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Links 5/12/13

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Debut for thermal invisibility cloak BBC

Psychiatrists under fire in mental health battle Guardian. John L: “This is a much bigger deal than the headline suggests.”

Spiral Esophagus: Swiss Woman’s Pain, Weight Loss Tied To Corkscrew-Shaped Gullet Huffington Post (Carol B)

Weird Science takes antibiotics to ward off a case of idiocy ars technica

Newt Gingrich Having Some Trouble Understanding What a Smartphone Is Gawker

Celestine V, 13th-Century Pope, Examined; Skeleton Rules Out Murder By Head Trauma (PHOTOS) Huffington Post (Carol B)

Monsanto Has Taken Over the USDA David Swanson (Robert M)

Bangladesh factory death toll soars past 1,100 CBC

US hoist by its own pivot petard Asia Times

Nikkei up another 3% as Yen Breaks .99; Japanese Bonds Halted; Be Careful of What You Ask Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse). Not sure I agree here. The issue is whether Japan can get its GDP growing quickly enough to offset the monetary expansion. This trick worked in the early 1930s for Japan. But with so many imitators and Japan a much bigger economy now (witness repeated US expressions of displeasure) that I doubt they’ll be permitted to go far enough.

Escaping liquidity traps: Lessons from the UK’s 1930s escape VoxEU

Conman who faked pilot’s licence flew British passengers into Gatwick airport Telegraph (Chuck L)

Visualizing the World’s Tax Havens (Infographic) Advisor Analyst Views (furzy mouse)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Roe v. Wade Ruling Flawed Huffington Post. An indicator of how cautious judges have become.

Dad who died during arrest ‘begged for his life’; witness videos seized Bakersfield Californian (Chuck L). Lambert also put this in comment yesterday, but it deserves all the attention it can get.

Treasury Yields Climb the Most Since March as Fed Stokes Bloomberg

IRS, Australia and United Kingdom Engaged in Cooperative Effort to Combat Offshore Tax Evasion IRS. So the IRS is making use of that monster tax haven data dump that came out of a large scale cooperative journalistic effort.

Orrin Hatch on tax reform at the ABA–a predictable right-wing rant Linda Beale

Activism in the spaces in between Pruning Shears

The Assault on Food Stamps Takes Legislative Form, and Jamie Dimon Profits! Ohio Barbarian, Firedoglake (Carol B)

JP Morgan Cheating on the Stress Test: Exhibit 46 CitizenVox (Triple Crisis)

Directors Disappoint by What They Don’t Do Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

With the Right Mortgage, Home Ownership Builds Wealth Science News (John M). Notice who funded the research.

Inequality of Wealth is Similar to Natural Processes Global Economic Intersection

Americans are giving up on certificates of deposit Sober Look

The Long Shadow of Bad Credit in a Job Search New York Times

“What kind of monster does that!?” Tim Frasca

Surprise Winner in Thomas Friedman Porn-Title Contest Matt Taibbi (Lambert)

Antidote du jour (Scott):

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92 comments

    1. AbyNormal

      WHAT THE…my coffee wasn’t strong enuff bahahahaahaaa
      “Im more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles.”

  1. lolcar

    re: Japan & Shedlock

    More “oogedy boogedy, the sky is falling” nonsense from our Austrian-influenced friends. If we don’t get to see the Japanese wheelbarrowing yen down to the combini before the year’s out, will they finally shut the hell up about hyperinflation.

  2. David Lentini

    Global Economic Intersection again deonstrates the utter inanity of economists. If ignorance is bliss, then it’s no suprise that economics departments are the happiest places in the world.

    Aside from the anthropromorphic stupidity of some bacteria aggregating as a “wealth buidling strategy”, as opposed to bacteria that “choose to be free agents”, the real point of the research would be more consistent with the benefits of community building. The bacteria that can form into a biofilm get the benefits of the biochemical properties of such films, while those left adrift don’t. But how that translates into “wealth” is a complete mystery, since the bacteria don’t actually accumulate anything like wealth, because … THEY”RE BACTERIA!

    Instead of Zipf’s Law, these morons should take a hard look at apophenia.

    1. Paul Niemi

      I’ll add my two cents to yours. In “Inequality of Wealth is Similar to Natural Processes,” we read that, according to Northwestern University, dangerous bacteria in the body agglomerate into films that are resistant to antibiotics, and so the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is natural. Huh? Are they trying to say that safety in numbers translates to widening disparities in personal wealth? I’m not sure that works. Perhaps a better argument would be that nitwits have agglomerated at Northwestern University, therefore increasing disparities in personal wealth will be rationalized. I would challenge those tweed suit types to debunk this position: increasing disparities in personal wealth occur when ordinary citizens become self-absorbed, neglect their civic duties, fail to register and to vote, and fail to hold their elected representatives accountable for actions both taken and untaken.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Latest Obamasnare horror — another annual tax form you’ll need, along with the W-2s and 1099s. Paper slave much?

    Every January, health insurance companies across America will send out tax documents to each insured individual. This tax document—a copy of which will be furnished to the IRS—must contain sufficient information for taxpayers to prove that they purchased qualifying health insurance under Obamacare.

    This new tax information document must, at a minimum, contain: the name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer; the name and tax identification number of the health insurance company; the number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan; and whether or not the plan was purchased in one of Obamacare’s “exchanges.”

    This will involve millions of new tax documents landing in mailboxes across America every January, along with the usual raft of W-2s, 1099s, and 1098s. At tax time, the 140 million families who file a tax return will have to get acquainted with a brand new tax filing form. Six million of these families will end up paying Obamacare’s individual mandate non-compliance tax penalty.

    http://atr.org/obamacare-taxpayers-must-report-personal-health-a7611#ixzz2T5Mkc8AT

    Maybe I’ll just whip up one in Illustrator, the same way Obama produced his crudely-altered birth certificate.

    Scam the scammer, as it were.

    1. Working Class Nero

      The new tax form makes sense because ObamaCare basically gives private health care corporations the right to tax. In a way it is a new and improved tax farming scheme. In traditional tax farming, the right to collect taxes is sold off to a private interest that then sets out collecting the taxes. As you can imagine, that’s potentially a lot of busy work going out there and collecting those taxes from laggards and malcontents. So with ObamaCare, the insurance companies do collect the low-hanging fruit on their own; citizens send them checks directly. But for any more difficult cases, the government socializes the tax collection enforcement costs that would otherwise fall on the poor health care corporations. So the IRS has to work as the tax “migrant labourers” going out into the fields and harvesting those difficult taxes and penalties and then handing them over to their health care lords of the manor.

      1. sd

        ATR – better known as Americans for Money from Lobbyists Whose Clients Don’t Want to Pay Any Taxes.

        1. CB

          That’s Jim Haygood’s reference. See above. When Lambert writes it, I’ll believe it.

          Haygood dropped a clunker into yeaterday’s comments, as well.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Well, ObamaCare is so messed up that the ATR could be right about something. I’ll be on the watch for information like that. Here is an allied piece of nuttinss. Southern California Public Radio:

            The government will use your federal income tax return as its first yardstick for how much of a tax break it contributes to your health coverage. And if you don’t have government-mandated health insurance a year from now, a penalty will be added to your federal tax obligations. ….
            If your income goes up substantially during the year, for example, you could have to give back all — or some — of
            the tax break.

            Oscar Hidalgo, spokesman for Covered California, the state’s recently created health reform insurance exchange, said staff are shaping plans to work with enrollees “to report changes in income that may change the amount of their subsidy. ….

            Even if enrollees promptly report changes to the insurance exchange, though, they could still receive an unexpected tax bill, said Levitt. (Story continues below graphic.)

            For example, if an exchange enrollee was unemployed during the beginning of 2014, she would receive a substantial subsidy for insurance. If she then got a job with health insurance that pays about $46,000 a year, there would be no way for the government to recover the subsidy until taxes were filed.

            Such an enrollee wouldn’t literally get a bill in the mail, but the IRS would then reconcile that benefit on her next tax return, creating a tax liability.

            Currently, the reduced tax credit amounts that people could have to give back are capped according to a sliding scale. They range from $300 for a person making about $23,000, to $1,250 for someone making about $45,000. However, there is legislation pending that seeks to remove the caps entirely.

            So, “legislation pending” to add another piece of machinery to a Rube Goldberg device….

  4. Jessica

    “US hoist by its own pivot petard” Asia Times
    is a well-written background piece on Japan.
    I often find pieces from Asia Times unreliable, but this one is quite good.

    In particular, this paragraph is a model for noting something the mainstream media will ignore but holding it to its actual proportion and at the same time acknowledging that alternative sources can have their ax to grind too:
    “The article emerged in the context of Okinawan alienation with rule from Tokyo, disenchantment that has to do with central government highhandedness as well as the continual irritation of the basing issue. Okinawan dissatisfaction is growing as Japanese nationalism (and impatience with Okinawan presumption) becomes the lingua franca of Japanese politics, feeding a sense of disenfranchisement which carries the faintest whiff of separatism. Chinese media follows the unhappy-Okinawa story assiduously.”

    1. lolcar

      That being said, the author minimizes the Chinese role in stirring the pot.

      Translating from the Chinese part of the introduction of the article that caused the ruckus -

      In relation to the dispute in the East China Sea, China has consistently asserted “sovereignty is ours, shelve the dispute, jointly exploit”. China hopes, through joint effort, to make the East China Sea a sea of peace, a sea of cooperation, a sea of friendship. However, the Japanese authorities, stemming from a parochial nationalism, disregard the Chinese government’s efforts to constructively develop Japanese-Chinese relations and promote peace, cooperation, and goodwill in East Asia. They worry that China’s rapid emergence will be disadvantageous for them and use East Asia’s “troubled times” to repeatedly stir up trouble.

      This is not the voice of two historians innocently exploring the history of the Ryuukyuu Islands. It’s the voice of the Chinese Communist Party. The rest of the article goes on to argue that China should actively support self-determination for the Okinawans as Japan really has no genuine claim to the entire archipelago. Not something many governments would take lying down.

  5. AbyNormal

    re: Psychiatrist Under Fire…

    “The thing is psychiatrists (esp in the US) look at emotional and mental issues, like depression, as a chemical problem that needs redressing with drugs.
    It’s clearly a very short-term orientation to the problem that ignores root causes.”

    GOT DRUGS
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q4kwu6MOQM
    That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.~fromm

    1. Bev

      Thank you. I will see what Kennedy had to say so close to his tragic end at the hands of:

      http://existentialistcowboy.blogspot.com/2013/01/magic-bullet-my-ass.html

      I am also adding another important speech of a great politician whose career, and so perhaps the fate of our planet if we don’t turn this around, was also abruptly ended.

      http://www.opednews.com/articles/400-Parts-Per-Million-by-Al-Gore-130511-372.html

      400 Parts Per Million

      By Al Gore

      Yesterday, for the first time in human history, concentrations of carbon dioxide, the primary global warming pollutant, hit 400 parts per million in our planet’s atmosphere. This number is a reminder that for the last 150 years — and especially over the last several decades — we have been recklessly polluting the protective sheath of atmosphere that surrounds the Earth and protects the conditions that have fostered the flourishing of our civilization. 

      We are altering the composition of our atmosphere at an unprecedented rate. Indeed, every single day we pour an additional 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the sky as if it were an open sewer. As the distinguished climate scientist Jim Hansen has calculated, the accumulated manmade global warming pollution in the atmosphere now traps enough extra heat energy each day to equal the energy that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-scale atomic bombs exploding every single day. It’s a big planet — but that is a LOT of energy. And it is having a destructive effect.

      Now, more than ever before, we are reaping the consequences of our recklessness. From Superstorm Sandy, which crippled New York City and large areas of New Jersey, to a drought that parched more than half of our nation; from a flood that inundated large swaths of Australia to rising seas affecting millions around the world, the reality of the climate crisis is upon us.

      Our food systems, our cities, our people and our very way of life developed within a stable range of climatic conditions on Earth. Without immediate and decisive action, these favorable conditions on Earth could become a memory if we continue to make the climate crisis worse day after day after day.

      With any great challenge comes great opportunity. We have the rare privilege to rise to an occasion of global magnitude. To do so, our communities, our businesses, our universities, and our governments need to work in harmony to stop the climate crisis. We must summon the very best of the human spirit and draw on our courage, our ingenuity, our intellect, and our determination to confront this crisis. Make no mistake, this crisis will demand no less than our very best. I am optimistic because we have risen to meet the greatest challenges of our past.

      So please, take this day and the milestone it represents to reflect on the fragility of our civilization and and the planetary ecosystem on which it depends. Rededicate yourself to the task of saving our future. Talk to your neighbors, call your legislator, let your voice be heard. We must take immediate action to solve this crisis. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Now.

      1. Brindle

        Interesting how from listening to JFK’s address and then reading Al Gore’s recent words that the fundamental difference from 1963 to now is the triumph of the the corporation at the planetary level, as if the whole Cold War was just a smokescreen for the real battle—which humanity is losing.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      James Douglass, in JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, makes a compelling case that the Cold War peace initiative expressed in this speech was a major factor in why he was assassinated.
      http://amzn.to/10yGTiI

        1. Bev

          Richard Charnin is a national treasure. He does the best job on voting and election analysis also.

  6. JGordon

    “Psychiatrists under fire in mental health battle”

    While I used to believe in psychiatry (much like I used to believe in economics before I learned more about it and realized what a fraudulent farce the field is), more and more I’ve been coming to see the psychiatric profession as: 1) yet another effective way of the medical industrial complex for removing cash from Americans, 2) a way of medicating Americans, whose lives are generally miserable, out of their gourds so they can continue serving the corporate state as zombies if not as fully functional human beings, and 3) a way of marginalizing political opponents of the regime, for example gun owners, much like Stalin and other dictators used psychiatry for.

    Yes, much like this British psychological association has said, I am now willing to categorize psychiatry within the same area of fraudulent voodoo-science as economics shares. Thanks for linking that article.

    1. CB

      In America, psychiatrists are MDs, their drug dependencies are grounded in their formative educations.

      1. JGordon

        The new DSM classifies psychological “illness” to pigeonhole people who “oppose authority” into. Which would include just about anyone who dislikes anyone with authority for any reason–such as environmentalists, political dissidents or disadvantaged minorities–who will, in due time, be sent off to psychiatric gulags or officially confined to ghettos.

      2. Juneau

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/08/06/138987152/antidepressant-use-climbs-as-primary-care-doctors-do-the-prescribing

        “Antidepressants have become some of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, yet most of them aren’t prescribed by psychiatrists.

        And what’s more, almost three-quarters of the prescriptions are written without a specific diagnosis, according to a new study, raising the question of whether antidepressants are being prescribed too often.”

    1. ohmyheck

      fwiw—I am extremely interested in Benghazi. Thanks for the link, at least it points out that both Fox and Clinton are not telling the truth. That said, I would not discuss Benghazi, because from my own investigations, it seems that what I have found would be considered Conspiracy Theory. So why bother?

  7. Ms G

    Re the “natural law of wealth inequality” (paraphrased).

    Yes, similar to the divine right of kings, phrenology, eugenics, the “intent of the founders” or “textualist” interpretation of the US Constitution …

    You know you are dealing with snake oil ideologues when the “law of nature” metaphors start coming out.

    1. Brindle

      Always good to be wary of anyone declaring human constructs are similar to laws of physics etc.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        You just described academic economics. Spout bullshit, attach a few random calculus equations to buffalo both the masses, who are trained to accept the conspicuous visible forms of mathematics as some sort of authority, and the academic elite who are too ashamed to expose they don’t remember their calculus lessons by getting caught out contesting it. Math (pseudo, but unimportantly so) serves the same function in economics as Latin did for the Roman Catholic Church–smoke and mirrors.

        1. Ms G

          ” …the masses, who are trained to accept the conspicuous visible forms of mathematics as some sort of authority, and the academic elite who are too ashamed to expose they don’t remember their calculus lessons by getting caught out contesting it.”

          Very insightful. There is a deep-seated shame of saying “I have no idea what that means, or what you are talking about.” Especially among the “highly educated (credentialed)” classes. Get rid of that and suddenly we could be keeping it real about things like jobs, food, money, concentrations of power, crony capitalists, vampire squids, etc.

  8. JGordon

    Regarding the story of the poor guy who may have been beaten to death by the police despite begging for his life for 8 minutes (according to all the witnesses), I suspected that there might be a video of the incident on the internet that the police did not manage to confiscate, and after hunting around for a bit I found this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Wr4iT8iuQg

  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    Instead of investigating the death of Pope Celestine V, who died more than seven centuries ago, perhaps Dr. Ventura’s time would be better spent looking into the more recent, questionable demise of John Paul I.
    amzn.to/YOLaio

  10. Susan the other

    Weird Science picked up on the Japanese research on minocycline. If you give men minocycline they make more perceptive and accurate social-sexual decisions. OK. Let’s put aside the sexism thing and ask this question: If we give our congress and president monocycline will they be able to see through the extreme seduction of money and bribes accompanied by very aggressive lines of bullshit that are disguised in various subtlties.

    1. Ms G

      That’s a weird story about minocycline, which I thought was pretty much just a standard antibiotic treatment for bad acne. Maybe some pharma company is trying to gin up a “new use” (wow, it makes guys smarter!) to snag a patent monopoly to charge big bucks for junk. Sounds like a perfect addition to the menu of offerings in the ObamaCare exchange products!

    2. CB

      I saw that article but I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It wouldn’t surprise if it turned out to be baloney.

  11. Susan the other

    Asia Times on Japan and the TPP. I’m wondering how many of our corporations have left China. If the majority of our corporations are manufacturing in the other Pacific Rim countries, the old ASEAN countries, there is no reason to include China in the TPP. And Japan joining TPP becomes a similar burden since Japan is very protectionist and we don’t do much manufacturing there. I thought it was a confusing analysis of what is probably, underneath it all, a fairly obvious corporate play by out own corporations wanting to trash our own laws and labor policies with international trade “law”.

    1. lolcar

      Perhaps Japan can help us all out by throwing a monkey wrench into the whole process.

      In the back-of-the-envelope version (and not taking into account the inevitable backroom deal-cutting, especially in the automotive sector), by conservative calculations the TPP grows total Japanese GDP about 0.5% (with about half of the growth in industrial production offset by a spectacular cratering of agricultural production as domestic rice, beef, and pork lose tariff protection and disappear beneath an import avalanche).

      I find it hard to believe the Japanese can agree to anything like that. There was much hand-wringing in Japan a couple of years ago when it was revealed that Japanese food self-sufficiency had dropped below 40%. It’s now government policy to raise that to 50% by 2020.

  12. MacCruiskeen

    “With the Right Mortgage, Home Ownership Builds Wealth Science News (John M). Notice who funded the research. ”

    Who funded the research? The press release doesn’t say.

    1. Ms G

      The title itself is so transparently a crock! Who would believe this? Even without disclosure of the undoubtedly interested party who placed this piece in the media.

    2. ChrisPacific

      The mortgages used in the study were subsidised by the government:

      The study uses data from the Community Advantage Program, which awarded prime mortgages to those who otherwise would only qualify for subprime mortgages.

      Community Advantage Program loans are guaranteed by the government at 85% on the first $150,000 and 15% on the remainder (source: US Small Business Administration via Wikipedia).

      Effectively they compared subsidised home buyers against unsubsidised renters and found that the home buyers ended up with more money/assets at the end of the study period. Well of course they did – it was given to them!

      I am amazed that this was accepted by a peer-reviewed journal.

      1. MacCruiskeen

        No, the article clearly says the program from which the data was taken was partly funded by Fannie Mae, it doesn’t say who funded the actual study.

  13. Inverness

    Smart article from Jacobin on contempt for hipsters:

    “We should retire “hipster” as a term without referent or political salience. Its zombie-like persistence in anti-hipster discourse must be recognized for what it is: an urbane, and socially acceptable, form of ideologically inflected shaming on the part of American elites who must delegitimize those segments of a largely white, college educated population who didn’t do the “acceptable thing.”

    http://jacobinmag.com/2013/05/the-fucking-hipster-show/

    1. Ms G

      ” … who didn’t do the “acceptable thing.”

      I’m scratching my head. I thought “hipster” meant upper class white people posing as rebels firmly within the parameters of acceptable “weirdness” (whatever that is). The latest — Williamsburg rich kids wearing “punk fashion” — it’s hilarious!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        There is sometimes/often more going on within the ambit of “hipster” culture than the superficial rebellion of entitled youth. Let’s not get caught up in rebranded post-millennial hippie punching. Counterculture, however shallow and inauthentic it can at times both appear and indeed actually be, is the permeable membrane between mainstream culture and all its alternatives. Very little gets changed mainstream culturally that doesn’t transit through the subversive vectors of alternative culture. If you want to instigate change, ignore this reality at your peril. The seemingly brief window of malleability of the young human soul means any significant changes by necessity will occur intergenerationally. This also means whatever changes are successfully instituted intergenerationally will be almost impossible to undo to any significant degree once they’ve taken root.

        1. Ms G

          KS, deferring to your moderate view. I am speaking from first hand interactions in my admittedly limited environment. Generally, a lot of “insider” references to cultural phenomena that are not in any way “underground” or “marginal” and a high level of ignorance of history and current events beyond what I consider to be discredited so-called “progressive” sources.

          Again, based on anecdotal observation, there was very little, if any, overlap between OWS (the main occupation and offshoots) and the so-called “hipster” community — except when it came to going to Rockaway to help with the Sandy aftermath — and there, the “cool Rockaway” was definitely a factor. I spoke to several people who hyperventilated about how wonderful they were for driving out there to drop off used clothing and diapers. Nauseating.

  14. Roger Bigod

    Roe is a flawed decision, not for the outcome, but the legal “reasoning”.

    The background is that Blackmun had been house counsel at the Mayo Clinic. He saw Roe as an opportunity to inform the legal system with medical knowledge. His office had stacks of medical tomes and there were calls back to Rochester MN to get the received wisdom.

    The result is the trimester system. This is a handy but rough guide to the physiology of pregnancy, but has no deep significance. The reasoning works without it, but lawyers go “whoah! where are trimesters in the Constitution”?

    In the follow-up cases, the Court straightened out the definitions, but it’s still sloppy.

    The history illustrates Scalia’s intellectual dishonesty. “Origionalism” would suggest that a right at the time of the Founding is fundamental. No laws against abortion appeared until 1821.

    There’s famous case that illustrates the situation. An unmarried Randolph woman became pregnant by her brother-in-law and wrote a letter to her best friend requesting a drug that was well known to induce abortions (although it had other uses). This was presented at a later trial as evidence of her pregnancy, but there was no suggestion that an abortion would have been illegal. The best friend was Jefferson’s daughter, suggesting that it was perfectly accepted among quality white folks.

    The social history is that anything you did in private in Colonial Virginia was effectively legal. In the 19th Cent, people came to have different attitudes about regulating personal behavior. Standard common law theories say that’s the way the law is supposed to evolve. But it illustrates the defects of Origionalism. To get around this, Scalia tries to claim that the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to those laws, which were already of the books. It’s a dishonest argument, as we’ve come to expect from him.

  15. down2long

    Re: The assault on food stamps, and that Slimin’ Dimon makes the ATM for the stooges at AG, and charges SNAP “clients” 25 cents each time they check their balances.

    Also, from article, a new divinely and scathingly accurate term for derogative term for Obomba, the White House major domo: “fascist poltroon.”

    1.
    a wretched coward; craven.

    adjective
    2.
    marked by utter cowardice. Dictionary.com

    Well said, indeed.

      1. down2long

        I see what you mean Lambert, and I agree. Still, I don’t want to miss the fun of calling Obomba – the Majordomo of Dimon’s White House – a “bankster poltroon.” At least until something better comes along. And you are, if memory serves, a veritable font of wonderful name-calling. I anxiously await your next dictum.

        1. down2long

          Further you honor, I beg to seek cover under the second definition: “craven.” That is certainly accurate, and denotes a voluntary willingness by Obomba to be a tool of the oligarchs.

  16. GeorgeK

    Monsanto Has Taken Over the USDA, this wins an award for the OLDEST new headline in the modern world. Monsanto owns the USDA, FDA, Congress, State Department & White House and has for two decades.

    During the Clinton administration, I was asked by USDA to give a couple of presentations on Organics & GMO’s. Since the Department was sponsoring my trip, my remarks had to be pre-approved, which they were. My fist presentation was at the US Embassy in London; after my well-received remarks by an audience of several hundred English farmers, I overheard that my USDA host had been summoned to the office of the Ag attaché where they were verbally dressed down for allowing me to mention the problems that GMO’s created for organic farmers. I sent word to the attaché that if he had anything to say about my presentation he should be man enough to say it to my face; in five minutes I was in his office where I challenged him to point out anything I said that was false or misleading. He kept repeating I should not say anything negative about GMO’s, finally he threatened to put me on the next military aircraft back to the US if I did not rewrite my remarks prior to the next presentation in Germany; which was the site of the largest Organic Trade Show in the world. Since I had a good deal of business to conduct, I rewrote my presentation on a totally benign subject. Still there were 5 members of the US German embassy staff in the front row and one large gentleman standing next to the microphone power outlet just incase I decided to stray from my new remarks.

    Wiki leaks also released messages from the US embassy in Paris about taking care of GMO “enemies”

    The REAL headline came this week when the USDA delayed approval on 2-4-D ready GMO crops. This was the first time in USDA’s history that they did not trip over themselves to approve a GMO; as was discovered by the judge in the sugar beet case when he learned that USDA had not followed it’s own approval protocol in a rush to rubberstamp a GMO.

    1. Expat

      You make the excellent point that governments have been captives of the gmo industry for decades. In fact, we taxpayers provided most of the funding for this Big Chemical income stream. It dominates national and international policy, like nuclear power. Since nuclear power was not allowed to die because governments felt it was prudent to have a ready supply of bomb-making material, one has to ask, why have governments been pushing gmos? What do they want to be able to get into our food?

  17. squasha

    What Kind of Monster Does This?

    Given current socio-political realities isn’t it high time the rhetorical ‘we’ was dropped? Attribution of agency to the collective dilutes responsibility of the actual perpetrators. The Ohio case illustrates this perfectly. In what way is an entire impoverished neighborhood truly responsible for all the crimes of any single resident? How precisely are millions of people living below the poverty line responsible for the current torture regime? Income inequality renders absurd the collective we.

    1. jrs

      I think they may be slightly responsible to the extent a large collective movement could influence policy. To what extent can large collective movements influence policy at this point of time in the USSA? Of course money influences policy much more directly.

      And of course as isolated not .01% individuals there is minimal impact anyone can have on policy alone. It might be wise in terms of a return on energy to put one’s energy into local politics. Only the corruption at the top continues unbounded and destroying everything in sight.

      1. squasha

        Agreed, I think it’s grassroots all the way, at least until they fire up the rototillers, or truckloads of Roundup roll in. Ubiquitous ‘we are all responsible’ shaming after each grotesque tragedy appears a kind of hail-mary pass in vain hopes of igniting such a large popular movement, but instead seems to enfold a certain disgust at the oppressed class’ lack of agency. If someone working 3 jobs to support a family, living in a violent, toxic neighborhood bears responsibility for the crimes of a psychopathic rapist living within a certain radius, or the crimes against humanity committed within the US military, it is in homeopathic quanitity.

    1. jrs

      Is this more destroying the few government programs that actually work (many of them quite old of course) in return for shitty new liberal (ie corporatist) garbage?

    2. jrs

      As for the subway stuff in L.A.. Ok well you’d actually have had to have lived there to understand any of it. But with the way the subway kept collapsing, whole blocks collapsing in on themselves, I’m not surprised it was treated with skepticism. I still question the wisdom of subways in earthquake country, but they are the only form of public transport NIMBYs will allow.

  18. scraping_by

    RE: Pivot Petard

    “… and replace it with the dismal Middle Eastern model of confrontation and containment, one that the Obama administration is desperate to escape.”

    Once again, the ‘insider’ view of Barry as timid, inept, and more than a little stupid. It’s a fallback from the ‘everything’s going great!’ lie and its fallback, the ‘it’s a very deep game and will eventually come out for the best’ lie, and its fallback, the ‘best that can be done in the circumstances’ lie.

    The reality is that Barry, like his predecessors, has made this nation a willing tool for the Saudis and the Israelis in their never ending quest to turn the entire Muslim world into a single fundamentalist dictatorship. The Saudis, because they think they’ll be the dictators. The Israelis, because right-wingers need enemies.

    Later in the piece, Lee has the scenario of the US duped into supporting Saudi and Israeli machinations. Once you sign on to The American Empire, all trouble is good trouble, so scheming leader, duped follower, doesn’t matter. American lives and treasure are thrown in for The Great Game, with no regard of anyone’s short or long term benefit.

    Given that the Obama administration’s defining characteristic is absolute obedience to great wealth, whether you find it at Wall Street or the health care industry or the House of Saud, they find their chosen masters. The one advantage of being a shameless lackey is they can let their masters do the worrying about consequences of dismal models.

  19. p78

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/opinion/pay-people-to-cook-at-home.html
    “…In the 1960s and ’70s, when American feminists were fighting to get women out of the house and into the workplace, there was another feminist arguing for something else. Selma James, a labor organizer from Brooklyn, pushed the idea of wages for housework. Ms. James… argued that household work was essential to the American economy and wondered why women weren’t being paid for it. …women wouldn’t stop doing housework once they joined the work force — rather they would return home each evening for the notorious “second shift.” …

    The Netherlands promotes a “1.5 jobs model,” which allows men and women to work 75 percent of their regular hours when they have young children. In Sweden, parents can choose to work three-quarters of their normal hours until children turn 8.
    To get Americans cooking, we need to make it possible. Stay-at-home parents should qualify for a new government program while they are raising young children … financed by taxing harmful foods, like sugary beverages, highly caloric, processed snack foods and nutritionally poor options at fast food and other restaurants. …”

      1. JohnL

        Every able-bodied person (say over 2) should have a pressure cooker and know how to use it.

  20. traveler

    Washington has no mind and no soul cutting food stamps now. I didn’t know that was in the works. They’re all mad there. They’re all drooling mad. And cruel.

  21. Hugh

    Ginsburg is a moderate conservative. There are no liberals and certainly no progressives on the Court. Like the rest of the Court, she is corporatist. She just backs some modest limits to corporate power. The one area where she was supposed to be “liberal” was on women’s issues. But her position on Roe rather gives the lie to that. It is total BS. As we have seen with other major precedents like Miranda and Title VII of the Voting Rights Act, Roe has been whittled down and undergone death by a thousand cuts. If the Court had ruled narrowly on Roe, there would not have been a major precedent, and legal abortion would have been done away in this country years ago. Ginsburg is quite intelligent so I can only see her position on Roe as disingenuous.

    As to her conservatism, rather than publically and loudly challenge the whole tendency to erode away major precedents benefiting ordinary Americans, Ginsburg has done remarkably little to defend them, and as here has even joined in weakening further one of them.

  22. Paul Walker

    The rule of law has ruled the Bakersfield way for decades. Why all the fuss now? Besides, the deceased has the right to bring a civil matter IF he can prove standing .. after being beaten to death and all evidence confidcated by agents of the state.

  23. Dr. Brian Oblivion

    Mark Blyth: Austerity, The History of A Dangerous Idea

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PrUQ4ae0sk

    Executive Suite, 04/13/2013

    This week: Mark Blyth, author of “Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea” and a professor of international political economy at Brown University, discusses why governments may be making a fatal error reducing spending and raising taxes.

    Good stuff!

  24. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Dad who died during arrest ‘begged for his life’; witness videos seized

    Soon this seizing video stuff is going to be obsolete. It already is for me… my Windows Phone automatically uploads the video / photos I take to Skydrive. It’s so fast, someone would need to almost power down the phone instantly.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Or seize the account? In a perfect police state, the linkage of cellphone serial -> cellphone owner -> owner’s online accounts would be easy. (In reality, right now it’s a genuinely hard problem.)

      Google asks for your cellphone number. So does Faceborg. Did you give it to them?

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