Links 2/18/12

Robot seals relieve tsunami survivors depression Yahoo (hat tip reader May S)

ScienceShot: Toxic Greens Protect Smurf-Tongued Lizards ScienceInsider (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Swiss Want to Build a Satellite That Removes Space Litter ScienceInsider (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Farmers advance in their suit against Monsanto Grist (hat tip reader John L)

The tragedy of Fernando Torres Financial Times

Asbestos deaths bring 16-year sentence IWatchNews (hat tip reader May S)

Armed robbers steal 70 relics from museum in Olympia, Greece MSNBC (hat tip Marshall Auerback)

Everything Must Go! The Great European Fire Sale Independent (hat tip Lambert)

Minority Rule in Parliament; Mob Rule Outside New Athenian (hat tip Lambert)

Athens rehearses nightmare of default Financial Times. Felix forecast a default weeks ago. Why is everyone else so slow to see that this is the game plan?

Iceland upgrade sure makes default look palatable Ed Harrison

Eurozone central bankers and the taboo subject of losses Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Insight: In Israel, an illegal outpost faces its reckoning Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

Federal agents arrest Amine El Khalifi; he allegedly planned to bomb Capitol Washington Post. Per Lambert: “The guy the FBI picked up for wanting to bomb the Capitol: The FBI, along with a fake bomb, gave the guy a MAC-10 that wouldn’t fire. And the guy couldn’t even have known enough to test the gun. It’s like pulling the wings off a fly.”

Sex, Rick Santorum and the conservative imagination Guardian (hat tip reader LucyLulu). More reports on the battle between penis creatures and vagina monsters.

Why America Keeps Getting More Conservative Atlantic (hat tip reader May S)

Massachusetts town vows to defy indefinite detention law Raw Story (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Explosives in Kan. Capitol incident were fireworks Associated Press (hat tip Lambert)

Roseanne Barr Pulls 6 Percent Against Obama And Romney In National Presidential Poll Think Progress (hat tip Lambert)

Our prolonged employment gap MarketWatch (hat tip reader Carol B)

U.S. Unemployment Increases in Mid-February Gallup (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Citigroup pays $158 million in mortgage fraud pact Reuters (hat tip Lambert)

Citigroup Whistle-Blower Says Bank’s ‘Brute Force’ Hid Bad Loans From U.S. Bloomberg (hat tip reader Andy L). Read to see what the whistle blower is making.

Pelosi, Speier Request Justice Department Examination into Possible Violations of Federal Law in San Francisco Foreclosures (hat tip reader Deontos)

Confirmed: Banks Can Use HAMP, and Reap HAMP Incentive Payments, in Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Unbroken homes: Five creative reuses for foreclosed houses Grist (hat tip reader 1 SK)

Lehman and Its Creditors Seek to Subpoena Geithner New York Times. Oh, it’s SO much fun to see him squirm! And if Lehman creditors win on their argument here (that JPM took advantage of Lehman’s weakened condition and pushed it into bankruptcy by improperly withholding cash and collateral) this does not bode well for it with respect to MF Global.

How Harvard is failing its students mathbabe

Antidote du jour:

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    1. DC Native

      Yes, the polling I’ve seen shows that a majority of Americans want single-payer healthcare, an end to our wars, the decriminalization of marijuana, marriage equality, etc.

      Plus, the Atlantic article should be titled “Why More Americans Self-Identify as Conservative,” because that’s all their poll really shows. Which doesn’t come as much of a surprise; the term “liberal” has been slimed to such a great extent over the past two or three decades that some people (and perhaps quite a few people) who hold liberal views won’t call themselves a liberal.

      1. YankeeFrank

        This is why I rarely read the Atlantic. I really don’t care to read more pieces on the conventional wisdom that the US is a center-right nation from media-elite douchebags who don’t really have any idea (and don’t want to know) what more than 80% of the citizenry actually think.

        1. tom allen

          You’re not saying that the Atlantis — er, Atlantic — is sinking to new depths, are you? Because that would only be, um, mythologically and editorially accurate.

      2. Valissa

        OK, I haven’t bitched about the increasing meaninglessness of Liberal-Conservative or Left-Right labels and their intellectual roots in Manichean dualism and dogmatic political propaganda for while… but that idiotic Atlantic article really annoyed me… ARRGGH!

        As anecdotal evidence I offer the following… my 87 yo father got so annoyd by Bush era republicanism that he no long self-identifies as Republican but proudly calls himself a Conservative. btw, he is NOT a fundamentalist Christian (he’s mildy Christian in the way many protestants are), not racist nor homophobic. In my case, the combination of reading more history and learning more about the many definitions and variations of liberalism combined with observing the behavior and actions of self-identified political liberals (whether in gov’t or the netroots) created a state of disgust where I refuse the label liberal and often refer to myself as an ex-liberal political unbeliever. The only label I currently accept is ‘independent’.

        1. Valissa

          Forgot to mention that I also dislike the label “progressive” these days too, though I experimented with that label for a few years when I was part of the netroots.

          1. craazyman

            I like the Bass Ale label.

            Hanes for T-shirts.

            Grey Poupon for mustard.

            for wine, I just buy whatever’s in the cheapo basket. It’s usually $5.42 per bottle. Someplace from Chile. I couldn’t care less if its Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon or the others they have, some sound Italian. I can’t even tell the difference after they get refrigerated. The label says “Carta Vieja”. They all just work. :)( That’s me doing jumping jacks.

        2. Valissa

          After reading the Alternet article in full, I have to wonder about their definition of “conservative” as I think it’s highly biased and propagandistic. My father the conservative (I mentioned a few points above) is also NOT rabidly anti-immigrant (he IS an immigrant, from Denmark), and he’s not rabidly pro-choice, nor does he have a deep aversion to taxes. Also other Republcians or conservatives I’ve known don’t really fit in those categories either, though one thing they all share is a disdain for liberals. Liberals seem incapable of defining conservatives based on how most real people are, which shows that liberal definitions of conservatism are mostly propaganda. If you want to udnertsand what different groups of conservatives believe, then go to the source, the believers themselves (not their haters). Most people are NOT ideologically rigid, their beliefs not black & white. Most people in the real world operate in the grey zone, but you’d never know that from MSM political propaganda or political blogs.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Valissa, the terms *Conservative* and *Liberal* have been hi-jacked and distorted by the *Reactionary Party*–the Party of reactionaries, religious extremists, and lovers of Absolute Dictatorships.

        3. Lambert Strether

          And unfortunately, as least for the professionals, “independent” means poorly informed and mostly like to vote your D or R tribal affiliation. Even that label is gone.

          Perhaps “free range” would do it. “Free range voter.”

          1. Valissa

            “independent” means poorly informed

            really, you believe that? sounds like judgemental MSM type propaganda to me, but since it’s you telling me that I suppose it means there are many that think that way (though all the independents I know are more well informed than average)… oh well, ‘bully’ for them. I am so OVER caring what others think about shit like that.

            On the one hand “free range” has an appeal… on the other hand that sounds very liberal Whole Foods. In MA independents are technically referred to as “unaffiliated” so I sometimes use that as a label as it is more accurate. Politics sucks!

          2. Valissa

            @Lambert, I reread your comment (which I slightly misunderstood the first time)… yeah “professionals” translates directly as professional propagandists.. the folks that want everyone to think there are only 2 choices and that real independents don’t exist… of course they are heavily invested in real independents NOT existing, as that concept is just too threatening to the duopoly!

            The label “Green” has pretty much been destroyed too. Sigh…

          3. Valissa

            @lambert, you betcha ;) The ancient power retaining games of ‘divide and conquer’, purposeful delegitimizing of alternative political labels via intense propaganda, and/or co-opting a political idea/brand to ‘redirect’ it (like the label ‘green’ is seen my most citizens as a marketing term for trendy/expensive consumer products) are all effective techniques.

            @Leonova, “free agent” makes me think of football or sports. It works as a clever analogy but don’t know if it would work as a political label. We need to come up with a pithy name for us political heretics/iconoclasts/dissenters.

          4. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Let’s not forget that Naomi Klein published “NO LOGO” before she published “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE” — don’t they fit together like hand in glove?

          5. psychohistorian

            Here in Grand Old Oregon I used to be one of those Independent types but they created a new category for people like me and Mark Twain (not wanting to be part of a group that would have me)….Non Aligned.

            Non Aligned

            So is figurative, literal, positive, negative, neutral or does it matter?

  1. YankeeFrank

    So HUD pays out $200 million on FHA claims so far, with potential exposure to a third of almost $5 billion in Citi FHA backed loans, or $1.6 billion, and the settlement is for a mere $150 million? Ahhh, the beauty of a finely tuned kleptocracy.

  2. rat em out

    Finally, the False Claims Act! Just the thing for all the BSDs who got disappointing bonuses. It’s the new new status symbol: “I only pulled in $30M this year, but when the bank tried to compromise my integrity [giggle],I had to blow the whistle [noble face].”

  3. Jim Haygood

    From the Guardian article linked above:

    Here is where I have to give Rick Santorum a perverse (indeed) sort of credit. It’s his apparent comfort with explicitly raising the idea of sex, as much as his out-of-kilter views on it, that rankles all but the most extreme social conservatives. To go from the hypothetical legalization of homosexual marriage to bestiality, you have to have at least given passing thought to the physical act of gay sex.

    Ana Marie Cox seems to be hinting at an allusion that her editor perhaps wouldn’t approve in a general interest newspaper. Back when Santorum was using his Senatorial bully pulpit to scourge gays, in retribution they named a bodily fluid that results from gay sex after Santorum. If you don’t know what I mean, look up ‘santorum’ at Urban Dictionary.

    Now I can’t help laughing every time I hear Rick’s name, especially when he’s speaking in a church or something. Christ, you’d think he’d have the decency to change a surname which refers to a byproduct of anal intercourse. If his face appears on your TV, cover the ears of any children present!

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      JH, It’s all about male *fundamentalists* of every kind trying to outbreed one another, and so far they cannot do this without the bodies of women. It’s *The Sperm War* couched in religious cant from East to West–that’s why it is called a Holy Crusade (My sperm are of God, yours are of the Devil; my DNA is precious, yours is garbage.”). But the only ones winning this War are the Global .01% their .99% Agency from era to era, for the Master Class DNA total of 1%.

      The victims par excellence are independent, educated women who reject *gross breeding* as a lifetime pursuit. See:

      “THE WAR AGAINST WOMEN” by Marilyn French (New York, Summit Books, Matrix Productions, 1992): See PARTS and a quotation below:

      PART I: Systemic Discrimination Against Women
      PART II: Institutional Wars Against Women
      PART III: The Cultural War Against Women
      PART IV: Men’s Personal War Against Women

      Introduction: “In the popular view of human history, humans have progressed from a state of ‘savagery in which we lived like predatory animals and men dragged women into caves by the hair, to a ‘civilization’ in which men open car doors for women…. War may have begun about ten thousand years ago, but not until about the fourth millennium BCE did men begin to build what became patriarchy–MALE SUPREMACY BACKED BY FORCE–probably first in the Middle East.” (p. 9).

      The arguments of Ms. French’s book is brilliant and unassailable, but I suggest that the fundamental cause of the Wars is not so much “patriarchy” as it is “phallarchy.” A book written decades ago (by a Dane, I believe), simply entitled (in translation): “PHALLOS”, is a poignant history of humankind’s OBSESSION with the “phallus” — the ERECT penis — a time-honored GOD to be WORSHIPPED by men, women, and children throughout time.

      No more consistently and obsessively is *PHALLOS* worshipped, history shows, than in Middle Eastern countries. For this reason, the record Middle Eastern sexual activity is filled with activities centering on the population’s IDOLATRY of the phallus connected to the living body. For this reason, homosexuality is in fact RAMPANT in the Middle East–so that while PHALLOS is worshipped Man-to-Man, HAREMS of WOMEN are kept for BREEDING primarily–for to a Middle Easterner, women are for breeding while BOYS are for PLEASURE. This is the time-honored PARADIGM of sexual performance in the Middle East. Burton revealed this plainly. And how this attracts the Brits.

      But there is ONE BOOK in particular that every American should read, if We the People are to appreciate fully the Global War Against Women:

      “THE CRADLE OF EROTICA: A study of Afro-Asian sexual expression and an analysis of erotic freedom in social relationships” by Allen Edwards and R.E.L. Masters (1963, New York, The Julian Press, Inc.).

      My fellow Americans, I beseech you to read the horrifying book above, and to consider its revelations within the frame of DEMOGRAPHICS as a National Security Issue, if you do not want the *Cradle of Erotica* to RULE America. Because, there can be NO doubt that the Middle Eastern CONTEMPT for women–except as breeders and idolators of the *patriarch’s* phallus–is an integral part of Middle Eastern Phallic-Worshipping Extremist Hegemony, an integral part of the SO-CALLED *ISLAMIC RELIGION*, the declared mission of which is to dominate and rule the world.

      For this reason, the *White* Males of America have gone berserk, in a *Breeding Frenzy* designed to try to *keep pace* with the Middle Eastern Phallic Worshippers. And both of these groups, of “West” and “East” have declared *Holy Sperm War* against each other. As they MURDER one another in *Holy Wars* planned and executed by the .01% Master Class of West and East together, the LOSERS are the 99.99% DNA, and the ONLY WINNERS are the .01% DNA of the world and the .99% Agency from era to era.

      But the BIGGEST LOSERS are WOMEN enslaved to GROSS BREEDING the world over, so long as the bodies of women are required for the production of Male DNA progeny; and educated, independent women everywhere.

      Moreover, the preference of males of the *British Empire* for engagement in *Phallic Worship* has been a decades-long attraction between the *Muslim* Empires of the Middle East and the *British* and *Holy Roman* Empires of the West. This homosexual preference is the fundamental *Tie That Binds* imperial males in the global War Against Women, and which leads to the WAR CRIMES of rape, sex-trafficking, and global pederasty, and other Wars Against Humanity. “THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ESTABLISHMENT: from Rhodes to Cliveden” by Carroll Quigley reveals the *Ties That Bind* the depraved despots of Imperial Britain and Imperial America.

      “The Franklin Cover-up” is only the tip of the iceberg of child traficking for the perverse imperial *pleasures* of pederasty in American Government. It has been proven that illegal drug-trafficking is intimately connected with these activities TRAUMATIC to children and teens. And now even we must admit what Guicciardini and Machiavelli knew centuries ago: that the Roman Catholic Church provides shelter for Pederasts in Priests’ clothing from generation to generation, with Mothers of children as willing enablers.

      We the People must address right now the Cardinal Issue of our time: *The DNA Wars for Supremacy*–APART from any *religious* justifications or any *religious* language. For NEVER are these Wars FUNDAMENTALLY about *religion*. They are ALL about PHALLIC (delivery of DNA) DOMINANCE, whose purpose is to eliminate or enslave *competing* Male DNA, in an endless War for Resources: be they oil, water, gold, diamonds, drugs, food, or women.

      The *War Against Women* is Global, and it is the cause of rape by any name. This is clearly explained in “ADAM’S CURSE: A Future Without Men” by Bryan Sykes (New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2004, 2003). “ADAM’S CURSE” neatly explains the *Evangelical Christian* and Roman Catholic PUTSCH against birth control and against homosexuals–especially within the frame of West v Middle East’s “CRADLE OF EROTICA.”

      Hence, their desperation is rational, given the fact that there is NO *Western* remedy on the horizon–apart from War and slaughter–for the outcome of AGGRESSIVE BREEDING by Middle Eastern men with their harems of multiple breeders, unless it be Mormons with *Big Love* multiple breeders, or *Evangelical Christians* with wives complicit in the *Quiver-full* agenda.

      Can We the People discuss this ISSUE of extreme disparity which will INEVITABLY lead to so-called *Muslim* TYRANNY in the West, including the PRIMITIVE if not SAVAGE sexual attitudes revealed in “CRADLE OF EROTICA”–which ipso facto includes the *War Against Women*? Need I remind people that the *War Against Women* is part and parcel of the homosexual AGENDA that declares to *straight* men: “NO PREGNANCY”–a claim that relegates women to the underclass of *breeders* and destroys the peer-relationship of women and men?

      One book appears to open the discussion of this INEVITABILITY if We the People don’t WAKE UP and DO SOMETHING RATIONAL anent this ISSUE, without resorting to any *religious* justification whatsoever:

      “AMERICA ALONE: The End of the World As We Know It” by MARK STEYN (Washington, D.C., Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2006).

      I’ll grant that Regnery is characteristically a *right wing* publisher, but this is NO *right wing* matter, when considered APART from fundamentalist *religious* claims. If it be true, as Steyn claims, that Europe is a Lost Cause, then WE THE RATIONAL must come to grips with the brutal outcomes of *The Sperm Wars*–and this means WOMEN, in particular.

      “ADAM’S CURSE” shows, and history shows, that MEN rape in Wars in order to ruin the *breeders* of their PHALLIC competitors through their despoilment and/or impregnation with the rapist’s sperm: evidence of PHALLIC VICTORY. They also rape boys and girls to despoil and TRAUMATIZE them.

      What are WOMEN going to do about this? What will WOMEN around the globe say about this? Must women lie down for this? WILL CIVILIZED MEN OPPOSE SAVAGE MEN guilty of these War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity by making GENERALS in Wars responsible for the rapes by any men among their troops?

      Finally, WILL American women and men OPPOSE The Sperm Wars, and find a more CIVILIZED way to deal with this ISSUE of GLOBAL PHALLIC TYRANNY?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Actually, are these not MORAL issues–*Phallic Tyranny* – *The Sperm Wars* – the *War Against Women*?

        “THE HONOR CODE: How Moral Revolutions Happen” by Kwame Anthony Appiah (New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2010).

      2. SR6719

        “If I were a girl, I’d despair. The supply of good women far exceeds that of the men who deserve them.” ― Robert Graves

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          *Not to be born is the best for girls*. “Not to be born is the best for man” is from W.H. Auden’s “Death’s Echo.”

          1. F. Beard

            A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1 [bold added]

      3. craazyman

        I’m not sure there’s any reason to suspect people were less advanced 30,000 years ago than they are today.

        I think they were likely more conscious. Men and women, probably.

        30,000 years is like a tenth of a second in historical time.

        Otherwise, Leonova, send them to me and I’ll take good care of them, but no Primadonnas please. It’s a hard life, no pun intended. haha.

      4. Kim

        I’m seeing *stars* after reading your comment, or is it a book? Let’s have a conversation about the preponderance of family court decisions in favor of women getting the child custody and the alimony shall we? What has that to do with Muslims?

        About a woman’s right to chose which I agree with, however what a about a man’s right to force the woman to have an abortion since the man will be saddled with child support payments for 18 years for a child he did not plan to pay for. Why didn’t the woman practice effective birth control? Can he launch a negligence lawsuit against her?

        These are questions that we need to have a conversation about.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Lenova was over the top, but your abortion argument is lame. Why is the birth control burden on the woman, pray tell? If you don’t want to pay for the consequences of a pregnancy, wear a condom. Or better yet, get a vasectomy.

          In case no one clued you in, in general men have a higher sex drive than women, so it’s a reasonable assumption that the man was more eager to have sex that the woman in a particular encounter (“Lesbian bed death” is proof of this thesis). Why do men have to pay for sex while women get paid, either as prostitutes or by being courted expensively if they hold out a bit?

          I can’t believe you believe what you wrote, but the worst is I know you did.

          1. James


            Simply because BOTH SEXES are complicit from the beginning! OF COURSE we’re (males) sexual driven! And OF COURSE (you females) know that from the start and pretend that you aren’t! And WE BOTH KNOW and LOVE THAT FROM THE START! THAT’S what makes it so very entertaining! Pretending that WE AREN’T what we BOTH KNOW WE BOTH ARE are in the first place! How very LOVELY when we both FINALLY find ourselves, hiding in each other.

          2. Valissa

            @james, really? you believe this? sounds like something out a movie script from the ’50s… and reminded me of this oldie, but goodie

            “I dreamt I was in a Hollywood movie
            And that I was the star of the movie”…
            Eric Burdon and War – Spill the Wine

            I went to college in the ’70s and none of the women I knew were playing that faux coy game.

      5. James

        I honestly thought this post was a spoof the first time I tread it. I’ll take another look or twelve at it (sincerely), but I’m not sure I’ve read anything more honestly hysteric and overwrought in recent memory, and I’m about as openly “liberal” as it gets these days. I must admit, the old joke about turkey basters came to mind instantly (one which I never found all that funny the first time around, but have apparently found a new appreciation for).

        As a middle aged male who has remained single (and enjoyed it) throughout his adult life, while still managing to enjoy the occasional accompaniment of an adult female or two without any “untoward consequences” I find this sort of attack rather repulsive. Although I’m sure your intentions are true LBR, the whole effect us to come off on as an attack on those of us who merely have a “proboscis” as a part of our general anatomy from birth. From our perspective, first it’s an attack on those of us who are less than well endowed (Oh yeah! take a look at THAT face!), and now apparently, it’s an attack on being endowed AT ALL.

        Me thinks you want to tone this diatribe down a bit, if you want to be taken seriously. Last I heard, regardless of politicization, the two sexes still had a useful purpose.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          James, I have had the pleasure to know highly intelligent, compassionate, sexy dream boats in my time, which is why the fanatical D-head jerks who live to dominate the world with *My way or the highway* and *religious* justifications for persecuting women drove me to write what I did.

          As Bill Black demonstrates, expanding on Gresham’s Law, not only does bad money drive out good, but criminal *businessmen* drive out honest ones. The same is true for men: atrociously ignorant D-heads and their breeder fanatics have all but driven out sane men and women who enjoy each other as whole persons, in bed and out.

          Your view appears to be so limited, maybe you should re-evaluate your sex life, if not your entire life.

      6. David

        Thanks for this very enlightening post Leonova. Since earliest consciousness I have always been immune to religion, its “reasoning”, etc. So the fundies’ obsessions with abortion, and women’s sexuality generally, and especially the ridiculous religious arguments they use to justify their obsessions, had always puzzled me. But since I’ve always felt that I had more than enough other more rational and constructive ways to spend my time, I consciously chose not to waste my time dwelling on or investigating the religious argle-bargle. Describing their obsessions as a manifestation of Sperm Wars – now it all makes sense to me; the pieces fit together; “click” into place. So thanks for the insights.

      7. Valissa

        And now for something completely different…

        The Best of Mae West

        “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better. ”

        “I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.”

        “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.”

        “It is better to be looked over than overlooked.”

        “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”

        “Don’t cry for a man who’s left you–the next one may fall for your smile.”

        “It’s not the men in your life that matters, it’s the life in your men.”

  4. JTFaraday

    “More reports on the battle between penis creatures and vagina monsters.”

    Well, then it must be election season!

  5. jsmith

    I’m sorry but I really must question the story of Israel dealing with the illegal settlers.

    Is this supposed to make us think that Israel is NOT a neofascist apartheid police state that continues to grind the lives of the Palestinians into genocidal non-existance?

    How about this article from a couple of days ago in which Israel is set to demolish the only source of electricity – solar panels – in a Palestinian village they claim is theirs?

    Nice, huh?

    Also, here’s Uri Avnery’s latest on how Israel is a state bent on destroying itself one way or another.

    Three possible scenarios he sees:

    1) Due to high Arab birth rates and the continuance of apartheid Israel is “forced” to annex all of the occupied territories thus creating a “one state” solution. This in turn finally condemns them to pariah status in the world’s eye and once the apartheid apparatus is dismantled a la South Africa, the Jews exist as a vast minority in a new Israel.

    2) The drag that the Orthodox Jews – who don’t work, pay taxes or fight in the military – have on Israeli society finally becomes too much for the state to handle and a civil war breaks out.

    3) More and more Israelis finally begin to realize that living in a neofascist apartheid police state isn’t that cool and start to leave in droves, thus, leaving only the most radical of the radical behind to carry on the dream of Eretz Israel.

    With potential futures like that, thank heavens, we have an “unbreakable bond” with this country, huh?

    I’m so glad that the leadership of the US has tied our country to such a shining beacon of freedom and peace!

    1. Doug Terpstra

      I hope #3 comes to pass, that sane Israelis emigrate. Then, when the 4th scenario is fulfilled, as forseen by Churchian CUFI Scionists who support Israel’s expansion, there will be fewer innocent victims.

      The 4th scenario, no longer inconceivable, is the Revelations prophecy that Israel becomes a sea of glass follwing a conflict with Gog and Magog (Russia and Iran), after which the Red Dragon (China) becomes the global superpower.

      1. F. Beard

        is the Revelations prophecy that Israel becomes a sea of glass Doug Terpstra

        Huh? Israel does get clobbered but survives (The Lord intervenes).

          1. F. Beard

            I think only humans (and above) are advanced enough to be fools since the definition of a fool is someone who refuses to learn. I don’t think animals have the capability to refuse to learn.

          2. ambrit

            Mr. Beard;
            Please forgive the profanity, but those who believe in a Cat God are properly known as Bast-ards.

          3. ambrit

            Sorry to come off as a hypocrite folks, but the cat who shares the house and grounds with us is treated like a goddess. So who’s the fool?

        1. Doug Terpstra

          F Beard, like everything in the good book, I believe it depends on one’s esoteric divination of Revelations beastly metaphors. Most eschatologists believe that all but 144,000 elect (converted) Jews for Christ will be incinerated. The eagle (US) saves the 144,OOO from nuclear fire and those become witnesses during the Great Tribulation. This is something downplayed by the right “Reverend” John Hagee and other CUFI premillennialists who support Israel’s illegal settlements.

    2. Lambert Strether

      No, I don’t think the story is meant to make anybody believe that. On the other hand, “a fundamental contradiction at the heart of the Jewish state” is a rather remarkable phrase to see in mainstream coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There’s also a lot of local color and good detail in the story that, at least to my eye, didn’t bode well for the state of Israel in its current form.

  6. Hugh

    I thought people went to Harvard for the connections. If they had wanted skills, they would of gone to a state university. I’m not sure anyone goes to college for an education anymore, you know to become a better all round person or citizen. Even the universities don’t encourage this thinking. It is so uncorporatist, even kind of subversive. Of course as the US de-indutrializes, the need for skills declines as well. So even at public universities the push is to raise tuitions until only the uber-class can afford them.

    And that brings me around again to the case of Harvard. Who exactly can afford to go to Harvard and then take a Teaching for America job? Mathbabe should have looked at the math on that.

    I do agree that test taking permeates our education system but I would say this has been moving from the top down. At the university level, there has been for an age a worship of the dubious notion that MCATs and LSATs and SATs are actual indicators of something, it is not clear exactly what, you know much like credit scores.

    This nebulous excuse for not thinking or teaching has been thrust down K-12 education under No Child Left Behind and whatever corporatist conmen, like Arne Duncan, are peddling this year.

    I suppose the real story here if there is one is that job options are limited for grads even at Harvard. Of course, they still have options which is more than can be said for many grads elsewhere.

    1. craazyman

      yeah, sometimes you need to learn life’s lessons on your own.

      I figured out how to count to 35 on two hands. You count 1 to 5 on your right hand and when you get to 6 you raise one finger on your left hand. Then you start again. 4 left fingers and one right finger is 25. I’m counting thumbs as fingers, even though that’s confusing.

      you can go all the way to 35 before you run out of fingers.

      After 35, you’re on your own.

      That’s like a little like college, but at 22. It sounds clever while your doing it, but unless you’re Daddy can get you a job, you’re on your own with your two hands and a lot of debt, maybe.

      That’s when life’s real lessons start.

      1. be'emet

        Where did chisnbob go? abacus technology! Any Korean can get to 99 on two hands, multiply, divide, what have you. Yanks are hopelessly backward before they get to kindergarten.

        1. Sy Krass

          Oh yeah, well I can count to 3 million on both my hands! I just go back and foth through my thumbs and fingers 300,000 times ’till i get to 3 million. Has anyone invented how to count to 5 million yet?


    2. John L

      As mathbabe explains, kids, and perhaps all of us, are trained to rely on outside metrics to measure our success. The school you get accepted to (or your child gets accepted to) is one such metric.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      I went back in the stone ages when middle class parents could send their kids to Ivy League schools and I did think I was going for the education (well, and also that women needed better credentials than men to get hired). My father had gone to a state school and had gotten a masters and was struck when he later got an MBA as to how much better educated the people who went to Ivy League schools were (this was in the 1960s, he was the oldest guy in his MBA class). Going to school for connections was a non-concept when I was young (you would have been viewed with contempt if that had been your motivation).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A couple of years ago, I was informed by a smart young lady studying at Yale that she wanted to be a patent attorney but also she was working hard to find a good husband there.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hugh, right, the *Elite* connections are what make parents pony up Large in “tuition” at the *Elite* universities. If only they knew.

  7. Valissa

    A friend sent me this joke today, enjoy!

    The current banking crisis explained by an Irishman

    Young Paddy bought a donkey from a farmer for £100.

    The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
    The next day he drove up and said, ‘Sorry son, but I have some bad news. The donkey’s died.’

    Paddy replied, ‘Well then just give me my money back.’

    The farmer said, ‘Can’t do that. I’ve already spent it.’
    Paddy said, ‘OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey.’

    The farmer asked, ‘What are you going to do with him?’

    Paddy said, ‘I’m going to raffle him off.’

    The farmer said, ‘You can’t raffle a dead donkey!’

    Paddy said, ‘Sure I can. Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.’

    A month later, the farmer met up with Paddy and asked,
    ‘What happened with that dead donkey?’

    Paddy said, ‘I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at £2 each and made a profit of £898’
    The farmer said, ‘Didn’t anyone complain?’

    Paddy said, ‘Just the guy who won. So I gave him his £2 back.’

    Paddy now works for the Royal Bank of Scotland .

    1. Crazy Horse

      That is how things used to work on the Street, but after Corzine you no longer have to pay the 2 billion back to the defrauded customer. Just send a half mill to the President’s re-election campaign.

    2. Hugh

      Walter Bagehot in Lombard Street described something very similar which was actually used as one of the schemes of the South Sea Bubble. Here is his list with an even more elegant version of the dead donkey scam at the end:

      the companies in that mania were for objects such as these:—’ “Wrecks to be fished for on the Irish Coast—Insurance of Horses and other Cattle (two millions)—Insurance of Losses by Servants—To make Salt Water Fresh—For building of Hospitals for Bastard Children—For building of Ships against Pirates—For making of Oil from Sun-flower Seeds—For improving of Malt Liquors—For recovery of Seamen’s Wages—For extracting of Silver from Lead—For the transmuting of Quicksilver into a malleable and fine Metal—For making of Iron with Pit-coal—For importing a Number of large Jack Asses from Spain—For trading in Human Hair—For fatting of Hogs—For a Wheel of Perpetual Motion.” But the most strange of all, perhaps, was “For an Undertaking which shall in due time be revealed.” Each subscriber was to pay down two guineas, and hereafter to receive a share of one hundred, with a disclosure of the object; and so tempting was the offer, that 1,000 of these subscriptions were paid the same morning, with which the projector went off in the afternoon.

    3. ambrit

      Dear Valissa;
      I’m part Irish, and I know that that couldn’t have been a real Bog Trotter. A real Pad would’ve stolen the donkey and then ransomed it back to the farmer. Look at all the cattle rustling that goes on in the Old Irish Sagas!

  8. Aquifer

    FBI arrest – entrapment pure and simple. The FBI guys posed as Al Queda and gave the guy the fake stuff – to make sure that they could say “no one was ever in danger”.

    What a frickin’ joke – but it will be used by folks like Lieberman et al on the Hill to justify more bucks for the FBI, Homeland Security, and the continuation of the “War on Terror”. Their “triumph” would have been complete if only they could have found an Iranian to dupe …

    1. just me

      I read an amazing comment on Firedoglake — someone posted a statement read in court at Umar Abdulmutallab, the Undiebomber’s sentencing. The guy had been on the plane and saw Umar get assisted onto the plane without a passport. He believes the bomb was a fake and the Undiebomber a patsy of the US govt’s. I apologize for the length of this, but believe it’s worth attention:

      I wish to thank the Court for allowing me these 5 minutes to make my statement. My references to the government in this statement refer to the Federal Government excluding this Court and the prosecution. On Christmas Day 2009, my wife and I were returning from an African safari and had a connecting flight through Amsterdam. As we waited for our flight, we sat on the floor next to the boarding gate. What I witnessed while sitting there and subsequent events have changed my life forever. While I sat there, I witnessed Umar dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, being escorted around security by a man in a tan suit who spoke perfect American English and who aided Umar in boarding without a passport. The airline gate worker initially refused Umar boarding until the man in the tan suit intervened. The event meant nothing to me at the time. Little did I know that Umar would try to kill me a few hours later as our flight approached Detroit. The final 10 minutes of our flight after the attack were the worst minutes of my life. During those 10 minutes I sat paralyzed in fear. Unfortunately, what happened next has had an even greater impact on my life and has saddened me further.

      When we landed, I was shocked that our plane taxied up to the gate. I was further shocked that we were forced to sit on the plane for 20 minutes with powder from the so called bomb all over the cabin. The officers that boarded the plane did nothing to ensure our safety and did not check for accomplices or other explosive devices. Several passengers trampled through parts of the bomb as they exited the plane. We were then taken into the terminal with our unchecked carry on bags. Again, there was no concern for our safety even though Umar told the officers that there was another bomb on board as he exited the plane. I wondered why nobody was concerned about our safety, accomplices or other bombs and the lack of concern worried me greatly. I immediately told the FBI my story in order to help catch the accomplice I had seen in Amsterdam. It soon became obvious that the FBI wasn’t interested in what I had to say, which upset me further.

      For one month the government refused to admit the existence of the man in the tan suit before changing course and admitting his existence in an ABC News article on January 22, 2010. That was the last time the government talked about this man. The video that would prove the truth of my account has never been released. I continue to be emotionally upset that the video has not been released. The Dutch police, meanwhile, in this article (show article), also confirmed that Umar did not show his passport in Amsterdam which also meant that he didn’t go through security as both are in the same line in Amsterdam. It upsets me that the government refuses to admit this fact.

      I became further saddened from this case, when Patrick Kennedy of the State Department during Congressional hearings, admitted that Umar was a known terrorist, was being followed, and the U.S. allowed him into the U.S. so that it could catch Umar’s accomplices. I was once again shocked and saddened when Michael Leiter of the National Counter terrorism Center admitted during these same hearings that intentionally letting terrorists into the U.S. was a frequent practice of the U.S. Government. I cannot fully explain my sadness, disappointment and fear when I realized that my government allowed an attack on me intentionally.

      During this time, I questioned if my country intentionally put a known terrorist onto my flight with a live bomb. I had many sleepless nights over this issue. My answer came shortly thereafter. In late 2010, the FBI admitted to giving out intentionally defective bombs to the Portland Christmas Tree Bomber,the Wrigley Field Bomber and several others. Further, Mr. Chambers was quoted in the Free Press on January 11, 2011 when he indicated that the government’s own explosives experts had indicated that Umar’s bomb was impossibly defective. I wondered how that could be. Certainly, I thought, Al Qaeda wouldn’t go through all of the trouble to plan such an attack only to provide the terrorist with an impossibly defective bomb.

      I attended nearly all of the pretrial hearings. At the hearing on January 28, 2011, I was greatly disappointed by the prosecution’s request to block evidence from Mr. Chambers “as it could then be able to be obtained by third parties, who could use it in a civil suit against the government”. It really bothered me that the government apparently was admitting to wrongdoing of some kind as it admitted that it was concerned it would be sued. It further upset me to know that the government was putting its own interests ahead of those of the passengers.

      When I attended the jury selection hearings, I questioned why versions of the same two questions kept coming up, those being:

      1. Do you think you’ll be able to tell whether something is actually a bomb? and
 2. Do you realize that sometimes the media doesn’t always tell the truth?

      I continued to be greatly saddened at this point as I felt the truth continued to be hidden.

      When Umar listed me as his only witness, I was happy to testify, not on his behalf, but on behalf of the truth. I never expected to testify, as my eyewitness account would have been too damaging to the myth that the government and media are putting forward. A mere 5 days after I was announced as a witness, there was an inexplicable guilty plea which exasperated me as I no longer would be testifying.

      In closing I will just say that regardless of how the media and government try to shape the public perception of this case, I am convinced that Umar was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. Government agent and placed on our flight without showing a passport or going through security, to stage a false terrorist attack to be used to implement various government policies.

      The effect this matter has had on my life has been astounding and due to this case, I will never trust the government in any matter, ever.

      In regards to sentencing, nothing I’ve said excuses the fact that Umar tried to kill me. He has waived his valid claim to the entrapment defense. Umar, you are not a great Muslim martyr, you are merely a “Patsy”. I ask the court to impose the mandatory sentence.

        1. ambrit

          Mr. Strether;
          I believe Josef Stalin was a Chekist operative. Much like Vladimir Putin was head of the KGB in the ‘good old days.’
          The only good dimension to this I can think of is that Police States of all types tend to destroy themselves eventually.

          1. michael kranish

            I used to think that was possibly true. But Simon Montefiore in his book “Young Stalin” debunks that legend.
            Anyway like all secret police, Homeland Security does employ agent provacateurs.

      1. psychohistorian

        As someone who was listened to in 2004 on an international call say bad things about our then president and was told about it by a CIA employee, I am not surprised but sure wish this sort of stuff was not going on, paid for by tax dollars.

  9. Valissa

    re: Massachusetts town vows to defy indefinite detention law

    All I can say is… that’s so Noho! Noho is the shorthand name used by many locals. I lived there for a few years in the early ’90’s, and still go back several times a year to visit a friend and eat in one of the many fab restaurants. It’s a liberalville sort of place, in a good way.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I guess if you call yourself the Holy Roman Empire when you are neither holy, Roman nor an empire, and if you call yourself The Federal Reserve when you are not federal, then it’s OK to call your cafe 24 Hour Cafe when you are only open, say, 3 hours a day.

    1. Wendy

      Good read, thank you for posting.

      I recently was buying baking powder, of all things, and found one labeled “NO GMO’s”. Now there’s a label you don’t see. I bought it, but I wondered where this labeling issue was. Thanks for the link and info on that.

        1. LucyLulu

          I recently noticed that Domino is selling sugar that is certified to be carbon-free. That’s quite an accomplishment.

  10. Alexis

    How did the Monsanto Family get their start?

    Something about slaves from Portuguese colonies and
    buying distressed land from southerners after the Civil

  11. brian

    i once told a lady friend i was going to sneak onto her lawn one night after she went to sleep and cover the lawn with those plastic pink flamingos

    she laughed but i thought i saw a look of worry in her eyes as to what the neighbors might think

  12. Susan the other

    Grist. Monsanto v. Organic Farmers. I think I’m in love all over again. With courageous farmers and Occupy.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Pamm Larry shows why we need professional citizens who are paid like a profession to manage our professional politicians and professional lobbyists.

        I think a salary somewhere between that of a professional politician and a professional lobbyist would be fair.

        Not many have the courage to quit our day jobs like Pamm. The only way is to pay our citizens like professionals. Then we can all fight back against professional lobbyists and manage our professional politicians.

        Leveling the playing field, if you will.

        We can do it. We are monetary sovereign nation

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Swiss to build a satellite to remove space litter.

    What about the trash on the Moon or Mars?

    We haven’t moved in there yet but already we are trashing the places like we own them.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Creative uses for foreclosed homes.

    How about using them to house homeless jungles, homeless species and homeless animals, including humans?

    1. David

      Surely you must know that allowing homeless people to live in foreclosed homes, on the face of it a seemingly rational use of society’s resources, is impossible. That would be a fundamental contradiction of the *Social Control* mechanism that is implemented via the money economy.

      It seems to me that there is a conspiracy of silence regarding recognition of the various Social Control mechanisms in use in this society. The basic problem: How do you manage an open-air free-range human zoo? That basic problem leads to these others: Who does the managing? And for what purposes?

  15. Max424

    re: Gallup Poll

    Ok, let’s use the Max424 System for arriving at the true rate of unemployment in this country.

    First, split the difference between the bullsheee…er…BLS(U3) headline number and the Gallup Poll headline number:

    BLS U3 is at 8.3, Gallup is at 9.0; we get — 8.7*

    Then, split the difference between the BLS(U6) underemployment number and the Gallup equivalent:

    BLS U6 is at 15.1, the Gallup equivalent is at 19.0; we get — 17.0*

    Split those two numbers, 17.0 and 8.7, and we get — 12.9.*

    That is your “real” unemployment number. 12.9% unemployment, a number that would fit nicely into the Great Depression, is what the country is dealing with, or not dealing with, depending on your viewpoint.

    *All numbers have been rounded up, for the good of the country.

    1. Max424

      Feel free to check the math.

      Math for old Max424 is intuitive exercise … except when I’m gambling.

      When I’m gambling, numbers flood my brain. Odds and percentages immediately fill my normally empty cavity, at which point, I grab the most dangerous looking ones, and make every attempt to ensure that those terrifying bastards never get a chance to rear their ugly fucking heads.

        1. Max424

          “Shadowstats sees your 12.9% and raises it.”

          Too funny.

          Hey, I tossed out a speculative bet to see if I got any nibbles. But once that “all-in” psychopath John Williams is in the hand, I’m not calling or re-raising, I’m instantly dumping my ridiculously weak, out-of-position 12.9 off-suit.

          Momma didn’t raise no dummy.

  16. LeonovaBalletRusse

    ATTN: NC readers:

    “Does AIPAC Want War? Lieberman ‘Capability’ Red Line May Tip AIPAC’s Hand” by Robert Naiman, Saturday 18 February 2012, who writes anent the “Lieberman resolution” as follows:

    “The first ‘resolved’ paragraph of the Lieberman resolution affirms that it is a ‘vital national interest’ of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring ‘a nuclear weapons CAPABILITY.’ [caps mine]”

    Lieberman should be forced to PROVE (as in Q.E.D.) this claim.

    Moreover, is Lieberman the elected CEO of the USA? Is AIPAC the elected Congress?

    Does Lieberman have *dual citizenship*? Do AIPAC members? Would George Washington have permitted *dual citizenship* among M.C.’s in a position to aggressively determine Foreign Policy, especially with the FORCE of an ANTI-CONGRESS behind him/her, who might likewise hold a passport as a citizen of a FOREIGN COUNTRY? Should anyone with such a CONFLICT of State interest be permitted to write a resolution justifying U.S. War for the benefit of a FOREIGN COUNTRY?

    Is the British Empire still determining American Foreign Policy via Members of Congress holding passports declaring themselves to be a CITIZENS of the State of Israel–a Foreign Power whose interests coincide with those of the Victorian Reich/*British Empire* and other .01% Top Dogs of the Global Holy Roman Fourth Reich and Arabic Reich, rather than those of We the People of the United States?

    Are We the People merely LapDancingDogs of the UK, *Israel*, and the .01% Reich of War Profiteers?

    I hear the jets mustering overhead, toward Kissinger’s Dream: DEAD American Soldiers, Profits of War, and the Victory of the London over America.

  17. charles sereno

    Bloody shame about the burglaries at Olympia and the National Gallery. The Pergamon in Berlin might possibly have wiped out Greece’s national debt in a legal swipe!

    1. just me

      Haven’t read the story, but it occurred to me that the thieves could be trying to save a national treasure before everything gets repo’ed.

      Remembering scene in V where Evey wonders where all the stuff came from in the Shadow Gallery:

      Evey: It’s beautiful. Where did you get all this stuff?
      V: Oh, here and there. Much of it from the vaults of the Ministry of Objectionable Materials.
      Evey: You stole them?
      V: Oh, heavens, no. Stealing implies ownership. You can’t steal from the censor. I merely reclaimed them.

      Maybe you can’t steal from Goldman Sachs…?

  18. LeonovaBalletRusse

    ATTN: NC readers:

    “Free Scotland” by Gerry Hassan, 16 Feb 2012 in “FOREIGN POLICY” is on the right track, with one notable exception: there seems to be a foregone conclusion that Scotlan, even though a petro-State, must cling to the *British* pound sterling. WHY?

    Scotland should make a clean break from the Victorian Reich and the City. The Highland “Ladies from Hell” can damned quit working for the German Crown of *Windsor* and form their own bully armed forces. And they should create their own currency bearing the Golden Lion Rampant of Scotland to match their flag.

    To hell with the Tories in Scotland and the United States. The Carolinas should get back to their Highland roots and forsake their Masters of the *Anglo-American Establishment” (Quigley).

    Then, may our brothers and sisters of Independent Scotland pipe us to victory in our own march against Tory Tyranny in America.


    *UPPITY* AGENTS UNITE: We have nothing to lose but our shame.

    *Bard of Clan Robertson*

    1. ambrit

      My Dear LBR;
      “The Carolinas should get back to their Highland roots..” B——s, my good lady. There were some interesting locals around way before the Scots and Erse made their arrival. Indeed, evidence shows that European diseases like small pox, initially introduced by Spanish explorers, wiped a great many of them out before the Isles sent their seed over to fill in the void. Then came that Revolution, which was heavily supported by the City clique in Parliament, which forced the largely Tory Carolineans to flee to, of all places, the Bahamas! Where they still are, locally known as Conchy Joes.
      I’m still convinced that Bigfoot is one of the Lost Tribes. But that’s another discussion.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        ambrit, I carry DNA of the Micmac tribe of the Algonquin nation.”

        Just trying to distract the *Confederates* in the Carolinas and remind them who the Tories were/are.

        1. ambrit

          Dear LBR;
          Sorry about the mix up there, (no pun intended.) When we lived in Petersburg VA, back in the ’60s, one of my dads’ engineer co workers was a full blood Carolina Cherokee named Little Flower. Every month or so some Nimrod in Accounting would send his paycheck over assigned to Mr. Littleflower. Dad would gleefully recount how Mr. Tom would storm off to Accounting to explain yet again to them that his name was Little Flower, two words. “You took away my land, but you’ll not take away my name!” Mr. Tom was the one who introduced me to Science Fiction. He had a complete set of Wierd Tales, as well as the rest of the Canon.
          Ah, youth, when the world had no boundaries!
          BTW, it seems the Confederate States treated their Native peoples better than the Union did. Go figure.

  19. SR6719

    Episode 9, The Hedge Fund Guy

    Hedge Fund Guy: “I”m trying to get a grasp on this whole modern art thing.”

    Jim Kempner: “That’s why you’re hiring me……because everything you want in a Twombly….is in this picture.

    Hedge Fund Guy: Like?

    Jim Kempner: “Well…..You see these squiggly doodles? And um, it’s packed with squiggly lines and there’s lots of that stuff and ….um, esoteric stuff that, honestly, would only get in the way of your enjoyment……”

    1. ambrit

      Dear SR6719;
      One of our sons in law showed me the vid of “The Entabulator” yesterday. The same silliness rules in all spheres. Do Google it. Much fun!

        1. ambrit

          Dear David;
          I still haven’t figured out this computer thingy. Thank you for the linking function. I particularly like the price part at the end.

        2. SR6719

          This Encabulator guy is hilarious, thanks.

          Reminds me of Marcel Duchamp’s most famous art work, “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even”, most often called “The Large Glass”. Some critics consider it to be nothing more than an elaborate practical joke that nevertheless launched an artistic revolution.

          To describe his painting, Duchamp invented something he called “Playful Physics”, or the quest for a “reality which would be possible by slightly distending the laws of physics and chemistry” where, according to Duchamp, four-dimensionality could be simulated by painting a “Kind of milky way flesh color surrounding unevenly densely the 3 Pistons (i.e. there will be a transparent layer on the glass then the 3 Pistons then another layer of milky way)”, and so forth….

  20. adfly bot

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm in the article you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

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