Links 2/1/10

White House Whitewash: Can the Agribusiness Lobby Kill Small, Organic Dairy Farmers? Politics of the Plate (hat tip reader Kendall)

“The NFL doesn’t care” StillerNation. From late December, but ever relevant if you are a football fan. Free registration required.

Defense Analysts Blast Military Exemption to Spending Freeze Washington Post (hat tip reader John D)

At Amazon, Giving In to Demands New York Times

Why do people often vote against their own interests? BBC. An interesting but flawed analysis. Correct re role of storytelling (that’s been found to be crucial in jury decision-making) but misses the elephant in the room: the concerted efforts to demonize “socialized” health care systems abroad, aka propaganda.

Good and Boring Paul Krugman

Australia Pensions Facing ‘Disaster’ on Shortfall, Study Says Bloomberg (hat tip DoctoRx). One big reason is that Australians are as bad at saving as Americans are.

Front-Running the Markets And the Sickness Unto Death Jesse (hat tip reader Scott)

The Perils of Prosperity Robert Samuelson, Newsweek (hat tip reader Skippy). Um, is this just me, or isn’t this just recycled Hyman Minsky?

The Chess Master and the Computer Gary Kasparov, New York Review of Books (hat tip reader Kendall)

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader stylrface):

Hello little antelope, would you like to play with us?
Coming from three deadly cheetahs, it’s the kind of invitation that’s best refused – but amazingly, this impala escaped unscathed from its encounter.
Luckily for the youngster, it seems these three male cheetahs simply weren’t hungry.

That’s because unlike other big cats, the cheetah hunts in the daytime, either in the early morning or late afternoon. The bursts of speed needed to catch their prey tire them out – meaning they need to rest after a kill.
And that seems to be the secret to the antelope’s survival, as it’s likely it fell into the cheetahs’ clutches when they were already full – and tired out – from an earlier hunt.
Photographer Michel Denis-Huot, who captured these amazing pictures on safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara in October last year, said he was astounded by what he saw.
‘These three brothers have been living together since they left their mother at about 18 months old,’ he said. ‘On the morning we saw them, they seemed not to be hungry, walking quickly but stopping sometimes to play together.

‘They knocked it down, but then they lost interest,’ said Michel. ‘For more than 15 minutes, they remained with the young antelope without doing anything other than licking it or putting their paws on the impala’s head.’
Even more extraordinarily, this story has a happy ending – after one tense moment when it looked as though one cheetah would bite the impala on the neck, the youngster ran away.

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  1. attempter

    Krugman’s at it again.

    Canada’s experience also seems to refute the view, forcefully pushed by Paul Volcker, the formidable former Fed chairman, that the roots of our crisis lay in the scale and scope of our financial institutions — in the existence of banks that were “too big to fail.” For in Canada essentially all the banks are too big to fail: just five banking groups dominate the financial scene.

    The basic fallacy of this kind of argument, citing Canada’s banks, or Swiss-style nationalization (another Krug specialty) or how Switzerland and the Netherlands have decent health care systems centered on private [but non-profit] insurance companies (I don’t recall, but K has probably cited those too), is that you’re taking something that evolved out of a basically human community, and then saying it can be applied as an alien top-down template upon this gangster cesspool we have in America.

    Well, it can’t. We know for a fact by now that “regulation” of gangland rackets cannot work in America. You can only break up the rackets completely.

    So when you see someone arguing the Canada fallacy or the Swiss fallacy or whatever, you know he’s scamming you. And sure enough, here’s Krugman sounding oh-so-reasonable while shilling for the big banks. “We don’t need to break them up; we can regulate them!” That’s his characteristic pose.

    Actually, the financial reform bill that the House of Representatives passed in December would significantly Canadianize the U.S. system. It would create an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, it would establish limits on leverage, and it would limit securitization by requiring that lenders hold on to some of their loans.

    That’s him, alright. The CFPA, promising in concept, was already pre-weakened by the administration before Frank’s committee ever took it up. Then they basically gutted it, leaving behind only the shell and the name. And now Dodd says they may dump it completely.

    Sound familiar? That’s right – it’s the scam “public option” all over again.

    And just as with the health racketeering bill, here’s Krugman shilling all the way. He’s still blathering about the already-hollow nominal “CFPA”.

    And once it’s dumped completely, he’ll still be telling you this finance bill constitutes real “reform”, is a “great progressive achievement”, just like he’s been doing with the health bill.

    And it’ll be just as much of a typical Krugman hack lie.

        1. aet

          Canada’s different, eh?

          I hear those US “hosers” allow mortgage interest payments to be deducted from income for income tax purposes: that don’t fly up in the great white North.
          On the other hand, if you sell your home up there, there’s no cap gains tax payable, if the value’s increased while you’ve lived there.
          My understanding is that in contrast, the “yankees” do tax the cap gain on the sale of their homes: but I may have been mis-informed.

          The point remains: there are significant differences between the two markets, and the two banking systems serving those markets. This is (or perhaps ought to be) reflected in the regulations and laws governing those activities.
          It seems reasonable that the capital markets (and thus that the rules governing those capital markets) of a nation of 30 million people would be different in both kind & quantity from those of a nation of 300 million.
          Even more crucial to the question of which type or style of regulation to adopt, is the question of what the polities these democratic societies think that capital markets are for in the first place.
          That is, what the aims of the regulations and rules are, or ought to be.
          That is the first thing to be determined, if any serious and lasting reforms are to take place, I think.

  2. Peripheral Visionary

    Re: Front-Running the Markets.

    The argument here goes directly to what I have been thinking for some time now: that the largest banks’ proprietary operations are succeeding, not due to nefarious front-running algorithms (although they may very well have those as well), but due to the sheer information advantage they enjoy by way of their access to market information.

    And specifically, the most powerful advantage is their insight into clients’ positions. It isn’t front-running that is making them insane amounts of money; front-running can only amount to fractional percentages of market flow. It is taking the opposite side of the clients, knowing fully well that the crowd will have to unwind at some point–and knowing fully well that they control the margin accounts and can force the clients whose positions they broker to reverse, by raising margin. During the crisis, the major banks dramatically raised margin requirements, forcing clients to liquidate–and then used those liquidations as opportunities to scoop up securities at deeply depressed prices, thereby ensuring immense profits when the markets inevitably turned.

    The solution is simple and straightforward, and does not require major regulation: separate proprietary trading and all other banking functions. Banking and proprietary trading represent a fundamental conflict of interest that no amount of regulation can resolve. The virulent reaction from the Dealbreaker crowd when the “Volcker Rule” was announced should be a fairly clear indication of where the real profits on Wall Street lie, namely at the intersection of proprietary trading and banking activities. You know you have found the real source of the money when the complaining is the loudest.

    If Wall Street are the geniuses they think they are, then surely they do not need the information available from brokerage, underwriting, and securitization operations to be profitable at proprietary trading. There is no loss of services to clients from proprietary trading being banned at brokerage firms, but an immense savings in efficiency as the markets function the way they are supposed to, with parties having roughly equal access to information in arm’s-length transactions.

    1. aet

      As the Brits might say: “Spot on, that.”

      Fully agreed, no matter what the financial system’s “for”: as it now stands this information asymmetry, arising from their privileged-by-Law position in the system, is an unfair advantage (vis-a-vis other investors not banks), with all benefits accruing to the banks, while everybody else in society takes a micro-kick in the wallet.

      And it’s a market failure: which the market won’t correct: other than those who directly benefit from this state of affairs, who are most unlikely to want this to change (classical economists would say that for them to want to do so would be by definition “irrational”!), no market paritcipant has the power.

      Thus: it MUST be dealt with by Governmental Rule & Reg, Law & Decree.

  3. DownSouth

    ► “Why do people often vote against their own interests?”

    This article perpetuates a myth, and that myth is that when Americans go to the polls, they have an option to vote for their own interests.

    The reality is quite different. What we have in the US is a one-party system masquerading as a two-party system. Regardless of whether you pull the Republican lever or the Democratic lever, you are not voting for your own interests, that is if you are a member of the great unwashed.

    Think of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party as being two wings of a single party, the Corporatist Party. So what the voter can vote for is the Democratic Corporatist Party and the Republican Corporatist Party.

    Nowhere is this more unambiguously demonstrated than with the banks. Who supports the banks? Who’s in favor of the bailouts? Who opposes banking regulation? On the far right, certainly not the Tea Party Patriots (drawing a distinction here between the grassroots faction and the Astroturf faction, the Tea Party Express). And on the far left, certainly not the most avowed progressives. And in the center, certainly not the independents. And yet what choices does the voter have? He can pull the lever for the pro-bailout Democrats with their watered-down, almost to the point of being meaningless, bank regulation. Or he can pull the lever for the pro-bailout Republicans with their anti-regulation, laissez-faire dogmatism.

    Healthcare reform is a little more ambiguous. But what choices is the voter given? He can vote for the Democrats and their package of backroom deals and corporate give-a-ways, or he can vote for the Republicans and their do-nothingism.

    The NY Times has a very insightful piece on the Tea Party movement. Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center identifies the three pillars of the Tea Party grassroots stance as follows:

    …a surge in anti-incumbent sentiment, growing public concerns about big government and the budget deficit, and real anger at Wall Street and the big banks.

    Oddly enough, I agree with the Tea Partiers on two out of three of these: anti-incumbent sentiment and real anger at Wall Street and the big banks.

    I think those on the populist right, like the Tea Partiers, and those on the populist left, like myself, have woken up to the fact that neither party represents their interests. And while there may be disagreement over who the undeserving poor are, there is no disagreement over who the undeserving rich are. And yet, despite agreement on this issue from the entire political spectrum, from the far right to the far left, neither party is willing to take a stand against the undeserving rich.

    1. attempter

      You’re right that as a rule the voter doesn’t have any decent choice. Still, the What’s the Matter with Kansas issue does often apply at lower levels of government. Even where there is a significant difference, there’s always a certain cohort who votes to impoverish themselves.

      But by now, certainly at the federal level, we might as well call the whole voting part of the electorate “Kansas”, since almost everyone still keeps voting in the same criminals.

      (As for those who don’t vote, I haven’t seen data on what proportion of those are non-voters on rational and moral principle, and how many are just apathetic. Although mass apathy is always the fault of the polity as well. It’s intentionally instilled. The elites don’t want large numbers of people to vote.)

      As for the Teabaggers, you pegged the real issue – to what extent are they just Astroturfed goons, as opposed to sincere anti-system protesters.

      At this point I don’t have a clear idea of it, but I did write a post this morning with some speculations:

      (I wrote it after reading that same NYT forum.)

      1. DownSouth


        I read your post, and I think we’re on the same page in saying that, when it comes to the Tea Partiers, the jury’s still out. I hope the grassroots and not the astroturfers prevail and are able to corral the movement.

        I also agree with something you’ve said before, and that is that this is not 1933. In 1933 the country was still floating on a sea of untapped oil reserves. The East Texas Field was just coming on stream and flooding the nation with plentiful and cheap oil. Other sources of natural wealth were also not nearly so depleted.

        In light of this, I do not see how an economic paradigm based on continued growth, continued growth in consumption, can be sustained.

        And, as this paradigm comes under increasing strain, as the growth expectations cannot be fulfilled, I agree that what we will see is politics becoming more extreme. This poses some opportunity, but it also poses some risk. The last time the US came under great stress it chose the New Deal, which was a great step forward. But it doesn’t have to work out that way, as the totalitarian regimes that emerged in Germany and Russia amply demonstrate.

        1. DownSouth

          I might also add that the New Deal still fell within the growth paradigm.

          The changes that I believe will be forced upon us, maybe in the not too distant future, will fall completely outside the growth paradigm. Therefore I think the changes, and the challenges, we face will be greater than what the nation faced in the 1930s. It will certainly test the mettle of the nation.

        2. attempter

          Yes, in spite of all the neoclassical nonsense, exponential growth can occur only on a base of an ever-growing supply of cheap energy.

          In the 1930s the oil discovery and production curves were heading up. Today discovery has been declining for over 45 years, and we’re now on the plateau of Peak production, and nothing will replace cheap oil. “Growth” is finished.

          The other big difference between now and the 30s, both physical and socioeconomic, is that far more people were on the farm, or had family who farmed and could head back there, and the soil hadn’t been ravaged by decades of monocrop extraction, really mining the soil, zombifying the process with ever greater amounts of synthetic (fossil-fuel based) fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides, and the concomitant depletion, thinning, and erosion of the soil.

          Today, the land has been feudally enclosed, agribusiness has a stranglehold, and the soil is destroyed.

          The difference between this Depression setting in and that of the 30s is like the difference between a car with a flat tire and one that’s absolutely totalled.

    2. EmilianoZ

      Excellent analysis! My way of thinking about the relationship between the Republican and Democratic parties is to view it as a Good Cop/Bad Cop show.

    3. Anonymous Jones

      My pet issue/example is the estate tax. Seriously, what percentage of the population is in favor of eliminating the estate tax for estates of individuals with over $3,500,000? It’s kinda, sorta outrageous that a proposal like this is even discussed in Congress, let alone actually enacted! And it’s not even all those with large estates that are in favor of eliminating the tax (see, e.g., Buffett, Soros et al.). There’s a chance my estate would be subject to it, and I’m in favor of *increasing* the tax. So it’s a small fraction of a small fraction that actually favors repeal *and* is benefited by repeal. Yet the legislative and executive branches have acted to repeal it for this year! Mind boggling.

      It’s a sickness, and most everyone just turns their head and looks away.

    4. Cynthia


      But Tea Partiers couldn’t be more wrong in thinking that the Obama Administration is chock-full of peace-loving socialists who would rather use diplomacy than bombs to settle disputes around the world and who would rather see America as a nation with a strong and vibrant middle class than a nation full of only haves and have-nots. No one needs to look any further than the likes of Hillary Clinton and Richard Holbrooke and the likes of Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers to know that Obama is palling around with some of the most hardened neocons and neolibs America has to offer.

      So if Obama’s neocons don’t rob us of our Constitutional Rights and drown our country in a bloodbath of wars, then his neolibs will drive us into servitude and sell our country down the river at the port of Banana-Republic-Land. And so there’s no reason in the world for any of the Tea Partiers to worry about Obama making America a more socialistic and democratic sort of nation. If anything, Obama will hand over America to military and financial elites, giving them the freedom to turn our largely economic and social democracy into a financial oligarchy propped up by fascism.

      And as I listen to Mark Ames, the author of “The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia,” give his account of what it was like to live in Russia when Larry Summers was Yeltsin’s Hitman in Chief (listen to link below), I’m having nightmarish visions of Larry Summers, as Obama’s Hitman in Chief, spawning a new breed of American oligarchs that would even make our turn-of-the-century robber barons green with envy. I’m deeply afraid that Summers will help our new American oligarchs strip us of our social safety net and shrink our middle class down to a size where they can drown it into a bathtub, just as he helped the Russian oligarchs do the same to the Russian people and their middle class several decades ago.

      1. DownSouth


        Obama released his 2011 budget just a few hours ago, and it seems to confirm all your fears.

        Defense spending is the largest part of the budget and comprises 20% of total expenditures for 2011. It is 13.4% greater than in 2009, and 255% greater than in 2000.

        Social Security spending is the second largest part of the budget and comprises 19% of total expenditures for 2011. It is 7.8% greater than in 2009, and 180% greater than in 2000.

        Medicare spending comprises 13% of total expenditures for 2011. It is 15.6% greater than in 2009, and 252% greater than in 2000.

        In absolute dollars, defense spending showed the biggest increase, rising by $88.7 billion between 2009 and 2011. During that same time, social security spending increased by $53.3 billion and medicare spending increased by $67.0 billion.
        See Table 3.1

        As to the Tea Partiers, they certainly take a lot of stands that I am opposed to. But when it comes to the bankers, I think I’m in agreement with the Tea Partiers, along with about 90% of the American people. So the question one has to ask themselves is, on this one issue where there is such broad agreement amongst the American people, why does congress and the President go against the people? You cannot ask that same question about defense, social or healthcare spending because there’s not broad across-the-board agreement. But I think on the banker thing the jury is in, and the President and congress are ignoring the jury’s verdict.

        1. DownSouth

          Correction, that should read:

          Defense spending is 155% greater than in 2000
          Social security spending is 80% greater than in 2000
          Medicare spending is 152% greater than in 2000

          And I should have said this confirms all your and my fears. Military and medical expenditures are out of control.

          1. Cynthia

            At least medical expenditures aren’t geared towards killing people and destroying property. The same thing can’t be said about military expenditures.

    5. Jim in MN

      And the funny part is, it’s the oil industry funding the Town Hall astroturfing…which makes health care just the stalking horse for the real target: Cap and trade.

      1. eric anderson

        Jim, since I know a few Tea Partiers, and would attend Tea Party events myself if I could (but my disability prevents me), I think you are mostly off base. They are not stealth oil company stooges. They simply do not want more government. How hard is that to understand? The people who showed up at town halls to complain about health care did not want to drink the swill Washington wants to pour down our throats.

        My desire for smaller government is based on a simple universal truth. Power corrupts. Give government more control over more parts of the economy, we will have more corruption than we have now. I guarantee it.

        You see, it is about values. Some people value freedom even more than government benefits that may help them. If you really value freedom that much, it is insulting for some pointy-head to come along and tell you you are voting against your own interests. Phooey. My interest is in less government, more freedom. And freedom has a price. We understand and accept this.

        1. Jim in MN

          I didn’t say Tea Partiers. I said Town Hallers. Koch Industries is the bankroller I am thinking of, although they are not alone. If people using the kind of rhetoric espoused by both groups can’t understand or come clean about the damage this does to their credibility, that just further damages their credibility.

          As for being ‘mostly’ wrong, well that means I’m somewhat right, eh? Splitting hairs here?

          People need to know that much of these movements are simply packaged, focus-group tested, corporately funded extensions of Atwater-Gingrich-Rove ‘chaos theory’ and identity politics.

          1. bob

            There was a very good article written by Playboy, of all places, about Koch being behind the teabggers.

            Very well researched and written. It appeared for a day before the story was yanked on threat of a lawsuit. Who can threaten Playboy, a decent sized company, with a lawsuit and get that kind of immediate response? A bigger, private company.


            The websites, it seems didn’t cover their tracks very well. They were paid for by Mr. Koch a YEAR before the faux rant ran.

        2. bob

          “Jim, since I know a few Tea Partiers, and would attend Tea Party events myself if I could (but my disability prevents me), I think you are mostly off base. They are not stealth oil company stooges.”

          My assumption is that they do not even know they are being used. Stealth and stooge are two very different things. Pick one and we can go from there.

          “They simply do not want more government. How hard is that to understand? The people who showed up at town halls to complain about health care did not want to drink the swill Washington wants to pour down our throats.”

          You make the assumption that everyone who disagrees with you like the ‘swill’ that Washington is pouring down our throats. I can say honestly I like it less, but for completely different reasons. You complain about heath care. Please state your complaint beyond simply “NO”. It smacks of you being used to maintain the current broken system. That system makes a lot of money for a lot of people.

          “My desire for smaller government is based on a simple universal truth. Power corrupts. Give government more control over more parts of the economy, we will have more corruption than we have now. I guarantee it.”

          This is hardly a universal truth. We disagree wildly here. You get the government that you fight for, and demand. Since the very beginning of government it has been getting bigger. There is a good reason for it, there are a lot more people.

          Limiting the size of the government does not limit the size of the population, it guarantees less government representation per person. Start with 100 senators and 1 million people. We still have 100 senators, but now 300 million people. As population rises government has to get bigger in order for it to be representative. Limiting its only serves the people who have the time and money to lobby professionally. No taxation without representation.

          “You see, it is about values. Some people value freedom even more than government benefits that may help them. If you really value freedom that much, it is insulting for some pointy-head to come along and tell you you are voting against your own interests. Phooey. My interest is in less government, more freedom. And freedom has a price. We understand and accept this.”

          This is insulting. You assume that I don’t like freedom, and that I have no values. First of all, it is none of your business what my values are. Freedom demands that. You cannot have freedom under values that are enforced. Hitler had values, and enforced them. We call that fascism.

          Pointy-head? This is just plain name calling. It is not in your interest to vote away your right to vote, and I will defend that to my death. You are of course within your rights to not vote, that is freedom, but I will not allow it to be taken from you.

        3. attempter

          Some people value freedom even more than government benefits that may help them. If you really value freedom that much, it is insulting for some pointy-head to come along and tell you you are voting against your own interests. Phooey. My interest is in less government, more freedom. And freedom has a price. We understand and accept this.

          I’ll try this again (I’ve asked this before and not gotten an answer):

          If you want freedom, then since corporate tyranny is the greatest threat to freedom today, you all must have a plan to break corporate power. What’s that plan? And why do I never hear about it? Why is it that everything I hear from these persons sounds implicitly pro-corporate?

  4. Keenan

    Perhaps we can say the cheetahs have accurately adjusted time preferences. It will become a bigger meal if they forego the drive for immediate gratification.

  5. EmilianoZ

    I like Kasparov’s article a lot. I find his idea of synergy between computer and human intelligence brilliant.

    I wish he had explained why computers have still not conquered the go game.

  6. Ronald

    organic dairy farms exist due to a premium paid for their milk. Large producers have attempted to jump the creek into this pricing pool but if the AG dept changes rules to allow larger producers into the pool then the price advantage would disappear due to a sudden overload of organic milk. The real issue is whether smaller producers can exist at all given their lower milk volume,imput costs and the natural consumer resistance to pay higher and higher prices. The only long term solution is direct farmer payments to small organic producers vs the current method which is loaded with political problems but may be the only reasonable method to keep them viable.

    1. alpwalker

      Ronald wrote: “The real issue is whether smaller producers can exist at all given their lower milk volume,imput costs and the natural consumer resistance to pay higher and higher prices.”

      Enough of the public appears to be willing to pay more for organic milk and that is why it is appealing for CAFO dairy operations to be considered organic. What’s needed is truthfulness in labeling that would give meaningful information to buyers so they know the higher price is providing higher value.

      Also, grass fed dairy cows actually cost less to maintain than CAFO cows, especially when you add in externalities such as animal health and lifespan, pollution, etc.

      Small producers can exist very well in a market that is not rigged to benefit large centralized/subsidized/regulation influencing competitors.

      USDA organic really means next to nothing. Luckily, the sustainable ag folks are already looking beyond organic.

    2. Tim de Illy


      I have to agree with Alpwalker. And for the record, I’m willing to pay more for Organic products. But I expect to get what I pay for!

      You wrote: but if the AG dept changes rules to allow larger producers into the pool…

      Allow them into the pool? Did you read the article? Huge Agri-business producers don’t want to be “let into the pool.” They want the Department of Agriculture to legitimize their Fraud!

    1. bob

      Good links. How we can spend more and get less is never asked. We used to have EQUIPMENT, now we have rentals.

      Instead of building the capacity, we pay someone else cost plus to develop and build it, and then we pay to rent it.

      Its insanity.

  7. Hugh

    Yves criticized Volcker recently for looking at only reforming traditional banking, forgetting about the larger shadow banking system. Krugman does the same. Should commercial banking be plain vanilla? Absolutely. Will this fix all the problems with the banking system? Absolutely not.

    “This article perpetuates a myth, and that myth is that when Americans go to the polls, they have an option to vote for their own interests.”

    That is wonderfully well put, DownSouth.

  8. robert

    Yves, the antelope was actually eventually eaten. The paper that included the photos lied. There are additional photos that show this.


      1. EmilianoZ

        LOL! The cheetah that licks the impala is the politician, the one that pats it is the MSM. The cheetah that goes for the jugular (not pictured here) is the banker.

      2. Kevin de Burxelles

        That’s too funny. I thought of the same thing but I had the antelope as Obama. It works better with the antelope as the US taxpayer.

        1. EmilianoZ

          The truth about the cheetahs/antelope photos. The photographer was interviewed:

          In the original text:
          L’antilope s’en est-elle vraiment sortie ?
          “En fait, elle a été croquée.”

          Pourquoi alors le Daily Mail a-t-il rapporté une autre version ?
          “Ce sont les journalistes qui ont décidé de donner une fin sympathique à cette série. Ils m’ont demandé s’ils pouvaient faire un happy end. Je leur ai dit oui. Moi, vous savez, je m’en moque. Cela dit, j’ai déjà vu des guépards laisser une gazelle repartir. Ce sont de redoutables chasseurs. Ils attrapent les animaux sans avoir forcément faim. Mais si elle s’en était sortie, elle était de toutes façons condamnée car elle aurait senti le guépard, et sa mère n’aurait plus voulu d’elle.”

          Comment avez-vous réalisé cette série ? Heureux hasard ou vous les pistiez ?
          “Mes photos ne doivent rien au hasard ! Je suivais les guépards. Je les connais bien, ces trois là. Je passe plein de temps avec eux, donc j’arrive à prévoir leurs actions.”

          A quelle distance étiez-vous pour saisir ces photos ?
          “Je devais être à 30-35 mètres.”

          Comment les guépards ont-ils réussi à l’isoler ? Etait-elle déjà seule ?
          “Elle était avec sa mère. Avec l’attaque, la mère est partie en abandonnant son bébé. Quand il y a une attaque de prédateur, l’animal a le réflexe de sauver sa peau.”

          Combien de temps les guépards ont-ils joué avec l’antilope avant de la tuer ?
          “Ils sont restés 30-40 minutes avec elle. A ce moment-là, elle n’était pas blessée.”

          Elle vous semblait paniquée ?
          “Disons qu’elle ne semblait pas au mieux de sa forme ! Savoir ce que peut penser un animal sauvage, c’est difficile…”

          Qu’est-ce qui a déclenché sa mise à mort ?
          “Elle a décidé de partir à plein galop. Ça a provoqué un réflexe de poursuite propre à tout prédateur. Un des trois frères guépards lui a balancé un coup de patte latéral. Elle a dû mourir sur le coup. Je suis sûr que si elle était partie sans courir, il ne se serait rien passé. Les guépards n’avaient pas faim. Pour eux, ce bébé de 4 ou 5 kilos, c’est un apéritif.”

          To sum up:
          1) The antelope was eaten.
          2) The Daily Mail asked permission to substitute the happy ending, which the photograph granted.
          3) Even if she had not been killed, she wouldn’t have survived. She smelled of cheetahs, her mom would have rejected her.
          4) She was eaten because at some point she bolted suddenly. If she had left leisurely the cheetahs would probably have let her go.

  9. Stelios Theoharidis

    Such nonsense. The healthcare initiative was not people fighting against their own self-interest, it was divide and conquer. In addition to mobilizing paid shock troops the conservatives went after the best of all possible interest groups, the elderly.

    They have the time on their hands to go attend these town hall meetings while the rest of people struggling to get by without health insurance are probably working. They have this extreme fear of losing their entitlements. They were fed stories that by integrating more people in the population into healthcare that it would strain the system, end in rationing, cut the quality of service, and in the worst case scenario ‘death panels’.

    Half of these people were on medicare and didn’t understand it was a government run program. Put some medical workers from the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries in the mix and you are pushing a concentrated organized interest against an unorganized dispersed one. Who do you expect to win?

    Unfortunately someone wants to peddle nonsense like it was the foolish American people. This is a basic strategy of working one interest against another and running a successful PR campaign. The groups that were organizing on the other side just could not get together and have any successful PR students, instead they focused on individual stories and marches.

  10. alex

    “The cheetahs are Blankfein, Dimon, and Pandit”

    Oh, please. The cheetah is a top-level predator that survives only due to its intelligence, strength and speed. If cheetahs behaved like the banksters that created the Great Meltdown, they’d be on the trash heap of evolution.

    The individuals you named are parasites that have infected the bodies politic and economic. Arguably there is a small symbiotic relationship in that the banksters provide money to politicians and in return the politicians give lots of taxpayer money to the banksters. But overall they are parasites that our species would be well rid of.

    1. Dikaios Logos

      I’m not sure your attempt at downplaying the cheetah/banker analogy works. Cheetah’s are close to extinction, as they have suffered seriously in the past and now possess a very narrow gene pool.

    2. Jack Parsons

      Ha! Cheetahs are a mid-level predator at most; lions cheerfully kill them.

      As to the trashbin of evolution, at one point there were only 10 cheetahs. Today, you can transplant stuff between any two with no danger of tissue rejection.

  11. Ronald

    alpwalker: The reality of small dairy operations organic or otherwise today is a quick route to BK. A family member currently runs a 130 herd dairy in Southwestern Washington and is losing 6K a month and his neighbor who has a 200 herd operation is losing 10K a month. Currently Organic producers get a higher price from processors then commercial dairies but it still is no enough for them to survive. If they allow large commercial dairies to enter the organic milk pool then the price will collapse.
    My point is straight forward in order to have a small dairy operation then we probably need to have similar views as the European community that provide direct payments to small farmers thereby insuring there survival.
    Your points about grass fed dairy is fine but then it takes larger land operations to support and weather conditions that are favorable to long periods of grass feeding. These area’s tend to be in Calif which is one of the largest Organic dairy states but it has land prices that make it impossible to have small dairy operation unless the property has been handed down from father to son.

  12. evelyn

    picture #2 I see as little antelope in confession to the Cheetah. Picture #1 I see as the absolution then bestowed by the Cheetah. But then I’ve had a very strange day.

  13. Jack Parsons

    There is an appalling bit of footage from the 1970’s National Geographic. A pair of orcas grab a seal and toss it around in the water. Then, they carefully place it on the beach and it frantically runs across the sand. Just creepy.

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