Links 10/12/10

Bumblebees prefer stripy flowers BBC

What Changes In Survival Rates Tell Us About US Health Care Health Affairs (hat tip reader Francois T)

US warning to China on maritime rows Financial Times

The Law is an Ass … Armed with Rockets Chris Floyd

Universal Travel Group: the auditor resigns edition John Hempton

No Margin of Safety, No Room for Error John P. Hussman

Blow to plans for dealing with bank crisis Financial Times

Evicted family breaks locks, reclaims home ABC. This is not a tactic I recommend, but the striking part of the piece is the police is not making the evicted family leave (yet).

Study highlights CDS shortcomings Financial Times

Antidote du jour:

Picture 9

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        1. rjs

          not sure if i buy that, russ…everything ive read in the bee journals implicates israeli acute paralysis virus at least in part, and varroa mites as a likely contributor…but everyone in MSM is afraid to say israeli in connection with a disease…

          1. attempter

            The piece doesn’t say pesticides are the main culprit and a virus is not. It only calls for appropriate skepticism regarding how the whole pesticide line of inquiry has been stanched while the MSM triumphally proclaims that disease is the decisive factor.

            I’m not familiar with beekeeping journals. How independent-minded are they? I’m asking in order to try to get a sense of how reliable a consensus among them would be, as opposed to whether such a consensus is likely to trickle down from the party line. That happens a lot with other groups.

            (For example, with the food policy sites, I’m still finding my way around in figuring out who’s really independent and who’s prone to want to follow authority.)

            I can’t resist quoting this from the article:

            The Times reporter who authored the recent article, Kirk Johnson, responded in an e-mail that Dr. Bromenshenk “did not volunteer his funding sources.”

            That is so typical of the NYT’s hear-no-evil, see-no-evil style of “journalism”. He didn’t tell me. It’s not my job to ask. It’s not like I’m a reporter or something.

  1. Jim Haygood

    “… No one knows exactly how many innocents have died as a result of drone attacks, but the total almost certainly runs to three figures. It is not easy to square that with President Obama’s insistence that his administration is ‘living by our values’ — unless American values now include the endorsement of indiscriminate killing.”

    Obama, Bush, Blair, Göring, Tojo — war criminals to a man.

  2. Jim Haygood

    “… No one knows exactly how many innocents have died as a result of drone attacks, but the total almost certainly runs to three figures. It is not easy to square that with President Obama’s insistence that his administration is ‘living by our values’ — unless American values now include the endorsement of indiscriminate killing.”

    Obama, Bush, Blair, Göring, Tojo — war criminals to a man.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Chris Floyd’s “The Law is an Ass…” is a good piece. The link above failed me, but I found the article here:

      Floyd quotes Arthur Silber: “When an increasingly authoritarian state passes a certain critical point in its development, the law is no longer the protector of individual rights and individual liberty. The law becomes the weapon of the state itself — to protect, not you, but the state from threats to its own powers. We passed that critical point some decades ago.”

      Chris Hedges, in his “How Democracy Dies”, has another relevant quote from Hannah Arendt in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.”

      “For a considerable length of time the normality of the normal world is the most efficient protection against disclosure of totalitarian mass crimes. Normal men don’t know that everything is possible, refuse to believe their eyes and ears in the face of the monstrous. … The reason why the totalitarian regimes can get so far toward realizing a fictitious, topsy-turvy world is that the outside non-totalitarian world, which always comprises a great part of the population of the totalitarian country itself, indulges in wishful thinking and shirks reality in the face of real insanity. …”

      1. Debra

        The former shrink speaks…
        Really… when you think about it, just WHAT does that “reality” word mean ?
        And what does the “insanity” word mean ?
        Those definitions, LIKE ALL DEFINITIONS of words, are CONSENSUALLY ESTABLISHED ones liable to changes all the time.
        Really, what happens when the world does a flip flop is that there is no longer consensus in the larger social body.
        Nothing OUT THERE has changed. It’s the point of view that’s changed.
        Every time.
        There is a BIG PROBLEM with the “normal” world.
        It lulls us into a basically unmerited sense of security.
        There really is no such thing as “normal”.
        Good to remember when consensus shows signs of collapsing.

      2. Debra

        And the Arendt quote is REALLY interesting on another count.
        She says “normal men don’t know that anything is possible”.
        She is opposing an OUTSIDE to totalitarian thought.
        BUT.. look at OUR society.
        In OUR society these days, EVERYBODY seems to think that everything or anything is possible (breakdown in faith and trust).
        So.. aren’t WE living in a totalitarian society already ??
        Arendt is TOO nice to the “outside” non totalitarian world.
        I got kicked off a blog a while ago for saying that I think that at this point we have managed to… make our (social) world into the INSIDE of one big concentration camp.
        No OUTSIDE totalitarian thought if that’s the case.

      3. i on the ball patriot

        And another grave and CHILLING OF FREE SPEECH threat to our ‘open’ society — the concept of “Precrime”, you can be fired for it …

        Excerpt …

        “What do Google, the CIA and a host of so-called “predictive behavior” start-ups have in common?

        They’re interested in you, or more specifically, whether your online interests–from Facebook to Twitter posts, and from Flickr photos to YouTube and blog entries–can be exploited by powerful computer algorithms and subsequently transformed into “actionable intelligence.”

        And whether the knowledge gleaned from an IP address is geared towards selling useless junk or entering a name into a law enforcement database matters not a whit. It’s all “just data” and “buzz” goes the mantra, along what little is left of our privacy and our rights.

        Increasingly, secret state agencies ranging from the CIA to the National Security Agency are pouring millions of dollars into data-mining firms which claim they have a handle on who you are or what you might do in the future.

        And to top it off, the latest trend in weeding-out dissenters and nonconformists from the social landscape will soon be invading a workplace near you; in fact, it already has.

        Welcome to the sinister world of “Precrime” where capitalist grifters, drug- and torture-tainted spy shops are all laboring mightily to stamp out every last vestige of free thought here in the heimat.”

        More here …

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Ugh, “The Minority Report”. But truth is worse than fiction: instead of cryo-prisons we have targeted murder (and collateral slaughter) — cheap and ‘sterile’, by remote control.

          Debra is right; most frogs just haven’t caught on yet. Coming soon for Homeland Security: “Israeli Cabinet Approves Loyalty Oath for Non-Jews”, starting here with non-whites.

          1. Debra

            “Most frogs have not caught on yet”…
            The breakdown in trust and faith.
            Brings your society down EVERY TIME.

  3. rjs

    here’s the link to the bumblebees:

    “Gardeners are being encouraged to grow striped flowers to encourage bumblebee populations, after research suggested the insects are most attracted to them.”

    this strikes me as idiotic advice…honeybees can tell and select flowers with the highest percentage of sugar in the nectar…while bumblebees may “see” the striped or red flowers better, the bottom line is you want to provide bee pasture that yields the maximum amount of high-sugar nectar and pollen, irregardless of the flower color or pattern…

    1. rjs

      and well im at it, i might as well point out that dandelions are one such flower, and they’re critical to building up weak bee colonies in the spring…if you want to encourage the bees, dont kill the flowering weeds in your lawns…

      1. Debra

        YEAH ! I love bees ! I don’t hate my weeds, either. Great news.
        I have a hard time pruning my bushes right now because I can see all the BEES on them. No pruning yet. Those little bees need all the help they can get.

  4. Ina Deaver

    Thank you for the link to the population mortality study. That’s interesting stuff. Personally and unscientifically, I would look to increased income inequality and decreased economic and social security in reducing women’s life expectancy during the past 50 years. Stress is a very interesting thing, and absolutely deadly.

    I’ll take some time to really review the study and ruminate on it a little. . . . .

    1. john

      > increased income inequality and decreased economic and social security in reducing women’s life expectancy

      Not just women’s, all. I’d really like to see life expectancy and other health-related numbers broken out by income group. My guess is dropping the bottom 20%, the U.S. holds its own with the “best” nations.

      1. Jim Haygood

        They tried to proxy for economic disadvantage by breaking out ‘non-Hispanic whites’ as a category in the US. But it failed to explain the survival discrepancies versus other countries with more homogeneous populations.

        The study is interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying, in that the poor results obtained from rising health expenditures in the US remain a mystery.

        1. Francois T

          A mystery?

          Only partially; the absence of integrated care and reliance of different specialists (that make a point of honor not to talk to each other unless poked by patient and family members) explains a good proportion of this poor outcome for the amount of expenditure. Case in point: chronic heart failure where we could save north of 80 billion every year if care for thee patients was coordinated.

          1. DownSouth

            But if the problems remain a mystery, that makes them inevitable and unsolvable, no?

            The social question began to play a revolutionary role only when, in the modern age and not before, men began to doubt that poverty is inherent in the human condition, to doubt that the distinction between the few, who through circumstances or strength or fraud had succeeded in liberating themselves from the shackles of poverty, and the laboring poverty-stricken multitude was inevitable and eternal. This doubt, or rather the conviction that life on earth might be blessed with abundance instead of being cursed by scarcity, was prerevolutionary and American in origin; it grew directly out of the American colonial experience.
            –Hanna Arendt, On Revolution

            The American experience, once a beacon of hope shining brightly throughout the world, has now been blotted out by a shroud of mystery and complexity.

            Is this deliberate?

          2. Debra

            So… are we going to get rid of poverty ?
            I would say… as long as the word “poor” exists, we are not going to get rid of poverty…
            Are we going to get rid of the word “poor” any time soon ?
            I think not.
            Time to get our neurons working and tackle this one another way…
            I am NOT making any form of apology for poverty, regardless of what you might think.
            But I definitely think that the manic attempt to get rid of poverty has had some pretty heavy consequences at this stage.
            Negative ideals just don’t mobilize the way positive ones do.

  5. DownSouth

    Re: “What Changes In Survival Rates Tell Us About US Health Care”

    Meanwhile, per capita health spending in the United States increased at nearly twice the rate in other wealthy nations between 1970 and 2002. As a result, the United States now spends well over twice the median expenditure of industrialized nations on health care, and far more than any other country as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP).

    Wikipedia’s ranking of countries by life expectancy.

    A wakeup call to Americans should be how it compares to Mexico. Mexico, despite its widespread poverty, ubiquitous government corruption and the existence of a deadly criminal insurgency, still ranks only slightly below the United States.

    But in the United States, American exceptionalism, a form of mass insanity, prevails.

    1. dearieme

      I blame it on the American propensity for too much dental treatment and cosmetic surgery. There’s a price to pay for all those synthetic-looking gnashers and enhanced thingummies.

  6. John

    That health care study is bunk because it didn’t control for diet. It’s taken me nearly 40 years to figure out how to eat. I think that acid-alkaline and Omega3-Omega6 balance are the two most important things to have in a diet. Most health care professionals in this country know next-to-nothing about diet.

    If the U.S. put in say $100 million or so into diet and nutrition research involving real food it could put out some actual authoritative guidance on diet as opposed to that crap food pyramid that is based on pseudo-science.

    The health care system in this country causes disease instead of healing disease. And the more money we put into it the worse it is probably going to get. It’s kind of like our shoes. Empirical research shows that countries with populations that traditionally go barefoot throughout life have hardly any foot problems. Here in America, with our massively expensive running shoes, we have tons of foot problems. The problem isn’t that we need more expensive, better designed shoes. No, the problem is that shoes need to be eliminated entirely.

  7. Gil Mendozza Zuntzes

    hum… hum… well as you see my good friend Barack now has bloody hands in Afghanistan!!! He have to get the hell out there. In my State… New Hampshire, the Republicans and the Democratic ads are on time as always the rivals on session with our evil and corrupted evil Democracy!!! we can stopped
    … We gullible… stupid… and crazy hard working Americans… let’s go Communist!

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In a more progress society, we’d have Time Magazine Cat of the Year award and this one should definitely be one of the 10 finalists.

    But no, we don’t have that because we are just a bunch of anthropocentric bigots.

  9. EmilianoZ

    Abyssinians? Why is Yves Smith always pushing foreign cats?

    Buy American! Maine coon, the homegrown cat!

  10. Ed

    Average life expectency in the US, while it hasn’t increased as much as in other countries, has in fact increased in the past few decades.

    I wonder what would be the reaction if there was a decade in which average life expectency in the US decreased, as happened in Russia with their economic collapse. That would tell us something. I wonder if this would even be reported.

    “My guess is dropping the bottom 20%, the U.S. holds its own with the “best” nations.”

    So the U.S. is not as poor, if you ignore the poor people who live in the country? Well.

  11. pg

    Re: family breaks locks

    that’s a fantastic test case. the fam has 9 kids, including a 3 year old. the publicity if the cops showed up and threw them all out on the street would be enormous.

  12. skippy

    Homeless Man Under

    Whilst I watch this…there is two ads ( one inscreen and one off to right side of vid ) for a RE auction, in my city…3br 2bh 2cr with beautiful hard wood elevated deck giving lovely views of silvery green tree covered hills.

    Obviously he deserves his status…the Gods of marketing mock him.

    Skippy…thus we live with guns pointed to our heads…look…at your potential failure…submit, submit, submit, submit, submit ad infinity or be cast aside…

    Global Spartan Neoliberalism Market Judgment…in our kindness we offer two choices…get in the pit ( provide example too others ) or the cliffs ( stop draining my resources { cough…lifestyle multipliers }).

    PS. vid for DS, IOTBP, et al…this is what we have become.

    1. Debra

      You should be writing poetry, skippy… You have a knack with words and images.
      It really could SAVE your SOUL.

  13. Sundog

    Not sure if NC has linked to Barry Ritholtz on this rule of law kerfluffle, but he’s put up some righteous and fiery posts recently.

    Also, I happened across this today and it rings so true.

    Over the past half century the financial industry has not treated the law as a bedrock institution that constrains the nature of its activities, but rather as a set of rules that can be forced to adapt to the industry’s needs and desires.

    And if anyone on NC hasn’t read this WSJ editorial, it is an absolute must. Rupert lays it out on the table here: rule of law be damned.

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