estate values. It seems we can rely on Obama to always do exactly the wrong thing.

            “Mortgage Settlement Will Plunge Real Estate Values” by Greg Hunter

            http://usawatchdog.com/mortgage-settlement-will-plunge-real-estate-values/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+UsaWatchdog+%28Greg+Hunter%E2%80%99s+USAWatchdog%29

      2. Tyzão

        and just to follow-up, Pam Bondi is a Fox crazy who thinks the 300 million people who don’t live in the USA are conspiring against us, as well as a large portion of the 300 million who do live here

        she makes me sad to be an American, a Floridian, and a Christian

  9. Valissa

    Indie businesses: startups without the crunch http://boingboing.net/2012/02/13/indie-businesses-startups-wit.html

    … Indie businesses will be comfortable playing by their own rules even if they may fly in the face of startup cultural norms. They will chase opportunities in markets that may be small, niche or non-existent instead of jumping on the most fundable fad. They will find ways to operate outside of the traditional venture model through either small amounts of early outside funding or choosing a slower growth path and getting to profitability on the back of a terrific product and happy customers. And they will have a goal to stay independent as opposed to looking for a quick flip or speedy IPO.

    Sounds good to me. Real change happens when people stop following existing norms and choose their own path.

  10. Valissa

    The Top 100 Most Strange, Odd, Perplexing and Unintentionally Funny Vintage Valentine Cards EVER! http://mitchoconnell.blogspot.com/2012/02/top-100-most-strange-odd-perplexing-and.html

    Got this link from Boing Boing… could be useful tomorrow.

    Boing Boing had another VD post, showing this unusual (hiply ironic?) card…

    A greeting card for Valentine’s Day http://boingboing.net/2012/02/13/a-greeting-card-for-valentine.html

    Boing Boing also shares some interesting economic research…

    BitTorrent doesn’t hurt US box-office, delayed international releases drive downloading http://boingboing.net/2012/02/13/bittorrent-doesnt-hurt-us-bo.html

    Economics researchers at Wellesley College and U Minnesota have published a study showing that feature films’ US box office returns are not correlated to BitTorrent sharing. They also show that shorter delays between the US exhibition and overseas releases result in less file-sharing — that is, people outside the US download movies because they can’t buy tickets to them.

  11. John L

    Thanks for the water commoditization link. Just joined my local water association board to help protect our aquifer from various threats including privatization.

  12. christine

    I think Hoople kitty just likes to romp in the snow. I have a cat that will run around “stalking” shadows in the snow, jumping at them and come in all covered in snow.

  13. Jim

    “So Black Bloc now comes full circle to embrace precisely the same mindset of brutality and suppression that they find objectionable in the police.”

    An important question for OWS and all of its supporters is whether this emerging movement is simply a political/economic struggle, or whether it is also about changing a cultural mindset and the strategy and tactics which flow from it?

    First, what is a mindset? It seems to be the place where culture and individual psychology meet.

    I would argue that we often assume that the mind is literally some type of inner realm in which such psychological phenomena like thoughts and feeling reside or take place— largely one’s own private inner world.

    But I would also maintain that this assumption is mistaken and that this inner world of our thoughts and feelings is largely created through a socialization process, where our psychological repertoire is largely obtained from the outside, with the inner primarily an acquired phenomenon issuing from the upbringing each one of us has received.

    Culture is largely an interplay of Yes and No on a collective rather than individual mindset level. It tends to be a balance of controls and releases, which constitute a system of moral demands of what we may or may not do in the face of infinite possibility.

    It can be argued that American culture and its social/political/economic order over the past 120 years seems to have run in the direction of demanding less and permitting more. During this recent economic/political crisis some of the most insightful critics (people like William K, Black) have argued that fraud and corruption our now endemic to our economic/political system with dishonest dealings tending to drive honest dealing out of existence.

    Is a restructuring in political and economic institutions enough to deal with this type of endemic corruption or is it also necessary to try to influence our own impulses and inhibitions at the individual mindset and collective cultural level?

    Do we also need a restructuring (or a shift) in our moral demand system and is this possible in a culture where any articulation of limits is often experienced and expressed as a personal type of humiliation?

    Is a taboo more than religious superstition?

    ​​

    1. JTFaraday

      I’ve been reading a bit about the peasant rebellion of 1525.

      Apparently they broke a few windows, eliciting a religious horror in the German Princes, who proceeded to slaughter thousands with the blessing of the Pope and Martin Luther.

      Glass was quite the rare commodity in those days and breaking it was taboo and an offense against Erasmus and Baby Jesus.

      I actually think we’ve come a long way!

  14. ScottS

    Re: See Something, Say Something

    I thought that since every thought we have now makes us terrorists that we could simply turn in “terrorists” on a daily basis and gum up the works. But with the examples of Iraq and East Germany, I’m not so sure that would work.

    But maybe the key is turning yourself in. Like Catch-22, if you report yourself as crazy, you’re normal, because you’d have to be crazy to not be crazy. So, it’s normal to be a terrorist. It’s not normal to be normal. Turning yourself in might create a paperwork headache and the PTB will simply ignore you.

    All that to say, if you haven’t watched Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, you won’t know where this is all going.

  15. ScottS

    Joel Spolsky is smart and successful entrepreneur. Watch what happens when he shares with VCs and CEO his experiences about how to empower employees who have the most direct expertise to make decisions:
    http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2012/02/the-management-team-guest-post-from-joel-spolsky.html
    Hint: the CEOs aren’t happy about his drawing the management hierarchy upside-down and labeling them “administration.”

    I particularly enjoyed the ego-stroking circle-jerk in the comments section.

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