Links 7/24/11

Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables New York Times. Then the pop sellers will start pushing veggie juices. That would be progress.

Astronomers Find Largest, Most Distant Reservoir of Water NASA

Scientists Retract Report on Predicting Longevity New York Times

Okla. officials find doughnuts help trap bears SF Gate (hat tip reader Barbara W). Today’s public service announcement.

Analysis: Is Britain more corrupt than it thinks? Reuters (hat tip reader May S). Yes, but still no comparison to the US.

Felix Zulauf on the inevitability of further crisis in Europe Ed Harrison

Norway Terror Reveals Disturbing Assumptions About Muslims Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Taliban to Bail-Out Obama From Debt Crisis Kabul Press (hat tip reader May S)

The Banks Still Want a Waiver Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times. Morgenson is right to object to the waiver, but MERS is not an issue for these banks. MERS is a 47 person company. It has done a lot of damage, but there is no way to say the big banks are liable for MERS’s misdeeds. I’m at a loss to understand why she did not go after the real smoking gun, the revelation that the banks are still using robosigners and engaging in other abuses that they piously swore they were giving up last year.

FDR Speech 1936 Jesse. We have no one in power who is willing to say anything remotely like this:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

Budgetary Deceit and America’s Decline Jeffrey Sachs, Huffington Post

#FuckYouWashington (hat tip Matt). Twitterati might want to join in the fun.

DeChristopher, Mozillo and Power in America Abigail Field and This Hero Didn’t Stand a Chance Chris Hedges, TruthDig. This case is outrageous. If you are in Salt Lake, I hope you’ll consider participating in the protest. See here for details and other ways to help.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. KFritz

    Re: FDL, Assumptions about Terrorists

    In the welter of disjointed facts as news of the incidents came in, there was at least one claim of responsibility by a group with words of like ‘Islamic,’ ‘Jihad,’ etc. Which made a working assumption of an attack by Islamic fundamentalists a reasonable assumption–until proven otherwise. And Norway’s conventional Muslim organizations were quick to condemn the attack, as if they thought there was a strong probability that the attack was carried out by Jihadists.

    Conversely, at some point yesterday, the NYT website headline for the perp described him a “Christian.” That didn’t stay up for very long.

    The dramatic labeling and attribution cut both ways yesterday.

    1. Sock Puppet

      From the Guardian, quoting from his manifesto “A 1,500-page manifesto written in English and said to be by Breivik -posted under the pseudonym of Andrew Berwick -also appeared online hours before the attacks. The document, which suggests that the atrocities had been planned for at least two years, calls for a Christian war to defend Europe against Islam. Breivik also attacks multiculturalism and Marxism and describes his initiation as a Knight Templar -a medieval Christian organisation involved in the Crusades, which is sometimes revered by white supremacists.”
      The label “Christian” seems no more unreasonable than “Islamic” when applied to terrorists.

    2. Patricia

      You’re missing the point of the article. “…we’ve become so inured to accept that terrorism is solely an act of Muslims that the jump to conclusions to pin the blame for any attack on them is not met with the proper immediate outrage.”

      The arrested suspect is “…a right-wing nationalist and Christian fundamentalist with a predilection for Pamela Geller and other anti-Muslim, white supremacist websites and writers.”

      Even in this situation where you believe it cuts both ways, Muslims were initially and lengthily blamed, and it was left to mainstream Norwegian Muslims to quickly iterate immediate outrage that properly belonged to all of us. And even in this situation, NYT took the Christian label down quickly even though “Christian” was the appropriate label.

      False equivalency is an overused idea floated over and over by the MSM. It attempts to dissolve integrity and clarity by grey-washing everything.

    3. Moopheus

      I guess the author of that FDL article must not be old enough to remember the Oklahoma City bombing. Before McVeigh was identified as a suspect, the immediate response was the blame Islamic terrorists. It was incorrect then as now, but neither is it particularly new or surprising.

      1. Sock Puppet

        And to show that this too can work both ways, remember that the Aznar government in Spain initially blamed the Madrid bombing on ETA although it was in this case islamists.

      2. Externality

        This goes both ways.

        The media, Obama administration surrogates, and some law enforcement officials initially blamed the the Times Square bombing on White people, even while the FBI was tracking down the Pakistani-American bomber. New York Mayor Bloomberg even tried linking the attack to native-born Americans unhappy about ObamaCare. In reality, the attack was planned by Pakistanis unhappy about US activities in and around Afghanistan and the Middle East.

        Politicians and the media play a cynical game: they use the initial shock and confusion of an event to create a narrative that stays fixed in peoples’ mind; even when the actual facts come out, they are processed through the prism of what the person “experienced” at the time. Television advertising, it has been shown, can implant false memories. The media and Bush administration, for example, deliberately and endlessly showed a few cheering Palestinians and photographs of Saddam in the aftermath of 9/11. Even with the passage of time, many Americans continue to falsely link the peoples of Gaza and of Iraq with 9/11.

        The media will initially blame (or repeatedly suggest the involvement of) whoever they want to “Other” or stir up animosity against at the time. What better way to get the public to support a war of aggression against Iraq than by falsely linking it to 9/11? Or to stifle complaints about ObamaCare than falsely linking complainers, Mayor Bloomberg did, to an attack on a famous American landmark?

      3. Externality

        In October 2002, eleven residents of the Washington DC area were killed, and six wounded by an apparent sniper.

        The media and some law enforcement officials initially claimed that the DC-sniper was a middle-aged conservative White man. Criminal profilers even gave detailed predictions as to the alleged (White) shooter’s predicted religious, military, and educational background. Much of the media initially encouraged law enforcement to stop and search white vehicles driven by White people.

        The actual shooters were two (dark skinned) Black men with ties to Islam — John Muhammad and Lee Malvo. Muhammad, it turned out, was Black Nationalist who had helped provide security for the Nation of Islam.

        Every time there is an event like this, the media rushes to scapegoat one or more groups.

  2. Max424

    “Okla. officials find doughnuts help trap bears…”

    What took em so long? I’ve been trapping bears with donuts since I was knee high to a Faschnacht.

    1. Benedict@Large

      That’s why they call cops “Smokey the Bear”. You can trap cops with donuts too.

  3. Max424

    Abigail Caplovitz Field: “…prosecutors are saying, Tim [DeChristopher] is so dangerous we’ve got to make an example of him. We don’t want anyone else getting uppity and interfering with oil companies’ use of public property for private profit.”

    It is inconceivable to me that one guy, bidding a scant $1.7 million, can blow up an auction involving Big Oil.

    How cheap (and how pampered) are those motherfuckers? They’re posting double digit billions in profits every quarter, yet a few overbids of a couple of hundred grand and the mighty oil giants thrown into; first, a tizzy, then, red faced embarrassment and rage; and this rage swells, and becomes so profound, it compels cheap ass Big Oil to seek revenge, and a decision is made to prosecute (well, have their subject government prosecute) one insignificant prankster* to full extant of the law.

    (The law? …giggle…)

    * Prankster? Yeah, definitely. It was a prank — and a brilliant one. Who knew honorable and heroic civil disobedience could involve pranksterism?

    (Gandhi gi, maybe. I certainly didn’t)

  4. Max424

    Bears have it pretty good, I think. In fact, if it wasn’t for the thirty ought six, and other such “bear stoppers,” I would consider their lives perfectly idyllic.

    1. Philip Pilkington

      I think he/she is posting under pseudonyms over at the ‘Scott Sumner’ post. I think he/she stopped posting after Yves called him/her on his/her bullshit one day, but I’m not 100% on that.

      1. Hugh

        I would not qualify DownSouth’s contributions to this site as BS. If he is gone, he will be missed.

          1. wb

            Me too. I very much appreciate the voices here, Attempter, Downsouth, Hugh, Toby, Mickey from Akron, and many more, thanks to all, especially Yves, providing fragments of sanity and moral integrity to cling to in an increasingly fraught and crazy world.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I did NOT “call him on his bullshit”. I very much appreciated his contributions and wish he had not gotten pissed off and left.

        What I DID call out, in one comment (in which I bent over backwards to be as mild as possible) was that he was (basically) getting clearly agitated and extreme in his arguments against certain commenters (Pilkington was one, DS hated MMT and Anonymous Jones). With both, he would straw man their arguments to a fair degree (I didn’t say that in my comment but that was what was happening).

        I said his efforts to rebut them were not up to his usual standard of discourse.

    2. craazyman

      yeah I was wondering what happened to South.

      I was afraid for him, living down there among the savage tribes like Cornell Wilde in Naked Prey ha hah ahahahahaha (sorry) or that he drank one too many Tecates and fell backwards onto his pile of Hannah Arendt paperbacks and hit his head.

      Seriously, the Dude always brought a smile to my face. I hope he sobers up and resurfaces.

      1. ambrit

        Our esteemed hostess has said that he is prone to wander off from time to time. When he,(or she,) gets over whatever is keeping him away, we’ll hear from him again. He sounds strong enough to handle ‘constructive criticism.’ Once he gets a belly full of the shenanegans that happen on most other blogs, he’ll realize the ‘error of his ways.’
        I just hope, living where he does, that he doesn’t end up “Under the Volcano.”

  5. Andrew not the Saint

    Re: the FDR speech – what FDR said publicly and what he did are two different things. Still, it is interesting to note that no speech like that could be written by a today’s president.

    Perhaps it’s more of an illustration that as opposed to nowadays, the public of the 1930s wasn’t brainwashed as they are now and they knew all too well who to blame for the Great Depression. That’s why FDR had to make such a strong worded speech. Nowadays, the elites basically can nonchalantly maintain there is nobody really to blame (except perhaps dead-beat borrowers) and get away with it.

  6. Norman

    FDR Speech 1936, We shall never again see the likes of FDR in any man today that aspires to lead this country as P.O.T.U.S., not because he doesn’t exist, but because he puts his ego ahead of the country, not the other way around. The caliber of the candidate has gone down in respect to serving the country, replaced by one serving the paymaster. Each succeeding P.O.T.U.S. seems to be less of what this country needs, so whether the “O” is reelected to give 4 more years damage to the battered economy, or some other dilettante is elected, the humiliating decline of the once proud Lady that the U.S.A. stood for, will continue. Perhaps the time is now, that having witnessed this decline, a Woman should serve, to which I would nominate Elizabeth Warren, who, though a woman, appears to have what the men lack, that being a pair of “Brass Balls” if I may be so bold.

    1. alex

      “Perhaps the time is now, that having witnessed this decline, a Woman should serve, to which I would nominate Elizabeth Warren, who, though a woman, appears to have what the men lack, that being a pair of “Brass Balls” if I may be so bold.”

      Man, woman, black, white, Christian, Jew, who the hell cares? I want someone with the guts (guts being non-sexist slang for the quality you seek) to give a speech half as forceful as FDR. And yes, his rhetoric exceeded his actions, but his actions were far from meager.

      P.S. Since when is the word “Woman” capitalized in English?

      1. ambrit

        Woman is capitalized when it denotes a particular ‘class’ of person. Mz Warren certainly has ‘class,’ something sadly lacking in the ‘usual suspects’ on offer this cycle.
        Also, everyones rhetoric exceeds their actions. However, the actions alone mark FDR as the ‘Gold Standard’ for politicians. Generally, FDR’s actions followed his rhetoric pretty closely. Nowadays, certain chief executives have developed the habit of divorcing the two.

  7. Leviathan

    Re the veggie argument. I would be happy to have public subsidies for fruit and veg markets in poor neighborhoods. The food should be cheap but not free.

    But have no delusions that this will solve the obesity or diabetes crises. It’s a LOT of work to prepare fresh foods. Many people lack the time,skills and equipment to do it. Are you going to send them to culinary school? Give them cookware? Where does this end?

    This is actually a problem best solved by the private sector, possibly in partnership with the public sector. Teach students in schools. But if you have ever watched “Honey, we’re killing the kids” you would have know how hard it is to change family habits that lead to obesity and related illnesses. They give willing families access to dieticians, expensive trainers, etc, and they STILL have a hard time. I hate the sort of facile thinking that thinks a “nudge” is all that is needed, by a paternalistic over-class. This article reeks of that mentality.

  8. Jackrabbit

    Mark Toma has a posting Sachs:Amercia Needs A Third-Party Movementthat is interesting.

    The responses run the gammut but there are two opinions that stand out: 1) a third party would likely hurt the democrats and the republicans are so crazy that we can’t afford that, and 2) a third party movement is futile because it would not get enough funding.

    I made a comment that addressed these problems last night but it seems to have been deleted.

    Here’s the jist of what I said:
    There’s a widespread feeling that the two-party system only works for the top 10%. This is largely because the US political system is addicted to money. Addictions are hard to break. It takes love and sacrifice.

    The system can not/will not reform itself (there is little hope of public-financed elections). And no chance for a third party that tries to compete in a traditional way (raising money).

    If the bottom 90% wants to reform the system it has to force the money out via non-traditional means. The way to do that, I think, is for tens/hundreds of thousands to volunteer their time to establish a third party. Funds donated would only be used for expenses and advertising.

    This would be a “single-issue” party that fielded multiple candidates for each office. Each of these candidates would have different views on the issues but all of them agree NOT to raise money from traditional sources (businesses/PAKs/etc.). Thus, you could vote for the more conservative “no-money party” candidate or the more liberal “no-money party” candidate. This avoids the problem of taking votes from only one of the traditional parties and of being labeled (e.g. “socialist”).

    Of course there are details to hammer out, but I really don’t see any other way.

    This approach is inspired by noad/generic products that are sold for a much lower price because the manufacturer does not use advertising, and by free open-source software movement.

    I can donate some time. Anyone else?

  9. Sufferin' Succotash

    Very reassuring to know that there’s water elsewhere in the Universe, just as it’s very reassuring to know that there are at least 560 planets outside our solar system.
    Otherwise, we might have to assume that this planet is the only one capable of producing intelligent life.
    And that assumption grows shakier with every passing day.

  10. chogra

    The top food story is especially scary. It presumes both that the government knows what bad food is (and there is a lot of evidence the government doesn’t) AND that the process of identifying “bad” foods won’t be politicized or unduly influenced by money (can you say “ADM”?).

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Bad movies are taxing enough, you want to encourage more?
        As for Netflix, where’s their Film Noir section? I’d pay for that, but not most of the rest. As for taxing bad movies. You’d encounter immediate economies of scale.

  11. Hugh

    “Okla. officials find doughnuts help trap bears” I can’t see this ever being practical because of the high number of cops you also catch with this process.

  12. justanobserver

    the deChristopher case is outrageous and an example of the powers that be trying to squash any form of rebellion.

    Obama is a human rights disaster.

  13. TOTUS

    I think people jumped to the conclusion it was an attack by jihadists because
    1) They claimed credit for it ( and
    2) They are known to have committed thousands of similar attacks.

    With all due respect to the unfortunate victims of this POS, people need to know that in situations like this they are better off charging the guy and fighting him than hiding. I’m certain a group determined young men and women could have overwhelmed this crud.

  14. Skippy


    Get off your tired old ass..mate.

    Skippy…everything before…was just a warmup…actually were still on the starting line…jostling for pin position…as in sailing terminology. Time to get dirty.

    1. psychohistorian

      Hey mate! What is this pin position stuff… the other hemisphere I think it is called pole position…..;)

      What about i on the ball patriot? Maybe people take vacations…I’ve heard there nice.

      Time for a walk around the block….

    2. ambrit

      Dear Skippy;
      As in belaying pin? Like whack a mole played on teak decks? I know rugger is tough, but this takes the prize.
      And, yes, the weather is getting dirty, so reef the sails and put out the drogue.

      1. Skippy

        When you get a bit more time on deck, we can tell tales over a drink.

        Skippy…decade+ of competitive racing, favorite was 24′ 1/4 ton dagger board design, that raced B class out of King Harbor, CA.

        BTW IOTBP left under similar conditions, I would wish them back if such was in my powers.

        PS. had a delightful cup of tea with an individual that works for Ernst & Young this afternoon…enlightening…is a word that comes to mind, so does hiving off, VAR, and other risk assessment viewpoints looking forward.

  15. ep3

    Remember, Obama wants to do “big things”. He doesn’t want to go down in history as only being known as the first black president.
    He wants to be known as the guy who got bin laden, destroyed medicare and SS, passed fake financial reform, etc.

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