Links 1/25/12

Your humble blogger is a bit under the weather still and separately very bummed by the Schneiderman news. Sone of my correspondents and I had noticed him taking a back seat to other AGs in launching mortgage-related cases and had been concerned it was a bad sign, but I didn’t want to go out guns a blazing in the absence of evidence. But this looks much worse than anything I could have imagined.

Dolphins are multilingual! Scientists record mammals talking ‘whale’… in their sleep Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Native dog breeds risk extinction BBC

Flower power Economist (hat tip Joe Costello)

Australia: US Copyright Colony or Just a Good Friend? Torrent Freak

Chinese soothsayer sees economic storms ahead Financial Times. I believe Western astrologers also see 2012 as a year of revolution.

On building debt Michael Pettis

Companies paid £1,800 to meet ministers at networking events Guardian (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

EU ratchets up pressure with Greek default threat Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

European Central Bank Moves to Avoid Loss on Greek Bonds New York Times. This strikes me as hilarious, maybe because now is awfully late to get worried about this sort of thing. Now in fact the “private” bondholders have been asked to take deeper haircuts all along, but the Times headline (and even to a degree the story) somehow treats this as news.


Obama State Of The Union Speech: Labor Leaders And Economists Unimpressed With Jobs Proposals Huffington Post

Obama Urges Tougher Laws on Financial Fraud New York Times. Wow, even the Grey Lady is skeptical.

Mitt Romney’s 2009 Tax Burden Likely Even Lower Than 2010, Experts Say Huffington Post. Hah, I thought the same thing. Who has their 2011 taxes filed by what, the third week of January?

Police Raid Occupy Lexington Scarecrow, Firedoglake

Has Ex Goldman Sachs Staff turned Democrat Campaigner Infiltrated Occupy? News Junkie (hat tip reader food)

Mic check! Occupy Wall Street offers a rebuttal to State of the Union SFGate (hat tip reader Martha R)

New Rules for Bond Analysts Global Economic Intersection

CalPERS earns 1.1% on investments in 2011 LA Times (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Billionaires at Davos Bemoan Inequalities Bloomberg. Talk is cheap.

Antidote du jour. What I should be doing:

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    1. Valissa

      yeah, I just wanna know how Tina Turner’s wig ended up on that lion ;) What a mane… naturally blowdried, I’m sure.

      1. 2little2late

        Although the news is indeed somber over the Schneiderman deal, I have to complain about the coffee spew on my monitor this morning when I read the following. The segue was as smooth as fast moving asphalt to a fleshy knee:

        “….concerned it was a bad sign, but I didn’t want to go out guns a blazing in the absence of evidence. But this looks much worse than anything I could have imagined. Dolphins are multilingual! Scientists record mammals talking ‘whale’… in their sleep.”

        Should I be concerned?

        1. AccruedDisinterest

          Do dolphins realize that the audacity and arrogance of multilingualism precludes them from the Republican presidential candidacy? Why do dolphins hate America, anyway?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Good point, AccruedDisinterst.

            We must uneducate ourselves of our arrogance and egotism.

  1. Cody Willard

    Wasn’t this obvious from the start? You guys should have known better. Seriously.

    “Cody Willard says:
    September 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm
    From Elizabeth Warren to Tom Miller, how many times have we built up one of these Republican/Democrat elites into a supposed anti-elite force who “might be the only elected official willing to stick his/her neck out” only to see them cave and then have to backtrack our embrace of said hypocrite. How long til we/you/I have to admit that Schneiderman is just another spoke in their wheel who is playing their game and simply faking their resistance?

    I had hoped Elizabeth Warren would join with Ron Paul or something so that we could finally end this false Right/Left/Repub/Democ paradigm…and I had hoped Tom Miller really would “send some of these bankers to jail”. Now we have Warren trying to paint herself into a Democrat-pay-for-play Senate seat and of course Miller’s backtracking from prosecutor to crony is legendary now among the educated blogosphere.

    Schneiderman will betray us all in a similar fashion — he is fully endorsed, stamped and funded by the same Republican/Democrat Fascist Regime as the rest of them.

    Our only chance is to go post-partisan and vote exclusively away from the R/D paradigm. How hard can that really be?”

    1. craazyman

      the dreambirds will answer through eyes like rivers under the moon

      Pretty hard.

      Love your newsletter. but I can’t stand to be down even 0.3% so I just read it and fantasize about a 10 bagger straight up with no risk. My problem is: it’s my own money and I don’t want to lose a penny of it. makes it hard.

      with all these politicians, it’s always other people’s money. and what is it that’s theirs? that’s the problem at a theoretical level. God King and Country are so abstract.

      I wonder if there really is a cult behind all this. I’m inclined to think there could be & it has something to do with alien abductions and inter-dimensional consciousness projection. David Icke may be correct, in a weird way, even though I first thought he was a psychotic, but at a metaphorical level he may be on to something the way a slightly deranged mind finds a point of meaning that escapes the average sanity. These things weren’t going on in the 1930s and the colors were more muted then too, as you can see from the paintings. Now everything jangles like necklaces of barbed wire and nails, like a boiling crown of thorns. How can an ambitious mind navigate this and keep its composure? It gets taken in, complete and unconscious. Like something out of Ionescu. Where;s the separation of power when it’s all a whirlpool? In the woods alone with the crows, where you’re only a nation of one.

      1. René

        Funny, that you brought up David Icke. Just went through his speech he gave at the Brixton Academy.

        What impressed me was his truly eloquent perspective on consciousness (first part). To me it resembled something of a combination of views on consciousness. A mixture of Einstein, Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Krishnamurti and Timothy Leary. Well done David Icke.

          1. jimmyj

            Do NOT go down the David Icke wormhole. The only thing waiting at the end is a credibility free existence. Jeez. Never thought I’d see the day somebody would mention his name on this sight.

          2. craazyman

            @jimmy — don’t worry. he’s been mentioned before more than once and you are correct. It is a wormhole worth avoiding. mentioning it with some degree of irony doesn’t validate it. but it is a peculiar phenomenon, of interest to students of consciousness, as it transcends known states of mental illness into something far stranger.

          3. René

            @ jimmyj

            Some of his theories are very extreme but his view on consciousness is nothing short of amazing.

            Why would that not deserve a recommendation?

          4. craazyman

            people really do need to take responsibility for their inner reptiles, which some folks can apparently see like ghosts. ;)

            The dead sea scrolls explains it. Testament of Amram.

            Otherwise, yes, he’s a very bright and articulate guy and I’m not surprised he touches on things in mainstream “new age/new physics” thought. Frankly I haven’t read his work so I can’t critique him too much, one way or the other. He’s been tagged with anti-semitic rantings, but I do not know if that’s true. Anyway, interesting as this is, it’s getting a little off the topic of finance capture and political ambition. My apologies, Yves.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          We all have *inner reptiles* — see book: “YOUR INNER FISH: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body” by Neil Shubin (New York, Vintage Books, 2009 new edition; 2008). See also:

          “COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind” by Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D. (New York, E.P. DUTTON, 1969; 1923; 1922 Edward P.S. Connaughton; 1901 Innes & Sons) — timeless, no bull;

          “IN THE PALACES OF MEMORY: How We Build the Worlds Inside Our Heads” by George Johnson (New York, Vintage Books/Random House, Inc., 1991) — Johnson is author also of “ARCHITECTS OF FEAR: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics” and MACHINERY OF THE MIND: Inside the New Science of Artificial Intelligence”;

          “THE AWAKENING OF INTELLIGENCE” BY J. Krishnamurti (New York, HarperOne/HarperCollins, 1987; 1973 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, Ltd., London);

          Krishnamurti was an early influence on the Mythologist, Joseph Campbell. See Campbell as teacher in DVD set: “JOSEPH CAMPBELL: MYTHOS I: The Shaping of Our Mythic Tradition” (Athena # 0 54961 9551 0, Copyright 1996, 2007 Joseph Campbell Foundation []) — author of “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” (bestseller);

          “METAPHORS WE LIVE BY” by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, with a new Afterword (Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press, 2003; 1980);

          Classic book by neuroscience pioneer Jean-Pierre Changeux: “NEURONAL MAN: The Biology of Mind” – tr. Laurence Gary (New York, Pantheon Books, 1985);

          “PORTRAITS OF THE MIND: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century” by Carl Schoonover w/ Foreword by Johah Lehrer (New York, Abrams, 2008);

          “The Eclipse of the Intellectual” by Elemire Zolla, tr. Raymond Rosenthal (New York, Funk & Wagnalls, 1986);

          “LOVE AND WILL” by Rollo May (New York, W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1969);

          “MORAL CALCULATIONS: Game Theory, Logic, and Human Frailty” – tr. Anna C. Gosi-Greguss, English Version Edited by David Kramer – by Laszlo Mero (New York, Copernicus/Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., 1998);

          “BURSTS: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do” by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi [author of “LINKED”] (New York, Dutton, 2010);

          “Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything” by Ervin Laszlo (Rochester, VT; Inner Traditions; 2004);

          “The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time” by Ervin Laszlo (Cresskill NJ, Hampton Press, Inc., 1996–ADVANCES IN SYSTEMS THEORY, COMPLEXITY AND THE HUMAN SCIENCES: Alfonso Montuori, Series Editor).

          “Cogito ergo sum” — “Deja vu all over again.”

          1. craazyman

            wow. But honestly, even if I read every book on that last, I’d be just as confused as I am now. But just with different words to describe it. that’s why the red red wine and the xanax are so helpful to me. two friends and me, under the stars. haha

    2. Dan B

      Here in Massachusetts the “progressives” are gushing over Warren’s run for senate. While she gives every appearance of sincerity, I ask my progressive friends this question: “Which is more likely? She changes Washington, or Washington changes her?”

      1. Valissa

        Good for you! I wouldn’t even ask that question to most of my friends, because either they would not understand it (despite being successful college graduates) or just get angry. My strategy these days is to merely say I distrust both parties and try and change the conversation to something more pleasurable. That’s because most of the folks I know still believe in childlike tribal fashion that “all/most Republicans are evil” while liberals/Democrats are good, because they are nicer and kinder. People tend not to challenge their own narratives or beliefs, as I did, because i used to believe those things too…. until I realized how naive (uninformed) I was.

        1. Valissa

          The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.

          — William James

      2. Lambert Strether

        Ask your “progressive” friends for the Warren quote where she says that banksters CEOs should be prosecuted for accounting control fraud. You won’t find it. That is true for all the legacy party Presidential candidates — Warren being set up for 2016 — without exception including Ron Paul. Greenspan admits that fraud is real, but apparently none of the banksters committed it. None of the legacy party candidates are serious. Warren isn’t serious.

    3. Valissa

      My observation is the people really don’t want to let go of the myth of the savior or hero who will make the world a better place. Personally I’m hoping for a return to realism… I think idealism is important as a guide, but it should be anchored by realistic views of the limitations of human beings, their societies and their leaders.

      Someone here at NC recommended a book which I just finished this morning and I can’t recommend to strongly enough! However if you are a committed utopian of any stripe, you will not like this book, so my recommendation is conditional.

      Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, by John Gray

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Valissa, idealism may inspire the will to achieve a realizable goal, moment by moment.

        1. Valissa

          Yes Leonova, I totally understand that. I used to be in that camp myself, and it was not easy to leave it at first. Took alot of thinking and reflecting.

          But I think there is an important point being made in John Gray’s book about the dangers of idealism. Obama was elected based on out of control idealism, IMO, and maybe it’s time to be less idealistic and more realistic about politics, power and money. Feel free to disagree with that, of course.

          1. Valissa

            Leonova, I believe that we are all equals here. Do you believe in pluralism? Or do you believe there is only one right way to think about anything? Can we not agree to disagree without animosity? Or agree that there many valid viewpoints on any issue, and that all are interesting and relevant in some way or another?

            I learn something here at NC everyday from commenters I agree with and commenters I disagree with. I get bored with echo chambers. Vive la difference!

          2. Binky the Bear

            I disagree with the premise that Obama was elected as a savior. In contrast, Peggy Noonan among others had declared Bush the savior complete with rainbows and dolphins some 8 years before.
            Obama was elected simply for being Not Bush and Not McCain/Palin. Bush was a bumbler and became unappetizing even to conservatives, who continued to grouse that Bush and McCain were not “real” conservatives, leaving space for the usual suspects to nominate Obama. Relatively few people were conned by the marketing hype around Obama; however, the media developed that narrative and ran with it and its inevitable antithesis.
            Newsmedia narratives have become as stale and hackneyed as the television shows that contextualize them.

          3. Lambert Strether

            Binky, of course Obama was elected as a savior. Contemporaneously:

            I’ve been struggling to come up with a new term for the sort of indvidual who views Obama as a bodhisattva, or who faints or bursts into tears when Obama is in the same arena with them, who applauds when he sneezes, or who reacts to criticism of Obama as if their lover was insulted, and who in general, exhibits the sort of behavior that Freud would call over-valuation of the object, especially when expressed through personal conversion narratives.

            Anybody doesn’t think there was a cult of personality around Obama in 2008 wasn’t paying attention.

  2. But What Do I Know?

    I see CALPERS was finally able to put out its annual report 7 months after its fiscal year ended–how hard can it be? Also, they had a pathetic cash flow from their investments–$2.7 billion on $240 billion in assets. These guys aren’t the smart money; they’re the dumb/crooked money.

    1. aet

      Yeah, sure – attack a pension fund for retired workers – for being “crooked/ stupid” with THEIR money – that is,for not earning enough, in your opinion, compared to – who? – oh, yeah, the “smart” money boys (and they’re “honest”,too? – as implied by your contrast of such with the “dumb/crooked” pension fund managers?)?

      Do you therefor propose to give the workers’ aggregated and accumulated pension funds to the “smart” (and therefore morally superior, in your book – certainly not “crooked”, like you called those “dumb” public employee pension fund managers, no sir!) money-folk to manage?

      Tell me, did you learn nothing from contemplating Mr Madoff’s long long record of comparatively stellar “smart” returns on investment?

      If so, what? That returns on capital managed by honest capable people never vary or lag, and out-perform others?

      Do you contend that “crooked” money managers are revealed by their lack of performance compared to “fast, smart” operators like Mr. Madoff?

      And this holds true, despite the economy being as it has been since 2007?


      1. But What Do I Know?

        You got me all wrong–my point is that they are the dumb/crooked money *because* they have given their money to the “smart” guys to manage. They would be much better off in an index fund.

        If they are only earning about 1.2% cash flow from their investments (go look at their numbers, I’m not making it up) then they are doing something wrong. It’s not that they are “making up” stellar returns; it’s that they’re doing a pathetic job of generating cash flow to pay their obligations. Their choices to go with the “smart” money has only enriched an army of consultants and managers.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          My do-it-yourself investments did better (at around 0.4%), if I add back the management fees a professional ‘advisor’ would have charged (1%?).

          1. Jim

            That’s the wrong benchmark. Stanford managed to generate a return of 22% for the year ending June 30, 2011.

            Why did Calpers fall so short?

      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        aet, there was a time when Pension Funds were Defined Benefit Plans which were held in a kind of trust for the retirees, which increased over time. Sometime in the early 80’s I believe, it became *acceptable* for Corporations to appropriate the increase, by fiat. Then, it became *acceptable* for Corporations to treat the principal plus the increase as their own money, by fiat. Just like that.

        How did this happen, and by whose authority. It’s just creeping embezzlement with Corporate Executive/Board impunity, leading ultimately to the larceny of MF Global/J.P. Morgue with dispensation by the City of London.

      3. Jim

        AET, we couldn’t care less about Calpers ROI, were it not for the fact that the taxpayer is on the hook for any shortfall.

        I have an idea. If Calpers falls short of its target return, all pensions/benefits are adjusted accordingly.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How about friction as the next big source of power.

      I notice in every internet ‘debate,’ there is a lot of friction. Then I further notice that that is also the case in life, among humans, in general. If some genius, hero scientist can come up with a way to capture that energy…

      1. René

        Yes, that would be something. Unfortunately, Niklas Tesla lost out to JP Morgan’s friction. A real loss for the World.

        1. ambrit

          Agreed with that. One of our daughters lives in Colorado Springs and she has reported that the PsychoSphere pervading that region is still “exhausted, flat, lacking in affect.”

  3. Patricia Marino

    From the Flower Power article:

    “That design was a pattern known as a Fermat spiral, in which each element is set at a constant angle of 137° to the previous one. It is most familiar as the arrangement of the florets that make up a sunflower head.”

    Very cool. It’s always great to see math and science come together in unexpected ways, and when they come together with beauty it’s even better.

    Feel better, Yves!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As a long time advocate of vegetable antidotes du jour, I welcome flower power.

      Plant antidotes du jour, in general, I believe, have tremendous healing power. Yves, give them a try!

  4. Peripheral Visionary

    Allow me to express my annual gratitude to those with the fortitude to stick out the State of the Union address. I honestly cannot stomach watching politicians applauding themselves, and I am grateful to those who can so that the rest of us do not have to.

    1. Susan the other

      If medical diagnoses can be made accurately with computers why can’t politics? Last night I kept thinking how nice it would be to replace all the pols with a computer network.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we limit political candidates to only those under the age of 18, I think we get more fresh approaches.

      2. ambrit

        Dear STO;
        Be careful what you wish for. Computerized politics is rapidly coming to pass. Flash polls, automated, (and thus easily ‘compromised,’) voting systems, electronic phone banks, electronic ‘contributions,’ and lastly, but most dangerously, electronic tracking and identification of political speech, (at least on the Internet,) have us practically within the grasp of those ‘powers and dominions’ who can muster the resources to employ those resources.
        Isaac Asimov wrote his Resident of the United States story in a ‘younger’ age. What was then percieved as ‘cute’ and humourously cynical has become a dystopian reality. While Asimov, being a practicing academic, held what comes across as a basic faith in Technology and Reason. His version of the Future would have been, at the least, tolerable. What’s happening now more closely approximates something from the Canon of Phillip K. Dick! Do Androids Dream? We might soon find out.

      3. ex-PFC Chuck

        Here’s another idea. I recently read The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, and she asserts that sociopaths make up about 4% of the population, most of whom slip under the radar. She also notes that the brain regions involved in empagthy that an MRI lights up in normal people do not do so in the cases of sociopaths. So, how about requiring all people running for federal office to undergo a brain MRI to determine whether or not they’re sociopathic?

    2. Maximilien

      @PV: Yeah, we stuck it out. Thanks for your gratitude.

      To borrow Mary McCarthy’s famous put-down of Lillian Hellman’s memoirs, every word was a lie, including “and” and “the”.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Maximilien;
        I was under the impression that a politician sticking out his “State of the Union,” and done in ‘Congress’ no less, was still against the law in most civilized jurisdictions. Oh, how the Mighty are Fallen!

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I might add that the exclamation marks were the biggest liars (if you exclude those words in all caps)!

  5. BrettM

    RE Schneiderman: I think that Obama has said I am going to have Holder leave in the next 12 months or so and if you play nice as the Chair of my Kabuki committee, you are next in line for the US AG job. The timing of Holder’s departure is dependent upon the roar of the masses and Obama’s polling numbers. If he is losing come October, Schneiderman will be moved into place to signal Obama’s new tough on Wall Street attitude to the 99%. Any way you slice it, Obama wins and we collectively lose.

  6. Hope this works

    Roswell Park Makes Cancer Vaccine Announcement

    Officials from Roswell were on hand to highlight what the vaccine can do. They say the NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine has the potential to “eradicate cancer cells and prevent disease relapse.”

    The new NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine is expected to show great promise in patients with bladder, brain, breast, esophageal, gastrointestinal, hepatocellular, kidney, lung, melanoma, ovarian, prostate, sarcoma and uterine tumors.

    The NY-ESO-1 vaccine, tailor-made for each patient, will be produced in RPCI’s Therapeutic Cell Production Facility. Dr. Christopher Choi, director of the facility, says this is the first government-regulated study of its kind and it’s the first time the vaccine will be tested in a hospital setting rather than in a medical lab. “We believe that our facility’s custom-made barrier isolator, the unit in which the vaccines are manufactured, is the first of its kind,” said Choi.

    1. Aquifer

      Thank you very much for this! My Dad was involved as a volunteer with some early investigation of this approach at Johns Hopkins before he died in ’94. It is too late for him – but i hope this really works out …

  7. Aquifer

    “Some researchers have said that dolphins should be treated as non-human persons as they are so intelligent”

    Obviously intelligence is not a prerequisite for “personhood”, at least the SC doesn’t think so –

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t want to sound like one of those evil, loophole finding lawyers, but there is a legal short cut – the dolphins can incorporate into personhood…perhaps even as a non-profit, tax-exempt entity.

    2. Jef

      Talk about intelligence I think its admirable that a dog has undertaken the task of breeding out risk.

      “Native dog breeds risk extinction”

      You go dog!

  8. Dave of Maryland

    Astrologers aren’t just gloomy about 2012. We’re gloomy into the next decade. One thing after another. I don’t know that any sane one of us is predicting revolution. The old saw about predicting Wall Street collapses comes to mind, or Tyl’s legendary 1997 prediction that Clinton would be removed from office, etc.

    Last week in my newsletter I predicted Newt’s win in South Carolina, but that was already obvious. Newt had been stung by Mitt’s earlier attack and decided to go all out. Newt is a full moon guy (Gemini-Sagittarius). DO NOT underestimate a full moon when they’re on the warpath. (This is the guy who single-handedly wrecked the US government, remember.) Newt will destroy Romney but self-destruct in the process. What happens next, I dunno. My crystal ball has gone black.

    1. Praedor

      One doesn’t have to be anti-science and fringy (astrology, mis-interpreted Mayan mythologists, apocalyptic nut religionists, etc) to be down on the next decade.

      As a real scientist with a firm footing in objective reality, I too am pessimistic about the next 10 years. All I see is looting, more and more blatant and in-your-face as the 1%ers see that they are, indeed, immune to ethics, to laws, and prosecution. As they see that the entirety of ALL political systems in the West are fully infested with the metastatic cancer of Big Finance, Wall Street, and Disaster Capitalist scum they see that they can, quite literally, get away with murder. As the sheeple look upon it and cry out in anger but also absolutely wedded to nonviolent resistance, the 1% can laugh and sneer at the hapless, self-defeated chanters and song singers. That or too many who are angry have been stupidly herded into the “Tea Party” whereby they can demand even MORE of what the 1% wants (“Thank you sir! May I have another?”) all to their own personal detriment.

      The next 10 years is going to suck more than the last 10 years…at least for 99% of us. The fact that the 1% has got their’s is all that matters.

      1. ambrit

        Reminds me of some of the other blogs where non Troll commenters and lurkers are beginning to ask when the shooting is going to start.

  9. Darla

    Maybe Mitt’s doing what the millions of Americans he
    helped throw out of jobs are doing; filing a new W-4 claiming exemption from witholding based on their income is dropping.

    There is a big psychological difference between
    voluntarily filing taxes to tell the govenment that you
    owe or don’t owe and filing to ask for your own money

    Surprised that OWS hasn’t used that tactic.

  10. aesop


    An Ass and a Fox went into partnership and sallied out to forage for food together. They hadn’t gone far before they saw a Lion coming their way, at which they were both dreadfully frightened. But the Fox thought he saw a way of saving his own skin, and went boldly up to the Lion and whispered in his ear, “I’ll manage that you shall get hold of the Ass without the trouble of stalking him, if you’ll promise to let me go free.” The Lion agreed to this, and the Fox then rejoined his companion and contrived before long to lead him by a hidden pit, which some hunter had dug as a trap for wild animals, and into which he fell. When the Lion saw that the Ass was safely caught and couldn’t get away, it was to the Fox that he first turned his attention, and he soon finished him off, and then at his leisure proceeded to feast upon the Ass.

    Betray a friend, and you’ll often find you have ruined yourself.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems like the Ass was working on the problem of the Prisoners Dilemmna long before us smart humans. He, of course, like many pioneers, paid the ultimate price.

      I don’t know, but I would like that would say to me that there really is nothing new under the sun, including the sunflower’s flower power.

    1. Richard Kline

      So Lambert, agreed; to the marrow. The Mike Check State of the Union was not only far better than the official spiel, but far clearer in content and tone; just a superior presentation.

  11. Eureka Springs

    RE: Occupy Infiltration… Mark my words, some day we will likely see articles in the same vein on MoveON, Move To Amend dot borg, Public Citizen, Common Cause and countless others. I understand why a new, small, lose, unfunded often unprofessional “movement” has these problems, but the willingness of so many GA’s to so quickly align with and rely on outside groups spells much trouble for OWS.For none of those groups mentioned abocve operate in an open way… that alone should be all the vetting needed at this point to reject them out of hand. And perhaps most dangerous of all… the way affinity groups operate, often closed and full of people who’s modus operandi come across just like those described in the article.

    Occupy needs to just be Occupy for a while and nobody else. Quit joining with outside groups. Let them endorse Occupy if they want, but Occupy should no more endorse/work with outside groups than outside political parties. People need much more practice in the new system.. they need to understand what they are trying/ a part of…or they will simply become what they claim to be fighting..

    1. Hugh

      John Jay Chapman said much the same in his 1900 book Practical Agitation. I would summarize it as: Hold to your principles because they are all you really have. Let those who want follow your lead, but the day you compromise with the powers that be, you lose your credibility and their taint extends to you.

      1. Up the Ante

        “.. the day you compromise with the powers that be, ..”

        If you’re going to be arrested at these Occupies, why not do it for use of a bullhorn or amplification ?

        To get a sense of what the Occupies are up against, look at Allen Dulles’ “Germany’s Underground”, Chapter 2. The Evolution of a Police State.

        p.20 forward,
        ” “Occupation” by one’s own government, however vicious that government may be, creates a very different popular reaction than that which springs from occupation by a foreign government.”

        You can be assured these people are prepared for Occupy. Surely Mr. Dulles foresaw its possibility, himself.

  12. Sam

    Re Flower Power. Decentralized is better, more democratic and is practical. Centralized power generation, no matter how green is still centralized economic and political
    power. Plus, you have the transmission line losses and the need for the transmission infrastructure etc.

    Highly recommend this guy’s website. He is the Grand Daddy of all the economic doomers and has some very useful links, charts and other things that while too sophisticated for
    you are useful for the uninitiated. Scroll down for the energy charts.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Sam, quite right. Who will be the first to mass-produce autos with solar-powered roofs?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sam, for me, consuming less is as decentralized as you can get.

      Absence that, there are still other minimal energy options without fancy modern technology. Take a look, for example, at electricity-free refrigeration from at least 400 BC. The ancient Persians used yakhchals (with windcatchers to catch, what else, wind) to store ice in the middle of summer in the desert.

      Wiki has a couple really nice pictures of what a yakhchal looks like.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Yeah, artists would get to keep about 90% of the profits as opposed to . . . . what do they get now?

      No wonder the AG was so eager to charge this case–his owners in corporate America stood to lose money.

      Also, saw some freaking out that the feds may now have records of all individuals that uploaded or downloaded from the site.

      The laws give these entertainment companies the right to crazy amounts of damages–like $150,000 per violation. And this is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Could technically make a lot of people permanent slaves to entertainment companies.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Oh, I get it now . . .

          Made me smile.

          Although I think Hollywood has had slaves for a while now.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Not sure I follow you on “Extras” . . . .

        But imagine how ticked off many 20-somethings will be if this comes even partially true. Sure, many of these “pirates” knew they were breaking the rules but it was something a lot of their peers were doing.

        But just to play it out . . . since the feds seized servers and computers say they pass along a list of 100,000 IP addresses and other info to the entertainment companies. If I were working for these companies I would do an analysis on the financial health of these targets and maybe sue the top 5% of them, or something, then basically sell the rights to go after the other people to debt collector type firms, etc. The Obama administration is taking the political heat so the companies might as well go after a bunch of people.

        1. ambrit

          Dear WWM;
          I hadn’t thought of it as a business model. That’s why I’m not rich I guess. However, it would be a perfect illustration of the top .01% gobbling up chunks of the soon to be ex-middle class. Since the Oligarchs have trained the poor to aspire to the status of Henchman, (in both modern and ancient senses,) they probably feel secure enough to liquidate the remnants of the old Middle Class. It might be a stretch, but comparisons between now and the end stages of the Roman Empire seem apropos. Then, impoverished artisans and tradesmen fled the urban centres and accepted serf status on large country estates in exchange for peace and security. Many of them became armed retainers of the local lord. Today we have Xe and its bretheren, serving the modern lords. All we need now is the withering away of the State. Marx is spinning so fast in his grave we should put some magnets on him and harvest the electricity.

  13. Hugh

    Billionaires at Davos bemoan inequalities: “So sad about the peasants. Please, pass me the caviar.”

    OK, I know that’s unrealistic. When would a billionaire say “please”?

    We live in a world where we can have either a strong middle class or billionaires, but not both.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One might even ask, what is the Gini index value of a primitive neolithic tribe compared with our ‘civilized’ societies.

    2. craazyman

      they can send me some of their money if they want to. I’ll take any amount over $1 million.

      D. Tremens, GED
      PO Box 3.1415927

      1. ambrit

        Dear demented Sir;
        Do you have a Passport to Magonia? Otherwise, you might have an encounter of the Third Kind with a Lurker on the Threshold. Beware! That way lies madness! Mountains of it!

  14. Hugh

    Billionaires bemoaning inequality reminded me of this bit of socio-economic analysis:

    “It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
    “To play them such a trick,
    After we’ve brought them out so far,
    And made them trot so quick!”
    The Carpenter said nothing but
    “The butter’s spread too thick!”

    “I weep for you,” the Walrus said.
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size.
    Holding his pocket handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.

    “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter.
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?”
    But answer came there none—
    And that was scarcely odd, because
    They’d eaten every one.’

    ‘I like the Walrus best,’ said Alice: ‘because you see he was a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.’

    ‘He ate more than the Carpenter, though,’ said Tweedledee. ‘You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.’

    ‘That was mean!’ Alice said indignantly. ‘Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.’

    ‘But he ate as many as he could get,’ said Tweedledum.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Hugh;
      Much as I like your Marxian analysis of Alice, I prefer Molloys’ Freudian trope. Once one accepts Molloys’ attribution of the authorship of the ‘Alice” books to Victoria Regina, what was previously absurd becomes quite reasonable and pragmatic.
      PS: I like the race Alice becomes embroiled in for metaphorical enjoyment.

      1. Birch

        Say what? The Alice books were written by Queen Vicky? Wow, what a lady!

        I’ve never noticed anything absurd in the Alice books, or even The Hunting of the Snark for that matter. Certainly not as absurd as what I read about going on in the U.S.

        With a bit of philosophical understanding and some historical context, Alice takes a perfectly normal yet entertaining voyage through dream-land. With present-day reality, on the other hand, philosophical understanding and historical context actually increase the absurdity.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, we must open our eyes to reality:

      “VICTORIAN CHILDREN” by Graham Ovenden and Robert Melville (London, Academy Editions; New York, St. Martin’s Press; 1972) — including photograps by “Lewis Carroll” of Alice P. Liddell c. 1860 in provocative pose, and of other little girls. This is what we call today: “soft porn.”

      1. Birch

        Considering the pictures are of seriously under-age little girls, and the person making the pictures was the Reverend Dodgeson, I don’t think we would call it ‘soft porn’ today. Reverends are expected to keep such things to themselves now.

        1. ambrit

          Dear Birch;
          How about “Soft Focus on the Family?”
          For another take on Victorian ‘use’ and abuse of children, try finding a copy of Louis Malles “Pretty Baby.”
          Dodgson asked for Alices hand in marriage, while she was still pre-pubescent. Such things were known of and accepted at the time, but, luckily for the little girl, Alices mother firmly disapproved. An excellent film exploring the story is 1985’s “Dreamchild,” starring Ian Holm and Coral Browne. I highly recommend it. (Now if I could only find a copy of “The Royal Rascal!”)

  15. Susan the other

    About dolphins having sonar dreams. The human optic nerve fires all night long. We are visual creatures. Too bad our political nerve is so dead.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Question du jour: Did people even wake up in the morning before the discovery of coffee in Ethiopia?

    Please don’t answer this if you’re still asleep.

    1. Tea Drinker


      Tons of awesome plants out there to make stimulating tea with, if you need it.

      Coffee, as well as sugar, tea, and cocoa, were the soft-core drugs that the early mega-corps imported from around the world to run their industrial factories in Europe and Elsewhere. Who could ever leave their rural farm for an 18 hour factory life in Enclosure days if coffee or tea wasn’t involved? They globalized racial slavery to grow the drugs. All for growth!

      Refined sugar is the gateway drug to crack cocaine. It may also cause market volatility.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks, Tea Drinker.

        We need to free ourselves of these soft-core drugs! That will shut down the Machine!

        PS: I take my tea as a spiritual exercise (so I am told by my Chado sensei) so I am in charge and not my tea, and I am not being an addict (saying is believing, they say).

      2. F. Beard

        It may also cause market volatility. Tea Drinker

        Haha! Blame anything but access to stolen purchasing power, so-called “credit”, why don’t you?

        But if “animal spirits” or the lack thereof is the problem then why not just put the whole population on downers or uppers as required?

        1. ambrit

          Dear Beard;
          That’s exactly what they are trying to do, here in the States at least. Ever look at the figures for prescriptions for Ritalin and like drugs written to pacify ‘problem’ children in the U.S. school systems? It was one of the many reasons we home schooled our children.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The lion is dreaming: If only I were sleeping on a piezoelectric mattress, I’d be a green lion.

    Disclosure: I am affiliated with the ‘Piezoelectric Mattress – How You Can Save the World While You Sleep’ for-profit organization.

    1. ambrit

      You sound like a typical Green Rentier. Squeezing the last erg out of the grrr. However, I digress.

    2. Valissa

      The Green Lion in Alchemy

      To other alchemists who worked primarily with vegetable matter and processes, rather than the mineral work, the Green Lion was an image of the green raw energy of nature, “the green fuse which drives the flower” as Dylan Thomas elegantly expressed it in one of his poems. Here the Green Lion which devours the sun is the green pigment chlorophyll. The green leaves of the plant are formed out of the energy of sunlight. Alchemists often attempted to create living processes in their flasks and looked especially for precipitates or crystallisations which resembled leaves or plant forms. The Green Lion here could be a plant sap extract which was often the prima materia for their alchemical work. The Gryphon, half-eagle and half-lion, was sometimes associated with the end of this stage. The eagle nature of the Gryphon gave this hybrid being an ability to ascend in the flask, so it marked, in a sense, the spiritualisation of the Green Lion.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Yes, our first alchemical vegetable antidote du jour!


        It’s a good day (I know, I know, it’s supposed to be ‘everyday is a good day.’)

  18. ChrisPacific

    “A New York Times analysis of S.E.C. enforcement actions over the last 15 years, published in November, found at least 51 cases in which the S.E.C. concluded that Wall Street firms had broken antifraud laws that, as part of settlements of earlier fraud cases, they had pledged never to breach. The 51 cases spanned 19 firms, including nearly all of the biggest financial companies — Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Company and Bank of America among them.”

    I love that ‘pledged never to breach’ part.

    Imagine how that would work if you applied it to bank robberies. First time offenders would not be charged, but would be asked to promise not to do it again. Second time offenders could keep the money, but would be charged with making false statements to police.

  19. barrisj

    Well, the O-man continues to burnish his “Call of Duty” creds, this time sending “his” SEALs into Somalia to pull out two hostages taken by kidnappers some months ago. The Globe and Mail’s story concentrates a good deal on the re-orientation of US military involvement in “power projection”, from conventional invasion-and-occupation to drones and JSOC ops to “take out” Merka’s many “enemies”. The G&M also took note of Obama’s pandering to “our warriors” during his SOTU schtick, contrasting how cool the military is compared to “politicians in Washington”.

    Obama evokes the military as a fix for ‘broken’ Washington
    “Leon. Good job tonight. Good job tonight.”

    It was the first hint that – far from Washington and the political spectacle of the president delivering his annual State of the Union speech – a daring military drama had unfolded.

    As President Barack Obama glad-handed his way through Congress, he stopped and spoke briefly to his Defence Secretary Leon Panetta. The ‘good job’ comment set of a flurry of speculation but Mr. Obama made no mention of it in his speech.
    Unknown to most in the Capital and a nation watching on television, a team of U.S. Navy Seals – the same Special Forces group that had killed Osama bin Laden last spring – had attacked a Somali pirate hideout, freeing two aid workers held hostage three months ago.

    The helicopter raid rescued Jessica Buchanan, 32, and American and Poul Hagen, 60, a Dane. Somali reports said nine Somali captors were killed in a fierce firefight. There were no American causalities.

    “The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice,” Mr. Obama said later in a statement released by the White House. U.S. Special Forces have a base in the tiny east African nation of Djibouti.
    (but wait!)On Iran, he drew a rousing cheer for his reiteration that he was willing to go to war – if necessary – to keep Tehran’s Islamic theocracy from getting nuclear weapons. “Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal,’ he said.


    Hostage rescue illustrates Obama’s new take on military might
    Sending special forces deep into hostile territory to free hostages underscores President Barack Obama’s reliance on unconventional warfare.

    Once again, he turned to highly-trained warriors – the same special forces from the elite U.S. Navy Seals group who killed Osama bin Laden last year in Pakistan – to strike at enemies around the world.
    The stealthy, nighttime operation once again shows Mr. Obama’s preference for special forces and missile-firing drones, as well as a bold willingness to hunt down terror suspects or free Americans. Last May’s killing of the fugitive al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan, the use of a missile-firing drone to assassinate an American citizen, the al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen, and repeated raids – not all of them successful – against Somali brigands mark Mr. Obama as a risk-taking Commander in Chief.

    According to The Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon plans a major expansion of its global network of drones and special-operations bases in a fundamental realignment aimed to project U.S. power across the globe. While scaling back its conventional forces, the military calls for a 30-per-cent “surge” in its drone fleet and will deploy more teams of special-operations forces to “lily pad” bases where they can foster local allies and launch their own hunt-and-kill missions.

    And, as Charlie Savage reports today in the NYT, all this plays out against a background of increased “security prosecutions” of people alleged to have breached the acute secrecy surrounding much of Obama’s (and Cheney/Bush before him) machinations as “commander-in-chief”…Glenn Greenwald has more on the latter here:
    Rules of American justice: a tale of three cases

    Drones and Special Forces are fine, but for “real men”, there’s nothing like bombing the shit out of yet another Muslim country.

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