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Links 2/26/13

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Sorry RSS and e-mail readers! Come back after 8 AM to find completed Links.

The wilder side of sex BBC (Chuck L)

Man Sues Parents for Not Loving Him Enough, Seeks $200,000 and Two Domino’s Pizza Restaurants in Damages Gawker. No pony?

Sunny With A Chance of Toxic Mice Showers: The U.S. Launches Bizarre Attack On The Brown Tree Snake Jonathan Turley (Chuck L). A dissenting view.

Caltech Physicist: If All Science Were Run Like Marijuana Research, Creationists Would Control Paleontology ThinkProgress (Chuck L)

Global Support Grows for Legalizing Drugs Der Spiegel

Time To Stop Monsanto And The US Supreme Court Ilargi

Organic tomatoes are healthier for you, researchers find Grist

Sleep Loss Alters Genes While Raising Risk of Disease Bloomberg

Italians say no to austerity! Totally cool. The Eurocrats were able to suppress the Greeks because their political classes sold them out. Ditto in Ireland, the head of the central bank (who is also on some Eurozone committees….clearly grooming himself for bigger posts) agreed to backstop private banking debts, rather than telling the Troika to pound sand and see what happened if they didn’t backstop the banks themselves. And somehow the markets are surprised? How long did they think they could keep squeezing the public? And of course, the Italian revolt will hopefully embolden politicians in other periphery countries to take an anti-austerity line.

Italian election: stalemate threat sends shivers through the eurozone Guardian

Euro debt crisis looms again as Italians defy EU austerity demands Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Italy braced for political deadlock Financial Times

Italian Vote Brings Gridlock Wall Street Journal. Gridlock? Deadlock? I think Beppe and Berlusconi plan to do more than merely fight the Eurocrats to a draw.

Iran’s Familiar Destiny Counterpunch (Carol B)

Sonia Sotomayor Condemns Prosecutor Huffington Post (Carol B)

Catfood watch:

Ron Johnson: John Boehner Would Lose Speakership If He Caves On Taxes To Avert Sequester Huffington Post. Well, my understanding is Obama is planning to inflict pain during the sequester, staring with making air travel even more of a mess than it needs to be. Dunno if that will register with core Republican constituencies or not, though. Stay tuned (remember, all Obama wants is token tax increases on the rich, just the merest of fig leaves).

Obama’s Warnings on Automatic Cuts Obscure Bigger Threats Ahead Bloomberg. The consensus “deal in 30 days” is super optimistic. No one even has plans to start talking.

Treasury Pick Tries to Cast His History as Right for the Job New York Times

Don’t let Catholics run hospitals Pharyngula (Chuck L)

This Supreme Court Case Could Give Corporations Even More Power To Screw Consumers Mother Jones. Yet another reason to leave the US if you can…

Robert Gibbs Told Not To Acknowledge Drone Program Exists As White House Press Secretary Huffington Post (Carol B)

Soldiers Deployed Overseas Far More Likely to Be Unemployed When They Come Home Gawker

The Net-Net on Netting… and Risk ISDA. ISDA has a blog. And one that does not acknowledge the fact that Bear and AIG had to be rescued or that the failure of Lehman did an impressive amount of damage.

Can Corker, White House reach deal over Cordray confirmation? Housing Wire. Translation: The Republicans fully intend to take hostages.

Red Bull-Fed Brokers Stand as John Thomas Draws Scrutiny Bloomberg (Richard Smith)

“Great Rebalancing” Book Review: Two Thumbs Up; Investment Ideas for Unconventional Times Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Why the Corporate Pension Gap Is Soaring Wall Street Journal

Housing Smoke And Mirrors Global Economic Intersection

‘How To (Maybe) End Too Big To Fail’ Mark Thoma. Repeat after me: you have to solve the interconnectedness before you break banks up. All those derivatives are booked in depositaries. How can you begin to talk about narrow banking with disarming, or at least encapsulating, the derivatives bomb?

‘Shareholder Democracy’ Can Mask Abuses Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times. This is just shameless. Sorkin is unabashedly taking dictation from dean of the merger bar Marty Lipton. What does Sorkin report on? Deals. Do you think the reporter has a wee conflict of interest?

Putting Disclosure to the Test: User Comprehension Requirements Lauren Willis, Credit Slips

Early Stage Rebellions Are Never Safe, Comfortable or Popular Truthout (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour:

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122 comments

  1. Trisectangle

    “Italians say no to austerity! Totally cool.”

    That’s one way to look at it. Glass half empty people will point to how a large number of Italians saw the return of Berlusconi as a solution. I fully expect him to be a pain in the ass from the sidelines and for things to descend into a morass like the last centre left coalition under Prodi did.

    A convincing win by the left would have been something to celebrate but this outcome will lead to squabbling and any action being frustrated at every turn.

    1. Synopticist

      Indeed.
      It’s a great situation for Berlusconi actually. He gets to blame everybody else, plot, de-moralise and then corrupt the newbies, dominate the political narrative through his media control, then sweep back to power after a year or so. He’ll be the man of action, after the unworkable stasis.

      Meanwhile, the austerity plans are already baked in, but he retains enough power to protect his own position and to keep the prosecutors at bay.

      “…Berlusconi plan(s) to do more than merely fight the Eurocrats to a draw….”
      Thats exactly what he wants to do, Yves.He’s a status quo politician. If things don’t change, he keeps power.

  2. Wyndtunnel

    So much for learning about the wilder side of sex:

    “We’re sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee. It is run commercially by BBC Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC, the profits made from it go back to BBC programme-makers to help fund great new BBC programmes. You can find out more about BBC Worldwide and its digital activities at http://www.bbcworldwide.com.”

    1. Francois T

      Had same problem; couldn’t see things coming from Canada while living in the US. As an expat, it pissed me off.

      So, I use a good VPN service to circumvent these restrictions.

  3. Jack

    I just don’t get it Yves…
    You march in lock step with lib ideas like regulating soda size, trans fats, and guns as a way to ‘protect’ people. You also argue against vaccines, which have saved the lives of countless people. Then, you and the lefties turn around and heavily promote the legalization of drugs as a good a proper thing, even though drugs kill more people outright on a daily basis, than do guns, trans fats, and soda size…
    Sigh…..

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I challenge you to find where I every posted anything supporting Bloomberg’s policy on big drinks. That is your projection, buddy.

      Diabetes, in case you missed it, imposes a cost on everyone. The incidence is so high the societal costs will be massive. If you think vaccines are justified, so is preventing diabetes. People were not designed to be sedentary and drink tons of high fructose corn syrup. The best solution would be to tax it heavily, like cigarettes.

      You miss my point on vaccines completely. Have you managed to miss the extremely rapid of the rate of allergies in kids, and the even more rapid rise of debilitating, extreme allergies? Like kids who will literally have their air passages shut up and might die if someone three rows away in an airplane eats peanuts?

      Kids get three times the # of vaccines I got when I was a kid.I have trouble seeing why we are vaccinatiing against non-life threatening, non-crippling aliments like chicken pox and mumps. The rise in the incidence of allergies is a likely culprit (although not certain, this needs to be studied, and Big Pharma is sure to muddy the waters).

      I;m being empirical. You don’t appear to be. Drug legalization (or more accurately, decriminalization) has produced societal benefits in Holland. It has led to lower use in Portugal. And I’ve never had any interest in marijuana, so I have no personal dog in this fight. Similarly, the countries that have gone from liberal to restrictive gun ownership policies (England and Australia) have ALSO show declines in the gun death rate and a less than corresponding rise in other types of violent deaths. So where’s your evidence?

      http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

          1. Gmarks

            If the STATE picks up healthcare costs – it only follows that they will begin to have an interest in behaviors that impact those costs.

            If your neighbors are going to pay for your diabetes, you will be subject to their objections to your obesity and eating habits.

            We are voting a police state at every turn and then complain when the cops are breaking down the doors.

            Can’t have it both ways… I say … fuck em. I’ll pay my own way.

            I lost 60 lbs over a year – because I wanted to live longer. Haven’t been to a doctor in years. For most responsible adults – a catastrophic policy is all we need.

            for the dumb shits…well, Darwins Laws should and will apply.

          2. Gaylord

            Go hang out at a supermarket and watch people pile numerous packs of soft drinks into their shopping carts. Then notice the avoirdupois of most of these shoppers, and you’ll have your evidence. There is no other single product type that can match this kind of over consumption, and it extends to fast food restaurants, convenience store outlets, vending machines, and sports events, among others.

          3. Stephanie

            But why should the emphasis be on a single product? While you’re at the supermarket, look at the things in the basket. How many of those things contain HFCS? How many contain corn-derived products? You’ve seen King Corn, I presume? The overuse of corn occurs because of subsidies.

        1. Jagger

          I have always been against regressive taxes used to alter the behavior of the lower classes. It use to be a liberal principle-no to regressive taxes. Unfortunately, someone discovered that you could take a regressive tax, relabel it as a “sin tax” and suddenly, you had the enthusiastic support of the left.

          Is it principled to use regressive taxes to compel behavioral changes in individual choice of the lesser classes? IMO, no.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            In case you managed to miss it, there are plenty of affluent people who are diabetic too. And taxing cigarettes similarly discouraged use even among affluent people. The cost in now high enough in Manhattan (which now has largely middle class to wealthy residents, except for certain comparatively small areas, like Chinatown, certain parts of the Lower East Side, Hells Kitchen, and the wilder parts of Harlem, and Inwood, lower income people have been driven to other boroughs) cigarette consumption has fallen. Cigarettes were consumed across the class spectrum, yet taxing them reduced their use.

            The logical fallacy here is that people consume these products out of free will. You forget that these companies spend millions of dollars to make their products enticing and addictive. For instance, the caffeine in cola is addictive, you go into withdrawal. The original Coca Cola really did have cocaine in it into the 1960s. Doctors would even write prescriptions for “shooters” which was Coca Cola syrup in 1.5 oz doses. That’s before we get into the Jeff Wigand testimony (former cigarette co. chief scientist) that cigarettes were envisaged and designed as a nicotine dispenser.

          2. skippy

            @Yves… Bernard sez… enjoy your freedom[!] and I will… personally enjoy my profit[!]… which makes me – more free – than the consumer!

            Skippy… RK covered this ground quite thoroughly, imo, with his women and tobacco book.

          3. diane

            Thank you Jagger!

            I recollect a study (might have been Harvard based, if I recollect correctly), and unfortunately the link died with an older computer, that the predominance of cigarette smokers were among the poorer class. The wealthier pipe and cigar smokers, far less stigmatized (if stigmatized at all), representing nicotine suckers who’ve never ever been targeted so viciously and economically, as those who smoke cigarettes.

            Cigarette taxes are a not insignificant part of many government revenues, surely why they are still legal and why nicotine levels are still (insanely) not regulated (to my knowledge), despite obscene increases in nicotine levels from the 1990′s ‘hearings’ regarding cigarettes. And no, raising the prices do not generally have smokers quitting the habit, it just empties their pockets into government pockets more rapidly (and if any fool out there, really believes those taxes all (let alone any) go towards healthcare …what to say).

            After all they say that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances there is; it appears to be true (even though those who state that it is, with revenue bearing tax bludgeon at hand, are unrelenting vicious towards adults addicted to it, as if refuting their own claims), especially among those poorer uninsured folks who find, however lethally, a momentary relief from their daily horrors, sucking on nicotine.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why taxing?

          To give more value to our currency?

          I generally favor giving tax credits to people who drink tap water, even if that lessen the damand for our currency (per MMT), instead of punsihing soda drinkers.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          I’m not sure whether this was bad parsing or another attempt to put words in my mouth. Read what I wrote. I was calling for high taxes on high fructose corn syrup.

          1. Stephanie

            Well, bad parsing, or bad wording? You say “drink high fructose corn syrup.” Typically, drinking HFCS occurs through drinking soda. HFCS occurs in many products that are eaten, as well.

            In any case, the core question remains unanswered. Why wouldn’t eliminating subsidies be more effective? It sounds like I need to stress that my question should be taken at face value. I’m not trying to perform a gotchya on anyone, and I’m sincerely asking the question.

        1. Joel3000

          Antibiotics , vaccinations, and environmental toxins acting on a unique individual, in concert, might present themselves in any number of ways.

          Of course all of these things are government certified , by scientists, so they must be perfectly safe. You aren’t anti-science, right?

        2. Carla

          I believe the following have also been implicated as possible causes of allergies: the huge number of Caesarian births, often because it’s more “convenient” for the mother or the doctor or both, keeps babies from exposure to essential healthful bacteria in the birth canal; also, babies that are not breast-fed miss out on all kinds of immune system benefits of breast milk.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          PLEASE READ MY COMMENT ABOVE. I AM NOT ANTI VACCINE. THIS LOOKS LIKE A GUN ENTHUSIAST HIT JOB.

          Saying people are over vaccinated (too many vaccines for non life-threatening ailments, which look like it is producing a spike in allergies and severe allergies in children, is not saying people should not be vaccinated. I am happy I was vaccinated for polio and tetanus. By contrast, I don’t get vaccinated for flus.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        Yves… I’m with you on most things, but I have to disagree with your stance on vaccines. There is zero scientific evidence that vaccines causes allergies. Since I love science, and science doesn’t take sides, I would be happy to see evidence that there is some connection. Right now… zero.

        Peanut Allergies are most likey a case of mass psychogenic illness. I don’t believe there are any known case of anaphylactic shock caused by the smell of peanuts. Nationally, ~10 die per year from peanut allergies:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut_allergy

        OTOH, Choking kills about 2800 people per year… and the most common item is peanuts:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choking

        So… the real danger is not vaccines, the danger is not chewing your food properly.

        1. Zachary Smith

          “Yves… I’m with you on most things, but I have to disagree with your stance on vaccines.”

          It shocked me — a lot. I think that’s because this blog has gradually become my “gold standard” for reasonable/rational, and something like this antivaxxer BS as crazy as any Tea Bagger notion I’ve ever heard is really disturbing.

          1. looselyhuman

            That, and the occasional link to the blog of someone who wants to go back to the gold standard..?

            Oh well, the mindless pursuit of internal consistency at the cost of flexibility doesn’t turn out so well either.

          2. joel3000

            If you understand Complex Adaptive Systems then the notion that vaccines may be producing serious unintended side effects would not be so hard to fathom.

            We don’t fully understand the immune system. We know a tiny bit about it, enough to know that it is a complex system. Thinking that we can tweak it to our preferences without costs is not science, it’s wishful thinking.

            If we don’t understand the system we can’t say that any given alteration is safe. We’re running experiments on our children with these medicines. The proof of safety is limited to the fact that most children don’t die or get extremely sick after they are given the drugs, but no one bothers to trace a myriad of possible chronic problems past the initial dosage. Allergies, ADD, autism, asthma, auto-immune disorders, have exploded in frequency in correlation witht the vaccination schedule, but are always left off the hook as a contributor because no one with research funding actually wants to prove that there’s a problem.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          PLEASE READ MY COMMENT ABOVE. I AM NOT ANTI VACCINE. THIS LOOKS LIKE A GUN ENTHUSIAST HIT JOB.

          Saying people are over vaccinated (too many vaccines for non life-threatening ailments, which look like it is producing a 3+ times increase in allergies and severe allergies in children), is not saying people should not be vaccinated. I am happy I was vaccinated for polio, diptheria, and tetanus. By contrast, I don’t get vaccinated for flus.

          1. Zachary Smith

            Indiana isn’t one of the most enlightened states – I call it “Mississippi North” for a reason.

            But even our backwater shows some good sense regarding children’s vaccinations.

            Whooping Cough Wiki: “It is estimated that the disease currently affects 48.5 million people yearly, resulting in nearly 295,000 deaths.”

            “Common complications of the disease include pneumonia, encephalopathy, earache, or seizures.”

            Hepatitis B – a fairly well known disease with some fairly well known nasty features.

            Measles Wiki: “While the vast majority of patients survive measles, complications occur fairly frequently, and may include bronchitis, and panencephalitis which is potentially fatal. Also, even if the patient is not concerned about death or sequela from the measles, the person may spread the disease to an immunocompromised patient, for whom the risk of death is much higher, due to complications such as giant cell pneumonia. Acute measles encephalitis is another serious risk of measles virus infection. It typically occurs two days to one week after the breakout of the measles exanthem, and begins with very high fever, severe headache, convulsions, and altered mentation. Patient may become comatose, and death or brain injury may occur.”

            In poor countries lots of people die too.

            Mumps Wiki: “Death is very unusual.” So it’s not really a problem!
            Among the trivial issues of infection: “Spontaneous abortion in about 27% of cases during the first trimester of pregnancy.” “In addition, up to 20% of persons infected with the mumps virus do not show symptoms, so it is possible to be infected and spread the virus without knowing it.” Not-So-Nice surprise for a preggo, though.

            Rubella Wiki: “Infection of the mother by Rubella virus during pregnancy can be serious; if the mother is infected within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, the child may be born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which entails a range of serious incurable illnesses. Spontaneous abortion occurs in up to 20% of cases.”

            “During the epidemic in the US between 1962–1965, Rubella virus infections during pregnancy were estimated to have caused 30,000 still births and 20,000 children to be born impaired or disabled as a result of CRS”

            Chicken Pox: Painful, sets up fetuses for all kinds of horrors, and primes the “born” folk for some incredibly painful Shingles later in life when it re-surfaces.

            Naturally Indiana’s code doesn’t mention Shingles, but I’ve been immunized. Since that isn’t perfect protection, I still had a couple of dime-sized places which hurt for many days like the very devil. Can’t hardly imagine the pain of a major case, and given my expensive inoculation, probably I won’t have to.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Zachary,

            Do you drive or routinely ride in a car? The risk of death is 12.3 per hundred thousand. In percentage terms, 0.012%

            And that’s before you get to all sorts of traffic injuries, plus other car-related nasties, like shutting the door on you hand.

            By contrast, the death rate for chicken pox among people who contract it is .0023%. That’s actually misleadingly high relative to the auto death rate (which is a % of the entire population) since not everyone who is exposed to chicken pox gets it.

            You don’t get the math on this. You can point to all sorts of scary worst case outcomes from all sorts of things. Football is far more dangerous, in terms of frequency of bad outcomes relative to exposure, than anything you’ve listed above. Three concussions are shown to lead almost without exception to serious neurological problems in later life. Skiing is 7 injuries per 1000 visits. Do I see you lobbying against skiiing?

            Now people can choose not to play football or ski if they worry about injuries, but not drive in the US? That is just not viable outside of NYC and maybe Washington DC.

            Life involves risk. Some risks are worth insuring against. Others are sufficiently low in the combination of incidence and consequences as to not be worth insuring against.

            And there is reason to think overvaccination, imposes costs, just like overexercising does. Just because something is good up to a point does not mean more is better.

          3. reslez

            The side effects of vaccines have been heavily studied as a result of parental hysteria (ref. autism, asthma, allergies). It’s truly meritless to claim you’re not anti-vaccine while also writing that vaccination “look[s] like it is producing a 3+ times increase in allergies”. I challenge you to cite any evidence to support this. If you can’t, I hope you refrain from making this claim in the future.

            It’s one thing to doubt whether 100% of childhood vaccinations are truly needed, it’s entirely something else to link vaccines to a specific illness without any evidence.

            There have been several studies that link the increase in allergies to overly sterile home environments (the so-called hygiene hypothesis, kids don’t play outside anymore), environmental pollutants, and plain old misdiagnosis. Other researchers point to processed food, lack of physical activity, and global warming (higher temps = more pollen).

          4. Zachary Smith

            *** Do you drive or routinely ride in a car? ***

            Yes, I do. In my part of the United States my choices are to drive that automobile or stay home. My dwelling is in the country. No public transport whatever. Oh, a hundred yards or so to the north is the old grown-up track where there was once an Interurban rail line. Right beside it is an abandoned (and removed) railroad. Not an option in 2013.

            Wheeled transport – a car – is an unavoidable risk of my life. I can mitigate that risk by wearing my seat belt at all times. By never driving under the influence of ANYTHING. By never speaking on the cell phone or using any ‘texting’ device. My cruise control keeps me within what experts deem to be safe driving speeds for the local road situation, and my anti-lock brakes guarantees that if I lose traction during braking, at least I’ll skid to a stop in a straight line.

            IMO this is VERY different from what you describe, despite the % differences you quote. Since you didn’t reference that .0023% number, I looked for it online. Only places I found it on the first page of my search were from antivaxxer sites, so I went to the CDC site. That said “about” 4,000,000 people got the disease and 105 died. Trivial number, isn’t it.

            Of course there were the 10,000 hospital stays, and those cost somebody lots of time, money, and suffering.

            An infant damaged in the womb by the virus isn’t a dead one, so ignoring the various awful things done to them seems to be fair game.

            Yes, you chose well from the list of things for which Indiana requires immunizations. Hardly anybody dies from Chicken Pox these days from that disease, and the ones who do are in the low three figures. And never mind those babies. Of course, we’re in the process of losing the wonderful antibiotics which keep minor side effects from becoming major ones. And fewer and fewer people can afford to seek treatment. Or to stay home from the job or school when they’re contagious.

            In the course of my search on a topic I never imagined I’d be looking at, I found a guy ranting about the vaccine-challenged folks.

            http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=247&topic_id=30336&mesg_id=30379

            He styled himself as a “fucking IMMUNOLOGIST.” Some quotes from that rant:

            “And no, the immunity you get from being sick IS NOT BETTER THAN A VACCINATION- vaccines are actually much more concentrated and give you a better protection. People who get the chicken pox vaccine WON’T get shingles cause they were never infected throughout their body. If you have had chicken pox, you CAN get shingles because that damn virus never EVER leaves your body. Vaccines don’t spread the viri everywhere.”

            “Actually you probably have gotten the flu many many times
            And most likely have passed it on to other people. It is VERY common for people to get a infected but not show symptoms. Read about Typhoid Mary- she did exactly that. Flu shots are not just to protect the individual from getting sick. Herd immunity is pretty important especially for people who CAN’T get vaccinated. People who poo-poo flu shots really are being a bit short sighted.”

            “I’ll gladly wish shingles on every single anti-vaxx idiot
            Its one of the MOST painful diseases out there. And can go on for long periods of times. It might actually make them understand why the vaccine is a GOOD thing. Or adult chicken pox and a trip to the hospital.”

            ~~~~~~~~~~

            When you get Chicken Pox your body is infected – that virus is in you for the rest of your days. If you live long enough you’ll almost certainly get Shingles.

            Finally, back to that ‘risk’ thing. Some of them can’t be avoided. Some can. It would bother me a lot to find out I’d deformed/killed some innocent stranger because of my OWN risk-taking.

          5. BondsOfSteel

            Thank you for responding Yves. I have great respect for you. (I do support a gun control too, but that’s not relevent.)

            People may be getting too much vaccines…. but that’s not proven or studied. It’s just fear and conjecture at this point. What has been proven is that vaccines save lives. Even the chicken pox vaccine saves 100-150 lives / year:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varicella_vaccine

            P.S. I do support more studies, especially double blind studes with reproduciable results. Science is amazing, and vaccines are one of the most beneficial discoveries made so far. Their safety is something that should be continued to be studied and advanced. In the meantime, I’ll get the flu shot every year ;)

        3. Lambert Strether

          No, you don’t “have to disagree.” You don’t have to do anything. And I look in vain for a link on vaccination in the post. Don’t have you have a bridge you need to be under?

      2. Jack

        Thanks for your response Yves.
        Apparently, you miss the large contradiction in advocating regulating all kinds of historically personal decisions (like what to eat and drink) in an effort to save people from themselves, while then also advocating the diametrically opposite position of legalizing currently illicit drugs.
        Since you specifically call out corn syrup as a cause of diabetes, then why don’t you take on legalizing marijuana. After all, marijuana use gives one the munchies through activation of the endogenous cannabinoid system, promoting obesity. Cannaboid receptor blockers actually cause weight loss and decrease food consumption in human trials!
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoid_receptor_antagonist
        You just cannot get passionate about corn syrup on one hand, and then advocating (or at least, casting a blind eye) to your fellow lefty colleagues calling for open access to marijuana for all. Well, actually, you can do that, and you do do that, but it just suggests that you may allow emotion to cloud your reason and judgement if it originates from your own team (the lefties).

        While we are at it, how about the hygiene hypothesis as an explanation for an increase in allergies as correlated with an increase in hand sanitizers and antibiotic use?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis
        (Notice the 2nd to last paragraph at the end of the section about how intentional parasite infections can help autoimmune disease treatment?)
        All that vaccinations do is encourage the natural function of the immnune system in a way the doesn’t require the individual to contract a potentially deadly disease in the first place.

        As for chicken pox, it is a much more aggressive and dangerous disease if a susceptible adult gets it, or if a pregnant woman catches the disease, it can be fatal for her fetus.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickenpox

        As for mumps, it can cause sterility in males. For many people, involuntary sterility through illness IS a big deal.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumps

        You like to call out inconsistencies on conservative side of the isle. However, you are not immune from such inconsistent positions too.

        1. different clue

          If you get the munchies from a toke of legal marijuana, you can satisfy those munchies by eating a low-calorie head of cauliflower. Or a low-calorie head of cabbage. Or a low calorie daikon radish. There is no inherent reason why you would turn to obesogenic hi-carbocal starchwow sugarbombs.

        2. Lambert Strether

          The “since you ____ why don’t you ____ ” trope is pretty old by now. One of the the things that really frosts me is when commenters assign me work; it’s just a personal foible of mine, I suppose. The real answer is “in my own good time, when and if I get around to it.” Meanwhile, don’t you have a bridge you need to be under?

  4. Goin' South

    Re: early stage rebellions. Kropotkin had this to say:

    “How was it that words, so often spoken and lost in the air like the empty chiming of bells, were changed into actions?

    The answer is easy.

    Action, the continuous action, ceaselessly renewed, of minorities brings about this transformation. Courage, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, are as contagious as cowardice, submission, and panic.

    What forms will this action take? All forms,–indeed, the most varied forms, dictated by circumstances, temperament, and the means at disposal. Sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous, but always daring; sometimes collective, sometimes purely individual, this policy of action will neglect none of the means at hand, no event of public life, in order to keep the spirit alive, to propagate and find expression for dissatisfaction, to excite hatred against exploiters, to ridicule the government and expose its weakness, and above all and always, by actual example, to awaken courage and fan the spirit of revolt.

    When a revolutionary situation arises in a country, before the spirit of revolt is sufficiently awakened in the masses to express itself in violent demonstrations in the streets or by rebellions and uprisings, it is through action that minorities succeed in awakening that feeling of independence and that spirit of audacity without which no revolution can come to a head.

    Men of courage, not satisfied with words, but ever searching for the means to transform them into action,–men of integrity for whom the act is one with the idea, for whom prison, exile, and death are preferable to a life contrary to their principles,–intrepid souls who know that it is necessary to dare in order to succeed,– these are the lonely sentinels who enter the battle long before the masses are sufficiently roused to raise openly the banner of insurrection and to march, arms in hand, to the conquest of their rights.”

    “The Spirit of Revolt”

    Can be found here along with other Kropotkin writings:

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/KropotkinCW.html

    1. from Mexico

      I think it’s important to keep in mind what the Russian biologist, historian and mathametician Peter Turchin wrote in War and Peace and War:

      Rampant inequality feeds into the perception of the extant social order as unjust and illegitimate, and creates excellent breeding conditions for the rise of revolutionary ideologies. In the early modern period, these ideologies took the religious form. Later, the dominant revolutionary ideologies were nationalistic and Marxist. Today, we are seeing the rise of religious-based revolutonary ideologies again, such as the Wahhabism. There are huge differences between the English Puritans, the French Jacobins, the Russian Bolsheviks, and the Islamic Al Qaida, but there is at least one common thread running through all these ideologies and movements associated with them — a burning desire for social justice.

      It’s important to keep this in mind, less we fall into the misconception described here by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

      It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.

      http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet/riversidetranscript.html

  5. vlade

    I’d be very very careful with saying “Italians reject austerity, COOL!”. A parallel could be easily found in 1932 as “Germans reject austerity, COOL!” While even violent Berlusconi or Grillo are unlikely to do the same for Italy as say Mussolini did, the rise of populist is not something to cheer too loudly. Be careful what you wish for lest you get it.

    Banker/elites bashing now is shooting fish in a barell.

    Unfortunately, providing viable solutions is still not that easy a task, not any easier now than it was in the history. if it was easy historicaly, chances are it would have happened. I’d say not only early stages in revolutions are not safe – but no revolution ends up doing what the initiators wanted (and I say that having a first hand experience with a relatively peaceful revolution).

    1. from Mexico

      Yep, keep the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks, the Fascists, and the Maoists foremost in people’s minds, and exile from memory folks like Thomas Jefferson, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Havel, and Michnik.

      As Hannah Arendt observed of the French Revolution in On Revolution:

      What appeared to be most manifest in this spectacle was that none of its actors could control the course of events, that this course took a direction which had little if anything to do with the wilful aims and purposes of the anonymous force of the revolution if they wanted to survive at all. This sounds commonplace to us today, and we probably find it hard to understand anything but banalities could have been derived from it. Yet we need only remember the course of the American Revoluton, where the exact opposite took place, and recall how strongly the sentiment that man is master of his destiny, at least with respect to political government, permeated all its actors, to realize the impact which the spectacle of the impotence of man with regard to the course of his own action must have made. The well-known shock of disillusion suffered by the generation in Europe which lived, through the fatal events from 1789 to the restoration of the Bourbons, transformed itself almost immediately into a feeling of awe and wonder at the power of history itself. Where yesterday, that is in the happy days of Enlightenment, only the despotic power of the monarch had seemed to stand between man and his freedom to act, a much more powerful force had suddently arisen which compelled men at will, and from which there was no release, neither rebellion nor escape, the force of history and historical necessity…

      Politcally, the fallacy of this new and typically modern philosophy is relatively simple. It consists in describing and understanding the whole realm of human action, not in terms of the actor and the agent, but from the standpoint of the spectator who watches a spectacle.

      1. vlade

        Ghandi – and the massacre of the India/Pakistan split, the corruption endemic in India (and in Ghandi’s family), the continued poorness of the country, religious infighting, nationalism etc. etc. I’m sure he really wanted all of that.

        Havel – pleeze, don’t get even me started there.

        MLK – can’t really comment on this, but as far as I’m aware black ghetos still exists, and while the state sanctioned racism is gone, the societal still remains (and can be in fact harder to deal with at times). That said, I’m not sure I’d put MLK as revolutionary (where do you put a boundary where change is or isn’t revolution)? It definitely wasn’t complete overturning of ruling elites as in the other cases (which was more of case with ANC and Mandela, and again, we can see where it ended).

        Michnik – again, how much do you know about Polish politics these days? (I’ll grant you, it’s somewhat better than Czech)

        1. vlade

          For avoidance of doubt, I do not say that revolutions are bad and should be avoided. I do say they are unpredictable, and that in general people who initiated them end up disappointed. Even that can be acceptable cost of change though.

        2. Jessica

          The post-independence Gandhi family is not related to Mahatma Gandhi. (They are related to Nehru though.)
          I do agree with you that the extraordinary mass violence during the Partition do call Gandhi’s legacy into question.

          1. subgenius

            There are suggestions that the public version of the Gandhi story familiar to the general public bears surprisingly little relation to the real historical situation.

  6. Michael Sankowski

    Here I am talking about how swaps are moving onto exchange and into clearinghouses on Huffington Post Live.

    http://monetaryrealism.com/futures-vs-swaps-vs-clearinghouses-on-live-tv/

    The derivatives explosion isn’t really as bad as people make it out to be. Derivatives can be done better if they are done through clearinghouses. Clearinghouses allow people to look at the total positions of individuals, and requires that people report when positions get large, and there are position limits.

    Clearinghouses also give us some protection. One of the big features of modern clearinghouses is the fact the members are on the hook for losses single members cannot cover. If this had been in place with AIG, Goldman would have paid, not received money.

    One other benefit of the clearinghouse structure is the single point of failure. We would know what we need to do to allow the banking system to continue to operate. All of the possibility of bad things happening would be under one roof, with positions a single person could sort out in an afternoon. This would allow us to give clear instruction on the failure path to the world -we and everyone would know who is going to fail, who could possibly find financing, and who is “safe” within 24 hours.

    Clearinghouses reduce the risks of many of the worst problems of derivatives. Of course, clearinghouses do not eliminate all of the risks. That’s impossible. But just like falling down the stairs unexpectedly is painful, but intentionally rolling down highly padded stairs onto a mattress is much less painful, using clearinghouses can help to make the risks of derivative problems less painful to unwind.

    1. Hugh

      You fail to give any reason why most derivatives should exist in the first place. Few are hedges. Most are bets. If the the banksters want to gamble, they can go to Monte Carlo and gamble with their own money.

      Clearinghouses are massively, massively undercapitalized relative to their exposures. Netting assumes that there will be no systemic events and that failure will be confined to only one or a few players who can be safely isolated from the rest. This completely ignores the interconnectedness of modern kleptocratic banking.

      If Goldman had not gotten bailed out in the AIG deal, it would have gone belly up. Indeed in the week of AIG and Lehman, Goldman had to be saved twice. First, with the AIG deal and then after Lehman went splat, it needed a second bailout via its “conversion” to a bankholding company. So Goldman was not in a position to help anyone.

      Also many derivatives, often the most toxic, were sufficiently specialized that they can’t form a market and can’t be priced.

      So basically you favor keeping financial instruments with no social value and enormous destructive capability as long as they pass through the hollow shell of a clearinghouse. Why?

  7. Bill

    RE: Toxic mice showers to poison snakes:

    I’ve always been a snake lover, and I’m pretty certain that, snakes not being scavengers, they eat only live food. Dead mice won’t do it, I don’t think, unless they’re still warm.

    1. Zachary Smith

      The tree snakes are an exception to the “live prey” general rule. Consider looking up the excellent article posted in the “links” here a day or three ago.

      This piece by Turley is dreadful. Cute/stupid is the best I can say for it.

  8. jsmith

    More on the deployment of US troops in Niger:

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/02/26/pers-f26.html

    No one in the US press, for example, bothered noting that Obama’s announcement of the deployment of US troops in a supposed war against Al Qaeda in Africa came on the same day that Washington blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning an Al Qaeda terror bombing that massacred scores of civilians in Damascus.

    Behind the incoherence of the pretexts for imperialist intervention, the real forces driving it are clear. Washington finds itself being economically eclipsed in Africa by China, which has emerged as the continent’s leading trade partner. Increasingly in competition over strategic resources—West Africa is soon expected to account for 25 percent of US petroleum imports—US imperialism is relying on its residual military superiority to combat this economic challenge.

    In the prosecution of this predatory strategy, Al Qaeda serves a dual purpose—providing shock troops for the toppling of regimes seen as obstacles to US hegemony, and serving as a pretext for other interventions carried out in the name of combating “terrorism” and “extremism.”

    Setting up the new base in Niger places US drones just across the border from Nigeria, which until recently has supplied 10 percent of US foreign oil imports and where the Pentagon has grown increasingly involved in an internal conflict involving Boko Haram, an indigenous Islamic sect that appears to have no ties to Al Qaeda nor any ambitions outside of Nigeria.

    1. jsmith

      Adding vis a vis Al Qaeda’s at least dual-role:

      So which star on the CIA Memorial Wall is Osama Bin Laden’s?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_Memorial_Wall

      BTW, speaking of former employees of the CIA, it was kind of news to me that the producer of Zero Dark Thirty was none other than Megan Ellison billionaire daughter of former(?) CIA employee Larry Ellison of Oracle fame.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megan_Ellison

      Here’s a little expose showing how the current owner of the island of Lanai came into his cash.

      Gee, I sure can’t see why the US would want to have companies around the world run database software developed by the CIA, huh?

      http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oracle-s-coziness-with-government-goes-back-to-2820370.php

  9. jsmith

    Good overview of LIBOR and how it specifically affects California:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/26/libor-viewing-the-biggest-financial-crime-in-history/

    California is fast emerging as a center of investigation and litigation into the LIBOR-fixing conspiracy. California is the largest single municipal debt market in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. Last year alone the state of California and its cities, counties, school districts, and other public entities issued $65.7 billion in total public debt. Because of California’s regressive tax structure and chronic budget crises, the state’s multitude of governments have been among the most aggressive in issuing variable rate debt hedged with interest rate swaps.

    The Golden State’s local governments have also been the largest purchasers of municipal derivatives contracts from banks because streams of tax and fee revenues often don’t match up with the dates that payments to public employees and contractors come due. Collusive suppression of LIBOR rates by the 16-member panel who were trusted to provide accurate quotes could mean that California local governments have paid untold millions to their interest rate swap counterparties (the banks) that should otherwise have remained in budgets and used to fund school construction, bus lines, street paving, water and sewerage services, etc.

    1. Gaylord

      Would it be the same State Attorney General Kamala Harris taking a “strong” position here, as she did when she and N.Y.’s Schneiderman blithely backed down on their rejection of the “negotiated” mortgage fraud settlement with the banks? If so, then it will be a sorry California.

  10. diptherio

    Re: John Thomas Financial

    The Wall Street crooks just can’t help themselves. Anatsasios Belesis names his boiler room operation after a well-known euphemism for the male generative organ and nobody picks up on it? Python (Monty, not the programming language) fans should have caught on immediately.

    “What’s that you say? Your firm, Cock Financial, has some stocks to sell? Sign me up!”

    Reminds me of a story Bill Black reported about a built-to-fail finance firm that some banksters created in Italy awhile back…they named it “Black Hole, Inc.” (the Italian equivalent, anyway). And we’re supposed to believe that the finance industry is filled with our best and brightest…ha!

    Also, my new firm Scammer & Con Capital has some great deals on penny stocks right now. And we’ve got a line of affordable CDS protection you might be interested in.

  11. dadanada

    “Obama is planning to inflict pain during the sequester, staring with making air travel even more of a mess than it needs to be. Dunno if that will register with core Republican constituencies or not, though.”

    The core Republican constituencies have never been on an airplane.

    1. Cynthia

      The president’s salary is not affected by sequester. Neither are the czar’s salaries. Neither is the First Lady’s budget. The First Family will not miss any vacations or gulf outings. Obama will continue to spend large amounts of money campaigning around the country telling his ‘fibs’ and fear mongering.

      Also, since the idea of sequester started with the White House and Obama signed the bill into law, he does share some of the responsibility for sequester.

    2. neorealist

      Re: The core Republican constituencies have never been on an airplane.

      I’m not sure about that. I’ve heard an awful lot of “twangs” on a couple of Southwest Airline flights:).

      1. Gmarks

        as to twangs, and passports of the right…

        The core constituency of the DNC – have never been out of the barrio or ghetto.

        - since when do you enlightene leftists engage in culture bashing???

        what a bunch of hypocrites.

    3. Gmarks

      I may have told this story before – but I was at a School Board meeting in Colorado Spgs where board members were trying to get a property tax increase for schools.

      The entire conversation was HOW TO CUT SERVICE AND INFLICT THE MOST PAIN ON FAMILIES>>.. so they would vote on the increase.

      They chose to cut busing… I remember at the time, we had kids in grammar, middle, and high school… all with differing hours. It was a nightmare – cars backed up for blocks.

      ALL BECAUSE OUR FRIENDS AT THE SCHOOL BOARD WANTED TO MAKE A POINT>

      Dems are more astute at this than gopers because of their very nature… gopers want cuts to work… libs want chaos and more money.

      Obama is proving to be a real huckster in this regard.

      Furloughs for 800,000 in defense is misleading.. it means ONE DAY OFF a month… the newsies have it sounding like the pentagon will empty.

      AND they always get that money back when the budget deal goes though… so they are so full of horse shit – I wish I could strangle the lot of em.

      I can imagine O trying [like the school board members] to make air travel more miserable… just to teach us a lesson.

      God – I hate politicians… left or right … they are an abomination of nature.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The City Council in the town just north of me always threatens to close the municipal swimming pool. Same deal. (After the “Economic Development” effort pissed away a ton of money on insiders, too….)

  12. RanDomino

    Chris Hedges ONCE AGAIN explicitly advocates violence against human beings- but ONLY when it’s safely distant in history or location. But if you break a window in Oakland, you’re “cancer”.

    1. Zachary Smith

      I don’t know about other instances, but attempting to portray the German Generals who tried to kill Hitler as heroes is pushing the envelope.

      “It was then that he decided to defy Hitler. But it would only be in 1943, when it was clear that the Germans were losing the war, that he and a small group of other officers led by Col. Claus von Stauffenberg began to plot to assassinate Hitler. The conspirators did not defy the Nazi regime on behalf of the Jews, von dem Bussche conceded, but to save the country from defeat, dismemberment and catastrophe.”

      They were ok with everything Hitler was doing as long as he was winning, but when the war was obviously lost they made some wimpy attempts to kill him.

      1. Mark P.

        Maybe so.

        Nevertheless, read the piece and it may become clear to you that you probably don’t possess as much in the way of principles and courage as a man like Axel von dem Bussche had in his little toenail.

        1. Zachary Smith

          My being an unprincipled coward undoubtedly explains everything.

          I’ll give this fellow credit for being a patriot in the sense he would rather have Germany win WW2 than lose it.

          In that regard, killing Hitler made sense, for somebody with some military ability would have taken over running the war for the Nazis. Which means Allied casualties would have mushroomed, for they wouldn’t have been fighting what von Rundstedt called “that Bohemian corporal”.

          And that’s precisely why the Allies made no attempts I’ve ever heard about to kill Hitler. So long as he was in charge it was almost impossible for them to lose, for he was pretty much of an idiot in terms of directing large armies.

          1. Roland

            Many of the German generals were of aristocratic descent and despised Hitler more because of his common origins than because of his war policy.

            Blaming Hitler or other senior Nazis for strategic blunders was a safe, easy, and personally advantageous thing to do after the war. That must always be borne in mind when we deal with the postwar historiographical tradition. Much of what was written within that tradition is valuable, but all of it must be treated critically.

            War is politics, and there has seldom been a major war in which top politicians don’t have a say in operational matters. Hitler’s record of strategic decisions does not compare too unfavourably to his counterparts in other places and times.

          2. Zachary Smith

            *** Many of the German generals were of aristocratic descent and despised Hitler more because of his common origins than because of his war policy. ***

            And many were not.

            *** Blaming Hitler or other senior Nazis for strategic blunders was a safe, easy, and personally advantageous thing to do after the war. ***

            CYA was a good strategy under the circumstances.

            *** Hitler’s record of strategic decisions does not compare too unfavourably to his counterparts in other places and times. ***

            I think you need to provide a bit of evidence for that last claim.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Based on outcomes from Occupy Oakland, Hedges was 100% correct.

      It’s really amazing to me how violence advocates can never admit that non-viokence can be used strategically, and not as part of some quest for sainthood. Always the straw manning. Always.

      1. Gaylord

        I guess you didn’t read the debates over “black block”, which clearly revealed Hedges’ lack of information and prejudice; thus your own prejudice is also revealed here.

        1. Gaylord

          Sorry, that’s “black bloc,” which is not inherently violent but reactive and protective. The Oakland protests also had a criminal element involved as well as agents provocateurs.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Which black bloc tactics so intrinsically enable it’s very difficult to believe there’s a lack of intent.

            I do grant that Hedge’s “cancer” metaphor is excessive. “Herpes” is more like it; periodic flare-ups and all.

            Cure being impossible, the best approach is prevention.

          2. Gaylord

            When all political and legal recourse are extinguished and overwhelming violence by the state becomes the norm, one has to re-evaluate restraint of protest beyond passive resistance and civil disobedience.

            Note that Chris Hedges’ and co-plaintiffs’ lawsuit against NDAA warrantless surveillance and detention has just been STRUCK DOWN by the Supreme Court. Hedges’ own writings are somewhat self-contradictory regarding the justification of violent revolt.

            Think of the ramifications of the fascist state we now have, in addition to warrantless surveillance and NDAA authority: militarized police, drones operated in our civilian airspaces, FBI entrapment, and Grand Jury intimidation. Then, there’s the issue often discussed here of financial criminals given license to continue their massive larceny in concert with the politicians they bribe. I suggest that we have already proceeded far down that slippery slope. What then is the remedy?

          3. different clue

            What if the whole “black bloc” is a false-flag law-enforcement organization from top to bottom? Designed to “red dot” every targeted protest for massive police swoop-in and beat-down?

            If the desire of many to throw a brick through a window is the “sea” which the false-flag police-provocateur “black bloc” swims in, then effectively banning/preventing even the first brick through the first window will dry up the “sea” which the false-flag police-provocateur “black bloc” swims in.

      2. RanDomino

        There are not now nor ever were violence advocates. There are/were those who advocate power, rather than getting beaten and arrested for no apparent reason.

        I would call a “violence advocate” someone who thinks it’s awesome to

        What’s the “strategy” of passive protest? Get beaten and arrested until the pigs’ hearts grow three sizes? There was never any hope of ‘families with baby strollers’ showing up, beyond those that did, because the media will just declare it unsafe and then the police will make it unsafe. It’s a strategy of appealing to politicians to come down from on high to grant us their mercy. Fuck that.

        We cheered for the Egyptians, while quietly being forced to forget that they burned down every cop shop in Cairo.

        It’s one thing to disagree with a strategy. It’s another thing to write two or three pages of moralizing bullshit, quoting someone with an axe to grind (Jensen), and later admitting that the only research done was reading some stuff from two decades earlier by some guy nobody’s even heard of. What Hedges did was wag his finger while saying, “Now see here, children. When I was in Kosovo…”

        This row should never have happened. All that should have been necessary was to point out this: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-m6NaTh8PGR4/ToXJetnNESI/AAAAAAAAB7M/5WT_yd2qCLA/s1600/wallstreetposter.jpg
        What’s that in the cloud of tear gas? Oh, gosh, could it be a mass of young street-fighters wielding clubs, wearing gas-masks, and clad in all black? Perhaps we could consider it a “bloc” of some sort.

        In short, Chris Hedges is a terrible person and probably a CIA asset.

        Also, Oakland lasted far longer than nearly all the others.

        1. RanDomino

          2nd paragraph:

          (I would call a “violence advocate” someone who thinks it’s awesome to) set off a suitcase bomb in a room full of people. It’s violence; Hedges advocates it; what’s that make him?

  13. AbyNormal

    I Love the antidote du jour!
    I’m so inspired…I’m off to draw.
    (i’ll return when my eyes uncross’)

    “Oh, please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so!”
    ~where the wild things are

  14. marijuana research fffffff.

    Yet another of the wholly unknown protections of the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which the US is a signatory: independent international review and evaluation holding the government to this obligation,

    “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research anYet another of the wholly unknown protections of the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which the US is a signatory: independent international review and evaluation holding the government to this obligation,

    “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.” (Article 15)

    The state must protect research from Monsanto’s gag orders and big oil’s climatology extortion. Agents of state repression like NIDA must respect the numan right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.

    So stuff your lip service, Dems and Greens. Any party or candidate that doesn’t publicly promise to bring the state into comformity with the International Bill of Human Rights can fuck off.d creative activity.” (Article 15)

    The state must protect research from Monsanto’s gag orders and big oil’s climatology extortion. Agents of state repression like NIDA must respect the numan right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.

    One more reason why any party or candidate that doesn’t publicly promise the International Bill of Human Rights can fuck off.

  15. Mel

    Also a thought-piece:
    http://www.psmag.com/magazines/pacific-standard-cover-story/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135/

    There are some reporting problems there. I doubt that North Americans are separated from the Machiguenga by “thousands of generations” of unique developments; in terms of physical lifestyle, a thousand years I think is more like the actual difference. The evolutionary psychology in the article is hardly solid science yet.

    The article takes for traits things that might be process. An experimental game is for now, life is forever. You can win or lose in the game and still make up the difference later on, in your real life. That’s in the village. In the metropolis you live as a cog in an immense market. The experimental game is all that you and those few other cogs will have in common; there is no later on for that game there.

    I still have to read David Graeber. Also Iain McGilchrist: The Master and His Emissary.

  16. Peter Pinguid Society

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    1. Kos reader

      It means after the recorded message, press one (or simply press the Kossack DeCap App on your iPhone) to enroll in Visa’s Complimentary Decapitation Service.

      And a Chase Rep will come to your home and detach your cranial compartment with minimal pain at no extra charge.

  17. Elliot

    Oh that’s embarrassing wrt to Yves and vaccine-pseudoscience. I expected better. There is zero scientific fact to support anti-vaccinery.

    But then the often repeated mantra of “you should get out of the US while you can” (certainly not advice for the lower 90%, is it?) is also embarrassing, so there you go. It’s just a milder version of “I got mine.”

    Wrt the campaign to legalize drugs.. try dealing with the arrested development and poor reasoning of dope-head employees, yeah we need more of that.
    I think though that the reason the issue gets lip service from the left edge of the Dems is that it makes their target audience think they care about them, and gives a veneer of ‘cool’ to aging hippie-wannabe’s.

    1. lisl

      Do tell! This site could benefit from more petit-bourgeois perspective. One hears so little of people in trade these days.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      PLEASE READ MY COMMENTS ABOVE. THE READER REMARKS ON VACCINE IS A MISREPRESENTATION OF MY VIEWS.. Don’t believe what readers say about my views in comments. Please. They are increasingly hit jobs.

      And this is some pretty serious projection on your part. “I got mine”? Do you forget I actually tried to emigrate to Australia in 2002 to 2004? It’s not easy to emigrate. And it is not the purview of rich people either. I can name people who are serious about emigrating who are most decidedly not in the top 10%. Do some homework, please.

      This country was founded on people taking risk to make a better life for themselves. If this country no longer offers that, in fact makes a point of grinding down ordinary people, why should people stay and be abused? There are countries in the world where people of modest means are welcome.

      As for drug decriminalization, go read the data. Every country that has tried it has seen a fall in violent crime and no increase in drug use, in fact, some like Portugal have seen a decline in drug use. So why don’t you go look at the data and try a fact based discussion, rather than relying on your prejudices?

    3. different clue

      I went to college once. I passed various tests and landed on the “honors hall” in my dorm. There were many kinds of drug use.

      The people who at least got drunk every weekend went on to become district sales reps and middle managers and so forth. The people who smoked marijuana as well went on to become more or less successful lawyers, financialists, etc.
      The people who added mescaline and LSD to all that went on to become engineers, scientists, doctors, etc.

      Meanwhile, I spent those years Just Saying No. I went on to become a security guard and a dishwashere and a part-time janitor in the restaurant where I washed dishes. Merely coincidence? I find people voicing your view to be uniquely ignorant of reality and uniquely worth not listening to. Maybe the “young people” who “zone out” more than you would like are numbing the pain of the putrid filthy reality you embody and create for them as best as they can?

  18. Ignacio

    Dear Yves,
    Regarding the election results in Italy I wish I was as optimistic as you! As I see it, the results, although clearly signal rejection of the austerity impersonated in Monti still show a divided country with no clear direction in the future. The votes that Berlusconi has collected show that there is still a a big part of the population indoctrinated with free-market xenophobic ideas. Yet the market reaction signals a pulse and pressure against any political party that wishes to govern by and for the desires of citizens instead of the wishes and whims of the ruling corporate/finantial class.

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for your brief note that accompanied your link to Mark Thoma’s article on ending “Too Big to Fail”. You are spot on IMO.

    Comments by readers that accompanied the article are also of interest to those of us who desire to end the leverage and control that the individuals who control these large financial intermediaries have over our financial well-being, our economy, and our lawmakers.

    One reader, Beatrice H, mirrored your view in observing: “What about derivatives regulation? Look at JP Morgan Chase derivatives losses last year, and the big banks planting derivatives in FDIC insured accounts. And derivatives have safe harbor status in case of bankruptcy.”

    IMO the transfer of derivatives into the FDIC-insured depository banks was initiated by senior managers at these large bank holding companies with the blessing of the Fed and OCC in order to perpetuate the status quo under which these individuals enjoy so much power and tremendous personal financial rewards.

    We need House and Senate Banking Committee members to question these individuals about their actions, and to pass legislation that eliminates their capacity to threaten to blow up our depository institutions and to extort continued hidden and direct subsidies from us should events occur that trigger enormous derivatives losses. The “London Whale” derivatives losses at JPMorgan Chase were a shot across the bow in this regard.

    1. joe bongiovanni

      I also left a comment on the Mark Thoma article, which they posted but my sharing it here on NC hasn’t made it through moderation as yet. Hope it’s because I’m using my Dad’s name.

  20. joe bongiovanni

    Re Mark Thoma’s Too Big To Fail riddle.

    The size of ANY bank only matters as to the degree which it’s systemic downfall can effect the real economy.
    There’s a word for the solution.
    It’s called ‘separation’.
    The risk-transmission mechanism from the banking system to the real economy is through the debt-based system of money.
    In such a system, the banks create the money when they make loans and indebt the borrower, making the concepts around economic, financial and monetary cyclicality self-explained.
    The solution is to simply separate the money-creation function from the banking function of the national money system.
    With government responsible for the permanence and stability of the system of money, the basic cause of the financial instability that engulfs us is neutralized.
    The risk of failure does not create any risk for the real economy.
    That’s why Minsky ended up there – it’s not an end to banking at all.
    It’s actually a return to banking, where deposits are taken and loans are made.
    Reform of the money system itself, through the separation of monetary powers, found favor in Minsky’s rather thought-provoking title.
    “”Financial Instability and the Decline (?) of Banking:
    Public Policy Implications”"

    http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp127.pdf
    For the Money System Common

  21. different clue

    No deal on sequester? Good!

    Better sequester now than catfood later.
    Better sequester for years than catfood forever.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A quick note – donkey and water buffalo found in S. African burgers, per LA Times.

    Maybe someday, somewhere in this wonderful planet of ours, a story will break of soylent in burgers.

    1. different clue

      If the SC upHOLDS Monsanto’s “right of perpetual patent”, that would make the ultimate banning of roundup and the rejection of roundup ready soybeans more likely in the long run.

  23. JGordon

    It’s interesting that nearly all the links above describe how horribly corrupt and fraudulent the US corporate state is (there is little practical difference between the corporate and state sector anymore, if you were to honest with yourself–i.e, the executive branch is a de facto arm of JP Morgan), yet you all still think it’s a good idea to let said lawless said print all the money it wants and seize people’s means of self defense.

    Although I have seen some hints that your opinions on those subjects are finally beginning to evolve in a more logical direction, so good for you.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Are you capable of distinguishing the idea of the state in the abstract from the state as it exists today? Are you capable of understanding that an accurate description of a process is not necessarily an endorsement of that process?

    2. Zachary Smith

      “.. print all the money it wants and seize people’s means of self defense.”

      I’m overcome by curiosity now, for that is a pretty amazing viewpoint.

      Would you mind telling me how you figure ‘printing money’ ought to be handled? (Unless you propose to abandon paper currency)

      In regard to the “self defense”, against what threat or threats are you planning your defenses?

        1. Zachary Smith

          Yeah, I know that, but I’d like a peek at his viewpoint. Like, is he wanting to go back to Gold? Some kind of ‘libertarian’ barter scheme?

          ???

      1. joe bongiovanni

        The ‘printing’ of money is metaphor for two of the three sovereign monetary powers – those of creation and issuance of the national currency, however done.
        Once the finaancial intelligencia here at NC actually learn what money is and isn’t, there will surely be prairie fire around the ideas of public money creation, issuance and administration.
        It’s the only way the people of a nation can ever be in democratic contrl of their national economy.
        But those same truly well-meaning progressie folk are prevented from engaging truly ‘state’ money administration by an infatuation with two of MMT’s concepts around money.
        One of those is the Hamiltonian notion that money MUST be accounted for as a debt.
        The other is that governemnt actually creates money NOW when it spends.
        There truly is a grand discussion to be had on this subject, and ending private money creation is what Lincoln described as the supreme prerogative of a sovereign government.
        Debt-free money issued by the government.
        The Lords across the pond are now running left of our favorite progressive scribes.
        http://econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog1.php/2013/02/10/adair-turner-a-new-debt-free-money-advocate

        For the Money System Common.

    3. different clue

      You keep claiming to “know” about “permaculture” but you have never yet offered a single book or pamphlet or website or other info-resource on the subject. I am beginning to wonder if you actually “know” anything about “permaculture” beyond the word and some credibility-lending buzzphrases. So I will keep asking if you can tell me some info-sources on the subject even though you will keep ignoring my requests.

      Perhaps if enough other people decided to start asking you for some titles and websites on “permaculture”, you will find them all too many to ignore?

  24. Not a bar, Fumimota-san

    Obots…..of all living things, these curious creatures alone aroused a strong affection in the God Emperor.

    The silk houses they were raised in were among the finest buildings of the Summer Palace.

    Every day that came, the God Emperor walked the halls with his retinue behind him, clad in white pinafores, to inspect the progress of the work, and when night came, he liked to sit all alone amidst the frames, listening to the low, even, deeply soothing sounds of countless Obot worms consuming the new mulberry foliage.

    These pale, almost transparent creatures, who would give their lives for the Emperor, he saw them as his true loyal followers. To him, they seemed the ideal subjects, diligent in service, unutterably stupid, and fixed on their one sole preordained aim….

    When he gave the word, in order to amuse the God Emperor, they would commit self-slaughter in every conceivable way, with swords and knives, by fire, by hanging, or by leaping from the rooftops and towers. Many are even said to have buried themselves alive….

  25. joe bongiovanni

    Re Mark Thoma’s Too Big To Fail riddle.

    The size of ANY bank only matters to the degree which it’s systemic downfall can effect the real economy.
    There’s a word for the solution.
    It’s called ‘separation’.
    The risk-transmission mechanism from the banking system to the real economy is through the debt-based system of money.
    In such a system, the banks create the money when they make loans and indebt the borrower, making the concepts around economic, financial and monetary cyclicality self-explained.
    The solution is to simply separate the money-creation function from the banking function of the national money system.
    With government responsible for the permanence and stability of the system of money, the basic cause of the financial instability that engulfs us is neutralized.
    The risk of failure does not create any risk for the real economy.
    That’s why Minsky ended up there – it’s not an end to banking at all.
    It’s actually a return to banking, where deposits are taken and loans are made.
    Reform of the money system itself, through the separation of monetary powers, found favor in Minsky’s rather thought-provoking title.
    “”Financial Instability and the Decline (?) of Banking:
    Public Policy Implications””

    http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp127.pdf
    For the Money System Common

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