Links 4/19/12

Illinois man dies in attack by swans Raw Story

Kangaroo genitals are weirder than you ever thought possible Grist (Lambert)

Farmers in Tree Bank programme harvest long-term profits and win over sceptical neighbours Bangkok Post (hat tip Lambert)

Brain Scans Can Reliably Predict Future Behavior, Including Eating and Sex PopSci (Robert M)

Domino’s Pizza Safe Sound scooter is the funniest thing on two wheels Autoblog (YY)

The Real Bad Guy in the E-Book Price Fixing Case Slate (CJR)

Fitch doubts Dutch AAA as property slump reaches ‘coma’ Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

BP settles $7.8bn of Gulf oil spill claims Telegraph



CIA seeks new authority to expand Yemen drone campaign Washington Post (Lambert)

India test fires long-range nuclear missile Guardian (John L)

Australian WikiLeaks lawyer, on ‘inhibited person’ travel list, stopped at Airport Crikey

Julian Assange’s Debut on Russia Today – The Serious People Say it Was Really Bad! Forbes (Lambert)

Torture Suits Against Companies Blocked by Top U.S. Court Bloomberg

Supreme Court: Corporations aren’t people … when they torture Daily Kos

Barney Frank: Obamacare Was a ‘Mistake’ Forbes (ep3). So did you vote against it? No. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

Romney cites ‘vast left wing conspiracy‘Political Ticker (Lambert)

In Wariness on Economy, Poll Finds Opening for Romney New York Times

ALEC Sends Out an SOS to Breitbart Bloggers Rebekah Wilce, Firedoglake

EPA Will Delay Start of Some U.S. Fracking Rules, API Says Bloomberg

Fracking rules let drillers flare till 2015 Reuters

Charts: Dirty Energy’s Election Ad Spending Spree Mother Jones. See chart at end on increase in interest group ad spending….aieee!

Geithner: U.S. Faces ‘Big Test’ on Taxes, Budget FoxBusiness. Improved headline per Lambert: “Timmy tees up a bankster coup d’etat for the lame duck session”

The Son of the Housing Bubble: First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Dean Baker

Bank of America Faces Bad Home-Equity Loans: Mortgages Bloomberg. Quelle surprise!

Bank Credit Worst to Companies Since Crisis Peak Bloomberg

Mark Gongloff: Yet Another Regulatory Retreat Huffington Post. On derivatives.

Google blacklists Bank of America parody website Raw Story

Bill Moyers Essay: It Pays to Be Rich YouTube (Jesse)

Antidote du jour (Miles K):

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  1. Shy But Learning

    “Kangaroo genitals are weirder than you ever thought possible”

    Ok. I agree.

    I heard Rick Santorum does exercises which allow him to retract his balls up his ass whenever he feels threatened, but that’s got nothing over a kangeroo!

  2. Richard Kline

    I completely agree with article linked: the ‘pro-trust’ action of DoJ in favor of ghoul monopolist Amazon is bizarre from the any standpoint. It certainly hurts those who write and purvey written work. I’m no fan of publishers (but that’s another beef), and their actions may or may not have involved a restraint of trade. But to rule in favor of a grotesque monopoly which is patently abusing is powers to kill competition, control market flow, and heist consumers in the absence of competition is . . . exactly what we’ve come to expect from our Federal guvmint in the US of A, regardless of which faction of the One Party is in power.

    Of course publishers missed the boat long ago by not creating their own That’s because their long-standing model always allowed them to shove losses off onto retailers. The real solution of course is for content creators to go free agent and ditch the publishers, too, in favor of _their own_

    As far as one can tell, the government of our country will stick at nothing to enable, create, and protect monopolists. The government is nothing more than another layer of enforcement for Big(gest) Money.

    1. psychohistorian

      Agreed Richard!

      My solution proffered as a comment to the Barney Frank/Matt Stoller posting could apply here as well as a solution that jolts us out of the current power structure into something more fair, just and equitable:

      It needs to be hammered home over and over again that the Fed is private banking/money and all associated profits go to global inherited rich. Along with that the alternative needs to be stated of public banking/money with associated profits going to the public commons instead of the global inherited rich.

      Can the public be lifted from the fog of TV and media domination to see this reality?

  3. dearieme

    Domino’s Pizza: we tried one for the first time recently. Dear God, why do people eat such stuff?

    1. K Ackermann


      Sources are a bit thin, but many groups vie to shape Wikipedia to control the message.

      1. truth hertz

        That model has worked for Zionists for 200 years. If it ain’t broke, keep fixin’ it.

    1. colinc

      Hmm, I did not see any reference in the article regarding the “color” of the birds. :D I recognize the “humor” but I have to wonder how many people using that 2-word expression really understand how and why “Black Swan” events exist.

  4. tom allen

    Remember when Barney Frank pushed for single-payer, Medicare-for-All?

    Yeah, neither do I.

    1. Eureka Springs

      I wonder if Barney asked all these happy people if paying double to triple the going rate for health care whilst being the worst in the developed world is what makes them so happy?

    1. colinc

      Thanks for the links, YY and wunsacon! However, I was amused by Brian Becker, A.N.S.W.E.R., saying “… the American people need to hear the voice of Hezbollah…”. That, of course, is a reasonable perspective but it seems to obviate the fact that, by and large, AmeriCONs do NOT want to hear “both” sides of any story. That would require(?) them to “think” which may “distract” them from their next six-pack, crack-fix or crack-whore. It’s MUCH easier to “believe” than think. The USA, as it has been for more than a few decades, is most certainly NOT the country my parents and “teachers” believed in, but I do understand the source of their ignorance.

      BTW, I’ve also learned that “both sides” of a “story” is nothing more than a manufactured “distraction” as EVERY story has MORE than 2 “sides.” Alas, due diligence and a functioning capacity to reason are required to discern that and there is an absolute dearth of both those qualities in the USA and, indeed, the world.

  5. McKillop

    Today, in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, is a report in which citigroup is cited as declaring the country’s AAA ‘credit’ status will likely remain unchanged.
    Having read articles concerning citigroup, and the major credit ratings agencies, I’m a tad concerned, now, although I had been a tad assured previously.
    Should I use Bank of A to resolve my dilemma, my crisis of faith?

  6. Up the Ante

    ALEC, “a very aggressive campaign to really spread the word about what we actually do.”

    In common parlay, you SUCK ! and are FOUND OUT ! OUT !

    “Panic in the ALEC camp was evidenced in recent days ..”

    Know fear, ALEC, I am beginning to read Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.
    Having looked into the Mankiw-fraud in recent days and found him to be, yup, A FRAUD, will I find ALEC’s referring to Hayek equally so ? [ Out !! ]

  7. jsmith

    Regarding Yemen:

    “Securing permission to use these “signature strikes” would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior, such as imagery showing militants gathering at known al-Qaeda compounds or unloading explosives.”

    Basically, we have already killed thousands of innocent people when we supposedly “knew” who we were shooting at.

    Instead of this giving anyone pause, the murderers are going to “deregulate” the process and up the toll of innocent people killed.

    Any of the war criminals involved in the above from the commanding officer down to the guying flying the aircraft deserves a slow and brutal death.

    Hey, maybe they could couple the “suspicious” behavior angle of the strikes with the brain scans that predict future behavior, huh?

    Anyone still think the entire system DOESN’T need to be dismantled?

    These are no other words for anyone involved in this except war criminal and murderer.

    1. Eureka Springs

      The very fact it is the CIA who is asking for this (more contract/license for random murdering in secret for profit?), rather than a system which makes it impossible for them to do so… Any military action should be ordered by elected/representative leaders… not sought by those who profit from it.

      I want to thank those who have mentioned “inverted totalitarianism” several times recently.

      It really says so much about who we are.

    2. barrisj

      A close reading of the WaPo piece on “signature drone strikes” reveals the usual “reporting” ploy used when writing up these sorts of “national security” articles: the unwavering reliance upon unattributed sources. Actually, it appears as though every paragraph cites “US officials” or something to that effect (David Petraeus is in fact the only Obama Administration person singled out by name in this piece). Here are some examples, by no means exhaustive:

      .The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who will be killed, U.S. officials said.
      .A senior Obama administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations, declined to discuss what he described as U.S. “tactics” in Yemen but said “there is still a very firm emphasis on being surgical and targeting only those who have a direct interest in attacking the United States.”
      U.S. officials acknowledge that standard has not always been upheld. Last year, a U.S. drone strike inadvertently killed the American son of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader. The teenager had never been accused of terrorist activity and was killed in a strike aimed at other militants.
      .They also pointed to the CIA’s experience in Pakistan. U.S. officials said the agency killed more senior al-Qaida operatives there with signature strikes than with those in which the agency had identified and located someone on its kill list.
      .In Pakistan, the CIA “killed most of their ‘list people’ when they didn’t know they were there,” said a former senior U.S. military official familiar with drone operations.
      .A former senior U.S. intelligence official said the CIA became so adept at this that it could tell what was happening inside an al-Qaida compound — whether a leader was visiting or explosives were being assembled, for example — based on the location and number of security operatives surrounding the site.
      (Two more paragraphs follow citing presumably this “former senior US intelligence official)

      And so it goes on…these types of stories have become the default mode amongst MSM “reporters”, where unnamed “officials” float info by selected media reps in order to get “the real story” out to news consumers, and whatever the version of a policy is spun, it becomes a given, unchallengeable and forever consecrated as “the truth”. And particularly the drone business, which has been anointed as “highly selective”, “precision-targeting”, and “sparing of civilian casualties”, full stop. Anything or anyone claiming the contrary is labeled prima facie as “unreliable” or “unconfirmed”. All of which is leading to a virtually unrestricted and broadly applied “tactic” against “America’s enemies”, a list that includes US citizens amongst others.

      1. jsmith

        Yup, one of the tactics to use in combating the BIG LIE is the BIG WHY.

        Why the f*ck are we droning people all over the planet when there are grave doubts about the casus belli of the WOT – 9/11 – in the first place?

        If there were no WMDs in Iraq and the Taliban had no supposed responsibility in 9/11, why aren’t US officials and military leaders being prosecuted for war crimes?

        Why are there trillions of dollars for banks and war but no money for schools, pensions, state governments, SS, Medicare and all the rest?

        If we can print unlimited money for banks and war, why can’t we print unlimited money for the citizens of the US?

        Why shouldn’t anyone involved in the WOT from the commanders on down to the propagandists/journalists be considered war criminals when there is abundant evidence for said crimes?

        The key is to never let the propagandists frame the terms of the debate with minutiae, anonymous sources, political “realities”, etc. because once one starts arguing about specifics, the BIG WHY is never answered/addressed and the BIG LIE continues to be propagated.

        1. hermanas

          It’s part of that, “We create our own reality.” crowd.
          “As you make your bed, so shall you sleep.”

    1. Captain Kirk

      It’s breakfast time here in Columbia. Holy Big Bang, do I need a rest. I walked into the puta attraction here and asked Madam which puta girl can I get for one million dollars. She locked the front door. McCoy beamed down for breakfast this morning and brought his stims and what he calls “fun pills”. I think I’ll recommend this place to the rest of the crew whenever Madam lets me go.

      But reading your link here, I have a suggestion. Spock pointed out that when you folks want to drive a car, you don’t have a maximum number of miles you can drive before you must ask permission and prove you are capable of driving a car. Instead, you must apply for a license and demonstrate that you are a car driver.

      Spock thinks similar logic applies to becoming a swap dealer and something like an energy dealer.

      Desire to engage in swap market-> prove capability and financial responsibility->obtain license.

      Requirements may be different whether its a car license, 18 wheeler, or starship.

      sent from iphone – columbia

      1. Up the Ante

        She just unlocked the front door. I saw her.

        You see, those decades of ‘innocent television viewing’ have taken their severe toll, she can’t even remember you from yesterday !

        1. Up the Ante

          That ‘innocent’ stuff I mentioned a moment ago, that’s what they call the In-stead Project. Ruminate on that.

          It’s a major cause of ‘dis-location’.

  8. Jim Haygood

    Hey! It’s April 19th! As Anthony Gregory points out,

    On April 19, 1993, tired from the boredom and bad publicity of just standing around outside the “compound,” the FBI drove a tank through the Davidians’ home, pumped it full of CS gas, launched incendiary devices at the building, and watched it go up in flames. As soon as the stakes became higher, as soon as questioning the feds meant implying they had committed mass murder, the media stopped barking defiantly and jumped back to the government’s lap.

    The Democrats, home of America’s center-left, oversaw this exceedingly important event in the development of the police state. Unsurprisingly, every respectable liberal defended the government and believed Clinton’s people when they demonized the Davidians. The entire respectable right went along with the bloodletting, too. Why wouldn’t they? It was a raid planned by George H.W. Bush’s ATF, carried out by the Clintonistas, and ultimately rubberstamped by the Republicans in Congress, and so everyone could get behind it. Some libertarians wavered, including Randians and other proponents of violent national secularism, and much of the radical left went limp too.

    Waco, from the raid’s planning to the cover-up and show trials, taught the U.S. government what it could get away with – which is to say, practically anything. It can gas innocent children with internationally banned chemicals. It can hoist a federal flag atop a torched American home, claim victory, and see its public image improve. It can throw grenades at people trying to escape a building and claim they are being held hostage. In the name of protecting these “hostages” and children, it can watch as they burn and keep the firefighters away. And the massacre will be tolerated, even applauded.

    1. b.

      Welcome to the technocracy – can brain scans determine who should be president – and would be definition have to be drafted – and who shouldn’t (anybody who has the ambition)?

      Can brain scans determine who will be an insurgent, or a protestor? Or the parent of one?

    2. tom allen

      “Can brain scans reveal future lobbyists or banksters?”

      Yes. If a brain is detected, they’re disqualified.

  9. b.

    A comment on “signature strikes”. “Signature strikes” are warfare – a military uniform is a “signature”. The whole cloth invention is simply an attempt to imply a uniform (and organization) where there is none. However, the CIA can by definition not perform “signature” strikes even if it had legal “standing” to perform assassinations, as they are acts of warfare, not targeted killings off the battlefield.

    Ultimately, this is the 21st century version of the colonial “kill the brutes” attrition warfare approach to counter-insurgency pioneered by the British red coats, and, amazingly enough, not applied to the Irish-descendant colonists (after having been applied to Scots and Irish wantonly for centuries). It is, at its root, racist, with eugenic overtones – unnatural selection so that the strong shall inherit the meek.

    The Obanality to this evil – The People’s chosen bureaucratic-technincompetent unitary executive – is less disgusting only in comparison to the bipartisan acquiescence of The People. A lot has been made of the alleged “Littkle Eichmans” in the WTC – and isn’t the double diminutive mjissing the point? – but there can be no doubt that Eichmaennlein large and small are out there.

    Support The Drones!

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Corporations aren’t people when they torture.


    Are they people when corporations are tortured?

    1. highly advanced

      Fun fact: The American People are excluded from the protection of the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Upon ratification, Congress tried to neutralize the CAT with legally void loopholes in breach of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. The whole world knows this, except for sad American punching bags who get cuffed and tazed and raped and put in the hole and subjected to Zionazi tortures by Israeli-trained cops. Four years ago the Committee Against Torture pointed out that US law does not comply with the CAT. Nothing has changed. The Committee Against Torture is reviewing our government again now. Wonder what they’ll say? Wonder if we’ll hear about it before the election? Watch all the Dem dead-enders hurry downtown to vote for a President who is breaking Articles 12 and 16 of the Convention Against Torture, publicly announcing shit that Idi Amin couldn’t get away with in darkest Africa. Welcome to the third world, chumps. Don’t drink the water.

    2. ever so highly advanced
      (Old news, but USA’s 5th periodic report was due November last year and it’s still in the memory hole. The review should be fun.)
      you could see how it might cramp their style wrt centrally-coordinated state violence against Occupy,

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    India test fire long-range nuclear missle.

    Let’s hope they notified all the cows in the area.

    1. Captain Kirk

      As we were decelerating into your time zone, Spock picked up the North Korean launch. Vulcans are always watching for signs of warp drive capabilty.

      Unfortunately, Kim did not get much mileage out of his new Dong.

      Spock did pick up another UFO in the area, however. Visuals look like a large, rocket powered flying turtle. It reads life signs, but unusually high tachyon readings are evident. Spock believes this creature is known as Gamera, and it’s origon is northern Japan.

      Spock did track the successful, long range Indian launch, but so far he has just characterized this event as “disturbing”.

      sent from iphone – columbia

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    India test fired long-range nuclear missle.

    Let’s hope they notified all the cows in the area.

    1. just me

      = insane

      DANIEL ELLSBERG: Another point of this very same article, based on recent scientific studies by atmospheric scientists, is that even a relatively small war of 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons – that is, atomic bombs, the kind of weapons that are now the triggers for our H-bombs, for our thermonuclear weapons – 100 of those, and they [India and Pakistan] have more than 100, would cause not the end of life on Earth but about a billion deaths from starvation as the effects on the ozone layer and the smoke, which would be less than the overall attack but enough over time – and again these effects would last for a decade or more – to reduce harvests all over the world and cause about a billion marginally fed people now to die from starvation.

      So the rest of the world has a great stake in keeping that war from happening. That is perhaps the most likely actually deliberate attack to take place in the world, an India-Pakistan event.

      And the fact remains that their few hundreds of weapons are far more than they have a right to threaten the world with, in these effects. Well all the more of course, then, that’s true of the other nuclear states, but above all of the U.S. and Russia, which have 95% of the warheads, which can in fact extinguish life on Earth if we carry out our existing war plans. We have no right to have such a doomsday machine in operation.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is it true that the only AAA left in the world is the American Automobile Association?

    1. Hugh

      No. I’ve heard that Fitch is considering forcing them to lose an A, but so far I have not heard which one.

  14. Maximilien

    Re: Brain Scans Can Reliably Predict Future Behavior (“The women whose brains lit up at the sight of food gained more weight than their counterparts, the authors found. And women whose brains responded to sexy imagery were more likely to be sexually active.”)

    And the people whose brains light up at the sight of money? A reliable indicator of sociopathy? “Mr. Blankfein, the results of your test are in and your brain reacted crazily—the craziest we’ve ever seen—to images of stacks of cash. We’ve alerted the authorities and you’ll be arrested shortly. Sorry about that.”

    1. JTFaraday

      Yeah, the pre-crime edition. Why can’t we just get him post-crime? the old fashioned way.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It makes you wonder who is funding most of the science projects?

      When certain projects are funded and others not, we see a particular manifestation of science. But that science is not the whole science nor nothing-but-the-science.

      So, when your project is accepted, you have to wonder, for what nefarious purposes do they intend to do with my research. I mean, why would the rich/powerful OK my application? How can I be sure of doing no harm, even at six (or more) degrees of removeness of guilt? If there is the slightest doubt in your mind, you should become a vegetable grower.

    3. Jim

      For a few decades now, Coke focus group tests most of its major TV spots to ensure that certain parts of the brain light up as the viewer processes them.

    1. Eric Holder

      We’ve got Mr. Nugent’s “Stranglehold” recording. There is no judge of mine that will let Mr. Nugent off the hook with evidence like that.

      Besides, the only reason we haven’t preemptive assassinated Mr. Nugent is he was a pretty mean 12 string guitar player. Problem is he stated talking.

          1. Valissa

            Would you legislate that disease in or out of Obamacare?

            After reading the lyrics I’m inclined to suggest that those Secret Service Agents go with the Cat Scratch Fever defense.

            IMO, this whole uproar about the SS agent’s sexual activities is ridiculous, esp. when compared to the level of whoring the members of congress do every day.

          2. Eric Holder

            Rick Santorum has proven his political capital.

            Obama,Romney and Congress have no choice but to legislate it out of everywhere, and root it out of wherever we may look for and recognize it.

    2. just me

      Ted Nugent and the Secret Service are buds. Michael Moore is linking to this current Mother Jones story:

      The Time Ted Nugent Shot Guns With the Secret Service

      But it turned out that the Secret Service had just stopped by to play target practice. Nugent said he set up bowling pins a few hundred feet away and took aim with a borrowed government rifle and pretended to shoot the director of Bowling for Columbine. “Before I shot, I went, ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.’ Michael Moore! And I blew him up. Beautiful!

      1. Valissa

        Yeah, Ted Nugent must be lovin’ all this attention.

        It’s rather amusing (and simultaneously somewhat pathetic) to read the comments at the various Nugent tunes on YouTube, which are much more political than one usually finds on concert clips and obviously due to recent events. Mostly it was your standard left v. right WWF level angerfest, but a few of the right wingers were calling him an evil liberal/left wing type for being a draft dodger back in the day.

  15. Hugh

    The ebook article looks like subtle reverse propaganda. The ebook story is one of Amazon against everyone else, but that everyone else is a handful of large corporate publishers. This is corporation on corporation violence, and if you are looking for any white hats in it, you won’t find any.

    The publishing houses want to gouge consumers now by keeping their prices high, and they say if this doesn’t happen, then Amazon will use its market share later to gouge consumers. Note the issue is not to gouge or not to gouge consumers but who shall benefit from that gouging, Amazon or the publishing houses.

    And before we start shedding tears over the publishing houses, ask yourselves what they have done to encourage and promote new writers. They will pay millions of dollars for ghost-written celebrity biographies and the defensive ramblings of recently retired politicians cum war criminals, but the next Faulkner? not so much.

    And publishers have managed to tie up huge numbers of texts under copyright law so that almost everything that was under copyright at your birth will still be under copyright at your death. On the one hand, publishers tell us that most books have a salable shelf life of a few months or a few years. They must make all their profits in that short time, but if that is true, then why do they need to keep 99% of their titles under copyright for 70-120 years?

    Finally, of course, publishers could choose not to use Amazon. If several of them did this, Amazon would lose a lot of its inventory. But importantly they don’t. The book publishers want to minimize their own costs by selling through Amazon and at the same time maximize their profits while doing so. In other words, pretty much what Amazon wants to do with them.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Normally I like your comment, but do you know bupkis about book publishing?

      Let me tell you: people in it are paid jack shit. Full time editors make less than my doorman. I’m no fan of publishers, they make authors’ lives hell but the idea that this is a high profit industry is 100% counterfactual.

      Let me tell you what Amazon has done: killed what authors make. And they don’t make much to begin with. I got a meager advance for ECONNED. I would never have done it if I had realized that was all I would get.

      I’m not doing a second book unless I get a better advance. And Amazon has made that certain. Do you want a world where no one wants to write books because there is no money in it? JK Rowling got a small advance. Would she have written Harry Potter with no advance? I’m not sure she would have.

      The only non-fiction books you’ll see written in our new world of life post Amazon are ones by writes with big established reader bases (Michael Lewis, Tom Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell), academics (who write for reasons other than to make money on the book), propagandists (who get paid otherwise) and people who can cobble a book out of existing copy (as in compilations of essays).

      And don’t tell me about self-publishing. It means the author has to front expenses (copy editors, proofreaders, layout, an indexer, etc). I have a decent following and I’m not willing to incur hard costs on top of opportunity costs of taking time from the blog. My time is more profitably spent on my day job, such as it is.

      And it wasn’t book publishers who pushed for copyright extension. Get your facts right. It was Walt Disney and the music industry (a lot of old jingles get used in movies and commercials).

      1. Hugh

        Well, usually I like your input as well. But

        A) A lot of what you ascribe to Amazon re underfunding of authors was already in the works in the publishing industry. It is a product of consolidation in the industry and declining profit margins. As I pointed out, the big publishers who dominate the industry can still fork out millions for the next celebrity text while doing next to nothing for up and coming authors.

        B) It isn’t just Disney. The publishing industry did not come out against the Sonny Bono law. This is really a phenomenon of owners of intellectual property in general: books, music, movies, etc., and that is to increase its control of intellectual property essentially to beyond our lifetimes. If publishing houses were so beneficent, they could release most of their catalogue into the public domain. I’m not going to hold my breath on that though.

      2. Jim

        Thanks for your insights, Yves.

        I don’t think that any industry that which has grown as little as book publishing can have high profit margins. It doesn’t pass the BS test.

        With respect to Econned (i have the book), I think it conferred more credibility to an already respected writer. Almost every time I see your name in the NYtimes it cites you as the author of Econned.

        While a second book may indeed result in diminishing returns, I’m glad you wrote the first.

  16. Lil'D

    It just keeps getting more and more depressing to visit this site, despite the antidotes and links to innovations.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It could be it’s because of the world is getting more depressing, and not the site in particular.

          1. Up the Ante

            Your second cartoon is an excellent depiction of blowback from the In-stead Project, begging the wisdom of such investments,

            What ignoring provokes, part 2

            Keeping that in mind, your third cartoon has “Mary”, of all people, begging the question of how the In-stead Project defines “work”, tread diplomatically ..

            And the third is a gem of a gotcha moment, capturing a ‘political aide’ demonstrate the ignore button with voter communications.

            Govt. ringfence liaisons are heavily invested in In-stead “work”.

            In-stead as a religion, a cult.
            In-stead as ignorance.
            In-stead as the Error, with mathematical certainty of results.

    2. Lambert Strether

      “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” — Antonio Gramsci

      1. Valissa

        Wonderful quote! Will have to add that to my collection. Personally I have found reading a bunch of history to be a great antidote. However, that’s very time consuming so here’s a great book, that I often recommend, that offers another way of looking at these changing times.

        The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization, by Thomas Homer-Dixon

        Here’s another great Gramsci quote: “The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned.” – Antonio Gramsci

        And here’s one of my favorite antidote quotes… my own beliefs and attitudes are the only ones I can do anything about anyway.

        “The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.” – William James

  17. gordon

    Australia-watchers might have picked up the speech by Joe Hockey (Opposition Treasury spokesman) on entitlements in Australia:

    It’s a beautiful example of “when in trouble, move to the Right” motto of the Australian Liberal Party, who are having a lot of trouble putting together an alternative Budget.

    Matt Cowgill responds to Hockey’s speech pretty effectively here:

    1. YY

      Joe Hockey has a likable demeanor which allows him to get away saying some horrid shit. A couple of years ago in a TV interview ex-PM Paul Keating referred to Hockey as “Shreck” without mentioning any connection to Hockey who was in the news about a week before for some statement. The ABC interviewer (Tony Jones) couldn’t hold his mirthful recognition of the spot on description.

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