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Links 3/26/12

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Evidence for Flowing Water on Mars Grows Stronger Scientific American.

Early exposure to germs has lasting benefits Nature.

Labour demands to know who bought access to No 10 Independent. Pass the popcorn.

Labour will try to force a minister to come to the Commons today to explain why the Tory co-treasurer, Peter Cruddas, was recorded boasting of the access a donor could buy for £250,000.

US regulator points finger over Freddie and Fannie‘ FT.

U.S. Sues AT&T Over Hearing-Impaired Call Service Fraud PC Magazine. Theory of the case? An IT system was deliberately specified to enable fraud. Er, like MERS and LPS?

The Wall Street multibillion scandal no one is talking about Fortune. LIBOR.

E-Mail to Corzine Said Transfer Was Not Customer Money‘ Times Dealbook. Look! Over there! (The transfer could only go down with deficient controls, a Sarbox violation by Corzine.)

The Bats Affair: When Machines Humiliate Their Masters Businessweek.

Apple and the risks of trading 29,000 times per second CNN.

Why, these investors ask, do false prints and fat finger trades always happen on the downside, where they benefit hedge funds running computer-driven algorithms through high-frequency trading platforms like BATS, the largest of the independent exchanges.

Reality Check Big Picture.

Thich Nhat Hanh: maybe in 100 years there will be no more humans on the plane (Aquifer).

Unforgiven, unforgotten, unresolved: Bosnia 20 years on‘ FT.

Afghans: US paid $50K per shooting spree death AP. “Unusually large payouts.” Alrighty, then.

Obama’s Creepy Executive Order: Permanent War Economy Progressive.

America: Crossing the Line Archdruid Report. When America became an empire.

PCJF Obtains New DHS Documents: Critical Analysis Shows DHS Is Playing Three Card Monte. PDFs at link.

Petition: Pass the Due Process Guarantee Act NOW (SW).

The report that could have cleared the Lockerbie bomber Sunday Glasgow Herald (KP). Published after five years of secrecy.

California creeks, levees may be next battleground for public access McClatchy.

‘Cash Mobs’ gather to splurge in locally owned stores Reuters.

Brooklyn Art Students Join National Surge of College Activists Truthout.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Katherine Porter, Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class (SW).

The Hunger Games – review Guardian.

City Fruit: Guerrilla Grafting. Occupy the trees!

Court compels FDA to heed its own research on antibiotics use in livestock Chicago Tribune.

Proposed ballot initiative and anti-Monsanto rally puts bioengineered foods in the crosshairs (MS).

Militarizing Your Backyard with Python: Computer Vision and the Squirrel Hordes.

The A380 and the Aviation Engineering Dilemma Der Speigel.

The anti–Walmart Reuters.

Making Prom Happen for Foster Care Girls FDL (SW).

Every dog story that’s fit to print (SW).

Beijing on the Potomac: Paper that broke Watergate partners with Chinese Communist Party (furzy mouse).

Is a paywall coming to The Washington Post? WaPo.

Fatal attraction? Access to early retirement and mortality. Shuffleboard: The Silent Killer.

Philosopy and Social Knowledge. Perhaps some principles for the NC modeling permathread.

The Problems of Interpreting Data It’s more possible than not that this could be a must read.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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73 comments

  1. Jessica

    To think that The Hunger Games is largely about reality TV is to miss the point. It is about the brutally competitive society that young people live in, at least in the US. The fact that this strikes us as evil may be a sign that we are starting to wake up to the possibility of a society that will be more humane and competitive and less cut-throat.
    The “free market” and the omniscient wisdom of the invisible hand have been demonstrating their shortcomings lately.

    1. aet

      People live in groups to facilitate co-operation, not competition.

      But we have all experienced the increase in production, when the work to be done is organized so as to promote competition between separate groups of workers, as each group eggs the other on, and seeks to obtain the honors and other rewards of producing the most, the fastest.

      Co-operative competition can thus be a great boon to a society when society is considered as a whole: it seems that it is only when an actual active hatred in the stead of friendly rivalry between the members of the competing groups arises, that the competition becomes not a social blessing, but a social curse.

      Maybe this is one of those psycho-social situations in which we as a society must take the bad (the possibility of detsructive and active hatred arising between competitors) with the good (that rivalry between competitors spurs excellence in achievement of all kinds), in order to get the best that society as a whole can get ( that is to say, that people only play their “best game”, and that society gets the most collateral benefits, when people are confronted with competition, or some other pressure, which requires them to do better than they otherwise would feel the need to do).

      1. Organicle

        Housing is one such area. Adults living together can not only save money but enjoy life more as they pursue common interests while at the same time maintaining privacy.

        “Most afternoons there is a pot of soup or stew simmering on the stove that receives vegetables from the garden. This is nutritious, quick and costs next to nothing. “Leftovers” don’t get generated in the house. There is far more seasonal fruit from the yard than can be eaten, canned or juiced by any seven people. The surplus of apples, avocados, peaches, nectarines, oranges, Asian pears, lemons, plums, herbs etc. gets traded for other things such as bread from a local bakery, eggs from neighbors’ chickens, finished laundry, dry-cleaning or coffee beans from a corner shop. ”

        http://www.verdant.net/sharedhousing.htm

      2. James Sterling

        Competition with prizes really nails the “from each according to their abilities” problem. Now we should work more on the “to each according to their needs” side.

      3. Joe Rebholz

        Competition is cooperation because all those participating in a competition are behaving in accordance with agreed upon rules. Conflict is fighting — trying to harm or kill someone. Some people don’t seem to see the difference. So we need agreed upon rules for corporations and individuals in their economic behavior if it is to be competition rather than conflict. Capitalism or whatever system we have needs more competition, less conflict, more rules. Every system, every game needs rules or it turns into destructive conflict. Most people don’t understand this. Yes, let’s get rid of all regulations. Let’s have a game with no rules!

        1. Jim

          Well said, Joe Rebholz.

          Is there an ideal size for a city after which the complexity requires so many rules and regulations that you arrive at diminishing returns?

          Or, because of globalization, can you private the rewards and export the “drawbacks” associated with a complex system?

    2. JTFaraday

      Or maybe reality TV provides the illusion of competition in a nation devoid of real competition because the fix is already in.

      1. JTFaraday

        Which is just to say that we shouldn’t confuse the brutality that emerges with the collapse of civilization with a culture that values “merit” in its various forms and seeks to reward it.

        If there was any doubt through the past decade or so of hyping to young people the narrow channel of an ivy league degree as the only route to success–even the financial sector touts its ivy league credentialed legitimacy– that we are experiencing the former and not the latter, the last few years have been more than enough to clear that up for us.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Great insight.

        Just like lotteries . . . one lucky duck wins the jackpot while the vast majority are suckered into playing a game rigged against them.

        Or a singing competition where capitalism will make a few lucky ones extremely rich and famous (as long as the talent scouts recognize it and are fair–and we get to vote so we get a say as well).

        Or maybe it’s that show of VC sharks review people’s capitalist ideas and inventions and try to make a deal with them. The message is average people can strike it rich as long as you play the capitalist crap shoot game well, and get really lucky.

        Or maybe it’s that show where the boss goes undercover and rewards the good employees with a jackpot prize when he catches them doing good for the company when they think no one is watching.

        Or maybe it’s that show where some lucky ducks get a free house because they had to suffer through a lot of stuff. That tells me that if bad things happen to me and my family in a fascist society then the most I can hope for ABC or one of the other major media outlets to recognize my story and to give me a house–as long as I seem really grateful and don’t complain about the rigged system that screwed me and others like me in the first place. Now that I have a free home screw those other suckers.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From the archdruid report link:

    Many of my readers, to begin with, will have heard pundits insist that economic crises happen because modern currencies aren’t based on a gold standard, or because central bankers always mismanage the economy, or both. That’s a popular belief just now, but it’s nonsense, and it only takes a glance at American economic history between the Civil War and the founding of the Federal Reserve in 1912 to prove once and for all that it’s nonsense.

    The Panic of 1873, the Long Depression, the Panic of 1893, the Depression of 1900-1904, the Panic of 1907, and several lesser economic disasters all happened in an era when the US dollar was on the strictest of gold standards and the United States didn’t have a central bank. Once you discuss the Long Depression, most of the rhetoric backing a very popular set of economic notions pops like a punctured whoopee cushion.

    Not really. When the U.S. went on the greenback standard during the war in 1863, inflation was rife. In 1871, Congress dictated that the U.S. would reestablish the gold standard by 1879 at the prewar parity. Naturally, that entailed a dismal process of deflating wages and prices.

    This hairshirt deflationary policy was dictated by banksters who refused to countenance losing a penny of purchasing power on their loan and bond assets. But nothing intrinsic to the gold standard required restoring the prewar parity. By relinking to gold in 1871 at the prevailing price level, the subsequent 25-year deflationary period likely would have been avoided.

    Thanks to 20th century advances in monetary economics, we now know that a money supply (whether gold or fiat) which fails to accommodate economic growth will tend toward deflation. Equally, though, runaway money supply expansion undertaken to manage economic growth and employment produces chronic inflation, which Maynard Keynes described as the surest way to undermine the social order.

    Conclusion: if you’re ready for the Revolution, just egg on Bensane Bernanke to keep printing funny money … and wait for the coming bright nights of cities on flame with rock ‘n roll.

    1. aet

      Why should people whose territory just happens to have a gold mine within its borders be richer than other people?

      1. Jim Haygood

        This question could be asked about any resource endowment. Why should some countries have oil fields, when others don’t?

        In relation to global stocks of gold, incremental annual production is just not sufficient to create a huge windfall for producers. If it were, South Africa would have become the richest country on the planet decades ago. Resource-poor countries such as Japan have made it into the developed economy league, while many commodity-producing nations haven’t.

        1. MacCruiskeen

          In resource-dependent countries, the resource wealth mainly benefits a small cohort who can control the distribution of the resource. In other places, people have to actually work for a living and generate some sort of real productive capacity.

      2. F. Beard

        Excellent question.

        A gold standard is both absurd and fascist. Government money is backed by its taxation power and authority; it needs no other backing. If we did attempt to back government money, it would be government backing the backing!

        As for private money, anyone should be able to issue it* not just PM owners.

        *And anyone refuse it too.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Government money is backed by its taxation power and authority.

          Private money is backed by its voting rights. A chicken in every pot and a private, personal money printer in every pocket.

          1. just me

            My comment was supposed to be about a foot below here in the thread about Bai Zhang. (rolls eyes)

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Why should people whose territory just happens to have a gold mine within its borders be richer than other people?

        —–

        Some countries mine gold to the envy of others.

        Some countries pump oil to the envy of others

        Some countries grow vegetables to the envy of others.

        You can argue it’s easier to pump oil than it is to grow vegetables or to mind gold.

        (Even in agriculture, there are some places you simply just harvest while others require back breaking work.)

        That’s different than saying some countries are given more in resources. Think about it. Every country has something – maybe you don’t think it valuable now…my house is too windy, my room has too much sun, it’s too radioactive in my backyard. But remember this: you can grow vegetables for a long time, while the other guy can exhaust his goldmines quickly, though perhaps not in your lifetime. That’s life.

  3. Goin' South

    Amidst the squalor of corruption, exploitation and degradation, is the one decent bit of news to be found in water on Mars?

    It brings to mind a recurrent theme of anarchist science fiction a new world on which we can get it right. For Dennis Danvers, it was the Zapatistas hijacking a spaceship and taking it to Mars to begin a new world. For Ursula Le Guin, it was the anarchist Odonians roughing it on the moon of their home planet. For Octavia Butler, it was the Earthseeders heading out beyond the solar system to settle a new world.

    Given the stagnant state of our technology though, it’s more realistic to set out building new worlds in the husk of this dying one.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Goin’ South;
      I beg to differ. Terraforming our Sol system neighbors is technically feasible, and not too expensive. See Jerry Pournelles’ “The Big Rain.” Or slide on over to Bigthink and check out some of the Terraforming Mars materials. Makes dandy conspiracy theory bantha fodder too.

    2. bmeisen

      Social Democrats resurgent in Frankfurt am Main! Good news!

      http://www.fr-online.de/oberbuergermeisterwahl-frankfurt/leitartikel-zur-ob-wahl-signal-der-frankfurter,11317964,11993616.html

      Feldman won a direct mandate, which German politicians across the spectrum recognize as being first and formost a vote for a personality in comparison to an opponent’s. Many commentators urged that political issues were mostly absent in the choice of voters.

      Still it could be bad news for liberals and their corporate buddies – something might be done to bust the real estate bubble in the city, like put a cap a la Aspen on resale prices. Feldman should also try to trump the Greens, who have shared power in Frankfurt with the CDU, and start charging individual drivers of SUVs for access to the city (my idea – doesn’t show up anywhere in his platform). Basically the bounds of civility need to be re-set. Under social democracy there’s a better chance of bringing attention to behavior that generates negative externalities. People who indulge in such behavior need to be given balloons and lollipops and told to grow up.

    3. Goin' South

      Thanks for the links, etc. I’ll check them out.

      But at my age, I’m resigned to remaining Earth-bound.

    4. Procopius

      Distracted by trying to keep surfing with a failing hard drive, a couple of days ago I read an article about an economic analysis related to “Hunger Games.” Was it Yglesias? Anyway, I wasn’t able to make proper note, but the analysis made sense on an intuitive level and was really frightening. The economists were examining why some areas which used to be rich are now poor, and other areas have become rich. Areas like South and Central America were conquered by the Spanish, who imposed extractive economic institutions which were designed to exploit the natives and natural resources and send the profits elsewhere. Under this theory even though the peoples eventually revolted, they were less successful in changing the institutions, which were simply captured by a new group of people. So he came to the conclusion that in general the economy shown in the movie is quite plausible (although somebody else complained that the arithmetic didn’t look right — there needed to be much larger populations to be exploited in the districts to support the population of the capitol). I’ve been thinking we’ve been on a path to establishing this kind of culture for at least thirty years. I wasn’t able to understand why the Galts would want to arrange things so others had no chance to live with a modicum of comfort until I started reading Thorstein Veblen’s “Theory Of The Liesure Class.”

  4. ambrit

    Friends;
    Watching the video on Python and The Squirrrel Horrdes left me apprehensive. If one ‘backyard’ enthusiast can design a squirrel water cannon, what must the DoD backroom boys be doing with the same technical resources?

    1. K Ackermann

      Exactly. I posted a comment here not too long ago on how to build an autonomous target aquisition, tracking, and fire control system using just a couple of cheap DSP chips and a 50 cal machine gun.

      Close air support giving you problems? Not anymore. Place a couple of these babies on the rooftops and get rid of your helicopter problems once and for all.

      We’re nieve if we think this kind of technology is going to stay out of the hands of all those people we seem to like to kill.

        1. K Ackermann

          No, no. My little contributions here are nothing against the contributions of so many.

    2. Mel

      Software being what it is .. I Seem To Recall a couple of years back some South African soldiers were gunned down during a dog&pony show featuring just such an appliance.

  5. Max424

    re: Thich Nhat Hanh

    True story:

    A few days ago, a cockroach was crawling across the pool room floor. A sinister young man went to step on it, but I interceded, and said, “Don’t kill it, that could be my great-great-grandfather!”

    And the sinister young man replied, “Ah, but if I kill it, won’t it advance the life-death cycle, allowing the ugly little cockroach to come back –all-the-sooner– as a beautiful something else?”

    As I pondered this intriguing Buddhist twist, an old Cold War warrior chimed in, “Haven’t you stupid fucks heard, the cockroach is going to inherit the earth. The roach can survive anything, Nuclear Winter, Global Warming, whatever is coming, it don’t matter; and this particular one … is going to survive you.”

    With that the old Cold War warrior picked up the little cockroach, and gently carried it to the back door, whence he released my bug’d ancestor to the wild.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am sorry, but there is a small bug, sorry, flaw in the life-death cycle argument.

      You may kill it to speed up things, but the re-birth machine can only handle so many cases at a time. So the bug may die now but, it will still have to wait in queue to be re-born as a new, beautiful something.

      Now, I would like to relate a story about a kid who stayed in the fifth when everyone else moved up to the sixth. After we had all moved up, he asked, ‘I like being me so much. What do I have to do to come back in my next life as me as again?’

    2. Susan the other

      When Thich Nhat Hanh made the observation that cities and urban living are the wrong way to go because they demand modern ways of environmental destruction to support them and so rural living is better because it is in harmony with nature, I had to stop and rethink. i’ve always thought the opposite – that cities were the least destructive and the best way to live for various efficiencies and that city living actually polluted less and used less resources. But if he is right, it is interesting to think about everyone in the US getting their own little plot to farm and live organically. Not sure what I think now.

  6. Organicle

    Yet another reason to garden:Dirt makes you happy as well as healthy.

    “Exposure to dirt may be a way to lift mood as well as boost the immune system, UK scientists say.

    Lung cancer patients treated with “friendly” bacteria normally found in the soil have anecdotally reported improvements in their quality of life.

    Mice exposed to the same bacteria made more of the brain’s “happy” chemical serotonin, the Bristol University authors told the journal Neuroscience.

    Common antidepressants work by boosting this brain chemical.

    Dirty play

    A lack of serotonin is linked with depression in people.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6509781.stm

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The father of dirt-therapy, Diocletian, after surviving as a Roman emperor, once said: You should see my cabbage.

      Too bad no other emperors believed in his medicine.

      Candide did. He suggested that we go and work in the garden. Probably the best of all possible therapies, if we remember to grow vegetables in order to free them, and not to murder, sorry, eat them. Here, I am referring to one of the rules of the Tang Zen master Bai Zhang, referring to his vegetable garden, One day not work, one day not eat (一日不做一日不食).

      1. just me

        Did he not eat the vegetables he grew? What did he live on? This is something I wonder about, the original sin or given or whatever we’re born with: We have to kill something and eat it to live. Even vegetarians, even vegans. Somehow it seems fine when a bunny eats a carrot, less fine when Bai Zhang does?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That is the bane of life.

          It also speaks to the fluidity of morality – it’s not immoral if we can’t avoid.

          In another life, or in another planet, animals can utilize light directly, efficiently and quickly (don’t know), then it’s would be immoral to eat anything…even dirt.

          When money grows on trees, it would not be immoral to take someone else’s money. It’s like oxygen – it’s not immoral to breath in the oxygen floating around the next person.

  7. alex

    re: Labour demands to know who bought access to No 10

    At least in the UK it’s considered a scandal. In the US it’s considered business as usual.

    It never fails to amaze me how people don’t take the issue of political bribery (oops, I meant contributions) more seriouly. Until this is fixed nothing else will be.

  8. Helsinki Don't-Watch

    We’ve already passed the due process guarantee act. It’s called the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and it takes precedence over federal and local law, and, unlike most other conduct of the state, compliance is subject to independent international review. Rather than pass laws to undo void anti-laws in infinite regression, maybe it’s time to draw some attention to the deliberations of the Human Rights Committee – repeatedly asking the President in the most annoying way what he thinks the Committee will say about his government’s breaches of Articles 9, 10, 11, and 14, and whether it isn’t kind of embarrassing and third-worldish when you fail to measure up to the minimal standards of a sovereign state in the modern world. This body of law is designed to help people dismantle their police states. Americans are brainwashed not to see it. It’s like punching the wall and ignoring the sledgehammer at your feet.

    1. alex

      “We’ve already passed the due process guarantee act. It’s called the …”

      U.S. Constitution.

      From article 1, section 9: “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

      1. another

        Exactly. Perhaps we should require that every member of each branch take a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution? Wait a minute…never mind.

        They play with fire. They undermine the only thing that gives any legitimate basis to their positions of power. Fools.

  9. Mel

    _America: Crossing the Line_

    Interesting. Some of the answers to my questions about whether stagnation in one-dimensional economies was essential or accidental (as the Scholastics would say.) Ask and it shall be given — if the same blog hadn’t debunked that two weeks ago in _End of the World of the Week #13_.

  10. ScottS

    Re: City Fruit: Guerrilla Grafting. Occupy the trees!

    The Situationalists finally have their way. I thought I was the only one who felt that something was wrong with the conspicuous consumption culture until I read Kalle Lasn’s Culture Jammers years ago. But even then, I never dared to dream that I’d live to see the day when people came together en masse to reject consumption. Truly amazing!

  11. barrisj

    Re: WaPo pay firewall? I totally stopped accessing the WaPo website after they ran off all the best reporters, and others decamped for greener pastures. The neocon Editorial Board is a standing, pro-Zionist joke, and the absolute best feature that the WaPo website ever had was Dan Froomkin’s White House Watch; he too was terminated as he kept calling out the lies and misrepresentations of both Bush and Obama Administrations, which clearly discomfitted Froomkin’s Beltway Elite bosses. WaPo, feh!

  12. Thorstein

    Help me out here. The “Fatal Attraction” study concludes
    “that labour-market policies that keep older individuals at work…will raise individuals’ welfare by prolonging their lives.”

    However, in their immediately preceding analysis of causal factors, the authors state, “Our empirical results suggest that retirement following an involuntary job loss is likely to cause excess mortality, while retirement after a voluntary quit does not.”

    Why do they not rather conclude that “governemnt policy should be designed to minimize involuntary job loss“??? Raising the retirement age while continuing to condone involuntary job loss (M. Romney: “I like being able to fire people”), would seem only to increase stress and the smoking and drinking that the authors seem to want to blame for premature mortality among retirees.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am pretty sure there is a study somewhere that shows kids 11 or 12 years old have better self-esteem, thus are mentally healthier, when they enter the labor force early, voluntarily, to be specific, though the main stream media somehow conveniently fails to make that last distinction.

      If there isn’t such a study, there ought to be one; otherwise, our research money is not being properly allocated.

  13. Hugh

    I don’t know if there will be no human beings in 100 years, but there could be less than a billion. Whenever this issue gets raised, I invite everyone to contemplate the following equation: PT = ER
    where P is population
    T is technology level
    E is environmental degradation
    and R is resource depletion.

    Basically, as population and its technological levels increase, you get more stress both on resources and the environment. According to the US Census, world population is already 7 billion and should reach 9 billion in 2042. We are already seeing the effects: global warming, peak energy, failed states, species going extinct, dead zones and environmental disasters. Overall this set of problems dwarfs and renders trivial those of kleptocracy which currently dominates our elites, politics, and economy. What kleptocracy does do is distract us and waste our time on coming to terms with it, when what we should be doing is concentrating the existential crisis we, our children, and our children’s children will face in this century.

  14. barrisj

    Oi, Mr Website Moderator…I posted a comment re: WaPo paywall, and when I hit “Submit Comment”, a window opened and informed me that the comment has gone to “Moderator” for vetting. That was over an hour ago, so, whattup? I must confess that I used the term “pro-Zionist”, and I trust that such phraseology is not proscribed.

  15. Cynthia

    It was very disingenuous of President Obama to say that if he had a son, he would look like 17 year old Trayvon Martin, a black African American citizen who was murdered by Florida’s draconian and ridiculously unnecessary “Stand Your Ground” law:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OHweAKZYPM

    No, Mr. President, the truth is that if you had a son, he’d like 16 year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a brown Muslim American citizen whom you murdered with no trial, no evidence and no right to Habeas Corpus.

    But alas, you have no need to fret, your ignorant and pathetic sociopath loving supporters, both black and white alike, will not let the evil you have done and continue to do stop them from supporting a war criminal and murdering sociopath like you.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I too get the same sense when Obama opens his mouth: he’s not genuine. He’s not sincere. He’s not to be trusted in any matter.

      Our elite don’t mind that we focus our attention on a local bully that believed the fascist propaganda a bit too much. This murder was a direct result of American fascist propaganda and policies over the last [50?] years. We chose to empower violent enforcers like the watchman that shot the boy.

      Our masters want us to fight amongst ourselves and they are using this incident to inflame the culture wars, not fix anything in our society.

      Don’t look to Obama to make our justice system any better. He will probably use this incident as an excuse to further militarize the police or give them greater power–and these are the forces that usually violate the rights of 17 year old black men.

      Who knows what the truth about Obama is. Who knows what his son would look like if he didn’t go down the route he did (Ivy League/CIA?/politics) and instead followed a more organic route for a guy from Hawaii like him.

      Like you note, there is a strong international flavor to his cover story–his father was an African Muslim man, he lived in Indonesia as a child and went to a school there, his mother and her side were possibly intelligence operatives and had international experience and businesses, Obama’s step father was Indonesian and was involved in the gov./military there, Obama traveled in Pakistan when there was a travel warning there and most Americans never set foot there, and traveled to other exotic locations. Obama’s parents and grandparents were associated with a bank and a school at the University of Hawaii that were very influential in international relations, and funding secretive U.S. interests in the East. I haven’t read “Dreams of my Father” to get the full cover story.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t know a lot of people who have authored, or claim to have authored, two autobiographies. And Obama’s family background and youthful bio do seem a little patchy (IIRC, and its been awhile, his records for admission to Columbia have never been released, and there’s no record that he authored a single article for the Harvard Law Review). It’s like a “resistable rise” scenario.

        That said, we seem to believe that the essence of the man (or any person) is what’s secret. I think, with Obama, the essence of the man is completely revealed by his public actions. We don’t need to know any more than we already know to know what he is (“He is who we thought he was”).

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Agreed. Obama’s actions define him and we have enough evidence to come to conclusions about his character and personality. So yeah, we’re not going to find out Obama’s true personal motivation by reading his book or listening to his empty promises.

          But we shouldn’t look to Obama’s “autobiographies” for another reason.

          This analysis reveals that Obama most likely did not write his “autobiography”, “Dreams of my Father”: http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/10/who_wrote_dreams_from_my_fathe_1.html

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Yeah. It’s very odd that a roughly 30 year old Chicago lawyer would have a ghostwriter.

  16. Joe Rebholz

    “…maybe in 100 years there will be no more humans on the planet”

    Who cares? Does anyone care? If we really believed there is a probability of 1%, 2%, 5%, that there will be no more humans on the planet in 100 years, would any of us do anything different than what we do now?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘…on the planet.’

      Maybe the weather on Mars is better than here at that time.

    2. Pthoprp Phkroq - Planet Overseer

      My projections show that 75% of the human herd will be obese by 2020 and have adequate marbling to qualify as AAA Grade Quality meat. The herd will be ready for harvest then.

  17. kevinearick

    Superintendents

    From the perspective of natural law, 70% of kids come directly from dysfunctional homes, and 15% come from dysfunctional civil marriages. 90% come from dysfunctional families. The social security net is already cash negative. The debt must be repudiated. That is an indictment of Family Law in America, beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Intelligent investors discounted the reserve status of the US dollar, which props up the Treasury market, long ago, accordingly; best as the enemy of better naturally results in a race to the bottom, in a world awash in “free” fiat. The installed leaders of Iran had the temerity to explicitly challenge the fiat reserve inflator, therefore there must be war to feed the Laffer wizards. Nuclear is a failed technology from the 40s.

    WWII fashioned America into a beacon of responsibility again, calling all to the promissory note of liberty, and its derivative, prosperity. Vietnam, with its retread policy of containment, rested that light back into the lighthouse of tyranny, pulling the world’s powers once again into the black hole of profligacy. For most, it is far too late to change course of their own volition. Normandy and its kin are like washing machines, churn pools for DNA.

    Like princesses and sons of princesses, present American politicians, like their predecessors in Germany, operate under the presumption that they are the world, its peoples should therefore love them, and it is their duty to recast the world in their image, as mother of empire and emperor. What Barack Obama and Ron Paul have in common, from opposing sides of the looking glass, is the cause, swaddling America in the clothing of the police state, to coronate it as the ideal policeman to the world, in a positive feedback loop of preemption, for Homeland Security, saying one thing and doing another.

    To that Imperial Imperative, technology development was preempted, to increase efficiency, levered by the previously earned safe haven status of America’s reserve currency, and rolled out into a global IC net, to perpetuate the past in a police state of, by, and for those who feared a future of Independence, turning the US Constitution on its head to do so, the only route to which was eliminating the example of individual sovereignty through Family Law, a Trojan Horse with no constitutional safeguards, wrought in the common law of feudalism inherent to the 10th Amendment Court.

    Tyranny is like a snake in the grass, twisting and turning, hoping to evade detection of its true aim in the misdirection, promising prosperity in word and insuring tyranny in false witness to Deed. A constitution in no way limits unique individual sovereignty; that is a function of natural law, adaptive skill.

    A constitution expressly limits the power of government to deed itself rule of property right over liberty, for government’s own sake. Government is a gravity switch, for those with the intelligence to employ it correctly. For all others it’s a toy, a prize for lying, laziness, and lusciousness, who enter its attraction of their own free will.

    Only to its own end does empire seek to sop up real income, leakage, from natural discretionary incentive, and swap it with credit expansion, usurious slavery to the nonperforming properties of the past, ahead of the resulting unearned asset price inflation, stolen by the police state through eminent domain, the ponzi population control mechanism referred to as divine providence. Through the direction of expansion, it controls consumption addiction with temporary anxiety relief, make-work jobs, increasing the valuation of its property holdings in terms of its ability to tax into the future, exchanging nonrecurring toys for recurring tots to perpetuate itself like a virus in a closed system. Empire participants are black holes, aggregated within like event horizons accordingly.

    The key to fusion is fission and vice versa, across an implicit looking glass relay. Earned income by definition of natural law may only come from effective biological adaptation to increase diversity. Earned income by definition of constitutional law may only come from increasing efficiency, productivity as measured by human consumption, redefining consumption as investment, loss as profit, and debt as asset, as necessary to perpetuate the fusion, until the misdirection becomes transparent, at the will of individual sovereignty, creating the backlash reactor. The Fed, not its oil speculation derivative market, is pumping hot air to replace the evacuation.

    During the investment half cycle, new economic delay devices, including unique human critters, are installed. During the consumption half cycle, that feed is largely replaced by replicating delay devices, best business practice, as new ones are being developed in the implicit black/white market on the tails. When polarity is switched back, the redundant devices are removed and replaced, resulting in quantum change to the end of diversity, a bomb to fit a key. The system places a premium upon intelligence, which only exhibits itself in quantum intervals, as required.

    Corporate superintendents are only empowered to increase the efficiency of consumption, which is naturally an arbitrary, capricious, and malicious process, and their behavior may only be rewarded in a fixed lottery ponzi economy of increasing income disparity, pulling up the rear by rewarding compliance with peer pressure relief, bullies bullying bullies with political correctness, to climb the escalator to the cliff.

    During the misdirection of WWII, American industry was “tooled up” in a quantum leap, as others engaged themselves with German legacy yet again. The dramatic improvement in the quality of US products resulted from a dramatic improvement in the quality of US jobs, the deployment of unique individual talent and its derivatives, not the other way around as empire History suggests. Only a replicating robot competes for employment when nature has ensured the outcome.

    So, it turns out that there is much, much more to being a labor superintendent than meets the “all-seeing” eye, most have been systematically eliminated by the global HR compliance system, they are fashioned from intelligent kids over time, and it takes time to install the derivative delay devices. Meanwhile, consumers acting as investors continue to pursue the silver bullet, patented swap mythology. Good luck to them. You are the technology; everything else is derivative.

    The more resources the empire employs to contain you, the greater the penalties and interest when the tide turns, in the form of nonperforming habits and related assets it hangs around its own neck. From the perspective of the empire, the elevator moves. From your perspective, the building moves. Certain values always withstand this test of time, including honesty, hard work, intelligence, and, above all, patience, which requires love to nurture, values decidedly absent in the empire and its anxious denizens. Rocket science is derivative, not integral.

    More low quality jobs, all corporate can do, in an environment of credit expansion, all government can do, is not the solution. Keep the empire in the dark where it belongs, by keeping your private life private, and respecting the private lives of others. Guard your Spouse’s back door as an example to your children, like their lives depend upon it, because they do.

  18. scraping_by

    Re: retirement

    At my office, I’ve noticed the sudden death of men six weeks before and six weeks after their retirement date. Only men, I’ve noticed.

    Yes, loss of job is loss of identity, and therefore, loss of reason to live. But this is a small minority. Those with no life outside the building. Take these outliers out of the pool and life without the grind shows up as healthy, happy, and hopeful.

  19. monte_cristo

    Hi Lamberrt, just a short one..
    FT articles are inaccessible without a subscription,, their paywall is pretty solid.. yes the blogs are accessible.. and you can work down the subject pages.. but the articles No.
    A one liner sunmmary is sometimes useful but the FT is normally predictable.. I had a subscription for years.. and actually the quality/cost is excellent..
    But we can’t get to them from here methinks..
    If anybody knows a way then don’t say here !!! because they read you!
    Yes I suppose you can join up temporarily but ….

  20. patent

    Corvette and Nascar fans recognize Jim’s connection with Chevrolet as the go to guy in the 50s. He was the CEO of SEDCO in Atlanta, where many DAYTON BEACH and SEBRING race Chevrolet Corvettes and passenger cars were prepared for the races. Someone has to write the book of history about this time and people. Jim was a major player.

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