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Links 2/18/13

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‘Super mega-pod’ of dolphins spotted off San Diego coast ABC

Ancient Teeth Bacteria Record Disease Evolution University of Adelaide

Genetically-Engineered Meat Isn’t Tested for Human Safety Because It’s Treated as an “Animal Drug” George Washington

EU data law draft uses language—word-for-word—from US, EU corporations ars technica (Lambert) :-(

Hanford Nuclear Tank Leaking Radioactive Waste Huffington Post. Carol B: More crumbling infrastructure.

Death in Singapore Financial Times (Lambert). I missed this over the weekend. Gripping and sad.

The mining tax that kills Prime Ministers MacroBusiness

Living costs rise at fastest pace in 18 months Telegraph

Rebalancing in Spain Stage Two: 20,000 Iberia Airline Workers to Strike, 1,222 flights Cancelled in First five Days Michael Shedlock

Most Terrorist Plots in the US Aren’t Invented by Al Qaeda — They’re Manufactured by the FBI Alternet

US immigration proposal would offer ‘eight-year path to legal residency’ Guardian. Companies have been given tax amnesty to repatriate offshore cash (IIRC, the last time was 2004). The big sticking point seems to have be income taxes. So how about giving the illegals tax amnesty? It isn’t as if they weren’t paying sales taxes and property taxes through rent payments. And if they were making minimum wage (especially if they were seasonal workers!) it’s not as if they would have much, if any, income tax liability. Maybe they should start with one piece of the puzzle, like a seasonal worker visa, to break the logjam.

CBS’ BOB SCHIEFFER: ‘Even Washington Managed To Underestimate Its Own Ineptitude’ On The Sequester Clusterstock

Miners arrested in fight to end Peabody’s stealing of health benefits Kay Tillow, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Reader’s Digest Is Bankrupt as Iconic Magazine Falters Bloomberg. Lambert: With 25 million readers?

EU ready to set tough bank pay curbs Financial Times. This is just silly. Banks will goose salaries. Although query what this will do for trader pay. You can’t justify paying a trader a ginormous amount of money since he could lose a lot just as well as earn a lot. And only so many traders can decamp to hedge funds or family offices.

Too Big to Regulate? The Warren Debut Adam Levitin. I’m not as taken with her question as Levitin is simply because it is well known that regulators practice regulatory forbearance in the wake of financial crises, as in they let banks they think will make it fudge their books while they earn their way back to health. Now it might be worth making the regulators explain that practice, but the format of 5 minutes per Senator will never let you get there. In addition, if she thinks she is gonna get any regulator to back off regulatory forbearance, or get the SEC to change accounting regs re valuation of bank assets, she is smoking something very strong. I don’t see any policy changes coming out of that; in fact, a herd of economists NOW think regulatory forbearance is OK even before the bank PR whores have been set loose (mind you I’m not a fan of forbearance, I’m merely describing realities on the ground). Thus from my vantage, the only point of that question was to suggest that people don’t trust banks. They don’t but so what? You can point to opinion polls that show that in spades. I don’t see the point of using the Senate to try to undermine all the millions banks spend on PR when it doesn’t work anyhow. The thing that Matt Stoller has stressed to me about Congress and politics generally is the importance of picking winnable fights. If she wants to score points with the public, fine, but I don’t see how this maps onto policies that will make a difference (for instance, if her question about trials had focused on suing individuals, I’d be much happier, but there was no mention on that in her follow-up emails, where she was not space constrained).

It’s For Your Own Good! Cass R. Sunstein, New York Review of Books. This is not an endorsement. This is so you can watch Sunstein at work.

Disclosure 2.0: Disclosure in the Lab Lauren Willis, Credit Slips

Weekend Viewing: Shakespeare, For All Time Jesse. Sort of late, but some of you have Monday off.

The Logic of Surveillance Ian Welsh (Carol B)

Antidote du jour:

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88 comments

  1. rjs

    except among the usual suspects who get off on watching ice melt, there’s been little coverage on what happened in the arctic during janaury…so i added a paragraph to my weekly summary on the dramatic increase in arctic methane emissions…if you’re interested, you’ll have to skip past the paragraphs on the sequester, retail sales & industrial production to get to it…

    1. anyone

      I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that the constant drumbeat of climate change news (or “disaster porn,” as I hear it increasingly dismissed as) is actually counterproductive to winning “hearts and minds” (hate that phrase now that the US MICC has co-opted it), in the same vein as the boiling frog analogy. That said, every other method to make the case seems to be roughly equally counterproductive, so go figure. I think at this point our only real hope remaining is that the science is somehow wrong in its conclusions, since turning the global corporate ships of state around on this issue anytime this century seems to be a lost cause altogether.

      1. danb

        Another factor to consider: peak oil, which climate science for the most part ignores and which most think is a moot issue with ostensibly abundant shale oil and gas. We’re clearly past the peak of cheap low-entropy energy and the world’s financial and economic systems are contracting and crumbling as a consequence. This (peak oil), too, is not understood by governments. The party of overconsumption of natural resources is ending.

      2. from Mexico

        If the environmentalists want to win in the battle to win hearts and minds, they’re going to have to come up with arguments that tug on people’s heart strings, and drop all the esoteric technical jargon.

        For an object lesson in how it’s done, take a look at the PBS special The Abolitionists, and the fact that after decades of preaching the sins of slavery, it was one single event that swayed the American public towards abolition: the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

        1. Sufferin' Succotash

          Pictures of oil-clogged sea birds and drowning polar bears have been in the news for years now. Not exactly dry-as-dust technical arguments.The environmentalist PR problem isn’t so much the lack of heartstring-tugging imagery as the lack of plausible-sounding solutions.

      3. patricia

        anyone wrote: “(or “disaster porn,” as I hear it increasingly dismissed as)”

        This meme is interesting. “Ruin porn” has also been liberally applied regarding photos taken in Detroit.

        The term is used to condemn the fascination humans feel about the process of destruction, suggesting that it is prurient and corrupt, “getting off” on vulnerabilities and failures. And that’s correct, when treated as cheap operatic tragedy. But that happens only if the presentation is shallow and a desire for change isn’t awakened, which is not the problem of the images but of the image-creators or the viewers.

        As it is, the term’s contempt causes the images and their meanings to disappear, as you say. I’m glad it doesn’t completely succeed because they offer readily-available, evocative and potent symbolism.

        They have shock-value, a self-limiting power that needs to be understood, but a much different issue than those surrounding porn.

      4. rjs

        @anyone; there’s nothing in that post that has to do with “winning hearts and minds”…i’m just telling you what’s happening; i aint advocating anything..

      5. .25 Days that Shook the World

        A lost cause? Never! Don’t worry, your Dem party has this under control. Remember when you went to occupy and the Dem entryist infiltrators harangued the meetings and stuffed Dem party slogans up your ass? All along they knew exactly where they were pushing the GAs: to fall in for fake protests, middle class Easter parades of ceremonial forelock-tugging to your benevolent despot Obama. Because, loyal upstanding Dem tools, he is, you know, humbled and eternally grateful that you voted for him not once, but twice, despite how he continually fucked you over.

      1. rjs

        yep. i use a lot of links to support what im writing, & most of what i link to is more instructive than what ive writen..

    2. davidgmills

      Well it just may be astrophysics that stops the global warming since there are some very smart astrophysicists who think that the global warming of the earth during the 20th century was due to a doubling of the magnetic output of the sun.

      And now the sun’s magnetism is on the wane returning to much more normal levels and maybe even low levels.

      If you are the slightest bit intrigued as to how a magnetic sun could heat up the earth and how a sun in a magnetic funk could cool it, google Henrik Svensmark, a Danish solar physicist. (Not a Republican or a Koch groupie).

      And climatologists have not factored the possible effects of a magnetic sun into any of their models.

      I used to beleive the global warming CO2 dogma. That is until I learned of Svensmark, his theory and his research and the geology that shows a significant correlation between a magnetic sun and global warming.

      There are many scientists who already think Svensmark deserves the Nobel prize.

  2. Laughing_Fascist

    From the link: eu-data-law-proposal-uses-language-word-for-word-from-us-eu-corporations

    —————–
    —some of the new industry-proposed parliamentary changes include:

    Eliminating explicit opt-in user consent to personal data
    Letting corporations share personal data with any other entity that has a “legitimate interest” in that data
    Disallowing citizens to access their own personal data “in electronic form”
    Not requiring corporate “data protection officers” Forbidding consumer groups from bringing lawsuits against corporations on behalf of individuals—
    ———————-

    So whats the big deal? I thought the Europeans realized the purpose of having a European Parliament is to make it much easier for malevolent…uh, I mean big players (Google) to have their way. Without having to deal with those dopey legislatures in France, Italy, Spain, Greece etc. Having a one-stop legislative factory is good for business and its good for you.

    Thats why we have a US Congress innit? What if Wall Street had to get 50 state legislatures to refrain from prohibiting the sale of exotic derivatives of standard derivatives of sub-prime mortgage backed security derivatives? That would be stupid! We gotta be able to hedge man; the little people out there don’t get it. Centralized government makes data mining and hedging possible. And keeps business honest.

    1. Ms G

      “Having a one-stop legislative factory is good for business and its good for you.”

      Best description of the phenomenon to date.

      Also +1000 on how crucial one-stop-leg.-factory is important to, e.g., a ban on derivatives.

    2. Susan the other

      It has been mindboggling to watch the Europeans do everything they can to get around sovereignty. And not do anything that might address it honestly.

  3. rjs

    on the million gallons of radioactive sludge at handford; didnt someone once propose creating a religion around the dead zones, with a priesthood who would guard the tombs, where believers could come to worship? with a half life of 10,000 years, it’d be guaranteed to last 5 times as long as christianity…

    1. anyone

      Now you’re talking! The faithful would all be noted for their otherworldly outward glow, and as the genetic mutations kicked in over time, the chosen ones would no longer need mere articles of faith to distinguish themselves from the heathen. And the immersion baptism rite? Totally transformational! One thing’s for sure; ain’t no “backsliders” in this religion.

      1. Optimader

        The religion would be doomed to population collapse and extinction due to sterility unless of course cockroaches evolve to be the planets sentient steward species through the recombinant genetic handiwork of 1,000,000,000 monkeys typing at their PfiCostcoMartzer Lab terminals

  4. TIm Graham

    Ian Welsh’s article is your most important in months. Appears here as more of a Monday filler or afterthought.

    1. barrisj

      “Other peoples’ lives” is truly now the “watchword” for the advanced capitalist countries…from the UK to US, surveillance in all its obtrusive and intrusive forms has become SOP under the guise of “anti-terrorism”, “public safety”, “crime control”, and the like. “Minority Report” is arriving sooner than you think.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Noted the last comment there (as of now). It is a reply to an earlier comment (the earlier comment is reproduced first):

      “… A friend of mine, and we are geezer boomers, had the same experience a few years ago organizing to stop a move by local government to expand the use of fingerprints for ordinary forms of ID. She couldn’t get any local lefties to see the importance. My friend wound up working with libertarians to stop the measures.

      someofparts, I’ve found the same problem with self-described liberals when it comes to civil liberties in general. When a Republican is in the White House, they claim they give a shit; when a Democrat is, they don’t even pretend.

      Just as Everything Bad Under Bush is now Good Under Obama, so, too is the evisceration of our civil liberties merely cause for a big yawn by most of these so-called lefties.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I often put an important item in the last position precisely because people will notice it more there. It’s like the back cover of a magazine. That’s premium space. I do think through the order of Links, and the sequence of the items is deliberate.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Adding, since Links are so minimalist — which is their beauty — order, and grouping, are the only expressive tools available. And people, confronted with a list, do tend (in my experience) to look at the first few items and then skip to the end. So indeed the last list item is a premium position.

  5. from Mexico

    Yves said:

    …a herd of economists NOW think regulatory forbearance is OK even before the bank PR whores have been set loose.

    I think it’s pretty safe to say that economists are “the bank PR whores.”

    That’s the first lesson of the postmodernist critique. That’s the first lesson gay activists had to learn, which they learned from black activists. As Martin Luther King said:

    You know, there was a time when some people used to argue the inferiority of the Negro and the colored races generally on the basis of the bible and religion…

    But we don’t often hear these arguments today. Segregation is now based on “sociological and cultural” grounds.

    – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., commencement address at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, 6 June 1961

    As I noted on a thread yesterday, postmodernism was “the brave inspiration of many hearts that led to the great, victorious revolution against homophobia.”

    Postmodernism is the recognition that science — and especially the social sciences as they have been practiced since the 17th century and are still practiced today — is little more than morals and politics masquerading as disinterested inquiry. The purpose of science, in the Modern World View, is to lend intellectual and moral legitimacy to the status quo hierarchy. It is not descriptive. It is prescriptive.

    So if one is going to mount a successful assault on the bastion of science, like the black community did and the gay community did, then one has to fight a battle on two fronts. It has to come up with a science which can be demonstrated to be more descriptive and less interested, plus it has to grapple with the politics which dominates the scientific world. Without politics, a breech in the walls of the scientific fortress would never have been achieved.

    1. David Lentini

      Don’t blame postmodernism. Look at the history of IQ testing and the eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and you’ll find the same thing–the use of science to justify the prevailing socil prejudices and serve as an apologetics for the wealthy. Stephen J. Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man is an excellent history of the development and use of IQ to “prove” the superiority of WASPs and nothern Europeans over southern and eastern Europeans and, of course, Blacks.

      1. from Mexico

        If you will read carefully, I think you will see that I was not “blaming” postmodernism, but giving postmodernism its due.

        I was responding to a comment yesterday that came up in regards to the about face of the scientific community in regards to homosexuality that occurred between 1968 (publication of the DSM-II) and 1987 (publication of DSM-III-R). In 1968 the DSM-II proclaimed that homosexuality was a “Sexual Deviation” included under “Sociopathic Personality Disorders.” In 1987 in the DSM-III-R, even ego-dystonic homosexuality was dropped as a diagnostic category. And as R.V. Bayer pointed out in Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis, this revised judgment about the pathological significance of homosexual behavior is one of the most dramatic reversals of opinion on health illness issues in the history of medicine.

        My comment came in response to this comment by aletheia33:

        …the brave inspiration of many hearts that led to the great, victorious revolution against homophobia of our era, happened for reasons that neither jonathan haidt nor postmodern discourse can very adequately describe.

        On a related theme, I stumbled across an interesting post the other day alluding to the role the New Atheists, or “Darwinian Fundamentalists” as Stephen Jay Gould called them, play in the right-wing’s propaganda blitz. These are folks like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens (now deceased).

        I think they play two leading roles. One is in the evangeilzing of the self-interest axiom, giving it scientific credence. The other is to scapegoat religion so as to take the heat off of science. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

        There has been a flood of atheist books lately. Dawkins and Hitchens, for instance, argue that religion drives people to conflict by deluding them with idealistic fantasies. That’s so 1600s.

        Religion is a declining political force in the modern world. Religions once made predictions about natural and social events and was used as tool of political organizations by ancient monarchies. Today, religion is restricted to the private sphere and only describes personal beliefs of metaphysical topics. The separation of Church and State has kept religious idealism from directly interfering with political matters. I think religion is a spent force, which is why Atheists are now “brave” enough to go public.

        The real story is worse. Since the French Revolution, Political Idealism and fantasy ideologies have replaced religion. These political beliefs create a political mythology, teleology, and idealistic morality. These beliefs become neo-religions of absolute truth which are imposed upon society through coercion. And no one likes to admit they are a medieval fanatic, so non-believers are attacked and exiled.

        http://netwar.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/political-atheism-and-fantasy-ideologies/

        John Gray, in Al Qaeda and What it Means to Be Modern, argues that even the evil of evilest religions — Islamic fundamentalism — is not religious in character, but Modern:

        Similarly the revolutionary vanguard Qutb advocates does not have an Islamic pedigree… The vanguard is a concept imported from Europe, through a lineage that also stretches back to the Jacobins, through the Bolsheviks, and latter-day Marxist guerrillas such as the Baader-Meinhof gang’.

        Qutb’s ideas about revolutionary struggle were of recent European vintage…

        The intellectual roots of radical Islam are in the European Counter-Englightenement…

        The Romantic belief that the world can be reshaped by an act of will is as much a part of the modern world as the Enlightenment ideal of a universal civilisation based on reason. The one arose as a reaction against the other. Both are myths.

          1. David Lentini

            Mexico, I was only trying point out the abuse of science for social repression pre-dates postmodernism.

          2. from Mexico

            @David Lentini

            Yep. As Carroll Quigley points out in The Evolution of Civilizations, the abuse of science for social repression seems to be one of the hallmarks of Classical and Western civilizations.

          3. David Lentini

            Hi, Mexico!

            I don’t mean to keep splitting hairs, since I basically agree with your points (as usual). But I have to say that I find Quigley’s statements rather gratuitous. Since the scientific method, and science as we know it today, largely developed in Europe during a period from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, it’s no wonder the abuse of the scientific method came from the West.

            As for Classical civilization, I’m left scratching my head, since “science” as we’re using the term didn’t exist then. At best, we have the sort of tradition of intellectual inquisitive discourse that arose in Athens, but I’m not aware that anyone really used that for justifying repression.

            And just because the West founded and abused science doesn’t let other cultures off the hook. Chinese Confusianism, Japanese Shinotism, and many other non-Western cultures found plenty of reasons to repress and enslave populations.

            And of course, the major reason for all cultures is the most simple–I’m bigger ‘n you.

          4. from Mexico

            @ David Lentini

            I would disagree insofar as the ancients were masters at using rationalism to justify slavery and social hierarchy. And in fact, what you will see taking place during the Renaissance was a revival of the same rationalist arguments that were used during antiquity to justify conquest and slavery. The theological justifications were replaced with rational (metaphysical) ones.

            When it comes to using empiricism (or nominalism as it was known in ancient and medieval times) to justify oppression and social hierarchy, however, I would agree that seems to be a Western invention.

          5. Expat

            Apropos David Lentini’s statement ” At best, we have the sort of tradition of intellectual inquisitive discourse that arose in Athens, but I’m not aware that anyone really used that for justifying repression.”

            Death of Socrates, anyone?

          6. David Lentini

            Mexico and Expat,

            I think you both may be confusing Greek philosophical writing with governments using ratinoalism to justify their actions. I don’t recall Athens, Rome, Persia, Israel, Egypt, or any of the other great ancient empires of the Western tradition using rational or scientific arguments to justify their actions: They either acted or cited God’s will; they didn’t mince around looking for some national explanation. As you point out, Mexico, that would come much later.

            In fact, I’d argue that the Apologia and the Crito were not about suppressing races or other nations, but about Socrates accepting the irriational decition of the state to hill him for speaking truth to power. I don’t think that’s what Quigley was writing about.

          7. David Lentini

            Mexico and Expat,

            I think you both may be confusing Greek philosophical writing with governments using ratinoalism to justify their actions. I don’t recall Athens, Rome, Persia, Israel, Egypt, or any of the other great ancient empires of the Western tradition using rational or scientific arguments to justify their actions: They either acted or cited God’s will; they didn’t mince around looking for some natural explanation. As you point out, Mexico, that would come much later.

            In fact, I’d argue that the Apologia and the Crito were not about suppressing races or other nations, but about Socrates accepting the irriational decition of the state to hill him for speaking truth to power. I don’t think that’s what Quigley was writing about.

          8. from Mexico

            David Lentini says:

            Since the scientific method, and science as we know it today, largely developed in Europe during a period from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, it’s no wonder the abuse of the scientific method came from the West.

            Stephen Toulmin, in Cosmopolis, goes to great lengths to deconstruct the point you are making here. He calls it “The Myth of the Clean Slate.” As he explains:

            But the received view of Modernity rested not only on the Quest for Certainty and the equation of Rationality with respect for formal logic: it also took over the rationalists’ belief that the modern, rational way of dealing with problems is to sweep away the inherited clutter from traditions, clean the slate, and start again from scratch.

            Looking back over our whole inquiry, indeed, we see that the idea of “starting again with a clean slate” has been as recurrent a preoccupation of modern European thinkers as the quest for certainty itself. The belief that any new construction is truly rational only if it demolishes all that was there before and starts from scratch, has played a particular part in the intellectual and political history of France — the English have usually been more pragmatic; but no one who enters into the spirit of Modernity wholeheartedly can be immune to it influence…

            Right up to the 1950s, philosophers of both empiricist and ratonalist stripes assumed that an unchallengeable starting point of some sort was available, as the natural “scratch line” for beginning rational reflection in philosophy…

            As we now know, both definitions of the philosophical “scratch line” were not merely arbitrary, but rested on factually false assumptions…

            The idea that handling problems rationally means making a totally fresh start had been a mistake all along. All we can be called upon to do is to take a start from where we are, at the time we are there: i.e., to make discriminating and critical use of the ideas available to us in our current local situation, and the evidence of our experience, as this is “read” in terms of those ideas. There is no way of cutting ourselves free of our conceptual inheritance: all we are required to do is use our experience critically and discriminatingly, refining and improving our inherited ideas, and determing more exactly the limits to their scope.

          9. from Mexico

            David Lentini said:

            I don’t recall Athens, Rome, Persia, Israel, Egypt, or any of the other great ancient empires of the Western tradition using rational or scientific arguments to justify their actions: They either acted or cited God’s will; they didn’t mince around looking for some national explanation.

            To put it in Stephen Toulmin’s words, these are “factually false assumptions.” The Greeks, for instance, were masterful at invoking the natural-law thinking that the Moderns thought constituted their “radical new science.”

            Aristotle begins his famous discussion of slavery (Politics) with the statemet that “without the necessaries life as well as good life is impossible.” To be a master of slaves is the human way to master necessity and therefore not para physin, against nature; life itself depends on it. Peasants, therefore, who provided the necessities of life, are classed by Plato as well as Aristotle with the slaves. Because men were dominated by the necessities of life, they could win their freedom only through the domination of those whom they subjected to necessity by force.

            The two qualities that the slave, according to Aristotle, lacks — and it is because of these defects that he is not human — are the faculty to deliberate and decide (to bouleutikon) and to foresee and to choose (proairesis).

            A change in a slave’s status, such as manumission by his master or a change in general political circumstance that elevated certain occupations to public relevance, automatically entailed a change in the slave’s “nature.” Thus Aristotle recommended that slaves who were instrusted with “free occupations” (ta eleuthera ton ergon) be treated with more dignity and not like slaves.

            Plato believed he had demonstrated the natural slavishness of slaves by the fact that they had not preferred death to enslavement (Republic). Greek slaves usually were of the same nationality as their masters; they had proved their slavish nature by not committing sucidie, and since courage was the political virtue par excellence, they had thereby shown their “natural” unworthiness, their unfitness to be citizens.

            That the free man distinguishes himself from the slave through courage seems to have been the theme of a poem by the Cretan poet Hybrias: “My riches are spear and sword and the beautiful shield… But those who do not dare to bear spear and sword and the beautiful shield that protects the body fall all down unto their knees with awe and address me as Lord and great King.” (quoted from Eduard Meyer, Die Sklaverei im Altertum).

            (see Robert Schlaifer, “Greek Theories of Slavery from Homer to Aristotle”)

          10. JTFaraday

            “I don’t recall Athens…”

            No, you mean you’ve never read Aristotle. But don’t worry–almost no one has.

            It was also a topic of debate in the polis whether slaves were slaves by nature or merely by social convention.

            I take it the much maligned sophists were leaning toward the idea that the Truth is going to be whatever the powerful say it is.

            I take it that was too much Truth for Plato.

        1. diptherio

          Strangely enough, the dangers of fantasy ideologies (political, religious, or otherwise) were first forcefully brought to my attention by the Sufis (Muslim “Mystics”), specifically through the writings of Idries Shah.

          What we know today as post-modernism is, to my mind, mostly a rediscovery of psychological truths that have been known to some for millennia (Sufis claim that their tradition predates Islam).

  6. Skippy

    The F-35 joint strike fighter is a wonderful example of the – world – we – now live in.

    http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/31151

    Skippy… some of the interviews are just breath taking… people looking in to the cameras eye (your eye) and – just saying – the most bold face lies… like ordering drone strikes… cough… a coffee.

    1. Skippy

      10 million plus lines of code and looking like the core is shite (manager that pointed it out was given an cash award and transferred post haste).

      Full of single point failures (lightning strike will ignite oxygen supply).

      Ex wing commander modeling war games sees major defeat against Chinese counter part due to fuel loads – consumption and weapon loads.

      Skippy… Hay Ms.G its a flying financial derivative… time to buy insurance!

      1. Skippy

        Here to help…

        MONDAY 18TH FEBRUARY 2013

        It’s been billed as the smartest jet fighter on the planet, designed to strike enemies in the air and on the ground without being detected by radar. But after a decade of intensive development, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is over budget, a long way behind schedule and described by one expert as “big, fat and draggy”.

        The JSF project could cost Australian taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. Is this plane a super fighter or a massive waste of money?

        Next on Four Corners reporter Andrew Fowler travels to the United States in search of answers. He goes to Lockheed Martin’s top secret factory in Texas. He also secured the first television interview with the Pentagon’s new head man on the project, whose candid assessment of the JSF would chill many in the Defence Department:

        “Well let’s make no mistake about it. This program still has risks, technical risks, it has cost issues, it has problems we’ll have to fix in the future.”

        The question is how and why did Australia lock itself into a project that both experts and senior US politicians say is dangerously flawed? Four Corners asks three crucial questions. Why was the plane chosen without an open and competitive tender? Why did the then head of the RAAF give the plane and the project his stamp of approval when it was barely off the drawing board? And will the aircraft’s capabilities have to be downgraded before it gets into service?

        Reflecting on the decision not to open the purchase of a new fighter jet to competition, one insider told the program:

        “Now we were proposing that we buy something being developed for the US Air Force if you like, on a whim.”

        Last year the Canadian Government was rocked by revelations that it had severely under-estimated the cost of the 65 Joint Strike Fighters it had contracted to buy. As a result Canada has been forced to halt the purchase and re-assess it through an open tender process. This has major implications for Australia. It suggests we could be under-estimating the JSF’s true cost and it means if the Canadians pull out of the program the price of each plane will rise yet again.

        Transscrip at bottom.

        http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2013/02/18/3690317.htm#

        Skippy… boiled down, I view it as a classic case of career (political) path – financialization trumps… product design – viability and I see that in – every sector – these days.

        1. bob

          That thing is a giant disaster. The f-22 adjusted for inflation. 230 million a piece, low ball.

          Want planes? You can build (10) f-16′s that actually FLY for the cost of one of those giant money holes.

          And the A-10…still chugging along.

  7. Brindle

    Re: Cass R. Sunstein “It’s For Your Own Good”.

    I read the whole piece and I don’t think he once used the word “corporation” or “corporate”. Sunstein displays a strange world view which appears to be largely unrelated to how most people live in the U.S.

    In Sunstein’s use “freedom of choice” = freedom for corporations.

    —”Freedom of choice is an important safeguard against the potential mistakes of even the most well-motivated officials.
    Conly heavily depends on cost-benefit analysis, which is mandated by President Obama’s important executive order on federal regulation.14 It is also a crucial means of disciplining the regulatory process.15 But the same executive order emphasizes that government agencies must identify and consider approaches that “maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public.”

    Officials may well be subject to the same kinds of errors that concern Conly in the first place.
    If we embrace cost-benefit analysis, we might be inclined to favor freedom of choice as a way of promoting private learning and reflection, avoiding unjustified costs, and (perhaps more important) providing a safety valve in the event of official errors.:—

    1. David Lentini

      Sunstien is another one of those “geniuses” who are always wrong. The NYRB article is just another bit of Chicago “Law and Economics Movement” (emphasis on the “movement”) propaganda. Sunstein’s brother-in-arms, Posner get a major federal judgeship for his work in destroying the rule of law in favor of crony capitalism.

      Of course these guys live in an alternate universe: They have all the protection of being tenured university professor, but also get all sorts of inside inofrmation and lucrative speaking and publishing fees and consulting deals. They never have to live with the consequences of their malevolent nonsense.

      1. Gareth

        An essential component of Sunstein’s worldview is to regard people as consumers rather than as citizens, thus shifting the question of rights and decision making from the political world to the commercial, where the invisible hands of the Plutocrats rule.

        1. Klassy!

          I would say another important piece of his world view is to shift blame for failure entirely to individual choices. It is a perfect blend of Ayn Rand and nanny state.

          1. Brindle

            The collapse of the middle class and massive wealth increases of the .001% are just outcomes from the individual choices Americans have made in our corruption-free, level playing field of Sunstein’s landscape.

          2. Susan the other

            I love your comment below (Brindle). I’m thinking of framing it. About Cass and Conly: I don’t know anything about either one of them but I do and have always hated the NYRB for its insufferable pomposity. I think Conly’s prescription of beneficial paternalism and nudging should be applied first and always to our representatives in Congress, our dear Leader, and our benificient elites. Do not let them eat cake. For god’s sake.

          3. Klassy!

            In an article that was in the links a while back the author casted a cold eye on this Sunstein approach and said it promotes the idea that problems can be solved through individual action alone (“nudging” notwithstanding) and characterized it as the “Oprah Winfrey model of social change” which is an apt way of putting it. It was a FT article and they don’t like cutting and pasting so I’ll provide the link to the entire article although it has already appeared here:
            http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ed17b556-49ee-11e2-a7b1-00144feab49a.html#axzz2LGnr7QQ4

    2. Hugh

      The thing to keep in mind with cost-benefit analyses is whose cost and whose benefit? Sunstein is a hasbeen star of neoliberal hackery. He served the corporatist Obama Administration as the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) where proposed government regulation had to be vetted. And he used his position there to stifle, delay, and reduce regulation of predatory corporations as much as possible. Just another kleptocratic whore and criminal.

    3. j.s.nightingale

      Sunstein: so in this piece he/she (Cass sounds like a girl’s name to me) is giving the “assault weapons versus mental illness” argument. i.e. all blame accrues to the user of the product, and none to the producer.

  8. They didn't leave me a choice

    Dolphins going “So long and thanks for all the fish”, eh? Where’s my ticket off planet?

    1. AbyNormal

      (im with ya)

      “The deep roar of the ocean.

      The break of waves on farther shores that thought can find.

      The silent thunders of the deep.

      And from among it, voices calling, and yet not voices, humming trillings, wordlings, and half-articulated songs of thought.

      Greetings, waves of greetings, sliding back down into the inarticulate, words breaking together.

      A crash of sorrow on the shores of Earth.

      Waves of joy on–where? A world indescribably found, indescribably arrived at, indescribably wet, a song of water.

      A fugue of voices now, clamoring explanations, of a disaster unavertable, a world to be destroyed, a surge of helplessness, a spasm of despair, a dying fall, again the break of words.

      And then the fling of hope, the finding of a shadow Earth in the implications of enfolded time, submerged dimensions, the pull of parallels, the deep pull, the spin of will, the hurl and split of it, the fight. A new Earth pulled into replacement, the dolphins gone.

      Then stunningly a single voice, quite clear.

      “This bowl was brought to you by the Campaign to Save the Humans. We bid you farewell.”

      And then the sound of long, heavy, perfectly gray bodies rolling away into an unknown fathomless deep, quietly giggling.” “The deep roar of the ocean.

      The break of waves on farther shores that thought can find.

      The silent thunders of the deep.

      And from among it, voices calling, and yet not voices, humming trillings, wordlings, and half-articulated songs of thought.

      Greetings, waves of greetings, sliding back down into the inarticulate, words breaking together.

      A crash of sorrow on the shores of Earth.

      Waves of joy on–where? A world indescribably found, indescribably arrived at, indescribably wet, a song of water.

      A fugue of voices now, clamoring explanations, of a disaster unavertable, a world to be destroyed, a surge of helplessness, a spasm of despair, a dying fall, again the break of words.

      And then the fling of hope, the finding of a shadow Earth in the implications of enfolded time, submerged dimensions, the pull of parallels, the deep pull, the spin of will, the hurl and split of it, the fight. A new Earth pulled into replacement, the dolphins gone.

      Then stunningly a single voice, quite clear.

      “This bowl was brought to you by the Campaign to Save the Humans. We bid you farewell.”

      And then the sound of long, heavy, perfectly gray bodies rolling away into an unknown fathomless deep, quietly giggling.” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  9. wunsacon

    >> US immigration proposal would offer ‘eight-year path to legal residency’

    Ha! 8 years of keeping low-wage employees from leaving one crappy employer for a better one.

    This bill probably is less about being fair to immigrants and more about relieving illegal employers from any possible raids or civil/criminal liability for their violations.

  10. bhikshuni

    Can someone kindly explain the present $1 a gallon sudden increase in the price of gas (in LA county)???

    It seems to conveniently over-lapping with XL pipeline protests; has anyone looked into the influence of Koch holdings on gas market speculations?

  11. diptherio

    Re: Most Terrorist Plots in the US Aren’t Invented by Al Qaeda — They’re Manufactured by the FBI

    Please tell me that this isn’t actually news to anyone here.

    Al Qaeda: invented by the CIA, now providing PR for the FBI as a diversion to distract attention from their real job…not prosecuting any important banksters.

  12. MacCruiskeen

    “Reader’s Digest Is Bankrupt as Iconic Magazine Falters Bloomberg. Lambert: With 25 million readers?”

    Easy. 25 million readers = 5 million actual copies sold. A subscription is $15 for two years. That’s not even going to pay for printing and mailing. And that doesn’t include the marketing cost of acquiring new subscribers. A new subscriber is a loss until they renew. Mass-market magazines need heavy ad dollars to survive, and they practically give the magazine away to keep the rate base up. It’s an easy business to lose money in.

    1. Jim Haygood

      A Canadian magazine foreshadowed the impending meltdown of Reader’s Digest ten days ago:

      [Canada’s] largest magazine by circulation less than a year ago, Reader’s Digest has tumbled into third place following a 15.2% drop in paid and verified circulation. The Snapshot report lists Reader’s Digest’s circulation for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2011 at 472,883, down from 557,700 in the year earlier period.

      Parent company the Reader’s Digest Association has reportedly cut more than half of its staff at its Montreal head office.

      David Cairns, a partner in Toronto media agency Cairns O’Neil, said that the problem is not unique to Reader’s Digest in Canada. In the U.S., the publication filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 – emerging several months later after restructuring – and went on to hire three CEOs within a six-month span in 2011.

      At the same time, said Cairns, consumer packaged goods companies are increasingly moving away from print and into digital, which is adversely impacting ad revenues.

      Cairns also called the publication’s business model as a monthly print aggregator “somewhat problematic,” since it would likely be harder hit by internet search than other publications. “What’s easier, searching through the print edition for articles you may want to read, or searching the internet for articles you do want to read?” he said.

      http://www.marketingmag.ca/news/media-news/aam-snapshot-reveals-serious-readers-digest-circulation-drop-71555

      Hell, a lot of them RD subscribers ain’t even on the internets. 57.6% of readers are over 50; median household income is nearly $4,000 below the US average. One can infer that there’s a large retired population here, who are no more into Googling than skateboarding.

      http://www.rd.com/mediakit/demographics-adults.html

      Reader’s Digest bankrupt … what’s next, the post office? Oh, wait …

      1. Maximilien

        “Hell, a lot of them RD subscribers ain’t even on the internets. 57.6% of readers are over 50; median household income is nearly $4,000 below the US average. One can infer that there’s a large retired population here, who are no more into Googling than skateboarding.”

        Wow! You’ve just described my mother! Life-long digester of the Digest, 83, retired, low-income, and proudly defiant of everything “e” and “i”.

        I get her her issues of RD from the waiting room of the local medical clinic. They’re current, free, and the receptionist is happy to get rid of them. You can see why RD is in trouble.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      …magazines need heavy ad dollars to survive…

      There is something not quite green about this – ads are mostly for more consuming. You rarely see people comment (freely, much less paying ad money) about consuming less; it’s always some new Jevon-bound technology deluding ourselves that we can continue to profligate forever.

      That business model seems, mostly or often, to be red (or anti-green, as red is on the opposite end of green on the colorwheel).

      By the way, hopefully, one day, Red China is Green China, though in a way, being Dollar-hunger makes it kind of green already.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Meat tested for human safety.

    Why don’t they ever test economic policy proposals for human safety? Maybe on animals first?

    1. Michael

      Most of our worst economic policies have been tested on animals first. The results were/are not good, but no matter, they’ll die too when the ice melts.

  14. Hugh

    The logic of surveillance is that to find a needle in a haystack, you must first add in more hay, lots and lots more hay, as much hay as you can find, hay from as many fields as you can get to. And if after this, you still can’t find the needle, then obviously you don’t have enough hay.

  15. Hugh

    I came across this while reading Greenwald at the Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/18/mitt-romney-lost-election-because-of-economy

    “It’s not Romney’s fault – the economy helped re-elect Obama” by one Harry J. Enten. As Saez has shown, 99% of Americans are worse off under Obama and losing ground. They experienced negative economic growth. Now the Obama hopium machine may have been working overtime putting out the message of economic growth but only the 1% actually benefited from it, and then some. So Enten’s thesis is laughably wrong. But this raises the question of why the Guardian continues to promote a bunch of f*cking idiot neoliberal hacks. OK, I admit that’s a rhetorical question.

  16. diane

    What could possibly go wrong with this:

    Google looks to cut funds to illegal sites

    And good luck to any site that’s not doing anything illegal, which finds its funds cut off.

    I don’t even want to imagine what appears to be the near future, when paying by cash and check are outlawed, if the powers that be have their way. And it sure looks like they’re not facing much of a battle from the public yet, even though the FBI has already added those paying via cash (1) as being potential suspects.

    (1) Example (pdf file): FBI Electronics Store Flier
    More pdf file FBI Flier examples here.
    Non pdf file FBI’s Internet Cafe Terrorist Profile commentary.

    I take it that those of us who don’t use credit cards, or Pay[Fiend]Pal, etcetera, refusing to pay the corresponding rentier fees, are now considered potential enemies of state. Even when a person’s credit card can legally be shut down simply for not using it enough. It doesn’t seem that long ago when people were thoroughly shamed by the powers that be for using credit instead of cash. How times have drastically changed; with no acknowledgment whatsoever of the totally inexplicable and inexcusable 180 degree turn around by the powers that be.

    1. diptherio

      I kept my Chase card for a long time, in case of an emergency, but apparently I wasn’t using it enough. I tried to use it for a car repair this summer and found out that it no longer worked. I received no notification from Chase that my account was being closed. Fortunately, my mechanic is a Christian who is adamant about applying his ethics to his business (in a good way). He let me make a couple of payments and everything worked out alright, but obviously it could have caused me a lot more grief.

      1. diane

        Yep, I had my only credit card for emergiencies (like rental cars, which refuse to take cash) shut down for non use, though they did notify me right after they did it.

      1. diane

        I liked the concept of Banking being turned over to the Post Office.

        I’ll never forget, when an out of state friend moved here and had a Money order from the US Post Office, which my [EX]bank, of decades, refused to cash because the person did not have a Passport, though they had a current and valid driver’s license as photo id; and even though I had more than enough money to back it.

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