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Links 12/12/12

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Cat v. Internet Oatmeal (Scott). This is an antidote to Richard Smith’s anti-antidote.

Fighting the information war (but only on behalf of rich people) mathbabe

White House: North Korea Missile Launch ‘Highly Provocative’ Huffington Post

China’s shadow ponzi FT Alphaville

Investing in China — Pitfalls and Promise Big Picture

Japan should scare the eurozone Stephen Mallaby, Financial Times

Europe’s 2013 will bring more of the same MacroBusiness

Mario Monti’s exit is only way to save Italy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Return of the Undead: Berlusconi Revival Puts EU Leaders in Tight Spot Der Spiegel

On the sad algebra of the Greek Debt Buyback Yanis Varoufakis

Secret Talks Behind Central Banks’ Bets Wall Street Journal

Vast sums of aid continue to be stolen in Afghanistan Christian Science Monitor

How Bad do Sanctions Really Hurt Iran? OilPrice

The Not-So-Bright Bulbs at the White House and Pentagon CounterPunch (Carol B)

Loopholes to Some, Lifelines to Others New York Times. Including tax simplification in the fiscal slope deal introduces more things to fight over. You don’t increase the complexity of your negotiations if you want to get a deal done on a tight timetable. I don’t see how they get a deal done by Dec. 31, unless they patch together something to tide them over for six months. A 2 phase deal was long planned, but I don’t see how you do this plus entitlement “reform” in any reasonable time frame.

Fiscal Cliff Update Kevin Drum

White House to States: All or Nothing on the Medicaid Expansion David Dayen, Firedoglake

On the Way Out, Schapiro Steps In to ‘Volcker’ Rift Wall Street Journal

TSA’s Grip on Internal Travel is Tightening Dollar Vigilante (furzy mouse). Yes, I know, this is a somewhat paranoid source, but just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you. And it’s well sourced, so you can validate its claims should you feel the need.

California law enforcement moves to buy drones, draws controversy arstechnica

Small-business owners pessimistic about economic growth and recovery Guardian

Three arrested in Libor manipulation investigation Guardian

Bloomberg to fall short of revenue targets Financial Times

Bank Fraud: Underlings Arrested, Banks Too Big to Indict Global Economic Intersection

William Hogeland: How Big Finance Won the American Revolution Boston Review (Robert M)

Remembering Albert Hirschman Rajiv Sethi

Antidote du jour:

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102 comments

  1. Can't Help It

    I am sick of reading how Europe/US as one of the worse case scenarios will turn Japanese. Ain’t gonna happen. Too long to describe but the personalities are just different.

    1. wunsacon

      Japan’s 80′s bubble was beyond epic. Yet, some people interpret:
      (a) lack of a second epic bubble
      as evidence of
      (b) the futility of stimulus.

      But, that’s a leap in logic. Japan’s stimulus may well have mitigated the pain from their bust.

    2. John Wilkins

      The quote comes from (I believe) Warren Mosler who said, “because we think we are like Greece, we are turning into Japan.” He meant of course, that Greece, like all EU nations, are currency users (using a foreign currency, the euro) over which they have no control, where as the United States is a currency issuer who cannot “run out of the fiat money” that it alone creates. So, by thinking we are like Greece, it leads to unnecessary austerity which would mean very slow growth like Japan has suffered for the past two decades. It has nothing to do with culture, only economics.

    3. sidelarge

      Europe is lucky if it can “turn Japanese,” as it would mean the unemployment rate will go down around 5%. Won’t happen on the current path.

      In fact, the article is actually saying that Europe would be lucky if it ended up as worse as Japan, if you actually read it.

    4. David Strauss

      I find it quite amusing that there are Europeans who are scared of being Japanized, and other Europeans who fiercely deny such a possibility, when the European situation is already far, far, far worse than Japan’s at any time in its aftermath of the gigantic bubble. If you missed the weird sound above your head, that was the sound of reality flying above your comprehension. I have no idea how you could miss that, though.

      Recessions AND sky-high unemployment AND debt. Sheesh.

      1. Maximilien

        The reason Japan is “better” than Europe is that it had the good fortune to have its real estate/stock bubble twenty years ago. It was still able to sell its sovereign debt after the debacle, something which the European nations are having difficulty doing.

        In other words, when it comes to a global debt-deflation it’s always best to be the first nation to go over the cliff, while the other countries waiting their turn at the edge are still willing to brake your fall.

  2. D. Mathews

    I could have written the Counterpunch piece on those “not-so-bright bulbs” in the US military establishment. It reminds me of another very eloquent piece that – I think – was actually posted here some time ago.

    1. citalopram

      In short: America’s foreign policy is designed to create enemies, because there are economic incentives in selling all those arms and fomenting more war.

      It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  3. Richard Kline

    The Boston Review interview with historian William Hogeland is well worth anyone’s time to read. His comments on the sociological spin of the time of the American Constitution’s passing strike me as keenly perceived and historically very well grounded. He makes some remarks concerning the abuse of historical information and also of the relevance (and lack of relevance) for events of that day on the present with remarkable erudition and clarity.

    Good historical investigation hones ones insight, and it’s plain Hogeland is a sharp observer. Never pass up engaging a clear and informed mind—it may be awhile before you encounter the next one. Sez I.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Toward an American Revolution
      Exposing the Constitution and other Illusions

      http://cyberjournal.org/authors/fresia/

      This short book should be required reading for all US citizens. Scroll down for links to each chapter. Spread the link like a modern day pamphleteer. I’ve purchased about a dozen hard copies for gifts this year. All who read it so far have appreciated it.

  4. fresno dan

    “California law enforcement moves to buy drones, draws controversy” arstechnica

    Yeah, controversial for a little while … and than it will happen.

    I predict inordinate surveillance of nude beaches…and the 22 year old blondes thereon.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Colonialism marches on:

    PRISTINA, Kosovo — Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is in a bind. His country’s largest and most lucrative enterprise, the state telecommunications company, is up for sale. The jostling among buyers is intense. Narrowing the bidders has hardly helped.

    One bid is from a fund founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Lobbying for another was James W. Pardew, the Clinton-era special envoy to the Balkans.

    So many former American officials have returned to Kosovo for business — in coal and telecommunications, or for lobbying and other lucrative government contracts — that it is hard to keep them from colliding.

    They also include Wesley K. Clark, a retired Army general and the former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe who ran the bombing campaign against the Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic; and Mark Tavlarides, who was legislative director at the Clinton White House’s National Security Council.

    Pristina, the capital, may be the only city in the world where Bob Dole Street intersects Bill Clinton Boulevard.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/world/europe/americans-who-helped-free-kosovo-return-as-entrepreneurs.html?hp

    Kosovo sounds like the Philippines or Cuba or Panama a hundred years ago. Too bad there’s no fiebre amarilla there to cart off these carpetbagging yanqui termites.

    1. ambrit

      Mr Haygood;
      Who says there ain’t no Yaller Jack up in them thar Balkan hills? Some of the mutated strains of old reliables like TB and The Clap now coming out of the Dark East look fair to being our new endemic herd thinners. Them pandemics usually start up in some Wild West type place first. What’s more Wild West than the *cough cough* Cockpit of Europe?

    2. JTFaraday

      You missed Former Sec. of State, Madeleine Albright– I thought that the best part:

      Albright Capital Management: “We believe that a transparent, well managed privatization of the state-owned telecom company should bring substantial benefits to the economy and people of Kosovo.”

      Just jaw dropping. Who puts out a public statement like that?

      “We’re going to employ people, provide training, create exports and help the country grow and develop as a democracy,” said General Clark, who is chairman of Envidity, a Canadian energy company…

      For his part, General Clark said it was “insulting” to suggest that there could be any conflict between private profit-making and his past responsibilities. “My business is aboveboard, transparent and helps the Kosovar people.”

      “Jobs”–the last refuge of scoundrels and “human rights” advocates.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        JTF: re Clark’s company “Envidity” – more like “Avdity”

        As to “We think it was worth it” Albright: Now we see why.

      2. skippy

        Democracy – in their – *parlance* is Feemarketcracy where they suck all the wealth up and have zero risk exposure, risk is for the rubes.

    3. Maximilien

      @Jim Haygood

      “Pristina, the capital, may be the only city in the world where Bob Dole Street intersects Bill Clinton Boulevard.”

      Is this for real? Am I missing something here?

      If not…..who allowed, who WOULD allow such naming (probably re-naming) of streets? After all, at the risk of overstatement, isn’t that like re-naming the Champs-Elysees “Hitler Avenue” in 1940 and then allowing that abomination to stand after the war?

  6. ambrit

    Re; “..I don’t see how you do this and entitlement “reform” in any reasonable timeframe.”
    Well, the trick as I see it is to make the faux anxiety sooo intense as to “cry out” for some sort of “Executive Decision.” What sort of “Executive Decision” you might ask? How about a ‘Special Commission’ set up by the President with extraordinary powers, bypassing Congress for instance, to “get things done.” There you are, Rule By Decree! With a fig leaf for garnish.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Yves may be spot on. Though I chuckled a little when she used the word ‘reasonable’. There is nothing reasonable about these crooks and liars, their motivations or timing. I’m still guessing much will be passed in the last few hours before Christmas break. Bad things always happen at that time of year. For bipartisans it’s reasonable to do it when the fewest are watching.

      1. LucyLulu

        All deals MUST be passed at the midnight hour. It’s necessary to avoid accusations by both sides that the parties caved too easily and TINA to avoid the dire consequences of sequestration.

  7. TimR

    Just read Michael Hoexter’s piece from a day ago on Obama as faux progressive and still wanted to comment…

    When I try to put this point of view across to Tea Party types (I live in a deep red state and walk among them), that Obama is not a radical socialist, they’re incredulous. They think I’m completely nuts. I may cite the healthcare/ Obamacare creation, and argue that it was written in consort with private insurance interests, a gift to private industry mandating thousands of new customers. Their response to this is not to dispute that that may be true, but to argue that Obama’s secret scheme was to design it such that it would quickly deteriorate, leading to his real goal, a transition to a pure socialist system of government funded insurance/healthcare! What about the insurance execs? I ask. Did they not account for this in their dealings? They respond that the insurance execs have either been duped, or they see the writing on the wall and are just getting while the getting’s good — a betrayal, the Tea Partiers think, of what ought to be their honorable allegiance to insuring (as it were) an eternal free market, free of government encroachment.

    Now, apart from the mythical idea that we have free insurance markets now, rather than geographic monopolies as I understand it, I have to admit that it wouldn’t surprise me if Obamacare turned out to morph quickly into something else after a decade or so. But I don’t know the particulars of it or the healthcare/insurance industries enough to judge their claim that it will morph into Radical Socialism. So I’m curious what anyone here would say to that argument.

    In general they can meet any argument that Obama is not a Radical by saying that it’s his Secret Self, he’s just constrained by pragmatic realities… But if he had his way, hoo boy, he’d shake things up… Sometimes I tell them that they ought to be happy, since he can implement their policy wishes better than the Republicans, who would face opposition. They have no response to this, just continue their mantra that he’s a holy terror, a nightmare president, etc.

    1. YouDon'tSay?

      Umm… why are you arguing with Tea-Baggers in the first place? There’s no actual brain activity going on with those people, other than when they’re getting their Fox News/Limbaugh injections, and then it’s pure alpha waves. I grant them their right to believe what they want to believe and leave it at that. Discussing anything political with them at all only disturbs the universe needlessly, and we’ve got more than enough of that already.

    2. jsmith

      Try this model on your acquaintances as it might be easier for them to understand:

      My apologies to Malcolm X.

      The world is a plantation and the U.S. and the EU are the plantation manors.

      Everyone human being who is not a master is a slave with those in non-Western countries analogous to the field slaves while US and EU citizens are house slaves.

      Now, even among the house slaves – petite bourgeoisie(?) – there are distinctions as some do rudimentary chores – cooking, cleaning out the sh!tter, etc – while other more refined slaves get to look after the master’s/mistress’ toilet – not the same thing as the sh!tter, mind you! – and may actually get to sleep in their own rooms within the manor itself.

      As Malcolm pointed out, after years of “easier” slavery, the house slaves have so internalized the needs and whims of their masters that they have actually become to think of themselves as one with their masters.

      The house slaves basicallly can no longer even SEE their own slavery much less rise against it.

      So, when you encounter people who can’t for the life of themselves understand the very horsesh!t malarkey that is coming out of their own mouths maybe you should just say “Master’s bed-pan dirty agin” and walk away.

    3. sleepy

      “In general they can meet any argument that Obama is not a Radical by saying that it’s his Secret Self, he’s just constrained by pragmatic realities…”

      Odd, isn’t it–that’s the general consensus by some progressive fans of Obama, that in his heart he’s really on the left, but those meanies in Congress just hold him back.

      As to your question about what if anything replaces Obamacare, I think it will be tweaked and massaged enough to still be useful to the insurance companies. As health insurance costs continue to rise to evermore unaffordable rates, the subsidies available on the exchanges will grow to cover more and more of the population, but they will cover less and less treatment. There will be some sort of universal “health” care–roughly along the lines of a spartan medicaid for all approach, with good private insurance available at extremely high costs for the rest.

      1. Anon

        The future of obamacare is that the mandate stays while the subsidies get cut back. Austerity!

        It morphs into a regressive tax of little use to the struggling masses. Rich folks with pre-existing conditions will benefit though, so there’s that.

      2. Synopticist

        “Odd, isn’t it–that’s the general consensus by some progressive fans of Obama, that in his heart he’s really on the left, but those meanies in Congress just hold him back.”

        Yup, wierd. I can undestand how rightwing reactionaries think he’s a secret commie, but I don’t get how liberals keep expecting him to turn into a real progressive now he’s got the republicans at his mercy. The guys an economic centre rightistwith as social conscience. He’s basically a circa 1995 republican moderate with gay friends and a dark skin.

      3. LucyLulu

        I’ve been known to pull some chains by telling them that with governors refusing Medicaid expansion and allowing the federal govt to set up their exchanges, the framework is being laid for single-payer healthcare. It is working perfectly as planned.

    4. jrs

      You are dealing with at base an unfalsifiable claim. Prove Obama is not a secret socialist, no such negative can be proved.

      So let’s abstract away Obama’s motivations (because we *CAN’T* know them entirely anyway) where are Obama’s actual policies leading? It’s not socialism of any variety. It’s corporatism.

      And this is not an “11th dimensional chess” question of “where are Obama’s policies leading?”, because again that is UNKNOWABLE, Republican policies of say tax cuts for the rich and gutting the social safety net, let’s for the sake of argument say coming from Republicans, could also lead to a commie state 20 years from now (due to backlash in that case). So where some policy leads in the long sweep of history when it’s not a predicatable result of a policy but some secret result or some action and reaction, CAN’T be the question because again it is simply unknowable. The only rational knowable question to ask is: where are the policies DIRECTLY leading?

      P.S.: scramble their minds with this one, perhaps Obama’s determination to cut the safety net, Social Security and Medicare is ALSO a secret socialist plan. It’s a secret plan to make the middle class revolutionary by denying them some economic payback for putting up with the status quo. Afterall isn’t the “worse the better” a good commie slogan?

  8. ambrit

    An interesting aside to the TSA piece is how the editor of the “Dollar Vigilante” had to append a mini editorial exhorting the readers therin to hew to a ‘non-violent’ path of resistance to the Police State. All that that action suggests is chilling in its own right.
    My earlier comment about 9/11 being Americas Rubicon is looking more and more correct.
    The other part of Mr Gordons editorial that grabbed my attention was his passing comment about those of us who “simply can’t or don’t want to leave (America).” Where’s my copy of “Ship of Fools” when I need it!

    1. citalopram

      The problem with non-violent resistance is that it’s purely defensive, and the numbers needed to make it work aren’t there, insuring that it will fail like it did with occupy.

      You’ll see policy pepper spraying and arresting the protestors, and even some will take a truncheon or two upside the head. They will be dispersed, and the show will go on.

      1. Francois T

        “They will be dispersed, and the show will go on.”

        There was this guy recently; tryin’ to remember his last name.

        I know his first name was Hosni.

        He thought the same thing: “Hit’em hard (shoot if need be) and problem solved.”

        Didn’t turn out so well for him.

        Right now, there’s another dude…Bashar; he’s some mean mofo. He doesn’t hit…he shoot and bomb. Mass executions too…big time!

        Oh! And he’s a big fan of torture; trust me, Dick Cheney has nothing on this guy…nothing at all.

        Strangely enough, both guys can’t seem to get their “problem” resolved.

        There may come a point where the only dispersion possible must be done on the ruling elites. History teach that; problem is, (there’s this word again!) the lesson has to be repeated again, and again, and again.

  9. jsmith

    Barack Obama – war criminal – has declared the Syrian opposition the legitimate government of Syria.

    Gee, I’m sure glad that we consulted the Syrian people of which over 50% support Assad and which wouldn’t like to see the country spiral into the terrorist haven that Iraq has become.

    Here’s a look at what awaits Syria according to the Doha agreement:

    1. Syria should reduce the number of soldiers of the Syrian army to 50,000;

    2. Syria will assert its right to sovereignty over the Golan only by political means. Both parties will sign peace agreements under the auspices of the United States and Qatar;

    3. Syria must get rid of, under the supervision of the United States, all its chemical and biological weapons and all of its missiles. This operation must be carried out on the land of Jordan;

    4. To cancel any claim of sovereignty over Liwa Iskenderun (Alexandretta) and to withdraw in favor of Turkey from some border villages inhabited by Turkmens in “muhafazahs” in Aleppo and Idlib;

    5. To expel all members of the Workers Party of Kurdistan, and to hand over those wanted by Turkey. This party should be added to the list of terrorist organizations;

    6. To cancel all agreements and contracts signed with Russia and China in the fields of subsurface drilling and armaments;

    7. To allow Qatari gas pipeline passage through the Syrian territory toward Turkey and then on to Europe;

    8. To allow water pipes to pass through the Syrian territory from the Atatürk Dam to Israel;

    9. Qatar and United Arab Emirates pledge to rebuild what has been destroyed by the war in Syria on the condition that their companies have the exclusive access to contracts for reconstruction and for exploitation of Syrian oil and gas;

    10.To terminate relations with Iran, Russia and China;

    11.To break off relations with Hezbollah and with Palestinian resistance movements;

    12. The Syrian regime should be Islamic and not Salafi;

    13. This agreement will come into effect as soon as power is taken ((Algerian) Editor’s note: by the “Opposition”).

    So, fellow Americans, having fun being citizens of the newly furbished Nazi empire?

    1. jsmith

      More on how America is cynically using the “terrorist” designation for one of the Syrian rebel groups here.

      “In distancing itself from al-Nusra before the conference, Washington is attempting to create the optimal conditions for more directly intervening in arming the “rebels” under the pretense that it is aiding only the supposedly “secular” and “democratic” militias under the direction of the Coalition, which will likely be given status as a transitional government.”

      And here’s Russia stating the obvious a couple of weeks ago:

      “The desire to change a political regime in another state through recognition of some political force as the sole sovereign representative seems to me not entirely civilised,” Medvedev told French journalists in an interview cleared for publication on Monday.

      “But … the question is how right it is to … decide to support another political force if that political force is in direct confrontation with the officially recognised government of another country. And from the point of view of international law, it seems to me that is absolutely unacceptable.”

      1. ohmyheck

        OK, process of elimination. Take out that Numbskull NWO Elitists are creating, right on the Mayan 12/21/12 schedule, WW3. Then take out anything related to Nations, Governments, etc. That leaves us with global, borderless Corporations, duking it out over Resources, with all the power and money controlling Resources gives. “X”, “Y” and “Z” corporations are at war with each other, and using proxy Nation labels and their puppet governments as cover. Follow the money, yadayadayada…
        Where’s Hugh? (taps monitor screen) Hello? Please explain this to us in your own inimitable way, that makes even laypeople understand. Thank you.

      2. Francois T

        “In distancing itself from al-Nusra before the conference, Washington is attempting to create the optimal conditions for”

        giving Al Assad the perfect propaganda theme he was desperate to get.

        Assad has been saying for months that the rebels were terrorists. Now, The State Dept idiots give it to him on a sliver platter because OMFG!! al-Nusra has/may have (who the heck knows?) links to evil Al Qaeda.

        Couldn’t State start to be more involved while covertly undermine al-Nusra? I mean, like, trying to be less obvious?

    2. ohmyheck

      #6 and #11…Syria-sly? Are Russia and China just going to sit back and do nothing? In many ways, I wish this were true:

      “Russia delivered its first shipment of Iskander missiles to Syria…The superior Iskander can travel at hypersonic speed of over 1.3 miles per second (Mach 6-7) and has a range of over 280 miles with pinpoint accuracy of destroying targets with its 1,500-pound warhead, a nightmare for any missile defense system.”

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33277.htm

      The author of this article is a lying propagandist, so this is highly suspect. But Russia and China need to step up with some kind of detente/deterrent.

      1. jsmith

        Yup, looking to Russia/China as embodiments of hope is an interesting turn of events.

        The acceleration of things in Syria is telling but tellling what?

        The rebels have basically been thwarted every step of the way up till now so are we witnessing 1) a true move by NATO/US to intervene in Syria 2) the building of neoliberal “inevitability” in the face of a lost cause – cf. final days of Romney’s campaign or 3) a faux push by the West to placate the neoliberal/Israeli warmongering wackjobs before a detente is reached with the Russians?

        In my previous post, I assumed that the US/NATO is actually going to do something as this has been the MO for the last decade but we’ll have to see.

        1. psychohistorian

          Sometimes changing dictators can be messy. Its one of things you need to get out in front of so the results are what you want.

          Its not like there isn’t a history of errant dictators or those especially hated by the public that causes us to react and take control of the resins of history.

          After all, we are the global inherited rich and we have been in control for centuries and the stupid public thinks WE are listed in the Forbes 500….what a joke and a true mark of our effective control.

          (end of reality snip)

      2. LucyLulu

        And #10. My thoughts exactly. As if Russia and China will sit back and watch idly. And Russia will also generously agree to give up their sole Mediterranean port. Whatever.

        Jordan has been seeing an influx of Syrian refugees, so they may not be such a safe place to offload the weapons either. But then is anywhere safe? How about send them to China and Russia as tokens of peace………Or Iran.

    1. Klassy!

      Chrisalmighty, he’s attacking an NC post from June? Is there nothing happening in the world right now for him to expound upon? That truly is derangement.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Klassy, it’s just a demonstration of how far back They will go to put NC in Their crosshairs. “They’ve only begun to fight” NC.

      1. Eureka Springs

        He’s just a teabogger now, steeping in balloon-juice. Probably a spot opening for him soon at NPR. Unless digby beats him to it. It’s all for the kos.

    2. b.

      This is idiotic – Obama is not just doing “some things I don’t like”, he is undermining the rule of law. If you care about money more than the constitution, look at the lack of enforcement against pervasive fraud and criminality in the banks. If not, I should not have to elaborate on assassinations, indefinite detention, kill lists, illegal wiretapping, failure to prosecute torture and homicide of detainees, illegal “covert” wars in half a dozen countries, persecution of whistleblowers, and related direct challenges to the very foundations of any open society.

      The true derangement here is the attempt to square principles with normalcy. Obama is the expression of your new normal, where reasonable people can “like” torture on Facebook – or not – and now you have to pretend that there is nothing unprincipled and deranged about this.

      Hence, we get meta-derangement. Pity, but very post-erior-modern. Pays the bills, I suppose.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Pierce’s piece was pointless veal-pen ridicule. It was a pale imitation of Rebecca Solnit’s masterpiece of moral relativism, “Letter to the Dismal Left”, in which she mocked nitpicking perfectionists who had naively expected Obama to close Gitmo, wind down the wars (not start new ones), restore the rule of law, prosecute fraud and war crimes, rein in rigged trade scams (not push new ones), end insurance racket profiteering, etc. Solnit did a better job of ridiculing and trivializing “the grousing … of the buzzing flies … of the rancid left”, comparing those critical of Obama’s recission of habeas corpus and drone murders to a spoiled brat angry about not getting a pony from Obama. It was an article that ripped Tom Dispatch from my bookmarks.

      http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/27-4

    4. Lambert Strether

      Well, let’s be fair when we compare the hippie punching. Pierce merely infantilizes (“not a seven-year-old”) whereas Solnit dehumanizes (“insects”). Since, if one takes the metaphor literally, the former leads at worst to ridicule and marginalization, whereas the latter leads to extermination, I have to say I prefer being told to shutupshutupshutup by Pierce rather than Solnit.

      That said, I don’t have time to properly shred The Boston Steamer, but thanks for the tip (Stupidest career “progressives” on the face of the earth).

      And do read the Stoller post that Pierce ridicules. It’s possible, indeed likely, that Pierce was simply filling his paid space by lazily picking a random target fron his “Hippies I hate and would like to punch” list; but it’s also possible that Pierce is attacked the post exactly because of its excellence.

      1. Chiggi

        Matt’s post certainly nailed it…

        I’ve been reading Pierce’s stuff periodically since his blog’s inception and his recent support of The Party is all the more frightening given that we know he knows better. His early criticism of the flying death robots suggested he was at least tacking towards the realm of actual human thought. Given the amount of denial and self-loathing the man is perpetuating on a now daily basis, I suppose it’s of little surprise that he is seeking to punish those remaining areas of decent and independent online thought that still have some readership.

        Still. Scary how quickly they turn.

    5. LucyLulu

      “a frightening reminder of just how narrow the frame for accepted thought is becoming”
      It seems to be affecting more than just Charles Pierce these days. And it isn’t frightening, its downright depressing, given the already underwhelming support for compassionate change.

  10. K.

    TSA overreach begs for defensive enforcement of CCPR Article 12 protections on liberty of movement. But not one US attorney in a thousand even knows what that means, because they’re all brainwashed to think that binding human rights law is somehow inapplicable (they’re trained to blurt out ‘non-executing’ and then stop thinking about it.) Human rights education is confined to two tracks: elite training that weaponizes human rights for US government vilification of foreign enemies (think Harvard); or lower-tier parochial schools influenced by Vatican human rights doctrine – (think Seton Hall,) confined by glut to menial clerical work. In this sick Soviet-style judicial system, if your defense attorney is not conversant with human rights, he’s just another good cop working to send you up the river.

  11. Valissa

    12/12/12: Why Today Is Tied to Doom http://www.livescience.com/25458-12-12-12-doomsday.html

    Fun with numbers instead… Americans finding dozens of ways to mark 12-12-12 http://news.yahoo.com/americans-finding-dozens-ways-mark-12-12-12-224135139.html
    A Michigan sixth-grader will put aside her nerves and get her ears pierced on her 12th birthday. Two law-enforcement officials will exchange wedding vows at 12:12 p.m. in Pittsburgh’s federal courthouse. And gamblers can take advantage of promotions some casinos are using to lure in patrons who want to test their luck. … In New England, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut will offer $12 in free slots play to rewards cards members who sink $12 into the slots. …

    And in honor of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who also wears No. 12, his team is planning a series of events, offering free admittance to its interactive museum in the 12 o’clock hour and discounts at its shop — 12 percent off, naturally. The team’s Facebook post had more than 12,000 likes in its first hour.

      1. Valissa

        btw, the benefit concert is for a group called the Robin Hood Relief Fund http://www.robinhood.org/rhsandy

        Recommend donating instead to Occupy Sandy http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/

        Brushing off criticism, Red Cross shifts to new phase in Sandy recovery http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/brushing-off-criticism-red-cross-shifts-phase-sandy-172912715.html
        After pulling in a hefty $188 million in donations to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross still has some $78 million in the bank even as communities continue to cope with the storm’s devastation. The unspent money, raised specifically in response to Sandy, has reignited questions about the Red Cross’s initial response to the storm and how it will distribute the remaining funds.

        1. Howard Beale IV

          #121212Concert: How amazing that a natural disasters gets all of the bleeding-heart media-frenzy attention-and ironies of ironies–sponsorship of this event is being underwtittten by the very same firms who were singlehandedly involved in the near-world economic collapse that they inflicted back in 2008 with an even bigger calamitous body count that remains hidden by a compilcit media? God, it makes me think I’m living in Seasons 3 and 4 of Babylon 5….

          The question will boil down to this: what will be the single event that (in the words of Roger Waters in Radio KAOS) that causes the tide to turn?

  12. Klassy!

    Comforting the comfortable: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/live-blog-dealbooks-post-election-conference/

    Shouldn’t Andrew Ross Sorkin be on the style pages reviewing men’s hair products?
    Let’s see, there’s Jamie Dimon reminding us that the banking industry has only 35 lobbyists out of 1700 registered in Washington, and fly fisherman have them too and anyway, look at all the unions– they have big buildings in DC too…
    Marc Andreessen wants government out of the way (exception– he makes a plea for a “tech bailout”), thinks it would be fun to major in English, but unless you can be a “writer’ like tom Friedman, there isn’t much use for you, and grew up in Wisconsin (“next door” ot Detroit) so he is supremely qualified to proclaim that unions did no favor to the auto industry…
    Then there were abunch of policy people with Jared Bernstein presenting “balance”…
    There’s a break with lots of music of the sort that you hear in the commercials that run during the morning news shows.
    Apparently there are actual people that have shown up in person for this conference and not one is throwing their shoes at the individuals on the stage.
    Lloyd Blankfein does his Lloyd Blankfein thing.
    Now there are a bunch of tech people and one young lady cannot open her mouth without uttering the word “core”. I’m not kidding. Skills gap! Risk taking! Disruption! Transformation!

    In short, I am grateful that the NYT has provided a platform for the these forgotten citizens to present their views. A huge public service.

    1. diptherio

      It’s Jamie Diamonds and Lloyd ______fiend, by the bye. Kindly refer to them by their proper names in the future. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in my personal re-branding campaign.

    2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      I guess I must point out that we’ve never had a fly fisherman as treasury secretary. Even tho the pay is better.

    3. Ms G

      Yes, yes and yes, Klassy!

      “Shouldn’t Andrew Ross Sorkin be on the style pages reviewing men’s hair products?”

      You nailed it. About Andy RS and a number of his Shill Brigade brothers (and sisters).

      1. Ms G

        Klassy, another apt description of Andy RS would be as Lloyd Bankstein’s barber (only the best clodded cream and the softest horsehair brushes, to raze that shiny scalp).

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cat vs. Internet.

    Is there information on the web about the FBI’s top 10 wanted cats list?

    I suspect the cat I am living with might be on that list. Beneath that cuteness, occasionally, she displays a thirst for blood.

  14. LeonovaBalletRusse

    From yesterday’s Dealbook, we see that “The Big Club” owners duke it out:
    ———-
    //Challenging London as Europe’s Financial Capital Proposals aimed at shifting power to rivals like Frankfurt and Paris reflect concerns that so much trading in the euro is done in a country that does not use the currency.
    DEALBOOK//
    ——————–
    London-Paris-Frankfurt: “Is that all there is?” RECALL words of wisdom: “Entangling alliances with none.”

    The 100-year private “Fed” Contract is DUE to EXPIRE imminently.
    TISA (There Is Some Alternative):
    http://www.alternet.org/economy/lets-take-back-banks-greedy-financiers?akid=9788.313281.xHyHx0&rd=1&src=newsletter759023&t=17
    //ECONOMY
    /Web of Debt blog / By Ellen Brown 12 COMMENTS
    /”Let’s Take Back the Banks from Greedy Financiers”
    /”From North Dakota to Scotland, the public bank option is winning support.”
    /December 11, 2012//

    1. psychohistorian

      You need to rework your percentages.

      Of the 1.9 Billion there is 1.3 billion of it they don’t have to pay it they “are good”.

      What are the chances of them getting caught at not being good? What happens when these “good” folks can no longer rape the public? They turn on each other.

      I suspect the end point of the path we are on is societal elimination. When you have sociopaths like we do running the world, it will mean nothing to them to escalate the demise with some nuclear control efforts to add to the total Fukushima radiation output.

      It is not fun to watch this happening and feel so powerless.

      And the Cosmos will simply burp and move on.

      1. diptherio

        “It is not fun to watch this happening and feel so powerless.”–psychohistorian

        That’s what Prozac is for, psycho, so that you can become well-adjusted to your powerlessness and not mind so much. Historically speaking, there’s good precedent too. The pre-Minoan Crete society appears to have anesthetized itself with opium as their society was crumbling and being ransacked by the upstart militant sky-god-worshipers.

        1. Valissa

          Soma, Huxley style http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World
          To maintain the World State’s Command Economy for the indefinite future, all citizens are conditioned from birth to value consumption with such platitudes as “ending is better than mending,” “more stiches less riches” i.e., buy a new item instead of fixing the old one, because constant consumption, and near-universal employment to meet society’s material demands, is the bedrock of economic and social stability for the World State. Beyond providing social engagement and distraction in the material realm of work or play, the need for transcendence, solitude and spiritual communion is addressed with the ubiquitous availability and universally endorsed consumption of the drug soma. Soma is an allusion to a ritualistic drink of the same name consumed by ancient Indo-Aryans. In the book, soma is a hallucinogen that takes users on enjoyable, hangover-free “holidays”. It was developed by the World State to provide these inner-directed personal experiences within a socially managed context of State-run ‘religious’ organizations; social clubs. The hypnopaedically inculcated affinity for the State-produced drug, as a self-medicating comfort mechanism in the face of stress or discomfort, thereby eliminates the need for religion or other personal allegiances outside or beyond the World State.

          Soma, Vedic style http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soma
          In the Vedas, the drink, and the plant refer to the same entity. Drinking Soma produces immortality (Amrita, Rigveda 8.48.3). Indra and Agni are portrayed as consuming Soma in copious quantities. The consumption of Soma by human beings is well attested in Vedic ritual. …

          There has been much speculation as to the original Proto-Indo-Iranian Sauma plant. It was generally assumed to be entheogenic, based on RV 8.48 cited above (we have attained the light). Many descriptions of Soma are associated with excitation. Soma is associated with the warrior-god Indra, and has been drunk by him before his battle with Vṛtra. For these reasons, there are stimulant (amphetamine like) plants as well as entheogenic plants among the candidates that have been suggested.

          1. diptherio

            On a side note, (relatively) recent archaeological findings suggest that Soma may have been a mixture of cannabis and ephedra, residue from which has been found inside ancient ceremonial vessels. (Cannabis is still used ritually on a widespread basis by Hindus, at least in Nepal. I’ve sampled several of the traditional ritual Hindu cannabis edibles, and they were all excellent…wonderful religion).

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          And we’re on the verge of Universal Marijuana Legalization, then — why not? — the legalization of Meth, Opium, etc, whatever it takes to lobotomize the population. And why not free coca leaves to chew, even as we whistle, while we work, as they do in Peru?

          The Victorian Reich’s Opium Wars continue, but with China joining in the spoils of FRACKED AMERICA via HSBC, the City, The German Monarchy, and their Agents here and abroad. Now do we see why “outsourcing” of all manufacturing was necessary? The U.S. is becoming Louisiana, with the same bosses: Exxon in collusion with Shell/BP. Our Land ain’t nothing but a Resource Curse. The Grifter Class will live in their mansions abroad.

      2. dolleymadison

        Tell me about it. Went to the FBI with the fraud committed by HSBC to attempt to FC on my home and guess what – they were outraged until the next week when it mysteriously was dropped – the same week the head if the FBI in Charlotte went to work for Bank of America. Powerless indeed.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          doll, It figures. Said the late Eustace Mullins:

          “The CIA works for the Rothschilds, and the FBI works for the Federal Reserve.”

          It’s beginning to look that way to the restovus, now that there’s no more need to deny it.

  15. Susan the other

    After reading Bill Black on Italy as per the NYT spin yesterday, Der Spiegel really sounded like the Times re Monti v Berlusconi today. There’s no discernible reason why Italy should agree to suffer any more austerity. Berlusconi is right. Too bad he’s not left. And the Spiegel said the Europlutocrats were nervous that the Italian populists would ignite the German populists, implying the German populists really hate the freeloaders – but I think not. I think the German populists are waking up to the big bank fraud. And pretty fast.

    Today Deutschebank was raided by the Frankfurt police! For German tax evasion, ostensibly. In the meantime the Bundesbank sells its bonds to China who sells them back to the ECB and then Germany has the “reserves” (?) available to fund the convoluted bailout of the Greek private banks via the Greek government which is totally insolvent – just passin’ through. And then rinse and repeat. What awful government; no government from either Greece or from the EZ. But government requires citizens, society and good policy.

    Italy still has a vibrant economy. Lotsa money in the bank, good debt to GDP, all the stuff it needs to just drop the Euro and go back to the Lira. And it’s looking at Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. and thinking it doesn’t like banking-fascist government anymore. Good. The Euro is a fascist instrument. And the great irony is that in order to save it the EZ has to come together socially. Fiscally. It’s like pulling teeth. I bet the teeth pulling pretense is a ruse.

    And what’s this latest cover about the central banks’ secret talks at the BIS where they admit to each other that this is a grand experiment and they don’t know how it will turn out? Hello out there; iIt isn’t turning out well at all. It’s the greatest fiasco in history.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Re: … “And what’s this latest cover about the central banks’ secret talks at the BIS where they admit to each other that this is a grand experiment and they don’t know how it will turn out? Hello out there; iIt isn’t turning out well at all. It’s the greatest fiasco in history.”

      This is a hugely underappreciated article. When listening to the related piece I was struck by the profoundly insular nature of this group of powerful unelected officials and the shared threads of their educational, interpersonal and professional backgrounds: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323717004578157152464486598.html#project%3DCENTRALS1212%26articleTabs%3Dinteractive

      As for us, we might benefit from considering their monetary policies other than through our prism of the nation-state and euro zone.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        CG, why do you suppose they all got into MIT, had the same “Economics” experience, and graduated from there to have “great” (and greatly remunerated) careers in the same Global “Heavenly” Sphere? Doing God’s work?

  16. LeonovaBalletRusse

    In the “Fresh Air” interview airing today with the author of a new biography of Joe Kennedy (“The Patriarch”), David Nassau should die of shame for the complex web of lies he’s telling, interwoven with “just enough” of strategically selected truths. Maybe he’ll just be stricken dumb with a bolt of Olympian justice.

    Between the lines, wonder about the thread connecting Joe Kennedy in Hollywood with Ayn Rand and her “White Russian” agenda in the U.S.–come a cropper in 2008.

    The truth for sure is that Joe Kennedy was a Mask for the .01%DNA Global Reich.

  17. LeonovaBalletRusse

    NC Link 12Dec12: “TSA’s Grip on Internal Travel is Tightening Dollar Vigilante” (furzy mouse)
    ————————–
    “Your papers!” — “Let’s take a walk around the block” the way we did in a past life in Nazi Germany, in Stasi’s East Germany, in Stalin’s USSR, and be subject to arrest at all times, having to present our “papers” on command.

    And they said this could never happen here in America. The Camps attend.

  18. 9th column

    Francis Boyle’s hair’s on fire. The guy who wrote the book on America’s real, and crucial, contributions to the rule of law has now embraced your recourse to rebellion against a criminal state. Obvious though it is, it’s scary to see a preeminent scholar say as much.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33272.htm

    The US government is your enemy. It’s what the Axis was for gramps. This is war.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Francis A. Boyle is dead right, but he does not go far enough. He must include the owners of the “British” Victorian Empire, of The City, of BIS, of the *Brussels EU*, of The District of Columbia+Wall Street and of the Fed, in his group of “Conspirators” to “Rule the World” who engage in “Pre-Emptive Wars” so to do–who must be arrested and detained for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity according to the Nuremberg Laws.

      There can be no doubt that the U.S. is a Puppet State controlled ultimately by the “Conspirators” constituting The Global Fourth Reich through this day. The duties of the Agents of the “Conspirators” running the Dictatorship are clear: to make sure that we are held under The Iron Heel of the “Conspirators” and that their might and presence may be felt through Agents substituting BIS “Governance” for our legitimate Government of/by/for the People in their American HQ: The District of Columbia–where they make their presence felt through the Three Branches of Government and their Agencies, through the HQ of the IMF and the World Bank, and through the Institutions of their Jesuits, their Subverted Masons, by their Mormons on tap. Their Global Totalitarianism is enforced by the Federal Reserve Bank and their Agents in “banking” and “trading” by any name, as well as by the entire Military Industrial PetroChemAgriPharmaWar Complex.

      Francis A. Boyle must recognize that we are the Global Reich’s Puppet State, and that the United States is in the process of becoming just like every other “Resource” State–especially for the provision of Oil&Gas–that he mentions in his article. Between the XL Pipeline and BP, we now are enduring a RUINED Gulf of Mexico, because of the strategic puncturing of the salt dome under Gulf waters–which not only resulted in an endless stream of crude oil into the Gulf and adjacent waters, and which resulted in an apparently endless deposit of Corexit and Antifreeze into the Gulf; but which, because of its proximity to the Madrid Fault Line on the Gulf Floor, will likely SPLIT the United States into the two major regions (pre-announced to us by the obedient Edgar Cayce) through the unmitigated disaster of destruction caused by the “disturbance” of the Madrid Fault Line through Missouri and beyond. It is becoming clear that the “accident” deemed “local” that resulted in the ever-growing “Bayou Corne Sinkhole in Assumption Parish, Louisiana, is the INEVITABLE outcome of the strategic puncturing of the salt dome by OUR ENEMIES: the Global Fourth Reich and its Agents in America, via the expert sabotage of BP(Shell), Transocean of Switzerland, and their co-conspirators.

      Yes, by all means let’s follow Francis A. Boyle’s advice, but let’s BRING THE PROSECUTION of the CONSPIRATORS to the Tip-Top–which the Nuremberg Tribunal FAILED to do. We must ARREST those at the highest international levels: the .01%DNA of the Third and Fourth Reichs and their .99% Agents here and abroad. We must FINISH the job this time.

      And if we can’t do it, let the FRENCH CITOYENS do what they did before, but incompletely. Failing the Nuremberg Laws, the French National Razor awaits.

      1. psychohistorian

        Thanks for your more fact/link filled rants that I can compose about our situation.

        I do wish we could have a serious public discussion about the facts of the social organizations (and people) we are all currently slaves to.

        It continues to amaze me how many folks come to this site and still have not a clue about who owns the Fed and the American monetary system as well as the private banking and monies around the world.

  19. David

    This looks very interesting:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1212.2833

    From the abstract:

    We argue that the present crisis and stalling economy continuing since 2007 are rooted in the delusionary belief in policies based on a “perpetual money machine” type of thinking. We document strong evidence that, since the early 1980s, consumption has been increasingly funded by smaller savings, booming financial profits, wealth extracted from house price appreciation and explosive debt. This is in stark contrast with the productivity-fueled growth that was seen in the 1950s and 1960s. ….

    …Rather than still hoping that real wealth will come out of money creation, we need fundamentally new ways of thinking. In uncertain times, it is essential, more than ever, to think in scenarios: what can happen in the future, and, what would be the effect on your wealth and capital? How can you protect against adverse scenarios? We thus end by examining the question “what can we do?”

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