Links 3/5/12

Saint’s ancient heart stolen from Dublin cathedral Associated Press (hat tip Lambert)

Japanese Elderly Knit a Safety Net Wall Street Journal

Even Smiles Count, However Exacting the Competition New York Times. This is how people get injured in yoga (not these people in particular, but in general): 1. Trying to do traditional postures when they may not yet/ever have the flexibility (or body proportions) and 2. Getting competitive about it. Some schools of yoga are big on giving variants of postures for people who can’t do the classical ones without taking risk.

US man convicted for helping thousands steal Internet service Computerworld

206 killed in Republic of Congo arms depot blasts Associated Press

China Lowers GDP Target to 7.5% as Exports Slow Bloomberg

Signs China’s February loan demand weak MacroBusiness

In Chinese village that revolted, two former protesters win election McClatchy (hat tip Lambert)

Iraq attacks in Haditha ‘kill 25 policemen’ BBC

Smart concrete Economist (hat tip reader bob) on Iran’s secret weapon, um, defense.

Who was behind the Delhi bombing? Gareth Porter, Aljazeera (hat tip Richard Kline)

Greek bond swap deal rests on knife-edge Financial Times. As I’ve reminded readers, Felix called a default early. Odds are moving smartly in his favor. He also said to ignore Dallara (your truly has also been skeptical).

Greece edges towards credit event MacroBusiness

The Bundesbank has no right at all to be baffled Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

US Congress passes authoritarian anti-protest law WSWS. As reader wunsacon pointed out, the lack of meaningful reporting on this is disconcerting.

Holder expected to explain rationale for targeting U.S. citizens abroad Washington Post. Lambert points out that “targeting” = “killing without due process.”

The Secret Austerity Society: Bipartisan Group Works on Grand Bargain Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (hat tip reader Carol B)

In a slippery spot over pump prices Ed Luce, Financial Times

Bankruptcy Approved CBS42 (hat tip reader nathan). For Jefferson County, which will make this the biggest municipal bankruptcy ever.

Municipal Defaults May Surpass Record in 2011, Lehmann Says BusinessWeek (hat tip reader May S)

Average sales tax rate lowest in 45 years ABC (hat tip reader May S). Internet arbitrage.

BP settles while Macondo ‘seeps’ Aljazeera (hat tip Lambert)

London Calling: Why the Libor Affair Matters to You BusinessWeek (hat tip Lambert)

Soc Gen: LIBOR dispersion surging post-LTRO, funding conditions “may not be as healthy as they seem Daily Collateral (hat tip reader Matt)

Lenders Stress Over Test Results Wall Street Journal.

Banks drag heels on living wills Financial Times. Quelle surprise!

States of Depression Paul Krugman, New York Times

How cabbies get ripped off on K Street DCBlogger

My Lawyer, Myself Columbia Journalism Review. On do it yourself FOIA. From last week, but Lambert hopes it might inspire some NC readers!

Antidote du jour:

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      1. craazyman

        I can’t believe the French eat those things. It makes me almost vomit just to think about it. haha.

        If I had to choose between eating a rabbit or a fried cricket, I think I’d die from starvation. I’m not Bear Gryllis.

        1. Lidia

          Tastes like chicken.

          Liberally salt and pepper, then brown pieces in a generous amount of good olive oil in a skillet, add some garlic cloves towards the end of this phase; when garlic has taken on a bit of color, add about 1/2 c. cider vinegar, some rosemary sprigs and turn the heat down to a bare simmer. Cover and let simmer for an hour or more, monitoring the amount of liquid. The meat will throw off some, but depending on your pot/cover/heat it will thicken towards the end of the cooking time. You should end up with a few tablespoons of slightly thickened pan juices.

          1. Valissa

            That sounds worth a try! I don’t eat rabbit very often, but when I do it’s likely to be some variation on french rabbit stew with red wine (I don’t remember the French name for it)… yum!

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I don’t know if this will make vegetable-chomping animal-chauvinists queasy, but you don’t have to die if there is a 3rd choice – roast sheep’s eyes – which they love in Saudi Arabia.

          1. craazyman

            only if it’s ground up into Spam.

            It’s like buying the triple A tranche in a mortgage securitization.

            God knows what’s in it — but you can eat it free from guilt and distasteful mental imagery.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but apparently Chinese are not the only ones.

            Bosintang – Korean dog stew.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I gorge on sub-prime beef, except the Beef Rendang I just had. It was prime…something about being polled the #1 dish in the world by CNN, per Wiki.

            In any case, sub-prime gorging – It’s not very nutritional. You could say it’s basically a subsistence life.

  1. KFritz

    Looks like Bigwig scuffling with Holly while leaving the Sandleford warren. Doesn’t look serious enough to be Bigwig vs. Woundwort.

  2. Lio

    you often take advantage of opportunities to bash Israel with this list of links, but this specific link from AlJazeera, a well known objective and credible source on the Arab-Israeli matters, is ridiculously over the top even for you. wishing you well,

      1. wb

        Now, that’s a strain of bitter anguished lethal humour that I can truly relish, thanks rjs ;-)

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Al Jazeera is creating showing propaganda on Syria.

      Someone working with Al Jazeera is reported to have leaked this video showing actors pretending to be wounded civilians preparing to go on Al Jazeera:

      And Anderson Cooper on CNN also interviewed “Danny”, who is also an actor and was caught preparing for the interview and getting ready to lie:

      Al Jazeera is a stooge of the West.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        That should be Al Jazeera is “showing” propaganda. It’s unclear what extend they have in producing the particular video above, although the circumstantial evidence shows that the network is willfully engaging in propaganda (not all individual reporters are complicit though–some may be unwillingly taking part in propaganda).

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Here’s a better bit of “bashing” from Chris Hedges:

      “AIPAC Works for the 1 Percent”

      What is being done in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, is a pale reflection of what is slowly happening to the rest of us. It is a window into the rise of the global security state, our new governing system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.” It is a reflection of a world where the powerful are not bound by law, either on Wall Street or in the shattered remains of the countries we invade and occupy, including Iraq with its hundreds of thousands of dead. And one of the greatest purveyors of this demented ideology of violence for the sake of violence, this flagrant disregard for the rule of domestic and international law, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

  3. rjs

    re: In Chinese village that revolted, two former protesters win election…

    what a sad way for an occupy to end; co-opted by the system

    1. Susan the other

      It’s not sad yet. Wukan has courage. Their fate lies in the fate of Hong Kong because they are so close and will probably be swallowed up. But PR is powerful and the Chinese outside the province will use them. I just thought how all Occupy and revolutionary movements need sister cities. Wukan could be a sister city to all of us.

    2. paper mac

      Wukan was never about fighting “the system”, the protestors were appealing to Beijing to intercede in their dealings with the local Guangdong officials from the beginning. It was always about fighting specific instances of corruption within that system. Applying an “Occupy” prism to Chinese protests is a sure way to badly distort what’s going on there.

  4. CB


    Three questions 1) Isn’t Jefferson Co your mother’s home and didn’t she say bankruptcy was the solution? 2) Meredith Whitney took a terrible beating on her muni default calls. Will she be at least partially vindicated? 3) Sales tax rates or sales tax rates of collection? By the article, sales tax rates haven’t declined, sales tax collections have. And serves them right!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. Yes and yes

      2. Meredith was still pretty over the top, and she really does not know munis. There was speculation among other credit analysts that her calls were politically motivated. She didn’t have the right credentials to be forming a rating agency, yet she seemed to have lots of backers and talked as if she was getting whisked through the SEC approval process (I know others who are getting approved and it’s onerous.

      3. Yes, it ‘s collections, not rates

  5. Max424

    Iran will be one tough fucking nut to crack –if you attack them the old fashioned way.

    That’s because establishing total air supremacy over Iran could take weeks, if you employ conventional weapons systems only.

    However, if you use tactical nukes, you achieve air, land, sea and any other kind of supremacy you can think of in a matter of minutes.

    Tough choices lie ahead for the President and the Joint Chiefs. Do you get after the enemy with speculative shock and awe, or do you cover all bets, by sending your adversary back to the stone age in a jiff.

    1. aet

      A nuclear first strike against a nation which has not attacked the USA would be the worst war crime ever committed in human history.

      The evil of such an action would eclipse that of the Holocaust!

      1. Max424

        Depends on how you define war crimes, aet. If you are an utterly lawless nation, it would be impossible to commit a crime, of any kind.

        That’s the beauty of being the United States in its present configuration; it can do anything it wants, with no justification.

        If we obliterate Iran without warning, will some international tribal demand that we stand trial for our “heinous acts of aggression?” Sure they will.

        Will we show up, to defend ourselves? Hell no. We’ll just make an announcement; “We we are the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Fuck off.”

        1. EH

          How does, “an act that gets the USA invaded by a majority of the rest of the world, with the UN and NATO declining treaty protection,” work for you?

    2. chasd00

      “However, if you use tactical nukes, you achieve air, land, sea and any other kind of supremacy you can think of in a matter of minutes.”

      Demonstrating the feasibility of a limited tactical nuclear strike will never happen because doing so puts nukes on the table for all conflicts for all nations that have them. The risk of a limited tactical strike escalating to a strategic strike and then full blown nuclear warfare is too high.

    3. ScottS

      Well, there’s much more money to be had in no-bid contracts rebuilding a country destroyed by conventional bombing, so I would say that’s what we’ll see. Unless Haliburton is offering nuclear bomb clean-up services — then, we know how it will happen.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      And Al Jazeera.

      The media got busted!

      CNN and Al Jazeera are nothing but lies! If you look closely at all videos it is very apparent that most of the rebel videos are fake.

      Same thing with Tyler Hicks and the New York Times.

      Some of us were able to use our eyes and logic and figured this out before we got conclusive proof.

      I hear nothing about this in the U.S. media. Nothing. No retraction from CNN or Al Jazeera.

      They are literally airing video that was created by actors showing children with fake injuries!

    2. Walter Wit Man

      I just can’t believe this isn’t being picked up by more people. Sure, I understand the crickets we hear in the mainstream media, but the blogs?

      Where is the attention to the fact CNN and Al Jazeera got conclusively busted providing fake war propaganda!!!!!

      I mean, really? No mention on this blog? Isn’t this really fucking big news?

      Why not other “progressive” blogs?

      Be very suspicious of “progressives” who don’t want us to look into media fakery.

      Much of what we know has been created whole cloth by our media. The truth is out there. We know that the story about Libya and Syria is a lie. But only a few people really care and those people are being marginalized.

      1. SR6719

        Walter Wit Man: “Much of what we know has been created whole cloth by our media.”

        This is all part of WFKATGWOT (the war formerly known as the global war on terrorism), combined with digital manipulation and media illusion.

        As Andrew Bacevich points out in his latest piece, “Scoring the Global War on Terror” we’re being plunged into a real-life war novel that has no plot and no end….”

        1. Walter Wit Man

          I like the borrowed quote from Dick Cheney that they U.S. is going to the “dark side.”

          In my opinion this is the main benefit Obama and his “progressives” have provided. They have now justified what was once thought of as evil by large numbers of Americans. Obama and his progressive supporters have normalized fascism.

          In fact, Obama is reportedly being advised to put the special forces under CIA cover to give them a license to kill (as if they don’t already have one–this just means even less reporting about it to the public).

          We are now entering the scary next stage of outright fascism where our leaders don’t bother hiding their crimes.

          They are literally inventing fake Syrian children victims, and when caught red handed (because CNN and Al Jazeera have real blood on their hands), they literally ignore it.

          These “progressive” blogs that are ignoring this huge story, and instead are talking about silly issues like Limbaugh’s rhetoric or Occupy protester “violence”, are obvious stooges for the fascists.

          For instance, I just searched Daily Kos and saw nothing . . . .

          This is a good indicator of how independent a blog really is, imho. Think about it. How huge is this that the main “activists” providing data to the West about Syria got caught faking it with actors? This is huge! No sincere lefty would totally ignore it.

          1. SR6719

            Yeah, I had a quick glance at the Daily Kos site, and as far as I can tell there’s nothing about Syria or fake videos.

            Instead, it looks like they’re getting all worked up over
            Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke. Right on cue. The perfect distraction, as required by the script.

          2. Lambert Strether

            Well, it would sure be nice if Occupy didn’t stumble into the strategic disaster successful violence advocacy would bring (and the 1%’s embedded agent provocateurs would like to nothing better than to have happen). Some may call this “silly,” but it’s a big Internet. The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

      2. Susan the other

        The BBC carried this 3 nights ago; the night of March 2 (maybe 3rd) depending where it was originally broadcast.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Do you mean that the BBC reported the original propaganda or is reporting that it IS propaganda and is correcting their stories?

          The BBC used this actor, Danny, in their videos. I would think this would be a big deal that one of their biggest sources is outright fraud. A perp.

          Here’s an example of the BBC passing this perp off as the real deal:

          Where’s the BBC correction for spreading lies and the subsequent death and destruction they will cause?

    3. LucyLulu

      Not sure if this has already been posted here. Originally the interview below was posted on uk reuters on Feb 29 with disclaimer as unable to be independently verified, RT writes that there have been prior similar reports:

      “A general in the opposition militia known as the Free Syria Army has told journalists that the rebels have received French and American military assistance, amid reports of worsening violence in the stricken nation.

      ­In Homs on Tuesday, a general claiming to be from the rebel group appeared on camera and told a journalist from Reuters news agency that “French and American assistance has reached us and is with us.” When asked to elaborate on the nature of the assistance he added, “We now have weapons and anti-aircraft missiles and, God willing, with all of that we will defeat Bashar [President Assad].”

      I did a scan of international news media reports on the situation in Syria, trying to get a handle on the “real” story. The preponderance of reports reflect the government as being the oppressive party, even coming from Xinhua and Global Times out of Beijing. When taken together with the AlJazeera and CNN fakery, I don’t feel any more confidence than I did before I started, i.e. believe little of anything being reported. But between Iran and Syria, the prospects of avoiding another war in the middle east, is looking increasingly slim.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Thierry Meyssan has reported:

        “The first day, Syrian troops were stopped from entering the besieged neighborhoods by the anti-tank missiles fired by the rebels, notably Milan missiles. . . .
        All the rebels in Baba Amr have considerable stocks of arms and ammunition, which in the current situation are no longer replenished, and sooner or later they will have to give themselves up, short a foreign military intervention. Their arsenals contain night vision Dragunov sniper rifles, as well as 80 to 120 mm mortars and incalculable quantities of explosives. They converted basements into warehouses and even set up weapons caches in the sewers. However, contrary to what has been reported, the pipes are too narrow to allow them to circulate. Similarly, the tunnels that were dug in the days when they had the protection of the former Governor of Homs, are no longer ventilated and can no longer be used. As for the ex-governor, he has long been exiled in Qatar, where he quietly enjoys the salary for his treachery.

        The population had backed the rebels for a while, but it is now being used as human shields. Civilians who attempt to flee are shot by snipers. They have no way of rebelling, especially since most of them are elderly.”

        He also describes how the rebels wouldn’t allow the Red Crescent to evacuate the wounded French journalists.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Notice how the report of the rebels having Milan Missiles and RPGs conflicts with Tyler Hick’s reporting in the NYTimes and others. Hicks accompanied the rebels on a “mission” where they attacked a column of tanks (see yesterday’s NYTimes).

          The pictures look like it was a staged “attack.” About 8 guys are in the gang. They set off a bomb as the third tank passes, it misses, and then they shoot their guns at the tanks (I’m no expert but I’m guessing this isn’t going to harm the tank much). There is a small boy nonchalantly watching the rebels fire their guns in one of the photos (picture 7– the captions later say they had boy fighters with them). They guys bunch together in what has to be one of the most retarded attacks ever. So of course it’s fake.

          So anyway. I think I believe Syrian television that has shown RPGs and sophisticated explosives in weapons caches that were seized. And the fact Messyan and RT are reporting they have anti tank missiles, plus I have seen captured sophisticated explosives, tells me the Western media are lying.

          The rebels would have mounted a much more serious attack on the tanks using their Milan Missiles or devising better and more bombs to hit the tanks. They would have had RPGs . . .

          So this is probably propaganda trying to convince the West it needs to arm the rebels (of course it’s happening anyway and this is really propaganda to sell a war that has already begun–they are reusing the Libyan playbook).

          Of course it’s impossible to tell what the truth is but we know the West has been totally faking news and lying their asses off. Syrian television is a better source than Western media.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        See also this interview with Ankhar Kochneva (via Penny for your Thoughts bog):

        RT: Why would Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya disseminate all these falsified reports on Syria?
        AK: These TV networks have been employed as propaganda tools serving to destroy Syria as a state. Some of those propaganda tactics are stunningly elaborate, and you can only tell a lie if you live in Syria and focus on details.
        For instance, there has been a fantastic weather forecast for Syria broadcast on TV, where temperature indices actually stand for the time when protesters will assemble in a specific location to provoke unrest. If you are with the opposition, this broadcast tells you that there will be a rally in Homs tomorrow at 12pm, and specially instructed camera crews will be waiting for you and your associates to turn up to act as the angry masses. You spend five minutes yelling “Down with Assad” in a square and leave with hard cash in your pocket, and the world gets TV images of “a street revolution rocking Syria.

        I witnessed this technique in action once. Al Jazeera reported on a street protest erupting near the Russian Cultural Center in Damascus in December 2011.”

        1. LucyLulu

          The other side of the story:

          Interview with escaped journalist Paul Conroy, describing ‘systematic massacre’ of civilians by Syrian Army

          Interview with Jacques Beres with Doctors Without Borders after return from Homs, describing “mass assassinations” and “most [he treated] were civilians” ….. wounded by Syrian Army

          Working conditions: Lack of water, but plenty of blood (for transfusions)

          SyriaTruthNetworkEn has a large collection of videos on YouTube that are pretty convincing in portraying the opposition as those responsible for the attack on innocent people, including footage of fraudulent video (some posted above) attempting to smear the Syrian Army. However they too are not above some flagrant misleading (IMO) propaganda.

          One thing can be said for sure about the information reported on the situation on Syria. There is a whole lot of effort being used to spread false information and keep the world in the dark about what’s really going on. Geez….. is there nothing that’s a simple, straightforward situation, e.g. plain old vanilla coup d’etat?

          Soooo, if Al Jazeera, CNN, and the Western mainstream media in general are in on the fix, any comments on who would be the forces pulling the media’s strings, i.e. who wants to see Assad go and why? No way TPTB care about the fate of the Syrian people.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            By these two I mean Edith Bouvier (I love the name) and Paul Conroy. They have a grand escape and I think Conroy even jumps two German fences in a pasture on his motorcycle. Bouvier reportedly skied down on one leg into Lebanon.

      3. Walter Wit Man

        Unfortunately, there is no substitute for digging into these issues for oneself. There is no one source we can rely on to wade through the information.

        In fact, our media is designed to mislead us. So it’s confusing and one has no other option than spending the time to really research all the sources and keep being critical.

        But who has the time? Not only do we have to be individual reporters but we have to wade through the misinformation the “media” is spreading.

        We are better off without these jerks. I don’t see how any reporter can work for CNN or BBC or Al Jazeera or the New York Times in good conscience. If you continue to report without correcting or fixing or doing something . . . you are almost as guilty as “Danny”, the rebel hero in Syria. Really, this is not a little lie. This is a HUGE LIE.

        And the media is totally silent. Welcome to the future slaves.

        1. LucyLulu

          Ain’t that the truth! +1

          A couple links to the other side of the story:

          Interview with recently escaped journalist Paul Conroy, colleague of Marie Colvin, describing “systematic massacre” of civilians by Syrian Army

          Interview with Jacques Beres with Doctors Without Borders after returning from Homs about 2 weeks ago, describing “mass assassinations” and “most [he treated] were civilians” ….. wounded by Syrian Army

          Working conditions: Lack of water, but plenty of blood (for transfusions)

          SyriaTruthNetworkEn has a large collection of videos on YouTube that are pretty convincing in portraying the opposition as those responsible for the attack on innocent people, including footage of fraudulent video (some posted above) attempting to smear the Syrian Army. However they too are not above some flagrant misleading (IMO) propaganda.

          One thing can be said for sure about the information reported on the situation on Syria. There is a whole lot of effort being used to spread false information and keep the world in the dark about what’s really going on. Geez….. is there nothing that’s a simple, straightforward situation, e.g. plain old vanilla coup d’etat?

          Soooo, if Al Jazeera, CNN, and the Western mainstream media in general are in on the fix, any comments on who would be the forces pulling the media’s strings, i.e. who wants to see Assad go and why? No way TPTB care about the fate of the Syrian people.

      4. Nick

        Yes and as an aside, the chief Prostategandist for the Military Industriall Complex, John McCain, is suggesting
        surgical air strikes to support the rebels.

          1. LucyLulu

            Surely that was an intentional error, Nick. If not, that really is hilarious.

            McCain. How ’bout one new job for every bomb we let him drop?

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Yes indeed, they all have their roles. McCain demands they bomb, and Obama plays the humanitarian.

      5. Walter Wit Man

        Here’s an updated list of faked videos.

        We see multiple incidents of outright lying and faking so that now I have trouble believing any rebel “activist” claim. We have caught them falsifying sensational claim after sensational claim. Why should we believe any of their ongoing sensational claims?

        They are staging attacks on oil pipelines and then producing propaganda videos on the scene and blaming the attack on Assad’s airplanes, the whole time filming it so they can send it straight to the media. And CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, New York Times–heck, the entire U.S. media has simply accepted these activists’ accounts on faith. These are huge lies! This is making multiple and daily fake videos to feed to the American people and totally create a false reality to justify war. And the media went along the entire way. Still is. They are enforcing silence.

        Likewise, I can’t trust the reporters and NGOs that are mimicking these claims, like Jacques Beres, Remi Ochlik, Paul Conroy, Marie Colvin, and Tyler Hicks. They’re perps. There is no other reasonable explanation.

        These reporters are coming out with equally implausible and incredible stories as the rebel “activists”. And they even seem to be relishing their role in the drama. The stories sound made up (carrying ammunition in via horseback . . . Syrian Army guys flashing peace signs and wanting to defect in the middle of attack on them) . . . and the photos and videos are staged propaganda. They’re lying.

  6. dearieme

    Cheer up: note that nobody now seems to use the expression “weapons of mass destruction”. Why might that be?

  7. Ned Ludd

    At Jonathan Turley’s blog, there’s a guest post by Gene Howington about the anti-protest law (H.R. 347). Howington says it could be called the “‘First Amendment Rights Eradication Act’ because it effectively outlaws protests near people who are ‘authorized’ to be protected by the Secret Service.” In addition:

    You may not have willfully or knowingly done anything other than exercise your free speech and free assembly rights, but if you “in fact” “[impede] or [disrupt] the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions”, you can be arrested and charged under this proposed revision of 18 U.S.C. § 1752 whether the impediment or disruption was willful or not.

    Also, according to Howington, the legislation expands the scope of “restricted buildings or grounds”:

    This would allow for the arrest of protesters just about anywhere. Outside political rallies, near the hotels of visiting foreign dignitaries, outside sporting or other public events like the Super Bowl . . .

    1. ScottW

      At the same time Santorum is ranting about government interference with religion, we have the government actually taking away our rights to protest Santorum. Since Santorum is trying to interfere with the Government’s operation of the healthcare system can he be arrested?

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Why would Santorum be arrested? Obama and the Democrats are on his side so they have no interest in arresting someone like Santorum.

        Santorum is not black or brown, he’s not poor, he’s not an environmental activist or radical (like an anarchist or Sovereign Citizen).

        We need to arrest the entire leadership of this country, Republican and Democrat, for crimes against humanity. They have led us into unjust war after unjust war. It’s happening right now with Syria but both Obama and Santorum are guilty so nothing will happen.

        Let’s start at the top and arrest Obama first.

  8. Jane

    Re: ‘Saint’s ancient heart stolen from Dublin cathedral’

    The Garda should be looking for a repentant banker who may also be negotiating a deal with Lucifer to buy back his soul.

  9. Ignim Brites

    Krugman would like the Federal government to fund the hiring of state and municipal employees (and pensions). A better idea would be to encourage these entities to issue bonds and have the FED buy them. That would be easier politically and amounts to the same thing fiscally. It is surprising that PK doesn’t advocate that.

    1. Ignim Brites

      Maybe the FED could start by guaranteeing CA tobacco bonds. (see the Municpal Default link above.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Except it takes time to get bonds approved and they might well be voted down (I think most states require voter approval, for instance). The deficit hysteria has taken hold in the minds of many voters. But you are of course right operationally re equivalence.

  10. JTFaraday

    “The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act is plainly in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution… The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.””

    That’s a peculiar title for a Bill of this nature.

      1. JTFaraday

        There are complaints from some that Occupy Oakland is all about “F*** the Police,” that they have been obsessed with police brutality since the first attack.

        Well, I say fine then. Policing is a long standing problem in Oakland and in other cities. It has been a huge problem in certain demographics. It is a growing problem for all of us in the form of the burgeoning police state since 9/11.

        There could be two Occupy movements, conceptually and perhaps geographically. One that focuses on policing and the police state, and the “original” one that focused on the financial crimes of Wall Street.

        The grounds where the two meet are the civil rights of us all, and the factional interests that seek to remove them.

        We saw this right away when the JP Morgan funded NYPD led the march onto the Brooklyn bridge and entrapped it, by separating half of it from the “Grannies for Peace who lead it onto the sidewalk as pre-arranged with those who then betrayed them (and their ideals).

        It’s comforting to think that this is all just about mortgages and student loan debt and reforming the financial system and countering austerity, but if we keep thinking that I’m not sure we’re not still deluding ourselves.

          1. JTFaraday

            The Grannies for Peace led the march onto the Bridge walkway, as arranged. The police then split the march in half and led the second half of the march onto the Bridge roadway, entrapped and arrested half of the march.

            Don’t you remember this? I wrote a comment about it at the time and posted the video:

            JTFaraday says:
            October 3, 2011 at 10:52 am

            Even that’s not right. According to eyewitnesses, the head of the march, lead by the Grannies for Peace (in yellow), went onto the pedestrian walkway. The police then SPLIT the march and lead the second half of it onto the roadway and up to almost the middle of the bridge.

            They THEN belatedly issued a “warning,” while the paddy wagons pulled in from Brooklyn and another line of cops closed in from the Manhattan side, physically trapping them, after having legally entrapped them.

            This video, which I found posted in the comments on the NY Times Sunday’s City Room post on the police video of the “warning” supports this contention.


            You can even see the Grannies for Peace, at the original head of the march, still on the pedestrian walkway. A protester on the walkway comments “they’re taking over the roadway!,” The “they” that is taking over the roadway, is the police leading the marchers onto the roadway.

            I don’t see how this can be viewed as anything other than a deliberate attempt to strip these people of their civil rights.

            Today’s “official” Times article, which links to the same police propaganda video of the “warning,” doesn’t deign to mention the video of counter-evidence in favor of the protesters, who are telling the truth. About as fair and balanced as Fox News.

            There is no opportunity to comment on today’s article on the police video. But in the comments section of another article today on how the “White Shirts of Police Department Take on Enforcer Role,” a poster posted a link to the following article on how the police themselves occupied the Brooklyn Bridge and tied up traffic in 1992:


            Not so peaceful, this 1992 police demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge.

          2. JTFaraday

            I suppose next Andrew Breitbart will be telling us that because some idiot in blue rode by on a bike and yelled “take it!” then that must mean they brought it all on themselves.

  11. spooz

    I have always adhered to the “finding your edge” approach in yoga, gently pushing to the boundaries of the edge over time to increase flexibility. My first teacher was into vinyasa, and looking back I remember it was quite awhile before I realized how imperfect my poses were. That teacher was as much into the philosophy of yoga as the poses, and that is what kept me coming back for more. I tried Iyengar and my teacher there was more hands on, pointing out where I was out of line, and I learned to use props to help get the alignment right. It was useful for helping me define the proper location of the edge I try to focus on.

    I remember the only time I took a Bikram, after years of vinyasa, and did not like the drill instuctor with headset style of teacher or the pointing out of “star” students who nailed the poses best. The heat was also not my thing. No spiritual message, just push, push, push. Also the copyrighted poses didn’t seem to be in the spirit of yoga that I had come to know. Not for me.

    I’ve been to a lot of yoga conferences over the years and have a few favorite teachers. Tias Little is my all time favorite, a wonderful message, and gentle style. Paul Grilley’s yin yoga is also a favorite, great for mind/body connection. I also liked Shiva Rea, the class I attended at an Estes Park conference was quite a new experience, never saw so many mats packed into such a large space, but her energy was contagious.

  12. Jim

    Many of our bridges in this country are in danger of a falling down for lack of money and we are spending our federal tax dollars on better bombs to blow up Iranian infrastructure?

    Something wrong with this picture?

    Why can’t they just pile up big rocks on the surface that would deflect and screw up earth penetrator bombs anyway?

    1. JTFaraday

      Well, not only bomb bomb Iran, but they’re spending billions and billions of dollars to wage war on us:

      “The chances of an American dying in a terrorist incident in a given year are 1 in 3.5 million. To reduce that risk, to make something minuscule even more minuscule, what has the nation spent? What has it cost us? Instead of rebuilding a ravaged American city in a timely fashion or making Americans more secure in their “underwater” homes and their disappearing jobs, we have created militarized police forces, visible evidence of police-state-style funding.”

      1. Susan the other

        If a city/town was a union it would be interesting. Then the city-town could negotiate with a keen (no pun) and interesting edge against the species known as financiers. For instance, a city-town could say that all the citizens of that town (or county if you want to extend) would default on all obligations to those vulture financiers. And as a measure of good faith they would offer local development prospects at a very low percentage of that development. A town could literally dig up the asphalt roads and sell it back to a pavement company. They could pave the roads with cobblestones using their own stones and labor. They could use citizens to ameliorate all such debts and give the financiers a pittance. And never again borrow from them. Sewage treatment? Education? Decentralized electricity generation… it’s a new world all right.

        1. Nick

          Very interesting Susan. You do know about the Local Currency movement? In the town I live in, Fairfax, California, we have our own currency called the Fairbuck. It has a nomial value of three dollars, costs a buck to make and the two dollars extra goes to distribute them to locals. The money is only spendible in Fairfax–talk about keeping the money in town. All the “good” businesses take it, the organic bakery, the organic ice cream store, the huge new 23,000 square foot 100% organic supermarket etc.

          I really like cobblestones. They can be reused and last forever.

          1. aletheia33

            i hope the fairbuck is working out well so far. i see it’s a fairly recent undertaking.

            thanks for posting, it’s good to get a sense from all over of how local currencies are developing; there seem to be several varieties of them. in my new england town, a bit less than twice the pop. of fairfax and considerably less affluent, we have a time trade that’s about 3 years old, with bumpy progress. a problem is engaging professional and trades people, who are firmly committed to dollars–and it’s not hard to see why.

            there seem to be real, severe constraints what people can do for themselves when central national economies stop working, as in the great depression and in postwar eastern europe. societies split between the haves and have nots in such a way that the poor are still left resourceless–usually worse off than before (?). warehouses of food spoiled in the great depression because people were kept away from them by force. cooperatives were formed, but ALL of them eventually failed. i’ve been reading about poland just before solidarnosc succeeded. it was like a wartime economy: everyone obsessed with scarce meat and sugar, gas rationing, everyone using the black economy; people did trade under the table and buy and sell collaboratively illegally, but it seems to have been on a very catch-as-catch-can basis.

            the time trade in my town needs a certain amount of money and paid labor to keep on. this is true for all time trades in the u.s. until they become self-sufficient, how practical can they become? and yes, they are advocated partly for their community-building benefits, which are real.

            some forward-thinking municipalities are preparing, based on envisioning coming crisis, with sustainability measures and the like. i am beginning to wonder, though, how sustainable sustainability really will be as the crisis extends. not that there may be much choice, but how useful and truly realistic will these progressive plans turn out to be when the center really falls apart? people will cope, and some people will form collaborations, but in reality a lot of people as a practical matter for themselves won’t be able to participate in this kind of thing. and the existing experiments and models are so few and far between… and small…

            so isn’t a soviet and/or third world/wartime style economy most likely as the main sort of residual structure/system that will remain and on which most people will depend?

            i know these are big questions, i’m learning, just putting them out in the nc seminar room.

  13. ScottW

    Re: “Holder expected to explain rationale for targeting U.S. citizens abroad” On February 22, 2012, Defense Dept. General Counsel Jeh Johnson gave a speech at Yale law school which summed up the U.S. position on targeted killing of U.S. Citizens in two sentences: “belligerents who also happen to be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where non-citizen belligerents are valid military objectives. Reiterating principles from Ex Parte Quirin in 1942, the Supreme Court in 2004, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, stated that “[a] citizen, no less than an alien, can be ‘part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners’ and ‘engaged in an armed conflict against the United States.’”

    Johnson’s legal reasoning is tortured (pun intended) in citing Hamdi in support of targeted killings of U.S. citizens. Hamdi held that a U.S. citizen being detained at Gitmo was entitled to due process in determining if he is in fact an “enemy combatant.” So under Johnson’s rationale, a U.S. citizen has a due process right if detained, but none if targeted for killing. Query: How would a U.S. citizen targeted for killing, assuming he/she even knows of the targeting, get into a U.S. court to file a habeas corpus before being killed? There is now an incentive to kill the alleged “enemy combatant” rather than detain him, since in the latter case he has a right to due process.

    Holder’s speech at Northwestern Law School, like Johnson’s at Yale, is to give a speech short on legal reasoning, an aura of respectability. Few legal scholars challenge Obama’s use of targeted killing, nor examine the long-term consequences, or moral questions.

    The reality of the policy is as follows: The Executive Branch determines on the basis of secret information you are an “enemy combatant” and issues the targeted killing order. As the alleged “enemy combatant” you have absolutely no legal right to notice of the allegations, review of the evidence, or a day in court to challenge the targeted killing order.

    The Administration can provide all of the legal analysis it wants justifying their course of conduct, but plain and simple it obliterates a U.S. citizen’s right to due process when declared an “enemy combatant” who is subject to a targeted killing order. And since you can never get into court to challenge the order, the procedure can never be ruled unconstitutional. And if someone finds a creative way to get into court, the government will declare State Secrets, and this Supreme Court will adopt Thomas’ position in Hamdi that the Executive Branch is in the best position to declare a U.S. citizen an “enemy combatant” subject to the Targeted Killing order.

  14. MacCruiskeen

    Re FOIA requests: keep in mind that even if the agency you’re dealing with doesn’t deny your request, they may still stick you with the bill for the costs of your Information Retrieval.

    1. ScottW

      I worked 25 years as counsel for a newspaper company. We used to call the Freedom of Information Act the Freedom from Information Act. State laws are much better at getting information from state and local governments in a timely manner. Sadly, under Obama, the classified stamp is running out of ink.

  15. kravitz

    Wow, OCC Sham. As NC readers know, but still a fun read for more dirt.

    The Little We Know About Foreclosure Reviews Is Troubling


    “The good news: regulators are pulling back the curtain on the consultants that the big mortgage servicers hired, under orders from the agencies, to review their foreclosure processes.

    The bad news: what’s been revealed isn’t pretty.”

    1. JTFaraday

      Yeah, the Workfare scandal that article links to is cute too:

      “A4e boss Emma Harrison paid herself £8.6m last year. Nothing unusual for a top banker perhaps. But her company is funded by the government to find jobs for unemployed people. And it’s being investigated for fraud”

      It seems to me that we have a whole public-private feudal system these days, where the heads of these organizations make enormous fortunes, white collar overseers have lucrative careers, and– in the case of prisons, beefy white guys who would be a political problem on the unemployment line get jobs– effectively managing the underclasses, who are coded variously as “troubled,” “criminal” or, as in this case, just plain “unemployable.”

      Meanwhile, every unclassified 18 year old needs to get his/her butt stamped by a debt funded certificate factory so that he/she has a hope of evading reclassification into the former set of categories.

        1. JTFaraday

          You know, I think Hollywood is making some of this stuff up. Maybe we should all try to get jobs there.

  16. F. Beard

    Saint’s ancient heart stolen from Dublin cathedral

    How the heck did his corpse get mutilated in the first place?! In the Old Testament, touching a dead body makes one unclean.

    The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days. Numbers 19:11

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          They could, but nobody really knows.

          There are lots of other dead bodies everywhere you look. We don’t know who is doing what to what.

  17. James Cole

    FYI: NYC on Wednesday, 3/7:

    AG Schneiderman is speaking about the mortgage settlement & taskforce at an event that is open to the public.

    The host group, Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century (DL21C), is a group of mostly professional young (20s & 30s) Democrats but the group itself is not formally associated with the Democratic Party.

    It is $5 to get in. I plan to be there and ask a tough question about the settlement and related matters that have been covered so ably here at NC.

    Link to event on DL21C website is:

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Give em hell.

      I would like to know why he hasn’t charged MERS as a criminal conspiracy to avoid state recording laws.

      Then as a follow up ask whether he’s investigated the U.S. AG’s role in this or his firm’s role. Schneiderman’s office obviously did some investigation in order to bring the civil charges.

  18. kevinearick

    The Germans Are Coming, With Them Rides WAR

    Humanity is no longer creating unique surfaces for the planet and its level of stupidity threatens planetary biology. That’s not helpful. Kids must have a productive outlet for their energy, or its badness for everyone. Space exploration, however you choose to define it, or war, how the Germans define it, that is your choice.

    Women struggle once a month, decelerating time, which may only be re-accelerated through their children. Empire proffers to intercede on their behalf and feeds upon all the out-of-time consequences. Like it or don’t like it is an attitude. From time to time, humanity throws itself a pity party. You’ll have that.

    Think about it. There is no such thing as earned income in a centrally controlled economy. The empire is a centrifuge that distributes wealth among event horizons, which must come from somewhere. Don’t give away your privacy gossiping and expect anything other than your currency to liquidate, as you trade individual liberty for tyranny of the majority.

    The German men fight and kill their way to Jerusalem, in the name of God, then split. Some cross the Atlantic. Others head home. And the Jews are left in charge of the Fort. The homogeneous clan implements austerity in Europe, and the heterogeneous clan electronically prints in America, making mince meat of the global economy.

    Homeland Security. Think about where that phrase comes from and where America got its productive prowess. Shock and Awe, lightning war, is no different than Blitzkrieg. The melody is the same. Turn the stack into a hash table, with 3-operand string waves, gravity, space, and fulcrum.

    Hitler was a fall guy, and the old homogeneous German legacy families are at it again, because they must control; it’s in their DNA. From their perspective, other races are inferior life forms with no moral value. The majority on this planet are impulse driven by their technology, which confirms their hypothesis for them. If you request debt for leverage you are enslaving others who require debt to survive, due to the technology. Pay for participation with debt, nothing new in the ponzi, and once in control, they liquidate.

    This is a family fight, and S was correct. Most are caught in the middle, BUT OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL. America has turned its back on open source, making its members non-persons with an embedded algorithm, false assumption, in German technology. Not a problem. Open Source is in no way dependent upon geography. Nuclear is 1940s technology, the legacy families started the wars to impress their mistresses, and those staking a position in the middle get slaughtered. How much time do you want to spend watching repeats?

    The only people the old families hate more than themselves, which means that they will slaughter you with no compunction, are the individual traitors to the homeland, those that have married outside the family, to introduce alternative technology. Technology is in their blood. George Soros is not. Old Germany is the ultimate disciplinarian, because it has no imagination.

    They don’t keep maiden name records by accident. The best application of technology is tradable surplus. Your own brain remains the best tool for self-sustainment. Precision farming is an empire oxymoron. It’s pretty simple. Don’t become dependent upon technology that limits your own mental acuity.

    Absent discipline, civilization is not possible, but absent imagination it has no compass. Real time imagination is where all the action is, but it’s not for the weak of heart, produced by replication. Discipline yourself accordingly. With fusion and a gate, you can blow up anything.

    When the problem is the solution to the next problem, you are in the empire’s house of mirrors. Turn it around in a unique way to disappear. Balance it. You have to walk your product up the vortex to threshold the first time, but after that you have a quantum elevator at your disposal. Depending upon perspective scale, you could define the speed of light as Quantum 1.

    When you hand the elevator over to the empire at the top, it is added to the house of mirrors, through a fusion centrifuge, which employs ponzi population replication to simulate perpetual motion, monetary expansion, promising equal access as equal outcomes within each unearned income event horizon class, or floor. You are now in a position of “equal” opportunity to add your code to the root.

    Who is stupid, corporation that crowds out natural seed to exponentially increase health expense, the financier, the farmer, the consumer, or the next generation taxpayer? It doesn’t matter which club you enter; they all have the same sh**-show theme recurring through their race. They expect a government grant to ride the elevator for free on the basis of generational wrongs.

    The solution to prisoners dilemma has been provided. If you do not appreciate your ancestral past, change direction, or watch the empire repeat and plead for redress. If you have a thousand people vying to steal your elevator, in various event horizons, how would you secure it for the sake of future generations as an integral? DNA is a waveform.

    Make your own dreams come true, through hard work and imagination. Life is extremely fair, even in real time, if you depend upon the kindness of a stranger, who happens to be an intelligent parent. Those who believe only in what they see, see only the empire, mapped in their brain and projected outward, which is why the quick turtle beats the fast hare every time.

    If you want to stop time, and the legacy families do, distill out intelligent males, with peer pressure if possible, soft power if not, and hard power if necessary, at the youngest age possible, and measure profit by the participant’s ability to address the resulting evolutionary ills of replication, paying them with a debt instrument against the future of their own children, until the future becomes the present. The majority sees what it pays itself to see, fear in the mirror, camouflaged by acts of bravado.

    Father Time wins every time. The more they tinker with the rule of law, the faster war approaches. Will your constitutional product withstand the test of time, which is incremental on one side and quantum on the other? PM is the anti-currency for those sitting on the sidelines, but intelligent imagination is the anti-currency for those with skin in the game.

    What would you do with a technology that could blow up solar systems, and what would be the planetary response? You might want to think about that before you enter the prison. The empire is too stupid to exist longer on its current form. The warrantee is up. Go ahead, prove me wrong, and build accordingly. The empire only has non-performing assets to redistribute.

  19. MikeJake

    Yoga is great if you can get it out of your head that the point is to tie yourself into a pretzel. Find a routine you can do every day for 10-15 minutes, and focus on moving joints and flexing muscles that your sedentary lifestyle doesn’t regularly stimulate. You should view it as necessary daily body maintenance, and it should be as routine as bathing and brushing your teeth.

    Yoga championships? Talk about missing the point.

  20. Hugh

    Secret austerity society? Obama is at least as conservative as George Bush. He’s just put aside austerity during the Rube-omania of the election season. Once he’s re-elected he fully intends to go after Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in the holy name of deficit reduction because that is the kind of crook he, Hoyer, and the Democrats are.

    Unless you are part of the 1%, a vote for any Democrat or any Republican is a vote to be looted by them.

  21. Max424

    Ed Luce: “A further jump of 20 per cent would take [the price of oil] above $150 a barrel, which would endanger America’s recovery.

    Easily the dumbest sentence I’ve read in the past 12 months. Moves ahead of some turdburgler in the commentariate, who opined awhile back that the multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns at Fukushima constituted, “a minor accident.”

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    State of Depression by Krugman.

    Haven’t read the link, but I wonder if he is calling for the government to hire workers to manufacture anti-depression drugs.

    3 reasons.

    1) Anti-depression drugs can treat depression
    2) Government hiring directly reduces unemployment
    3) It’s good to get back to manufacturing.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Lenders Stress Over Test Results.

    As my teachers used to say, if you have studied hard, there is nothing to worry. And if you have not, well, it’s too late now.

  24. ScottS

    Obama Shifts G-8 From Chicago To Camp David

    White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor said that Camp David, the rustic retreat in the mountains of Maryland, was a setting that will allow for more intimate discussions among the G-8 leaders.

    “Intimate”? Bow chicka-wow-wow!

    He said security and the possibility of protests were not factors in the decision

    The denial that makes it official. No fifth-wheel protestors will be allowed to spoil the intimacy. C’mon Barry, let’s get freaky!

    1. LucyLulu

      All protesters will be immediately arrested and charged with felonies. Defense counsel may consult newly revised edition of statutes, see HR347, Non-inclusive Abridgements of First Amendment Rights.

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