Links 7/20/12

Wildfires burn across southern Europe BBC. I was in Dubrovnik just as the awful 2007 fires started. The authorities were very organized, they had helicopters dump water on the fires, but the area was too dry and the winds too strong to arrest the blaze.

Weakest Monsoon Since 2009 To Shrink India Rice Harvest Bloomberg

World braced for new food crisis Financial Times

Japanese Consumers Reconsidering Rice Loyalty New York Times

French soft drink makers unveil ‘DSK’ aphrodisiac beverage Raw Story

Man with ‘world’s biggest penis’ stopped at SFO security SFGate. I am protecting the guilty and not telling you who sent me this one!

Dumping iron at sea does sink carbon Nature

EFF: Americans may not realize it, but many are in a face recognition database now Network World

Tradable sectors in Eurozone periphery countries did not underperform in the 2000s VoxEU

No unsecured funding please, we’re French A Fistful of Euros. Holey moley, how did the French banks manage this?

Geithner Lets the Cat Out of the Bag Marshall Auerback, New Economic Perspectives

European Debt Crisis Solutions Onion


LIBOR: Looking Forward, Looking Back Streetwise Professor

Libor Scandal Shows Many Flaws in Rate-Setting New York Times

At Some Point In The Future, BlackRock Might Sue Over Libor Manipulation Dealbreaker

U.S. Banks Ignored in Congressional Libor-Rigging Probe National Journal (Lambert)

Vermont investors and lenders could be hurt by LIBOR scandal, experts say Vermont Digger (Lambert)

Would Regulation of Libor Have Passed Senator Shelby’s Benefit-Cost Analysis? Menzie Chinn Econbrowser

Exclusive: Banks in Libor probe consider group settlement – sources Reuters (John M). Dudes, we gave you a link last week from Sky News saying the same thing!

Florida Poses New Worry for Obama Wall Street Journal. Serves him right. Do nothing for suffering homeowners and you’re surprised that you aren’t welcome in one of the ground zeros of the housing meltdown?

The Time Bomb of Public Private Partnerships Triple Crisis

Bank Camo-Washing Not Leading to Actual Payouts for Servicemembers David Dayen, Firedoglake

Tech Sector Layoffs Surge to Three-Year High Michael Shedlock

U.S. Speeds Its Selloff of Bailout Securities Wall Street Journal. As of now, the comments are derisive.

* * *

lambert here:

D – 50 and counting*

I mean, after all; you have to consider we’re only made out of dust. That’s admittedly not much to go on and we shouldn’t forget that. But even considering, I mean it’s a sort of bad beginning, we’re not doing too bad. So I personally have faith that even in this lousy situation we’re faced with we can make it. You get me? –Philip K. Dick, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

Montreal. Manif: “Each month has its 22. This time, CLASSE invites all citizens to massively take to the streets to demonstrate not only in Montreal, but in each and every city in Quebec. Publish your region’s rallying spot on the event’s wall!”

CA. Corruption: “The Times has filed suit against the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, accusing it of violating the state’s open meeting law by secretly deliberating a lease with USC for the landmark stadium.”

CO. Marijuana: “Obama could be jeopardizing his reelection bid with a dismissive and even hostile approach to marijuana reform, a top issue for tens of thousands of local residents, including many of the activists who powered his last campaign.” (Here’s Obama insulting his base in 2009.)

FL. RNCon: “Some items prohibited in the public viewing area and parade route include large pieces of steel or lumber, aerosol cans, coolers, camping gear, fireworks, bottles, cans and thermoses. The ban on weapons doesn’t include guns as state law prevents cities from regulating firearms” (The “event zone”).

GA. ObamaCare: “[Georgia Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald:] There’ll be a lot more demand for services and quite frankly, I don’t think that we have the physician workforce to meet that demand.”

IA. Water: “[I]f your grass has gone dormant, you should be watering your established trees and watering around the drop line to where the outer branches are.”

LA. Corruption: “Jon Johnson stood before a federal judge Wednesday morning, admitted to robbing the public for his own benefit, then resigned from the New Orleans City Council, dealing another black eye to a city known as a corrupt bog of LA politics.”

MA. 2016: “An Obama campaign official confirmed to the Globe Wednesday that US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is being considered as a possible keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention.” Will she advocate criminal prosecution of top banksters for accounting control fraud? No?

MN. Voting: “Justice Anderson reasoned [in oral arguments on a voter ID suit] that since voting is a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution, it was ‘game, set, match’ that restrictions on fundamental rights were unconstitutional. He chided the petitioning groups for not making that argument.”

NC. Corruption: “Among the more colorful charges: [R state rep Stephen] LaRoque used thousands in government cash to buy Faberge eggs for his wife, and thousands more to buy an ice-skating rink, complete with Zamboni, for his wife and a stepdaughter.”

NY. Corruption: “[A]n environmental group released papers it says prove that members of the state Adirondack Park Agency had improper communications as they finished up the review process for the Adirondack Club and Resort.”

PA. Corruption: “[Steve Garban,] former chairman of the Penn State board of trustees resigned on Thursday, becoming the first board member to do so in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.” …. Fracking, retired schoolteacher: “There’s more traffic and there’s a change from what we are used to. But we have an abundant, cheap fuel that is driving down energy prices nationwide all while helping people in the area.” … Voting: “Pete DeCoursey [of] Capitolwire wrote that for years, he’s heard many Rs believe that tens of thousands of fraudulent votes are cast every presidential elections in Philadelphia, and this November they and everyone else will see if the D’s margin in the city is substantially reduced.” … Voting: “PennDot was telling Sherry Skramstad she could not get a PA driver’s license – the photo ID she will need to vote – unless she could document her name changes, requiring a 50-year-old marriage certificate from North Carolina and a 46-year-old divorce decree from Mexico.” … Also too, free beer in Philly.

TX. Guns: “Houston resident Thelma Taormina chased off her local electric maintenance guy with a gun because he was attempting to install a fancy new electric meter called a Smart Meter.” … We’re #1: “[Gainesville] was named the most patriotic [city] in America by USA Today.”

VA. UVA MOOCs, Darden Dean Bruner: “Venture capitalists and other “smart money” are pouring into the online aggregators because higher ed looks like a replay of what happened in the music and filmed entertainment industries: disintermediate the incumbent distributors and gain rights to distribute the content that someone else paid to develop.” … UVA MOOCs, faculty reports: “The task force, made up of 53 faculty and staff from across the university and the College at Wise, sampled nearly 200 individual online education efforts, including everything from supplemental materials to online degree programs.”

VT. Water, association: “Filling a key void in state and federal funding, the [Addison County Riverwatch Collaborative] records data on Addison County tributaries for government agencies. Otter Creek’s E. coli levels have been consistently high. E. coli levels in the Lemon Fair River were 15 times greater than they were last year at this time and about 8.5 times higher than the state water safety threshold for swimming.”

WI. Jobs: “WI lost an estimated 11,700 private sector jobs in June and the unemployment rate rose to 7 percent, the state Department of Workforce Development reported.” … Corruption: “Gov. Scott Walker is shaking up the leadership of the state’s flagship jobs agency [the quasi-public WEDC], putting someone from his inner circle into the No. 2 job in the aftermath of a mishandled bidding process that gave the appearance of favoritism [(!!)]to one of the bidding companies.” Ya know, “Bidding suspended” is just not the kind of subhead you ever want to see. … Debt peonage: “WI buyers will no longer receive vehicle titles if there are liens on their cars. Any vehicle title with a lien will go straight to the lien holder rather than the vehicle owner. Lien holders will be able to choose whether they want to receive either paper or electronic title.”

Outside baseball. Stay classy: “‘Neil, I have been the most f*cking transparent secretary of the Treasury in this country’s entire f*cking history!’ Geithner erupted, in an episode that had Barofsky wondering if Geithner was going to ‘throttle’ him. At the time, Barofsky was the special inspector general in charge of oversight of the TARP.” … Food: “In New York City alone, 50 percent of seniors age 60 and older who are eligible don’t get the benefit.” … Public goods: “Health officials say the nation is on track to have the worst year for whooping cough in more than five decades.” … Corporate persons: “[A] robust understanding of corporate personhood, so evident in Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United, applies with equal force to [Alien Tort Statute] claims against corporations. That is, the same corporations that are persons entitled to constitutional protection, are also persons responsible for providing remedies when their agents violate international law.” … Media critique: “ABC’s and NBC’s nightly newscasts completely ignored the enormous Libor scandal during the first two weeks of the story.” … Legacy parties: “That the parties warring for power in 1876 would be the same ones (more or less) doing so in 2012 would likely have seemed pretty remarkable to political observers at the time.” extraordinary image of the history of parties, 1789-1880.

“The economy.” New normal: “Obama’s die is almost certainly cast. With just over 100 days before the election, the president will go to the polls in an economy stuck somewhere between recovery and double-dip recession. It is hard to imagine it could get any murkier. Yet, as Mr Bernanke implied, it is highly unlikely visibility will suddenly improve.” No helicopters. … New normal: “[V]oters’ perception about the economy is likely to harden by the end of the summer, if history is any guide.”

The trail. Black turnout: “Assuming no change in 2008 voting patterns, Urban League researchers said, Black turnout at about 60 percent or below could cost Obama the state of NC and make it difficult for him to win OH and VA.” … Razor thin margin: “President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are in a statistical dead heat in an NPR poll of likely voters nationwide. And in the nation’s battleground states, the preference is an actual tie: 46% favor Obama, and 46% back Romney.”

Romney. #FAIL: “The thing is that the weed smoking/badpoetry writing/Bill Ayers/Rev Wright line of attack is only going to work with the GOP base.” Dead woman, live boy. … #FAIL: “‘We’ve given all you people need to know,’ said Ann Romney on ‘Good Morning America’ Thursday, asked about the Romney tax returns.” Note “the Romney tax returns.” Officially an issue, so losing the political class … Then again, Did she go there? Listen and decide.

Obama. Teed up: “Bottom line, per the campaign’s guidance: Obama will argue that Romney — through his support for the Ryan budget plan — advocates ending Medicare ‘as we know it.'” … Defining Romney: “Obama managed to pivot away [how?] from a third consecutive tepid jobs report by ramping up calls for Romney to release more tax returns — drawing the attention of the media from what could have been more days of focus on the president’s record.” Wining the political class! … Money: “For the super PAC supporting President Barack Obama, there are plenty of potential recruits who can write multimillion-dollar checks — just few who have stepped forward.” … #FAIL at Century Village : “[OBAMA:] I don’t believe you can reduce the deficit without asking the wealthiest Americans to give up the tax cuts they’ve enjoyed.” Taxes don’t fund spending. We need more spending not less. Other than that…. Stay classy: “The president was to spend the night at The Ritz-Carlton.” … Birthday boy: “There is a hefty price tag–$40,000–for the fund-raiser at the Kenwood home of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle on Aug. 12. It is one of three being held that day, all with the theme of helping Obama celebrate his Aug. 4 birthday.”

Tax flap. Top 10 theories, #9: “A minority stake in The Apprentice that finally explains the whole keeping Donald Trump around thing.” … Timing: ” In just over a week, the London Olympics will kick off. If you’re going to release more embarrassing tax returns, maybe that would be the ideal time?”

* 50 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with lots and lots of expensive High Fructose Corn Syrup on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 50 shades of… Well, not grey.

Antidote du jour. I am appeasing YankeeFrank, who had a bit of a rant yesterday about NC and the blogosphere generally having a pro cat bias. He tried to make that mean we didn’t like having pets we could bond with, or somesuch. He’s clearly never met an Abyssinian. They are very demonstrative and they care enough about what their owners think that I’ve been able to train ones I get young enough to walk on a leash (albeit not as well as a dog, but they get that walking is directional and means staying on the path/sidewalk).

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    1. ambrit

      Dear Bill;
      No wonder the MSM had to push O’Brian aside.
      As for robots doing the news, check out the “jail” sequence in Lucas’ “THX 1138” where our hero meets a Hologram Newscaster.

  1. CB


    The “Here’s Obama insulting his base in 2009” link is mis-linked. Altho, maybe I don’t want to see or hear more snottiness from snippy mouth. Eight years of sneer and four of snot. Can we just cancel the presidential election?

    1. ambrit

      Dear G3;
      To play Devils’ Advocate; have you ever had to ‘rough it’ for a while? So called ‘savages,’ I’ll cop a plea on the emotional manipulation of words, live in sync with nature by having shorter lives, more brutal existences, and very few breakthroughs in culture, sciences, or arts. If it’s stagnation you want, well sure, go all the way back to Nature. We’re a complex and maddening species. Live with it.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Check out the chronic alcoholism and rape still plaguing “Indian Reservations.”

        1. G3

          The alcoholism etc are not because of the Indian way of life, but beacuse they were DEPRIVED of their traditional way of life. They originally practised what is called “primitive communism” – everything was shared, no private property. People took what they NEEDED, and no accumulation of private wealth.

          1. LucyLulu

            The evidence is strong for a genetic component. Babies of native Indian origin who are adopted at birth to non-Indian parents have an above average rate of alcoholism as well. Ditto for identical twins adopted to different parents, those with alcoholic parents, the Irish (who joke that if not for alcohol they would have ruled the world), etc. While genetics is not the sole determinant, it makes one more susceptible. Being raised in an environment where alcoholism is present, whether an Indian reservation or a wealthy white socially elite family, tends to clinch the deal for those who are susceptible……. often despite prior proclamations of “I swear I’m never going to be like my dad”.

          2. skippy

            Heaps of study’s done on introduced western cultural problems ie alcoholism etc, to indigenous populations.

            Long story short, you don’t fiddle with cultures that have evolved for thousands of years, biologically and environmentally and bitch about poor out comes for the test subjects.

            skippy… its not the test subject fault, but, the people that control the test fault.

      2. evodevo

        True to some extent – I would challenge the average American to try surviving even in 1920’s Appalachia (pre-antibiotics, no electricity, and where farm machinery was the back end of a mule). However, the idea of a Hobbesian existence for Native Americans pre-1492 is greatly exaggerated (for one perspective, read 1491 by Charles Mann).
        As for the old hippie meme “living in harmony with mother nature”, the usual economic strategy of a part-time farmer, part-time hunter-gatherer culture (say, the 18th century Shawnee)was to live in one area for ~10 years until the soil resources and local easily-caught game were depleted, and then move to a new area of exploitation. This worked because the population was small, and new areas were always available. The old area would come on line again in a generation or two. When the population outgrew that strategy, local collapse ensued , and the population crashed and/or dispersed to other areas, or went to war with neighbors to appropriate their resources. (see Mayan kingdoms)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It makes sense what you say, though, if that is where you would like to go (but can’t due to the above limitations), with a bit of useful modern knowledge – thus Neo-Neanderthalism, instead of just Neanderthalism – let’s at least know what caused it in the first place, so we don’t repeat the same errors, or worse, worship the very things that brought our exile.

          Secondly, it might not be as hopeless as one would think. We don’t have to transition immediately. There could be an adjustment period so we first live like it’s the 1920’s, then the 18th Century, then further back.

          Will it work? Hard to say, but thinking about it is the first step. We have to be able to imagine it.

      3. G3

        Oh please. They had arts, crafts, music etc. Without the intellectual property rights and all that non-sense. If they didn’t “invent” stuff, it is because they felt it goes against nature. Show me one example of any closed loop system that came out of “modern” way of life where there is no waste or pollution or extraction and where everything is recycled. Industrial agriculture, antibiotics (think contamination of water supply for example), various forms of energy – coal, natural gas, nuclear power? The epic struggle for a “clean” source of electricity is a classic example of the mess we are in. Civilization is THE problem.

      4. G3

        The indigenous people in forests lived longer. It was only after urban living came into existence that all forms of diseases became a problem (remember the biological warfare unleashed on Natives by Columbus and co?) and antibiotics came into being. And antibiotics like “modern” inventions go, create more side effects.

        1. enouf

          Your well-informed comments on these issues should make every reader here (actually everyone) rethink the entire propagandist words used to describe and divide/conquer societies/cultures;

          – Who are the Savages!?
          – Who are the Civilized!?

          – Who are the real terrorists?!

          If Western Imperialism over the course of centuries is any indicator ..and one can answer those questions honestly ..then the answers are clear. Not to mention the western societies’ incessant cannibalism of its own (even moreso than ever over the last 40+ years).


  2. bulfinch

    RE: Cats v Dogs — It’s not always about having a predilection for one over the other. All of the animals in my life found me and they all just happened to be cats.

    As with the Abyssinian example above, Tuxedos are also uniquely affectionate and sensitive. I had an almost preternaturally loyal tuxedo who would pine for attention and bring me her toys for playtime each night — even at ten years old. I have never had a bond with another animal – cat or otherwise – like I did with this one, but had her spirit been packaged instead in the body of wild turkey or a sugarglider or an arthritic gerbil, it wouldn’t have made a difference to me.

    1. YankeeFrank

      I didn’t mean to start a whole kerfuffle Yves. I was trying to have a little fun and get a jokey sort of “war” going, but I should’ve known people take their cats vs. dogs thing very seriously. I went off at the end because I was frustrated that people can’t just relax and have some fun with what should really be a no-brainer — cats AND dogs are wonderful creatures, and in fact, I myself own three dogs and two cats. One of my cats is a funny half-feral creature that lives outside most of her time but comes around to wrestle with my youngest dog (they grew up together), have some affection and get a bite (when she isn’t eating the neighborhood rabbits and birds). I love all living things, but have noticed the whole “cat-blogging” thing (though ironically not really on this site) and wondered at it — perhaps its just that cats are more suitable for people who sit at their computers all day long.. I’m not really sure. Anyhow, didn’t mean to raise a ruckus, there is enough love to go around. Oh, and add blue point siamese in with your abyssinians — we had two we found in a shelter when I was a kid, and they would go for walks around the neighborhood with me, even without a leash, they were so close. Though even they did have a vengeful streak — one of them was once locked in my bedroom for the night and apparently had to take a dump — which he proceeded to do on my pillow next to my head. I remember waking the next morning, rolling over and staring directly at a nice brown blob of muck. At least I didn’t roll my head directly on it! I still loved that cat as much as any pet I ever had – and we even had something of a psychic connection (here’s where the skeptics tune me out) which is a story for another time.

  3. fresno dan

    Man with ‘world’s biggest penis’ stopped at SFO security SFGate. I am protecting the guilty and not telling you who sent me this one!

    I was not in San Francisco last week…

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      Well, I’m not afraid (though a little ashamed) to say I checked this story out thoroughly……..apparently it’s huge, but the guy is a pig….troll…..etc.

    2. ambrit

      Was this the result of a ‘pat down,’ or did he, (I assume a male here, not some exotic hybrid,) set off the alarms somehow. (Some steel in the rod, so to speak.)

    3. briansays

      a lady friend suggested that had they known the airline could have sold the seat next to him as an upgrade for a lonely bachlorette

    4. craazyman

      Wait a minute. That dude in the pic looks like Marshall Auerback. Seriously, look at it.

      Is Marshall leading a second life we don’t know about?? :)

      No worries Marshall, I’m a straight man and if we were ever to meet in real life, the only thing on my mind would be your best 10-bagger not 10-incher. whoahaoaoaoa.

  4. JTFaraday

    re: VA. UVA MOOCs, Darden Dean Bruner: “Venture capitalists and other “smart money” are pouring into the online aggregators because…”

    Business school profs become victims of their own neoliberal labor expropriating and employee decimating ideology. Film at 11.

    1. CB

      Budget reduction discussions after. Refreshments will not be served: food is not reimbursable.

    2. Lambert Strether

      From The Department of Schadenfreude. I actually have some sympathy for Bruner; the whole thing reads like an elegantly written suicide note for his class and time.

    3. Jim Haygood

      ‘Business school profs become victims of their own neoliberal labor expropriating and employee decimating ideology.’

      Right. And these damned horseless carriages are costing a lot of stable boys their jobs.

      From the NYT’s recent article on Coursera:

      Most courses attract tens of thousands of students, an irresistible draw for many professors.

      “Every academic has a little soapbox, and most of the time we have five people listening to us,” said Scott E. Page, a University of Michigan professor who taught Coursera’s model thinking course and was thrilled when 40,000 students downloaded his videos. “By most calculations, I had about 200 years’ worth of students in my class.”

      If you’re good at what you do, extending your expertise to a larger audience is the very definition of productivity enhancement.

      Coursera has some very solid offerings in economics, finance, technology and computing. In one course on digital signal processing from EPF Lausanne, you can even download the textbook free (donations encouraged). I LOVE IT!!

      As an educational consumer, I just want the best quality for the lowest price, and preferably free. If that ends up shrinking the bloated academic-governmental partnership, it’s killing two birds with one stone.

      1. JTFaraday


        But just to underscore my point, when you go the Coursera “jobs” page, at the bottom of the open positions list is the following note:

        Passionate about making education affordable to the world, but still in school? Don’t worry – we are hiring interns for all of the positions listed above.”

        I know, I know. It’s the moving pictures version of wikipedia. But when Goldman Sachs loots it and jacks the h*** out of UVA tuition, all you interns will be sorry.

        (You’ll also have to have a Congressional hearing to update the national syllabus, but who thinks ahead these days?)

      2. Jessica

        I have to admit to feeling conflicted about this one. Universities do function in many ways as obstacles to spreading knowledge and education and they are grossly overstaffed in administration. There is so much we could do with online education.
        On the other hand, given the current social structure in the US, I think that if education is reformed through the use of online education it will be done in a vicious and counter-productive way. Students will be more, many teachers will be hurt, and the benefit will flow mostly to rent collectors who provide no value added to anyone. Just saying.
        As a society, let’s recognize two things. First, there is a general benefit to society as a whole to making sure every one of us gets all the education we want and can handle. (Some of that benefit is in production. Much takes other, less easily measured forms. Right now, we need the latter more than the former.) Second, lets organize production so that all us can actually put that education to use.
        Once we have done that (and yes this would invariably mean a complete reworking of our entire society), _then_ online education can be a massive blessing to all of us.

      3. LucyLulu

        On the one hand, having had some really crummy professors, I can see how online courses could be of benefit.

        OTOH, the courses I consider to have been the most helpful were smaller classes that involved heavy class participation, e.g. a class on law and ethics (no matter how well prepared, this professor could and would rip any student’s argument to shreds….. who says critical thinking can’t be taught). Unless the online classes were limited in size (20 students?) and used video conferencing so that everyone had visual contact with all participants, that particular type of (most) valuable experience would be lost.

        1. Jessica

          The most obvious use for online courses would be all those 101 Intro To ___ courses. Typically there are hundreds of students in the one lecture hall, so not so much lost going to online. Ideally (ie not in the current US), that would free up teachers for the kind of smaller classes you wrote about.
          The problem for colleges is that those 101 Intro To courses are huge money makers. So they use the accreditation system to make it as difficult as possible (basically impossible) for someone to offer those Intro courses online and have them recognized at a bricks-and-mortar college.

  5. TP

    YankeeFrank says:
    February 22, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “I was the last person to ever believe stories of animal telepathy, but I had a bona fide experience myself that was too accurate to be coincidence. I had a cat as a child that I was very close with. He even spent a year at college with me where he was stolen and retrieved by me with the aid of a conscientious friend of the thief. He was a blue point siamese and very beautiful…”

    YF submitted this on Feb 22. I liked it enough to make a copy. So unless he’s completely changed his spots, so to speak, think he was just being facetious.

  6. colinc

    re: “Monsoon – Bloomberg” article… Does anyone else find that article vague, at best, if not outright inconsistent or self-contradictory?

  7. Cap'n Magic

    IMF’s Peter Doyle scorns its ‘tainted’ leadership

    Peter Doyle claims there was a “fundamental illegitimacy” in Christine Lagarde’s appointment

    A top economist at the International Monetary Fund has poured scorn on its “tainted” leadership and said he is “ashamed” to have worked there.

  8. Cap'n Magic

    In the wake of the CO shootings: A Brief History of Rage, Murder and Rebellion
    An interview with Mark Ames, whose book about rage murders in American schools and workplaces claims these violent acts are, in effect, failed revolts.

  9. Nick

    Dumping iron at sea? How about planting redwood trees in California, Ireland and New Zealand? Ancient Oaks started from cuttings? Sequesters far more carbon and can be done in your backyard.

    Listen to the show. Link is up until Tuesday.

    The Archangel Tree Project, a science based hard hitting
    environmental response.

    1. YesMaybe

      Trees are passé. We need an environmental solution which converts nuclear waste, carbon dioxide and hypocrisy into federal reserve notes and french fries.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A solution from the ’60s: Love is the cleanest form of energy.

      Power the world with love!

    3. Susan the other

      Dumping iron isn’t practical anyway because it could only ever be small scale due to its limitations, one of which is that it accelerates ocean acidification (last I read). Wondering why So Africa got so upset about a research project. Maybe there is stg more to the story.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Cap’n, history shows how much blood will fill that water: till it runs red out of the tap.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Weak monsoon and shrinking rice harvest.

    Too much rain – bad.

    Not enough rain – bad.

    Is it like with debt?

    Too much debt – bad.

    Not enough – bad?

    Maybe modest amount, when appropriate, is the way to go.

    Globe too hot – bad.

    Globe too cold – bad.

    We want our planet not too cold and not too hot.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I saw someone argue that famine is almost never based on ecological reasons but based on political reasons.

      Makes sense.

      Are our masters manipulating the news by exaggerating droughts/famines/etc. in the parts of the world they want to control?

      Out of curiosity I pulled some rainfall numbers for Somalia:

      For instance last year even though I heard Somalia was in drought they got a lot of rainfall in the fall and of the 7 regions they report on, 4 exceeded normal rainfall last year.

      1. LucyLulu

        But how many people live in Somalia and how much food do they grow?

        The US supplies half of the world’s corn and soy, and much of the wheat. Most of agriculture and the world’s food supply is concentrated into a few regions and then exported out. Thus droughts and floods in these regions can have disproportionate effects on global food supply.

        Personally, I’ve always felt some small comfort in the U.S. being self-sustaining in terms of growing its own food supply should famine become widespread. With global warming, the arable land may be shifted north to Canada. We need to be nice to our northern neighbors.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    French DSK aphrodisiac drink.

    Do they have any mineral water that will make the drinker less likely to loot?

    1. ambrit

      Dear MLTPB;
      They’ve already tried Vichy. That ended badly. (See “The Sorrow and the Pity.”

  12. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Antidote: Oy. Would hunger turn them into a vicious pack?

    Do cats devolve into packs?

    1. LucyLulu

      Some wild cats do live in social groups, though most don’t. But even those who live in groups don’t hunt their prey as packs (when they are hungry), e.g. feral cats. (Interesting that formerly domesticated cats would choose to live in social groups, eh?) They are quite capable of bringing down prey independently of their fellow felines. Lions and the lynx are exceptions, they will hunt in groups. Dogs don’t do as well in that respect. They typically need their packmates to surround the prey and help bring them down for the kill, perhaps at least partially due to less efficient claws? In any case, having withstood vicious attempts at attacks from both cats and dogs (worked two years as vet tech), I’d take a dog attack over a cat any day of the week. Anybody who has tried to pull a cat off of them, or pull a cat off another creature, has no trouble understanding why cats don’t need help hunting. If you muzzle a dog, they are completely disarmed. Disarming a cat requires putting them inside a pillowcase or something similar that contains their entire body. They are tough little buggers.

      I have a pit bull cross who has a strong prey drive and hunts all the rabbits and squirrels in our yard. One night I stepped on an eviscerated squirrel she left me as a gift when I got up to use the bathroom. We have a white cat who lives next door. She is terrified of that cat. The cat will lie down and pretend to sleep along the far side of my fence to drive my dog crazy. As my dog barks, he stretches and yawns and acts bored. One night I had to go fetch my dog from my neighbor’s yard, somebody left the gate open, she got loose and was barking. I got there in time to witness the cat chasing her back into my yard. Yep, the cat was chasing my pit bull. I laughed so hard. I love that cat. Another neighbor, not so much. The cat beats on her chow. I call him “Killer”.

  13. Susan the other

    Curious and puzzled about Geithner’s Gaffe. It’s an ongoing standoff here between us and the Europeans. The EZ seems to want to postpone their decision until December. Weird. I assume the key element of Geithner’s approach is the same as Sheila Bair’s: stabilization. So what’s not to like? As long as taxpayers are somehow prevented from socializing losses without also socializing the banks. Speaking of the destabilizing effect of lack of confidence, and subsequent bank runs, where exactly are all those euros running to. The French banks are suddenly very flush. So the money is still there. What does Geithner really care about? One thought is that the FDIC here is a mechanism for resolving insolvency not just deposit insurance. A ruse then, pretending the important thing is to reassure depositors?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Sto, wasn’t it always about “resolving insolvency” in a We Care finesse?

  14. jsmith

    Hey, here’s a feel-good story especially in light of yet ANOTHER American gun massacre!!

    If you’re looking to spend some quality time with the whole family, why not take them to the Israeli shooting camp located in the West Bank where you can shoot real weapons at targets dressed up – that’s right – like Palestinians!!!


    Come for the apartheid, relish in the genocide.

  15. Walter Wit Man

    Rut roh.

    This shit is getting real.

    Alleged gunman in Batman movie theater shooting a member of OWS and the ‘black bloc?’

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

    I guess there some media also initially reported he was a Tea Party guy, but those have been taken down (just from a quick perusal of a Big City Corporate Newspaper cesspool–the comment section).

    Psy Op? That’s my first gut reaction just because it has all the hallmarks.

    Links and proof and facts . . . . developing. Ha.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      interesting to see how memes like anarchism = violence get started.

      Dr. Laura was quick to politicize the murders that occurred after midnight last night (what, after 2:00 a.m. in Florida?). This morning she
      had a private investigator on her show who is responsible for the black bloc allegations one will probably see all over the cesspools of the internet today:

      “I guess Laura saw my work on this matter and called me to be on the air,” said Warner, who works on insurance fraud and cheating spouses by day. “There’s no public information available on James Holmes anywhere. No car, no credit card, no nothing. I checked. Black Bloc members use cash and don’t buy cars so that they can go underground.

      “(Holmes’) age, the black clothes and gas mask he was wearing, the facts he is white and underground, the facts he is a drifter prone to over-the-top violence, it all fits. Batman features an Occupy-type bad guy and this nut job may have taken it personally.”

      1. Walter Wit Man

        I guess I’m mixing up my right-wing mavens.

        It’s Laura Ingraham who looks like she must focus on “left-wing terror” groups from looking at her website (Black Bloc threatens Tampa!!!).

        Maybe she can interview Chris Hedges next.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Well, I’m not familiar with either Laura’s much.

            I listened to a bit of Dr. Laura maybe a decade ago and found her repugnant. It was like a kick to the gut to hear someone I love listened to her. Yuck. She seems to be mostly about judging your fellow family members for not living a right-wing lifestyle and then to kick them out of the house and refuse to ever speak to them again to teach them a lesson. She’s all about tough love.

            This other Laura I’m surprised to learn is very popular. No wonder her program is already influencing the cesspools of the internet re the Batman murders.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        This private investigator seems to be saying he ran a credit check on the suspect or saw one. I don’t know how he did that or if it’s legal, but that would be interesting if a 20-something year old medical student never had a credit card or car.

        Did he need the social security number to search for this?

        My, they had the private dick and radio interview all set to go before the bodies were barely cold.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      WWM, the eyes of the killer broadcast Mind Control, no doubt. CIA special.

      The “media” are busy running various scenarios up the flagpole, so they can establish “culpability” and “motive.” They might even claim that this is an “uninteded consequence” of 9/11 Architects, Physicists, Engineers speaking truth to power.

    3. Paul Tioxon

      Compare the Bulgarian massacre of 5 Israeli tourists by a suicide bomber. Netanyahu immediately blames Iran. No lone gunman. No sick, criminally insane loner. The Israeli’s are prepared to go to war and retaliate against all comers and their fellow travelers and enablers. Now, look at the US response. So many lone gunmen, so many nutso postal down on their luck types. Even when it is perfectly obvious resentful losers act out, the ease with which arms are available is never the issue. Compare again with Iran. All sanctions, financial, business and diplomatic are initiated. As little support as possible to strangle the flow of trade to weaken the State sponsored actor of violence.

      The widespread gun violence, even when not part of gang or organized crime,is never suppressed by cutting off the supply of guns and ammo. The sheer amount of murders, and the high incidence of guns to commit the murders, NOT to mention the additional shootings which are 2-3 as great as the murders, much due to the heroic ER response to gunshot wounds increasing the survival rate, dwarfs what other nations would do to stop the on going slaughter of its citizenry. The US has turned itself inside out over the 9/11 attacks, but the amount of dead in PHiladelphia alone, since 2000 is greater with no where near the universal homeland security over reaction.

      Homicides in Philadelphia

      Since 1988, nearly 9,000 people have been slain on the streets of Philadelphia, affecting every neighborhood in the city. To put that deadly toll in perspective, during the length of U.S. combat operations in the Iraq war, 3,517 American troops were killed in action — and 3,113 people were killed in Philadelphia.

      During that time period, Philadelphia’s victims were not equally distributed among gender, age, and racial groups. Each year, black men make up a disproportionately large percentage of homicide victims. Last year, for instance,12 white men between the ages of 18 and 29 were killed. Those deaths represent about 4 percent of all homicide victims, roughly equal to the 5 percent share of young white men in the general population. In contrast, black men in the same age group accounted for 48 percent of all homicide victims, but only 4 percent of the city’s population. Overall, 75 percent of all homicide victims were black men.

      The above is excerpted from the PHiladelphia Inquirer. Murder is a daily event, rapes, the reported rapes at least, 3 times the murders, and the non-lethal shooting and stabbings also twice the murder rate. It is a living hell. The city, while heroically re-inventing itself from an DE-industrial former dynamo, to a service economy, has left many behind with little hope for nothing but more of the same unless something changes on a local and global scale.

      We live in a social environment that produces highly atomized individuals who are socialized to believe they are autonomous political units of sovereignty and act accordingly when armed. We produce no social activity that provides satisfactory solutions that the whole society can buy into. Even on this site, the decadent politics capitulates the right to vote, a tie that binds us to a larger whole, as meaningless, a counterproductive exercise in a futile, empty kubuki performance art of received wisdom. The libertarian strain of politics, of radical anarchy, places sovereignty in the individual, not the people as a whole.

      It is not enough to make the smarmy quips of a pendant. Or the pie in the sky prayer vigil slogans of God Fucking Bless America. This is his blessing? Prayers and thoughts. Day of mourning sabbatical condolences from the pols and government!! Let the church say the prayers, the authorities need to act, not grimly pace out of public view in a media blackout.
      Ours is an angry and vengeful national security state, except when it comes to actual citizens who are shot dead. We can expect more and more as the only solution for a nation of individuals in an increasingly decaying economy is to act out, unconnected to church or state, party or aggrieved minority. Failed artists, failed family men and women, failed careers, failed lives in a failing state. We disintegrate, one at a time, not off the cliff in a herd of lemmings.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Well put.

        The future may be bleak but at least I have power over my own thoughts and I’m not going to be bullied by these propagandists. Once you figure out their game it becomes easier to catch them.

        And I take hope in the fact more people are waking up to the fact we are controlled by evil monsters.

        These mass killing events are not random.

        Also, massive black incarceration (the U.S. imprisons the most people in the world–mostly black men) and black on black violence is not accidental. Our government clandestinely targeted black groups. This is the policy. The Civil Rights Act and MLK day are the cover up.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            This book is based on the Ann Dunham’s dissertation for the doctorate she received in 1992:

            She died in 1995, at the age of 52, before having the opportunity to revise her dissertation for publication, as she had planned. Dunham’s dissertation adviser Alice G. Dewey and her fellow graduate student Nancy I. Cooper undertook the revisions at the request of Dunham’s daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng. The result is Surviving against the Odds, a book based on Dunham’s research over a period of fourteen years among the rural metalworkers of Java, the island home to nearly half Indonesia’s population. Surviving against the Odds reflects Dunham’s commitment to helping small-scale village industries survive; her pragmatic, non-ideological approach to research and problem solving; and her impressive command of history, economic data, and development policy. Along with photographs of Dunham, the book includes many pictures taken by her in Indonesia.

            This BBC documentary looks like it goes into a lot of details if one wants to hear more of her cover story:

            As a mature student, she was accepted into a PhD programme at the University of Hawaii and she chose to research the archaeology and anthropology of agricultural blacksmiths. She was the first woman admitted into the inner sanctum of this ancient all-male trade.
            Barack Obama Snr

            Ann Dunham married Barack Obama Snr at the age of 18

            As she learnt about the ceremonial dagger making and the ritual power the smiths imbued into each instrument they forged, she also gained an appreciation of all Javanese crafts and culture.

            In an effort to alleviate the hardship associated with these peasant industries, she constructed a model of micro-financing which is now the standard in Indonesia, a country that is a world leader in micro-credit systems.

            With grants from the Ford Foundation and loans from the World Bank, she worked with many NGO’s to help rural people get loans to launch small enterprises.

            In this programme Judith Kampfner talks to Ann’s 80 year old feisty professor and mentor, Alice Dewey.

            She also speaks to field workers and executives at the People’s Bank of Indonesia, the Ford Foundation, and the USIA and to anthropologists and crafts workers who knew Ann Dunham.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            WWM, her cover story has that CIA cover ring, doesn’t it? But what was her purpose? We now know that “micro credit” has reaped huge windfalls for looters of those at the bottom of the ladder. Blood out of turnips indeed.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            Yeah, it smells like an over the top intelligence cover story. For sure.

            They love neoliberal stories. Their favorite cover story for 9/11 hero was an Ivy League bond trader that runs marathons on weekends, participates in Big Brother programs, and started a third world charity.

            I love the touch about her being into blacksmithing knives. What, was she some sort of Satanic figure?

        1. LucyLulu

          WWM wrote: These mass killing events are not random.

          It’s too soon to know the motivations of this particular killer. My guess is that he was insane, esp. given the comment that his mother was unsurprised that he had committed the crime. While I agree some events are not random, we do have people who are psychopathic and/or insane who commit random acts of violence. Always have throughout history. I’ve worked with the mentally ill my entire life. The vast majority represent no threat but some DO have paranoid delusions that include homicidal threats. The vast majority of those will never carry those threats……. but unfortunately, there will always be those few……

          My hunch is that the Aurora shooter will be one of those few. As always…. more will be revealed.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Yeah, we don’t know crap. Smells like a psy op though.

            Talked to someone who went to the movie tonight and there were armed cops there. These incidents stir up tribal politics and increase anger and fear.

            The suspect’s eyes certainly make him look crazy. My guess is he’s either drugged, or acting, or sick. All 3 of those things are probably equally likely.

            Actually, s much as you probably think I’m crazy for suspecting this, I think the top theory is he’s acting. This all just seems so beneficial to TPTB that it seems like it must be fake. It’s much easier to go along with a false flag attack like this if no one actually dies.

            Unfortunately that’s where I am with the media. I don’t even trust them to accurately report a dead body. In fact, I suspect they are complicit in creating fake news.

  16. Hugh

    I thought it was interesting how the Obama campaign ran for cover pulling its ad depicting Ann Romney as rich and out of touch and using her participation in the sport of dressage as an example. The campaign pulled the ad afte Ann Romney tearfully stated in an interview that it helped her MS.

    This is, of course, all BS. Ann Romney is rich and out of touch. She also happens to have MS and she enjoys and can indulge in the expensive sport of dressage. Dressage is certainly not a treatment for MS, and, even if it were, it very much isn’t affordable by the hoi polloi.

    Anyway, it just seemed all very quirky what is taboo and what is not in a race between candidates, both of whom are dedicated to ruining the lives of tens of millions.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      They must be careful not to alienate “their kind” or “their wannabe kind.”

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Also, the Mormon women I’ve met are quite vicious in a passive-aggressive way, since they must breed and bow the their stern White Male Master Race.

    2. LucyLulu

      There is a type of physical therapy called hippotherapy that uses horses. It is especially helpful with improving difficulties with gait, which is a symptom of MS. In fact, it can be uniquely helpful when other therapies fail, and insurance companies will cover the cost. I believe that riding horses may well be helpful for the symptoms of Ann’s MS. (I was a long-time dressage rider and after a serious accident received hippotherapy at suggestions of two PT’s, and when there was no hippotherapy in my state, was pilot patient in launch of new program that ultimately funded local ‘riding for the handicapped’ that until then had been constantly cash-strapped. It helped me walk more normally when months of traditional PT had not. The difference was quite dramatic. I won’t bore people with the mechanics of how it works.)

      That being said, an Olympic competition horse is not required, and I seriously doubt that Ann ever rides the horse. The horse’s rider/trainer would not allow any amateurs to be riding him while in the intense training required for London. Any horse with swinging gaits is suitable. However, when you have her kind of money, you buy fancy horses, not cheap mustangs. I would. I’m sure she has other horse(s) that she rides that she also spent a fortune on.

      As far as the tax deduction……. He has taken the horse as a business expense. Traditionally the IRS has flagged these and looked at them closely. They consider horses to be hobbies unless one can prove the horses are actually run as a business…… payrolls, accounting statements, etc. Most importantly, a profit must be claimed at least one year out of five. No way that horse will ever earn a profit. There’s very little money in dressage competitions, only occasionally a couple thousand or so, more often none. Going to the Olympics runs around $200K, and that is for those who are slumming it. He is a hobby. (or maybe its a mare, I forget) But the IRS rarely audits anymore, and I’m sure it is not the only dubious deduction on his return.

    3. LucyLulu

      Chris Hayes was on The Last Word a couple nights ago and had a brilliant insight on Romney’s tax returns. He said that he doubted that Romney had done anything illegal. However he said that his tax returns would be the very long, complicated, and incomprehensible tax returns typical of the very rich. They use expensive tax attorneys who utilize all the exotic loopholes and deductions in the tax code, not available to the average citizen, to minimize their liability.

      He went on to say a nation must have the ability to effectively collect taxes from its citizens to function. We have lost our ability to collect taxes from our elite. He suggested the comparison of what has happened in Greece.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      J, is Greenwald making a graceful exit to the Guardian, now that Salon is going all HuffPo for insider profits?

  17. LeonovaBalletRusse

    NB Mitt indulges in “Jesuspeak” at top of the news: NPR 3 PME: “comfort … heavy laden” — Stay tuned for the UltraAuthoritarianChristConscious Duo offering “comfort” a la mode de NOBILITY GOP for two institutional “Kingdoms of God.”

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Looks like that “lone assassin” set-up was their “compassion for the People” cue: “Come unto me, all ye that are heavy-laden and I shall give you rest.”

      Surely this team in harness is the promised “Anti-Christ.”

      1. craazyman

        The moon itself is a fake.

        If you look through a telescope, like I’ve done, you’ll see a big cheese ball in low earth orbit. :)

        I don’t know how this fact remains a secret.

      2. craazyman

        I take it all back! I watched that video and wow, that really is amazing. Now I’m completely confused and don’t know what to believe. Is it really possible? I want to say “No” but . . . but . . . I think I’d still have to say “no” because the symbolism is potent, but remains open to multiple interpretations. I’m aware of the moon hoax theories and just can’t buy them. However, that video is well done.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          c, it’s true. Well, he was captive. But Kubrick left clues everywhere. Even if “Others” finished “Eyes Wide Shut”, K’s final “message in a bottle” was not completely lost to humanity. His unfinished film, was “finished” by Spielberg, a very good soldier.

          1. craazyman

            I’ll have to watch Eyes Wide Shut, LBR. I never have seen it.

            Otherwise, I think the moon hoax theory is just too crazy, even for me. I think it would be easier just to go there and land and take pictures and come back than it would be to fake it and keep the secret. haha hahah.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            c, isn’t it most likely that robots landed, and the rest was theatre for the ignorant American public in love with fantasy?

        2. Walter Wit Man

          Yeah, even I thought the moon landing hoax theory was too crazy to believe. Now, I’m not so sure.

          Kubrick did use a special camera for 2001 Space Odyssey that could have been used to film the moon landing. Many of the NASA shots look similar to his 2001 shots.

          Lots of other interesting circumstantial details about the moon landings too.

          Also, Kubrick’s films do seem to be heavily symbolic. I want to see Eyes Wide Shut. Bill Cooper also has an interesting interpretation of 2001 Space Odyssey.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            WWM, K used the same camera for Barry Lyndon, another allegory. This is what happens to those who covet and gain acceptance into the .01% sphere for a
            “season.” The Masters dispense Ecclesiastes: “a time to live and a time to die.”

        3. Walter Wit Man

          This 50 minute documentary makes a solid case it was a hoax.

          This 3 minute video shows how Kubrick faked the moon landing. He was basically the first to use green screen technology. He is basically using the layers like one would in Photoshop.

          I’m now pretty convinced it was faked. Motive, means, opportunity. And now a lot of circumstantial evidence. And frankly the photographic discrepancies are damning in my mind. Once you see one picture faked the implications are huge.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            WWM, “Eyes Wide Shut” shows the horrifying loss of innocence of Kubrick and his wife. Still, they were captive. They insulated themselves. But no-one gets out alive.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            WWM, the 3 minute video shows how the “scotchlite” screen was employed. Do you suppose that the “chem trails” are creating the scotchlite screen for the projection of holograms of the “alien invasion” and/or “religious second coming saviors” to appear in the sky in strategic locations when the MOMENT for universal chaos takes place, to be “corrected” by martial law?

            Was a scotchlite screen prepared around the WTC so that holograms of “planes” could be projected, if this in fact what happened?

          3. Walter Wit Man

            No. I don’t think they used any green screens on the site of 9/11–only in studios.

            I think they mostly used the modern equivalent of the technology Kubrick was using (and you have to be careful–there is a “mockumentary” that purposely muddies the water about this camera technology)–photoshop. And they used a green screen to film some of the interviews that aired that day and layered those images over other.

            Most of the production of the real-time 9/11 hoax was HQd out of the Trinity Church at the WTC. They already had a separate television studio on site and were filming something else that day (that was the cover story). They did some immediate photoshopping of the images they took (that one picture of the FBI agent standing over the car as the 2nd plane hits above his head) and released them that night. They took longer and did a better job on other “amateur” photos.

            Of course the main images we saw on all the networks of the 2nd plane hitting were also manipulated.

      3. skippy

        Dark Side of the Moon is a French mockumentary by director William Karel which originally aired on Arte in 2002 with the title Opération Lune. The basic premise for the film is the theory that the television footage from the Apollo 11 Moon landing was faked and actually recorded in a studio by the CIA with help from director Stanley Kubrick. It features some surprising guest appearances, most notably by Donald Rumsfeld, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Vernon Walters, Buzz Aldrin and Stanley Kubrick’s widow, Christiane Kubrick

          1. Walter Wit Man

            That is an interesting speech. See he does like symbols! D.W. Griffith got too close to the Sun (Horus, Ra, the Winged Sun,), and he says the moral shouldn’t be not to to fly high, but to fly high better (forget the wax and feathers–use the front projection effect and really clever symbols).

            So this seems consistent with the above interpretation of ‘The Shining,’ as Kubrick admitting he made a deal with the devil to fake the moon landing. This was his attempt to fly high, and do it better than Icarus, by revealing the regret about his deal without getting burned by the Sun.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          This “mockumentary” is disinformation designed to obfuscate . . . which is why this big perps took part, like Kissinger.

          It’s mildly entertaining but it intentionally misinforms like on the details about the camera technique Kubrick used in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and to take the alleged Moon landing footage. The “mockumentary” claims Kubrick had a special camera where it seems the more important fact is that Kubrick used the front projection effect. The 3 minute video linked above explains it well enough. According to IMDB: “Kubrick used a front projection camera. Besides the 1963 Japanese film Matango, it was the first time this kind of camera was used in a feature film.”

          This seems to be the precursor the use of ‘layers’ and green screens.

          So why are Dick Rumsfeld and Co. obscuring the history of this technology?

          1. skippy

            Just watch out you don’t find yourself trapped on a mobius strip, constantly viewing the other side, of where, you just were, trying to divulge whats on the other side of that surface.

            Skippy… BTW look into the names attending a little one man face first sledding family event done every year in Europe. Oh… Ben Franklin was a member of a sort of Hell Fire Club, events help in old French Castles bowels…. top less chicks whoot!

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Better late than never.

    From yesterday about making voters vote.

    Good idea.

    As long as we are at it, how about:

    Make legislators legislate? Compulsory.

    Make representative represent…human consitutuents. Also mandatory.

    Alas, the world is not black and white. Remember the following:

    No Taxation Without Representation!

    Problem, you say? Suggested solution:

    Have both corporation representatives and human representatives. This is how it will work – Human seantors and human congresspersons will represent humans. Corgresscorporations and corporationsenators will represent corporations.

    1. LucyLulu

      Make legislators legislate? Compulsory.

      Yep. Let’s make their pay “performance-based”. If they can’t get past gridlock to pass the legislation needed to run the country, they don’t get paid. How many of us would get paid if we got nothing done in our jobs, or keep our jobs? Imagine if my patients were allowed to go without treatment due to disagreements with my peers over choice of best treatment?

  19. p78


    This seems groundbreaking work! The authors explain that the periphery is export-competitive and that austerity there should be urgently replaced with increase demand in the EZ core:

    “Some view uncompetitiveness in the Eurozone’s periphery as the fundamental cause of the region’s crisis. This column presents evidence that rising unit labour costs in the periphery were not a cause but rather a symptom of the local demand shocks triggered by large capital inflows in the 2000s.

    …In the Southern EuroZone countries current account deficits reflected an excessive increase in imports.
    In the run-up to the crisis, exporters from these countries could perform well on the international markets despite the rise in their countries’ adjusted wage costs, because the bulk of the rise in wage costs occurred in the non-traded sector.

    …Exporters from Eurozone peripheral countries are competitive on the international markets.
    Countries with high unit labour costs, such as Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Greece had a growth in exports of goods and services comparable to countries with low unit labour costs, such as Finland, Austria and Germany.

    …Contrary to received wisdom, once geographical and specialisation effects are accounted for, export “push” performance of Eurozone countries emerges as very negative only for France and Finland, which lost between 3% and 4% market share yearly. By contrast, the “push” performance for Portugal, Italy, and Greece is similar to that of Germany, with export market share losses below 1% yearly. Finally, Spain’s “push” performance is positive, partly offsetting a negative geographical and sectoral specialisation.

    …The current account deterioration of crisis countries reflects a demand shock and not a deterioration of the exporters’ supply-side productivity.

    These developments are easy to explain if we consider that European financial integration during the monetary union led to an inflow of capital to the peripheral countries of the Eurozone. The inflow of capital boosted domestic demand. The increase in demand in turn pushed the prices of non-tradables while also leading to an increase of imports. Exports were largely unaffected by the shock in domestic demand because they respond primarily to foreign demand and exogenous international prices. Put simply, rising unit labour costs were not a cause but a symptom of the demand shock triggered by the inflow of capital and they were not associated with losses in exporters’ competitiveness.

    …imposing harsh wage compression in several countries could have the perverse effect of making the adjustment through demand reductions and prices – which is already taking place – more painful and socially untenable.”

  20. LucyLulu

    AIDS Deaths Worldwide Drop as Drug Access Improves

    62% of those eligible for treatment in Sub-Sahara Africa are now receiving treatment.

    Referring to funding:
    Of that amount, $8.2 billion came from international sources including the United States, which donated 48 percent of it.

    Okay…. I fully support backing the HIV prevention/treatment efforts in third world countries, don’t get me wrong……..

    BUT its disgraceful when 62% are getting treatment in Kenya while only 35% in Arkansas, 28% in Alabama, and 30-50% in Mississippi are getting treatment. No, it’s not coincidence these are all southern states. The South has one-third of the nation’s population but half of those living with HIV infections. The national rate for those receiving “minimal care” for HIV is 67% while in the South it is under 50%. (2010 figures)

    The highest risk groups are African-American men having sex with men followed by African-American women. Latinos are also at higher risk. Poverty is an additional risk factor. The transmission rate among drug users, mother-child, and other homosexual/bisexual men have all fallen. Is it coincidence that there is a lack of treatment on a disease that is disproportionately seen in poor minorities?

    Should we be donating billions to Africa yet allow our own countrymen go without treatment? Do our poor need to go to Nigeria to get the medical care that they need? Perhaps our Christian missionary groups should save themselves some airfare and exotic vaccinations and go to Arkansas and Alabama.

    1. Lidia

      Christian missionaries go to proselytize. Any economic bennies they dangle are just bait for their dominionist enterprises.

      My sister’s crazy Rapture church sends missionaries to France, because there is a severe dearth of nutty Protestant fundamentalists in France: they look at the demographics and that’s what they care about. Haiti is a big magnet because the believers there are Catholic (read: “not Christian”, according to Protestant fundies).

      Alabama is full of Protestant fundies, hence they don’t need Xtian ministrations.

      1. F. Beard

        Alabama fundies, etc. Lidia

        Yet the only folks to ever come to my door here in Bammi have been Jehovah Witnesses! Twice! I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the 144,000 was filled long ago.

        A hard rain gonna fall

        1. skippy

          Possibly the largest mass poisoning in history may be underway in India and Bangladesh. Pollution is not to blame. The culprit is arsenic in the drinking water, a natural phenomenon in several parts of the world, but which is particularly severe in South Asia.

          skippy… for extra credit search for the *aid agency’s* that created this massive event and from what country they came from. Next do some reading about how non western cultures have fared over the last half a thousand years whence contact is made. Like:

          Most Pacific island communities are characterised by exposure to a wide range of
          natural hazards. Despite this they appear to have survived and, in numerous cases
          thrived, for a long period of time prior to European contact and colonisation1. This is in
          comparison to many contemporary communities that are becoming increasingly
          dependent upon centralised government assistance, often based on overseas aid, for
          relief and rehabilitation, when disaster strikes. A number of elements of traditional life
          enabled Pacific communities to withstand the effects of environmental extremes and
          some of these no longer exist or have been transformed in ways that make them less
          effective. These phenomena may be referred to as ‘traditional disaster reduction


          Globalization is now a central theme in the affairs of the Pacific Islands,
          and Pacific Islands governments are caught up in the rhetoric, the ideology,
          and the economic policies of globalization. Policymakers in governments
          and regional organizations pepper their conversations with phrases
          drawn from that branch of politics called economics. These include
          “achieving effective private–public sector partnerships,” “improving the
          attractiveness of the foreign investment regime,” “facilitating investment
          transparency,” “adopting free and open trade amongst our Island countries,”
          “reducing public sector subsidies,” “promoting integration into the
          world economy,” “enabling public enterprises to operate on commercial
          principles,” “providing a policy environment to encourage commercial
          activity,” and “encouraging the development of the private sector so that
          it assumes a leading role as the primary engine of growth.”
          Where did this language and these ideas come from?

          PS. same shite different day thingy.

  21. barrisj

    And now for something completely different: A detailed account on the ProPublica website on HSBC’s money-laundering travails and its dealings with DOJ and SEC to “put things right” –

    HSBC’s Money Laundering Lapses, By the Numbers

    This week a Senate investigation detailed that HSBC had lax controls against money-laundering and often ignored warnings about clients with ties to drug cartels and terrorists.

    The bank is also reportedly nearing a settlement with the Justice Department, which has two criminal investigations into whether HSBC was complicit in money-laundering and tax evasion. The federal regulator that should have been keeping tabs on all this, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, also came under fire for “systemic weaknesses” in its oversight of banks’ anti-money laundering procedures.

    The report reaches back more than a decade, and in testimony in front of the Senate this week, the bank apologized and vowed it has recently overhauled its anti-money-laundering efforts. The bank’s head of compliance stepped down this week. But the Senate report notes that HBSC made similar promises of reform back in 2003 when it was cited by regulators for poor oversight of suspicious transactions. HSBC declined to comment further on the report or on the DOJ’s ongoing investigation.

    There are lot of blunders and blind spots detailed in the Senate’s 335-page takedown. Here’s a rundown—in each instance, we’ve linked to the relevant page in the report

    The article exerpts key sections from a 335-page Senate report on HSBC’s sleazy activity over several years, despite the bank – in 2003 – promising to “put things right”. However, in spite of

  22. barrisj

    Ooops, hit the wrong key! To continue:

    reams of testimony and evidence detailing criminal conduct on the part of the HSBC, there may well be yet another consent settlement and decline-to-prosecute kiss-off by DOJ. The WSJ has more on a proposed “settlement”:

    HSBC Nears Pact in Launder Probe
    WASHINGTON—The Justice Department and HSBC Holdings PLC are accelerating settlement talks to resolve a criminal probe into laundering of drug-cartel and other money, according to people familiar with the investigation.

    A settlement of the money-laundering investigation is near and could come within weeks, according to these people. Among the allegations Justice Department prosecutors have focused on, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, is whether bank officials were complicit in laundering by drug cartels by allowing suspicious money to be hidden in flows of bulk cash between the U.S. and Mexico.
    HSBC declined to comment on the Justice Department probe and the Senate investigation. The bank previously has said it is “having ongoing discussions with officials (including DOJ) on a number of regulatory and compliance matters. The focus of official investigations and requests for information is confidential. In all cases, we are cooperating.”

    A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the probe.

    The Justice Department has a separate probe into whether HSBC aided tax evasion by U.S. clients, according to the people familiar with the investigations.

    HSBC officials had hoped to pursue a settlement that would resolve both the tax and money-laundering investigations. But that isn’t likely now because any settlement of the tax probe is complicated by U.S. negotiations with Swiss authorities over U.S. demands for access to client information.
    HSBC’s troubles with lax financial controls surfaced publicly in 2010 when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a cease-and-desist order citing “deficiencies with respect to suspicious activity reporting, monitoring of bulk cash purchases and international funds transfers, customer due diligence concerning its foreign affiliates, and risk assessment with respect to politically-exposed persons and their associates.”

    Before the OCC warning, the U.S. was telling banks to closely watch their bulk-cash business in Mexico and in particular dealings with money-changing outfits called “casas de cambio.” A probe by Drug Enforcement Administration agents into casas de cambio transactions led to a $160 million Justice Department settlement in 2010 with Wachovia Bank, now part of Wells Fargo & Co.

    Shortly after, the agents turned their attention to HSBC, according to people familiar with the probe.

    Agents turned up photos of bulk-cash storage warehouses, according to these people, which prosecutors say indicate a high volume of cash that should have raised flags given the size of HSBC’s operation in Mexico. In discussions with Justice Department officials, bank officials have acknowledged failures but noted that the global bank had a legitimate business moving bulk cash for clients, from which it has since exited.

    Now, in an ideal world, this outfit would quickly have its US charter withdrawn, executives and other staff complicit with illegal activities hauled before a grand jury, and justice to be served. However, this is America ca. 2012, where an Enron-type of resolution (hard-time for the baddies) simply won’t happen, as we have seen time and time again that the wide-boys and spivs within the financial “community” are spared such indignation, and are allowed to take their pensions and bonuses and quietly bugger off.

    1. LucyLulu

      HSBC: “Hoocoodanode it was drug money? We promise, we’ll do better in the future.”

      So which bank’s ‘supervisory failures’ will result in them being ‘innocently duped’ into doing the drug cartel’s money laundering business next?

      1. YesMaybe

        I think this is so serious that “Hoocoodanode it was drug money? We promise, we’ll do better in the future” won’t be good enough. They’ll have to trot out the old “In retrospect, mistakes were made. We promise, we’ll do better in the future.”

  23. Glenn Condell

    Australia’s first female PM is on the ropes, despite a sound record of achievement in tough times. Watching her being cornered by the Australian chapter of the VRWC (Media division) on behalf of the Big End of town over the last few years has been eerily similar to the late 90s Clintonhunt, though she has no semen stains to explain, let alone a Commodity Futures Modernisation Act.

    I wonder if the fact and judgment-free swoon the US media gifted Dubya’s first few years will likewise be replicated for Tony Abbott; a callow but calculating, standard issue, elite-aligned wingnut. Probably.

    Gillard has failed but, leaving aside the forces arrayed against her, the personal shortcomings boil down to weakness and tactical ineptitude, rather than the knavery that defines Obama. I am saddened by this especially as pre-top job she could be devastating on attack, but the office drained the blood out of her rhetoric, leaving only platitudes and bromides. With her best weapons sheathed, she simply didn’t seize the day.

    This means a high probability of a Rudd revival – Hallelujah, praise the Lord. The vote magnet Angry Nerd versus the power serving Half Smart spiv. Polls tell us we much prefer either of these egomaniacs to Julia’s technocratic blandness. More fool us.

    When a journalist as sympathetic as Mike Carlton calls time, you know it can’t be too far off:

    1. skippy

      Sorry Glen. I see Julia as just a wet liberal, more beholden to the power brokers than any other sector… voters included. Isn’t that the definition of technocrat anyway[?]… snort. At least Rudd wrote an anti neo liberal op-ed in the MSM before becoming PM.

      Anywho the fun’s just starting…

      The alleged Treasurer recently wrote an article for the Brisbane Times  — it’s well worth pulling it apart to highlight the lazy nonsense that’s starting to pervade what should be the serious side of Queensland politics. It begins:

      “The Newman government’s position on the size of the public sector is quite clear — our overriding principle is to preserve as many jobs as possible.

      “This government has both a responsibility and a mandate to pay down Labor’s debt. It is a responsibility we all share. And it is with that thought in mind that I ask members of the public sector to carefully consider demands for higher wages.”

      Let us then carefully consider these demands — but more importantly, a big bunch of public policy issues that accompany them — for at least then there will be exactly one of us that has decided to do so.

      “It’s a question of high wage growth versus job cuts. By turning down wage offers that are more than fair, union members will be jeopardising not only their colleagues’ jobs but also the state’s future prosperity.”

      The “wage offers” the Treasurer is talking about are actually based on Tim Nicholls and Campbell Newman making an assumption that average annual inflation across the next three years — the life of the coming agreement — will be 1.6%. No — that’s not a typo.

      This dynamic duo is not embracing the awkward reality where the Reserve Bank of Australia runs an inflation targeting regime designed to keep inflation between a 2% and 3% band over the medium and long term. To put this piece of ridiculous economic piffle into some context, let’s look at the most recent RBA Statement on Monetary Policy and the median inflation expectations contained within it (pages 64 and 67):

      They have inflation forecasts 60 to 90 basis points lower than everyone else. If Nicholls wants to give real wage cuts, he should simply be honest about it. But as we’ll see, honesty isn’t often the best policy for the alleged Treasurer.

      skippy… sorry about the waratahs.

      1. Glenn Condell

        Gday Skip

        sorry about the Reds!

        yeah, Julia is beholden but they all are to some extent and I prefer her more consultative style to Rudd’s my way or the highway.

        ‘At least Rudd wrote an anti neo liberal op-ed in the MSM before becoming PM’

        And Obama promised change. Swan is the man who has laid down the clearest progressive marker with his essay last year on the power of the Big End generally and the miners in particular. If he ever becomes top dog just watch as he tried to pretend he never wrote it.

        ‘“It’s a question of high wage growth versus job cuts. By turning down wage offers that are more than fair, union members will be jeopardising not only their colleagues’ jobs but also the state’s future prosperity.”

        Prosperity through Austerity! Here’s some peanuts to start your fortunes…

        1. skippy

          Good on ya for responding after the game…. snicker.

          Yeah I get your point on Rudd, save, that his inter party wet liberals (same as NLP) motto is slander the enemy first schtick and drive that truck like your a yobbo on meth for a pay packet.

          Concur on Swanie and I believe Yves posted a link to that item, I submitted a ways back. BTW Melbourne gone Labor with a hint of Green? Say it ain’t so!

          Cheers Skip.

    1. skippy

      “that cats are superior beings” ????

      If the human species were to vanish tomorrow, how many breeds of dogs would make it on their own vs. all the different cat breeds…. ummm.

      skippy… Cat left on spaceship for a million years and evolves to humanoid form, only to face the Inquisitor.

      Rimmer and Cat Inquisition… wait for it… I have given pleasure to the world by having such a beautiful ….

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