Recent Items

Links 2/4/12

Posted on by

A ton of today’s links come from Lambert, including the antidote. If it’s interesting and not attributed to a reader, assume it was due to Lambert.

Yes you were right Charles: Plants really can communicate with one another In the Stone Age, when the Wall Street Journal was available only in print, in one section, and had its center column devoted to human interest stories, it has a story on a scientist measuring plant reactions (I don’t remember how, but this was a real study). Someone came in the room and shredded up one plant in front of the others. They “fainted.” Every time he came in the room after that, they all “fainted” again.

Vermont inmates hide pig in official police car decal Reuters

How Globalization Nearly Exterminated the Buffalo Conservable Economist

Rare snowfall blankets Rome Associated Press. The pictures are cool.

Drug addiction ‘may be hereditary’ Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

FBI probes Anonymous intercept of US-UK hacking call BBC

High-Tech US Corporations Deny Skilled American Workers Jobs Through Abuse of Visa Loophole BuzzFlash (hat tip reader May S)

‘The vice president of the U.S. is… Bill Clinton!’ Shocking video shows high school students are woefully uninformed Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). To quote David Einhorn: No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse.

Khmer Rouge jail chief gets life for his ‘factory of death‘ Independent

Yakuza labor structure formed base of nuclear industry Asahi Shimbun

Bird numbers plummet around stricken Fukushima plant Independent :-(

Church of England doubles hedge fund investments Financial Times

Syria Live Blog Aljazeera

Bradley Manning Case: Army Officer Orders Court-Martial For Manning In WikiLeaks Case Associated Press

U.S. Skies Could See More Drones Wall Street Journal

Atheism in America Financial Times. Living in godless NYC, I can’t relate to this sort of thing, but if I were surrounded by aggressive Christians, I imagine being a non-believer would be mighty uncomfortable. It seems that the path of least resistance is to call oneself a Unitarian, since Unitarians believe in at most one god.

Let them game the model mathbabe

The Non-Farm Payrolls Report: Air Brushing History – Nominal Work Force for Nominal GDP Jesse (hat tip Scott). A must read.

Great jobs report, but what about the long-term unemployed? Fortune

Real US Corporate Tax Rate Falls to 12.1 Percent, the Lowest Level Since 1972 Wall Street Journal (hat tip reader May S)

Goldman to face mortgage debt class-action lawsuit Reuters

As the Plutonomy Powers Ahead, the “Realonomy” Remains in Recession Truthout (hat tip reader May S)

Foreclosure Accord Said to Ensure Same Terms for All 50 States Bloomberg (hat tip reader Deontos). This seems to be an affirmation of an earlier leak.

We’re More Unequal Than You Think Andrew Hacker, New York Review of Books

Antidote du jour. You can read about this rabbit here.

Print Friendly
Twitter15DiggReddit0StumbleUpon0Facebook0LinkedIn3Google+1bufferEmail

191 comments

    1. Tim Mason

      If you have found Hacker’s essay compelling, you will want to see the Equality Trust site, at which you can see the authors of The Spirit Level present their findings, and where you can download their data and play around with it for yourvesf : http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/

      1. Sufferin' Succotash

        Of course all those other countries are more homogenous than ours. Meaning if we got rid of all the non-homogenous Americans we would look a lot better in the standings.
        Or something like that.

        1. ambrit

          Dear Sylvester;
          I thought the Enlightenment boffins had developed democracy, or some such, to try and deal with this homogeniaty thingy. I’m sory, but it’s not all ‘Sweet William” and ‘Girls Own’ anymore.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Tim Mason, “Equality Trust” SCREAMS Hill & Knowlton.

        (Search “British Intelligence: Hill & Knowlton”)

        1. Tim Mason

          Really? To me it coyly whispers ‘Fabian’, which you can do a search for along with ‘labour party’. ‘The Spirit Level’recounts an interesting research project, which attempts to show the kind of damage that the neoliberal project has caused and will cause – damage to health, welfare, the social tissue and so on. The site I linked to puts the data from that project at your disposition. You can either use it or sneer at it: up to you. To the extent that it offers ammunition to those who would oppose the all-out attack on the English welfare state that Cameron and his friends have embarked upon, I’d say ‘use it’.

    2. JTFaraday

      Liberal conventional economic wisdom, shaded into a barely articulated point about the non-market premia the upper middle classes awarded themselves, culminates in undisguised shilling for the D-Party as the paternalistic protectorate of civilized liberals from the violence of the lower classes reconstituted into mouth breathing Repugnant hicks, which taps into cultural war animosities and provides moral justification for squeezing everyone further.

      The guy’s a walking virus. It’s going to be a LONG TIME before we have viable community of responsible public intellectuals in this country.

      I like your street art better.

    3. spooz

      Also enjoyed the essay; interesting point on the limitations of the Gini ratio where two identical scores can be indicative of widely different distributions of income.

      Regarding crime rates link to unemployment, which the author suggests is more related to which political party is in the white house, I smell propaganda. I checked the Second City Cop blog to see what Chicago cops have to say about it and found some skepticism regarding the official stats. Murders up, but everything else down doesn’t pass the smell test.

      http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/search?q=crime+rate

      Also, I’ve enjoyed the film Holiday (picture on link) many times over the years. One of the few movies I can watch repeatedly.

      1. beowulf

        Homicide rates are the benchmark since, thanks to those meddling doctors and their signed death certificates, the one crime stat the police can’t bury are corpses.

      2. Jim Sterling

        I was puzzled by this phrase:

        “the Gini ratio, a three-digit coefficient”

        I’m baffled by how people’s brains work sometimes. In what sense can a coefficient be said to “have” three digits, as opposed to two, or four? More digits just mean they quoted a more precise figure.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      babaganush, we must understand: the *free market* is what the British East India Company/Victorian Reich called *free trade*. Now.do.we git it? It’s for the .01% MonopolyFinance Franchise.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      tsaf, thanks for the links, great post by Tim Wu on Internet monopolies, monopolies as a rule, and oligopolies. Will Parker Brothers hire Wu as a consultant to design “CyberMonopoly” and “Oligopoly” board games, also morphed into Monopoly Finance War Games (interactive product), in order to “bring up the next generation* in compliance with the Rules of the Game?

  1. ex-PFC Chuck

    Lambert, There’s no link in the line that begins “The Non-Farm Payrolls Report: Air Brushing History,” but the line after following blank line has a link regarding that report. Is that the link to which the one in questions refers to as a “must read?” Or should there have been a link in the “Air Brushing History” line?

    1. Richard Kline

      So Chuck, link’s pranged, but just click on Jesse’s Cafe in the blogroll list to the right, and you can read it there. Worth it (even if my comment thereupon seems to have been engorged in the mod queue . . .).

  2. JTFaraday

    “”While some may find humor in the decal modifications, the joke unfortunately comes at the expense of the taxpayers,” Police Major Bill Sheets said in a statement.”

    Not if the police don’t insist on replacing it just because it hurt their wittle piggy feelings…

    1. Dave of Maryland

      When the English hung Yankee Doodle on us, we wore it as a badge of honour and flung it back at them so hard that they, not us, won’t touch it.

      Here’s your bonus prize: By 1825 Ludwig was so disgusted and bored at, 1. The English, and 2. His own symphony, that he used Yankee Doodle as the theme for his Ode. Don’t believe me? Sing it out next time you hear it. Dear Van B had, over his career, repeatedly set English folk songs, he had a large collection of scraps, he knew the offensive ones.

      So cops are still too defensive to say, I’m a Pig and I’m PROUD. Pass the bacon! – as the blue-suited pig lunges in to his favorite Shakespeare.

      1. tom allen

        “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” — George Bernard Shaw

        Oh well, Mr. Shaw, some of us humans like mud wrestling too. As long as the pig’s having fun, I’m up for the joke. But then, Iowans like me are kind of silly like that. :-P

        1. Dave of Maryland

          Among die-hard Republican school-dropouts (to hit something earlier in this thread), there are well-known hog wrestling events where everybody gets greasy.

          Wonder if there’s any local cops who join in?

          1. ambrit

            Dave! Say it ain’t so! Mud Rasslin down at the local T—-e Bar ain’t rite??! Oh, the Shame! (Now what’s my Ol Lady goin t do t support our fambly?)

          2. tom allen

            Divide et impera. *sigh*

            You should try hog wrestling. Or pie eating. Or skinny dipping. Or hanging out with high school drop-outs, or Republicans — or even cops. There’s a lot of good people out here, if you could just quit (ahem) copping a ‘tude.

            Everybody’s gonna get greasy very soon, when the Euro dies. But since I can’t express myself very well right now, I’ll turn you over to a poet:

            “Buddy, you’re a boy
            Make a big noise
            Playing in the street
            Gonna be a big man some day
            You got mud on your face
            You big disgrace
            Kicking your can all over the place

            We will, we will rock you
            We will, we will rock you
            We will, we will rock you”

      2. EH

        Nothing personal, but surely you aren’t trying to say that B’s 9th and “Yankee Doodle” sound the same, are you? Wrong “Ode?”

  3. craazyman

    I don’t know about this “innovation” mantra.

    If you think about it, there was much more life-changing innovation beginning a century ago than today. My grandmother, born in 1901, saw an incredible amount of innovation — from horse-drawn milk wagons as a girl and books and newspapers and walks in the woods for information/entertainment, to automobiles, the advent of radio, moving images in the cinema in black and white and then color, the creation of television, air travel, space travel, landing on the moon, the creation and evolution of the personal computer, as well a century of medical advances. She passed away at 100 years old, leaving a world that was virtually unrecognizeable from the one she was born into.

    Now we have the internet. It’s not trivial at all, but the basic concepts of autos, airlines, movies, recorded sound and video, etc. are not new at all, only the driving technology under the hood has changed through digitization.

    What is changing rapidly though is social identity. And that is perhaps more destabilizing at a psychological level than any technology. But that’s another discussion.

    1. craazyman

      wow. just got a coffee from the deli and it jumped in my head walking down the block I’d forgotten the telephone and electricity, and one could even say the highway system across the nation.

      Holy Cow! There’s was so much more real life-altering innovation in those days than there is today!

      1. craazyman

        wow. and even all the kitchen appliances!

        this is like a bouquet of thinking that just keeps blooming new images like flowers.

        what do we have now? one more style of garlic crusher and a special paring knife for each brand of vegtable for the “chef’s kitchen” set? whoooa! creativity!

        I use 3 pots to cook anything and I don’t even own a microwave. I have 1 knife. and somehow I feed myself. haha

        hahah. too much funny stuff for 8 am on a Saturday. That’s what 4 coffees will do, I guess.

        1. ambrit

          Dear Blumburg Craazy;
          Yeah, you rite. The period 1850 to 1950 is sometimes called the Third Industrial Revolution. Really, things never stopped lurching onward since the early 1800′s. The physical and technical side of life keep keeping on.
          My problems with that are two: The Theory of Limits, and The Purpose of Society.
          We don’t seem to have hit the first one yet, (unless you consider the questions of ‘Peak’ this and that seriously.) Still, something becomes a problem at ‘Peak’ times only when it is unique and indispensable. At the societal scale of things, both of these requirements are mutable, hence, manageable.
          We are entering into (in my worthless opinion) a crisis concerning the second subject. Technical objects and ideas are only tools to be used. How they are thus employed is of paramount importance. For example, electronic technology offered a transformation of elective politics. One major ‘unintended consequence’ of that change was the ability of unscrupulous actors to manipulate the ‘vote’ to steal elections. Look at who ‘owns’ the electronic voting machines in America, and just how much power they have to ‘adjust’ the data coming out of those machines.
          Human nature hasn’t changed in 20’000 years.
          Sometimes, the “System” is rigged too much to be reformed. Then we have to walk away and let it fail. Be ready to pick up the pieces later. At that point, we’re ready to make some real progress.

          1. Kalssy!

            Yes, if I were to do a survey of the most useful and most amazing technologly in my house, just about everything would be at least 75 years old. Inddor plumbing is the best “modern” convenience of course.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Steam heat, single pipe. I know, efficiency, but simple and very very rugged. See Dan Halloran on “the dead guys” who built and tuned the systems, and whose engineering practices are either buried in long out-of-print manuals, or have to be reverse engineered.

              Rather like constitutional government, if you think about it.

          2. ambrit

            Friends;
            My dear old departed Dad had a copy of the map of Ancient Rome circa 300AD, showing all the sewers and water supply system. Those inventive people had a high culture, even with the disadvantages of slavery and constant warfare. Where are they now? I get the sneaking feeling that someone will be asking that question about us in a few hundred years.

          3. Mansoor H. Khan

            ambrit,

            “I get the sneaking feeling that someone will be asking that question about us in a few hundred years.”

            I think it was Plato who wrote that civilizations processes along this path:

            Chaos -> Monarchy -> Aristocracy -> Democracy -> Collapse -> Chaos

            To the above model I think we should add:

            Chaos leads to quest/hunger for spirituality and search for god because life is so much more difficult in chaos.

            As religious beliefs consolidate with time social order and stability grows, scientific knowledge grows, cooperation grows, specialization grows and a flourishing new civilization is born–>

            Then:

            The once a civilization grows powerful: Faithlessness grows, selfishness increases and corruption and cheating increase leading to collapse/Chaos again!

            That is why I believe spirituality will come back in full force post collapse (inshallah).

            mansoor h. khan

    2. Dave of Maryland

      And my daughter, born in 2000, will likely see a retrenchment. Air travel, for example. The supersonic planes are already gone. Air travel has changed from lots and lots of half-empty planes that were largely on time, to crammed tiny hell-holes that sit on the runways for hours on end. Will I fly again? No.

      Air travel is an industry dying in front of us. To say nothing of manned space travel, where the richest country in the world can no longer afford to put a guy up there. Myself, I’d sooner a dark age where everyone knows the value of life, to corporate-banker-investment junk that manipulates the world for its own selfish ends.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Dave, neither will I. The SOB’s have taken all the sweetness out of life for us, while hoarding it for themselves and their DNA to come.

        1. Francois T

          This kind of DNA is the favorite target of every son and daughter of a revolution eager to use sharpened metal or high speed intracorporal lead & copper alloy “therapy”.

          It should go without saying that oftentimes, the “therapy” is worse than the disease. Alas, this is what societies get when they let a social disease fester for too long.

          Let’s hope we won’t do this mistake.

      2. Lambert Strether

        David Graeber points out, and not without reason, that if it’s better to be a serf than a slave, the average peasant had it a good deal better in the so-called “Dark Ages” than in the Roman Empire.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Be sure to check out that peasant life-style in”

          Michael Burleigh: “SACRED CAUSES: The Clash of Religion and Politics From the Great War To the War on Terror” — esp. Chapter 2.

        2. MontanaMaven

          Yes, didn’t peasants have half the year off because of holidays? Look at a lot of Breughel’s paintings. I found “Village Festival” in a teeny museum in a small town in France. Peasants having a good old time dancing, eating, drinking. And their clothes were lovely. Isn’t that when if you needed a hammer, the blacksmith made one. You didn’t then build a hammer factory so everybody had one. You borrowed one if you needed it.

      3. Maximilien

        @Dave:

        The airline industry may be dying (or not). But the suitcase industry for sure is dead. That thoroughly modern invention, the roll-aboard, killed it.

        The roll-aboard was invented circa 1970 when air travel was becoming popular. It is now ubiquitous, while good sturdy suitcases clutter up thrift shops and can be had for a couple bucks.

        A suitcase on wheels with a long extendible handle. Ingenious! And no traveller (that i know of) pines for the “good old days”, when Grandpa had no choice but to walk half-a-mile lugging a big heavy box with a small handle.

    3. Bill C

      Uh oh craazyman, you’ve hit a couple buttons for my “remember when” record.

      My grandmother was born in 1900, and I came along in 1944; we were poor. As a kid, my grandmother cooked on a wood cooking stove.
      We had an icebox (we put a little cardboard card next to the front door so the iceman knew how large a block to deliver, in lbs; he then brought it into the kitchen and put it in the top compartment of the icebox).

      And she had a washtub and washboard. Only after I came along did she get a tub-like washing machine with a hand wringer. She still had to heat water on the stove though, as we had not hot running water. And of course she dried her clothes outside on a clothesline.

      Then before ironing them, she had to sprinkle them with water from a bottle with a perforated top, because steam irons had not been invented yet. Often the “sprinkled” clothes were put in the icebox so they wouldn’t dry out before ironing.

      And even after my mother moved into her own newly built house, she still hung clothes out to dry, as she didn’t get a dryer till the 80s !

      Ah the good ole days…..

        1. aletheia33

          seconded. what’s the name of the thing where the easier you make it to do something, the more of it people eventually have to do? i’ve encountering this in my work, where i find myself now expecting myself to do faster and faster things that only 10 years ago one could not do electronically at all.

          this has been studied with housewives i think, the housecleaning they could do with all the new equipment led to them having to meet higher and higher targets of cleanliness in order to “compete”–contributing to the widespread (i believe) madness of the newly suburbanized american housewives of the 1950s.

          and like when you build a new freeway to accommodate more traffic and the amount of traffic immediately expands to fill it, so all you’ve done is created more traffic, with each car having exactly the same amount of room on the road that it had before.

          the more phone numbers and electronic devices you have, the harder it seems to become, at a certain point, to actually communicate. … as the social animal, will we soon hit a point of saturation, or will we all just become orders of magnitude more communicative? i see people trying to hide out from their phones and computers; as soon as they’ve got them set up, they start looking for ways to use them as walls to keep out the onslaught. plus, most are on broadcast, not so many, it would seem, on receive.

          the fact that our entire society’s ethos is so centered on competition, not just at work but between neighbors and relatives, serves well to ramp up the craving for new technology, and its purveyors know that very well. at one time in the 19th century every middle class home had to have, if at all within reach, a piano. we haven’t changed much.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s like an addiction – you get a little bit of technology, your life falls apart without more of it.

            It’s also like a Ponzi scheme – you have to borrow your children’s shares of inheritance of this planet to make science/technology work. But it’s not enough. This Ponzi scheme needs to be extended by having other planets polluted as well to make it work. Thus, we are exploring space.

          2. craazyman

            I’m an Optimist

            The good news, Beef, is that the universe is apparently infinite. So when the Ponzi jumps the solar system to new stars and new worlds, there’s no stopping it.

            I can’t wait for the penny stocks that will produce.

            hahahah. Really, I just wanna get rich quick and not work. Is that so bad?

          3. LeonovaBalletRusse

            *Whatever*–so long as women are *barefoot and pregnant*, and this STILL is the mantra of the *religious* today, more than ever! Too bad that still primitive males have to depend on women in order to replicate themselves, in all their ethnic glory.

          4. Lidia

            This is absolutely true. There are so many diminishing returns to technology. You have to just decide to not get strung along, especially about the hyper-hygiene thing.

            When I came to live in Europe, I was *shocked* that eggs just sat out at room temperature in the stores, and that my MIL left the left-over roast in the oven to be eaten the next day, and the next.

            And yet none of us ever get sick, so I routinely just leave food out, and cook the morning’s (room temperature) eggs in pans which have lots of yummy grease from last night’s sausages.

            People survived without refrigeration before, and they will do so again.

          5. Procopius

            C. Northcote Parkinson documented this law sometime around 1950. Briefly, “Work expands to fill the time available.” Leads to all kinds of fascinating insights, like: “Acquiring a new headquarters building is a sure sign a government agency is moribund.” Example, the British Colonial Office, which built a huge, opulent new building as the last colonies were granted independence.

        2. Lidia

          Depends, leonova, depends…

          I have no problem hanging clothes out to dry. It takes very little time, and that means I don’t have to go work for “the man” to get cash to buy a drying machine powered by fossil fuels.

          I WISH I had a wood cookstove, so I could put on a stew or a pot of beans to simmer all day for free while I heat the house.

          Many “labor-saving” appliances only shift the labor in space and time.

    4. Jim

      Imagine leaving the world in 1969, as the Concorde began transatlantic flights at 2x the speed of sound. Forty years later, you return, expecting that everyone will be traveling at 10x the speed of sound.

      Instead…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The Daily Mail has cheesy write-ups of real research and news stories. You might think the research itself is barmy, but you need to take that up with the scientists.

          1. Rogue_Leader

            I’m not disagreeing with the science. What I’m saying is, find another source. The Daily Mail is not to be trusted. It’s the ‘world’s number 1 online newspaper’, whatever that actually means, because it SEOs its way up the Google search rankings. Quoting the DM in any article about science is lazy and panders to exactly the kind of sensational mystical bullshit that economics is supposed to dispel.

  4. Dave of Maryland

    Atheism in America: America is the well-known exception to the rule that the wealthier and better-educated a country is, the less religious its population.

    Since when were either of these two groups, American fundamentalists vs: American atheists, considered smart?

    Over at the Sci-Fi channel, they’ve been running Ghosthunters for years. Jason and Alexander started as die-hard non-believers (Roto-Rooter unbelievers!) but when the reviews were lousy, cleaned up their act and now admit that such things are possible. They’re now getting fairly impressive results.

    Which flatly contradict the atheist theory.

    But despite all the efforts of the various ghosthunter shows, spinoffs and imitators over the years, NOT ONE has ever found an angel, nor has Jesus or St. Peter ever turned up. Demons they have aplenty, but the Chief Demon, he’s also conspicuously absent.

    Which seriously torpedoes the fundamentalists. If Jason and Alexander can’t find salvation and the Pearly Gates and Happily Ever After, or even some old blood-pact with the devil, then who can?

    The best introductory book (I stress introductory) is Hans TenDam’s Exploring Reincarnation. Which is available in the UK and has limited availability over here. But you’ve got to be brave enough to drop the pro and con ideologies to read it. Which just might be why it’s not imported to the US. We’re not smart enough.

    America hasn’t the brains to get itself out of this disgusting atheist-theist trap, though I am savoring the oncoming fundie vs: gay military clash. While gays and fundies will be with us forever, they might just trash an overblown military. Hooray! if they do.

    1. Bill C

      Yes, anything that can stop the pervasive and insidious militarization of our culture is a good thing !

    2. Lidia

      They “admit” these things are possible because they have a show on the SCIENCE FICTION channel and they get paid to put it on and promote it. If that means roping in suckers, so be it.

      It’s *entertainment*.

      Sheesh.

      P.S. I have seen a HUGE increase in religiosity nonsense in run of the mill cop shows produced in the US. Obviously there is an appetite for increased fantasy and delusion.

  5. mutt50

    Hatred of atheists, or even agnostic/secularists in America is really about tribalism. Evangelicals wear religion as a badge of the tribe. This explains a lot of hatred for Obama and muslims also. We are the out groups.
    I am the only member of my family to serve in the military, and serve in combat. I am retired now, but worked hard for decades and played by the rules. Yet members of my family tell me I can’t be moral without their faith in a rather bizarre cult I call “American Christianism”. The level of willful ignorance about science and history is appalling among these people.
    I really despair for the future, and my travels in former confedrate states have convinced me there is no common ground on which to meet these people. they really believe secularism is a great evil, and uniformly hate the “other”.
    I think things will get worse before they get better.

    1. sleepy

      I presently live in a small Iowa city. My experience is that half the poplation here are regular churchgoers, and the other half, myself included, are indifferent to religion. I can’t say I’ve met any activist atheists, but that doesn’t mean at all that they aren’t activists because of fear, just that many people up here don’t seem to care one way or the other.

      There’s much more of a live and let live ethos here than in my native south, although even in the south in large cities, many people would be indifferent to atheism.

      1. spooz

        I also see more apathy than activism towards religion in my Midwest suburb. There are perks to being in the club, I suppose, like more social opportunities, but no discrimination for those that are not.
        The only time my atheist son met with intolerance was when he joined the Boy Scouts. He had to keep his atheism on the down low. It inspired him to research the atheist debate and he became a fan of Hitchens. The friends he made there came to know about his beliefs and never exposed him to the leaders. The more intelligent ones like to debate him. I felt some guilt at the time for not encouraging him to stand up for his beliefs, but he joined to make friends after switching schools, and that goal outweighed integrity.

      2. Kalssy!

        The only time I’ve felt uncomfortable dscussing my unchurched/atheist status is when I worked for a community action agency that was made up priarily of African Americans.

        1. spooz

          They feel no need to postulate any creator, and would in turn pity you for the need to create a god where no evidence exists.

          Or so my atheist son tells me…I’ve temporarily suspended searching, but have left the door open. Raised a Christian, my inclination is to look elsewhere. Too many self righteous bigots who sit in judgment of others, and I am more inclined to look within than without.

          1. F. Beard

            and I am more inclined to look within than without. spooz

            Take my advice and don’t waste your time. I spent the first 45 years doing so till I finally realized laying in a bathtub on Whidbey Island that there was nothing to be found there.

            But if it takes fox-holes to make believers, I fear they may be on their way.

          2. F. Beard

            and would in turn pity you for the need to create a god where no evidence exists.

            There may be no proof but the amount of evidence is immense.

            And what if Life is a test of what we do when we think God is not around?

            But I grant that an honest atheist is probably preferable to a hypocrite.

          3. Maximilien

            @spooz: “me…I’ve temporarily suspended searching, but have left the door open. Raised a Christian, my inclination is to look elsewhere.”

            I found my way to a faith, of sorts, when I began to read about cosmology. Not that I was looking or anything. But as I read, a belief in something beyond this life—something greater than this life—sort of grew spontaneously inside me. It has become what I like to call my faith.

            Here’s a Martin Amis quote to take to heart:

            “Cosmology will tell you that the universe is far more bizarre, prodigious, and chillingly grand than any religious doctrine, and that spiritual needs can be met by its contemplation.”

          1. F. Beard

            I pity their lack of logic. How does one prove a Creator does not exist? Or even prove that He is not Love despite a lot of evidence to the contrary?

          2. F. Beard

            correction: despite a lot of evidence toward that conclusion.

            What amazes me about life is not the harshness (since I am pessimistic by nature or perhaps nurture) but the unexpected kindness and serendipity. It is unrealistic to ignore that though we should be careful not to demand it.

        2. Lidia

          My attitude toward religionists is pity. They can’t take responsibility for their own lives and actions, but must invent a psychotic authoritarian father figure to control their every thought and movement.

          Who ASKS for a Big Brother? Only people with a lot of problems. I wish they could come into their own without invented cults and crutches.

        1. sleepy

          Yes, I agree with you. Most atheists are not proselytizers or activists. Yet, the article in question seemed to characterize them as such. Perhaps, I just misread it.

          Anyway, my opinion remains the same–in small town northern Iowa, my experience is that most folks are not much interested in the religious opinions of others, atheist or not.

          The commnunity here seems more concerned about external things–is your lawn mowed? is your sidewalk shoveled? If yes, you are an upstanding citizen, atheist or not.

        2. Lidia

          There’s a meme amongst religionists that secularists have formed a “religion” out of science, or out of atheism. I LOVE it when they tout this, because at heart it is self-revelatory and self-accusing..

          My RWNJ sister personally challenged me in this way, saying that I only had a “belief” in science! This Cracked Me Up, because it revealed her own insecurity, which she won’t admit to straight out.

          In other words, they disbelieve science, and call it “just another religion”, in which statement is buried the true nut of the matter: they don’t really believe their religion, either, if it can be taken up or dismissed just as easily as is “science”!

          To call science a religion that requires belief just like any other religion is not only to diminish (and entirely misunderstand) science, but to demote their religion as well, to the level that atheists regard it: superstition unmotivated by reality.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      mutt50, as history shows, and as most pols and philosophers know, those who feel the most powerless are the most likely to be religious, and they are easily herded into categories for manipulation and exploitation by the .01% and their *false prophet* Agents in Church and State. Hasn’t it worked for centuries?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Not only the *most powerless*, but the ones with the greatest *anxiety*, which usually is sensed to be *overwhelming*. See:

        “SACRED CAUSES: The Clash of Religion and Politics, From the Great War to the War on Terror” by Michael Burleigh (2007) — esp. Chapter 2: “The Totalitarian Political Religions,” which we see playing out in Reich III and Reich IV, to profit the .01%*rentier class* then and now. To compare that plot from Prescott Bush & Co. through George H.W. Bush to George W. Bush & Co., see:

        “CONJURING HITLER: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich” by Guido Guido Giacomo Preparata (2005), and reflect on Nixon through Obama, via Henry Kissinger and University of Chicago Economics as Despotic Nexus.

  6. lolly, lolly, lolly, get your adverbs here.

    “‘The vice president of the U.S. is… Bill Clinton!’ Shocking video shows high school students are woefully uninformed Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). To quote David Einhorn: No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse.”

    an easy way to solve this is more “Schoolhouse Rock!” Saturday mornings in the early 80′s with Schoolhouse ROck inspired my interest in history, geography, etc. seriously.

    and i’m definitely gonna brainwash my kids with Schoolhouse Rock DVDs when they get older, lol.

  7. Bill of Geneva

    Re Yves comment on Atheism in America from the Financial Times. “… It seems that the path of least resistance is to call oneself a Unitarian, since Unitarians believe in at most one god.”

    I beleive the term Unitarian originated with a rejection of the dogma of of the holy trinity. Unitarianism has since evolved to reject religious dogma in general. Unitarians include belivers in many flavors of theism (including polytheism) as well as deism, agnosticism and athiesm/humanism. There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote. See http://www.uua.org/beliefs/principles/
    With that clarificaton I totally agree with Yves that the Unitarian tent provides some limited shelter from the rampant religious discrimination in America.

    1. Dave of Maryland

      Unitarianism is a philosophy. Religion, or no-religion, is altogether different.

      If your religion cannot give you specific guidance for the first five minutes after you’re dead, it’s useless. I frankly don’t know any religion that can meet this test, though the Requiem Mass comes close.

      1. Jessica

        Vajrayana Buddhism.
        Phowa is a meditation that is basically training for the instant of death and afterwards.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Jessica, as every Good Jew knows, we should be thinking about our death every waking hour of our lives.

          1. Lidia

            Wow! The Jews really know how to have a good time!

            ;-)

            There are also the Catholic death cults like the capuchins who make chandeliers of of human bones to remind us of our mortality. Provocative and inspiring, but not in the way that they hope.

            I know my Catholic family members fear death horribly, despite their stated desire to join Jesus. I don’t get it; I would have thought they would be the most prepared for the inevitable, but instead they really are the least.

            RWNJ evangelical sis does not even acknowledge death as a possibility. She thinks she is going to fall into a swoon and have Jesus rapture her up in his baby-blue ’63 Cadillac.

      2. Klassy! (not Kalssy!)

        I was at ameeting at a UU church and picked up some of their pamphlets: “What is a Uniterian/Universalist?” and such. I have to say, after reading them I was kind of like “what is the point then?”. My church emphasized the ecumenical, but I couldn’t help thinking this is taking it a bit far…
        I wonder if they point to Michael Servetus as a spiritual spiritual descendant? Now that’s an interesting person. I didn’t see any mention of him in any of the pamphlets.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          UU is about *community* of fellow-thinkers, like every *religion*. In *religious* vocabulary, the *community* is called the *congregation*.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Unitarians merged with an other group to form Unitarian Universalism.

      Not only do they believe in a single deity entity but in universal salvation. They view other religions as forms of worship of the same creator. They reject religious claims of “one true path” to salvation which just divides people and sets them against each other.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I went to Unitarian churches as a child a bit, so I think I am entitled to poke fun at them. I actually think it’s not at all bad, huge emphasis on tolerance.

  8. DC Native

    The first article (about plant communication) was very interesting. It appears there are quite a few natural phenomena that humans either, 1) aren’t even slightly aware of, or 2) know very little about.

    1. evodevo

      The plant “reacting to persons in the room experiment” was done by Clive Backster (1966), who lent his name to the “Backster Effect”, a widely debunked parapsychological claim that plants can “feel”. See http://www.skepdic.com/plants.html
      The REAL phenomenon of plants communicating both within the same plant and with other plants of the same species in the same vicinity has been known for a number of years (at least 30). The data has been spotty until the last 10 years or so, but the concept is years old. They do not have nervous systems, and therefore rely on intraplant cell-cell communication that turns on the production of predator-discouraging compounds/toxins when a leaf/stem is damaged. At the same time many plants also release volatile organic compounds of various kinds into the surrounding air, and these may drift over to other con-specifics which in turn begin manufacturing anti-predator toxins in their tissues. Some of these volatiles may also attract other species that prey on the plant predators.
      Nature is fascinating, and exploring even a small part of it is a life’s work.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        evodevo, it’s all about vibration. Plants respond to music, and to human activity physical and mental.

          1. Lidia

            Some species of trees can join roots with others of their species (and in some cases with those of different species) to form what is in effect a larger single organism, extending potentially for hundreds or thousands of miles.

            This is proven science, not “woo”.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s probably older than the following, as you said, but I read about it in the Autobiography of a Yogi. It references Bose and his experiments with plants (in the ’30s, I am guessing here).

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Patrick, thanks for the link. This is why the *knowledgable elite* is necessary, if a democracy is not to devolve into an Absolute Dictatorship. Would that members of such an elite might rise together with Yves Smith at NC, to act quickly as the New Elite, for the trend today is obviously toward an Absolute Dictatorship.

      Then, should the masses continue to live in the bliss of ignorance?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not only is the 1%/99% or 0.01%/99.99% dichotomy observable in any scale (that’s its fractal-like nature), it can be seen in all aspects of life and all are just as dangerous as the one OWS is concerned with.

    1. evodevo

      Not surprising – bile extraction is a painful process which is repeated day after day after day for as long as the animal lives; the bears are kept in vile conditions, and there are no animal rights laws to speak of in Asia, despite all that Buddhism. Ah, folk medicine….
      I’d quit eating under those circumstances, too.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      I wonder how long it will take for Americans to see that Top Dogs of every Master Class everywhere are callously cruel, really sadistic, torturers to the max, when such action serves their APPETITES. Moreover, as examples of the *winners in society*, they “trickle down” their sadism and lust for gain to the people who satisfy their appetites. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” As George Carlin said:

      “They don’t give a F%#K about you! They don’t care about you at ALL! at all, at all. … And now they’re after your PENSION, your Social Security!”

      Moreover, some day we will recognize that the Chinese “R” NOT us.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the 0.01% Chinese can collude with the 0.01% here, the 99.99% of us can or must find common ground with the 99.99% of Chinese.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          I think that’s how Jack London saw it.

          After the revelations about the maniac for esthetic perfection, Steve Jobs, leading to Crimes Against Humanity in China thanks to his co-conspirators, have we begun to turn our attention to the Chinese 99%, and especially toward the tortured slaves at Foxconn — leading to *maximum efficency* in Tech Toys for *The Ugly American*?

        2. Glenn Condell

          ‘If the 0.01% Chinese can collude with the 0.01% here, the 99.99% of us can or must find common ground with the 99.99% of Chinese.’

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

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

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

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Finally, I feel vindicated today.

    You vegetarians are just serial murderers.

    Worse, you are sadistic serial murderers.

    You literally grind that living broccoli in your bloody mouth to death. There is no more painful way to die than that, as the broccoli faints in and out in its last moments on Earth.

    Here is one request: I hope we raise our plant consciousness for our vegetable relatives by having occasional vegetable antidotes du jour.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I guess some might look at it and say we are all sinners.

        I don’t pretend to know. I will be happy with some vegetable antidotes. Start with little things. Thank the vegetable for giving its life as we eat it and don’t over-eat vegetables (or food in general) unnecessarily…

        1. F. Beard

          What if what you eat exchanges being a lower life form for being a higher (and longer lived) one?

          But yea, gluttony is a sin as is lack of gratitude.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am on record as being absolutely and completely against cannablism of eating those whom we deem to be of lower life forms (if that’s what you’re talking about).

            That’s off the menu.

            In fact, I don’t even call people I dislike ‘low life’ or worse, ‘lower life.’

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I guess I am saying it could be potentially misused, even if it’s true, to think we could improve a low life by eating it.

          3. F. Beard

            In fact, I don’t even call people I dislike ‘low life’ or worse, ‘lower life.’

            I agree. Moreover, even the simplest life form is not simple.

          4. Susan the other

            Wow, Beard, that is very Buddhist of you. Granted, younger in recorded history than Christianity.

          5. F. Beard

            that is very Buddhist of you. Susan the Other

            The Bible does not rule out reincarceration (pun intended) for non-human species but as for us we have reached the end of the line as far as Earthly bodies go.

            As far as the age of major existing religions goes, I know of no older ones than Judaism.

          6. Mansoor H. Khan

            MyLessThanPrimeBeef said:

            “Maybe Aten can make a comeback in a major way

            Or Ahura Mazda.”

            1) Number of religions actually practiced have been decreasing for the past 2000 years.

            2) Just like the Hindu number system we use today (with the placeholder zero) was not the only number system there many other number systems including the roman numeral system.

            3) The point number two above gives you hint why there is consolidation in religions/worldviews. Many ways of thinking are tried (trials) but some will work out better than others (i.e., will lead to a more peaceful and a more satisfying life). This kind of natural selection of ideas is ongoing and has reached warped speed in our globalized/internet connected world.

            4) The “best” religion will be copied and all other surviving religions/worldviews will exist in label only (they act and think like the “one” copied but will not admit it).

            5) Eventually the label will be done away with except of the winner of course.

            Mansoor H. Khan

        2. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          So, eating vegetables is Original Sin?
          How very Unitarian of you!
          Those Paleolithic hunter gatherers with their rituals to thank the spirit of the prey weren’t so dumb after all!

          1. ambrit

            Dear Friends;
            Yes, indeed, I see some progress has been made!
            What, oh what, would the “Number of the Plant” be, prey tell? I never suspected that the Kabbala would be Kosher. Who’d a thunk it?
            As for the above controversy about respectable religions and their ages; anyone contemplating the Paleolithic ‘Venus’ figurines, or the cave paintings would be able to answer that one easily.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also, I think if we try hard enough, we can come up with better, more humane ways of killing vegetables.

        I think we can start with some cute (or more frequent) vegetable antidotes du jour.

        1. F. Beard

          What is more humane than beheading?

          But we all die. Is dying of old age, sickness or starvation anymore humane than a quick death?

          1. Susan the other

            Well, for starters, if you are growing your own garden you can cut just one flower stalk from two or three broccoli plants – just an arm or a leg apiece. They’ll grow a replacement because they have 10 times as much DNA as animals. No? Crazy. I noticed in my flower garden that wild morning glories can imitate the shape of the leaf of impatiens. I always marveled at that trick because they have no apparent sight.

          2. F. Beard

            – just an arm or a leg apiece. Susan the Other

            “You don’t eat a pig like that all at once.”

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Chowing your still living salad to death slowly as you grind them to pieces is not quick death.

          4. LeonovaBalletRusse

            The consummate tragedy of human existence is coming to grips with the harm we do in order to survive, more or less. If starvation and thirst were not such horrible agony, I’d have gone that route long ago. To live is to suffer, and to have compassion is to suffer egregiously. Since childhood I have known:

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

            Ignorance is bliss, but it’s dangerous.

        2. tom allen

          You should check out Corrente (lambert’s blog)

          http://www.correntewire.com/

          for plenty of reasons, but in particular for you because Kathryn posts Plantidotes — non-edible, beautiful vegetable pictures*. Hope this helps. :-)

          *OK, obviously the pictures are non-edible. So are the plants.

      3. Lidia

        From an evolutionary standpoint, the vegetables that we choose to eat WIN, because we take great pains to propagate them.

        See Michael Pollen talking about corn. Modern society is the handmaiden of corn, as it turns out, not vice versa.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      This is why I say, with all my heart: “Love and gratitude” to plants about to be consumed, and to those growing around me in freedom; and also to water I am about to drink, and water coming to the boil. Who are we vis-a-vis they? See:

      “‘THE HIDDEN MESSAGES IN WATER” by Masaru Emoto, tr. David A. Thayne.

      The *indigenous peoples* of America were/are right. Perhaps the mitochondrial DNA I carry, of the Micmac tribe (Algonquin nation), has brought me to this grateful recognition in our time. See:

      http://www.youtube.com

      “Trudell Documentary” (czarwright on Dec 14, 2010);
      “John Trudell, I’m crazy? (czarwright on Dec 12, 2010).

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        tom allen, you speak truth more than you know. The human sense of *guilt and gratitude* is at the heart of *religious* rites and practices:

        “FROM RITUAL TO ROMANCE” by Jessie L. Weston (inspired “The Waste Land” of T.W. Eliot); and the source: “THE GOLDEN BOUGH” by Sir James George Fraser; also “The Dying God: The Hidden History of Western Civilization” by David Livingstone.

        “The King is Dead. Long Live the King.”

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Please correct ERROR above: NOT “T.W.” – BUT “T.S. Eliot”, but you knew that.

        2. ambrit

          Dear LBR;
          Also “The White Goddess” by Robert Graves which led to his wonderful “King Jesus.”

  10. smmbll

    “Living in godless NYC, I can’t relate to this sort of thing.” New York is in fact an extremely religious city — it just tends to be outside of an extremely narrow, predominantly white, and lower-Manhattan-dwelling demographic. Just thought it wasn’t unreasonable to note that in, say, Hispanic, African-American, Caribbean-American, East and South Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, religion is extremely important, if not at the center of community life.

    1. smmbll

      And I should really have included Manhattan all the way up to top of the park in that demographic.

    2. Ransome

      It is common where there were ports of entry. New immigrant groups displaced other immigrant groups as they moved “uptown” with their church to a new location. Germans lived with Germans, the Irish with the Irish, the Italians with the Italians, Jews with Jews, and the church made it’s business to be the center of the community. New England is littered with town greens with a Protestant Church at the head. The Puritans were persecuted and escaping a war when they came to the new world as settlers although not exactly prepared for life in the rough.

      I was told in the 80′s that when I went to the Midwest to work, the second question asked when meeting a newcomer is what church do you belong. It defines your private, social, and business relationships. Catholic is a non-starter (blood drinkers and paganism. A cross is one thing, having a guy nailed to the cross is quite an other).

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      don, so it’s now “Graeber as guru”? He uses a helluva lot of words on the way to self-positioning as it must be done in deadly academic circles.

      Let’s just go back to Jack London’s account of the .01% Global Dictatorship:

      Jack London: “THE IRON HEEL.”

      1848 could not succeed. Maybe now it can. But that’s not the way to bet. Besides, “Marxism” on the ground showed that the .01% in any sphere can kill whatever and whoever opposes their *right* to Eat the World with impunity.

  11. SR6719

    Re: Atheism in America

    “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth – it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.” – Jean Baudrillard

    (The quote is credited to Ecclesiastes, but the words do not occur there. It can be seen as an addition, a paraphrase and an endorsement of Ecclesiastes’ condemnation of the pursuit of wisdom as folly and a “chasing after wind” – see for example Ecclesiastes 1.16.)

    “All this twaddle, the existence of God, atheism, determinism, Pilkingtonism, liberation, societies, death, etc., are pieces of a chess game called language, and they are amusing only if one does not preoccupy oneself with ‘winning or losing this game of chess.” – Marcel Duchamp

    (Note: The term “Pilkingtonism” does not appear in the original Duchamp quote. It seems to have been added later, after Duchamp died, although there are many conjectures and scholars are still debating what it means, and how it got there.)

    1. SR6719

      Ecclesiastes 1.16a (I said to myself, “I have surpassed in wisdom everyone who ruled Jerusalem before me . . .”)

      Dust in the wind.

  12. LeonovaBalletRusse

    RE: being an A-Theist in a *Name Your God* world reveals the obvious: that the *Religious* of any Creed are MONOPOLISTS: “My way or the hell way.”

    Since most people envisage *America* as the place where you can come up from *nothing* to achieve Top Dog .01%-trickle-down-to1% Monopoly Status in one’s own lifetime, most often by hook and crook, it is fair to say that the *Religious* of America are *Monopolists*, body and soul. The *Religious* in America who believe in the *Prosperity Gospel* conjoin *MonopolyCapitalism* with their *MonopolyReligion* of whatever stripe. What’s not to understand?

    1. F. Beard

      Since most people envisage *America* as the place where you can come up from *nothing* to achieve Top Dog .01%-trickle-down-to1% Monopoly Status in one’s own lifetime, LeonovaBalletRusse

      How could anything but access to counterfeit money – so-called “credit” allow that? And how much happier is the top .1% than the top 1% than the top 10%? Is it worth the far greater risk of not being able to attain that lofty status especially when the spiritual dangers are considered?

      One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6

    1. ambrit

      Dear Hugh;
      Yes, unfortunately, a big chunk of the population do not know. This is where the manipulation of media plays up to the elites.

      1. psychohistorian

        The sick manipulation of the public to believe that if they have a job they are better people than those that don’t.

        It is crazy to think that all the unemployed throughout the world are lesser humans and that plutocrats like Mitt Romney are deserving….but that is what we are faced with swallowing.

        Gag!

    2. Lloyd C. Bankster

      In the future we’ll have 35 percent unemployment and James Glassman’s Dow 36,000, both at the same time. Thanks to the Bernanke put, i.e., zero interest rates forever combined with quantitative easing, which make the old Greenspan put look like child’s play.

      Of course the market will crash, and it will be the mother of all crashes, but this will not happen until every Mom and Pop “investor” has been lured back in, and every insider has sold out.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        But, don’t you git it? They need to take the hot air out of the top tier, come what may.

      2. Max424

        “In the future we’ll have 35 percent unemployment and James Glassman’s Dow 36,000, both at the same time.”

        Not so fast, Lloyd. The way things are going, in the not-so-distant future, some monthly BLS headline number is sure to read 6 percent.*

        At that point, deviously inaccurate Beltway radar sweeps will be leaving 40 million working-age blips … undetected. Yes, Washington will still be aware that the blips out there, somewhere, but as long as the missing blips aren’t rioting near the Capitol … who gives fuck?

        *Paul Krugman in 2016: “Unexpected good news! After a long, hard slog, the economy has made it back, to full employment!”

        1. Lloyd C. Bankster

          Good point. I should have said 35 percent *real* unemployment, at the same time as a BLS headline number of 6 percent and a soaring stock market.

    3. Jim

      Which in part explains the Rasmussen poll showing President Obama and Romney tied at 45%. Over the last year the median wage has increased 1.9% (down from 2.1% in December), well below the rate of inflation.

    1. Gaelle

      There is a strange convergence of news on this gas pipeline topic
      From AP on friday
      MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant acknowledged for the first time Saturday that it had briefly reduced gas supplies to Europe amid a spell of extreme cold.Gazprom deputy chief Andrey Kruglov reported to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the cuts lasted for several days and reached up to 10 percent, but supplies are currently back to normal. Officials in Austria and France, however, have reported cuts of as much as 30 percent, and Italy said supplies were down by 24 percent Thursday.

      And to give you an idea of the significance of the al-Arish pipeline explosion regarding supply .. (this is Israel .. presumably this also impacts Jordan?)
      According to one Israeli site (following the 11th explosion of the same pipeline in 2011 which occured on the 18th december)
      “Prior to the pipeline explosions, Egyptian exports accounted for around 40 percent of Israel’s gas consumption.”

  13. Gaelle

    I heard on the 22 december an astonishing interview on ‘the Solution Zone’ covering the abuse of H-1B for highly qualified IT jobs … the show description says it all
    http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/solution-zone/

    Topic: Suing to Give Americans Equal Access to American Jobs
    Guest: James Otto – Civil Defense Attorney

    Where have all the jobs gone?

    The Shameful Truth is That They Are Still Here.

    Behind American Backs, Corporations are betraying the American Dream by Hiring 2,000,000 Workers per Year from Foreign Countries – much of the hiring taking place on US soil.Civil Defense Attorney James Otto has filed a lawsuit –Beasley v. Molina Healthcare, Inc, a company that has laid off American workers in order to offer jobs to less expensive foreign employees.

  14. Jim

    This is why MERS was allowed to thrive. It’s all about achieving economies of scale….

    ————————
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/02/05/business/05fannie-doc.html?ref=business

    The Office of Corporate Justice has retained Baker & Hostetler LLP to conduct an independent investigation of concerns expressed by Mr. Nye Lavalle, a Fannie Mae shareholder, about several Fannie Mae business practices in connection with single-family mortgages. 1
    ……………

    While Mr. Lavalle is partial to extreme analogies that undermine his credibility, he has become knowledgeable about the mortgage industry. He has identified significant issues but, in our view, does not always analyze them correctly. In proposing solutions, he generally undervalues
    the benefits to homeowners of efficient mortgage markets operated at low costs and overstates the needs of borrowers to have information about the status of their loans in the secondary markets for mortgages.
    ————————

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Jim, *economies of scale* for maximum *effeciency*, Hitler’s Dream still.

      Gotz Aly: “Architects of Annihilation” and “HITLER’S BENEFICIARIES” — two books that tell us *How It Works* still.

  15. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re LINK on the virtual extinction of the Buffalo (down to 100):

    The *Union Pacific* RR should have been called the *Union Militant* RR. Sounds more “American* — and the RR were subsidized by the *Government*, just like Big Oil, Halliburton, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, the *Security State*.

    London’s British Imperial perfection of buffalo hide tanning *for God and Monarch* sounds mighty like their other specialty: the perfection of the opium poppy on English property, exported to the Orient for cultivation, and delivery to corrupt Chinese Top Dogs for the RUIN of the Chinese People, and all for the British Colonial APPETITE for tea!

    “THE ANGLO-AMERICAN EMPIRE” is doing this to We the People of the U.S. today: starvation, misery, and Heroin for US, to support their APPETITE for Absolute Dominion of global governance and the Thrill of Power, for drugs, luxury, prostitutes, slaves, real property, and money-by-the-ton for them.

    The DNA of the British East India Company and their Dutch partners lives on, as the MASK of “Brittania” rules in every guise.

    1. Ransome

      The Chinese had no appetite for Western goods; gold and silver were being accumulated. You could only buy opium with gold and silver.

  16. gs_runsthiscountry

    re: Hi-Tech US Corporations Deny Skilled American Workers Jobs Through Abuse of Visa Loophole

    Good to see someone shinning a light on this subject. The disconnect/divide between high skilled workers [enter engineers] and employer is at levels I have not seen in my 20 years in the field.

    There is a perceived wage deflation [company: because of the economy we should be able to hire the perfect employee at a ~20-to-30% discount to 2007 salary] by HR and management, or a want is a better way to put it.

    Have we reached a point where the individual salaried worker is pushing back? I think so personally. With many blue collar engineering wages falling to, or close to, median US wage, there is no incentive to stay in, or pursue engineering as a course of study or career anymore.

    What I find mind boggling, is, within the MSM and blogosphere nobody asks a simple question. The question is, is this supposed shortage real or propaganda? You have to ask yourself, do you remember companies screaming this loudly about a shortage of these types of workers in 2005,6 and 7? The answer is no, because these very same people were employed by the very same employers saying they cannot find workers now.

    Unlike the assertion of MF global client accounts, our American workers didn’t just “vaporize” in the last 4 years. There is a stand off between workers and employer right now, with many who opt for earlier retirement, or different career, even in the face of 15+% U-6.

    (It is interesting to note, that many engineers, by nature and personality type are net savers and investors. Hence, many people in this field can afford to push back, change careers, or retire, because they were much better prepared for the financial crisis.)

    There is a huge difference in saying you cannot find an employee vs. not finding an employee that is a 100% match, with every skill set imaginable, and what wage we [the company] perceive “should” be, which is very deflated.

    As they say, price can fix anything, and right now there is a huge gap to be filled.

    As an aside, a note to management, if you supposedly cannot find the employees with the education or skill-sets you seek, start training them! It is your company, therefore your problem to solve. It is, after all, a supposed a “free market” [sarcasm]. If you are a c-suit exec holding a conservative or librarian point of view, it would be beneath you to hold out for the government to solve this problem for you via rent seeking visas or educational subsidies, no?

    1. Ransome

      Someday I will write a book on this topic. There is no such thing as a cheap skilled worker. Regardless where they come from, they become skilled and therefore in demand.

      When I began working in the lab, we used slide rules. Our first computer was a DEC-8. Our computer guys were all scientists that went back to night school for Masters in Computer Science. They were skilled because they efficiently managed the interface between the scientists and the technology. We were able to maximize productivity. Eventually a non-scientist Director began engaging in empire building because of the asymmetry in technical knowledge at upper levels of management. We in the trenches watched and suffered in silence until our management began asking questions.

      During an IT-data led coup, the skilled computer scientists were replaced with cheap interchangeable workers that knew no science and little about computers. They were cheap and that is all upper management wanted to hear. The scientists raged with the IT people and the data people while upper management attempted to referee but without understanding basic issues. Productivity was worse than without any technology. IT and data were moved offshore to cut costs, the scientists are next. The issue of the skilled worker was never resolved and new management has no clue with respect to using human resources effectively or how to value skilled workers or how to train and motivate them. What is clear is that without skilled workers, your company will fail if it is at all technical. There are too many micro level decisions that need to be resolved every day with the understanding of future impact. A cheap suit is a cheap suit. The ultimate price is the nation’s security. Excessively paid poser management will be replaced by foreign skilled management. The disrupting financial capitalists will be taxed and regulated out of existence.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      NOTE: Fleischer, a Conservative MAN, did them this favor because: “They’re a charity I believe in.”

    2. Ransome

      Now that the candidate has been chosen, the Neocons crawl out of their hiding places to implement strategy and frame the issues. Obama better grow a spine and smite them. The Neocons take no prisoners. They are all in and preparing for the next war that will enable the final one-state solution.

  17. Lidia

    Re: Visas and jobs.

    My DH had a huge problem coming in with a green card. He had very desirable skills but sent out hundreds of resumes and never got called in for a single interview. This is in 2000-2001. He had all the downside of being non-native with none of the upside of being a possible indentured servant, is all I can figure.

Comments are closed.