Links 5/17/12

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Whales can adjust their hearing BBC

Home-built “Bio Computer” runs Linux, grows wheatgrass Gizmag (Aquifer)

Google says this makes it smarter WebProNews (Lambert)

Dental Abuse Seen Driven by Private Equity Investments Bloomberg. This is REALLY awful.

This Is Your Brain On Sugar: Study in Rats Shows High-Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning, Memory Science Daily (Aquifer)

Mixed Bacterial Communities Evolve to Share Resources, Not Compete Science Daily (Aquifer)

Looks Matter More Than Reputation When It Comes to Trusting People With Our Money Science Daily (Aquifer). Quelle surprise!

‘If We Leave the Euro, Everything Will Be Worse’ Der Spiegel

Greeks urged to run poll as euro vote Financial Times

ECB Stops Loans to Some Greek Banks as Draghi Talks Exit Bloomberg

Debt crisis: Greek euro exit looms closer as banks crumble Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The Problem with the Eurozone’s Throw-Greece-from-the-Train Plan Is that its Timing Can’t Be Controlled Peter Dorman

Cost of Greek exit from eurozone put at $1tn Guardian

Hume on hold? Consequences of not abolishing Eurozone national central banks Michael Burda, VoxEU

Money is fleeing China MacroBusiness

Whites Now Account for Under Half of Births in U.S. New York Times

Federal court enjoins NDAA Glenn Greenwald. Wow, the good guys win one for a change.

The Great Modulation MacroBusiness

Federal Reserve wary of eurozone risks Financial Times. NOW they’re worried?

White House Steps Up Push to Toughen Rules on Banks Wall Street Journal. This part is funny: “White House officials have intensified their talks with the Treasury Department in the days since J.P. Morgan’s losses came to light.” Translation: “White House tells Geithner he has to do a more convincing job of not looking like the banks’ water boy.”

JPM’s Jamie Dimon Talked Volcker Rule In Private Meeting With Timothy Geithner TPM

‘London Whale’ Said to Be Leaving JPMorgan New York Times. Wonder why that took so long.

Wells Fargo Has Blood on Its Hands: Desperate Man Commits Suicide After Shocking Foreclosure Mistreatment Alternet (furzy mouse)

* * *
D – 114 and counting. *

A week is a long time in politics. –Harold Wilson, of all people

Lambert here:

G8 Summit. Camp David is in MD, near Thurmont. The nearest large town is Frederick. OccupyFrederick and OccupyBaltimore seem to be holding the scheduled events. An anonymous farmer in Thurmont is letting Occupy Baltimore camp on his land. Statement from Sherriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County. “There has been a recent trend toward flash mob protests.” Bucolic. There will be drones, so Obama should feel comfortable. Protest photography, with useful tips.

NATO summit. Multiple sources telling TimCast Chicago NATO people will lose cell service. Standard Operating Procedure 303 gives “state homeland security advisors” the power to call for the “the termination of private wireless network connections.” Of course a National Emergency is whatever Obama wakes up in the morning and says it is. (Interestingly, the chance of “mobile phone service gaps” near Thurmont was one reason the G8 people didn’t march on Camp David.) Iraq Veterans Against the War organizer Aaron Hughes will be leading a column of veterans this Sunday where he’ll be returning the service medals he earned in Iraq. Media Operation in a Wicker Park loft (including live coverage of #99SBus Occupy buses arriving). (Interesting to see links to IndyMedia in local press coverage.)

Buses from Albany, Atlanta, Burlington, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Providence, and Washington, D.C. are expected. “Protesters from all walks of life — from unemployed construction workers to dumpster-diving former cycle messengers and paramedics to a tech millionaire who helped lead the 1989 student protests in Tiananmen Square — are along for the ride.” Housing unclear, but the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ will take as many as the church can hold. “As the first #OWS bus pulls into Chicago, an announcement that if the media wants comments, we use progressive stack. #99SBus” Awesome.

Nobody in November will remember what happened,” an Obama team source told me. It will be a short news cycle on the cable outlets “and a month in the [Chicago] papers.” Oh?

Occupy. London Tents (slideshow). Walter Russell Mead harrumphs “OWS RIP”. Charlotte occupies Bank of America (pictures).

Green Party. SF debate, Stein: “We do not have a functioning press. We have an o-press. We have a re-press.” Barr: “If they could just leave the Democratic Party and register as Greens, they could still vote for Obama but it would be sending the Democratic Party itself a message it needs to hear.” Pacific Green Party in danger of losing OR ballot status. HI Convention this Saturday.

CO (Swing State). Camping ban could mean OccupyDenver’s days are numbered (MR). Loveland, CO approves a drilling moratorium. (Outcomes like this take a lot of work, and courage by officials as well.)

IA (Swing State). Three of the Catholic Worker activists who got arrested at Obama’s HQ for NATO were from IA. Nuclear energy bill stalls in IA Senate (Dee). U-235, baby, U-235? No? Did Rs give the Register a make-good for going with FOX for their debates, and then renege? (Dee)

MI (Swing state). “Follow the money” in the Detroit consent agreement; it’s interest, not pensions, that are the killer. That’s off the table, though.

NC (Swing State). Libertarian Party’s Johnson polls 6% in NC.

OH (Swing State). Gov. Kasich signs bill to get rid of restrictive new election law Ds had challenged.

VA (Swing State). Wood County, bellwether county. (What is a bellwether? Do they exist anymore, or have they gone digital?) Uranium briefing scheduled in Virginia Beach. U-235, baby! U-235!

WI (swing state). Absentee ballot mailing delayed. Brad Blog: Watch for dirty tricks soon. Walker dislikes job numbers, so puts out his own. Obama and Romney are tied. But Obama has no coat tails. “Voters prefer to keep the current collective bargaining law rather than return to what it was prior to last year, by a 50-43 percentage point margin”. The margin is the size of Walker’s lead. Pierce: “By citing the ‘civil war] as the reason for voting for him, and without, I believe, intending to do so, Barrett makes all those people standing in the cold last January marginally complicit in what he says as the problem the recall was meant to solve.” So, when GOTV is key, and the national Ds won’t give them any money, the state Ds could manage not to fire up but to chill off the exact same people that got them their recall election in the first place. I say bring in Ilya Sheyman’s team! Washington Generals….

Inside Baseball. The joke Jimmy Kimmel didn’t tell. Grand Bargain™-brand cat food watch: The Peterson Foundation’s selfless generosity to DC influencers, including many weasel Ds (sorry for the redundancy). There is an alternative. Obama says he won’t allow U.S. debt ceiling crisis repeat. Boehner says he will allow it, and he’ll like it. Harry Reid: “We’re not going to do [the nuclear option] this Congress”. Obama Super PAC hires… Kerry 2004 manager Mary Beth Cahill. Understatement of the millenium: “Role unlikely for George W. Bush in Romney bid.”

Prediction is difficult. Nationally, Obama and Romney are neck and neck. “The usual drill: OH and FL and a very late night.” Swing-state unemployment down, Obama’s chances up. (Could be why Romney shifted to ZOMG!! Teh Debt!!!) Except for college grads. Carter Eskew throws the unemployment stats against the electoral map and comes up with Obama 313/225.

Ron Paul. Paul says ‘“no plans” for third-party White House run.

Robama vs. Obomney Watch (this once…). Biden: “Romney made sure the guys on top got to play by a separate set of rules, he ran massive debts, and the middle class lost. So what do you think he’ll do as president?” Er, just what Obama did? Romney: “I’d like to take shipbuilding from 9 to 15 a year, by the way that will help put people to work.” Military Keynsianism is always on the table. It’s bipartisan!

Romney. Mitt Romney debt speech “ignores key facts”, even if he used a debt clock for a prop. That’s giant AP making the call on facts, even if facts are hardly the point. Romney faces headwinds from press. “How to Act Human: Advice for Mitt Romney From Inside the Actors Studio.” Meme watch: Romney advisers say 2012 is about “eHarmony versus”

Obama. The Non-Campaign of 2012 (BAR). Obama’s broad path to victory: Western, Midwestern, Southern, Southwestern, and Florida strategies. Letterman: Obama demonstrated “great courage and great intelligence” when he “gunned down” bin Laden, asking “what more do you want to lead your country?” Gee, I dunno. Obama can order a hit like you or me can order a pizza. Isn’t Letterman setting the bar a little low?

* 114 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with a light collation followed by a showing of The Exterminating Angel on the big screen at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Ununquadium is the temporary name of a radioactive chemical element with the temporary symbol Uuq and atomic number 114.

READERS: Again, here are the swing states: AZ, CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI. I’m very interested in any local or state links you can send me from those states about people “doing politics” that aren’t about the horserace; original reporting, not wire services stuff. Now I have help with CO thanks to MR, and Iowa thanks to TTH but there are more!

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Richard Kline

    London ‘whale’ leaving his desk, why did it take so long? He knew where the bodies were buried on was stinks of fraudulently concealed speculation, and wasn’t going to go until he had it all lawyered up there would be no clawbacks of _his_ personal winnings. In return, he probaly signed some keep-quiet agreement. Dimon at JippyMo couldn’t _let_ the guy go until they got ‘keep quiet’ sewn up tight between them. Sez I.

  2. dearieme

    ‘If We Leave the Euro, Everything Will Be Worse’: dear God, they haven’t realised that everything is going to be worse whatever they do.

  3. Max424

    re: video of the false killer whale

    Kina does a half-twist while catching the second fish. The twist creates a vortex that throws the quarry for a loop (literally), making it easier to nab.

    Smart technique. I wonder if there’s bored FKWs out there pushing the parameters of style and difficulty, doing 720s as they echo locate and strike, because the half-twist is just way too easy.

  4. Richard Kline

    So Lambert, a wether is a sheep. The bellwether was a dominant sheep the others would follow which had a, well, _bell_ hung on it by the shepherd to enhance the effect and make it easier for shepherd and dog to home in on the flock.

    So a bellwether is sheep which the other sheep home in one. . . . Tooooo apt a metaphor.

    1. Richard Kline

      Oh, and Carter Eskew probably has the handicap about right for Election Night, in my view. This isn’t an election in play, and not just because there’s only one party running two candidates . . . .

      The real story of Election 2012, for those who have the cast iron stomach and warehouse full of Prozac it takes to attend to the matter for more than 25 seconds, is how the Congress will shake out. One notices how very little noise the Repugnicants are making about _that_ front in the Great White Campaign. The media silence there is deafening, which says a great deal about where Repugnicant private polling is hovering, one supposes.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’ll view that as a directive ;-) There is, however, a tremendous amount of human drama in the Presidential horse race, rather along the lines of The Homecoming as opposed to, say, MacBeth.

    2. lambert strether

      I’m working on a herding trope (it’s better to think of our masters herding us; “lying” is far too simple) so this is really almost too rich. Thank you!

      1. Richard Kline

        So Leonova, I would tend to say that Larry Summers is, or was, the bellwether. Again, Summers _created_ nothing, he was a stenographer for the Dimon-Fuld class of oligarchs. Summers position was to follow the bouncing wad and bleat at all the right instants. Accordingly, the herd behind him leaned this way and that. I would see Greenspan as more the sheepdog in that scenario; still a lackey of the oligarchy, but with a more mobile and sub-director role in things.

        Obama is in no way a ‘leader’ at anything. No opinion or media ‘follow’ his ‘lead;’ rather he timidly, latterly, and docilely shuffles over to whatever side of the raft the crowd is most thickly clustered upon; and preens. I would describe Barack Obama as the prize ewe of the herd. If a mover and shaker is really really ‘in’ with the oligarchy, he gets a personal interface in a private stall with the guy—because that’s all Bo Prez really has for sale. All the real policy is dictated by Dimon et. al. so Barack has nothing to to but schmooze and keep the customers smiling.

        And yeah Lambert, this metaphor just struck me as too, too apt. Take it and run with it as you will . . . .

    3. evodevo

      On top of that, a wether is a castrated male sheep. Who won’t leave the herd. And is guaranteed to be non-violent and well-behaved.

      1. Richard Kline

        So evodevo, thanks for the increased resolution there. And yeah, a ram wouldn’t be the one to hang a guide bell on; too full of spunk, too disruptive. But a wether would be perfect; a docile huddler, with no role to play except to be fleeced on a regular basis, and eaten in need. (Oh this just gets _better and better_!)

        1. DSP

          Down in this neck of the woods,a bellwether electorate is one full of swinging voters that reliably vote for the successful party.
          If the Government survives,the bellwether seat will have voted with it.If the bellwether votes against it then it usually falls.
          Its handy shorthand on election night for journalists calling the election.
          It has no influence other than that.
          And I live in one.

  5. Goin' South

    Re: Wisconsin.

    For the stubbornly naive that refused to see what the Dem Party and D.C. union officials were doing back in February and March of ’11, their behavior in this recall should finally remove the scales from their eyes.

    This was never about turning back the changes in the collective bargaining law. I was never about a Wisconsin Supreme Court election. It was never about changing the majority in the Wisconsin Senate. It was never about getting rid of Walker.

    It was always about diverting the incredible direct action energy of the Capitol Occupiers into more futile, “noble effort” electioneering efforts that were intended to fail. Once the Wobblies revived the long dead talk of a general strike, and local labor rallied around it, the Dems, the Palace Guard on 16th Street, and the shills at sites like DailyKos banded together to sabotage this social movement.

    Sadly, it worked.

    The corrupt leadership of the “liberals” or the “progressive” or whatever they like to be called has this whole deflect, deflate and defeat nascent social movements thing down to a science.

    1. jsmith

      Exactly, I’m so glad people are starting to see reality a bit more clearly.

      Now, what to do about the constant and relentless co-opting of every protest/reform movement?

      Gee, how about adopting goals and purposes that no politician in our current system would dare touch?

      How about using as our rallying cries ideas that only benefit the people and which can’t be gutted by the corporatists?

      How many politicians would want to jump on board with a group whose aim was to nationalize the banking industry? the utilities? the transportation sector? health care?

      Instead of allowing these corporate sociopaths the room in which to manuever and steal the thunder of protests groups, create a movement which they cannot join, one whose philosophical foundations are completely inimical to the current belief system at which they feed.

      I understand that most of the “leftist” parties of Europe have all been neo-liberally co-opted, but people in the US could learn from these examples and thereby strengthen a nascent movement in America.

      In my opinion, the American people have to realize that if they really want change they’re going to have to expand their thinking, they’re going to have to demand more and they’re going to have create a movement that doesn’t play within the neo-liberal parameters set for them by the elite.

      1. Goin' South

        That’s what the call for a general strike could have done in Wisconsin. Instead, when the southeast Wisconsin umbrella labor group adopted the call, the usual suspects freaked and arrived en masse in Wisconsin to put these unruly citizens back in the veal pen.

        Chris Bowers at DailyKos was a prime example of those who were doing the herding online with rosy promises of electoral success that morphed into “we gave it the good old college try” when they lost.

        These folks no longer need a script. They’ve done it so often (Lamont, Halter, etc.) that they must recite the phony forecasts of victory in their sleep. Good for their consulting businesses, I suppose.

      2. Aquifer

        “In my opinion, the American people have to realize that if they really want change they’re going to have to expand their thinking, they’re going to have to demand more and they’re going to have create a movement that doesn’t play within the neo-liberal parameters set for them by the elite.”

        But first we have to get them all to read Marx and figure out what “class” they are in, n’est pas? Or can we forgo that “requirement” and expand in whatever direction we need to?

        I was trying to figure out why you seemed so POd at, and derogatory toward, OWS the other day – and then it hit me. OWS has been able to create more ruckus and put more folks in the street under the “99%” banner than you have as the “proletariat”. That must really irk you …

        1. jsmith

          No, Aquifer, it’s because it’s going to be YET ANOTHER co-opted waste of people’s time and effort.

          THAT’s what pisses me off.

          To see a movement that has garnered so much attention/participation writing congenial letters to Jamie Dimon (see above), talking about the nuances of the Volcker Rule and talking about the Tobin tax amounts to pissing in the wind in my book when placed against the size of the crimes that have been committed and the damage they have wrought.

          Seriously, so I guess OWS is just going to close up shop when a really, really strong Volcker Rule is passed, huh?

          Time to go home when some watered-down version of Glass-Steagall is enacted?


          What a victory!!

          No more things to be angry about in this here society, nope!

          No, the reason I am so consistently vehement and angry is that OWS is pissing away an amazing opportunity to actuate real change in our society by dithering and continuing the debates the elite have laid out for us.

          On a personal level, I really think you are an establishment troll as you cannot comprehend that an American having been betrayed time and time and time and time again through the decades of co-optings of the various protest movements might actually be advocating for a movement that has as its philosophical foundations a philosophy that has a proven track record of more than a century of being antithetical to the beliefs of the capitalist elite.

          You mock socialism and say it’s ineffective.

          Gee, then tell us why the capitalists in America have spent more than a century actively attempting to crush the socialists in this country, Aquifer?

          Why decade after decade the persecution – both real and propagandistic – of socialism is unrelenting and ubiquitous even when – as you recognize – there really isn’t even a truly organized socialist movement in the US?

          Instead of asking WHY socialism is not more prevalent in our society, Aquifer, you take it’s non-presence as some sort of vindication of it obsolescence.

          As if this is a popularity contest instead of the result of decades of coordinated propaganda.

          For that reason alone, I consider you naive and shallow.

          I won’t be able to respond to any more of your nonsense for the better part of the day, so you have free reign to spout your trivialities and how the capitalist Greens will somehow carry the day without my interference.


          1. Aquifer

            ” …. I consider you naive and shallow.”

            Of course you do, JS, anyone who doesn’t spout the party line is “naive and shallow” in your book

            i have never mocked “socialism” or said it is ineffective, in fact i think there is a lot to be said for socialist ideas. What i mock is this insistence on deifying Marx and insisting his class categories are a sine qua non for any kind of progress. i have encountered many like you, JS, in my “travels”. It is “my way or the highway”, worship at this altar or be damned, your own version of TINA, just as rigid as any capitalist formulation or the religious right – much like a religion, in fact – just as condescending and insulting, intolerant of anyone who suggests there may be alternatives. Your mind is as closed as the capitalists you excoriate, your “ism” as suffocating.

            So is it OWS that is doing the co-opting or that is being co-opted? Methinks you yourself would like to co-opt OWS, their movement, their energy …

            “…consistently vehement and angry is that OWS is pissing away an amazing opportunity to actuate real change in our society”

            Real change? or change as defined by Marx and JSmith?

            There is nothing wrong with making one demand at a time as long as you don’t quit before all your demands are met – that you don’t quit before you have a system that is capable of meeting them for yourself, your neighbors (all over) and your/their progeny and the planet you all live on. I don’t give a damn what you call it or even what it looks like when it is all done – as long as it functions to do these things and if that means taking a piece from this philosophy and that one and a few we haven’t thought of yet, so be it.

            ” a philosophy that has a proven track record of more than a century of being antithetical to the beliefs of the capitalist elite.”

            And where has that century old “philosophy” gotten you? Spitting in the wind ….

            Establishment troll? Hmmm, actually methinks you could be accused of the same – by insulting and demeaning those who don’t worship at your altar, methinks you could be one of those souls who has given “socialism” a bad name in the public’s eye – just the kind of demagogue the establishment likes to raise up as an example to scare folks – a “provocateur”. Am i accusing you of that? Hell, no, merely pointing out that the troll finger – the middle one, right? – can be, and often is, pointed in any direction and is essentially useless, IMO, if you want to discuss ideas …, another little box with a label on it to put folks in ….

            Until you get out of your box, JS, and stop putting other folks in one, methinks you will have a hard time selling your “philosophy” – and strangely enough, if you do “deboxify” you may find there is more under heaven and earth than is dreamt of in that philosophy …

          2. Glenn Condell

            The OWS focus should not be on issues, but on political structures. Not the message, the medium. Not the outcomes, but the mechanisms. Not the destination, but the road.

            If you distil the movement in issues, you (a) provide a target-rich environment to the enemy to either attack or co-opt, and (b) saddle yourself with built-in obsolescence – the issue du jour (or annee) is dealt with more or less satisfactorily, then what? Move on to the next wish on the list? So that you can be plausibly accused of just making it up as you go along?

            Much as I personally want money out of politics, auditable elections, public banking, fraud prosecutions, clawback and closure of offshore havens, a Tobin tax, TBTF and Glass Steagall, reform of law and economics, and so on, I now realise the best method for their eventual realisation is a massive bottom-up movement of the re-assertion of democratic rights, not a rally round this issue or that, which is open to division and patch-queering and merely temporal. We need permanent, so that we, then our children, have the political architecture, the democratic infrastructure to fight the next battle, and the one after that, without having to risk life and limb storming the barricades on each and every occasion.

            Such an effort can be presented as entirely non-partisan, with your wingnuts and libertarian Tea Partiers as well as your moonbat lefties equally assured that the days of gubmints being beholden to special interests (whether milque-toast NWO liberals, or gun-totin’ oil barons) would be over, and that the genuine will of the majority would prevail on every issue that mattered enough to matter.

            How? That is the 64 trillion dollar question. To me, the answer lies in the direction of web-enabled direct democracy. A rollout of electoral software that included each citizen by county, state and nation and allowed Google-style ranking algorithms to determine not just the issues of concern, but also (via ‘likes’) the pre-eminent question related to that issue, which, once a predetermined critical mass of voter interest had been attained, mandated formal tabling at the municipal, State or Congress level.

            The rollout itself could be a New Deal-ish project employing non-bank government debt, generating a lot of employment to set up and a residue for maintenance. It would be open source and utterly transparent, it’s centrality to governance enshrined in legislation requiring a 2/3rds majority of every affected legislature and related judiciary to approve its abolition.

            Politicians who betray their constituents are immediately recalled and replaced. Woe betide them if they try to carry water for interests instead of the people who put them there. Politics no longer a conveyor belt into the 1%, but a genuine prophylactic against their predations.

            There is danger here, you worry about the fact that for example over half of the US seriously believes in the Rapture and what that factoid might portend for the introduction of genuine representation and execution of the national will. But look at where we are with the Serious People at the wheel. They talk a good democracy.

            What is needed is not a successful campaign for this imperative or that, but the machinery with which a future of imperatives can be safely negotiated. It is all very well taking this town or that from the 1%, but winning the war means that the eventual destinations pale in importance compared to the road that is required to get you to all those places.

            The 1% can afford to take the odd hit, to lose the odd game. But they rarely lose a set and almost never the whole shooting match. Having paid for the court to be tilted their way and the ref to be on-side for so long has simultaneously given them unprecedented wealth and power but also made that advantage more precarious than ever before, and they know it.

            The smarter rentiers know that their interests are best served by permitting the steam from below to be periodically released by letting the umpire call fairly once in a while, or to let one of our desperate volleys get past them. What they cannot countenance is a demonstrably fair fight, in which our sheer numbers tilt the balance our way. They would shout ‘socialism’ and I suppose it would be, but that emotive word is beside the point here, because the essence of it would be (a return to? or for the first time?) – democracy.

          3. skippy

            FOOKING… *AYE* ~~~~~ Bravo Glen, Bravo!

            Skippy… @jsmith and Aquifer… you both share so much, yet grapple over nuance, definition of terms, shite of armchair thinkers long dead or soon to be. Yet… I would have you both at the big table of uniting humanity for its next journey. Come togeather or have your fate served – too – you[s] – in a most ungracious manner.

            PS. One person… one vote… one commons… one world… methinks.

        1. Aquifer

          Perhaps simply a demonstration of a successful effort by the Dems to co-opt, and thus derail, a protest movement. But that has been going on forever, IMO, and will not stop until the protesters say “no mas” to government by either party …

          Of course some will say “no mas” to government, period, but every community “governs” itself one way or another …

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      I just checked my email for the first time since early this morning, and found an email from one Brynne Craig allegedly representing some organization named Get Out The Vote Wisconsin and, you guessed it, asking for donations. The contribution links, however are to the domain, i.e. the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Now the last I heard the DC Dem establishment hadn’t contributed one dime to an effort to get out the vote for the Walker recall election. Has this changed in the last few days? Or is the DCCC not only not supporting a Dump Walker GOTV initiative but also trying to raise funds under the false pretense that they are?

  6. jack hepler

    Can anyone square the apparently conflicting ideas that 70% of Greeks voted for parties that reject the austerity straijacket but 80% want to stay in the Euro?

    Better put, is it still possible to have one without the other? How important would it be that the wealthy paid their taxes?

    1. Ned Ludd

      The leader of Syriza thinks that Greece won’t be forced out of the euro, even if they cancel their austerity measures, because forcing Greece out “would kill the currency union.”

      “(German Chancellor Angela) Merkel now realizes that if she takes the risk of sending Greece packing, the next day she herself will have to leave the euro,” [Alexis Tsipras] told state NET TV late Wednesday.

      Christiane Amanpour interviewed Tsipras yesterday. The full transcript is available in the 10:00am update to today’s live blog at Here’s his reasoning:

      [Merkel] said before – before a month – a month ago, a month before, that if Greece go out of euro, the second day, the markets will find who will be the second. And the second will be Italy or Spain.

      Italy has a very big debt, public debt, not like Greece. Greece have 3,500 million euros, but Italy has a debt about 1.9 trillion.


      We will cancel the memorandum. And then we will go to renegotiate, in a European level, about a common way to go out – to go outside of this crisis.

      And we that this crisis is not a Greek crisis, but a European crisis. And we will try to find a common solution. And I said to you before, what’s – what’s our opinion about the solutions, about the role of ECB, about the Eurobonds, about the negotiation of the debt in the European level of – of – of the public debt of – of all the European countries.

      1. Jim

        1 of the 2 things will happen.

        (i) A United States of Europe, with the North sending the South about 7% of GDP, annually, via permanent transfer payments.


        (ii) The Dissolution of the Eurozone

  7. JohnL

    Dental abuse. A friend who was a dental hygenist said of the dentist she worked for “If he had a car payment due, someone was getting a root canal”. And another friend’s father started a similar management company some 50 years ago sending dentists into union halls. He heard plenty of similar stories. The greed and abuse was always there. The management companies are just concentrating it and bringing it to even more vulnerable populations.

    1. lambert strether

      Had the same experience, back when I actually had insurance and could get “dental care.” The process was clearly structured to induce me to undergo major surgery on the corporate dime. No thanks, I said.

    2. jimmyj

      I’m a substitute teacher in Dallas and the first thing i noticed late last year after returning to the district more than 20 years after I graduated was that even in a low income neighborhood like the one I work at, more than 50% of the kids have shiny new braces. Now keep in mind this is the free/subsidized school lunch crowd and I personally know that quite a few of their families are on public assistance. I smelled a pervasive Medicaide scam from the get-go, but this article definately makes things clearer. And the mentioned the hometown! Go Dallas!

      1. Susan the other

        Independent dentists have surely gone bankrupt by now. Maybe enterprising ones are selling home dentistry kits on the internet. Special pliers, little low-tech scrapers and some filling compound that doesn’t come out in your chewing gum. Maybe a pamphlet on how to accept that you will lose a few teeth.

  8. JohnL

    Cost of Greek exit from eurozone put at $1tn Guardian

    Money quote:

    “What is so depressing about it is that this is a rerun of the debates in 2007/08 – these are not liquidity problems, they are solvency problems,” King said. “Imbalances between countries in the euro area have created creditors and debtors and at some point the credit losses will need to be recognised and absorbed and shared around,” he said.

    “Until that is done, there will not be a resolution. That is why just kicking the can down the road is not an answer. The European Central Bank has performed heroically in trying to buy time but that time hasn’t been used to put in place fundamental underlying solutions.”

    1. Susan the other

      And how can the solvency problems be solved by 2014? Somebody could parse every sentence of this article and turn it into a novel. Question: If solvency is not a problem-all we need is liquidity- why do we need banks? Just askin’ – why don’t we move on to a finance industry that makes sense?

  9. panicky government parasites

    Under the CCPR, supreme law of the land, Article 19 rights to seek and impart information can in fact be suspended in case of national emergency. Article 4 governs whether the suspension is legal:

    1 . In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law…

    3. Any State Party to the present Covenant availing itself of the right of derogation shall immediately inform the other States Parties to the present Covenant, through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. A further communication shall be made, through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.

    So the Human Rights Committee, along with everybody who knows their rights, will be asking:

    – How exactly does this big hairy emergency threaten the life of the nation?
    – Has the government informed the UN Secretary-General and all states parties to CCPR, as required by law?
    – Why was this emergency actuated?

    The government will try to claim that ordre public is at stake but they still have to establish the necessity of the derogation.

    And I guarantee you the NSTAC shtstains are utterly ignorant of all this.

  10. ohmyheck

    Please read the link below. It contains facts, with supporting documentation, that the White House is in cahoots with DHS, via the NOC, to destroy the Occupy movement.

    There goes the Obamabot memo that Obama is concerned about our constitutionally-protected right to gather in public places. He is aiding and abetting the creation of a fascist police-state. That said, I can’t wait to hear all the rationalizations and excuses the Apologists will come up with. Hours of entertainment!

    1. lambert strether

      It’s out in the open now. DHS is coordinating the NATO thin; see yesterdays D minus and counting. Does anybody imagine this is a one-time operation? What was shocking six months ago is the new normal today.

  11. Lidia

    I made the acquaintance of a dental assistant in an environment outside of her profession. Many assistants move around, freelancing to some extent, it seems. This woman told me that out of about 50 dentists she had worked with in the Boston area over the years, there were only 3 that she would allow to work on her own teeth: the others all either rushed their work or were incompetents.

    She said people who suffer from bad dental work just chalk it up to “well, I’ve always had problems with that tooth…” There’s no way for a lay person nor—especially—a patient to really judge the quality of dental or health care they’ve received, as opposed to sussing out, say, bad contractors or bad mechanics.

  12. ep3

    White House Steps Up Push to Toughen Rules on Banks Wall Street Journal. This part is funny: “White House officials have intensified their talks with the Treasury Department in the days since J.P. Morgan’s losses came to light.” Translation: “White House tells Geithner he has to do a more convincing job of not looking like the banks’ water boy.”

    Uh, isn’t the department of Treasury part of the executive branch? So if my neighbor is stealing from someone, and I tell my leg that he is a bad person, how does that stop my neighbor?

  13. TJ

    Yves, that rat study is interesting, but it is terrible science. I wholly believe sugar consumption has devastating effects on the human body, and is probably a primary cause of the obesity “epidemic”, but nothing of value can be derived from that study.

    They had no non-HFCS control group (the biggest issue IMO), it *appears* that the rats drank straight sugar-water *only* for six weeks (which introduces a problem with extrapolating the results to humans), the rats were fed “rat chow” (which is not a natural rat diet, throwing another wrench in the metabolic functioning of the rats and confounding the results), and then the conlcusion is “make sure to get your DHA if you drink soda”?

    Bad science, bad headlines.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Money fleeing China

    If it’s smart money, I would think, then, that the Maoists are winning the battle for the next leadership.

    That should be good for labor everywhere in the world and perhaps higher inflation.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    High fructose diet.

    The last the human body was in harmony with it’s diet was when Neanderthals still roam the planet. They ate what their ancestors had eaten for millions of years.

    But we don’t remember that due to the high fructose diet.

    We dont remember how to survive in the wild.

    We don’t remember we are part of Nature.

    We dont remember one can be one’s own employer.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The last time…


      I don’t like my iPhone that much

      I did find a good use though. I was able to record some opera-length bird songs. Now I don’t have to listen to that human noise.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mixed bacterial communities sharing not competing

    Its sad the bacteria of the same species compete and sharing occurs only among the difference species.

    Are we humans doomed to not share among other humans?

    Is our hope, then, at least as a species we share with another soecies, say, the feline species?

    Are the 0.01% not sharing with the 99.99%, but only with their cats?

  17. Walter Wit Man

    Clearly Obama and his fascist thugs, like Rahm “jackboot” Emmanuel, are preparing the American people for the next stage of the police state: drones and massive paramilitary force used against protestors.

    Remember the May Day psy operations aimed at Occupy protesters and the obvious propaganda attempts to smear Anarchists and other leftists? These psy operations were preparing the battle field (both on the streets of Chicago and in the American peoples’ hearts and minds)–for the rollout of the next generation of military gear aimed at the American people: drones and a unabashed military attack against American protesters.

    The fascist rulers like Rahm and Obama are clearly hoping for a confrontation in Chicago. In fact they are creating a confronation to justify the military force they are already using! They aren’t even waiting to see what happens at the protest, they are using the military against the American people ahead of the protests!

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Looks matter more than reputation.

    As I speculated here before, good looking people’s survival strategy is likely to depend on the kindness of strangers.

    If you are not good looking, you have to rely on yourself and your family to take down that mammoth. No one is inviting you to their dinner party.

  19. Walter Wit Man

    The Fascist Gangbanger Thugs, Obama and Rahm, love undercover operations where the government stooge is the one that proposes and carries out the criminal acts, hoping some patsies will be duped into committing a crime as well.

    Just this month Obama’s administration duped some Occupy kids into allegedly bombing a bridge. Obama’s administration is also trolling for kids at Occupy and giving them drugs and pumping them for information and asking them to be snitches. All indications are that Obama’s adiministration is treating Occupy protesters as terrorists and is coordinating intelligence actions like the entraping protesters or smearing them or surveilling them–simply because of their political views.

    Notice that Obama and his fascist thugs never do these operations against his banker pals. Hell, Timmy Geithner or even Rahm “jackboot” Emmanuel could have worn a wire and entrapped the captains of industry in crimes. Hell, I bet they didn’t even need to entrap their victims like they do with the “terrorist” patsies they create. It would be really easy, I bet Jamie Dimon would spill the beans to Geithner because he would assume these two crooks were on the same team and would probably be more than willing to openly admit whatever crimes he’s committing. But nah. It’s easier to troll Occupy looking for some down and out 20 year old homeless addict that will easily be entrapped into some silly FBI plan.

    Obama and his jackboot thugs like Rahm and Holder are the real terrorist enemies of this country.

  20. Sunburn

    Please explain to me how AZ & NM are swing states? The latter is Blue, the former is Red. Am I missing the latest poll numbers or something? Demographics? what?

    Not that it really matters, the gaming is fun, but O’barry is locked in to win, even if gop wins all the states the
    The Patriot ™ won in 2008, Willard would still need a razzle-dazzle miracle.

    Not gonna happen.

    What would happen to the economy without perpetual wars and endless political campaigns.

    I shudder to think.

    1. YesMaybe

      Really? I figure Romney has a very realistic chance of winning. NC, IN, and VA won’t be hard for him. What it really comes down to is OH and FL. If he gets both, all he then needs is one out of NV, CO, NM, IA, NH. On the other hand, if he doesn’t get both OH and FL it’d be near impossible for him to win.

        1. Sunburn

          IF IF IF he gets florida AND AND AND OHIO he will still need PA AND AND AND ALL OF THE ONES U SAID TO WIN

          1. YesMaybe

            I think you’re wrong about that. If Romney gets all of McCain’s states (say he gets all of them in Nebraska, otherwise subtract 1 or 2 electoral votes), plus NC, VA, IN, FL, and OH, he would have 266. So then he just needs 4 more to win, which means any one out of NH, IA, NM, CO, NV.
            I’m using to do this. Maybe you were looking at a 2008 map? (the electoral vote distribution changed somewhat since then)

          2. YesMaybe

            Now, I admit that winning both ohio and florida is a tall order. But given the direction of the economy, where things are going in europe and asia, and the likely flood of billionaires’ millions to romney, it’s entirely realistic.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The whale.

    They can make a good movie called The Clown Fish and The Whale.

    1. craazyman

      If they can make Bud Lite, Miller Lite and Coor’s Lite, why can’t they make a Euro Lite.

      Greece and Spain could drink Euro Lite until they lose debt and get competitive.

      With only 80 calories per Euro instead of the usual 150, that’s nearly a 50% depreciation.

      It’s amazing to me nobody has thought of this.

      1. craazyman

        this idea is pure genius, Beef, for which I will surely get a Nobel Prize eventually\

        convert Greek euro debt to Euro Lite at 80 calories to 150 for the normal Euro.

        Then, with a 50% depreciation, Greece can export it’s way to very very buff competitiveness. but here’s the genius part.

        For every 1% of GDP growth rate each year, the Euro Lite gains calories, until after 10 years it reaches parity with the Euro.

        So everybody with Euro Lite debt gets paid off in full-calorie Euros AND Most importantly, they are incentivized to be personal trainers getting Greece very competitive.

        Holy Cow this could actually work!

        Maybe for Spain too. We’d need to come up with a good label for Euro Lite, maybe something that reflects national culture and history. Something from Don Quixote for Spain — maybe (even though it’s now a cliche) Sancho Panza by a windmill. And for Greece, anything but the wooden horse, that won’t do at all.

        1. Valissa

          Great idea! Here are some creative euro cartoons…

          Handicapping the euro×238.jpg

          Introducing the Ichthyo-Euro

          Rethinking the euro

          What’s in a name

  22. kevinearick


    With an army of secretaries Napoleon sought to conquer the world…

    The point is that the information you require to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be, is out there, but you must seek it, by filtering out all the noise. To be successful, you must also accept that your dream is going to evolve with experience, because as you leave the body of empire, pricks and vaginas conforming themselves, your intellect will grow, seeking to confirm itself in the same manner.

    With sufficient energy, you find the spirit of your dream, and its clothing, as manifested to the empire, is just a temporary accessory, a façade. You will recognize your destination when the building of empire facades spins around the elevator of your spirit, when you see through the various facades of empire, to its essential character.

    When you are 7 and get into a muscle car, you dream of owning a muscle car. When you are 13 and get into a mansion, you dream of owning a mansion. And so forth. Look around. The empire is the least common denominator, the smallest dream, shared by the most people, with the smallest minds, endlessly buying and selling each other out, which forms the gravity, from which you must escape.

    How is it that Alexander, Cleopatra, and others conquered such large swaths of “property” with which to build empires? If you check your History and look around, you will see effeminated boys posing as men, bullied about by emasculated girls posing as women, all as far from nature as humanly possible, and all seeking control for the sake of control as their common dream. Their “purchases” just temporarily relieve the associated anxiety, in a positive feedback loop, in which enough is never enough, ending in tyranny.

    I use the term make-work because History demonstrates that the DNA of these participants goes back to the churn pool. Their behavior is not good or evil. It is simply a trade-off, immediate gratification in exchange for DNA removal, which works in favor of choice. You are a function of the choices you make.

    The majority chooses empire every time, which you see in the façade of the United States, but Congress is not the spirit of America. Other cultures do not hesitate to attack in fear of effeminate boys and emasculate girls, playing army. Hitler and his economic backers were confident that America had been sufficiently softened with consumption to fall. What happened?

    Here we are again, where we never left, a bunch of a-holes feeding their a-holes, “thinking that they understand what is going on around them, because they all “see” alike. Pursue your dreams independent of empire and watch the sh-show on your breaks. When the time comes, if you are prepared, you will naturally recognize the door to the elevator open, which the fashionable empire sees as closed.

    Of course the Senate is feeding municipal bankruptcies from China. Why would you expect anything else from an a-hole, a derivative of a derivative of a derivative, hiding derivative exposure? Only a derivative sees power as an integral to be projected and only your own can sell you out. If you can get past denial, the truth will set you free, if you can get past being pissed off. The trick of intelligent children, of course, is not to give up your spirit for coinage to initiate the procession.

    The warmongering elite, looking in the mirror, see each other in war, on a platform built for the occasion. Finance is just a prelude, moving the pieces and cementing them into place. Give the terrible twos exactly what they think they want, but don’t feed the temper tantrum of a baby and expect assistance from an intelligent parent, seeking the Unknown.

    Think ahead, not behind. Empires seek to domesticate that which they fear. On the other side of the looking glass, hierarchy is a myth, seen as such. Lassie is more real. Main Street doesn’t want Facebook. Surprise, surprise.

  23. Walter Wit Man

    This is scary:

    A FBI agent warns a Russian diplomat from San Francisco of an impending terror attack on U.S. soil and then flees to the mountains with 100 FBI agents in pursuit. He has a wife and a one year old baby. He is described as suicidal by the FBI.

    The FBI then arrests the man that helped the fleeing agent uncover the alleged plot, based on child pornography charges.

  24. Aquifer

    Gotta disagree with Barr, big time. Stay as reg. Dem, if you must, but vote Green! Doesn’t matter how you are registered – i am an indy, myself – what matters is how you vote. The Dems could give a fig how you register, but a bunch of Dems voting Green? Now that would shake ’em up a bit …

    Party registration is useful for party purposes, organization and all, and may have to reach a certain threshold to get ballot status, but at the polls it’s only which lever you pull that matters ….

    We need a “strong enough” 3rd party, qua party – but not one, like the D/R, that is considered TBTF, once you reach that size and controlled by corps, you become unaccountable – Greens ain’t nowhere near that :). One can still fill the exec/leg branch with 3rd party folks – without having huge reg. rolls, IMO …. It is all about representation, not about labels ….

  25. the real deal

    Yves, there is a deal brewing in Seattle, where a Hedge Fund (Valiant Partners) and their manager Chris Hansen is pushing for Seattle and its county to publicly fund yet another money-losing sporting stadium (they already have two). The funding scheme is similar to the debacle in Kansas city, where the taxes generated by the increased economic activity was supposed to pay off the binds.

    In Seattle, the sole landowner (Hansen) wants to build the facility smakck dab in the middle of the industrial district, and every entity from the port authority, to BN rail, to the maritime unions (and many others) have come out against it. Hansen bought the property for $23m and will sell it back to the city for $100m after the permits are granted, for a cool personal profit, without a single shovelfull of dirt being turned. The rub was that he was was supposed to secure an NBA and NHL team, but now they are pushing a deal that is not contingent on an NHL franchise. The city and county councils havent voted on it yet but the sports radio machine churns on…

    This is another example of a multi-bilion dollar hedge fund pushing local government to assume all of the risk for a not so profiable venture long term which will undermine the city’s tax and income base in other areas. In Washington industry is growing by 10% while other areas of the economy are flat, yet we are supposed to cheelead this deal. Since the federal government is broke, I guess it is time for the banksters and hedge fund managers to fleece local government and suck their blood too.

  26. TDD

    Re: Whites Now Account for Under Half of Births

    Am I really not allowed to be at least someone concerned about this? Every highly-developed, successful, technologically-advanced first world country to date is run by, governed by, and predominantly populated by either Whites or East Asians. The track record of non-white/non-east-asian countries is not quite as stellar. An endorsement of this is that all immigration pressures in the world go in the direction of FROM non-white countries TO white countries. (They’d probably go to east asian countries as well, if those countries didn’t, for all intents and purposes, block immigration.)

    Given these track records, why is it considered socially unacceptable to be somewhat uncertain/concerned about the changing demographics of the USA?

    Whether people SHOULD be concerned or not is definitely something that’s open to debate (and can be debated extensively). But I think it’s perfectly understandable for people’s initial reaction to be one of concern/discomfort.

    1. patricia

      Dear TDD:

      Even on it’s own merits, your premise need give you no worry. The strengths of these so-called white-people cultures are now weaknesses. Humanity no longer needs what they have to offer. Time for another color.

      So don’t be concerned about white. Maybe you could spend your time worrying about which color would better replace it. Myself, I’m all for purple. I hear they are stellar at understanding their relationship to the planet.

      1. Externality

        The strengths of these so-called white-people cultures are now weaknesses. Humanity no longer needs what they have to offer. Time for another color.

        So don’t be concerned about white. Maybe you could spend your time worrying about which color would better replace it.

        Do you consider the Jews to be “white,” and therefore included in the list of people and cultures whose eradication you support?

        Do you consider the Armenians to be “white,” and therefore included in the list of people and cultures whose eradication you support?

        Do you consider the Arab peoples to be “white,” and therefore included in the list of people and cultures whose eradication you support?

        Do you consider the Slavic peoples to be “white,” and therefore included in the list of people and cultures whose eradication you support?

        All of these groups fall into the Census Bureau’s definition of “white.” Or are you using white to defer to Western European people, such as the (sociopathic) WASPs? Too many ethnocentric Western-European-Americans mentally define “white” as being from Northern Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, or Germany.

        1. Externality

          Should be:

          All of these groups fall into the Census Bureau’s definition of “white.” Or are you using “white” to refer to Western European people, such as the (sociopathic) WASPs? Too many ethnocentric Western-European-Americans mentally define “white” as being from Northern Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, or Germany.

  27. John

    Whites less than half of the births in the U.S.?

    Looks like the Frankfurt School refugees have finally achieved their goal, destabilize, parasitize and weaken another major power to the point where no one will notice them amidst the social chaos they have patiently created.

    Damn N.C. though, they keep blowing their cover story!

    1. resistance is futile

      Big mistake, Frankfurters! They merely wound up rejuvenating the inbred honky gene pool with smarter and better-looking people, Eva Longorias and Halle Berrys instead of pallid chinless crackers!

      1. F. Beard

        Dat’s right! Animal breeders first interbreed to eliminate all the harmful recessive genes and then cross-breed for hybrid vigor.

  28. Hugh

    The Fed FOMC is still deep in outer space. The FT article cites non-specific concerns about Europe and says the FOMC will keep rates low into 2014. At the same time, the FOMC thinks that unemployment and inflation are improving. But if it is keeping rates low, this is an admission that the US economy is going nowhere regardless of events in Europe which would require special interventions of their own.

    Re the the district court ruling on portions of the NDAA with regard to support of terrorist groups, the Roberts court, and Roberts in particular, has been hostile to granting standing to individuals. At the same time, even at the Appellate level, there has been great deference to the political branches (the Congress and Executive) on national security matters. In other words, I think this will only be a temporary victory.

    As for whites now account for under half of US births, who cares?

    Re Greece, China, etc., all the major economic zones are shaky. We are now past the point of wondering if any shoes will drop and into the one where we start guessing when and what order they will drop in. This reminds me of the summer of 2008 when we were asking similar questions but with different players.

  29. Nomdemom

    Lambert: fervent lurker fan here but “bellwether” finally compelled me to write. Refers to the lead male sheep in a herd who is “belled” so he ( and rest of flock) can be located. Keep up the heavy lifting- always good for a chuckle when I can sufficiently cut through the snark to understand what you are saying.

  30. Jack Parsons

    Pointed to by the whale hearing article: harbor seals use their whiskers to pick the fattest fish by their wake. They can sense a fish 100 years away just with their whiskers.

    I really wish I had whiskers like that. And a tail. And a great sense of smell. And nictating membranes in my eyes. And my very own disease to make my food like me (toxoplasmosis).

    In short, I wish I was a cat.

  31. Easy

    Cheap walkie talkies in the hands of squad leaders can make up for suspended cell service. If they jam that, mirrors used with prearranged code signals, such as 3 flashes, “walk toward me”…barring sun then you use the human microphone to give marching orders to the crowd.

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