Recent Items

Links 1/10/13

Posted on by

Sorry for the thinness of my own posts today. Competing responsibilities plus I desperately need to get on a more normal work schedule.

Two Cats Get Predictably Catty About Having to Share the Same Food Dish Gawker. My 2 cats, who have 2 dishes, have a very funny dish swapping ritual.

Killer whales trapped in Quebec sea ice (Update) PhysOrg :-(

Flu season has Boston declaring health emergency Boston

An Astonishing New Argument for Why Violent Crime Rates Have Dropped Alternet. Um, this theory is not new, but certainly is not as widely known as it ought to be.

Americans Die Younger Than Peers Wall Street Journal

Anonymous petitions U.S. to see DDoS attacks as legal protest CNET (Paul Tioxon). What are they smoking?

Delhi Rape Victims Are to Blame, Defendants’ Lawyer Says Bloomberg

Pensioner fury expected over inflation reform Telegraph. Where are our Grey Panthers?

Big Oil, Big Ketchup and “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez” Truthout (Aquifer)

Hunger Strike Puts Spotlight on Canadian Crude OilPrice

How the Government Hopes to Argue Bradley Manning’s Alleged Leaks Aided Terrorism Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

White House declines to rule out the minting of a ‘platinum coin’ The Hill (Lambert)

How to Pay for What We Need The American Scholar (Lambert)

Put Away Your Wand, Platinum Coins Aren’t Magic Bloomberg

Obama and the Transformation Illusion Al Jazeera (Aquifer). Aiee, yet more of the “incompetence” meme.

Obama’s Race To The Top Drives Nationwide Wave of School Closings, Teacher Firings Black Agenda Report (diane)

Virginia Governor McDonnell Goes Off Deep End On Transportation Policy EconoSpeak

Massive Cuts to Postal Service a Step Towards Privatization? Real News Network (Aquifer)

Obama ‘may use executive action’ to restrict guns Guardian

New York Is Moving Quickly to Enact Tough Curbs on Guns New York Times

Colleges Caught in Value Trap Wall Street Journal. Mirabile dictu! Colleges are hitting a price ceiling.

AIG Nearly Blows All The Goodwill Built Up By Wall Street In Recent Years Onion

The art of the bailout apology ad Guardian

Les Miser-NAV-ables FTAlphaville

Guest Contribution: “The Myth of ‘Jobless Recoveries’” Econbrowser

Are There Really No Good Job Applicants Out There? New York Times

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

Print Friendly
Twitter9DiggReddit0StumbleUpon0Facebook3LinkedIn0Google+0bufferEmail

152 comments

        1. Accrued Disinterest

          I was lucky enough to live in southern Germany for a spell, and in our neighborhood hedge hogs lived in, well…all the hedges (just the privacy flora between each house, actually). They’re really sweet and docile little critters. Everybody wanted them living in their hedges.

    1. frosty zoom

      uh, that’s the “harper government”, please.

      if you write them to help the whales, they’ll just double tar sands production and melt them out.

    2. JEHR

      Sorry, folks, but this same thing has happened in the Arctic over time and the whales die almost every time. Not a nice sight but that is nature, I guess.

    1. frosty zoom

      only more effective than voting if you can take down mr. rove’s diebold machines with your attack.

  1. AbyNormal

    thank you for adding Diane’s ‘School Reform’ link…i wasn’t able to get to it last night

    Diane do you know if the wave of recent school closings include schools from the Feb 2011 Obama state waivers for NCLB?

    i get the feeling im missing a ‘cross-current’ in a tidle wave, somewhere

      1. Jessica

        Pardon me for latching onto a minor point of your comment for a rant.
        The term “tidal wave” was replaced with the Japanese “tsunami” because tidal wave was considered inaccurate. But in Japanese, “tsu” means tide and “nami” means wave. So “tsunami” means the exact same thing.
        End of rant about utterly trivial matter.

    1. diane

      No AbyNormal, I don’t, but I’d imagine they do include those schools given the No Child Left Behind waivers by Obama.

      Bruce Dixon, seems very knowledgeable regarding urban school issues, so you may want to peruse his other posts at:

      Bruce A. Dixon’s blog entries
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/blog/46

      Four of his posts that I found from a quick scan (I’ve removed the http // : from all further links, since there are quite a few and I don’t want this post to get snagged in moderation):

      09/19/12 Rahm Emanuel: Point Man For Obama’s Bipartisan Pork Barrel Pedagogy
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/rahm-emanuel-point-man-obamas-bipartisan-pork-barrel-pedagogy

      09/12/12 Chicago School Strike is Against Obama “Race To The Top” Agenda of School Privatization and Corporate Education Reform
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/chicago-school-strike-against-obama-%E2%80%9Crace-top%E2%80%9D-agenda-school-privatization-and-corporate-edu

      04/24/12 Why Isn’t Closing 40 Philadelphia Public Schools National News? Where Is the Black Political Class?
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/why-isnt-closing-40-philadelphia-public-schools-national-news-where-black-political-class

      041112 School Closings Come To Atlanta This Week, To Your City Next Week: It’s Time To Dump Arne Duncan
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/school-closings-come-atlanta-week-your-city-next-week-its-time-dump-arne-duncan

      Another site which looks like it might have some good info on it, that I just discovered a few minutes ago, is:

      Perdido Street School
      perdidostreetschool.blogspot.com/

      This is the piece that came up in my search:

      08/31/12 Obama NCLB Waiver Process Even More Damaging To Schools Then NCLB
      perdidostreetschool.blogspot.com/2012/08/obama-nclb-waiver-process-even-more.html

      And lastly, here’s a site which the above site links to, re New York City:

      Chaz’s School Daze
      My goal is to outlast Mayor Bloomberg & Chancellor Walcott in their “children last” program.

      chaz11.blogspot.com/

      (And thank you very much for highlighting the link Yves. You needn’t include
      my name, if it happens again, believe it or not, I’m shy! … and paranoid )

  2. armchair

    Wanted: 23 years olds with at least 8 years of technical experience, currently employed and willing to work dirt cheap. Benefits include coffee and the occasional two day weekend Damn it! Why can’t I get any qualified applicants?

  3. Jim Haygood

    From Richard Striner’s “How to Pay for What We Need”:

    Notwithstanding the overall success of the Union greenbacks … Civil War greenbacks were slowly withdrawn from circulation (and were redeemed in gold beginning in 1879).

    In the aftermath of greenback financing of the War on Southern Independence, the U.S. suffered its longest recession ever (1873-1879) and an economic chill then called the Long Depression, which lasted another twenty years. If that’s ‘success,’ one shudders to think what failure would look like.

    Every bubble provokes a subsequent secular depression. It happened after tulips were temporarily monetized in Holland; after assignats were temporarily monetized by John Law in France; and after CDOs were temporarily monetized in the early 21st century by the shadow banking system under the economist manqué Greenspan, who single-handedly made a laughingstock of the entire field. Yet after every such disaster caused by “money for nothin’,” an inflationist rabble arises to clamor for another round of bubble finance.

    As opposed to the 19th century, when banksters were determined to preserve every penny of their rentier purchasing power, now the bankster cartel has taken insider control of the credit-creation bubble machine. Inflationist agitation by contemporary bubble boys such as Striner just plays into the hands of the elite insiders who manage the process of institutionalized theft via monetary manipulation.

    Striner, you’ve been pwned.

    1. j.grmwd

      “civil war greenbacks were slowly withdrawn from circulation … and redeemed in gold”

      “in the aftermath of greenback financing … the Long Depression”

      i.e. the abandonment of greenback financing leads to economic stagnation

      1. Nathanael

        This is correct: the withdrawal of the greenbacks is a major cause of the Long Depression.

        The post-Civil-War period is very confusing economically. One thing which is clear is that the ongoing anti-government guerilla warfare (by groups like the KKK, the Red Shirts, the White League) in the conquered South made for a very problematic situation — leading to the discounted valuation of the greenbacks.

        However, the Long Depression didn’t start until *after* the racist gangs successfully overthrew the southern governments by coup d’etat, and the Republican Party abandoned all of its principles with Rutherford (“Rutherfraud”) B. Hayes.

        Under the same administration the government stimulus of federal army wages (previously used to suppress the racist gangs) disappeared, and the greenbacks were withdrawn; a coordinated fiscal and monetary tightening which was calculated to cause a Depression, according to everything we know about Keynesian theory.

    2. Montanamaven

      This is not how I understand the Greenback story. Congressman Spaulding of Buffalo NY sponsored a bill to create government legal tender – The Greenback as opposed to borrowing the money for the war from the Northern banksters.
      “”The real intrinsic value of these metals is not as great as that fixed upon it by governments…without the government stamp gold and silver would be simple commodities, depending on their value upon the demand for use in trade and manufacture…Why then should we go into Wall Street, State Street, Chestnut Street, or any other street, begging for money? Their money is not as secure as Government money…I am unwilling that this Government should be let in the hands of any class of men, bankers or moneylenders, however respectable or patriotic they may be. The Government is much stronger than any of them…They issue only promises to pay.”
      Senator Howe of Wisconsin supported the bill which eventually passed. “But the Greenbacks were not paper promises to pay “money ” later [as were the previous Treasury notes issued from 1812- Feb 25, 1862]. The Greenbacks were themselves money. Since there were not borrowed, there was no interest payment on them and they did not add to the national debt” (Stephen Zarlenga in “The Lost Science of Money” p. 456. Zarlenga has a background in both the practical and theoretical side of our market economy. At 26 he built the U.S. distribution network of the then leading American mutual fund concentrating on gold shares. As a member of the New York Futures Exchange he specialized in trading the complex CRB futures index for several years…In 1991 he began focusing on the money problem.”
      Zarlenga quotes from Studenski and Kroos “Financial History of the Unites States” as “Some writers have ascribed the price inflation almost entirely to the issuance of greenbacks, but this is a mistaken view. Even if the greenbacks had not been issued and bonds had been sold at whatever price they would bring in the market, inflation would have taken place. It would merely have taken another form- that of the monetization of debt through the issue of bank currency or the creation of bank credit.”
      Zarlenga’s big problem with the Greenbacks is not that they didn’t work. They did. His beef is with government money being used for war and not for societal good. He asked “What if the $450 million Greenbacks had gone into the production of houses, industrial tools, and machinery and other items that would have created wealth and increased productive capability for Americans, rather than going into the destruction of those items?”
      This is the same question he is asking now. We need a 4th branch of government that creates money which would be used for human infrastructure(education and healthcare) and physical infrastructure (repairing roads, bridges, water systems) rather than blowing things up in other countries and then selling them things to rebuild and putting them in debt.
      I highly recommend his book as it is very easy to read. Not dry. When I had a radio show I interviewed him several times and was astounded at his history but also his easy to understand way of speaking. Further reading can be found at http://www.monetary.org/

      1. Susan the other

        Thank you Montana. Zarlenga’s The Lost Science of Money sounds like inspiration. A new, 4th, branch of government to administer physical and human infrastructure. And all done without a private bankster network I assume. The place for private bank profits is not within the public money sphere.

          1. Tim

            And which wealthy group of people would eventually become their masters funnelling everything through their private infrastructure based businesses?

          2. Montanamaven

            Sorry had to work all day. Grrr.
            I’m no expert on monetary theory so go to the website and read “The Need for Monetary Reform” and “The American Monetary Act” and frequently asked questions.
            In his book he says “the monetary department should evolve into a fourth branch of government. In fact that’s what it is now, but it’s run mostly for private gain instead of the common good.”
            The site has the details on the three elements, all of which are needed to make this work:
            #1 would be to put nationalize the Fed. In the past Chairmen of the House Banking committee have introduced bills to that effect. Issuing money is the government’s business not a private bank. This is money no interest is paid on so it doesn’t add to the national debt. Like our coins.
            #2 End fractional reserve system in a gentle and elegant way
            #3 Spend new money into circulation on eco-friendly infrastructure and energy sources, including education and healthcare.
            Why this won’t cause inflation and other questions are also at the site.

    3. Another Gordon

      @ Jim Haygood

      What makes you suppose – other than approximate coincidence of timing – that the gradual withdrawal of the greenback had much to do with the Long Depression starting in 1873?

      The depression started in continental Europe when a property Ponzi ignited by easy credit collapsed in May 1873. The contaigon spread to the US where railroad companies, then investing heavily in new track, had been selling bonds of debatable value (none as it turned out). When the market started to doubt their worth the railroads turned instead to short term loans which worked until interbank rates soared in response to the meltdown in European banking. The crash finally reached US shores in September 1873 when the railway financier Jay Cooke defaulted.

      All in all a regular tale of a banking collapse leading to the withdrawal of short term funding and many dominoes falling.

      1. Nathanael

        What made it “Long”?

        Shortly after 1874, the US engaged in fiscal and monetary contraction. The monetary was the withdrawal of the Greenback.

        Yeah, the bubble bursting caused the start of the depression — but why did it drag on so *Long*? Tight money policy exacerbated it.

        1. Synopticist

          It was a global depression. It ravaged the UK’s manufactoring economy and most of Europe. It didn’t have much to do with US monetary policies.

  4. tape this shotgun to their necks

    Gee, the government forgot to mention the major enemy of the United States that sought aid from the Wikileaks evidence: the former prosecutor of the ICC, who wanted to review it for evidence of war crimes. The defense has nothing to lose in establishing its right to go over the court’s head to the international community with

    Nuremberg Principle VII;

    CCPR Article 19;

    UNGA resolution 3074 (XXVIII) Principle 8: States shall not take any legislative or other measures which may be prejudicial to the international obligations they have assumed in regard to the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity;

    UNGA resolution 53/144, Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

    Because as a witness to US government crimes of concern to the international community, Manning was conforming to Principle 14 of Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power: Victims should receive the necessary material, medical, psychological and social assistance through governmental, voluntary, community-based and indigenous means.

    Manning is America’s Nelson Mandela. Fort Leavenworth is our Robben Island. When this shit state is gone with the USSR, Manning’s cell will be a museum.

        1. Nathanael

          They’ll still call them “Presidents”. Remember, the Roman Empire still pretended to be the Roman Republic, even after it had degenerated into a straight-up one-man dictatorship.

  5. Montanamaven

    Michael Yates has a devastating article on Oliver Stone’s great Showtime series “The Untold History of the United States”. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/10/oliver-stone-obama-and-the-war-in-vietnam/
    In particular he focuses on the chapter on Vietnam and our latest president’s attempt to refurbish that war with a 13 year commemoration.
    “As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away from everything they knew and everyone they loved. From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.”
    This is sickening. It was also painful to hear Jimmy Carter say, “The destruction was mutual. We went to Vietnam without any desire to capture territory or impose American will on other people. I don’t feel that we ought to apologize or castigate ourselves or to assume the status of culpability.”
    Mutual? Yates states that if it were really “mutual” there would be 20,000,000 names on the Vietnam memorial.
    Americans must disavow the deeds of the current administration. Yates asks us to counter this narrative of the “good war”.

        1. diptherio

          Oops, my bad! *red face*

          I read Montanamaven’s quote incorrectly. It’s Obomba slinging that BS…that makes more sense. And it makes the link to MLK even more apropos (not that I’m the first to note the irony…)

          I really liked the first episode of the series, but haven’t got to catch up on the recent ones yet. I’ll have to do that, obviously…

      1. Brindle

        No, Stone is still very anti-Viet Nam War, Montanamaven used a confusing phrase.

        From the link above–Obama engages in near total falsehoods:

        —”As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away from everything they knew and everyone they loved.

        From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans.
        Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.”—

        1. Montanamaven

          Thanks Brindle for correcting my confusing post. I was going to rewrite it and pressed submit by accident. Then I got called away and couldn’t get back until now.

    1. Susan the other

      The truth is well known but still will never be admitted. We arrogantly stumbled into Vietnam because our allies were on the ropes, going under economically like the Titanic. Both the French and the British were hysterical even tho’ we had already squandered all our national wealth trying to get them back on their imperialist feet. And it was ponzi heaven from then (1954) on. We still can’t tell the truth. It is indeed sickening. When Hugh Hendry went on TV to say that the age of merchantilism is finally over and only God knows what’s gonna happen, he looked like he’d just washed down 3 valium with a pint of vodka.

      1. Synopticist

        Niether the Brits nor the French had anything to do with you guys getting into Vietnam. The French had bailed out long before, and the Brits wanted no part in it. (They were also convinced the US would lose).

    2. optimader

      “…impose American (insert proper entity name) will on other people…”

      Excuse me Sir, yeah right here, in back of the class.. Sir..isnt “imposing will on other people THE ONLY REAL REASON to fight a war???

  6. j.s.nightingale

    What’s the lowdown on Jack Lew?
    Is he a Wall Street shill or a possible effective scourge?
    His history doesn’t suggest the latter too much.
    I tweeted @elizabethforma to see if she’s going to grill him appropriately at the confirmation.

    1. Klassy!

      He is a wise man: from wikipedia
      In June 2006, Lew was named chief operating officer of Citigroup’s Alternative Investments unit, a proprietary trading group. The unit he oversaw invested in a hedge fund that bet on the housing market to collapse.
      See Alan, someone did see it coming.
      Country first.

      1. Aquifer

        That may be interesting, or not ..

        Hope NC does a post or 2 covering any confrontation, or conspicuous lack thereof, between the 2, for those of us who may not catch it ….

    1. Tim

      Student loan rates are still low and still readily available so they should not be considered a variable upon which the change in pricing power has occurred.

      The biggest variable that has changed is that people have wised up as it noted at the end of the article.

  7. Cynthia

    Re: “Flu season has Boston declaring health emergency”

    This goes to show that RomneyCare has failed to achieve its primary goal, which is to prevent illness. No surprise here. Preventative medicine is a bit overrated, IMO. Even though preventive medicine, aka primary care, has been short changed for years and deserves more funded, this shouldn’t be done by underfunding emergency and rehab medicine, aka acute and long-term care, respectively. Keep in mind, most preventative medicine requires self-motivation. This means that if patients aren’t motivated to get a flu shot every year, eat right and exercise regularly, or stop smoking and wear a seat belt every time they get behind the wheel, no amount of prevention can change that fact.

    Since ObamaCare is largely patterned after RomneyCare, I predict that ObamaCare will be just as lousy as RomneyCare at preventing illness. I pretty much came to this grim conclusion several months ago when a long-term resident of Massachusetts showed up at our ER with acute and intractable hyperglycemia (something which is totally preventable), requiring him to be admitted to the ICU and put on an insulin drip for four to five days. This happened ALL because the state of Massachusetts failed to provide him with an adequate supply of insulin. And because this acute and costly episode happened outside of the state of Massachusetts, RomneyCare didn’t pay a single dime of his enormous hospital bill. Instead, his hospitalization was pay for through a Medicaid program, commonly called “charity care,” aka uncompensated care. Sorry, but I have more than enough evidence, even if a lot of it is anecdotal in nature, that ObamaCare will do absolutely NOTHING to improve healthcare in this country, much less cause healthcare costs to drop to a more reasonable level.

    1. Eclair

      More anecdotal evidence here, Cynthia, but I do believe that preventive care can be made easy.

      For two blissful years we belonged to the Kaiser Permanente Health Care system in Colorado. They have offices all over the Denver area and make it easy to chose a physician with their on-line listing of everything you want to know about all their docs.

      All records are on a central computer. You can go to one of their on-site pharmacies to fill a prescription – without having to hand-carry a slip of paper. Same with lab-tests. Referrals to specialists are sooo simple: their office calls you to set up an appointment.

      Flu-shots are available everyday, 9-5 at any KP office. Mammograms are walk-in at selected KP offices. No paperwork required for either.

      All lab test results are available on-line, often within hours, with links leading you to complete descriptions of the test and the results. No waiting for days while wondering if the office staff lost them or if the results are so bad that they are drawing straws to call you with the dire news.

      Gentle reminders to come in for preventive tests are sent regularly.

      Classes on topics from cooking veggies to pre-natal exercise are always available. No charge.

      You can call and talk with a Nurse Practitioner at any time, with concerns that are a bother but you might feel are too trivial to merit a call to a physician.

      Then, my husband’s employer dropped KP from their health insurance options. No reasons given. I feel like I have been kicked out of Paradise.

      Although, remaining grateful that we have health insurance.

      1. Cynthia

        Preventative medicine works for you,Eclair, because you are motivated to eat right, live right and take care of yourself everyday. But unfortunately, this isn’t true for most people. Why do you think that obesity has reached epidemic proportions, despite there being a whole slew of diet and exercise programs made available free of charge to the general public? (Michelle Obama deserves some of the most recent credit for this.) This is why preventative medicine is way overrated, and why it’ll fail miserably as a viable solution to our healthcare problems.

        1. Eclair

          I will admit, Cynthia, to tearing my hair out when I visit my in-laws, who are grossly overweight and suffer from a variety of chronic ailments, ranging from COPD to diabetes. They feed me on KFC and, although their beef is grass-fed, their vegetables range from potatoes to corn. They walk from their front door to their cars.

          That said, I think that there is a whole range of problems, distortions and inefficiencies within our health-care system – as well as within our cultural mores – that lead to our abysmal rankings among the developed nations of the world. Other countries, France, Germany, Sweden, have better outcomes for less money per person, so what are they doing that we can’t do?

          Please don’t throw out preventive care – and more efficient management of chronic ailments – without looking at the incentives that the payers of our health care system have set up.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Then again, if you wear a tinfoil hat and believe that a dieback, along the lines of what happened in the Soviet Union after the oligarchs took over, is the preferred policy of the elite, all the pieces fit together neatly, don’t they?

      1. Nathanael

        Not really, because the US has a “collapse gap” (credit Dmitri Orlov). Which means things wouldn’t play out the same way as in the USSR.

    1. diptherio

      On a somewhat related note:

      Would anyone here appreciate/use a separate forum to carry on discussions started here in the NC comments section? I often find myself wishing particular threads could be carried on beyond what is reasonable in a comment section.

      If enough people are into it, I’ll volunteer to set up a proboards forum. It’s free and worked pretty well for the two Occupy groups I was involved in.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, I am firmly opposed.

        The reason NC has a decent community is we all come to talk here. I go to some lengths to preserve the community here, for instance, generally refusing to write at other sites (I turned down Salon, for instance) have my content reposted elsewhere elsewhere so as not to have comments on one article spread all over the Web. Fragmentation is an enemy. I have one prominent individual who is being approached as a possible guest poster. The pitch is based on the quality of the community here. Fragmenting it across platforms is the last thing I want. It is bad for the community (sets up a competing node) and bad for me personally (I don’t have time to keep on top of two sites and will learn less as a result).

        1. Aquifer

          Yves – Whoa – i don’t think the proposal was made, and i certainly didn’t support it, in the spirit of competition …

          ITSM that sometimes (OK, often …) the thread veers off a decidedly different direction from the theme of the post – and i would have thought that that might be frustrating for many commenters and for the author who would want to “stick to the subject”

          I also like to pursue things considerably longer than most :) and thought that perhaps folks would prefer that those of us who do would take our “irrelevant” chatter “off line” so to speak …

          So it seemed to me that this proposal might have been welcomed as an adjunct to, and not a competitor with, this site – which is, after all, where all the juices start flowing – but i obviously am not aware of potential down sides, and would not wish to undermine the integrity of this site ….

          After all i am one who routinely says, with regard to many things “be careful what you ask for, for you will surely get it … :)

        2. Keenan

          Hi Yves-

          My feeling is much the same as Aquifer’s. A couple of days ago the exchanges on the Eric Zuesse post branched away from Obama cutting Medicare and Social Security into the author’s book “Christ’s Ventriloquists”, then to physics and then out into the multiverse, prompting one remark that the thread had been hijacked. It seemed to me that the proposal was not motivated by intent to detract from NC’s excellent forum.

          1. Keenan

            I shall, skippy. I already seem to possess a high tolerance for entropy as evidenced by the state of my computer workspace.

            Cheers!

        3. JohnL

          Yves, as long you have room here for our more philosophical musings, I for one am grateful for the hospitality.

          Thanks

        4. diptherio

          Hmmm…sorry you feel that way. The idea was just to have some place where conversations can continue for longer than one day. Many of the topics that get brought up down here are deserving of extended discussion, imo, and I thought it might be nice to have a forum where that could happen in a little more leisurely manner.

          I know what you mean about competing nodes and things getting spread out too much to be effective, and I definitely wouldn’t want to mess with the good thing you’ve got here, which we all benefit from.

          I’m still gonna wish there was some way to continue conversations for longer than 24 hours, though…I can’t help it.

          1. different clue

            Here is a possible way withIN the NaCap commenter thread system. If one wishes to re-reply to a comment some time after many new posts have posted, one can do so. Then one can write a comment to the very newest thread saying something like . . . “Dear person-in-question, I have written a reply to your reply on the X thread of some days ago. Here is the link to that older post to go find my newest comment in the thread.” And one could then give the link for the targetted fellow-commenter to click on.

        5. reslez

          Well, why not hold a fund drive and add some sort of messaging forum to NC? You could charge a trivial (one-time?) fee to those who want to post.

          Let’s admit the comments section here is downright primitive.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        NC plays it as it lays. Each day begins anew. “The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on.”

    2. AbyNormal

      Nothing from nothing and he quotes Kierkegaard.
      ‘sane’ an perfectly normal to me
      thanks for sharing the link.

      1. diptherio

        Thanks. Kierkegaard is one of my favorite philosophers, but I don’t recall quoting him in this…now I’ll have to read what the hell I wrote! lol.

        1. Aquifer

          “In the words of Kierkegaard, ‘as regards that which each must do for themselves, the best that one person can do for another is to unsettle them.’”

    3. Aquifer

      Ah, so you’re not a Big Banger, huh?

      Rather more like, “Sorry, Mr. James, it’s no use, it’s turtles all the way down …” :)

      1. diptherio

        I have no problem with the big bang, or the rest of scientific learnings, I just think there’s more to the story than physics can tell us. That’s not too radical of a position, is it?

        And anyway, every right thinking person knows that the world is held up by a racoon…those who speak of turtles LIE!

        1. different clue

          What the Big Bang theory does not explain is . . . who created the Big Firecracker? And who lit the Big Fuse?

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Are there really no good job applicants out there?

    Are there really no good single men out there?

    Yes, there are, to both questions, if you seek with an open heart.

  9. Jackrabbit

    Delhi Rape Victims Are to Blame, Defendants’ Lawyer Says -Bloomberg

    Everyone knows that rape is a problem in Delhi. If you don’t take precautions, then you are inviting attack (the article cites invitations such as: taking public transportation and traveling after dark). Even a prominent religious leader in Dehli blames the victims.

    Sounds familiar:

    Everyone knew that house prices were too high and that credit terms were too good to be true. Those who bought houses they couldn’t afford only have themselves to blame.

    And recently:

    Everyone knows about global warming but we “can’t see it” so ordinary people don’t recognize it as a threat, therefore no one, understandably, does anything about it. (Ending The Silence on Climate Change, from Links a few days ago)

    ====

    Dehli is an extreme case of moral hazard and the apologists that muddy the waters of blame after an inevitable blow up. (who could’a known that a failing criminal justice system and lame attitudes toward women would result in THIS?)

    It seems that ‘Leaders’ that DON’T LEAD and special interests that ‘lead’ surreptitiously have nothing to fear as people gladly get caught up in pointing fingers at each other.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Collegesa are hitting a price ceiling.

    I think they hit a value ceiling before hitting a price ceiling, like a lot of things in life.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Delhi rape victims are to blame, defendant lawyer says.

    It’s not shocking at all to hear that from a defense lawyer.

    The only defense against the shock doctrine is not to let yourself be shocked unduly; otherwise, everything in life is a shock, more or less…a slap on the face, some driver cutting in front of you, rude waiters, over-eager parking meter maids, etc. I mean you don’t want to get into a paralysis every time that happens.

    1. optimader

      make him drink a quart of water, put him in a noose, a chair to stand on supported by salt cubes and play a looped video of Niagra Falls.

      He’ll have no one to blame but himself if he pisses himself.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Its not just the defense lawyer. At least one prominent religious leader also blames the victims.

  12. Zephyrum

    Yves,

    Regarding “Obama and the Transformation Illusion Al Jazeera”, they are theorizing ideology rather than incompetence. There must be some explanation for the man, but I don’t think simply labeling him “evil” tells us much.

    Perhaps our president simply wants to be accepted by the institutions of power in this country. Under the guise of consensus building he seeks to further the agenda of those who will support him after he leaves office. He needs adulation from the oligarchy and will do whatever it takes to get it.

    Too bad about the people and the country, but they are apparently not the priority.

    1. Synopticist

      Obama is on the centre-right. There’s no mystery, no evil, nothing to explain beyond that.
      He’s a centre-right guy, leading a centrist party that is dependent on votes from the centre -left. All of his decisions and policies are perfectly logical and consistent when you see it from that point of view.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        That’s the cool, non-histrionic (and depressing) take. But where does one put their anger responding to that?

    1. Aquifer

      Methinks Chavez will not be around too much longer – and he knows it … As to polonium – hmmm, who knows, unless there’s a link to his cancer ….

      But the other interesting thing, i thought, was the bit about Heinz catsup – as in Heinz-Kerry, as in our ?future SecState …

  13. Susan the other

    Anybody else catch Das on Max Keiser saying that MMT stands for Modern Money Tricks (in ref to the coin)? He acted like the gold standard was the only way to account for things. He was so superficial I was astonished, because I used to think he was oh-so smart. Now I’m thinkin’ he only writes clever sentences that fall apart if you trace their logic.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Yes, I saw him and Max and the Capital Account lady, who just did her last show on RT. She trashed the magic coin as well. MSNBC comments, who are good at politico gossip and procedure, also trashed it as some sort of crackpot, magic coin. I find the mental processes of most people are in need of a formal logic class. Seriously, when I was taking the class, I felt like I was moving through mud up to waste and molasses up to my eyeballs. Then in the second semester, I couldn’t believe how stupid the guy who started the class was in perspective. And other people were blurting out the similar comments such as: “Logic is not logical, but now, MY MIND is logical, I wasn’t logical.” It is a personal experience of transformation you just have to go through, I guess?

      MMT is referenced along with the coin, that is gaining widespread traction among all kinds of commentators, but no body is sympathetic, the just don’t get it. Max Keiser tried to pull out the hypocrisy argument saying that MMT trash goldbugs, but now they like platinum coins. Clearly, no one reads much of anything anymore, headlines, maybe a briefing from their producers on sound bites, but they don’t know the material in the basic format that we get here. Even that is too much of an effort to be informed when you go on to national TV to be reputable news source.

      We need a national spokesperson to deal with wonkish finance, not just the usual stuff that news junkies pretty much are up to speed on. Yves?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Most finance guys are no good at macroeconomics. They really cannot distinguish between fiat currency issuers from quasi gold standard players. Das is tops on derivatives. I’ve carefully not posted his stuff on deficits.

  14. Hugh

    The short Bloomberg piece on the platinum coin was OK until this

    “The Federal Reserve can even be expected to demonstrate the government’s ability to borrow by selling Treasury securities to offset Treasury’s coin-financed expenditures.”

    If Treasury went the platinum coin route, it would eliminate the need for the government to borrow. It continues to surprise me that people don’t get it.

    If the Fed were folded back into Treasury, there would be no need for a mechanism like the platinum coin. Treasury would have the power to create money to cover any deficits directly without issuing any new debt or Treasuries. The platinum coin is just a way of doing the same thing indirectly.

    I think the Bloomberg writer sees the platinum coin as just a temporary supplement to debt-financed deficit spending. But the question arises once we go down this route why we should spend hundreds of billions of dollars in payments each year going to the rich and foreign countries for interest on federal debt when we could do much the same thing without making such payments to such dubious recipients.

  15. Max424

    Yves: “My 2 cats, who have 2 dishes, have a very funny dish swapping ritual.”

    Love to here it.

    Somewhere along the line, I had to separate Max and Giselle at feeding time. Max started to use his vastly superior size, to impose his beastly will. Plus he eats, no lie, 5 times faster,* and 3 times more.

    Now Giselle dines in the back hall (Max in the kitchen), and she won’t start feasting until I say, “Your safe now pup, from that uncouth cad of a brother,” and until I shut the door behind her.

    She rules many roosts in the house, though. Weird how that works. For instance, Max is not allowed anywhere near me when I’m sleeping. If he crosses a certain threshold, whatever it is, Giselle, my normally mute little girl, starts to growl so loud my neighbor has heard it in the summer.

    *Max with dry food: tongue a piece into the mouth, crunch, crunch, gone. Tongue a piece, crunch, crunch, gone. Tongue, crunch, gone. Tongue, gone. Done in no time. Looking for trouble.

    Giselle: tongue a piece, crack. Two halves drop out. Tongue a half, crack, two more halves fall out. Tongue one of those little quarters, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, and still little bits are falling out of her mouth.

    Too funny. Needless to say, Cheezer’s dry-food-zone is a disaster when she’s done.

  16. Valissa

    The backlash against marijuana is on the move… I expect the drug propaganda wars will escalate as more states pass medical and recreational marijuana laws. Another culture war revs up it’s engines…

    Pot opponents regroup following Wash., Colo. votes http://www.salon.com/2013/01/09/pot_opponents_regroup_following_wash_colo_votes/

    Patrick Kennedy Wants to Round Up, Reeducate Potheads with Project SAM http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2013/01/09/patrick-kennedy-wants-to-round-up-reeducate-potheads-with-project-sam/
    Oxycontin addict, alcoholic, and former Rhode Island rep. Patrick Kennedy has come out with a startling, new plan to oppose pot legalization in the United States: round up potheads and re-educate them in camps.

    Kennedy’s communist reeducation scheme is being billed as Project SAM, standing for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and it launched today in Denver, CO. Project SAM’s stated goals are to create laws that would “funnel marijuana users to interventions or treatment” and deny medical marijuana to cancer and AIDS patients in favor of something that pharmaceutical corporations can profit from.

    Steve Fox, director for state policy at the Marijuana Policy Project – which passed Amendment 64 in Colorado – called Project SAM a dangerous gambit from a man whose family made a fortune selling alcohol – which is objectively more harmful than marijuana.

    1. Nathanael

      This is a backlash of the “already failed before it started” variety. Given that the prohibitionists have had 80 years of propaganda with the full backing of nearly every government in the world, including paramilitary gangs such as the DEA which profit off stealing and reselling drugs…

      …the fact that they couldn’t stop state-level legalization, and that they couldn’t stop the local police departments from going along with the legalization, means that the prohibitionists have already lost.

      1. Valissa

        Agreed! However as a student of cultural change trends in history, I find it fascinating to observe the process. The whole idea of Patrick Kennedy being a spokesperson for this cause is so ludicrous, it cracked me up thinking “Is this their best shot?”

        1. Aquifer

          I know how he can screw the whole marijuana thing up – just introduce some GMO marijuana, which will cause the munchies for GMO food which will do ‘em all in …. Monsanto Mary Jane, how “sweet” it is ….

  17. Susie

    Obesity has reached epidemic proportions because of the toxic quality of what’s being eaten. Specifically high fructose corn syrup and genetically modified foods.

    GMOs and the chemicals they are sprayed with, like Roundup, rob soil, food and the human gut of nutrients, but not calories. Your body needs a certain number of nutrients and you will eat and eat until you get them no matter how many calories are consumed in the process.

    For the mechanizms of this see the online video The Future of Food. Read Jeffrey Smith’s website. Read the work of Dr. Don Huber.

    Short version: GMO corn makes holes in stomachs of bugs that eat it. It’s an EPA registered pesticide that’s generated in every cell of the corn. Corn that’s used in most food and sweeteners. The corn has genes from soil bacteria inserted into the corn plant’s DNA. These genes survive digestion and latch onto your stomach bacteria and make the hole producing proteins in your guts. Undigested food leaks into your system and you this creates allergic reactions to the food, arthirits, Crohn’s disease, bowel disorders and “food poisoning”.

    How to avoid eating this garbage? You can’t. It’s not labled. You could eat organic food or vote to label GMOs.

          1. Valissa

            That’s your interpretation of my response? I don’t believe I said or implied that. Ever since I started being more conscious of the food I was eating and where it came from and food history (back in the mid-80s) I have been annoyed by food hysteria and food evangelism. Back then you could not have a reasonable conversation about macrobiotic diets with anyone who was a believer. That type of thing has only increased over time with all the different dietary religions there are. There is a huge amount of food fear mongering on the left, as well as all kinds of food saviors. Apocaphilia comes in many forms. Though I avoid GMO food if I can, I don’t stay awake nights worrying about it. And most people in the world can’t afford to be choosy, so it ends up being a big class issue as well as a religious one. Ugh…

          2. Aquifer

            I simply asked a question …

            I think there is enough evidence out there, anecdotal or otherwise, to warrant application of the Precautionary Principle, and require proof that there is no harm before unleashing it on the public – the idea that it is “substantially equivalent” is laughable, IMO …

            Frankly I see a potential parallel between this and the early days of tobacco pushing – the “cigarettes cause cancer” folks were the “alarmists” of their day, but if regulators had applied that PP, a lot more folks would have been spared ….

            “And most people in the world can’t afford to be choosy, so it ends up being a big class issue as well”

            All the more reason – ISTM it is rather cynical to allow this crap to be unleashed on those who “can’t afford” better while the more well off stand by and see what happens – then as the proof comes in, they can say – “hmmm, guess those whackos were right – good thing we didn’t eat that crap!”

            One could argue that it is better than starving – but that is assuming those are the only 2 choices – and if that happens to be the only choices offered to them, that is the most cynical of all – especially when you consider that this false choice was deliberately foisted on them – “yeah there’s non GMO stuff out there, but we won’t supply it, eat this crap and be grateful or starve, your choice”

            The promises of GMO were/are BS – it is not about feeding people, it is about patenting foodstuffs – the mechanism for gaining hegemony over the food supply – the most brazenly anti democratic maneuver by the corps of all time, IMO …

            Check out some Vandana Shiva – she’s done the work, and i don’t think one can accuse her of being an alarmist or working against the interests of the “lower” classes

            http://www.nextworldtv.com/videos/indigenous-wisdom/vandana-shiva-traditional-knowledge-biodiversity-and-sustainable-living-.html

          3. Valissa

            To be clear, I agree with you in general. However I will continue to once in a while lament out loud the moralizing that goes along with food beliefs. I’m not a fan of preaching, even when I agree.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Valissa,
          You have my sympathies. I worked over 6 years at Ecology Food Coop in Powelton Village Phila. PA. Needless to say, there are neurotic food devotees that can drive you crazy, and even when you are on their side. While the whole policy issue takes on a high minded statesmanship approach here on NC, the personal politics of individuals and their specific food concerns can be overwhelming, especially when I was trying to fulfill their dietary needs. And this is from back in the 1970s and 1980s before a lot of GMOs hit the market, back then, additives, carcinogens, too much salt, sugar and yes, non-union grapes and S African apples were the flashpoints, along with too many food allergies to list. Things have only gotten worse with corporate farming. So, I feel yr pain. Macros! Aye Carrumba!

    1. Chris Rogers

      The funny thing about this issue, the extraction of huge levels of sweetener/sucrose , is the fact that it was a Japanese scientist who perfected how to get a large amount of sucrose out of each ear of corn.

      Not withstanding the GM part of the equation, talk about revenge upon those who dropped the atomic bombs – regrettably, it’s now not a laughing matter given its the poor and disadvantaged who predominantly are forced to eat the cheap foodstuffs containing said poisons.

      The BBC actually had a documentary about these issues out in the middle of 2012, I think it was called ‘The People Who Made US Fat’ – actually it’s a good view and highly informative, particularly it’s emphasis on the fact that it’s predominantly the poor and illeducated who are suffering from obesity, the rich/ruling elite preferring organic produce!

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    It’s that time of the year again, and so, I am reminded to inquire if anyone has won an Oscar and a Noble for the same work?

    I am not asking if someone has won both for different achievements, as one award is for excellence in pretending, sorry, acting (though acting is pretending), and the other is for something more sincere and different.

    I am curious if anyone can be so good at pretending, sorry, acting, that he/she/it wins both prizes for the same work.

    1. Valissa

      Al Gore Richer Than Romney Thanks to Current TV Sale (Report) http://news.yahoo.com/al-gore-richer-romney-thanks-current-tv-sale-210938557.html
      Post-vice presidential life has been very good to Al Gore.

      Going into politics is one of the paths to wealth, and probably why at least 90% of politicians choose that career path. Of course, that’s not what any of them say while campaigning, and they are often believed ‘cause the voters collude in the sham. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.

      1. Valissa

        btw, Gore got both the Nobel and an Oscar.

        Gore’s Oscar Success Fuels ’08 Speculation http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/26/politics/main2517329.shtml

        A few years ago Big AL was trying make the big bucks by helping to found the Chicago Climate Exchange. Washington’s Blog posted an article one time about the person who created the derivative scheme that was going to be used there. It was going to be a Green Casino and save the world. I think Al means well, but the green he really cares about is the finanical kind. Just another neoliberal pretending to be nobler than they are.

    2. Aquifer

      So the questions are 1) is there such a thing as a Noble Oscar? 2) does anyone know/have one?

      I think i have heard of a cat named Oscar, but i do not know if he was Noble …

        1. Aquifer

          I hope you do realize that i am not being “picky” but “joshing” with you in the same spirit as our usual banter …. :)

          In any case – that raises the question of whether there are Noble and Ignoble Nobels – i can think of a couple of the latter offhand already …

          Of course i suppose if somebody named Iggy won one, that would be a legitimate topic for discussion …. was Iggy’s Nobel ignoble or not …

          1. Aquifer

            Valissa – Thanx for that, I had Noooo idea!

            I tried to respond a number of times re my favorites, but the filter or whatever won’t let me :(

          2. Valissa

            I had the same problem! The first time I tried to post my comment I included a couple of the examples and it went into the NC black hole so I retried without them and it worked fine.

          3. Aquifer

            Valissa – i liked:

            1) the one about how to keep docs from exploding their colonoscopy patients (I can hear it now “Oops, guess that didn’t work, NEXT!” What WERE those Frenchmen eating?)

            2) the one about brain researchers seeing “meaningful brain activity” in dead salmon (I didn’t know you could experiment on Congress critters …

          4. Valissa

            I got a kick out the photo showing ‘the brassiere that easily converts into face masks’… the study showing that ‘leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower seem smaller’…
            and possibly my favorite, the chemistry prize (in 2011) for ‘a study determining ideal density of airborne wasabi to awaken sleeping people in ase of a fire or other emergency and for applying this knowledge to inventthe wasabi alarm’ OMG, a fricken’ wasabi alarm… LOL…

Comments are closed.