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Links 2/22/12

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Are Pets Psychic? A Cambridge Scientist Believes So Wake Up World. I’m not impressed by the science, but the stories are still nice.

Kim Dotcom wins bail in fight against U.S. extradition Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

Facebook’s nudity and violence guidelines are laid bare Guardian (hat tip reader John L)

Secretive Navy SEALs take starring role in new film Yahoo. Lambert: Wow! How secretive is that! Me: They must be having trouble with recruiting.

Steve McQueen blames US fear of sex for Michael Fassbender’s Oscars snub Guardian (hat tip reader John L)

Midwest Farmland Prices Update for the Year 2011 Big Picture Agriculture

China’s Flash PMI remains weak MacroBusiness

Greece races to meet bail-out demands Financial Times

Greece Bailout 2.0 BNN. Our Marshall Auerback gives a useful overview.

Standby for the third Greek bailout Bill Mitchell

Greek debt accord hostage to political passions Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Photo Gallery: Germans Go Nuts at Carnival Der Spiegel (hat tip furzy mouse)

Experts Say Iran Attack Is Irrational, Yet Hawks Are Winning the Debate Daily Beast (hat tip reader May S)

Iraq: This Year’s Official Executions Already Surpass 2011′s AntiWar (hat tip reader May S)

The American Century Is Over—Good Riddance The Chronicle (hat tip reader May S)

THE EXILED’S FREE CAMPAIGN ADVICE FOR MITT ROMNEY: “BAPTIZE AYN RAND”

The Tea Party’s war on mass transit Salon (hat tip reader May S). From last week, still relevant.

Obama Offers to Cut Corporate Tax Rate to 28% New York Times

EXCLUSIVE: The Memo that Larry Summers Didn’t Want Obama to See Noam Scheiber, The New Republic

Justice Kagan sides with the Right on Miranda Glenn Greenwald

We need to know who funds these thinktank lobbyists Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

“No unemployed need apply” McClatchy (hat tip Lambert)

Has America Lost its Drive? Part 2 Angry Bear

National Mortgage…Fiasco? The Investigative Fund

Legal Fees Mount at Fannie and Freddie Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Case collapse hits efforts to curb bribery Financial Times. No wonder Lanny Breuer keeps saying it is tough to prosecute executives. He sucks at it.

Under Volcker, Old Dividing Line in Banks May Return New York Times (hat tip reader Michael C)

Creepy model watch mathbabe

Antidote du jour:

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123 comments

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LS, while I was reading your comment the screen went blank for *refreshment*. I waited. When the screen returned, the Comcast ad had just gone through its paces.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Just did it again: the blank screen while I’m in comment section; wait; new screen appears at NC home page, I see Comcast ad wrapping up at 12:22.

  1. craazyman

    @psychic pets

    wish we could train dogs to follow the market and anticipate major downside breaks like earthquakes. I can see them sort of pawing around nervously the night before, looking at MSNBC and barking. whoa that makes me smile.

    Mr. Sheldrake’s research is actually quite lucid and his concept of morphic fields is not-at-all wacky stuff given the evidence. I was particularly struck by his work on the learning patterns of birds. Hard to make sense of without hypothesizing new ways of imagining animal consciousness. But whoever’s interested can read it for themselves and make up their own minds.

    1. tom allen

      Just don’t turn on CNBC if the psychic dog is in the room. I mean, if he doesn’t urinate on it, I will. :-P

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The morphi field – is it the one where if more people can speak Greek, now or even in the past, it makes it easier for you learn Greek today?

      I think I saw it in a TV series with Dr. Mishlove about the PK Man.

      1. craazyman

        that’s it.

        this is why channeling works so well. If other people have done the initial heavy lifting to figure something out, you can apprehend their thought structures in the morphic field like software downloaded on your mind’s memory banks.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Unfortunately, it’s a double-edged sword (what’s wrong with that though? Single-edged sword can do a lot of damage as well).

          All that brain-washing knowledge or kleptocratic techniques can be learned with ease as well.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By the way, Craazyman, please don’t give away any crazy but profitable ideas that I am currently trying to perfect.

  2. MacCruiskeen

    I worked on a book abut dog behavior once. The author noticed his dog had been behaving strangely just before an earthquake. He was a vet, and emailed all of his dog-owning colleagues, and many reported similar results, except those with dogs who were deaf and lived alone. Dogs that were deaf and with other dogs picked up cues from the hearing dogs, but those who were alone could not. So it seemed to him evidence that animals were actually responding to an audible (to them) signal of some sort.

    1. YankeeFrank

      I was the last person to ever believe stories of animal telepathy, but I had a bona fide experience myself that was too accurate to be coincidence. I had a cat as a child that I was very close with. He even spent a year at college with me where he was stolen and retrieved by me with the aid of a conscientious friend of the thief. He was a blue point siamese and very beautiful. He also had chronic ear mites that no vet seemed able to cure for long. He suffered greatly with the mites over the years despite countless painful ear cleanings wrapped in towels and vet visits. After my first year in college, I returned to my home state to continue my education and my cat went to stay with my parents as I was in a dorm. One early morning I had a very distressing dream where I was watching my cat from an elevated perspective in the backyard of my parents’ house (a perspective I never experienced physically as there was a huge unclimbable tree there). He was attempting to climb a ladder below the second story kitchen window, fell and was laying near the wall at the base of the basement window. I wanted to reach out to him and help but I couldn’t do anything in the dream. As I struggled and suffered to reach him, my roommate was slowly shaking me awake — it was my mother on the phone. I walked to the phone in dread, knowing exactly what was coming. My mother informed me that my kitty was dead. He had just been found on the ground outside and below the back kitchen window. Somehow I knew it even before she told me.

      I have not experienced such a telepathic communication since, but have met others who have had similar experiences.

      We live in an age of hubris, where we believe we understand the deep mechanisms of life to the point where we can decide what is credible and what is not. This says more about us than it does about the world. Science has given us wonders that make us feel certain that what lays outside its explanations simply cannot exist. I don’t buy this for a second, and frankly, neither do many other people — people I would say who have more than their share of wisdom in an age of folly and false confidence.

      As our detection tools have expanded, so has our knowledge of the world and the universe. Things we thought were ridiculous decades ago are turning out to be true all the time. Dark matter, string theory… the list goes on and on. Bell’s Theorem shows us that events occurring in one place are not necessarily localized and can effect events very far away. That sounds eerily similar to telepathy for me. Even plants, that most believe have no sentience, have language and communicate with one another for common defense and mutual aid.

      The world is more magical and wondrous than anything we can imagine. I, for one, take heart in that fact, and do not fear to be ridiculed for the humble awe and respect I have for nature.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you are optimistic that our descendents will continue (or even increase) the rate of our current knowledge expansion, then, perhaps one day not too far into the future, what they will know will make our ‘science’ look like voodoo magic.

        Maybe they will say, ‘What?!?! You still believe in that ptolemaic relativity nonsense? That was, like, so last century!’

    2. Bev

      This was one of the most important videos I have ever seen. It is a TED Talk about the bonobos, the other chimpanze.

      Enjoy:

      Susan Savage-Rumbaugh: The real-life culture of bonobos

      http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_savage_rumbaugh_on_apes_that_write.html

      Why you should listen to her:

      Into the great debate over intelligence and instinct — over what makes us human — Susan Savage-Rumbaugh has thrown a monkey wrench. Her work with apes has forced a new way of looking at what traits are truly and distinctly human, and new questions about whether some abilities we attribute to “species” are in fact due to an animal’s social environment. She believes culture and tradition, in many cases more than biology, can account for differences between humans and other primates.

      Her bonobo apes, including a superstar named Kanzi, understand spoken English, interact, and have learned to execute tasks once believed limited to humans — such as starting and controlling a fire. They aren’t trained in classic human-animal fashion. Like human children, the apes learn by watching. “Parents really don’t know how they teach their children language,” she has said. “Why should I have to know how I teach Kanzi language? I just act normal around him, and he learns it.”

      ““We have a lot to learn from [bonobos], because they’re a very egalitarian society and they’re a very empathetic society. Sexual behavior is not confined to one aspect of their life that they set aside. It permeates their entire life.””

      ………

      If culture is dominate, sites like NC is more and more important.

      1. Bev

        If culture is dominate, sites like NC are more and more important to our own survival.

        ……

        To chime in on a different topic, the small lie to gain access to a right wing institution to acquire documentation about the big, life-threatening, species-threatening corporate lies to pervert science education in media and our schools about the real danger and certainty of global climate change, is in its outcome, and effect, so lopsided as to elicite “bravo” to save science, to save our climate, to save our lives, and the bonobos.

    3. Susan the other

      Interesting about deaf dogs picking up on other dog’s cues. This would indicate that their hearing is far more sensitive than we thought. To be able to hear the earth snap miles away, maybe hundreds of miles away. Or hear the rush of an ocean wave before it begins to break. Leads me to this: what we skeptically refer to as telepathy is just super senses. That would be scientifically provable. Has anyone done work on animal hyper sensitivity? do we even have instruments to measure such things? Maybe so sensitive its downright cosmic? I’m also a true believer in this sort of animal “telepathy”. It’s either that or I’m a total moron. The differences are so astonishing. Well, it could be both.

  3. Jim Sterling

    If you’ve ever wondered how those companies can possibly say there’s a “labor shortage” or “skills shortage” in the middle of all this unemployment, now you know: it’s because they don’t count the unemployed as part of the pool of labor and skills.

    It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it would only get worse as unemployment rises. Fewer jobs equals fewer acceptable candidates for the job you’re offering. Eventually the whole country will be unemployed, except for one worker all the vacancies are chasing. And in the middle of the sea of unemployment they will cry “it’s so hard to find good workers!”

  4. Jim3981

    Regarding Navy seals: isn’t the US military, and government, working for Hollywood and the Media anyways for the most part?
    With the level of propaganda on TV and in the newspapers, I’m always confused about who is really creating public policy.

  5. wunsacon

    >> They must be having trouble with recruiting.

    I strongly suspect “recruiting” demands are what’s driving our warlords to encourage gays and women to “serve” them.

  6. Lambert Strether

    From creepy model watch:

    But here’s how I think now that I’m a modeler and I see how this stuff gets made and I see how it gets applied. That we are each giving up our data, and it’s so easy to do we don’t think about it, and it’s being used to funnel people into success or failure in a feedback loop. And the modelers, the people responsible for creating these things and implementing them, are always already the successes, they are educated and are given good terms on their credit cards and mortgages because they have a nifty high tech job. So the makers get to think of how much easier and more convenient their lives are now that the models see how dependable they are as consumers.

    But when there are funnels, there’s always someone who gets funneled down.

    What could go wrong?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      LS, and since the purpose is to get people to buy stuff, if you don’t buy you are figuratively *killed* or shipped to the *ghetto* or to outlier hell?

  7. Jim Haygood

    Thanks, Lambert, for the update on Kim Dotcom’s release on bail on New Zealand. From the article:

    Kim Dotcom, who has New Zealand residency, had been in custody since his arrest in a military-style raid on January 20 on his mansion outside Auckland by local police acting on a U.S. warrant.

    Prosecutors say Dotcom was the ringleader of a group that netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization through Megaupload.com and related websites, among the world’s busiest before they were shut down last month.

    Dotcom and his co-accused were arrested after some 70 armed New Zealand police raided his country estate at the request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Property including more than a dozen luxury vehicles was seized and bank accounts worth millions were frozen.

    Dotcom has told the court earlier that with his assets frozen and business shut down, he had no intention of trying to flee to his native Germany, where he would be safe from extradition.

    Megaupload’s shutdown has reverberated through file-sharing sites worldwide. Go trolling for free ebooks on Google, and upon reaching a file sharing site you’ll likely encounter a message saying ‘This service is not available in your country‘ — meaning the USA. Thanks to its outlier status as the world’s largest gulag, the U.S. is a place where you could be locked up for the rest of your life for a copyright violation. That’s the threat Kim Dotcom is facing.

    Another file sharing site called library.nu simply closed down. Reportedly it had 400,000 books — mostly quality textbooks in the fields of science, technology, and finance — available for free downloading. On forums, you can read the howls of pain from students in developing countries who simply do not have legitimate access to these works where they live, with the Google Book settlement still blocked by publishers.

    What troubles me most is the seizure of Kim Dotcom’s assets based on nothing but a U.S. arrest warrant. Like the U.S., New Zealand has a heritage of English common law, which requires due process [U.S. Amendment V: 'No personal shall be ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.'] Such protections are now routinely overridden, as the state operates by naked force, seizing property first and placing the burden on its victims to seek restitution.

    Welcome to Mafia World, where the long arm of Hollywood’s copyright laws can seize you anywhere on the planet, rendition you back to the U.S. penal colony, and lock you up in a for-profit Corrections Corp. of America prison for the rest of your natural life. What a putrid racket!

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Dogs seem to suffer terribly from separation anxiety, and doubly when the separation is due to the death of the master.

  8. jsmith

    Regarding Iran:

    If the experts – meaning the military – say it’d be idiotic to attack Iran then why don’t they do something about like NOT FIGHT WHEN TOLD TO?

    Um, weren’t you sworn to defend the US Constitution, soldiers?

    Isn’t engaging in illegal aggressive war against the treaties we have signed and therefore in violation of the Constitution?

    I just love how the military is teeming with big-talking right wing fools who don’t seem to give a damn that they’re being turned into obedient lickspittles of the government officials they so claim to despise once in their civvies.

    Oh, you hate the government and its officials but you don’t mind the fact that they are turning you into murderous war-criminals with every new illegal military action?

    1. Jessica

      I don’t hear the military experts saying that attacking Iran would be an “illegal aggressive war”. I would say it but they don’t. I don’t want military experts overruling elected civilian leadership. That’s not their job. It is ours.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Jessica, I think the disappearance of the civilian check on the military began when George W. Bush, as *Decider* and *Commander and Chief* took his *Commander* role dead seriously, seeing himself as the REAL SUPREME Millitary Commander (MIssion Accomplished in full military *action* regalia). He valued this image of himself over that as *War President*. As the *Commander in Chief* he was the *Capo dei Capi* and the Emperor-General of the USA, hence of the world. Grandiosity ruled supreme (liability of his chronic alcoholism, even if he is *dry*).

        Obama has followed suit. Hence, there no longer is any *civilian* check on themilitary, as stipulated by the Constitution.

        “All is vanity.”

    2. Jim S

      On the surface this is a reasonable question, but at least as far back as the Romans they knew you didn’t let soldiers decide what they were or weren’t going to do, which was a successful policy until Caeser marched his legions into Rome, ending the Republic for good. Now you can make the argument that resignations of key individuals would produce a better effect overall and fewer side effects than outright mutiny, and I would probably agree with you.

      Disclaimer: I am a soldier.

      Addendum: I note that the number of fools in the armed forces is proportional to the number of fools in larger society.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Floats in Roman Catholic Germany, whence came the *Hitler Jugend* Bavarian Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

  9. Tertium Squid

    Re: Mitt Romney Baptize Ayn Rand.

    First off, what? How was this interesting or relevant?

    If anyone is interested in more explanation about the LDS practice than the clinical description quoted in the article, this fellow’s website has good info:

    http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_BaptDead.shtml

    I have participated in many such “baptisms for the dead” and do not agree with the author’s characterization of it as an “efficient, production line operation”.

    Just as we believe the Savior died for all sins, not just for those who heard of Jesus and repented during their lives, we believe that all souls that enter into the kingdom of God must be baptized:

    “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

    Baptism is difficult for my ancestors who died without hearing of the Savior and His gospel, and thus we do it for them in LDS temples. Now, as they wander in celestial spheres, they are free to accept or reject the message of the Savior, and all the blessings that come with it.

    I love this doctrine for laying plain that God loves all his children, in whatever age they lived.

    1. YankeeFrank

      If you want to baptize your dead ancestors, go for it. Just leave mine alone. The notion that you are giving my Jewish ancestors the gift of mormonism by baptizing them after death is presumptuous, insulting and ridiculously invasive. I personally find mormonism a foolish and fascistic religion that promotes obedience and servitude over independent thought and insight. The way women are brain-washed into serving their “priesthood holders” is offensive and dangerous.

      You are free to worship whatever god you see fit. And I am free to find it ridiculous. But don’t defend the awful practice of attempting to co-opt the history of other peoples by baptizing their dead as anything else than what it is — an offense to the beliefs of others that you have no business sticking your nose into.

      1. Tertium Squid

        I like your firm committment to individual liberty. The history of religious nonconformists in Europe, Jews in particular, is a pretty fraught one. It does smack of a breathtaking presumption to retroactively Christianize dead Jews who maintained their faith and culture through generations of persecution and hostility.

        Still, no force is being employed to change their minds, hearts or lives. I’m sure we’re not harming the dead; if I am offending the living I am heartily sorry for it. My goal is to be harmless.

        My point of view: if I were to hear that the names of my dear ancestors (some of whom endured religious persecution, but not usually approaching that level so many Jews have been subjected to) were involved in ordinances or cult practices of some other religion, I don’t think I’d care much. Though I may find their actions mistaken, I would not find any harm in it.

        I like the words of Gamaliel as quoted in Acts:

        Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

        But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

      2. Tertium Squid

        And I should be clear: I do not defend or practice the “baptizing” for the names of people with whom I have no close family relationship, or permission of relatives.)

        The late controversy about the memory of Holocaust victims has been a good opportunity for the Church to evaluate the practice. I think the relative lack of clear policy, guidelines and procedure over the years has led to casualness in the minds of LDS about what names are being submitted for baptizing, and why. One of the main goals of Baptism for the Dead is expressed in Malachi, to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers”, and that argues for a strong effort to learn about and be concerned with one’s own ancestors, and not so much historical figures or celebrities.

        1. F. Beard

          The Mormon doctrine for “baptizing for the dead” is derived from a single, somewhat offhand verse of Scripture:

          Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? Why are we also in danger every hour? I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:29-33 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [bold added]

          To be baptized to replace Church members who had died was to place one’s physical life in peril in those days. Therefore, if there was no resurrection of the dead, then why bother – “Eat, drink and be merry!” – except the dead are raised so watch your morals!

          1. Tertium Squid

            You’re right about the reference, but we should be careful about what justifies the practice. A single Bible verse (and some evidence that early Christians did something similar) is not going to be sufficient grounds for starting such a program.

            We believe that God called prophets in time past to establish doctrines and ordinances, and that He can call prophets today as well to inform and instruct us about this wonderful principle.

            The Biblical and early Christian references are certainly reassuring evidence of continuity between ancient and modern times, but are not a sufficient basis for Baptism for the Dead. The basis for the practice lies in modern revelation.

      3. LeonovaBalletRusse

        YF, the measure of Mormon presumption in *baptizing dead Jews* is a BIG red flag indicating the hubris a Mormon President might act upon.

    2. F. Beard

      Serious, actual Christians, which Mormons are not, do not teach that baptism is necessary for justification.

      A sillier religion I know not.

      1. Tertium Squid

        Goodness, does the crux between serious churches and silly ones really turn on the necessity of baptism? If that’s the case, I think you’d have to group a lot of churches throughout history in with us.

        Though I am very very glad to learn we agree that a person can be saved in heaven even if they didn’t have the opportunity to get baptized during their lives.

        1. F. Beard

          I’m quite certain no one misses Heaven by accident:

          For He says to Moses, “ I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” Romans 9:15

          1. Tertium Squid

            Bravo. One of my great sorrows is that so many through history have not believed as you do on this particular matter.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      TS, if the Mormons baptize Ayn Rand instead of holocaust victims, they can compete with the Roman Catholic Church in the *making of Saints* racket to win hearts and minds to the cult.

  10. Valissa

    re: Justice Kagan sides with the Right on Miranda, by Glenn Greenwald

    While Greenwald provides 3 excellent reasons why he did not support Kagan’s appointment, I have a much simpler one. Kagan was appointed because she was an insider elite major player (from the tribe of Harvard). She had never been a judge and not much was really known about her approach to the constitution. So the combo of lacking a judicial background and her insider status makes her a crony appointment of the faux liberal establishment elite.

    This is very similar to the rise into power of Obama as well… a man who had very little appropriate real world background (very weak resume, despite desperate liberal howls otherwise) but who had banker and other elite friends in high places (his real constituents) who thought we was just the right guy to be their front man.

    You know, the principle of “the right tool for the right job” as applied to political power.

    1. Valissa

      good point… how about Greek Bailout = Trojan Horse. This bailout is not to help the Greeks as much as it is a power grab by Euro elites, aka the ascendant neo-aristocracy.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Valissa, don’t forget *the hedge funds, who want to profit* from the deal, as I read yesterday or the day before.

        Right. The *bailout* is not FOR Greece. There’s a video at http://www.TRNN.com urging Greece to leave the Euro, and an interview on RT recommends the same, with reasons.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe it’s more accurate to call it ‘Greeks Bailing Out.’

      The false hope by banksters is that today’s Greeks can better their ’300 Spartans’ ancestors. Call it Themopylae II, if you will, but by Mammon, we (the banksters) must stop those barbaric 99%ers!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I was about to say ‘I am hungry for the correct foody politics link.’

            I am glad I didn’t.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Love that St. O’Mach.

            Do you have any on St. Range – the patron saint of weird people (we don’t think we are weird though) everywhere?

          3. Valissa

            Geez MLTPB, brilliant idea :) St. Range – the patron saint of weird people… I love it, count me as a devotee! I googled and binged and couldn’t really find anything on “st. range”… but I did find these fun strange food pictures.

            Pictures: Evil and odd food http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/sns-food-evil-odd-food-pictures,0,6204541.photogallery

            Those food pics all came from this blog…

            My Food Looks Funny http://noms.icanhascheezburger.com/

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Vegeinsects!

            They do pose a dilemma for animal chauvinists.

            Should we torture them like we always do vegetables or accord them the quick, humane death of an animal demanded by animal-centric, but otherwise compassionate, humans?

          5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Evil and odd food.

            Ummmmm, I am hungry now.

            Is there a dish called ‘Justice?’

            I am hungry for Justice.

  11. YankeeFrank

    Re the memo Summers didn’t want Obama to see — nothing makes it clearer who our government serves — we can provide $13-16 trillion to backstop the financial system, but the idea that a mere $1.8 trillion stimulus to backstop the people of the nation is “impractical” says all we need to know.

    Similar to the way our government controls and prohibits medicines that work from being accessible, they claim the one thing that will actually resolve our economic woes — massive infusions of non-debt-based government money — cannot be permitted… unless of course that money is used to kill people half way around the world. Enough is enough. The American century sure is dead. We have become a mockery of the principles that made us a strong people, and have descended into petty hatreds and fears — begrudging a helping hand to others even if it means a better world for all of us. I guess its just too bad that some of us see a better way and have to suffer from those who have left the path of wisdom.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      YF, mightn’t we be better off if *dual nationals* didn’t dictate our policies foreign and domestic?

  12. BDBlue

    The Washington Times and its freebee smaller version have anti-Metro headlines several times a week in DC. It’s the paper’s most consistent theme. I once thought of documenting it because it’s some overwrought headline about how bad the DC Metro is day after day. I guess the belief is if you drive down public support, you can cut money, which makes service worse, which permits you to drive down public support. It’s not that the DC Metro is perfectly run (it isn’t), but it’s heavily used (albeit showing its age) and is generally safe and more or less clean. I guess the idea by the Times and other wingers seems to be it should pay for itself and in making that calculation, things like pollution prevented, road-wear, and the time (and money saved by not having to own or use a car) of its users shouldn’t be included in the calculation. While I don’t think it undermines the overall support for the metro system, it does have an effect. I’ve heard several people basically mimic the Times’ stories in complaining about Metro “waste”.

    I really don’t understand the war on mass transportation except that when done well, people tend to like it and perhaps think well of government. And, of course, for the paranoid, it helps the masses move at a more efficient, less expensive and oil-dependent way.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        LS, no surprise that The Cato Institute says *It’s time to privatize* — we should know by now what Solution is indicated by claims that a system is *inefficient*, which has led to *grumbling*. “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” to the rescue!

        Hail Caesar!

  13. BondsOfSteel

    RE: “No unemployed need apply” McClatchy (hat tip Lambert)

    I’m not sure this article proves it’s point at all. The two examples were both ~60 yr olds in the software industry. Ageism is rampant in the software industry.

    Plus, since the software industry changes very rapidly, it would be easy for someone who’s been out of work a couple of years to lose their skill. They would need to show projects they’ve worked on at home or new technologies they’ve researched.

    As a programmer, you always need to keep learning and studing to stay relevent. In a job, this is easier than at home, which requires self disipline and ambition.

    1. Lambert Strether

      “An advocacy group for workers surveyed online job postings last year and found more than 100 companies that want only applicants who are currently employed.” See also the comment from Bruce Clarke. As for the software industry, maybe an older worker wouldn’t have bet on the latest trend. But Craig Guerdat isn’t looking for jobs involving node.js or big data. He’s a tech doc writer. And as I’m sure many of us here can attest, writing skills improve with age ;-)

    2. reslez

      The unstated reason companies don’t hire older workers is the cost of health insurance. My understanding is if you have older workers your cost goes up. The article didn’t mention this at all.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Pets will vehemently disagree with what I am about to say, but it’s sad we treat human workers the way we humans adopt pets – the younger the better.

      2. ambrit

        Folks;
        Yes indeedy youngens! It’s all because of that d—-d improved medicine. Ifn this was one of those Randian Yeutopias, us oldies would’ve died off by now! Then there’d be no need for Socialist Security or Medicare or Big Gummint or none of thet stuff that steals from the rich and gives to the poor! Life would be perfect!

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Tinao, thanks for this vitally important link. I hope that Yves Smith, Abigail Field, and William K. Black will give us their expert opinions on this.

      The short response might be: fasten your seat belts and secure your oxygen mask, and pray that you won’t get trampled by the stamped out of the Exit door.

      The CDS rackets are proving unsustainable; and Big Ben might be absorbed now in more pressing issues that what’s going to happen when someone says: “PULL it.” Disaster Capitalism still is good for looting by some.

      Time to get that Kucinich bill through the mill and signed, so that the Treasury can start printing our new United States Notes. But we need a new Treasurer’s signature: “William K. Black.”

      1. sleepy

        And like you allude to, somebody or some thing will make an absolute fortune if this comes to pass. The rest of us, not so much.

      2. Tinao

        Thanks Leonova BalletRusse. That 32 trillion CDS market no one talks about has been making me nauseous for months now. I agree Black is the right person for the old-no-light-in-his eyes’s job, but I’m unfamiliar with the Kucinch bill your referring to.

  14. Jim S

    Thanks for the link to Wake Up World–I’ve been looking for an unconventional but intelligent (at least at first glance) site like that for some time. As some wise guy once said, “the world is wierder than we can imagine”.

  15. sleepy

    Regarding farmland prices, I live in northern Iowa where some farms have gone for up to $12,000 per acre, a bubble waiting to pop imho.

    At the same time, I know a couple of farm families who own perhaps 200 acres–the smalltime exception–who are paper multi-millionaires, yet can’t afford to drive much more than 10 yr. old pickups on their farm income, while the wife holds down a job in town in order to get family health insurance.

    But they won’t sell because it’s a way of life.

    1. evodevo

      Yes, this is the early ’80′s deja vu – all it will take is a plunge in those commodities bubbles and it’s time to call Willie Nelson back to the stage. The only reason the land prices are so high is because of the ethanol racket. When that subsidy expires, look out below. There is NO WAY you can spend that kind of money on land and equipment and get any kind of rational ROI.
      Rain on the Scarecrow

  16. Hugh

    Kagan is Obama’s Harriet Miers. Only he managed to get her confirmed to the Court.

    I read through that decision last night and was wondering if anyone would write on it. It is yet another cutting back on Miranda with the usual inverted reasoning. I mean it is something of a hoot and complete abandonment of logic, the argument that someone serving time can be interrogated and yet that interrogation not be custodial in nature.

    There are now so many qualifications to Miranda you would have to be an attorney to invoke it, and then law enforcement would probably just ignore you and the courts back them up on their violation.

    The case is Howe v. Fields and can be found here:

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-680.pdf

    And yes I noticed Kagan had voted with the radical conservatives in the majority opinion written by Alito, but I would note that Ginsburg’s opinion in which Breyer and Sotomayor joined agreed in part and dissented in part. Indeed the whole Court bought into or did not object to the whole custody within custody idiocy. Rather Ginsburg focused on whether the interrogation was voluntary in nature and concluded it wasn’t.

    I think another decision released yesterday Marmet Healthcare Center v. Brown was also important because it is yet another effort to shut ordinary citizens out of the court system and shunt them into arbitration even when personal injury and death are involved. Basically, the Court said that under the Federal Arbitration Act a nursing home can effectively limit its liability by getting patients to sign arbitration agreements as part of the nursing home contract, precluding them or their estates from suing the nursing home in the case that the nursing home kills or injures them. Instead the matter must be arbitrated.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-391.pdf

    And by the way that was a per curiam opinion, so they all were in on it. Don’t get me wrong. I think Kagan is a terrible justice, but the whole Court is deeply corporatist in its outlook.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I agree. They have been whittling away at these rights for a while now, and both ideological “sides” have joined the party.

      Kagan and Sotomayor could easily have been nominated by Republicans.

      Sotomayor’s first written opinion dealt with the 2005 bankruptcy laws that interfered with a lawyer’s ability to represent his client if his client was a lowly consumer. Normally, a lawyer has a duty to give his client the best advice available–especially if this advice is legal and can save the client money.

      Well, the bankruptcy law said that corporations can arrange its affairs in anticipation of bankruptcy and try to save money by moving stuff around, etc., but the law actually prevents lawyers from giving average people (“consumers”) this same advice! They make it illegal to correctly advise one’s client on the law if it will benefit them and hurt a creditor! And there is a different rule for a corporation and its attorneys!

      In theory, the courts are supposed to protect the lawyer/client relationship as sacrosanct, and prevent the legislature from coming between a lawyer and his client and preventing the honest exchange of information.

      But the Court made an exception in this case! The entire court, corporatists all of them, agreed to this injustice, but Sotamayor wrote this poorly written opinion.

      The Supreme Court is as fraudulent as the rest of our government. They are bought and paid for. Sotomayor’s first opinion proved it–she and her fellow justices would rather side with raw corporate power rather than uphold basic tenets of a free and just society–only the rich get to have lawyers without one hand tied behind their backs.

      1. Maximilien

        “The Supreme Court is as fraudulent as the rest of our government.”

        I like watching the Repub debates because once in a while one of the candidates reveals what he REALLY thinks. Tonight in the Arizona debate Rick Santorum let slip this gem:

        “We have a 5 to 4 majority on the Supreme Court.”

        WE, THE REPUBS, HAVE A MAJORITY ON THE SUPREME COURT.

        There you have it. Santorum sees the SC as simply another legislative body over which the Repubs currently have control. Justices are either “for” the Repubs or they’re “agin” ‘em.

        The SC as an impartial body of adjudicators? Not in Santorum’s mind. But at least he was honest about it, if only by accident. Many other politicians think exactly as Santorum does, but are more experienced and thus discrete about it.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Germans go nuts at Carnival.

    They are not as smart as they are reputed to be.

    Why can’t they be smarter ‘economic hitmen?’ Why can’t they just use loans as lures to built an empire without their conqurered subjects knowing much about it?

    Good economic hitmen can do that for all you empire builders out there, without all those street riots.

    Be smart, you Germans. Hand out more loans, quitely of course (without exciting the 99%) so you can make those countries vote your way at the U.N. and the European Parliament or whatever European institutions you desire.

  18. Hugh

    Obama’s whole economic team was neoliberal. I guess we could debate who was the bigger as*hole, Larry Summers or Robert Rubin, but what I don’t think we should be doing is letting off the Romers, Orszags, and Bernsteins just because they left.

    I remember doing calculations at the time that came up with around $1.5 trillion needed over two years based on 90% spending 10% tax cuts. The caveat was that level of spending would be necessary for longer than two years, until, in fact, the economy was well on its way to recovery.

    I think now that even these figures were too low. I have since acquired a much better understanding of the scope of un- and underemployment in the country, and it is a lot larger than I supposed at the time.

    Anyway with regard to Obama and Romer, it wasn’t like Romer couldn’t have spoken up. She chose not to. Obama could have chosen an economics team with progressive members on it, but of course he didn’t and never would have. Nor was he shielded from other views. Even the very Establishment Krugman was advocating in the NYT for a larger, more focused stimulus than what was kicking around among Obama’s advisers.

  19. kevinearick

    Family: Drilling the Vortex of Perception

    The values of 1 and 0 are not absolute, as any engineer will tell you. They are relative to the event horizon looking glass, which gives you LRC. -1 is relevant to them. The clock is being wound through the neutral to complete the overall circuit. You just don’t have a meter to gauge it.

    The problem/solution is diversity; symptomatic facts / perceptions are generated faster than they may be processed by the limits of the meters. Just when you think you have a foundation to build upon, it blows up. It’s not about the destination; it’s about the ride.

    At some point soon, the rest of the world is going to look back at America’s consumption weakness as the cause of its austerity, and the inclination will be to start a war for the sake of misdirection. Beneath the façade of daily events, America was built to provide artificial demand for the world’s artificial supply. Government gets captured by legacy time when its looking glass, constitutional character, is ignored.

    A handful of legacy families initiate war and a handful of new families end it. A nuclear bomb is trivial relative to the scale of humanity’s current capability. The amount of hell unleashed will depend upon participation in the middle. I’m not a fan of Ron Paul, but what the rest of the world sees is that he has more support among veterans and young people than the rest of the candidates combined, and he is promising to cut their government budget. Something to think about.

    The problem with logic is that all the facts are never present at processing time. The problem with emotion, logic head wind, is that it is simply anti-logic. Left to their individual processes, both will discharge. Emotional intelligence, the point of passion, is to employ the headwind of emotion against itself for propulsion. Set the sail of logic to employ gravity. Homosexuality is noise in the circuit, which may be further employed in the feedback loop.

    Civil marriage occurs within an event horizon, or across close horizons, pulling them close to the ground, the social construct of the past. Real religious marriage crosses event horizon gaps, extending relative ground, with distance depending upon the gaps crossed. At the next integral in the multiplexer, the intelligent children passing through the flux, the path to the future is being set across the resulting stepping stones.

    Programming intelligence is not about solving the traveling salesman problem to the end of corporate welfare. It is about expanding the market, space, to provide for corporate growth, which then may be employed as a catapult, triggering the next iteration. When you follow implicit and explicit law within an event horizon, you are winding the clock, loading the quantum spring, to the extent your non-conformance cannot be measured. The empire seeks to eliminate private life accordingly. You seek to expand it.

    Being angry at an empire is like yelling at your sculpture because its destination does not comport with your original intent. Where you go depends upon the starting material chosen and what is revealed as its false character is chipped away, to the hidden beauty beneath. Likewise, the landscape you paint is a function of the limitations you accept, in a balance between order and disorder.

    To the so-trained eye, military explicitly appears to be big government, which may only result in central control through a hierarchical apparatus, which may only result in rape / exploitation. But beneath the surface, across militaries, runs an implicit spring waiting to be revealed. Explicitly, military is an aggregate of individual insecurities masquerading as social securitization. Implicitly, it hides the seed of the next generation from time.

    Miscommunication among nations is a function of operation within separate time horizons, confronting the empire of History from different angles of incidence. Their jealous 2-yr-old civilian administrators always look for any excuse to play emperor, seeking the support of empire robots accordingly.

    The emotional empire, led by the tyranny of its least common denominator, in the form of an emperor, naturally seeks to turn logic on its head, to sail directly downwind with the largest sail possible, made up of identical, easily replaceable pieces, on a boat expanded to accommodate the sail.

    It is against this headwind that the religious family sails, sometimes in a fleet, sometimes alone, and not so magically ends up in a common destination with others, just before the next sail is set for another adventure. It is not the admiral, but rather the child, that is really in charge of the voyage.

    Teach your children the fundamentals of sailing, but do not demand a strict policy and expect anything other than to travel in smaller and smaller circles, on a ship of shared misery on its way to death. When you set your course base upon fear in the rear-view mirror there is no other possible outcome. Life is meant to be lived, not in repetition, but in the spring of diversity.

    Teach your children to sail competently and let them go, to become captains of their own industry. That is the flame of democracy, all hands on deck, to each to own purpose, with a common set of values under development, but no particular destination in mind. Learn to tack before you need to tack. Play to learn and learn to play, to maintain an elastic looking glass, a healthy perspective on life, which aggregates into the NPV window required by all.

    Value is a perspective, sometimes measured, sometimes not, but life is extremely fair over time. Bet accordingly. Religious marriage is a leap of faith, against the waves of time. Some make it; most do not. Subsidizing failure is not the path to success. Pick your kids up, brush them off, and put them back on the horse.

    The empire is a stage. Your private life is your private life. Don’t mix the two and expect a happy outcome. The problem with escapism / drugs is that the cause, relative empire control, increases when you get back. Addiction is prisoners dilemma. Logic is a prisoner to historical priorities. Emotion is a prisoner to lack of priority. Set the tack to balance the two, in the order required to befit the environment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For our central bankers, 0 + 0 = 1.

      After that, you can go very far.

      For theologians, the technical term is ‘creatio ex nihilo,’ supposedly a sacrilegious act for mere mortals to attempt.

  20. Susan the other

    We have never established the proper political foundation. What DO we want? Are we embarrassed to admit that we want the rich to take everything and let the poor starve, die and stink by the side of the road?

    1. F. Beard

      The rich have taken/are taking everything because we decided long ago that some are more “credit-worthy” than others. What else could it be? Otherwise, the poor could have at least earned non-negative real interest rates on their savings instead of being left in the dust.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The American Century is Over.

    This is what a smart corporation would do – change its name.

    Maybe we call ourselves West India.

    Welcome to the West Indian Century! The 21st is the West Indian Century!

    1. Maximilien

      I like the idea. How about “The Benighted States”?

      How could a country called The Benighted States possibly have malign intentions toward other countries?

      A name like that also makes it easy to play for world sympathy. “We must help The Benighted States!”

      Only one problem with my suggestion: The abbreviation for The Benighted States is BS. Oh well, back to the drawing board….

  22. Fíréan

    At what point in life do you start requiring science to validate your reality ?

    I learnt to walk,talk,see,hear,smell,taste and perceive what i was sensing,to appreciate beauty, all without any scientific explanation, understanding or evidence of the possibilities.

    Re; “psychic” abilities of animals (or any living creature).

    1. Lambert Strether

      Unfortunately, the media critique wasn’t enough on the Clusterfukashima disaster. Just because the media was irresonsible, ignorant, shouting Chernobly! Meltdown! when in fact the Russian and Japanese reactor systems were completely unlike…. Did not mean turn out to mean that was not an utter and appalling disaster, and there was not not a meltdown. The situation turned out to be far worse than anybody imagined. Even the media. And there’s a lot of that going around.

      1. YY

        There is a myth that the disaster was misrepresented and unreported. Anyone following closely the Japanese media would have had better idea of the extent of precariousness of the situation and anybody who understood the language would have heard the low-key pronouncements by the government as actually being quite alarming. Meltdown was never denied though there was a change in language when the English word became more current in the media. The cabinet secretary in the first two weeks of the disaster was using the word yoyu 溶融 – Melting in describing the fuel. Literally melting. But it did not occur to many until weeks later he was in effect saying melt-down. In describing the situation Tepco was saying it believed that it wasn’t a China syndrome (or Argentine syndrome as it were). Regardless how one feels about the competence of Tepco, given the blind man feeling the elephant situation they did actually report fairly accurately what they perceived. The reality is still serious and the interpretation of sober/dry pronouncements as underplaying reality is more reflective of the expectation that there should be screaming and shouting of terror. That is why the issue of SFP#4 being drained of coolant, which sounded alarmist, false and unsubstantiated at the time, still bothers me.

  23. George

    “US fear of sex”.

    I think I have been around a larger cross-section of America than most people, and certainly for a longer time.

    I have not noticed a fear of sex. Different groups, ages, backgrounds talk more or less about it, but so far as I have seen, nobody is afraid of it. Quite a lot of my fellows in the US seem to like it quite a lot. The most religious and least educated groups in the US have teenagers that get pregnant at a higher rate than less-religious and more-educated groups, and that has been true for generations.

    “Fear of sex” is not an explanation for anything about the US.

  24. charles sereno

    Re Bill Mitchell’s post –
    The photo of Christine imperiously upbraiding Lucas was CROPPED. In the upper left corner, you can barely make out an accomplice approaching Christine from the back, no doubt with less than friendly intentions.

  25. charles sereno

    Re “Baptize Ayn Rand” (the eXiled)
    Too many of us under-appreciate Ayn’s SOFT side. How many know that she wrote the screenplay for the Oscar nominated 1945 movie, “Love Letters,” starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten? Guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes.

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