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Links 5/10/12

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One more Verizon hiccup today as they took my service down yet again to do some fiddling in the central office. They say they are done. Really.

A reader query: can you recommend any upscale Manhattan restaurants that have either soft shell crab or shad roe on the menu these days? This is a dinner request for next week from an out-of-towner. I looked on Zagat but you can’t search for that.

YANSS Podcast – Episode Two You Are Not So Smart (Aquifer)

Madonna’s Secret for Longevity Seen Aiding Bacteria Boom Bloomberg. Lordie. Madonna is 53 and has clearly had plastic surgery. Her longevity remains to be proven. And you gotta wonder why Bloomberg decided to run a weirdo lifestyle article (not that this might not be true, but I have also been watching what the alternative types have pushed as good diets over the last 20 years, and the churn is high).

New study: Amish prove raw milk promotes health in children Food Freedom (furzy mouse)

Fear fans flames for chemical makers Chicago Tribune (martha r, Robert M)

Causes of Kids’ Disability Less Likely Physical MedPage (Aquifer). Aargh. 45% are ADD or “other learning disabilities”. A lot of this is doctors and overwrought parents medicating kids for not performing competitively at a young age.

Le lien entre la maladie de Parkinson et les pesticides officiellement reconnu Le Monde (EmilianoZ)

Pollution: the great leveller Centre for Science and Environment (Triple Crisis)

CIC Stops Buying Europe Government Debt on Crisis Concern Bloomberg

A soy Taiping point? MacroBusiness

Desperately seeking a bailout for Spain and its banks Nouriel Roubini nad Megan Greene, Financial Times

Spain nationalises Bankia as euro crisis escalates Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

How Greek Rescue Plan Fell Short

Bundesbank signals softening on inflation Financial Times

Pakistan Government Sued by Drone Victims for Complicity in CIA Attacks Firedoglake (Carol B)

Fed Foe Ron Paul Breakfasts With Bernanke at Central Bank WSJ Real Time Economics

Fannie Mae reports profit for first quarter Washington Post

Of Bedrooms and Boardrooms Robert Reich

Cisco says customers delay tech purchases Financial Times. Historically, a good canary in the coal mine.

Wholesale Sales Have a Bad Month in March 2012 Global Economic Intersection

New Rules May Curtail Some Fees in Mortgage New York Times

Honda Wins Appeals Decision in Civic Hybrid Lawsuit: How It Happened Automotive (YY)

Bank Vs. America – Protests Outside, Inside BofA Shareholder Meeting Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (Deontos)

Avoiding the Next Big Bailout Wall Street Journal. This is a change in plans by the FDIC. It sounds like an improvement, but I don’t see how this would address a problem for any of the big derivatives dealers that are banks. They have put those exposures in the depositary, not the holding company. As we’ve written numerous times, it looks pretty clear that the monster hole in Lehman’s balance sheet was derivatives positions blowing out, well beyond what its bankruptcy overseer attributed to the disorderly collapse.

* * *

D – 121 and counting*
I can still hear the soft southern winds in the live oak trees
And those Williams boys they still mean a lot to me,
Hank and Tennessee.
I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be,
So what do you do with good ol’ boys like me?

– Bob McDill, “Good Ole Boys Like Me”

“For me personally.” This election, “boring?! Au contraire Some heart-felt reactions to Robama affirming gay rites “for me personally”: Like my happy nieces and nephews, “My heart is turning such cartwheels.” But then there’s the hagiography: “Barack Obama becomes the Abraham Lincoln of gay rights.” Emancipation Proclamation, 1863? That Lincoln? But the winner of the faint praise contest would be Stoller (via FaceBorg): “Important to be honest about why this good thing happened. A very bad man was forced to do a good thing.” (On “forced”: We noted two days ago gay donors were withholding campaign contributions. Maybe that was it.)

It’s good that Robama, “personally” — even if not in his capacity as President — affirmed that gays are fully human. Atrios: “Looks like the man did the right thing, and not in an absurd babysplitting way”. But Robama did exactly that — split the baby, absurdly — by leaving policy up to the states. Most of the reporting carefully notes that, even if the clips of Robama don’t. (How’s that “leave it to the states” thing working out for women?) The Onion: “Obama went so far as to call the president’s position “incoherent,” and questioned how Obama could adamantly support the legalization of same-sex marriage on a state level but not a federal one.” Gawker: “Before Roe v. Wade, abortion was a state-by-state issue, too. So was slavery.” (Lincoln, eh?) So if indeed TPM is right — “Evolution complete: Obama endorses same-sex marriage” — that’s not so good. Robama’s statement should be the beginning of the end, and not the end. The fundraising, of course, has already begun.

“Mr. Obama’s announcement on Wednesday that he now supported same-sex marriage should assure him a warm reception at the Clooney residence”. “Last fall, we counted at least 12 prominent gay and lesbian rights advocates who together had bundled at least $2.7 million for the Obama campaign”. “The Influence Industry: Same-sex marriage issue shows importance of gay fundraisers”. Of course, money is speech. So that’s alright, then.

On the timing, it is too bad that Obama “evolved” twenty four hours after the NC vote, instead of days or weeks before. The Log Cabin Society is right about that (and also right to point out that Dick Cheney’s “moral leadership” just as moral as Obama’s, down to the family values gloss). The New Yorker: “Opponents of Amendment 1 could have used some reinforcements.” The normally acute Charles Pierce writes: “He saw a clear injustice — the North Carolina vote — and he decided that his conscience would brook no more delay.” Let the injustice happen, instead of preventing it? I didn’t fall off the turnip truck. Either.

On the politics, the conventional wisdom calls it “Even or a slight net plus”. The Ds will get a boost in college towns. Six other swing states already have constitutional bans on gay marriage: CO, FL, NV, OH, VA, and WI. Four do not: PA, NH, IA, and AZ. Obama’s personal affirmation might affect this year’s referendum in Maine (though doing work on the ground north of Augusta might help more). One clear benefit is that the existing Obama supporters are fired up and ready to go: “Obama has given his liberal base [sic] a solid 6 month-energy drink.” (And it will be interesting to see what Romney does for his own base.) It would also be nice if the One Prudential Center playbook for 2012 didn’t include smearing non-supporters with false charges of homophobia, like smearing non-supporters with false charges of racism in 2008. Just saying.)

From the Barcalounger, the lesson I draw is that to deal with the Ds, you’ve got to be willing and able to walk; that’s what gay marriage advocates did by threatening to withhold their conributions. Therefore, the Obama Fans and D shills are — and I know this will surprise you — advocating exactly the wrong strategy if “change” is what they really want. Only credible threats work with the Ds; so develop the capacity to act independently.

Oh, gay marriage advocates in NC are planning sit-ins with arrests. Will Obama support them? What if they make a ruckus at the Convention in Charlotte?

Obomney. Veep trial balloon floats for Huckabee. Double dog trouble! Mitt Romney arrested for disorderly conduct in 1981; no canines involved. If you ask me, Bainster Mitt should get disorderly more often. You’re so stiff, Mr Winterbourne!

Ron Paul. Pravda: “What, exactly, is Ron Paul up to?” Paul: “[A speech] doesn’t have much appeal to me, but I think moving an agenda is very important”. Ron has breakfast with Helicopter Ben. Oh to be a fly on that wall. MN: Paul to address R state convention. NBC’s Chuck Todd points out R delegates are only pledged for the first ballot, speculates Paul could control 30% to 40% after that.

Green Party. Green’s Phil Huckelberry on ballot access, the two-party duopoly, and Green tendency to think platform not candidate. Willie Nelson turns down Roseanne Barr’s offer to be her Presidential running mate. Cameron Whitten (20), Occupy Portland candidate for Portland mayor wins solo endorsement of Portland Green Party (but process is disputed). Jill Stein, 2011: Thank you Occupation Nation.

IA (swing state). Donations to the Republican Party of IA have slowed and the respected executive director, Chad Olsen, has resigned in wake of Paul caucus. Tea Party and Greens square off in Cedar Falls.

Video of alternative candidate’s debate. Rocky Anderson (Justice Party); Roseanne Barr (Green Party); Stephen Durham (Freedom Socialist Party); Peta Lindsay (Socialism & Liberation Party); Kent Mesplay (Green Party); Jill Stein (Green Party).

Pearl-clutching on Lugar. McClatchy thumbsucker on the death of bipartisanship: Obama’s three signature congressional achievements – ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, the StimPack – were approved with virtually no Republican support [nobody could have predicted...]. So why were they so pissant, then?

– Horse race-related tips, links, hate mail to lambert

* 121 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with a bean supper in Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Cross-posted to Corrente. There are 121 episodes of Lost.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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88 comments

  1. dearieme

    No cars in Europe return the boasted mpg because the EU insists the manufacturers measure mpg under conditions that are unrepresentative of real use. Mind you, it’s hard to resist the suspicion that anyone who buys a hybrid is likely to have more money than sense. (Or wants to avoid the congestion charge in London.)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Actually neither – not much money and not a lot of sense.

      I picked Prius over Lexus because the latter was beyond my budget.

      And I should have bought a grass, check that, organic grass eating, biodegradable horse if I had any sense at all.

    2. Crazy Horse

      What a refreshing change from the nice fuzzy little pussy cats. Is this what Obomber dreams of at night after ordering yet another Predator drone assassination?

  2. Max424

    Madonna. The old girl is not aging well, apparently? Too bad. I considered her a hot revolutionary when we were younger.

    Still, I’d like to take her out for a cup of coffee, even in her present raggedy state. I’m sure she’d be interesting to chat up.

    She’s lived a full life, and has some wisdom to impart, no doubt. Plus, I’d like to probe the depth of her sell-out.

    The conservation might go something like this:

    “So tell me, Ciccone, approximately how many times did you have sexual congress in order to further your agenda?”

    “Exactly, how many times did you?”

    “Touche.”

    1. Jennifer Hill

      The Macrobiotic diet is not new. But it seems to be gaining traction. It has not been proven to prevent Cancer, but it probably good for you. But lots of things are good for you.

    2. skippy

      She only filled the void left by Debbie, left the big gig, too take care of the love of her life.

      Skippy… Maddona… her ghost will linger infront of many a 7/11… late at night.

    3. craazyman

      If you wanna get a little taste of what you missed, the photographer Lee Friedlander did some “art model” shots of the big M. When she was about 20. They look kind of like this . . .

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Origin-of-the-World.jpg

      Anyway, back to the presidential debates . . .

      The next question is for you, Mr. Robama. You are a graduate of one of America’s elite universities and achieved your success during a long economic expansion. What can you say to today’s young graduates who face the worst job market in a generation?

      Thank you for the question. Some will look at the challenges we face as a nation and conclude our greatness is in the past. But I prefer to look forward, into the future. The path forward is not always easy, it’s not always a bed of roses. Sometimes it takes grit and determination to succeed, but mark my words we are nation whose grit and determination have surmounted all obstacles, all challenges . . .

      Excuse me sir, but that’s the same answer to the last question.

      Thank you but I’m not finished with my answer. We are a nation called to greatness. And our greatest days lie ahead. Today’s generation of young Americans has proven their ability to take on any challenge, face any obstacle, overcome any barrier . . .

      Can you answer the question sir.

      I am answering. Be patient please. This is a nation of opportunity unriveld in the history of the world. As president, I will lead our nation forward, into the future. Some would like to go backward, but we cannot go backward. The youth today know this and understand it better than any critic, any naysayer, any cynic, and they have my full support as president. I will form a commission to study all our options for helping today’s graduates succeed. Make no mistake, no stone will be left unturned.

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        Oh boy, you got him….AND with a Courbet included. Maybe you’re not so craazy.

      2. Aquifer

        “Make no mistake, no stone will be left unturned.”

        And no grad will be left unstoned ….

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of artists in general, it should not be just about their works but also how they live their lives as pertaining to their art. That how I have always felt.

      The same with leaders. Its not just what or how they say but what they do. This is what I would like see from a people’s president:

      1 he/she puts a log cabin in the White House and lives there
      2 collects rain water
      3 converts all lawns into Zen Sand gardens except
      4 some should be reserved as vegetable gardens where the leader can grow his or her vegetables
      5 composts own trash
      6 answers his/her own phone

      That would be inspiring.

      1. Literary Critic

        7) Most importantly, they don’t take vacations because the country can’t afford vacations – their own or anyone elses.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          8. Cooks for visitors personally. Nothing cements international friendships faster than that.
          9 does the dishes.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It was not accidental I mentioned Zen sand gardens.

            Raking a Zen garden calms the raker a lot. It should be mandatory for all nuclear-armed global leaders.

      1. F. Beard

        Agree!

        “In my experience, it is often those who do not come from privilege who are the system’s fiercest defenders.”

        Yep!

    1. F. Beard

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

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we only work 5 days a week, if we rest 2 days a week, why should they be Sunday and Saturday?

        Why not Monday and Sunday? If you rest on the first if the week, symbolically it is very important. It says to work, we are in control here. It says to work, you are are in charge.

        How about Sunday and Thursday off? You break the work week into easier to handle two mini weeks.

        There many ‘church/state separated’ combinations. Why should we privilege Sunday or Saturday worshippers? What about Moon worshippers? Maybe they want government backed no-work Mondays for all of us, including non-Moon worshippers.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s good at least we are finally starting to talk about government backed religious weekly restdays/holidays monopolies.

          2. Literary Critic

            I brought a pagan holiday calendar into work once, but it didn’t go over well with management.

            But they may adopt it in the government sector.

        1. F. Beard

          Trust you to miss and obfuscate the point.

          “One hand full of rest” would imply 3 1/2 days of rest, not 1 day, if the Hebrew Sabbath was in view.

          But you missed the point as you usually do.

          You do such a good job as Devil’s Advocate that I think he must have you on retainer.

        2. ambrit

          Dear Friends;
          Don’t carp too much about the Traditional Weekend. As one who now works a ‘Corporate Schedule’ where days off rotate about during the week, I can testify to the disorienting and depressing effect of total uncertainty on ones’ time management. Some folks are so absorbed in their tasks, love is an appropriate term, that they don’t notice the higgeldy piggeldy nature of times passage past them. Others of us, not so blessed with fulfilling work lives, can come to treasure the certainty and calm that a predictable ‘weekend’ experience gives. It also makes community more possible and acessable. Community is after all shared experiences. The emphasis on ‘Sacred Days’ for days off follows from the practice of making the sacred day a day of rest. Community comes from communion, no?

  3. SR6719

    Topic: The gleaners and I

    This is the first four minutes of Agnes Varda’s full-length documentary, “The Gleaners and I” (2000). Inspired by Realist painter Jean-François Millet’s famous painting “The Gleaners [Les Glaneuses] (1857),” Varda explores contemporary practices of scavenging and recycling.

    “The Gleaners and I” is a protest film that’s part travelogue, and part social critique revealing the lies of public discourse.

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

  4. Jim Haygood

    The short version of ‘How Greek Rescue Plan Fell Short’:

    An EU summit on Oct. 26 led eventually to a 53.5% “haircut” in Greece’s bond debt, coupled with more aid loans. But by this time most of Greece’s debt was owed to euro-zone authorities and the IMF, rather than to private bondholders. A bond restructuring that could have worked at the outset had a limited effect: Greece’s debt fell from €356 billion in 2011 to a projected €327 billion this year.

    In the 19th century, English central banker Walter Bagehot laid down the prudential rule for his profession: make liquidity loans, at a penalty rate, to solvent borrowers. Insolvent ones need to be restructured promptly, before their insolvency deepens.

    It was obvious in 2010 that Greece needed to cut an unsustainable debt load. But Europe’s idée fixe that ‘Eurozone members don’t default’ led to two years of substituting official credit for private credit. Thus when the inevitable default did come, Greece’s debt reduction was negligible, because another of the official sector’s unassailable vanities is ‘we must be paid every penny we are owed, though the heavens fall.’

    This dogma, too, will fall. Bloomberg now calculates Greece’s liability to the ECB as 172 billion euros. Link:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-09/greeks-may-hold-510-billion-trump-card-in-renegotiation.html

    When Greece leaves the Eurozone later this year, the highly-leveraged ECB itself will be left insolvent. Of course, given the irredeemability of its fiat currency liabilities, the ECB will carry on operating with negative net worth. But since the remaining Eurozone members would find this a most inconvenient time to stump up more cash, the ECB’s capital sinkhole will be patched over with ‘pledges’ — more debt, that is. At least the E-Z Pay terms won’t be too onerous.

    Though the Eurozone was fatally flawed in its design, its basic objective — to emit irredeemable fiat currency — is equally mistaken. For forty Bubblelicious years the world has been on a fully irredeemable monetary standard. But now the crash-test dummies are smacking the wall like mosquitoes hitting a bug zapper. Some of them unaccountably continue singing the praises of this wonderful system, even as the flames lick round them. Whilst those who have experienced a death-cab conversion intone, Nearer, My Gold, To Thee.

    1. Susan the other

      Capitalism (and Socialism), for want of a better word, stopped working about 100 years ago. And this is where a century of stubborn denial and clever rationalization have brought us. When layers of debt were the easy solution we were fine. Ponzee! And debt was possible because it was based on the principle of growth. Which never achieved expectations. So now we are begging for a way to go forward without debt. Because our old definition of growth, pillage the environment and the poor, clearly must be discarded.

      Strange why the banks are investing in their and their ilk’s stocks. Must be good old capitalist pump and dump because when the FDIC dismantles the bigs, acc’d to the WSJ, all stockholders will be wiped out and all creditors will be allowed to take stock in a new private bank in exchange for their credit. So where does this leave banks? All of whom are insolvent like a layer cake since most of the creditors of the banks are the banks. And the taxpayer. Gonna be a long reorganization. And who will ever invest in them again if they are allowed to go back to their creepy private ways?

      This still leaves the unresolved problem. What growth? Why even bother to set them back up. Why not just shut them down for good. Start over with something else.

  5. skippy

    Vermin Supreme: When I’m President Everyone Gets A Free Pony

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d_FvgQ1csE

    Skippy… finally… someone I can vote for!!!!

    PS. Now if we can only bridge the gap from across the pond, and unite with the swinging dead cat party. I dreamt – a – dream…. sigh.

    1. Literary Critic

      Agreed, finally someone with iTeeth. A forward looking vision. Not backward, calcified oratory – seemingly like out of one’s cavity. Strong molars, but with the wisdom teeth to remain undeterred by a few domestic canine troubles and focus on the maxillary. Flossing out opportunity, yet brushing off danger.

      Tusk, tusk to anyone whom would accept less.

  6. DP

    There’s no reason to worry about science and double blind studies when there are anecdotes about Madonna available.

    1. Jim

      Great find, Stephanie.

      Key sentence,

      ****************
      “It has now contacted Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago,” she said. “This is a law enforcement matter. Unfortunately, Accretive appears to address it as a political one.”
      ****************

  7. Eureka Springs

    So Obama gives nothing but platitudes (of the nearly identical kind 1950′s magic underwear Mittens does, which is much more daring for a dude in that party) while passing the all but the campaign donation buck to States… and the donors cede their only trump card for a promise to do nothing more?

    Somebody needs to pull up in front of Clooney’s house with giant float sized lollipop.

    What’s a phrase for worse than, dumber than Stockholm Syndrome? (Democrats?)

  8. Paul Tioxon

    Bank of America direct action random snapshot:
    Driving with son from doctors on Rt 30, The Main Line of the Philly suburbs, I saw a line of sign wielding outside agitators propping up a singe curbside line of dissent, completely obscuring the Bryn Mawr BofA branch behind them. 15-20 strong, I waved, they waved back, including the last guy wearing an anon mask.

    Moral of this lesson, even middle aged grey bearded Main Line types can pry themselves away from what ever to publicly register outrage. WoooHooo!!

  9. Wendy

    Soft shell crab and an impressive fresh fish selection at Red Eye Grill, 7th between 56th and 57th.

  10. Iowan 786

    From the Tea Party/Green Party Cedar Falls link:

    Judd Saul, leader with the local Tea Party and the Stop 2020 group, rejected the Green Party’s statement.
    “We don’t have a clean air issue in Cedar Falls, Iowa,” he said.
    Black Hawk County recently got a “D” grade for particle air pollution, which includes fossil fuel emissions, by the American Lung Association in its State of the Air” report.
    When asked about the report, Saul said, “It’s all (expletive) even if it is from the American Lung Association.”
    He said, “If you live in a desert and you breathe dust in, that’s bad too. We’re all going to die, and there’s nothing we can do to stop from dying.”

    You could not make that up. Apparently, the land use plan is a UN plot.

    1. Praedor

      Apparently teabaggers want (us all) to die FASTER.

      This is another example of the failure of science edumacation in the USA. Teabaggers are all especially strong indicators of failed science edumacation.

      See, humans and all other animals are EVOLVED to deal with certain environmental conditions because they have been exposed to those conditions since life first formed. Regular ole’ dust dust, like you get in the desert, is NOT like the particulates you get in human-created pollution from combustion or other sources (chemical overspray from paint, pesticide, herbicide, etc). A microparticulate of cyclic aromatic carbon and human-created chemicals do real harm while regular old soil dust not so much. Why? Because we’ve evolved in the presence of soil dust for FREAKIN’ EVER. Human-created chemicals have been around for only the blink of an eye and evolution cannot work in the blink of an eye. Since teabaggers are all young-earth creationist morons or surface layer only barely edumacated tards they don’t understand the difference. To them, a particle is a particle is a particle. BUT THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.

      Teabagger retards.

  11. Jeff N

    New Cisco equipment & software is sooo expensive. If you can live without ongoing support/upgraded software, there is tons of perfectly good used Cisco stuff out there.

    1. Literary Critic

      I think the macro implication is that, for the last ten years, John Chambers has been saying Cisco revenue roughly tracks global GDP.

  12. Bill the Psychologist

    Ah, soft shell crabs…..

    One of my fondest memories of living in Manhattan (1980-87, and I don’t have that many), I lived in a 4 room vermin infested railroad apt way over in Hell’s Kitchen (50th & 11th Ave), for which I paid the beautiful sum of ~300/mo for the time I was there. I even had a view of the Hudson through the chain link fence on he auto repair place abutting my apt house.

    There was an Asian fish store on the NW corner of 8th Ave somewhere in the low 50s, where I could buy soft-shell crabs for around $1.75 for the large ones.

    Rolled in flour, sauteed in butter for about 5 minutes, pan deglazed with lemon juice, strewn with chopped parsley — the essence of Summer !

    1. ginnie nyc

      I am laughing at the apartment description, as I currently live two blocks south, and it’s still that bad – except the average rent is more than 6x as much. And far fewer amenities like fishmongers, bakeries, butchers, etc. than 25 years ago.

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        Hi Ginnie, I figured the rents would be incredibly higher.

        Though I loved many things about NYC — food, culture, clothes, convenience — I didn’t like living there and have not been back since I left in ’87, though I think about if often.

        We also had a tenant who had a drug addict relative who would show up at all hours of the night and bang on the door and walls to be let in. And then of course the cliche at that time – needles on the stairs.

        I hope you’re enjoying it better than I did.

  13. jsmith

    Re: the Material Girl

    Sweet, well the proles can at least take comfort that Madonna will survive as their food stamps run out.

    Re: Pakistan

    Yes, I know that any attempt at recourse by murder victims should be applauded but it’s way past time for some head of state to convene a war crimes tribunal and start prosecuting – even in absentia – the leaders – past and present – of the United States government.

    I mean, once we put a price on collateral murder, the MIC I’m sure will just include that in their ops budget.

    Re: Reich

    Here’s a perfect example of how the propaganda system seamlessly works in the U.S.

    Some political figure brings up some wedge issue sure to fire up “debate” and smother any talk of the war crimes and financial criminality we’ve been victim to over the last decade.

    Then, seemingly refuting the debate, a member of the loyal “opposition” – in this case Mr. Reich – will continue said debate even though he is nominally saying that we shouldn’t pay attention to said wedge issue debate.

    As planned, Mr. Reich’s rebuttal will provide fodder for his appearance on the Sunday talk shows but it does more:

    It provides the false equivalence the debate needs.

    Somehow the “morality” of same-sex marriage – which isn’t a moral issue at all, it’s a civil rights issue – is conflated with the blatant criminality of Wall Street.

    Just as attention is deflected away from the fact that people are being denied their civil rights, so is it deflected away from the fact that victims of financial fraud are being denied justice.

    Again, the only questions that are really worth asking are:

    Is Mr. Reich a witting or unwitting propagandist?

    As a propagandist for the regime we live under, is his culpability mitigated in either case?

    It’s time for everyone to realize that anyone NOT talking about war crimes and/or financial fraud is not an ally of the common citizen.

    A news cycle lost to propagandistic idiocy means another victim – be it a drone strike or a fraudclosure.

    1. Literary Critic

      saline tigris

      Actually, I’d like to see a shark fight and find out which is tougher.

  14. Aquifer

    Good grief, things must be really bad if even tigers are underwater – any plan to bail them out?

  15. Walter Wit Man

    As seen at ZH, this captures my mood perfectly:

    Shizzmoney says,

    “The majority of us don’t have any money, and we don’t want debt anymore, no matter how cool the shit (that corporations import from China), is.

    Fuck you, Economy. Fuck you, Stock Market. And fuck you, Federal Reserve.”

  16. Stephen V.

    OCCUPY LONDON UPDATE:
    The borough is one of the most deprived in the country, although there are small pockets of wealthy areas. Levels of unemployment are high.
    [snipped from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Borough_of_Tower_Hamlets#Economic_profile
    see the short video:
    Teacher Liam Taylor leads Occupy London tours every couple of weeks through Canary Wharf, the privately-owned, guarded riverside oasis of wealth in Tower Hamlets where nine of the world’s biggest banks trade, lend and advise clients.
    Bloomberg reports: Bank security guards in London lock the doors when they see Liam Taylor coming.
    [snip]
    http://warincontext.org/2012/05/09/sorry-the-lifestyle-you-ordered-is-currently-out-of-stock/

  17. Walter Wit Man

    It’s so obvious the gay rights issues is being manipulated by the Democrats and Republicans as a wedge issue.

    I suspect TPTB met at the Bilderburg, group or some random fast food joint (a la Breaking Bad), or hell, via Skype or something, and decided to slowly change gay rights policies and do it in a manner to maximize benefits for them, the elite.

    Gavin Newsom probably kicked it off circa 2003 as he came out of nowhere (but not the closet–despite what the rumors are–the other rumours about women and coke are probably the rumors to follow) with his gay marriage policies (which I recognized as a brilliant political move at the time, btw). Now I realize Newsom was probably groomed and told to do this.

    Then we have the interminable staged debate about gays in the military. Of course the power elite want more canon fodder and true believers to serve the ranks of the storm troopers so they probably view this debate as a good recruiting tool. Wonder how many gung ho gay soldiers are being created right now because of the positive feelings created by reform (in addition to being suckered into the Democrat party).

    Also note that the gays in the military was probably decided long ago but was strung out to be used as a concession for remarkable economic policy giveaways. Obama once pretended to oppose the Bush tax cuts (and supply economic side generally) and he needed fig leaves like the removal of DADT as a cover to betray this important campaign promise. Of course Obama is back suckering the same suckers with the same false promises this election cycle regarding finally eliminating those Bush tax cuts (keep dreaming sucker Democrats).

    Also note that Joe Lieberman was chosen to enact this change. Ha! Take that you progressives. That’s Obama bitch slapping you.

    Whatever. You get the picture. This is a nice issue for the scumbag Democrats because it riles people up and keeps attention away from other important issues (like stealing our social security while tax cuts for the rich are set in stone).

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Wedge issue is right, a naked diversionary distraction scripted for the cheap seats in democracy theater. Anyone paying scant attention already knows that Obama’s rhetoric is a reliable indicator of opposite intent. But gay marriage is pure pandering and posturing, a throwaway issue without a snowball’s chance of actual legislation. Still, it’s enough to keep Rachel Maddow and Al Sharptongue singing O’s praises for weeks, maybe months, at campaign headquarters, MSNBC. And more importantly, it keeps anyone from talking about war crimes, financial fraud, assassinations, NDAA, or the trampling of the constitution.

      I don’t know how such trivia continues to work, but one must marvel (and fume) over the rare gift Obama possesses, a “gift” that makes Reagan’s aw-shucks charisma look amateur. Obama could sell tanning beds in a cancer ward, and he’d do it with the utmost enthusiasm and not even a twinge of conscience. To mere mortals, the dissonance would be excruciating, but to the hopium trafficker it would be invigorating.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I think I will just wait for Reich’s next installment, Of Bathrooms and Boardrooms.

      1. Lidia

        Romeny’s got a hair fetish:

        “Have you looked at my hair?”

        http://potusnews.net/2012/04/rich-weird-romney/

        Another fun — and weird — Romney fact: He models his hair not on that of his father, or that of Leland Palmer, but on his father’s top religious aide in Romney’s boyhood. From the Globe:

        Mitt had grown up hearing people comment on his father’s sweep of slicked-back black hair, white at the temples. But since his early teens, Mitt had patterned his own hairstyle after a man named Edwin Jones, who served as his father’s top aide in running the Detroit operations of the Mormon Church.

        “He sat up front, to the side at a desk, keeping records,” Mitt would recall years later. “I remember that he had very dark hair, that it was quite shiny, and that you could see it in from front to back. Have you looked at my hair? Yep, it’s just like his was some 40 years ago.”

        “Have you looked at my hair?” There is perhaps some psychological insight there: Romney is worshipful of his father, and has apparently modeled himself on a man his father trusted.

        or who he thought was hot…

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A soy Taiping point?

    Lesser known than the Taiping rebellion is another one in Southern China: the Panthay rebellion which led to the rise of the Muslim warlord Ma Rulung whose son was said to have fought in the first Sino-Japanese War that also saw an American, McGiffin, as commander of the Chinese warship, Zhenyuan, built in Germany and was one of the more powerful ones in the world at the time. Unfortunately, it was captured by the Japanese.

  20. Susan the other

    I had a very pleasant thought about our medical carelessness. Maybe it was a brief hallucination, but here: The government uses medical insurance as a junk yard dog, a useful tool. Eq: If Ryan has his way and funds student loan foregiveness with women’s health care money, women will quit going to the doctor – in addition to everyone else who has stopped using our wonderful health care system. So at some point the AMA & Doctors and Pharma (also at odds with each other, funny what greed does) are going to start losing volumes of revenue. They won’t be able to fake their books or make ends meet. No more profits and dividends to shareholders. No more easy credit. And no more screwing sick people. Oh, the tragedy of it all. So guess who is going to go begging for Single Payer, just to have a paycheck? Which in turn will make all the purveyors of medical insurance irrelevant. Neat.

    1. Lidia

      There’s something obscene about this.

      I live in Italy and cannot in good conscience eat seafood anymore.

  21. Hugh

    In election years, cheap promises are common. Obama now endorses gay marriage. So what? Does this mean that even one more gay couple can now get married? No. Does it mean that Obama will now fight for gay marriage? No.

    I’ve heard that Obama was thinking about resubmitting his jobs bill to Congress. Does it have a prayer of getting passed? No. So will it create even one job? No.

    The Obama campaign seems to be giving us the theme of the week. Last week, it was the tough on terrorism Obama with the anniversary of the assassination of bin Laden and underwear bomber redux. This week it is gay marriage. I wonder what they will present us with next week.

    All this stuff is, of course, pure fodder for the rubes. Obama is and remains the same corporatist agent of kleptocracy he was the day he took office. The use of the word “evolving” with regard to Obama is just another example of the bastardization of our language. Obama is the change candidate who brought us more of the same. Well, it looks like “evolving” is the new “change”. It’s the same old, same old, just repackaged in shiny new paper for the rubes. It is an election year after all.

    1. Literary Critic

      “This week it is gay marriage. I wonder what they will present us with next week.”

      The banker marriage debate is on the docket. But it’s just for show. They are both pro banker marriage, of course.

      There will be no discussion of broccoli this election year. Too controversial.

      Both candidates support all American Idol candidates, but they will re-affirm their position many times thruout the campaign.

      Both are in favor of “forward” and both detest “backwards”. CNN intends to interview both candidates to find out their positions on “upward” and “downward”. Stay tuned.

      Mitt let slip he thinks “twirling, twirling towards freedom” sounds a little gay. His damage limitation team is on top of the gaff. Google has been notified.

      1. Literary Critic

        I guess the big surprise this year could be we find out Ron Paul won, and the media still has not acknowledged he’s running for president.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Propadanda 101, control the timing of discussion topics.

      Very important when an issue is brought up

      That’s why everyone should be into Non-Current Events.

      Current events are like wine – they get better with age.

      In a few more years, we can talk breathlessly about, say, Egypt.

  22. Shift Up

    “One more Verizon hiccup today as they took my service down yet again to do some fiddling in the central office.”

    You must realize your phone is tapped and certainly your internet service.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      You know, it is the first of the month, when there are move ins and outs. Perhaps you have seen May university grads and the like decamp from local Enormous State U (ESU). My Comcast service was completely disconnected, reports the tech they sent out to my place. My son said someone may have been trying to steal service while moving in. He may have been right about us. Or, if both Yves and I from 2 different corps has lost all of their service for days could it be the jack boot of oppression from our overlords squelching the Primaverda Shoots of Revolution before they can bear fruit? See any unmarked black helicopters or drones or funny toy hover crafts lately????

      1. ambrit

        Mr. T;
        I have personally seen black helicopters flying around St. Tammany Parish Louisianna. What they really are? Who knows? They were well kept Hueys and Blackhawks buzzing along the usual low altitude flight paths on the East West axis of the region. Lots of ‘official’ air and heli ports in that region: Slidell, Hammond, Belle Chasse, Baton Rouge, etc. The Coast Guard and the DEA now post out of Hammond Airport. No need to posit Internationalist One Worlders to explain ‘questionable’ aircraft. The local tin pot despots will do just fine for that purpose.
        Kodos is right. The Black Helicopters are indeed “twirling, twirling, twirling, towards freedom.” Whos’ freedom now, that is another matter.

  23. jsmith

    MUST READ:

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/05/total-war-islam/

    So, Wired – I know – is running a piece providing details on military classes being taught advocating for the complete annihilation of Islam.

    Here are some of the highlights of this fascist xenophobic madness:

    - the wiping out of entire civilian populations a la Hiroshima especially Mecca and Medina

    - that international law no longer exists

    - one shouldn’t discuss this strategy publicly (but wait, I thought large conspiracies couldn’t exist?)

    - this is a total war against 1.4 billion people.

    Hmmm, now let’s see.

    According to the story a small cabal of counter-terrorism “experts” have been promulgating and proselytizing this “gospel” in the elite military colleges across the country.

    Aren’t we lucky that we didn’t have an “event” that involved the incomprehensible “negligence” of same said military counter-terrorism “experts” which could be used to initiate and stoke such an anti-Islamic agenda in the first place?

    Oops, that’s right, we already did.

    I mean, are you telling me that the same people responsible for allowing 9/11 to “happen” in the first place are the very same people who are now pushing even more fairy tales involving the scary scary Muslims?

    Are you telling me the likes of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and the other Zionists present in PNAC are similar to the increasingly evangelical officer corps in the US military in that they are all ardent anti-Muslim racists?

    I’m just sayin.

    Someone please take away the Crusaders Lego Set away from these f*cking madmen.

    1. jsmith

      Oh, and in other related news.

      The fascist United States’ drive for “freedom” in Syria takes on the smell of more “freedom” as the car bombing of a governmental intelligence compound kills 70 and wounds 150.

      Of course, this wouldn’t be the work of all of the armed, terrorist groups we’re backing, right? Nah.

      http://news.antiwar.com/2012/05/10/at-least-55-killed-in-damascus-bombings/

      And finally, the U.S. has approved the largest amount of military funding – over $4 billion total – to Israel.

      Including a separate $1 billion for their new defense shield built with the help of Boeing.

      No student loan extensions for you, suckas!!!

    2. Valissa

      Mike Weinstein of the MRFF (Military Religious Freedom Foundation) has been working on this issue for some time, and finally had some success recently. It’s a long slow slog and fortunately Mike is tenacious, and realizes they will have to keep up the pressure. btw, MRFF is a non-profit and donations are tax deductible.

      The Currency of Words or the Coin of the Realm http://truth-out.org/news/item/9023-the-currency-of-words-or-the-coin-of-the-realm

      On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, the nation’s top soldier, Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Gen. Martin Dempsey, initiated a truly seminal message. He finally generated the long-overdue, mandatory edict that all training and educational materials throughout the US military must be immediately reviewed within one month’s time to ensure that no anti-Muslim or anti-Islam references or content remain.[1] Henceforth, officers and enlisted members will no longer be taught and institutionally indoctrinated that “the United States is at war with Islam and we ought to just recognize that.”[2]

    3. F. Beard

      Someone please take away the Crusaders Lego Set away from these f*cking madmen. jsmith

      The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalm 11:5

      1. Lidia

        Right.

        Which is why the “lord-god” character in the bible saw to it that his only son would be brutally tortured for days, dying in agony on his writ (we are encouraged to conclude).

        When did the “lord”, the God character of the bible, EVER refrain from violence? Would that be… NEVER? Except in the case of the killing of his “son”, when he stayed the hands of some supposed disciples who would have endeavoured to save the Jesus character, of course.

        1. F. Beard

          saw to it that his only son would be brutally tortured for days, Lidia

          Christ was arrested Thursday night and was dead by 3PM Friday. Where do you get “brutally tortured for days”? I count 21 hours at most.

          Btw, you should read Isaiah 53 for why Christ had to suffer and die.

  24. Fíréan

    Hopefully Verizon are not isntalling a back door to allow access to the system for those who wish to watch more closely, and without detection, that which would otherwise be private.
    Not intending nor wishing to invoke fear nor paranoia, yet a degree of due caution.

  25. Literary Critic

    Oh Oh. An hour ago JPM just announced trouble in Bankersville. Rest of the story at ZH.

    ———————————————
    JPM Crashing After It Convenes Emergency Call To Advise Of “Significant Mark-To-Market” Losses In Bruno Iksil/CIO Group

    Out of nowehere, JPM announced 40 minutes ago that it would hold an unscheduled 5pm call to coincide with the release of its 10-Q. Rumors were swirling as to why. The reason is as follows:

    •JPMORGAN SAYS CIO UNIT HAS SIGNIFICANT MARK-TO-MARKET LOSSES – “Fortress balance sheet” at least until Bruno Iskil gets done with it.

    •JPMORGAN SAYS LOSSES ARE IN SYNTHETIC CREDIT PORTFOLIO – but, but, net is NEVER, EVER Gross.

    •JPM WOULD NEED $971M ADDED COLLATERAL IF RATINGS CUT ONE-NOTCH

    •JPM WOULD NEED $1.7B ADDED COLLATERAL IF RATINGS CUT 2 NOTCHES – how about three notches?

    •JPMORGAN: MAY HOLD SOME SYNTHETIC CREDIT POSITIONS LONG TERM – “Level 3 CDS FTW”

    •”As of March 31, 2012, the value of CIO’s total AFS securities portfolio exceeded its cost by approximately $8 billion”
    As a reminder, the CIO unit is where Bruno Iksil was making $200 billion-sized bets. Basically JPM has suffered massive losses at its CIO group most likely due to its IG/HY positions held by Iksil.

    1. YesMaybe

      I am definitely not knowledgeable in the ways of derivatives or bank balance sheets, but $2b doesn’t seem like much given the size of JPM. Even $20b would be less than 10% of their equity, a far cry from the bank being wiped out or being put in the kind of bind many european banks are in. So I’m assuming that the reason this is a big deal is not really the loss itself so much as that it exposes their crookedness (in how they talked about it prior to today) and incompetence… which we already knew about anyway. I’m sure we’ll see some enlightening commentary on this in the coming days and weeks (and that it will be an ongoing story for a while). For now, I don’t know what to make of it.

      1. Literary Critic

        ZH is combining two separate events here. One is this afternoons estimated $2B trading loss. This might not be the entire amount either – they always say their hundred billion dollar positions “net out”, but we’ve seen how that doesn’t happen sometimes.

        The other issue is the rating agencies, mostly S&P I think,are looking at downgrading a number of banks. I guess they feel the must be the regulator of last resort, since the official ones have the banks on accounting holiday.

        This will force higher collateral in repo deals and other things they do.

        But it is hard to judge how big a deal this is since everything is big dollar funny money – until it isn’t and you find out you have a credit crunch on your hands.

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