Links 01/28/12

Dutch Zoo Fits Elephant With Contact Lens (furzy mouse) Der Spiegel.

Government censorship makes pandemic research harder, won’t hinder bad actors Nature. What could go wrong?

Pentagon to position floating base in Persian Gulf Pravda. What could go wrong?

Fifteen minutes out of Damascus in the burbs, tension everywhere RT photo essay.

Flush With Oil From Alberta, Canada Prepares For Inevitable U.S. Invasion (Valissa) Smew. Tim Hortons imposes sharia law! Also, too, their water.

Irishman makes “billion-euro home” of shredded notes Reuters. “I wanted to create something from nothing.”

“People will accept austerity if we also talk about growth,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said. Wisdom from Davos.

Germany wants Greece to give up sovereignty budget control Reuters.

Cliff diving in the Baltic? (max424) Financial News. Capacity? Chinese New Year? Shrug? But what about HARPEX?

“Dropping the stuff from helicopters is more effective since it does what it says on the tin: it instantly unleashes demand” Simon Jenkins, Guardian. Being sovereign in your own currency means never having to say you don’t have a helicopter.

“At one extreme of opacity, financial intermediaries simply steal everybody else’s wealth. That’s no good” Steve Waldman. No, it isn’t.

Champs and chumps Abigail Field. Survey of state AGs on bankster-driven accounting control fraud. Champs: Biden, Masto, Harris, Coakeley. And if Schneiderman doesn’t deliver, he’s not a chump but a tool.

“It’s weird that Summers, who loves debate, generally refuses to sit down in some public forum and answer serious, informed questions about the legacy of his tenure at Treasury…” Felix Salmon. It is? Why?

Locals help deliver Walker recall petitions to Madison Pierce County Herald. Awesome. Acting democratically can make people joyful. I mean, who knew?

Occupy: Spectacle or mass movement? Oakland Occupier Boots Riley on Faceborg (sorry). Thank The Godd(ess)(e)(s) Of Your Choice, If Any that the scorps are off covering the 2012 olds. The Occupations are news.

How the Norwegians tamed the 1% using nonviolent tactics (MS) Indypendent.

“Moderate” Ds deep-six CA Medicare for All proposal McClatchy. Shocker.

High-level overview of the merger of state and corporation on the internet Monthly Review. Caution: Socialist source may not be work-safe.

FBI issues RFP for pre-crime targeting using social media (MS) Daily Mail.

Socializing bandwidth hoggery with Siri WaPo.

On copyright, why not a return to the commercial scale standard for criminal infringement? (LT) Social Science Research Council.

“…full of plans and promises that don’t have a sick wife’s chance with Newt Gingrich of ever being passed into law…” Esquire. Pierce on the SOTU.

Dogs against Romney. Featured in People.

Jack Crow feeds the cats.

Squirrel. It’s what’s for dinner (MS) Daily Mail. Urban forager digs that Depression-era cookbook out of grandma’s attic!

The dark side of K-Pop Al Jazeera.

Antidote du jour (hat tip bluegrass aficionado furzy mouse). Total Awwwww! at 1:30.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Externality

    Re: the Larry Summers interview

    The part I found particularly amusing is where he claimed to be an environmentalist. In 1991, while Chief Economist of the World Bank, he wrote what has come to be known as the “Summers memo.” An excerpt the memo:

    ‘Dirty’ Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Least Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons:

    1) The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.

    2) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.

    3) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate[sic] cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate[sic] cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.

    The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more pollution in LDCs (intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization.

    (emphasis added)

    1. Externality

      While Wikipedia endorses the position that Summers only signed, not wrote the memo, that he did not mean it for it to be taken seriously, and that only portions were leaked, other writers are not so charitable.

      After the memo became public, he regretted signing it. “When I make a mistake, it’s a whopper.”

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Externality, thanks for the links. Right: energy for the .01%, pollution for the 99.99 percent. WHY is he an Untouchable? What does he know? Is it time for him to *shuffle off to Buffalo*? History shows that he is very, very bad news for the rest of us. Certainly, he is *an enemy of the People*.

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Moreover, Harvard’s attempted whitewash is B.S. Anyone from Louisiana knows how *his kind* has used the earthly environment of the poor in the Gret Stet as a dumping ground for the 1%’s toxic waste.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          You’ve identified the main skill of the modern executive; obfuscation.

          It’s an apology/denial without being either.

          1. Externality

            Exactly. Between Summers’ various statements and those of his defenders, such as Harvard professor Lant Pritchett, one can fairly point to numerous conflicting “explanations” for the memo. Wikipedia takes Prichett’s statements at face value, while the other sources discount them.

            When Noam Chomsky discussed the memo, he wrote that “The reaction [to the memo] led to evasions and denials that we can ignore.”

            It was taken quite seriously at the time:

            After the memo became public in February 1992, Brazil’s then-Secretary of the Environment Jose Lutzenburger wrote back to Summers: “Your reasoning is perfectly logical but totally insane… Your thoughts [provide] a concrete example of the unbelievable alienation, reductionist thinking, social ruthlessness and the arrogant ignorance of many conventional ‘economists’ concerning the nature of the world we live in… If the World Bank keeps you as vice president it will lose all credibility. To me it would confirm what I often said… the best thing that could happen would be for the Bank to disappear.” Sadly, Mr. Lutzenburger was fired shortly after writing this letter.


    2. F. Beard

      Wow! What an arse! An exploitative arse.

      And btw, it is the richest countries that should handle the most potentially polluting technologies since they are most able to prevent pollution.

      (That said, CO2 is NOT a pollutant.)

      1. citizendave

        CO2 is NOT a pollutant – F. Beard

        Technical point: although CO2 is not toxic, the problem of greenhouse gases is a question of balance. Clearly, the planetary ecosystem can tolerate a range of greenhouse gas fluctuation without catastrophe. But while ingesting water is essential to sustain human life, drinking too much water can be fatal. Although CO2 is essential to plant life, we believe too much CO2 in the atmosphere can be catastrophic.

        On Summers, the quote reads like a piece from the Onion. I am always grateful when people like Summers take the time to articulate what goes on in their minds, so that we may catch an occasional glimpse of the evil that lurks there. Most evil-doers are either inarticulate, or too savvy to spill the beans and risk arousing public ire.

    3. just me

      Re: The Summers Memo

      ‘Dirty’ Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Least Developed Countries]? … I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. … I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted …

      See: Somalia. High on the list of the Top 25 Censored Stories of 2008-09 was “Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates.” This blog post links to three of those Somali pirate stories, including Johann Hari’s You Are Being Lied to About Pirates:

      In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

      Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply.

      At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. … The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

      This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a ‘tax’ on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and it’s not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders…said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters… We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.”

      Arrr, take yer bow, Larry.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        just me, thanks. And what more have they dumped in China, in India, and now in the land of “Don Quixote” in Spain (nuclear waste: safely buried). Ohh yeah.

  2. Richard Kline

    The 99-ization of Norway and Sweden in the survey article of the Indypendent was heartening and instructive. Top-down reform doesn’t happen, not on that scale or the scale we need now. It’s bottom-up and sideways-on organization that’s needed. Neither country won in a winter (or a Spring); it took years. Just as it took in Egypt; years. But if we work for it, we can get it. What we have to do, though, is to _stop_ cooperating with failed process and those who profit from that. This is a very high bar for many to cross, and most in the US haven’t even entertained the notion in any way. The struggle is to convince the many discontented that they must end compliance with malevolent policy which impoverishes them. I expect that to take years. The good news? That struggle has begun.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Precisely so, Richard Kline. Please see my comment below re the crucial article (on the Internet as MonopolyCapitalist monster drinking our blood, as it were) in The Monthly Review. It is the farthest thing from a socialist screed. It is just plain common sense.

      Richard, the .01% have done us and done us and done us and done us. Do we have to let them do us again? Remember George Carlin of blessed memory.

    2. Pat

      Re: How Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent
      The Norwegian “model” is completely inapplicable to the US. If we (in Norway) have a fair and democratic country, it is because of the following factors:
      1) People strongly feel that no one in the country is “better” than anyone else. This is due to historical factors (nearly everyone was a peasant farmer or fisherman until 1900), and racial cultural and religious homogeneity (almost everyone until recent years was Lutheran and of Norwegian descent), and a cultural attitude against any sort of hubris.
      2) “Adults” are in charge of political and economic decisions and generally act rationally and the best interests of the country as a whole
      3) Fear of outside countries invading or otherwise screwing up the country. Norway was a colony until 1905, was afraid of a Swedish invasion after that, was occupied by the Nazis, was afraid of the Soviets in the Cold War, afraid of the EU plundering the country from 1980 on, and is now afraid of the Russians doing something stupid like radiating or polluting the coast and the norther half of the country.
      4) Oil discovered at a time when only the central government could develop it.

      The US doesn’t have any of these features. Everybody has a different background, most people think they are better than large swathes of other people and completely accept the idea of income inequality. There haven’t been “adults in charge” for the past 60 years, since Kennedy, with the exception of Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson half the time. All the other presidents have favored corporations and banks and the military-industrial complex over the social welfare of the people. The US is not threatened by any outside entity so there is no common social purpose.

      So you can forget about drawing any lessons from Norway or any other Scandinavian country. Better to look at Canada or Germany as a model. Germany has a 1% but it doesn’t skim off nearly all the profits because labor unions sit on the boards of directors in the corporations. Germany has a greedy financial sector but they are reined in by an active and competent government regulatory body. Germany has immature and stupid politicians but they damage they can do is limited due to fixed universal healthcare and unemployment and social security and to fixed tax rates. And so on.

      1. craazyman

        even though I myself post comments, I often wonder why anyone would read comments or care in the slightest about what people say in comments.

        mostly, it’s just entertainment. just words on a screen. nothing, basically.

        but sometimes comments are thoughtful and insightful, as yours is.

        It justifies reading the rest of ours, just in case. hahah.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          craazyman, you jest? I thought you understood the value of comments and their links, as well as conversations among commentators. Have I given you too much credit?

          1. craazyman

            I see nothing wrong with entertainment and virtual socializing.

            It’s more fun than the drudgery of political economics.

            Good God. The more I think about economics, the more ridiculous it is. They don’t even know what money is — not one of them, ever — and they build a hole (pun intended) body of thought around it.

            If you want to give me credit, send it to:

            D. Tremens, Esquire
            PO Box 3.1415927

            I promise I’ll use it efficiently and competitively while maximizing utility and achieving social optimality.


          2. Skippy


            Is it Buddhists that say… confusion is the first step to enlightenment.

            Skippy… send me a post card please.

      2. F. Beard

        Yes, nice comment and I have always admired (and liked) Norwegians.

        It’s been said of Europe that the Rapture would seriously affect only Norway.

      3. Aussy with Norwegian wife

        I think the riskiest thing Norway engages in is immigrating people from RADICALLY different cultural backgrounds on a relatively large scale.

        This to me is like playing with fire when the country runs on homogeneity and equality.

        Is anyone tracking whats happening to Sweden???

        1. Binky the perspicacious bear

          I think the Norwegianity rubs off on the immigrants for the most part. My relatives seemed to have no problem with immigrants from all over the world living in Oslo and Bergen. Amazingly if you treat people well they respond the same way.
          Not how I was raised in America, where cheating was the rule, accountability was a tool for abusing certain groups of undesirables, and it was easier to get people to prefer things that hurt them rather than see THOSE people succeed a little bit.

  3. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “The Internet’s Unholy Marriage to Capitalism” – published in The Monthly Review – should be consumed and digested fully by anyone and everyone who has seen the Internet, bought and paid for by the American taxpayer’s funding of *Defense* and Science, morph from a public good into a tool of Monopoly Capitalism. Those of us who have asked for an alternative to The Voracious Beast Google lately, should take heed: it may not be too late for us to turn the tide.

    It is important to take this well-researched and stated article seriously, now that we understand how Google and the ISP Monopoly Cartel intend to continue gobbling US up in order to feed their unbridled march to .01% Heaven. Recall the wise words of George Carlin:

    “They don’t give a F%&K about you. They don’t care about you at ALL, at all, at all. … And now they’re after your Pensions, your Social Security! …” Shall We the People take heed this time, and will we do it in time?

  4. Externality

    More on Larry Summers:

    When interviewing Larry Summers, the media seldom mentions that he has profited immensely from his ties to the financial industry. From an article entitled “Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics” in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

    Over the past decade, Summers continued to advocate financial deregulation, both as president of Harvard and as a University Professor after being forced out of the presidency. During this time, Summers became wealthy through consulting and speaking engagements with financial firms. Between 2001 and his entry into the Obama administration, he made more than $20-million from the financial-services industry. (His 2009 federal financial-disclosure form listed his net worth as $17-million to $39-million.)

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Externality, it’s all about the dough. Imagine the secrets inside the Harvard Endowment. You can bet there’s a lot of money riding on Summers, so that he doesn’t become “Deep Throat.” This is the power of blackmail writ large.

  5. Middle Seaman

    The phrase “don’t have a sick wife’s chance with Newt Gingrich of ever being passed into law” should be awarded the journalistic achievement of 2012.

    Focusing on Larry Summers borders on hate. He is hardly the only transgressor in the bunch. Geithner, Obama, Holder, Damon of JP, the last head of Merril Lynch and myriad others are all lyches who such our blood. Obama, in particular, in addition to financial stupidity has expanded the war in Afghanistan, enacted civil right violation laws, followed W closely and much more.

    1. just me

      @BorowitzReport tweet:

      Gingrich on his success: The American people want an adult, and no one has a stronger record of adultery than I do.”

  6. craazyman

    @ Waldman Transparency & Opacity

    Words are fuzzy hammers. opacity itself is a form of transparency, you know you don’t know. Knowing you don’t know is a form of knowing. Knowing you don’t know should make you think.

    Do you jump? yes or no. You have the power, to a degree that depends on a larger and more abstract social survival dilem,ma.

    The problem arises when you have to jump to survive in a system that rewards jumpers. It goes beyond transparency and opacity into social survival structures that emerge when groups become large enough to break the bonds of individual conscious connections, forming group structure that rely on abstractions as substitutes. The Pilot Wave vs. the Gnostic Wave. Survival itself takes two forms — imaginative and physical — each of which has its own incredibly potent energy of persuasion. Humanity is a social animal that needs to survive physically in the body and imaginatively in the context of belonging. Both drive decisions and force the leap in the face of a transparent opacity, to survive and belong to a larger cultural imaginative identity structure. Deep thoughts for Saturday. It’s always a walk on a rail-less bridge above a chasm.

  7. Parvaneh Ferhadi

    “People will accept austerity if we also talk about growth,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said. — Indeed. People will certainly accept economic annihilation in exchange for some empty words and idle talk about growth (of what, the deficit?).

    1. F. Beard

      “People will accept austerity if we also talk about growth,” Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said.

      Growth of what? The government backed counterfeiting and usury cancer?

      And what does the Left say?

      “Please Sir, may I have another [job]?”

      To which the bankers reply: “Idiots! We outsourced and automated your jobs away with your own stolen purchasing power. Now die useless eaters or work for a pittance.”

      1. citizendave

        “Please Sir, may I have another [job]?” F. Beard

        I may be mis-remembering, but it seems to me you have written in the past that it’s not jobs we need, what we really need is money. A crummy available job is just a legal way to get money.

        One obvious impediment to distributing debt-free People’s Government fiat money to the People is that it would undermine or deplete the private sector’s low-wage workforce.

        Austerity is easily tolerable at the upper income levels, but devastating at the lower income levels, the low-wage workforce. Relieving poverty with Treasury fiat money would be disadvantageous for the private sector. The private sector tries to control the People’s Government, the Congress, to prevent any re-balancing of wealth that would be disadvantageous to the wealthy.

        My question here is that although Congress controls the public purse, regarding spending of revenue and borrowing, does the Administration have any ability to distribute fiat directly to the citizens, despite a recalcitrant Congress? We have talked about how Treasury could mint a trillion dollar platinum coin, for example, to make up for a shortfall in the ability of Congress to borrow. But could Treasury somehow distribute that trillion dollars directly to the citizens, perhaps via the IRS? (This is a blank spot in my knowledge of the law).

        1. F. Beard

          I may be mis-remembering, but it seems to me you have written in the past that it’s not jobs we need, what we really need is money. citizendave


          A crummy available job is just a legal way to get money.

          Yep but so is cashing a government check.

          One obvious impediment to distributing debt-free People’s Government fiat money to the People is that it would undermine or deplete the private sector’s low-wage workforce.

          It should certainly drive up wages for undesirable jobs, a good thing.

          Austerity is easily tolerable at the upper income levels, but devastating at the lower income levels, the low-wage workforce. Relieving poverty with Treasury fiat money would be disadvantageous for the private sector. The private sector tries to control the People’s Government, the Congress, to prevent any re-balancing of wealth that would be disadvantageous to the wealthy.

          The problem is the perceived immorality of giving the population money which is why I emphasize that a universal bailout is just restitution for the damage the counterfeiting cartel has done to the entire population. Another concern is price inflation risk which is why the bailout should be combined with a ban on further counterfeiting – so-called “credit-creation”.

          My question here is that although Congress controls the public purse, regarding spending of revenue and borrowing, does the Administration have any ability to distribute fiat directly to the citizens, despite a recalcitrant Congress?

          No. But when the idea gains widespread approval, it will be unstoppable, imo.

          1. citizendave

            We The People created our government, so we govern ourselves. Acting through our government, we could issue debt-free fiat money to ourselves. We would prohibit private sector money creation by regulating retail banks as utilities, perhaps requiring 100% reserves. Perhaps Occupy could popularize this approach, until Congress bows to the will of the people.

            Michael Hudson, from yesterday, distilled: in the past, people robbed banks. Today, the banks are robbing the people.

            If we can’t get restitution from the banks, then we will compensate ourselves by fiat.

          2. F. Beard

            We would prohibit private sector money creation by regulating retail banks as utilities, perhaps requiring 100% reserves. Perhaps Occupy could popularize this approach, until Congress bows to the will of the people. citizendave

            Yes. Prohibiting further credit creation would create a huge deflationary hole as existing credit is paid off with no new credit to replace it. That hole can and should be filled with equal “restitution checks” to the entire population, including non-debtors.

          3. citizendave

            I like “equal ‘restitution checks’ to the entire population, including non-debtors” — the prudence of non-debtors would be rewarded, as well as cancelling the debts of the rest.

            I think that’s one psychological or fairness factor inhibiting mortgage principal reductions and other remedies for those with underwater loans. Those who have kept their heads above water, but have lost equity, for example, would welcome compensation as well. To put it as simply as possible, it would not be fair for imprudence to be remedied, if prudence is ignored.

  8. Cap'n Magic

    I see Pravda continues to be clueless in the tech space again-there was a decent takedown of Siri’s actual bandwidth consumption, and it isn’t the dire warning as the so-called reporter makes it out to be.

  9. spooz

    Locals around my farm say “squirrels good eatin'”. I have no intention of finding out, as I am regrettably squeamish of the rodentia order. Too spoiled by my bland suburban upbringing.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Regarding Depression era cookbooks, here is my recipe for Marie Antoinette Cake:

      1 part chicken feed
      1 part cat food
      1 part horse hay
      2 parts pig swill
      3 parts fracking water (or you may subsitute with Fukushima spring water)

      Let us all eat cake!

      PS: I hope to win Iron Chef with that

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For flavor, I suggest Monsanto GM seasonings.

        Most romantic place for eating it? Try outside a bankster’s mansion.

    2. Valissa

      Years ago, a friend of mine (transplanted Brit) moved out of Asheville, NC, to some farmland ~30 miles away. One of the neighbors welcomed him with an offer of freshly killed squirrel for his stew pot. Hoping he managed to contain his shock, he thanked the young man but did’nt accept it.

      One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is for a dish called Brunswick Stew made with chicken thigh meat, though the original Virginian recipe called for squirrel.

      I had a really hard time reading the article about the woman who killed and ate squirrel. I LOVE the squirrels in my back yard! They are very playful and entertaining creatures and seem to enjoy dashing about the large flower garden. They occasionally take a bite of a garden veggie in late summer, but it’s very minor. Our fence is wooden with flat 2″ wide topboards which act as a squirrel roadway (they’re fast!). I have squirrel guards on the bird feeders that work pretty well, but I also put food on the ground for the squirrels. They are townie squirrels so they’re a bit plump (urban eastern grey squirrel), and they are very smart and adaptable.

      There are 2-3 squirrels that are regulars, but I don’t know how big their territory is. I think the fact that we live right in town (all have very small yards) means there is not a huge squirrel population. My suburban and rural friends seem to have more hassles with squirrels (same is true with certain birds, such as starlings, which also behave well in our little yard – probably because they come in small groups of 3-5). In addition, the Charles River is only 2 blocks away, so they have a more nature-y area to visit if they get the urge.

    3. BondsOfSteel

      My grandparents from Appalachia hunted and ate squirrel. They didn’t do it to save money… they simply liked the taste.

      Squirrel was seen as easy prey… they could go out in the morning and by afternoon have 3-4. (They hunted with .22s) They mostly made squrrel gravy with it. (I thought the taste was kinda gamey.)

      OTOH, they wouldn’t have eaten city squirrel. They were pretty picky about which ones they shot… almost exclusivly Fox Squirrels. I see city squirrels eating out of the garbage.

    4. Birch

      I ate a leg of squirl a couple summers ago. Red tree squirl, roasted on a spit by a crazy Japanese tourist. It tasted really good! Dark meat with a wonderful spruce flavour (squirls eat spruce around here). The elders say they used to feed tree squirl to sick people because all the spruce in it would help you get better.

      I haven’t eaten ground squirl, but it used to be a favorite food in spring when other food supplies were running low. I wouldn’t eat city squirl, though it’s probably healthier than most commercial feed-lot meat you buy at the grocery store. Keep ’em around for emergency.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “It’s weird that Summers, who loves debate, generally refuses to sit down in some public forum and answer serious, informed questions about the legacy of his tenure at Treasury…” Felix Salmon. It is? Why?


    He reminds me of the movie The Red Baron, in which, the German ace said (paraphrasing here): If you can’t win, you run away (or fly away). There is a thin line between cleverness and cowardice.

    To me, Summers is just another member of the Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens.

    1. just me

      Larry Summers-White House communications office anecdote from the Inside Job DVD commentary track:

      …I’ve mentioned that there are a lot of people in the film who declined to be interviewed, but just for clarification’s sake, which was important to us, we pushed them through numerous e-mails and phone calls to try to get an actual answer from them. And in all cases there’s a well-documented trail of correspondence. However, in the case of Larry Summers, we never received one word. Nothing. So.

      CHARLES FERGUSON: Well indirectly we did. We got a phone call from the White House Communications Office; the Deputy Communications Director for Economic Policy called us from the White House, asking about our inquiries. We also sent a long list of written questions to Larry Summers’ office, and we had a very, I have to say, contentious and surprisingly unpleasant conversation. I would have thought that the White House communications office would be a little more professional and diplomatic. It was actually a rather pugnacious phone call. I was rather surprised. And then we never heard another word after that, which I found very, very disappointing and surprising on the part of the Obama administration.

  11. AccruedDisinterest

    Re: Lenny Breuer, Task Force Leader, Doesn’t Bother Showing Up For Mortgage Fraud Press Conference.

    To be perfectly fair, it was his turn to clean Jamie Dimon’s pool.

  12. EmilianoZ

    Ever heard of the Alfalfa Club? Sounds like an exclusive club formed by old political hacks and corporate sleazeballs to recreate their fratboy days. Occupy DC is intent on spoiling their fun tonight:

    Sadly this could be their last action. They’re threatened with eviction on Monday (both McPherson and Freedom Plaza).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some have argued that the dichotomy betweeen mind and matter is a false.

      Maybe we can move from occupying cities/parks to occupying minds and hearts, as I have suggested before.

      That’s my dream.

  13. Keenan

    RE: Squirrel eating:


    Considering Yves fondness for the furry rodents as evident from many of her “antidotes”, I hope you’ve prepared for the possibility of taking some grief for posting the link ;-)

          1. Skippy

            In the triple canopy of the Panamanian rain forest, a friend concocted a culinary delight.

            Frog al la Rock au naturel. A lip popping.. Bon Appétit!

            Skippy… more that half your re-supply sinking 5 miles off the coast… will do that too ya.

    1. Praedor

      Leave the poor little cute guys alone. Better food is to be found by breaking in and rummaging about in the pantries and refridgerators of the 1% in your area. Once you have pilfered those sources, you then can place the tender, never-had-a-callous 1% themselves on an open BBQ pit (stay away from brains and the spleen – they can give you a nasty prion disease).

      1. Procopius

        Ah, an opportunity. I’ve been posting this from time to time, hoping it would go viral:

        “In her book A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with the children still watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her.

        That is class warfare.

        Arguing over the optimum marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not.”

        –Lies: and the lying liars who tell them : a fair and balanced look at the Right By Al Franken

        When I was a kid, one day my mother served a dish we didn’t recognize. She wouldn’t tell us what it was until we had all cleaned our plates. Then she informed us it was rabbit. All three of us kids were climbing over each other to get to the toilet to puke. I would have to get awfully hungry to be able to eat a squirrel.

  14. kevinearick

    Equations: Physics, Math, & Philosophy

    The empire cannot live without equations, relative corruption, in the short term, and it cannot live with them in the long term. You are the integral.

    The empire is a stage, and everyone on it is an actor. The majority gets lost in the recursion because it loses sight of the exit, intelligent progeny, in one form of groupthink or another, which are constants establishing the event horizons of empire History.

    Order, explicit time, 0 = 0/0 = ((#) + (-same #))/0 sets up the dimensional fulcrum. Disorder, implicit time, 1/0 not = 2/0 sets up the quantum result.

    Given the explicit centrifugal equation set, why does an implicit centrifuge develop? Why is the result a battery? Must the centrifuge be ubiquitous? The number of universes depends upon how you define/limit a universe, the unified field equation establishing the perception of order.

    How heavy were the tables Jesus turned upon the heads of the tax farmers? There is stupid physical aggression and there is intelligent physical aggression (observe nature). Above all else, the empire fears the latter, for empire time is measured in its appearance, leaving passive aggressive masters over stupid aggressors.

    Jesus as an effeminate male is the crux of the old empire’s mythology. Only an empire comes up with immaculate conception. Church is an explicit derivative. Religion as a private matter, protected by a constitution, is the integral. Jesus walked thousands of miles to argue against groupthink religion.

    Jesus acted because the implicit burden in his heart was greater than any burden the empire could foist upon him, which is the lesson, the one and only way, to be a parent. The immaculate conception, crisis management, supply side economics, monetization, whatever you want to call it, is enslaving future children to the empire’s History.

    The empire is not complicated beyond the misdirection. A vulture capitalist sits at a table in front of a line of apparently stupid kids waiting to have their thoughts taxed, which the bank monetizes further and further out into the future, capitalizing the resulting losses as retained earnings, upon the false assumption that an intelligent kid will ultimately lay the golden egg in line. Gravity has its uses.

    Empires are not constrained by physical energy; they are constrained by lack of access to talent, created by the black hole of psychological black holes, which talent learns to skirt around. Economics is a function of effective timing, to create time. Efficient employment of time as the constraint, the shortest known path, is make-work. Organic growth on the margin creates retained earnings, not the other way around, try as the empire will to convince others, repeating its own History in the process, which is why its insecurity fosters accelerating agency cost and empire calcification.

    On the integral side, empires distill talent pools. On the derivative side, they are like diapers auctioned by used car salesmen, with a captive audience in a coliseum built for the occasion. Employ the universe in a symbiotic relationship to enable “artificial” intelligence through virtual memory. If they don’t like the last speed, they certainly are not going to like the next one.

    Let me get this right Mr. Santorum, Church is tax-exempt, first in line to receive county tax foreclosures with no competition, and enables State regulation of marriage through Family Law, and I am supposed to take separation of Church and State, the legal interpretation of any judge, or the opinion of any US President, emerging from this liars convention, seriously, or expect a messiah to save me from the resulting socialism and tyranny that inevitably results? That would be pretty damn stupid.

    Of course the majority of so registered voters liked Clinton, Newt worked hand in hand with him, Romney made a killing, and Obama works for Goldman. Why would anyone expect potential to appear in a black hole of black holes, unless they were socially programmed to do so?

    Yea, controlling the pot market and building a new football stadium will save San Diego, like issuing debt to itself for the largest boondoggle in State history will save California, Buffet, and Soros from themselves. Good luck with that. Gutting Public Education is a no-brainer.

    If you net it out, God is the father, who impregnates Mary, the mother, and they have a white, effeminate son, with dad nowhere in the feedback loop. Look around. The Bible is fertilizer for corporate behavior, but, if you scratch through the surface and dig a little, to see what is not explicitly stated, you will find everything you wanted to know about physics. Then, as now, learning math was implicitly outlawed, replaced by a soap opera for Proctor & Gamble to exploit.

    The Old covers the investment half-cycle, and the New covers the consumption half-cycle.

    1. kevinearick

      “Thousands of Mitt Romneys allied with huge pension funds representing colleges, unions and the like, plus a rising cadre of institutional money managers, to force corporate America to reboot. In the 1980s almost half of major US corporations got take-over offers.”

      How’s that roll over working out for you?

  15. Mucho Maas

    January 2015: Geithner is promoted to CFO of Goldman Sachs, replacing David Viniar, who will now head the SEC. Joseph Cassano, former head of AIG’s financial products unit, is placed in charge of the CFPB.

    Obama appoints Jon Corzine head of the Treasury Department, and Angelo Mozilo to head a Task Force charged with investigating mortgage fraud.

    Daily Kos commentators are ecstatic, calling these appointments doubleplusgood, and a major victory for justice!

    All resistance is futile.

    Meanwhile a 12-year old girl, rumored to be the last member of OWS, has been spotted somewhere in Brooklyn.

    Mayor Bloomberg, popping the green and yellow pills, leads a SWAT Team in, to take her out:

    1. SR6719


      Obama, having been cryogenized in nitrogen solution for 500 years, is finally resurrected, and, with an investment portfolio now worth billions, is easily re-elected President. His first act is to appoint Angelo Mozilo, (also cryogenized in nitrogen solution for 500 years, but now resurrected with an investment portfolio in the trillions), to head a task force charged with investigating mortgage fraud that took place between 2003 and 2010. Daily Kos commentors are beside themselves with joy and claim justice is finally being done, etc, etc….

    2. Jim

      In December 2006, according to a WSJ front page piece from about 18 months ago, Viniar called the top brass (even the CEO) to his office. He had concluded that the housing market was about to implode and outlined a series of recommendations that resulted in GS effectively going short the housing market.

      At the same time, according to Fed minutes, Geithner was still very bullish.

      Should Geithner be compared to Viniar?

      1. Mucho Maas

        Jim says: “Should Geithner be compared to Viniar?”

        Well, both of them are bankers, aren’t they?

        What’s the difference between a dead cat on the motorway and a dead banker on the motorway? There are skidmarks around the cat.

        A man is stuck in traffic. He asks a police officer about the hold-up and he replies: “The head of the Bank Of England is so depressed about the economy he’s stopped his car and is threatening to douse himself with petrol and set himself on fire. So we’re taking up a collection for him.” The man asks: “How much have you got so far?” The policeman replies: “About 40 gallons, but a lot of people are still siphoning.”

        What do you call 12 bankers at the bottom of the sea with their feet in cement blocks? A good start.

        A man visits his bank manager and says, “How do I start a small business?” The manager replies, “Start a large one and wait six months.”

        Why don’t sharks attack bankers? Professional courtesy.

        And so forth….

        1. AccruedDisinterest

          Three old golfing buddies, a used car salesman, a lawyer and a banker were huddled around the casket at the funeral of their fourth commrade in arms who had recently gone to that great 19th hole in the sky. The used car salesman pulled out a crisp hundred dollar bill and as he laid it into the casket, he said to the others, “I’m going to give old Billy one last token of respect, he’s won the last hole”. The lawyer quickly pulls out a hundred, places it in the casket, and says, “Indeed, here’s to you Billy”.

          The banker looks at the other two, pulls out his checkbook, writes a check for $300.00, throws it in the coffin and grabs the two hundreds.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      On the RT photos: I liked the (seemingly) unfiltered quality of the story. “Journalism my wandering around.” The photos conveyed the tension very well. This is what a country under siege by its elite looks like on the ground. The BBC story didn’t do that.

  16. Jim

    If I were a German citizen, that’s the least of my demands. The German voter was EXPLICITLY promised that there would be (a) no ECB monetization of debt (b) no permanent fiscal transfer.

    If Greece wants to change the rules of the game, I would also insist that German teachers be allowed 90-minutes of German instruction in Greek classrooms, in hopes of teaching children German that they could use if they decide to pursue opportunities up North.

    Greeks don’t like it? Fine. Leave the Eurozone.

    What I can’t understand is why so many of you continue to believe that the Eurozone must be saved at all costs. Why can’t you acknowledge that it’s a flawed entity, that it goes against macro trends in world history.

    The only thing that will save the Eurozone is a United States of Europe. And we all know that it would have to be based in Berlin, with Germany as the official language.

    Will the southern European “states” be willing to accede to such an arrangement?

  17. Praedor

    As for the “wisdom from Davos” and “people will accept austerity if…” I can only say BULLSHIT.

    I will accept austerity if and ONLY if there is real austerity for the 1% first. When THEY have to give until it hurts, truly, then we can talk about austerity for the top 5%, then the top 10%. I will NEVER accept austerity for the people who live day-to-day in neverending austerity as it is.

    I want a new Bastille Day. Truly and literally, I want Davos heads on pikes.

  18. Praedor

    So, 70 years after Nazi Germany was almost, but not quite, able to enslave most of Europe along comes a new German overlord who wants to inflict absolute soft fascist control over Greece (and then Spain, Portugal, Ireland, etc, etc, etc).

    It is way past time for Greece to go the way of Iceland and simply tell these shits to fuck off and force a 100% haircut on the bond holders and bankers.

  19. Praedor

    A nice ship or three parked in the Med or anywhere near Iran would be a nice, juicy target easily smashed, by a small barrage of Sunburn missiles.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Hmm… But not only spectacle.

      One might also wonder if a horizontally scaling … I hate the word “movement”, it has so much baggage, perhaps “evolution”? … I say, a horizontally scaling [whatever] of small-ish groups with a common methodology and local autonomy would be less vulnerable to the ills of the spectacle then some past [whatevers].

      AA, for example, is hardly a spectacle but surely is mass.

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