Links 2/17/12

BPA’s Obesity And Diabetes Link Strengthened By New Study Huffington Post (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Bone Transplantation Without Rejection ieee Spectrum (hat tip reader Chuck L)

Google’s iPhone Tracking Wall Street Journal

How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did Forbes (hat tip reader Kelly)

Iran Unlikely to Strike First, U.S. Official Says Bloomberg (hat tip reader Jim Haygood)

Mousavian: How the Standoff Looks From Iran Bloomberg. Bloomberg is taking it upon itself to take a small stand against Iran war mongering.

Greece: On Pace for the Worst Recession in Modern History Ed Harrison

Athens faces tough bail-out terms Financial Times

Kazakhstan massacre death toll may rise to 200 Moscow News

Obama poised to win 2012 election with 303 electoral votes Signal Forecast (hat tip Lambert)

The Right-Wing Id Unzipped Mike Lofgren, Truthout (hat tip reader May S)

How to get fired from faux news in 5 minutes Save Capitalism (hat tip reader Chris M)

Foster Freiss, Santorum backer, jokes about using aspirin as birth control Washington Post

Time to Institute the Random Penis Swabs Marcy Wheeler

Blogger Breitbart Likely ‘Overreaching’ With Anti-SLAPP Motion Law Technology News (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

The Politics of the Super Rich Ari Berman, TomDispatch (hat tip Lambert)

Bill Gates pressures Obama over new mining and energy anti-corruption laws Guardian (hat tip reader John L)

When Models Trump Common Sense Tim Iacono (hat tip reader May S). He’s not right here. The big problem with focusing on demand creation is that the quick and easy ways to create it leak unduly into asset speculation. This is what happens when you have no labor bargaining power (or high income inequality, which is what you get after a prolonged period of no labor bargaining power). You need to fix that first.

Not the Whole Story Michael Panzner

Chrysler Pulls Loan Request Wall Street Journal (hat tip Joe Costello)

European Banks to Suitors: Hands Off the U.S. Wall Street Journal (hat tip Joe Costello)

New Bill to Weaken Protections, Incentives for Whistleblowers Sneaks Through Committee Truthout (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Collection and Credit Firms Facing Broad New Oversight New York Times

Student Loans Near $1 Trillion Hurting Young Buyers: Mortgages BusinessWeek (hat tip reader Wendy)

Tammy Baldwin Attacks Scott Walker for Diverting Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Money to Fill Budget Hole Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Barry Ritholtz Has the Main Theme Right, But Gets a Few Specifics Wrong About MF Global Jesse (hat tip Richard Smith)

What We Owe to Each Other: An Interview with David Graeber, Part 1, Part 2, Boston Review

Antidote du jour (hat tip Michael Hudson):

And a bonus – Richard Smith’s favorite anti-antidote:

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  1. Campbeln

    Is it just me, or is “Richard Smith’s favorite anti-antidote” look a bit… phallic?

    Of course (for me at least) only my hind legs are fuzzy ;)

      1. Jim Haygood

        Marcy Wheeler:

        What’s missing from this entire discussion is that men, too, can use birth control–like condoms. And the logic of these penis creature faith leaders is that employers should be able to control whether or not employees spend money on birth control, period. Condoms, like the pill, are generally not free.

        Right — they cost about a quarter apiece, in bulk. But the previous sentence is a ludicrous distortion. The issue is not whether employees of either gender can spend their own money on contraception (which as Marcy points out, is of negligible cost in the case of condoms), but whether health plans should be required to cover it.

        Insurance works best to cover catastrophes, such as hospitalization. Paying routine life expenses such as contraception through health plans only drives up the cost, thanks to administrative overhead. That’s why your homeowners insurance doesn’t pay for painting the trim, and your auto insurance doesn’t pay for brake jobs — those are routine expenses which you should pay yourself.

        Putting contraception into the public arena needlessly rankles a minority who have religious objections to it. Contraception at sliding-scale cost has long been available at Planned Parenthood. While that is also controversial to a few troglodytic hardliners, it is a far better model than festooning health plans with yet another ideological mandate.

        Here’s a quarter, Marcy — bonk someone who cares!

        1. John L

          Jim, doctors don’t have to prescribe condoms, or (when they were available) sponges. Vasectomies, Tubal ligatures, coil, patch, pill, all doctors. So health care.

          The answer is simple. Get employers out of health care. Single payer.

          1. Procopius

            You know, it might not be a bad idea if doctors weren’t required for all those. Here in Thailand many medications which require a doctor’s prescription in the U.S. are available over the counter at the pharmacist’s discretion. Actually, a lot of pharmacists here stray over the line in recommending medications, pretty much practicing medicine. It helps keep medical costs much lower than in the U.S. That’s why we have a thriving “medical tourist” business. People come here from more advanced (i.e., expensive) countries for medical procedures that are not emergency in nature. The facilities are at least as good as average in the U.S., probably a lot more luxurious, and cost about a third as much. The doctors are as good as the average in the U.S. Of course, you guys have the strong doctors’ union that has a lock on all the legislatures and get government protection for their high earnings.

        2. mk

          access to birth control saves insurance companies money, at least that’s what I heard on a recent report on NPR. You can google it if you’re really interested in the facts.

        3. charles sereno

          “Paying routine life expenses such as contraception through health plans only drives up the cost, thanks to administrative overhead.” Jim Haygood)

          Cripes! Why are health insurers (who know something about “administrative burden”) willing to take up that load? Because it “drives up the cost?” IMHO, I’d suggest enrolling in Facts 101.

        4. Paul Tioxon

          Jim, theological correctness is not the standard for medical science. This is another attack on science, masquerading as a sincere expression of faith. The modern insurance programs, the modern hospitals, operated by what are clearly religious organizations would like to accept the man made interference into the lives of their patients, except when they don’t. For thousands of years we have seen humanity guided by the superstitious, the irrational and unbelievably cruel consequences of blind faith, only to watch dogma give way to accepting the material benefit of modern medicine, except when they don’t. The arbitrary and capricious rejection of birth control in the form of a pill or medical device is consistent with some article of faith, but the diversion of funds for this objectionable use by theological review and condemnation requires us to ask how many other objectionable practices are waiting to be taken from employee insurance programs when this simple task is accomplished?

          If every dollar is under theological review to see just where it is spent as not to cause moral or doctrinal error, will we ever get to see the US Government act again as the government of, by and for the people and not the US Catholic Bishops Council, the society of ministers, rabbis, and whatever else is trying to retake Bethlehem from what ever rough beast is slouching its way back there this week?

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Paul, since *conservatives* hate the government so much, and want to shrink it into a bathtub, why is there ANY government money being spared for religious institutions of ANY kind? Let the tax-free status of these bossy freeloaders die.

            Italy has decided to start charging the Vatican taxes on their *non-religious* properties. Why are we in the U.S. not charging religious institutions property taxes?

            Truman was effectively forbidden to honor the Vatican as a legitimate *State*. It wasn’t until REAGAN that this happened. What does that tell us?

            It’s time for our nation-state to STOP! subsidizing ALL religious institutions.

        5. Hugh

          “Insurance works best to cover catastrophes, such as hospitalization.”

          Actually the dollars with the best return in healthcare are for routine health maintenance and preventive care. Contraception would fall under this heading. Such care reduces the need for far more expensive acute care and hospitalizations.

          Our society remains deeply conflicted and hypocritical about sexuality. Contraception and insurance coverage for it are victims of our society’s discomfort/obsession with sex. From a public health point of view, however, contraception is a normal part of women’s health. And it would make as much sense to deny contraceptive coverage to women as it would be to refuse coverage for hypertension to African Americans because they are at greater risk for it.

        6. Jim in SC

          I think the Republicans just lost the election. They’ve come off as a bunch of white males dead set on controlling women’s bodies. What the press has missed about all this contraception stuff is that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act already prohibits all but ‘religious institutions’, which doesn’t include hospitals and colleges, from discriminating against women by not covering birth control in their benefit plans. The EEOC enforces this, and it has been the law since 1999.

          1. Procopius

            Well, I surely hope so, but I’m not that optimistic. I don’t live in the U.S. so I have lost touch with how real people there think. I have a couple of cousins, but they’re sane, so they don’t give me any insight into how Republicans think. Speculating, I think many Republican women will support their men in this, reasoning that they don’t have to worry and these restrictions will only affecct “those” people. Is that really the way they think? Are they really unaware of the government benefits they get? I don’t know. I can only say that, although some women have told me I’m wrong, I often think there are some women who really want to be seriously physically abused. They seem to believe that they really deserve it and it gives them some sort of satisfaction when they are badly beaten. Maybe I just lack sufficient empathy; I really can’t imagine how people could vote for Republicans (or most Democrats, for that matter).

    1. Greg

      Not just you, that was my reaction too (huh, fuzzy phallus?), especially seeking it quickly as a smaller size image in a feed reader.

    1. MacCruiskeen

      And let’s just add that the Huffington Post has to be one of the least-credible sources anywhere for medical or science news.

      1. Praedor

        Yes, because BPA is just SO healthful! Hormone disrupters and mimics are GOOD for you and the environment.

        A, clue for you for free: Huffington Post is NOT the producers of that research. SCIENTISTS funded with grant money at UNIVERSITIES are the producers of the research. HuffPo REPORTED the results of that SCIENTIFIC study. Sorry that science doesn’t comport with your fantasies (no global warming, pollution is healthy, no chemical is a bad chemical, etc).

        Sheesh. Teabagger right?

        1. John L

          I read both the paper and the huff puff piece. Hp sensationalizes and highlights the clearly speculative parts of the paper with no attempt to look at the work in context. Yes BPA is bad stuff, but sloppy sensationalist science coverage is not helpful. Read the paper, it’s good stuff and makes the point without hp’s eyeball grabbing extrapolations.

          An example of missing context: estrogen from birth control pills is now a contaminant in our water supplies. May also be a factor. Not mentioned.

    2. John L

      Useful data mining.

      CDC has obesity and diabetes by state and county. The animated annual data by state is amazing.

      Here’s a map of poverty by state for comparison

      And here’s a map showing predominant race by county.

      The risk factors for obesity and diabetes are being poor, being black, and being native American. So the south is going to show up, along with say certain counties in South Dakota.

      Availability of nutritious food, cultural factors, probably plays a role.

      I bet Target knows this info too. And Walmart, banks,…

      1. LucyLulu

        Those of us in healthcare have long known the link between obesity and poverty/race/culture. Yep, nutritious foods are more expensive and some ethnic diets, like southern soul food, have their roots in the discards of the wealthy plantation owners, such as ham hocks, pork rinds, and chitlins. Higher quality animal proteins weren’t available to the slaves, much less fish (unless they had access to a creek for catfish, also considered unpalatable by the elites of the day). Changing dietary habits is difficult and requires education, which is also lacking among the poor, as well as access to preventative health care, or any health care.

        1. John L

          Absolutely LL. And yet we have massive subsidies to big ag to produce GM junk food, while Santorum says we don’t need food stamps because the people on them are fat.

    3. Klassy!

      Why don’t we stop wringing our hands over obesity. Those stats are made more alarming by the inclusion of overweight individuals (68% in Miss. are overweight or obese). Obesity doesn’t really affect mortality until you’re at the farther end of the BMI scale. Overweight can be certainly be healthier than underweight. States such as Mississipi, Alabama, and Louisiana have bigger public health concerns– mainly all the damn oil refineries and chemical plants. It would have been nice if Michelle Obama had done some sort of public health campaign that focused on clean air. But, you run the risk of pissing off donors and it does not have that personal responsibility ethic that everyone loves so much (even liberals do when it comes to matters of diet and weight)
      The history of the obesity epidemic is described in J. Eric Oliver’s Fat Politics. Suffice it to say the interests of the CDC, pharma, and the weight loss industry aligned nicely. The book is pretty eye opening.

      1. John L

        Overweight may be as much a symptom as a cause. Being poor means poorer access to decent healthcare, education, diet, while getting polluters building in your back yard. It’s all part of the war on and the scapegoating of the poor. The 1% turning the 80% against the bottom 20%.
        It’s clear though that health outcomes are getting worse for the bottom 20%, for example in exactly the States you mention.

      1. Max424

        Yup, they would.

        My advice to young people: Don’t use your credit card, especially when you go shopping. Never get on a mailing list. Always refuse to become a “club member.” Reveal no personal information.

        And please, stop already with the coupons, will ya? They are a trap (why do you think they’re offered?). Above all else, THE number one goal; use CASH, so as to leave NO paper trails.

        Unfortunately, young people tend to look at me like I’m either a walking, talking fossil transplanted from the Pleistocene era, or a extremely mad revolutionary.

        Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. I’m just a normal modern man, trying to survive the ultra-modern DIGITAL ATTACK on my pocketbook.

        1. Praedor

          I’m with you 100% Cash is invisible. Your purchase history cannot be tracked when you purchase with cash. You do not go into their databases. There’s nothing for corporations or government to track/fingerprint.

          Cash is your best friend.

          1. John L

            I shop as much as possible at farmer’s markets and independent stores, and help them reduce their costs and starve the banking beast by using cash as much as possible.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Praedor, Big Brother is tricky. Some people use cash with *discount* drug-store and grocery-store cards linked to the shopper’s personal information. They don’t realize that these items nullify the anonymity of cash. Cash is info-free only when not connected to such items.

            And maybe not even then. Think about it. How much cash do we get from ATM machines?

            The “Cash is Dirty” putsch is the latest campaign against the use of cash. It’s being promoted as a *public health* issue. There is nothing beneath them.

          3. Binky the Bear

            The cash sales segment is just another data set from which patterns can be extracted and individuals picked out based on repeated purchase patterns, coupon use and purchase timing. For an investigator each store’s record of cash sales would be cross checked against other databases of other stores’ purchases, traffic cameras, store cameras, phone records, text messages and emails, property databases, etc.
            That’s why they stole the PROMIS software back in the 1980s-cross tabulation of multiple data sets across multiple networks with different softwares, OS and so on. They can predict who you are without having specific information because they have time, resources, and a desire to do so.

        2. Dick

          As to the club cards, DO sign up, but use a phoney name.

          If you really want to be subversive, use a variant of your real name but change a few things like your address, phone number and middle initial, knowing that it’ll all be comingled and will cause a confusing dataset mess. NEVER use a credit card with a club card though because it’ll show up.

          Also, you can use any name you want. I use the almost name of Safeway’s main stockholder.

    1. Jim

      I read the extended piece in the NYT Magazine and was not that impressed. I did something similar for a client fresh out of undergrad and before business school, when I was working for a strategy consulting firm.

      Try to target pregnant woman. So I would figure out what pregnant women buy through focus groups or extensive polling. I would then target women based on their purchase patterns.

      One thing I would NEVER have recommended is send an advertising packet comprised of just prenatal/baby products. Of course that’s creepy.

      Instead, I would have done what Target eventually did. Mix prenatal/baby ads with general ads, so that the target believes that everyone is receiving the same package.

  2. Cynthia

    Unless Obama is caught in a locker room shower forcing himself on small boys, election 2012 should be a cakewalk for him. As I have said before, the GOPers with all the clout, and that’s all that really matters these days thanks to Citizens United, have no interest whatsoever in bankrolling a candidate to defeat Obama. Why should they? Obama is everything they want from a president– he’s pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and pro-police state.

    For a brief moment there, the saber-rattling arm of the GOP had some doubts that Obama wasn’t enough of a saber rattler for their liking and was coming across as being too soft on Iran. But their doubts were fully put to rest when on the eve of the Super Bowl, Obama stated that Israel hadn’t yet decided on whether to attack Iran, but that the US was committed to remaining “in lockstep” with Israel if it were to decide to attack Iran. Then he went on to describe Israel’s security as his “top priority.”

    Ray McGovern speaks truth to power about this on RT:

    1. Praedor

      Don’t bet the farm on it. All that has to happen is for Greece to default, then Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy. That’s it. Actually, Greece would possibly do in Obama’s climb in the polls all by itself. Not because of anything Obama did, it doesn’t work that way. All that needs happen is something disrupt the economy. Or something happen (like war with Iran) to launch oil prices, and gas prices, to the moon. BOOM! There goes any climb in the polls that Obama was enjoying.

    2. LucyLulu

      Agree with Praedor. Obama’s re-election hinges on the state of the economy in November. If it remains on the upswing, he’s a shoe-in, especially if the GOP can’t come up with a decent candidate. If the economy backslides and unemployment goes back up, he’ll be defeated.

      It’s the economy, stupid.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WHY is it that there can be no coup d’etat by We the People in Charlotte 2012?

        OCCUPY Charlotte 2012: WE the PEOPLE the STATE!


        If not now, when?

        *UPPITY* AGENTS UNITE! We have nothing to lose but our impotence.

    3. curlydan

      I like Obama’s chances in the election, but one thing I noticed in their model is that there were 9 Obama states with 50%-53% of the vote for him but only 4 states where he has 47%-50%.

      Basically, as others have noted, a small swing in the economy could make the election very close.

      P.S. I’m assuming that they’re divvying all the votes just between Obama and the Republican.

  3. Noni Mausa

    Target data mining, a long, comprehensive article we should all read in detail. It provides the grown-up example of why, when loyalty cards first emerged, I swore never to use them and, in fact, stopped shopping at the grocery store 3 blocks from my home and moved to one a mile away. “Who cares what kind of hand lotion I use?” my friends used to say, so I am creepily gratified that my suspicions were proved.

    A few decades of spending patterns could end up providing far more information to business than I ever want them to have. Perhaps a cluster of purchases could be found to predict an elevated cancer or clinical depression risk, and be passed along to health insurance companies? Or it could be found that if you sell me chocolate truffles at cost once a week, I lose my ability to resist high-priced audio equipment?

    I have enough trouble controlling my bad habits and pocketbook — I don’t need professionals twirling the knobs.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      At movie sites:

      These are movies we think you don’t mind waste a few hours on…

      At book sites:

      May we recommend these books as furniture to aid you in your interior decoration?

      General websites:

      We think you would enjoy getting involved in these wars…

      Based on your frequent internet rants, may we suggest these political candidates to vote for…

      Because you’re so predictable, we suggest these following news articles…

    2. Praedor

      You can jam them up with cash purchases. You cash purchases cannot be tracked. You could decide that certain items/areas are to ALWAYS be purchased with cash so that those things are forever out of their databases. Randomizing cash purchases wouldn’t help because your overall purchase history would show through. You need to quarantine a subset of your purchases and stick to that quarantine for cash-only purchase to keep privacy from corporate (or government) eyes.

  4. joebhed

    On the David Graeber interview – on 5000 years of debts – on debt jubilees and other searches for surviving the about-to-be-here debt-deflation death-spiral.
    Once more, with enthusiasm – some day y’all of the financial intelligencia are gonna get it.

    This debt thing, I mean.
    And, please do pay attention.
    It’s a false, unnecessary, anti-rational, unsustainable, mathematically-impossible CONNECTION to our national circulating medium.
    It’s got us by the short-hairs.
    Taint necessary; merely an wealth-concentrating construct of the aristocratic monied interests.

    No politics here.
    Just science.
    Read Soddy on The Role of Money.
    Or his Second Cartesian Economics Lecture on the connection between physical reality (resource wealth) and state stewardship.

    Y’all are chasing your own tail.
    Look around.
    There is no scientific connection between debt and “money”.
    Sorry to all the new chartalists out there.
    Especially Ed.

    Innes was and is wrong.
    We can’t solve the debt problem without breaking the false connection between debt and money.

    Or perhaps I ask for a scientific explanation of the other:
    Why do we need debt to have money?

    Get it?
    For the Money System Common

    1. F. Beard

      Why do we need debt to have money? joebhed

      We don’t. But some insist that even sovereignly created money is “debt”. Perhaps they have a point, accounting wise.

      But what is not defensible is the idea that monetarily sovereign governments should ever have to borrow money.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Assuming debt was there from the very beginning 5,000 years ago, before bartering, it would seem natural one entity borrows from another.

        Would it be illegal for a government to borrow from its little citizens, but not big banks nor big corporations, maybe with a limit, like $100,000 per little citizen (sort of like the FDIC limit), just to show there is trust between its citizens and the government, or even as a deposit alternative from unsafe banks?

        1. F. Beard

          Would it be illegal for a government to borrow from its little citizens, but not big banks nor big corporations, maybe with a limit, like $100,000 per little citizen …? MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The government should provide a risk-free fiat storage and transaction service but that service should make no loans and pay no interest. Along with that, government deposit insurance should be abolished.

          1. Timmer

            Absolutely! A digital storage and transaction service where every single dollar is uniquely serialized and every financial user entity (citizens, other entities) is also uniquely identified.

            Transactions take place not by adding/subtracting dollar amounts on fixed financial entity accounts but by changing the identity of the current financial entity on the serialized, denominated dollar record as transactions take place. Info on previous holding entity and date of change goes into history record.

            This system is established by converting all existing debt dollars in circulation today (all our money) to serialized, denominated digital dollars in the storage and transaction service located on a server at Ft. Knox.

            All money is held in the storage and transaction service. All money transactions go through this service.

            When a financial entity spends money held in the service the actual dollars selected by the service are chosen based on specified permitted or directed criteria or, if none, at random.

            A theoretical crazy idea but debt money was too.

            This is a fundamental concept of real money. Once established, a serialized, denominated digital dollar exists forever. Or as long as we have a need for money. Users come and go. The entity that persists the longest is usually the basis for system design.

            Implementation is only in the details.

            A money storage and transaction service would produce total fundamental monetary system macro information. Potentially, all money and its usage information. Total money system control.

            The storage and transaction service is what money is. Everything else is what money does.

          2. Praedor

            Sorry, but a big fat NO F*CKING WAY to your digital storage and transaction idea. No privacy whatsoever. Every purchase, in a store or in your neighbor’s garage gets tracked with that system. No.

            Dollars, hard currency, is best. No way to track your purchase history, or with whom, with cash.

            Kids these days have NO understanding or appreciation for the absolute necessity of actual privacy.

          3. Timmer

            Government is simply another financial entity. A big one to which more permitted or directed rules of “spending” might apply. Also the one and only entity that could introduce new dollars to the system subject to control or sideline existing dollars in suspension.

            This is a totally traceable money system.

            What if:

            Every single serialized denominated digital dollar that had my name (number) on it was changed to the government’s number and I retained the right to know the identity of the next holder of that dollar or government account that it was expended from.

            This system provides some crazy possibilities. One of them might be a right attached to a payment to know what financial entity the spent dollar goes to next or even control of what entities can be paid next. Monitoring of fiduciary responsibilities.

          4. F. Beard

            A money storage and transaction service would produce total fundamental monetary system macro information. Potentially, all money and its usage information. Total money system control. Timmer

            Yes, a very dangerous possibility (See “666” in the Book of Revelation). That why I insist that genuine alternative private currencies be allowed but for private debts only. Fiat could still be used for private debts but on a completely VOLUNTARY basis.

            And thanks for fleshing out the fiat storage and transaction service idea. You nailed it except I don’t understand the need for this: When a financial entity spends money held in the service the actual dollars selected by the service are chosen based on specified permitted or directed criteria or, if none, at random.

          5. F. Beard

            Dollars, hard currency, is best. No way to track your purchase history, or with whom, with cash. Praedor

            Absolutely! But the mattress is a bit impractical and unsafe for large sums.

          6. F. Beard

            I absolutely oppose the elimination of cash so the fiat storage and transaction service should be required to issue it on demand and it should ALWAYS be legal tender for government debts.

            No, I am NOT trying to implement Big Brother (or Big Sister); I’m advocating ways to implement money ethically.

          7. F. Beard

            Does the government get to use the money in storage? MLTPB

            Why should it? Government can create any amount of fiat as needed, the only limit being the political consequences of price inflation in that money.

          8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            History goes in cycles.

            Governments are as good as those running them. One of these days, when faced with reckless printing, people will demand discipline. And later, it will go back to printing at will. And so it goes.

          9. F. Beard

            One of these days, when faced with reckless printing, people will demand discipline. MLTPB

            So it is all government’s fault and not the counterfeiting and usury cartel’s?

            Read some quotes on banking till you start to get a clue, I suggest.

            Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money . Josiah Stamp – former Director Of Bank Of England from

          10. F. Beard

            Oh, come on. Do you think poor people are having a wild party on what they can get from government?

            Even the highest SS payments are only barely above the poverty level.

          11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I can only politely request that you ask me directly if you are not sure.

            Let me ask you a direct question for clarification.

            People in the same nation can’t borrow from each, but for foreigners, usury is allowed. Is that your position?

          12. F. Beard

            People in the same nation can’t borrow from each, but for foreigners, usury is allowed. Is that your position? MLTPB

            My position is that usury and “credit creation” should not be subsidized by government. Why the heck aren’t the corporations paying their workers with common stock or honest money instead of with the worker’s own stolen purchasing power?

          13. F. Beard

            So, we can borrow from each other, as long as it’s not counterfeit money? MLTPB

            The government suppression of non-usury forms of money such as common stock is also a form of government subsidy for usury. How is common stock as money suppressed? ans: By the capital gains tax on it. There is no capital gains tax on credit.

          14. F. Beard

            Can someone borrow some shares of common stock from you? MLTPB

            That’s the beauty of common stock as money; it can be spent into circulation; no borrowing, lending or usury is required.

          15. Jim

            How would the US, or other countries, finance wars without cash?

            Recall all of the pallets of high-denomination bills which were used by the US to “influence” warlords in Iraq.

            Unless it would be OK for government officials to use cash, but no OK for everyone else.

          16. F. Beard

            With or without interest? MLPTB

            If I thought the borrower was trying to damage the value of the stock, I would not lend to him at all. If I thought the borrower would enhance the value of the stock, I might lend it to him/her for free.

          17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            When you prepay your taxes, is that considered government borrowing?

            While you are waiting for your tax refund, are you lending to the government?

          18. F. Beard

            When you prepay your taxes, is that considered government borrowing? MLTPB

            No, it is considered tax paying and one receives no interest for it.

            While you are waiting for your tax refund, are you lending to the government? MLTPB

            Not voluntarily and I would not receive any interest for it.

            But let’s not quibble over the meaning of “debt”, “borrow” or “lend”. A monetarily sovereign nation should pay no interest, period. In fact, a monetarily sovereign nation might well charge for its fiat storage and transaction service.

          19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think it depends on the person whether it’s a quibble or not.

            If you are waiting for a tax refund check, and it’s not goverhment borrowing, but your storing with the government with a fee for that service, and you will owe more the longer it takes, and you need that money to pay off your student loand, it’s not a quibble.

          20. ajax

            If money can be used to vote, vote off the
            worst moral offenders with your money by
            withdrawing money support, i.e. you can stop
            buying the stuff sold by the worst offender(s)
            (also, divesting as in selling your stock and
            not looking back aftewards).

          21. F. Beard

            If you are waiting for a tax refund check, and it’s not goverhment borrowing, but your storing with the government with a fee for that service, and you will owe more the longer it takes, and you need that money to pay off your student loand, it’s not a quibble. MLTPB

            I suppose the government should compensate you for delays in processing tax refunds or for tax prepayments. And I suppose the rate should be the free market interest rate for fiat.

            There. Happy?

            But you know that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the government pretending that it needs to borrow the very money only it can create! That is fascist privilege for some (the lenders) at the expense of everyone else, especially the poor. Are you for that?

        2. Timmer

          F. Beard said:

          “I absolutely oppose the elimination of cash so the fiat storage and transaction service should be required to issue it on demand and it should ALWAYS be legal tender for government debts.”

          I agree. With access to serialized money in the storage and transactions service with my number on it I could withdraw it to myself (pay using my entity ID as the payee) leaving no entity ID associated with the digital denominated serialized dollar. The denominated dollars could then be actually printed (a joy to print my own money!) at an ATM and received by me. It is then cash money. I buy something with it and the payee validates it with the electronic storage system. The Payee’s ID goes on the digital money at the storage and transaction service but with a flag that the digital record is only a memo record of an existing cash dollar amount. The payee might use it to pay someone else in cash, they in turn validate it with the system to put their ID on the flagged digital record. It is a matter of trust and preference. As any point the physical cash may be input to the storage service at a receiving point and the paper (or secure token of some form) gets destroyed. The flag is taken off the digital money record.

          Remember this is all based on an unusual conceptual scheme. It produces unusual opportunities.

          1. F. Beard

            With access to serialized money in the storage and transactions service with my number on it … Timmer

            Here’s where I think we disagree. Every bit of fiat should have a unique identifier (to prevent counterfeiting) but I see no other need (or desire) for tracking it. Perhaps that is what you mean by: “When a financial entity spends money held in the service the actual dollars selected by the service are chosen based on specified permitted or directed criteria or, if none, at random.” I would say the selection should always be random especially for distributed cash

          2. F. Beard

            The Payee’s ID goes on the digital money at the storage and transaction service but with a flag that the digital record is only a memo record of an existing cash dollar amount. Timmer

            I see no need for this step.

          3. Timmer

            F. Beard said “I see no need for this step”

            I agree, there only needs to be a way to ultimately return it to the digital system, if and when desired by whoever holds it.

            Actual cash in hand is only a small percentage of the total money system. 6% ?? Of the total amount much of it (more than half?) is in hundred dollar bills circulating out of the country. Traditional cash should always be provided for even if it is a small percent. Unfortunately much of the cash has tracers on it other than the serial number indicating association with illegal use. Validating it by associating it to the new holder while it remains in physical circulation would avoid illegal use. On the other hand it may encourage other creative forms of settlement.

            Validating the physical holder is on the side of what money does. To the maximum extent the store and transaction system should deal with what money is.

            Keeping a clear distinction between what money is and what it does benefits my thinking about it. To me the monetary system is the operating system, store and transact. Everything else is the application and there are millions of applications.

          4. F. Beard

            Validating it by associating it to the new holder while it remains in physical circulation would avoid illegal use. Timmer

            Such as public bribery? That would be useless since we also need genuine private currencies some of which would be untraceable.

        3. Dick

          Might I suggest the following educational video for
          people *less sophisticated* than you?

          Goggle “Money As Debt”, you should be able to find the complete version that is an animated cartoon describing all the history of money and the fed etc. My kid’s junior high class watched it and loved it. Adults learned from it too.

          1. F. Beard

            Talking to me? I don’t claim to the “sophisticated” but I am interested in ethical money creation because I am tired of being exploited and am tired of having world peace threatened by counterfeiters and usurers.

            Yes, I have seen the “Money as Debt” video. There is a lot of truth in it. I recommend it. In fact, I recommend that many views on money creation be considered; it’s a complicated and subtle subject.

      2. joebhed

        Actually, my point is they have no point.

        Money directly spent into existence by the government for services or goods rendered – in order to provide circulating media – creates no debt upon issuance.

        The fact that upon deposit to a checking “account”, the bank must double-entry “balance” its books has no effect on that reality.
        That money is not created and issued as a debt.
        It is the “debt-basis” of the money that has paralyzed the globe’s commerce.

        It will only become a debt when it is lent by its owner.
        Which it may or may not ever do.
        Do not confuse a “debit’ as in d-e book accounting, with a debt, as in it gets created and destroyed by a loan.
        There is no problem in lending real money.
        The problem is in lending money into existence.

        There is no science to this money system.
        Why do progressives not see the difference?

        For the Money System Common.

        1. F. Beard

          Actually, my point is they have no point. joebhed

          I agree. The point they make is mostly semantic.

          Money directly spent into existence by the government for services or goods rendered … joebhed

          Yes, that is the only way government money should enter the economy besides giving it away such as for Steve Keen’s universal bailout (“A Modern Jubilee”).

          There is no problem in lending real money. joebhed

          Well, even honest lending for usury has problems as Karl Denninger has pointed out (though he is not opposed to usury or even loaning money into existence).

          The problem is in lending money into existence. joebhed


          Why do progressives not see the difference? joebhed

          Because they are elitists? Because they genuinely believe some are “credit-worthy”? Because the present system “has worked well” after a fashion? Because they consider “Thou shalt not steal” a relatively minor command? Because they are conservatives (in the old sense)?

      1. Praedor

        Yes, but not as a result of the jubilee. The jubilee was necessary because it was necessary. Simple as that. ALL money systems based on debt/borrowing MUST eventually grow to the point of being untenable. You get to that point and you need a reset. You GET a reset. A jubilee is a controlled reset. If you don’t jubilee the whole system resets all on its own but in a very VERY messy and chaotic way. We are headed to the messy and chaotic reset.

        A jubilee would be the right way to go.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It has been mentioned about the repeated use of debt jubilee early in human history.

          We can ask a couple of interesting questions (if not more).

          1. Did the use of one debt jubilee somehow prompt the need for more debt jubilees?

          2. Does debt jubilee treat only the sympton and not the cause?

          1. skippy

            I call it the snake diet monetary system – SDMS aka jubilee.

            With it you feed on the chumps for seven years and then forgive *some* of the contracts ( chump relief ) – cough reset the game all over again.

            In the end the temple never loses, it gives token relief before the chumps storm the temple. Kinda a confuse cat ( MPFC thingy skit) scotts box vapors from above told me to do it thingy. The best part is that you can delineate humans by terms such as countrymen ( cough card carrying religious sudo ideological mental template of master and servant domesticated animal herder to sheeple flock behavioral relationship extension club ) Vs other humans ( non card carrying members ).

            What if in the end, this ideology is boiled down to its basic relationship, herder – tended domesticated animal[s. What does that say about every observation they have and the resulting methodology applied, serving their particular optics.

            Now think of common stock as fodder offered by herders.

            Skippy… an obedient sheep is a good, ethical, moral sheep… some/ herders love some sheep more than other too! Winkies…

            PS. beard are you a Zionist?

          2. F. Beard

            beard are you a Zionist? Skippy

            No, I am not. As far as I know, Zionism is atheistic (I guess many Jews got mad at God for doing what He warned He would do if they broke the Covenant (“To whom much is given, much is expected”). Nor am I anti-Semitic. Nor do I wish to involve myself in a family quarrel between God and His Chosen People:

            Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. Proverbs 26:17

          3. F. Beard

            Now think of common stock as fodder offered by herders. Skippy

            Actually, common stock “shares” wealth and power rather than concentrates them. No debt forgiveness is required because there is no debt.

            The problem is the government enforced usury and counterfeiting cartel that allows corporations to avoid “sharing” wealth and power with their workers. Instead, the workers are paid with their own stolen purchasing power.

          4. Skippy

            Beard, we can not even get the private sector influenced government to hold the rule of law at any elites feet, yet you wish to compound the injury by common stock issuance… please. You wish to further slavery, full stop.

            Debt or no debt, your foundation is to strengthen the private sectors control of the population cough citizens, by allowing them to print coupons instead of sovereign currency. This is nothing more than a clever ruse as it reduces everyone back to a variant of the company store relationship.

            Skippy… I supported your common stock when I thought its was a variant of social dividend – social credit, I made it clear I thought it was such. You lied, were obtuse, non full disclosure, bad faith bargaining, et al. Your opines drip of bad, tacky, junior bush league salesmanship cough amway inference. This coming from an ex sales executive for a developmental property mob, scope of which is half of America and does business in Australia, Indonesia and China. You are a con man. “I may order Mr. Graeber’s book if it is not too expensive. It sounds interesting.” what happened? Oh yeah, you found more interesting bias to read.

            BTW take Yves suggestion and test your self, try the religion test and report back.

          5. F. Beard

            This coming from an ex sales executive for a developmental property mob, scope of which is half of America and does business in Australia, Indonesia and China. Skippy


            You are a con man. Skippy

            calling kettle black? Except I was never a kettle. I have never been in sales. I got an engineering degree and made my way with expertise and work and hard thinking. Meanwhile, the management and well connected got rich. I didn’t (partly my fault, to be sure).

            I have Graeber’s book (I started it) and quite a few others on money. But Steve Keen’s book is more relevant to me now.

            And though I push common stock as a private money form you ignore that I am a staunch opponent of the gold standard, a firm believer in fiat for government debts, an adamant opponent of government backed banking and a staunch advocate for a universal bailout.

            Any you?

            But really Skippy, I’d rather not talk about myself so I may just ignore your attacks in the future for modesty’s sake.

            Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          6. Skippy

            Your voracity is nonexistent. All you wish is biblical paradise, with all the death, murder, slavery, man above woman, church before government, god before other humans.

            Skippy… That was one job, nice try at projection. Most of my effort has been in the trenches, supervising tool wielders, by example, on large civil and production facility’s, across the world. A job only afforded to the trust worthy, most importantly by the tool wielders and not the Mgmt.

          7. F. Beard

            Your data suggest a slight implicit preference for Barack Obama compared to Mitt Romney.
            Your data suggest little to no difference in implicit preference between White People and Black People.

            As for my veracity, truth stands on its own regardless of the source.

          8. F. Beard

            All you wish is biblical paradise, skippy

            No, I don’t want the world to end on my watch. And I would rather have prosperity than a Depression and peace rather than war.

            with all the death, murder, skippy

            I used to spend my time designing weapons in my head (because I thought the US could only do right) until I read this:

            The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalm 11:5

            slavery, skippy

            Nope, actually I have always despised and hated slavery.

            man above woman, skippy

            Never had a problem working for a woman as such. Yves, for example, is at least 3 (4,5,6,7 …?) times as smart as me.

            church before government,

            Nope. The two are separate. Also see Romans 13.

            god before other humans. Skippy

            If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

            And truthfully, I have often wondered about my love for God but with increasing knowledge comes increasing love.

            But no more about me, please. A boring topic to be sure.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      joebhed, thanks. Absolutely. DEBT is NOT MONEY/CURRENCY is NOT DEBT — except by *fiat* of the Federal Reserve System. This CLOSED System declares that “Debt is Money,” AND that *debt* is: {a *demand deposit* into a *bank*} x 10 = ten-fold sum available as a *loan*.

      Hence, in this Closed System, a $10 demand deposit = $1,000 in *money available as debt* incurred by a *borrower* from a *bank* in the same CLOSED System. Follow the extrapolation of this process in your mind.

      This System is not only CLOSED, but PRIVATE. Why does it run our lives?

      IS IT TRUE that We the People of the United States were made effective chattel-slaves to this Closed Private System of *Bankers*–called the “Federal Reserve System”–by Elected Representatives while in Office in 1913, or before or after that date?

      IS IT TRUE that, by means of some Contract, the *United States of America* was transferred to some *Foreign Power*, with the explicit guarantee that TAXES would be EXTRACTED from We the People in order to PAY INTEREST ON DEBT made by the *Foreign Power* to the ELECTED OFFICIALS in our *Federal Government*?

      IF this be TRUE, then by what LEGAL BINDING CONTRACT was this TRANSFER OF CHATTEL PROPERTY made, and WHO were the signatories to this contract?

      For years I have read text on YouTube, exhibited as *evidence* that this rumor as a FACT. I read such a statement again through a Comment link on the web two days ago. IF THE CLAIM IS TRUE, THEN LET’S DISCUSS IT NOW.

      IF it is true, then it is time for We the People to REVOLT. We have NOTHING to lose but our miserable, debased lives as chattel-slaves to Absolute Despots whose CRUELTY and GREED are infinite.

      FORGET GOLD and other precious metals, and every other *FIX* for Dominance and Manipulation of *Scarcity* by the Master Class.

      The NERVE, MUSCLE, BRAINS, AND IMAGINATION of We the People are what is required for sustained life over Death by Dictatorship.

      OCCUPY AMERICA! Occupy Charlotte 2012: Puppets-Dictators OUT!

      BILL BLACK/YVES SMITH 2012: *We the People’s Regime Change*

      *UPPITY* AGENTS UNITE! We have nothing to lose but our SHAME.

    3. craazyman

      I think he actually sort of understands what money is. He is one of the few.

      But I think he can go farther than he has. He says in the first paragraph that killing babies under any circumstances is not something people would justify.

      But in fact, that’s exactly what the Cartheginians did to appease their gods, when the Roman navies invaded.

      How does that relate to money and debt? It does, like the shadow on the wall relates to the lampshade. haha.

  5. Jeff

    Eden Foods is the only organic canned food that uses enamel as a can liner instead of BPA, as far as I know.

    Just a reminder, if you want to be healthier and look
    better and enjoy your food more, eat organic. Unless of course you grow your own food and know there are no additives.

    Best source for organic information:

  6. ScottW

    Re: Obama getting 303 electoral votes–I think the stats make a pretty good argument for a Republican victory. The analysis for a Republican candidate shows he wins with more than 51% of vote in every state. On Obama’s side, he receives less than 51% for OH, VA, & NH–a total of 35 electoral votes. If he loses those states, the Republican wins. Would be interesting to see NH deciding the race, which would make it virtually impossible for Santorum to get elected.

  7. jsmith

    Regarding the Iranian first strike:

    One really must admire how relentless the propaganda system in this country is.

    So, after committing acts of war against Iran such as sanctions which inhibit their ability as a nation to sustain itself and attacks upon their central bank, now it appears that they won’t strike first?!!!

    Ummm, when someone is looking to kick the sh*t out of an innocent bystander, I guess you could say that they’re not looking to strike first, huh?

    I mean, even after you’ve messed with his business and f*cked with his credit, slapped him in the face a number of times and reminded him of all of the bad things you’ve done to him over the last 50 years and he still doesn’t rise to the fight, yes, I guess you could say he’s not likely to strike first.

    Or you could just say that person was innocent and not looking to fight period.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Thanks, I was going to make some of those points and you did it first. What foolishness. But of course they can’t just say that Iraq is over, Afghanistan is ending soon, so they need a new war to keep the contractors busy making profits and bombs. Iran hasn’t attacked any foreign nation in living memory. Our propaganda is becoming more and more unhinged, which is actually a good thing. For too long US propaganda has worked too well on the citizenry.

      1. barrisj

        Re: Iran “threat” – In the past several days Glenn Greenwald has devoted several columns on his blog to document how US media is going berserk in portraying Iran as an “existential threat to US interests”, and he cited as one of the more ludicrous examples an Op-Ed in the WSJ written by some NYC Police “intelligence analyst” who was “warning” against “attacks by Iran or its Hezbollah proxies”…add this to other bogus “warnings” about the capability of Iranian missiles to “hit NYC or DC”, yadda-yadda. Greenwald then cited a piece on CNN pitched by “reporter” the beyond-vapourous Erin Burnett, who epitomises the sheer banality and criminal ignorance of major media figures weighing in on “THE IRANIAN THREAT”. We now see the spectacle of retired military flag officers posing as “national security analysts” on the networks and cable channels talking up “the threat”, much as they did during the runup to the Cheney-Bush Iraq invasion. Well, the US has over 150K military formerly in Iraq now sitting home or on bases across the planet doing nothing, so why not “use them or lose them” by deploying to Iran to protect our freedoms?

        Erin Burnett: Worst of the worst
        Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross belong in a fear-mongering museum
        U.S. media takes the lead on Iran

        And multiple references linked within above articles.

      2. ohmyheck

        Did you read the comments section in the Bloomberg article? VERY disheartening. The anti-Iranian propoganda has been quite successful, it seems…or the pro-war paid-operatives were out in force there.

    2. LucyLulu

      Iran a threat to the US? What a joke!

      They have no missiles that could reach our shores, no nukes yet, and our military could easily wipe them out. And while the Iranians are proud and like to bluster, they aren’t crazy like Hussein. They pose no threat to us. They do pose a problem for Israel however, and the Israeli lobbies have been pushing for intervention by the US in Iran (as well as Iraq, Libya, and Syria, all Shiite nations) since at least the 1990’s.

      1. Praedor

        They are as much of a “threat” as Saddam and Iraq was. They are as much of a threat as “shoe bombers” and “underwear bombers” and brown people and people who don’t like being strip-searched to get on a plane. In short, and common to all the above: no threat whatsoever. Just an excuse to eat away more of our liberties and spend more of our money making some 1%er war profiteer richer.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      Yep. The hysteria and lies are reaching a crescendo.

      I have noticed a couple of other alarming trends:

      1. A number of recent puff pieces about political/hollywood people. Michelle Obama “spontaneously” greeting White House tourists or Obama popping in for some local dim sum. The propaganda is getting absurd if is sucker enough to look at the tevee. Did you see the Super Bowl or have you seen a Navy advertisement lately?

      2. Fear-mongering at home. We have apparent psy operations targeted at Occupy groups, meant to weaken the potency of any street protest this spring. We have the FBI warning of terrorism everywhere, from right ring militia units, to those that want a gold standard, to those that look at conspiracy theories, to religious and gun rights groups.

      We have massive police crack downs and the police are justifying greater and greater force. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm is talking about going full on Pycho Fascist and employing drones against the dreaded black bloc, or something . . . .

      3. The relative calm of financial markets . . . . that may be hiding a dangerous reality. The ups and downs of the stock markets have seemed to subside recently and we have huge conflagrations being tamped down . . . like MF Global and Greece and the mortgage settlement. It seems like they are putting those fires out, but jeez . . . those seem like pretty big fires, and that’s just what they are publicly admitting!

      1. jsmith

        Maybe, just maybe, the buttons they pushed in the past just aren’t working as well anymore and they’re scrambling for the right combination?

        Although mostly anecdotal, some things to ponder:

        1) I can’t think of anyone I know who gives 2 sh*ts about the Presidential race. I mean no one who I consider even remotely up on current events cares who wins as everyone finally seems to know that it doesn’t really matter who gets elected as nothing will change. Contrast this with four years ago.

        2) No matter how much the algos and machines pump up the market – we’ll probably see Dow 15,000 before they’re done – the common investor is long gone and stats from the mutual funds show that people continue to take their money out in droves. People are done with the fraud casino.

        3) As concerns the MENA, Americans seem to finally be getting exhausted with all the constant warmongering. Gee, it only took more than a decade, millions of people harmed/killed and trillions of dollars of wasted money for US to finally have grown sick of the elite’s bloodlust, but better late than never I guess. Note: I really wouldn’t put too much stock in opinion polls right now either especially concerning our supposed “willingness” to fight Iran. If they can juice the market and peddle crap stats, then why wouldn’t they peddle false polls? In addition, I’m sensing a complete and utter reversal among the American populace vis a vis Israel as it appears that our “ally” has finally worn out its welcome as enough Americans are finally and rightfully seeing that country as an entity we can no longer trust.

        A lot of the above has to do with the terrible economic conditions in the US which the elite can try and lie about but the reality of which they just can’t hide.

        People’s BS detectors are starting to work overtime and they’re realizing that the “reality” they’ve been living in is just as stale as a Super Bowl halftime show.

        They’re only some many times you can trot out geriatric superstars – be they entertainers, politicians, financiers, etc – to placate the very real concerns/demands of the masses before you have to resort to – for example -the IDF-esque tactics as espoused by Rahm, an IDF volunteer during the 1st Gulf War.

        It’s getting interesting but a trapped rat is crazier than his sh*thouse cousin.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Excellent points.

          I too don’t know anyone really interested in the political races.

          And I have my doubts about the veracity of some polls. Certainly the perps are able to manipulate public perception using old fashioned media control and other methods . . . but as you note, I think people are sick of the bloodlust and endless wars of empire, although people seem more resigned to this fact than oppositional to it.

          Actually, so far the perps are getting away with their crimes and managing the public quite nicely.

          And re Israel, here’s my speculation: The U.S. is using Israel as a patsy to deflect blame from the fact that it is the U.S. that has hostile intentions towards Iran (and really, it’s a joint venture, prolly). Israel is willing to play along and would not do so without U.S. support. Israel will never be punished for these actions because the U.S. will protect it, and the U.S. will not bear the brunt of the anger from the rest of the world.

          The scare mongering also helps Romney in the Republican primaries vis a vis Ron Paul.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      jsmith, and if *Israel* strikes Iran first in an illegal ACT OF AGGRESSIVE WAR, we can expect the U.S.A. to RISE to Iran’s defense, sending jets, missiles, drones, and troops immediately, so as to defend nation from a War of Aggression by a country that uses nuclear and potassium tipped arms?

      We can expect NATO to rise in defense of Iran against such illegal aggression?

      Oh, wait. Maybe a *Gulf of Tonkin incident* will take place first in the Persian Gulf, pinning the blame for *first strike* on Iran?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Like a traditional Chinese brush painting, the key is the empty space.

        Let your imagination take you into the deep mystery of that photo.

        1. craazyman

          Is the dog also named Richard?

          Now I get it.

          I didn’t know what that shape was for at least half the day today.

          1. JTFaraday

            I don’t believe you.

            “the key is the empty space.”

            My eyes do keep trailing off toward that green leafy thing half hidden by the rug… is that a mint leaf?

  8. Robert

    Shaking the Magic Money Tree
    Imagine some years back some guy said he wished a new magic money into existence called a Euro. He said if you keep your borrowing to less than 3% the size of your economy we’ll all get rich. No sooner did they get started then everybody started to borrow more than 3%. Wink wink nudge nudge. Then through the magic of derivatives they created even more fantastically astronomical sums unheard of in human history. The only problem was that even a 3% loss would cause a collapse of civilization through losses so staggering only a genie could figure it out. To avoid that unpleasant reckoning the man decided to crush you with his biker audit genies. But wait. Someone new has come along with an even more magical money called Bitcoin. A money so evil that only the rich and nefarious use it in a secret internet black market to buy and sell guns, drugs and sex. This new magic money is in fact stronger than the magic of the Euro because it is a new world currency in service of the dark magic through its secret power. Now, I’m another guy coming along saying the good witches and wizards of the world should come together to conjure up a new ethical world internet currency to beat back the forces of dark magic. The End.

  9. mk

    re: The Right-Wing Id Unzipped Mike Lofgren, Truthout (hat tip reader May S) —— “a patriarchal, sexually repressive family life, reinforced by strict and punitive religious dogma, is the “factory” of a reactionary political order. Hence, the right wing’s ongoing attempts to erase the separation of church and state, its crusade against Planned Parenthood, its strange obsession with gays. ”
    any articles, books, ideas on what to do about it? what’s the antidote to being raised this way?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was going to recommend becoming a frequent commenter on blogs like this one as an antidote.

      But you probably should check the lastest edition of the Mental Disorder Diagnostic Manual to make sure doing so would not get you on the list.

    2. F. Beard

      any articles, books, ideas on what to do about it? mk

      Yes. The Bible is an effective antidote if read sufficiently. Where do you think liberals and Progressives got their ideas from, distorted as they are?

      1. LucyLulu

        While I might personally agree with you, those who rail against gays, contraception, women’s rights, and the poor are more often those who profess to be the most “expert” on the Scriptures. There seems to be a wide diversity among interpretations, and as history has proven, some of the most heinous crimes have been committed in the name of religion.

        My father was a successful businessman who made his money in land development in S. Florida during the boom beginning in the 1950’s, his first purchase was literally 1000 acres of swampland, bought right after he married by mother with her life savings (and without her permission). He was one of the most honest and ethical people you’d ever run across. If you were unhappy after the fact, he’d give you your money back. Once he sold some beachfront property and the attorneys inadvertently forgot to include the only access to the property in the deed, a bridge over an Intracoastal waterway tributary. Thirty years later, the buyer’s attorneys came on hands and knees to ask what he wanted for the access. It was worth millions. He told them to draw up a contract, with a sales price of $1. It had been a mistake that it had never been included. His strict adherence to honest and moral practices in his dealings is the quality I most admired about him and have tried to emulate in my own life.

        Anyways, my father used to say the only time he got screwed was when he dealt with evangelical Christians. (He became disabled in his 50’s and relied on others to take over important roles for him, ultimately resulting in a loss of most of what he had made. His judge of character was lacking. After his third “assistant”, my mother forced him to retire while they still had some money left.) I always thought his views on Christians were so cynical and biased as a function of him being an atheist. Though I’ve never understood why, however, I’ve found there to be way too much truth to what he said……that with few exceptions, “self-professed Christians” are among the most morally devoid and selfish people I’ve run across.

        Jesus was not “strict” nor “punitive”, He preached about not casting the first stone, and was generous in sharing his limited resources. I fail to understand how these conservative “Christians” justify such willingness to throw the unemployed, debt-laden, and otherwise disadvantaged under the bus so that they can keep a larger share of the gains they’ve obtained, typically more through privilege and fortune than talent.

        1. F. Beard

          Though I’ve never understood why, however, I’ve found there to be way too much truth to what he said……that with few exceptions, “self-professed Christians” are among the most morally devoid and selfish people I’ve run across. LucyLulu

          Spiritual triage? Tares? Agent provocateurs? Biblically ignorant? Works in progress? Self-deceived? Desperate?

          Jesus was not “strict” nor “punitive”, He preached about not casting the first stone, and was generous in sharing his limited resources. LucyLulu

          That’s an interesting viewpoint that God’s resources are limited. I agree. The “Infinite God” hypothesis does God injustice by reducing to insignificance the true costs to Him.

          I fail to understand how these conservative “Christians” justify such willingness to throw the unemployed, debt-laden, and otherwise disadvantaged under the bus so that they can keep a larger share of the gains they’ve obtained, LucyLulu

          Because they see the taxes they pay, the inefficiency of social services, the social meddling, the atheistic agenda etc.

          typically more through privilege and fortune than talent. LucyLulu

          but don’t see that their privileges, especially being “credit-worthy”, come at the expense of others too. Because they don’t realize (yet) that we are ALL victims of an insane, unjust money system?

          1. F. Beard

            That’s an interesting viewpoint that God’s resources are limited. FB

            Actually, I believe God’s resources are not limited but they are finite (though huge, but so are the problems He deals with).

          2. LucyLulu

            I misspoke. I was referring to the material resources Jesus had at his disposal to use (at times) on earth, but perhaps even that is an inaccurate statement. Whether God has infinite or finite resources, they are ample by our standards. I don’t profess to be a Biblical scholar, or even a “devout Christian”, instead somebody who has strong faith in a Supreme Being I call God (and some may call Allah, or Tao), however I am familiar enough with the New Testament, particularly the Gospel, to be able to take away what I believe was meant to be God’s message.

          3. F. Beard

            however I am familiar enough with the New Testament, particularly the Gospel, to be able to take away what I believe was meant to be God’s message. LucyLulu

            My understanding of the New Testament has been greatly enhanced by my reading of the Old Testament (I can’t say the same about various “Christian” doctrines though.)

            Btw, I just finished watching “Lars and the Real Girl” for the first time. That’s an impressive story about Christianity in action, imo.

          4. skippy

            Your duplicity knows no bounds.

            F. Beard says:
            December 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

            but I swear I thought you were gonna say you’d done it because you grew up and had your 27th birthday. Blunt

            I can’t say when I moved beyond Ayn Rand. It was much later than 27 though. Really, it was like a disease; I had to justify everything I did from a selfish point of view. It became terrifying. Luckily I grabbed the Old Testament in desperation and it reset my mind. T’was a close call though.

            Skip here… so the new testament did not provide sufficient protection against Rand, yet the old does[?] and only at a late stage in life?

            Skippy… are you an Amway sales man too? Ruby or Diamond member?

          5. F. Beard

            so the new testament did not provide sufficient protection against Rand, yet the old does[?] Skippy

            Well, I had the typical prejudices against the Old Testament so I was greatly relieved (over time) to learn it is consistent with the New. Also, if the OT is not true then neither is the NT since Jesus affirmed the authority of the OT. Also, in some ways the NT is far more terrifying than the OT.

            and only at a late stage in life? Skippy

            I started life as a Roman Catholic (Baltimore Catechism) and found it unlivable. So I wondered in the wilderness for quite a long time.

            As for duplicitous, I seek veracity with the firm conviction that the Truth is consistent but obviously I am still a work in progress.

            But hey, I’m not running for office and never will. My character or the lack thereof is irrelevant. I advocate ethical money creation, is what I do.

          6. Skippy

            “I seek veracity with the firm conviction that the Truth is consistent”… beard.

            You have to be kidding me. I showed you that you were empirically incorrect with your spreading sky’s assertion, linguistically. Yet all you could do is fob it off onto someone else, veracity my back side. You have pushed this canard around like a baby in a pram, yet when challenged on it genealogy its somebody else baby, all of the sudden.

            Skippy… BTW Truth is consistent… see Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

          7. F. Beard

            I showed you that you were empirically incorrect with your spreading sky’s assertion, Skippy

            Words can have multiple meanings. Even translations hundreds of years before Hubble translate those passages as “stretch the heavens”. How did that happen?

            But here’s another problem for you: In Genesis, it is said that God created the Universe. Until the 1950’s, it was assumed that the universe was eternal and infinite. Oops!

          8. Skippy

            No. The correct and original meaning refutes your assertion, this is empirical, it is not up to interpretation. It is based on forensic anthropology not available to anyone in past few thousand years. The interpretations you proffer for evidence display a strong bias which is factually unsupported.

            To refresh your problematic memory see:

            The heavens and earth are said to be stretched out at creation. The Hebrew word hfn is used for the heavens while the Hebrew word uqr is used for the earth.

            The Hebrew word hfn occurs ten times in the OT in the context of God stretching out the heavens. It is used five times in the book of Isaiah (40:22, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 51:13). It also occurs in Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Zechariah 12:1 and in Jeremiah 10:12 and 51:15. In Jeremiah hfn is used as a Qal perfect, which means the “stretching” is past completed action. In all other references it is a Qal participle. The participle indicates continuous action; however, the context of these verses show that they are also past completed action at the time of creation.


            Skippy… I gave you the evidence, you can not dismiss it with belief or your personal / group wish. Let me absolutely clear with you beard, you operate with out empirical evidence, you operate from the mothership of bad axioms, the well spring of Austrian, Classical / Neo Classical economics* (* quasi religious structuring of society ). In my book the aforementioned are not biblical enough for you, cough vicious. For all your pandering to the crowd ( con man tactics ) ie. the poor down trodden common folk, you want to return to a world of vineyard husbandry with private enterprise as the master, a god given gift, its self evident…hay.

            Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

            God is like a rich man who owns a vineyard and rents it to poor farmers. When he sends servants to collect the rent, the tenants beat or kill them. So he sent his son to collect the rent, and they kill him too. Then the owner comes and kills the farmers and rents the vineyard to others. Matthew 21:33-41

          9. F. Beard

            The point remains that 16th century interpretors SOMEHOW got cosmic expansion correctly hundreds of years before Hubble. You say they misinterpreted but the facts are on their side. Ya can’t argue with success yet you do.

          10. F. Beard

            For all your pandering to the crowd ( con man tactics ) ie. the poor down trodden common folk, Skippy

            God seems to care for the poor a great deal. I would be a fool to not do likewise. Plus I have been poor myself and am not exactly prosperous now.

            you want to return to a world of vineyard husbandry with private enterprise as the master, a god given gift, its self evident…hay. Skippy

            Nope. I want the optimum balance between government and private enterprise. I figure the best (only?) way to achieve that is with restitution and reform wrt money creation.

            Also, you really should read the Bible more. Those “hard-hearted” parables Jesus told were often His condescension to the logic and ethics of his hard-hearted listeners. He was pointing out that their OWN LOGIC AND ETHICS was a witness against them.

          11. skippy

            Do you have a cognitive problem. Can you not understand that the time – space aspect of *spreading is an past event*, no motion, at the time of its writing.

            16th century? Wow a 50 – 50 chance of mis – interpretation ( spreading / static ) and your calling it a god given interpretation? Beard if this is your observation, then your dismissing the original god given definition, you have just broken away from gods word in an act of convenience. If you had stated that science is wrong and your gods word will be proven right, in the future. I would have some respect for that ( sticking to your dogma guns ), but this, thousands of years of interpretations influenced by politics and lack of understanding of the natural world around us, and you casually side step the original meaning. Hint beard, the original meaning is not an interpretation, it is not ambiguous, it is, as it was written, on that day. BTW your past statement on shovels hitting the ground and proof in the land of EL. Whats up with all those figurines of Asherah, hell even a sacrificial alter with her face on it and the tree of life. The Trinity…eh. Can you say regional influence in the original base mythology.

            Skippy… beard whom is a self professed Christian with heavy OT influence, yet no church or like fellows to worship with ( have I got that right ?). You wouldn’t be one of those ex other denomination converts to proto Judaism yet still observe the NT or are you an agency of one?

          12. F. Beard

            Can you not understand that the time – space aspect of *spreading is an past event*, no motion, at the time of its writing. skippy

            Yes, the past tense of stretched is sometimes used but more often the present tense is used. Both are true; the Universe has been stretched out and it continues to be stretched out.

          13. skippy


            I see it as wrong to try to draw out scientific data about the creation of the universe from Genesis one. Both young-earth creationists and old-earth creationists are guilty of pouring modern scientific terms back into Genesis. God could have written in scientific terms like E=mc2 , but He did not. I believe God had to accommodate himself to our limited knowledge, and limited language to communicate with us. God did not choose to use technical scientific terms to communicate with us. God used the common language, and familiar phrases of their day. God could have told us that the sun does not rise nor set, but that the earth is spinning around the sun. God instead used the common language of sunrise and sunset which was literal to the writers back then, but which modern concordists excuse as phenomenal language that we still use today. God is trying to communicate absolute spiritual truths, not shifting scientific theories.

            God’s purpose of inspiration is clearly stated in II Timothy 3:16 which says that the Bible is inspired by God so that it is profitable for instruction in righteousness not instruction in science. To take a poem and use it as a scientific text is wrong. It is like trying to use a hammer as a screwdriver. It does not work. One must understand the historical context and meaning of the original language that the Bible was written in.

            Skippy… if your going to defend you ideals please find better reviewed material, try.


          14. F. Beard

            beard whom is a self professed Christian with heavy OT influence, yet no church or like fellows to worship with ( have I got that right ?). skippy

            Currently that is true. Single, older guys are somewhat suspect anywhere so I don’t feel like going to a church alone.

            You wouldn’t be one of those ex other denomination converts to proto Judaism yet still observe the NT skippy

            No, but I do believe the OT is vastly neglected in Christianity.

            or are you an agency of one? skippy

            Christians may be by themselves but they are never alone.

          15. F. Beard

            “God’s purpose of inspiration is clearly stated in II Timothy 3:16 which says that the Bible is inspired by God so that it is profitable for instruction in righteousness not instruction in science.” via skippy

            That’s a cop-out. The Bible doesn’t say a lot about Science but what it does say is accurate. For example, if a point on Earth is chosen as the reference origin, then the Sun does rise and set. And PI does = 3, to one significant digit.

            Here’s another tidbit: The stars in both Orion and the Pleiades are gravitationally bound to each other. This is not true of all constellations; some are only apparent groupings of nearer and more distant stars that are not affected by each other’s mass. Yet Job anticipates that finding by more than 3,000 years.

            “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion?” Job 38:31

          16. skippy

            There are no interpretation, the original is it. You can not pick and choose from uniformed interpretations across the ages to fit your desired outcome. As an engineer you should know better, you can’t run thousands of simulations and pick the – one – that fits *your desired* outcome.

            Like Asherah…

            The majority of the forty references to Asherah in the Hebrew Bible are believed by scholars[who?] to derive from the hypothetical Deuteronomist source, always in a hostile framework: the Deuteronomist judges the kings of Israel and Judah according to how rigorously they uphold Yahwism and suppress the worship of Asherah and other deities. King Manasseh, for example is said to have placed an Asherah pole in the Holy Temple, and was therefore one who “did evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 21:7); but king Hezekiah “removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah”, (2 Kings 18.4), and was noted as the most righteous of Judah’s kings before the coming of the reformer Josiah, in whose reign the Deuteronomistic history of the kings was composed. In addition to the authors of Exodus, Deuteronomy, Kings, and Judges, the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 17:8, 27:9), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:2), and Micah (Micah 5:14) also condemned worship of Asherah and praised turning from this idolatry to worship Yahweh alone as the true God.

            The Hebrew Bible uses the term asherah in two senses, as a cult object and as a divine name.[29] As a cult object, the asherah can be “made”, “cut down”, and “burnt”, and Deuteronomy 16:21 prohibits the planting of trees as asherah, implying that a stylised tree or lopped trunk is intended.[30] At other verses a goddess is clearly intended, as, for example, 2 Kings 23:4–7, where items are being made “for Baal and Asherah”.[31] The references to asherah in Isaiah 17:8 and 2:8 suggest that there was no distinction in ancient thought between the object and the goddess.[32


            Skippy… some interesting reading… David Carr, Reading the Fractures of Genesis, or Thomas Romer, The So-Called Deuteronomistic History. To be honest beard, it was not a good time or place to be alive, a battle hardened Somali would cry for his mommy.

            PS. oldest religion ( yours 1800 BC ), Aboriginal 60,000 and still practiced. All in relative peace and with out destroying their environment, 60,000 fooking thousand years, till your mob showed up.

            Others say that animism would be the oldest known type of religion. This is a primitive religion, which sprang up independently in many areas of the world, but in most countries has mainly been replaced by more formal religion. In animism, spirits are considered to inhabit familiar objects in the landscape. For example, Australian aboriginal beliefs probably go back 60,000 or more.

            Remnants of animal worship survived in Judaism and Christianity. Satan was a serpent; Jehovah, like Osiris, was worshiped as a bull; Christ was the lamb of God, and the Holy Ghost appeared in the form of a dove. However, these are only symbols of the worshiped object, and are not worshiped in themselves.

          17. F. Beard

            All in relative peace and with out destroying their environment, 60,000 fooking thousand years, till your mob showed up. Skippy

            Humanly speaking, the entire human race, including Australian aborigines, is doomed to eventual annihilation by such things as a gamma ray blaster, a wandering black hole, a nearby supernova or especially in the case of a non-technological society a large asteroid impact UNLESS God exists OR our technology continues to improve.

            Ever see this ?

          18. Skippy

            Ah… the last refuge of the the mystic, embrace or its oblivion. In the end that’s the hole argument behind it, the rest is metaphysical fluff.

            Skippy… go find a Sunday school to terrify, oops you can’t, hence your heavy presence on multiple economic+ blogs. Really, how do you find the time to engage on so many blogs, fooking one man pys-op. Well, there are well established trends with other commenters, like a little posse roaming the tubes. Should I use an algo or do it the old fashion way and connect the dots. Let the hunt begin!

            BTW did you take Yves Bias test via the link? I think it could have used more reference points in the religious test, alas I scored with a preference to Judaism… lmao.

          19. F. Beard

            Ah… the last refuge of the the mystic, embrace or its oblivion. In the end that’s the hole argument behind it, the rest is metaphysical fluff. Skippy

            I was just pointing out that (humanly speaking)those Australian Aborigines won’t be much use when it comes to saving the human race.

            Let the hunt begin! Skippy

            Wow! My very own troll.

            BTW did you take Yves Bias test via the link?

            Yes, I did. I posted the results. Scroll up to see them if interested.

            I think it could have used more reference points in the religious test, alas I scored with a preference a preference to Judaism… lmao. Skippy

            Maybe I took the wrong test. I’ll try again, methinks.

          20. F. Beard

            fooking one man pys-op. Skippy

            It’s like herding cats but my folks’ lives were blighted by the Great Depression so what can I do? Let the lives of others be blighted and do nothing?

          21. Skippy

            So did my grand parents. Grandfather died on valentines day working in another state, grandmother had a dime on her, he was an Iowan pastor and architect, left 4 kids. She got a job working in a factory in a small town, fellow female co workers belittled her for her silent movie bedroom eyes and the bosses reaction to them. The rest of the time she wandered the city streets with a vacant look on her face, my mother following her.

            Sad story’s the world over beard, whats your point. It seems if you were a true biblical man, you would be preaching about the profligacy that brought on both events GD I/II[?].

            Consumerism is what brought us here, worthless rubbish dressed up as life’s necessity’s, cortex injected by MSM and private enterprise 24/7/365.

            Why is it that 5% of the world population enjoys the potential of its resources and the rest get stuffed. Your ethics and morality are hollow.

            Skippy… jesus was not a fan of merchants, yet you carry their banner so high…. um.

          22. Skippy

            “was just pointing out that (humanly speaking)those Australian Aborigines won’t be much use when it comes to saving the human race.”… beard.

            Very true, why save the destroyer of your mother.

            Skippy… hint beard, their very meek.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      mk, separation from the cult *family* (cults of religion, irrationality, primitive control ideologies); legitimate education by humane teachers; discussions with many from other walks of life; self-education through reading myriad books containing profound arguments; learning to think without resort to comforting dogmas; excellent cognitive therapy; participation in group therapy; participation in web dialogues across the spectrum where freedom of speech and of the press are in evidence.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        And if We the People DON’T face *harsh reality*, look what’s coming, with lots of help from the *British Empire* and the Holy Roman Reich, and the *religious fundamentalists* from every quarter:

        “AMERICA ALONE: The End of the World As We Know It” by Mark Steyn (Washington, D.C., Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2006). PUBLISHED by Regnery, right-wing propaganda might be expected. But its CARDINAL ISSUE of *demographics* must be explored as a National Security Issue.

        This book must be read with a great deal of circumspection and realistic perspective. Its arguments should be up for discussion seriously, and broadly, by We the People. This book should be held to FRAME: George H.W. Bush’s NWO, with his connection with BCCI and *poppy*, with his Wahhabi-BigOil-CIA connection, with the Russell-YALE-Rhodes connection.

    1. Jim

      How is it horrifying? Companies/Political Campaigns have targeted key demos for decades. More data is available today, so you’ll get better targeting.

      One insight from the piece: Man is more prone to change behavior at key milestones (pregnancy/marriage/divorce/college) in his life, so one should try to focus on those windows when advertising.

      But the actual work Target is doing was not that impressive. I would bet that a second-year analyst at McKinsey would have come up with something similar.

      1. Tertium Squid

        It’s horrifying because all this work and labor goes towards changing people’s lives and turning them into more effective product consumers.

        The Febreze story was wonderful – millions of people needed to develop new habits and desires in order to keep P&G from losing money.

        Think about that. Society had to be changed, just a little, to make sure a poorly conceived product still hit its ROI.

        If there’s a logical end to this cycle, I don’t know what it is. But it’s horrifying.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      EZ, only connect” OSS, CIA, MI6, MI5, “The Tavistock Institute for Global Manipulation” on YouTube.

      “Anti-communism” is CODE for 1% Cabal Global Fascist Dominion from Holy Roman Reich II to III to IV.

      Jack London: “The Iron Heel” — Global .01% +.99% Agency = 1% v. The Rest.

  10. Timmer

    F. Beard wrote:

    “And thanks for fleshing out the fiat storage and transaction service idea. You nailed it except I don’t understand the need for this: When a financial entity spends money held in the service the actual dollars selected by the service are chosen based on specified permitted or directed criteria or, if none, at random.”

    That is on the what money does side. What money is in the storage and transfer system design opens the door to an multitude of new things it can do. I included selection criteria as an example of potential control over the “what money does” side and the implementation of that possibility which gets into some more crazy possibilities that might not be immediately apparent but logically written on the wall.

    Privacy is total on the what money is side. Me and money with my name on it. What I do with my money to transfer it to some other financial entity can range from total privacy to public knowledge. We alone decide that unless the law decides that subsequently for us.

    Right now, there are a lot of people that know what money I have and what I do with it. True, a dollar from hand to hand it the only truly private way to deal in money…?

    1. F. Beard

      True, a dollar from hand to hand it the only truly private way to deal in money…? Timmer

      I suppose private currencies could have the equivalent of cash too.

  11. SR6719


    This is a follow-up to a comment you made on the Pilkington thread yesterday, where you wrote:

    “Schreber would consider all poets schizophrenics, then. The antidote to Schreber is: Robert Graves: “The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth”

    This is an extraordinary insight.

    Another antidote to Schreber’s psychosis is G. Spencer Brown. The mathematician best known for “Laws of Form”, who also described himself as a consulting engineer, psychologist, educational consultant and practitioner, consulting psychotherapist (trained by R.D. Laing himself), author, poet, and admirer of Robert Graves’ White Goddess.

    Following is an excerpt from his masterpiece, “Laws of Form”, pg 110:

    “To arrive at the simplest truth, as Newton knew and practiced, requires years of *contemplation*. Not activity. Not reasoning. Not busy behavior of any kind. Not reading. Not talking. Not making an effort. Not thinking. Simply *bearing in mind* what it is that one needs to know. And yet those with the courage to tread this path to real discovery are not only offered practically no guidance on how to do so, they are actively discouraged and have to set about it in secret, pretending meanwhile to be diligently engaged in the frantic diversions and to conform to the deadening personal opinions which are being continually thrust upon them.

    In these circumstances, the discoveries that any person is able to undertake represent the places where, in the face of induced psychosis, he has by his own faltering and unaided efforts, returned to sanity. Painfully, and even dangerously, maybe. But nonetheless returned, however furtively.”

    The full quote can be found here:

      1. Valissa

        Contemplation and wisdom are highest achievements and man is not totally at home with them.
        –Gabriel Marcel

        The wise man knows how to run his life so that contemplation is Possible. –Gabriel Marcel

        The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.

        What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. –Meister Eckhart

      2. SR6719

        Physicists often sound like Zen masters as well.

        Here’s J.R. Oppenheimer describing the structure of probability clouds:

        “If we ask, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we have to say no. If we ask, whether the position of an electron changes with the course of time, we have to say no. If we ask, whether the electron is in a state of rest, we have to say no. If we ask, whether the electron is in motion, we have to say no.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Here is Shakepeare the Zen master:

          Hamlet: …for there is nothing either good or
          bad, but thinking makes it so.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thinking could be like modern art – less is more.

            I am just guessing here. A non-thinking guess, if you will.

      3. F. Beard

        He sounds like a Zen master. MLPTB

        Does a Zen master ever say anything or does he just break your leg by closing a gate on it to teach you a lesson?

          1. ScottS

            After receiving his hot dog and paying for it, the zen master says “What about my change?” to which the hot dog vendor replies “Change comes from within.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I don’t know.

          I am not a Zen master.

          I am a a Zen non-master.

          Here is a short story:

          After the master showed you where the moon was with his pointing hand, he said he didn’t need the pointing hand anymore.

          Here is another short story:

          After the Tao man (I think he was Zhuangzi or maybe Laozi) caught the fish, he had no need of the fishing trap.

          Wittgenstein, perhaps he was a Zen master, he compared his work to a ladder. It let him go to the 2nd floor. After he got there, he could throw away the ladder (I hope he didn’t have to come down to the ground). ‘He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it’ – it could be his exact quote, I am not sure.

          I guess, you use words as a beginner. As you get better, you learn to use fewer and fewer words. Maybe take up haiku would help. I don’t know. Everyone’s path is different.

        1. Lambert Strether

          My other Zen joke–

          So the Zen Master is running a hot dog stand, and up comes the customer, orders a hot dog, and hands the Zen Master a twenty. The Zen Master pockets the twenty, hands him the hot dog, and smiles.
          “But where’s my change?!”
          “Change, my friend, must come from within!”

          No doubt this could be rewritten with the Zen Master as a bankster. “And then the debtor was enlightened.”

    1. craazyman

      I highly recommend riding the bus and staring out the window.

      It works best if the window is dirty and scratched and if it’s overcast or raining lightly.

      If it’s sunny or pouring rain outside, it doesn’t work. The vibrations are too jangly.

      It’s also best before 11 a.m. From 11 to 1 is no good at all. That’s when the sun is pouring down too much intensity, even with clouds for cover.

      Whatever you do, don’t try. That ruins everything. :)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think in the Tao of Zen, it was said that ‘the Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.’

        I guess there is no such a thing as a Verbal Tao Champion.

        On the other hand, it could be that Tao refers to a divine being, in that case, the Divine Being that can be uttered is not the eternal Divine Being (‘Dont’ Call Me God’ – He commands in the ‘Lost 11th Commandment.’ Only if Moses had a third hand for that extra stone tablet.)

        Maybe, at the end, there is nothing to be said.

        Not talking. Only contemplation.

        No verbal champions.

        1. Valissa

          So true… that reminds me of Tao Te Ching verse #56:

          Those who know do not talk.
          Those who talk do not know.

          Keep your mouth closed.
          Guard your senses.
          Temper your sharpness.
          Simplify your problems.
          Mask your birghtness.
          Be at one with the dust of the earth.
          This is primal union.

          He who has achieved this state
          Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
          With good and harm, with honor and disgrace.
          This therefore is the highest state of man.

          1. Valissa

            Agreed… I prefer the path of crazy wisdom! That very serious and austere approach to life is not natural to me either.

            slainte! skal! kanpai!

          2. Jim

            So I guess that Stratfor’s reports should be taken with a grain of salt!!!!

            That being said, I enjoy your many contributions, Valissa.

          3. ambrit

            Some of us have had to elide the path of the chemical fool for health reasons. We have of necessity fallen back upon the path of the holy fool. Persuing arete and gnosis we learn to love ourselves, faults and all. Not excuse, but forgive. From this centre we cast about to meet those other fools we know to be there.
            Driving through Baton Rouge yesterday we saw a sign on a church front which quoted MLK: “I choose the way of love because the way of hate is too great a burden.”
            Am I consistant, focused, unchanging? No, of course not. I’m only human.

  12. Susan the other

    HOw to get fired from Faux News in 5 minutes. Holy Batshit Capitalism! Fox News was saying this!?!?

    1. F. Beard

      Sorry but I would be at a disadvantage wrestling a female for fear of accidentally groping her. Also, I might not mind losing!

    1. Valissa

      The Onion strikes gold again! I always watch The Onion news clips a second time so I can pay attention to all the faux news headlines that scroll by at the bottom.

      My favorite: “Deranged mathematician commits first truly random shooting.”

      Thanks for both videos (my husband enjoyed them too!)… it was great to see the young female wrestler in action.

  13. kevinearick

    N Dimensional Thinking / Effective Imagination

    Elasticity is key to the looking glass. Perception is a normalization process. The idiots were kind enough to provide you with a dc field; employ it. Abstract out complexity, and then reinstall, but be quicker than the machine.

    You are best off building your own model to serve the needs of your market, but for sake of understanding the root…

    BE ALL (THE BEST) YOU CAN BE. That is not a passive/aggressive mentality. Best being the enemy of better is not how you build an economy; it’s how you discharge an economy. If you are too lazy to invest in your children, fear not, there is always another People waiting in line to carry the torch forward. Give us your poor, your hungry, while you rest upon your laurels, and join the crowd in the coliseum singing all hail to the emperor.

    A point is a dimension. A circle is two dimensions. It runs to infinity in either direction as the relativity circuit is expanded with additional dimensions. If you twist the circle, you get the symbol for infinity. All dimensions originate at that intersection (though they may be perceived to originate elsewhere), which is also the tip of the fulcrum, creating a fulcrum of fulcrums, with cloud densities.

    The only requirement to link your multiplexer is a fulcrum. The system will automatically balance or collapse it, depending upon feedback from other developments. You simply require a unique angle of incidence. To reach equilibrium the root balances explicit and implicit code. How far you want to go down that rabbit hole is up to you.

    The first and easiest level of sophistication I will give you. Write your code, in any language you like, including your own. Analyze the resulting bits with your pattern matcher. Employ an algorithm that shifts bits in the host. Search for matching patterns. A level of sophistication up is doing similar with the communication flow and another is employing the host’s own security system to create a black hole with similar hosts. Program implicit circuits to the end of explicit empire circuit design. Backlash will take care of the rest.

    Anyone with three brain cells to rub together can bring down the digital system, but that would be counter-productive. Securitization is a myth. The only security against climate volatility is self-governance. The only way to affect the future is to raise children accordingly, in advance if you want to affect the present. Only humans are too stupid to recognize a shift in the weather. Those more intelligent than a computer can only profit.

    Clicks insert delay devices to retard the system. Your crew must be quick and steady enough to ride the wave created by the resulting hurricane, with or without you. Wind the empire’s clock by applying integral force to create the necessary derivative counter. Release the quantum mechanism by switching the integral force to another dimension.

    Beating the casino is easy. Measure the viral path versus respect for marriage, aggregate for strategy, disaggregate for tactics. Weight assets, currency, income, relative to the bond curve. Watch for bonds that behave like stocks. We have gone through assets and currency.

    Basically, you have sail, trim, length, level and timing. DON’T OVERSTEER. The universe will see you; let it do the work whenever possible. You don’t learn much in a light breeze. Trim to course. You learn to reduce out prisoners dilemma by sailing up and down wind. Sail to trim. Get as close as you can, and switch back. At the start you are primarily concerned with position and acceleration to catch the wave. The difference between better and best is getting out of irons. Practice in as many different environments as you can, beforehand.

    Space time on one side is a function of density on the other. As density increases, it crowds the fulcrum. Once it reaches the threshold turning point, space time wraps around the new nucleus, in an equilibrium orbit. The new economy is behaving like a teenager at this point, swinging back and forth, from one end of anxiety to the other, all control to no control. The old economy is caught in irons.

    If you do not want to be captured by History, you may want to jump quickly, by placing your measuring device at the bow, measuring income production among youth in the black/white market. There are several ways to estimate bow movement if you cannot get forward, but you have to accept the sunk cost associated with the timing error. Get into the fuselage any way you can.

    What you want to watch for is the kid constantly turning over new cards as potential stepping stones to the future. Place a new card in that kid’s no sail zone. When the card is gone, set out another. Parents cannot pick their children.

    On the open side it’s an implicit enterprise. You help others with consideration to help yourself with organic growth. You bet to improve your decision process in a feedback loop. Direction of currency is much more important than quantity, because your quality of life value system is temporarily disengaged from the empire, and is implicitly tied to identifying the leverage constants among event horizons. A tiny investment risk results in a large return. Does the investment, made before you know what you will need, return the necessary key, when you need it?

    Effective parents don’t show up at just the right time by accident. You will have whatever you need whenever you need it, if you are positioned correctly with the proper thrust, because there will be a parent there waiting to give you the key to the gate. Unlock the door, drop the key, enter, close the door, and install a new lock when empire recognizes the gate, unless additional gravity is required. Don’t look back.

  14. scraping_by

    RE: Political genitals

    Using a power position to bust into someone’s privates is not new with the welfare bashers. Various sorts of rape are common create power relationships, prison and prep school being the obvious examples.

    Back in the late 80’s, my former wife worked for Hoffmann Laroche when they were promoting immunoassay drug tests for all American workers on various pretexts. The sales literature said nothing about safety, the common excuse for forcing a piss test. It was about productivity and joining unions. Apparently, being forced on pain of firing to urinate while a stranger watched you closely tended to weed out people with enough self-respect to fight for their rights. And it abashed enough of the rest to keep the work force underfoot. I wonder if it’s still a requirement for a job with a defense sub- sub-contractor?

    Nobody really believes the third degree sexual assault at airports is about security. It’s doing awful and impermissible things to law abiding citizens, and creating a group of law-enforcement employees so alienated from the commons no act seems beneath contempt. It’s not clear what the training is about. While sexual sadism by Obama administration functionaries is possible it seems rather elaborate just to give travelers “the touch of a man.”

    While a hypocritical Puritanism is the official line for the MSM and elected officials, the larger population for intruding into the bodies of those on public relief is lacking. Evangelicals will go along in public, no matter their private qualms. Many people are weak, “if you say it will help” or are haters and like the vision of medical rape on a grand scale. And, indeed, a doctor would be committing an act of rape if he assaulted the genitals of a woman acting under compulsion. But, as long as there’s a per-patient fee, they’ll find a way to talk themselves into it.

    It’s impersonal rape of the innocent, but it’s still rape.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      scraping_by, their purpose is control through infliction of TRAUMA.

      “The Tavistock Agenda”
      “The Tavistock Institute for Global Manipulation”
      xref: RAND, Wharton, Stanford, MIT

  15. Jim Haygood

    From the Guardian:

    Earlier this month, the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, told the Washington Post that he thought the window for an Israeli attack on Iran is between April and June. But other official analysts working on Iran have identified what one described as a “sweet spot”, where the mix of diplomacy, political timetables and practical issues come together to suggest that if Israel launches a unilateral assault it is more likely in September or October, although they describe that as a “best guess”.

    Scandalous. Reprehensible.

    If it turns out that Obama is lining up an Israeli attack on Iran to get himself re-elected as a ‘war president,’ he should not only be stripped of his Nobel prize, but impeached.

    That’s the trial balloon being floated here.

  16. Chris A

    Did anyone else catch this op-ed in yesterday’s NY Times, “Why China’s Political Model Is Superior”? I’m interested in hearing others’ reactions.

    This has to be one of the worst op-eds I’ve seen in quite some time. Poorly constructed, unpersuasive, and ultimately, hostile to values held by Americans of many political hues from libertarian to liberal to socialist back to the right wing of the Republican party.

    In the middle of the piece, the author has a great paragraph or two about how American democracy has been hijacked by corporate interests (although he says “special interests”, perhaps I’m giving him too much credit here), leaving our system less one of representative democracy than of corporate plutocracy (my words) and “one dollar, one vote” (his words).

    Very persuasive, but at this point the author veers to a seemingly opposite extreme: “China is on a different path. Its leaders are prepared to allow greater popular participation in political decisions if and when it is conducive to economic development and favorable to the country’s national interests, as they have done in the past 10 years.” How is that so different from a supposedly representative democracy whose character has been fundamentally transformed into a corporate-dominated state?

    The Tienanmen uprising, he opines, was an event for which “[t]he Chinese nation paid a heavy price…but the alternatives would have been far worse.” How so?

    He continues: “The fundamental difference between Washington’s view and Beijing’s is whether political rights are considered God-given and therefore absolute or whether they should be seen as privileges to be negotiated based on the needs and conditions of the nation….History does not bode well for the American way.”

    What history? Examples? Sure, the above-cited trends of “special interests [that] manipulate the people into voting for ever-lower taxes and higher government spending, sometimes supporting self-destructive wars” are highly problematic, to say the absolute least, but are not examples of a healthy representative democracy, the model that this writer argues is as good as a goner.

    The thrust of the article, however poorly reasoned, seems to be that too much democracy is what’s killing the West, and that China will advance to inherit the world the West will be forced to abandon. Our brilliant author assumes that America’s political system is failing for precisely the wrong reasons — that there’s something inherently wrong with correctly-functioning representative democracy, even after acknowledging (correctly) that the will of the majority of Americans isn’t being represented in these times. Moreover, it assumes wrongly that our economic failings are due to the inherently flawed and obsolete system of government that is democracy. Excuse me? What I recall from the last several years is that the Great Recession occurred for very different reasons: financial deregulation, nearly absent regulatory oversight, reckless risk-taking and fraud on the part of financial services and banking corporations that decimated the housing sector and brought credit markets to their knees, none of which, I’ll venture to suggest, were supported by a majority of American voters.

    I’ll bet that this piece is something the Occupy movement and the Tea Party alike can find completely wrongheaded, for very different reasons, and agree that this guy shouldn’t quit his day job as a venture capitalism. This is just poor writing.

    1. Chris A

      I meant to write “were not supported by a majority of American voters” in the second-to-last paragraph. A glaring error of my own.

    2. YankeeFrank

      I guess he’s saying that democracy doesn’t work because it is inevitably corrupted. Therefore we require the corrupters of our democracy to re-form their business-government nexus as a cartel of government dictators of the system to enforce whatever conditions are necessary to enhance economic progress as defined by those unfailingly wise and selfless men who must impose slave-labor living and working conditions on large segments of the populace, for a time and for their own good, to encourage economic growth and the overall health of the nation. All media, internet and other sources of information will of course be heavily censored for the overall health of the nation, during those periods when more freedom would not be healthy for the overall health of the nation. Union organizers will be imprisoned and killed for the health of the nation, at those critical junctures where such influence would negatively impact profit-taking.

      Okay Eric X. Li. I don’t normally say things like this, but for you it fits — you’re a fascist douche and should go back to China. I really think your jones for fascism will never be satisfied in the USA.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Chris, this is the set up for Good Cop/Bad Cop under an American regime of Chinese Capitalism. The writer is either tipping a hand or running it up the flagpole.

  17. readerOfTeaLeaves

    I didn’t see this further up the thread; apologies if it is a dupe.

    The programmer (Russian) who copied Goldman Sachs code, uploaded it to a server in Germany, and was convicted of economic espionage in Dec 2010 was freed on an overturned conviction.

    By three US judges aged 67, 79, and 73 if the SF Chronicle is reporting accurately (!).

    And he claimed is was Open Source code (!)

    The judges — Dennis Jacobs, 67, Guido Calabresi, 79, and Rosemary Pooler, 73 — also asked if taking Goldman Sachs’s trading code was comparable to taking copyrighted material or bringing an employee manual to a new job.

    Marino argued that the trial judge had “bent over backward” to let the government apply the espionage statute and argued the case should have been prosecuted in state court.

    Marino argued, as he had during the trial, that Aleynikov only took open-source code he had written at Goldman Sachs. He said the government had tried to expand its reading of the Economic Espionage Act to encompass that.

    Read more:

    Words. Fail. Me.

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