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Links 11/29/12

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India’s poster boy for vegetarianism – he’s just fathered a child at 96 Independent. He also sleeps ~ 10 hours a day.

Top US Healthcare Giant: GMOs Are Devastating Health Natural Society

Armageddon 2.0 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Cambridge University team to assess the risk posed to humanity by artificial intelligence Gizmodo. The anti-Skynet team?

Heart Gadgets Test Privacy-Law Limits Wall Street Journal. It is outrageous that patients are routinely denied access to the data.

Are Your Facebook Friends Stressing You Out? (Yes) Atlantic

Argentina debt repayment order frozen Financial Times

Updated: The procedure of litigating pari passu? Credit Slips

How The Ruling On Argentina’s Sovereign Debt Could Seriously Mess Things Up For Greece Clusterstock

Indebted Dragon: The Ponzi Scheme Driving China’s Construction Economy Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

US bans BP from pitching for new government work Independent

Polluters Must Pay In ‘The New Era Of Responsibility’: Jeffrey Sachs Oil Price

German Unemployment Increased for an Eighth Month in November Bloomberg

Germans lament “never-ending story” of Greek aid Reuters. Swedish Lex: “Has the public flogging of Merkel finally begun? Incredible that it took so long to see that the Kaiserin was naked.”

Germany displaces China as US Treasury’s currency villain Telegraph (Swedish Lex)

Rush to finish Egypt constitution BBC

U.S. Weighs Bolder Effort to Intervene in Syria’s Conflict New York Times

Libya in need of 900,000 new homes, says ministry Saudi Gazette (1 SK)

Former UK Defense Minister Suggests Dropping Thermonuclear Bombs on Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Alternet (furzy mouse)

Catfood watch:

Health Care Entitlements New York Times. Wish this editorial hadn’t used the word “entitlements” in the headline, but otherwise, this refuses to buy the Obama/Peterson party line.

Geithner deployed for fiscal cliff talks Financial Times. Given how openly contemptuous Geithner has been in Congressional appearances, we can hope that this might backfire, or at least not advance the ball.

Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Raising the Medicare Retirement Age Jon Walker, Firedoglake

“Fiscal Cliff” Casts Shadow of Secrecy Sunlight Foundation

As Great Lakes levels plummet, Michigan town tries to save its harbor Associated Press (Aquifer)

While Germany Is Headed for 80% Renewable Energy, We’re Getting Left in the Dust Alternet (Aquifer)

Retraction re: Antifragile Parody Josh Marshall. This has gotten beyond silly. Taleb made a stink over various criticisms of his book (go Lisa Pollack!) but now is trying to pretend he didn’t.

New Financial Overseer Looks for Advice in All the Wrong Places ProPublica. Better headline: Office of Financial Research – Captured from Birth

Suze Orman Thinks You Should Consider An Acura Helaine Olen, Forbes

New home sales fall 0.3% in October Housing Wire

Death of a Prediction Market Rajiv Sethi

B of A CEO Apparently Can’t Remember Anything Matt Taibbi (Richard Smith)

From Franzen to Fieri, the five rules of the review as takedown Guardian

Antidote du jour:

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139 comments

  1. Andrew Watts

    “Former UK Defense Minister Suggests Dropping Thermonuclear Bombs on Afghanistan-Pakistan Border”

    Just in case there’s any doubt about how badly NATO lost the Afghanistan war we have this genius publicly spouting this nonsense. The Taliban will be back in charge of the country within a month of NATO withdrawing. Thus ends one of the longest war in American history, which a former head of the Council of Foreign Relations called a “war of choice”.

    Afghanistan has earned it’s reputation for being the graveyard of Empires.

    1. From Mexico

      One can discern the growing sense of desperation on the part of the US/NATO alliance in this region. This may help to explain why the US has now shifted its attention to South America, a place where it probably stands a better chance of re-asserting hegemony over the area.

      After two disastrous wars, it looks like lights out for the US/NATO alliance in the central-Asia/Iran area. A Chinese researcher from the CNPC Research Institute of Economics and Technology, Feng Dan, published a study a couple of years ago explaining that the Russia/China/Iran/Central Asia grouping, despite frequent blowups between the various paties, are slowly coming together to counter the US/NATO alliance. They have succssfully frustrated the US/NATO alliance’s endeavors to control the natural gas reserves of the region at every turn:

      “Analysis on Natural Gas Geo-politics in Central Asia-Russia Region”
      http://www.worldenergy.org/documents/congresspapers/140.pdf

      The prize is the region’s 3141 Tcf of proved natural gas reserves. To put this into perspective, note that the total viable reserves for the US’s entire shale gas play are a piddling 60 Tcf.
      http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/The-Global-Prospects-For-Shale-Gas.html

      Dick Cheney was being bluntly honest back in 1999 when he told the Institute of Petroleum in London in 1999: “The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies.”
      (So much for the ‘Drill Baby Drill’ theology being evangelized by US right-wingers.)

      But while the US had the gunboats, China and Russia took their check books to the bargaining table, plus offered a far less belligerent diplomacy. In the race to build pipelines, Russia is clearly winning. Russia’s South Stream Pipeline, which connects Central Asia and potentially Iran’s massive gas reserves to southern Europe, is running well ahead of the competing US/NATO’s Nabucco Pipeline. In fact, the Nabucco Pipeline may not ever get off the ground, for reasons Dan explains:

      At present, both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan agree to provide natural gas for Nabucco Project, but Russia has signed an agreement with Azerbijan for purchasing the natural gas from Azerbaijan at the price of US $350 per mcm; in December 2009, Russia sisgned an agreement with Turkmenistan which sets forth that since 2010, Russia will import the natural gas from Turkmenistan in accordance with the market price in Europe, and this will despoil the gas sources for the Nabucco Pipeline.

      In December 2009, the Central-Asia Gas Pipeline was christened. This pipeline connects central Asia and potentially Iran’s gas reserves to China, and when the second phase is complete will deliver 1.4 Tcf annually to China.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Some lights are too bright to hide under a canasta. You were missed … by all but the cucarachas who prefer darkness.

    2. briansays

      Men have looked upon the desert as barren land, the free holding of whoever chose; but in fact each hill and valley in it had a man who was its acknowledged owner and would quickly assert the right of his family or clan to it, against aggression. Even the wells and trees had their masters, who allowed men to make firewood of the one and drink of the other freely, as much as was required for their need, but who would instantly check anyone trying to turn the property to account and to exploit it or its products among others for private benefit. The desert was held in a crazed communism by which Nature and the elements were for the free use of every known friendly person for his own purposes and no more. Logical outcomes were the reduction of this licence to privilege by the men of the desert, and their hardness to strangers unprovided with introduction or guarantee, since the common security lay in the common responsibility of kinsmen.–Lawrence

    3. different clue

      Whoever wrote the “link headline” seems not to know the difference between thermonuclear bombs and neutron bombs. The old British Lord clearly said “neutron” bombs in his speech. Does the “link headline writer” really not know that “thermonuclear bomb” refers to the big Hydrogen Bombs of the sort tested against Bikini Atoll and other places?

        1. different clue

          A thermonuclear bomb would kill millions. And millions and millions. A neutron bomb could kill thousands or even hundreds depending on how tiny it was. Of course if Lord Whatever said “let’s go apeshit here and drop a thousand neutron bombs all over Pakistani Pashtunistan” then he would
          be advocating killing millions of people and it would indeed not matter what bomb-system was used.

          The good news (I think) is that nobody in authority took him seriously (I think). Because if somebody were to drop a neutron bomb on Pakistani Pashtunistan, I suspect the Pakistani authorities would at least consider dropping a bunch of their atom bombs on the source of that neutron bomb.

          1. Roland

            I’m hoping this was a mere case of dotage.

            But then I think, “Overton Window.”

            Old washed up politician bruits notion of nuking recalcitrant provincials. He catches flak, so what? He’s no longer in a responsible position, he can be officially disowned, but the idea still gets out there.

            For how long does anybody think the Western Bloc will refrain from the employment of its nuclear advantage? The global balance of power broke down at the end of the Cold War. The Western Bloc does not fear retaliation from any of its prospective non-nuclear enemies/victims, while Russia and China are still much too militarily weak to deter the West from the use of nuclear weapons against anyone other than Russia or China themselves.

            As the West and its elite grow more anxious about their relative standing in the world power-political scene, the likelihood increases of their using what one might call their “nuclear legacy superiority” in an effort to retain hegemony.

            As we have seen in Afghanistan, the retail employment of conventional military force is tedious, expensive, slow, and often fruitless. When the retail methods get too frustrating or even embarrassing, the temptation will arise to employ wholesale methods.

  2. fresno dan

    Naked Capitalism is going to kill me…Well, to be fair its really Rolling Stone.

    B of A CEO Apparently Can’t Remember Anything Matt Taibbi (Richard Smith)

    “Calamari presses on, eventually asking him about the state of Countrywide when Moynihan became the CEO, leading to the following remarkable exchange, in which the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world claims not to know anything about the most significant acquisition in the bank’s history (emphasis mine):

    Q: By January 1st, 2010, when you became the CEO of Bank Of America, CFC – and I’m using the initials CFC, Countrywide Financial Corporation – itself was no longer engaged in any revenue-producing activities; is that right?

    Moynihan: I wouldn’t be the best person to ask about that because I don’t know.”

    Aarrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!!!!
    Honestly, what gets me most is that if capitalism really worked like it was suppose to, this man should have been fired long ago, and would have to pay back all wages and bonuses. The peole who hired him would be fired. What did he actually do!!!???? How did he spend his days???
    Apparently he got compensated for not knowing ANYTHING.
    Or maybe its just so embarrasing for him to admit that what he actually thought he knew about business was all, totally wrong, wrong, and super wrong…

    1. fresno dan

      by the way, here is the link to the actual deposition

      https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=SMHmmjEd20V9lQTXBxFDzg==&system=prod

      Do a word search for “don’t recall” and it is pretty hilarious.

      and this gem:

      Q. Countrywide Bank, what was your
      14:41:35 20 understanding at the time of the transaction to
      14:41:39 21 acquire Countrywide Bank of the importance of
      14:41:42 22 Countrywide Bank’s operation?
      14:41:44 23 A. I don’t recall. I don’t have an
      14:41:46 24 opinion about Countrywide Bank. It was part of
      14:41:48 25 the enterprise.

    2. DP

      Moynihan’s claims under oath that he had no idea of what went on in Bank of America’s Countrywide unit should provide ample grounds for prosecuting him for signing off on the adequacy of internal controls under Sarbanes-Oxley and as an admission that the TBTF banks are too big to manage and should be broken up.

      1. Expat

        Yes, the answer “do not recall” or “[do or did] not know” should be prime facie evidence of a failure to exercise fiduciary duty and fully criminalized.

        1. Procopius

          Heck, DoJ just announced they aren’t going to prosecute Corzine because what he did is “too complicated to explain to a jury.” Whatever.

    3. DiamondJammies

      “…if capitalism really worked like it was suppose to…”

      It actually works exactly as it’s supposed to. It’s supposed to enhance and perpetuate the domination of the class that runs it, the bourgeoisie. And that’s exactly what it has done, is doing, and always will do until its death.

      What you’re saying is that it doesn’t work the way its hired prizefighters (neoclassical “economists” and “business leaders” and corporate “journalists”) tell us it does. Of course, at this point none of us should be the least bit surprised by this. But unfortunately there are still some out there who, because they lack a class analysis, and thus a real understanding of how this system actually works, are baffled when reality betrays the falsity of the rhetoric.

      When Lord Blankfein is composing his maturbatory epistles to the “free enterprise system” while simultaneously filling his vaults with taxpayer money (i.e. labor stolen from the working class by the bourgeois state) we need to understand this is the truth of capitalism. It always has been. And in fact, never in the history of capitalism has there been a time when the wealthiest and most powerful capitalists have not manipulated state power while delivering paens to the “free market.” People need to understand: that is who they are. That is what this system has always been.

      And until the lessons of this materialist understanding of capitalism are observed by the progressive intellectuals the massses will continue to find it difficult to discover the path to liberation.

      1. ambrit

        Dear DJ;
        Well; I agree with you as far as the gist, but disagree about the bourgeois part. I see it as an outright Aristocracy, not much of a productive or managerial aspect at all. If any significant counter measures at all are to come about, that very bourgeois class you cite will be the driving force. An American Revolution 3.0 if you will. (I’d suggest that Lincolns War was 2.0.)

        1. Roland

          No, it’s the bourgeoisie, all right.

          While the petty bourgeoisie ideally have a close involvement with production or management, nevertheless as the historical process of capitalism continues, the petty bourgeoisie gets steadily more proletarianized. Junior and middle management get turned into mere wage labour, while senior management mostly gets turned into rentiers.

          Earlier periods of capitalism are more vital and dynamic than the later periods. In Marxist theory, the bourgeoisie for a long time constitute a progressive force in history. However, the loss of dynamism among the bourgeoisie is inevitable as long the capitalist process continues unchecked. Such loss of dynamism does not, however, make a bourgeois into an aristocrat–at least not in the sense of the term as applied to the pre-capitalist elite classes.

          The bourgeoisie, even when they are pure rentiers, have quite different social, political, and cultural class characteristics than the pre-capitalist aristocrat. The bourgeoisie, as a class, have different virtues, and different vices, than the pre-capitalist aristocrat. For example, as a class the bourgeoisie are much more tolerant and much more flexible in mind than the aristo. On the other hand, the bourgeoisie, as a class, tend to lack the sort of physical courage and sense of obligation that helped the old aristocracy to endure for so long. Again, I’m talking about class characteristics, not individual characteristics. There are many brave bourgeois individuals today, but as a class, in the round, the modern bourgeoisie are perhaps most cowardly and dishonourable of any elite group ever to inhabit the pages of history.

          Our ruling class is the bourgeoisie. There can be no denying or wriggling of that fact.

          How far we have gone along the historical process of capitalism remains an interesting question. Personally, I believe that global capitalism still has several more ravishing centuries in front of it. The global bourgeois elite is still barely forming. Old national structures and local distinctions between bourgeois still loom large. Much of the world’s water and atmospheric resources, as well as most forms of living things, have not been transformed into property. I think we’re still early in the game, capitalism is but an adolescent, only occasionally betraying the psychotic tendencies that will be fully manifest in its adulthood.

  3. From Mexico

    Re: “Argentina debt repayment order frozen”

    These are interesting times for Argentina.

    There was an article in the October issue of Aldea Global about how the US engineered the overthrow of the government in Paraguay and is doing military maneuvers in that country, with the permission of the new US-installed Paraguay government, in order to intimidate Argentina, Uraguay and Brazil. The article is written in Spanish, but I will do my best to give a synopsis:

    “The war on drugs: US strategy of control in South America”

    Several countries in South America’s southern cone (Chile being the only exception) have adopted economic policies which run counter to the neoliberal polices which the US is trying to impose. Argentina, under an expansionist neoKeynesian government, has increased public investment and is on the road to becoming an interventionist state, which has caused tensions between it and the US and US-dominated international organizations like the IMF and World Bank. Brasil also has taken a protectionist tact, increasing tariffs on 100 products and constantly limiting imports in order to guarantee employment and protect domestic industry. Uruguay has also resorted to protectionist measures, and has committed the ultimate sin in the eyes of the mandarins of global laissez-faire: it has legalized the use of marijuana.

    In reaction to this, the US engineered the overthrow of the government of Paraguay and, with the permission of the newly installed government in Paraguay, dispatched US Navy SEALS to conduct maneuvers in the Chaco province of Paraguay. The justification the US uses to justify this military intervention is to fight the war on drugs. The veiled purpose, however, is to intimidate Argentina and Brazil and to destabilize the region so that the US can reassert its dominion over the region.

    http://issuu.com/lajornadaonline/docs/aldeagl02102012/1

    Now today comes this new development. After Argentina defaulted on its debt back in 2001, it reached agreements with 93% of its creditors to write down the debt to an amount Argentina could afford to pay. However, 7% of Argentina’s creditors held out and refused the haircut. Some of these (or their successors, that is vulture funds who acquired the debt at some later date) sued in U.S. district court, asking it to force Argentina to pay the pre-default debt in full. A U.S. judge ruled earlier this month that Argentina must pay the plaintiffs in full, plus interest. Furthermore, he ruled that Argentina must do this before it can make payments to the 93%.

    Argentina and some of the 93% appealed:

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/11/23/argentina-to-request-on-monday-a-review-of-us-judge-griesa-latest-ruling

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/11/27/investors-holding-restructured-argentine-bonds-also-appealed-judge-griesa-s-ruling

    Argentina has drawn the line in the sand and said it will not obey the order of the U.S. judge, citing sovereinty issues:

    http://en.mercopress.com/2012/11/26/ambassador-arg-ello-says-argentina-will-not-pay-the-price-of-the-north-s-financial-irrationality

    The ratings agency Fitch yesterday downgraded Argentine debt, believing Argentina will default on all its debt payments, including those to the 93%, before it will obey the U.S. judge.

    Now if the governments of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland would just grow some cojones like those of Argentina’s president Cristina Kirchner.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The burly widow’s cojones also are being employed to cripple what’s left of an independent press in Argentina:

      Argentina’s biggest media company, Grupo Clarín SA, has asked the Supreme Court to hear its case against the implementation of a law that would force it to divest itself of such assets as its profitable cable television unit.

      At stake is Clarín’s future as an influential, independent media company that offers popular news and entertainment programs to millions of Argentines via its cable-TV and internet services.
      Some analysts say free speech is also at stake, given that Clarín is one of few multimedia companies that doesn’t depend on government advertising or other state funds.

      The move is the latest development in a lengthy legal battle between the company and Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, who contends that the company is a monopoly bent on deposing her.

      http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=477961

      Monopoly? Qué rico! A couple of years ago, Kristina’s party passed a law declaring newsprint a strategic commodity whose prices and distribution would be government regulated. Gov-friendly papers get a discount, while its critics (mainly Clarín and La Nación) pay a 15% premium.

      It’s symptomatic of the time-warp quality of Kristina’s thinking that she imagines the press can be muzzled by squeezing its supply of newsprint in the internet age. But then, Argentina is a place where carbon paper is still widely used to make copies of handwritten receipts, so maybe she has a point.

      What Kristina shares with the dictatorship of 1976-1983, and with her party’s patriarch Juan Perón, is a vigorous willingness to suppress criticism. Nothing has changed:

      Perón preferred to deprive the opposition of their access to media. Socialist dailies such as La Vanguardia or Democracia and conservative ones such as La Prensa or La Razón were simply closed or expropriated in favor of the CGT or ALEA, the regime’s new state media company.

      Intimidation of the press increased: between 1943 and 1946, 110 publications were closed down; others such as La Nación and Roberto Noble’s Clarín became more cautious and self-censoring.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Per%C3%B3n

      1. From Mexico

        Your response lacks factual accuracy, as the Peronists abandoned Christina Kirchner long ago:

        “Argentina’s Prez Struggles to Keep Power: Peronists abandon Kirchner as approval rating drops to 20%”
        http://www.newser.com/story/31437/argentinas-prez-struggles-to-keep-power.html

        Also, the US-back dictatorships and guerra sucia (dirty war) against the Argentine people were never anything but neoliberal, the exact opposite of the neoKeynesian policies that Kirchner advocates. Paul Cooney explains in great detail in “Argentina’s Quarter Century Experiment with Neoliberalism: From Dictatorship to Depression,” which he summarizes as follows:

        <blockquote The shift toward neoliberalism began during the dictatorship of 1976, deepened during the Menem administration, and was supported throughout by the IMF….

        Despite mainstream economists being in denial, the drive toward a neoliberal economic model, as advocated by both the Argentinian elite and the IMF, has had a clear class bias and thus led to a marked decline in the standard of living for the majority of Argentinians. The particular type of neoliberalism, which Argentina pursued, promoted agro-industry and finance at the expense of manufacturing, and thus produced two waves of deindustrialization and therefore a greater vulnerability of the Argentinian economy to globalization in the 1990s.

        http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1415-98482007000100001&script=sci_arttext

        I suggest you pay close attention to the portion titled “1. THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE 70S, THE IMF AND THE SHIFT TO NEOLIBERALISM”:

        In addition to the process of deindustrialization and the negative impact on manufacturing, the financial reform and other neoliberal economic policies of the dictatorship led to a much greater economic instability and three-digit inflation in 1982. At a more concrete level, Argentina was experiencing a fiscal crisis of the state, but from a long-term view, this crisis reflected the problems associated with a shift from ISI to a neoliberal accumulation strategy, an economy more dependent on finance and agro-industry than on the manufacturing base of the past.

        The preference of US neoliberals for dictatorship over democracy was nowhere more succinctly stated than by Friedrich von Hayek, who on a trip to Chile in the 1970s to demonstrate his support for the brutal dictatorship of Agusto Pinochet, declared to a Chilean reporter:

        My personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism.
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/11/17/the-road-from-serfdom/

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          The IMF owners reached the Extraction/Rentier Capitalism apotheosis in the 1970′s: John Perkins: “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” Bring RICO.

          1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            What’s sure is I won’t take notice or care what the
            US officials say. They are entirely and completely
            unreliable as sources.

        2. psychohistorian

          Thanks for the perspective.

          It is like watching the writhing of America’s end of empire. How many over and covert wars can we afford as we circle the drain?

          Even though retreat from our wars in the mid East may give us more troops for excursions in South America, I just don’t see it happening. South America is not going to get fooled twice and we haven’t started throwing nukes around to enforce imperialism yet……

          I wonder at what point the growing pustule of never going to be repaid debt is going to burst…..who wants to be the last to miss the Jubilee……..grin

        1. ginnie nyc

          I don’t agree with Mr. Haywood’s assessment of the situation in Argentina, but he’s entitled to his views (or rather the views of his upper middle class friends there). But he simply refuses to discuss President Kirschner without personal slurs against her dress, figure, makeup (last week it was the mascara), gender, etc.

          Haywood, if you don’t like Kirschner’s ‘look’, why don’t you write her with some suggestions, say, another brand of mascara you think is better?

          1. Synopticist

            Yup.
            Kirchners opponents use the language of freedom, free expression and popular revolt, but the reality is different.
            Argentina’s bourgeosie wants it’s country back, but it knows the old trick of a military coup won’t be acceptable these days, so they’ll go for pots and pans and favourable foreign press coverage instead.

  4. dearieme

    “In the Labour governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan he was … Minister of State for Defence (1976–1979). …

    After his retirement from the House of Commons, he was created a Life Peer as Baron Gilbert … and was appointed Minister for Defence Procurement in Tony Blair’s first government.” (WKPD)

    So he was never top dog at Defence, who is entitled “Secretary of State for Defence”, and he was a Blair creature.

  5. Jim Haygood

    From the WSJ article on heart gadgets:

    In 2010, MIT researchers … studying early-morning and late-night call and text patterns, could discern if a person was suffering from colds, stress or mild depression.

    A company founded by some of the researchers, Ginger.io, is working with Dr. Seid. “Your smartphone leaves a trail of data exhaust wherever you go,” Dr. Seid said, calling it “a continuous measure of health.”

    Medtronic’s Ms. Hoff said she can envision a future where employers might require insured workers with a family history of heart disease to have [a monitor] implanted or face higher insurance premiums.

    One can just imagine the MIT scientists noting on their clipboards, “9 pm and no texts … the lab rat must be depressed.”

    Soon, as in the Stanford experiment, it will occur to them to enable two-way functionality, so they can administer a mild electric shock to goad a malfunctioning subject back into action.

    ‘Compliance’ will come to mean having insurance company monitors implanted in your auto, your phone and your person. One can always yank the wires out, but that probably will be defined as a statutory felony (criminal damage).

    That ‘trail of data exhaust’ sounds toxic.

    1. different clue

      Do cell phones cause brain cancer? The authorities all say they don’t. In 20-30 more years we should know. I have decided to be a part of the “control” population.

    1. LeeAnne

      And again, throughout the article on Venezuela, the perpetrator himself is never mentioned: Paul Singer, reportedly among the largest contributors to the Romney campaign, as in

      ” … Lead holdout investors Elliott Management Corp [Paul Singer] and Aurelius Capital Management both declined to comment …”

      Greg Palast has done detailed reporting on how this particular flavor of VULTURE feeding works here and here

  6. wunsacon

    Empires burn in Afghanistan.
    But I can’t help going to war again.
    Shall I stay? Would it be a sin,
    if I can’t help destroying it all to “win”?

    Like a river goes, disappears in the sea
    Darling so it goes. Some grunts are meant to say.
    Take my hand, take my whole life, too.
    For I can’t help fighting this war for you.

    Wise men say only fools rush in.
    But I can’t help going to war again.
    Shall I stay? Would it be so bad,
    if I extend the front to Islamabad?

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Bravo, wunsacon! All you need is a weeping guitar for an instant classic war protest hit. Please bring your compostiion to life.

  7. Bill

    “Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Raising the Medicare Retirement Age”

    Just like we overwhelmingly opposed passing the TARP bill.

    We know how that ended.

    1. DiamondJammies

      What I do find heartening though is the strength of those numbers even after a decades-long disinformation operation against the people, culminating in the last two years of relentless bombardment by the bourgeois state and its media mouthpieces. The criminals have to be immensely disappointed by those numbers. We’re talking about one of the most sophisticated propaganda efforts the world has ever seen. The phony debt ceiling debate was entirely engineered by the ruling class for the specific purpose of scaring the people into agreeing that we must cut the WORKER-EARNED BENEFITS of Medicare and Social Security. And it fucking failed miserably. Hundreds of millions of dollars throw down a fucking rat hole by the criminals because the people are wise to this scam.

      It’s fucking beautiful, really, but also hilarious because once again the ineptitude of this utterly mediocre ruling class is layed bare once again for all to see. Now the criminals know that they’ll have to push through their criminal plans against the will of the people, which will further weaken the legitimacy of their rule.

      I love it.

      1. SayWhat?

        Well, but of course their true legitimacy relies only on the fact that there are no current or even prospective legitimate alternatives on the horizon. That’s all it takes in a winner take all, bought and paid for fascist corporate “democracy.” Legitimacy, like everything else in our relativistic fully monetized world, appears to be in the eye of the beholder, or in our case, the shareholder.

        1. citalopram

          Just wait until such a time as the people are sufficiently impoverished, where they are struggling to get a meal. We will then see an amazing change in class consciousness, for it is when people go hungry that they become fighters.

          1. James

            We may not have to wait too much longer for that. If UI worker-earned benefits are cut off on Dec 29, then come mid January you’re going to start seeing some really hungry, totally broke and soon to be homeless people getting “restless”. There are millions of them, they are everywhere, and a lot of them are quite well-armed….

        2. DiamondJammies

          At a certain point quantity changes over to quality, the TINA-idea reveals itself as a carefully engineered and wholly contingent strategy of class domination, and the necessity of the currently-impossible begins to impinge upon the consciousness of the masses. The masses start to withdraw consent and the class war enters a new phase.

          The capitalist veil is no more permanent than the feudal veil was. The socialist alternative is real, even if it’s not currently at the level of a specific blueprint. It requires both fidelity and infidelity with socialism’s past, a culling of the best of the tradition, along with a fearless critical attitude towards past failures.

          The seeming-permanence of capitalism is one of its most powerful illusions. Instead of contributing to the reification of social relations by giving credence to TINA, i.e. by treating as natural what is decidedly socially constructed, we need to make these relations dance again.

        3. jsmith

          As DJ states, the wondrous power of the current Western propaganda system is really unprecedented in the history of mankind and there is no better symptom of said power than its ability to make TINA seem so logical.

          The vast, vast majority of Western citizens – no matter how clever, savvy or educated – have felt this power at some point in their lives when – if actually taking the time to think through some socio-politico-economc issue – they are seemingly stumped in seeing any viable alternatives than what TPTB have already laid out for them – the framing of the debate, if you will.

          The denigrating of socialism and communism, the dismissing of anarchism, the ignoring of Marx, all of it has been carefully crafted and honed over decades to make the common person blind to any possibilities other than those which are provided in hopes that one day literally people would think “Karl, oh, he replaced Gummo, right?”

          I am also guardedly optimistic as I think our masters believe in the powers of their propagandistic tools a bit too much – what’s that old saying, don’t believe your own hype? – althought without the Internet I think the situation would altogether be much more bleak.

          1. MontanaMaven

            Have you heard the lecture by David Graeber on “Bureaucratic Technologies and the Future as Dream Time”?
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QgSJkk1tng
            One of the most interesting lectures I’ve heard. Why are there no flying cars or cures for cancer? Emphasis started to shift away from space exploration and other fun ideas to emphasis on social control. So actually less useful innovation and more devices to control i.e less cures- more Ritalin. Instead of creating spaceships, we have simulations of them. Instead of robots freeing us up for less work, we all are working more.
            And what I found really refreshing was his ideas about how much bureaucracies suck the life out of everything. People “sit in offices and try to sell things to each other.” They create paperwork. He had to fill out three forms in order to get paid for this lecture. “We use our imaginations to fill out forms.” Scientists have to submit proposals and are in competition with other scientists instead of discovering things.
            Americans are especially keen on big bureaucracies like the U.N. and Homeland Security. I never understood why Democrats have this knee jerk reaction whenever a right winger calls for the dismantling of the Dept. of Education and other government agencies even though the reasons often are dumb. So, thank you, David Graeber who says the same thing. He says that the right criticizes bureaucracies in a stupid way for sure. But the left doesn’t criticize them at all.
            And this thesis I love: He says that rich people don’t need advanced technologies to ease their lives because they have slaves. In an egalitarian society technical advances happen faster as they are trying to make things better for everyone.
            In the Q & A part (with a bunch of stupid questions) he calls for simple language. Hugh will like this. He says that everything now is run on bribery. If you want to go through customs faster, you pay some money and that happens. In other words, you slip some guy some greenbacks and you get thru the line. Congress critters spend three quarters of their time being bribed aka fund raising.
            Check it out.

          2. Jessica

            Reply to MontanaMaven (just below)
            Theory: What Graber is describing is what happens when an emergent knowledge-driven economy(*) is run by the rules and class of the capital-driven economy it is trying to emerge from.
            *Our actually existing knowledge economy is a decayed warped version of the ones we are really capable of.

          3. jsmith

            Haven’t seen that lecture yet, will put it on the list.

            As SJ177(?)(sorry, forgot the poster’s tag) is wont to post, below is the opening of Guy DeBord’s “Society of Spectacle” which you seemingly can read in its entirely online here if you haven’t already.

            He similarly addresses this lack of progress and desire to progress etc but as an outgrowth of a more insidious shift.

            For example, isn’t it really, really weird that we as a society have been continuously listening to music that is getting on 50 years old as if it’s still contemporaneous?

            I mean, I know relatives of mine didn’t listen to music from 1900 in the 1950s and music from the 1910s in the 1960s but you can’t escape decades old music today or the performers who originally wrote the tunes.

            Madonna half time? Stones, Who touring? The millions of Beatles – and others – tribute bands?

            Yes, I know my example is trite compared to the ones you/Graeber allude to but it’s still really the same principle.

            Chapter 1 “Separation Perfected”

            In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.

            The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished.

            The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living.

            For a similar later theorist see this:

            In a similar fashion, Baudrillard, a “strong simulacrist,” claims that in the media and consumer society, people are caught up in the play of images, spectacles, and simulacra, that have less and less relationship to an outside, to an external “reality,” to such an extent that the very concepts of the social, political, or even “reality” no longer seem to have any meaning. And the narcoticized and mesmerized (some of Baudrillard’s metaphors) media-saturated consciousness is in such a state of fascination with image and spectacle that the concept of meaning itself (which depends on stable boundaries, fixed structures, shared consensus) dissolves.

        4. Open wide for Pillar 3

          The US government has decided it doesn’t need legitimacy when it can rely on coercion. Anyway, in the civilized world the focus has shifted to sovereignty, meaning the state bears duties and obligations: at a minimum those described in the International Bill of Human Rights, the UN Charter and the Rome Statute. If a state can’t be bothered to comply with those black-and-white standards for sovereignty, the world is obligated to act in a sort of loco parentis to help the defective state grow up. The world can intervene by capacity-building or other forms of intervention to maintain human security.

          So when this state attacks its citizens’ right to social security as required by Articles 22 and 25 of the UDHR and Article 9 of the CESCR, and to medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness, as required by Article 12(d) of the CESCR, we no longer have a fully sovereign state. We have recourse to rebellion. We can go over the government’s head to the world. The whole world agrees. Ask Qaddafi. He lost his sovereignty and he got a bayonet up his butt. Let’s hope Obama figures it out before we have to set him up on a date with Brüno the Bayonet.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            The “State” bears the duty to deliver the People’s goods to the “Private” Reich.

    2. briansays

      if they wanted to they could open up medicare as a public option and we could choose to support it with our premium dollars instead of the private insurance cabal which is entitled to skim/loot up to 20 percent of every premium dollar with the force of law of a federal mandate provided by their purchased politicians

      1. citalopram

        That will never happen. The Medical-Industrial complex does not want competition, and will pay criminal politicians unlimited amounts of money in order to keep it that way. They buy laws, and they bought Obummercare.

        1. Mark P.

          ‘The Medical-Industrial complex does not want competition, and will pay criminal politicians’

          And, indeed, does now pay them more than Wall Street does, making the medical-industrial lobby the number-one, supreme payer of kickbacks and graft in the US system.

      2. lambert strether

        The so-called public option zombie sparkle pony never dies; please see here and here from Physicians for a National Health Program.

        Summarizing the PNHP links: The “public option” was a bait and switch operation run by career “progressives”* to suck all the oxygen away from single payer, a task that they successfully achieved. That in running interference for Obama, these “savvy” “progressives” were themselves betrayed by Obama, who never intended to implement the public option, is the cream of the jest, and obviously nobody should take them seriously about anything ever again, since they butchered not only the policy but the politics in what all agreed was Obama’s signature domestic initiative.*

        The “public option” is a neo-liberal, market state solution that puts the state on a par with private corporations and treats health care as a privilege and not a right. I can tell you exactly what would happen if Medicare had been put in the “health exchanges” as an option: The game would have been rigged to cripple it. Moreover, by the same principle, shouldn’t we also have “retirement exchanges,” with a crippled Social Security one more option on some drop-down menu, along with a bunch of 401K plans?

        NOTE * Many of these same “progressive” organizations are also “fighting” for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which should tell you something: Do call your Congress critter yourself, and write Letters to the Editor yourself.

  8. dan

    Palestinians “slapping Obomber in the face” with their UN statehood bid.

    I mean really, the nerve, after all he’s done for them? Ingrates.

    Oh wait, my bad, he hasn’t actually done a goddamn thing for them.

    1. psychohistorian

      The US keeps vetoing any attempt to give Palestine any legitimacy as the puppet of the global inherited rich that support Israel.

      If we wonder why they hate us look at this vote.

  9. jsmith

    Although I really shouldn’t be surprised at the daily outpouring of mendacity from our war criminal leaders and their propagandists – also war criminals, mind you – in the press, it it quite amazing sometimes.

    So, today the NYT et al., would have us believe that the US hasn’t already been directly arming the Syrian rebels and providing support through the CIA?

    From the NYT:

    “Other, more distant options include directly providing arms to opposition fighters rather than only continuing to use other countries, especially Qatar, to do so. A riskier course would be to insert C.I.A. officers or allied intelligence services on the ground in Syria, to work more closely with opposition fighters in areas that they now largely control.”

    Oh, that’s right, I guess I should just ignore this report from February in which the “rebels” directly state that the US and France are supplying them with weapons.

    http://rt.com/news/syria-arms-us-france-531/

    Or this report also from February that states that British and Qatari special forces are already on the ground in Syria.

    http://rt.com/news/jordan-syria-intelligence-training-859/

    Or this report from March speaking to the “guidance” of the CIA, Mossad and Blackwater in addition to the Syrian army finding American and Israeli weapons.

    http://rt.com/news/cia-blackwater-mossad-syria-037/

    Or the leaked Stratfor memo in March which stated that NATO commandos were already on the ground.

    http://rt.com/news/stratfor-syria-secret-wikileaks-989/

    I guess I should just keep on believing that we are a Godly country just trying to prevent another humanitarian crisis, right?

    For all who are too blind to see, the Iraq War never ended.

    It was simply Phase I in a prolonged battle cooked up by the neocons to either subdue the entire region or shatter the region into a number of smaller states/territories by which US/Israeli hegemony could more easily be retained.

    The last strategy is known as the Yinon Plan which is basically the Israeli version of the American neocon strategies:

    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_Yinon (translated)

    The “Yinon Plan”, dating from 1982, aims to create mini-states antagonists in the Arab world . He comes from an article by Oded Yinon, an official of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who in the fall of 1982, a few months after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, wrote an article entitled “Strategy for Israel in the 80 “published in the Journal of Palestinian Studies by Israel Shahak and appeared in Kivunim (Guidelines), No. 14, February 1982 (Journal published by the Department of the World Z******t Organization, Jerusalem) . This plan will also be highlighted in the report ” A Clean Break ” .

  10. Eureka Springs

    So the humanitarian bombers want to scatter cat food among the peeps and compel auctioning kidneys to “pay” for health, while keeping the home FIRE sector burning and TPPing our sovereignty away.

    What part of general strike and new Constitution do we not understand?

    1. hunkerdown

      One possible take on the resistance to resistance is that the magic of marketing has created a faith-based civic sphere whose citizens have internalized that consensus reality overrides observable reality and therefore no longer trust their own eyes. If they think they are worse off than before, it is dismissed as an illusion or an outlier. For example, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, the surface dependency relationship of the job consumer on the job creator for one’s basic livelihood has been pervasively whitewashed into a “partnership”, and one does not hurt one’s partners. The deeper dependency of the job creator on the job consumer for blood to suck has been whitewashed out of polite discussion and consciousness. Ezra Klein’s recent Q&A with the author of Plutocracy illustrated how the .01% cling to the convenient “what’s good for GM” meme that their personal interest and the collective interest are one and the same.

      The (cynically caricatured for your enjoyment) impression I get from most USians is that they believe the US Constitution is tantamount to a sacred text of revealed wisdom, deemed superior based mainly on its antiquity, and the one artifact/idol that wards away the ghost of Kim Jong-Il who would bring a national uniform of drab jumpsuits, rice for every meal, and a nationwide ban on men peeing standing up. The belief in the Constitution’s exceptionalism would stir up strong resistance in the event of a redraft, if Michigan’s recent 0-for-6 failure on ballot proposals is at all representative. I have my own reservations about rebooting the nation’s charter, but they are grounded in fear of sophisticated representatives of incumbent powers hijacking the drafting process to their own benefit more than any metaphysical qualities of the current charter (which, from an astrological standpoint, are none too salutary for anyone but the Pluto-cracy).

      Well, those are ideas anyway…

  11. ambrit

    Friends;
    After reading the Housing Wire piece about new home sales, as usual, I clicked through to other posts there. “Fannie Mae announces new deed-in-lieu requirements” caught my eye. Especially the last paragraph which said; “Further, Fannie Mae said that servicers are no longer required to obtain written approval when they want to postpone a foreclosure sale on a loan that is more than twelve months delinquent as of the last paid installment date.” If this means what I suspect, the extend and pretend is getting a lot more desperate. Are we witnessing the birth of a Super Shadow Inventory?

  12. LeonovaBalletRusse

    From “Bits” Daily Report – http://www.nytimes.com – 29Nov12:
    “But as Reed Abelson of The New York Times reports, the conversion to electronic medical records is “vulnerable” to fraud and abuse because of the failure of Medicare officials to develop appropriate safeguards, according to a sharply critical report to be issued on Thursday by federal investigators.”

    Yves, this is a “feature, not a bug” – n’est-ce pas? The “devil” is in the software details. Bring RICO.

  13. LeonovaBalletRusse

    NC Links 11/29/12: “India’s poster boy for vegetarianism – he’s just fathered a child at 96 Independent. He also sleeps ~ 10 hours a day.”
    ——————————
    This is every self-phallic idolator’s dream: the “evidence” of the Macho Man’s male prowess/phallic thrust/male dominance over woman’s womb, his ability to remain in the running of the *Impregnation Sweepstakes*. “Sleeping 10 hours a day” — whatever it takes, with a Viagra crutch, to be sure. *Phallos* remains the idol of the *primitive* Vain Male Supremacy world. What Power and Glory to knock up the coveted vain bitch!

    Man, thy name is vanity. “All is vanity.” “There is no health in us.”

    1. ambrit

      Dear LBR;
      I seem to remember another “Omphalos”, er, US Senator, who fathered children well into his dotage. Was it the anti-sainted Strom Thurmond perhaps? Anyway, you know the score. These more rural areas still believe in “barefoot and pregnant.” The essential agricultural viewpoint.

  14. Susan the other

    NaturalSociety.com:Kaiser Permanente: GMOs are a disaster so buy 100% Organic or 90% Organic to protect yourself. The circle of special interests widens the circus: GMO purveyors against Health Insurance against Big Pharma against Medicare For All against massive Government Corruption against any form of democracy against all forms of corporatism against all forms of capitalism against all environmental regulation against, voila! GMOs.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Sto, Wow! What a boon for those Private Equity *Investors* in Organic Agri! Aren’t they lucky to be on the right side of the *market* and *just in time*? Kind of like owning gold and silver from way back. What good luck! What genius!

  15. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

    Fiscal Cliffiness Update

    Boehner complains of no response to his cries for shrinkage….

    •*BOEHNER SAYS `THE WHITE HOUSE HAS TO GET SERIOUS’
    •*BOEHNER SAYS DEMOCRATS `COMFORTABLE’ GOING OVER FISCAL CLIFF
    •*BOEHNER SAYS `NO SUBSTANTIVE PROGRESS’ MADE IN TALKS
    •*BOEHNER SAYS DEMOCRATS RULING OUT `SENSIBLE SPENDING CUTS’
    •*BOEHNER SAYS DOESN’T KNOW WHAT WHITE HOUSE WILLING TO DO

    Harry Reid playing hard to get…

    *REID SAYS `WE’RE NOT GOING TO KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD’
    *REID SAYS HE HAD `NICE MEETING’ WITH GEITHNER
    *REID SAYS STILL WAITING FOR `SERIOUS OFFER’ FROM REPUBLICANS

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      HT,
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/obama-filibuster-reform_n_2204589.html?utm_hp_ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=112912&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief
      (Nevadans don’t want that toxic waste from Nukes, but from Adelson, OK! So Harry continues to perform for the Global Reich, or be a “dead man.”)
      BUT EVERYBODY ON MESSAGE:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-kirsten-gillibrand/needed-reform-for-the-us_b_2205189.html?utm_hp_ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=112912&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief
      “The fact is, as a consequence of unprecedented obstructionism during the last Congress, the filibuster was used more in two years than it had been in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s combined. This is unacceptable.”
      THIS IS A LIE: Only the_threat_ of a filibuster has been used. Cowards all.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        Both these links seem to be about Phil A. Buster (IMHO, everything seems to be).

        Didn’t see anything about Yucca Mountain.

    2. Synopticist

      Oh my word Obama is such an idiot and a pussy.

      It’s so blatantly f*cking obvious that the republicans want “entitlement” cuts, while being able to blame them on their opponents when they run against them.
      Obama is walking right into their trap.

      Meanwhile, they may conceivably aquiesce to raising income taxes a notch or two, but don’t even dream of cutting plutocrat welfare.

      1. ambrit

        Friends;
        I may be a little late to the party, but I’m convinced that Obama knows exactly what he’s doing, and where he wants to go. After all, he is a Harvard trained lawyer. (I think our esteemed hostess can tell a tale or two about that bunch!)

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Bull’s-eye! Obama is not walking into their trap. How absurd. He’s in on the con and always has been. He’s played this gambit so many times — the pretense of principled resolve followed immediately by premature capitulation and then impossible naïveté, it’s astonishing that it still works, over and over again. I guess people just haven’t been paying attention … yet.

          1. ambrit

            Mr Terpstra;
            They will when the Sheriff evicts them from their home to pay off the medical bankruptcy because of cuts to Medicare. Then they’ll have to move in with JGordon out “on the farm.” (Bring lots of .223.)

  16. Jackrabbit

    Is Rice Cooked? Is Obama Leading Democrats Over A ‘Benghazi Cliff?’

    The Obama/WH-led media onslaught has not made the issue go away. Indeed, it has probably peaked the interest of many (like yours truly) and caused the Republicans to dig in their heels.

    With more revelations to come, the take-no-prisoners support of Rice risks mid-term losses for Democrats if they can be painted as being too quick to put Party before country.

    =======

    Who Changed Benghazi Talking Points?

    Investigating Benghazi: Why We Need A Select Committee

    Obama’s Lack of Concern

    1. LucyLulu

      I’m really dense because I don’t get why Rice is being skewered over issuing what apparently was the official public version of events of a CIA operation that went wrong, whether due to having Libyan prisoners or smuggling heavy weapons to Syrian rebels, or whatever the real story is. Petraeus was the director yet nobody seems to have any issues with him over whether there was adequate security or men were told to “stand down” or getting to the bottom of how his mistress ended up with classified documents in her gmail. Instead the focus falls on a UN diplomat whose worst crime might be bad judgement for getting involved and then adding some political embellishment to try to goose the reelection of the boss that her career depended upon. And we all know our Senators never would use political gamesmanship for self-promotion, right?

      Yesterday, the acting CIA director again changes the story about who changed the memo…. so who is being put back on the Bar-B? Did anybody else notice how similar all the stories from the senators were yesterday, including wording used? Looks to me like lots of political drama for public benefit. And far more outrage over these 4 than expressed over the death of thousands of US soldiers in Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

      Molehill meet mountain….. If only financial crimes generated as much interest as investigating black members of the Administration and protecting the tax returns of the 2% .

      1. Jackrabbit

        LucyLulu:

        I don’t get why Rice is being skewered
        My understanding is that they take issue with the fact that went beyond the talking points in a way that butressed Obama’s record, AND that she acted as a mouthpiece instead of a responsible office in that she didn’t bother to investigate what she had been asked to talk about.

        And that assumes that, despite being uber-close to Obama, she wasn’t coached to ‘spin’ the info. (Knowingly spinning would make her complicit in a conspiracy for political gain.)

        Petraeus was the director yet nobody seems to have any issues with him…
        We don’t really know the Petraeus story. It may be connected … but different. I recall that there was a “leak” before the election to the effect that the CIA was not responsible for Benghazi. Petraeus’ unwillingness to ‘play ball’ may have been what got him ‘canned’ (via revealing his affair and not being allowed to resign quietly).

        Plus he is now out – and not seeking higher office.

        …investigating black members…
        Rice was initially ‘picked on not because of her race or sex but because she makes a good proxy for Obama – especially given her close ties to him.

        Claims of racism and sexism have been debunked in various serious articles – and this line has now been mostly abandoned as a means of push-back.

        …Senators never would use political gamesmanship…
        There been many angles played by the Administration to put this baby to bed:
        Equivalence. This is the latest tactic. Republicans are just as bad. They may well be – but it is not an ‘answer.’ It is just another in a long line of obstructive, misleading claims like:
        Fog of war!
        Republicans are sore losers!
        It’s a tragedy, not a scandal (nothing to see here).
        McCain and others are rascist and sexist!
        Perk’s and failings of Generals (Hey look over here!).
        Minimizing: Afghanistan/Iraq casualties are much worse.

        ======

        The point I of my original comment is: it is not working. Only irritating the other side and raising the stakes.

        1. Jackrabbit

          Rice’s ‘innocent mistake’ of reading off talking points is also one of a growing list of inconsistencies, mistakes, inadvertent incompetence, etc. that have come to light.

          Somehow, nothing ever touches the President:

          Rice, who is very close to Obama, goes on 5 shows without talking to him?

          Petraeus is investigated, but Obama is not made aware of that?

          Amabassador Steven’s mission is under attack but Obama’s involvement is simply to issue an order to “protect our people”? (A sharp contrast with his involvement with the Osama op).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Oh, bummer, are you sayig he is like sushi and is at his best raw while Rice gets cooked?

          Nor sure many would go for that.

    2. dan

      so this nothingburger could lead to more corrupt worthless Rs and fewer corrupt worthless Ds after the midterms?

      someone bring the fainting couch, stat!

    3. Kim Kaufman

      Possibly Republicans making a big deal over this is so they can force Rice out, put Kerry in there (who wants it) and then get Scott Brown to replace Kerry.

  17. Kris

    About genetically modified food and health care organizations warning about it—-Bravo for Kaiser to have the guts and the financial saavy to label these disease causing contaminants hidden in our food supply.

    We fought a good fight in California to pass Proposition 37, a ballot initiative that would have labeled food containing GMOs so that people could choose to avoid them. It keeps getting higher and higher numbers of votes as the absentee ballots are still being counted. Over 48% so far.

    Meanwhile, we are preparing for the next election and the next ballot initiative to label genetically modified foods. Retailers in California must be surfing or suffering the market pressure as almost half the voters are now hip to GMOs and in some cases are purging their family’s diet of them by demanding organic products.

    For example, at Thanksgiving, organic turkeys were sold out at our local market as were the organic potatoes and almost all other organic vegetables. So I got in the car and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to The Good Earth in Fairfax, a huge 100% organic supermarket where they had everything I wanted for Thanksgiving and the week ahead.

    We used to go to Peet’s, a coffee chain and get a couple of drinks per week. Highly satisfying, those shots of espresso, the hot milk and…?GMO high fructose corn syrup with Bacilus thuriengis toxin, roundup and mercury contamination? Yuck! We’ll never buy another mixed coffee drink there again until they have 100% organic ingredients.

    I trust that the 48% of voters who learned about and supported Prop 37 continue to vociferously vote each and every day with their food dollars in retail establishments and restaurants.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The default should be organic and those opting for toxic stuff can drive all those extra miles they want across the Golden Gate Bridge to get them.

      As we Neo-Neanderthals would say, let’s just go back to the Luddite standards, when everythig was organic.

      1. craazyman

        I believed every word of it!

        I thought it was hilarious and whatever opinion I had of Mr. Taleb (I admit he isn’t usually on the forefront of my mind, although I did read Fooled by Randomness) went up!

        But I know I’m weird. I began to think he’d make a good Reality Show host. It’d be funny to see him roam the streets of New York on camera looking for somebody who knows what Ito’s Lemma is. Or trying to explain it to passersby. Then lecturing on some issue of manly etiquette while imbibing a scotch at some cafe.

        I’m frankly disappointed this was a hoax. What isn’t a hoax these days? There’s a point where you feel you can’t believe anything anymore.

        It must have been a PR firm hoax to sell books or jump-start the TV show. Donald Trump is so yesterday. It’s somebody else’s turn.

      2. diptherio

        Satire is a difficult genre. People took Swift seriously too, many even thought Gulliver’s Travels was in earnest, not to mention his Modest Proposal. I once wrote a satiric LTE in support of bombing Iraq on the basis of it being good for the environment (solving overpopulation). Pretty much everyone thought it was serious…sigh.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Facebook friends stressing you out?

    In today’s ‘reality’ based world, there should be Facebook enemies as well as Facebook friends.

  19. LeonovaBalletRusse

    http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/ — “legend” du jour 29Nov12:

    “. . .ALL OF THE GREAT LEADERS HAVE HAD ONE CHARACTERISTIC IN COMMON: IT WAS THE WILLINGNESS TO CONFRONT UNEQUIVOCALLY THE MAJOR ANXIETY OF THEIR PEOPLE IN THEIR TIME. THIS, AND NOT MUCH ELSE, IS THE ESSENCE OF LEADERSHIP.” JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH”

    “the major anxiety” — Has anyone charted Viagra sales over time? In tandem with Authoritarian Neoconlib Economics? In tandem with Pre-emptive Wars?

  20. LeonovaBalletRusse

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/recep-tayyip-erdogan/the-turkish-economy-meets_b_2205265.html?utm_hp_ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=112912&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief
    “The Turkish Economy Meets EU Entry Criteria”
    NOT SO FAST. CONNECT:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDAZkhc-HUU&feature=watch-vrec
    “Who were responsible…”
    Uploaded by Cryingforhumanity on Mar 25, 2009
    —————————————–
    FIRST there must be at LEAST: a “Truth Commission” on THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE: WHO was responsible for it, WHO is covering up the truth.

    1. Synopticist

      There isn’t the slightest chance of Turkey being invited to join the EU anytime soon. Ain’t going to happen.

  21. charles sereno

    I didn’t notice a link to events in Egypt but, since important things are happening there right now, I’d like to point to what I consider a rare, balanced newspaper account –

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/egyptian-president-mohamed-morsis-actions-are-driven-by-inexperience-not-lust-for-power-8368884.html

    In previous comments, I may have mistakenly given the impression that I’m happy with Morsi. I’m not. Nor am I happy with the opportunism of Amr Moussa or ElBaradei or the departure of dissidents from the Constituent Assembly or the decision of the opposition to take a “final stand” at this moment. Consider just 2 possible scenarios: 1) Morsi is brought down. Who wins? Secularists? The Judges? The Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex? I say the secularists would end up bad losers; 2) Morsi survives until a Constitutional Referendum in December. No doubt the constitution will be too Islamist, too open to authoritarian abuse. Can that be compared to the horrors of Mubarak? I don’t think so, even though many will say Mubarak could’ve managed with the Declaration of Human Rights. What then can be done? Fill up the squares, vote no, vote like you did before, but win this time. Egypt had a milestone, historic vote and the Brotherhood won (barely). Why throw out the Baby (democracy) with the Bath.
    (I still think the proximate agents, the judges, well too many of them, are like “encrusted pus.”)

  22. Up

    Re: Armageddon 2.0

    The computer hacking section is alarming. Destruction of infrastructure via computer controls, loss of critical energy infrastructure means massive mortality and devestation. The link mentions something called Stuxnet which I had not heard of before.

    Here is a glossy primer on Stuxnet:
    http://vimeo.com/25118844

    Here is the man who (along with his team) looked inside Stuxnet’s code and figured out what it was, what it’s purpose and potential are and who created it. Less glossy more informative:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS01Hmjv1pQ

    Langner: The bigger problem is we have is the risk of copy cat attacks and I personally take it for granted that we will see copy cat attacks. Not against targets in the Middle East but against targets in the U.S. and Europe. From an IT security perspective, imagine we’re not talking about Stuxnet but about the very first distributed denial-of-service attack we’ve seen. It would be completely naive to assume that nothing would follow. Other attacks have been copied. There is no reason this should not happen with Stuxnet, especially in response to the media attention it got and the cyberwar aspects of it. How many freaks are out there who in their wet dreams can’t imagine anything better than doing something similar against, for example, a U.S. power plant? I think that’s a reality we must face.

    Least gloss, more information:
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-20061256-245.html

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      Ya, bad precident with Stuxnet. The code made centrifuges wobble in the real world and they shook themsevelves apart.

      They say a similar attack can be made on power plant turbines. These are very large, and spin fast, so the destructive potential is there, except I’m not sure if the “balancing” of these can be changed by computer control.

      But much “opportunity” exists with maleware attacks on important stuff.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        For instance, I’d be more worried about air traffic control.

        Replace the stuff on the monitor with a game program or something.

      2. ambrit

        Dear H_T;
        “Maleware attacks.” Oh, goody. The latest version of Halo on the computer screens of Con Edison. “All will go dark, and a savior arise to restore the light!” Sounds like a job for Bloomberg.

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