Links 10/27/10

Clever New Caledonian crows go to parents’ tool school BBC

Nature’s backbone at risk PhysOrg

Giant crater may have been extinction trigger Cosmos

Rand Paul supporters stomp liberal activist YouTube

Assange: The Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land… Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett Counterpunch (hat tip reader Cynthia)

NYT v. the world: WikiLeaks coverage Glenn Greenwald

The Petroleum Broadcast System Owes Us an Apology Greg Palast

U.S. and Europe Urged to Join Forces on Rare Earth Metals New York Times

Race to Replace China’s Rare Earths May Take Decade Bloomberg

What Does it Mean to Live Beyond Our Means? Marshall Auerback, New Deal 2.0

Time Standing Still Cassandra

A Visual Representation of the Wall Street-Main Street Disconnect Michael Panzner

U.S. Seeks to Shield Goldman Secrets Wall Street Journal. The US prosecutor has been very, one might say surprisingly, aggressive on behalf of Goldman from the get-go. Of such raw material are conspiracy theories made….

Too Little Tim Duy. Important, despite the minimalist title

Bob Perry, Real Estate G.O.P. Donor Mike Konczal

Economists: U.S. should remove top bank execs over foreclosure mess Washington Post

U.S. probing foreclosure processing firms Washington Post

Banks Turn Their Reserves to Profit Wall Street Journal. The “pretend” part of “extend and pretend”.

Consumer Contraction Now Exceeds the Great Recession Rick Davis

Economy is running out of gas MarketWatch

Antidote du jour:

Picture 1

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. DownSouth

    Re: “Rand Paul supporters stomp liberal activist YouTube”

    These are confusing times in America, when up is down and down is up.

    The Nazi heel comes to America, but in the name of libertarianism.

    1. attempter

      Confusing only to those who don’t understand the Orwellian term “libertarian”. (Which I know you do.)

      In the 19th century the term was originally invented and used by anarchists. It was a synonym, and signified rejection of all tyrannical, coercive, hierarchical power, both government and corporate, public and private, political and economic.

      It was only in the 20th century that corporatist thug intellectuals managed to hijack the term “libertarian”, using it to fraudulently pose as opponents of government tyranny, the intent being to misdirect attention away from growing corporate economic and propertarian tyranny.

      And of course the real goal is to support aggressive private tyranny, using government as the hired thug of that tyranny.

      That’s why “libertarians” bizarrely, in self-contradiction, say they want government to be strong about enforcing “contracts”. Why? That doesn’t make any sense given the premise of non-coercion. If we’re cooperating freely, why do we need a contract? And if one of us changes his mind, then free consent no longer exists, so surely the moral contract must no longer exist.

      The core pervertedness of it is the notion, sort of a reverse-Original Sin, that In the Beginning There Was Consent, and that was the only time it ever needed to exist. That’s used to justify all private property in land, for example, and coercive contract law as well.

      The best I can gather from their incoherent nonsense, because some mythologized ancestor of mine consented to something ten thousand years ago, that justifies land inheritance today. And the same mystical principle is used to justify big, strong, aggrssive, violent, coercive government, wage slavery, and debt slavery today. Ten thousand years ago someone consented for all of us. So therefore all those things are actually “liberty”.

      That’s the “libertarian” ideology in a nutshell. That’s how they derive their version of Freedom is Slavery.

      Some anarchists still fight to take back the term. It certainly is an Orwellian nuisance.

      1. eric anderson

        “That’s why ‘libertarians’ bizarrely, in self-contradiction, say they want government to be strong about enforcing ‘contracts’. Why? That doesn’t make any sense given the premise of non-coercion. If we’re cooperating freely, why do we need a contract? And if one of us changes his mind, then free consent no longer exists, so surely the moral contract must no longer exist.”

        This is truly idiotic analysis. Free consent occurred when the parties agreed to a contract. You do not get to change the terms later. This is a basic moral principle of honesty and fair dealing. Of course the government should enforce it. You speak of morality? No, you speak of dishonor, breaking your pledge when it begins to hurt to keep your word. It’s a form of dishonesty.

        A five year old can understand this. One brother says to another: “I will give you half of my candy bar if you pick up my toys.” A contract is entered into. No coercion. The toys are picked up. Now, the first brother thinks the work is only worth one quarter of his candy bar. Put simply, this is cheating. Should Mom and Dad enforce the contract?

        Now today on the national stage we have contracts being entered into where massive fraud (cheating) is involved. Do libertarians want those contracts enforced? I hope not. They should be broken, and the fraudsters should be locked up. Instead, we have the national authority (Uncle Sam instead of Mom and Dad) reluctant to punish the cheaters.

        Please tell me, what libertarian works are you reading to make you believe that libertarians side with the cheaters?

        1. Anonymous Jones

          You actually make a few good points, eric, but your analysis does suffer from a few flaws.

          First, there is no necessary correlation between a simple point-in-time example (the boy and his candy bar contract) and a complex system (an economy that is temporally continuous and encompasses billions of transactions with varying degrees of leverage, adhesion, unconscionability, etc.). This type of argument is only compelling to people who do not understand systems or complexity.

          Also, while I agree with you and doubt that any libertarian works directly promote the protection of “cheaters,” as has been discussed here before many times, enforcement of rules against “cheaters” is very expensive, and many “libertarian” doctrines lead to a starve-the-beast strategy, which undermines the ability to police “cheating” (yes, our huge government is not doing so good a job either, but there are other large governments that are effective in policing “cheating”).

          attempter’s point about consent to a system that was established before our birth remains sound. It is, in fact, incontrovertible. I cannot imagine ever being convinced that I have a moral obligation to adhere to a property distribution that was extant before I entered this world.

        2. Toby

          I’m not sure how respected a work it is, but a while ago I read Charles Handy’s “The Empty Raincoat”, of which all I now remember is how, in the author’s experience doing trade with China, contracts were frowned upon by the Chinese. If memory serves the argument put forward by his prospective Chinese business partners was that deals should be mutually beneficial, such that neither party could possibly want to break it, which would require plenty of wriggle room. That a contract had to be signed at all made the Chinese suspicious the contract would be locking them into something they would live to regret, that it was designed to conceal gotchas. In their view, the more open the arrangement, the more motivated both parties are to keep their partner happy. Mutual trust kind of thing.

          I never looked into how representative Handy’s experience was, but the story has stayed with me. Something about it makes deep sense.

        3. attempter

          Anonymous Jones already gave the same answer I was going to give on which “libertarians” support cheating. The answer is of course all of them.

          Since you called me an idiot, I’ll feel free to say that you’re either an idiot or a liar if you say we should pay attention to what a “libertarian” says rather than what he does. No matter how much you claim to oppose crime, if you:

          1. Set up a nihilistic, sociopathic propertarian system based on greed and lies;

          2. Then gut both the law itself as well as all public interest (as opposed to pro-corporate) enforcement,

          then you really want pure Hobbesian might makes right. You will the end, you will the means.

          A corollary of that, with which I know many of the commenters here agree, is that the means you will are the real signifiers of the end you will.

          “Libertarians” all will means which empower the most vicious thuggery on the part of the rich. Therefore, that’s also the end they will. That’s how they bizarrely want to get rid of all government except…except what? It must be quite an exception. Basic, decent health care, perhaps? Food security? It must be something like that, right? What! enforcing contracts?! Where TF did you come up with that as the transcendent priority?

          As I said, what a bizarre thing to have as your monomaniacal fetish. Unless one’s a rich criminal.

          As for the “contract”, how can it be free if it has to be enforced by an alien power outside and indeed “above” the community? Anarchists, as human beings, actually live in a human community. They freely cooperate. That’s the only “contract” they need. If someone really insisted on loafing, then he’d go hungry according to the principle, He who doesn’t work doesn’t eat.

          And if someone were an incorrigible welsher on two-person deals and such, he’d be shunned and no longer find that route of cooperation open to him.

          In both cases society does what you, mired in elite-speak, call “enforcing contracts”.

          The reason you’re confused is precisely because you’re brainwashed into the propertarian greed ideology. Therefore you simply can’t comprehend a world where people cooperate because they know it’s the best way, and just as important because they want to. For you, if there’s no gun to people’s heads, nothing gets done.

          That’s only because that’s the kind of world the likes of you have set up. It’s like the way Malthus or Hardin delivered analyses which could lead to two opposite conclusions. Each, out of his brainwashing and/or tendentiousness, chose the conclusion mired in the greed ideology.

          But either problem could, with at least as much reason and far greater moral logic, have called for a democratic, public-oriented solution.

          The same is true for all of our problems. But the status quo ideology, including economic “libertarianism”, wants to drown the human soul in its cesspool forever.

          1. Robert Dudek

            Libertarianism fails at its root because it posits that human beings are self-contained atomistic entities. This is of course a pure fiction, as all of us have been nurtured within a society and what we are is in large part what society has made us to be.

            This makes libertarianism a utopian doctrine – meaning is poses the same sorts of dangers that other utopian doctrines, such as Marxism and fascism pose.

  2. Toby

    Re: “Nature’s backbone at risk”

    Which is humanity going to choose: perpetual growth at all costs, or a new money system that permits and encourages a sustainable relationship with the planet that gives us life? Should we continue trashing ecosystems’ ‘idle’ resources for max profits in the quickest time, or learn wise husbandry of nature as a top priority? This is the most important decision we face, worldwide. Everything else comes a distant second to this.

    From the article:

    “The ‘backbone’ of biodiversity is being eroded,” said the great American ecologist and writer Professor Edward O. Wilson, at Harvard University. “One small step up the Red List is one giant leap forward towards extinction. This is just a small window on the global losses currently taking place.”

    Why is perpetual growth ‘good?’ Because our private, debt-money system necessitates it.

    1. Miguelito

      Re: “Nature’s backbone at risk”

      sorry the negativity but icant see humans as a whole doing anything beyond the current pockets of conservation that are done now. Humans are just as short sighted as other animals so a slow moving issue such as biodiversity erosion will only be handled in a reactive manner – which may be too late.

      1. Toby

        I agree with you more or less, but that doesn’t stop me from being one of the many shouting about this. It is extremely important…

        One thing is for sure though; negativity is not helpful.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          But it helps to get things started by not calling ourselves Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

          We are Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens.

          That’s not negative. It’s just being humble.

  3. attempter

    I’m glad to read that the NYT and its hatchet-hack John Burns are getting such blowback on this. Burns seems upset.

    I believe him when he says he’s “puzzled” by the response. A bullying boot-licking thug often is sincerely surprised when the targets are angry and fight back. Thus he thinks it’s strange and hypocritical that Greenwald accused him of a “smear job”. Evidently in Burns’s mind calling someone’s piece a smear job is itself a smear job.

    I don’t doubt that Burns actually thinks that, because as a true bully he really thinks power has the right to kick down, and nobody below has the right to hit upward.

    He also tries to defend the piece on the merits. He’s fatuous enough to say “the NYT doesn’t engage in hagiography”. On the contrary,

    1. The NYT engages in hagiography all the time, especially on the business page.

    To give some particularly discreditable examples, the NYT saw fit to give fluff pieces to health “insurance” lobbyists and executives. Yves said flat out she thought the Ignagni piece was straight lobbyist stenography, a “PR plant”.

    That’s the kind of slime the NYT considers worthy of hagiography. And of course Burns would be more familiar with hagiography like the quasi-Davidesque magazine profile of McChrystal (he eats one meal a day and chases loafers off patios), and although I don’t recall what pieces have been written about Petraeus, I’d be willing to bet on their tone.

    2. The Burns hit job on Assange was of course nothing but negative hagiography. And he’s fraudulently posing as a “journalist”.

    By contrast, I’m clearly and openly an advocate, yet in the three pieces I’ve written which discuss Assange, although I’m clearly supportive, I don’t think my positive tone is as pronounced or anywhere near as “hagiographical” as Burns’ negative hagiography. I don’t go in for positive innuendo the way the NYT goes in for negative innunendo.

    The NYT is a disgraceful ream of power-worshipping lies and hack scribbling. Greenwald’s (or his staffers’) assemblage of news headlines from around the world, including “even Politico”, all saying the same thing: variations on “US abetted torture by Iraq government forces”, contrasted with the NYT’s “Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands”, is maybe the most devastating single graphic I’ve seen. It lays bare the fundamental depravity of the “paper of record”, and by extension of the entire corporate media.

    The people no longer has any use for this media. It’s nothing but poison to us. We should repudiate it completely, and certainly refuse to ever pay another cent for it. Such a boycott would destroy them once and for all.

    1. craazyman

      “Any newspaper, from the first line to the last, is nothing but a web of horrors, I cannot understand how an innocent hand can touch a newspaper without convulsing in disgust.”

      -Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

      1. i on the ball patriot

        I cannot comprehend of “an innocent hand”.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

          1. i on the ball patriot

            With raised eyebrow … One?

            Would that be left or right?

            Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  4. Ted K

    I can’t resist commenting on one thing here, related to the Europe and American tag team on the rare earth metals. I think a more natural partner, and frankly more reasonable and easy to get along with, would be Canada. I think (although I can’t swear to it) I read they have plenty of rare earth metals in Canada. Canada probably wants to have ready access to that for their military and their technology as well. Why not share the costs, the training, and the jobs 50/50??? I think Canada makes a much more natural and much more agreeable partner than Europe. Europeans can’t even agree on the same way to tie their shoes, so why open another can of worms on top of our stupidity of shutting down these rare earth “factories” the last 10 years or so??? On top of that Canada has been our best friend and come thru for us on many things FEW other countries would have.

    This is something President Obama could hit a real “home run” on politically, instead of being hypnotized in his own rhetoric.

    1. attempter

      You sure have the SPP concept down.

      And we know Obama loves predatory globalization schemes, including with Canada, which is why his flunkey HRC (Hillary Ribbentrop Clinton) is about to illegally approve a tar sands pipeline.

      But during the campaign Obama seemed to disagree with you on how politically popular NAFTA-type tyranny is. That’s why he lied, publicly claiming he’d revisit aspects of NAFTA while privately reassuring the Canadians he was only lying about that.

  5. Chris

    RE Goldman

    This article highlights how obvious it is who this government really works for. The government sending its goons after a lone hacker for one of the biggest trading firms ever, if not THE biggest?

    Conflict of interest.

    Furthermore, if the judge agrees to seal the source code, there will not be a “fair” trial, assuming the charges brought to bear are fair in the first place.

    1. alex

      And what happened to that silly 6th amendment, with it’s “speedy and public trial” provision? How can you seal a courtroom from the public during a criminal trial? What next, a military tribunal in Gitmo?

      1. Chris

        The rich get a more “fair” trial than the rest of us. He who can afford the best lawyers, and has connections to the highest government officials, wins.

  6. LeeAnne

    Assange: The Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land…

    Priceless1 A look at Swedish law and police state complicity. Violating their own rules regarding rape charges, easily made, but also prevent punishing publicity against the accused. This Assange case violating that rule as described in the article is with little doubt the result of US police organization training under cover of drug laws exported to the rest of the world.

    Fascinating, how the US, harbinger of freedom, is now the most supportive of police suppression. Only the illegal gun and drug trade under the thumb of the CIA could provide the resources for such an accomplishment in a democracy of free people.

    All of this is the result of the American people who, in their prosperity, have mistaken liberal government with a government that can be trusted. No government can or should ever be trusted anymore than you would trust putting your cash on a bank shelf while you turn your back to use the ATM.

    Americans became too complacent and need to change radically. We will have failed until the government is AFRAID of the PEOPLE.

  7. Chris

    Re: Crow’s intelligence

    A bird in England figured out how to pry the foil top off of
    a milk bottle to get at the cream. Within a few weeks every bird of the same species in the entire British Isles was
    doing the same thing through imitation and learned behavior.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Today’s Antidote: The big dog is too big to fail.

    Let the little dog heal you.

    That’s the human way.

  9. Tertium Squid

    WSJ article about impending Federal Reserve “stimulus” just about takes my breath away.

    Money quote:

    “Unlike in March 2009, when the Fed laid out a program to buy $1.75 trillion worth of Treasury and mortgage bonds over six to nine months, officials this time want flexibility as they assess if the program is working.

    Mr. Bernanke has used the analogy of a golfer with a new putter: Unsure how it will work, he finds best strategy is to tap lightly at first and keep tapping until the golfer figures out how best to use the putter.”

    This is the about the most distressing analogy I have ever heard. Unleashing the distorting effects of hundreds of billions of savings-sabotaging $$$ onto our ecoonomy is prosaically likened to an expert golfer perfecting the use of a precise new instrument.

    If I were making the analogies, I would view it more like a general calling for deployment of a nice little A-Bomb, rather than one of the unnecessarily big ones.

    But I guess if $1.75 trillion is your “driver”, then what else would we call a few measley hundred billion?

  10. Fred

    That poor woman at the Rand Paul meeting is a professional provocateur. It’s another Gulf of Tonkin incident.

    You cannot be functional in these times unless you look beyond the surface of things.

    1. Bill White

      What does “professional provocateur” mean, anyway? I think it means she doesn’t like Rand Paul.

    2. wunsacon

      Fred, that is a poor comparison. We didn’t have film of the torpedos. But, we have film of Rand Paul supporters stepping on a woman’s head.

      I wish Rand Paul would say to his supporters (and you, apparently) something a little stronger than he has so far. Something like: “Do not embarrass me and do not embarrass yourselves with behavior like that.”

  11. Calvin

    OK, Gitmo, rendition, water boarding, assassination,all’s fair in love and war, but the CIA using
    gender studies, the ultimate psyop operation?
    How low can you go?

    “She had invited Julian Assange to a crayfish party, and they had enjoyed some quality time together. When Ardin discovered that Julian shared a similar experience with a 20-year-old woman a day or two later, she obtained the younger woman’s cooperation in declaring before the police that changing partners in so rapid a manner constituted a sort of deceit. And deceit is a sort of rape.” “Anna Ardins cousin and near friend is Lieutenant Colonel Mattias Ardin, Deputy Head of Operations, Swedish Joint Forces Land Component Command, who works with Nato Operations … in Afghanistan. There´s a possible CIA connection.”

  12. kravitz

    From the ‘We’re not crooks, but those crooks are, so we have to be crooked too?’ department of WT…….

    Fidelity National Drops Plan for Lender Foreclosure Guarantee

    The company won’t require an indemnity agreement before insuring individual foreclosed properties, according to a memorandum to employees yesterday. It will continue the arrangement with Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. lender.
    Fidelity National reversed course from a requirement put in place a week ago after institutions took steps to police foreclosure paperwork, according to the memo. Failure of other insurers to follow its lead also put the Jacksonville, Florida- based company at a competitive disadvantage, said Peter Sadowski, executive vice president and chief legal officer.

  13. Hugh

    If Duy is right, it looks like QE2 will be QE2 in name only. I figured when Bernanke started talking about it, it would be in the range of about a trillion dollars. It would probably take that much to keep all the casinos afloat for a year, but if it comes out as pocket change, then the recent run up in stocks should go bust, and bubbles will start popping next year.

  14. leroguetradeur

    I think Auerback will be proved wrong in the following way. QE2 will happen, along with very large deficits, and everything will appear to be going according to plan. Then one day, who knows when, sometime in the next two or three years, asset prices will suddenly start to take off, and we will also have serious consumer price inflation, which as soon as it has started will turn out to be impossible to control.

    What will have happened will be a change in the velocity of money, which will take place against a backdrop of huge supplies of liquidity. Once this gets under way we will see price rises that will terrify anyone with any savings, which will increase velocity. As that happens, bond prices will of course collapse. That too will provoke panic.

    Auerback thinks that as long as inflation is relatively under control deficits don’t matter, and he may be right, but what he is not reckoning with is the real world effects of what happens when inflation starts to cease to be perceived to be under control in a situation where we are awash with liquidity.

    I think this is likely to happen sometime in the next two to three years, and it will be disastrous and a final wipeout for the middle classes. It will also provoke a move to the right, and to isolationism, of a strength not previously seen in American history. Its going to be a very rough ride indeed. At the end of it, Auerback will be sitting in his office looking out of the window wondering how he could have been so wrong.

Comments are closed.