Links 11/3/10

Bird-mimics steal meerkats’ food BBC

Liver Hormone Is a Cause of Insulin Resistance Science Daily

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance Atlantic (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

How much oil is there, how much more will we use and at what price? PhysOrg (hat tip reader Robert M)

The Rally to Restore Journalism The American Prospect

The Education Bubble Continues Captain Capitalism. This is more than a bit of a distortion, since Jamie Galbraith made precisely the same argument years ago (IIRC 2003) in his book The Predator State, without the gratuitous chest-beating. But I guarantee high levels of student debt + no ability to discharge it in bankruptcy + terrible job market for new graduates is going to create a whole new set of stresses.

Advancing Oligarcy: a conversation with James Kwak The Straddler

Deliberate Evil: The American Strategy of Seeding Civil War Chris Floyd

For 2010 elections, it’s all about the economy, exit poll shows Raw Story

Rubin’s unhelpful fiscal exhortations Felix Salmon. I’m glad someone did the heavy lifting of shredding this piece. I saw that FT op ed and groaned. As one reader remarked, having Rubin write about the economy is like having Pol Pot write about human rights.

Detachment from Reality and Innumeracy as Impediments to Rational Discourse Menzie Chinn

In G.M.’s Comeback Story, a Pivotal Role Played by Washington New York Times. More Obama PR, which as the election results last night show, is no substitute for leadership and sound policies. And Malcolm Gladwell roundly debunked the idea that the Obama Administration made any real contribution to the GM turnaround.

Attorneys ask courts to toss out foreclosure cases Baltimore Sun (hat tip Housing Wire)

Derivatives Still Special After Overhaul New York Times

Better a distant judge than a pliant regulator John Kay, Financial Times

Antidote du jour:


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    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I thought they were a cute couple, but I guess these days, you couldn’t really tell.

      Perhaps it was a marriage of convenience from the start. The cat probably needed and so did it for the money and his fancy toys.

      It’s all history now. Just another sad story.

  1. attempter

    Re the education bubble:

    Yes, he’s right about “lefties” like David Brooks who shill for the academic-industrial complex – it is a scam.

    Student debt is classic predatory lending on the part of con men (the government and the universities) who conspire to sell an expensive, worthless product. (I’m talking about the “degree” as a career “credential”. That’s just a modern version of the medieval chain across the river, an extremely expensive, purely artificial barrier to entry which has no intrinsic value.)

    The debtor prey are then “legally” forestalled from discharging the scam debt even in bankruptcy. So it’ll be harder for them than for housedebtors, who can jubilate at will. But since the system has placed its relation to them in the state of nature, they have a moral right to renounce the debt and then do whatever they have to do economically and politically to survive. Hobbes himself said so.

    (I suppose they could at least sue the universities en masse for fraud. Whatever the courts would say, the cases would have merit. After all, it’s the universtities themselves who gratuitously abdicated any humanistic role and chose to start calling and considering themselves “vendors” providing a “service” to “customers”, instead of educators of students.)

    Re Peak Oil:

    This clown, a “growth” fundamentalist, is cute the way he starts out castigating everyone else for ideology and emotion and for not being reverent toward the science.

    He proceeds immediately to tell a lie, that reserves are “the highest ever”. This is directly a lie in that it’s based on what we know are fraudulent OPEC numbers. For example Saudi Arabia’s “proven reserves” have magically hovered at exactly 262 billion barrels since the mid 80s. Everyone else in OPEC has performed similar miracles. The same dubious reportage is rife around the globe.

    Meanwhile it’s also a lie in that oil production already has peaked, at 86-87 million barrels per day, in 2004 or 2005 (05 at the latest). Since then we’ve been on the “bumpy plateau”, as Peak Oilers call it. We might’ve already seen the classical Peak, where rising demand tries to outstrip stagnant or falling supply, if the crash of 2008 hadn’t depressed demand.

    So his vague concession that we “might” someday see the Peak is also a lie. We’ve been on the plateau for 6-7 years now.

    To see the height of an anti-scientific superstitious mentality, just consider the vaguely expressed conviction of the whole argument. He implicitly takes infinite growth and infinite energy consumption on religious faith, is annoyed that he even has to address a pesky intrusion from the world of fact like Peak Oil, waves his hand at it, and continues with his cornucopian sermon.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That Peak Oil argument is curious, to put it mildly. He basically denies Peak Oil as a meaningful factor, but then says we really need to reduce our usage for other reasons (but he still defends the car!)

      The one credible argument was one I saw maybe 2 years ago (I need to find it, I actually posted on it) by a very highly respected oil scientist who is adamant we have to get off oil for environmental reasons (as in he is decidedly anti
      “Drill, baby, drill”). But he gave a very detailed discussion of the statistical methods used for estimating reserve sizes, and how they resulted in underestimation in a meaningful way.

      I should find the link now, but I am up an hour and a half later than I resolved to be.

      1. DanB


        Reserve estimates are almost assuredly overstated. It is complicated, but Attempter is in my view right in his comments. The much more important factor is Energy Return on Energy Invested, and that appears to be falling, form a 100 to 1 ratio in the Spindletop days 80 years ago to about 20 to 1 now. It’s why BP was drilling Deepwater: desperation for oil ay any cost or risk of damage. And we’ll never, ever stop using oil for environmental reasons -again see Deepwater. We’re just not wired that way; the future has no value to corporations.

        In sum, peak oil -whether it occurred in 2005 or will in the next few years- changes everything and makes a return to growth as we’ve known it impossible -another lesson we collectively will not learn until no other explanation makes sense.

        1. DF

          Declining EROEI, while definitely undesirable, doesn’t seem like a travesty to me as far as oil is concerned.

          After all, the main reason why we use oil in the first place is because it is portable (almost no stationary electricity generation uses oil anymore). There’s ample energy in the form of coal, (maybe) shale gas, and nuclear (both thorium and uranium). Even if every 1MJ of nuclear power only produces .5MJ of usable diesel/gasoline in the Alberta tar sands, that scenario still seems okay to me for satisfying our transport needs.

      2. attempter

        I’ve seen all kinds of arguments. But those are always contradicted among their own ranks. For example the industry-friendly USGS itself gave an underwhelming estimate of how much undiscovered oil may lie under the Arctic (one of the great frontiers touted by the cornucopians). They projected, IIRC, 25% of the world’s undiscovered reserves may lie there.

        That may sound impressive in the NYT, but it’s really not, since nobody outside CERA is claiming to expect to find much more oil anywhere on Earth.

        Even the boosterish IEA has been comically coming in off the ledge just a little more each year, ratcheting down its projections from the absurd to the merely implausible. (And then we learned a year or so ago that the US government had put pressure on it to goose those projections. So what the IEA really thinks is even less than what it says.)

        Oh well, when all else fails there’s always the “abiotic oil” fairy tale. The funniest thing about that is that even if true, it would still be creating new oil on geological time scales, which is just a little bit slower than the rate at which the depleting fields need to be replenished.

        And finally, DanB is right – the very fact that they’re even doing ultradeepwater drilling and exploring the Arctic, or gouging out the tar sands, is proof that the oil companies themselves believe all the easy-to-extract oil is gone, and no more will be discovered.

        1. Lidia

          The Alaska oil deposits just recently got re-estimated at about 10% of what had been counted on, I believe. They do say there is more gas than expected.

    2. DF

      My question about the “trades are better” — is that still true with the collapse of the RRE/CRE bubble? A lot of those trades were construction-related.

      Similarly, the author mentions computer programming. I would imagine that the trade school programmers would be some of the first jobs offshored/H1B’d.

      1. attempter

        One of the implications of Peak Oil (and of neoliberalism itself, may I add – many of the conclusions we must draw from the neoliberal onslaught would be true even in the absence of the fossil fuel issue, which reinforces them) is that lower-tech mechanical skills will be at a premium.

        Especially in the informal economy.

          1. liberal

            I could be wrong, but I think all he’s saying is that you can outsource your Java programming to India, but you can’t outsource your plumbing.

          2. attempter

            In a nutshell,

            1. The drawdown of the fossil fuel heritage, AKA energy descent, will eventually restore our energy consumption to normal historical, i.e. pre-industrial levels. While it was probably possible to rationally use the fossil fuel platform to build a steady-state, self-sustaining renewable energy infrastructure and economy which would be below the current level of energy consumption but could have sustained civilization at a level well above the pre-industrial, this opportunity was squandered. It was thrown away on “growth”, wars, “consumerism”, and in general rationing by wealth rather than by reason. So we’re headed back to the pre-industrial. In most sectors this doesn’t matter much (and in much of the world it won’t be much of a change at all), but it’ll be especially devastating where it comes to corporate food production, which is absolutely dependent upon massive inputs of cheap oil, gas, and coal, and will be utterly helpless without them.

            That’s why America needs millions of new small, “organic” (i.e. historically normal) farmers, and it needs them now. That’s why we need the land. That’s a human survival imperative.

            2. It just so happens that even if there weren’t fossil fuel limits, a pre-industrial state is precisely where the criminal elites intend to send us. (But their calculations are also based on Peak Oil.)

            3. So in both cases the partial answer is relocalization of our economies, and seeking sustainability and resilience in our community production. That will have to include both learning to grow our own food and craft our own tools and so on without reliance upon oil; it will also have to include doing so in subversion and defiance of centralized, tyrannical economic and political structures meant to bury us alive and prevent our accomplishment of freedom via this relocalization. (Which is also the only way we can redeem democracy and freedom itself.) The pending Food Tyranny Bill (slated to be acted upon during the lame duck session; everyone should beware; I don’t have time to fetch links now but can get them later) is one such menace.

            So under those circumstances, mechanical knowledge, being able to craft things and fix things and keep things running with materials at hand and minimal reliance upon external economy, is likely to be valuable for barter or whatever alternative arrangements we’ll be crafting.

          3. Richard Kline

            So attempter, pre-industrial production simply won’t feet 350 million people, so the trajectory you envisionis one of tremendous die off, with an unstable political outcome which would swamp any actual program. I am, btw, all in favor of vastly more organic farming, all the better, but this is not _the_ solution, only part of a large process ideally. Most of the public? Given a vote, they’ll vote for corporate factory farms yielding more calories, that’s a cinch, so how to you propose to counter that?

            —But we are not headed back to ‘pre-industrial society.’ Not in the cards, and here’s why: we have plenty of energy. The only issue with using this non-carbon energy is that it costs more than we have gotten used to budgeting. So what we are talking about is a major readjustment in our budgeting priorities to where our energy costs are, ohh, twice what we pay now, and where personal pollution mobile modules are likely reserved for the rich. But that’s _not_ pre-industrial, it’s more post-industrial.

            Our real argument at present, not that we’re having it now, is between the public consumers of energy and the corporate profiteers of an existing but crumbling energy production regime. Places where the government is strong enough to enforce a transition to non-carbon energy—well, China if you like—will be in the forefront and come out the best. Places where existing corporate oligarchs block any transition until the resent techno-regime collapses will, well, _collapse_. Like the US for sure, but not obviously Europe. One more thing we have to thank our oligarchy for . . . . Hanging’s too good fer ’em.

          4. attempter

            These aren’t “choices” we have. There’s physically not enough fossil fuels to make possible these options you too seem to think are available (and thus you’re asking me how to overcome what people would “vote” for and so on).

            Here’s a good summary of how there isn’t “plenty of energy” the way green cornucopians think.


            As I said in the earlier comment, any significant renewables buildout, even given a reasonably sane political system, would depend upon a foundation of plentiful fossil fuels. But we’re reaching the end of that condition. And as you say, there’s no sanity or good faith at all in this system, so it’ll keep going the way it is unto collapse. I’m not sure how you think this collapse won’t result in pre-industrial conditions, which are already prevailing for more and more people in America itself.

            As for my political and economic ideas, obviously there’s no question of submitting them to a national robo-vote. They already are, little by little, being voted on at the local level and making steady if slow progress. But the real vote is the vote of how more and more people are trying to find their way to living this way.

            I’m not sure why you think it’s less practicable for a growing number of people to actually change the way they live to the point that we could eventually reach a critical mass in some regions (even though this process is already happening), but you do seem to believe in reformism within the system. Thus the only barrier to deploying the “plenty of energy” is the political budgeting process – so all we need to do is vote in leaders who will budget in a rational, equitable way. I have to admit that to me sounds far less plausible than the way I propose. For years now all reformism has sounded less politically practical than going straight for radical change, and so far I’ve been proven right every time about the “reforms”.

            So it’s a debate over whether each of us should vote with his actions, feet, wallet, and work to convince others to join that movement, as opposed to still thinking that “voting” within this system, for or against corporate agriculture, for or against a rational renewables buildout (if that’s still even physically possible, which it’s probably not), can ever accomplish anything other than futility and a sham cult of crackpot civics.

            (I love the Dred Scott mentality of all the liberal hacks, sincerely outraged over the stupid, ungrateful “property” who ran away from the Democratic Party plantation. I don’t mean you’re one of them, but I do think that’s typical, if an extreme example, of the voting ideology in general, which is in essence an elitist mindset. Citizenship is freely chosen constructive action limited only by the natural environment and our own creativity. It’s not passively, consumeristically “choosing” among officially sanctioned “choices” which trickle down to us from elites. But that’s what representative pseudo-democracy is, by definition.)

            So I think economic relocalization is compelled by the natural resource fact, while that and its complementary political anarchism also constitute the most promising possible path to redeeming any kind of freedom and prosperity, economic and political. It’s definitely the only possible path to true democracy.

        1. Lidia

          Everything attempter said, plus the fact that when you learn pre-industrial skills, your expertise can only grow, whereas 80% of the tech-oriented information I learned in college is now obsolete.

  2. russell1200

    Jack Goldston described the search for advanced degrees, and the requirements for previously unneeded degrees as a “credentialing crises.” But he was referring to it in reference to the Early Modern period of European history. And it looked than a lot like todays.

    He explained as an fight by the elites and new elites over dwindling positions in relation to population size. Since these societies were pre-industrial revolution, they were very much under Malthusian influence. We of course have banished these influences. When this pressure is relieved, the need for credentials evaporates.

    As an unfortunate aside: the Chris Floyd web site allows for some rather nasty trojans in its advertising: I would not go there unless you have very good firewalls.

  3. purple

    The high costs of educations+weak job market means less students will see the benefit of going to college.

    It just means the US will continue to get dumber and less competitive on the global market, more reliant on skilled immigrants, who will have less of a need to move here.

    If someone believes this can be solved with earnest letters to the editor they are hopelessly naive.

    1. DF

      Conversely, it could make us smarter. People will more carefully scrutinize the ROI on a given degree before pulling the trigger, as opposed to just going to college by default after high school.

    2. curlydan

      Thought the article was fairly weak.

      He says, we now have so much school that “having an education is pretty much worthless and is nothing special.” That’s simply wrong. Less than 40% of Americans have graduated from a four-year college–and frankly I think it’s closer to 33%. Many jobs will have a completed college degree as a minimum requirement.

      Student debt is a bubble. The rise in tuition is a bubble as well. The tuition increases have greatly outpaced inflation and must revert to a mean at some point with the obvious interaction between debt and tuition trends. While these bubbles are due to be popped, the ability to complete a four-year degree (probably with far fewer choices in majors and not as many multi-million dollar new student rec centers) will still be special and in the minority for a long time.

      One other thing about the article was the fact that being a roofer is a good trade to know right now. I think there might be a lot of unemployed roofers who disagree.

      1. DF

        I think that the real problem is that Americans are over-credentialed, but under-educated. A lot of what’s taught in higher ed is often at best worthless and at worst counter-productive in the real world. Moreover, a lot of degree programs are not at all rigorous. There’s a lot of people who hold college degrees who can barely write a coherent, readable paragraph.

        The writer of the article says something to this effect in regards to MBA’s in a different post.

      2. DF

        I think it also depends on the degree. If you read a lot of law school blogs, you’ll see a lot of JD’s complaining about how they have $100k in education debt but can only find part-time jobs reviewing contracts for $12/hr.

    3. vlade

      Almost by definition, if 50% of population (or more) can pass a degree, then the education provided there is not very demanding – and possibly should be moved to a lower institution.
      Unfortunately, some governments have not a goal of education but a goal of having people with degree, which are two different achievements – and the market happily provides.

      On a slightly different note. One finds that just about anything one learns at the university can be learned – in less time – on a job. Yet, going to the university WAS important to the employers. Not because of the ‘training’, but because it showed commitment and ability to learn much more credibly than if you say on your CV “I’m committed person and a good/fast learner”. In game theory it’s called signaling (you credibly – by incurring non-trivial cost, which is the only credible way – signal your abilities/intentions).

      Now, this signaling means you can get an employment advantage, which can be monetised. Thus, other people, for whom the signal is unachievable in normal means, should be willing to pay up to the difference for a fake signal.

      At the same time, if the fake signals proliferate, employers will either ignore the signal or use only institutions where the signal is at least hard to fake (which right now is pretty much none – you can buy a fake Harvard degree too, just not from Harvard, but makes no difference).

      This is a problem which would exist regardless. But, people who believe that title on its own guarantees a better job (as opposed to the non-trivial effort in getting it) – such as some government – are making the situation worse, as they pollute the signal way past what it would be normally.

      1. vlade

        I’ll just add to it that student loans in “we want most of population educated” environment just allow to purchase the signal to more people, diluting it even more.

      2. Lidia

        Vlade, I would also say that the education “bubble” is a result of systemically dwindling employment over many decades, although it’s been happening in a stealth way. People used to get jobs at 14, then 16, then 18… Now in Italy it’s normal for people to finish university at 30! There’s just not enough work for all the graduates to actually do, so the time on their hands must needs get diverted into more and more “higher education”.

        1. Lidia

          P.S. of course this comes at a cost (instead of the utopian free time for self-improvement and self-directed study that higher productivity was supposed to bring modern society…).

  4. LeeAnne

    The Rally to Restore Journalism The American Prospect

    Just as I was thinking about the sorry state of journalism and its success of its destruction by those now in power as the basis for the rise of the corporatocracy now extended just in time for the mid term elections by a twisted Supreme Court into the voting process itself, with journalists forced to cater to power as stenographers, and how all it takes for some of them to make $hundreds of millions in radio and TV is to be crazy ranters, windbags connected to the Geobbels/Luntz propaganda pipeline and a slavish house staff for running errands to keep them in Oxycodon style, along comes a hasn’t-a-clue- blogger, Courtney E. Martin, all bubbly and inspired by the weekend rally version of ‘why can’t we all get along’ to tutor us on how to solve the journalism problem:

    … It is our right to demand the kind of media that will make our body politic healthier — coverage that is more nuanced and accurate, less grandstanding and oversimplified. How do we do that? By reading, watching, and listening to the kind of media we are demanding. It’s all well and good to tune in to The Daily Show for 30 minutes each night, but what shows, websites, or publications are you spending your time with during the other 23.5 hours in the day?

    …well, we all need to make a living somehow.

  5. Richard Kline

    My view on improving the quality of American news reportage: quit watching the news and start making it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      As ol’ Frank Roosevelt might have said, this is another day which will live in infamy.

      The bankster cartel which owns a quasi-federal agency has announced a program of ramping their securities holdings at public expense, by stealing our purchasing power to do it.

      Forget the partisan sandbox. The only meaningful political act is to abolish the Federal Reserve.

  6. John from Concord

    Gladwell didn’t really “debunk” the idea that the Feds did any good for GM — the quick bankruptcy did lots of good for the business, if not for all of its stakeholders! — but he did debunk the meme that Wagoner did nothing of value, and (more entertaining, if not more important) the idea that Rattner did much of anything useful, or that he had any sort of clue.

    1. Dirk

      Yes. The essential point of the Gladwell article that I inferred was that one could have replaced Rattner and his team with a bottle of Folger’s Crystals and with the support GM was given by the Feds the company would have turned around. Interesting that delusion on Wall St is up there with DC. One reason they get along so well I guess.

  7. i on the ball patriot

    Chris Floyd is a powerful writer but almost always seems to fail for me in that he stays in the ’box’ of war and does not extrapolate out to the greater society the dynamics of war creation that he exposes in such great detail.

    His article linked today; “Deliberate Evil: The American Strategy of Seeding Civil War” is a perfect example of an opportunity missed for such inference.

    The lesson to be inferred – the dynamic – for all citizens of the world to see, especially scamericans, is that of the divide and conquer strategy used by the wealthy gangster elite. It is simple in concept yet varied in its deceptive execution, but in its essence it always works the same; to create intentional chaos so as to profit, control, and exploit that chaos.

    In every nation state box this intentional divisive dynamic is repeated over and over and over again. All that changes are the target marks that are divided and the sophistication of the deceptive process of division that is employed. Those that do not see that “deliberate evil”, to use Floyd’s term, in their leaders, and recognize that those same leaders will, and are, using that deliberate evil against them are fools.

    The proof is always in the pudding. Trickle up gangsterism is increasing globally as oppression and exploitation trickle down.

    There is always a hierarchy to gangsterism and there are always more dominant deceptive actions. In many ways the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is a sub dominant diversion for the greater global intentional financial chaos war now being waged against the masses globally, and in sum total, that intentionally created financial chaos will be more damaging to more people. That is where the focus should be. I hope more people will get out of their system provided boxes and take a broader more all encompassing viewpoint in the future.

    It is discomforting to know that the scamerican people legitimized and validated their own exploitation at the polls yesterday in the Republican Democrat charade and that the gangster elite will now celebrate that mandate and use it to further tighten the screws of oppression against all.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Wow, deadly aim, as always. Even Floyd must have heard you. About the perennial diversion and division, the ad nauseum electoral volley of one fractional faction to another, he writes this morning:

      “…the American electorate never quite grasps the obvious, glaring, brutal fact that neither of these factions is ever going to change the system one iota if they can help it; they are the system, they are its servants, its enablers, its enactors. Then again, we are dealing with, to borrow Gore Vidal’s deathless phrase, the United States of Amnesia, where history doesn’t exist (except in the form of feverishly distorted self-righteous myths about America’s eternal super-duper specialness), and every election is a tabula rasa. The only flickering historical awareness that seems to exist in the American electorate is a vague sense that the gang they voted in two years ago hasn’t changed anything; better try the other gang again … forgetting this is the same gang they threw out the time four years ago, for the same reason.”

      “So the cycle goes on and on, and the rot and dysfunction grows deeper, and ever more intractable. The people’s concerns are not only not addressed; they are not even articulated by anyone in the lucrative, sinister game of King of the Hill played by the two factions, both of which are pledged, body and soul, to elite rule, corporate rapine and militarist empire… ”

      “…both factions are – literally, legally, formally, undeniably – packs of war criminals, pledged to the continuation of a rapacious empire of military domination that is killing innocent people, fomenting hatred and extremism, and destabilizing the world. The myth of specialness prevents most people from seeing the truth of what their bipartisan political establishment is doing to the world – or even to themselves, how it has stripped them of their liberties, corroded their society, destroyed their communities and degraded their quality of life, while diminishing the lives and futures of their own children and grandchildren. Most Americans apparently cannot break out of the narrow cognitive structure that has been imposed on their understanding of reality: i.e., that America is inherently, ineradicably good, that whatever mistakes it might make here or there (usually when one’s own preferred faction is out of office, of course), this essential goodness remains inviolate, forever untainted by any genuine evil.”

      Is Karma comatose or dead? Will the “gangster elite” ever reap what they sow?

      It’s a great essay, but read at your own risk. (A couple of commenters here have mentioned trojans on his site — perhaps sabotage or denial of service attacks. And I always thought trojans were safe:-)

      1. i on the ball patriot

        Thanks Doug, that was a good read …

        Your question; “Is Karma comatose or dead? Will the “gangster elite” ever reap what they sow?’, is excellent and pivotal, and something that Chris Floyd said about scamericans (in the piece that you recommended), “they don’t want to turn the mirror on themselves”, has a strong bearing on it.

        The problem is that the scamerican people will, and are, waking up in a bottom up fashion as they are dumped from, and by, the now overly corrupt system, and they, stripped of resources, unfortunately do not have the resources to effect change.

        Those at the top in the smaller Control Driven Pernicious Greed faction do not want change as they are the instigators.

        So, change, if it is to come at all, must come from the far larger faction of good old fashioned Profit Driven Vanilla Greed folks. That is why I try to keep that division alive and work to make the Profit Driven Vanilla Greed crowd realize that they are not included in the new two tier ruler and ruled world, and even if they do survive, they will not like the conditions that they survive in. The scamerican spirit, and the human spirit globally, is being intentionally wasted and murdered. It will not be pretty.

        I would like to see Chris Floyd attack the intentional global financial class war on the middle class and the under classes with the same zeal he attacks the scamerican military machine. The global financial elite, that control the central banks and their respective nation states, militaries, and combined media (Mr. Global Propaganda), need to be exposed by an authentic and credible voice. And as I said above the intentional global financial crisis/war on the domestic middle classes and the under classes is a far more damaging war.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  8. Nun

    There is a trojan on your link to “Deliberate Evil: The American Strategy of Seeding Civil War Chris Floyd” Please stop linking there.

  9. Taxpayer

    Re: Deliberate War…

    Killing Each Taliban Soldier Costs $50 Million

    Killing 20 Taliban costs $1 Billion / Killing all the Taliban would cost $1.7 Trillion

    By Matthew Nasuti

    October 05, 2010 The Pentagon will not tell the public what it costs to locate, target and kill a single Taliban soldier because the price-tag is so scandalously high that it makes the Taliban appear to be Super-Soldiers. As set out in this article, the estimated cost to kill each Taliban is as high as $100 million, with a conservative estimate being $50 million. A public discussion should be taking place in the United States regarding whether the Taliban have become too expensive an enemy to defeat.
    Each month the Pentagon generates a ream of dubious statistics designed to create the illusion of progress in Afghanistan. In response this author decided to compile his own statistics. As the goal of any war is to kill the enemy, the idea was to calculate what it actually costs to kill just one of the enemy. The obstacles encountered in generating such a statistic are formidable. The problem is that the Pentagon continues to illegally classify all negative war news and embarrassing information. Regardless, some information has been collected from independent sources. Here is what we know in summary and round numbers:
    1. Taliban Field Strength: 35,000 troops
    2. Taliban Killed Per Year by Coalition forces: 2,000 (best available information)
    3. Pentagon Direct Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion
    4. Pentagon Indirect Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion
    Using the fact that 2,000 Taliban are being killed each year and that the Pentagon spends $200 billion per year on the war in Afghanistan, one simply has to divide one number into the other. That calculation reveals that $100 million is being spent to kill each Taliban soldier. In order to be conservative, the author decided to double the number of Taliban being killed each year by U.S. and NATO forces (although the likelihood of such being true is unlikely). This reduces the cost to kill each Taliban to $50 million, which is the title of this article. The final number is outrageously high regardless of how one calculates it.
    To put this information another way, using the conservative estimate of $50 million to kill each Taliban:
    It costs the American taxpayers $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban

  10. ep3

    Yves, in regards to the GM bailout.

    Note, $50 billion was needed to set up the retiree health care fund. That strangely matches the amount GM received from the gov’t.

  11. craazyman

    anybody can educate themselves. the higher education gulag is just an apprenticeship for the corporate gulag, by and large. There’s little else to say about it. Except for the good parts — the partying, the beer, the grain alcohol, the other mind altering substances. That’s about all that’s really mind expanding. Otherwise it’s an armature for the assembly line of mechanized death. If somebody really wants to learn, there’s always the library, for free. Or channeling, but that takes some degree of preparation. I think one could even learn quantum mechanics from the library, although I suspect most folks would need someone who could answer the inevitable questions that would arise.

    Once again the whole debauched circus reminds me of a passage in Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, that metaphorically illuminates what the gulag leads to and what happens after the debt is taken on. you’re a footsoldier or a slave. either way you’re an abomination in the eyes of the true God, the Gnostic Christ Consciousness, and it’s like a plague upon you, a money plague, that won’t lift.

    “They clanked past, marching with a swaying gait like wind up toys. Bearded, their breath smoking through their masks. Shhh, he said. Shhh. The phalanx following carried spears or lances tassled with ribbons, the long blades hammered out of trucksprings in some crude forge upcountry. The boy lay with his face in his arms, terrified. They passed two hundred feet away, the ground shuddering slightly. Tramping. Behind them came wagons drawn by slaves in harnesses piled with goods of war and after that women, perhaps a dozen in number, some of them pregnant, and lastly a supplementary consort of catamites ill-clothed against the cold and fitted in dog collars and yoked to each other. All passed on. They lay listening.
    Are they gone, Papa?
    Yes, they’re gone.
    Did you see them?
    Were they the bad guys.
    Yes, they were the bad guys.
    There’s a lot of them, those bad guys.
    Yes there are, but they’re gone.

    -Cormac McCarthy, THE ROAD, Vintage International, page ninety two

    1. eh

      If you don’t think education has done good things for us, then do me a favor… take your computer and burn it.

      All the infrastructure you’re using to pump your perceptions of reality into the ‘ether’… all that there band theory n-type p-type solid state physics, NP-complete, laplace transform invoking mumbo jumbo… yup, it was all brought to you by people who weathered that college life and actually learned something from it.

  12. Sundog

    Here are a couple of longish pieces via Bruce Stirling, who blogs at

    [TS] So my question is, who’s making the jet ponies for the algorithmic economies in the sky that you just described? How can we make a play from the bottom up?

    Tish Shute, “The Missing Manual for the Future: Tim O’Reilly’s Four Cylinder Innovation Engine”

    [BFS] To me — leaving aside the constant, ongoing battle about whether or not economics is really a science, and admitting from the outset that I’m not an economist by any stretch (I don’t have a Ph.D. in economics; I’ve never run an econometric study; I’m just someone who reads a lot about economics and economic policy) — the science in my science fiction is economics, as it has been for a few other science fiction writers as well (Neal Stephenson and Charlie Stross come immediately to mind).
    [BFS] But the attention to criminal activity in particular, crazily enough, began from a combination of people I met in New York and elsewhere and that famous article by Charles Tilly, “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime,” which got me onto a string of reading books and articles about the connections, both conceptually and practically, between government, business, and organized crime, and between the formal and informal economies generally. The most compelling stuff I’ve read is the stuff that understands the formal and informal economies — or, put more sharply, legal and illegal activities — as parts of a larger system, and I suppose I like writing about people who live in the gray areas between legal and illegal work because it’s my sense that they have the clearest view of how the system works, and how they can survive, and perhaps prosper, within it.

    Brian Francis Slattery in conversation with Simon Glezos

  13. Conscience of a conservative

    Let’s face it. Anything that Rubin writes is suspect. He is the administration. He raised money for Obama acts as an informal advisor and is responsible for Obama’s selection of Summers and Geithner.

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