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Links 11/19/2012

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New Model Reveals How Huddling Penguins Share Heat Fairly Science Daily

Optogenetics illuminates pathways of motivation through brain, Stanford study shows Science Codex

Israel finds Arab Spring has complicated its move against Hamas McClatchy

Hamas links truce to end of Gaza border blockade CBS

A Pause for Negotiations in the Israeli-Hamas Conflict Stratfor

Courage and malfeasance in Afghanistan: “Anyone we drop off will die” Jake Tapper, Salon

Petraeus scandal puts four-star general lifestyle under scrutiny Stars and Stripes (ScottW)

Pro-Monti movement stirs Italian politics FT

Irish People say No More! Awaken Longford. Mass lawsuits against the banks.

South African mining grapples with decline of union NUM Reuters

Argentina unmoved on debt ‘holdouts’ payment FT

Shadow Banking Grows to $67 Trillion Industry, Regulators Say Bloomberg. What could go wrong?

A Change in Carrots, Without a Stick Gretchen Morgenson, Times

Blackstone Sees Two-Year Window to Buy Houses: Mortgages Bloomberg

Pot legalization puts U.S. bankers in a pickle Reuters

The Land That Time and Money Forgot New York Magazine

Trigger Mechanisms To Avoid the Fiscal Cliff? You’re Kidding, Right? Joe Firestone, New Economic Perspective

Teachers Unions: Scourge of the Nation? School Finance 101

Why this recovery is more jobless for black Americans than others Mychal Denzel Smith

Activists take TPP protest to airport Bangkok Post. For Obama’s visit.

Temple tour marked by humour, respect, interest in Buddhism The Nation. Note Obama’s joke about Clinton.

In China, To Get Rich Is Not So Glorious Businessweek

The Insecurity Election Krugman, Times

Lessons from the 2012 election Big Picture

Identity Politics and Economic Reality Economic Populist

The mandate of hell Tom Englehardt, Le Monde Diplomatique

Marco Rubio visits Iowa and stirs early talk of 2016 presidential campaign Guardian. No, please, no…

How to Live Without Irony Times

Twitter’s descent into the extractive 37sighals

Watch 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds Climate Central

What Do Animals Want? Edge

Antidote du jour:

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101 comments

  1. fresno dan

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-15/banker-math-meets-the-justice-department-s-cooks.html

    “It is worth repeating that there have been no criminal convictions of any top executives at the center of the 2008 financial crisis. This is bad enough. But using cockamamie data to mislead the public about the government’s prosecutions of financial fraud ought to be a crime.”

    Well, if the justice department won’t prosecute for when financial industry uses cockamamie numbers, I doubt the “Justice” department will prosecute themselves. It used to be called the rights of kings, now it is called the rights of financiers…

    1. MacCruiskeen

      There’s a whitehouse.gov petition, for what little that’s worth, to nominate Neil Barofsky for Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

      http://wh.gov/Xn6n

      Who would we like to see replace Holder?

      1. citalopram

        Whitehouse petitions don’t do anything. It’s all smoke and mirrors designed to make us think they care, but in reality they don’t give a hoot.

        The only thing they’re going to listen to is mass protest.

        1. Francois T

          Another thing that would make Obysmal change is a barrage of questions by real journalists anxious to dig the facts and…

          I JUST WOKE UP!!

    1. Catherine

      All decent Americans pay cash when they shop in family owned small businesses. If you can’t write off the price of an item on your taxes, what’s the point in paying anything other than cash?

      Credit cards not only harvest two to six cents from every dollar you spend in places like this but they have to wait for over a month to get their money and thus need to borrow money and pay interest on it to survive in many cases.

      Help support the Middle Class-pay cash.

      Oh, and a pet peeve, if you want some of our Christmas gift spending, don’t pretend that Christmas doesn’t exist.
      “Happy Holidays” may not offend anyone but it’s offensive to people that like the cultural tradition of Christmas and don’t necessarily believe in all the meat transmogrification et al.

      Christmas Tree, “Merry Christmas” in the window? That’s where we will go to spend money.

      1. Garrett Pace

        Some of us find the synthesis of religious tradition and mindless consumerism to be the real problem.

        Anyway, “holiday” is a portmanteau of “holy day”. “Christmas” comes out as “Christ mass”, which of course self-limits to one particular subset of Christian tradition.

        Take your pick I guess.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I went and bought something yesterday with my hard earned money. It was well made and I know I would enjoy it, but deep down, I still believe in making things yourself. One gets moren joy out of making things – the time and effort of the process from the conception to execution…nothing quite compares.

        1. different clue

          That’s true for the things one can make, of course. But things that only someone else can make . . . or even just make better than I can . . are things I will buy if I want to have them.

          I once bought a Strapped D-Handled Digging Fork for $80.00 made by Claringdon Forge and sold through Smith And Hawken when they still existed as a legitimate garden tool catalog-store. It still works. I could not have made it myself.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Yeah, we can’t make everything, but that just makes the times when one can, especially if they are hard to make or thought impossible, especially rewarding.

  2. diptherio

    On the Blackstone housing story:

    “They have just gotten beaten down so much and we’re not building enough to keep up with the population growth. Affordability is there. I think as homeowners get a little bit of confidence, we will steadily have more people lean toward buying homes, faster home price appreciation, which will be good for this investment strategy and good for the economy at large.” –Jonathan Gray, Blackstone

    But just two paragraphs later, we get this:

    Even with the cost of borrowing at record lows, many potential homeowners lack the savings and income to buy, buoying the rental housing market and drawing in institutional investors.–Bloomberg

    Which seem, to me, to be kinda contradictory statements, since it doesn’t seem like savings and income are going to be seeing any dramatic changes anytime soon. MacroBusiness has an article on this not too long ago, about how the housing market fundamentals (i.e. potential homeowners having the savings and income to buy) were still lacking and that the recent up-tick in housing prices was the result of a few large institutional investors buying up large chunks of property. Due to this, any gains in housing prices now will probably mellow out considerably after the current stock of cheap housing is gone and the big guys stop buying.

    The Real Estate guys are, of course, a bit more optimistic:

    Home prices have risen year over year for seven consecutive months, which hasn’t happened since 2006, said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors…“With rising sales and a sustained downtrend in housing inventory, we’re projecting the median existing-home price to rise 6 percent this year and 5 percent in 2013, with comparable gains in 2014,” Molony said. “However, if housing construction doesn’t return to normal, prices could accelerate.”

    Assuming that prices will continue to increase at the present rate through 2014, when current price increases are being driven by a few big companies ($4.5 billion invested by the end of the year for just the top three) who are likely to change tactics soon (see headline of the story), seems a bit similar to the CBO’s faulty healthcare cost projections that received so much flak (at least from NC).

    And while he mentions that new construction isn’t keeping up with population increase, he doesn’t mention that, from what I can see, we overbuilt considerably during the boom and that surplus will last us awhile.

    My initial impression, as a strictly arm-chair guy, is that Blackstone is now in the “pump” phase, soon to be followed by a “dump,” once the chumps have been lured in with a whole seven consecutive months(gasp!) of price increases. Either that or Blackstone is looking to go into the slum-lord business.

    Other thoughts?

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      Blackstone is creating private equity funds to buy the stuff and manage it as rentals, then they are saying they think they can IPO the private equity funds as REITs in a couple years or so.

      Sounds like pump, pump and dump to me. We’re all gonna get rich!

      1. albrt

        Definitely a pump and dump. No other way for this strategy to pencil out.

        The real vulture pickings are already long gone in places like Phoenix, so the funds will not have an opportunity to build the efficient rehab and management operation over time like they are talking about. Got to dump it on REIT investors now, while it still looks like there is a margin to be had.

    2. Aquifer

      Hmm – if rising “year over year for seven consecutive months” is any indication of how these guys write their mortgages, no wonder they’re all f***ed up ….

    1. Aquifer

      Hmm, let’s see, wasn’t it just about this time 4 years ago when Israel went on its last rampage in Gaza – and our newly elected Pres. didn’t say “boo” because he said there was only one Pres. and he, Obama, didn’t think he should “interfere” – all the while he is twisting arms in Congress to make sure the TARP deals went through …

      So what’s his excuse this time? Oh yeah – there’s only one Pres and he doesn’t think he, Obama should interfere ….

      1. dan

        the second Obomber got the Dem nod he raced to AIPAC to give them a long, tender fellating, being the craven, amoral little weasel he is.

      2. jsmith

        Don’t worry, the O man is out there doing God’s work.

        “America’s new Asian allies: Dictator-for-life Hun Sen of Cambodia, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and her genocidal “Saffron monks,” and the despotic hereditary Shinawatra regime of Thailand.”

        http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/11/3-stops-on-americas-asian-tour-of-shame.html#more

        All this AND he can simultaneously continue to ignore/condone Israeli war crimes.

        What a guy!!!

        Is there a Nobel category for “Multi-tasking”?

        1. Doug Terpstra

          The Onion scoops an exclusive, directly from Jehovah/Yaweh, Himself:

          “God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule”

          “…the worst violators claim that their actions are justified by passages in the Bible, Torah, and Qur’an.”

          About the Bible, S/He admits, “‘To be honest, there’s some contradictory stuff in there, okay?” God said. “So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it — My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it’s God’s will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall.’”

          “‘I don’t care what faith you are, everybody’s been making this same mistake since the dawn of time,’ God said. ‘The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews, don’t even get me started on the hardline, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians? You people believe in a Messiah who says, “Turn the other cheek,” but you’ve been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades.’”

          “Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: ‘Can’t you people see? What are you, morons?…’”

          1. psychohistorian

            The fundies have sold their collective souls to the global inherited rich since the Enlightenment period to keep them relevant in our world.

    2. jsmith

      If anyone would really like to see how many Israelis have come to embody the worst of history’s fascist war criminals, please take a look at the op-ed that Ariel Sharon’s son wrote, linked to in article below.

      http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/11/18-2

      Here are some excerpts:

      Sharon writes in his op-ed that “the residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences.” After saying that Israel needs to “flatten all of Gaza,” he goes on to say, “The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

      “There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip. Otherwise there will be no decisive victory. And we’re running out of time – we must achieve victory quickly. The Netanyahu government is on a short international leash. Soon the pressure will start – and a million civilians can’t live under fire for long. This needs to end quickly – with a bang, not a whimper.”

      1. jsmith

        Oh and the Deputy Prime Minister is also on record stating:

        “Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai is reported by The Yeshiva World News to have said, “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water.” Haaretz also reports that Yishai stated, “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”

          1. jsmith

            More genocidal hatred from Israel’s politicians and religious leaders:

            http://rt.com/news/israel-gaza-hamas-war-103/

            As the former Prime Minister’s son publicly urged the military to wipe Gaza off the map, a member of the Knesset and the National Unity Party, Michael Ben-Ari, called for Israeli soldiers to kill Gazans without thought or mercy.

            “There are no innocents in Gaza, don’t let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives – mow them down!” it was reported on the Hakol HaYehudi website.

            He also told soldiers to ignore Goldstone; in reference to the UN commissioned Goldstone report on Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, which found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

            Israel Katz, the country’s transport minister, has called “for Gaza to be bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt.” While Avi Dichter, the minster of home front defense, has urged the IDF to “reformat” Gaza – to wipe it clean with bombs.

            Even religious leaders joined the fray, with a prominent Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Yosef, the son of former chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, in a sermon at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron blessed IDF soldiers while urging them “to learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy.”

          2. Doug Terpstra

            Netanyahu presumes to school ignorant Christians on the biblical nature of the Arab (no inconvenient scripture references offered):

            “The Bible finds no worse image than this of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency towards conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war. Israel’s must be the same. The two states solution doesn’t exist; there are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.”

            http://www.globalresearch.ca/gaza-the-politics-of-greater-israel/5312107

            Notice that “there is a Jewish people and an Arab population“, the adjacent terms conspicuously differentiated. A “population” as opposed to “people” might refer to an infestation of any species, cockroaches perhaps. This is not inadvertent as shown in context.

            Note again: “[The Arab] is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement … His existence is one of perpetual war. Israel’s must be the same.” Also note that “The two states solution doesn’t exist…”, which is quite true because Israel has deliberately made it geographically impossible.

            http://ifamericansknew.org/images/FourMaps.jpg

            They are now victims of their own success, impaled on the horns of a dilemma. It’s either genocide via the “Samson [nuclear] Option”, which Ariel Sharon’s spawn recently proposed (jsmith referenced part of his genocidal rant), or accept an Arab majority in the pure Jewish state — utterly unacceptable for the chosen race.

            This and other unhinged rants against Arabs by Israeli wing nut leaders read like something from Rwanda’s Hutus, the manifesto of a homicidal lunatic. And it is to this that the might of the imperial US military has been solemnly pledged without reservation by 97% of the US Congress and the POTUS. Inconceivable madness.

        1. LucyLulu

          ““The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”
          Would this be something like Iran’s threats to blow Israel off the map?

  3. Kurt Sperry

    New Model Reveals How Huddling Penguins Share Heat Fairly Science Daily:

    Speculative anthropomorphic analogizing to homo economicus may now commence.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You’re right of course, but I think polar bears might find this applied mathematical research interesteing as well, perhaps even useful…’How do we polar bears huddle together fairly to survive the gradually warming (due to man-made global warming, don’t blame us polar bears) but still bitter winter months?.’

  4. Jackrabbit

    Its difficult not to see a connection between:

    NYPost: Bam Hides Terror Truth

    and:

    NYTimes: A Phoney Hero For a Phoney War

    It seems to me that this hatchet job on Petraus (what else can you call it? Would it have ever appeared before the events of last week?) by the NYTimes only lends credence to the NYPost.

    And it seems quite ironic, for the NYT to post an OpEd about the “phoney war” in Iraq when they were one of the main cheerleaders for that war.

    =====

    Note: both were featured on Real Clear Politics Sunday Morning

    1. optimader

      http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/11/what-is-petraeus-legacy-ctd-1.html

      the portrait of Eisenhower is an object lesson

      A reader writes:

      You observed that so many journalists stand in the presence of men like Petraeus with “open jaws and worshipping eyes.” That brings to mind the military’s cultural shift in its medals, ribbons, and badges.

      Consider these portraits of Generals Petraeus and Eisenhower. Petraeus is wearing over 30 ribbons and badges on his uniform. I’m sure he earned each of them. But of that 30, how many civilians will notice that only one item was for heroism (Bronze Star with “V”)? Eisenhower earned only ten U.S. decorations (plus countless foreign ones), and – as was the custom of the day – typically wore only three or four at a time.

      So few of us have military experience. We see a solider decked out with all kinds of razz-mataz and we assume he’s a modern Audie Murphy, a Rambo ten times over. But the truth is, most accoutrements merely denote successful completion of an assignment, or time spent overseas – not necessarily in combat. Servicemembers can even earn a ribbon for volunteerism in their personal lives.

      Too many in America stand in awe of the military partly because the awards and decorations system has become so inflated. We used to hesitate to adorn soldiers with ribbons, medals, and the like – it smacked of European symbols of nobility. The pendulum has swung too far toward over-recognition of service. We ought to chasten ourselves, put the brakes on this ridiculous, clown-like boastfulness where every troop looks like a Libyan field marshal. But with so many of us slack-jawed at the sight of a soldier, who among us has the political courage to scale back on the excess that creates this over-adulation of the soldier in the first place?

      1. Jackrabbit

        The perks of generals and our perception of the military are separate issues.

        Why are they being made THE issue?

        Suddenly Petraeus is “phoney”. It reeks of 1984.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Also curious:

      A) The Timeline
      1)The FBI starts an investigation in “early summer” (June, maybe early July?). It seems that it would’ve been fairly quick and easy for them to uncover the relevent facts here.

      2) CIA leaks info shortly before the election that effectively says: you can’t blame us for Benghazi.

      3) Immediately AFTER the election, the affair breaks and Petraus is disgraced/canned (the standard quiet resignation “to be closer to my family” was not allowed).

      -

      B) Obama’s clear-as-mud explanation
      He says (I’ve heard it twice now) that his order was, essentially, to “protect our people.” But there is much leeway in such vagueness.

      1) If that was his order, and with so much at stake (American lives and the election) wouldn’t he want to know (immediately) a) how it was to be carried out, and b) who would make the important decisions that gave effect to the order?

      By not providing more info, the President virtual guarantees that the matter will drag on.

      2) Obama’s apparent close involvement with the Bin Laden Mission contrasts sharply with his handling of Benghazi.

      ======

      Much has been made about how an affair could be used to blackmail Petraeus. A cynic might well wonder if Obama’s Benghazi difficulties will be “resolved” during negotiations over the fiscal cliff.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Pathways of motivation through brain link.

    I think the next step is to identify the traffic lights and the patterns of motive traffic.

    Furthermore, if you can get motives to travel together, to shareride, you can handle more motives with your existing pathway infrastructure – in fact, you can do it with fewer pathways or even a smaller brain.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What do animals wnat?

    What about what do humans want?

    What do vegetables want?

    I think we can guess what animals and vegetables want – to be let alone, to grow and die without humans messing up their lives.

    What do humans want?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Well, that’ a tough one.

      My guess is that humans want to mess things up for animals and vegetables.

    2. Mary Bess

      The Creator’s decision to give dominion over Creation to Homo sapiens (literally “wise man”) was a dumb personnel move. Maybe we can climb down from the top of the pyramid and assume our place in the great chain of being.

      As to being wise, those who study the brain and human behavior tell us we are barely capable of rational thought.

    3. craazyman

      I once asked a spider that question.

      I was walkiing in the woods and came upon a spider’s web that astonished me, from tree to tree across 10 feet or more, hung by a single strand on each side, and it was perfect in its symmetry

      I said “you must be a CEO of all spiders, everywhere, to have done this! Did you do it for the money?”

      No, it said. OK, then you must be a Senior Executive Managing Director of Webs, in that case, right? Surely you must be a high ranking spider executive

      No, it said. Wow. OK. Then you u must b e a Senior Vice President of web strategy, with stock options and a coroner office!

      “No.” OK, I was getting confused. Then why do you do make a web so carefully and so beautiful, perfect in proportion and so graceful it looks like a work of art? You must have some incentive! Nobody doesn anythhing well without that, right?

      “Because I want to”, is all it said. What do animals want? hahhahahhahahha. What a quesion for the professors. But not for me.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        You’d think a college prof woulda devevloped a Maslow’s Triangle For Spiders by now, and maybe even other critters too?

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In China, to get rich is not so glorious.

    I think that’s the right thing for the Chinese 0.01%, after settling comfortably abroad, to say to their proletariat.

  8. Garrett Pace

    Thanks so much for the “Lifestyles of the medal-bespangled and famous” link. It is striking how much our military leaders already live the lives of warlords and dictators.

  9. kevinearick

    Osiris, Aggression, & Bling

    Did you see that WSJ piece on General bling over time?

    When an empire hits the demographic wall, and this one clearly has, despite all of its data to the contrary, you have to give it a new religion and a new constitution to reboot it. The timing depends upon how you want to take advantage of its falling gravity. Individual laborers have individual religions and constitutions accordingly.

    Physical aggression weeds in intelligence, which weeds in love. Passive aggression weeds out intelligence (in emotion), which weeds out love (in irrationality). Orisis was invented to end physical cannibalism, which is a rational response in time of severe scarcity. You’re going to think twice about participating in passive aggressive behavior if it increases the probability you are going to get eaten. The problem with Osiris and now Christianity is the resulting spiritual, intellectual and physical vacuum.

    On one end of the decision probability outcome you have love, in a negative feedback loop, balancing passive aggressive behavior, the empire, on the other, in a positive feedback loop. Passive aggressives pay all kinds of lip service to love, because they are incapable of building their own reservoir. Laborers intelligently apply physical aggression at work to the end of love in the home. The empire perpetuates passive aggressive behavior because it is incapable of raising children capable of standing up to the empire on their own two feet, paying it in bling.

    Natural reparation is imbedded in the culture of Africa, which is why it had to be enslaved and colonized, with a monetary Pavlov swap in reparation, giving us Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, Buffet, and Gates. The republicans pull the least educated immigrants in to take advantage, and pass them off to the democrats, who promise reparation, in a demographic Ponzi scheme, until the dream/nightmare goes kaboom. The empire replaces real work, abundance, with make-work, scarcity, until it can’t.

    Tempels: The older force ever dominates the younger. It continues to exercise its living influence over it.

    Megesa: God has granted the ancestors a qualitatively more powerful life force over their descendants. They form a chain through the links of which the forces of the elders [now with the community] exercise their vitalizing influence on the living generation. [T]he ancestors form the principle strand without which the fabric collapses. The operating principle is presence. The ancestors, though dead, are present and continue to influence life in their erstwhile communities on earth. [T]he ancestors will refrain from bringing misfortune onto their descendants unless it is extremely necessary, to remind them of the demands of the order of the universe, for their own good. The sole purpose of existence is to seek life, to see to it that human life continues and grows to its full capacity.

    Evans-Pritchard: The spirits are not each other but they are all God in different figures.

    Magesa: African religion is entirely a living religion, not a doctrinal one. It requires no formal induction. One is born into it and one learns it from childhood throughout one’s life through normal socialization. It is a religion that is taken for granted within the community and generally needs neither proselytizers nor converts. In this system being is the same as doing.

    Young: structured by the quest to bring opposite forces into equilibrium, the visible and the invisible.

    Magesa: In fact, if they are misused by an individual or the community, that is, if their vital force is uselessly disturbed and disaster befalls the community, the ruler is ultimately responsible.

    Reluctance or utter refusal to share with God, one’s ancestors, other persons in the community, and the community itself – in a word, greed – destroys the ‘communitarian’ purpose of the universe and is immoral. It is imperative, therefore, for example, that one share life by begetting children. The presence of children assures that the life of the individual, the clan, and the lineage continues as the children bear the names of their ancestors. If the lineage of a given family in the clan has to cease, to die, because of lack of offspring to carry it on by name, part of the life of the clan ceases as well. It dies. For a person to cause this to happen knowingly and intentionally constitutes one of the worst crimes or moral wrongs against oneself, the community, and society generally. For what is demanded as the ultimate good is that life be preserved and perpetuated in every way possible, in its past, present and future forms.
    —–

    The empire doesn’t target your name, your identity, by accident. Foregoing your own identity, for an empire identity, is not the answer. The difference between Putin and his Western counterparts is the number of layers between them and the hit man. Relative to Merkel, Putin is honest and direct. Democracy wants slave labor, government demand control, and a scapegoat, which Putin provides, for a fee. Ikea is one of many.

  10. Susan the other

    Awaken Longford (So Africa site) The Irish are suing the banksters. One at a time, the citizens of Ireland are filing complaints at the court house, in droves. I think they are asking who has standing, and where did all that money go. Seems nobody can answer these questions. A Link to the South African secruritization mess wherein, as here, it is treated as a secret and there is no discussion about securitization. That’s because it is fraudulent to the core, based on ponzied debt investors and flat-out against So African laws, including conract law wherein for a contract to be valid it has to be above board, have a meeting of the minds and not destroy constitutional and/or property rights. THey don’t mention MERS but they are demanding to know if their mortgages were securitized and if they were they are automatically INVALID. Some key points mentioned are that in South Africa banks have a fiduciary responsibility to protect their customers (mortgagors) but instead they’ve been protecting their mortgagees (investors); Since everyone in the securitization chain, which is secret or lost, has no legal interest or standing and is at best an agent without a principal, only some secret, unknown 3rd party also without standing benefits (illegally) from any foreclosure. And South Africans don’t know where the money went either.

  11. Susan the other

    Bankgok Post. Report that the government of Thailand is against the TPP. Cool. They have a fledgling pharmaceutical industry and do not want to harm it with “free trade” and they also import drugs and want to retain their bargaining power which the TPP prohibits. TPP just wants to establish a few global monopolies regardless of environmental laws and local trade needs. And here? No discussion whatsoever.

    1. jsmith

      Color me skeptical about the Thai government being anything but neoliberal.

      From the land destroyer blog already linked to:

      http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/11/3-stops-on-americas-asian-tour-of-shame.html#more

      Despite mass-murdering nearly 3,000 people extra-legally over the course of a 90-day 2003 “War on Drugs,” victims who most of which were later found out to have had nothing to do with the drug trade at all, Thaksin would also send Thai troops to Iraq in support of the US invasion and occupation, allow the US to use Thailand as a base for CIA rendition sites, and attempted to push through a US-Thai free trade agreement without parliamentary approval. Before becoming PM in 2001, he had served as an adviser for the notorious US equity firm, the Carlyle Group.

      He would be ousted from power in 2006 by a military coup, and has since then been supported by some of the largest Western lobbying firms on Earth including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group, PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR), Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (CFR), Kobre & Kim, and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff (Chatham House).

      Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff, would also simultaneously represent Thaksin’s “red shirt” street movement, and was present for the inaugural meeting of the so-called “academic” Nitirat group, attended mostly by pro-Thaksin red shirts (who literally wore their red shirts to the meeting). Additional support for Thaksin and his UDD street-front is provided by the US State Department via National Endowment for Democracy-funded “NGO” Prachatai.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Things I learned from following the Red Shirt/Yellow Shirt story in 2010: Thai electoral politics are always more complex than we can possibly imagine; and it is almost never useful to project our frameworks onto the Thai situation (whether “populist” or “neo-liberal”). Probably the sources that would make the Thai situation accessible to us are not even available in English.

        1. jsmith

          Agreed, although since Cartalucci/Land Destroyer is based in Bangkok I’m give him a little more credence on Thai news in general.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            I disagree, FWIW, with a lot of the posters views on Thai politics. (I think FWIW that Yingluck has some relative autonomy which makes her all the more an interesting figure.) That ssid, what’s interesting is what’s going on way down on the long tail of the power curve, and on that we agree. I commend this post to your attention. Breaking my own rule above, this sentence seems to ring true wherever one goes: “You have to swallow it down, pay the fee.”

          2. skippy

            Lambert are you aware of the quasi feudal system in effect?

            Skippy…. so many zones with out clear delineation, one wrong step, and its someone else turf.

          3. jsmith

            Nice work, that was an interesting piece and I’ve read your blog a number of times.

            As concerns your comment:

            First, as a socialist I part ways with TC’s “enlightened libertarianism” – self-sufficiency nearly bordering on anarchical syndicalism – completely however I do enjoy his palpable disdain for the neoliberal worldview especially as it encroaches on the non-Western world.

            Yes, admittedly some of prescriptions for Thai society smack a bit too much of libertarian nonsense – but that’s probably too strong a statement on my part – however, I think that his analysis of situations in Thailand and other countries are largely correct from an elevated geopolitical altitude.

            I think that while TC may take not delve into the “man on the street” view as much as he prefers to exposing connections amid Thailand’s muckety-mucks and their Western counterparts, I do think that his major point concerning much of his writing – on Thailand and everywhere – is that the neoliberal West has become so very masterful at manipulating regional differences/factions that what we see going on in Thailand is in many ways very similar to what we are seeing in the ME etc.

            Obviously, there are unique circumstance in Thailand – as there are in Egypt, Libya, Iran, etc – but the plotted neoliberal outcome is largely the same in all cases – ie. Western subjugation of local societies – and a focusing on regional these differences can at times lead to a form of “analysis paralysis” – i.e., Thailand is NOT Indonesia, Egypt, etc, so don’t pay attention too much attention to the frequent mention of the same Western entities in the cases of each country’s circumstance.

            Blogposts such as yours and others do really help one gain a fuller understanding of situations – as you stated – which outsiders maybe will never completely comprehend what’s going on socially.

            Lastly, I am not Mr. Cartalucci and only link to his site as much because it seems that he actually spends the extra effort to research the links between all of these criminals and he doesn’t mince words when he discovers malfeasance – practices that more leftish journalists would find beneficial.

            Peace.

  12. Garrett Pace

    Liked the NYT “How to Live Without Irony” article.

    This dovetails with it nicely – NYRB review of a David Foster Wallace biography. They quote Infinite Jest:

    “An ironist in a Boston AA meeting is a witch in church. Irony-free zone. Same with sly disingenuous manipulative pseudo-sincerity. Sincerity with an ulterior motive is something these tough ravaged people know and fear, all of them trained to remember the coyly sincere, ironic self-presenting fortifications they’d had to construct in order to carry on Out There, under the ceaseless neon bottle.”

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/dec/06/new-brilliant-start/

  13. Awaken Longford

    Thank You for the exposure on such an auspicious Blog,this is exactly what we need here in Ireland to support the growing number of Irish people who are saying enough is enough regarding the Banks, every week more Irish Home Owners are filing individual lawsuits against their respective Banks (no class action allowed in Ireland) it takes real courage for an individual at probably, the lowest point in their lives to stand up to the Banking Giants but we are doing it!
    One of Ireland’s biggest banks Ulster Bank which is a subsidiary of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) was fined 2m for breaching Capital requirements and Liquidity Laws, this is a first and a vindication of part of all the individual lawsuits. We know that all the Banks in Ireland are guilty because they where all present on that fateful night in 2008 when our puppet government extended a “blanket” guarantee to the Banking sector and so, tied the sovereign people of Ireland to a debt which can never be repaid, the result of this has been hardship the likes of which has not been seen since the famine in the 1800′s, massive unemployment, destruction of small businesses the length and breath of the country and punitive taxation measures which are squeezing the life out of the middle class who still have employment, all this in the name of the faceless Irish and European Bankers who still party on regardless! The time has come in Ireland when the Irish will once again rise up, bit not with pitchforks this time! now we are educated and we will be smart! we will take them into their Courts and do it the RIGHT way!
    Thank You again your exposure and the expertise and experience of the American people in these matters is invaluable.
    Some useful links worth visiting regarding the Irish Situation are:
    http://www.awaken-longford.com
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debtoptions
    http://directdemocracyireland.ie/
    tnsradio.ning.com
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpUjl4LvQM8

    1. Aquifer

      Do come back and let us know how you are making out, periodically – it would be nice to hear of folks somewhere having some success against these bankster goons …

      1. psychohistorian

        Agreed!!!

        Our problems with the global inherited rich necessitate cross country coordination of the 99% eventually if we are to be successful.

  14. JTFaraday

    Re: Teachers Unions: Scourge of the Nation? School Finance 101

    When are well intentioned, earnest people—like the author of this post—going to figure out that things like this have next to nothing to do with “the truth” and everything to do with what various interested factions hope to accomplish. That’s not a good thing, but that is how it is.

    Elsewhere in education news today, chronically over enrolled schools of journalism figure out “What You Can’t Tell Your Students Anymore”:

    http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2012/11/16/what-you-cant-tell-your-students-anymore

    With wisdom like this, who needs Money magazine? At this point, would-be journalists may as well go do what they want because doing what they don’t want isn’t going to work out for them either.

    Finally, a good word for those few who don’t take the train (at all):

    http://chronicle.com/article/The-Genius-in-the-Classroom/135820/

    This hypothetical stubborn ox should save their money completely maybe.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting link, that last one.

      “It remains to be seen if a future Stanley Kubrick or Steven Spielberg (two famous dropouts) has graced my classroom, but I have had some extremely talented students who were impatient in class. I have found that giving them more responsibility for and control over their class projects, using their talents to help others by sending their classmates to them for advice, and accepting deviant behavior that does not compromise academic standards can create opportunities for them to thrive.

      Sure, it’s a slippery slope to allow students to fall asleep in class or check their phones simply because we suspect they might be gifted. However, we also do not want to become as infamously shamed as Sir John Gurdon’s teacher, who failed to appreciate his student’s unique capabilities. Having a keen intuition for what to penalize and what to take less personally is essential when dealing with an overactive mind.”

      That need for a keen intuition (because it’s hard to tell one from the other) is askin to the problem Chan (or Zen in Japanese) faced in China – it was hard to tell the impenetrable utterings of a pretender from those of a true master, who often didn’t reside in a monastery/mountaintop, but in a busy market somewhere.

      One of the problems I see with teaching is that, as we have it now, the learning envirnoment assumes a ‘God’ figure in the center. It’s better if learning mostly consists of a bunch of learners, without a ‘teacher,’ struggling and groping haltingly forwards, backwards and sideways, always asking questoins…lots of questions.

      1. psychohistorian

        You may want to look up the term I learned in yoga called namaste which I think is what we should all be saying to each other

  15. Howard Beale V

    Hi, I’m Howard Beale V (Obamabot number 57,865,788). My Dad is Howard Beale IV (Obamabot number 57,865, 789), and I’m very VERY proud of the way he handled an Obama hater in the conversation below. I love you Dad, almost as much as I love the big O himself!Tee-Hee! Tee-Hee!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqsd0WNl8u0

  16. Peter Pinguid Society

    Peter Pinguid Rule:

    There are no persistent “failed” policies. Policies that do not achieve their desired outcome are changed. In this sense, US foreign policy in the Middle East has been successful beyond our wildest dreams. It’s made hundreds of billions for those of us in the Petrochemical, finance or weapons industries.

    US soldiers get killed, Muslims get slaughtered, but none of this affects the 0.01 percent, we make billions while the costs are borne by the cannon-fodder masses, ignorant taxpayers, ignorant voters, and foreigners who count for nothing.

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

    1. El Guapo

      “we make billions while the costs are borne by the cannon-fodder masses, ignorant taxpayers, ignorant voters, and foreigners who count for nothing.”

      This sums up not only the conflict in the middle east but every other damn thing in the world.

    1. cwaltz

      And that $25,000(after working for a company for over a decade) would be in addition to paying bigger health care premiums and forfeiting the millions stolen from their pension fund.

      What an insult,it’s no wonder the baker’s walked. I’d have walked too.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        “Stolen” is such a harsh word. After all, they only (1) didn’t put money into the pension fund and (2) did put money into their salaries and bonuses. That’s only the natural order of things. And how are they going to create any jobs if we try to take away their Freedom? And why should they?

        1. cwaltz

          Welcome to “crapitalism” where the putz who has been with the company for less than a year and during his tenure ran it into the ground is worth 2.25 million and where the guy who labors loyally for over a decade and willingly concedes benefits to help the company gets told he’s worth barely more than minimum wage.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Moody’s finally follows S&P in downgrading France:

    PARIS/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Moody’s stripped France of its prized triple-A badge on Monday, cutting the sovereign credit rating on Europe’s No. 2 economy by one notch to Aa1 from Aaa, citing an uncertain fiscal outlook and deteriorating economy.

    The downgrade, which follows a cut by Standard & Poor’s in January, was widely expected but is still a blow to Socialist President Francois Hollande as he strives to convince the world he can fix France’s public finances and stalled economy.

    Moody’s said it was keeping a negative outlook on France due to structural challenges and a “sustained loss of competitiveness” in the country, where business leaders blame high labor charges for flagging exports.

    “The first driver underlying Moody’s one-notch downgrade of France’s sovereign rating is the risk to economic growth, and therefore to the government’s finances, posed by the country’s persistent structural economic challenges,” Moody’s said.

    “These include the rigidities in labor and services markets, and low levels of innovation, which continue to drive France’s gradual but sustained loss of competitiveness and the gradual erosion of its export-oriented industrial base.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-france-moodysbre8ai17k-20121119,0,24186.story

    It was stone obvious a year ago that France was no triple-A credit. But ‘progressive disclosure’ is the modus operandi at ratings agencies.

    After all, if they act boldly and pre-emptively as S&P did in downgrading the Obama regime last year, then certain influential bloggers are all over they ass.

  18. Goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

    Re global warming animation. The Earth is 4.54 BILLION years for Darwin’s sake. How can you seriously consider teasing out a trend in the planet’s climate from what in geological time is mere nanoseconds? It’s so annoying to find these shrieks from warmist drama queens here. Specially after the many Climategate and carbon credit scandals.

    And by the way, to all those who tried to turn hurricane Sandy into another rallying shriek: should Europe’s airports go on cutting on ice and snow removal equipment (like London’s airports did) after the nasty winters of the last few years, expecting travelers to accept delays (and the occasional serious accident) as a sacrifice to the warmist/climate change worldview? And no, dear warmist queens, I don’t get money from the oil industry or their think tanks. Or from the nuke industry, like many of your fellow eco activists as per the late Alex Cockburn in Counterpunch.

    1. TK421

      Well sure, our planet is very old, and in that time it has undergone dramatic shifts in climate frequently enough that we should be worried about it happening again. And a nanosecond is more than enough time for something extremely important to happen: a nuclear reaction, say, or a computing operation.

  19. gatopeich

    Despite the title, the (Pseudo) Science Daily article on “huddling penguins” encloses a “greed is good statement”:

    Surprisingly, the model reveals that such self-centered behavior results in an equitable sharing of heat.

    The explained “model” is quite simplistic, assuming all “penguins” behave the same and in a very predictable way, which I doubt is a fair assumption for any animal species.

    The conclusion “we want people to love math too” is pathetic.

    Anybody and his granny can publish a paper today.

  20. skippy

    I give you “Elephants on Parade, questions in democracy show” ABC Australia.

    Panelists:

    Judith Sloan
    Professor Judith Sloan, one of Australia’s best-known economists, is a leading figure in academic and business circles and has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors.

    She is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne. She is also a member of the Westfield board, a director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy and a regular contributor to The Australian newspaper.

    She has also been a university professor, a commissioner on the Productivity Commission, deputy chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Commissioner of the Australian Fair Pay Commission.

    Over the years she has sat on several boards, including Santos, Mayne Group, SGIO Insurance and Primelife.

    Kevin Rudd
    Kevin Rudd’s rise to the Prime Ministership and subsequent fall is the stuff of political legend. He was a hero in 2007 when he led the Labor Party to victory after 11 years in Opposition, yet three years later he was dumped in favour of Julia Gillard when the polls showed Labor would struggle to win a second term.

    He is the Member for Griffith and held the Foreign Affairs portfolio until February of this year, when he resigned from the Ministry and mounted an unsuccessful challenge for the Labor leadership.

    Kevin was born in rural Queensland in 1957, the son of a share farmer and a nurse. When Kevin was 11 his father died in a road accident and the family endured several years of financial hardship. This experience heightened the sense of social justice that pushed Kevin into joining the Labor Party at 15.

    A brilliant student, he was Dux of Nambour High and graduated from ANU with first class honours. He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs to work as a diplomat (he was First Secretary in the Beijing Embassy) and then became Chief of Staff to Queensland Premier Wayne Goss. He entered Parliament in 1998, having failed at his first try in 1996. He was appointed shadow minister for foreign affairs in 2001 and was elected ALP leader on December 4, 2006.

    Malcolm Turnbull
    Malcolm Turnbull is the Opposition’s spokesman for communications but still casts a long shadow as the Opposition Leader who was replaced by Tony Abbott. Even though the coup that led to his demise took place in 2009, much political commentary about the Liberals assumes a continuing Turnbull-Abbott rivalry. Some of Malcolm’s public comments have angered Abbott supporters, who accuse Malcolm of implicitly seeking to undermine his successor.

    Though frequently described as the richest man in Parliament and regarded by many as having a privileged background, Malcolm’s early years were spent in comparatively humble circumstances. Born in Sydney in 1954, he grew up in a single-parent household with his father, Bruce, after his parents separated. They lived in a series of flats, mostly rented.

    Malcolm attended Vaucluse Public School and, with the aid of a scholarship, Sydney Grammar, to which in later life he donated a new scholarship program in his father’s name to help underprivileged students. After graduating from Sydney University with an arts-law degree, he won a Rhodes Scholarship and completed a further degree at Oxford.

    Malcolm worked as a journalist, lawyer and in business, and became widely known in the late 1990s for leading the Australian republican cause. He entered Parliament in 2004 and represents the seat of Wentworth which covers Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

    Heather Ridout
    Heather Ridout is a board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia and is one of the most prominent women in business.

    She recently retired as Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group where she worked as a tireless advocate for a vast and diverse membership, representing 10,000 employers in some of the biggest and most vibrant sectors of the economy: manufacturing, construction, automotive production and telecommunications.

    Heather was with the AIG and its predecessor, the Metal Trades Industry Association, for over 25 years. In that time she became one of the most respected voices of the business sector and a leading figure in Australia’s public policy debate, with particular interest in the fields of economic policy, industry innovation, and education and training.

    She has served on several peak consultative bodies established by the Government to advise on economic policy settings. These include the Business Advisory Group on Workplace Relations, Infrastructure Australia and the Henry Review of Taxation.

    Heather has an honours degree in economics from the University of Sydney. She and her husband have three children and live in the Sydney suburb of Mosman.

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3622725.htm

    Skippy… Enjoy!

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