Links 10/21/10

OK, you get a lot today, in part because I am in catch up mode.

The Karmic Truth Steve Waldman (hat tip Richard Smith)

On how the leopard got its spots BBC

All Your Stonehenge Photos Are Belong To England Slashdot

Does Male Performance Advantage in Competitive Environments Explain the Pay Gap? Mark Thoma

18 Countries Where Women Have It Way Better Than In America Clusterstock

Student becomes new police chief in Mexican town Guardian (hat tip reader John M)

What I didn’t say on the BBC Ed Harrison

China Wants UN to Block Report on Chinese Ammunition in Darfur Bloomberg

The Republic of Hunger Network Ideas (hat tip reader May S)

Some sightings on squatter culture in the UK (all courtesy the Daily Mail, which I know needs to be taken with a grain of salt): Man leaves home for a week so it can be decorated and 15 squatters move in; Squatters set up home in Duke of Westminster’s £30million Park Lane mansions; Squatters wreck Inspector Morse’s £2m Victorian home; Squatters move in to £3million home and tell owners: ‘We’ll call the law if you try to evict us’ (hat tip May S, who had even more stories like this)

Liquidate or liquify? Eurointelligence (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

America cannot win the currency wars alone Arvind Subramanian, Financial Times

Commodity Futures Trading Commission judge says colleague biased against complainants Washington Post (hat tip reader cl). This OUGHT to become a major scandal, but will it get any traction? The only reason it might is that Wendy Gramm insisted on financial services industry favorable voting as a condition of appointment of one of the judges.

Foreclosure crisis tops Obama agenda Financial Times. The country has 17% unemployment (22% allegedly if you use the same metrics in place in the Depression) and the FORECLOSURE crisis is his top priority? More confirmation that all that he cares about is the pet needs of his corporate backers.

Fortune Writer Steps Up for the Banks Ryan Chittum

New York Fed Faces ‘Inherent Conflict’ in Mortgage Buybacks Bloomberg. No one can make any sense of what the NY Fed is up to. I am pretty confident they are following Blackrock’s advice, but that is still incomplete as an explanation. I plan to post later on what might be afoot here.

BofA sues FDIC over Taylor Bean mortgage losses Reuters (hat tip Richard Smith)

Next Stop in Foreclosure Fight May Be Courtroom Gretchen Morgenson and Andrew Martin, New York Times

Foreclosures Profit Some Equity Firms New York Times. This is a very bizarre article. It mentions the litigation against Great Hill in Federal bankruptcy court, and skips as quickly as possible past the central claim, that Prommis Solutions (and its owner Great Hill) are engaged in impermissible legal fee sharing. The US bankruptcy trustee for Mississippi has joined the case, both on her own behalf (meaning for her district) and on behalf of all bankruptcy trustees in the US. This means the allegations are serious; the bankruptcy trustee would not join if she thought the suit was frivolous. Yet the article avoids the dead body in the room. It looks like they pointedly avoided talking to the plaintiffs, and tried to reach only the defendants. Admittedly, the piece purports to be about the broader issue of private equity involvement in foreclosure mills, but how can you NOT dwell on whether the basic arrangement is permissible?

Consumers: Our Only Economic Hope? MIke Konczal, New Deal 2.0

Nine Stories The Press Is Underreporting — Fraud, Fraud And More Fraud Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post (hat tip Bill Black). Today’s must read. A good recap you might consider sending on to friends and colleagues who are catching up on the mortgage mess.

Antidote du jour:

Picture 19

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  1. Swedish Lex

    On Karma. Would “culture” not have been more appropriate?
    In any event, so far so good, today, that is.

  2. dearieme

    When we lived in Scotland we used to read the news on “squatting” in England and shake our heads in near-disbelief: “surely they will put a stop to this nonsense soon”. They haven’t; it’s been going on for decades. Since we now live in England, we’d welcome a stop to it, if needs be by giving the house owners the right to machine-gun the squatters.

    1. Dameocrat

      I think they should tax the shit of second homes. I think housing prices are too high, because of people who view them as investments or conveniences, and not places to live.

  3. Richard Kline

    Regarding Obama and unemployment, it strikes me as amply demonstrated to the point of truism that he just doesn’t care about it. He’s been in office going on two years, with unemployment them major problem for the nation’s citizenry throughout, and he has yet to undertake a single, substantive action against it. All of his putative ’employment stimulating actions’ have been largely directed at saving _institutions_, in the main corporations of various types: GM, the banking oligarchs, BP. Whenever he has had a chance to line up with the citizenry against ANY perp, he’s invariably come down (weakly) on the side of the perp.

    Obama has bouught the argument of the rich on unemployment so thoroughly that it’s intrinsic to his actions; that unemployment is like the weather, unfortunate sometimes but you realy can’t do anything about it except wait until it’s over. And to think, some inhaled the gross illusion that the man is an _activist_ of some kind . . . .

    1. attempter

      Obama looks like a true neoliberal believer. He really believes the primary purpose of government is to help corporations set up rent-extraction tollbooths (often with government directly serving as the toll collector, as in the case of the health racket Stamp mandate). He really believes that if a policy doesn’t focus on erecting such a tollbooth, it’s not worth doing.

      Thus for example if you say “job creation”, his word-association knee-jerk response is “employer tax credit”. Even though we know tax credits do not create jobs, for a corporatist ideologue like Obama the only purpose of a nominal “job creation” program is to convey taxpayer money to private extractors, not to actually create jobs.

      I think he’d find unintelligible the proposition that the main priority of a job creation program should be to create jobs.

      The record on this is 100%. I’d love to hear of even one counterexample. On literally every single issue, Obama and the liberal hacks advocate corporatism, no matter how grotesquely costly, inefficient, impractical, impolitic, and morally obscene.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        As William Black writes in Yves’ must-read link “Nine Stories…”, “It should be scandalous that President Obama left in charge, or even promoted, the anti-regulators who permitted the Great Recession… This is significantly insane as a matter of both economics and politics. (The administration doesn’t even seem to realize the issue of integrity.)”

        I would argue that this Orwellian unreality is in fact contrived. It is failure of ‘leadership’ by design—the disorientation and confusion strategy of the shock doctrine, leaving the people gaping and paralyzed. The pattern is now too clear to be passed off as mere dereliction, abdication, or forfeiture. It is intentional.

        1. attempter

          Absolutely. I hope Black doesn’t really think the administration is “insane” in the way he means there, and that he’s just saying that because he thinks it’s the best meassge for a certain target audience.

          (And even he still uses the word “compensation”. That drives me nuts. Can’t we purge that word from this context? And “earn”? Steal, loot, plunder, thieve, extract…)

          Otherwise, that’s an excellent piece. Fraud, fraud, fraud, massive criminal enterprise. That’s the truth, and that has to be the essence of the message, always.

        2. CingRed

          Just how does a politician from Chicago have any notion about integrity? It’s a concept that was long ago banished from their character.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      From P. 62 of “Understanding Power” by Noam Chomskky, from public discussions taking place in 1989, book published in 2002.

      “So suppose all of us here convinced everybody in the country to vote for us for President, we got 98% of the vote and both Houses of Congress, and then we started to institute very badly needed social reforms that most of the population wants. Simply ask yourself, what would happen?

      Well, if your imagination doesn’t tell you, take a look at real cases. There are places in the world that have a broader range of political parties than we do, like Latin American countries, for example, which in this respect are much more democratic than we are.

      Well, when popular reform candidates in Latin America get elected and begin to introduce reforms, 2 things typically happen. One is, there’s a military coup supported by the US. But suppose that doesn’t happen. WHAT YOU GET IS CAPITAL STRIKE–INVESTMENT CAPITAL FLOWS OUT OF THE COUNTRY, THERE’S A LOWERING OF INVESTMENT,

      Pres Obama and his overwhelming Democratic majority in Congress, has produced a reactionary move within DC by the Republicans who have THE NO DEAL political movement. The US Chamber of Commerce and the widely and proudly, and loudly broadcast of holding back investment of $1.8 TRILLION in cash, until they can read the future via tea leaves and see a favorable augur have together cobble the a strategy of RULE OR RUIN. If they can not politically control as well as economically own The United States of America, they will ruin it. Better dead than socialist red.

      1. attempter

        Chomsky said in 1989 that if he came to power with 98% support he’d still hew closely enough to the status quo ante that “capital flight” would still be an issue for a country with the resources of the US? (And with the US as a debtor country being a new phenomenon at that point.)

        That’s unfortunate…

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Try more than attempting, he would not hew closely, his statement predicted what actually happened post 2008 Presidential election. But I guess you are the most radical guy left in America, how unfortunate. Spend more time attacking the enemy, the GOP, The US Chamber of Commerce, The Koch Brothers, Melon-Scaife, inter alia. They will do more than disappoint yr finely attuned politically sensibilities. I would only argue with you, but you would disappear under the rubble of no social security, no medicare, no unions, no judicial review of any of the Uniform Commercial Code corporate behavior. I would like to know why you spend more time tearing down Obama and any of his supporters no matter what he accomplishes. In less than 2o months, with armed local militias parading around, sometimes within 100 yards of his public appearances. I have seen the GOP come to Philly for a national convention and undercover counter intelligence police arrest people 5 miles away for being too close to elected officials and menacing them. Seriously, what is yr problem? Is there any republican you can name that suffers from being in the pocket and a puppet and has boot licking adoration performed on him by the MSM or does that only happen to “he’s only window dressing for the fascist takeover” guy in the Oval Office? Newsflash, the fascist takeover already happened a long time ago and all you got was a lousy t-shirt that says I’m all over NC like some kind of Homeland Security private threat assessment contractor.

          1. attempter

            Um, all I did was ask a question based on your alleged quote, since I haven’t read that book. The quote said “us” and “we”, not “a hypothetical reformist Democrat.”

            Now you’re saying you misquoted him?

            And of course my question holds for your now-changed example as well. How would a vigorous, willful reformist American government be vulnerable to “capital flight”? Are foreign investors going to find a new planet to invest in?

            (As for domestic criminals, many might physically flee as fugitives from justice, but except for whatever physical cash they managed to stash somewhere, how are they going to “flee” with frozen and seized bank accounts? Again I’m picturing a government which would actually take action according to even a mandate like Obama actually had, let alone one with a 98% mandate.)

            That’s all moot anyway, since we know there’s no longer any textbook “investment”, but only speculation and casino games.

            I would like to know why you spend more time tearing down Obama and any of his supporters no matter what he accomplishes.

            I tear them precisely on account of their “accomplishments”, which as I said are purely corporatist and anti-public.

            I invited you or anyone else to offer even one counter-example. Since you have not done so even in a comment where you attack me, I’ll take that as clear evidence that you are unable to do so.

            (I suppose you could cite his suing on behalf of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. Even the Pentagon, e.g. Mullen and Petraeus themselves, implicitly says it doesn’t really object any longer and he can go ahead. And his opposition to gay marriage places him to the right of the likes of Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter.

            There, I’ll grant, there’s no corporatist reason for his position. It seems to be based on pure bigotry.)

            If your question really means, “Why do you attack them more than the Republicans”, well, um, they’re the ones who are, like, in power, you know? The Republicans have been completely impotent since the beginning of 2009 (and in Congress since the beginning of 07).

          2. Skippy

            In the future please never use the names Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter in the same sentence, explosives and igniters thingy.

            Skippy…if they appear in my dreams to night, your toast.

    3. Roger Bigod

      His defining move was selling out the public option, then pretending to support it for weeks. Essentially the same as an athlete who takes a payment to throw a game, then appears at a pre-game pep rally to accept the applause of the crowd.

      It appears he’s cut a deal on DADT. And after the election expect the Property Title Rectification Act of 2010.

      1. attempter

        Obama never sold out the “public option”. That was an astroturfing scam from the start, orchestrated by the administration, the liberal hacks, and the MSM, to suppress and misdirect away from the very mention of actual reform, i.e. Single Payer.

  4. attempter

    Re Stonehenge:

    Say to “English Heritage”, whoever they are: Show me the Note! Or in this case, the contract they were given by the builders of Stonehenge to own and manage its image in perpetuity.

    If they can’t Show the Note, human beings can regard such propertarian pretensions with all due contempt.

    Re “consumers are our only economic hope”:

    I think citizens are our only political, and therefore economic, hope.

    To remain “consumers” means to perish.

    This part is exactly right, according to the capitalists’ own textbooks:

    If you go to every business school’s textbooks and case studies, you won’t find good answers for this. This means that corporations can’t find a good use for their money. If a firm has no profitable opportunities, it should close and return its money to businesses. It has no reason to exist, given that its reason for existing is that it knows what to do with shareholder’s money better than the shareholders, which in this case it does not.

    Once we reach the stage of permanent oligopoly stagnation, private extractions no longer have any right to exist. Capitalism’s progressive historical mission is complete the moment a sector is mature, and it’s then time to move on to the next stage.

    But of course the “capitalists” never were in fact textbook capitalists, but gangsters, aspiring rentiers. So the moment each sector matured they sought oligopoly. Since then they’ve used that economic power in feudal ways, not textbook capitalist ways.

    “Capitalism” was nothing but history’s greatest fraud. All it was meant to do was organize the accumulation of the fossil fuel surplus so that this could be most effectively stolen as soon as we reached peak fossil fuels. At that point the elites always intended to restore full feudalism. (And of course in practice capitalism never existed in pure form, but was always a crypto-feudal hybrid.)

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      “At that point the elites always intended to restore full feudalism.”
      Whether the elites consciously intended this outcome is doubtful, but that’s the way things are working out anyway. The destruction of property rights through “bad paperwork” is a step in this process.
      When Western capitalism was in its formative stage–say 250-300 years ago–the problem was freeing property from traditional legal or customary constraints, whether feudal, tribal, or manorial. Fiefs, entailed estates, tribal lands, village commons, etc., all had to be commodified–turned into private property as we’ve known it–in order for agrarian/commercial capitalism to develop. Now that we’re moving into late capitalism the process seems to be going into reverse; rent-seeking on the part of the financial industry is dissolving private property rights and returning property to that relatively ill-defined condition it “enjoyed” in the Western world 500 years ago.
      So what’s next? Debt slavery? Peonage? Makes sense to me.

      1. attempter

        The historical intent is clear, and the conscious intent has generally been there as well. Read documentation like the Lewis Powell memo, Kissinger’s memo on petrodollar recycling, David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission manifesto, Hayek’s explicit call for corporate dictatorship, Summers’ ideological memo on using the Global South as a toxic waste dump, Cheney’s 1999 Halliburton speech on Peak Oil, etc.

        Your description of primitive accumulation via enclosure is somewhat eccentric. What you depict as a tidying up of the deed documentation was actually a vicious campaign to drive the vast majority of the people off their land, in order to create the dispossessed labor force to slave in the rising factories.

        That was the first big enclosure, the feudal-to-capitalist one.

        Over the course of pseudo-capitalism, however, much of the enclosed property again had to disperse. For various reasons, at various stages it was more efficient to do it that way, in order to extract and monetize the great bulk of the fossil fuel heritage.

        Now that this “growth” process has reached its limits, and the putative accumulation (what could be called a re-primitive accumulation, but this time it’s the old feudalists gathering back what monarchs and then capitalists took from them) is ripe to be gathered in, it’s time for the second great enclosure, the capitalist-to-feudal one.

        Whereas the first involved establishing property law, since the process was running from the old warlord might-makes-right to a more formal, legalistic form of exploitation (finance capitalism required that), the second involves recrudescing from legalism to the old brutality.

        1. Praxis

          Your description of primitive accumulation via enclosure is somewhat eccentric. What you depict as a tidying up of the deed documentation was actually a vicious campaign to drive the vast majority of the people off their land, in order to create the dispossessed labor force to slave in the rising factories.

          Well, actually initially it wasn’t. Initially primitive accumulation via enclosure was primarily achieved through unity of possession in England in the wake of the black death which left many manors entirely bereft of peasants. It was only later, when the Lords realized the enormous gains in their incomes they achieved through market determined rents on enclosed lands vs. the inflation-eroded customary rents, tithes and fines they received from their peasants that they began their concerted effort to drive the peasants from the land for their own benefit.

        2. Praxis

          On another note,

          I would beseech those who would label the current economic era as a descent into “neo-feudalism” to take a hard look at what capitalism looked like prior to WW2.

          If anything, at least the label of “neo-liberalism” represents truth in advertising. It is, exactly as it says on the tin, a return to the capitalism that predominated for most of capitalism’s history as a social system prior to WW2.

          People, of course, are loathe to realize or admit this, having grown comfortable and attached to the notion of ‘capitalism’ in it’s kinder and gentler face in the post war era, but the harsh reality is that capitalism, for most of its history, has been a very harsh and unpleasant way of life for most of those subject to it.

          1. Chris

            Unregulated capitalism as history has shown us, is always a disaster. I don’t think the object should be banning capitalism altogether in so much as it should be bringing in common sense regulations a la Western Europe. What we need is a hybrid system with strict financial and banking regulations, along with a progressive taxation system that discourages hording by a tiny elite group.

            Any and all necessities needs to be socialized for the good of the population -e.g.- healthcare, food, transportation, and housing. In some of these sectors we would have private alternatives, but if you’re down on your luck you shouldn’t ever have to worry about these things.

          2. attempter

            I assume you’re not referring to me as one of these romanticists of capitalism. Ergo my references to “textbook capitalism”, i.e. the capitalism of propaganda and ideology.

            The temporary postwar liberalization was the result of a tremendous oil surplus such that the capitalists thought the most efficient path was to temporarily co-opt part of the work force as a “middle class”. The pressures of Cold War propaganda jockeying also forced them to share the wealth a bit.

            (The end of the Cold War, the end of there being an ideological antagonist to keep each side a little bit honest, is actually similar to what happens when the corporate Democrats come to power. When Republicans are in power, at least some Democrats, some of the time, feel the need to resist Republican policies. When the Dems are in power and enacting Rep policies like the Bailout, the war, the health racket bailout, escalating weapons budgets, the assault on civil liberties, the assault on transparency, presidential murders, and so on, there’s no one to resist those Rep policies.)

          3. DownSouth

            Very good point, and absolutely necessary to understanding our current situation.

            There is one thing the capitalist has in common with the feudalist, and that is that the church in which he worships is incapable of learning, evolving or of changing its doctrines.

            Saint Vincent of Lerins had written in his Commonitoria (Memoranda, c. 430) that the Church had become “a faithful and ever watchful guardian of the dogmas which have been committed to her charge. In this secret deposit she changes nothing, she takes nothing from it, she adds nothing to it.”
            –William Manchester, A World Lit Only by Fire

            And as Carlos Fuentes points out in A New Time for Mexico, nothing ever changes with liberal economic theory either:

            It is worth recalling that the prefix “neo” is particularly well suited to this doctrine, which already had its chance in Latin America during the last century. Throughout the nineteenth century, Latin America followed the precepts of laissez-faire and the magic of the market, and its nations implemented policies geared toward exporting raw materials while importing capital and manufacutred goods. Powerful economic elites emerged from Mexico to Argentina. The hope was that the wealth accumulated at the top would sooner or later find its way down to the bottom. This did not happen. It has never happened. Instead, the wealth generated at the working base found its way up to the top and stayed there.

    1. EmilianoZ

      Nobody will dispute that here. I think it is safe to say that was the greatest con in American politics. It was like this movie “The Sting”. We were the mark. It played out beautifully. The mainstream media disguised Obama as “The Man With the Most Liberal Record in Senate”. That was repeated everywhere. The Republican leadership was terrified that such a man could ever become head of the nation. How could that be? How could the land of the free be turned into the Soviet Union overnight? We lapped it up, the whole show, not bothering to check the facts, what Obama had actually done as a state senator (see Paul Street’s books for that).

      You have to hand it to them, that was a masterpiece of scam artistry. It’ll be studied for years to come. I just hope that we will learn our lesson and never forget what the mainstream media did to us.

  5. LeeAnne

    Karma or no karma. An entire generation couldn’t resist the most evil among them, and still haven’t a clue as their inheritance is flushed down the toilet.

  6. moebius

    Obama says “look forward, not backward” in regards to our banking crisis. The mendacity of applying this rational to a debt crisis is mind blowing. The enforcement of debts is fundamentally about looking backwards and our national problem is that their is too much debt.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      So true. It doesn’t take a lot of words to lay bare the insidiousness of the President’s policies and arguments.

  7. tyaresun

    The CFTC judge story is a real soap opera. He is being tagged as senile by his wife who practices law in the same court and has filed for divroce against the judge all at the same time.

  8. Ina Deaver

    RE: Judge Painter — this has been quietly kicking around legal circles for several days. I cannot express how extraordinary it is for any judge to comment on — let alone trash — any other sitting judge. Even when judges are corrupt or incompetent, other judges will take their work from them and you will get nothing but a notice that the case has changed dockets. So the very fact that Painter did this, and that it is seeing the light of day, is genuinely shocking.

    Everything that Wendy Gramm touched has turned out to be entirely corrupt. Were one to indulge in guilt by association, one would be saying some very unkind things. I do often wonder what the Board of Enron think of their work. . . .perhaps someone should ask Mrs. Gramm.

  9. jussayin

    Re: pay differentials between men and women:

    It’s not PC to say so, but certainly part of the difference, in some situations, can be explained by time on the job.

    Example (true situation): Two women hired as entry-level professionals in high-caliber field. One single with no kids, one married with 3 children born in the first 4 years on the job. By the end of the fourth year, the second woman was earning substantially less than the first woman (and most of her male colleagues).

    Was it unfair that she got paid less? Her unmarried and childless female colleagues certainly didn’t think so. In aggregate she worked less than 2 of the 4 years due to maternity leave, so she contributed less to the company and was quite far behind her colleagues in experience and skill level. This is not a value judgement on having kids vs. not – there are many benefits and costs to that – it just recognizes the reality of the situation in the workplace.

    1. Praxis

      Example (true situation): Two women hired as entry-level professionals in high-caliber field. One single with no kids, one married with 3 children born in the first 4 years on the job. By the end of the fourth year, the second woman was earning substantially less than the first woman (and most of her male colleagues).

      Was it unfair that she got paid less? Her unmarried and childless female colleagues certainly didn’t think so. In aggregate she worked less than 2 of the 4 years due to maternity leave, so she contributed less to the company and was quite far behind her colleagues in experience and skill level. This is not a value judgement on having kids vs. not – there are many benefits and costs to that – it just recognizes the reality of the situation in the workplace.

      Do you think, perhaps, that you might be ignoring how the social expectation that mothers but not fathers take time off for having children, and the social expectation that the vast majority of child rearing is done by mothers rather than fathers might influence this situation?

      Do you think that mothers but not fathers would continue to be harmed by this if both parents contributed equally to time taken off as parental leave and in child rearing afterwards?

      1. LeeAnne

        Children need their mothers; men are not mothers and no political correctness or feminist ideology will make it so.

    2. Ina Deaver

      Oh sure – that works. Unless, of course, MEN who started at the same time and have children are making as much as the woman who remained childless — OR BETTER, MORE. Because I think you will find that is the case.

      That two women may make different choices with regard to how much time they devote to their family life is very sensible. That women are expected to make a choice, while men are expected to not have to, is not. It assumes that men don’t want to spend time with their families, and it assumes that women are worth less to companies because they will. Neither is true, and both are sexist and stupid.

  10. Doug Terpstra

    On Mexico’s newest police chief, Marisol Valles, 20, you have to love the young for the faith they hold. In a culture of emasculated machismo, she’s a lovely antidote to fear. I hope she doesn’t lose her head.

    “We are doing this for a new generation of people who don’t want to be afraid anymore. Everyone is frightened – it is very natural,” she told Mexican media. “My motive for being here is that one can do a lot for the town … we are going to make changes and get rid of a little of the fear in every person.”

  11. Cynthia

    Multi-billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has his eyes on China:

    Keep in mind, China is an authoritarian state. And like all authoritarian states, China doesn’t want its people to think freely, much less think critically. And since Facebook encourages its so-called “friends” to think freely as well as critically about things, Facebook is a threat to China’s goal of keeping political dissent at bay. On top of that, Facebook is a distraction in the workplace, thus it harms worker productivity. This is why Chinese manufacturing companies and American companies whose products are manufactured in China view Facebook as a cancer to their profit margins.

    So unless Zuckerburg can figure out a way to turn Facebook into an effective surveillance tool for the Chinese government, giving Chinese authorities a better shot at tracking down political dissenters with the aim of throwing them in jail, it’s best that he stays out of the Chinese market. Then again, if Zuckerburg is so consumed by greed that he’ll put money and power ahead of free speech and freedom of expression, he’ll have no qualms about selling his soul to the deeply authoritarian state of China.

    Let me also say that because Facebook is, above all else, a tool for consumption and as long as China remains a country that produces a lot more than it consumes, the Chinese market won’t be a big moneymaker for Zuckerburg and his Facebook Empire.

    1. chad

      Selling user, specifically dissident user, information to the Chinese government could be worth a lot.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Are these the famous Chinese acrobat squirrels?

    Have they been stealing all the circus shows around the forest by working for fewer nuts?

  13. Robert Speirs

    Honestly, how can any adult NOT know that the leopard’s spots are for camouflage in the jungle, just like the zebra’s stripes help it disappear in long grass? Talk about obvious! BBC is taking “dumbing down” to the extreme.

    1. Ina Deaver

      I believe, well – heartily hope – that this is an allusion to Kipling. Most British would get that. If I say “the elephant’s child,” any Brit I know gets immediately what I’m talking about.

  14. Sufferin' Succotash

    A ghastly thought just occurred to me as I was pondering the treatment some homeowners are getting at the moment:
    “That Brit series Little Dorrit…it’s, it’s An Instruction Manual!!

    1. attempter

      People may not be interested in the potassium monopoly, but if you’re at all dependent upon industrial agriculture, that monopoly’s interested in you.

  15. propertius

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight:

    We can claim occupancy of Stonehenge by squatting there, but we dare not take pictures of it.

    It makes about as much sense as TARP, I suppose.

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