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Links 8/29/12

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By Charles Davis

Japanese government to consider nuclear-free option Asahi Shimbun

It’s nice to think that only evil men are rapists Independent. What if the super-secret covert CIA operation against Julian Assange was really just an effort to turn anti-imperialists into rape apologists?

Revolt of the Rich American Conservative (furzy mouse).

Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen.

Obama, Romney and the Low-Wage Future of America Nieman Reports. What Dan Froomkin and friends also ought to consider: the wealthy also depend on a strong state to transfer wealth from the lower and middle classes to their off-shore bank accounts.

“[B]y the mid-2020s, even with the most optimistic assumptions about economic growth, current trends indicate that the average American’s wages will drop about 20 percent.”

Principle reduction: A lifeline for underwater homeowners The Hill

Top Libyan officials implicated in mosque desecrations McClatchy

Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists Guardian (furzy mouse). Honestly, choosing to be a vegetarian has proven to be a great decision for me: I feel better and I don’t have to worry about killing poor defenseless animals kept in horrid conditions. Perhaps you should choose vegetarianism while it’s still a choice.

Where the Mob Keeps Its Money New York Times

Today’s mafias are global organizations. They operate everywhere, speak multiple languages, form overseas alliances and joint ventures, and make investments just like any other multinational company.

Mortgage customers of 5 large banks get big offers to lower their payments Plain Dealer

Columbia leader discloses talks with FARC rebels Los Angeles Times

Deposit flight from Spanish banks smashes record in July
Telegraph

Archbishop Tutu refuses platform with Blair Al Jazeera

Poor in India Starve as Politicians Steal $14.5 Billion of Food Bloomberg. This sounds vaguely familiar:

A state police force beholden to corrupt lawmakers, an underfunded federal anti-graft agency and a sluggish court system have resulted in five overlapping investigations over seven years — and zero convictions.

Louisiana Plans for Gulf Dredged by Isaac’s Force Bloomberg

Rachel Corrie lawsuit result ‘dangerous precedent’ say human rights groups Guardian

Socialists Ride Wave of Anti-EU Sentiment Der Spiegel (furzy mouse)

* * *

lambert here:

D – 12 and counting*

“Love is a great force in private life; it is indeed the greatest of all things; but love in public affairs does not work.” –E.M. Forster

RNCon. Rules amendments: “Delegates to the GOP convention in Tampa spent a few minutes in loud discord after the convention adopted two reports that seemed to split the gathering nearly evenly.” … Rules amendments: “This was all part of an effort to prevent someone like Paul, who doesn’t win the popular vote at a caucus or primary, from winning control of a delegation through superior organization at the convention.” … Rules amendments: “Most of ME’s delegates walked out of the RNCon on Tuesday afternoon and said they will boycott the rest of the event after failing to overturn a ruling that removed half the state”s delegates pledged to support Ron Paul.” … Rules amendments, Charles Pierce: “[T]he people supporting [Paul] got pretty well screwed this time around. They got screwed at the local level and at the state level and, on Tuesday, they got rogered good and proper by their national party.” Sounds like Denver. … Management problem: “The volunteers are part of the problem. They outnumber the Times Forum event staff by about 5:1, flanking every delegate entrance, network entrance, prayer center, corridor, escalator and elevator, and they do not know where anything goes, in an arena where they do not work.” … Banner drop: “His group dropped a banner that read: ‘Walker Hates Working Families.’ ‘The cops grabbed it and pulled it up, and zip-tied our wrists,’ [Tyler] Mitchell said. ‘That’s when the team across from us dropped the other banner.’ That one read: ‘Walker has a Koch problem.’ ‘When we told [the cops] what the banner said, one of them laughed,’ Mitchell said. ‘One of them quoted Robin Williams — the politicians should have to wear the uniforms of their corporate sponsors.’” … Ron Paul: “Chants of “President Paul!” and “Let him speak!” greeted the presidential hopeful. And Paul carried several state delegations in this afternoon”s roll call, including MN and IA. He even won 20 delegate votes in TX, where his former presidential rival, Gov. Rick Perry, received zero.” … Category mistake: “Cara Jennings, a former Lake Worth city commissioner and self-described anarchist, was escorted out [of Marco Rubio's breakfast speech] shouting, ‘The Republican agenda doesn”t work for America.’” An anarchist that supports a political party? Do tell. … The suspense ends: “Romney won’t formally be the nominee until he accepts the call in a prime-time speech on Thursday, but the state-by-state roll call vote gave him 2,061 delegates.” … Zinger, Chris Christie: “The president is nothing more than a Chicago ward politician” (Ryan Lizza: “This would be a great speech for a town hall in Bergen.”) … Zinger, Artur Davis: “Maybe we should have known that night in Denver that things that begin with plywood Greek columns and artificial smoke typically don’t end well.” … Zinger, Ann Romney: “It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.” (“They work every day.”)

RNCon protests. Crowds: From the photos, small, but very diverse. … Indicator: “The police chief cancel[s] an afternoon news conference about protesters because there’s nothing to report.” … Ron Paul: “We”re back with the @OccupyEye. As I suspected, a camp full of occupiers can only go so long without wanting to march or act. A group is protesting with “Mr 1%” signs at the site of the Republican National Convention. This has led to lively debates with the Ron Paul supporters and Rs who are present.” … Interview: “‘I am pessimistic,’ [Jimmy, who had stayed behind to clean up, ] said. ‘I don’t think we are going to be able to affect much change. But I do feel like we — people like me — are being affected and that we will be changed ourselves.’ Read the whole thing. There’s almost a genre where the writer devotes the top of the story to snark, and then remembers they’re a reporter, interviews somebody, and things get human and useful.

Conventions. Political science: “In general, political scientists find that the biggest effect of major campaign events is to activate partisan predispositions.” Sun slated to appear in East? … Journalism: “The conventions allow the parties and the candidate to speak to voters unfiltered in prime time. That may be threatening to the professional status of journalists, but it”s good for America.”

AK. Voting: “In AK, when a security seal is discovered broken on their tabulation computers — if they are discovered broken — poll workers are instructed to simply replace it with another one and start the voting.”

AL. Jeebus: “An attorney for the Huntsville City Schools had this to say about a bullying incident at Grissom [public] High School earlier this year: ‘While you and I may agree that preaching at school that homosexuality is sinful and against the Bible, is not appropriate, this is not bullying.’” Preaching at school?

AR. Fracking: “According to the suit, the fluid has a tendency to migrate up to 2 miles from the well sites, and the underground reservoirs overlap with personal property not belonging to the gas companies. Specifically, about 14 million gallons of fracking fluid was allegedly injected into a well near the plaintiffs’ property between 2009 and 2010. ‘The issue with toxicity is no one’s really sure what [the fluid] is going to do later on as far as migrating,’ said Timothy Holton, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs.” Important.

FL. Corruption: “On Monday, the SEC sent a Wells Notice to Ivan Harris of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who represents the city of Miami. The letter confirmed that the SEC staff intends to recommend civil charges of securities fraud and other disclosure violations against the city [for muni bond practices].” … Voting, Bob Graham: “[In the 2011 law,] the 67 county supervisors of elections were given the discretion to set the total number of early voting hours at between 48 and 96. This means FL is likely to have numerous forms of early voting and almost as many potential outcomes. A central issue in Bush vs. Gore, which declared George W. Bush president of the United States, was whether the equal protection of the laws was violated by the variation among FL counties’ election and recount procedures. If this year’s election in FL is as close as it appears it will be, unfold your favorite lounge chair. It’s going to be a long time before this one is settled.” … Labor: “The search continues for the body of a 58-year-old worker who fell into a cement silo eleven days ago when the roof he was standing on collapsed.” Just another dead worker.

LA. Isaac: Weather Underground tracking map. … Isaac: “Isaac made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane about 7:45 pm EDT and about 10 miles west of the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River and 90 miles southeast of New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish, La., packing winds in excess of 80 mph.”

MD. Emerging parties: “On Monday, the State Board of Elections told leaders of the Green Party and the Libertarian Party that they had collected enough valid petition signatures to be put back on the November ballot.”

MI. Voting: “On Tuesday, August 28th, a Ingham County grand jury was allocated to launch a criminal investigation of evidence in MI Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) and State Representative Roy Schmidt ‘perpetrated election fraud scandal” (JW).

MN. Voting: “Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Nation tribal member and former Minneapolis School Board member declared that [her tribal] ID might not be considered sufficient if the MN voter restriction constitutional amendment passes this November.”

ND. Extractive economy: “Current confidential well list.”

NV. Voting: “The NV Secretary of State has asked the Ninth Circuit to restore ‘None of these candidates’ to the ballot.”

NY. Fracking: “[I]f Cuomo is serious about keeping the option open for a presidential bid, he will not, in the current national political climate at least, want to be labeled by opponents as the guy who closed the door on domestic energy production.” (See Stoller on why the political class hedges its bets.) … Fracking: “[Returning from the Capitol protest [NC 08-27]] we stopped at a diner, and sat in a booth next to two people talking about today. They recognized us from the march and asked where we were from. They were delighted to hear Dryden, and said Dryden was really leading the way – that Dryden was willing to take a stand with a ban and stick with it.”

OH. Fracking: “Increased awareness that the use of fracking technology is destructive to public health, the environment and economic stability has also led to the realization that this industry is destructive to representative government.” Interesting list of organizations seeking the return of home rule.

TN. Voting: “In Shelby and now Davidson County, there have been reports of voters getting the wrong primary ballot and voting in the wrong district. State election officials have admitted that poll worker training was inadequate. Davidson County officials were advised against using electronic poll books, but used them anyway. ”

TX. Charters: “TX does include evolution in its science curriculum. But apparently Ms. Gonzalez-Reynolds thought it was inappropriate to call attention to that fact. And now she is the second-in-command at the TEA, serving a man known for his advocacy of vouchers and charters.” …. Pipelines: “This morning four landowner advocates and climate justice organizers locked themselves to the underside of a massive truck carrying 36″ pipe intended for Keystone XL construction. Seven blockaders were onsite risking arrest. State troopers arrived on the scene and [they] were arrested.” … Voting: “TX lawmakers didn”t comply with the Voting Rights Act when they drew new maps for congressional, state Senate and state House districts, a federal court in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday.”

VA. Police state: “[Brandon Raub] described how he talked with FBI agents at his door last week and then was tackled to the ground, handcuffed and taken to jail. He was released Friday after Hopewell Circuit Judge W. Allan Sharrett ruled that the order involuntarily committing Raub was ‘so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.’”

WA. Legalization: “The study shows that each of WA’s 39 counties spent at least $100,000 on marijuana enforcement from 2000 to 2010. King County spent the most _ nearly $35 million.” State total: $211 million.

WI. Police state: “A few dozen activists chalked the sidewalks outside the WI State Capitol Sunday afternoon after Steve Books, a Madison veteran and peace activist was arrested, handcuffed, cited and released Saturday for writing ‘This is Far from over’ in chalk on the public sidewalk.” Chalk’s a problem? How about cake frosting? That washes off in the rain, too. … Fracking: “Wisconsin’s chaotically fast-growing [fracking] sand mining industry took a step toward stricter self-regulation [!!] Tuesday with the public rollout of [the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association] by a handful of the industry’s top players.”

Outside baseball. Foreclosure: Nathan’s puppets! … Semantics: “GOP pollster Frank Luntz this morning — in a lecture on messaging — urged GA delegates to the RNCon to avoid the word ‘capitalism’ in their arguments.” … Semantics: “One sinister aspect of all this is the way that ‘optics’ helps lend the problem of appearances a sort of stand-alone reality, shorn of all context” (Romenesko). … Media critique: “Male journalists have been the primary “storytellers” of this year”s election news since January” (chart).

The trail. Medicare: “Have the Republicans fought to a draw on Medicare? Republicans say yes. Steven Benen agrees. I think that conclusion is premature.” Good, linky post. … Last hurrah: Translating Ron Brownstein [NC 08-27] on the R winning formula: “This is their last, best chance to win an election in the party’s current demographic and ideological form. Future generations of GOP politicians will have to appeal to nonwhite voters who hold far more liberal views about the role of government than does the party’s current base.”

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Hagiogaphy: “[Muralist] Jason Mecier spent about 100 hours constructing the political portraits, dubbed ‘Barack Obameat’ and ‘Meat Romney’ and used 50 bags of jerky to create each meat mosaic.”

Green Party. Legalization: “[JILL STEIN: ] We need to legalize cannabis, get the users out of jail, and start to treat substance abuse and addiction as a public health problem, not as a criminal act.”

Libertarian Party. Roger Stone: “Ron Paul, the guy who talks constantly for principle, demonstrates he has none. If he did, he’d be for Gary Johnson” (he’s “undecided”).

Romney. The worker’s friend: “When R presidential candidate Romney visited an OH coal mine this month, workers who appeared with him at the rally lost pay because their mine was shut down.” … Race card: “But [National Journal editor Ron] Fournier did not just tell [Romey advisor Ron] Kaufman [welfare] the ad was wrong, he also accused the Romney campaign of ‘playing the race card.’ Fournier, who is from Detroit, MI., said that welfare is a hot button issue in his hometown, and that this ad was ‘pushing that button … playing to that racial prejudice. And I’m wondering: are you guys doing that on purpose?’” … Ezra Klein: “Romney isn”t always the best speaker. He can be wooden on the stump and gaffe-prone off of it. But his very public weaknesses can obscure the fact that he”s a very, very good politician. He”s an incredible fundraiser. He”s a strong debater. He”s disciplined in his message. He”s strategic. He”s good at picking campaign staff. And the results show: He”s now the Republican nominee for president.”

* 12 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with an airdrop of bottled water and C-rations for everyone on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. WA has 12 electoral votes.

* * *

Antidote du jour: Still want to eat bacon?

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96 comments

    1. Accrued Disinterest

      Did you catch that a couple delegates were booted out yesterday for throwing peanuts at a black camera operator from CNN while yelling, “this is how we feed animals”?

      Dispicible.

      1. Neo-Realist

        Dispicable, more like “no kidding”

        Just a republican expressing the id of the party, their true colors in abusing a person of color.

  1. fresno dan

    Revolt of the Rich American Conservative (furzy mouse

    “To this day, I remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens.”

    That was only the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy, and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.”

    I remember the debate between Al Gore and Ross Perot and thinking what a rube Perot was…needless to say, events have proved I was the rube.

  2. fresno dan

    And one other point, as it drives me insane:

    “But millions of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes do pay federal payroll taxes. These taxes are regressive, and the dirty little secret is that over the last several decades they have made up a greater and greater share of federal revenues. In 1950, payroll and other federal retirement contributions constituted 10.9 percent of all federal revenues. By 2007, the last “normal” economic year before federal revenues began falling, they made up 33.9 percent. By contrast, corporate income taxes were 26.4 percent of federal revenues in 1950. By 2007 they had fallen to 14.4 percent. So who has skin in the game?”

    Not to mention sales taxes, property taxes, etc…

    1. Denise B

      However, liberals – and I am one myself – claim when it suits us that payroll taxes are not in fact taxes but insurance premiums through which workers finance their own retirement benefits, and that the Social Security system is quite separate from the federal budget.

      We really can’t have it both ways. People who pay only payroll taxes and sales taxes are not contributing to the support of the federal government. That may be what we want, but let’s be honest about it.

      1. reslez

        People who pay only payroll taxes and sales taxes are not contributing to the support of the federal government.

        Revenue is revenue: it goes into one big sloshing pool and is spent on whatever the budget dictates. FICA tax funds the war in Afghanistan. The SSA gets IOUs. Payroll taxes are 40% of federal revenue.

        How dare you say those workers don’t contribute? They pay in blood, sweat and toil.

        The fact is taxes do not support the federal government at all. The government is a currency issuer, why in the world would an alchemist “need” gold when he creates it at will?

        1. Denise B

          It all goes into one sloshing pool is one valid way of looking at it. Or you can say that SS is a separate pot with its own funding. Either view is legitimate, but both simultaneously is not.

      2. YankeeFrank

        Do we? Really? Its your kind of mealy-mouthing that weakens the left and makes it ineffectual — arguing over semantics when poverty is exploding. The poor certainly pay a lot of different taxes, and you are criticizing the left for calling payroll taxes insurance payments or taxes? Who cares? On top of that, the obvious argument against these specious attacks on the poor is that if the repugs are so unhappy paying their taxes, then they should give their income to charity and they too can be lucky duckies who pay no federal income taxes.

        1. Denise B

          Who said I was criticizing the left for calling payroll taxes insurance payments? There are good reasons for doing so when we’re defending the programs, only we can’t turn around then and call them taxes when it suits us. Or – since this seems to be what you are calling for – we can do it and then just attack people when they point out that we’re talking out of both sides of our mouths at the same time, but not if we expect to be taken seriously.

    1. Patccmoi

      As a Canadian, I can tell you that this is far from reassuring… at least it still seems that for now it’s just a proposition by the nuclear industry and not something that the government has shown interest in pursuing, but then again who knows, I have no trust whatsoever in Harper and friends…

  3. juneau

    I want a pet pig! so cute.
    I am vegetarian, near vegan, and have made a habit of telling people the nutritional caveats to avoid problems with a switch to veg diet.
    1. take b12 (always!)
    2. omega-3′s (flax, dha)
    3. stay mindful of calcium vitamin d and iodine

    Simple enough if someone decides to make the switch. B12 really important and cheap/easy to take. I hope this doesn’t annoy anyone, just writing to those interested in switching to veg diet.

    1. Rick

      I believe it is better to eat a natural diet that includes meat than to take manufactured supplements.

      1. Yves Smith

        You need to take supplements regardless.

        The USDA in 1938 (no typo) said US soil was too depleted for Americans to get enough nutrients from their food and recommended taking vitamins (perhaps minerals too, I read this years ago and am going from memory). Plus there is good reason to think that the “recommended” levels of vitamin C and D are too low, and women are unlikely to get enough calcium in their diets.

        1. Bev

          I hope some scientist somewhere is looking at the DNA similarity of chlorophyll in plants, and the (I think) sea anemone recently found to have this capacity, and now an insect that also has chlorophyll to create food from sunlight.

          That could possibly work. It might turn people green. It would be better than starving. We could become plants.

        2. Rory

          I remember reading years ago in Linus Pauling’s book on vitamin C that USDA recommended daily allowances for any vitamin represent the minimum intake of that vitamin that is necessary to avoid a deficiency condition. According to him, RDAs do not necessarily represent the optimum intake to get the maximum benefit from the vitamin.

      1. Yves Smith

        This sort of stuff drives me nuts. First, this is all about heart risk. What about people who don’t have heart trouble?

        Second, when they say “calcium” there are multiple types of calcium. Most people take calcium citrate, which is basically made from sea shells. Terrible bioavailability. I wonder if they’d get the same negative results if they had focused on people who take calcium lactate.

  4. Vernon

    Good job in promoting the US and their poodles, the UK and Sweden, smear that Julian Assange is a rapist. The Independent article is especially rich coming from a country (UK) that blocked the extradition of Pinochet. The facts of the case are:
    Julian Assange is not charged with rape in Sweden,
    Julian, offered to be interviewed many times in the UK by Swedish authorities. The Swedish authorities refused.
    Julian offered to go to Sweden provided that he would not be extradited to the US. The Swedish authorities refused to provide such assurance.
    The “victims” don’t want him prosecuted. In response,the Swedish prosecutor stated that the victims don’t know what rape is.
    In the future, it would be nice to if you linked to articles that have factual content. Otherwise, you risk becoming a useful idiot of the US security establishment by removing focus from the criminal nature of US foreign policy.

    1. RegularGuy

      I’d have more time for the Assange apologists if their arguments didn’t so closely resemble those of all misogynistic rape deniers: it wasn’t ‘legitimate’ rape, sometimes when women say no they sometimes mean yes, if the woman doesn’t verbally say no then it’s ok, if the woman already agreed to have sex with you once you don’t need to ask the next time. I don’t know what happened, I wasn’t there, but I’ve seen all of those arguments used in the last week, and alarm bells go off in my head every time.

      It is not at all unusual for victims of rape to be uncomfortable and unwilling to pursue justice. Often victims won’t label what happened to them as rape because they don’t know the legal definition (and people seem quite keen on preventing them from knowing). I’m genuinely surprised to find how little otherwise sensible and well informed people know about the issue of rape, since it is such a huge social issue. There is a vast amount of research into the topic, showing how victims are blamed, the difficulty of coming forward and pressing charges etc.

      I believe it is usual protocol in Sweden not to charge somebody at this stage, although I could be wrong but I certainly don’t trust anything put out by Assange fans. There has been a lot of disinformation spread by the Assange camp. From the claim that he was under house arrest, which was inaccurate, to the idea that it was (American) political intervention that reopened the rape investigation.

      Even though I’m somebody who self identifies with the left, I feel no need to try and apologise or cover up the misogyny of other who happen to share some of my political views on foreign policy, and I’m pretty depressed to find so many getting involved in such tribalism. The traditional left here in the UK has a long history of misogyny, in the trade union movement in particular. We don’t move the debate forward by labelling rape victims as lying agents of the USA government or arguing that the legal definition of rape is wrong, and if you are in a bedroom with a man, well, what do you expect to happen?

      I will certainly be sending the Independent article to people I know.

      1. alex

        I guess the oldest trick in smear campaigns still works: accuse somebody of sexual improprieties or crimes.

        “I’d have more time for the Assange apologists if their arguments didn’t so closely resemble those of all misogynistic rape deniers …”

        None of Vernon’s points are along those lines. Just because some people have idiotic arguments, doesn’t mean that others don’t have intelligent arguments.

        If Swedish authorities are actually concerned about investigating a sex crime that Assange allegedly committed in Sweden, why can’t they guarantee that he won’t be extradited to the US? He’s not accused of any sex crimes in America.

        “I will certainly be sending the Independent article to people I know.”

        The article is important, but really has nothing to do with Assange. His name is used for grabbing attention.

        1. Synopticist

          There’s a whole bunch of misconceptions and misinfomation here. The Swedish authorities CAN’T guarentee Assange won’t be extradited- Its a matter for the courts, not the government. They don’t have the power to make that guarentee.

          “Julian Assange is not charged with rape in Sweden,
          Julian, offered to be interviewed many times in the UK by Swedish authorities. The Swedish authorities refused”

          That’s how the Swedish system works. You’re officially questioned, then charged. No questioning, no charge. People don’t get to choose where or whether they submit to questioning.

          1. alex

            “The Swedish authorities CAN’T guarentee Assange won’t be extradited- Its a matter for the courts, not the government.”

            No, the courts are step 3 of the extradition process in Sweden. Step 2 is to have it approved by the Prosecutor-General.

            http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/2710/a/15435

            “People don’t get to choose where or whether they submit to questioning.”

            And yet there’s precedent of people being questioned in countries outside Sweden.

          2. Procopius

            Glenn Greenwald had a column on this a couple of days ago. He consulted three people who are well versed in Swedish law. The conclusion was that the government has the last word on whether or not to extradite a person. The courts can prevent it if they find the extradition request is not compliant with the law, but after they have cleared the way the government still can choose not to extradite for diplomatic or political reasons. The Swedish government understandably does not want to guarantee that they will not extradite Assange under any circumstances (suppose the U.S. had a Grand Jury indict him for third degree mopery — how could they refuse?) but they could say that they would not extradite him for espionage since they would regard that as a political charge. Don’t know how similar the laws are, but Thailand spent ten years or so getting Rakesh Saxena back from Canada because the Chancellor (or whatever his title is) sat on the case after the court said he should be extradited. Eventually Saxena must have run out of influence because he finally was sent back to Thailand and his case has quietly disappeared (I expect he’s living large on his loot from Bangkok Bank of Commerce).

      2. patricia

        RG, you’re correct about many rape victims’ fear/discomfort regarding pursuit of legal justice. But because it often happens, doesn’t mean it is the only construction for this situation. Yet you assume it is and out of that, label supporters as “Assange fans” and leftist misogynists. This is offensive.

        The Independent article uses your assumption as an agenda, thus turning the travesty of rape into a Lifetime TV episode. I’m fairly certain that’s why Davis linked it.

        You are also correct that Assange was not under house arrest while in Britain. But he had an ankle bracelet. To declare one thing wrong without qualification denies accuracy more neatly than that which you criticize.

        If you are actually interested in the story, you will need to spend some time reading and exercise critical thinking. It is fascinating and complex, hewing through many of the problems facing our society, as well as various international issues. As interesting are the ways people try to fit facts into opinion/agenda. It is useful to see how they do it and to remember their names.

        The worst thing about having opinions without accuracy is that one is used by those who push agendas contrary to your best interests.

      3. Yves Smith

        I linked to an investigation by ABC, which is Australia’s BBC. You really need to view it or read the transcript. You aren’t on top of the facts.

        The behavior of the women is inconsistent with rape. They not only continued to hang out with Assange after having had sex with them but by all accounts were happy to be in his company. The ONLY reason one went to the cops was to ask if there was any was to compel him to get a STD test if he refused. When the cops started interviewing them aggressively, they refused to sign a statement against Assange.

        http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/07/19/3549280.htm

        1. Tim Mason

          That is not ‘inconsistent with rape’: there are many cases in which victim and perpetrator have an on-going relationship and continue to do so after the rape. (see e.g. http://www.aals.org/profdev/women/anderson.pdf )

          It is also often the case that victims do not want the justice system to procede against the perpetrator: that occurs in other crimes as well. But the victim’s desires are not the only consideration that agents of the state need to take into account.

          In Assange’s case, it is claimed that the woman told him not to have unprotected sex with her, but he did so anyway. If this was so, then it was rape.

          If there were to be a guarantee that Assange would not be deported to the USA, then many of his present supporters would be delighted to see this matter settled in a Swedish court of law.

      4. YankeeFrank

        Its nice to know so many are comfortable passing judgment when they really know nothing. From what I’ve read, Assange didn’t want to use protection, and the two women went to the police to see if they could force him to take an STD test. Apparently, not using protection can be prosecuted as rape in Sweden. Hence the women not seeing it as rape, and the prosecutor seeing it as rape. Anyhow, there is no reason the Swedes cannot give him a guarantee he will not be extradited to the US, and there is no reason they can’t interview him in the UK. Anyone who thinks he won’t be extradited to the US from Sweden is being purposefully naive.

          1. Synopticist

            No, i’ve been wrong about a whole bunch of things before. I used to think the financial sector was just one powerful lobby amongst others, rather than the overwhelming dictators of the entire western world for example.

            The thing is, i just don’t buy the honeypot conspiracy theory. It seems to me Assange is an arrogant misogynist with a messiah complex who forced two women to have sex without their consent ‘cos he thinks he’s untouchable. Plus in realistic terms, it would be legally easier to deport Assange from the UK to the US than it would be from Sweden.

            No doubt the CIA have their plans, but that doesn’t mean Assange didn’t force hiimself on those women.

          2. patricia

            Right, although very odd actions surround the situation, doesn’t mean Assange is innocent. Broadly, we know two things: there is an imperialistic gov’t who has been embarrassed and wants to harm the man, and that to do something like Wikileaks requires a self-assured anti-authoritarian personality that easily expands into vast arrogance.

            The UK had no legal hook to use for Assange extradition. Assange’s fame protected him from overt gov’t lawlessness. Now, though, UK has him on skipping bail.

            As to messiah complex, I think that is more ours than his. Recently I read someone sneering that Assange will certainly have a short life. Probably true, must be distressful to be Assange. We humans are extremely hard on those who buck the system, much harder than on those who govern the system. I sometimes wonder about our fascination/revulsion with the messiah story–looking for someone to save us, finding reasons (there are always reasons) to hate that someone, and hugely relieved when he’s gone.

        1. alex

          “it’s very unlikelly he will be”

          How do you come to that conclusion? From the country that brought you “extraordinary rendition” and NDAA-2012?

  5. dearieme

    “Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

    Come, now. Contrast “if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen” with the British building the Indian railway system. Or consider the British in India and their scholarly achievements in writing Indian history or studying Indian languages – American plutocrats seem devoid of any such intellectual interests.

    1. liberal

      I thought people who’ve studied this claimed that the British in some ways did very little, e.g. in terms of building native professional classes.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      ca, also re Willard as .01% grifter, see another revelation from Rolling Stone. “South Park” needs to do this one, so that TV-watching Joe Sixpax can “get it.” Here’s an excerpt:

      | Romney’s decision to place executive compensation over fiscal responsibility immediately put Bain on the ropes. By that July, FDIC analysts reported, Bain had so little money left that “the company will actually run out of cash and default on the existing debt structure” as early as 1995. If that happened, Bain employees and American consumers would take the hit – an alternative that analysts considered “catastrophic.”

      But Romney didn’t dole out all of Bain’s cash as bonuses right away. According to a record from May 1992, he set aside some of the money to put one last squeeze on the firm’s creditors. Romney now demanded that the banks and the government agree to a deal that was even less favorable than the last – to retire Bain’s debts “at a price up to but not exceeding 30 cents on the dollar.”|
      ———-
      Read the piece in entirety at:

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-federal-bailout-that-saved-mitt-romney-20120829

      Be prepared!

  6. Stephen Gardner

    “Still want to eat bacon?” Yes I do. They are not that cute when they get sent to the slaughter house. You city kids have such quaint ideas about where your food comes from. Now, lechon, that’s more relevant. Stay away from it if you don’t eat cute. :-)

    1. Ned Ludd

      A study printed in Science back in August 19, 1974 [pdf], shows the energy subsidy required for different types of food. Unfortunately, I don’t have more recent numbers. Here’s some rough numbers, though, from the chart on page 312:

      • Distant fishing and feedlot beef – 10-20 calories energy subsidy for every 1 calorie food output
      • Grass-fed beef and intensive eggs – 2-5 calories
      • Coastal fishing and milk from grass-fed cows – 1 calorie
      • Low-intensity eggs – 0.5-1.0 calories
      • Range-fed beef – 0.5 calories
      • Corn, potatoes, and soybeans – 0.2-0.5 calories
      • Hunting and gathering, and intensive rice – 0.1-0.2 calories
      • Shifting agriculture and wet rice culture – 0.02–0.1 calories

      Reducing meat consumption is one way to reduce our environmental impact. Not just in terms of energy, but also in terms of water use, as per the article in the today’s links: “Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet.

    2. Tim Mason

      Some 6,000 years ago a bunch of animals, inlcuding humans, pigs, cows, sheep and horses, came to a contractual understanding. Both factory farming and vegetarianism renege on that contract.

  7. Jim Haygood

    Here’s the correct link for the Archbishop Tutu / Tony Blair story:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/08/20128295214839374.html

    Compare Tutu’s principled behavior to Yale University’s partnership with Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation — Yale puts Tony’s mug right on their home page.

    http://faithandglobalization.yale.edu/

    One can easily discern what ‘faith’ is being promoted at Yale’s elite boarding school for U.S. presidents: satan worship, with an admixture of Alistair Crowley coprophagia.

    How can ye have any meat if you don’t eat yer pudding?

  8. General Washington

    Ask not if our green cousins have feelings too?

    Do they not also dread their fate come, most cruel?

    Boiled, skinned, or eaten raw?

    Consider this not as you stuff them in your maw?

    Are they not indeed the easiest prey?

    Since they cannot – unlike the piggies – run away?

    1. F. Beard

      If we are what we eat then what we eat becomes what we are.

      Or would you rather remain a vegetable to be harvested by cruel winter anyway?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Every living is harvested by nature in one way or another.

        All we ask is that Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens not interfere with nature.

          1. patricia

            “…behaves worse than animals.” Recommend you read “Age of Empathy” by biologist Frans de Waal

          2. Up the Ante

            “But if man is only an animal then all he does is natural. ”

            These questions of consciousness only come into play upon considering the state of animals in captivity.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thank you.

          That’s why we ask Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens not to interfere with nature too much.

  9. jim3981

    Ron Paul Won….

    “Delegates from Nevada tried to nominate Mr. Paul from the floor, submitting petitions from their own state as well as Minnesota, Maine, Iowa, Oregon, Alaska and the Virgin Islands. That should have done the trick: Rules require signatures from just five states. But the party changed the rules on the spot. Henceforth, delegates must gather petitions from eight states.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-koerner/ron-paul-republican-convention_b_1838617.html

    1. lambert strether

      These shenanigains reminds me of the Rules and Bylaws committee before the D convention in Denver, 2008. In both cases, the party is throwing a large part of it base under the bus, and rewriting the rule book on the fly to do it.

  10. Herman Sniffles

    Vegetarianism? Well I have friend named Bill who I’ve knowns since childhood. He and his wife are artists in San Francisco. And when we were little kids Bill’s grandpa told me something that was very cogent and intuitively convincing. He looked at me sternly, wagged his old gnarled finger in my face, and said “If God hadn’t meant us to eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Eating can be thought of as conducting a resource war on other living things.

      You want their resources…like minerals, metals (might include gold as we might be all secret gold bugs), proteins, etc.

  11. alex

    re: Revolt of the Rich

    In the “American Conservative”? Wow. And most of the comments were positive!

    Replace the word “conservative” with “liberal” and that could come from a left-wing publication. Which goes to show that honest thinking conservatives and liberals often aren’t so far apart on many issues. It explains why when I talk to friends who call themselves conservatives, we often wind up agreeing on many things. In fact it’s not unusual to find myself to the right of them politically on some issues.

    Good example: campaign finance reform. Arizona was a poster child for publicly financed campaigns, yet is a famously red state (of course the thing was gutted by Citizens United).

    1. Klassy!

      LOL that was funny! Man, I was persuaded to click on his “Amazon Wish List” and purchase for him the requested Downton Abbey (Klassy!) DVDs.
      It is alarming just how many commenters felt this scaled new heghts of brilliance (it need only be alarming if only one person comments thus, by the way.).
      Of all the things to loathe Christie for, it is sad that many liberals put “being fat” near the top of the list.

      1. F. Beard

        There’s no particular shame in being fat IF one is generous.

        Christie, otoh, is no Santa Claus. If austerity is good for others then he should practice it himself, no?

      2. 10leggedshadow

        But what does being fat say about Chris Christie? It shows a lack of self discipline foremost. The man can’t even give up ice cream cones when he’s supposedly on a diet? And then he confronts a man with said ice cream cone? That man will stuff his face while he lets the poor in his state starve! Maybe he should practice food austerity before proposing austerity for everyone else.

        1. Klassy!

          Okay. So they should have gone with Rick Scott– just one look and I know he has self discipline. And, I can tell he practices what he preaches when it comes to austerity.
          Yes, fat truly tells you about the content of character.

    2. patricia

      tbogg and a small FDL group around him thinks he’s hilarious and that of course we all must vote for Obama. He’d probably be happiest as the raunchy back-end of kos.

        1. patricia

          I deeply apologize. To cleanse your mental palate, I offer a choice of desserts: the buttery cockamamie excrescence, barmy doolally fudge or (my personal favorite) the small but rich fulsome unctuous asininity. Sold exclusively at Kos Kitchens.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Indian politicians steal $14.5 billion of food.

    The easy solution is to print another $14.5 billion to buy food.

    The right solution is to make the politicians pay it back so the people there can buy food.

    1. F. Beard

      You’re not the starving, now are you?

      What if getting that $14.5 billion takes time? Are you willing to let people die in the mean time? I bet you would.

  13. Bill B

    Rape is, in some cases, hard to prove. He said/she said. You can’t really compare it to other types of crimes. Given the difficulty in providing evidence, it’s one person’s word against another’s. This is about having proof of a crime and not being taken only on one’s word. That’s only one piece of evidence.

    Besides, the article cited assumes Assange is guilty, and that the people defending him are dismissing the rape allegation because they think he’s being set up.

    Plus, he hasn’t even been charged with rape, I don’t believe. Why would that be if the police have evidence that he did rape?

    1. ScottS

      He’s wanted for questioning, hasn’t been charged with anything. The story from the two women is that he slept with them separately but within a short period of time with and without protection and refused to perform an STD test. One alleges he tampered with a condom, the other says he began having sex with her while she was “half-asleep”. Details here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/17/julian-assange-sweden

      The article in the post above isn’t about Assange’s guilt, it’s about the people discussing it. People are indeed trying to say that rape is only about mustache-twirling villains and if you know them then it isn’t rape. I agree with the article’s premise — “no” means no, even if it’s someone you know. Even if it’s your spouse.

      Unfortunately, Assange has been tried in the court of public opinion and was found guilty. Now, we can no longer discuss Wikileaks without talking about Assange and rape, which I assume is Mission Accomplished.

      1. JTFaraday

        Trying to hold multiple ideas in their heads at the same time is just too confusing for a lot of people.

  14. goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

    From that Independent article:
    “The people saying this are not all prize imbeciles like George Galloway or frothing wingnuts like the Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin. Some of them are just everyday internet idiots who happen to believe that if a man you have previously consented to sex with holds you down and fucks you, that isn’t rape.”

    Yves (or was it Lambert?) last week included a link to the Guardian article by Greenwald (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/22/julian-assange-media-contempt) uncovering the outright disinformation spread by commentators such as Laurie Penny, who obviously thinks that her experience alone somehow makes all her statements and arguments absolute truth. Why then does this Charles Davis refuse to take out the link to this shrill, proudly biased piece? According to the paragraph quoted above, plenty of people visiting this site, if not Yves and Lambert, are also “everyday Internet idiots.” Is it that Davis also agrees? Why does he refuse to address this issue?

    1. Lambert Strether

      When you make a claim about disinformation, it’s often helpful to indicate which information you’re talking about. Have you given consideration to the possibility of doing that?

      UPDATE And adding… The word “shrill” has a long history in the blogosphere. Rather undercuts whatever your point is, however.

      Generally, I try to be a “take what you like and leave the rest” kind of guy. There are plenty of apologists to go around on this one. Kindly note that these two statements:

      1. Assange has a rational fear of being rendered to the United States and tortured and/or detained indefinitely, and should therefore insist on being interviewed in Sweden, as others have been;

      and (paraphrasing slightly):

      2. Some everyday internet idiots believe that if a man you have previously consented to sex with holds you down and fucks you, that isn’t rape.

      are othogonal. One can believe in both, either, or neither. Personally, I think Penny’s perspective is useful.

  15. anewman

    I give to you also, recent propaganda from ‘Mortgage Oversight.’ As an individual tied up in all this, I find it to be extremely insulting and patronizing that they send me these messages with links to more blah-diddy blah-blah about what is “being done.”

    In reality, I have received no contact from Bank of America for the past 2 years, except for mailings of debt for one of the mortgages, and a request for insurance info. Little do they know, I am now in pre-law and this semester has me in a strong Real Estate/Probate class. So. They can ‘oversight’ all they want. I will still sue them, with the full analytical power that my beautiful mind is capable of leveraging.

    At age 26-I was one of the original walk away, cool hand lukes. “Ok. YOU want to play corrupt Bank of America?” Go for it. I’ll see you in court. I’ll devote my life to debunking and documenting every lie you have told, and I will find the truth of the reason of law and leverage against you. So, you see-There is hope for Americas’ “youth” after all.

    Here is what I have received via emails I don’t recall being told I would be signed up for. Just for the record, Joseph Smith~The solution is damages and liabilities PAID. Not billions tied up in your schlock ‘oversight’ con.

    For immediate release:
    August 29, 2012

    Mortgage Settlement Monitor Releases Progress Report
    Joseph Smith provides update on settlement implementation

    RALEIGH, N.C. – Joseph A. Smith, Jr., Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, today released a report that outlines details about the settlement, steps his office has taken to implement it and progress made by the five banks that are parties to the settlement to date.

    “It has been nearly five months since the settlement went into effect, and I believe it is important to report on our progress,” said Smith. “This report is not required by the settlement and contains information given voluntarily to me by the banks. It is intended to be the basis of a national conversation about the servicers’ efforts to meet their obligations under the settlement.”

    The full report can be found @: (original link was hyper linked in email ‘campaign.’

    https://www.mortgageoversight.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ProgressReport08292012.pdf?utm_source=Press+Release+List%3A+Office+of+Mortgage+Settlement+Oversight%3A+Opt-In+Only&utm_campaign=0f10906d52-News_Release_8_29_128_29_2012&utm_medium=email.

    The Monitor also created an interactive report that can be found here.

    “The report discloses that the banks have granted $10.56 billion in consumer relief to borrowers between March 1 and June 30, 2012. Additionally, first lien principal reduction trials were offered and begun for about 28,000 homeowners, totaling approximately $3 billion of potential relief,” said Smith. “This information is self-reported and has not been confirmed by the professional firms working with me. Further, it represents gross dollar amounts and cannot be used to evaluate progress toward the banks’ $20 billion obligation.”

    In addition, the report provides an update on the banks’ implementation of the settlement’s servicing standards.

    “As of July 5, the servicers reported to me that 56 servicing standards have been incorporated into their business processes,” continued Smith. “Implementation of the mortgage servicing standards outlined in the settlement can be an important contribution to reform of the mortgage finance system.

    “More hard work remains as the banks work to meet their obligations. My colleagues and I look forward to that work and to keeping policymakers and the public informed of our progress.”

    The report contains a summary of the settlement and its terms, along with information on how Smith has set up the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight to carry out his duties as Monitor. The report also provides an update on servicing standards implementation and summarizes the data that servicers voluntarily provided to Smith as progress of relief given between March 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012.

    About the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight
    More information about the mortgage settlement is available at http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com. Further information about Joseph Smith and the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight is available at http://www.mortgageoversight.com.
    ###
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    Copyright © 2012 Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, All rights reserved.
    Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight
    301 Fayetteville St.
    Suite 1801
    Raleigh, NC 27601

    Add us to your address book

  16. Dirk77

    Interesting observation from that American Conservative article about how the plutocrats are defending their inverted Lenin type of Marxism. I remember an Ayn Rand comment from years ago. She said that it was a sign of the intellectual bankruptcy of Socialism/Communism when its apologists, when faced with all the evidence to the contrary, dropped the argument that it was going to benefit people overall, but instead now just claimed that it was just moral in some absolute religious sense. Free market Capitalism’s turn to bite the dust I guess.

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