Links 2/25/11

Baby Dolphin Deaths Spike on Gulf Coast The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (hat tip reader furzy mouse) :-(

Craigslist ‘a cesspool of crime’: study IBTimes

Pathogen in Roundup Ready Soy and Corn Could Lead to Calamity, Scientist Warns Mother Earth News and Letter to Vilsack About Dangers of Roundup Leaked Save New Mexico Seeds (hat tip reader furzy mouse). The lengths Monsanto has gone to to preserve its profits from Roundup, which was the company’s big cash cow in the early 1980s, are remarkable.

How Common Is Financial Infidelity? New York Times

Protesters killed in Iraq Day of Rage rallies ABC (hat tip Clusterstock)

Qaddafi’s Grip Weakens With Loss of Territory and Insiders Bloomberg

Libyan crackdown ‘escalates’ – UN BBC

Now Gaddafi blames hallucinogenic pills mixed with Nescafe and bin Laden for uprisings… before ordering bloody hit on a mosque Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). I know Daily Mail is a mere tabloid, but it does have a way with headlines.

Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators Mother Jones

All-American Decline in a New World Tom Engelhardt

Muslim group seeking Huckabee apology for ‘infidel’ comments The Hill (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Fake ‘Koch’ call to Walker uses HR 3 arguments against unions David Waldman

Fox News Chief, Roger Ailes, Urged Employee to Lie, Records Show New York Times

UK growth revised downwards Financial Times

Washington Wrecks the Economy: More Evidence Dean Baker

Does The U.S. Really Have A Fiscal Crisis? Simon Johnson

Shock Doctrine, U.S.A. Paul Krugman, New York Times

Walker’s Budget Plan is a Three-Part Roadmap for Conservative State Governance Mike Konczal

Retailer results show US consumer caution Financial Times

A Blank Check For Cleaning Up Madoff’s Mess Floyd Norris, New York Times. $228 million for the investigation, and on its way to over $1 billion.

Soc Gen’s Economic Surprise Indicator Barry Ritholtz. God knows, I have been hearing right, left and center how the market’s technicals either suck or are “vulnerable” for the last ten days.

Is that a Pink Flamingo I See? Macro Man. The flamingoes are back!

Bankers Apoplectic Over Arizona’s Republican Dominated Senate Passing Chain of Title Bill, 28-2 Martin Andelman

MBA panel: Tread carefully when going after strategic defaulters Housing Wire. The banks sound awfully righteous when they have no ready way of knowing if a default is “strategic”

Fannie, Freddie, FHA combined REO Inventory at Record Level Calculated Risk

Is the Fed blowing bubbles in structured finance and insurance? Christopher Whalen

Conservative nostalgia for Victorian era is dangerous Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-02-25 at 6.53.07 AM

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  1. attempter

    1. There’s no such thing as “strategic defaults” among the non-rich. The facts are that the banks have destroyed the real economy and have been systematically destroying jobs for decades. This process is only accelerating, and is intended to be permanent. Pensions, all of them, are also in the firing line. As are all safety net programs. As are all public amenities.

    Under such wartime conditions, no one who’s not rich can vouch for his financial condition going forward. No one can state with confidence, “I can afford my mortgage.” A year from now, maybe it will turn out one could, maybe it will turn out one couldn’t.

    So anyone who’s not rich who claims, “I’m not confident I can afford my mortgage” and walks away from it (or better yet stops paying but stays in the house) is correct.

    2. For over a decade the banks, government, and media have systematically lied about mortgage debt. Even as the banks and Fed blew up a bubble and they all propagandized for it, the banks were systematically undermining the real economy and destroying real jobs. So they knew they were making loans which could never be repaid. So all mortgage lending (not just subprime) was by definition predatory lending and fraudulent inducement.

    We who are the victims of this monumental crime and the added one of the robbery of yet more tens of trillions via the Bailout, owe nothing on any such fraudulent loans. All such false debtors should Jubilate them and regain their freedom.

  2. psychohistorian

    I want to be on record as giving plaudits to Krugman for his Shock Doctrine posting. I encourage him to continue speaking like this and thank him for doing so.

    1. Amit Chokshi

      I have not yet read PK’s shock doc but Naomi Klein wrote a book called Shock Doctrine. Take and make crap up to scare people and then co-opt various institutions to railroad a bunch of unpopular measures.

      1. Rex

        Amit says, “I have not yet read PK’s shock doc but Naomi Klein wrote a book called Shock Doctrine. Take and make crap up to scare people and then co-opt various institutions to railroad a bunch of unpopular measures.”

        Thanks for taking the time to post about a short article you have not read. And as an added bonus we get some random criticisms of some serious-sounding things that are too vague to identify.

        Feel free to babble on incoherently anytime you choose. You don’t happen to be a Glenn Beck follower, do you? I thought I might have sensed a certain harmony in your post.

  3. russell1200

    The newspaper classifieds had some of the same problems as Craig’s list. The primary difference is that the predators were usually preying on those who posted ads, and Craig’s list allows for the reverse.

    Fortunately the amount of face-to-face crime, as compared to the volume of business is low, but it would make me nervious.

  4. a

    Re Dean Baker’s “Washington Wrecks the Economy.” The paper he cites, which apparently is the first which judges the stimulus on what it actually did, estimates the multiplier of the stimulus to be between 0.5 and 1.0. That is, Washington spending 100 dollars increased the GDP by only 50 to 100 dollars. I’d say that indeed it shows that Washington has been wrecking the economy, but not in the way that Mr. Baker meant.

  5. Richard Kline

    What I found particularly interesting about the Afghanistan occupation psy-ops flap is that the Lt. Col. tasked with developing the program refused to implement it, and when reprimanded by his superior (effectively destroying his career) he went directly to Michael Hastings, the journalists who undid ‘Teflon’ Stan McChrystal. The guy did it as an act of conscience primarily. It’s important to understand that while our present military policy is awful and self-defeating, and our present military strategy in SW Asia a lousy exercise in ineffectual operations and public progaganda, there are many honest officers and enlisted men who take their profession and their oath seriously even though their given crap policy to execute. The military is not a monolith. We need more like this particular officer to call failure by its name, and get their people out from under this stupidity and back home . . . .

      1. Paul Repstock

        Perhaps we can create a counter culture. Everyone donates a nickle to purchase a few acres of swampland, somewhere these poor unfortunates, can live out their concience stricken lives without fear of retribution. A Place for the whisleblowers, the Daniel Elesbergs, and Jullian Assanges of the world. I got it! Antartica! No cellphone coverage, no internet, no more chance for them to interfere with the march to doom.

    1. Lidia

      At another site I frequent, a commenter posted this:

      “My BIL is doing contracted work in Afghanistan. He has been totally brainwashed in just three weeks. The psy-ops are unbelievable. I can’t believe the things he was saying/is saying the two times I’ve spoken with him . He is totally indoctrinated. Talking about the urgent need to kill Afghanis like rats or roaches before they kill us on our streets. He is a contracted worker, not a military guy, but they start out at an military base. I got pissed at him and said “remember you read the Kite Runner? These are humans with families and a unique culture not rats!!”

      (emphasis mine)

      1. Rex

        Yow. Scary stuff.

        Also, just above was this, “Unfortunately it’s the scum that rises to the top, not the good guy with a conscience.”

        I immediately though of Dwight Eisenhower. I don’t think he was scum, but it seems the ethics of our times have shifted a lot since then.

        I was an infantry soldier in Vietnam, so I am well aware that it is inevitable to dehumanize your enemy so you can deal with doing what needs to be done. I think my unit managed to keep things in perspective as much as possible. Mi Lai was an example of what can happen if a group loses that perspective.

        If our whole organizations are losing human perspective, it can’t go well. The increasing use of Predator drones worries me because real force is being wielded in a one-sided, video-game world where the realities are easy to ignore.

        It seems ethics are becoming optional or pliable in our current times.

  6. John Emerson

    “Classifieds site Craigslist has been linked with 330 crimes, 12 murders and 105 robberies or assaults in the United States last year due to anonymous interactions on the site, says a new study.”

    Craigslist is at the level of “some guy you ran into in a bar” (or a laundromat, or a coffee shop). It’s a tiny bit worse because you can’t see his (her) face, but it’s uncheckable and no-guarantee.

    How many murders are linked with bars? Certainly thousands, maybe tens of thousands. And in fact, the argument that they should be closed down was made, but in the end we decided against it.

    Zeroing in on Craigslist this way is just part of the general attempt to tame the internet and get it under control. Craigslist should be watchful and make changes, but they shouldn’t cop to the tacit accusation here that internet encounters with strangers are more dangerous than other encounters with strangers.

    I’ve had my own, not costly, Craigslist experience. I had some junk to haul when I moved, some of it salvageable, and the Craigslist haulers who came (very low bid) seemed like hillbilly speed freaks. Everything went OK on my end, but my son who is more streetsmart than I am told me that they almost certainly dumped my stuff in a ditch somewhere.

    1. curlydan

      Craigslist is a threat to consumerism, and the authors probably don’t like that.

      As a relatively new parent, I can attest to the large amount of plastic junk needed for a baby. Frankly, buying that junk at Babies’R’Us or Walmart is a huge waste of money and resources. Buying it on Craigslist makes sense, but since it saves money and resources, it is a threat to a consumerist society.

      In fact, I thought I remember that Wal*Mart was considering buying Craigslist a few years ago. I mean, from a corporate or govt perspective, why waste a platform where the middleman gets no cut and links buyers and sellers together with no apparent boost to GDP?

      I’m surprised Craigslist has survived so well for this long–not due to a threat from crime but from corporations.

    2. Mighty Booosh

      The referenced piece was an edvertisement trying to hype another site that does the same things as Craigslist but for a fee no doubt and with the hook being the link to Facebook. Playing off of Facebook’s credibility is a sucker’s bet, or at least that’s what Lou Sarah told me.

  7. DownSouth

    Re: “Washington Wrecks the Economy: More Evidence” Dean Baker

    Baker said: “The deficit hawks have used their enormous political power and control over the media to shut down any further discussion of stimulus. They have managed to completely dominate public debate with their brand of flat-earth economics.”

    Those who want to move beyond “flat-earth economics” face the same dilemma that Copernicus, Brahe, Galileo, Bruno and Newton did. The problems are two-fold:

    1) Flat-earth economics conforms to the everyday experiences of people, namely those in running a household and dealing with a household budget. Likewise, people could see the sun rise in the east and set in the west. Were people to discard their own experiences, what they could observe with their own eyes?

    2) As Wikipedia explains: “To describe the innovation initiated by Copernicus as the simple interchange of the position of the earth and sun is to make a molehill out of a promontory in the development of human thought. If Copernicus’ proposal had had no consequences outside astronomy, it would have been neither so long delayed nor so strenuously resisted.” The same is true with flat-earth economics, since it serves the economic and political interests of a powerful status quo.

    1. Lidia

      That’s a very interesting metaphor, DownSouth.

      My RWNJ sister sent me a book of Thomas Sowell’s (The something of the Anointed, a worse-written book I have never read… just truly disordered). Out of a sense of familial duty, I continued reading until I got to the point where Sowell did exactly that: argued AGAINST the heliocentric theory, pretty much as you describe.

      I am not kidding.

  8. Adam's Myth

    Craigslist: article flawed, likely a plant. Is 12 murders a lot, compared to total transaction volume? Are the ads actually anonymous (FYI, they log the poster’s IP address). Is it actually more dangerous than traditional classified ads?

    Keep in mind that Craigslist has enemies, not least its largest outside shareholder, eBay.

  9. KFritz

    Re: Craigslist

    1) There’s no link to the study at the IBT article. The link to crimes in Oakland, CA links to a stat sheet on Oaktown only. The Chicago link is also generic.

    2) The the final item in the article, a link to Craigslist’s response DOES work. Reading it, one quickly discovers that AIM, which conducted the study, was employed by Oodle, a CL competitor, quoted in the article no less.

    3) Craigslist is hardly as safe as milk. But this article smells a bit like bad fish, to extend the metaphor.

  10. LeeAnne

    Craigslist ‘a cesspool of crime’: study IBTimes

    That’s strong language for an article that provides not one data point to compare Craigslist with conventional bulletin board and classified advertising experience. Nor does it provide any Craigslist’s volume or user satisfaction data.

    Sliming Craigslist is like sliming a public utility, and right up the Neoliberalism alley: Slime it to buy it.

    The Craigslist competition has already managed to extract an unfair advantage by hounding the web site into eliminating its ‘personal’ column.

  11. Cedric Regula

    Pink Flamingo

    def: A Black Swan that flies in from the general direction of North Africa, instead of the usual skies we’ve been watching.

    Surely someone will write a book about it.

  12. KevinNYC

    Shame on you for linking to that Craigslist report. Just reading the article you can see that they waaaaaaay underestimated the total volume of craigslist activity to make the percentage of crimes seem higher.

    Now craigslist is saying the same thing

    Classified listings scraper/aggregator and CL wannabe Oodle has paid AIM Group to falsely portray craigslist as fraught with criminal activity.

    If you strip away the false (and defamatory) paid-for editorial however, and look at the numbers AIM uses, a very different story emerges.

    AIM group “documents” 330 crimes that it says occurred in connection with use of CL in the US over a 12 month period. Sounds scary until you compare that number to the 570 million classified ads posted by 100 million or more US craigslist users during that same time span, generating literally BILLIONS of human interactions, many involving face-to-face meetings between users who do not know one another.

    AIM Group facetiously writes “we understand thousands or even tens of thousands of transactions happen safely between Craigslist aficionados.”

    THOUSANDS??? Shame on you AIM Group (and Oodle). You know better. Try HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS or BILLIONS of safe transactions.

  13. Cedric Regula

    “Is the Fed blowing bubbles in structured finance and insurance?”

    I guess I’m doomed to forever be hopelessly confused about all this, but wasn’t Sarbanes–Oxley hatched as a response to “Enron Accounting”?

    Oftentimes I hear execs of non-financial, unregulated, “sure we can fail and no one would notice” companies complain about the excessive admin costs SA brings, even if they only have one set of books they use.

    But if you are a regulated financial, you can tell the regulator “here’s the set of books you are allowed to see, and over there is the stuff you aren’t allowed to look at, so don’t go there. Also note how profitable we are and the balance sheet is as pretty as the interior of Ft. Knox”

    Then they tell shareholders that they have unlocked shareholder value.

    The Gremlin-Financial Complex is rotten to the core.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Since Big Financial Bang, our monetray universe has been expanding, in fact, the rate of expansion is accelerating, just like our physical universe, perhaps indicating a final blow-off stage. That’s only a guess. We’ll see if there will be a Big Financial Crunch.

      At the same time, we have to deal with Relativistic Economics.

      When the velocity of money approaches a certain limit, time dilates (people stay younger…interesting way of delaying aging) but the value of money contracts, otherwise known as the ‘Clipped Coin Effect.’

      1. Cedric Regula

        Yes, I think you’re getting the hang of this.

        I take comfort in the fact that I’m getting younger everyday, and will soon have the youthful energy, spirit, and fresh training at the ever de-escalating educational cost to re-enter the workforce and deal with this imaginary clipped coin threat.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is also the Second Law of Financo-dynamics: The amount of greed and corruption always increases in the ‘civilized’ universe.

        1. Cedric Regula

          It’s either 0 or 1, whichever is the value economists use for “stopped”. I forget. But they only count the part they count. Repos are in M3. No count.

  14. John Emerson

    To clarify my point, when you’re doing a year’s statistics for a whole year over a large population, 12 murders isn’t very many. Still a tragedy for thoise concerned, but statistically not something to get upset about. I’m sure that at least that many murders came out of the churches.

  15. Don't eat gulf seafood!

    Re: “Baby dolphins, some barely three feet in length, are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines at 10 times the normal rate of stillborn and infant deaths, researchers are finding.

    The Sun Herald has learned that 17 young dolphins, either aborted before they reached maturity or dead soon after birth, have been collected along the shorelines.”

    ==> What about the babies from military mothers? Nothing is too good for the Gulf Coast fishing lobbies and oil companies, but what about people?

  16. Tertium Squid

    Mike Huckabee:

    Holy cow – I finally that read something nice happened, and Mike Huckabee dumps on it. Willingness to share worship space with believers of different religions is a terrific thing. Exemplary. I love the souls of the people who did that.

    I can’t think of anything that can better foster a sense of community, and bring together people with such different views, than that sort of generosity and service. It promotes an increase of gratitude on one side, and generous warmth on the other.

    And Mike Huckabee thinks that’s a bad thing. Not like I was going to vote for you anyway, but I am disgusted, Mr. Huckabee.

    1. Cedric Regula

      Just be glad he won’t make it past the R primary. A recent poll showed Bible Spice with only 3% support, so it’s pretty clear bible thumping doesn’t work as a campaign platform.

      Thank the Gods.

  17. WordPress 2.8.4 Upgarde!!

    I’m sure it’s a pain here (for someone), but NakedCapitalism really need to upgrade this really out-dated WordPress 2.8.4 — because of NEW ==>> SECURITY RISKS!!!!

    1. Cedric Regula

      I’m just guessing, but Yves probably rents server access from one of the many server rentiers out there, and it would under their control and responsibility to install any upgrades and patches.

      But they obviously need a heads up from someone.

  18. kevinearick

    For Felicia:


    Anxiety should lead to an intelligent trial and error feedback loop, defining profit to guide the salesman as he goes, creating effective population adaptation, but the operators’ breeding program severs the intelligent decision circuit, leaving only automatic reptilian impulse response (RA), which is why crystal meth is so efficient. The other drugs are relative economic activity delay mechanisms. The reptiles were here long before humans, and have their place. They are opportunists, but cannot create circuits; they desperately need you for that.

    What you see in the markets is the timeline outcome, decreasing volume and increasing pressure, set up over the last 4 decades as a chain reaction, which may only lead to one outcome … BOOM, because the operators cannot catch up to the symptoms, which they are bred to propagate, in real time. Any reptile can f*** to reproduce prodigiously and so exploit its environment. Creating and building life requires an intelligent pathway. When your intelligence is penalized, walk, don’t run, away from the black hole. Let it follow.

    Keep pulling that proton through the looking glass, from different dc tracks, angles, until it gets on the devotion elevator, to provide constructive symbiotic resonance – time/space expansion from the black hole. The electron is the inductor, the neutron is the capacitor, and the proton is the potentiometer. You will require a jumper of jumpers from supply to the parallel decision system for reboot. You create the future; they write about it once it becomes the past, and the sheeple follow them. Pit the viper, which may only exist in time, against its own anxiety. Don’t fight Caesar; feed him.

    Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by lifelong prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to the unknown. And peace of spirit, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind. Be rich in deeds, generous and willing to share, until the end of age. Take heart and overcome the world. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

    Where three come together, there the unknown will be found. Greater love has no one but this, that lay down life for a friend. The man and his wife were naked, and they felt no shame. The future is a jump, across the abyss of time, which may only be made with devotion as the sail.

    All the pieces are there; put them together to make the gate of gates.

  19. MarkZoe

    Dean Baker may be referring to dollars designated as actual stimulus money. The rest of federal spending has not been efficacious. The total US public debt grew by $1,652 billion in 2010, and the US GDP grew by only $250 billion in 2010. That is a multiplier of only 0.15x.

  20. Hugh

    Krugman writes a good article invoking the Shock Doctrine. Of course, Klein’s book came out 3 1/2 years ago so Krugman is again late to the party, and as usual he casts his criticisms only against Republicans. It was Rahm who said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” So the Shock Doctrine is also very much a part of the Democratic playbook. Walker, a Republican, is trying to destroy unions in Wisconsin and make the Koch brothers happy, but it was Obama and the Democrats who have effectively cut off aid to the states leaving them at the mercy of the austerians. And aside from being a little more heavy handed, and obvious, about it, is what Walker is doing in Wisconsin that much different from what Cuomo, a Democrat, is doing in New York, or Jerry Brown, another Democrat, is proposing for California?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”


      I suspect that when times are hard, people yearn for disaster movies, like the coming one about the solar Katrina, because what happens in a disaster movie is that the existing order is threatened, breaks down or gets overturned and in such a crisis, you have opportunities…opportunites to start over, to bring on a new order.

      Watch for more disaster movies to come, mabye even reality disaster TV shows.

      1. Cedric Regula

        Not to mention more hedging products. I think Survivor Squared will be popular with the spouses of the contestants once we go gladiator. A CDO Squared product full of CDS life policies written by the contestants on the contestants. After they incorporate to shield their spouses from liability, of course.

        But at least you can buy some comfort while waiting to see if hubby or the missus comes home from the series.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      An equally outrageous part of Walker’s bill is the sneaky provision allowing the Guv to sell off productive state assets without bids, appraisals, or accountabilty for any amount to any crony contributor (read David Koch) he wants. This is a blatant license to steal that any banana republican caudillo would envy. Truly mind-blowing audacity.

      I second your indictment of Democrats; through treachery and deceit, they may in fact be a more insidious danger than the ostensibly big-business Republicans. But it is encouraging so far that the rampant corruption in DC may not yet have infected politics so thoroughly at the local level. Chris Hedges noted this a while back, when he said that democracy at the federal level is dead, buried, and beyond resurrection/redemption, but that involvement at the local level can still bear fruit.

  21. Hugh

    I would make a similar criticism as that I directed at Krugman against Simon Johnson. He blames both Democrats and Republicans, yes, but he blames Democrats chiefly for playing into the hands of those wily Republicans. I think the one being played here is Simon Johnson. We have one corporatist party represented by two legacy political parties. Democrats don’t have to be manipulated or tricked into acting like corporatists. They are corporatists. It’s like the Republicans play for the red team and the Democrats play for the blue, but at the end of the day, it’s all football. It is not that one side is pro-football and the other side anti.

    Johnson says rightly that the American tax system is antiquated. But then he goes off the rails and advocates a VAT, a consumption tax. Hasn’t he heard that the lower and middle classes are already cash strapped? He tries to mitigate its effects. We can tax yachts not baby diapers, but the whole point of such a tax to be effective is to tax consumption more generally, and that has a disproportionate effect on the purchasing power of everyone but the rich. So what does Johnson really want to accomplish? Why not raise marginal rates on the wealthy and reduce their deductions? That will have a much more significant impact than taxing a few yachts and other luxury items, not that those couldn’t be taxed too. It’s just why talk about a dumb idea like the VAT now that corresponds in no way to where the country is or needs to go?

    1. Ron

      “We have one corporatist party represented by two legacy political parties. Democrats don’t have to be manipulated or tricked into acting like corporatists. They are corporatists. It’s like the Republicans play for the red team and the Democrats play for the blue, but at the end of the day, it’s all football. It is not that one side is pro-football and the other side anti.”

      Good point Hugh, something that everyone should keep it in mind when discussing the political landscape!

      1. Rex

        True, perhaps, but if so, there is no political landscape worth discussing, is there? It has all been plowed and paved over. It’s a bit like discussing the fine points of terminal cancer.

        I’ve been looking for some good things to grasp on to, but I’m not seeing any rings to grab from this carousel.

        1. Paul Repstock

          re: “Rings to grab onto”.. Rex you are looking too low.

          This world has plenty of good people. You will not find very many in the political arena below, where the mob is scheming and grasping for wealth and power.

          Look instead to your freinds and neigbours, those are the only people you can count on.

  22. Robert Dudek

    Most European countries have VAT taxes, but also happen to have far lower Gini coefficients than the US.

    US should have sales tax with basic items like food, basic clothing and heating/cooling exempt, but should also have huge property taxes on the homes of the wealthiest as well as taxing corporations based on where they do business,so that they can’t readily evade taxes by transferring profits to low tax jurisdictions.

    You have to look at the whole tax regime, not just the VAT portion.

    1. Lidia

      For example, in Italy these days there aren’t any more property taxes on “non-luxury” primary residences. There are local ‘garbage’ taxes (anticipating your guffaws, they actually do collect garbage in my area).

      Property taxes in America are the same as a poll/head tax, since everyone (except the homeless, obviously) pays them and they are impossible to avoid.

  23. Reed

    I’m not noticing any comments on the Roundup articles, though may have just missed them. In a world of overblown “alarming” reports, this may be the real deal, and deserves intense mainstream press coverage. “Mother Jones” isn’t my favorite source for anything, but the link to Save New Mexico Seeds merely quotes the letter at length.

  24. Doug Terpstra

    On Rolling Stone’s report of rogue General Caldwell illegally waging psy-ops on US senators, the obvious question is: why commit a crime in order to propagandize hyper-hawks like McCain, Lieberman, Reed and Israel to continue throwing money into the Afghanistan quagmire? All , except maybe Franken and the Euros, are good soldiers occupying the same bubble of imperial hubris, so the article only underscores the oxymoron of military intelligence.

    1. Francois T

      Still digesting the countershock.

      Anything that can make bankers’ respiration more difficult (“apoplectic” he he!) ought to be considered good until proved otherwise.

    2. Francois T

      One oughta love this piece of unadulterated bullshit from the Arizona Bankers Association:

      “If Arizona passes this, it will be the only state in the union that will require a production of chain of title. States that pass these types of laws will be riskier environments to lend in and more difficult environments to get a loan in.”

      Did I read this correctly? riskier environments to lend in and more difficult environments to get a loan in.

      So…we get a law stating that bankers have to do what they should have been doing all the time, and that makes the environment riskier?

      Right! We should all tremble in our collective boots, for the banksters are unhappy.

      Spare us!

      1. Cedric Regula

        Maybe I can explain it. Let’s see…

        This will increase cost even though the industry does it already and on top of that you paid for it in your title insurance, so don’t worry this is something new, but it’s not going to be cheap

        Nope, that don’t sound right either. Oh well, I give up. Yeah AZ. It hasn’t passed yet, and I hope we don’t get in the news again…

      2. ScottS

        Well, riskier for the servicers. They risk losing foreclosure actions.

        If they’re forced to make money honestly, that would certainly drive up costs, so they’re correct there. An honest mortgage with no government bailouts or illegal fees or fraudulent foreclosures costs real money, and the CEO needs a bigger yacht than his buddy.

  25. Francois T

    Here’s a bit of “social” shock doctrine applied to the REMF extraordinaire, proto-Untersturmführer in the making, the one and only Scott Walker.

    When was the last time you heard of a sitting governor asked to LEAVE a restaurant?

    *very evil grin*

      1. attempter

        Vote for what? For a Democrat who would’ve done the exact same thing, only more insidiously, and with the support of a lot of scum who are opposing Walker only because he’s a Republican?

        Don’t you ever ask yourself why there’s less opposition to Bush policies now that Obama’s carrying them out?

        Or why Cuomo in NY is facing so much less opposition as he carries out Walker’s same plan?

        Believe me, we’re a lot better off with Walker. It’s the only thing that could possibly wake up some people.

        So anyone who’s pimping better “voting” as being the solution here either understands nothing about the situation, or is just a Dem partisan who secretly supports the whole liquidation program.

  26. Is bush backing walker???

    What Gov. Walker has achieved in selling a false assumption as fact occurs because journalists failed to follow what I call the first and second rules of journalism. This problem is pervasive in coverage of tax and budget issues, where so much nonsense gets reported as fact by the Washington Press corps that I have stopped filing away all but the most egregious errors – and still I copy a story or three every day to use in lectures on getting it right and not writing nonsense.

  27. lorac

    Re: the pathogen and Monsanto. Normally, this blog is excellent in not posting or linking to articles that lack evidence or references. However, there seems to be an exception made for biotech ag products. I read the letter and the linked article, as well as another report, and precisely zero of them provided any evidence of an actual pathogen. That’s not to say there isn’t a pathogen, but, like religion, you have to take it on faith. And you have to take it on the word of a scientist who is a vocal critic of GMOs.

    Moreover, the insinuation that Monsanto is responsible for the possible pathogen or trying to cover it up is even more flimsily based. Monsanto has done plenty to protect its Roundup sales, been caught out on some activities (e.g., illegal tying of patent-expired Roundup with another product), and is aggressive about protecting its patents (as is its right), but too often has been accused in a knee-jerk reaction by those opposed to genetically-modified organisms. Please don’t post such dreck as de facto truths. It’s unbecoming of a blogger who prides herself on providing evidence to back up her claims.

  28. unions for dummies

    Guess who said this about unions?

    “They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost. They remind us that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. You and I must protect and preserve freedom here or it will not be passed on to our children and it would disappear everywhere in the world.”

  29. republicans cockroaches everywhere

    I smell a republican land grab. As chaos reigns nearly everywhere, watch as new laws are passed — sort of like the bush years, when that subprime thing happend, out of the blue:

    See: For background, after more than a year of examination and deliberation, the FCC — the agency Congress created in 1934 and reaffirmed in 1996 to provide Americans with fair and equitable access to communications over wire and airwaves — approved an order to establish network neutrality ground rules. Those rules, clearly in the public interest, lay down guidelines for how telephone and cable companies can treat information that travels over their wires and connect Americans to the Internet. It very clearly does not regulate that information any more than the regulation of telephone service regulates what Americans can say to each other or whom they can call or not call.

    The final network neutrality rules, to the credit of Chairman Genachowski, are built on things everyone should support – transparency of broadband service operations, no blocking of legal content and websites, and nondiscrimination against or for specific firms or people trying to communicate and compete over the Internet. In the wake of the order, the original investors in Google and Netflix, the father of the Internet Tim Berners-Lee, a host of companies, venture capitalists, and hundreds of thousands of users of the Internet expressed their approval.

    Unfortunately, the House has decided that it knows better what is good for the Internet than the people who use, fund, and work on it. They claim to stand for freedom. But the only freedom they are providing for is the freedom of telephone and cable companies to determine the future of the Internet, where you can go on it, what you can attach to it, and which services will win or lose on it.

    Telephone and cable companies do not own the Internet. But if the amendment the House passed is not struck or if their CRA effort is successful, they will.

    The Honorable Dan Inouye, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
    The Honorable Thad Cochran, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations

  30. buzzing in my ears

    There is ongoing legal and political wrangling in the U.S. regarding net neutrality. The FCC has used its jurisdiction[87] over the issue and has laid down guideline rules that it expects the telecommunications industry to follow. On February 11, 2008, Rep. Ed Markey and Rep. Chip Pickering introduced HR5353 “To establish broadband policy and direct the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a proceeding and public broadband summit to assess competition, consumer protection, and consumer choice issues relating to broadband Internet access services, and for other purposes.”[88]

    On August 1, 2008, the FCC formally voted 3-to-2 to uphold a complaint against Comcast, the largest cable company in the US, ruling that it had illegally inhibited users of its high-speed Internet service from using file-sharing software. FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin said that the order was meant to set a precedent that Internet providers, and indeed all communications companies, could not prevent customers from using their networks the way they see fit unless there is a good reason.

    In an interview, Martin said, “We are preserving the open character of the Internet.” The legal complaint against Comcast related to BitTorrent, a transfer protocol that is especially apt at distributing large files such as video, music, and software on the Internet.[89] For 2009, Rep. Markey has reintroduced it.[90] Comcast admitted no wrongdoing[91] in its proposed settlement of up to US$16 dollars per share in December 2009.[92]

    On December 21, 2010,
    the FCC approved
    new rules banning
    cable television and telephone service providers
    from preventing access
    to competitors
    or certain web sites such as Netflix.

    The rules would not keep ISPs
    from charging more for faster access.
    Republicans in Congress plan to reverse the rules through legislation.[22]

    Also see: Currently there is general network neutrality in the United States, meaning that telecommunications companies rarely offer different rates to broadband and dial-up Internet consumers based on Internet-based content or service type; however, there are no clear legal restrictions against this. Many broadband providers block common service ports, such as port 25 (SMTP) or port 80 (HTTP), preventing consumers (and botnets) from hosting web and email servers unless they upgrade to a “business” account. In recent years, advocates of network neutrality have sought to restrict such changes.

    In 2005 and 2006, corporations supporting both sides of the issue spent large amounts of money lobbying Congress.[1] In 2006, representatives from several major U.S. corporations and the federal government publicly addressed U.S. Internet services in terms of the nature of free market forces, the public interest, the physical and software infrastructure of the Internet, and new high-bandwidth technologies.

    Five failed attempts have been made to pass bills in Congress containing some network neutrality provisions. Each of these bills sought to prohibit Internet services providers from using various variable pricing models based upon the user’s Quality of Service level. Described as tiered service in the industry and as price discrimination by some economists, typical provisions in the bill state “[Broadband service providers may] only prioritize…based on the type of content, applications, or services and the level of service purchased by the user, without charge for such prioritization”.


    1. Paul Repstock

      Please remove your political beanie in this restaurant, we only cater to real people. No matter what ‘party banner’ you wave, your goal is domination, power, and the opportunities for looting.

  31. Paul Repstock

    If you want the whole story, sometimes you need to read more than the headlines. I often find better stuff in the comments sections than in the articles. A very informative link from a comment in the Naiomi Houser blog:

    Even in Canada we are being snowed with BS on this story, about the huge political contributions by the mention of corporate contributions in the CBC coverage though?? I wonder how long before the our government attacks our public sector unions??

  32. scraping_by

    Re: Victorian Nostalgia

    “The 19th century closed with the birth of the Labour party – the political summation of the era’s reforming spirit. The Victorian revolution enriched and enfranchised the people and what did they do with their newfound money and power? They built the very welfare state the government is now intent on dismantling.”

    I remember when Reagan and Thatcher came to power, there was a revival of the works of Charles Dickens. Movies, plays, reading groups, all recreated his take on the Victorian world. His major themes were always the misery of the poor and the responsibility of the middle class, the rich being past all hope.

    The majority of Democratic office holders are careerists, working for the elite and using old street cred to deliver the votes. It is still the party where progressives look for a home, but we don’t find it. Maybe the MSM’s carping on the link between Dems and Unions (which makes the Dems look legitimate in most people’s eyes) will reach a breaking point and we’ll have a clean break to a true Labor party. The Repubs are already taking over the Greens.

    I’m still waiting for a revival of Steinbeck.

  33. dearieme

    “what did they do with their newfound money and power? They built the very welfare state the government is now intent on dismantling”: not so. The British welfare state was founded by Tories (Conservatives) and, especially, Liberals. Labour had nothing to do with its foundation.

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