Links 4/2/12

The female of the species is more scary than the male Lucy Kellaway, Financial Times.

How Privacy Has Become an Antitrust Issue Al Franken, Huffington Post (hat tip reader Lee)

EPA Backpedals on Fracking Contamination Wall Street Journal (hat tip Joe Costello)

EPA proposes first limit on greenhouse gases iWatchNews (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Massive Public Protests Spur France to Ban Plantings of Monsanto’s MON810 GMO Corn Nation of Change (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

George Galloway’s Respect could help Britain to break the political impasse Guardian (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Privatisation is a catastrophe, warns godfather of forensics Independent (hat tip Lambert)

Big banks prepare to pay back LTRO loans Financial Times

European Banks Skirt Looming Problems Wall Street Journal

The G20 should say no to the eurozone Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

Burma rejoices on a long-delayed day for democracy Guardian (hat tip Lambert)

Japan pension scandal shakes trust in system AFP (hat tip Lambert)

China Manufacturing PMI™ Decreases at Second-Fastest Rate in Three Years Michael Shedlock

How the West de-democratised the Middle East Aljazeera (hat tip reader May S)

Welcome to the New Third World of Energy, the U.S. Michael Klare, TomDispatch

Lawrence Solomon: A world awash in oil Financial Post (hat tip reader Walter D)

As Fukushima Worsens, US Approves New Nukes Common Dreams (hat tip reader May S)

Obama’s very own Kennedy moment Edward Luce, Financial Times

NRA pushed ‘stand your ground’ laws across the nation iWatchNews (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Ptolemaic Economics in the Age of Einstein Steve Keen, Credit Writedowns

Public Worker Pensions Find Riskier Funds Fail to Pay Off New York Times. Quelle surprise!

Can the US consumer keep spending? MacroBusiness

Federal Reserve Seeks to Fine Firms Over Foreclosures New York Times. As the piece indicates, this is just a shakedown to get them to join the settlement.

Goldman fund to exit company owning sex traffic site Reuters. Mentioned yesterday in the Nicholas Kristof post we highlighed, apparently as a direct result of his article.

Cohan: Why’s the Govt Keeping Wall Street’s Secrets? Bloomberg

Clients Raise Questions About MF Global Checks New York Times. Wow, this is desperate.

In Wake of Groupon, Critics Wary of JOBS Act Wall Street Journal

David Graeber and Tim Pool 2012 Time 100 Poll. Reader Martha R suggests we stuff the ballot box.

Marx at 193 London Review of Books (hat tip Lambert)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus antidote from reader furzy mouse:

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    1. LeeAnne

      Fabulous! Thanks for the link. I couldn’t have guessed -it starts off looking spontaneous, but then it’s so beautifully orchestrated and the photography was too good to believe it wasn’t staged. But it was great fun being surprised and not knowing the ending.

      The so-American tune would be, could be, Putin sucking up to Obama. Too bad everything ends in cynacism these days. It looked like a lot of young people having a good time -not a political message. Knowing that takes the fun out of it, but the truth is REQUIRED. Thanks for that.

    2. LeeAnne

      in other words, the video is slick propaganda. for that reason, it should have been accompanied with an explanation.

    3. LucyLulu

      Awesome flash mob, and great fun. I liked it much better than the Chorus Line piece Wells Fargo did in Times Square. There’s one on YouTube done in Copenhagen of Ravel’s Bolero that’s really good, too.

    4. Paul Tioxon

      None Dare Call It Conspiracy, it is more out of sadness than fear that I view this From Russia With Love display. Can it be anything less the Terrible Russian Bear awakening from hibernation to its former collective greatness?

    5. Lady Bug

      Well if Putin is behind this, he does produce a great flash mob. For those who want to see something more down home looking and not a voice for Putin propoganda, check out this video of some New Englanders doing their version of Jai Ho in Portsmouth last May (there is a 10 second add before the vid,have patience)

  1. rjs

    MacroBusiness asks Can the US consumer keep spending?

    sure, as long as 12% of homeowners continue not to pay on their mortgages, & millions of others continue to take out student loans for living expenses…

    but not if you’re counting on savings or real disposable personal income per capita, which is now back to the level of autumn 2006…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This from Keen’s piece citing a SF Fed Reserve paper –

      ‘We find a close relationship between the rate of credit growth relative to GDP in the expansion phase and the severity of the subsequent recession.

      If the wages are not going up, even in the expansion phase, and if the rate of credit growth relative to GDP does not either, there will be pain materialistically, though not necessarily spiritually. But because there is pain, there is the will to confront whatever the problems are.

      With excess credit growth, short term, you avoid the pain.

  2. René

    RE: The female of the species is more scary than the male Lucy Kellaway, Financial Times.

    1. René

      The sexes deceive themselves about one another: the reason being that fundamentally they love and honour only themselves (or their own ideal, to express it more pleasantly-). Thus man wants woman to be peaceful – but woman is essentially unpeaceful, like the cat, however well she may have trained herself to present an appearance of peace.

      131, Beyond Good and Evil

      – F. Nietzsche

        1. René

          I thought he was madly in love with a woman who did not love him. Maybe this is a partial explanation of his views on woman. The “appearance of peace”, resonated with me strongly though :-)

          “In revenge and in love woman is more barbarous than man.”

          139, Beyond Good and Evil, F. Nietzsche

  3. YankeeFrank

    Re the MF Global NYT piece: yeah, the firm places firm money into client accounts to facilitate transactions. Yeah. That’s why they took $1.5 billion from customer accounts, sucking entire accounts dry… to the tune of $1.5 billion. Just a silly clerical error really. They meant to take only THEIR money from client accounts… that they place there on purpose to facilitate whitewashing of criminal acts. Desperate indeed Yves.

    And yet, despite not passing the laugh test, no one is indicted. And Corzine, who from what I’ve heard was in complete control of the trades that brought down the firm, is enjoying his hundreds of millions from this side of the bars.

    It seems as if Corzine has trading skills that rival those of the great Larry Summers.

    If only our John Galts weren’t so incredibly awesome I could feel better about myself. Heh, that’s the upside to the cinematic failure of our “elites”: I could sit at home with one thumb up my nose and the other in my ass watching QVC 24/7 and feel like a winner!

    1. LucyLulu

      Not a “clerical error”, silly. It was “sloppy bookkeeping”. Being sloppy isn’t illegal, ya know.

      1. Synopticist

        That’s one HARD HITTING blog.
        “In recent weeks, federal authorities have come to suspect that MF Global’s actions amount to sloppy record-keeping, rather than criminal fraud.”
        So they’ve got the inside scoop on what the FEDs know, right? Oh, hang on though…

        “It is unclear whether investigators are already aware of the checks, or if they will find the information useful”

        Hmmm. Maybe they DON’T know that investors were sent checks through the mail days before the firm failed. These investigator types probably haven’t the time to find out things that every F**king person who’s been following the story since October knows.

        “It is unclear whether anyone at MF Global knowingly tapped customer money to cover the overdraft at JPMorgan. ”
        Thank goodness for the NYT, who we can rely upon for such profound insight and fearless journalistic integrity.

  4. Furzy Mouse

    At a lecture I attended, the Dalai Lama said “The purpose of life is to have a happy life.”!! He continued to add that existence itself could be said to be the “reason” for lifetimes…in other words, we don’t have to justify our existence.

    Now, back to suffering; that is usually caused by our grasping at desired, but finally unfulfilling, goals or objects. On his deathbed, Buddha reminded his followers that “all compounded entities will cease to exist”, including you and me, as well as all objects of desire or aversion. So why sweat it?

    Regarding the “flow” theory of happiness/fulfillment…it does take one away from the screaming me me’s…and produces some satisfaction/results. Whether riding a fast horse, betting in the futures markets, or taking kids to the circus, we can “lose” ourselves in the task at hand. But can we equate immersion in an activity with the ever elusive “happiness”?

    Your Zen saying about chopping wood is one of my favorites, and it points to the enlightened state as something strictly within and attained by our mental continuum, and some serious effort!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The purpose of life is to have a happy life.

      Something is just universal, like, the pursuit of happiness every American is entitled to. You can go to the guru on the mountain top or to the old lady selling rice cake by the road, it is the same, and simple, and right there in front of you all that time you are seeking…

      Question – If you are prevented from your pursuit of happiness, are you happy or unhappy about it?

      Will you say, ‘I am happy that I am not happy?’

      Will you say, ‘One must be unhappy in order to obtain happiness?’

      Will you say, ‘It is not a question of being happy or unhappy about it. It’s about just being?’

      Is life the same – just being?

    2. LucyLulu

      My personal favorite explanation of “suffering”, whether it tracks closely to the traditional Buddhist concept or not, comes from the opening of The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck, an old bestseller, and my favorite of all the ‘self-help’ books ever written. He says that suffering is universal and that the first of the five Buddhist laws is that everyone suffers. Once one accepts that everyone suffers, then one doesn’t suffer so much. The worst suffering is when one believe they have been uniquely and unfairly singled out for our suffering. When I think about the most miserable people I know, invariably they think their life is tougher than everyone else’s, and that when they have a problem, its tougher than when others have the same problem.

      And okay, I confess. Father bless me, for I have sinned. I’ve been to known to fall into the same kind of thinking myself.

  5. Furzy Mouse

    Here is the text that came with the bonus “antidote”

    Puttin’ on the Ritz…variation in Moscow

    What a crazy, ever changing world…! Who could have thought that in 2012 young people in Moscow would put on a “flash mob” happening, dancing to an 83 year old American song written by a Russian born American/Jew (Irving Berlin) whose last name is the capital of Germany…

  6. Dan B

    Re: Michael Klare on, “Welcome to the Third World of Energy, the US.” Regrettably Klare has left out some important factors. Tar sands, shale oil and shale gas are the consequences of peak oil. They are the dregs of fossil fuel energy, environmentally (as he points out), but also economically and thermodynamically. They have very low net energy return ratios; further, their flow rates –barrels per day- are low. One example: the PR line is North Dakota shale oil is producing 500,000 barrels of oil a day; what’s left out is that it takes 6,600 wells to do this. That’s an average of 85 barrels a day. This is the epitome of unsustainability. Also, Google: “diesel shortage Nebraska” to see how the shale oil play in North Dakota is consuming diesel fuel –something not counted in the hoopla about producing 500,000 barrels a day. The old canard “It’s jobs versus the environment” never was true –but it’s all the fossil fuel barons have left even as our economy contracts from a lack of cheap and plentiful low entropy energy.

    1. curlydan

      Gasland! Gasland! Gasland! Everyone must watch this documentary. It takes 600 truck trips to establish 1 well! No wonder diesel is getting sucked dry.

    2. I Hate Accounting Guy

      Don’t they pay for these inputs in fuel, labor, material, and equipment?

      Or is there some way around that?

    3. LucyLulu

      In terms of unemployment, its 3% in N. Dakota, probably lower where they are producing the oil. The average oil worker makes $90,000/year. That’s the good news that is reported. What they don’t report is the inflation that has occurred and the housing shortage. The average rent has skyrocketed to $1200/month for a 2BR apt. That’s quite affordable if you are the average oil worker. Not so much if you are a single mom working at Walmart, assuming you can find a place to live. The towns are building but are reluctant to build to capacity. In the 80’s they underwent a building boom when the oil rigs came to town. Then the price of oil plummeted and the oil companies all left, leaving abandoned housing developments and bankrupt developers behind. As long as the price of oil remains above $100/barrel, shale oil is lucrative. However, if oil prices plummet, developers know they will be burned again so housing will remain in short supply.

      Also, the farmers that own the land the oil is being drilled on are not getting rich because they don’t own the mineral rights to their land. Typically their compensation is a few thousand or so for a producing well. The rights may have been leased for hundreds of thousands. Their technology for extracting oil is improving however with the use of horizontal wells. The oil is situated in a soft spongy layer between two layers of rock, described to be similar to a large oreo cookie. It has far less of a harmful impact on the environment than tar sands oil extraction, though that is setting the bar pretty low. The tar sands oil fields are a criminal enterprise that need to be shut down yesterday.

    1. barrisj

      Wrong…the US and TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS is light-years ahead of anyone in creation and implementation of the Compleat Surveillance State…the only thing the Brits have an edge is in CCTV, which is a home-grown Orwellian concept writ large.

    2. LucyLulu

      Agreed. If the US is not already monitoring all internet activity, the new NSA complex in Utah will surely bring that level of surveillance with it. Always assume your activity is not private. But then I advised my students of that for email at least over 10 years ago, as email is stored on servers on the route from your computer to its destination. The time they retain the emails depends upon their individual policies. You can encrypt your emails but now even that is no longer considered secure. A good policy is not to put anything in email you aren’t willing to put in writing.

  7. Drake

    Far more than just one variety of corn:

    GMOs can really screw up your health and affect your children if they are ever born. Here’s a nice catalog of horrors with plenty of peer reviewed footnotes on the studies.

    The PDF. Print it to convince the biggest
    pro-corporate skeptics.
    and a great video in the Connecticut Legislature talking about why a state ban…There’s a lot of information out there. This guy’s summation of the dangers of GMOs is as good as it gets. You can listen to it while you prepare your organic vegetables and know you were right about this stuff ten years ago.

  8. wunsacon

    >> Lawrence Solomon: A world awash in oil Financial Post

    I disagree with this reasoning somewhat. The author observes that natural gas is cheap at the moment and then extrapolates to the future to predict we’ll be awash in oil. But, North American winters have been increasingly mild the past few years. And, the newer (fracking) technology he’s crediting has a tendency to increase production at the outset but more quickly exhaust resources than traditional production — like using a bunch of straws in unison to slurp out the resources quickly. In other words, the production gains aren’t sustainable.

    Nevertheless, if Kurzweil is right about solar cell technology exhibiting (over time) exponential improvement in efficiency, then Lawrence Solomon’s prediction might prove correct after all.

    1. John L

      The outfit he’s from – Energy Probe, – is interesting. Combines a free market view point with property rights and environmental concerns. Suggests that the way to ensure environmental protections is to give people control of their own property. So no more fracking under my property unless I say so. Says that governments should not be able to trade away people’s rights, and basically cannot be trusted to safeguard the environment. See also Slow Child USA’s CESCR post below. Might be the basis of a coalition here that gets past left-right. Thoughts anyone?

      1. wunsacon

        >> Suggests that the way to ensure environmental protections is to give people control of their own property. So no more fracking under my property unless I say so.

        Sorry, but I see “libertarians” as an astroturf religious group for the top 1% and see this argument as part of their propaganda.

        People who own mineral rights on large tracts of land *have* control over their own property rights. They’ve been agreeing to let companies frack on their land. The people who suffer are those who lack enough wealth to even make it worthwhile to defend their property rights vigorously. There’s always an uphill battle of proving things like “second-hand smoke, asbestos, BPA or your fracking chemicals in small doses is screwing up my health”. Or “your carbon dioxide is submerging my country”. And when you’re poor, our property-oriented legal system places less value on your very life, because it bases “damages” on your earnings. (That’s why we can pay a measly few grand for each dead body from our “collateral damage” abroad. Killing poor people does not cost as much money.)

        The root problem is that property rights are “lossy”. The poorer you are, the more vulnerable your position, then the more quickly you must compromise. Propertarians don’t talk about this. They abstract away any unpleasant details that their model doesn’t address. For them, at first, it’s “hear no evil, see no evil.” After you press them on it, maybe you’ll get a “let it be”. Basically, they’re all about “numero uno” and that’s it. It’s a policy of not giving a shit about anyone else but themselves — and speaking with great fervor in favor of it.

      2. curlydan

        I doubt it. Basically, the nat gas companies can come in and wave $5,000/acre at a rural land owner (some of whom are still fairly poor) and get a fast signature. People need that money. If everyone were wealthy and loved the land and had long-term visions, then maybe trusting the private owner would work. But money is still king in tight times, and people will for the most part turn over their land to these high bidders.

        1. John L

          Thank you both. Yes, I’ve seen the miles of GMO corn in MN and SD where big ag armed with ethanol subsidies has bought out small farmers and turned these areas into food deserts.

          Energy Probe is a Trojan horse.

    2. Anon

      Probe around on Lawrence Solomon’s Energy Probe website, and it’s clear that he’s a rampant AGW denialist (has written a book in praise of deniers).

      He’s also pro-nukular to an absurd, blame-the-victim degree:

      (March 25, 2011) Energy Probe executive director Lawrence Solomon argues that the biggest tragedy of Chernobyl was the reaction, rather than the meltdown itself.

      1. John L

        Yup, saw that. Trying to be open minded to see if there was useful common ground there, but no. A Trojan horse as noted above. Drill, baby, drill behind a green fig leaf.

  9. lambert strether

    I just reread the Marx article in LBR and want to recommend it. It’s not doctrinaire at all. It reminds me somewhat of Graeber’s style, in the flashing fluidity of the ideas, and unexpected connections. It also fits well into the “modeling and its discontents” permathread at NC.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      I agree for the most part. It’s a worthwhile read. I think he too casually uses (and misuses) some data points (like, say, about life expectancy and what conclusions he draws from that), but in general, it’s very interesting take on Marx and how the world today is, and is not, like one the Marx and his theories contemplated.

      What I find even more interesting is that these ideas and their interpretation can be so complex and long-lasting; yet most humans (at least as judged by comment boards) think everything is simple, and if anyone doesn’t agree with their simplistic conception of complex ideas, the only possible reason for the disagreement is that the other person must be an idiot.

      I mean, certainly, some people are idiots. Some people give mistaken answers to factual matters about which there can be no reasonable disagreement.

      But about serious, complex issues (about Marx or monetary theory), it’s not a question of idiocy. Maybe stubbornness; maybe cognitive bias.

      But really, the only thing simple and obvious to say about these complex issues is that the people who think that they are “simple and easy” are undoubtedly incorrect.

      Pulling this back to Fullwiler’s (and originally PK’s) “Flashing Neon Sign,” it’s really those who are calling one of these issues “obvious” or “simple and easy” who are holding the true Flashing Neon Sign: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!”

      1. JTFaraday

        He annoyed me more and more the longer I read.

        First, “unlike Marx” he claims to be an empiricist, then he proceeds to accept the highly conceptually constructed “proletarian” and “bourgeois” categories of analysis as given by Marx, then he proposes that these classes are now divided on an East-West axis and that everyone in the West is a bourgeois, effectively erasing the enormous unpropertied proletarian class in the West whose very proletarian status (especially in the US) just helped precipitate the most recent round of crises in capitalism.

        Talk about not being able to hit the side of a barn.

        If anything, it is this very same *belief* that our alleged empiricist is (still!) promoting– that “everyone” in the West “is a bourgeois”– that accounts for how Western proletarians got roped into their role in the housing crisis in the first place.

        Meanwhile, he takes the existence of a relatively small number of wage/salaried workers with a viable stake in what he is, at one point careful to call “bourgeois political economy,” as empirical evidence for his his contention that “everyone” in the West is a bourgeois.

        It is certainly true that the existence of this relatively small, perhaps hybrid profit-taking class has a highly distorting effect on public discourse and on politics. It is, certainly, the *only* popular constituency of the contemporary D-Party in the US.

        This is no empiricist. At best, he’s looking like an accidental neoliberal propagandist– he seems sincere, don’t he?

  10. Slow child USA

    There’s a little fact that important for perspective on Klare’s article. We’re signatories to a treaty that has provisions drafted specifically to handle the resource curse: the CESCR, which was signed by Carter and ignored like Penn State locker-room roughhousing ever since. Article 1(2) acknowledges peoples’ free disposition of their wealth and resources. Developed countries watered that article down with reference to unspecified international law. Since international commercial law has historically screwed humans on behalf of extraction industries, the majority of the world rammed Article 25 in there: “Nothing in the present Covenant shall be interpreted as impairing the inherent right of all peoples to enjoy and utilize fully and freely their natural wealth and resources.” If I’m sitting on it, it’s my shale, so big corporation with no human rights, fuck off.

    We’re having this debate only now, fifty years after the rest of the world hashed it out, because the US population has been kept in the cone of silence with propaganda isolation North Korea would be proud of. The CESCR could be ratified with a bicameral majority. The treaty also affirms your right to health, education and a lot of other things under attack. So it’s beyond me why anybody would even think about casting a vote for Congress without knowing where the candidate stands on the CESCR.

    1. Slow Child USA

      That’s interesting, since a movement only ever gets traction here by ripping both parties apart crosswise. Human rights is pretty much orthogonal to left-right electoral politics because both of the authorized US parties fight them tooth and nail. If Energy Probe start quoting human rights chapter and verse, suddenly they get access to concerted international pressure through the NGO network that connects to ECOSOC and the Human Rights Council in Geneva; they get a legal basis for undercutting the sovereignty of this corporatist state; and they get a common language and political philosophy to communicate with pressure groups in countries that have been through this already. For dismantling kleptocratic police states it’s like no-muss, no-fuss terror.

      1. John L

        Yes, as discussed above they are using green language to advance a property rights agenda. Interesting tactic and one to beware of.

    2. LucyLulu

      Help me understand the CESCR. When one says “the people” who exactly is “the people” and who gets to speak on their behalf. For example, there is the mess of the oil extraction in Nigeria. Corrupt leaders are being paid off by corporations to extract the oil. The people who live on the land, once enjoying a thriving fishing industry that supplied Lagos with their seafood, have been thrust into poverty as the waters and farmland that have provided their subsistence, have become contaminated by oil leaks. So, the people who live on the land don’t have the power to negotiate nor receive the benefits of the oil industry. Instead they accrue to government officials.

      Then we have our own country, the US. Much of the land, particularly in the West, had its property rights and mineral rights severed, with the mineral rights retained by either the state or federal government. Alternatively, the mineral rights may have been sold apart from the land. And while the owner of the land is entitled to some level of protection of improvements and compensation for access to minerals, the land owner does not have the authority to deny access to the extraction of the minerals. The current holder of mineral rights is entitled to any proceeds from the extraction of minerals, and these leases are often frequently traded by speculators, or auctioned off by the government, and ultimately end up being held by industry.

      So, when the CESCR refers to the “peoples”, does that include the government that allegedly represents those people? And is the CESCR helpful if those governments ultimately sell their rights to corporations anyways, with little regard for the people they represent?

    1. Maximilien

      Thanks for that, CG. Very interesting.

      From Kaplan’s fax requesting wire transfer of his funds: “Thank you for your services over the years. With current market conditions, I am trying to eliminate speculation from my portfolio.”

      Mr. Kaplan seems to have sensed that his money was in jeopardy. Yet his fax is courteous, including the polite excuse for why he was closing his account. No “You guys are in trouble and I want my money—NOW.”

      MF Global did send him his money—but by check. The check of course bounced.

      Mr. Kaplan made one mistake: he was polite. These large financial firms prey on weakness (I know: I’ve had one such experience myself). Don’t ask for your money, demand it. Don’t make up reasons why you want it, just demand it. After all, it’s your money, not theirs. No explanations needed.

      No company likes dealing with loud-mouthed trouble-makers (and sometimes squeaky wheels do get greased). Of course if the company (e.g. MF Global) is determined to steal your money, you aren’t getting it back, no matter how rude you are. But at least you’ll have had the pleasure of making the thieving bastards’ lives miserable for a while.

      1. CG

        Glad you liked – but Mr. Kaplan’s tone wouldn’t have made a difference. MF Global issued redemptions via check for ALL customers that were requesting redemptions in those final days (checks which all bounced)

        That MF Global was transferring customer money to its counterparties via wire, while issuing customers (the actual owners of that money) snail mail checks (a departure from normal procedure) definitely shows some sort of intent (at least to any rational observer). It seems they knew they were dipping into customer funds (with the hope to fill it back in shortly). Not sure how well that holds up in court, I’m no lawyer.

        Here’s the best article I’ve seen outlining/hypothesizing what happened:

  11. Aquifer

    On the Galloway article – it could happen here. All we have to do is refuse, as the Brits did, to succumb to the “can’t win” meme so perversely and successfully perpetrated here ….

    We DO have a choice, let us exercise it …

  12. Gil

    Re: Third World Energy et al…

    Some time ago there appeared, possibly linked from this site, a high quality web site showing a graphic about world resource consumption.

    It showed a box delineating how much of world resources have been consumed. Next to it was a tiny box showing how much had been consumed as of 1900.

    Does anyone have a link to that or remember the site?
    I lost all my bookmarks.

  13. Hugh

    As near as I have been able to find out, Lawrence Solomon is a whacked out Canadian oil cornucopian and climate change denier. His org Energy Probe is a weird combination of neoliberalism and environmentalism. He is anti-nuclear and pro-hydrocarbon. Like I said, weird.

  14. Max424

    Read all about it! Read all about it! The Glory Days of the Cult of the Evil Muhammadists are over!


    Too funny. 5 comments under the Lawrence Solomon piece, reader and astute observer Craig Read blames peak oil hysteria on the Marxists.

    The Marxists!!!

    The Marxists? I personally have never met a Marxist, and I’m willing to lay 3 to 1 that I never do, despite the fact that apparently they’re everywhere.

    I’d like to say I haven’t run in to one because I don’t get out much. But that’s not the case. I’ve pretty much lived my life like a feral cat* –and a friendly chatty one, at that.

    In my travels I’ve talked with tens of thousands of right wing people, from the sort-of-hard-to-find Skin Head/Neo-Nazi types to the your more standard, way-to-easy-to-find, white Republican racist everyman.

    But I’ve never met a Marxist. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve never met a liberal.

    *Without the promiscuous, soulless sex, of course. Right Max? My semi-feral cat is sitting right next to me.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Supreme Court blesses the police state:

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

    Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

    “Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails.

    “He sez he’s a Supreme Court justice … haw haw haw! Drop your drawers, old fart, or we’ll break your arm …”

    1. LucyLulu

      Having worked a few months in a jail environment on a temporary agency assignment, but many years on locked psychiatric wards where we also routinely conducted strip searches before admission to the unit, I wholeheartedly endorse this policy as being necessary for the safety of the unit, both other inmates and the staff. In jails (don’t know about prisons) the staff do not generally carry weapons themselves (and never on psych units) and when an inmate is able to smuggle weapons or other contraband on the unit, it needlessly endangers lives and causes anxiety and an unstable environment because the inmates feel staff is unable to ensure their safety when there are major incidents, which can lead to more acting out. Jails have an increasingly large percentage of inmates who are mentally ill due to the budget cuts in mental health so they are similar environments. Would you want to have to take down a large male who has a knife (we would approach with a mattress, but its hardly failproof)? And they can be very creative with where they hide contraband. For example, I had a patient who smuggled in razor blades in one of her bodily orifices (we didn’t do orifice searches).

      Sometimes individual rights have to be sacrificed for the sake of the greater community. And this is a population that not only has a likelihood of having drugs (can be equally dangerous, especially when mixed with mental illness) and weapons on their bodies, but of being more likely to behave unpredictably, or to share their contraband with somebody else who exhibits dangerous behavior. I can’t imagine requiring anybody to work in a jail where searches were not conducted, and if unemployment were not so high, you wouldn’t be able to keep the jails staffed (unless the pay was a whole lot higher).

  16. Max424

    Professor Krugman’s blog is falling apart. Read some of the comments. Basically, the Kruger gets blasted repeatedly and remorselessly for being a scaredy cat; too fearful –too high in his tower– to take on a worthy opponent in fair and open intellectual combat.

    Reminds me of what happened to Matt Yglesias. One minute his blog is top-of-the-progressive-world, the next minute people like me have made lock tight case that Matt is a really a neo-liberal, existing far to right of the old Rockefeller Republicans, and we force him to hightail it out of town.

    Well, not out of town, exactly. Matty is still safely ensconced inside the Beltway Castle; just a different part of it.

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