Links 6/5/11

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A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself New York Times

Warming ‘to leave tropics hungry’ BBC

Medical Societies Paid To Do Corporate Public Relations Health Care Renewal (hat tip reader Francois T)

Where in the World Do You Find Corruption? Guess Again Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma (hat tip reader Francois T)

China calls US culprit in global ‘Internet war’ CBS (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Anonymous steals 10,000 Iranian government emails, plans DDoS attack NextWeb (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Avant garde economics MacroBusiness

Why Are the French So Determined To Run The IMF – And What Will It Cost You? Simon Johnson (hat tip reader Carol B)

Andreessen: The market hates tech but is starved for growth Ed Harrison

Goldman Sachs Investigators Bolstered by New York’s Martin Act Bloomberg (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

U.S. tries to reduce more homeowners’ mortgages Reuters (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

For the Jobless, Little U.S. Help on Foreclosure New York Times. The Obama administration fiddles.

Reckless Endangerment: Making Debt Owe-nership Easy Triple Crisis (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Oregon foreclosure filings surge 236% in April The Oregonian. The trigger appears to be that foreclosures can be postponed for only six months in Oregon. BofA says it has fixed its paperwork but local attorneys disagree.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. derek

    “Starved for growth”

    This is John Stuart Mill’s falling rate of profit in action, and is the reason why the rich minority are always pushing for population, consumption, and resource extraction. They aren’t important to the working majority, but if you own capital and want to get a return on it, these are things you have to want if you’re to get it.

    1. DownSouth

      What a crock of shit.

      Oh well, I suppose the only way the banksters can obscure their own criminality is to demonize somebody else, in this particular case the Greeks.

      The bankster’s business plan: Imprudently loan out other people’s money, just keep those fees a comin’. And when all else fails (which it always does when you’re making stupid and imprudent loans), get the taxpayers to bail you out.

      1. CB

        Is it really stupid and imprudent when you know you’re not going to take the loss? Isn’t that the whole point of rigging the system to privatize gains and socialize losses?

    1. Rex

      One of the reasons I like to come here is because I can quickly see things supported or challenged in a rational way.


    2. rd

      I get very concerned when there are literally “global” generalizations regarding local climate issues.

      I don’t doubt that man-made CO2 is having some warming influence on global climate, although I don’t think it is as much as claimed. However, history has shown that there are wide variations over time of drought and flooding without man-made CO2 emissions.

      Many of the agricultural issues are hinted at in the articles, but not explored. It is well known that deforestation, construction of large dams and reservoirs, and urbanization can cause significant local and regional climate and flooding change independent of the overall global pattern.

      Another aspect that is not explored at all is the impact on importing vast quantities of free food aid into areas, thereby impacting the ability of local farmers to develop their own sustainable agriculture.

      We have vast areas of the world where increasing populations have built cities out on their former breadbaskets, usually arable floodplains, which then required dams, reservoirs and levees to protect the cities from flooding, while the forests on the hills were denuded thereby increasing flooding. This pattern has been followed in many of the countries that are identified as being heavily impacted by global warming.

      The island of Hispaniola is the poster child for these issues. One third of it is Haiti while the other two-thirds is Dominican Republic. Same island, same geology, same climate but two completely different outcomes that are purely the product of how their respective populations have lected to manage their resources. Global climate change has nothing to do with Haiti’s current situation.

      The fact is that global leaders are incapable of agreeing on the color of napkins at a summit, so it is highly unlikely that there will be any unified global effort to stem CO2 emissions. The rising cost of fuels is more likely to reduce CO2 emissions than anything else.

      Instead, countries and regions need to take a hard look at their local zoning, deforestation, water management, and agricultural policies for how they can be optimized. Usually decisions made by people within that drainage basin can have a bigger effect than anything we would expect from global treaties.

      In the meantime, much of the free food aid (except in short-term disaster relief) should vanish as should subsidies for things like corn ethanol. These are just societal giveaways to large corporate interests to increase their profits.

      1. Valissa

        Very well said, thanks! There are so many sensible (and not terribly expensive) things that could be done in policy and practice that would improve environmental quality, and yet they are hardly ever discussed because reality is not nearly as exciting as the apocaphilia of the grand “global warming” narrative. The best propaganda is always based on the truth. So the fact that humans, in various ways, effect micro-climates and therefore the climate in general, is not what is in dispute. What is fascinating to me are the proposed “solutions” to global warming… which all scream power and money games (all faux environmentalism). The largest donations to global warming research have been from the oil industry and related corporations. This is exactly the same as the pharmceutical corporations funding medical research. As always, the maxim “Follow the money” applies.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Very true.

          They don’t say, consume less.

          Instead, it’s buy more ‘technological solutions.’

          1. Vallisa

            Almost 2 years ago on this blog I made my first comments attempting to share my concerns about global warming propaganda as faux environmentalism and being about power and money and hardly at all about the environment. It did not go over well here and I was mercilessly attacked. I was a relatively new commenter and some folks immediately assumed I was some sort of right-wing plant despite my prefacing my argument with the fact that I was attempting to criticize GW as an environmentalist.

            I am very glad to see that more and more environmentalists have realized that the great global warming game is not in their interest.

            Here is one of the articles that woke up many environmentalists:

            World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco

          2. zwei Hauskatzen über dem toten Haushund

            Australians are getting wise to antiVallisa propaganda. We will be vindicated by their vote. A vote for *enough already*

        2. gepay2

          I am also in the camp of – anthropogenic global warming (the science sucks)looks to me like another way for the elites to gain even more control – while there are many real environmental and global issues that need to be dealt with. I am all for more energy efficiency and having the infrastructure weaned off the need for fossil fuels – the Gulf oil disaster (it wasn’t a spill) or fracking for natural gas – and the Fukishima catastrophe show us the need to live a better life with less energy. We could all live much better on a much smaller GDP.

    3. derek

      India had a Green Revolution in agriculture in the previous century, and its notorious famines went away. Then it used the new food supply to raise its population and boost its labor pool and economy, and now it’s calling for a new Green Revolution in agriculture.

      It turns out Green Revolutions are like chinese food: you feel full at first, but thirty years later you’re hungry again.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If Green Revolution is the problem, then Green Revolution can’t be the solution.

        1. Valissa

          Never underestimate the power of “branding”… the word “green” has become a heap powerful propaganda word, gained to trigger certain Pavlovian type responses. In my case I developed an aversion response. Whenever I hear/see the word “green” in any political or corporate context I am immediately suspicious of it’s intent, tend to assume some sort of faux-environmentalism and start analyzing who benefits from it’s usage (follow the money… btw US money used to be more green in color).

      2. Birch

        The “Green Revolution” also resulted in the suicide of staggering numbers of poor farmers who couldn’t cover their debt payments for chemicals in a bad year, it directly led to the loss of untold thousands of ancient strains of beans and grains, it increased susseptibility to new pathogens through monoculture homogeneity, it degraded long term soil viability (ex. selenium content), it increased desertification, it destroyed small farmer independance, it created new super weeds, and at the end of the day organic farming reliably produces better yields and healthier products. Family farming is the ultimate cure for unemployment. I get a sick feeling when I read econobarf about the vast labour force in China waiting to be ‘freed’ from labour intensive farming.

        The old famines of India were not caused by their farming techniques, rather by the imperial system of not allowing peasants to grow what they needed to eat or to eat what they did grow. The other thing that happened at the same time as India’s ‘Green Revolution’ was its independence from Britain. Try to sort out that cause and effect spagetti. Just like the many famines of Ireland, there was no shortage of food. If the Irish had been allowed to eat the wheat that they grew, they would not have gone hungry.

  2. Philip Pilkington

    Canadian deficit terrorists begin blowing themselves up in government buildings:

    Oh! But what’s that I hear? Canada are running a current account deficit?

    Surely this will prove unsustainable.

    Hey guys, when you’re loading up on private debt do remember: variable rate loans have… wait for it… variable rates. That means they might climb and blow up your bank account. Have fun!

    1. Birch

      That page with the stop sign seems to be becoming a bit of a national hero. She lost her page job, but the news says she’s already had a bunch of new job offers.

      Not sure why you called her a ‘defecit terrorist’. Harper is presenting a cavalcade of insidious deforms (not reforms) and the defecit is a non-issue (though it’s good to note that the Liberal Party got rid of the defecit and Harper re-created it form nothing). The only real issue around defecit is that the Bank of Canada can easily and legally create itself whatever money the government needs to cover its defecit interest free. Even the good fellow from the CCPA missed that point – but I guess you can’t discuss it these days without including long form discussion of hyper-inflation fear mongering at the same time. Harper has already pulled a few transfer-debt-to-private-banks gimmiks to increase our tithes to the banksters.

  3. anon48

    Re: ‘Medical Societies Paid To Do Corporate Public Relations”

    It seems that sometimes the people who run these organizations get to act with impunity. Thanks for continuing to shine a light on things like this.

    I hope the author’s exhortation that follows captures the eye of some of his fellow medical colleagues:

    “If we health care professionals really want to improve patient care and the public health, we could start by exercising extreme skepticism about the funding and leadership intentions of our own professional associations. If these societies appear as dependent on industry for money as they are dependent on their own members, and/or if they appear to be acting more like marketing, public relations or lobbying firms, why do we continue to enable such behavior? Why should we pay dues to marketing, public relations or lobbying firms? “

    (Ya know, as a CPA who has actively participated, I have strong feelings that the same thing could be said almost verbatim about our professional association, the American Institute of CPA’s.)

  4. Philip Pilkington

    Abused teenager writes to Cameron about government cuts:

    Class act, Dave. I hope you have a steely conscience.

    Meanwhile, Labour unveil an attractive looking banker bonus tax aimed to target youth unemployment:

    Labour seem to finally be pulling their socks up — now, if they could just repress the horrifying memory that was creepy reptile Tony Blair they might be able to rebuild their support base.

  5. Susan Truxes

    I think I want to apologize to Japan for saying they were so proud and panicked by the earthquake and subsequent events that instead of seeking solutions, they just faked it. Not because I have changed my mind. But because my tirade applies to all of us. The neverending dribble of denials that there is a solutlion to our unemployment crisis, our financial fraud crisis, and our stupefying decisions to go to war and more war, takes the cake on fake.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The humans are not called Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens for nothing.

      Of course, we fake it by calling ourselves Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

      I mean, did any animals beside us ever confirm that fake claim?

  6. herman sniffles

    “Administration officials maintain that the decision on whether to offer mortgage relief to homeowners ultimately was up to mortgage servicers and investors, not the government, which can provide incentives but not compel action.”

    The spineless protecting the vile. LBJ would have put the thumbscrews on a bunch of senators and forced through a bill to allow judges to lower principal due on real property during bankruptcy negotiations.

    1. yankeefrankee

      Its disgusting the way our govt hamstrings itself. Its just more proof that our “leaders” aren’t leading, they’re just waiting until their time is up so they can go collect their money from their corporate overlords. Little icky elves like Geithner come to mind. Lick-spittles to the powers that be. I forget which level of hell is reserved for them… but its a hot one ;).

  7. Externality

    The banksters are proceeding with their plans to privatize Greek assets and have chosen which companies they will use to sell them off:

    The advisers and sell-offs being set up include:

    • Deutsche Bank and National Bank of Greece on the sale of OPAP, the state gambling monopoly

    • Credit Suisse on state lotteries

    • Rothschild and Barclays appointed for road concessions

    • PriceWaterhouse selected for railway firm OSE

    • France’s BNP Paribas and Greece’s National Bank on the extension of an operating lease on Athens International Airport.

    [et al.]

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