Links 2/16/12

Nations get tough on tiger trade BBC

Shark devours another shark whole (Photo) The Sideshow (hat tip reader Lambert). Serious ick factor.

‘I heard a cat screaming and smelled awful meat’: Neighbour’s horror at hearing man ‘skin cat alive before he grilled and ate it’ Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). Double ick factor.


Why Are There So Many Passive Parents? Huffington Post

Breaking: Monsanto Found Guilty of Chemical Poisoning in France Natural Society (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

World’s Tiniest Chameleons Found in Madagascar Wired (hat tip reader Valissa)

Occupy Kindergarten: The Rich-Poor Divide Starts With Education Atlantic. I dunno. I was expelled from kindergarten the first day (my parents did try sending me early for my age). Bu that was also in the stone ages when there was a middle class, so income stratification was nowhere near as big a factor as it is now.

Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a bad idea TED (hat tip reader Doug M)

LightSquared’s Options to Save Its Network Are Limited PC World (hat tip reader Jerry)

Harvard Mapping My DNA Turns Scary Bloomberg

Watchdog: Another Draghi Conflict of Interest Uncovered Global Economic Intersection

Greek rhetoric turns into battle of wills Financial Times. Has everyone forgotten that it was Venizelos who sabotaged the referendum?

Too big to fail Act 3: Caught in a bond YouTube (hat tip MacroBusiness)

New Bill Clouds Legality Of Tips Wall Street Journal

Congressional earmarks sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers’ properties Washington Post

Occupy Draws Strength From the Powerless Chris Hedges, TruthDigm (hat tip Lambert)

FCC adopts new rules against ‘robocalls’ Associated Press

Facebook’s Got a Reputation Problem: Harris Poll Daily Ticker (hat tip Lambert)

Thais find possible bomb link in Thai, India attacks Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

Drone Industry’s Lobbying Plan To Expand Over Domestic, Law Enforcement Markets Republic Report

New Bill Clouds Legality Of Tips Wall Street Journal


Debtor’s prison 2.0: Jail for delinquent homeowners? Stop Foreclosure Fraud (hat tip reader Deontos). So where is the CFPB?

Fed, OCC extend deadline for foreclosure review The Legal Description (hat tip reader Gerry)

AGs weeks from filing foreclosure settlement documents Housing Wire (hat tip reader Deontos)

Amazing Diary at Kos by Donovan and Holder re Settlement janeeyresick, Firedoglake (hat tip reader just me)

MF Global: Where’s the Cash? David Woolley on the Risk of Defective Commercial Land Titles Chris Whalen

Our interview at Le Show last weekend. I’d embed it, but the audio file is way too big for me to do that, so please do click through and listen.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. IF

    Mmmm. Roof rabbit. I hear it is tasty.

    May I point out that Oildale is one of the sader parts of California? The Okies settled there. And the oil fields have nearly dried up. An apocalyptic post-industrial western landscape. Poverty levels and unemployment have always been high but seem now to not even be measured anymore:

    Look behind the sensation and you find a story.

    1. Ignim Brites

      We keep hearing that the problem with Europe is a lack of a “fiscal union”. But the devastation of the California interior suggests that the “fiscal union” here is somewhat less than satisfactory.

    2. Cal

      Would you believe I wrote my comment on the place before I read yours? When two people see the same situation it has to be stereoscopically true.

      1. YY

        Falling on the sword is not the norm in Japan nor anywhere in the world, in the executive suite. Weasely behavior (sorry weasels) of coverup & lie is the norm. The shareholders got excess payment of dividends, the government got excess corporate tax collection, and the external advisors made tidy sums. The ex-execs will probably do some jail time for their feckless scheme which yielded basically nothing for them in income.

        Compared to the malfeasance of the housing debacle the the contrast of the prosecution behavior is remarkable?

  2. Middle Seaman

    Why are we surprised that there is a segragated educational system? The rich elect our presidents, congress is very rich, top universities are full of students from families that invested endlessly in their education, etc.

    We can start change from the top. We don’t have to elect Bush I, Bush II and now Bush III. We will do much better with Big Dawg I, II and so on. It wasn’t that bad first time around. (I am not talking perfection; not everyone is FDR.)

    1. Jim A

      Well since people’s homes are increasing segregated by income level, it’s no surprise that their local schools have followed that trend.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Jim;
        That’s why an intelligent school system would get out ahead of the problem and focus resources in the most ‘disadvantaged’ sectors. Charter schools haven’t done that, only cherrypick the ‘smart’ kids and leave the proletarian masses to their trivialized existences. Public schools were originally the great leveling mechanism of the social order. In a strange way, local schools replaced the archaic villages as socializing forces. With that gone and the social contract violated from ‘above,’ western society is in agony.

    2. tyaresun

      We made a deliberate decision to live in a mixed income neighborhood. Having done this for 16 years and with one daughter a junior in college and another a sophomore in highschool, I believe that the results are mixed.

      There is a small percentage of kids in the AP classes and Math and Science Olyimpiads (guess the income level of their parents) and then the rest. There are a bunch of Southeast asian kids doing hiphop and all those dances (guess the income level of their parents). I see the black kids dominate sports (they do not mix with the South east asian kids for hiphop)even though they are a very small minority at the highschool.

      I clearly see a segregated system within the highschool. We migrated from India and my kids are not considered asian because they are different from the Southeast asian kids doing hiphop.

  3. Cal

    About that horrible cat eater’s community. Oildale is smack dab in the middle of one of the poorest counties in California, is the most polluted and has few job opportunities other than servicing stripper wells, those things that look like horses nodding, and those are producing as little as a barrel or two a day.

    The place is a furnace in the summer, cold in winter and is a food desert even though it is surrounded by fields growing pesticide doused crops worked by illegals. There are a few Walmarts and the ubiquitous gas station factory food marts.

    Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are its most famous citizens.
    Once an inland sea, then a paradise for wildlife, then a
    temporary bonanza for oil boomers, it now reflects the sad state of the American economy and by extension, the education and intellectual and human aspects of our nation.

    1. Praedor

      Don’t care. There is one thing that stands out in the story that I care about: skinned ALIVE. Cruel.

      Inhuman, inhumane, cruelty. Unaccpetable no matter what your circumstances. I would take a baseball bat to the skull of anyone I ever caught being so cruel to any creature. Will not stand for it and will never allow excuse for it.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Praedor, more than cruel, *sadistic*–like the Inquisitorial torturers, like Saddam’s torturers who dipped living people in acid up to the waste. The kid who witnessed this is a candidate for *torturer* at Guantanamo and at worse *undisclosed* prisons abroad.

      2. Praedor

        Modification: Simply shoot the bastard. BOOM BOOM to the chest. You state you ran over to make him stop torturing the cat (could even claim it was your cat if you wish), you state that he turned his knife to you so you, fearing for your safety, shot the prick. If the cat is still alive you shoot it too to put it out of its misery OR, if it hadn’t progressed too far, scoop it up and run it to the nearest vet clinic. Buzzards, stray dogs, raccoons, rats, opossums, whatever, can have the asshole’s meat. They gotta eat too ya know.

      3. H Sniffles

        “I would take a baseball bat to the skull of anyone I ever caught being so cruel to any creature.”
        Wow, I guess we’ll just call that the American School of Buddhist Compassion? Reminds me of the lady who burned her child’s hand on the stove because she caught him playing with matches. It’s all based on cultural perspective. Koreans eat dogs, so Americans see them as horrid and cruel. Americans eat beef, so Hindus see us as horrid and cruel etc. etc. etc. This inability to just take one step back and look at the big picture makes it apparent that there’s not much hope for the human race. One time I was eating meat on a stick at a little roadside stand in Laos and a fat German lady sneered “You know that might be monkey?” I told her “Well if it is, it’s mighty good monkey!”

        1. TunoInCA

          Guess what – Koreans are *wrong* to eat dogs, and Americans are *wrong* to eat cows. Cultural relativism is a crock.

          The main thing though is the skinned alive part. That is evil; like Ivan the Terrible. I’m not a cat person, but I’d shoot the cat-skinner without a qualm.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      EZ, did you see the animated OPEL ad on the site? Nazi GM from Reich III-IV.

      Gives clearer meaning to *Ally* financial. Strasbourg!

  4. Eleanor

    If I am understanding the various links correctly, property law no longer functions in the US, at least in re real estate, and investors can no longer be sure they have an right to the money they have put at investment firms. I guess my next question is, who owns the money in my bank accounts?

    There is a wonderful line in the Icelandic Njals saga, spoken by the saga hero Njal: “With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”

    The verb translated as “built up” means settle, inhabit or occupy and also means to let money out at interest. So the line could be a motto for real estate law or maybe for the Occupy movement. Though in the case of Occupy, the nouns should be revered, “With Occupation shall the land be made lawful.” We hope.

    And if I have understood the essay by Phillip Pilkington, current economic theory is based — in part — on work by a psychotic. Interesting, but hardly surprising.

    As always, Naked Capital is informative and interesting.

  5. Eleanor

    For what it’s worth, rich and powerful men broke apart the medieval Icelandic legal and government system, pushing the country into civil war. The Icelandic Republic collapsed and the Norwegian Crown took over. The Icelanders spent the next 600 years as a colony in poverty so severe that it almost extinguished the Icelandic people.

    Njals saga was written in the 13th century, when the Republic ended amid civil war. The Icelanders knew what had destroyed their country. The tragedy of the Njals saga, considered to be the greatest of the sagas, was the breakdown on law.

      1. Praedor

        No. Too dangerous for disease spread. Better and safer to use as feed for your meat-eating pets…the bones/phosphorus can be used in your garden.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      temp, *Chinese walls* are part of the financial Potemkin village.

      Nothing, but nothing, worked like Glass-Steagall for *separation of powers*. That’s why they WILL not restore it in the U.S.A., unless they have guns to their heads.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Wendy, let’s imagine that ONE segment of the de-centralized Occupy Movement took this ONE ISSUE to the max, and demanded *en masse* that student loan debt be forgiven, *just like that*. What might be the outcome?

      1. Wendy

        Perhaps riots by people who chose not to go to NYU and rack up all that debt, and got a “lesser” but financially more manageable education instead?

        I am not sure mass loan forgiveness is the answer or is really very equitable. Reducing college costs is one answer, but that would help people going forward only, not those already in debt. Those in debt do need and deserve some help. What that should look like, I don’t know yet, but mass debt forgiveness is not it.

        1. Praedor

          Actually, it is. It can even be sold as the “biblical solution” for the jesusy people in the Reichwing GOP. Debt Jubilee was a repeated, necessary reset to the economic/monetary system in ancient times. The modern monetary system is not magically better and is (clearly) just as prone to the same imbalances that made Debt Jubilee a requirement back then.

          Debt Jubilee: what’s old is new again. And proper. No school debt in the $100,000s is valid. My total university debt when I graduated was $8000 (but I also had an academic scholarship from the Air Force). My brother, non-military, same university, had about twice that amount of debt.

          That’s about right, I’d say. In any case, a recent study (no link at the moment) found that virtually ALL higher ed cost was due to unnecessary administrative costs: a near geometric increase in administrators (not professors/instructors, productive/useful persons, but rather an increase in those involved in administrivia).

          I daresay that is also more than likely the reason for increased costs in government. Bloat at the nonfunctional administrivia ass of the institution.

        2. dcblogger

          There is not equitable answer, just various degrees of inequity. Student loan forgiveness would free up millions of dollars that would immediately be plowed back into the economy. I know someone with a good civil service job who rents a room in a house and drives an ancient Chevy because all of his money goes into paying back his student loans. He probably won’t buy a house until he retires. So much money would be going into the economy right now but for stundent debt.

          Banksters are holding us all back, once we communicate that to the general public we will have the political concensus for debt forgiveness.

        3. Lambert Strether

          Why? Seems like the simplest and cleanest solution. At some point, when your computer keeps crashing, you reboot. That’s jubilee. Maybe if you’re tired of rebooting, you get a new OS. That’s Occupy. Although we may need Occupy to get to Jubilee….

  6. Jim Haygood

    From Bloomberg:

    The Iranian military is unlikely to intentionally provoke a conflict with the West, the top U.S. military intelligence official said today.

    Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said Iran probably has the ability to “temporarily close the Strait of Hormuz with its naval forces,” as some Iranian officials have threatened to do if attacked or in response to sanctions on its oil exports by the U.S. and European Union.

    “Iran has also threatened to launch missiles against the United States and our allies in the region in response to an attack,” Burgess said in testimony prepared for a hearing today of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It could also employ its terrorist surrogates worldwide. However, [Iran] is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict or launch a preemptive attack.

    Burgess’s message is not what we hear from the Lamestream Media and bloodthirsty neocon lobbying groups, who paint Iran’s leaders as deranged neo-Hitlers, just waiting to commit an atrocity.

    Who you gonna believe: the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency — or a motley pack of ideologues with their own self-serving agenda, who lied and deceived us into a useless war with Iraq a decade ago?

    1. ScottW

      Attacking Iran is “the stupidest idea I ever heard. . . . the regional challenge that Israel would face would be impossible.” Former Mosad Chief Dagan in early 2011. From a depressing article in Salon in which an Israeli journalist documents the complete lack of opposition in Israel to attacking Iran. If you scream loud enough and long enough that a Country wants to wipe you off the face of the earth, and that Country is unable to blow you off the face of the earth, the masses will support an invasion/bombing. The lesson learned–develop a nuclear weapon.

    2. Cynthia

      Let’s be blunt. An attack on Iran has nothing to do with Iran’s supposed ability to acquire nuclear weapons and never did. Just as the U.S. military invasion of Iraq never had anything to do with 9/11 or “weapons of mass destruction.” It has everything to do with the fact that Iran produces 10% of the world’s oil, and (unlike every other oil producer in the U.S. Empire’s sphere of influence) chooses to sell that oil for money other than Federal Reserve notes.

      It really is that simple.

      1. psychohistorian

        DING! DING! DING!

        I continue to feel folks underestimate the Reserve Currency world dynamic.

        Since the US has been massively running the printing press since 2008, the rest of the world currencies are all being equally debased……until the rest of the world stops agreeing.

        A change to the Reserve Currency status is coming…..when?

        Less than 5 years if w/o nukes used by us and less than 10 if nukes used by us.

        Why are the 99% of the world affected by the financial machinations of the 1%?

      2. Praedor

        I believe that Greece should default, go back to the drachma, work up a deal to acquire oil from Iran (there’s a big chance for a deal here with neocons frothing to attack with all the accompanying sanctions). This would be double-plus good: Greece flips the bird to Western Europe and the USA, heart of austerity now and forever, they get a good deal on oil while it is unavailable to the rest of the West (another finger flip), and they are set energy-wise for a while until they get their economy and autonomy up to snuff again.

    3. Lafayette

      Who you gonna believe: the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency — or a motley pack of ideologues with their own self-serving agenda, who lied and deceived us into a useless war with Iraq a decade ago?

      The DIA. Iran does have the means to “temporarily” block the Straight of Hormuz.

      Here’s the scenario:
      *They send out a flotilla of small boats and ships,
      *the Sixth Fleet tells them to leave or be blown out of the water,
      *they don’t budge,
      *the Sixth Fleet waits three hours then blows one of them out of the water,
      *the rest of the fleet withdraws to Iranian ports and
      *the crew of the sunk ship are praised as “martyrs for the cause” by Iranian authorities.

      From beginning to end, the above takes no more than two days. Maybe three for the US to “show restraint”.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Debtor’s prison.

    That underwater house you can’t get out of, it already is a prison, preventing you from getting out against your will.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I take it as a threat when someone says, ‘I am going to educate you.’

        ‘I am going to teach you a lesson,’ sounds menacing.

    1. psychohistorian

      I wonder if Eric Holder will come down and explain the stay-out-of-jail benefits of the MERS legal structure to the group?

      We need folks in jail or heads will roll. What will it take to get that message across?

  8. LeonovaBalletRusse

    YVES, the piece on *Defective Commercial Land Titles* indicates that most of the real estate [involved in the MERS-covered Ponzi schemes] was COMMERCIAL real estate. So now it seems that war between property insurers and *bankers* will ensue. Let them have at it.

    My question is, how does this connect with the *underwater home buyers* that the Republicans blame for the *mortgage meltdown*?

    1. ambrit

      Dear LBR;
      My reading of that piece was that defective title issues affect ALL classes of land ownership. Commercial being only the most obvious. Land boundaries are all integrated as part of the Geodetic Survey. All boundaries rely first on section and range markers. Then they are measured from these “corner” points. Then, as time goes by, larger land parcels are subdivided, and redivided. This process is the sacred plat book of courthouse fame. The plat books are basically compendiums of a myriad of individual divisions and sub divisions. By law, each piece of the process is supposed to be a physical piece of paper, which can then be checked back against to determine not only the boundaries, but also, who owns or controls what piece of property. MERS has tried to destroy that stable regime. At its’ extreme. MERS could be argued to be an act of Treason, trying to subvert the foundation of the social order. When ownership of things becomes literally imaginary, expect a loss of respect for property rights. Property rights, well, that’s an argument for another day.

  9. LeonovaBalletRusse

    “Too Big to Fail Act 3” is most instructive. I particularly like the BigBank *fact* that carried interest = demand deposits (considered “collateral”), and that *residential mortgages* = collateral for the *covered bond* issue.

    Oh, and the *certainty* of the CEO that the government covers BigBanks liabilities. “Gotcha covered!”

    And so much more. Ain’t love grand?

    1. Susan the other

      Covered bonds were originally construed so that the lending bank took a downpayment of at last 20% and kept the loan on its own books. Covered bonds, I assume a CV is a bundling of bonds with a 20% downpayment; but now sounds like the bonds are pooled and sold off like all the other DCO b.s. And now sold off to the government, hence “securitized” by the good faith of the taxpayer. What a bunch of banker shit.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Still beating up on Greece.

    What’s with the Germans?

    I know Mount Athos does not allow women in like over a thousand years (not always effectively enforced, mind you), not even female animals, but this is too much.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Let me add that if you can’t meditate in crowded, noisy marketplaces, you haven’t really mastered meditation.

      You have to challenge youself in whatever you do. Why can’t women be allowed in Mount Athos?

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        A reading of Graves “The White Goddess” and Frazers “The Golden Bough” with an emphasis on the conflict between Matriarchal and Patriarchal belief systems in the Ancient days will lead you up to Mount Athos, with an instructional side trip up to the old Sacred Groves atop hills and mountains throughout the Ancient world. Happy Trails!

  11. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re: “REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN” – we need to hear Chris Hedges reply to this, putting the Occupy Movement within this horribly realistic frame.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Occupy Draws Strength From the Powerless.

    I have been thinking about Hedges and wonder if he was talking about some cryto-0.01%, crypto-powerless or proto-0.01% among the 99.99%.

    One way he could tell is that these groups share one trait – the desire to dominate wherever they are.

  13. LeonovaBalletRusse

    LAMBERT, have you noticed that on almost every site there is an ad advancing the *Cloud* as the *perfect destination*? Somehow, the putsch to get EVERYONE INTO THE CLOUD brings an image to mind: herding people into boxcars for the ultimate *destination* in which *the final solution* will be played out.

    Why does the putsch for us to ascend to the Cloud seem so ominous?

    1. Jim Haygood

      A further irony is that after several awful decades when hard drive failures represented the No. 1 risk of losing your valuable data (I lost several, and it HURT), hard drives have become capacious, cheap and more reliable. Some 1-terabyte hard drives (years worth of storage for my needs) sell for under a hundred dollars now.

      Now they want us to move to the Cloud, after it’s become so easy and inexpensive to do your own backups. Free Cloud storage is definitely convenient (files get backed up in the background, automatically). But I’m not convinced that it’s worth paying for, now that I’m pushing the free storage limit.

    2. Praedor

      Your data, all of it, is then in a central, easily accessed location. Instead of you being able to hide your private data on your own hardware that can be encrypted, hidden, or both, it sits right there in a central location for government eyes to see.

      Do NOT trust the “cloud” (just another name for a very old idea called “mainframe” with your personal hardware being the dumb terminal).

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why So Many Passive Parents?

    I think active people exhale more CO2 than passive people. So, perhaps not all is bad.

    On a related subject. Is walking greener than running?

    Running – more CO2 emssion. Shorter trip time.

    Walking – less CO2 emission. Longer trip time.

    So, you have

    More CO2 emission per minute x shorter trip time


    Less CO2 emission per minute x longer trip time

    Which one is greener? It’s not so easy to say. In fact, one gets a headache pontificating over the puzzle, one might just opt to go back to bed and cancel the whole trip.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Passive parents don’t have the guts or the skill to stand up to their tyrannical children. But, hey these tyrants were made by TV babysitters and Absentee Moms who play out their narcissistic movies on their cellphones.

      These passive, tyrannized, impotent parents are then rounded up by *Republican* Authoritarians who will deflect the parents’ murderous rage against *the Other* (Democrat, Independent, Educated persons, *ethnics*, etc.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Do tyrannical children eventually (not to be confused with ‘at infinity’) turn into passive parents?

        It seems today’s passive parents were at one time tyrannical children.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Excellent question. Maybe they were tyrannical children who were *disciplined* to the max?

          “MORAL POLITICS” by George Lakoff gives us a clue.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    It shows you have to actually read the linked article and read it carefully.

    My first reaction to ‘Cloud over Legality of tips’ was, NOW we can really expect inflation with TIPS being illegal.

  16. Eureka Springs

    Hedges non-response to Graeber and the continuation of Hedges linking to his own “cancer” post which Graeber eviscerated… bothers me. And I thought Hedges participation with the Move To Amend dot borg crowd in January was particularly telling. He’s paying very little attention to his own shortcomings even when well presented to him AND he’s helping co-opt the movement by aligning with unknowns and pressing for actions which wouldn’t change a thing if they succeeded.

    He needs to stop speaking for occupy right now, today… and speak only for himself.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      It is interesting to see that Hedges is the beneficiary of a lot of the organized attempts to influence Occupy. From my research on him I’m finding him everywhere!

      Here’s what looks like another professionally produced clip of Hedges giving another amplified speech to a crowd at a Move to Amend event, Occupy the Courts, and a discussion he has with Mr. Lessig:

      Notice the comments on youtube, I see a lot of critical comments along these lines:

      “Freakin’ academics… everything has to be so complex. Want a concise description of how to define people for political contributions? search Defining people on Youtube. ROUGH LANGUAGE WARNING.”

      “this is DIVIDE and CONQUER strategy. replicrademitarionishism…. fight actual cases.”

      “Didn’t watch very much of it, that’s for sure.”

      I really don’t have any patience to listen to these guys drone on so I haven’t fully analyzed it, but sounds like more mental masturbation to me. Interesting that Hedges is willing to have an academic discussion with someone like Lessig but not Graeber. But boy, Hedges is being treated as the spiritual adviser to Occupy.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Also, I see Hedges is the plaintiff challenging NDAA:

      Since I’m so skeptical of him I don’t trust him having and undue say in the test case. I don’t know how much he could actually influence the test case, but what if he’s able to steer the litigation in a way that’s friendly to the government? What if he drops a key argument?

      Again, I don’t know how much damage he can do but I would rather have a serious litigant challenge this obviously unconstitutional law rather than a suspected pysop perp!

  17. LeonovaBalletRusse

    YVES, NCLinks2/16/12 features blog re Draghi conflict of interest at Global Economic Intersection. PLEASE NOTE today’s blog on that site X-posted from ECB Watch:

    “Stiglitz: ECB is the Agent of a Few Powerful Banks” – Feb 15, 2012 by “Guest Author, ECB Watch.”

    The CARDINAL ISSUE of C.21 is *AGENCY*: WHO does what/when/why. The trail of crumbs leads to the answer within the door: *CUI BONO*. Gotcha!

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      YVES, another good piece at

      “Social Fractals and the Corruption of America” by Guest Author Charles Hugh Smith, “Of Two Minds” —

      YVES, this would FRAME Naked Capitalism as a POSITIVE Social Fractal: from your book, “ECONned” to your founding of NC, through your blogs and LINKS, including links and comments from the NC Community. Call it a JUST REFORM FRACTAL.

      Check it out.

  18. Cynthia

    Imagine finding a mammal that’s as tiny as that recently found reptile in Madagascar, whose size is only half that of a human fingernail. Science fictional works like Gulliver’s Travels wouldn’t be regarded as fiction anymore.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I worry fashion designers will make wigs out of these innocent creatures.

      Let’s not even think about what the Military Industrial guys might do to them.

        1. ambrit

          Dear Cynthia;
          No, indeed, it was seriously considered as a feasible alternative to the “Final Solution.” You don’t want to know what they figured on doing with the ‘locals.’

  19. Walter Wit Man

    Re: Chris Hedges, “Occupy Draws Strength from the Powerless”

    The main message in Hedges’ piece appears to be that powerlessness is a virtue, not a weakness, or something. Like much of his writing on the subject it is filled with jargon and he uses a lot of flowery language to convey very little meaning.

    What he’s really doing is engaging in mind control. He’s reinforcing the reality that the state is powerful and violent and unjust and protesters are powerless. He’s letting us know that it’s hopeless, under the guise of pretending to offer an alternative version of hope.

    But his hope is bullshit. It doesn’t make rational sense. It’s contradictory. What is his point?

    Hedges (I keep wanting to call him Hitchens for some reason,) has invoked this same theme from the beginning of his Occupy sermons. Check out his first sermon on the subject, when he first decided to get arrested in December of 2010 (interesting timing),, starting at about 9:45, Hedges says:

    “Hope to wall street bankers and politicians and the masters of war and commerce is not practical, it is gibberish [Hedges is projecting]. It means nothing. And this is because they kneel before the idols of greed and money. If we resist, and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished. . . . But hope cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen. Any act of rebellion. Any physical defiance of those who make war, of those who perpetuate corporate greed and are responsible for state crimes. Anything that seeks to draw the good from the good nourishes our souls and holds out the possibility that we can transform and touch the souls of others. Hope affirms that which we must affirm. And every act the imparts hope is a victory in itself. Defenseless under the night. Our world in stupor lies. Yet dotted everywhere, ironic points of light flash out wherever the just exchange their messages. May I, propose like that of Eros and that of dust, beleaguered by the same negation and despair, show an affirming flame. ”

    Hedges isn’t providing a rational and consistent alternative to fear. He’s begging for acts of civil disobedience but then is second guessing people when they commit slightly different acts of civil disobedience. Hedges is the one engaging in gibberish hope, yet is accusing others for his own sins.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      WWM, you don’t understand, “powerlessness” is a *cloak of invisibility* covering a de-centralized RESISTANCE Movement.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        More: The RESISTANCE is to the CENTRALIZATION of power in the *Security State* — *powerlessness* cloaks the COUNTER-FORCE FOR DE-CENTRALIZATION of Power of the FakeState by We the People, as AGENTS of de-centralized Resistance to the FakeState. Such Resistance is impossible to *capture*. It cannot be *pinned down*. The *multiplicity* amassing in *PASSIVE RESISTANCE* cannot be accused/nailed for *Acts of Violence*–including the destruction of (Capitalist Sacrosanct) Material Property.

        Ghandi used this Resistance strategy, as did the French Resistance in WWII. Think of the scene in the film *Spartacus* when all men claim: “I am Spartacus.” Diffuse Resistance to Tyranny works.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          WWM, you are an excellent Antagonist, which is what Occupy needs in this *work-out* phase.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            And, WWM, you are correct to call the addresses of Chris Hedges “sermons,” for this is what they are in the BEST sense of the word.

            It seems that Chris Hedges was *called* to be a preacher after all, on a much larger stage than he ever imagined when he started out. And he is a *White* preacher, though the farthest thing from an *Evangelical* preacher on the order of Elmer Gantry and Rev. Haggi. He is a *White* man calling *White* men of his caste to task.

            What comes to mind is not MLK, Jr., but the Preacher of Melville’s imagination in *MOBY DICK*. This is most befitting, given the MAGNITUDE of Centralized Power of the FakeState, and its crazed Captains of this Ship of State: the myriad proxies for Captain Ahab in the MonopolyFinanceWarGames.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Fair enough. Yes, a multitude of powerless people can be powerful. That is a legitimate point.

          But rather than unifying these people or focusing on a common target, Hedges is making the people less powerful by targeting certain factions and dividing the resistance–based on faulty and contradictory logic.

          It would be as if Spartacus decided to hand over 10% of his fellow soldiers to the bad guys for arbitrary reasons. This would destroy the effectiveness of diffuse resistance because it pits powerless against powerless.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            WWM, consider the possibility that he is distinguishing the Black Sheep from the White Sheep, not to mention the Wolf in Sheepskin. He is seeking to pull the *tares* (in New Testament terms), to separate the wheat from the chaff. Etc.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      The part I quote above actually starts closer to 10:30 and I left out a few pertinent quotes from before where he says that hope cannot be understood (by the bad guys) and that hope is indecipherable and compares hope to hieroglyphics. Once again, major projecting on his part. It is his usage of “hope” that I find incomprehensible and akin to hieroglyphics.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WWM, I call your attention to at least one fly in your ointment: your tendency to call the metaphors used by Hedges “projections.” In this regard, you are “leaping to conclusions”–a mistake in a debate.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Well, I didn’t leap to this conclusion. I spent years admiring his writing and this double meaning was lost to me.

          Now that I came up with my theory (because this is the most logical explanation for his actions, imho), I can’t help but see this mindfucking in his speeches and writing. Plus, as I’ve mentioned, I recently have been looking at sex cults and acid fascists and see the same tactics there. You’re right that it could be confirmation bias on my part. I could be wrong. But I think I’m onto something. And also, Hedges being a 9/11 witness is very significant to me, so I admit that may play a part in my suspicions about him.

          I am coming to the conclusion that much more of our political reality is manufactured than I previously realized. I wish the facts didn’t lead me to this conclusion, but here we are . . . .

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            WWM, you are an intelligent person. You would profit greatly from courses in Symbolic Logic and Set Theory.

          2. psychohistorian

            If you are the global inherited rich you have all the resources needed for multiple contingencies moving forward. Not multi-dimensional chess but steady planning and plodding….it took less than 70 years to totally gut Glass Steagall.

            We need to laugh the global inherited rich into prison.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      WWM, the last few lines you quote from Hedges are the FAMOUS last lines of W.H. Auden’s poem, “September 1, 1939.” Hedges is a literate man, encouraging his congregation to be the same, elevating their minds to the level a great poet prescribes, encouraging them to recall that *this has happened before*.

      And it is happening now, which is why We the rightful AGENTS of our Constitutional Democracy must DO something: we must unite in Passive Resistance, as a De-centralizing Force, to counter the Centralized Force and *Deadender* Power of the FakeState.

      See my comment re Hedges as Preacher in Melville’s “MOBY DICK” below.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Sorry: “Chris Hedges as Preacher in Melville’s “‘MOBY DICK'” ABOVE (lost my place in the queue).

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Thanks for catching that. I had a hard time transcribing that last sentence and think I flubbed it and didn’t catch the reference. Also transposed a “the” when it should be a “that” in a previous sentence as well. So it’s a rough transcript.

        The sermon preacher stuff doesn’t move me. I respect the genre and respect the Melville/Puritan/MLK traditions, but it doesn’t really speak to me at this time and on this subject.

        Hedges is talented and is good at creating a cover story and using cultural jargon to hide his true intent. He’s a guru for educated liberals and progressives–so he’s going to make high brow cultural references that appeal to them.

        He’s a gatekeeper.

        He’s busted.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          WWM, really, you must read his books from “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” through “Empire of Illusion” if you seek to be considered a *worthy Antagonist* to the Agonist, Chris Hedges.

    4. Valissa

      My take on Hedges is that he is glorifying powerlessness based on his Christian background. He went to Harvard Divinity School. When I first learned that I thought it explained alot about him and his preachy style of writing (please note that I often agree with points Hedges makes even though I don;t care for his preachy style). Much of Christianity glorifies the poor and weak… it is an essential component of Christian dogma (great way for authoritarians to control people). This same belief seems to underly much of liberal thinking which is a direct descendant Protestant thinking. I find it quite amusing that so many liberals say they are atheists without realizing that their liberalism is based in legacy Christian intellectual positions.

      Can you imagine any pre-Christian tribal people who would consider the sheep a power animal? Or who would glorify powerlessness?

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          For the record, I am an A-theist: one without recourse to an ACTIVE Higher Power (i.e. a Supreme AGENT) called *God* by any name.

        2. craazyman

          He was an honorary Christian.

          But not a Southern Baptist, Episcopalian, Catholic or for heaven’s sake (no pun intended) Anglican.

          It’s far more likely his honorarium would be classified as Unitarian, Presbytarian or Congregationalist.

          It remains a matter of considerable debate among religious scholars.

          Few people know that Ginger Rogers was a Christian Scientist, although she did actual little laboratory work and spent most of her life making dancing movies that remain popular, even today, on Youtube.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            craazyman, Chris tells his story flat-out in “LOSING MOSES ON THE FREEWAY: The 10 Commandments in America”–written BEFORE “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning”–so I really should have included this book in my list for WWM to read. He relates his *walk* from growing up within the privileged [perhaps righteous] frame of the Presbyterian Church [one might say that he grew up in a *state of grace*], to his life in the ghetto while studying at Harvard Divinity School. His *awakening* to complex REALITY happened in the ghetto. His LEARNING continued through his years as War Correspondent, in the belly of the beast from War to War.

            As for his attitude toward American *Christianity*, the title of his next book all but says it all: “AMERICAN FASCISTS: The Christian Right and the War on America”–which begins with the quotation of Umberto Eco’s “Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt”, AFTER he had quoted Blaise Pascal’s words: “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

            So, while we are in the process of *deconstructing Chris Hedges*, I’ll suggest that he is NOT a *Christian* or an advocate of any other *religious* sect, but rather an ETHICIST, speaking with the voice of a MORAL authority engaged in moral AGENCY. He began his *preaching* as a WRITER. Because of this, he may be seen as a VOICE of Moral Authority in writing–like Toni Morrison–who has found himself *preaching* in the streets.

            But his *preaching* is NOT in the *Evangelical Style*. Rather is it in the Classic Style of the New England Preacher who has perfected CLASSICAL Aristotelian Rhetoric. This is why he is like the Preacher in Melville’s “MOBY DICK.”

          2. craazyman

            by today’s standards The Man Himself would not have been a Christian.

            Woodie Guthrie wrote a song about it “Jesus Christ” if you wanna Google it.

            I’ve come to the conclusion that Ginger Rogers was the single hottest American female of the 20th century. Just watched nearly all the youtube vids with her & Fred Astaire in recent days. Incredible stuff. I have never really appreciated the art of dancing, but I see now how creative and difficult it is. And how graceful they both were to an almost magical degree. It’s what I have for an antidote.

          3. craazyman

            I doubt it Beef. Somehow I just don’t see her as having been that masochistic. But then, what do I know??? Only what I see on Youtube. Which looks pretty good to me, ballet or not!

          4. craazyman

            Based on what I’ve observed, I’d say so. Like Kafka’s “Hunger Artist”, a little bit anyway. But not Degas’ girls who do it just to be proper. I’m thinking of those who willingly maim themselves for their art. I just don’t see Ginger Rogers in that category of personality (judging entirely by observing her in Youtube clips of 1940s movies. It’s just a feeling, not a “scientific” assessment using advanced theoretical analytical stochastic modalities.)

            I’m getting worried here about the market. I just want to get rich quick and buy a harem to accompany my drinking, and I’m in cash. Don’t know what to do. Even if somebody gave me advice I wouldn’t take it. I’d ignore it and still not know what to do.

          5. LeonovaBalletRusse

            “Ballet dancers” who must meet the standards of Russia’s best must be totally dedicated to suffering, to produce *perfect* art in music incarnate. When you become the music, you forget the pain. Of course, it helps to have been abused before you turn to such rigorous ballet for *relief* through escape into flight and perfection *en pointe* and on the fly. Ah, the esthetic freedom of flesh transformed into the exhilarating marriage of music and movement perfected in art!

            A blissfully heroic existence while it lasts, and for a girl! Heaven on earth.

            Thereafter, the discipline is transferable to other pursuits.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Valissa, a well-herded flock of sheep have been known to stop vehicles on a strategic highway.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Moreover, last I heard, Chris repudiated his institutional *Christian* roots. War cured him of the Romance of *Christian Martyrdom*. No, the mind of Chris Hedges is NOT conventional. Actually, his approach is more that of a cautious scientist within the social frame, LEARNING through “trial and the correction of error”–as Karl Popper states the virtue of the “scientific method” in a clip on You Tube (from TV show he appeared on, in advanced age). Sorry, don’t have he link.

          1. Valissa

            Leonova, it is obvious that you and I have very different perspectives in many areas. If you were more civil, tolerant and able to have an intelligent conversation without all these dramatic attacks on what I say, then I would make an effort to respond to your individual points.

            I’m more of a “make love not war” kind of person. Based on my spiritual beliefs I attempt (not always successfully) to treat others with tolerance and kindness.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Valissa, I follow the rules of Classical Debate. “Love” and “tolerance” have no place in this sphere. May the better argument win.

            1. Lambert Strether

              This is very true, LBR (though I notice your attitude is not shared by all generations). The danger, which I fall into, is verbal violence: The intent to harm injure. Words can be weapons, though they are not necessarily.

          3. Valissa

            @lambert “your attitude is not shared by all generations”

            IMO, peacefulness is a personality trait, and/or a philosophy of life choice. I do not understand this “blame generation whatever” attitude anyway. Blaming all of some type classification or other of groups is really a form of prejudice, which I do not support either.

            Please note I fully support the rights of attack-and-defend style of communicators, or “classical debate” or whatever you want to call it. It is obvious many people get a big charge/thrill or whatever out of expressing their righteousness. Politics and religion are very much the same this way. I choose a different path.

            1. Lambert Strether

              I’m not blaming, or at least not trying to. It’s just my experience in the occasional classroom that the cut-and-thrust of debate seems quite rare to me; it seems to be classified as a form of rudeness, which challenge can be, but doesn’t have to be. Cultures change.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I believe in the Continuum of Life.

            You can’t separate debates from the rest of your life.

            If you have a place in your heart for ‘love’ and “tolerance,’ it will be reflect in everything you do.

            There is no dichotomy between what you say and what you do.

          5. Valissa

            @Lambert, what does “the classroom” have to do with anything? I spent 3-4 years on various liberal/netroots/PUMA bloogs of all flavors, as well observing comments at conservative and libertarian blogs and the MSM to give me a more diverse perspective. I would say that attack-and-defend/classic debate aggressive conformance oriented conversation was the norm, not the exception. Debate, debate, and more debate, there is o lack of debate. I finally decided that it was boring listening to the same old arguments over and over and over again getting nowhere and making no discernible positive change in society. You do know that humans have been having, in the long run, similar moral arguments for millenia, right? I do not observe that winning or losing such arguments makes any difference at all in the greater scheme of things, though it does seem to be a pleasurable experience for many.

          6. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Lambert, you are quite right. To restrain one’s ability to injure/do harm, especially under provocation, has long been considered a *noble* trait.

            That’s what I tried to convey with the poem I posted the other day for Yves, entitled: “I AM A VERBAL HEAVYWEIGHT.” I’ll repeat it:

            I am a verbal heavyweight.
            I can knock you flat in the first with time to spare.
            I am the ChamPEEN!

            Now I don’t want to hurt you, child,
            But I’ve got the Golden Gloves.
            Put your dukes down, Baby, you are way outclassed.

            (copyright 1995-2012 Nova Bernard) — one of a cycle of poems

            Self-restraint is a wonderful discipline. Rather *un-American* it seems. But you understand.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Yes, but one forgets and reverts. I understand the joy of battle perfectly well. It merely arrives for me in a different medium. Unfortunately or fortunately, it’s bad for me.

          7. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Lambert, good analogy. Classical debate is a fencing match.

            Also, there is a time for severity and a time for mercy, “there is a time for living and a time for dying” (Ecclesiastes). I am much closer to death, I perceive, than others at NC and ZH. Hence I have less to lose by fighting the fascist establishment like the “Ladies From Hell” whence I derived some of my flesh. Highland women are expected to stand against tyranny with the best of them.

            *Clan Robertson* (and other Colonial American Pioneers)

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Excellent point.

        And maybe the Christian sheep symbol is the original pys op tactic that Hedges is borrowing from?

        Maybe religions like Christianity (and the other religions around this time shared similar characteristics), were designed to control people. I recently heard humans described as one of the few domesticated animals and I have to agree! And the sheep is the perfect symbol. It teaches people to blindly follow and to find comfort in the herd.

        Christian dogma is very similar to Hedges’ tactics in that it admits that it is mindfucking you from the outset, that you’re a sheep, but stating this truth somehow blinds the victim and they are tricked into finding comfort from this very fact. Victims are tricked into giving over control in the misguided belief that it will empower them.

        And then we have tricks like Doubting Thomas. Thomas doubted the story, but when he put his finger in Jesus’ wounds (related decades after the fact and thus impossible to verify), it PROVED Jesus’ existence to him. We are encouraged to put reason aside and simply be a sheep.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          WWM, there is no doubt that Pauline *Christianity*, appropriated by the Roman Empire, was a tool for the facilitation of Imperial control.

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          WWM, you would find it instructive to take at least five years out of your life to study *Scriptures* and the critical *History of Scriptures*

      3. ajax

        Dear Valissa,

        I think Chris Hedges (in part) is warning against
        protesters looking like agent-provocateurs.

        This leads to the question: Are agent-provocateurs
        effective for the State Powers as anti-subversion forces?

        There’s a risk that agent-provocateurs will be outed
        by the bona fide protesters. But even then, the population
        at large might believe the bona fide protesters, polling
        at 20%, versus the population at large might be incredulous
        of the bona fide protesters’s statements, polling at 80% …

        So, I’d say hiring agent-provocateurs by the State Powers
        and deploying them is a tactic that’s a gamble, but
        a gamble that can sometimes pay off from the State Powers
        point of view.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          ajax, yes, agents-provocateurs serve the interests of the State by discrediting the Resistance participants through acts of gratuitous violence. When society is ignorant, naive, and credulous, the use of agents provocateurs is a no-brainer.

          This is why Chris Hedges makes such an issue of it. The more successful the still-fragile Occupy Movement becomes, the more it will be undermined by stealth agents for the FakeState.

        2. Valissa

          Yes, I think that’s part of what Hedges is doing (it’s a natural concern). Narratives have many interwoven components, not all conscious to the speaker. As far as agent provocaturs go, I think imperial intelligence agencies just can’t help themselves. They are incapable of NOTspying. This is true throught history. Even ancient tribal cheiftains had spies… spying is referred to as the second oldest profession for a reason :)

          The next stage of spying is meddling, and I’m thinking that intelligence agencies can’t help meddling either (like family members, neighbors, co-workers, business executives, politicains, etc, most people love to meddle in the affairs of others). Any and all political groups have to know this and work around it as best as possible.

        3. Walter Wit Man

          Chris Hedges IS an agent provocateur.

          His “warning” about anents provocateur is classic psy op disinformation–he’s projecting what he’s doing onto others in an effort to deflect, disrupt, divide and confuse. It’s working. He’s been very effective in his job.

          But Chris Hedges is the one that egged people on to “resist.” Look at his speeches! His the agent provocateur.

          Now he wants to feed a portion of those that answered his call to resist to the very police state he warns about.

  20. EmilianoZ

    A few days ago Monsanto was found guilty of poisoning a farmer by French justice:

    On this occasion, Le Monde published a nice roundup of Monsanto’s main offenses since 1947. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t know like the explosion in Texas City. This is a nice survey with plenty of good links:

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      EZm “Monsanto”–from Colonial Louisiana to St. Louis: it’s all about the Mississippi River as “cheap” dumping ground, folks, not to mention transportation by barge. Check out the Grain Elevators along the Mississippi, “Father of Waters” and discover the history of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, the Louisiana Territory from the Delta up to Minnesota, “The Land of Sky Blue Waters.” From Sugar to Oil & Gas, Aluminum, and Chemicals, the history of American Empire is recorded on the banks of the Mississippi River.

      Follow the money and the DNA, and don’t forget the Jesuit Plantations.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Emiliano, thanks for the link.

      Do they have it in, instead of French, Hindu, Chinese or English?

  21. Max424

    Brent –in its native currency, the Euro– is now trading at its highest level ever.

    Good-bye, Europe!

    Good-bye, America!

    How can a consumer nation expect to maintain exponential consumption growth, when in its consumer/workforce is being reduced to part-time, minimum wage work?

    Note: G Mac continues to provide THE most useful charts. He also consistently posts(?) insightful tweets (which is a hard thing to do, because I believe “insightful tweet” is an oxymoron).

    Check out the most recent: “The GOP, its island denuded of wood, is now reaching the stone statue phase of its Easter Island trajectory.”

  22. LeonovaBalletRusse

    ATTN: NC readers in search of levity:

    Newt Gingrich considers “glitter bombing” an *assault*. Wait for the suit.

    Mitt Romney, “glitter bombed” last week, claimed that the hurled glitter is “a missile” — is Guantanamo the *remedy* for *glittering* under the NDAA?

    These guys are such bad sports. Being a good sport used to be “American.”

  23. Walter Wit Man

    Wow. Just Wow.

    The dishonesty from WFL (Whole Foods Liberals)/VPP (Violent Property Protectors) is astounding. I can’t believe this is apparently the collective work of this concern troll brigade (Operation Mindfuck Occupy?).

    And note how these activists are taking the case to Daily Kos and basically ganging up on Graeber while the High and Mighty Hedges avoids Graeber.

    What utter dishonesty and propaganda. What a hatchet job. I’m sure it will have the desired effect and whip the Democratic and progressive faithful in such places as Daily Kos into a nice frenzy of hate and the ‘movement’ will devolve into infighting and division.

    The WFL/VPPs want us to believe they want to have a “discussion” but clearly they are only interested in stirring up hatred and needless division. It’s Operation Mindfuck Occupy!

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I realize this posted Monday and was referenced before but I hadn’t read the comments at Daily Kos and seen the notes there (which look like they’ve been updated?).

      The engagement with Graeber in comments is incredibly dishonest.

    2. JTFaraday

      Yeah, that’s the piece that was at FDL on Monday. Here’s Graeber’s response on D-Kos. (Below). Don’t know if he responded at FDL.

      I’m of the opinion that the “black bloc” should tone it down, but I think Graeber makes some good points about not demonizing them. And if, as he says, most of the aggression against persons has come from the so-called “NVAs,” then that is also interesting, and seems to warrant the “peace police” epithet he likes to throw out there.

      The police state itself is made up of “NVAs”–who just happen to use violence to enforce the non-violence they advocate.

      OTOH, I sort of get the feeling that what the “NVAs” are really objecting to are some of the RATIONALIZATIONS they hear from the so-called “VAs” more so than the ACTUAL limited property damage. Graeber doesn’t really address this.

      Graeber: “I suppose I do have to reply when someone flagrantly and embarrassingly misrepresents my words.

      First of all, calling me a “violence advocate” is a slur and I demand the author of this text apologize for it. Nothing in what I wrote advocates violence, and calling me a “violence advocate” is a perfect example of the kind of bizarrely aggressive rhetoric that genuinely makes me wonder where some of the “non-violence” advocates I encounter are really coming from. I cannot even be called a violence apologist, which might have at least been an understandable mistake, since all I actually say in the piece in question is that Black Bloc’ers are not crazy, have a code, and actually consider what they are doing in accord with that code non-violent. You might disagree with their definition of non-violence, that’s fine. But a honest person would acknowledge that’s what we’re talking about here. This response is in contrast profoundly dishonest.

      The idea that targeted property damage are allowable as a form of non-violent resistance is not some crazy, off-the-wall idea so idiotic it doesn’t even need to be acknowledged. It’s pretty standard to anyone who actually knows something about the tradition of non-violent civil disobedience. Often it’s expressed as a contrast between the Berrigan Brothers tradition of non-violence and the Gandhi/King tradition. Dozens of priests, nuns and ministers have been arrested for such targeted property damage. So for instance by the standards of the poster, here, the 3 Dominican nuns arrested in 2003 for attacking a missile with a hammer, doing, it was charged, thousands of dollars of damage to Federal property, were practitioners of violence and anyone who defended their actions or even tried to put them in perspective as I did with the Black Bloc, would be “violence advocates.”

      Second – the Tully Coffee-shop. Actually the person wasn’t wearing a mask either. Try to read more carefully. He clearly wasn’t part of the Bloc.

      Third – Gandhi – again, try to read more carefully. Nothing you say contradict what I said. One thing we violent anarchists like to do to help us conduct meetings in a constructive way is “listening exercises” where we train ourselves to summarize one another’s arguments. Learning to listen and understand others is a key part, we find, in preventing outbursts of actual violence. What I said was that Gandhi condemned the action but not the actor. You know, “love the sinner, hate the sin”? You’ve heard of that one, haven’t you? Saintly people often say this. The rest of us might learn something from them. My point is that if someone does something you disagree with, try to listen to them, understand what they think is happening, without compromising your own moral compass. This was what Hedges so spectacularly failed to do in insisting that anyone who ever put on a hoodie is an insane, stupid, violent, fanatic, saboteur, and what I was responding to. You might try not to fall into the same trap.

      Fourth – I did not call for silence. I called for a lack of screaming. Again, you didn’t respond to what I actually said. You’re really not very good at listening, are you? I said the advisable thing to do if someone exceeds the limits you think are appropriate is to reaffirm your own principles, making it clear you don’t agree with it, but not do anything that might make it seem, falsely, that those acts were the reason for the police violence which is actually hurting people (unless, presumably, there is some specific case where they were, though I haven’t actually seen one yet.)

      Posts like this are almost unimaginably damaging in this respect.

      Let us consider what has happened in this country. We have had a national non-violent mobilization. During that mobilization there were something like 800 occupations. In all those occupations – whether or not there were Black Blocs in some of the marches – there were basically no occasions where occupiers initiated attacks on anyone, including police. There were no cases where protestors who had been attacked by police responded with any organized violence – or anything more serious than the occasional throwing back of a tear-gas canister. There were no cases of the vandalizing of owner-operated enterprises except for one ambiguous case where one window was broken in one franchise store by a guy who wasn’t in Black Bloc but might have been in some way associated. There were three or four damaged windows otherwise, all by people operating within a Philip Berrigan-style definition of non-violence which, though many would disagree with it, is careful to avoid anything that might harm another human being. Despite this, there was continual and extraordinary violence directed against protestors in camp after camp after camp.

      Why, in such circumstances, are the supposedly Gandhian types not saying “we have been incredibly non-violent. Even the Black Bloc has been restrained. Sure, there were a few windows broken in Oakland on one occasion, there might have been one other incident like that one other time, but you can’t completely avoid people doing stupid things now and then. The point is we were amazingly non-violent, did nothing to hurt anyone, and the police viciously attacked us over and over again anyway in violation of their most sacred responsibility to protect the people’s First Amendment rights. This is an outrage!” Instead, I’ve seen far, far more discussion of the breaking of that Tully’s window, in Oakland, than the earlier breaking in Oakland of Scott Olsen, the Marine veteran’s, head.

      What kind of values does this reveal? If you reject Berrigan-style standards of nonviolence and want to make a case that Berrigan-style activists should never damage property, that’s fine. Make your case. Don’t be shy about your opinions. But writing pieces like Hedges, saying anyone who would even associate with people who might do this are “a cancer” of crazed fanatics that wish to destroy us, making it sound like such people are engaged in constant acts of actual interpersonal violence when in fact the ONLY acts of interpersonal violence so far recorded in protests are of “non-violence” advocates physically assaulting THEM, and making it sound like they are the reason for police attacks against other protestors, even other protestors thousands of miles away, is not only completely irresponsible, it can only be read as a way of justifying those very police attacks.

      I will end on a final note. In the essay, I appealed to Hedges not to use rhetoric that will endanger others – both rhetoric that will make it easier for the police to attack people dressed in black just for that reason, endangering everyone around them, and rhetoric that will encourage a self-appointed “peace police” to physically assault the anarchists he’s demonized. Many such incidents have occurred. Since you claim to be in favor of non-violence, are you willing to condemn such actions. You seem very concerned for some windows in Oakland. But there are plenty of documented examples of “pacifists” physically assaulting people who they thought were about to engage in such acts of Berrigan-style targeted property damage. Non-violence advocates might differ on whether damage to a non-sentient piece of metal or glass counts as “violence”, but no one denies that an attack on a human being is violence. Are you willing to condemn that violence? Because oddly, I haven’t heard a single “non-violence advocate” openly say that it was wrong.”

      1. JTFaraday

        And more from Graeber on Chris Hedges’ involvement:

        “I have been compiling a few examples of physical assaults on anarchists – but it seems there are lots more. One woman on Twitter reported she had been physically attacked at Occupy Toronto for carrying a red-and-black flag to a rally. Many have been assaulted in Oakland. In New York several anarchists have been kicked and had items of clothing torn off their bodies. On Hedges’ own Truthout page, there are people calling on everyone to immediately turn anyone dressed like an anarchist over to the police. The amazing thing is that these incidents are not over anything the victim did. They are not responses to violence They are violent assaults on people who simply showed up wearing clothing or carrying insignia that identify them with a political orientation.

        The fact that people of this political orientation were the main ones who actually started Occupy Wall Street only deepens the irony.

        This is what is so disturbing about using phrases like “Violence Advocate” and “Non-Violence Advocate” in such irresponsible and dishonest ways. The ones who insist they are non-violence advocates are, in effect, urging people to physically assault others. So far they have refused to even denounce such assaults. The ones they claim are “violence advocates” are not physically assaulting anyone, not calling for attacks on anyone, and not even punching back when punched because they ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN NON-VIOLENCE.

        The hypocrisy can hardly get any deeper.

        I have called on Chris Hedges to at least call for an end to such behavior but he has so far not responded.”

          1. Walter Wit Man

            What in the hell are you babbling about now?

            Do you have a substantive rebuttal to Graeber or are you going to simply misdirect?

        1. JTFaraday

          Like I said, I’m not picking and choosing between Hedges and Graeber. I’m just observing the state of play. You, on the other hand, are clearly a Hedges fan whereas I’m not necessarily.

          Back when the Tea Party was revving up (and riots were starting in Greece), it was clear to me from Hedges’ all too typical heightened rhetoric that he was not only looking for violence to erupt in the US population, but perhaps even angling for it.

          It was already clear at that time that the usual institutional channels for reform were not going to respond. So now what do you do if you want reform? and I do believe Hedges wants reform.

          Back then, it was clear that Hedges thought this violence was going to come from the right. Now he seems to have settled on the anarchist left.

          Hedges said it was fine that there were “riots”– his word– in Greece. The Greeks know what to do and how to do it. Now all of a sudden it’s not okay. How do we explain this?

          I have seen intellectuals deliberately rile up their base and then throw them, or some segment of it, under the bus when they’ve served their purpose. I at least give Graeber credit for *not* doing that and for pointing out that kind of toxic hypocritical dynamic when he sees it.

          I have a hard time seeing this huge distinction between the two of them that you do. If you’re not going to trust Graeber, then don’t trust either one of them.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Based on what? How do you score the relative honesty of both sides of this debate?

          Don’t you see the utter dishonesty and intellectual bankruptcy of using a term like “violence advocate” after Graeber explains why he is not a violence advocate?

          Boy, it amazes me how effective this crap is. The same damn crap over and over.

        3. Walter Wit Man

          Your dishonest argumentation style is duly noted.

          Instead of acknowledging Graeber’s well argued and well thought out position you simply attack his character.

          Dishonest. Like the rest of the gang.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Notice the collective response from the violent property defenders on this . . . . crickets and misdirection.

        He demands an apology for the dishonest use of the term “violence advocate” and the violent property protectors double down on their dishonesty. They intentionally misinterpreted his comment and his sarcastic use of “violent anarchist” to claim that he was a violent anarchist!


        We live in such a dishonest society and our political reality is so rigged I don’t expect this deceit to be fully exposed.

        But hey, it is being exposed here for those that care about the truth. We are also exposing those that are willfully blind and/or complicit.

  24. Praedor

    Anyone else come across this link? Yves? “US bankers given timetable for Greek default” back in early January.

    What do ya’ll think? Would be fairly explosive if true.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Praedor, thanks for the link. Mind-blowing duplicity, some might even call it a *conspiracy*. In any event, ZH has been following GS’s financial *preparation* for such an event for awhile now, as if GS: *This might happen, we’d best prepare.” All on the up & up, you know.

    2. LucyLulu

      I just ran across it, and wondering too. From the link you posted.

      A written document giving firm dates and detailed actions for a planned Greek default has been in the possession of two top Wall Street bank currency trading bosses since the second week in January. The Slog has separate but corroborative sources affirming the existence of the document, and a conviction among senior bank staff that – at least at the time – the plan represented “a timetable, not a contingency”. The plan gives a firm date of March 23rd for default to be announced after the close of business.

      Allegedly the author, since posting blog today, received “dozens of confirmations” that JP Morgan is also in possession of the documents (earlier wrote that Barclay’s and anonymous bank had them). One email suggested the following:

      ‘Congratulations on getting this out there. You need to look more closely at Deutsche [Bank] and Commerzbank. Key people in Bankfurt are fully aware of this.’

      Karl posted the first link on Market Ticker today. I’m really curious what others think as well, if this is credible or not. The implications of this would be mind-blowing. If true I imagine the date would have to changed subsequent to this release, to protect the guilty.

  25. PQS

    Via Eschaton:

    Tesco has apparently brought on 1400 workers in the past several months who are only “working” so they can claim their UI benefits. Oh, and they say they’ve hired 300 of them as actual employees due to this scheme. (Sounds like a great writeoff!) Working apparently provides good experience and training!

    Is Tesco the UK version of WalMart?

    How much longer will the unemployed have to humiliated at the hands of these overlords before someone just loses it?

  26. kevinearick

    Drilling Diversity

    So, civilian authority will make a bad choice very time, to be expedient, because it is a least common denominator function. It is blind to the future. By design, it is a derivative of derivatives, which means that the military must be a greatest common denominator function, to maintain the future as the heading. Net, the military may only give civilian authority good choices. Once it proffers a bad choice and civilian authority chooses it, military reorganization must begin.

    The looking glass between military and civil authority in all such organizations is THE IMPERATIVE. If this country is to stand another election as a world leader, the most important decision of the next presidential nexus is who will be chosen to stand on the neck of military Family Law, to weed it out, root and all. That’s the point of the pentagon, a limited place to keep all the weeds.

    We’ll get to a practical solution to the looking glass, prisoners dilemma, in short order. It turns out that the people who love children the most are also the most dedicated to country, not that the majority would recognize them as such, though they stand in plain sight to intelligent kids.

    Big government, like any regrettable affair, begins with a careless act and becomes a thicket of omissions. Accordingly, a constitution is a leap of faith against every known constant. Governments are captives of time. The fusion/fission reactor can begin with any set of rules, so long as it has a positive feedback loop, moderated by a negative feedback loop, but it must remain elastic. Multiple constitutions, markets, require unique angles of incidence, which is why each bridge abutment begins after the local experience of despotism, when arbitrary and natural law is clearest to the participants.

    When empire measured achievement gaps are tied to early childhood empire education, in a positive feedback loop, reward to risk is maximized in preparation. Waiting until a constitution is required to prepare is a critical failure. The cost and risk of sailing increases exponentially as it is automated because controls operate behind the curve. Automation only makes sense when a CONSTANT favorable breeze may be reliably expected for an extended period of time. That’s not life.

    They can’t even get the boat out of the harbor in this storm, let alone get in front of the oncoming hurricane, because they pay themselves to “fix” the consequences. The closer that hurricane gets, the greater the premium on intelligent labor, which gets scarce to non-existent.

    Why would you stand in that harbor, arguing with one group of idiots that refuses to recognize the hurricane’s source, trading ignorance, and another arguing for cheaper labor to clean up the mess, hammers all, looking at you like a nail, when the only available workforce is similarly hiding from itself, hoping to capitalize on the work of others. That would be pretty damn stupid, unless your crew was already out ahead of the hurricane, before the system went bankrupt, with nothing but bad choices to show for its economic activity, “best being the enemy of better.” That is a stupid f***ing mentality. How does German Trust ingenuity look now?

    You have a fulcrum of fulcrums, which is a hurricane, which is a drill, tapping the relativity circuit as it drills. The direction is set by felling it, changing the direction of incidence / torque in an aggregate dimensional weave. When government gets out of the way, what remains is bit operation.

    Lasting constitutions are not formed by international consensus, with best government practice, as suggested by the Justices. They are formed in the crucible of despotism’s fire, by the people doing the work. It is quite democratic in that participation is at will, but the majority never has the will when it is required.

    Concerning the Law, the Justices wouldn’t know natural law if it bit them in the face, because they are chosen by the same university distillation process that wrought P Obama, having never once been subjected to full extent of the law themselves. Take one of those jailhouse lawyers that beat the appellate process filter, or choose the lawyer in the law library that tells all the other lawyers what to think, and you might come up with a Justice of the Peace.

    Effective parents are the tip of the spear, always have been, always will be. That’s natural selection. When America had surplus power, its navy did not tolerate the tenets of Family Law, so the feed was equal opportunity, and you just did not f*** with other people’s family expecting a happy outcome. Back then, intelligent kids had their run of the bases, because they could readily differentiate between doers and talkers. They are an excellent source of counter-intelligence, with automatic replacement, as age, time, works them out and on to the event horizons like flux.

    Every military outfit is told that it is the tip of the spear, which comes down from Congress, which thinks it is the tip, in best practice replication. That’s not to say that you could not take a few commanders, with INTEGRITY, and rebuild the military, which is exactly what must be done. A new economy must always be grown from the shell of the old.

    NASA is FUBAR, a rat hole full of rats, not that it’s their fault; the space program scared the hell out of the energy trusts owned by legacy families. Under a functional constitution, government works for the majority; the majority doesn’t work for the government. Congress now sees only a reflection of its own legacy, which is a reflection of shadow government, from Wall Street to Main Street, which is what you hear every time a corporate boss opens his mouth.

    Get rid of Family Law recognition in the military and replace its political brothers and sisters with their intelligent brothers and sisters as officers, and you will fix most of what is wrong with the military. Then take the intelligent kids of intelligent military officers and put them through intensive navigation and sailing education, along with all the new kids coming into the military family, and you will fix most of what is wrong with this country. Civilian authority always seeks equal outcomes for the masses, in a fixed lottery economy on the other side.

    What the empire fears is intelligent military education of children because it only takes a small squadron to tip the balance of power. If you look, you will see Civil Family Law engage at peak earning potential with young children, to feed the empire’s early education program coming out of the churn pool.

    Above all, get the empire mentality out of the military. That’s for the 2-yr-olds that always crawl their way up to the top of civil administration. That happens because less capable military officers go corporate, creating a feedback loop shorting out the looking glass, resulting in promotion based upon political reflection, the military intelligence oxymoron, instead of military skill.

    That is what the Affies understand, from experience, which is why they routinely bury empires, with nothing more than a prevent defense. There is no person on the planet more powerful than an intelligent military parent, which an empire cannot tolerate in peace, which is why being an empire is stupid, unless you understand looking glass operation. Let the chair-side administrators aspire to be emperors; just don’t give them a loaded gun.

    Stupid replicates exponentially. As soon as it sets foot outside of its jurisdiction, deploying Family Law in the military, you have to stop the assembly line. A constitution is like a big red switch/button with the word STOP on it, but when successful future generations fail to recognize it and allow government to wire it for increased torque to the motor, losses are recognized as gains, treating debt as asset. You’ll have that with 2-yr-olds. All kids go through a stage where they think their life was unfair. Some get over it, some don’t. The latter always chooses the gun and badge.

    Why is China importing agriculture from Iowa and exporting Apples to California, where they are theoretically designed? If the price of gas goes up to further extend California credit, what happens to the overall tax base? Stupidity begets stupidity, and no one can f*** you like family. That is the point of a constitution, distilling diversity across a looking glass, built for the occasion. A global economy must be a reactor of reactors, not replication of a reactor in a race to the least common denominator bottom, which always ends in a bang.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      kevinearick, our founders, being experienced realists, expected the moment of necessity for the citizen *leap of faith* — and they made stipulations in the Constitution as to how this leap is the DUTY of FREE-AGENCY citizens in a Republic/Constitutional Democracy. So, in answer to Franklin WILL we keep it?

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      kevinearick, are you prepared to teach the ignorant, but passionate, American Resistance et al., including American Marines, who are ready to learn what you know, who are ready to follow great American leaders? Please attend:

      Richard N. Foster, author of “INNOVATION: The Attacker’s Advantage” (New York, Summit Books, 1986), defines “discontinuity” as a “period of change from one group of products or processes to another” (p. 35). He writes:

      “The results of discontinuity are almost always brutal for the defender….

      “As limits are reached, it becomes increasingly expensive to make progress. At the same time, the possibility of new approaches often emerges–new possibilities that frequently depend on skills not well developed in leader companies. As these attacks are launched, they are often unnoticed by the leader, hidden from view by conventional economic analysis. When the youthful attacker is strong, he is quite prepared for battle by virtue of success and training in market niches. The defender, lulled by the security of strong economic performance for a long time, and by conventional management wisdom that encourages him to stay his course, and buoyed by faith in evolutionary change, finds it’s too late to respond. The FINAL battle is SWIFT and the LEAD LOSES.” (pp. 36-37, caps mine)

      “The final battle is swift, and the lead loses.”

      We the Free Agents of the United States of America must ACT decisively for ourselves, the Sovereign People comprising our nation-state. *Globalism* failed for the 99%. George H.W. Bush’s New World Order is done.

      kevinearick, we need men and women who lead rather than dominate. General George Washington set the tone for Americans. It’s 1776 right now.

  27. Please spare us the gruesome details

    Yves, I must say that I am extremely disappointed that you chose to include the horrifying description of torture in the link to the cat story. Ick doesn’t even begin to describe it. As a long-time reader and contributor, I come to your site for expert analysis of economics and politics. I don’t appreciate being subjected to indelible imagery of gruesome, inhuman cruelty.

    In the future, please omit the horrifying details and warn your readers of what they’re in for if they choose to click through to such a story. I will now head off to bed and try not to take that disturbing image with me.

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