Links 2/26/12

Using Google’s PageRank algorithm to model how molecules are shaped and organized in a fluid network Nature.

Ubuntu crests new wave of mobile computing solutions Guardian.

The myth of the eight-hour sleep BBC.

Notre Dame bells to be restored Independent (Buzz Potamkin).

U.S. Pulls Out Advisers After Two Killed in Kabul” Online WSJ (SW). Colonel and major both found shot in the head.

NATO recalls advisers after Kabul shooting Al Jazeera. Friday: Protests across the country led to 11 Afghan deaths.

Afghan protests live blog Al Jazeera.

U.S. Pays $237,000 annual salary for Pashto translators Kabul Press (MS).

Iraqi parliament approves a law that allowing members to buy armored cars from the Iraqi budget McClatchy.

‘The Juice Ain’t Worth the Squeeze’ Foreign Policy (MS).

Is the Iranian regime rational? Foreign Policy (MS). Is that the question?

Fears grow for protracted war in Syria” FT. That’s a feature.

G20 inches toward $2 trillion in rescue funds Reuters. Is that all?

NYPD surveillance of students called ‘disgusting’ Yahoo News.

BP: The case of the century” FT. In charge of the Deepwater Horizon negotiations: DOJ’s Thomas J. Perrelli, who oversaw Obama’s mortgage “settlement” Pravda.

Keep Your Hands off My Briefs: Lawyers Sue Westlaw, Lexis WSJ.

Mortgage plan seeks single securities platform” FT. A public utility.

SEC Reviewing U.S. Trading Practices After Decade-Long Shift to Automation Bloomberg.

Legalization forces are gaining ground in drug war McClatchy commentary.

AIJ Investment Advisors moved huge sums to Cayman Islands, Hong Kong The Asahi Shimbun. And after Hong Kong, the pension money trail goes cold. Jesse: Japanese regulators are taking a closer look at 299 more funds.

Why the super-rich love the UK Guardian (Buzz Potamkin). One word: “domicile.”

European bank bonus cuts mask basic pay hikes Reuters.

Your Very Own Floating Bond-Villain Lair for $680 Million Businessweek.

Banker leaves one per cent tip on $133 bill, gives second tip: “Get a real job.” Daily Mail (MS).

Murdoch Starts Sun on Sunday U.K. Tabloid as Hacking Anger Wanes Businessweek. Looking forward and not back.

Senior police officer ‘gave News International executive details of phone-hacking inquiry’ Independent (MS). Pass the popcorn.

“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob” McClatchy.

Francis Fukuyama: “Why we all need a drone of our own” FT Make up your own jokes!

Workers attack factory Phnom Penh Post. Also, too.

Mad, Passionate Love — and Violence (and from Rebecca Solnit in 2011).

As live streaming expands, challenges intensify Committee to Protect Journalists.

Rise of the Livestreamer: Telling the Truth About Occupy in Real Time Alternet.

Antidote du jour: Jaco’s Mao. Readers, the world needs more cute pictures of cats! Especially your cats. I was going to make a collage of the runners up (“everybody has won, and all must have prizes”) but I didn’t really have enough pictures to do that. So please send me many more pictures of your cats, and not just any cats, but your cats; I’ll take one (I hope) tomorrow, but the next time I’m on I’ll collage as many of them as I can together. lambert_strether DOT corrente AT yahoo DOT com. Thank you!

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. dearieme

    Our cats both died last year. We could send you a picture of an empty basket but it would be too poignant.

  2. MIWill

    re: The myth of the eight-hour sleep

    Next up: The myth of eating. ‘Food is overrated’ studies of proles suggest.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      In fact, I found the sleep article helpful; for years I’ve berated myself for sleeping, waking and reading, and sleeping again. It feels inefficient and undisciplined! So now I find I’m conforming to a more ancient sleeping pattern. One less thing to worry about!

      1. endogeneity

        For a great article about someone’s personal sleep experiment, search for the blog of JD Moyer and his “sleep experiment” post.

        If this subject interests you, you will not be disappointed!

  3. wunsacon

    >> Ubuntu crests new wave of mobile computing solutions Guardian.

    Ugh. Based on recent history, mobile devices are horribly insecure and store your data in some cloud. And you now depend on some corporation not cutting you off from your networked/crowd-sourced apps unless you play by their rules. I fear we’ll lose our digital freedoms/privacy/independence by shifting increasingly to “mobile” computing.

    Come to think of it, didn’t NC link to “The Coming War on General-Purpose Computing” some time ago? Ah, yes, Matt Stoller did here:

    1. Steve

      As you bring up, there are definitely issues to worry about, but I think you misunderstand Ubuntu.

      Pointing the finger at Ubuntu is in exactly the wrong direction. Ubuntu is an open source, Linux operating system. As such it is arguably more secure than Windows based systems. Since it is open source, it definitely doesn’t belong in the “some corporation…cutting you off” category. The source code is required to be made available to anyone, people outside Ubuntu are free to modify it as desired. This gets it LOTS of review from software geeks who are not doing the work for a corporation, just for the community.


      1. Frank

        For that same reason we use free Firefox browser.
        Most satisfied with it and the level of control over
        ads and the ability to flush all cookies when closing the browswer.
        You also need Flash Flush to eliminate the Flash cookies that are not browser resident.

  4. Jesper

    This quote about bankers pay:

    “”I would hate to be starting out in banking now,” said a senior banker based in Europe. “Pay isn’t what it was”

    Sounds very similar to areas where the Troika is demanding reform, except that in this case it doesn’t…. I suppose the protected insiders in finance are exempt.

    1. Jesper

      “Draghi: In Europe first is the product and services markets reform. And the second is the labour market reform which takes different shapes in different countries. In some of them one has to make labour markets more flexible and also fairer than they are today. In these countries there is a dual labour market: highly flexible for the young part of the population where labour contracts are three-month, six-month contracts that may be renewed for years. The same labour market is highly inflexible for the protected part of the population where salaries follow seniority rather than productivity. In a sense labour markets at the present time are unfair in such a setting because they put all the weight of flexibility on the young part of the population.”

      Quote from:

  5. Hugh

    I think the killings of the two US officers in Afghanistan may mark a turning point where both the US military and the foreign policy establishment realize, after 10 years of non-stop examples, that the US has no allies in Afghanistan, none, and there just might be no reason to keep a 100,000 army in a failed state where the people hate us only slightly more than they hate each other and what passes for the government there.

    Leaving Afghanistan would have the added bonus of getting us out from our paradoxal alliance with Pakistan, which is at the same time a principal ally in the War on Terror and one of the two biggest sponsors of terror directed against us, the Saudis being the other.

    1. ohmyheck

      You would think it would be a turning point, but last year, numerous (8, 10, 12, 16?) high-ranking US military officers were murdered in the highest-security area of the highest-secured airport in Afghanistan. Their translator, who was a high-ranking Afghan officer himself, and had worked as a translator for many years, either blew up himself, and all of them, or shot them all, I don’t remember.

      I thought I read about this at TomDispatch, but my search there was fruitless. What I remember reading is that if that many officers can be taken out in such a secure area, then there is no “security” in Afghanistan, at all. Yet we remained.

      I do hope this will be a turning point, but our parameters of what constitutes a “turning point” might be very different than those of TPTB.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      So far, in the “graveyard of empires”, we’ve lasted longer than the Soviets (barely), probably because we’re better practiced at corruption. Also, there are no major sources arming the opposition, as Carter/Reagan did the Mujahedeen against the Soviets.

      The proximate cause of the recent unrest, Quran burning, smells funny. Deliberate provocation by US forces makes no sense (nor did Abu Ghraib), but how can book burning, let alone Quran burning, be accidental? Is this another case of rogue troop psychosis or what? It’s weird.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Why does it make no sense? It makes perfect sense to me.

        Are Americans talking about the 7 children and one mentally handicapped adult that were killed earlier this month? No. And this is an action that would shock the conscience of Americans if it were explained to them. I can only imagine how upset the Afghanis must be. Can you imagine if 8 nice WHITE AMERICAN children were murdered in this way? This is the perfect distraction for Americans.

        To me the motive for faking the burning is very strong. Not only does it propagandize Americans into thinking Muslims are stupid superstitous critters, but think how much this act would enrage the Afghanis not merely for the religious insensitivity but because of the mindfucking. They are not stupid. They probably recognize the injustice of American apologizing for making mistakes burning a Koran but committing massive war crimes and saying nothing about that.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          To be more clear: the motive for fucking with Afghani minds is to confuse the “enemy” and to convince the natives they have no hope and resistance is futile. American media is so powerful that even if they resist it will purposely flipped around so they are the bad ones and their legitimate complaints will never be heard.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          In other words, it’s psychological warfare; we kill their kids then fuck with their heads. Like war criminal bullies.

          And as an added benefit the Republicans are playing up the angle that Obama is weak and Obama and the Democrats are playing up the angle that they are the compassionate warmongers.

          Oh, and, look over there at Syria!

          We must invade and kill again. It’s for the children!

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Aha! Such intricate “strategery” is clearly too brilliant for small minds. Seems like a remix of Colonel Kurtz in Vietnam in Apocalypse Now, with severed fingers as trophies instead of ears. Perhaps it’s time to declare victory and withdraw. But what do I know?

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Sounds like you are wiser than the jerks in charge.

            And I think the plan is indeed brilliant (although diabolical) because of its simplicity. It shocks the mind so it confuses people and then the image of rioting Afghanis seals the image in our mind and sells the story.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      What evidence do we have that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have funded terrorism?

      I know this is the conventional MSM wisdom, but how do we know?

      I have begun to review the history of Al Qaeda and terrorism in general and apart from “terrorism” in war zones, I doubt the official story.

      Al Qaeda was a CIA invention:

      The Saudis and the U.S. funded the “Al Qaeda” fighters in the 80s during Operation Cyclone (I didn’t realize that there were Afghani-American organizations in the U.S. that were the conduit).

      These 4 Pakistanis describe to CBS what is commonly known in Pakistan; Osama is working on behalf of the U.S. to create a terrorism threat:

      Saudi and Pakistan (and Israel) have been implicated in supporting terrorism (or failing to stop it) to create guilty knowledge. These countries are forced to be patsies so the U.S. has someone to blame. The leaders of these countries go along with it.

    4. Middle Seaman

      There is an implicit assumption that protests and demonstrations of the type taking place in Afghanistan are spontenous outbreaks of anger. That is not always the case, even the current events seem organized by the Taliban rather than being random violence.

      This violence is not any different than the typical everyday fighting in Afghanistan. The US has no business being in Afghanistan apart from attacking Al-Qaida. The rest is the political and military desire to have a war. We should leave right away with or witout the lastest events.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        I was wondering what type of laws the puppet government enforces against “protesters”. I imagine they are pretty strict except I bet that more leeway is allowed for religious based protest–like we are seeing now.

        So maybe the government is allowing these protests while it would never have allowed previous protests. This makes sense if the flag burning is a U.S. psy operation–it could just order the puppet government to allow some protest.

        Don’t the Taliban have a twitter account? Our media here would never report honestly on what the Taliban are doing or claiming to do, but I image they support protest of the puppet government. Seems like things have progressed beyond protest though . . . . there is war and I imagine the resistance/Taliban are somewhat organized. Again, or media is complicit so we cannot trust it to accurately report the facts and the level of Taliban organization. Anyway, are the Taliban the enemy? Why?

      2. Walter Wit Man

        But is there even Al Qaeda there?

        [I doubt Al Qaeda even exists, other than as a front for the CIA, but that’s beside the point . . . ]

        I don’t even see reporters or politicians talk about Al Qaeda there. They talk about the Taliban.

        Someone leaked/insinuated that the Obama administration only thought there were 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan what, 4 years ago? Can we get a progress report from the president’s surge? Are we down to 75? 50? Where are we?

        [let me guess–the threat never ends]

        1. SR6719

          Let’s say it’s down to 75 now, just to be on the safe side.
          4 years, 25 Al Qaeda killed, so if things continue at this rate, we should have the mission completed in 12 years.

          That is, assuming no more of them cross over the border from Pakistan.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Yeah, I would think Congress would want a progress report about the money its spending. How many billions per person killed?

    5. Hugh

      Saudis have been heavily involved in the funding of radical madrassas throughout the Muslim world. A lot of the funding that al Qaeda received even after 9/11 came from Saudi and the Gulf. It wasn’t an accident that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. You really need to go back into the deals the Saudi monarchy made with its own religious radicals. It basically turned the education system over to them and equally turned a blind eye to anything that they might do elsewhere as long as it was not aimed at the ruling family.

      As for Pakistan, its intelligence service the ISI basically put the Taliban together and has worked hand in glove with Kashmiri terrorist groups for decades. Again it was no accident that bin Laden was living in a garrison town of the Pakistani military. It is not like the Pakistanis actively colluded with him on that, not in an institutional sense. It was more likely a few individuals. So the Pakistanis could know relatively specifically where bin Laden was without knowing exactly where he was. And the Pakistani power structure could make sure that steps were never taken, by them, to find him.

      I mean that was one of the great pantomimes going. The Pakistanis knew bin Laden was in their country but for something like 10 years they never did anything to find him. You really need to understand the convolutions involved here. bin Laden unfound was considered a major plus for them because it kept US aid flowing to them for 10 years. Much the same kind of thinking is what is behind Pakistani support for the Taliban. They have always thought we would leave at some point and they figure the Karzai government will fall not long after. And they have always placed their bets on the Taliban replacing them. But supporting the Taliban as they do has also kept the US mired in Afghanistan, and so attached to Pakistan.

      As I said above, I think the Washington consensus on Afghanistan is changing. The neocon ideologues will carp but the overall calculus has changed. I think these murders for whatever reason were the crystallizing event. They confirm this new consensus that Afghanistan isn’t worth it to any of the groups, minus the ideologues, currently engaged in the war there.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        I would love to see better sources for the history of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda than what I’ve seen. From what I’ve seen, most of what we know comes from anonymous U.S. intelligence sources and the U.S. media never seems to scrutinize this information.

        I would have thought such an important figure and ideological figure would have a larger body of work about him . . . but everything seems to be a slight variation to the same U.S. propagated story. I wonder if there a larger body of work in the Arab/Muslim world about him and Al Qaeda?

        It does appear the U.S. and Saudi Arabia funded “schools” in Pakistan and Afghanistan and indeed helped fund what later became the Taliban against the Soviets. This appears to be more driven by the U.S. than Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia largely appears to be the cover/patsy. I think one of my links above explains Taliban means “students”, and the U.S. was responsible for supporting the people that became the Taliban.

        So yes, the U.S. appears to have used Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s ISI, the Taliban, and even Al Qaeda, for its own purposes and these have involved funding radical schools. I think Obama’s mother may even have been involved in this when she was probably working for the CIA in Pakistan, btw.

        The excuse that the U.S. made a mistake by supporting radicals, or can’t control their puppets, is just that, an excuse.

        I now believe there is NO organic Islamic terrorist group that has had the means to attack the U.S. Almost all islamic terrorist attacks against the U.S. have been planned and executed by the U.S. The U.S. has a huge military and black op budget and has used these tactics in the past. Much more so than we realize.

        This is a phantom threat.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Btw, I don’t believe Bin Laden was killed the way he was (he may have been killed back in 2001, or were a couple of actors). Again, we have to blindly trust the military/media and the story is suspicious on its own terms (conflicting accounts and summarily executing him and dumping the body with no autopsy).

        And the way they handled and milked the whole episode tells me his death was nothing but an elaborate psy operation–the favorite U.S. weapon–a weapon aimed at the American people. It was effective propaganda.

        And it is doubtful there were any hijacked airplanes on 9/11, so that is another example of making Saudi Arabia the patsy. Just like the Pakistani ISI guy that was here in Washington D.C. and supposedly met with the administration and gave the hijackers money. That’s the U.S. perps giving them guilty knowledge–or including them in the attack to keep them on the team. Same thing with Israel.

        I am very confident 911 was a false flag attack, so that explains my suspicion about all the other terrorist attacks being false flag attacks as well. If they could fake that attack, how many others have they also faked? Plus, we’ve caught them committing a great many other similar acts and they’ve even admitted to a great deal.

        And so I’m discovering most terrorism is made up bullshit.

        1. SR6719

          Just considering the bin Laden death and leaving the rest aside for now….

          The official version of bin Laden’s death was so bizarre and unconvincing that it’s given rise to numerous conspiracy theories. Why were there so many conflicting versions of how he was killed? Why isn’t there a photograph of bin Laden’s body? Dumping his body in the deep blue ocean without so much as a photograph didn’t help matters. Was he even buried at sea? Did they really use a DNA sample taken from his sister’s brain in order to identify the body?

          And another seemingly minor detail: was there even time to perform DNA testing? My understanding is that it normally takes 3 to 15 days for DNA testing, although a truly rush job can perhaps be done in 8 hours.

          Here’s the timeline:

          The attack ended at 18.15pm GMT, 23:15 Islamabad, 14:15 Washington time.

          The US first news announcement was 02:15 GMT (2nd May) which was 22:15 Washington time (1st May).

          That’s 8 hours. Out of this you have to take the time to transport the remains from Islamabad to Afghanistan by helicopter. That would take approximately 2 hours (230 miles at 115 mp… although this is really pushing it, leaving them no margin for error. Wouldn’t they want to take enough time and be certain they have the right man?

          So who knows?

          A lot of people believe that bin Laden died many years ago, and the official death story given out by the American media was a hoax.

          1. SR6719

            Interesting to see Ahmadinejad has a sense of humor and treated the American journalist’s questions with the contempt they deserved.

            Journalist: Is Osama in Tehran?

            Ahmadinejad: If the US went to war in Afghanistan in order to find him there, then he must be in Afghanistan. Otherwise they got the wrong country…..

            Journalist: Again, Is Osama in Tehran?

            Ahmadinejad: No, I heard he’s in Washington, DC, after all he’s a friend of the Bush family

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I also get the sense Ahmadinejad is hinting at knowing something for sure but remaining vague about it.

            The former head of Pakistani intelligence, Gul, makes the same claim that Osama was in Washington D.C.–and was killed there.

    6. Procopius

      I haven’t seen many sources pointing out that people in the crowds are saying they are protesting the night raids and the killing of children by air attacks, and the Quran burning just was the last straw. Americans don’t hear nearly enough about what the people in the occupied countries think. There was a story about Iraq buying rice from India, and an American “farmer” (probably the manager of a large agribusiness unit) complaining that they should be willing to buy American rice at a premium because we “liberated” them.

  6. Bill C

    “Leaving Afghanistan would have the added bonus of getting us out from our paradoxal alliance with Pakistan”

    Plus it’s only a short hop over to Syria, our next war of “liberation for democracy”………..apparently we’ve made the Afghans free enough, thank you.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      You’re right; it sounds so banally familiar, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, etc. For all we know, the POTUS’s private CIA army is already arming the opposition, or is itself shelling residential neighborhoods there via drones, not Assad at all. Nothing is ever as it seems, and we can’t believe a single word from our MSM or the imperial Ministries of Truth, Peace, or Love, which they so dutifully serve.

      Robert Fisk has some analysis of Syria at The Independent, and of course, it has a lot to do with Iran.–in-syria-7440620.html

      “… maybe after President Assad eventually falls, thus depriving Iran of its only – and valuable – ally in the Middle East. Which is, I suspect, what a lot of the roaring and raging against Assad is all about. Get rid of Assad and you cut out part of Iran’s heart – though whether that will induce the crackpot Ahmadinejad to turn his nuclear plants into baby-milk factories is another matter

  7. Hotel Scheveningen

    Interesting too that the Dems are bringing Feingold back to bow like a Hanoi POW and pronounce the Democratic fealty oath, “I’m glad al-Awlaki is dead.” They must have focus-grouped that slogan pretty thoroughly, because it’s uniform, verbatim among the party hacks. It’s a neat way to avoid questions of the humanitarian law of extrajudicial killings. They’re modeling pre-chewed opinions for the masses so somewhat educated dupes can ape their betters’ chin-scratching. The Dems are really working hard to deep-six any notion of law, with Obama sneering at it and Feingold shutting up about it, and Kucinich being pitted against war-profiteering poule de luxe Marcy Kaptur. Rule of law scares them.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Al Awlaki has been a guest of honor at the Pentagon.

      Another psy op?

      Also another instance of an inept legal case associated with the “terrorist.” Why did the lawsuit get thrown out? Was it because his father brought in instead of Al Awlaki? Why would Al Awlaki fail to take the necessary steps to bring a lawsuit that would save his life or at least score a huge propaganda victory for himself?

    2. Hotel Scheveningen

      Funny how the government can’t get their story straight about what Awlaki did to get put on double-secret death probation:

      Let alone Awlaki’s kid. When times change and war crimes get uncool, and they hood Obama give him an enema and ship him to the Hague on a stretcher, Lindsay Graham will be there to pop in the buttplug.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        The author of that article is unduly deferential to authority. The assumption that there is nothing nefarious going on is not a rational assumption and simply spreads propaganda that it’s irrational to question the veracity of government claims.

        They are simply repeating the prosecutor’s expert witness, who is an expert in reading terrorist minds, or something. Bullshit.

        The undie bomber was most likely working for the U.S. government from the very beginning! This is more likely than him being influenced and ordered by Al Awlaki. There is also a chance Al Awlaki himself is an asset/agent.

        As you note the shifting accusations are suspicious. They only later came out with this allegation that Al Awlaki ordered the bombing . . . when we have very compelling witnesses that say it was the U.S. government that put Al Awlaki on that plane to blow it up. Someone just happened to be filming the incident so Americans can be further terrorized and to justify full body scanning devices and the general curtailment of rights.

        I can’t believe how gullible that piece sounds (no offense intended b/c/ it’s good someone is reporting some of the facts in a somewhat critical way). But the government does not deserve the benefit of the doubt and one should not blindly accept the prosecution’s “terrorism” expert.

        Common sense says this whole case is bullshit.

  8. Frank

    Yet another reason for California voters to sign the ballot initiative to force the labeling of
    gentically modified food.

    “The U.S. Department of Agriculture is ready to approve a new corn variety that is genetically engineered by Dow Chemical to survive massive spraying with the super-toxic herbicide 2,4-D. This dangerous chemical was a deadly component of the Agent Orange chemical warfare program in Vietnam that has killed or seriously injured millions of Vietnamese and returning U.S military Vietnam veterans.

    There is a large body of evidence indicating major health problems resulting from exposure to 2,4-D that include cancer, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity, and immunosuppression. The first round of “RoundUp Ready” herbicide resistant crops only helped to breed super-weeds that are a nightmare to farmers.”

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Speaking of drnoes, can a drone fly another drone?

    Some people seem to be drones of clones or clones of drones. It’s hard to tell.

    If you clone a clone and then clone that clone of a clone, and keep repeating it, what will you get eventually?

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    $237K/yr for Pashto translators.

    Per MMT, we only need to be concerned that these Pashto translators should spend all of it in the US or on US products or services.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What I mean to say is that there are lots of not-so-cute photos of not-so-cute cats that many of us adore mildly or passtionately.

      We should post them as well as those cute ones that we also adore not-so-passionately or passionately.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Also, my cat says she’s cute.

      So, I must let that dissenting voice be heard here…or else, it’s time for those retractable claws. OK, this plant activist is just kidding. So, relax, all you animal-centrics.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I know most people say they pay for their pets’ room and board, which the slaveowners also used to say and still say, but how much should you pay your Fifi, according to free-market capitalism?

        How much should you pay your bonsai tree?

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Outrageous suggestion du jour.

    I am publishing it so others won’t have to waste time on it.

    How many TBTF bankers are there? How many CEO do they have? How much do they make a year?

    Let’s 10 big banks, with each CEO making $100 million/yr.

    That’s $1 billion a year.

    We have a, what, $14 trillion economy being held hostage? What is $1 billion out of $14 trillion? Let’s buy them off and let them do no more harm. 1 over 14,000 – that’s less than 0.01%.

    Now that you know it’s a terrible idea, I hope you won’t think about it again.

    1. Jessica

      Actually, if we could get them to go for it, it would be a wonderful idea. The money they take directly is a tiny fraction of the damage they inflict on the economy in order to make sure that they can take their plunder.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Victorians called this a remittance, and the black sheep of the family, who was paid to stay far away from England, was called a remittance man.

      But would our banksters like to be remittance men? Sure, the generous allowance covers the hookers and blow, but what about the power? What about the ability to inflict pain? Won’t they miss that?

  12. brian

    as for afpak and similar venues perhaps it best to listen to a wiser voice from the past rather than current commanders still living with the legacy and trying to make up for/refight Vietnam

    “Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them. Actually, also, under the very odd conditions of Arabia, your practical work will not be as good as, perhaps, you think it is.”
    The Evolution of A Revolt (1920)

  13. SH

    My step brother grew up in Amman and is a native Arabic speaker. After graduating college and searching around for entry level jobs he was offered $180K to be a translator in Iraq without having any job experience. What they don’t tell you though is translators are the ones knocking on doors in house to house searches. He didn’t see the money as worth it.

  14. Maximilien

    “Boorish banker leaves waitress 1% tip (and some nasty advice)”

    Reminds me of a rich boor joke:

    RICH BOOR: Waiter, this food isn’t fit for a pig.
    WAITER: I’m sorry, sir. I’ll bring you some that is.

    1. Jesse

      I thought that that article was going to be the talk of the links section, you’re the first to mention it.

      1. Skippy

        Then I ‘ll add to it. Best cheap tip sight I’ve seen is the waiter running out into parking lot and threw the change before the customer adding… “If that’s all you can afford, then you need it more than me!”

        Skippy… roar of applause from the gallery!

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