Links 10/14/12

The ‘New’ Old Age Is No Way to Live Wall Street Journal. Ahem, the ancients who gave the advice he relies on all had slaves.

Biofuels Benefit Billionaires Science Daily (Chuck L)

Scientists: New GMO wheat may ‘silence’ vital human genes Digital Journal

Drought is leading restaurants to raise prices, cut portions Los Angeles Times

New web-based model for sharing research datasets could have huge benefits Science Daily (Chuck L)

Is it real? Physicists propose method to determine if the universe is a simulation PhysOrg. You mean we might wake up from this? Don’t get me too hopeful.

The REAL Reason America Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan (It Was Not To End the War Or Save Lives) George Washington

China evictions increase, leading to more unrest USA Today (MBH)

Merkel Sees No Alternative to ‘Arduous’ Euro-Area Overhaul Bloomberg. Translation: the beatings will continue until morale improves. A dissenting view: Greece Will Probably Leave Euro Within Six Months, Borg Says Bloomberg

Troika Out of Control: Suggests Greeks Living on Small Islands Be …Relocated Keep Talking Greece

Syria bans Turkish civil flights BBC

Abe Foxman Threatens to End Jewish-Christian Interfaith Dialogue Over Investigation Request EdwardTeller, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Romney surge in Ohio tests both campaigns’ strategies Los Angeles Times

Romney’s Dog-Whistle Campaign Bears Predictable Fruit Crooks and Liars (Chuck L)

Glorious Irony: True the Vote Missed Possibly the Only Case of Voter Fraud In the Country – By A GOP Candidate Down the Road Common Dreams (Aquifer)

Pinkwashing Fracking? Counterpunch (Aquifer)

Questions From a Bailout Eyewitness Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Foreclosures may ease shortage of homes for sale Sun Sentinel (Florida). Per Lisa Epstein: Propaganda – celebrate the increase in Florida foreclosures

JPMorgan Chase’s Debt Collection Agency’s Sleazy Tactics to Squeeze Student Loans Debtors of Their Last Cash Alternet (Aquifer)

First Major Exhibition Devoted to History of Manipulated Photography Before Digital Age Metropolitan Museum (Dr Kevin)

Manipulated America: One Theory of How They Control US Jonathan Turley (Chuck L). Not bad, but they are starting WAY WAY too late. Propaganda was already well established by the 1970s, see Alex Carey’s Taking the Risk out of Democracy (which goes back to 1907), the Century of the Self (to the 1920s) or the work of Walter Lippman and Eddie Bernays, who were apologists for propaganda after the American public learned it had been used on a massive scale to stoke hatred for Germany during World War I (see Creel Committee for details).

Social Policy and Poverty: Don’t Fear Europe! Dissent (Paul Tioxon)

The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent Chrystia Freeland, New York Times

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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  1. Peter Pinguid Society

    Re: Self-destruction of the one percent

    “The things we most desire often lead to our ruin.” – Juvenal (tenth satire)

    So I bought a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 999 Red Gold Dream Ueli Anliker for $9,377,900.00.

    Each of the SLR’s wheels are covered in 24 carat gold in addition to the gold covered headlights and door sills.

    In addition to the exterior upgrades modifications, the interior boasts jewelled indicators, gold trimmed steering wheel and ruby-covered switchgear. In total there are more than 600 rubies on the inside of the car. The supercharged 5.4-litre engine has been power boosted from 640bhp to 999 bhp – giving it a top speed of more than 210mph.

    But then I asked myself, what’s the point of showing off this car in the Hamptons where everyone is either a billionaire or at least a millionaire many times over, they’re not going to be impressed. I wanted to really flaunt my wealth, but where?

    During a golf game at the Sebonack, someone told me Spain is experiencing a lot of poverty and economic distress these days so decided to go there. First I had my Mercedes delivered to Madrid, then I flew over.

    I started driving along the virtually deserted motorways of central and southern Spain. Except for the weekends and the start of holidays, the motorways are an almost exclusively male universe, populated by salesmen and truck drivers, where the only publications available are porn mags and magazines for car maintenance.

    This 99 percent universe I discovered is not much talked about, and it’s true there’s not much to say about it. It’s a little known world, and gains nothing from being so.

    First I tried showing off my new car to tired waitresses in “Naughty Girl” T-shirts, but that got old in a hurry.

    My red Mercedes did not help me form any virile friendships during my travels in Spain, and more generally I felt close to none of the 99 percenters that I encountered during those few weeks. But that wasn’t a problem, as I had no desire to become close to the 99 percent, I was only here to impress them and make them green with envy.

    It was on the N-340 highway, precisely at exit 631, direction E-5 Cádiz, that I decided to put an end to this dismal ride. I had parked my car in the last available space of the parking lot of the hotel and restaurant Casa Manteca, where I went in to have a beer.

    When I got back I realized that what first looked like carelessly parked Chevrolet Corvette was in fact deliberately blocking my $10 million car. The prospect of returning to the bar and searching for the owner was enough to plunge me into a discouraged gloom.

    What kind of sordid 99 percent Andalusian macho type was I going to bump into? The way my car was blocked in added an undercurrent of social hatred towards the 0.01 percent, so he probably resented the fact that my car was worth 100 times more than his car. My José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero bumper stickers were not going to help the situation.

    I knew that for flaunting my wealth, I was about to get my teeth smashed in by a heavy-goods truck driver, or perhaps a dozen of them, in a parking lot, amid the gasoline fumes, that this is what it had all come down to.

    It wasn’t fair, I tried to think of all the good I’ve done in my life. Although nothing came to mind, this is because I was panic-stricken and not thinking clear.

    It took me almost an hour, and half a pack of cigarettes to pluck up the courage to return to the bar.

    I immediately identified the individual, slouched at the end of the counter. He was around 6 foot two, 240 pounds, his face was covered with scars (each one of which told a violent story), his arms covered completely in tattoos. And some of these tattoos had clearly been self-done, perhaps with a carving knife…

    I had been right to fear the worst….

    I sent a text message to my assistant Gladys to spare no expense at my funeral, gold casket, platinum headstone, upscale white flowers such as Casablanca Lilies or White Chrysanthemums. Make certain that it cost more than any member of the Sebonack Golf Club had ever paid for a funeral.

    And then with all the courage I could muster, I stepped forward to meet my fate.

    “We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent.”

    Note: Juvenal’s tenth satire was written probably some time around A.D. 120, during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, the poet then in his fifties. The importance of the tenth satire in English literature is that it was the model for Samuel Johnson’s excellent, though gloomy poem, “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” published in 1749.

    1. diplodocus

      i hope you are ‘collecting’ these in some form for commercialization… hilarious reading… thanks

      1. Peter Pinguid Society


        Thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed it. However these stories were written just for fun, with no commercial intent.

    2. Bill

      I always read your posts Mr. Penguid, and enjoy them.

      But I must say, reading about your uncontested surrender to a scruffy member of the 0.99% was quite depressing. Surely you could have paid another of those treacherous villains to take care of it for you…….a hubcap or two would have done it, n’est ce pas ?

      1. Peter Pinguid Society

        Well, I could have saved him, of course, but then I couldn’t have had him text message those funeral instructions to Gladys, where Peter Pinguid’s dying thoughts are how to impress members of the Sebonack Golf Club.

        It was one or the other, so I decided the narrator had to go.

        1. Bert_S

          There’s always plot twists and surprise endings.

          Say, after Peter makes his funeral arrangements, the ugly 99er pulls a stilletto on our hero Peter. Peter screams and pulls a wad of c-notes out of his pocket and flings them at the monster. While the dumb jerk stops to collect all the bills from the floor, Peter flees the bar into the parking lot to find a cab waiting there. The cab was called by Peter’s assailant in preparation for the attack.Peter is now out of cash, but offers the cabbie his Rolex for a fast ride to the airport. The 99er pulled off a $10MM car jack. Peter spends his flight thinking how he’s gonna explain to his golf buddies how he lost his car.

        2. Peter Pinguid Society


          Not bad, not bad at all, that’s definitely one way the story could’ve played out. Another one I considered was have the badass take one look at Peter, at how old, weary and mediocre he looks, and conclude that the owner of the Mercedes was also a loser like him, almost a companion in misfortune, at which point he would’ve offered him a beer, then a second one, and they end up leaving the bar as friends. :)

    3. Bob Lince

      >>“The things we most desire often lead to our ruin.” – Juvenal (tenth satire)<<

      Psst. He had slaves. What he said doesn't count.

    1. WorldisMorphing

      Thanks for the link.

      Who would have thought, the decision was nothing more than an abjectly vulgar, political display of power.

      Thank god we have a political class of stronger caliber today, with a better moral compass, and devoid of any mediocre hacks [cough]…so no vulgar display of power could ever happen again…[cough]

  2. LeeAnne

    NY Times article: The irony of the political rise of the plutocrats is that, like Venice’s oligarchs, they threaten the system that created them. after 3 pages

    No kidding.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Tears for hard-up Harvard:

    College and university endowment returns for the most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, are starting to roll in. Harvard reported a 0.05 percent loss and a drop in its endowment of over $1 billion in the same period, even as [the S&P 500] gained about 5.5 percent.

    Data for the 2011 fiscal year show that large, medium and small endowments all underperformed a simple mix of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds over one-, three- and five-year periods.

    “The compelling simplicity of a 60/40 strategy is very hard to beat,” said Timothy Keating. “Many investors would be much better served with a simple 60/40 strategy, or at least a core where you have low-cost index funds. When you understand the role of transaction fees, it’s a very high mountain to scale.”

    This same article could have been written 10 or 20 years ago, and probably can be reprinted verbatim 10 years hence. Not only do most active managers add no value, but thanks to their lavish fees, they also underperform simple passive portfolios such as 60% stocks and 40% bonds.

    In a world of sub-2 percent bond and dividend yields, even a modest 1 percent annual management fee consumes half your income. By contrast, the expense ratio of the largest S&P 500 ETF is one tenth of that amount (0.10%).

    Wall Street skilfully exploits the same human impulse that drives the fashion industry. You can spend a fortune chasing the hot names in investment management and haute couture, but you’re likely to end up neither richer nor better clothed than those who stick to simple, classic formulas.

  4. barrisj

    Meanwhile, another despatch from the Freedom’s wars front:

    Iraq records huge rise in birth defects
    New study links increase with military action by Western forces

    It played unwilling host to one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. Fallujah’s homes and businesses were left shattered; hundreds of Iraqi civilians were killed. Its residents changed the name of their “City of Mosques” to “the polluted city” after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. Now, one month before the World Health Organisation reveals its view on the legacy of the two battles for the town, a new study reports a “staggering rise” in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war.

    High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

    There is “compelling evidence” to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the new research.

    US marines first bombarded Fallujah in April 2004 after four employees from the American security company Blackwater were killed, their bodies burned and dragged through the street, with two of the corpses left hanging from a bridge. Seven months later, the marines stormed the city for a second time, using some of the heaviest US air strikes deployed in Iraq. American forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus shells, although they never admitted to using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects.

    Fallujah was massively assaulted the second time immediately following Bush’s re-election in November, 2004, in what has remained the most intensive use of armaments of all types against a narrowly defined target area during the entire Iraqi war. It was almost exclusively a US military operation, carried on with enormous savagery against a predominately civilian population, as “retaliation” for the justifiable murder of four US paramilitary contractors several months previously. And we shall read in the months and years ahead more instances of biological insult as a result of the US invasion, much as the consequences of biological warfare carried out in Vietnam in the ’60s and ’70s by use of Agent Orange and its deadly cargo of dioxins. Now, once again the US is guilty of crimes against humanity, with its no-holds-barred approach to warfare, unsparing of innocents and combatants both. But who will bring the Americans into the dock at The Hague? The US is and will be a signatory to a myriad of conventions defining “humane conduct of warfare”, whatever, but when push comes to shove, it displays the same disregard for humanity as the Nazis did in WWII. Victor’s justice yet again.

    1. ambrit

      Dear barrisj;
      Not to worry. The U.S. is doing it to itself as well, what with GMO crops, deregulated drugs production, fracking, and a whole host of other crimes. The real zombie plague is just beginning.

      1. Aquifer

        Methinks you got it – MN cannot be mocked for long with impunity and payback is a bitch, so to speak …

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      They put depleted uranium last on their little list at the end of the piece, but I’d be inclined to put it first. Everything I’ve read about it indicates it is a horror.

      1. synopticist

        Yes, DU and phospherous are nasty things.
        But, Fallujah was also where Saddam concentrated his WMD programme, and where they possibly just buried everything WMD related after ’91.

        The question is-did these horrible defects pre-date the invasion? Some have suggested they did.

        1. Aquifer

          Well – got any stats about incidence between ’91 and ’04?

          But seriously – are you suggesting these American WMDs are “benign”?

          1. synopticist

            No, and no i’m not denying the nastiness of the weapons used in Fallujah.

            But the birth defects thing is not a new story, there were a bunch of articles about it a few years back, specifically in Fallujah. Buried WMDs was one explanation offered. It’s difficult to imagine the Baath party were too particular about carefully disposing of them.

            It could be a highly toxic combination of depeleted uranium in the air and chemical weaponry seeping into the groundwater.

    3. Paul Tioxon

      Iraq under sanctions before Iraq War II, had its public water utility system destroyed, directly killing an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children due to no drinking water to take regular medications, among other things. So agrees Sec of State Madeleine Albright, but no one reported on it because Saddam Hussein was the devil and his kingdom had to fall.

  5. craazyman

    When I asked the Ouija board if the universe is a simulation it just said “Maybe”. Then I asked it how I can wake myself up and see reality for what it truly is, and it said “Get an alarm clock.” Well whatever, I guess even the spirits can be snarky.

    Each photograph is a born as a manipulation even before it’s manipulated. Have we questioned the French philosophers on this? I think not, which is probably a good idea.

    Sheila Bair actually seems pretty solid in that NY Times article. Maybe she can be president, somehow. I don’t know how, but my opinion is irrelevant anyway.

    self destruction of 1% — see this is just more of the same yada. these so-called journalists wander around and only talk to the 1% or big name academics or go to conferences in Davos and think they’ve accomplished something. What they should do is this: Go over to Long Island City and interview the cabbies, mechanics, bakery workers, carpenters, electricians, diner waitresses, bus drivers, barbers, cops and metalworkers. It’s only 1 subway stop from Grand Central Station. One small subway ride for a man, one giant leap for a NY Times columnist. Or just ask a Ouija Board. Do something, anything, outside the box! Just to put some life into it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have maintained all along that we must catch that butterfly for interrogation to find out if it’s dream us or not.

    2. neo-realist

      If Sheila ran for the presidency, she’d have to really come to grips with some of the reprobate politics of her party–anti-choice, anti social security, anti-civil rights, anti-anybody who isn’t 1%.

      As cool as she sounds in the NYT, it remains to be seen if she could throw off the shackles of her corrupt party and go an independent route.

    3. PunchnRun

      With apology to Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently advanced simulation is indistinguishable from reality.

  6. Judy C.

    George Washington Blog story about real reason US used nukes agaisnt Japan isn’t there when you click through. The page has been removed. Govt maybe??

    1. diplodocus

      i thought it was ‘common knowledge’ that they wanted to ‘see what would happen’… damn, the ‘conspiracist’ mentality has really taken over (everywhere)

      1. MacCruiskeen

        It’s an exaggeration to say that it was “just to see what would happen.” But, this figured heavily in the target selection. It was quite deliberate to choose a previously unbombed city. And indeed, this is “common knowledge.” For instance, Richard Rhodes’ book, Making of the Atomic Bomb, spends a fair bit of space on this (interestingly, Secretary of War Stimson actually removed Kyoto from the list, twice. Partly out of respect for the ancient capital, but partly because he figured the loss of Kyoto would be too hard for post-war Japan to bear).

        GWB: making a hash of the already known, as usual.

  7. Susan the other

    So what happens to the Doge and all his books and ledgers and extractions when everyone realizes that money really does grow on trees? Leaves are a mere simulation. Capital and labor are the same thing still. Whatever you do is paid for by the doing. No need for extraneous growth to pay for debt interest. No need for interest at all. Plenty of money to reverse all toxic pollution and mass extinctions. No reason to exploit. Deprive. The door is wide open. And the Doge is having an existential crisis.

        1. craazyman

          Frankly, I don’t even know how. It’s the supermarket or starve for me.

          Or, more honestly, food delivery from all the take-out menus in my kitchen drawer.

          If I had to fend for myself in a state of nature, I’d give myself about a week. But maybe only a day or two, if panic set in.

          That’s why I need a 10-bagger. Why else would I be reading all this economics stuff every day? Why do you? Are you looking to make some quick money in the market so you can lay around and do nothing and not worry?

          1. Susan the other

            No Craazy. I’m not at all self interested. I know I sound nuts, but I’m totally – totally – serious. If we humans were infused with enough “money” – think adenosinetriphospate (the article about amoebas or stg metabolic, about a year ago which complained about the banks sucking all the blood out of the corpse) – we could accomplish an “economy” without distortions. I believe the distortions we now suffer for lack of means, cause us to rape and pillage the planet. Etc.

          2. craazyman

            actually the other day I was reading a speech by Cicero calling out Cataline for his conspiracy against the senate.

            This was English not Latin. It wasn’t that good, frankly.

            So it must have lost something, but it was like some rant by a psychotic ex about all your deficiencies. A harang, a screed that found some sort of instinctive, barely constrained rythm that must have been good in Latin, of condemnation and obsession and rage. Then he even said Cataline should be killed, right there. Maybe it was deserved, I’m not saying it wasn’t. But what I am saying is there was an obsessive-compulsive psychosis going on, even in the speech itself.

            This was 2000 years ago, can you imagine all the empty space all over Italy? Europe? but somehow there wasn’t enough to go around. Everybody had to have “it”. Whatever it was. Whatever “it” is. It is still it. Even now. No matter what. I don’t think anything is really scarce. “Resources” as the economists say. They are not scarce. Even now. They are everywhere. But it’s not enough. People want “it” and they don’t even know what it is. It’s almost funny. I think I know what “it” is, but I’ll ask the Ouija Board too. But I doubt it knows. or if it does, it won’t tell me. haha

          3. diplodocus

            you ever watch that hbo series rome? they got cicero about right.. i read his ‘philosophical/law’ writings when i was younger… very clever… but the guy was a .01 % all the way…
            speaking of the hbo show-i loved it when the working class, thug soldier (titus pullo)killed him kindly/with ‘respect’… beautiful scene

          4. Bert_S


            My Ouija Board is a piece of crap. I should take the thing back to the store. It keeps telling me “What’s with all the questions, dude? Get a Mattel Magic Eight Ball, mon!”

            Can’t beleive I paid money for the thing.

      1. Aquifer

        “Of course, any conclusions resulting from such work would be limited by the possibility that everything we think we understand about quantum chromodynamics, or simulations for that matter, could be flawed.”

        Naaaaw ….

          1. Antifa

            Your suggestion that we all go out and rape and pillage the planet only because we don’t have any money raises the question: how would we 9 billion naked apes behave if we all had all the money we need?

            Money, in this context, meaning we all have all the things we want during each day, for the asking. Like Captain Picard, we all have a machine on the wall which produces a cup of Earl Grey tea, hot, on demand. Or anything else you demand.

            What would we demand, as a species?

            I once heard a story about Hershey Chocolate. I’ve no idea if it’s true or not, nor does it matter. It seems they had a factory making candy bars, and went to great trouble and expense to stop their employees from eating candy off the assembly line. To no avail.

            Until they stopped trying to stop them. Instead, they encouraged everyone to eat all the chocolate they wanted. Take some home every day for the family. Just have at it.

            It got pretty wild for a week or two, but gradually settled down to a very reliable shrinkage rate of about .07%. Everyone, and all their relatives, soon got heartily sick of chocolate, and returned their attentions to other things.

            What any one of us would do with all our tomorrows after we knew there was no more need to work, ever, is a question for each one of us to ponder.

            What we would collectively do as a species can only be discovered by trying the experiment. There are so many things about humans that are insatiable, from curiosity to greed to love to lust to ingenuity to stupidity and a whole lot more.

            Would we recreate the world we have now, where money is hoarded to create power over other lives?

            Would we look after our planet as our garden of Eden?

            Would we still shoot elephants just to watch them fall over?

          2. charles sereno

            Antifa, as a college student, I worked at a Bun Candy Bar factory feeding chunks of milk chocolate into large copper kettles for melting. The novelty of “chocolate for free” wore off in the first 2 or 3 days. Supervision was non-existent.

          3. YouDon'tSay?

            I’ve never felt a need to shoot an elephant, especially since I’ve never actually seen one in the wild, but I suppose shooting one or two simply to “watch them fall over,” might be OK. But I get what you’re saying nonetheless. Personal disclosure: I have NOTHING against elephants. Although, I DO agree with your main point. People that shoot things just for the pleasure of shooting things, not so much.

          4. Bert_S

            I met an elephant at the zoo once. He was really nice. He stuck his trunk thru the fence and I already know enough about elephants to know that’s how they say “hello”. They want to sniff your hand, which is an elephants way of taking your picture. It’s not that they are trying to bum peanuts off you, which is more than I can say about a lot of people.

            So I let him sniff my hand, feed him all my peanuts anyway, and took his picture with my camera. Next I met a giraffe.

  8. Nick

    Thanks for highlighting the article on
    Genetically modified wheat.

    California, the eighth largest economy in the world,
    is about to strike a blow for all humanity by
    forcing the labeling of this genetic junk in your food

    This is the finest video on why GMOs, (genetically Modified Organisms) are the cause of infertility, miscarriage, sick children and dying adults.

    1. diane

      see my response a tad below, as I thought it deserved a whole new, far left margined, …. response, …versus even honoring your comment as something valid.

      Not to say that you’re at fault, …you may be missing quite a few facts.

    2. Aquifer

      Thanx for this link! Pretty good summary of the big picture …

      Thought the last couple of minutes were especially interesting – when critters were given a choice between GMO and non GMO feed – they picked the non GMO every time – don’t think you can apply “placebo” or “confirmation bias” concepts there …

  9. charles sereno

    Yves’ comment about “The ‘New’ Old Age Is No Way to Live” and slaves was right on. Cicero once wrote an essay (which I was required to translate) about the pleasures of old age… without anticipating his head being publicly displayed on a well-traveled bridge. Worth reading.

  10. Aquifer

    Well, chalk another one up for GMOs ….

    Wonder what it will take before we adopt the Precautionary Principle when dealing with our food …

  11. diane

    Nick, when you speak to “California” ‘doing something right’ ….you speak to those 99.99999999% of the Politicians currently representing the “Golden [Showers] State” who are absent of humility …and humanity …. (from my experience) doing something of benefit for the better side of humanity ….. . A state where the ‘ROTC Jesuit’ Guverner …..proclaimed a banker, the “Jobs Czar” (Czar??????? …. for just one despicable thing).

    If that gmo labeling does come to pass, … you appear to think it will: it will more likely be because so many obscenely wealthy reside in, or, frequently visit Cali than any thought whatsoever for the multitudes of humanity who will be sickened by that gmo “foood” ….

    1. diane

      I mean, …after all: if Cali isn’t a major artery/shadow guvernment (to the misery ridden: a needle ridden collapsed and deadly …lethal … vein) to that DC Swamp, ….. along with Tejas, Illinoize, Flourida, and Noo York …I really don’t know what is.

  12. Herman Sniffles

    If physicists proved that reality is a simulation it would just show that the simulation is in truth reality. Or – wait a minute – have I got that backwards?

  13. NancyinStL

    re: the GM wheat genes – The article didn’t say what the gene were or what the genes affected. Until that happens, I am forced to conclude that the article is simply “alarmist”.

    1. Aquifer

      So whose job is it to prove it’s a “false” alarm? Wonder what would have happened had a whole lot of folks paid more attention to the “alarmists” who warned about cigs before all those great scientific “proofs” were in.

      Precautionary Principle – the responsibility of the introducer of something new or novel to prove that something is NOT harmful, as opposed to that of any of those “alarmists”‘ to prove that it is ….

      With regard to folks, innocent til proven guilty is fine, with regard to products, guilty ’til proven innocent is better …. These days we seem to have switched that around …

  14. LeonovaBalletRusse

    MORALITY in Central Bank World Bestrides Atlantic:

    “Prostitution was more regulated before,” Mr. Delarue said, “but it was for a certain type of population. Today among all those women, there are occasional prostitutes, and sometimes they’re top models who try to make ends meet. They aren’t miserable women on the sidewalk.”
    . . .
    “He’s not the only libertine man in the political world,” said Olivia Cattan, who leads an anti-sexism association called Words of Women and believes the case reflects a code of silence. “It is linked to power, and women are often complicit when it can guarantee them a job.”

    //*”While Mr. Strauss-Kahn awaits the outcome of his legal cases, he is shaping a new role for himself after being disowned by his Socialist party.
    . . .
    “He’s a man of incredible moral strength,” said Michel Taubmann, his biographer.
    . . .
    “And in a tribute to the whole affair, two French entrepreneurs are promoting a saffron-flavored soda to mix for cocktails at fashionable Paris bars. They are branding it as an aphrodisiac with a memorable label: Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s –initials, DSK.”*//

    Will there be Louis Vuitton Dildo next, bearing the motto: *IMF PornPower*?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Oh, I almost forgot this bit:

      “They knew each other largely through their membership as French Freemasons.”

  15. Garrett Pace

    Nuking Japan:

    A lot of the accounts in the article seem self-serving. These statements were made, some of them, at the height of the Cold War, and should be understood in that context.

    American planes bombed Japanese targets more or less continually for a year and a half, stopping when Japan capitulated.

    We can rightly single out two of those bombing runs because they both required just a single plane – but only as a symbol for the destructive capabilities of the atomic age. If four hundred planes had burned Hiroshima to the ground with boring old napalm, would anybody outside of Japan have remembered it? I can’t say that those two bombs are any more or less moral than what we did to the rest of their country. This is a funny dualism, and I think it shows our deep discomfort at any military doctrine of “total war”.

    Look at us today. We are perfectly able to destroy countries without resorting to our vast nuclear arsenal. But now we flatter ourselves that we are surgical and precise, not big and messy like an atom bomb.

    1. wunsacon

      Garett, supposedly, before the firebombing of Dresden, an RAF memo mentioned that part of the display was to “show the Russians what Bomber Command can do”. That’s consistent with the argument alleging the A-bomb/Cold War association.

      It seems pretty logical to me: “Don’t f with us. We might respond disproportionately to make an example out of you.”

  16. Herman Sniffles

    This seems kind of weird to me. I was watching the Galbraith video linked above on youtube. It is part two of a four part series. So when I finished part two I went to part one to watch it too. But when I went to part one, I noticed on that particular youtube page a link to this program:

    It’s a very intersting video on the simulation hypothesis, which is the subject of another unrelated article in the links section of this site. So what’s the connection between Galbraith’s crooked tycoons and the simulation hypothesis? Why would they both show up on the same page of NC and on the same page of youtube? Is NC actually running the universe? Should I start making nicer comments? At the very end of the simulation video, one of the physicists opines that one of the main features of the universe – and one of its more charming aspects – is that it is “weird.” Man he got that right.

    1. Bert_S

      Econ is a simulation, and finance is too, now. So they need to get the physicists on board to prove that the universe is indeed connected.

  17. Herman Sniffles

    “re: the GM wheat genes – The article didn’t say what the gene were or what the genes affected. Until that happens, I am forced to conclude that the article is simply “alarmist”.”

    Troll, troll, troll your boat gently through the site. Merrily, merrily, merrily, with a vapid slight.

  18. Bert_S

    Biofuels Benefit Billionaires

    So…it’s official. Rich people plan to burn our food supply in their learjets, yachts and lambos.

    yikkes. Get the pitchfork. Whoops. rich people own all the farms.


    One hope left…mega multinational VW/Audi has partnered with Joule Unlimited:

    Actually, I think VW/Audi is more interested in the bio-diesel than ethanol, being the largest diesel car mfg. They have made a big investment in clean diesel engine tech.

  19. Max424

    re: George Washington & the bomb

    So the history that I’ve been taught, that Kimona-clad Japanese women, using guile and pitchforks, would have extracted one million American casualties if we had not dropped the bombs –and invaded instead– is inaccurate?


    When thinking about the end of the war in the Pacific, you have to ask two (rhetorical) questions:

    1) What was more important to Japanese leadership in the summer of 45, loosing all face (by doing the unthinkable, give up the Emperor!), or dying?

    2) From a strategic standpoint, what was more important to Japan, two more leveled cities (numbers 121 and 122 in the rubble column), or the Soviet’s annihilation of Japan’s crown jewel, the Kwantung Army in China?

    By the 11th of August, 1945, unimpeded Red Army columns were racing through Manchuria for the coast, invasion barges from Vladivostok sailing to meet them. The communists –the barbarians!– were at the gates of the Land of the Rising Sun!

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in comparison, meant nothing.

    Note I: We could have dropped 40 atomic bombs on Japan, but if we didn’t finally relent, and drop the Unconditional Surrender terms, and negotiate a settlement, Japan would still be fighting.

    Note II: On 15th of August, 1945, the day Japan announced its surrender, 1,000 B-29s pounded Tokyo for a third and final time.

    Why did we bomb the ruins of Japan’s capitol when the war was essentially over? Why not? It was still technically, a target.

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