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Links 11/05/2012

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Building Small: In Many Industries, Economies of Size Is Shifting to Economies of Numbers Science Daily

Why Great Sign Language Interpreters Are So Animated Atlantic

Steven Davidoff Whitewashes the Investment Banks in the NYT CEPR

Zeitgeist watch: The 2012 U. S. Presidential Elections: Reversals, Revelations and Renewal (LT). Mercury in retrograde.

The wrong side absolutely must not win A. Barton Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch (BR)

Against Voting: “As long as we live, we shall have to live together with ourselves”  Power of Narrative

Third party laziness, 2012 edition Pruning Shears

Obama, Romney & Enthusiasm Angry Bear

Obama Robocall Urging Support for Love Desegregation PatriotBoy. Subtext: “Leave it up to the states.”

The Politics of Fear NYRB

Video: The Undecided The New Yorker

The Difference Between Bush’s First Term Vs. Obama’s First Term In One Devastating Chart Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider

The Scariest Jobs Chart, Private Sector Edition Atlantic

The Myth That Screwed Up 50 Years of U.S. Foreign Policy FP. Headline, “myth”; url, ‘lie.”

1-star firing a public rebuke for decorated CO Navy Times. Carrier Admiral on duty in the Arabian Sea. “Leadership judgment.” Not sex, so… ?

Greece braced for crucial votes FT. Parliamentary.

The Bailout Of Russian “Black Money” In Cyprus Testosterone Pit

Scandinavian countries top the list of world’s most prosperous nations… but U.S. drops out of top ten for the first time Daily Mail

A letter from Athens Al Jazeera. Golden Dawn MP also fascist-themed T-shirt vendor. Synergy!

China’s ‘new Manhattan’ becomes censorship capital FT

China economy: Non-manufacturing sector growth picks up BBC

China’s Non-Manufacturing Industries Signal Rebound Ahead Bloomberg

Watchdog inspectors divided on fault activity at Oi nuclear plant site Asahi Shimbun

Useless Liberal Intellectuals FDL. Until the last college President is strangled with the entrails of the last post-structuralist…

How MIT Became the Most Important University in the World Boston Magazine

Attacks on Social Security Are Attacks on Today’s Youth, The Seniors of 2050 and Beyond FDL. “When politicians declared war on Social Security…” Well, which?

Abstract thinking can make you more politically moderate University of Illinois

A Lost Generation? Not Even Wrong

The professional ‘cuddler’ who makes $260 a day by inviting strangers to take a nap with her at home Daily Mail

Our Paedophile Culture LRB. The BBC.

* * *

Mission elapsed time: T + 56 and counting*

Major Danby replied indulgently with a superior smile: “But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way.”"Then,” said Yossarian, “I’d certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn’t I?” –Joseph Heller, Catch 22

Readers: Yves has asked me to live blog election eve, so I will see those of you who are interested here at around 4:30PM on Tuesday.

More Hurricane Sandy

NJ. Voting: Via email and fax.  …. Voting: Via physical ballot (AH). …. Power: Still, a quarter of New Jersey and almost a tenth of New York remained in the dark, the Department of Energy said. … Power: ” By today, NJ’s power losses dropped to 999,927, according to the Energy Department.” … Power <-> gas: ” One gas station in Little Ferry, NJ still without power is now using a gasoline powered generator to pump gasoline in small quantities.” Rather like ethanol, if you think about it. … Class warfare: “The enormity of the crisis in New Jersey has not yet been fully grasped by national media. While shore locales are typically associated with luxury, innumerable working-to-upper middle class homes have also been devastated. At Seaside Heights, the foreboding odor of gas leaks is now ubiquitous. On Wednesday I visited Atlantic City, five miles north of where Sandy made landfall. President Barack Obama and Governor Christie toured the devastation in Brigantine, just across the bay. Many poor, primarily black residents who live in the shadows of the iconic casinos had been scattered – fled to shelters or with relatives – and were not even being allowed back in the city yet. For those who stayed behind, preparing to vote was hardly a consideration. Lives are still at risk. It is now getting very cold, and the elderly are without heat. People cannot fuel their cars to go to work, nevermind drive to the polls. Turnout across New Jersey will almost certainly be low on Tuesday, which would likely favour Mitt Romney. Further, those displaced by the storm are disproportionately low-income people of colour, a crucial D constituency.” … Public good: ” If you are in a Sandy impact zone, call your congressman and senators and let them know how disappointed you are that AT&T and the other telecoms are using their data allowance caps to extort money from you in the absence of landline and wifi accessibility. Tell them that this disaster has taught you that the telecomms who provide cell service are actually public utilities and that they should be regulated like a public utility.” … Solidarity: “‘I know a lot of people not working,’ he said. ‘But the town came together — the people that have power are helping other people charge phones. I think it made Hoboken a better place. On a regular day, everybody sticks to who you know. Now people have extension cords just hanging out their windows. It gives me hope for the world.”

NY. Heat: “‘These are public housing projects where sand and water got into the boilers and electrical systems got destroyed. We don’t have a lot of empty housing in this city so it’s really a problem to find housing,’ Mr Bloomberg said.” I know! Privatize them! … Staten Island: “But when we finally made it to Crescent Beach, the scale of the damage was total.” … Power: “[14] much-needed generators sat idle all day yesterday in a rental company’s New Jersey parking lot after they were moved from the Staten Island staging area of the New York City Marathon — less than two miles from some of superstorm Sandy’s hardest-hit victims” (AH). … Food: “Thousands of New Yorkers affected by Sandy are still without access to food or water–but don’t worry guys, because you’re about to get some chips and soda! Governor Cuomo announced today that Walmart and PepsiCo will be donating snacks, beverages and supplies to New Yorkers in need. So much for Bloomberg’s attempt to banish every trans-fat and sugary drink from the city, they’re about to be brought in by the truckload.” … Solidarity: “‘When are we going to get some f****** help?’ one woman demanded of the billionaire mayor. ‘There’s old ladies in my building that don’t got nothing,’ one furious man told Bloomberg.”

NOTE: Swing states in bold italic, with (poll closing).

CO (9:00pm ET) The Obame: “Thousands of people huddled in the late-night cold Sunday awaiting Obama and acoustic sensation Dave Matthews. Most polls — including a Denver Post poll out Sunday — put Romney and Obama at a statistical tie.” … The Romney: “Romney, who spoke earlier in the day in Colorado Springs, positioned himself as a practical problem-solver, someone who would work with both parties to find solutions. ‘I won’t just represent one party,’ Romney said. ‘I’ll represent one nation.’” Among those who have already voted, Obama leads 49% to 46%, and he leads 45% to 42% among those who say they will vote before Tuesday. Only with Election Day voters — 18 percent of respondents — does Romney lead, 47% to 42%.” … Mass incarceration: “Three days ago, CO shut down a brand-new prison it didn’t need. Unless the state government finds someone else who can use it, CO taxpayers can expect to spend $208 million for an empty building. The legislature [had] resorted to a financing method called “certificates of participation.” Rather than borrow money to build its own prison, the state sold certificates to investors, becoming the operator of a prison owned by a multitude of lenders.”

FL (7:00pm ET for eastern part of state; 8pm ET for the west). … Voting: “Elections officials, overwhelmed with voters, locked the doors to their Doral headquarters and temporarily shut down the operation, angering nearly 200 voters standing in line outside — only to resume the proceedings an hour later. ‘This is America, not a third-world country,’ said Myrna Peralta, who waited in line with her 4-year-old grandson for nearly two hours before the doors closed. “They should have been prepared.’” … Voting: “But the law [that reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before the election] includes a loophole: Election offices are allowed to be open for voters to drop off absentee ballots. On Sunday morning, officials in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties announced that in addition to accepting absentee ballots, their main election offices would be open all day to print out absentee ballots for voters who had not already requested them.” … Voting: “Five things that could go wrong on Election Day in FL: Long ballots, provisional ballots, absentee ballots, challenges, confusion” (explainer).

IA (10:00pm ET) Polls: “The Des Moines Register’s final poll of the year by Selzer & Co shows Obama ahead by 47% to 42% among likely IA voters. Meanwhile, Project New America and USA Action released a new Iowa poll conducted by Grove Insight on November 1 and 2, which found Obama leading Romney 47% to 44%.”

OH. Ground war: “The Obama operation established itself here by 2008, winning Ohio and, to the shock of local leaders in the county that surrounds this city, Hamilton, which had long favored Republican presidential candidates. Then it never left.”

NC. Voting: “Officials say a new problem this year is people showing up at polling places and thinking they have the right to walk right in and inspect things. In some states, ordinary citizens do actually have that ability, but in most — including NC — there are strict limits regarding observers and pre-approval is required.” Out of curiosity, is open carry permitted at the polls?

NH (7:00pm ET for most of state; 8pm ET for a few bigger cities) Polls: “Most recent polls give Obama a slight edge over Romney in NH, but within the margin of error.”

NV (10:00pm ET) Prediction: “It would be very difficult for Obama to lose Nevada, especially because I think more than two-thirds of the vote is in, so whatever turnout advantage the GOP has on Tuesday won’t be enough. Obama, 50%; Romney, 46%; others and ‘none of the above,’ 4 percent.”

OH (7:30pm ET). Voting: “[T]he state’s leading newspapers have all reported on various potential electoral controversies, and many have zeroed in on what is likely to be one of the most critical concerns for both camps–the counting of provisional and absentee ballots” (excellent survey). … Voting: “‘If we encounter outages, we have portable generators we could deploy to a limited number of locations and also have flashlight supplies on hand to help deal with that situation,’ said Jane Platten, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. ‘At this point, we are encouraged by reports from the utility companies that they hope all [Hurricane Sandy] outages will be restored by the end of Monday.’” 

PA. Power: “With so many residents still off the grid and overnight temperatures dipping into the 20s, Montgomery County officials declared a ‘code blue’ cold-weather warning, scheduled to continue through noon Monday. Lower Merion, one of the county’s hardest-hit townships, set up ‘warming stations’ at local firehouses and libraries to provide residents with a place to warm up, get a cup of coffee and other nourishment, recharge electronic equipment such as cellphones and laptops, and just have an opportunity to get outside and away from home for a bit” (PT). … The Rpmney: “Romney drew a crowd of 30,000 at a rally Sunday evening, as supporters from both sides of the Delaware River converged on a suburban Philadelphia farm. People waited for hours to get into the rally in a stiff wind and temperatures falling through the 40s, sending a message of support in this red corner of the state.” Impressive, but what the heck is Romney doing there? “Little early voting”?

VA (7:00pm ET). Voting: “Friday a coalition of voter advocates lodged a formal complaint about the guidance [True the Vote] has offered [through its manual for poll watchers]. One they pinpoint is a section on when polls close advising that people who vote after polls close should cast a provisional ballot that’s kept separate from other votes. The manual also notes that VA law allows anyone in line by the time polls close to vote. That’s a conflicting message that could cause problems at the polls, according to some who signed the letter. Another complaint is that the wording in the manual on voter identification laws is imprecise, given changes VA made to its law this year.”

WAi>. Gay marriage: Obama Robocall Urging Support for Love Desegregation. Policy: “Leave it up to the states.”

WI (9:00pm ET) Voting: “The hundreds of thousands of people who vote by absentee ballots in Wisconsin might not realize mail-in ballots are probably the least reliable way to ensure a vote is counted, said Barry Burden, a UW-Madison political science professor.” … Voting: “Wisconsin is a ‘same-day registration state,’ meaning it’s easy to vote at the last minute so the Democrats hope the Boss will help them rouse people to the ballot boxes. ‘The general belief is that voters who move around a lot or students are going to lean Democratic and they’re going to register on Election Day,” said Burden” (Burden’s in everyone’s Rolodex!)

Outside baseball. Polarization: “‘[P]olarization has grown because Ds and Rs are representing moderate districts in increasingly extreme ways.’ We can add that this appears to be true in all the other districts, too” (charts). … Oil: “Crude shipments are now the fastest-growing product for several big U.S. and Canadian Class 1 railroads after oil output expanded more quickly than pipeline capacity.” … Freedom: “Freedom exists only if we are prepared to do things which are not in our material interest.” … Hurricane Sandy: “If Google is doing the best job of collecting and presenting the data citizens need during — and after — a natural disaster, then, unless news organizations can match it, they should be doing their best to share and promote Google’s map.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. “Fever”: “Biden said that if President Obama is re-elected, the R ‘fever’ will break and some level of bipartisanship would return to Washington.” Just in time for the Grand Bargain! How convenient.

The trail. Polls: “President Obama heads into election day with a narrow lead in two carefully watched national polls, with the Pew Research Center projecting a 50% to 47% margin for the president over Romney and the NBC/Wall St. Journal poll finding him ahead 48% to 47%.” … Polls: “As of this writing, on Sunday evening, Obama led by an average of 1.3 percentage points across 12 national polls that had been published over the course of the prior 24 hours. On Saturday, we wrote that state polls would have to be statistically biased against Mr. Romney for him to win the Electoral College. Now, it may be the case that the national polls would have to be biased against him as well’” (Nate Silver). … Swing counties: “Of the 18 stops that Obama and/or Biden will make, eight are in counties that went for Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2008. These are the swing counties like Arapahoe and Jefferson in CO, Hamilton in OH and Loudon in VA. The other ten stops are in traditionally solid D areas where Team Obama needs strong base turnout, such as Fairfax County, VA which gave Obama 60 percent of the vote in 2008 and Dane County, WI which gave Obama a whopping 73 percent of the vote. This tells us that Obama is focused on securing the gains they made in 2008 in key swing, suburban areas, but they are also concerned about pumping up the D base. Team Romney is targeting some of those same swing suburban areas as Team Obama, but they are also spending a lot of time in D counties like Franklin and Cuyahoga in OH, Polk in IA and Milwaukee in WI. Another ten stops are in solid R territory like El Paso County, Colorado (Colorado Springs) and Bay County, Florida (Panama City). Overall, the Romney/Ryan schedule suggests that they are more focused on wooing independent voters than simply firing up the base.” … LOTE voting; “Strategic Voting was still being debated among the far left when Obama’s senior campaign adviser and former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said a 16 year old American citizen who was blasted to bits by a US drone while he sat around a campfire with his cousins should have had a better father. … Discourse: “DOWD: …Every time you feel a losing campaign, these three things happen. [1] don’t believe — the public polls are wrong. [2] we’re going to change the nature of the electorate, and you’re not seeing it reflected in the polls. [3] the only poll that counts is Election Day. When you hear those things, you know you’re about to lose.” … Voting: Handy election eve timeline, with poll closing. Pass the popcorn! … Voting: Timeline with paths to victory. Keen graphic!

The Obama. Incentives: “TV executives believe the First Lady would be a natural to become a talk show host. She has even been compared to Oprah Winfrey.” … Nooners: “Whatever happens, Obama will not own the room again as once he did. If he wins, we will see a different presidency–even more stasis, and political struggle–but not a different president. ”

* Slogan of the day: In Following the Middle of The Road, Strive for an Even Greater Victory!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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101 comments

  1. Anonymous

    The last Mormon to attain as much reknown as Mitt Romney was Jack Anderson, the fearless muckraker who was, sadly, overshadowed by Woodward and Bernstein. In his highly recommended history of the era, journalist Mark Feldstein notes that Anderson, called before Federal prosecutors for some allegedly unlawful breach or another, stated: “The Mormon Church believes that the U.S. Constitution is divinely inspired.”

    I was sure the Republicans would seize on this tenet of the Mormon religion as a way to bring in voters by the millions.

    1. Garrett Pace

      We do believe the Constitution to be “divinely inspired”, though certainly not perfect, and the regime whose laws it defines has gotten away with some pretty bad stuff.

      Unfortunately, Gov. Romney’s platform suggests that he does not think much of the Constitution and its restrictions & guarantees.

  2. Ms G

    Shock Doctrine USA: You need look no further than Mike Bloomberg’s New York City for how it *actually* plays out.

    —————

    With the NYC Marathon canceled, all of the NYC Marathon’s generators, food, blankets, etc. were pledged to be moved immediately to Staten Island or the Rockaways Not so fast. A group of marathoners decided to hold an “impromptu race” in Central Park, so they told the towing company to stay away. And so here’s what stayed at Central Park instead of being delivered to Staten Island: (1) More than a dozen generators; (2) 20 heaters, (3) tens of thousands of Mylar “space” blankets, jackets (4) 106 crates of apples and peanuts, (5) at least 14 pallets of bottled water and (6) 22 five-gallon jugs of water. ENOUGH TO POWER UP AND FEED AND CLOTHE AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY FOR DAYS.

    A marathon security staffer working at a running generator in the park said: “Once we found out they’d still be running a marathon, we had to call all the towing vendors and tell them they couldn’t come … We can’t have these trucks coming in with the runners. It’s a safety issue.” BECAUSE MARATHONER SAFETY!

    As for City Hall — “unable to explain” why the supplies were not moved (as promised) early Saturday, since the race was canceled on Friday. LET THEM EAT DIRT AND DIE COLD!

        1. Ms G

          In this case NYP is covering Mike as Marie Antoinette — not exactly flattering, especially for a tabloid that has consistently defended Mr. Bloomberg during 3 terms in office. Shorter (by analogy): reliable on this story because reporting “against interest.”

          1. Ms G

            @ SD — Adding. And all facts reported by NYP on this story have checked out — do you have any reason to doubt what the mayor and his Ms. Julie said publicly at their press conference — or any other facts in the article? If you know of any I would love to hear about them.

            Just sayin’.

    1. Pepe

      It’s my understanding that the generators are not owned by the City. The generators are owned by the Road Runners (the group that manages the marathon)

      1. Ms G

        Go back and read the coverage from the last 48 hours. The City and the Runners Club promised on Saturday that all of the marathon resources would be immediately “redeployed” to disaster areas (Staten Island, Rockaways, Red Hook).

        That apparently (1) did not happen and (2) did not happen because a bunch of athletes decided to have their own race in Central Park and canceled the trucks coming to pick up all of the materiel because it would endanger the runners.

        Anyway, I hope that you are not a troll.

        1. Pepe

          I am a regular commenter here. I was unaware that the Runners promised to deploy their own private property.

          I do agree that the City didn’t handle the marathon cancellation competently.

          1. Ms G

            You can do a quick google search for NY Post, Gothamist and DNA.info for all the information on the press conference where MBlbg canceled the event and pledged. Ditto for Ms. Wittenberg, the lady who “runs” the Marathon event. 1 minute of searching and 10 minutes of reading tops.

          2. Pepe

            NYC doesn’t own the mylar blankets, the food, or the generators. Is it your position that they should have confiscated the private property?

  3. taunger

    the lazy third party post is right in principle, but wrong on target. You say Nader didn’t help build the third party, but I don’t seem much in the way of real evidence he, or Jill Stein, didn’t do anything. Just speculation. Not that it is possible that Greens fail during the offseason, but I need more than just a blog post assertion from a stranger to convince me.

    1. David Lentini

      I think it’s wrong on both. Getting candidates and funding for local elections still takes money and public visibility. Stien and the Greens are doing that with her presidential campaign, trying for matching funds in 2016. Certainly her appearances and arrests, and her courage to speak the truth about global warming, unemployment, and foreign poicy, have done much to bring the Greens into a wider audience. I’m voting for her this year, having never even considered the Greens before. I think similar comments hold for Rocky Anderson.

      Yeah, perhpas Nader would be a better name; but he also carries a lot of bad feelings over the 2000 election and may not be the best campaigner under these conditions.

      We do have to keep the momentum going after the election, but given the squalid and cowardly performance of the Demolicans that should not be too hard. I think the times are breaking in favor of greater support for a thrid party.

      And what exactly has the blogger been doing to support third parties, other than kvetching?

    2. Aquifer

      Who is the dude(?) who wrote this BS anyway? Have been hearing this for sometime – usually from folks who have no idea what 3rd parties are up against – even locally, they have the same problems as on a national level ….

      Nader did help some “down party” tickets – am thinking in particular of Hawkins in NY, but i think it is better, in the long run for 3rd parties to nominate “their own” – i.e don’t depend on a “name brand” who uses the party for awhile then “moves on”. I was bummed, indeed, by Nader spending his energy on trying to mount a Dem challenger to Obama … Stein is a “veteran” of 3rd party politics and, IMO, is one of the best candidates i have seen; one would be hard pressed to find a better combination of presence, intelligence, determination and guts with a truly “big picture” focus – she is fearless and that is what is needed in the face of the overwhelming tsunami of garbage tossed out by the duopoly – even old Ralphie backed down at the prospect of cuffs, even plastic ones …

      “People can and have been pushing for ballot initiatives, demanding regulatory agencies do their job, urging elected officials to act, and so on. It’s an issue without a political constituency, one that people can get involved in, and something many people care deeply about. That is exactly the kind of ferment that creates demand for a third party,”

      LOL that is the quintessence of the “We must push our duopoly candidates to do the right thing” That doesn’t create demand for third parties, except as an exercise in demonstrating that the duopoly is unresponsive, which, admittedly, is useful, but it also tends to drain the energy away from actually creating an alternative – the argument being “well if it didn’t work this time its because we didn’t push hard enough!”

      I have my frustrations with 3rd parties – I do think (s)he is right about being a bit better organized in terms of being able to “assemble the troops” – but this doesn’t reflect “laziness”.

      They are in a Catch-22 – they are valuable indeed for their being unbought by corp interests – but that leaves ‘em pretty broke most of the time, so, although the author doesn’t do so here, a common critique I hear re their inability to do some things, e.g. “get media attention” that, these days, requires moola, is rather disingenuous, ISTM ….

      If this dude(?) wants to speak as an “insider” – from his/her own experience, OK bring it on – but if this is just taking potshots from, as Lambert would say, the “Barcalounger”, it’s pretty much not worth the trouble it took to type it ….

      And now I gotta hit the road and do some leafleting – shoe leather is cheaper than postage, but a lot harder on the back and feet :)

      1. qwerty

        What Nader reasoned at the debate where he was threatened with arrest was, “I prefer to be a plaintiff rather than a defendant in these matters,” which seems to me defensible as a principled decision.

  4. Judy C.

    Romney was in Bucks County PA to give his mostly white & wealthy supporters a thrill & to act like he cares about them. Bucks County is one of the wealthiest counties in PA. He just wanted to make sure they vote for him on Tuesday.

  5. ambrit

    Friends;
    “The Myth that…” link is old news to those who read ‘outside the box’ in history. The real shame here is that people in positions of influence have been either deliberately obtuse or shockingly derelict. Persons at that level of responsibility should be assumed to be cognizant of the truth. If they act as if they are not, then there are two possible explanations. First, they are incompetent, and deserve to get the boot. Second, they are willful liars, and deserve to get the boot. The third possibility, that they are incompetent liars and deserve to keep their jobs just doesn’t sound right.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s nice to see this in a more-or-less official publication, however. And I thought the difference between the URL and title is interesting. Often the URL is autogenerated from the title the first time an article is saved. And mostly titles are written by the editors. So it looks like the author or a low level editor wrote “lie,” and then an editor higher up the food chain changed it to “myth.” So a tiny little insight into a tiny little power struggle inside the power structure…

      1. Susan the other

        Interesting. The reason it has been published now is because nobody wants a loose cannon like Mitt Romney to boink out any missiles just cause he’s feeling so mistakenly presidential. Iran is the reason. But I’m with Ambrit on old news. Schlessinsger, RFK himself, even Khruschev’s autobiography, to name a few, all came out with this info way back. Khruschev said it was his big gamble and it worked because for the first time the USSR could threaten the US east coast. And an agreement was quickly reached to dump our missiles based in Turkey. There was also some stuff on us actually wanting to dump those missiles years before but could not achieve it politically. So some people think it was a conspiracy between the JFK administration and Khruschev’s Russia.

      2. Mark P.

        [1] The Soviets had nuclear missiles stationed in Cuba from 1970 onwards through the entirety of the Cold War.

        [2] Google Cienfuegos Bay, or read Nixon’s and Kissinger’s biographies carefully. There’s also other documentation if you look carefully.

        Kissinger and Nixon fully recognized the point Robert MacNamara made in 1962 — that it really made no difference where the ICBMs were launched from once they were in the air — and simply decided in the interests of expedience and realpolitik to ignore the increasingly permanent presence of Soviet nuclear forces in Cuba. As did succeeding US administrations. They were right: it made no difference in the end because the Soviet Union still collapsed.

        [3] Which means that the official narrative with the emphasis on the Kennedy’s brinkmanship and “heroics” in taking the world to the brink of nuclear war — in the Kennedy bros. own estimate there was a 33 percent chance of nuclear war — is all nonsense.

      3. Jim

        Great link, Lambert.

        A theory as to why the USSR never attempted to undo the myth.

        The USSR knew that they had extracted concessions. And the US executive branch knew as well.

        The USSR also knew that, due to the myth, the US would have to engage in less diplomacy and more warfare in their relations with other countries. And it’s never advisable for a country to leave policy options off the table, as the US would now have to do.

        As the USSR was a totalitarian state, the perception of “weakness” is less deleterious than in a democracy.

        Anyway, that’s my take.

  6. Noe G

    56% of Americans voted in 2008. We are 6% points from a target turnout of less than 50% — wherein the legitimacy of the two party system will begin its death rattles.

    DO NOT VOTE — or vote for the other parties.

    Here in NM we have the added bonus of getting off the jury duty lists.. with our small population.. jury duty is onerous, to say the least.

    You can be called several times a year – To sit and watch judges use DUI laws to even the playing field between drunken indians and teenage girls.

    First time teenagers get draconian sentences so we don’t treat the natives so harshly. The ‘natives’ are drunk all day every day.. sometimes with 15 or more convictions – so our feel good Democracy imprisons teens after 3 beers, to satisfy the MADD gods of wrath.

    Meanwhile the Pueblos turn out alcoholics like bedbugs.

  7. Lambert Strether Post author

    Unlike Izvestia on the Hudson and Pravda on the Potomac, of course. Seriously, I agree the provenance counts (and any FOX story probably isn’t worth the opportunity cost), but these guys are in “any stick to beat a dog” mode, and one stick can be the truth. So, they broke a story, it might be true, and one looks for confirmation. This one should not be hard to confirm, since the physical objects are there, or not there, and there will be photos, maybe tweets, maybe blog posts etc.

  8. Valissa

    I keep thinking it will all be over by the end of tomorrow, and was looking forward to that. But the article on Mercury retrograde’s effect on the elections stomped all over that dream. In the meantime, here’s more cartoons.

    And the winner is… http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_pCbwUehMABc/TNhfyiFOLCI/AAAAAAAAHgE/IOPodYeEaMc/s1600/Fitzsimmons+Cartoon.jpg

    No matter what happens tomorrow, at least this part will be over for now, Part 1 http://beartoons.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/10-21-12-Editorial-Cartoon-Political-Campaign-Phone-Calls-.png

    I’m tired of this too http://politicalfiber.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/BORS.jpeg

    Ain’t that the truth http://0.tqn.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/z/c/3/Losing-the-House.jpg

    My favorite solution http://www.funnytimes.com/archives/files/art/20030827.jpg

  9. Valissa

    REMINDER… Gary Johnson and Jill Stein will debating tonight from 9-10:30pm EST

    Free and Equal Elections Foundation Announces Political Correspondents and Media for November 5 Presidential Debate http://freeandequal.org/updates/free-and-equal-elections-foundation-announces-political-correspondents-and-media-for-november-5-presidential-debate/
    Several American media outlets will stream the debate live including Free and Equal, Free Speech TV, Stitcher, Orion Radio Network,Yes Magazine, NextNewsNetwork, RT America’s YouTube channel, American Free Press, as well as UK-based Reciva Internet Radio. RT America will open its studio and offer a live, neutral feed via satellite to interested media.

    Where to watch http://rt.com/usa/where-to-watch/

    1. Valissa

      Gary Johnson within striking distance of 5%; Jill Stein polling well http://www.examiner.com/article/gary-johnson-within-striking-distance-of-5-jill-stein-polling-well

      Our two-party system needs more third-party ideas http://seattletimes.com/html/edcetera/2019608404_third_party_ideas_republicans_democrats_two_party_system.html

      Libertarian Presidential Duo of Gary Johnson & Jim Gray Plot 2016 White House Run http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2012/10/gary_johnson_jim_gray_libertar.php

  10. ohmyheck

    Poop.

    I just looked up my sample ballot online, and Jill Stein does not seem to appear on it. At least from what I saw online, maybe it will look differently tomorrow.

    Rocky Anderson is on the ballot I viewed. So I will be voting for him. I thought about not voting for any presidential runner, but who knows, they might toss my ballot as invalid?

    Remember “hanging chads”? Oh, is that what Valissa meant when she wrote upthread, “Too bad about Chad.” Haha, I get it now!

    1. Synopticist

      Interesting debate in the comments.
      He seems incredibly despairing about the long term, yet he’s advocating doing nothing in the present.

      1. JEHR

        Au contraire! The writer says: “Is it worth it? I don’t, personally, think so. As with Matt Stoller and many others, if I could vote, I wouldn’t vote Obama. To be clear, I wouldn’t vote for Romney either. I’d probably vote for Jill Stein, making a third party viable starts with, oh, voting for it

        On edit: one more thing, there is no excuse to vote for Obama if you are not in a swing state. NONE. Vote third party.”

        Synopticist, the writer says Vote Third Party.

        We have third and sometimes fourth parties in Canada. The NDP was in the wilderness for years but in the last election they became the official opposition to our very, very conservative Conservatives. They are the party of democratic socialists that support unions and labor. The only reason I have any hope for our future politics is that we may get through this dark period without too much damage if the NDP are true to their beliefs.

        We once had a Rhinoceros party too!( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinoceros_Party ) Its platform: “It promises, like its predecessor, not to keep any of its promises if elected.” (Quotes from Wikipedia)

  11. indices

    I wonder how much gasoline is being used to run cars in areas with no power to use the heaters during these cold and growing colder nights. Cold, windy and wet is a bad combination.

  12. Garrett Pace

    Useless intellectuals?

    “With amoral cowards like John Yoo in charge, the word “waterboarding” was deconstructed and shown not to be an outrage upon human dignity. Words have no meaning, and neither do laws or treaties or regulations.”

    If there’s something wise here, it’s evaded me. The word “waterboarding” of course had no meaning until there was a board that people were “watered” on. It’s the act and not the word that is the outrage, and the word merely describes it. How can anyone say that word has been deconstructed, except in a moral and not an intellectual sense. For the meaning of the word itself is unambiguous, and yet there’s considerable disagreement over whether it’s a good thing or not.

    1. Susan the other

      I agree with one point which is that deconstructing meaning has been a disaster for democracy because democracy depends on freedom of speech and therein lies the contradiction sort of. Without freedom of speech, freedom of interpretation, there is no democracy so it is the achilles heel of democracy. And people dedicated to a cause will not hesitate to use it cynically and dangerously.

      1. costa breve

        Generally I don’t read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very great post.

    2. TK21

      The wisdom is evading me, too. Post this, deconsructural that. Give me a break.

      And why blame John Yoo for waterboarding not being treated as a crime? He hasn’t been the nation’s chief law enforcement officer the past four years.

  13. Zephyrum

    The MIT article can be simplified to a logical chain:
    1. The two largest schools in Boston are Harvard and MIT,
    2. MIT is better at entrepreneurship thus far,
    3. Therefore MIT is the most important university in Boston,
    4. Boston is the world,
    5. So MIT is the most important university in the world.

    QED

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The interesting thing is that even if MIT is the most powerful (in addition to being the most important) university in the world, it’s only only warmer-Earth hurricane away from going out of business.

      That’s how not powerful we are.

    2. Ben Johannson

      Notice how little information there was in the article regarding what those 5,600 companies are acually doing, or how they’ve fared? The whole thing read like a blow job.

      1. Valissa

        I tried to resist the urge to search for good blow job cartoons… but I failed…

        Talented lady http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-enJvTcFDRAk/TfTcz3tQliI/AAAAAAAAB48/jzuUcQ-H3WY/s1600/blowjob-demotivational-poster.jpg

        Game show quiz http://adjenz.com/funnypics/albums/Cartoons%20&%20Comics/Blow%20Job%20Game%20Show.jpg

        Embedded http://tvnewslies.org/assets/images/36_cartoon_large.gif

        Whatta guy http://thecuttingedgecartoon.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/valentinesday.jpg?w=840

        A woman’s point of view http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XBcVB7CTPCM/S44DlwrT2VI/AAAAAAAABwQ/36vsF1pvze4/s1600/blowjob.bmp

  14. b.

    Silber: “By participating in the election at all, you grant legitimacy to the process that will make one of these two men president.”

    By exercising four First Amendment rights to speak out against them, you grant legitimacy to the process…
    By being a citizen…
    By living in the US…
    By being alive…

    “Legitimacy to the process?” Is there no end to this postmodern drivel? The process is what you use it for. This is the same tired “shrink the government” bullshit in disguise we have been hearing from the other fools. There is an overdue discussion to be had about the evolutionary stability and effectiveness of democratic structures, but it should probably follow a serious attempt to use whatever we have left, first and foremost with the objective of fixing and restoring what we have. “If you want to go there, you should not start from here” and all that.

    Because the hard truth is, no matter what we do – revolution, refusal to pay taxes, guillotines, instant run-off, public funding… there is bunch of options after all – we will all have to live with whatever individual and collective guilt we accrue by “virtue” of living.

    If an election fails to provide a mandate, it does not confer legitimacy. It is all well and good to blather about the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” of voting, or how it “rationally” makes no sense, it does not change the fact that life itself is a Prisoner’s Dilemma, and that there is no libertarian opt-out or “back to nature” refuge.

    We are in this together. Live with it. If you don’t like it, start changing it. A vote is not an indulgence, it does not alleviate the need for other action. A vote does not provide absolution, it is an admission of guilt. It is necessary, but not sufficient. Get over it, it done, and then take the next step. If you opt for taxation without representation, you are just a joke. You do not have to vote for anything that is already on the ballot. You do not even have to write in a candidate. But you can send a message from the voting booth at least as effectively as from the street – if you stop waiting for somebody else to do it first.

    1. TK21

      Exactly.

      Voting might work, it might not work. It’s worth a try. I’ll vote for Jill Stein tomorrow, and if she doesn’t win I’ll move on to the next task.

  15. citalopram

    Gawd bless Arthur Silber,

    “By participating in the election at all, you grant legitimacy to the process that will make one of these two men president. You thereby grant legitimacy to the system itself, to the State, and to all those actions you know with absolute certainty the State will take in the future.

    That is what your vote means, even if you vote for a third-party candidate. Perhaps you can do that, and still continue to live together with yourself.

    I cannot — and I will not.”

    This system, this state will not be reformed. We saw the visceral reaction to Occupy, and now that has been rendered irrelevant. The only way out of this mess is if masses of people become of one mind and rebel. This will not happen because as we saw with Occupy, there were too few. The people are also too passive, because life is still too good for them. We have our smartphones, are TV and plenty of food in our guts.

    I’m content to let it pass. It is what it is. Let austerity run its course, let the Murder Program continue. When Americans have everything taken away, maybe it is then they will awaken from their slumber.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If I understand this election correctly, all the difficult decisions, that is to say, bad news, have been postponed to post-election.

      Is it not logical, then, that we postpone the election itself so the government here and those European governments can further postpone their difficult decsions, i.e. bad news, even further into the future?

      This will be especially helpful to those who are still and maybe forever undecided.

      Of course, the incumbents (and anyone who doesn’t like to face bad news) will love any postponement.

  16. Chris Rogers

    Whilst its not been mentioned on this thread, the BBC on Sunday evening transmitted aan excellent documentary on Obama by the UK’s Andrew Marr – Obama: What Ever Happened to Hope

    For those of you who have yet to finalise your vote in Tuesday’s election its worth watching – like myself, Marr ends on a cautionary note and highlights clearly why numerous progressive and left-wing types are a little miffed with President Obama – in a nutshell, the hopium he sold was inhaled too deeply by many and they actually believed what he was saying – a very big mistake.

    For all those who think Obama is a better choice than Romney for President, the Peterson Post highlights again that Obama is the Commander-in-Chief of those wishing to privatise what remains of your state and take a meat cleaver to what remains of your social welfare safety net – remember, only Obama can marshal the necessary forces in Washington to undertake this final neoliberal pipe dream – if Romney as President tries to embark on this project all hell will break loose and its most unlikely any significant number of Democrat’s would side with the Mormon liar – the Chicago liar is a different story.

    Anyway, its a onerous choice for any undecided voter in the USA, the election process has been a farce with both candidates handing out hopium by the bucketload – enough to hoodwink about 60% of those that can vote – third party candidates have been denied access to any important media outlets – so much for choice and democracy.

    Hence, your choice is a simple one, vote for a liar who is determined to remove what remains of your social welfare safety net, or vote for a liar who would like to not only remove the safety net but privatise the air you breathe.

    In terms of getting things done as President, Romney in all probability would be about as effective as a damp squib – Obama though, well that’s a different story and obviously the 1% are actually better served by Obama than Romney – this despite the bile poured on Obama by many a one per center – obviously this is an illusion of choice, rather than an actual choice – therefore, perhaps it would be better if the electorate stays away from the ballot boxes – I’m sure the result would be the same, this despite the fact only a very small minority has thus far cast its vote!!!!!!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Privating the air you breathe.

      I guess if the government can make money off broadcast frequencies via spectrum auctions, it can make money off oxygen atoms as well…if only a really smart Noble physics laureate can come up with a way of tracking them all, as you must have control of your inventory before you can profit handsomely.

      Fortunately, humans are dumb.

      1. Chris Rogers

        Any one who votes for Obama twice – 2008 & 2012 – must have a bullet or something lodged in their heads.

        Anyway, its all ‘ifs’ now, but just think, if a liberally progressive Democrat had actually challenged Obama for the Democrat ticket you may actually have had a choice on Tuesday – as its stands, the US electorate has no choice – its austerity here I come who ever wins – its just a great shame Obama’s austerity will be more successful than Romney’s.

        1. Aquifer

          Chris – a “liberally prog” Dem would not have been allowed to challenge him – Kucinich tried for the nom, in ’04 and ’08 when there was no Dem incumbent and he was squeezed out early in the game – TPTB have firm control of the Dem machine that funds these folks – progs need not apply and if they do they will be shown the doggy door. If you want a prog in office, it will have to come from a 3rd party – unless/until third parties get enough support at the polls to convince the Dems they had better clean up their act or lose, you will see none other than token progs allowed to “speechify”, as Kucinich was, until they were no longer useful as veneers …

    2. TK21

      “vote for a liar who is determined to remove what remains of your social welfare safety net, or vote for a liar who would like to not only remove the safety net but privatise the air you breathe”

      I assume the second person you list is Romney, but come on: Obama is a full-throated privatizer as well. He is perfectly happy with destroying teachers unions and replacing them with unqualified charter school boondoggles. He is perfectly happy with forcing people to go to the private sector for their health care needs. He truly believes that the government can’t create jobs, so the only choice when faced with tens of millions of unemployed is to convene a committee to propose incentives to encourage private companies to consider hiring a few more people. He has spent months bragging about how small the federal government has become on his watch while the too-big-to-fail private institutions have swollen to unprecedented size.

      Don’t let Obama off the hook; he doesn’t deserve it.

  17. Synopticist

    I not sure this election is going to be decided by november the seventh.

    Or at least in Nate Silver’s term, there’s a 49% chance this f*ckers going into the courts big time.

    Hello mother of Black Swans.

  18. Susan the other

    I enjoyed the metaLinks today and yesterday. Epistemologically speaking. ;-). A confluence of thinking too. FDL lamenting deconstructing our language. Illinois,edu researching abstract thinking by asking the question “Why?” (loved that one) I assume when you ask Why? you do not invoke concrete, mostly visual answers which are more about How. Yesterday’s interesting article, reconfirmed today, about “disfluency.” Just blur the page and a reader becomes a critical thinker. Confirmation bias is not so hard to vanquish after all. Or then I wonder is it the other way around, Does confirmation bias disrupt disfluency? Any two-year-old knows the most powerful questlon in the world is “Why?” And lastly also yesterday’s article about how the brain holds short term memories in synchronized brain waves that appear to establish visual memories and store them for later reference in various locations over the entire brain…makes me wonder if it doesn’t require a more concerted effort to forget something rather than to remember it. Anyway thanks for these interesting posts because I’m so burned out and depressed by this chernobyl of an election I need to get far far away.

    Also very interesting Science News, Building Small, on decentralizing the grid and other industries for greater efficiency and cost savings. Diversity!

    1. TK21

      “makes me wonder if it doesn’t require a more concerted effort to forget something rather than to remember it”

      Could be! Like, if you decide not to think of an elephant.

    2. Valissa

      Some chickenshit epistemology 4 U http://www.savagechickens.com/images/chickenexist.jpg

      Philosophers on strike http://manwithoutqualities.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/new_yorker_cartoon_1000.jpg

      Seeking philosophical view of sex http://www.funnytimes.com/archives/files/art/20000209.jpg

      The social cost of a degree in philosophy http://media.caglecartoons.com/media/cartoons/81/2012/04/30/110886_600.jpg

      Calvin & Hobbes http://farm1.static.flickr.com/2/1869299_a96476631c.jpg

    1. Chris Rogers

      Every time on these boards we highlight a few home truths about Obama, i.e., he’s the Commander-in-Chief of the Austerians and that social welfare will be cut aggressively in his second term, we are acussed of being paid puppets of Romney.

      The interesting fact is, Romney seems about as effective as a sponge on a dry beach at retaining water – whilst we are all aware how effective Obama has been for the 1% – indeed, we should be howling that the economic condition of his core constituency, the African-American, has actually got worse under Obama than under Bush.

      Still, facts are facts and Obama’s hopium seems to have sealed the ticket, which is a great shame, particularly for the average blue-collar worker, that’s if he actually has a job.

      Still, I’m just a muppet for Romney me, this despite the fact that both candidates are dangerous and that Obama actually is more dangerous than Romney.

      1. Synopticist

        You’re a paid puppet for Romney.

        Ok, you’re not, but it’s pretty naive to imagine the washout Obama would be worse than newly elected, shiny plutocrat Mitt.

        He’s a hardcore Randian social Darwinian, well to the right of anything in the democratic party. He’s going to be leading a party totally in thrall to tea-baggers, Christian fundamentalists and agents for oligarchs.

        So even if he turns out to be a weak sponge, he’s going to be weak in the wrong direction.

        1. Chris Rogers

          Tis better to be accused of being a paid stooge of Romney, than an apologist for Obama – at least it indicates ones brain is functioning, rather than acting as a automaton for the one who will usher in the final nail in the coffin of your social safety net.

          Having been captured myself by Tony Blair for a fair few number of years, this despite ones better instincts, the thought of enabling neoliberalism any further than my support for Blair did, fills me a horror.

          As in the UK, it is those who profess to be of the left or on the side of the average Joe when seeking office who we should distrust the most – the US populace has been fooled once, is this not enough.

          As stated, a Romney presidency would not be any worse than Obama, further, unlike Obama, Romney would be forced to begin an administration without any of his henchmen in place in the government bureaucracies – Obama’s forces are already in place – effectively with Romney in the Whitehouse you delay the ‘Great Bargain’ by perhaps 6-12 months and to be honest, all the US electorate can ask for is delaying tactics until a credible alternative to the duopoly of power can be replaced by a more credible Third Party, one that governs in the interests of the majority, and not a minority who already owned far too much of your nations wealth and control the levers of power.

          1. Synopticist

            Maybe you should pay a little more attention to whats happenning in the UK Chris. We’re getting a far bigger dose of Neo-liberalism than anything Blair ever envisiged.

            You used to hear the “there’s no difference between Labour and Tory” line all the time, and Labour got 29% of the vote in 2010. All those pricipled lefties ended up voting for the lib-dems, even though it was clearly obvious, and openly stated, that they were to the right of labour on the vast majority of questions.

            Now you don’t hear it very often at all, and labour are on 42%.

            Theres a big difference between wishy-washy centrists and hard right ideologues.

        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          I don’t believe that it is clear which is worse, Romney or Obama. What is clear, however, is that the USA is on the flight trajectory of a brick, and that there is no reason to believe that either of the two legacy party candidates has any intention of addressing the root causes of the situation. The main difference between the two candidates and their parties is whether or not we hit the turf at 450 or 500 miles an hour. As Lambert has written elsewhere one of the more plausible avenues by which the situation might be improved is if progressive desertion of the Democratic presidential candidate is the obvious costs of his loss of the election. If this were to happen and if the Democrats retain control of the Senate there’s a chance, but only a chance, that a few of them might grow the gonads needed to return the party to its mid–20th century roots.

          1. Synopticist

            “…avenues by which the situation might be improved is if progressive desertion of the Democratic presidential candidate is the obvious costs of his loss of the e11ection”
            It’s far more likelly they’d go for smoe Bloomberg type next time. The natural logic for a political party is to move into the “centre” space vacated by a party headed for the extreme, like the reps are.

    1. Klassy!

      Who knows? The only thing we know for sure is that it is a great antidote–and about time after at least 3 dog based antidotes.
      Proper ratio: 3 cats: 1 dog

  19. charles sereno

    Re; “Bigger is Better”
    Is a stage beyond urbanization feasible? A single Soleri-style structure could be an efficient home for hundreds of thousands in which to live, work, and play. Outside, there’d be fields, parks, and preserves to enjoy in the remaining 99% of our planet.

    1. TK21

      It’s interesting to think about. If every single person on Earth stood shoulder-to-shoulder, we could all fit in Los Angeles. Of course, that’s no way to live, but take it up a few floors and you’re in business.

  20. joebhed

    NOVEMBER 5
    Happy Birthday to my sister Joanie, and

    1818- BIRTH OF BENJAMIN BUTLER, UNION ARMY CIVIL WAR GENERAL AND MEMBER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE
    “
    I stand here, therefore, for inconvertible paper money, the Greenback, which has fought our battles and saved our country, which has been held by us as a just equivalent for the blood of our soldiers, the lives of our sons, the widowhood of our daughters, and the orphanage of their children. I stand here for a currency by which the business transactions of forty million people are safely and successfully done, which, founded on the faith, the wealth, and property of the nation, is at once the exemplar and engine of its industries and power—that money which saved the country in war and has given it prosperity and happiness in peace. To it four million men owe their emancipation from slavery; to it labor is indebted for elevation from that thrall of degradation in which it has been enveloped for ages. I stand for that money, therefore, which is by far the better agent and instrument of exchanged of an enlightened and free people than gold and silver the money alike of the barbarian and the despot.” [Speech on House floor, January 12, 1869 on national currency]

  21. Seal

    “Holding a national election during Mercury retrograde, especially on a day when it changes direction, is a colossally bad idea, and it has apparently only happened once before. When? Surely you remember the disastrous US election of 2000,” Elisabeth Grace

  22. Kurt Sperry

    Snapshot of the 21st century economy:

    “‘Censorship is a low-end, labour-intensive kind of work, so these operations are easier to relocate to lower-wage locations,’ said Li Zhi at Analysys, a Beijing-based internet research firm.”

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