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Links 2/6/13

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Richard III: king’s face recreated from skull discovered under car park Guardian

Baby Boomers Are Fatter And Lazier Than Their Parents’ Generation Clusterstock

US Breweries go to War against Fracking Industry OilPrice. Water quality has long been a huge issue for Coke in third world countries, a lot of their bottler support is on this front.

What Would Happen If America Got Free, ‘Nationwide’ WiFi? Google Wins, Carriers Lose Forbes (May S)

Do stimulus cheques go into the pokies? MacroBusiness

Japan-China Tensions Escalate Wall Street Journal

New North Korea video shows destruction of what appears to be New York City Washington Post

France action in Mali ‘true war’ BBC

Boston Mayor Calls On City To Prepare For Next Climate Calamity Reuters

Paying the Bin Laden Tax Tom Engelhardt

Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens Glenn Greenwald, Guardian

A Comprehensive Look at the CIA’s Rendition, Detention & Torture Program Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

Tangle of Ties Binds SEC’s Top Ranks Wall Street Journal (Corey)

US DoJ accuses S&P of $5bn fraud Financial Times

What to do with Corporate Profits? Kent Willard. We took note of this problem nearly two years ago.

Corporate Rule Has ‘Infected’ AFL-CIO Leadership, Labor Activist Contends Truthdig (Carol B)

A Flaw in the Heart of the Justice Department’s Case Against Standard & Poor’s John Carney, CNBC (David F). Time for a readers’ “Where’s Waldo?” How many things can you find wrong with this argument?

Catfood watch:

U.S. Debt Rise Colors Budget Fight Wall Street Journal. The CBO might as well be a subsidiary of the Peterson Foundation. Since they want to push the line that austerity lite will be good for the economy, that means they show debt levels stabilizing well below the Official Scary (But Actually Bullshit) level of 90%. But they are still fearmongering anyhow.

The sequestration cuts and the state of the states FT Alphaville

Moody’s warns of debt refinance struggle Financial Times. The content says pretty much the reverse.

Federal Reserve hacked Guardian

In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better … It’s Brutal New York Times (May S)

Yale Suing Former Students Shows Crisis in Loans to Poor Bloomberg (rich, Carol B)

Crunch feared if collateral rules enforced Financial Times

Antidote du jour:

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144 comments

  1. rbm411

    RE: Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens

    But, sure let the government take your guns.

    1. Massinissa

      If you didnt notice, that article was about DRONE STRIKES.

      I fail to see how AKs or Uzis can protect you against Drones. They sure havnt helped the Taliban that much (against the drones themselves I mean).

      Now, if you want to try to legalize Surface to Air missiles, that might help… Good luck affording those on a salary though. ^_^

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          Ya. Ya’d think the gubmint could just kill us with a cheap knife or garrot or something?

          1. Herman Conn

            A commenter on Moon of Alabama recently suggested that powerful lasers will soon be able to take out drones. Is that even feasible?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Drones should fear robots taking their jobs (I know I do)..

        One day, heavily armed, flying robots will be coming after you if you don’t behave.

      2. different clue

        Despite all the drone strikes, the Taliban are winning the war with their guns and their IEDs and their Pakistani ISI sanctuaries and Pakistani ISI expert training in how to conduct elaborate attacks.

        1. Nathanael

          It’s the bombs that make the difference for the Taliban. The US military keeps winning gunfights and then being blown up by explosives.

          However, I don’t see a National Explosives Association in the US campaigning for the right to keep and bear bombs.

    2. frosty zoom

      DANG RITE!!!!

      got me a tank and one of them F-15s, too.

      if them gubmint types try to get my medicare, why i’ll…

      1. optimader

        ..”if them gubmint types try to get my medicare, why i’ll…”
        Have to sit in the Hospital Emergency Ward waiting room all day, sigh….
        Oh well, you’re unemployed anyway, do they have free WiFI?

    3. optimader

      RE: “Don’t let the gummint take our guns”

      Implied armed insurrection is an interesting if not historically vacuous logical predicate as justification for essentially unregulated ownership of semi(wink, wink)automatic longguns, with extended clips, chambered for small caliber high velocity rounds specifically designed to penetrate and destroy tissue (mmmm.. pretenderized jungle meat!) multiple times in rapid progression.

      SO…. Two questions for NC bloggers.
      1.) Since the advent of modern warfare, lets frame it as WWI (automatic weapons, artillery deployable chemical weapons etc.).,or if you insist, slightly earlier w/ the innovation of the Gatling gun, what notable examples exist for armed civilian insurrection (militia?) unseating a standing Government and replacing it w/ something better??
      You may consider the “better” constraint optional because THAT is oh so relative isn’t it? Lets just say “organized”?

      2.) Mental experiment.. What would be the likely outcome in this Country in the event that every “Patriot” took their personal arsenal out of the basement/buried Bluebird Bus and played “Militia” against the US Federal Government and it’s Armed Forces?

      I need to be enlightened on this seemingly dodgy (IMO) thought process that has driven herds of Americans to buy literally pallets of bullets and guns that are ultimately impractical for their expressed intended purpose when push comes to shove.

      Skip Copper, are Bullets the next opportunity for a JP Morgan Ex Traded Fund?? Open storage warehouses across the Country.. This could be the next big thing!

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        I think the gubmint just needs to shut off the water supply and wait for our stockpile of bottled water (and beer) to run out.

        1. Birch

          They don’t even need to do that. Just allow more fracking, and our drinking water supply will run out anyway.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We need to know that the government is people too.

          When they say make the government more powerful, they are also letting certain people have more power.

          So, remember, the government is people too!

          1. optimader

            Some liken it to:
            Surströmming(pronounced [sʉ̌ːʂtrœmːɪŋ],
            Swedish “soured (Baltic) herring” is a northern Swedish dish consisting of fermented Baltic herring. Surströmming is sold in cans, which may bulge after prolonged storage, due to the continued fermentation.

            When opened, the contents release a strong and sometimes overwhelming odour; the dish is often eaten outdoors. According to a Japanese study, a newly opened can of surströmming has one of the most putrid food smells in the world, even more so than similarly fermented fish dishes such as the Korean Hongeohoe or Japanese Kusaya.[1]

            In April 2006 several major airlines (such as Air France and British Airways) banned the fish citing that the pressurised cans of fish are potentially explosive. The sale of the fish was subsequently discontinued in Stockholm’s international airport. Those who produce the fish have called the airlines’ decision “culturally illiterate,” claiming that it is a “myth that the tinned fish can explode.”[6]

            Surströmming today contains higher levels of dioxins and PCBs than the permitted levels for fish in the EU; Sweden was granted exceptions to these rules from 2002 to 2011, and a renewal of the exceptions was then applied for. Producers have said that if the application is denied they will only be allowed to use herring less than 17 centimetres long, which contain lower levels, which will affect the availability of herring.[7]

      2. Bev

        Mark Crispin Miller, professor:

        http://markcrispinmiller.com/2013/01/2nd-amendment-was-devised-to-keep-americans-in-chains/

        2nd Amendment was devised to keep Americans in chains

        The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery

        Tuesday, 15 January 2013 09:35By Thom Hartmann, Truthout | News Analysis

        Musket(Photo: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.

        In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states.

        In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

        As Dr. Carl T. Bogus wrote for the University of California Law Review in 1998,

        “The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search ‘all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition’ and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds.”

        Read more.

        ……..

        And, also horrifyingly:

        http://markcrispinmiller.com/2013/01/thousands-of-blacks-were-forced-into-slavery-until-world-war-2/

        Thousands of blacks were forced into slavery until World War 2

        The Washington Monthly / By Douglas A. Blackmon [1]
        The South’s Shocking Hidden History: Thousands of Blacks Forced Into Slavery Until WW2
        January 15, 2013

        On July 31, 1903, a letter addressed to President Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the White House. It had been mailed from the town of Bainbridge, Georgia, the prosperous seat of a cotton county perched on the Florida state line.

        The sender was a barely literate African American woman named Carrie Kinsey. With little punctuation and few capital letters, she penned the bare facts of the abduction of her fourteen-year-old brother, James Robinson, who a year earlier had been sold into involuntary servitude.

        Kinsey had already asked for help from the powerful white people in her world. She knew where her brother had been taken—a vast plantation not far away called Kinderlou. There, hundreds of black men and boys were held in chains and forced to labor in the fields or in one of several factories owned by the McRee family, one of the wealthiest and most powerful in Georgia. No white official in this corner of the state would take an interest in the abduction and enslavement of a black teenager.

        Confronted with a world of indifferent white people, Mrs. Kinsey did the only remaining thing she could think of. Newspapers across the country had recently reported on a speech by Roosevelt promising a “square deal” for black Americans. Mrs. Kinsey decided that her only remaining hope was to beg the president of the United States to help her brother.

        Read more.

        ……….

        http://markcrispinmiller.com/2013/01/six-armed-guards-could-not-protect-the-president-from-one-gunman/

        Six armed guards could not protect the president from one gunman

        This photo (see photo) was taken 2 seconds before President Reagan was shot.

        6 Armed guards couldn’t protect Reagan.

        Arming teachers isn’t the answer.

        ……..

        And, the extreme right wing is more prone to fear, anger, and violence than anyone else. Recently, someone walked through a Kroger with an automatic weapon, and police were called. Because it was open carry, there was no law against what he did and so was let go. I can just see it now, lots of fearful, angry, violent right wingers going everywhere to try to intimidate everyone else. No thanks.

        1. optimader

          you have got to be kidding…
          Dr. Carl T. Bogus?
          really? Why does that bring a mental image of Foghorn Leghorn

        2. Gerard Pierce

          Mark Crispin Miller is mostly an honest commentator, but he is against guns, and apparently he has no problem with lying by reporting only that part of the truth that supports his argument.

          At the time the constitution was being ratified, there were any number of parties who distrusted the very idea of a powerful federal government.

          They knew that at some point, such a powerful central government would jump on the idea of disarming everyone else.

          The idea behind the 2nd Amendment was supported by much of New England, particularly the citizens of Massachusetts where Shays’ Rebellion had just been put down by mercenaries hired by the merchants and bankers of Boston.

          Then they went out and got all the support they could and some of that support came from the slave states that also had an interestet in maintaining their right to guns. The statement that the 2nd Amendment was included to protect slavery is simply dishonest.

          1. Bev

            Mark Crispin Miller is truthful…very truthful. Don’t call him names. He sticks his neck out and so is brave…very brave.

            The only area that I wish he would review and address, like Naked Capitalism, is the real value of debt free money as our currency.

            http://www.monetary.org/

            http://www.monetary.org/mmtevaluation

            AMI’s Evaluation of “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT)

            by AMI Research, with Steven Walsh; and assistance by Stephen Zarlenga

            Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a theory developed by a group of economists over the past 25 years or so. In the current crisis it has been receiving some wider attention from the prevailing economic community and politicians looking for a new direction.

            The American Monetary Institute (AMI) is sometimes asked about MMT and whether it fits in with monetary reform. We assess anything to do with monetary matters carefully.

            At the outset AMI enjoys a good, cordial relationship with some of the leading MMT economists, and we certainly wish to build on this relationship. But one thing we can’t compromise on is facts. MMT, like much of modern economic thinking, builds upon some erroneous assumptions and a definition of money that is not neutral and works to the detriment of the 99%. In addition MMT has its own specific problems between its claims and the facts which have bearing on the validity of MMT.

            Economists too often get the facts wrong

            snip

            MMT mis-defines money as debt

            Poor methodology and misuse of terms leads MMT to mis-define money as debt; e.g., Wray says: “Fiat money will be defined as … nothing more than a debt.”7

            But money and debt are two different things, that’s why we have different words for them. We pay our debts with money.

            If money is defined as a debt, it artificially places an unnecessary burden of debt on the whole of society. It turns the positive real net worth of all we produce into a financial negative instead of positive. In effect, it artificially places financial claims on all of our achievements and progress, thus denying us full benefit and enjoyment of all we create.

            While most money in the U.S. mis-designed system is really debt, put into circulation by banks when they make loans, it is a huge error to then define the “nature” of money as debt. That mistake would render it impossible to redesign the system in a just and sustainable way.

            The AMI considers the concept and definition of money as the most critical factor in determining whether a society’s money system functions in a just and sustainable way.

            How money is defined determines who controls the money system, and whoever controls the money system will dominate the whole society. For instance:

            • If money is defined as wealth (e.g., commodities like gold and silver by weight), as Adam Smith did, then the wealthy will control not only their own wealth, but the money system and thus the whole society as well.

            • If money is defined as credit or debt, as MMT and most economists now do, those who dominate credit (the banks) will control society’s monetary mechanism – and we know from experience they will misuse it to create bubbles, until the whole system crashes.

            • If money is defined as an abstract legal power of society, as the Constitution does, then the money system is placed under our constitutional system of checks and balances to work justly and sustainably for the whole society, not for only a privileged part of it.

            The AMI uses the following concept of money:

            Money’s essence (apart from whatever is used to signify it) is an abstract social power, embodied in law, as an unconditional means of payment.

      3. JGordon

        Ever heard of Afghanistan?

        That’s what happens when organized and motivated people have access to small arms and IEDs. Afghanistan brought down the Russian empire. It’ll bring down the others.

          1. Bev

            Exactly.

            http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-2nd-amendment-does-not-mean-what.html

            Following is the 2nd as passed by the Congress:

            A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

            Here is the 2nd as it was ratified by the states and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson who was at the time Secretary of State:

            A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

            In every draft the ‘right’ of gun ownership is recognized but only within the context of a ‘well-regulated’ militia. That fact was affirmed in very nearly those words by the only SCOTUS decision that directly addresses the ‘interpretation’ of the 2nd Amendment. That case is U.S. v Miller:

            In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a “shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length” at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.

            –307 U.S. 174, United States v. Miller, APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS, No. 696 Argued: March 30, 1939 — Decided: May 15, 1939

        1. different clue

          In all fairness, the Mujahadin started winning when we gave them shoulder-launchable Stinger anti-aircraft missiles for shooting down the Soviet helicopter gunships with. Then their small arms combined with knowing their own terrain really helped them.

          (That’s why I mentioned up above that the current Taliban of today are winning with small arms and IEDs AND
          ISI training AND ISI sanctuaries.)

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Terrain is huge. You can’t send tanks into mountains. I think the bigger trucks don’t do so well either.

      4. Lee

        History is full of examples where numerically larger,less well armed groups have defeated numerically smaller but better armed forces. Successful revolutions generally require the support of at least a significant plurality of the general population as well as defectors from the army, police, government and private sector technocrats, not to mention that most dangerous of groups: unemployed intellectuals, whose war cry becomes “give me a job or I’ll shoot you”.

      5. Nathanael

        In answer to your question:
        “1.) Since the advent of modern warfare… WWI… what notable examples exist for armed civilian insurrection (militia?) unseating a standing Government and replacing it…?”

        China. (Mao’s revolution.) Iranian revolution. A very large number of African coups. Somalia. Vietnam! I could come up with more if you like.

        I will note that these insurrections depended on massive support from the people against an *extremely* unpopular government — unpopular at least regionally. And they generally dragged on for years or even decades until the existing government simply gave up.

        The insurrections also generally started with an unarmed populace, who became armed *later*. Confiscation of existing weapons is irrelevant to insurrection, for fairly obvious reasons.

        1. Nathanael

          A good rule of thumb is that if large portions of the general population, the existing military, the intellectuals, the businessmen, and the social leaders, are *all* talking about overthrowing the government, you have a potentially successful insurrection.

          And it doesn’t matter whether the insurrectionists had guns (or bombs) before; the disgrunted military people and businessmen will supply them.

          We are nowhere anywhere near that in the US. We could get there in 10-20 years if the government continues acting completely idiotic, impoverishing people (including veterans) while laughing at the rule of law.

    4. JGordon

      So true. I find it extremely odd that the same people who are

      1) advocating that the government should be able to print unlimited fiat scri

      2) want to allow the government to be able to steal our God-given natural right to arm ourselves

      and 3) ridicule those who want to stock up on gold or solar panels and rabbits or whatever

      …are the same ones who recognize that the government is completely or almost completely lawless and corrupt. God damn but these people’s logic is incomprehensible to me. I just don’t get they’re thinking at all.

        1. skippy

          Zeus used thunderbolts… the re-branding to gawd, should have included a Rambo like kitting out!

          Gawd and the word natural, used together, is an epic oxymoron.

          Skippy… nature existed long before we came along thingy.

      1. kareninca

        Indeed.

        It’s like they believe in a Santa Claus Government, that would take away the nasty guns, that is entirely separate from the real government, which is utterly corrupt and wants to kill American citizens with drones.

        Talk about self-comforting self-delusion.

        1. skippy

          In case you did not get the memo…

          The GOV is at the behest of the private sector aka the S&P 500 or Russel 2000 if you want to include the bastard umbrella kids, $ = one vote SCOTUS – bailout went in what direction… to include overseas.

          Skippy… yet the libtard plan is cut out the middle man and be first in line to lick some boots?

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          If you think citizens with guns can stand up against our government, you need your head examined.

          And where were your lovely armed citizens when habeus corpus was revoked? When the surveillance state was imposed? When the right to assembly is effectively gone? When the disposition matrix was revealed? Oh, and 2013 is the year some cities are getting drones. I see no action planned about that.

          You people are beneath contempt. You claim to be brave defenders of liberty and you are idiots full of hot air. The fact that you harp on this citizens v. government claptrap shows how little you have in the way of legitimate arguments against gun control.

          1. kareninca

            “If you think citizens with guns can stand up against our government, you need your head examined.”

            And consequently it’s better that citizens *not* have guns????

            “And where were your lovely armed citizens when habeus corpus was revoked? When the surveillance state was imposed? When the right to assembly is effectively gone?”

            Voting and writing to our representatives. Same as the gun control folks did (at least I hope they did). You have higher expectations for gun rights advocates, than for anti-gun folks?

            “You people are beneath contempt.”

            Hmmm. Kind of emotional. It is your site, of course, but being simply abusive doesn’t win arguments.

            “The fact that you harp on this citizens v. government claptrap shows how little you have in the way of legitimate arguments against gun control.”

            Actually, we have the 2nd amendment. That should suffice.

            Yves, why not just be GLAD that there is an issue, that wakes up more people?

            Look, like you, I grew up around guns. I took all the usual hunter safety courses, and went hunting with my dad a couple of times. (He trapped when he was a kid in CT, to earn extra money; then at age 12 he decided that trapping was a horrible thing to do)(He’s still keen on target shooting at his gun club, but isn’t into hunting and hasn’t been for years). The guns were not under lock and key, but they had certain parts removed and kept separately so that they were not usable except to someone who knew what to do. They were for hunting and for self-defence if it came down to it if someone broke in. And there *have* been break-ins lately, where my parents live.

            So I know lots of rural New Englanders who have guns. They are not gun nuts. And despite being very reasonable people, they DESPISE the irrational anti-gun propaganda that’s being tossed around, and despise tactic’s like Cuomo’s.

            I ask my anti-gun friends how many people they think are murdered with guns each year in the U.S.. They come up with bizarro huge numbers. It’s about 8,800. There are about 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. each year (45 percent of all African American pregnancies), but a number that size doesn’t catch their attention.

            Why is the slippery slope so clear to some folks when it comes to e.g. abortion rights, and so fuzzy when it comes to gun rights? What do you think of those who say, “it’s just a restriction on this small group of LATE TERM abortions?” – you freak, and see just where it’s headed. But someone else’s constitutional rights, well, they’re disposable.

            (And yes, I’m for abortion rights.)

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Have you lived in a country that has decent gun controls? I have. Australians were gun crazy before the ban and yet people are happy they are gone. No lingering resentment. And NYC has tough gun controls and I’m much happier living here for them.

            Guns are USELESS in terms of the lame justification people offer, keeping themselves safe. Police can’t even shoot an unarmed assailant within 21 feet before he gets them. I’ve already given the citations on that. People are vastly more likely to hurt themselves and family members by a huge ratio. (I have discussed this long form elsewhere, as have others in comments).

            And they probably REDUCE the willingness of people to intervene in crimes. I got personally involved when a man was harrassing his girlfriend (had her purse in his car, he clearly intended to make her go get it and either hit her or drive off with her). He had backed her up against the grate of an undergound garage, well away from street view. I interceded because the cops were slow to arrive. I did that in Sydney. I would NEVER have done that in city without decent gun controls.

            And they are USELESS in terms of defending against government.

            People keep parading these talking points when they don’t hold up to any scrutiny. And they sit pat while far more meaningful Constitutional protections are gutted. I’m sick of the hypocrisy of the people who invoke the Constitution here. Do they make anywhere near as much noise on habeus corpus? The Fifth Amendment (eminent domain abuses)? Due process? Warrantless searches? Those are FAR more pernicious encroachments on our freedom, but I don’t see any meaningful protest there, and in the overwhelming majority of cases, not by the same folks who are so het up about their precious guns.

          3. skippy

            @kareninca you used the term “guns”, with the implied meaning “God-given natural right to arm ourselves” – JGordon stated (your first utterance was *Indeed* ) and not the Constitution as you now invoke.

            Again no one its suggesting a total ban – confiscation, just a responsible approach ie offensive vs. defensive capacity regulation, the second amendment has nothing to do with it.

            Skippy… the weapons of military offensive capacity – targeted – for *regulation* have only been around since post WWII and have zero relevance to the 2nd amendment, other wise, you could own tanks or automatic weapons freely. No one is talking about taking your guns away for self defense so… why all the gnashing of teeth?

            PS. I wounder what weapon that seal was carrying, when he was attacked, did it matter in the end? The brain comes first, everything else is an extension of it.

          4. kareninca

            NYC doesn’t have a low crime rate because of its strict gun laws. It has a low crime rate because they pushed out the poor people. Chicago has INCREDIBLY strict gun laws (but ooops still have the poor people), and so they have a really high crime rate.

            Well, yes, people do respond most ardently when the right they use is the one threatened. When someone is defending abortion rights, do you berate them for not having defended the right to assembly? Or do you just say, yes, that’s another right under attack?

          5. kareninca

            “kareninca you used the term “guns”, with the implied meaning “God-given natural right to arm ourselves””

            Wow, that’s the first time that I’ve ever been accused of being a deist. Actually I’m an ardent atheist. And natural rights???? Well, it would really depend on how you frame the argument; certainly not “God-given” ones. I’ll admit I’m not into the radical relative “everything is equally good and so for instance female genital mutilation is fine” approach.

            Funny what people assume.

          6. skippy

            @kareninca,

            Your first utterance was *Indeed* wrt JGordon comment, that is an implicit agreement.

            Every thing else you have stated is a completely irrelevant, as it is an attempt to dodge… that observation.

            The observation Yves and myself were addressing and not the antics you engage in… to distract from that observation.

            Skippy… Again… I point out that the government is beholden to the corporate – private – banking sector and not the general population. National policy is set via lobbying and other machinations from this sector, so, if you have a problem with any policy, stop wasting your time with the middle men and go to the source.

            PS. it might help in the future if you actual addressed any of the conditions I stated, rather than run around the bush pointing at everything else.

          7. kareninca

            Skippy, if you look at my post, I was agreeing that that it’s a problem that people think that the same government that is corrupt and seeks to abridge other rights, is one that will treat gun rights in a manner consistent with the constitution. I guess you’re focused on natural law. I really wasn’t focusing on that part of his post.

            Re antics: I have no idea what you are talking about. I was trying to be painfully clear. I’ll admit that I didn’t really take your posts seriously, after you wrote:

            “Zeus used thunderbolts… the re-branding to gawd, should have included a Rambo like kitting out!
            Gawd and the word natural, used together, is an epic oxymoron.
            Skippy… nature existed long before we came along thingy.”

            What does *that* mean? It is also weird that in some posts you seem to be posting *as* “Skippy,” and in some posts addressing someone as “Skippy.”

            I responded to Yves points. I’m sure I didn’t convince her, however I did respond as convincingly as I could. Okay, I didn’t respond to the bit about the Australians. Really I don’t think that their situation is comparable: they have an entirely different government.

            Is this a point you were making?

            “Again no one its suggesting a total ban – confiscation, just a responsible approach ie offensive vs. defensive capacity regulation, the second amendment has nothing to do with it.”

            I would say, insert other constitutional rights into that sentence. “No one supports a total ban on free speech,” just the stuff that’s so icky harmful and offensive. “No one supports a total ban on free assembly,” just the stuff that’s inconvenient for the cops and Bloomberg. “No-one supports a ban on *abortion*”, just the abortions that the mother really shouldn’t have. And so on.

            And saying that “the second amendment has nothing to do with it” begs the question.

            Really, I don’t get why people who (rightfully) would be appalled by the erosion of free speech rights, are eager to erode 2nd amendment rights.

            Back in Skokie days, there were loads of “reasonable” people who thought that the Nazi’s free speech right should be treated as less important than the offense to the community of their marching. That was the “reasonable” position. I’m glad that the free speech extremists won. I hope the extremists for all constitutional rights, including gun rights, win.

          8. skippy

            @kareninca, Your still wandering.

            The 2nd amendment does not have any thing to do with modern military grade offensive weapons, hence any regulation effecting the possession of such items, is not a reduction in the 2nd amendment rights.

            Further more the breathers that gave away their rights in – patriotic orgasmic glee – during bushie years are now mumbling about reducing the – offensive firepower – that is being used to to thin its own ranks.

            Skippy… you can’t make up stuff like this… and they were afraid of the Muslims hahahahaha~

    5. lambert strether

      Gun culture has done zip, zilch, nada to stop tyranny, as the Patriot Act, FISA “reform,” DHS/TSA, torture, Gitmo, and the “kill list” all attest. So please, drop the tired old rhetoric because you’re not selling anybody except yourself.

      I mean, if the choice is:

      #1 Tyranny

      #2 Tyranny with gun nuts massacring movie goers and school children

      isn’t the only rational choice Door #1?

      NOTE I’m a non-violence advocate. Given that non-violence actually does have a succesful track record in opposing tyranny, I’d assume gun culture would take a good look at it, and adopt it.

      1. kareninca

        Well, we don’t know how much more tyranny there might be, if there were no Constitutional right to gun ownership. Just because things are bad now, doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be WORSE without the 2nd Amendment.

        How do you know that “gun culture” hasn’t slowed the progress of tyranny?

      2. Lee

        Non-violence has a mixed record of success and failure. Context is everything. Gandhi gave up in South Africa where Mandela was successful. In India the Brits had a choice of dealing with Gandhi or more radical and violent alternatives. The African-American Civil Rights movement eventually, through its use of non-violent tactics, won the support of the government and therefore its legal use of force. Yes, if non-violence will work it is the infinitely better alternative. But when it won’t, other means become necessary.

        1. Nathanael

          The gun culture is then useless.

          Why? Because the US gun culture is all about feeling macho and giving money to gun manufacturers.

          It has very little to do with the *guerrilla military* or *militia* culture which, historically, has successfully carried out revolutions in various countries.

          The gun culture people fantasize about lone stands against home invaders. The guerrilla military types would be discussing logistics and supply lines.

          1. kareninca

            If you google “what percentage of American households have guns,” you’ll find that it is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent. And I imagine that there are plenty of people who, if their circumstances were different, would be quite happy to own one.

            So to attribute some (of course obnoxious) quality to the “gun culture,” is remarkable. You’re saying that half the population of this country is macho???

      3. different clue

        Members of the gun culture tend to be members of other conservative cultures as well. They may not feel tyrannised by the things you mention. They may feel more tyrannised by “no prayer in schools”, mandatory prevention of “mandatory pledge of allegiance in schools”, etc.

        If relatively large numbers of gun culture ruralites start to feel tyrannised in general by fracking, they may start opposing it diffusely with armed obstruction, sabotage, etc. If a counter-fracking insurgency flares up over a hundred thousand square miles of land area, will the forces of government be able to kill enough fracker-blockers with enough drone strikes to stop such an insurgency? Pray the experiment never be run.

    6. LucyLulu

      “But, sure let the government take your guns”

      For Pete’s sake, the government isn’t taking anybody’s guns!!!

      Possibly, possibly, assault weapons and large clips may be banned, and background checks may be required. Big deal. So are heat-seeking missiles and rocket launchers are banned, too. Hunting rifles and semi-automatic handguns will still be fine. Nobody, but nobody has talked about taking those away, so everyone can still hunt and defend themselves. If anybody thinks they can take on our police state with assault rifles, they need to go to an OWS eviction or a political convention and get a dose of reality.

  2. Laughing_Fascist

    Re: the CBO

    Going on memory, in 2008 when Fannie and Freddie were exposed as mortally wounded, the CBO estimated that the gov’s plan to save them would likely cost $8 to $10 billion, and in the absolute worst case scenario “which is highly unlikely” they said, the losses could be as high as $25 billion.

    So its 2013 and the losses are more than 15 times the CBO’s worst case estimate.

    Not sure what CBO is doing to get things so monumentally off the mark, but its process for making assumptions is clearly in need of revision.

    1. Expat

      Excellent link. Just as the Cambodians weren’t fooled by the “secret” bombing of their country, no one targeted by Obama for non-judicial killing is likely to be fooled by the “secret” location of the Saudi-American drone base. The only target for the secrecy is the American people, who, if they had any moral fibre, would call upon their representatives to halt all spending on these horrible activities.

      It looks like the US learned two things from losing the Viet Nam war: if the administration feels like engaging in a war (or two) (or three) it must keep its operations secret from the American people AND the mainstream media are willing partners in such deception.

      1. Eureka Springs

        So why just advocate an end to funding? Why not advocate an end to government secrecy? With strong law, actual enforcement too? Gov’t secrecy is an enormous problem from local levels all the way up. I know, I know, we have no rule of law… I hate it when I delve into the pitfall/pretense we have a legitimate form of governance.

        1. screname22

          Why stop there? Rather than begging your masters to stop murdering children with robots, which has never and will never serve any purpose or accomplish any goal other than to demonstrate your total subjugation, why not advocate for, and practice, the elimination of the state altogether?

          Oh right, let me guess… “BUT WHO WILL EDUCATE THE ROADS?!?” I suppose believing in the myth that services provided by the state couldn’t possibly be provided by the free market is more important.

          “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

          1. different clue

            The FreeMarketeers would be the New State. They would be the Pure PrivaState. They would toll gate all the roads and keep all people “too poor to pay” off the roads entirely. Maybe they would hire their Free Market Policemen (Blackwater/Xe/Academi, Triple Canopy, Dincorp, etc) to shoot anyone too poor to drive on the roads if such too-poor-to-drive people dared to WALK on the roads.

            Do you think you will be among the rich winners able to hire the Private Police Armies to shoot any poor person daring to walk on YOUR roads? I suspect you flatter yourself unduly.

          2. Nathanael

            Idiot. Most services provided by the government cannot be provided by the “free market”; we tried that and they weren’t provided. Go read some history, screname22.

            The alternative to a bad government is a different government.

    2. Brindle

      U.S. policy in the ME is about creating enough instability in the region to keep oil prices high enough so S.A. and others have surplus funds to buy U.S. weapons. The organized crime regimes in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain etc have an ally in the U.S. in the suppression of the Shia populations in their countries and also the poor Islamist Sunni insurgencies which are rebelling against their corrupt, autocratic rulers.

      The Obama administration desires to keep the level of insurgent activity high enough to justify the expansion of the U.S. military and CIA’s footprint. Ideally they want a manageable equilibrium of stable monarchical/criminal regimes and blossoming Islamist insurgencies in countries with no oil fields, Somalia, Yemen etc. Best of both worlds.

      1. LucyLulu

        The U.S. has been promoting stability by backing autocratic regimes that keep tight control over their impoverished populations. Attempts to overthrow these governments and replace with more democratic forms will invariably lead to instability as their cultures are ethnically/religiously diverse with long histories of conflict settled by one group using violence to gain dominance. It’s foolhardy to assume any transition such as brought on by the Arab spring will be quick or easy, without long periods of upheaval, no matter how much western intervention.

        Interestingly, the nations that saw the largest amounts of their populations lost to the slave trade (e.g. Mali) struggle today both with the highest levels of poverty and the highest levels of internal conflict. It makes sense when one considers that internal conflict and division was promoted over the centuries of slave trade as African tribes turned upon each other either to profit from the trade or in attempts at self-preservation. Tribes became increasingly geographically and culturally isolated from each other and levels of tension and mistrust of “others” increased. As slave trade came to an end, western nations moved in and colonialized these nations, using their superior might to impose external stability. However, internal conflicts present were merely subdued and not resolved. As the western nations moved out and these countries have been granted independence, the ever-present divisions have again risen to the surface. Either autocratic and oppressive rulers emerge or civil wars break out….. or both. Eventually, as modern technology and industry moves in and necessarily brings more interconnectedness and interdependency, they’ll sort it out…. but the timeframe will be measured in decades. Meanwhile, the instability is not only an invitation to western intervention but also an opportunity for terrorist factions to set up shop and gain control, as happened in N. Mali and was threatening S. Mali. Contrary to some published reports, Mali is NOT resource rich, no known large oil reserves in its mostly desert landscape, nor much uranium, and has a strong government dept. of mining that guarantees receipt of fair share of royalties. If France is looking to profit off occupying a nation, they chose the wrong country.

        1. Brindle

          —”timeframe measured in decades”—right.
          The technological interconnectedness will also be closely monitored by U.S. intel and affiliated orgs. Humans everywhere are beginning to sense that “one on one–in person communications” are the ultimate vehicle for organizing etc.—nothing that can be tapped or hacked.
          Humanity’s last refuge.

          1. LucyLulu

            Yes, gold is their #1 resource. It accounts for 70% of their exports and 17% GDP. That being said, here is another perspective. They are the third largest producer in Africa, the continent which produces 20% of the world’s gold. S. Africa produces over half of the gold in Africa. Ghana is second at 16%, and Mali produces 9%, just edging out Tanzania. Australia produces ~5 times as much gold (as does the U.S.), with Mali having ~75% Australia’s population. Mali is the 7th poorest nation in Africa (and uncoincidentally was also 7th in percentage of population lost to slave trade).

            In addition, the gold production is in S. Mali, around the capital city of Bamakao, and to the east. The area of fighting is in N. Mali, which geographically covers about 2/3 of Mali, and is sub-Saharan desert. It was when the militant Islamists (al-Qaeda) started advancing towards Bamakao that Mali begged for France to intervene. The government owns 20% of most gold mines (apparently gold production is capital intensive). The same area also has some limited oil production, and there are some other mineral deposits, e.g. iron, bauxite, and phosphate. Thus far, there has been little disruption in gold production due to the conflict.

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-05/mali-s-mines-minister-says-gold-production-unaffected.html

          2. Fíréan

            @

            The French had not entered Mali for any oil or mineral desposits, as Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated.

            “We decided to put the means — in men and supplies — to make the mission succeed and hit hard. But the French aspect was never expected to be maintained. We will leave quickly.”

            But thank You for acknowledging at least that there are mineral, gold, deposited in Mali ( contrary to your prebious post) and enought to warrant at least ten outside mining companies to invest in the country.
            I am replying here as your post to which i wished to reply has no “reply” link below it.(?)

          3. LucyLulu

            I apologize for not being more clear. I was merely trying to make the point that Mali is not a treasure trove of resources as some media like to portray… and they often allude to ‘vast oil reserves’ beneath the desert, while asserting more than the presence of minor oil fields is highly speculative. (Granted, exploration has been limited, as transporting equipment out to the God-forsaken desert is problematic……. as would getting it up out of the ground and then transporting it, and is why nobody is drilling there.)

          4. Fíréan

            The economic viability of the Azawad as a seperate state from Mali has been studied and documented, and within these studies was referenced the mineral deposits of the region, including potential uranium desposits of 200ton in the Gao.The known potential has been stated as giving credibility to independance for Awazad.

            I do not know from where you research and obtain your data, yet i will give to you here a link to a short report as a starter. the most of which is related to the present political istuation in Mali.I refer you specific to the lower part. APPENDIX IV: The Economy Of Azawad, and recommend a fuller reading of the whole report.

            http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6769.htm

            For the benefit of those not previously knowing, Azawad is the northen part of what is presently known as Mali,bordering Algeria and vying for recognition as an indelendent state.

        2. Nathanael

          This is a bad and shortsighted definition of “stability” on the part of the US.

          This misguided concept of “stability” is what led the US to overthrow Mossadegh in Iran — with the result being the rule of Ayatollah Khomenei.

          It is better and wiser to allow change early, as it tends to be a lot less disruptive. (Consider British sponsorship of Norwegian and Belgian independence.)

          If you sit on a country and prevent it from making necessary changes, when it finally does change, it will BLOW.

  3. AbyNormal

    re: Fed Hacked
    “The website’s purpose is to allow bank executives to update the Fed if their operations have been flooded or otherwise damaged in a storm or other disaster. That helps the bank assess the overall impact of the event on the banking system.”

    for the 1st ‘fire across the bow’ thats a hell of a message
    (you be flanked)
    rats should be scurrying

  4. financial matters

    Crunch feared if collateral rules enforced Financial Times

    This article seems to be an apologist for the derivatives industry and a supporter for the musical chairs game of collateral pledging with statements like

    ‘European parliamentarians this week debated plans to make safer the financial derivatives industry – an essential cog in the global economy ‘

    and

    ‘regulators are also throwing spanners into the financial system by restricting the multiple, or re-use of safe assets as collateral, which has helped finance flows in the past’

    and

    ‘But central banks are also, inadvertently, restricting collateral supplies. Mr Singh points out that bond purchases by the Swiss National Bank to prevent its currency’s appreciation “withdraw the best and most liquid collateral from the [neighbouring] eurozone”. Similarly, Fed purchases of US Treasuries and mortgage backed securities “could silo over $1tn additional good collateral in 2013”.’

    Some derivative trading is useful to be sure but most is speculative gambling and obscure and heavily in favor of the people writing the complex products. See ‘Traders, Guns and Money’ by Satyajit Das.

    Using collateral multiple times and taking good liquidity out of the system by the Fed purchasing MBS?? Is this a justification for pledging loans multiple times into a securitization. Surely we can come up with a sounder financial system than this.

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      Nope. just need better headlines.

      “Crunch feared if 100:1 bank leverage reduced – Financial Explosion Times.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Wish I could have said that when I was a kid, which was a long time ago, but not too long to remember – hey, if you send me to my room, there will be a crunch or something bad to all of us.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Seems like html tags such as italics aren’t working anymore in post preview.

    Blockquote doesn’t seem to be working either in preview

    This is a test post ,,,

    1. Jim Haygood

      Nope, the italics and blockquote tags are not functioning in the actual post either.

      Something changed about 2 or 3 days ago.

    2. EconCCX

      Nope, the italics and blockquote tags are not functioning in the actual post either. @Jim Haygood

      But the em and b (bold) tags work properly.

  6. frosty zoom

    SARATOGA SPRINGS CRAFT BREWERY is pleased to announce our two new brews, METHANE ¡POP! AMBER ALE and NON-DISCLOSED PROPRIETY CHEMICAL COMPOUNDS CREAMY LAGER.

    We’re sure you’ll find these new offers will make your taste buds melt and tingle your very soul.

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      I’m waiting for the “natural” radioactive Lava Lamp Lager in the glass bottle. Also the Emergency Lite Beer – flammable – for those lights out moments due to those unavoidable spikes in NG exports.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You can drink your radioactive lager in a radioactive Bierstein made of vaseline glass/jadite/uranium glass/custard glass (it goes by different names).

    2. Nathanael

      The fact that the frackers have ticked off the wine and beer industries (also the dairy industry) is one reason we are going to manage to keep them out of New York.

  7. Cynthia

    Re: “US DoJ accuses S&P of $5bn fraud”

    Prosecuting S&P for fraud is just pay back time for them downgrading US debt. This will also send a message to other credit-rating agencies that if any of them try to downgrade US debt any further for Congress and the president walking back on some of sequestration cuts that are supposed to kick in on March 1st, they too will be targeted for persecution.

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          Actually, when S&P did the downgrade they also said they had the USG on “negative watch” and would do another downgrade unless we did additional fixes which eventually became known as the Fiscal Cliff – meaning end Bush Tax cuts and make near term budget cuts. Which were half in defense spending, half spread among the rest of the non-entilement budget. And they were small cuts anyway, about $100B in total compared to a $3.5 trillion budget.

          So far we haven’t done that, and also extended $210B in temporary corporate tax cut pork in the final tax plan (bush cuts expire on $400K/year and up) enacted at the end of last year.

          I think the USG should sue S&P for what S&P did wrong, and S&P should downgrade the USG for what they continue to do wrong. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

          But then I wonder how Moody’s avoided rating MBS and rating USG credit. Can doing nothing be the best way to make money in the credit rating biz?

      1. LucyLulu

        “The downgrade threat, and later action, looks to be an effort to beat back the investigation, which was launched in 2009.”

        That’s the timetable I recall as well. Threats to downgrade the U.S. came after the investigation was launched.

        Apparently the markets haven’t concurred with the downgrade, as evidenced by heavy investment in the US $ and bonds as a safe haven for money for the 0.01%.

  8. jsmith

    In case people missed this as I did:

    From the this-is-kind-of-odd department:

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-27/opinions/36583629_1_hagel-nomination-president-obama-afghanistan-war

    Why Obama picked Hagel

    “In the first months of the Obama presidency in 2009, Chuck Hagel, who had just finished two terms as a U.S. senator, went to the White House to visit with the friend he had made during the four years they overlapped in the Senate.

    So, President Obama asked, what do you think about foreign policy and defense issues?

    According to an account that Hagel later gave, and is reported here for the first time, he told Obama: “We are at a time where there is a new world order. We don’t control it. You must question everything, every assumption, everything they” — the military and diplomats — “tell you. Any assumption 10 years old is out of date. You need to question our role. You need to question the military. You need to question what are we using the military for.”

    1. different clue

      Someone is going to be SecDef regardless. Hagel is the best we will be permitted at this point in time. We can’t hope for better at this time. We could get a whole lot worse . . . and we will if Hagel isn’t confirmed.

      So is there really any good reason to oppose Hagel?

    1. dale pues

      That’s funny.

      “His defeat at Bosworth Field, the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England.” Wiki

      Heck of an obit.

    2. Plantagenet Apologist

      But, but, but….Shakespeare was a propagandist for the Tudors. Queen Bess was a financial patron, so he had to hat-tip his financier. Besides, no one really knows what happened to the Princes in the Tower. Some say they were not murdered and lived out their lives. (bottom of page)

      http://www.everything2.com/title/The+Princes+in+the+Tower

      Warmest Regards, Plantagenet Apologist

      1. Tiresias

        And his final words, according to a piece of the Bosworth Gazette also found beneath the car park, were”

        “Of course, of course. I’ll ring ‘em for a horse.”

  9. Fugitive in Chief

    Enforced disappearance; pervasive breaches of the Convention Against Torture; extrajudicial killings: We have our very own Efraín Ríos Montt in Barack Obama. Times change. This CIA puppet’s gonna pay.

  10. Furzy Mouse

    Did anyone else notice that the reconstructed face of Richard III looked identical to Lord Farquaad, the diminutive suitor to Princess Fiona in Shrek I? Perhaps the directors cottoned to the original painting of Richard III in the UK’s National Portrait Gallery.

    1. craazyman

      He looks to me like an Egyptian pharoah.

      I thought maybe somebody from the British museum’s mummy wing did the make up.

      The eyes are too close together and the mouth is too high above the chin. And he looks cross-eyed.

      Where is Diego Velasquez when you need him?

  11. PeonInChief

    Dean Baker studied the effects of the recession on boomers a couple of years ago, and determined that the younger boomers were the most screwed, as they would have to work for lower wages for much longer than the older boomers, and were less likely to have pensions. Even Paul Krugman noted that he had a friend who was holding out for Medicare (and I Know he runs in more elite circles than I do).

    It’s particularly difficult for boomers who suffered foreclosure or bankruptcy, as they have few years to recover, while younger people have enough time to rebuild their assets.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not between younger and older boomers – those older saving boomers have their own ZIRP problem – it’s between the 0.01% and 99.99%.

  12. Tom

    Postal service to stop Saturday Deliveries…expected to save 2 Billion.
    Poof…there goes 2 billion dollars of productive economic activity…more IMO if ya think about the collaterals.
    What collateral? – breaking the union, depriving income that gets spent into the economy (demand). And for what – a Republican scheme to undercut unions, demolish jobs and standards of living while putting up a veneer of being ohh so concerned with american jobs – what BS

    1. F. Beard

      The US Postal System would make a fine risk-free fiat storage and transaction service* with individual offices serving as branch locations. And after this service is established then government deposit insurance and the legal tender lender of last resort (the Fed) can be abolished.

      Let’s separate risk-free money storage and transaction from credit-creation which is inherently risky, eh?

      *The service would make no loans, both to avoid favoritism and to avoid enabling the credit creation ability of the banks which depends to large extent on inter-bank lending.

      1. F. Beard

        Of course the above would cause a huge run on the banks so it is important that all deposits first be 100% backed by reserves. A universal and equal bailout (including non-debtors) is the just way to provide that 100% backing.

        1. Susan the other

          You’re right. Post office banks are a really good idea for us at this point in history. And you’re right that they should only be saving/safe keeping institutions. If they start going for fees and profits they will be just like the banksters eventually.

          1. F. Beard

            The service should be free up to normal household limits but larger users such as businesses should bear the cost and if they don’t like it then they can use the banks and bear the risk themselves.

    2. LucyLulu

      “while putting up a veneer of being ohh so concerned with american jobs – what BS”

      And upholding the Constitution as written by our forefathers. Funny that the one business that the Constitution provides for is the first to be put on the chopping block. And having to prefund 75 years of retiree healthcare benefits? Where else have we seen that?

      Congress’ number one priority is to break the postal worker’s union. And by George, they’ll do it even if it means killing the USPS. Last year our teachers were demonized as overpaid with outrageous benefits, this year its our letter carriers. Next year….. our legislators.

      1. Tom

        That’s neo-liberal economics for ya. Saddle up the debt to extract the interest so that the financial oligarches can accuse labor of shirking and costing too much – that BS.

      2. Gerard Pierce

        Don’t forget item number 2. When they finally bankrupt the Post Office there will be a huge pile of excess money that is currrently being paid into the employees’ retirement fund – by congressional order. The absense of this money is what will make the post office become bankrupt.

        No other corporation in the US is required to pre-fund their pendion fund to this degree.

        After the bankrupcy, that money will be available to whatever private equity firm or other receiver that is selected by congress to pick over the bones of the corpse.

        It will be a huge pile of loot!

        Does anyone want to lay odds on the chance that any of the post office employees ever see a nickle of that money?

        1. different clue

          Well what if everybody here went back to paying their bills with checks sent by mail with USPS stamps on it? If millions of people went back to that, it would be millions of new fresh dollars re-entering the USPS revenue streams and their drying-up revenue pond. That would be a form of non-violent resistance in the spirit of what Lambert Strether has advocated higher up thread.

          1. different clue

            So do I. What if millions of currently e-payers went back to mailpay?

            What if the relevant parts of Occupy decided to study the conspiracy to destroy USPS and privatise the money and strippable assets? What if Occupy launched a “sign it and mail it” billpay-by-mail campaign?

          2. different clue

            (Meanwhile, I hopefully assume that the current postal workers all mostly make a decent blue-collar middle-class wage of the sort now extinct in most places. Is anyone within or beyond their ranks advising them of the depth and breadth of the ongoing Government Conspiracy to deSTROY the USPS? Are any of the postal workers reducing their standards of consumption and using the money thereby saved to invest in Survivalism? In total debt paydown to zero? In turning their houses and yards into neopeasant fortresses of subsistence? They will wish they had after it is too late for them to do so. How many of them are doing it now?)

  13. different clue

    Baby Boomers are fatter and lazier than their parents’ generation? Well, abolish Social Security, then. They clearly don’t deserve it.

    That’s what this propaganda piece was written for. That’s the meme it was written to advance.

    If the authors were really concerned about Public Health, they would have talked about the deliberate forced design of anti-walkable neighborhoods, the steady rollout of polluted shitfood, the steady rollout of shitsugar and shitfructose, the steady rollout of atherosclerogenic and diabetagencie pollutants, etc. Which they clearly have not mentioned . . . by design.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of being fat, how is that country stable with their Big Fat, Greek, Wedded-To-Money, corrupt politicans while Spain is on the verge of a nervous political/financial breakdown and Italy the same?

  14. Hugh

    Re the WSJ article on conflicts of interest at the SEC, it does not go into those of Mary Jo White’s husband, but it does highlight the problems of the revolving door and hiring people who have worked for those they are supposed to regulate and who have become rich enough doing so that they own stock in all kinds of companies which again they are supposed to regulate.

    The SEC approves its decisions by a vote of a commission which White would head. Now multiply her conflicts of interest by those of the other commission members with similar ties to the corporate and financial world and you see the absurd corporatist nature of the SEC.

    Luis Aguilar: before his appointment he was a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP, securities law firm.

    Law firm’s clients: 3M, Affiliated Computer Services, Inc., Agilent Technologies Inc., AGL Resources Inc., Air Canada, AllState, Amtrak, AT&T Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, Automobile Club of Southern California, Balfour Beatty Communities LLC, Bank of America N.A., Bechtel Corp., The Boeing Company, Cameco Corp., Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Cigna Corp., Citibank, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., Delta Air Lines, Inc., Dow AgroSciences LLC , Faus Group, Inc., Fireman’s Fund, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Inc., Gentiva Health Services Inc., HD Supply, The Home Depot Inc., Infinity Insurance, Intercontinental Exchange, Just Energy, KBR, LG, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., McCormick & Company, Northrop Grumman Corp., OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC, PNC Bank, National Association, Province of Quebec, Raytheon Company, Reed Elsevier, Regency Health Care Centers, SAIC, State of Georgia, Studio Moderna SA, SunTrust Banks, Inc., Talisman Energy Inc., Textron Inc., Travelers Insurance, TriMont Real Estate Advisors, TRX, Inc., Unisys Corporation, Union Pacific Railroad, United State Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, US Bank, Valor Equity Partners, Zurich North America

    Bush appointment, Obama re-appointment

    Troy Paredes: started out as an associate in corporate law at these firms:

    2000-2001 Irell & Manella LLP, Associate in Corporate Securities Group
    Los Angeles, CA

    1999-2000 Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Associate in Corporate Department and Energy and Natural Resources Department
    Los Angeles, CA

    1996-1999 O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Associate in Corporate Department
    Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA

    Then in 2001 went to Washington University School of Law, Professor of Law (2005- ), Associate Professor of Law (2001-2005)
    St. Louis, MO, and

    2007-present Olin Business School, Washington University, Professor of Business (by courtesy)
    St. Louis, MO

    In his writings, he has opined that while the SEC might suggest best practices for hedge funds, compliance with them should be voluntary because hedge fund managers’ jobs were to make high risk bets. He also has opined that corporate strategies to avoid hostile takeovers should be reduced.

    Bush appointment

    Daniel Gallagher:

    Counselor to SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins, beginning in 2006
    Counselor to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox
    Deputy Director, Division of Trading and Markets, beginning 2008
    Co-Acting Director, Division of Trading and Markets, April 2009-January 2010

    He then went to work as a partner as WilmerHale for nearly two years:

    Law firm’s clients: Akamai Technologies, Amdocs, Analog Devices, AT&T, Avid, Bayer, Becton Dickinson, Biogen Idec, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Boeing, Bose, Boston Scientific, Broadcom, Cephalon, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Chrysler LLC, Danaher, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Educational Testing Service, EMC, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, The Hartford Financial Group, Honda, HSBC Finance, John Hancock, JPMorgan Chase, Kodak, Lufthansa, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Monsanto, Morgan Stanley, Novartis, Oracle, Panera Bread, PerkinElmer, Pfizer, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Red Hat, Sepracor, Staples, Statoil, Sun Life Financial, Thermo Fisher Scientific, UBS, Varian Semiconductor, WebMD, Wyeth, Yankee Candle,

    Obama appointment (November 2011

    Elisse Walter, current commission chair

    Deputy Director of the Division of Corporate Finance
    General Counsel at the CFTC, beginning in 1994
    Senior Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy and Programs at NASD, and then after its consolidation at FINRA

    Bush appointment

    1. LucyLulu

      OTOH, a case can easily be made for having worked inside the companies being regulated is invaluable experience for understanding the culture and mechanics of how corporations function. Because Ms. White is already independently quite wealthy she would be less tempted by the prospect of future job offers at the companies she is regulating. How often does one hear derogatory remarks made of government workers who have spent their careers in the public sector as having “no experience in the real world”?

      Agreed there is a problem with regulatory capture and corrupt regulators and I’m not sure what the solution is. However I don’t believe that having worked in the financial sector intrinsically implies a conflict of interest. For example, some excellent defense attorneys are former prosecutors and occasionally vice versa. In addition, defense attorneys are required at times to defend individuals they may personally find despicable (e.g. even private attorneys are occasionally appointed by judge to take on client if public counsel available is deemed inadequate), yet they are still able to offer competent and even aggressive defenses. I could be wrong but having heard Ms. White speak at NYU on the lack of prosecutions, my hunch is she can easily argue for either side and would have no problem doing so.

      More shall be revealed……….

      1. Hugh

        Using such logic, the best person to head the SEC would be one of the senior people at Goldman, Morgan Stanley, or JPM. We have decades now of history showing that insiders do not make the best regulators. They make the best deregulators.

        The stated policy of the Obama Administration is not to investigate or prosecute anyone for their role in the mortgage bust up or the meltdown. So Obama is not going to appoint anyone who might reverse that policy. I think that Mary Jo White will follow in the footsteps of Mary Schapiro. She might prosecute a few more small fish than Schapiro, but she will leave alone that $12 trillion tangled mass of fraud just like her predecessor.

        Besides, the SEC can only pursue cases civilly. Anything criminal has to be referred to the DOJ where Holder will kill it. So even if White got any reformist ideas (unlikely), there are switches both at the SEC commission and the DOJ to turn her off.

        1. Nathanael

          The problem is the ability to go BACK into the industry.

          Joe Kennedy made a pretty good regulator. But he’d already made his fortune and was ready to burn his bridges.

          There should be a lifetime total, no-exceptions ban on involvement in the financial industry as a prerequisite for any fin.reg. appointment. It’s OK if you were involved before, but you don’t get to be involved afterwards… that’s my idea, anyway.

          1. Nathanael

            And I really mean a ban to the point where you would not be allowed to accept consulting fees and would not be allowed to employ financial advisors.

  15. Primate Wrench

    Re drones: Drones have great potential for democratizing warfare/targeted violence. The technological underpinnings are ubiquitous and it should be possible to make small but still potentially lethal DIY drones cheaply from commonly available components that are a real nightmare to counter. I like their potential for sport hunting the .01%. Might be jolly good fun, or at least a credible threat to deploy as a policy lever. They should also be very useful for audio/visual surveillance of places that were long thought to be secure from such eavesdropping. A triple fenced, mined and patrolled perimeter that was once pretty secure would be trivial to penetrate with a small drone. What do the ultra rich and powerful say amongst themselves when they think nobody else can hear? Might be interesting to know, particularly as it profoundly affects everyone else.

    I was looking for an address on Rue de la Glacière in Paris on Google Maps this morning and I noticed they had recently blurred the overhead imagery of la Maison d’arrêt de la Santé, an old prison complex in the 13th and incidentally apropos of precisely nothing outside of which in boulevard Arago can be found the last remaining vespasienne in Paris ( http://www.gavroche-pere-et-fils.fr/la-der…ienne-de-paris/ ). Which got me to thinking. How simple would it be to fly a simple remotely piloted toy aircraft over the prison and take high def imagery from 10 m above? Not too. Making the blurring of overhead imagery completely pointless I’d think. Drones make not only our privacy tenuous via state deployment but the privacy of the most putatively secure state facilities equally tenuous. The technology is inevitable; why not instead of dwelling on the inevitable downsides instead celebrate the potential upsides? We the People can reassert our access (even if remotely) to every single square centimeter of our own countries.

    Here’s another darker scenario to ponder: imagine a fleet of dozens of cheap autonomous tiny nanodrones weaponized with perhaps tiny single shot single use firearms or hypodermics in their noses loaded with poison equipped with cameras with onboard common face recognition software loaded into cellphone sourced onboard processors programmed as hunters simultaneously deployed against a human target or targets whose rough position in space at any given future time is known. How to defend against this threat? You can perhaps get lucky and stop a few, but all of them? I’m not at all sure the people developing these as tools of state have thought this through completely. Or perhaps they have and decided since the technology is inevitable they will at least enjoy a brief monopoly on their use before the blowback commences as people grasp the possibilities. In the age of drones, nowhere is safe, nothing is safe–from anyone. The asymmetry of state power faces a leveling force.

    1. LucyLulu

      You don’t even have to make your own drones. You can buy them at some mail-order catalogs for under $200 (Brookstone, IIRC), complete with two or three cameras. No onboard weapons supplied at this time, but if Ruger or Bushmaster comes up with their own version, the NRA and LaPierre will ensure they fall under the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

      We too can be Yemen.

      1. different clue

        One could put a little bomb of some sort on that remotely-guidable camera-vision drone to be able to fly it right into or onto the target to explode. A suicide-drone.

        I used to joke about strapping tiny bombs to bats. Al Quaeda suicide bats.

    2. Nathanael

      I’ve been saying for a couple of years that military technology has tilted the strategic balance decisively in favor of guerrilla warfare in recent years. The people in control of the US military have no comprehension of this and no willingness to adapt to it.

  16. Beria breath

    Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, in a public demarche, calls drone murder “a clear violation of our sovereignty and a violation of international law,” making CIA’s Director designate John Brennan an accused criminal aggressor and hostis humani generis. Now, war crimes and crimes against humanity are pretty much prerequisites of the CIA Director’s job description. But in a new wrinkle, The Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires just set the legal precedent for any country to try criminals like Brennan in fulfilment of their international obligations as adjudicated by the International Court of Justice. So instead of swanning around with his honey-trap like the last Director, fugitive murderer John Brennan may need Ghaddafy-style Ukranian bodyguard babes to preserve his criminal impunity.

    The degradation of US influence continues apace under our discredited CIA regime, giving the USG the approximate stature of Joseph Kony. America is subject to a criminal state with forfeit sovereignty. It’s official. Nothing keeps this state in power but coercion. We could knock it over with a feather.

    1. Nathanael

      No, no, no, you have missed something important:

      “Nothing keeps this state in power but coercion. ”

      Other things which keep this state in power:
      (1) Force of habit.
      (2) Lack of a clearly articulated alternative which people have unified behind.

      Those are far, far more powerful than coercion.

    2. Beria belly

      (2) Clearly articulated alternative, you say? With people unified behind it? …like, say, the whole world, by acclamation? Voilà, the acquis communautaire of the civilized world. Hold the US regime to these standards and you will destroy it. The US population’s ignorance of world standards of governance is maintained only by frantic US government propaganda. It’s blindingly obvious when you escape the US hermit kingdom and get a look outside.

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