Links 3/8/12

Second Biggest Flare Of the Solar Cycle NASA (hat tip Lambert). Really cool, and it should be hitting just as I am composing this post.

Nanotrees harvest the sun’s energy to turn water into hydrogen fuel PhsyOrg (hat tip reader Robert M)

Monsanto’s Roundup Shown to be Ravaging Butterfly Population Nation of Change (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

‘She was the mom next door’: Banker who ‘worked with Manhattan madam’ defends woman accusing of making $10MILLION from selling call girls to the rich and famous Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S). Ooh, this trial could be fun. I’ve always wondered what the economics of a high end brothel were.

How to completely, utterly destroy an employee’s work life Washington Post (hat tip Lambert). Huh? This is the amateur version. Public humiliation is a much faster way to this end.

U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers Wall Street Journal. Huh? This case strikes me as backwards. Amazon is selling below cost. That’s generally called predatory pricing, since the only way it makes sense is if you kill enough of your competitors that you attain monopoly power. But instead it is going after the parties that tried to find a response. And before you tell me you want your cheaper e-books, authors need to be paid, and the pay for writing books sucked even before this race to the bottom.

Facebook reveals ‘fake’ user accounts Financial Times. Lambert thinks 5% to 6% is low….

Lei Feng in the age of the microblog Danwei (hat tip Lambert)

China offers other Brics renminbi loans Financial Times. Who with an operating brain cell would borrow money in a currency expected to appreciate (although it is possible the RMB will rise less than other BRICs currencies)

Intractable Afghan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy New York Times (hat tip Lambert and Mark H. who called it “Pravda Irony Alert”)

And by dint of synchronicity: Afghan Air Force Probed in Drug Running Wall Street Journal

US will ensure Israel’s “military superiority”: Panetta Al Akbar (hat tip reader May S)

Minimum wage to be frozen for 20-year-olds Independent

Finally, Spain Paul Krugman

Euro Crisis Fuels South Tyrolean Separatist Dreams Der Spiegel (hat tip Lambert)

The Disruptive Rise of Niche Unions in Germany Der Spiegel (hat tip Lambert)

U.S. sees Vatican as potential money laundering hub Raw Story

Violence Stoked Fear to Fuel Putin’s Strong-Arm Rise to Power: Book Review Bloomberg (hat tip Lambert). Quelle surprise!

So, Eric Holder, we should just trust that the president won’t assassinate us? Guardian (hat tip reader May S)

The cost of America’s police state Salon (hat tip reader May S)

Congress Votes to End Protesters’ Rights Alternet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

As Usage Rises, Libraries Struggle to Stay Open Atlantic (hat tip reader May S)

Houston’s County Joins Texas Suit Seeking $10 Billion From MERS, Banks Bloomberg (hat tip reader Paul T)

Tax treatment of private equity: Questions over a quirk Financial Times

‘Officers, Why Do You Have Your Guns Out?’ New York Times (hat tip Damian)

Not So Encouraging Michael Panzner

35 Shocking Statistics That Prove That Things Have Gotten Worse In America The American Dream (hat tip reader May S)

Police: Kidnapped Staffer’s “Please Help” Emails Went Completely Ignored Onion (hat tip Lambert)

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Valissa):

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  1. rjs

    re: Monsanto’s Roundup Shown to be Ravaging Butterfly Population

    clearly the same problems affect honeybees & other pollinators…they need flowering pasture year round, and when lawns & fields are weed free there’s a dearth of pollen & nectar most times of the year…

    1. Claire

      It’s not just butterflies that are being threatened.
      See that infant in the carrier next to you? Look in the mirror.

      Genetically modified crops are bringing us death and disease for the purpose of boosting profits for a few comapanies that have a stranglehold on the creation of death and the funding of congress.

      What can you do about it besides eat organic food which does not allow genetically modified food ingredients? If you are in California and are a registered voter seek out and sign the ballot petition to put labeling of GM foods on the ballot.

      What’s wrong with GMO’s?

      • Research both sides yourself. A simple google search will turn up hundreds of resources. Always keep in mind 1. Who is doing the research and funding it.
      2. Are there any special interests involved.
      3. What do the arguments have to do with LABELING.

      this paper to learn more about the Genetically Modified Food Facts & Hazards. This presents the key scientific evidence – 114 research studies and other authoritative papers –documenting the limitations and risks of GM crops and the many safer, more effective alternatives available today. Source: Non-GMO project.
      • Read up on the world’s largest provider of genetically engineered products.
      • Read Article: Monsanto’s GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure
      • Read the Study from the International Journal of Biological Sciences on the effects of GM corn on mammals (2009).
      • Read this Study from Cell Research About how GMO foods can alter organ function (2011).
      • Read the Study from The journal of Reproductive Toxicology that found Bt Toxins in the blood of 80% of unborn babies
      etc etc

  2. CB

    #29 Medicare spending increased by 138 percent between 1999 and 2010.

    #30 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America. Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.

    So, is this an argument against single payer? And/or against medicare? I think these numbers need contextual explication. For instance, in a Canadian style med system, what would happen with these numbers? I don’t know that the numbers make a lot of sense without context.

  3. Ned Ludd

    Jonathan Turley’s blog has a good analysis of the anti-protest bill, H.R. 347. The writer, guest blogger Gene Howington, makes the point that “vague or overly broad legislation and imprecise use of language” often leads to civil and human rights abuses.

    “As a matter of good drafting practice, this is why precision language is encouraged – to provide clarity and minimize ambiguity in the letter of the law…

    “However, it seems to be a trend that vague or overly broad language could be fairly described as being purposefully adopted allowing ‘wiggle room’ for Federal authorities to potentially abuse civil and human rights under the color of authority. This is a dangerous practice.”

    1. Dave of Maryland

      Vague and imprecise language is precisely what legislators want. It enables the executive to pick and chose who he decides to prosecute. Such language is rampant at the local level. Go check your local city hall. Years ago I applied for a business permit here in Harford County, MD., I was given an application for a building permit to fill out. “Don’t worry about the details,” I was told. No, that wasn’t an accident. Ten years later, business permits are still building permits.

      The local codes here in Harford County greatly restrict where a woman can open a nail salon, but completely overlook phone-out prostitutes. Gee, do you think the presence of Aberdeen Proving Grounds elsewhere in the county had anything to do with that?

  4. Foppe

    WRT the Apple/Amazon/publisher price-setting story: yes, Apple and Amazon are aspiring oligopolists/psonists (which company isn’t in this day and age in which antitrust authorities do nothing unless they see a chance for a ‘global’ oligopoly forming). However, the ‘solution’ pushed by the publishers is just as dumb and counterproductive. (They are the only ones who can determine when products may go on sale and at what discount; which then applies everywhere. And then they explain low sales as being due to “piracy” in stead of being due to their idiotically high prices (which are indeed way too high considering the fact of low middle class purchasing power).

    1. kevin

      Who would borrow in an appreciating currency? TPTBs (the powers that be), that’s who.

      The EMU was built on that premise. What do you think Argentina did when it set up a currency board in the ’90s?? What do you think caused the Asian Financial crisis??? The list goes on, and on, and on.

    2. Dave of Maryland

      There is a huge gap opening up between the interests of the publishers to make a profit, and the interests of authors to write for posterity. Traditionally publishers print a few thousand copies of a book, and when they’re sold, if there is no reprint, the book is out of print. Thereafter you have to chance upon a copy here or there. If enough copies were printed to start with, a book can live for centuries.

      With e-books, this no longer exists. Because the platform itself continually changes, after a certain point early e-books will no longer be readable and will be lost. This isn’t going to happen, you say? It’s already happened to DOS based computer programs. Windows 8, if I am not mistaken, will not run them. How far back was DOS? Less than 20 years. Will earlier e-books be ported forward? Yes. Some will. Many will not.

      There are specialized subjects where, if they adopt e-books, the entire field risks being destroyed entire. One such is my own, astrology. Because astrology is not faddish, because it is based on concrete, objective reality, it has a 2000 year pedigree of classic titles. Regrettably, one result of the 30 Years War was an insular backlash mistakenly known as the Enlightenment, where city folks, who had survived, beat up on the devastated countryside, calling country ways not only backwards, but “superstitious”. At that point, astrology was dropped altogether. The utter travesty of modern medicine is but one unhappy result.

      The past 20 years astrology has made a spectacular comeback and is on the verge of supplanting modern “science”. It is doing this by means of ancient texts, primarily in Greek, Latin and Arabic, which are being unearthed and translated. IF these texts are rendered on paper, and if enough of them are produced and sold and distributed, we can regain the knowledge of the past. If they are rendered on e-books, they will be lost in an instant. Fifty years is nothing to a text, such as Valens, that is already 1800 years old, and is still, for the moment, poorly understood. It needs time, it needs paper.

      By all means, put it on paper. Paper is permanent. The profits of E-book publishers must not be the cause of wholesale cultural loss.

      1. Binky the Bear

        You can Still run DOS programs and read text files from decades ago. In fact, you can run them in Windows, MacOs, or Linux virtual machines, which lots of people do for gaming, databases, cantankerousness, etc.

        my paychex are composed on a DOS 5.0 software in a vm on a Win7 machine.

    3. MikeJake

      I got a Kindle Fire as an unexpected Xmas gift (and I like it a lot), but the biggest disappointment to me has been the price structure of the e-books. 10 year old books shouldn’t have a price structure of “New book price minus $3.”

      But then again, I’ve come to realize that when an industry claims that new, more efficient technology will allow them to pass the savings on to consumers, they’re most likely lying.

      1. reslez

        The inflated prices on ebooks — most of which doesn’t see the author at all — lead people to places where they don’t pay anything.

      2. Mark P.

        Eh. Try the ebooks of the Complete Works of Tolstoy, Henry James, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells, Plato, Mark Twain, G.K. Chesterton, H.P Lovecraft, W. Shakespeare and many others.

        These are all going for between $0.99 and $2.99. Just the HARVARD CLASSICS: 200 GREATEST NOVELS, STORIES & POEMS EVER WRITTEN for $2.99 is more than you can probably read in a year.

        And for $10-20 you can load up on more great lit than you can read in a decade.

        (Steer clear of cheapo e-publishers who just use optical scanning software. Delphi editions are reliable.)

  5. help i'm being oppressed

    Borrowing in RMB seems like a great way to get large sums of money out of China. If you look at the inflation rate and legal/political risks, a freely floating RMB MIGHT move lower or be fairly valued.

    It shifts currency risks from China Central Bank to foreigners.

  6. George Phillies

    Readers may wish to contrast the ebook price models discussed above with the ebook model followed by Baen books (major SF publisher) in which the ebooks are placed on sale first, well before the hardback, at a rather low price relative to some other publishers, on the grounds that the approach demonstrably *increases* sales of hardback books. Their position on *increases* is, approximately, ‘we cheated. we did the experiments.’

    FOr more discusison of this point see . Flint, by the way, is an author and sensitive to matters that affect his income.

    1. craazyman

      I thought you were kidding until I opened the PDF. This is just what I was saying a few weeks ago when we got hit with the sun shot. I couldn’t see anything for days in my mind. That’s when Matt Taibbi fell for the mortgage settlement scam too and I said he’d bounce back when the sun shot ended. hahaha. too funny. First you feel it and know it, then it becomes science and math.

  7. ohmyheck

    Ha! From that dog in the antidote video, it seems time to have “American Idol for Dogs”. That dog obviously likes to “sing”! (not that I …cough, cough…ever watch American Idol)

  8. Eyal

    Wow your country is scary. Here in Canada it’s not as bad. How did it ever come to this? You guys need to muster up courage and have a revolution. Otherwise it’ll be 1984 soon

      1. Maximilien

        Good point. In the Canadian system of parliamentary democracy, the leader of the party with a majority in the House of Commons is a de facto dictator until the next election (usually five years). All policy comes from the Prime Minister’s Office; his stooges in the house either vote for it (they almost always do) or they are banished from the party and deprived of all perks. Even many Canadians don’t understand this, fail to appreciate the democratic benefits of minority government, and so in the last election gave Harper a majority. I have a feeling a lot of them are going to regret it.

        In Canada, with his majority, Harper IS a unitary executive. In terms of power, he is the American president times two or three or four. (Although I must say that Bush and Obama seem to have done a lot of catching up in the last decade.)

        1. Flying Kiwi

          In Australia, which has a Parliamentary system very similar to Canada’s, the incumbent Prime Minister has just fought of an attempt to replace her. She succeeded because sufficient members of her party felt that she rather than the challenger had the better chance of winning the next general election for the party – ie had the greatest public support.

          Unlike the US system a Parliamentary leader can be replaced AT ANY TIME if the public moode swings far enough against his (or her) government that the members of the party in power feel their own livelihoods are in jeopardy.

          Any Prime Minister doing an Obama and betraying his constituency so completely and utterly wouldh have had challenges to his leadership from other MPs getting stick from their constituents within a year.

  9. Up the Ante

    “That’s generally called predatory pricing, since the only way it makes sense is if you kill enough of your competitors that you attain monopoly power. ”

    As with the looting, when is this ‘reverse engineering’ going to end ?

    That ‘reverse engineering’, whose “godless response” is that, exactly ??

  10. Claire

    “Amazon is selling below cost. That’s generally called predatory pricing…”

    And it’s treating its employees like slaves. Yet another
    reason to buy from your local merchants, keep neighbors working and pay taxes–the price of civilization.
    Decent Americans do not buy from Amazon, or anyone else like them once they know about working conditions there.

    “During summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat any workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress. Those who couldn’t quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals. And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time.

    An emergency room doctor in June called federal regulators to report an “unsafe environment” after he treated several Amazon warehouse workers for heat-related problems. The doctor’s report was echoed by warehouse workers who also complained to regulators, including a security guard who reported seeing pregnant employees suffering in the heat.

    In a better economy, not as many people would line up for jobs that pay $11 or $12 an hour moving inventory through a hot warehouse. But with job openings scarce, Amazon and Integrity Staffing Solutions, the temporary employment firm that is hiring workers for Amazon, have found eager applicants in the swollen ranks of the unemployed…”,0,7937001,full.story

        1. Lambert Strether

          Thanks for that great link. It’s certainly a good thing that DCSnet’s capabilities are kept narrowly focused by the requirement to get warrants [snort]. This is interesting:

          The system is pervasive and hard to circumvent. Hedge fund managers have been quoted saying they will use less phone and email communication – the case against Bear Stearns hedge fund managers Matthew Tannin and Ralph Cioffi is built on email correspondence obtained through Google – and instead will communicate more over lunch.

          Remember the Scooter Libby case? Back then I noticed a tendency by insider participants to consign important data only to paper kept on one’s person. Official Washington, I think, assumes that that everything is monitored, often by multiple agencies with conflicting agendas. Probably the 1% think that way as well (remember Richard Nixon, lying for the record on the secret tape recorders)? Now the 99% must learn to think that way as well.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I am starting to suspect the spooks have a much larger presence on the internet than even us skeptical people knew about.

      Many of the liberal bloggers we trust are disinformation agents. Entire blogs are captured or run by the spooks and the main purpose is to attract people to control them and to spread disinformation.

      I thought I “discovered” many of the places on the internet that I like, but I am starting to realize I was steered to these places rather than simply discovering them on my own.

      It makes sense that the internet is becoming controlled by the fascists. It’s an increasingly powerful medium.

      And true information is starting to get out which is why I think we’re seeing the quick move to overt fascism.

      1. Up the Ante

        “.. a much larger presence ..”

        The spies various must look on with amusement at the disillusionment they monitor. In their world there is only power politics, and today’s conspiracy to engage in in a relative manner.

        And my mentioning Allen Dulles ‘anticipating’ the Occupy movement, yes, that is exactly what they are doing.

        Big budgets the spy efforts.

  11. b.

    Turley is missing the forest for the trees:

    “The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war.”

    You cannot be at war with an organization. The concept does not exist. War is a state of affairs between sovereign nation stages. Civil “war” is an unresolved issue, as are all issues relating to the creation and destruction of nation states, as nation states are unlikely to codify processes that would end their own existence.

    The “AUMFs” are the original sin. You cannot declare war on al Qaeda or the Taliban, you declare war on the state of Afghanistan. Hence you are not an ally and a helper, you are an occupying force, with all legal obligations defined in international law. You cannot declare war on Saddam Hussein and his sons – or a then non-existent Iraqi al-Qaeda – but you have to declare war on Iraq, and you will be an occupying force, with all legal obligations defined in international law. If an AUMF is not a declaration of war, then it cannot authorize the use of military force.

    Congress cannot legally “authorize” to use “military force” against striking workers or protestors either without repealing applicable law, or declaring an emergency under applicable law. That Congress and Presidents past and present violated these constraints as a matter of course does not change the illegality.

    The inflationary use of “War On” drugs, poverty, terror has completely deprived the term of meaning in the national discourse. Instead, we have a lot of war-related covert program activities. This ultimate threatens the legitimacy of the state, and its claim to a monopoly on violence. If one can go to war against an organization – say, a militia – then how can that organization be denied the perogatives of a nation state? Does every party to a war have to have been recognized – see Balkans? By one, some, most, all signatories to the UN Charter? Does a party to war have to have factual or legal claim to territory? How does an organization become eligible to be “warred upon” by the US President? Or Congress?

    Law is always incomplete. That has never been an excuse to just plainly ignore it, or engage in endless circular reasoning and contrivance to break whatever laws do exist. If the law is “obamsolete”, then legislature – and the nation states, through the UN – have to address this. Yes, it is hard work. Until the most recent crops of “elite-diots”, that usually did not deter us from trying anyway.

    1. aet

      If the powers that be really want to use violence, they’ll use violence…and they’ll call it “perfume” of they can get away with it – they’ll even even pass a law to “officially and legally” call it “perfume” – and then say afterwards that the use of perfume is and has always been legal!

      1. SidFinster

        I keep trying to tell people that the entire practice of public international law can be summarized in the words “might makes right.”

        This can also probably be said for other areas of law.

  12. Jessica

    About Euro Crisis Fuels South Tyrolean Separatist Dreams Der Spiegel (hat tip Lambert)

    South Tyrol is a German-speaking area that was taken from Austria by Italy at the end of WW1. That is why it has always had greater autonomy than the rest of Italy. According to the Wikipedia, as of 2001, 69% of the population of South Tyrol speaks German.
    I do not think it is accurate or reasonable to present attitudes in South Tyrol as being indicative of anything about the rest of Italy.
    The references to “German speaking voters” would also give you the impression that they are a minority, which they are not.
    I am baffled how a German journalist could write this article. This is all quite common knowledge in Austria. Perhaps Germans are not aware of it.

    1. ginnie nyc

      Well, there is more than one way to look at the Italian Tyrolean situation. My grandparents felt Austria was forcibly occupying the Alto Adige (Italian Tyrol), and that the region was rightfully returned to Italian sovereignty at the end of WWI.

      Luis Dunwalder, the current provincial head mentioned in the German article, is widely regarded as a braying jackass, who was more than willing to periodically abandon ‘principled’ opposition to the disgusting Berlusconi when offered a few trinkets. He dislikes Monti because he can’t play that game anymore.

      I’m no fan of the imposed Monti regime, but here he is right. Dunwalder and his political allies are neo-fascists on a good day. Also, the German-speaking population was in the minority until relatively recently, when Austria began a deliberate policy of outward immigration to the region to reintroduce its influence.

      1. Jessica

        You are right, there are definitely two sides to this. Yet either way, South Tyrol is still distinct enough from the rest of Italy that the article using it to make a point about Italian politics was highly misleading. This made as much sense as going to the Muslim ethnic Malay far south of Thailand and using conditions there to draw conclusions about attitudes of Bangkok residents.

        Back to the specifics. Until the end of WW1, Austria held the coastal region around Trieste. It was only right that much of this became part of Italy (and the rest Yugoslavia and now Slovenia and Croatia). I just think that Italy took a slice too much up north. That often happens.
        It seems that much of Europe can be claimed by at least two different nations, sometimes many more than that, depending on which year one uses as the baseline and whether one goes by who the rulers were or by who the ruled were.

        1. aet

          Europe was not so long ago what the Middle East is today: a territory containing the remnants of multi-ethnic Empire, trying to reform itself into smaller political units along ethnic/linguistic/religious lines, which “lines” under the lost Empires used to blur and frequently cross, even within one person or region.

          If people get hung up on “purity’ – either ethnic, religious, linguistic – of the remaining populations as being the criterion of Statehood, or of an individual “belonging” to a particular State, things will get messy ( that is, violent) as they sort out amongst and between themselves their competing territotrial claims, all in the absence of what once had been the overawing power, their ‘glue’: that is, in the absence of the Empire that once held them together under the yoke.

          Europe needed two major wars to sort those matters out for herself: and the Mid East has been at it now for about a hundred years.

          And once the arguments over the new boundaries have become settled and clear, then the alliances and trade federations and agreements of friendship between the new States can begin in earnest.

          Yeah – I’m looking at you, you Israelis and you Palestinians: isn’t it time to get on getting along already?

  13. Ray

    “I’ve always wondered what the economics of a high end brothel were?”

    Here it is:
    Man leaves house of ill-repute shaking his head …”gee that is a helluva business ‘you got it, you sell it and you still got it’

    1. reslez

      So about the same as a chiropractor or car mechanic, then, except there’s no doubt about the service you received.

  14. Jay

    I’m not a huge Amazon fan, but how is it selling below cost? The unit cost for a download is zero, or near enough. Of course they have to sell in enough volume to cover their upfront expenses, but so do traditional publishers.

    The Kindle itself might be priced below cost, but it’s pretty typical in the electronics industry to subsidize the upfront costs and recoup those costs with follow-on sales. If that’s illegal, then so are most printer and Blu-Ray sales.

  15. jsmith

    Regarding libraries:

    If this situation doesn’t perfectly give away the complete falsity of the neoliberal economic mantra: government should be more like a business I really haven’t seen a better example.

    So, after decade upon decade of being told that governments should be run more like businesses here we have the situation with libraries where their circulation and usage rates are stratospheric yet governments are going to STRIP money from them?

    Wait, but if libraries are SO SUCCESSFUL – i.e., higher circulation rates/usage – then why are they cutting investment in libraries?

    I guess a really successful business would also be in danger of being shuttered because it was TOO SUCCESSFUL, huh?

    F*cking criminals stealing the people’s resources.

  16. Don Levit

    Yes, the federal government will be the majority payer very soon.
    Median household income is $50,000.
    Average group family health premium is $14,000.
    That says enough – the system is not sustainable.

    What we need to have as an option is people voluntarily denying claims (particularly smaller claims), in lieu of building a paid-up policy, paid-up with every monthly premium.
    For very affordable contributions, one can build up $25,000-$50,000 in 2- 4 years.
    This will reduce the traditional premium by 60-80%.
    As this primary policy builds,the deductible on the traditional secondary plan is raised.
    More details in a month or so, as Milliman, an actuarial firm, is putting these numbers together to see how they will look.
    Don Levit

    1. reslez

      You just said the median income is $50,000.

      How in the world does “very affordable contributions” over 2-4 years lead to $25,000-$50,000?

    2. LucyLulu

      Your plan doesn’t address the underlying problem, only changes who suffers the symptoms. The problem is the cost of healthcare, and shifting those costs from one party to another, does nothing to change that healthcare for the average American is costing $8000/person, and continues to rise.

  17. Walter Wit Man

    Full scale fascism is here ladies and gentlemen.

    Here’s Anderson Cooper trying to damage control to hide the fact that the “activists” he and the Western media are using to spread propaganda about Syria, are actually actors spreading lies. Cooper and his fellow fascist boot lickers got busted with their pants down so they took a couple days to regroup and coordinate their lies, then flew “Danny”, the “activist”, into wherever Anderson is to do an interview. I wonder how many takes it took to get their story down in the manner they did. Notice Cooper barely attempts to act like a journalist. No probing questions of this terrorist, Danny, just propaganda helping him to (badly) explain away their complicity in murder and terrorism.

    Basically, Anderson Cooper is taking part in a crime against Syria.

    The bloggers you trust and the media that you cannot escape from are doing their utmost to hide this reality . . . but there is no going back now.

    Please stop and consider the significance of this. Our media is LITERALLY producing fake videos about war and intentionally spreading them to convince the West to go to war. Anderson Cooper and the entire mainstream media are nothing but actors–whores for empire.

    And notice the bloggers many of us trust. Silence. Utter silence.

    Why? Why are the “progressive” bloggers we thought we trusted spiking this story? Is it because media fakery (and the fact many of them are simply disinformation agents) is the big secret they don’t want revealed and will take any measures to protect Americans from this reality?

    This is a HUGE story folks.

    The significance is so overwhelming even I, who think about this stuff a lot, can barely compute.

    This is Huge. Our media and even those “liberal” bloggers we foolishly trust are part of fake media empire constructed to manipulate public perception.

    These vicious fascist killers won’t stop. Syrian blood is next followed by Iranian blood and it won’t be too long before the full brunt of this fascist killing machine is turned on the American people. It’s already happening.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      There are so many lies in Cooper’s interview it is hard to know where to begin.

      But notice how Cooper rebuts a charge the Syrians didn’t really make. Cooper says the Syrian government claims Danny is being paid by CNN. He also focuses on the fact the Syrians label Danny a “Zionist.”

      But the Syrian video simply says Danny is being paid to spill Syrian blood, which I think is a fair assumption.
      As was previously reported, Avaaz, an American NGO, seems to be funding or coordinating these “activists” or “citizen reporters” in Syria.

      And where does half of Avaaz’s funds come from? That’s right, MoveOn!

      So liberals are being conned into “doing something” by giving money to a NGO that will pass the money along to terrorists to commit acts of war and terrorism against Syria and to produce propaganda aimed at the American people. Lovely.

      You see why no one wants to talk about this story? You see why Huffington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and BBC won’t report that the activists whom they relied on FOR ALL THE INFORMATION OUT OF SYRIA, are Western funded terrorists.

      Do you see why Cooper had to do this ham handed explanation and why the gatekeeper blogs aren’t reporting this?

      And btw, Danny does ask for Israel to help the Syrians, as well as asking for the U.S. military to come and help, so it’s understandable Syrians would call Danny a Zionist.

    2. SR6719

      Walter Wit Man: “Our media is LITERALLY producing fake videos about war and intentionally spreading them to convince the West to go to war. Anderson Cooper and the entire mainstream media are nothing but actors–whores for empire.”

      That’s why I avoid the MSM. I’ve been meaning to look into this issue, but can never find the time.

      Would you mind providing one or two links related to Syria and the fake videos? Or a link to previous comments where you discussed it in more detail?


      And are there literally no bloggers discussing the matter of fake war videos and Syria?

      1. Walter Wit Man

        There a few blogs discussing this. I cite two above.

        It’s also been mentioned here at NC by me and others.

        The discussion started in NC links on 3/3 was good.

        In that thread I link to this compilation of faked videos that is pretty good. There is other conclusive video proof as well I believe. The videos show that the “activists” are completely making up stories of shelling and murder and the number of victims (plus other information contradicts their story as well–like the stories spiked by Huffington Post that I happened to read in other venues).

        Furthermore, some of us were able to figure out the videos and reporting were fake from simply analyzing the videos and the publicly available facts (albeit hidden in plain sight in obscure locations). Now that we have conclusive proof of fakery our original reasoning appears even stronger.

        Since one rarely gets smoking gun evidence like we have with Danny, we have to look at other public facts. This task necessarily involves spending a lot of time digging into the issues and critically analyzing all the publicly known news sites, videos, and reporters–so it’s not easy. The task is made even more difficult by the unrelenting disinformation being spread by the mainstream media.

        The Penny for your thoughts blog and the blogroll there is a fresh perspective (at least it’s fresh to me). As I said above, I don’t trust anyone anymore but the commentators there are doing true citizen journalism. When people dig into the evidence and analyze it we begin to see a massive propaganda campaign against Syria (and Libya–while I was aware of bad information at the time I only just looked into fake videos from Libya and now I suspect our media completely lied to us about that war).

        Check out the analysis of Mary Colvin and the recovery of her body for instance. There is also lots of good information about the other Western journalists that are reporting form there on that site and many others.

        Basically, these “reporters” all appear to be in on the scam:

        Marie Colvin
        Paul Conroy
        Edith Bouvier
        Tyler Hicks
        Anthony Shadid
        Remi Ochlik

        I’m missing some others (there’s probably 10 or so main media perps) but the entire Western media presence seems to be complicit in these crimes with the exception of Thierry Meyssan and a few others (although I am watching this reporting with a skeptical eye as well).

        1. SR6719


          I reviewed the discussion on 3/03 and have started reading Lizzie Phelan’s blog. (“The Truth about Danny Addul-Dayen” video is very well done.)

          After Lizzie Phelan’s blog I’ll check into Thierry Meyssan at Voltaire Net. That seems like a good start.

          Seeing through the propaganda is a lot of work.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Exactly! And there is no avoiding taking the arduous path of looking into the background of the dozen or so reporters–the reporters are the story. Then it’s interesting to wade through all the youtube videos and alternative reporting. It’s quite dizzying.

            But it is an interesting story if one bothers to take the time. Interesting and scary. The perps are not very good actors either and they are getting sloppy. They have created obvious fantasies and it is a bit thrilling to so easily be able to discover a mainstream “reporter” as being an obvious fraud. But its scary to see the depth of media complicity.

            Since the media is actively promoting the fake story, it will wear down the truth so eventually the false story predominates. We have seen this play enough to know how it goes.

            It just astonishes me the line we just crossed. Our media is knowingly spreading false war propaganda. I naively thought there would be a little bit more resistance to our media literally airing fake war propaganda with child actors and fake killings, etc. I mean people that matter know. People that do take the time to dig a little into the facts have to be suspicious. How can thinking people not ask questions about these wild claims that conveniently support American empire? And the system is set up to discourage people from looking further.

            And we move on to Limbaugh or who is tougher on Iran or some other human interest story . . . . it’s a constant stream of mindless crap and propaganda. The t.v. is their greatest weapon.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        For those don’t get the reference to Huffington Post, as I noted here yesterday, Sharmine Narwani, one of the few reporters to actually go into Syria and report original news, someone who had posted on Huffington Post for years, was ignored. Her stories were spiked because they pointed out obvious facts: that the casualty lists put out by “activists” were made up bullshit by people like “Danny.” We clearly see Danny lying about hundreds of victims in the videos. How can any reporter trust this bullshit? The answer is they are peddling this bullshit, not putting up with it.

        If you look at today’s Huffington Post reporting on Syria, its disgusting and filled with lies. It gets the “defector” story wrong, as Penny shows, it promotes yet more fraudulent videos containing sensational claims that have been fabricated in the past by these “activists.”

        Our entire media is filled with outright propaganda.

        Also, as of today, zero posts on Daily Kos about media fakery in Syria.

        Be interesting to see what other blogs have ignored this explosive (no pun intended to the Syrians) information.

      3. Walter Wit Man

        I see nothing searching on

        I see nothing from Democratic Underground

        I see nothing from a lot of bloggers on liberal blog rolls that one would think would have a lot to say. Wonder about Glenn Greenwald . . .

        Of course NPR was actively promoting the disinformation.

        But no mainstream news even reported the news about the allegations of them being fake. Notice that? Except CNN when it briefly “debunked” them.

        One would think that since the news media passed along unsubstantiated reports from the “activists” that they would at least pass along the information about Danny being a fraud, right? Shouldn’t they show both sides so we can decide?

        Instead you have to scour the internet to find the Syrian position and the smoking gun the Syrians came up with.

        1. Lambert Strether

          OK, I’ll bite, since I’m really a giant lizard anyhow. Serious question: Is there reason to think the “Danny” video isn’t counter-intelligence from the Syrian services?

          1. Walter Wit Man

            It’s possible its Syria disinformation. But the odds are slim.

            The main reason is the released video matches the video that the networks like CNN showed live. The Syrian video even superimposes the live feed and audio to show the match. So they Syrian government would have to be very crafty to have swung that. But if you know of a plausible theory let’s hear it.

            Also, which side has the billions in dollars in secret ops budgets? And has used them before?

            Plus, the Syrian government has been vindicated from everything I’ve looked at. The side that has been lying is the West and frankly we would be much better off starting with Syrian reporting–they haven’t been caught lying serially.

            Also, as noted before, the fact the networks won’t show this video is proof of their hostile intent. It is at least as trustworthy as the “activist” videos themselves–the media should show both sides. Right?

            But actually, the evidence shows one side is lying and the other isn’t so CNN should issue an immediate retraction of everything Danny and the other perps have said . . . . but they won’t do that. They’re obviously complicit.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Unless you are suggesting that Danny is a double agent. A Syrian pretending to be an “activist” who obviously makes false claims on behalf of the rebels and appears to be a Western asset.

            Which is possible.

            Mighty clever of them. And funny that the Americans still haven’t caught on and still have Anderson Cooper playing footsie with and supporting their double agent!

          3. wb

            Very interesting reports, W W W, thanks. yes, global propaganda wars now. Who to believe ? It’s getting harder every day….

            “Over the past four decades, Syria amassed vast supplies of mustard gas, sarin nerve agent and cyanide, according to declassified reports by the Central Intelligence Agency. Significant quantities of these chemical agents are believed to have been weaponized by the Syrian government in artillery shells, bombs and possibly Scud and SS-21 missiles.”


          4. Walter Wit Man

            Wow WB,

            They’re trotting out the chemical weapons propaganda now, eh?

            These propaganda is definitely regressing.

    3. Jon

      Which bloggers are you specifically referring too or merit being singled out?

      Has Glenn Greenwald posted about it?

      Thing is, we’ve known the media practices in stagecraft and propaganda since the time of Lippman and Orwell (and even before that). What makes this different is that now there is a tape catching media scoundrels in the act. Americans don’t want to read a Chomsky book. Hell, they don’t even respond to reason very well. But there is one thing that DOES get through to them: Video footage, which Americans hail as incontrovertible proof. So, this story of Danny IS huge because it is proof in what, sadly, appears to be the only language Americans universally know. And in that state, a mind can change in a flash.

      No wonder this thing is a hot potato. It is media kryptonite.

      1. wb

        Yeah. When it was discovered that polar bear cubs on David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet series were actually filmed in a zoo, there was a massive hoohaa in the media claiming the public had been deceived and mislead, blablabla, going on for days and days… when, in fact, the source of the info was the Frozen Planet website, so nothing had been concealed.

        But now we have this… and the MSM are totally silent. Quite extraordinary.

        I think somebody needs to gather all the details together onto one succinct hard hitting web page that can be widely distributed, as a clear example of how we are being deceived and manipulated.

        1. wb

          I suppose that journalists have sharp antennae, they want to stay employed and get paid for stories. They know who butters their bread, they won’t bite the hand that feeds them. This story is too hot. It doesn’t fit the narrative that the MSM are peddling. The Emperor Has No Clothes. But whose got the guts to come out and say so ? If it was wicked Moslems, or Communists, or Palestinians, or a Mexican drug cartel, or insurgent revolutionaries, who were telling lies, faking videos and setting up false flag atrocities, it’d be headlines.
          But the BBC ? CNN ?
          We’re being conned from every direction, and I think it is going to get much worse….

      2. Walter Wit Man

        It is so hard to get through to people who are victims of mass mindfucking. Video is the best evidence, but the truth will overwhelm.

        Here’s Lizzie Phelon being interviewed by Rober Mackey of the New York Times, via TheNaked Facts:

        ROBERT MACKEY: Since your impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those of many foreign reporters who have worked there recently, I wanted to ask you about how you found your sources and what you think accounts for the different picture painted of the conflict by other journalists.

        LIZZIE PHELAN: . . . .

        This question is flawed, because what you really mean is that my impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those reporters from the NATO and GCC countries [council for Arab states of the Gulf], which have a vested interest in destabilising Syria. Of course my impressions are actually shared by the majority people of this world, from those countries outside of NATO and the GCC and particularly those which are victims of these powers. But because they do not own a powerful media their voices are drowned out by the impressions of the minority reflected in the mainstream media of the NATO and GCC countries.

        So in relation to my sources, I find my sources through a number of different means, but my main means is I talk to ordinary people everywhere I go and in Syria this is not difficult because people are really keen to speak about the crisis in their country, especially to foreigners who they feel strongly have a false impression about their country and current events. This was overwhelmingly, but of course not exclusively, the point of view that I encountered. And this is reflected in my reporting.

        In fact, like in Libya, I was so overwhelmed by the volume of people that wanted to talk about their anger at the fabrications in the media of the NATO and GCC countries that my colleague Mostafa Afzalzadeh and I decided to make a documentary so that we could reflect what ordinary Syrian people are really saying. This documentary will actually expose how, if it was not for such media, the crisis in Syria would have been over before it started and the people of Syria would be living in peace now.

        The difference with journalists from mainstream media in NATO and GCC countries is that they come with an agenda, and that agenda is to cover what they call a ‘revolution’ happening inside Syria and to give substance to the false claims that the Syrian government is a threat to the Syrian people. So if, for example, they walk down the street and they have 10 people telling them there is no revolution happening in Syria and actually the people want the army to protect them from the terrorists that are flooding the country, and then they have one person who tells them that there is no democracy in Syria, they will discard the 10 as government spies and run with the one person who said something different. I witnessed this myself.

    4. psychohistorian

      I am sorry but YOU are just figuring out that your bought government and media are spewing out and out propaganda.

      Some of us have been watching it for 40+ years.

      1. wb

        Over the last 40+ years information was harder to assemble because there was no internet, just radio, tv, papers, so discoveries of manipulation often didn’t become clear until long after the relevant events. What’s different now is that evidence is quickly in the public domain, and there’s an opportunity for some correction, exposure of culprits and push back.

  18. kevinearick

    Dark Ages, Niggers in the Woodpile, & PM

    Most belong in the dark ages. Do you really want to go there? Time on the sideline is necessary, but don’t make an occupation out of it. Set a timer and then get back in.

    Niggardly: grudgingly mean about spending or granting;

    Nigger in the Woodpile: some fact of considerable importance that is not disclosed – something suspicious or wrong.

    Paul Volcker is not a stupid man. Keep your rules simple, so the intent of agency becomes clear as early in the process as possible. The more complex the rules, the more cockroaches in the walls, and they are all coming out of the woodwork now aren’t they? Expect your best, or become the rest, competing to become the least common denominator.

    Not only do you own the auto industry, its accounting paper, and all those vehicles stuffed into the channel, but you also own all those brand new government fleets that do nothing but drive around watching your activity, with Apples for the purpose. Whose fault is that?

    You can see the CA wave in Europe closing into a centrifuge, fed by electronic monetary expansion. They intend to break your necks, driving the herd into PMs, but you know that don’t you? The central banks are not collecting PM as a hedge, and the Fed does not necessarily have to raise rates to make it happen, especially if everyone is expecting QE.

    Fortunately, the system is too stupid to raise rates until it is too late. One of these times a head fake is going to break its own neck and pull the Treasuries in with it. Not to worry; they still have this last desperate attempt to prove to themselves that they are still in charge of the Titanic, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the bond between the intelligent Jews, Persians, & Turks, like many in the queue, who have superficial retread leadership.

    When you do evacuate, do so in as many different directions, simultaneously, as possible. Wash and repeat.

    Alpha & Omega
    Honor Thy Parents
    To Thy Owns Self Be True
    The Meek Shall Inherit
    Do Unto Others

    “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it to the earnestness of others.”

    Genesis 28:15; Romans 8:31; Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 63:7-8; James 1:2-3

    She takes the $1/2M short and continues to collect food stamps on no recurring income. How long do you suppose that money is going to last? Never replace a human with a computer unless that human has something more productive to do. Emotional decisions are a black hole. Be the neutral to swim upstream. Watch for the addiction control mechanisms. It’s a spider web of spider webs.

  19. Tyzão

    what happened to the 49 state AG agreement? wasn’t that supposed to be released last week? just wondering, have I missed something?

  20. Jim

    Re: Tyrolean independence aspirations.

    Good for Tyroleans. They were promised something (90% of local tax revenues would stay in Tyrol), and today, the Italian central government wants to breach that promise.

    1. JTFaraday

      Ah, good question. When the marauding peasant bands level each town, how much do they leave the residents and how much do they cart away?

      Engels doesn’t say.

      But, we do know they have some practiced robber barons in tow.

  21. propertius

    Amazon is selling below cost. That’s generally called predatory pricing

    Really? I find this hard to believe since costs of production and distribution ought to be negligible compared to a paper book. That leaves editorial expenses, payments to the author, marketing, other overhead, and profit.

    Are the costs of printing, binding, and distributing a paper book such a small portion of the sale price that they don’t constitute much of a saving in an e-book?

    Kindle editions actually seem quite expensive to me – I guess I’ll have to rethink that view.

  22. scraping_by

    …the economics of a high end brothel…

    Probably won’t get much of look. The previous procuress to the rich and famous didn’t do so well publishing. None of her powerful friends remembered her name when she was down and out. And she didn’t do so well in horrifying little old ladies outside of Washington; everyone she ratted out got on with no more disturbance than a teary public apology.

    As to the tinfoil hat thing, the recording of Ms. Palfrey on the Alex Jones show is sobering. Her job was emotion, but this sounded like an emotional moment. It’s direct, rather than quoted, which they used to teach was a lot more authentic and reliable. And people change their minds, but the arrangements for suicide are a lot like those for incarceration, having known people who headed toward both.

    Still, Ms. Gristina apparently just got boring to her lifelong adolescent clientele. So it goes.

      1. scraping_by

        I honestly wish more of that uninformed, unwashed, crazy, paranoid, inbred, right-wing, ranting, tinfoil hat bullshit turned out to be untrue.

        It’s the crazy-ass rantation bullshit that turns out to be true that twists an honest man’s world view. Lying about WMDs? Mass forgeries? Constitution-free zones?

        Ah, for the innocent days of drinking beer and cussing Commies. And now we know, even that…

  23. aeolius

    On Afghani “graft”
    I love it. The NYTimes staunch supporter of multiculturalism cannot see that we have a certain expectation of those in public office and insist that the rest of the world needs follow our definition. I suggest that most of the rest of the world disagrees. Perhaps they would consider it incredibly selfish of the “Big Man” not to share the money he controls. Often I am sure the Big Man has made deals to get to the top. And is rewarding his supporters.
    But what is a “Super-PAC”? Or an earmark etc. Our system is as riddled with graft as any other.
    Perhaps we find it acceptable to take money to get elected and get paid in power and not riches. Or perhaps better put, with riches delayed until you leave office and join K-Street or get huge bucks for making speeches etc etc.
    Didn’t Honest Abe horse trade cabinet posts for blocs of votes in his Convention? And didn’t these Cabinet posts have well-know sources of income?
    What about the now blue-haired gray-lady?
    Of course she never slant the news?
    Victorian nonsense.

    1. scraping_by

      Indeed, most multiculturalism is about everyone else becoming a lot more like us. Give up chadoors and institute Affirmative Action. Create nepotism along corporate rather than family lines. Replace clans with college fraternities. Get expert advice from the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. And so on.

      I remember the days when the slogan, “It’s not wrong, it’s just different” was part of the educated person’s entrance requirements. Then, the West discovered female circumcision. Suddenly we returned to the White Man’s Burden. It’s been getting more Victorian ever since.

      If multiculturalism means live and let live, it’s got few supporters in the chattering classes. It’s more a blue collar thing.

  24. Glen

    “I’ve always wondered what the economics of a high end brothel were.”

    I dare say that parallels to certain Wall St firms and TBTF banks could be drawn.

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