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Links 4/21/12

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‘Eggless’ chick laid by hen in Sri Lanka BBC

Hypersonic test aircraft pealed apart after 3 minutes of sustained Mach 20 speed NetworkWorld (bob)

BP Covered Up Blow-out Prior to Deepwater Horizon Part 1, PART 2: Greg Palast

Target on Manipulation, but It’s Tough to Hit Wall Street Journal

New Bakken Shale Pipeline to Cushing, OK in the Works Steve Horn, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Amiable apparatchik with eyes on the Elysée Financial Times

Does Kim Signal World Bank Changes? Council on Foreign Relations

Israeli Minister Admits Ahmadinejad Never Said Israel Should Be “Wiped Off the Map” DemocracyNow (YY)

America’s drone sickness Glenn Greenwald

Obama Had 10 Times More Money Than Romney for Campaign Bloomberg

Obama Sees Steep Dropoff in Cash From Major Donors New York Times

Gingrich Won’t Drop Race, or Costly Secret Service Protection Caucus (Joe Costello)

Obama Campaign Flags ‘Less-Than-Reputable’ Romney Donors CIO Journal. The list includes an LPS lobbyist.

Republican Whipping-Boy Illinois Beats Wisconsin on Jobs Bloomberg

FBI Seizes Server From Progressive Internet Service Provider Truthout

Pentagon Smears USA Today Reporters Investigating – Wait for It – Illegal Pentagon Propaganda George Washington (Lambert)

How Pete Peterson is driving the fiscal consensus Felix Salmon

What about all those excess reserves at the Fed? Ed Harrison

Why CEOs shouldn’t run the world Financial Times

Shareholders lose patience on bankers’ pay Financial Times

Bank of America Accord in Lawsuit Is Challenged New York Times

News From George Soros’ Berlin Conference – Economists Discover Human Beings Lynn Parramore, Alternet

Occupy Madison is a Home for the Homeless PruningShears (Lambert)

Antidote du jour. This video had led Richard Smith to redouble his training efforts with his Bengal adolescents Fisher and Minsky, who do preform some tricks very nicely (indeed, they demand to do their tricks daily since they want their treats).

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91 comments

  1. Skippy

    As Professor Bartlett dryly observed, even if Simon was off by a factor of 1,000 (economists habitually are off by a lot) in his estimate of duration of the future expansion of humanity (7 million, not 7 billion years), and humanity grew by only 1 percent per year, the number of humans would exceed 10 to the power 30,410. It turns out that Simon’s prediction of the number of humans supported by technology and economics is 1 followed by 30,000 zeros times larger (like in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000…) than the number of atoms in the Universe. How does Hubbert’s factor of 2 strike you now?

    My other all-time favorite is a 3-day prediction by Irving Fisher, a Yale economics professor, who on October 21, 1929, stated: “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Three days later, Black Thursday ushered the United States into the Great Depression. Recently, another genius economist from Princeton declared that oil was irrelevant to modern economies.

    http://patzek-lifeitself.blogspot.com.au/

    Skippy… My Favorite bit….

    I dread to think what the immediate fallout from such hubris might be. The remorseless Goddess of Rhamnous, Nemesis, or Zeus Himself might get angry:

    Seest thou how God with his lightning smites always the bigger animals, and will not suffer them to wax insolent, while those of a lesser bulk chafe him not? How likewise his bolts fall ever on the highest houses and the tallest trees? So plainly does He love to bring down everything that exalts itself. Thus ofttimes a mighty host is discomfited by a few men, when God in his jealousy sends fear or storm from heaven, and they perish in a way unworthy of them. For God allows no one to have high thoughts but Himself.

    History of Herodotus, VII, 10, translated by George Rawlinson (1910).

    Come to think of it, I have not seen recently any economists sacrificing their best rams or bulls as offerings to God, so that He may shine some light on the opaque magic they call forecasting.

      1. skippy

        Humans are the sacrifice, Humans without large amounts of capital or monies.

        Skippy… the natural world is just an apéritif, it has zero rights or law to protect it, it can not speak for its self.

    1. F. Beard

      And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “ So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15:5

      1. John L

        About 6000 above magnitude 6, visible with 20/20 vision from a dark location, of which half are visible at a time. So 3000.

        1. F. Beard

          “if you are able to count them.”

          I reckon Abraham could count to 3000 so a possible implication is that there were stars he could not see.

          1. John L

            Looking up at the heavens it’s tough to count the stars you can see. Impossible to count the ones you can’t. Especially tough to count them using the Hebrew counting number system in place at the time. So 3000 it is. Max.

            Unless seed was meant literally, and it’s actually sperm count?

          2. F. Beard

            The system of Hebrew numerals is a quasi-decimal alphabetic numeral system using the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

            In this system, there is no notation for zero, and the numeric values for individual letters are added together. Each unit (1, 2, …, 9) is assigned a separate letter, each tens (10, 20, …, 90) a separate letter, and the first four hundreds (100, 200, 300, 400) a separate letter. The later hundreds (500, 600, 700, 800 and 900) are represented by the sum of two or three letters representing the first four hundreds. To represent numbers from 1,000 to 999,999, the same letters are reused to serve as thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands. Gematria (Jewish numerology) uses these transformations extensively. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_numerals [emphasis added]

          3. John L

            Exactly. Tough to count using this number system. But this would have been paleo-hebrew or maybe Assyrian script so maybe the phonecian counting system. Either way, it was a counting system and as such unsuited for modeling exponential growth. Hence the slight variation between the predicted (3000) and the actual (7,000,000,000) population numbers.

        2. Hugh

          Add in that some of the stars visible to the naked eye can only be seen in the Southern Hemisphere and, as you imply, others will be behind the sun and so also cannot be visualized, the effective number of stars visible to the naked eye is probably around 2,000 on a dark night.

          There is also the counting process to consider. If all stars could be counted, if you could count one star a second, and if you figure about 8 hours on average of good viewing time per night, then you could count at maximum about 10 million stars a year. This means it would take about 700 years to count up to the world’s present population of 7 billion. Fun with numbers.

  2. seenohearno

    I was pleasantly surprised to see the Occupy Madison link!

    While a student at UW-Madison in 2004, a group of friends and I started a campaign to bring visibility to homelessness in Madison. The year we started, two men had died in the city’s parks, having frozen to death during the brutal winters. We advocated for additional homeless services and funding to come from the city. Dane County had historically taken funding responsibility, but the federal block grants and private donations weren’t enough to adequately house the 10,000+ homeless, the majority of whom were women and children. [Note: The 10,000 estimate was provided in an annual report from Cieslewicz's office. After our campaign, the number was reduced to 3,500 in the following year. Accounting tricks aren't just for bankers!]

    We also demanded reforms to the draconian rules at local shelters. The single men’s shelter, run by Porchlight, was particularly bad – there were stories of men being chased out with baseball bats, turned away in below freezing weather if there was a scent of alcohol on their breath, and unsafe conditions. The homeless men were treated like animals and, unfortunately, it sounds like much hasn’t changed.

    We sat in at the mayor’s office at one point and won a minor concession, then turned to starting a cooperative newspaper (The Homeless Cooperative, later renamed Street Pulse) and advocating for a wet shelter.

    The issue of homelessness is a complex one and one that’s particularly uncomfortable for the mayor of a place like Madison, which prides itself on its “progressive” facade. But it’s a struggle worth fighting. We were young, idealistic, and a tad naive. And I don’t regret any of it. I commend all those involved in Occupy Madison. On Wisconsin!

    1. MadtownAnnie

      Thank you for posting this! You laid the foundations for what we’re trying to do now. Street Pulse is still in circulation and Occupy residents have been using it to make their ideas heard.

      We’ve inspired the Dane County Board to start planning to form a homeless issues joint committee, including board and city council members and three members of the homeless community. They’re also talking once again about the need for a wet shelter and daytime storage for people’s possessions. And since the Porchlight-run men’s shelter only allows an individual to stay there 60 nights out of the year, they’re looking at us as a model for alternatives.

      You’re absolutely right about the progressive facade in Madison. Mayor Soglin is less sympathetic to homelessness than Mayor Dave was. Soglin’s stubbornness has been the main obstacle in this fight.

      Thanks for everything you did while you were a student here. It’s nice to know we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but instead we can expand on the work that others like you have already done.

    2. just me

      Porchlight! So sorry to hear of its failings. I (not in Wisconsin) first heard of Porchlight when Garrison Keillor wrote about his brother in 2009…

      When your brother dies

      He was an engineer, having grown up at a time when boys were still romantic about machinery. Our dad and uncles loved cars and knew how to fix them and also do basic plumbing and wiring and carpentry, so he grew up admiring competence. The incompetent stood and cursed the problem and kicked it and caused more problems. The engineer studied the problem, devised a solution, and when it failed he made intelligent revisions. I never heard my brother curse anything or anybody.

      …and I googled Philip and learned he was one of the founders of Porchlight:

      In the 1980s, Keillor was a Madison resident who pushed for a homeless shelter after three men died of exposure during one severe winter. Eventually, the shelter spawned Porchlight Inc., which helps serve homeless in the Madison downtown area.

      Steve Schooler, Porchlight’s executive director, spoke of Keillor’s compassion in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal.

      “”What was really important about him was his compassion for people in desperate straits,”" Schooler said. “”He saw them as real human beings, not problems.”"

      I wonder what Garrison would have to say about Porchlight now?

  3. Hugh

    Re Lynn Parramore’s post, the three great issues of our times are kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war. You can guage how serious economists are by whether they are discussing these issues and giving them the centrality they deserve. However, from the little that I can see, Soros and the INET people have not come to grips with any of them. They may talk a little about wealth inequality but the other two are left untouched and unaddressed. Yet without an understanding of how the three are connected, no realistic description of the events of the last 35 years is possible.

    Remember these are supposed to be the experts, and not just any experts, but the best and most insightful. The construction of kleptocracy has been going on, as I said, for 35 years. The housing bubble blew up 5 years ago, the meltdown hit 4 years ago, and yet these cutting edge economists have not taken even the first step to putting together what happened.

    So my questions are these: How much longer are we expected to wait for them to come to terms with the systemic failure of their discipline? How can we look to them for leadership or understanding when they remain so obstinately behind the curve? And at what point should we start writing them off as irrelevant and/or just more elite distraction and obfuscation?

    1. craazyman

      You’re pretty much right on Hugh, although kleptocracy predates the finatchul crisis by a few thousand years. During which time they called it all sorts of things as long as the money flowed. Anyway.

      I’m still hopeful I’ll get a 1 million grant from INET to study money’s relationship to group pyschoanalysis, constructing of the ego and soul projection. If I don’t get 1 million, I’ll take half a million. and if not half a million, I’ll take a quarter of a million, but no less than $100,000.

      If I don’t get even 100G, I’ll write them all off as yackers who can’t bring themselves to the point of action.

      -Profeser Delerious Tremens, University of Magonia, Institute for Contemporary Analysis, Department of Financial Speculation and Teleology, PO Box 8, Magonia

      1. ambrit

        Sirs;
        Is a passport still necessary to enter your Sovereign State? How about a letter from the Bishop of Lyon? The Abbe sends his regards.

      2. Literary Critic

        Signs of kleptocracy, and its ill effects, first showed up 14,000 years ago. They had a 3 class system. Lords, who were Lords. Serfs, who were serfs, and street gangs who stole from the serfs and did whatever the Lords requested of them. Sort of like if Robin Hood worked for the rich and stole from the poor.

        “…shortly after the sinking of Atlantis about 14,000 years ago in the twilight of a civilization then struggling and now vanished for lack of a crucial natural, and essentially non-renewable resource upon which almost all of its economy and technology depended. (In this connection it is perhaps notable that a close relative of Mr. Niven’s was a famous pioneer in the petroleum industry.). The vanishing resource is not oil but mana, something vital to the technology of magic and the metabolism of the supernatural. As mana becomes scarce gods sleep and finally die, unicorns get smaller and finally turn into hornless ponies, and magic becomes less and less effective and finally vanishes.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burning_City

    2. Kevin de Bruxelles

      Your concepts are vague; for example are we to believe that 35 years ago kleptocracy just rose from nowhere? It didn’t exist before? Sure you are correct, there is indeed class war going on, but what are the actual tools and processes that are leading to the demolition of the working and middle classes?

      The problem is that with the Left / Right political ideological divide there are certain critiques that are sacrilegious to make and thus force people to avoid delving in too deep and instead stick to the use of such vague terms (on both sides, the Right blames “socialism”). There are “sacred” political ideas linked to each ideological box. For example on the Left one sure way to become declared a heretic is to criticize anyone poorer or darker skinned than you; on the Right I suppose it would be the opposite! But the sacred nature of these ideological boxes tend to help people to avoid the true picture. So I will go on to point out a few on the Left which is not to mean there are not just as many on the Right.

      For example, one of the most obvious forms of class warfare in America is the process of globalization. The working classes are facing a pincer movement extradonaire; the outsourcing of high-wage jobs to third world countries combined with the insourcing of low-wage third world labor to take the jobs that cannot be moved. The Left will moan about Neo-Liberalism in very vague terms but this job and labor migration is the Neo-Liberals most powerful weapon against the working classes. But because the Left has to be “for” immigration and “for” more jobs for Third world people, terms are kept real vague.

      As to the rising of kleptocracy, all elites and states are to some extent kleptocratic, why did things get so much worse 35 years ago? One must really start at the beginning with an explanation of why states (and therefore elites) exist in the first place. It’s actually very simple. States rose from agricultural societies who suffered from raiding by hunter gatherers, pastoralists or other agricultural societies. In the simplest of terms, people will always choose a fixed bandit / parasite over a roving bandit / parasite. And that is because the fixed parasite is more dependent on the survival of the host than the roving parasite is. Of course what often happens is that the people get a weak fixed parasite (state) and end up getting raided anyway by bandits.

      Watch Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” to see this dynamic explored in its most fundamental form.

      All governments and their associated corporations are thieves and therefore kleptocrats. The key is to make sure your elites are fixed bandits and not the roaming type; this minimizes the amount of parasitic activity they can indulge in.

      In the post WW-2 era, states and corporations were dependent on their citizens / workers since these were, at least indirectly, also the consumers of these corporation’s products as well. This was a clear example of a fixed bandit / parasite. Things are not perfect, corruption certainly exists, but at a tolerable level. With the process of Neo-Liberal Globalization, national elites and corporations have emancipated themselves from their nations and societies by destroying the link between employee / customer. The employees are off in some God-forsaken sweat shop in China while the customers are either also overseas or the locals ones are supported by temporary credit instead of jobs. This other key ingredient of Neo-Liberalism, anti-Nationalism, is also strongly supported by many on the Left who dream of a global family of man living in perfect harmony and humming “Imagine” together even though this idea conflicts with every ounce of knowledge about human nature. In a nation-less global society, the Wealthy few are free of any borders and their parasitic destruction of the local peasantry has no limits.

      The elites have become roaming bandits and thus why kleptocracy is now such a problem.

      Neo-Liberal Globalization has not struck Europe as a whole as hard as it has the Unites States although it certainly has done some damage. The idea of having a strong manufacturing base is still not laughed at on the continent and although there is a huge amount of third work immigration that is hitting the welfare systems hard, this process has not lowered wages for the working classes as much as in the US. But still factories are getting shipped off to China, especially in southern Europe. On the other hand Europe is going through a painful transition from individual smaller nation states to an eventual European nation state in order to compete on an economic global battlefield of larger national groupings (US, Russia, China, India, Japan, etc).. But European nations, especially in the north, despite all the recent troubles, are still thriving social democracies which represent an affront to Neo-Liberals everywhere. So what shock troops are the Neo-Liberal elite throwing into Europe? American right-wingers? Hell no, they know that would never work. Instead they are attempting to take Berlin with their most destructive of all forces, the American Left, led by of all people the ultimate roving bandit parasite George Soros!

      After all what have the American Left accomplished post WW2 in the States. Pretty much nothing. Universal Healthcare? No way! Free pre-school for all? Not even on the agenda! Five weeks vacation? Barely holding on to two! Affordable universities? No chance! Paid parental leave? The feminists say NO! Rejuvenation of Urban America? Detroit! Gini scores in the high 20’s or low 30’s? Nope, high 40’s! Keeping GMO’s out of the food stock? As if! Public Transportation? That’s for sissies! And the list could go on.

      Yes on the other hand the American Left have assured some modest welfare payments, Section 8, food stamps, aid for dependent children, etc, for some of the victims of the globalization and immigration policies that they cheerlead so hard.

      The American Left, whether knowingly or unknowingly, often through their naïve good intentions, have supported Neo-Liberal economic policies and have been rewarded with token victories in the various Identity Politics arena. They are Neo-Liberalsm’s ultimate Fifth Column and now they are being let loose on Europe.

      But why would anyone on the Left in Europe, with all they have accomplished post WW2, want to listen their congenital loser cousins from across the pond? Would American baseball players listen if Europe suddenly decided to send lots of baseball coaches to America to teach how to properly play the game? Or might these Americans ask what the hell Europeans know about baseball? To be honest, American Leftists have accomplished on a relative basis even less than European baseball players.

      So along with the Krugman types, they send in the MMT clowns as well. These are the guys who promise a government job for everyone to help provide political cover for the offshoring and inshoring that is destroying the working classes. But ask them if these jobs are limited to US citizens and they will not answer. The idea that you can have open borders with neighboring poor countries and an increasing welfare state for everyone is insane. Obviously all a guaranteed job would mean is an increase in the flow of poor immigrants into the US to take these jobs and an increase of the outflow of productive jobs to China as these temporary jobs, if they ever happened would just serve to sooth increasing tensions that if not dealt with could someday threaten these Neo-Liberal policies.

      So now they insist that unproductive countries in Europe introduce a two currency system, the Euro for rich people and whatever useless currency for local peasants. No they don’t say it like that but do you really think Greek hotels are going to stop charging in Euros? In Iceland they still charge in Euros or Dollars. They only pay their employees in an increasingly worthless local currency. Yes there are serious issues with the Euro but would the US ever try to solve its unemployment problem by paying people in Pesos?

      What Europe does need to do is continue its move towards Federation by supporting productivity with the welfare state while at the same time attacking parasitism – both by Rentier and Lumpenproles. They need to use the advantages given to them by the wise Social Democratic decisions of the past and to reject all attempts to impose American Left Identity politics. The Southern Europeans have to become more like their northern brothers by importing more Social Democracy and to avoid falling into the trap of pathetic American victimolgy where bad results are never the consequence of previous unwise decisions.

      1. Valissa

        Hey Kevin, great comment… it’s nice to see you posting here again!

        I think your points about kleptocracy in general and the American left are spot on. I have some issues with the whole class warfare meme (I am NOT a fan of Marx or neo-Marxism of any variety) and some thoughts about applying more of a ecologically approach to the class dynamic (as in species competing for resources) but I don’t have time to get into that right now. Hopefully I will be able to follow up this evening.

        In the meantime I have to go shopping with my husband for lighting for several rooms in our house (minor remodel) and I blame globalization for the piss poor choices that are available either in dept stores or lighting stores today. There’s mostly either a bunch of cheap, ugly crap lighting made mostly in China or ridiculously overpriced high end lighting that’s also not very attractive. We have found only one store that carries halfway decent stuff in the middle range. I remember being young and poor and being able to buy decent lamps for my funky apartment.

      2. Hugh

        It’s asking a bit much to expect me to encapsulate the history of kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war in a single comment, and not a particularly long one at that.

        You include in the American left Establishment liberals, faux progressives, even neoliberals. I do not. As you point out, just because someone uses a label does not mean it is any sense accurate or applicable.

        I have written a lot about these three great themes here over the past year or so. You ask why I and others start the clock on kleptocracy 35 years ago in the Carter Administration when kleptocratic elements have been around throughout human history. I often use the example from psychiatry. A psychiatrist once was presenting to an audience various psychiatric disorders and running through the symptoms which characterized them. This created a certain amount of discomfort in the audience because many could identify many of the elements being discussed in themselves or in people they knew. Finally, someone raised their hand and made this point. The psychiatrist took the question completely in stride, and said simply, “Just because you have the trait, doesn’t mean you have the disease.” Well, that’s the way it is with kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war. There have been many times in history when we have had the trait but now we have the fullblown disease.

        And the reason we fix the onset of kleptocracy to the Carter Administration is that he was the first of the conservative Democratic corporate Presidents. He was anti-union in deregulating industries like the airlines and trucking. The usury laws were repealed under him. And perhaps most importantly there were the actions of Paul Volcker at the Fed. Volcker did not just ruthlessly wring inflation out of the economy. He set in place a dogma that all wage increases were to be taken as inherently inflationary and combatted at all costs. It is not with Reagan but with Carter that the wages of American workers go flat. Volcker took no similar action against investors. Indeed under Reagan supply side economics became a cover for the shift of the US economy from one that was worker based to one which was investor or rentier based, with all the transfer in wealth this implied. Money to workers = bad. Money to rentiers = good.

        In the past, there have been countervailing trends. There has been real, popular opposition. But in the last 35 years, this has not happened despite 80% of Americans living on just 7% of the country’s wealth, despite the housing bubble bust and the meltdown, and despite the brazen conduct of our elites since, accelerating rather than cutting back on their looting.

        Sometimes, things really are different. We are currently living in such a time.

      3. F. Beard

        If MMT is correct that it is taxation that gives value to fiat then it is the Euro that should lose value as governments use their taxation power to back their own currencies not the Euro.

        Then what would the Euro be backed by? Would it not only be backed by the debts that are owed in it? And after those debts are paid (or defaulted on) why would anyone else borrow Euros?

      4. jsmith

        That there’s a lot of words to say that the left doesn’t exist in America nor hasn’t since the turn of the 20th century.

        In nearly half of your tome, you bemoan the inability of the “left” in America to get anything done and then you criticize them for being to idealistic.

        Hello!!!

        There has never been a real American left since WWII.

        Anything that can be described as “left” in America since the war has basically been warmed over neo-fascism similar to that envisaged by members of the European Social Movement (ESM) whose vision of Europe looked much like what the EU does today – states subservient to a centralized economy that straddles communism and capitalism – ie., the privatization of profit, the socialization of risk. See link to National Party of Europe below.

        Remember in the US that McCarthy guy and how people’s lives were destroyed over suggestions by some that they had socialist tendencies?

        How the FBI, CIA and police were used to infiltrate and destroy any of the more radical leftist groups in the 1960s?

        No, no, sir, let’s cut the crap.

        Neoliberalism is a virulent form of capitalism that effectively neuters and co-opts any political party it touches as it seeks to establish an inverted totalitarian society, one in which neoliberalism as economic system is installed above the power of party politics.

        Neoliberalism is an economic system, not a political one.

        One must remember, economics trumps politics in our world now. Politics is just to keep the masses mollified and disunited.

        THAT is why Greek and Spanish “socialists” can vote for austerity policies that contradict every Marxist tenet.

        THAT is why the “left” in America has been so week.

        The post-war “left” in America has not ever been “left”.

        To say so just continues to keep the populace confused which is exactly what the elite want. People unable to use terms correctly such as “communism”, “socialism”, “left”, “right”, have a much smaller chance in uniting against the totalitarian structure because they can’t even agree on terms.

        Much better to stop trying to attribute blame to one side or the other and much more worthwhile to attribute blame to the system which – if you ARE going to do for accuracy’s sake – actually springs from the hard right and not the hard left.

        I mean, ask yourself, of the two – right or left – who had more power and money in Western Europe and the US to really affect policy?

        Not many billionaire Bolsheviks, huh?

        In general, one can say that the US is a kleptocracy.

        Specifically, one should say that it is an inverted totalitarian society with neoliberal economic policies as the central tenets.

        To see where many of the ideas for this “liberalism” came from check out the neofascist National Party of Europe from the 1960s and look at their aims. Then compare them to the EU today.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Party_of_Europe

        Also, see the Italian Social Movement. Gianfranco Fini, the current Head of the lower house of Italian Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister under Berlusconi was the leader of the THAT fascist party up until 1995.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Social_Movement

        I mean, the elite couldn’t have gotten that clever so as to disguise their designs in confusing terms and thus avoid engendering reminders amongst the populace as to earlier totalitarian regimes, could they?

        What, you thought 21st century fascists would goosestep down The Mall?

        I tell y

      5. jsmith

        That there’s a lot of words to say that the left doesn’t exist in America nor hasn’t since the turn of the 20th century.

        In nearly half of your tome, you bemoan the inability of the “left” in America to get anything done and then you criticize them for being to idealistic.

        Hello!!!

        There has never been a real American left since WWII.

        Anything that can be described as “left” in America since the war has basically been warmed over neo-fascism similar to that envisaged by members of the European Social Movement (ESM) whose vision of Europe looked much like what the EU does today – states subservient to a centralized economy that straddles communism and capitalism – ie., the privatization of profit, the socialization of risk. See link to National Party of Europe below.

        Remember in the US that McCarthy guy and how people’s lives were destroyed over suggestions by some that they had socialist tendencies?

        How the FBI, CIA and police were used to infiltrate and destroy any of the more radical leftist groups in the 1960s?

        No, no, sir, let’s cut the crap.

        Neoliberalism is a virulent form of capitalism that effectively neuters and co-opts any political party it touches as it seeks to establish an inverted totalitarian society, one in which neoliberalism as economic system is installed above the power of party politics.

        Neoliberalism is an economic system, not a political one.

        One must remember, economics trumps politics in our world now. Politics is just to keep the masses mollified and disunited.

        THAT is why Greek and Spanish “socialists” can vote for austerity policies that contradict every Marxist tenet.

        THAT is why the “left” in America has been so week.

        The post-war “left” in America has not ever been “left”.

        To say so just continues to keep the populace confused which is exactly what the elite want. People unable to use terms correctly such as “communism”, “socialism”, “left”, “right”, have a much smaller chance in uniting against the totalitarian structure because they can’t even agree on terms.

        Much better to stop trying to attribute blame to one side or the other and much more worthwhile to attribute blame to the system which – if you ARE going to do for accuracy’s sake – actually springs from the hard right and not the hard left.

        I mean, ask yourself, of the two – right or left – who had more power and money in Western Europe and the US to really affect policy?

        Not many billionaire Bolsheviks, huh?

        In general, one can say that the US is a kleptocracy.

        Specifically, one should say that it is an inverted totalitarian society with neoliberal economic policies as the central tenets.

        To see where many of the ideas for this “liberalism” came from check out the neofascist National Party of Europe from the 1960s and look at their aims. Then compare them to the EU today.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Party_of_Europe

        Also, see the Italian Social Movement. Gianfranco Fini, the current Head of the lower house of Italian Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister under Berlusconi was the leader of the THAT fascist party up until 1995.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Social_Movement

        I mean, the elite couldn’t have gotten that clever so as to disguise their designs in confusing terms and thus avoid engendering reminders amongst the populace as to earlier totalitarian regimes, could they?

        What, you thought 21st century fascists would goosestep down The Mall?

      6. EmilianoZ

        Another classic, thought-provoking post by Kevin. It’s great to see he’s still (sporadically) haunting this blog that DownSouth seems to have deserted permanently.

        I’ll just ask this. Now that the credit based consumption is over, don’t our parasites need workers with good wages to buy their products? Or are they counting on the emerging middle class in China or wherever to take up the slack?

        It is, I think, undeniable that kleptocracy intensified these last few decades. It’s a bit like the global warming debate. Even skeptics don’t deny the warming anymore. It’s the causes that are still under dispute. Is it the sun? Is it man-made? Similarly the intensification of kleptocracy seems well-documented. But the causes can still be debated. Kevin’s local/roaming parasites’ explanation is one of the best I’ve seen. You can probably find a few others in Yves Smith’s Econned. There’s another one I read I dont remember where. It says that the beginning of the end for the middle class was the implosion of the Soviet Union at the end of the 80ies. Until then the American 1% didn’t treat its peasants too badly. But as soon as the USSR was kaput they could say there’s no alternative and started treating the populace as they always wanted to.

        Identity politics will never cease to amaze me. Here you have 2 political parties that rationally should never exist as mass parties since they represent the interest of so few. And yet you have the poor of both parties hating each other’s guts. I wish I had an explanation.

        The Republicans are every bit as pro-globalization as the Democrats. Bizarrely, the Ds seem to have accepted the mantle while the Rs seem to get away with it.

  4. SidFinster

    You should see the cats in the Moscow Cat Circus perform.

    Supposedly, the first performer was a stray cat ont he streets of Moscow that figured out that passers by would feed him if he performed tricks.

  5. Max424

    That’s a cool ending to the vid. Freeze frame it 6 or 7 times at the 4:04 mark. Look at the Bengal’s eyes. At one point as he gathers for the vertical, his baby blues are scanning almost behind him. His widening eyes are, basically, looking out the back of his head.

    And his widening ears never leave the target, either. Total widening focus.

    Note: No doubt his raking weapons are widening too. Imagine the claws of a puma coming at ya. You’d be dead, in what, less than 8 seconds? Is that the over/under for the average human, do ya think?

    1. Richard Kline

      So Max424, big cats don’t kill with their clas fyi; the claws are for getting a grip. It’s all bite work. Neckbreak, or just as good a bleed-out wound. But yeah, they mark their target with a lethal intensity. Think about living ones own life that in-the-moment, and how few of us do, ever . . . .

      1. Max424

        Agree with claw grab neck snap. You can see it in the vid. Leap, claws grab the prey/camera, head moves beyond to deliver the coup de grace.

        Classic cat attack. Seen it many times, having two neck-snapping killers myself.

        Still, 8 seconds. I don’t know. I think I take the under. Maybe someone like Arnold in his prime survives longer than 10, but the average American starts looking down that tunnel (Jesus? Is that you at the end?) after no more than 5 seconds.

      2. scott

        I didn’t see the Bengal do anything Arnold the orange alley cat won’t do. Fetching stuff is common. One day I heard a commotion in the garage, then the door opened. Arnold was locked in the garage and had figured out (from watching humans?) how to work the doorknob and open the door, it total darkness.

        1. Max424

          … from watching humans? …

          Yup, that’s my guess. Steal the ideas from humans in the daylight (the only time the species seems to function “somewhat” efficiently), then apply these new learned skills in the dead of night.

          I think my cats might be up to something like this. At least 5 times a day, one or the other will give me look that seems to say, not only did I pull a fast one, Master, but you have no chance to ever find out what it was.

          1. Max424

            … from watching humans? …

            Either that, or it is entirely plausible Arnold the orange alley cat figured it out for himself, which would make him something of a genius.

            The wilder the animal the smarter it is, isn’t that what they say? And the alley cat is generally a pretty wild beast.

          2. Bob

            “At least 5 times a day, one or the other -cat-will give me look that seems to say, not only did I pull a fast one, Master, but you have no chance to ever find out what it was.”

            Projecting your thoughts into your cats brain interpreting your thoughts? Be careful, it might be your body cavity that an alien civilization will want to cross interstellar space to probe…

  6. Max424

    Big game tomorrow (today!). FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid.

    My boys, my beloved Socialists, can close the gap to one point in La Liga …

    http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/laliga/standings

    … and by winning, set the stage for the final episode of the greatest collapse in sports history, by those stinking choking Fascistas from the capital.

    Plus it’s beauty vs the beast, isn’t it. Barcelona creates team symphonies, petulant Madrid produces yellow cards. Plus I like to see Xavi and the boys rag that ball, string those passes, make those Fascists chase like the dogs they …

    Spain. What a great country. Too bad it’s going down the shitter. And for no reason!

    Hey Spain, zoquetes, you are a nation last I checked. You can coin your own money. Seriously. It is allowed.

    1. Richard Kline

      L’ESTACA
      L’avi Siset em parlava
      de bon matí al portal
      mentre el sol esperàvem
      i els carros vèiem passar.

      Siset, que no veus l’estaca
      on estem tots lligats?
      Si no podem desfer-nos-en
      mai no podrem caminar!

      Si estirem tots, ella caurà
      i molt de temps no pot durar,
      segur que tomba, tomba, tomba
      ben corcada deu ser ja.

      Si jo l’estiro fort per aquí
      i tu l’estires fort per allà,
      segur que tomba, tomba, tomba,
      i ens podrem alliberar.

      Però, Siset, fa molt temps ja,
      les mans se’m van escorxant,
      i quan la força se me’n va
      ella és més ampla i més gran.

      Ben cert sé que està podrida
      però és que, Siset, pesa tant,
      que a cops la força m’oblida.
      Torna’m a dir el teu cant:

      Si estirem tots, ella caurà…

      Si jo l’estiro fort per aquí…

      L’avi Siset ja no diu res,
      mal vent que se l’emportà,
      ell qui sap cap a quin indret
      i jo a sota el portal.

      I mentre passen els nous vailets
      estiro el coll per cantar
      el darrer cant d’en Siset,
      el darrer que em va ensenyar.

      Si estirem tots, ella caurà…

      Si jo l’estiro fort per aquí…

      —Lluis Llach

      1. Max424

        Xavi. Love the kid. One the ten best players in the world for last eight years, arguably one the three best world footballers over the last four years, could build an Egyptian sized pyramid out of his decorations and trophies –not to mention money– if he stacked it all properly, and he still lives with his Mom and Pop.

        And it’s not like he’s built additions to the house, either. The room where he sleeps –and has slept his entire 32 year old life– is smaller than a prison cell. It contains a bed, a lamp, a dresser, one team picture and one team ribbon.

        He’s a Socialist and a Spartan, apparently. Still, things aren’t all bad for the Puppet Master. He does get to eat Mom’s Catalan cooking every night, and retire to a family patio that overlooks the Mediterranean.

        And the eternal jobsite our attacking midfielder is always just a short jog away. That’s a life benefit, I would say.

          1. Max424

            No, it wasn’t.

            Madrid deserved the victory, and they deserve the league title.

            Two of the best teams the sport has seen, and they could meet again, in the big final. That would be interesting.

    2. Anon

      Spain not all going downhill. Wind power production is up, for a start.

      The record for meeting 60% of electricity demand in a single day through wind power alone was broken last week, according to this Reuters report:

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/16/markets-iberia-power-idUSL6E8FG8NH20120416

      MADRID, April 16 – Spain’s wind parks provided a record 60.46 percent of demand for electricity early on Monday, national grid manager REE said, after a windy weekend that reduced wholesale power prices to their lowest levels in more than two years.

      The new record percentage set at 3:48 a.m. local time (0148 GMT) compared with a previous maximum of 59.63 percent at 2 a.m. on Nov. 11.

      (Contrast with Japan, where the trade deficit is widening because of oil/gas imports.)

      Also, Spain has some rather spiffy solar plants across the south (wind resources are mostly harvested in the north) such as these two near Sanlúcar la Mayor, Andalusia, in the shape of shells:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PS20andPS10.jpg

      1. Max424

        “Spain not all going downhill.”

        Agree.

        How anybody can look at that 60% figure, and not see the possibilities, is beyond me.

        Wind is the way.

  7. John

    “Today “work and more work” is the accepted way of doing things. If anything, improvements to the labor-saving machinery since the 1920s have intensified the trend. Machines can save labor, but only if they go idle when we possess enough of what they can produce. In other words, the machinery offers us an opportunity to work less, an opportunity that as a society we have chosen not to take. Instead, we have allowed the owners of those machines to define their purpose: not reduction of labor, but “higher productivity”—and with it the imperative to consume virtually everything that the machinery can possibly produce.”

    http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/2962/

  8. Richard Kline

    What I found particularly interesting about the original story of dubious Pentagon propaganda shops (link below), which led to some jejeune harassment as mentioned in the linked piece, was the sums of money involved. I didn’t read this article—USA Today does _investigative journalism_? Who knew?—but I recommend reviewing it in its entirety.

    By what was reported, the warhats have sourced upward of $500M in really, really mediocre propaganda on Iraqis, Afghanis, and surely quite a few other foreign national masses trying to make those there think *cough* we’re good for them and their activist neighbors aren’t. And of course the Pentagon can’t come up with any kind of accounting for how the money was spent, or even who was hired and paid. Does that sound like a money-skimming bonanza to you? Sure does to me. The reported methods used don’t have steep costs in those venues: leaflets, a few news reports, bus ads, promote a few ‘feel good’ concerts. Stuff like that. For half a billion. The article focuses on one particular contract shop with no prior experience and _no SW Asian national amongst its principals_ which nonetheless is supposed to be operating at least minimally functional PR shops by remote control in-country in those places. But of course no one can SAY just how the money is being used.

    . . . And that’s what’s interesting, to me. Of course, these phantom contractors can simply be pocketing fat chunks of dough with heft kickbacks; that would be the natural trajectory of cost-plus money with no accounting. But the real opportunity in this is for the money to be skimmed _by the brass_ for propadangda, just not in the areas putatively budgeted. Like in the ol’ US of A. That would be, of course, 100% illegal. And being illegal, one would never see a formal budged code and appropriation line for that. But think along with me now, brothers and sisters? Which is more important for the permanent war economy: a) dumbass, low-return PR by known to be ineffective methods amongst foreign populations who know very well not to trust us, or b) high-return domestic US media monitoring and plants to shore up eroding domestic morale in support of grotesque and unending neo-colonialist enterprises? $500M isn’t a lot of money in Military Land, but siphoning 20-30% of that for a good bang-for-buck media fidgeting in the US would be extremely worth the money. Couldn’t do it by folks in uniforms; too much risk of being caught. But by contractors hiring foreign contractors hiring domestic contractors through several shells of fronts; why that’s routine on the cloak-and-pixel front.

    Food for thought . . .—but it’s a certainty that the warhats keep track of what’s said domestically and by whom. Domestic morale is the most important asset in a long-term, ‘low intensity’ conflict, and this is understood by strategic planners. They’d be stupid not to fight the war on this front too, so one must assume they are. Here may be the kind of funding skim opportunity it takes to operationalize that element of strategy.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-02-29/afghanistan-iraq-military-information-operations-usa-today-investigation/53295472/1

    1. Richard Kline

      “I didn’t read this article” at the time it was published. I have prior to my comment.

  9. JTFaraday

    Seeing that gorgeous cat, (click, click “Good BOooy!”) doing stupid pet trick after stupid pet trick, makes my heart hurt.

  10. NC Observer

    This blog continues to go downhill….

    Out of 20 comments, 4 are by Max424, 4 by Richard Kline and 6 are discussing the cat picture.

    In 6 months I predict that all comments submitted to the “links du jour” will be discusing the animal picture.

    1. Concerned Citizen

      Well, I was going to make a comment on the hypersonic planes. In our lifetimes we will see aircraft carriers and (most) foreign bases become obsolete as hypersonic planes gain the ability to deliver payload anywhere on the world in under two hours. Don’t discount the hegemon’s force projection just yet.

      1. bob

        The “airplane” is the payload. There is no way a human can withstand those speeds. These things are ballistic. They are designing “space bullets”.

        In the future, with the “bullet” already in orbit, any target on earth could be hit within minutes if not seconds.

        Anything moving at 17,000 mph is a whole lot of kinetic energy…

        I can’t see why they keep calling it an “airplane”. It’s already got the DARPA moniker, why pretend?

        1. Literary Critic

          Yup. In Dan Simmons new novel, Flashback, the Japanese have a global satellite system hosting depleted uranium rods. The targeting computer in the satellite computes the trajectory to the ground target, then gives the depleted uranium rods a little push.

          Kinetic energy is delivered to the target , ½ mv², with v being 17,000 mph. Target is toast. No fancy machines required.

          PS – NC Observer is a party pooper.

          1. skippy

            No need for depleted uranium rods. Just some steel with plasma creating metals as a core or not. Half Kiloish per unit as you want to saturate an area and/or a mixed bag of smart/guided payloads.

            Skippy… weight and orbit thingy. Also, the first I heard of the raining crowbars theory was when the DOD/Gov had a few symposiums with popular SciFi writers in the 80s. Those people don’t leave a single rock unturned… LOL.

          2. Literary Critic

            Simmons has a wry sense of humor. I think he is implying the japanese found somewhere to store all their nuclear power plant control rods – a problem even before Fuku.

            I do remember the Reagan Star Wars – Brilliant Pebble thing.

          3. b.

            Not the “rods from shoddy gods” again. It takes a lot of delta-vee to shed orbital velocity, esp. in LEO, and unless you follow the layman’s approach to physics – “anything can be a speedboat if you out a large enough outboard engine on it” – this whole idea is about as bollocks as they come. As the Irish say, if you want to hit there, you shouldn’t start from here. You won’t get there fast either.

            To see this crop up in a discussion of the global sniper rifle – aka hypersonic ballistic munitions, scram-jetted or rail-gunned – is especially annoying. That “rods from DC” research might or might not result in deployed systems that hopefully no other nuclear power will ever have to consider nuclear-tipped (“zip missiles”, anyone), but it will generate plenty of profit by privatizing public money.

            In the meantime, I advise against using Simmons as source.

        2. b.

          “In the future, with the “bullet” already in orbit, any target on earth could be hit within minutes if not seconds.”

          I’d like to see the orbital mechanics on that one. Or the orbital coverage. Maybe *that’s* what those tnes of thousands pebble-sized pieces of space debris really are! Brilliant pebble brains?

    2. Paul Tioxon

      Considering that the current EuroZone crisis elicits much condemnation over the its very existence to the point of seeing it as some sort of ploy to enslave periphery nations under the jack boot oppression of it Teutonic betters, perhaps this thought can reframe the crisis. It is not the fault of the Euro and treaties binding nations together that is the problem, but the collapse of capitalism, the transnational New World Order that originates the problem, then finds fault with nation states for failing to compensate for the transnational discontinuity on a scale and of a type that the Euro was not placed into this world to accommodate.

      Like the gold bugs that want a metal to back up the paper, some analysis want a nation to back up the paper. However, Europe as a whole is trying to accommodate itself into a new social, political and economic order simultaneously and this does not fit into the neat categories of economists and the people who love them. The world is driven by more than money and economics is not the master theory to understand what is going on globally. So, holding the Euro and The EuroZone responsible for the crisis by not immediately resolving it and calling for its dissolution and the rise of nationalism of its elemental states spits in the face of social unity and precipitates an unknown amount of new and potentially deadly inter state conflict. All to save a buck, er a Euro. The Austerity Technocrats are not going to manage their way through this without the politicians and people working through an amenable and egalitarian resolution. I offer for your serious viewing pleasure, an informed guide to an equitable solution.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsVzMe7lCUA

      The above link is a not too long interview with Prof Nancy Fraser.

      You can view the lecture she gave, preceding the interview at the following link, so you can follow the interview with some more depth.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKzPxVyVM3Q&feature=relmfu

      Prof Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science and Department Chair at the New School for Social Research in New York, delivers her keynote speech titled ‘Crisis of Capitalism, Crisis of Governance: Re-reading of Karl Polanyi in the 21st Century’ at the University of Warwick’s Critical Governance conference.

    3. ambrit

      Dear NC Observer;
      Good sir, you are confusing a short term trend with the long term trend. Viewed from a ‘higher plane,’ the NC site is consistent in its’ exposure of and analysis of domestic and international trends in; Jurisprudence, Finance, Policing, Governance, Kleptomancy, and the synergies that result. As any knowledgeable stock market player knows, and economists too, I might add, one follows the trend lines buried within the fluctuations. As for the antidote comments; heavens man, haven’t you ever heard of recreation? Or is your life all work and no play? If so, allow me to throw a quote from “Citizen Kane” at you.
      Interviewer: “He made an awful lot of money.”
      Bernstein : “Well, it’s no trick to make a lot of money…if what you want to do is make a lot of money.”
      Take heart NC Observer, “Tomorrow is another day!”

    4. YankeeFrank

      And NC Observer bravely adds less than nothing to the discussion. I myself enjoyed a number of the comments, especially the ones on the US kleptocracy timeline. And for a sunny and beautiful Saturday I’m glad there aren’t more of us dinkwads sitting inside clicking on keyboards.

    5. scraping_by

      Ah, yes, and the solution, one assumes, would be professional commenters hired by some HR department and directed by at least three levels of management with guidelines honed at focus groups selected on the basis of upper tier east coast college education. And someone a lot like yourself to check our product.

      It’s true the comments section is participatory authorship by random passers-by self-selected and self-corrected. If you’re defining quality to disrate the majority, them’s big words, pilgrim. If you’re saying get off the stick and start ripping kleptocrats, meh. The upper levels of thought and speech have suffered from far too much solemnity and reductivism. Time for a broader worldview.

  11. Jim Haygood

    ‘Bottom line: The Fed’s excess reserves are not inflationary. As Greg Ip noted in 2009, “Reserves have not been a relevant constraint on bank lending for decades, if ever. Bank lending is constrained by customer demand and by capital.” Forget about excess reserves. The Fed’s easing simply doesn’t have a lot of influence in a world of overleveraged households lacking in credit demand.’ — Ed Harrison

    Currently, the 12-month change in M2 is a robust 9.8%, while the expansion of M1 transaction accounts has quickened to an eye-popping 17.4%.

    http://federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/Current/

    Apparently, low velocity has been offsetting these alarming rates of monetary expansion to keep prices muted.

    When folks can earn a reasonable interest rate, they are diligent about quickly putting cash to work in interest-bearing accounts. Velocity rises. But currently, with short rates near zero, holding cash or non-interest bearing deposits has no opportunity cost. Velocity stagnates.

    So, when the Fedsters finally are obliged to begin hiking their policy rate, accompanying rises in velocity will potentiate the large expansions in raw money supply, causing old-fashioned, nasty inflation in the mid single-digit range.

    With the central planners currently frozen into a fetal, thumb-sucking ZIRP posture, it may take until 2014 or 2015 for inflation to appear. But it will, I assure you.

    Madcap central banksters who have roughly tripled their balance sheets in the past five years could be compared to the Coyote in Road Runner cartoons:

    The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: “A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” — George Santayana).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wile_E._Coyote_and_Road_Runner

    When interest rates finally start to rise like a Saturn V rocket at mid-decade, the Acme monetary dynamite will go bang in their fool faces. But will the pseudo-science of economics declare surrender? Dream on! They’re tenured!

    1. Literary Critic

      Let’s not forget YoY CPI (jiggered up already) is running at 3.5%

      I’m getting a little tired of econ types that refer to this as “nothing” or “temporary”.

      Especially with a return on savings of near zero, meaning your purchasing power is disappering at a 3% clip.

      You could invest in the asset market of your choice, but prices are distorted, so that makes you a bagholder someday.

      Unless you can invest in a quantum computer hooked to the internet backbone and win the HFT game.

  12. Bob

    Was the aircraft ringing like a bell as it fell apart?

    “Peeled” is what fruit does.
    “Peal” is what bells do.

    1. patricia

      I appeal to you to repeal your zeal for no pealing while peeling from the sky. It might have. Like regarding the ignominious sound of a tree falling in the forest, you weren’t there.

    1. Cap'n Magic

      Found it…

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/reports-dutch-government-austerity-talks-collapse-possibly-paving-way-for-fresh-elections/2012/04/21/gIQARzIjXT_story.html

      THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Seven weeks of talks to hammer out an austerity package aimed at bringing the Dutch budget deficit back within European Union limits collapsed Saturday, the prime minister said, laying the blame squarely with anti-EU lawmaker Geert Wilders.

      Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his minority Cabinet will hold a crisis meeting Monday to discuss what to do now. “Elections are the logical next step,” Rutte said, but he added that he wants to work with parliament to hammer out austerity measures before a poll can take place.
      The talks began in early March after the Dutch economy sank into recession and forecasts showed the 2012 budget deficit will reach 4.6 percent — well above the 3 percent limit mandated by European rules. Dutch politicians have strongly demanded that Greece and other countries meet that target.

      Rutte leads the free-market Liberal Party in a minority coalition with the center-right Christian Democrats and outside support from Wilders’ Freedom Party. The outspoken Wilders is widely known for his anti-Islam and anti-EU opinions.

      Rutte said negotiations had been rounded off Friday to deliver a “balanced package” of cuts, but Wilders torpedoed the talks Saturday after discussing the package with his Freedom Party.

      Wilders was happy to take the blame, saying he “would not accept that the elderly in the Netherlands have to pay for nonsensical demands from Brussels.” He underlined that an accord would have been possible had the coalition been less concerned with following European rules to the letter.

      1. Literary Critic

        I thought the Dutch belonged to the “strong, EU core” group?

        Also haven’t heard much about Belgium lately. Have they sold enough waffles and beer to pay for Dexia?

      2. Hugh

        “Elections are the logical next step,” Rutte said, but he added that he wants to work with parliament to hammer out austerity measures before a poll can take place.”

        That pretty much sums up the anti-democratic spirit of the European elites right there. Don’t allow voters a choice on policy. Enact the policy first and only hold an election later when it doesn’t matter.

        1. Foppe

          Aye. Though that is hardly new among Thatcherites.. Rutte was basically trying to pull a Reagan, killing the welfare state while seeming “optimistic” — that is, by wearing a smile on his face whenever he was photographed, and whenever he had to act in public.
          Anyway, apologies I didn’t post a link; didn’t see an english source when I commented.

          1. Literary Critic

            I’m always trying to stay current on my “Londoner”, so I was wondering if a follower of Thatcher is a Thatcherite, should we refer to a follower of Rutte as a Rutter?

          2. Jim

            For all her faults, Thatcher was correct in her belief in the inviability of the Eurozone. Imagine the mess the UK would be in today if it too had ceded its monetary sovereignty.

  13. Aquifer

    “four years of political battles with Wall Street and other industries taking their toll,”

    Battles with Wall Street – OK, Obama and WS on one side ….

    “The national committee’s fund-raising from the technology industry, entrepreneurs, Wall Street and the entertainment industry have all risen sharply compared with 2008, even as the Obama campaign’s performance in those areas has tailed off, according to data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.”

    Ah, so WS is generally pleased with Dem performance on the whole …

    “Mr. Messina has also warned the party’s two Congressional campaign committees not to expect their traditional allotments of Democratic National Committee cash this year, money Mr. Obama is husbanding for his own efforts.”

    “Remember, it’s all about me, ME! You guys can go suck eggs, it’s everyman for himself!” And this from the leader of the “Party” ….

  14. Cap'n Magic

    Breaking: US Judge tells FBI that US vs. Megaupload may never go to trial over error: http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-trial-may-never-happen-judge-says-120420/

    A US judge has put a bomb under the Megaupload case by informing the FBI that a trial in the United States may never happen. The cyberlocker was never formally served with the appropriate paperwork by the US authorities, as it is impossible to serve a foreign company with criminal charges.

    The US Government accuses Kim Dotcom and the rest of the “Mega Conspiracy” of running a criminal operation.

    Charges in the indictment include engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.

    While the prosecution is hoping to have Megaupload tried in the US, breaking news suggests that this may never happen.

    It turns out that the US judge handling the case has serious doubts whether it will ever go to trial due to a procedural error.

    “I frankly don’t know that we are ever going to have a trial in this matter,” Judge O’Grady said as reported by the NZ Herald.

    Judge O’Grady informed the FBI that Megaupload was never served with criminal charges, which is a requirement to start the trial. The origin of this problem is not merely a matter of oversight. Megaupload’s lawyer Ira Rothken says that unlike people, companies can’t be served outside US jurisdiction.

    “My understanding as to why they haven’t done that is because they can’t. We don’t believe Megaupload can be served in a criminal matter because it is not located within the jurisdiction of the United States,” Rothken says.

    Megaupload’s lawyer adds that he doesn’t understand why the US authorities weren’t aware of this problem before. As a result Judge O’Grady noted that Megaupload is “kind of hanging out there.”

    If this issue indeed prevents Megaupload from being tried in the US, it would be a blunder of epic proportions. And it is not the first “procedural” mistake either.

    Last month the New Zealand High Court declared the order used to seize Dotcom’s property “null and void” after it was discovered that the police had acted under a court order that should have never been granted.

    1. YankeeFrank

      The ironic result of having such corrupt and incompetent authoritarian leadership: they can’t even bring a criminal case using proper procedure. Their arrogant zeal to prosecute leads to them to ignore settled legal principals — they forgot that the entire world is not under their criminal jurisdiction. Laughable.

      The idiots running Justice whine about how its too hard to prosecute banksters, and I’m starting to believe them. It is too hard for imbeciles and incompetents to do much of anything correctly.

      1. F. Beard

        The idiots running Justice whine about how its too hard to prosecute banksters, YankeeFrank

        Banking is inherently dishonest; it should be abolished root and branch.

  15. Michael Crichton's Ghost

    ———-‘Eggless’ chick laid by hen in Sri Lanka ——–

    They think they have resolved this age old question…

    “The chicken came first; not the egg.”

    But it’s obvious to me that someone has successfully combined chicken and digger wasp DNA.

    We are just a short step away from modifying cockroaches – . Vestigial wings made functional, a body large and strong enough to carry a hellfire missile, strong breeding instinct, and obediently answering to the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and Eric Holder.

  16. Up the Ante

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/hypersonic-test-aircraft-pealed-apart-after-3-minutes-sustained-mach-20-speed

    “a gradual wearing away of the vehicle’s skin as it reached stress tolerance limits ”

    It’s called ablation.

    “the vehicle’s aerodynamic stability allowed it to right itself successfully after several shockwave-induced rolls. ”

    Video would be best, as righting itself may be loosely defined, same for successfully.

    As Regina Dugan said, “We’ll try again. That’s what it takes,”.

  17. Up the Ante

    “– higher profits from overseas buyers. So much for the gas industry talking point that “natural gas promises more affordable energy for Americans.” ”

    and this is the internet “Discernment” whack-a-mole process

    1. Hugh

      No one in the 99% should vote for any Democrat or any Republican since both parties only represent the interests of the 1%. You make it sound like Greenwald is somehow responsible for Democrats’ warmongering and corporatism. He’s not. All you are doing is shooting the messenger, in part because of the message, in part because he’s not Mother Teresa.

  18. Klassy!

    Oh, and when he was calling out the Bush administration for the very same things was he doing a rightwing voter suppression job?

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