Links 7/28/11

Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas Science Blog (hat tip reader furzy mouse). This is an important piece.

The Great Gulf Holocaust David Hodges

The New York Times Paywall Is Working Felix Salmon, Columbia Journalism Review

A very secret agent Asia Times (hat tip reader Deus DJ)

Emerging markets warn IMF over fresh Greek loan plan

How fast will the Chinese revalue to dump dollars? Ed Harrison

China’s crumbling infrastructure model MacroBusiness

O’Reilly’s Muslim-Hatred and Christian Terrorists Juan Cole (hat tip reader James B)

Krugman on the Debt Debate: Cults, Centrists and Balance Scarecrow, FireDogLake

Treasury to Weigh Which Bills to Pay New York Times. They are actually saying they might not pay Social Security.

Debt-ceiling threat has Wall Street scrambling Los Angeles Times (hat tip reader furzy mouse). The important part is that businesses have woken up and are lobbying.

Wall Street Traders Are Postponing Vacations Because They’re Too Scared To Leave The Floor Before August 2 Clusterstock (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Fed under fire over default talks Financial Times. They never worried about such niceties during the last crisis. But then again, the Fed was consistently slow to act and then overreacted.

Residents Soldier On as Alabama County Mulls Bankruptcy Wall Street Journal

Orders for U.S. Durable Goods Fell in June Bloomberg. The only reason for including this article is as an example of the preferred formula for reporting bad economic news: it was “unexpected”. And they make it sound like random bad luck: first it was Fukushima, now it’s consumers as opposed to “we are deleveraging and any good new is temporary until we get private debt levels down.”

America’s turbulent jobs flight John Gapper, Financial Times

How America Could Collapse Matt Stoller, Nation

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Foppe

    They are actually saying they might not pay Social Security.

    What a nice way to get your voters into line..

    (WSJ piece on JeffCo): Several Jefferson County officials have been convicted of wrongdoing related to the project.
    Jefferson County’s sewer system never generated enough revenue to pay for itself, partly because private residential buildings aren’t required to be connected to it

    I love “wrongdoing”. It’s such a nice, inane term for endemic fraud and bribery by banks.
    And the second line is similarly misleading: the main reason why it could “never generate enough revenue” is decidedly not because “some buildings weren’t connected to it, but because the swaps mentioned earlier turned a 100-200mil debt into a $3+billion debt. But hey, who expects good reporting from the WSJ…

    Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas

    I saw this yesterday; it seems like a nice finding, but, as the sciblogs piece says: they assume people are open-minded and willing to accept alternative views.
    The real world, of course, is a bit different. To list what seem to me to be that major issues (which sound a bit contradictory when presented together). First, ideological beliefs or sets of beliefs (“paradigms”) often cause (or allow/enable) people to dismiss certain types of information or argument out of hand, making it rather harder to communicate such ideas. A further problems arises from the fact that different people understand the same information differently (think, e.g. of Krugman trying to understand MMT thinking through the lens of his own economic theory): some beliefs are harder than others to propagate, because ‘proper’ understanding can only occur once a whole set of beliefs is communicated.
    Secondly, the media play a rather large mediating role in deciding which viewpoints get airtime, while the ideological beliefs of the reporters of course also slant everything they write.
    Third, (and this is a somewhat separate point from the second point) there is the issue that even when ‘ordinary people’ (with no special public sphere access) hold a diverse range of beliefs, so that they may well be much more nuanced — or much less ideological — in their views than the media would let you believe, in a world with status-quo-pushing media it is still quite conceivable that the media keep ignoring that diversity of opinion to keep pushing the party line. (And as I understand it, this problem is endemic in the US.)

    1. Rex

      On the minority rules.

      If I understand correctly, they built a computer model of society and they see this 10% breakpoint effect. No room for error there.

      Does anyone else suspect that the results of this study might be about 90% bulls***?

      1. attempter

        I look at that and see a potential weapon if people believe it’s true – “We only need 10%.”

        But I guess that’s too square for those who would rather just be “cool” on the internet.

        1. Rex

          Sorry if my style bothered you, but I was serious. I don’t see much reason to trust the validity of this experiment.

          “To reach their conclusion, the scientists developed computer models of various types of social networks.” That could mean something in the real world but it also could be quite an oversimplification. How do you even test it against the real world?

          I’m happy that you were able to see the glass 10% full, and envision the 10% being the good guys. Keep up the optimism, it can’t hurt. What if the bad guys use their money to buy the minds of 10%? Are you willing to concede and join the flow?

          1. Jesse

            I thought the 10 percent rule was suspect, because the models were probably biased. I based this on years of experience in using and creating models of complex systems.

            I did some work in the area of decision modeling, and I think what is modeled is the decisions of the creators of the programs and the assumptions they bring to the party.

            Scientists and engineers are notoriously bad at modeling human behaviour en masse. Typically the test ends up designed to reinforce some bias.

          2. attempter

            My point was that I look at everything tactical and ask first, Can it be a constructive tool. It seems that this could be used to improve morale. Maybe so, maybe not. But that’s the way I look at it.

            As for the ivory tower “truthhood” of it, this is clearly one of those things where if people believe it, they can make it come true. Isn’t that all we should care about? What’s the downside?

            And what’s the upside of the ivory tower “objective truth” scholasticism?

            But the fact is that history proves it only takes relatively small numbers of committed devotees of an idea to change history. Is the “right” number 10%, or 12%, or maybe 20%? Who knows. Does it matter?

            What if the bad guys use their money to buy the minds of 10%? Are you willing to concede and join the flow?

            They’re aready doing all they can toward that, and will continue to do so. That’s part of the facts hardwired into all thought and discussion by those who understand what’s happening. So what does saying it again add?

      2. ambrit

        This sounds suspiciously like the old “7%” movement before WW2. Even Saint Albert (Einstein) went for it. Suspicions of ‘unconscious’ design bias rear their ugly heads. Good idea to see how much raw computing power their ‘thought experiment’ required to run, too.

      3. Valissa

        2 thumbs down. Like many supposedly scientific studies in today’s world, it sounds really LAME to me. How did they quantify ideas and beliefs to begin with… some major assumptions must have been made (perhaps some hidden observer bias at work?). Also they are presumably able to deduce who holds an “unshakeable” belief. That’s interesting because most people don’t hold unshakeable beliefs they hold conditional beliefs (beliefs primarily exist in shades of gray, despite apperances otherwise). Just because someone tells you a belief is unshakeable doesn’t mean that’s really true for them every minute of every day. People delude themselves about the power their beliefs (exaggerating or minimizing as is convenient) all the time, and that often depends who they are talking to about them as well.

      4. Tertium Squid

        You guys are missing the point of the Minority Rules business:

        “The research has broad implications for understanding how opinion spreads. “There are clearly situations in which it helps to know how to efficiently spread some opinion or how to suppress a developing opinion,” said Associate Professor of Physics and co-author of the paper Gyorgy Korniss. “Some examples might be the need to quickly convince a town to move before a hurricane or spread new information on the prevention of disease in a rural village.”

        Riiiiight. “The bomb’s going to go off! Quick, someone start a Facebook page, identify local opinion leaders and win them over to our side, and we can get this place evacuated in three weeks – two, if we hurry.”

        So what’s the real point of the research? Follow the money:

        “The research was funded by the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) through SCNARC, part of the Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance (NS-CTA), the Army Research Office (ARO), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).”


        1. Tertium Squid

          It’s positively chilling to hear a military-funded researcher say,

          “There are clearly situations in which it helps to know how to efficiently suppress a developing opinion”

          1. Valissa

            It’s all part of psyops…

            The U.S. Department of Defense defines psychological warfare as:

            “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.”

            Obviously they do not limit their activites to “hostile foreign groups”!

            Last year the pentagon made an interesting name change:

            MISO: Is it soup yet?

            With lightning and a clap of thunder from the Pentagon, PSYOP is to be stricken from the Defense system just as the name Moses was removed from the legacy of Egypt. The Secretary of Defense has approved the recommendation to change PSYOP to Military Information Support and/to Operations (MISO).

          2. Cedric Regula

            Yes , I see propaganda = information. Good choice of words. Now we can sneak up on them.

          3. Tertium Squid

            Attensity provides software and analytics to help our government spy on us. I heard that one of the reasons Utah was chosen for the giant NSA spy center was because of Attensity’s operations in the state.


            FTA on what Attensity has to offer gov’t agencies:

            “Exhaustive Extraction automatically identifies and transforms the facts, opinions, requests, trends and trouble spots in unstructured text into structured, actionable intelligence and then connects it back to entities – people, places and things. This new combined solution provides researchers with the deepest and broadest capabilities for identifying issues hidden in mountains of unstructured data — inside emails, letters, social media sites, passenger manifests, websites, and more.”

            They aren’t even pretending we have freedom of privacy anymore, are they?

            I should also point out that the analytics are used not just to identify individual bad actors, but to understand trends and shifts in opinion by spying on our public and private communications.

            And this must be one of the strangest quotes I have ever seen:

            “”New government transparency initiatives are driving a growing demand for cutting-edge analytics that enable agencies at all levels to better serve their various constituencies,” said Craig D. Norris, chief executive officer of the new Attensity Government Systems.”

    2. Crazy Cat

      Awfully suspicious of that 10% number. Is this a figment of the base ten numbers we use? Did they work backwards from that benchmark? Or, is there some innate magic to that number in humans? i.e. we have ten digits top and
      bottom etc.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What happens when 10% of us believe (unshakably, of course) that it only take 3% unshakable believers to spread the idea that it only takes 1% unshakable belivers to spread the idea that it only takes 0.5% unshakalbe believers to spread the idea that it only takes 0.25% unshakable believers to spread an idea?

    1. Valissa

      Well, he was writing for the New York Times, after all. Plus we should never forget he used to be the Chief Economist for the IMF, and he is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, as well as a prof at the MIT Sloan School. He is a key part of the elite economic groupthink of a certain variety and very much a member of the establishment (there is factionalism among the eites is in all groups, so multiple forms of groupthink can exist simultaneously). The fact that he occasionally comes out with an article that’s a bit more honest is appreciated, if rare.

  2. Rex

    On “How America Could Collapse”

    The analysis and vulnerabilities sound about right to me.

    Last sentence: “The sooner our leaders, both in public and private institutions, recognize how highly vulnerable we are to a societal collapse, the better chance we have of avoiding collapse.”

    Ha. Yep, lets put that on their to-do list somewhere around climate change, peak oil, and the destruction of the oceans. I’m sure they will get right on these things as soon as they knock off a few current priority items like a debt reduction Bill, gays, abortion, and union busting, that have higher priorities.

    Some of the work will probably need to be outsourced. It’s so had to find good help in the US these days.

  3. hermanas

    Failure to pay bills. Theft of services. Sanctity of contracts. All fall down.
    Defense department irrelevant. Soldiers like gold.

  4. attempter

    Re NYT paywall:

    I’m sorry to hear that, and I hope it’s false. Just having read one piece from a pro-MSM cadre, I can’t tell how the numbers have been manipulated.

    You’re depending for your living on the seriousness and high purpose of a substantial segment of the American public. In that sense, the Sulzbergers have always been involved in a fool’s game.

    Shouldn’t that read, “You’re depending for your living on the foolishness of a substantial segment of the American public”?

    Re Stoller on globalization and collapse:

    The piece is broadly correct about globalization’s inefficient and anti-resiliency effects although wrong in most of its details (e.g. so-called globalist “efficiency” was not a defensive response to Japan but an act of aggression vs. workers and civil society; Japan was a xenophobic misdirectional pretext). It’s of course old hat to Peak Oilers.

    What’s broadly wrong is the standard reformist claim that this is an abuse of capitalism rather than essential to it, and that therefore the solution is better elitism:

    The re-engineering of our global supply chain needs to happen—and it will happen, either through good leadership or through collapse. This means that our government and our society needs to reorient our economy toward manufacturing and rededicate our corporations to productive uses.

    The word “society” is thrown in as a sop. The continued aggrandizement of centralized government, existence of corporations, and imposition of a top-down command economy run by and for those corporations is taken for granted.

    Re minority rules:

    See, everyone who doubts? I’ve always said all we need is a critical mass which is below, probably far below, a majority to achieve transformational effects, a revolutionary tipping point. So if you needed science to convince you of that, here it is. There’s no need to fear – just keep saying to yourself: 10%. All we need is 10%.

    Of course, this 10% have to be committed “opinion” holders, meaning holders not of shallow, flighty opinions but of unshakable convictions who are committed to fighting for those convictions. Then we’d have the effect Mirabeau described.

    1. aet

      10% sounds about right when it comes to the nazis of Germany in say 1932, or the Soviets under Stalin, say 1938

      Sounds about right for that creation of the floor trades at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, screaming against Gove help to those crewed by the big crooked banks – what’s it called again? – oh yeah, the “Tea Party”.

    2. aet

      10% sounds about right when it comes to the nazis of Germany in say 1932, or the Soviets under Stalin, say 1938

      Sounds about right for that creation of the floor trades at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, screaming against Gove help to those screwed by the big crooked banks – what’s it called again? – oh yeah, the “Tea Party”.

      1. aet

        I’m not sure which is correct, here: “screwed” by the big banks, or “crewed” by the Big Banks.
        My guess is that the Tea party is tha
        e latter, pretending to be for the interests of the former.

        Fearless prediction: wealth disparity intthe USA will continue to increase, and it’ll be a-ok with the “Tea Party”.

        1. aet

          …or the number of disciplined well-armed troops it takes to effectively control a city of a half-a-milloion or a million. 50,000 or so troops?

          Actually, I think 5% is closer to the mark when it comes to troops vs. locals. How many legionnaires for the Romans to effectively control a conquered city?

          It actually is something the Army has an interest in, you know.

          1. attempter

            Yes, I’m sure you consider it legitimate.

            As for the allegedly sustainable discipline of those troops, we’ll see. We discussed similar issues at length in a thread here a few days ago.

  5. RebelEconomist

    Aha, I wondered whether you would pick up on Chris Cook’s MMT-like ideas (“A very secret agent”). Naked Capitalism seems to be a sucker for this kind of revolutionary mysticism.

    There is also a discussion of the article here:

    In the discussion, it becomes apparent that, like MMT, Chris Cook’s ideas are predicated on the view that the central bank is an agent of the Treasury (which it is not) and that the value of money derives from the need for money to pay taxes. His view that money represents equity is intriguing, but did not I think stand up to closer scrutiny.

    1. Cedric Regula

      I went to the store just the other day, and the checkout lady said “You can’t use those here. Those are for paying taxes!”.

      I said “Hello?” and she replied “Banks make loans first, then obtain deposits and/or reserves”.

      Then she told me she hopes the treasury will sell more Treasury bonds so she can increase her savings.

      I said “You mean increase the debt ceiling?”.

      She said there isn’t one.

      Frustrated, I walked out of the store with my groceries.

        1. Cedric Regula

          That’s how Mosler (arguably the Father of MMT) gets his google click money. Firm basis for The Next General Theory of Economics, no?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There was a show called ‘Believe It or Not’ where the audience was treated to a lot of true facts.

        With MMT, it belongs to a different show, called, ‘Disbelieve it or Not!’

    2. financial matters

      Chris Cook here puts forth a very coherent explanation of the nature of money in our society and the true productive equity that backs that money.

      Semantics aside the Fed and Treasury have a close relationship.

      “””There is no shortage of dollars because every dollar’s worth of productive capacity – public or private; productive people or productive assets – in the US is the capacity to issue a dollar credit, which reflects the increase in the US national wealth which underpins the US national equity.

      President Barack Obama and his government should get busy creating national equity by instructing the Fed to create and issue the necessary finance for the creation of a new generation of US infrastructure; the transition to a low carbon future which the US can, and should, be leading; and in increasing the capacity of the US people to do so. “””

      1. Cedric Regula

        Semantics aside, sounds like the US needs to do an IPO.

        But of course that makes sense to a financial guy.

  6. aet

    Why is ‘naked capitalism’ only accessible by using Google’s cached page via Safari and Firefox at present?

    Direct link via a bookmark or typing in the address in the nav bar isn’t working at present – why??

    1. aet

      OK fixed now…. ya never know what’s going on with the ‘Net, when it comes to the innards.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      WordPress sucks and I need to get onto a bigger server because (even optimized to death) it is a database hog.

      I regard all changes with trepidation given my history here.

      So the current state of affairs is we seem to have short outages due to traffic spikes about once a week. Usually at night for some weird reason.

  7. doom

    Interesting who’s funding that research into how to control societal consensus: the Army. Keeping America safe from itself.

    1. aet

      Societal consensus is important to an organization of 2.1 million armed members – that is, the armed forces themselves.

      And without the consent of the governed, geovernance can quickly become tyranny. But not necessarily.

  8. b.

    Barry Lynn’s work sounds extremely relevant, and these concerns would be essential part of any coherent national industrial and regulatory policy. Matt Stoller does good work publicizing this, but I think he is negligent in omitting the fact that we just had a trial run on addressing this problem: We had one of the least productive, almost exclusively rentier components of the domestic and global economy bringing us to the edge of collapse over a decade, with the retainers of power standing by, and collectively the societies of the world have done absolutely nothing to address the problem since it almost took us down. That does not bode well.

    Collapse is the result of the stupidity and greed of inbred wealth, which almost inevitably seems to lead to all that elite leverage running rampage in search for some feedback loop to cut its, and our, throat. Luckily, there are counter-examples – such as the tail end of Great Depression. But on balance, the historic record suggests that it is near-impossible to save the elites from themselves, let alone to improve our own lots in the bargain.

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      There’s one tacit assumption behind the creation of all those vulnerable global supply networks. Namely, that in the last resort the US has the military muscle to see that those networks still function no matter what sort of disruption occurs. It’s at least one semi-plausible explanation for why the US has maintained its huge post-Cold War military establishment.
      For further details, consult Cliff Robertson…

    2. aet

      There’s seven times the population now as there was 100 years ago. And they live a lot longer on average, too.

      That’s success on any measure – except to those who yearn for some mythical and better past.

      You know, the one some believe existed prior to the rise of medical science in the 1890s.

      We have never had it so good, and it’s likely to get better – if you can forestall your desire to go to war.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We can only wish that population didn’t grow that fast in the last century.

        It’s a failure to grow and not be in balance with nature.

      2. Jim

        “Desire” to go to war. More like an inherent need. You isolate a few hundred people, and I would guarantee you that inevitably, factions will form and war will ensue. If not for natural resources, for sex.

        I will concede that man today, generally, lives better than he did 100 years ago. But bear in mind that, at least in the US, there was a dramatic dispersion of wealth after 1929.

        What politician is proposing any policies that will address the pernicious concentration of wealth today?

    3. JimS

      Pro-population propagandists consider a rapid growth in population to be good news, a slowdown in population growth to be good news, and the prospect of population going down to be good news (even though the latter has now been shown to be a mirage). Which makes you wonder what they would ever consider to be bad news.

      I don’t think the population’s ever going down, but we’ll all get poorer to support the plateauing population. All except for a wealthy, labor-employing, rent-collecting minority who will be delighted by all the extra work units.

      Ricardo was right, high wages and low rents need good resources at the margin as the marginal employer begs the last worker to come work for him. When the marginal worker is begging the last employer for a job, it’s bad.

  9. Valissa

    Some interesting trends…

    Poll: Plurality say Congress is corrupt

    (note: found poll link at Financial Armageddon)

    Rural US disappearing? Population share hits low

    Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation’s population, the lowest ever. … In 1910, the population share of rural America was 72 percent. Such areas remained home to a majority of Americans until 1950, amid post-World War II economic expansion and the baby boom.

    1. Crazy Cat

      Yes, but remember in those days rural America was
      usually serviced by highly efficient and widespread rairoad systems that could be reached by a short wagon ride.

      Today people are stuck in the middle of nowhere with no mass transit, not even the ‘Hound, and must drive everywhere using expensive gas. Plus there are few Main Streets left and you need to drive to the “nearest” Wal Mart which may be a hundred mile round trip.

      People could and did feed themselves on isolated farms.

    2. Jim

      With a median age of 37, America can no longer support rural living. No economies of scale.

      I’d like to see the median foot traffic in a rural post office versus Manhattan or Santa Monica.

  10. Valissa

    The latest cosmic science news…

    New Planetary Nebula Discovered [by amateur]

    Somethat different viewpoints on the same science news.

    Earth’s First Trojan Asteroid Discovered; Missions Possible in Future

    Earth’s ‘secondary moon’ discovered

  11. Crazy Cat

    Re American collapse.

    Nice to see the Latte Sipping-Volvo Driving-New York Times Reading-Gender Neutral Language Using Untelligensia finally catching up on what Permaculturalists, Survivalists
    and Peak Oilers have been talking about and discussing for the last decade or so.

    Coming soon: Grants for
    “Green survivalism”,
    “Community preparation for
    transgendered persons”
    “Solar powered recharging stations for the wheelchair-bound

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting – that men’s underwear index.

      Do they have a dumpster dining index?

    1. financial matters

      I think it’s good to try and control inflows of capital as well as currency exchange to try and moderate speculation and prevent wide swings in these areas. But it says that it doesn’t affect ‘currency hedges’ which is probably code for the more troublesome over the counter derivative trading. This is where very large unexpected fluctuations could take place (think AIG) and what really needs to be reined in.

      Also I think that Brazil and similar markets are feeling the fallout of the US-China currency battle.
      Currencies clash in new age of beggar-my-neighbor
      By Martin Wolf
      September 28 2010

      “””.In the absence of currency adjustments, we are seeing a form of monetary warfare: in effect, the US is seeking to inflate China, and China to deflate the US. Both sides are convinced they are right; neither is succeeding; and the rest of the world suffers.”””

    2. Jim Haygood

      The Big Mac index which you alluded to in a previous post shows that a Big Mac costs $6.16 in Brazil. By contrast, in Russia, India and China (the other three BRIC countries) it’s less than $3.00.

      This happened because a couple of years ago, arbitrageurs could borrow in dollars at near zero percent, buy Brazilian debt with a double-digit yield, and perhaps harvest a currency gain as well. This process will continue until overshoot occurs. Brazil is trying, somewhat ineffectively, to stop it.

      Currency trading represents a massive deadweight loss to the global economy. Before 1971, when Nixon defaulted on redeeming dollars into gold, currency trading existed only to facilitate international trade and tourism under a fixed exchange rate regime. Now it’s one of the largest volume markets on earth.

      Thousands of forex traders worldwide, many highly compensated, contribute exactly zero to human living standards.

      Fiat currencies are an immense, festering tragedy for mankind. That’s what Jesus was ranting about when he started conkin’ heads in the temple one day. ‘Frickin’ currency traders!’ he railed in Aramaic, swiping the loot off the tables onto the floor. Ditto that!

  12. Cynthia

    Since Bill O’Reilly is no different from Glenn Beck in terms of their hatred toward Muslims, I thought I’d say a word or two about this headline from the Guardian:

    “Glenn Beck Likens Norwegian Dead to Hitler Youth”:

    What I think Glenn Beck is trying to do by describing Breivik’s teen victims on the island of Utøya as Hitler youth is to hide the fact that Breivik is a Christian Zionist. Because if it were revealed that a mass murderer like Breivik is an avid supporter of Israel in its mission to commit apartheid bordering on genocide against the people of Palestine, then this will make the Israelis look like mass murderers as well.

    But I don’t think that Breivik or any other self-described fundamentalist Christian would be embracing Zionism had they not fallen for this crazy cockeyed notion that they won’t get to heaven if the Jews fail to run all of the Muslims out of what’s left of Palestine. Glenn Beck is also a Christian Zionist, but he’s doing it for money, not for eternal life. And I’m sure that his Zionist paymasters are paying him handsomely to brainwash many other fundamentalist Christians into becoming loyal foot soldiers for the Zionist state of Israel.

    And while it’s socially exceptionable in the US as well as Europe to be bigoted against Muslims, it is NOT socially exceptionable on either side of the pond, so to speak, to be bigoted against blacks. This is why I’ve come to believe that had the Palestinians been black instead of brown and Christian instead of Muslim, as is the case with South African blacks, Palestinians would have already been freed from Israeli apartheid decades ago, just as South African blacks were freed from white apartheid decades ago. Thinking back as well as counter factually, had South African whites bought off most of our leading news outlets and most of our leading politicians, as the Israeli Jews have done, then they too would have maintain their apartheid grip over their black counterparts living in South Africa.

    What the Israeli Jews have learned from South African whites is that it takes more than enormous diamond wealth to buy enough political influence to keep an apartheid state intact. What they have learned from them is that it takes enormous wealth from Wall Street, and especially the wealth from the global banking cartel, to buy enough political influence to keep an apartheid state intact.

  13. Foppe

    Over the last decade, virtually every Terrorist plot aimed at the U.S. — whether successful or failed — has provoked greater security and surveillance measures. Within a matter of mere weeks, the 9/11 attacks infamously spawned a vast new surveillance statute (the Patriot Act), a secretly implemented warrantless eavesdropping program in violation of the law, an explosion of domestic surveillance contracts, a vastly fortified secrecy regime, and endless wars in multiple countries. As it turned out, that massive over-reaction was not a crisis-driven anomaly but rather the template for future actions.

    The failed Christmas Day bombing over Detroit led to an erosion of Miranda rights and judge-free detentions as well as a due-process free assassination program aimed at an Muslim American preacher whose message allegedly “inspired” the attacker. The failed Times Square bombing was repeatedly cited to justify reform-free extension of the Patriot Act along with a slew of measures to maximize government scrutiny of the Internet. That failed plot, along with Nidal Hasan’s shooting at Fort Hood, provoked McCarthyite Congressional hearings into American Muslims and helped sustain a shockingly broad interpretation of “material support for Terrorism” that criminalizes free speech. In sum, every Terrorist plot is immediately exploited as a pretext for expanding America’s Security State; the response to every plot: we need to sacrifice more liberties, increase secrecy, and further empower the government.

  14. rps

    On Congress’s Things To Do List;

    Corporate Tax Holiday in Debt Ceiling Deal: Where’s the Uproar? Matt Taibbi

    “…..As it is, leading members of the Senate are seriously considering giving the most profitable companies in the world a total tax holiday as a reward for their last seven years of systematic tax avoidance. Hundreds of billions of potential tax dollars would disappear from the Treasury. And there isn’t a peep from anyone, anywhere, on this issue.

    We’re seriously talking about defaulting on our debt, and cutting Medicare and Social Security, so that Google can keep paying its current 2.4 percent effective tax rate and GE, a company that received a $140 billion bailout en route to worldwide 2010 profits of $14 billion, can not only keep paying no taxes at all , but receive a $3.2 billion tax credit from the federal government. And nobody appears to give a shit. What the hell is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?”

  15. Cedric Regula

    File: Boehnergeddon – Yawn

    Mr. B announces vote is postponed. Maybe till later tonight, maybe not.

    Reid still says it will be blocked in Senate.

    Mr. O still says he will veto it.

    Timmy says bondholders will be paid, but SS recipients better ready that cat food stash (suggests letting the cat fend for itself – they’re good at that).

    S&P 500 up, then down. Futures still heading down.

    Asian, euro markets down.

    Gold flat, platinum flat.

    Elsewhere, AP reports banks in Asia still making loans before obtaining reserves/deposits.

    The Peterson G. Peterson Foundation issues an urgent message:

    Peter Peterson picked a peck of pickled peppers;
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Peterson picked;
    If Peter Peterson picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Peterson picked?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Give me the bad news first.

      But these days, people seem to like pleasure before pain. It’s just not my style.

      By the way, my cats told me they heard from their dog friends that going to watch a man-fight. Pretty savage, they said. Isn’t that illegal, for dogs to raise caged humans for fights?

      1. Cedric Regula

        It’s illegal, but dogs do it in the south anyway.

        I even saw an unplanned (I think) one here once at the dogpark. Two dogs got their humans into it big time.

        1. ambrit

          Here Down South, the dogpark is a mini Wall Street. Did any of your ‘dogpark’ warriors catch the bunny?

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