Links 7/24/12

Dear patient readers,

I am in broadband hell again. My service has suddenly become erratic: OK performance mixed with webpages not loading or taking forever to load. Verizon maintains they show decent speeds on my line, but my results at DSLReports say otherwise, and I finally got their attention when the Verizon speedtest wouldn’t run even with multiple attempts. That means I have impaired access, and therefore you are getting less in the way of stuff generated by me than you would otherwise. Apologies.

Verizon is Willfully Driving DSL Users Into the Arms of Cable DSL Reports

Silicon Valley Urges Break From Devices New York Times

Plant Tomatoes. Harvest Lower Crime Rates Mother Jones (furzy mouse)

Lab-engineered jellyfish may mend a broken heart AFP (furzy mouse)

Family Shooting Center (Lambert)

Security hawks should be freaked out about population growth Grist

Cute Diplomacy: A Putin Puppy-Island Deal? WSJ Japan Real Time (YY, who also provided a better Akita picture here). Weren’t Akitas ruined as a breed in the US? I recall a period in the 1980s when they were really popular, and now I rarely see them.

China Shadow Bankers Go Online As Peer-To-Peer Sites Boom Bloomberg

A Beijing Family’s Holiday From Pollution New York Times (martha r)

Germany, Netherlands Rating Outlooks Cut To Negative By Moody’s Bloomberg

Europe losing battle against debt crisis Financial Times. Ya think?

Congress Presses New York Fed for More Details on Rate-Rigging Scandal New York Times

What I Learned in Law School hecatedemeter (Doug Smith)

DNI Admits FISA Surveillance Violated the 4th Amendment Slashdot

Dark side of a Bain success Salon. From last week, still worth reading.

Lobbying Works! Big Spenders Reap Big Stock Gains Says Trennert Yahoo Finance

BofA Withdraws 9% of ATMs From Malls, Gas Stations Bloomberg

Chris Hedges’ Appearance in NYC on July 25 Jesse. I know a lot of NC readers are not Hedges fans, but I was asked to promote this (and Rob Johnson, who is a very insightful guy, is also speaking)

Model-Driven Regulation Fueled Bubble, Hobbles Recovery American Banker. Amar Bhide made a similar critique in his book A Call to Judgment, except he saw the much bigger problem as the standardized model based approaches the banks themselves used.

Did Malcolm Gladwell Cause The Recession? Andrew Sullivan

* * *

D – 47 and counting

lambert here:

Det. James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty: If Snotboogie always stole the money, why’d you let him play? Witness: You got to, this America, man. –The Wire

Montreal. 22 manif: “[T]his fifth national demonstration on the 22nd of the month brought from 15,000 (according to AFP) to 80,000 (according to CLASSE) to the streets of Montreal. The student coalition had invited the participants to come out via a Facebook page with the stated aim of ousting the neo-liberals.” Either way, those numbers are great.

Occupy. Summer reading: “[DAVID] I think that as long as communities do not control their resources and as long as profit is the dominant orientation of our society (both key features of capitalism) we will continue to hurtle towards the cliff. These things must change if we want a just and livable future.” And: “ginger baker: c’mon, mr. gitlin, think it through. you know ows doesnt have a chance after 2012 if it compromises for “the lesser of the two evil” it has to articulate clear distance from the two-party scheme. Both parties have failed. A more radical alternative, long-term it may be, has to get off the ground.” Very interesting interchange.

FL. Gun nuts: “A Tampa Bay Times analysis of ‘stand your ground’ cases found that it has been mostly people with records of violence who have benefited from the law.” Shocker!

IL. Food: “Growing Home has altered the landscape of the neighborhood—and it employs local residents, many of whom because of past indiscretions have trouble finding work elsewhere” (FM).

GA.Transparency: “Local governments in Georgia are ignoring a new law requiring they make public an electronic copy of their annual budgets in a move meant to increase transparency.”

IA.2016: “Hillary Clinton continues to have a dominant lead in IA D preferences for their 2016 presidential nominee almost three years before actual candidates will begin chowing down on cobs of corn.” Too late. That’s why Warren.

IL. Ballot access: “[Presidential candidates Goode, Alexander, Anderson, and Hawkins were removed from the ballot.” The man who had challenged their petitions had decided to withdraw his challenges to their petitions. But the hearing officer refused to let him speak, so he wasn’t able to withdraw the challenges.

NY. Fracking: “Mineral reserves seen as an economic windfall in Susquehanna County, PA are considered a liability to land preservationists in Otsego County, NY. The landmark Middlefield/Dryden case will determine the extent that towns can determine their own destiny regarding shale gas development – a concept know as home rule.”

PA. Sanduskuy: “As to the tearful Penn State students seen crying as the news was announced, I would like to offer some motherly advice: Don’t pick your college on the basis of its sports teams.”

TX. Budget: ” Do people have the expectation that the cuts made in 2011 were simply in response to the finances of the day, with the equivalent expectation that better times means putting things back as they had been, or do people believe this is the new normal?” … Public good: “The [House Committee for Land and Resource Management] discussed whether [as at present pipeline] operators themselves should be able to decide whether they are ‘common carriers’ with the right to use eminent domain or whether the state should have more oversight in the process.”

VA. Public good: “[We waded] up to a sign posted on an oak tree on the bank that puzzled us. It read: ‘Kings Grant Land. No fishing. No Trespassing.’ if you are an angler like me, you are probably screaming the words ‘Public Trust!’ (navigable waters belong to all the people – held in trust). Not the case here.”

VT. Zoning: “Keep your eye on the permit and do not rely on what an applicant proposed yesterday. It has already changed.” Goes for fracking, too.

Grand Bargain-™ Catfood watch, Bill Keller Op-Ed in Izvestia: “[T]he bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission assembled a grand bargain. Obama has a bold option at hand [to pass it], should he choose to use it. And some of his fellow Democrats are starting to warm to the idea. It has been called the nuclear option*… [I]t may be our best hope.” * Abolishing the filibuster. NC readers know Reid recently signaled his willingness to do just this. So, no nuclear option in 2009 for health care, housing, states and localities, or massive unemployment. But, the nuclear option in 2013 to gut Social Security and Medicare. … Hagiography: “[Hatch] very clear about what he wants: As the senior Republican in the Senate, his party’s top voice on the tax-writing Finance Committee, Hatch wants a deal that restructures the tax code while also slowing and even stopping the government’s accumulation of debt [by gutting Social Security and Medicare]. To get it, he says he’ll practice the art of compromise over the take-my-marbles-and-leave mentality that has tied up Congress in recent years.”

Outside Baseball. Fracking: “As the U.S. enjoys a natural-gas boom from a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics.” … Public good: “[A] new report, “The Financially Sustainable University,” details the rising spending, increasing leverage and deteriorating finances of American colleges and Universities. The publishers, Bain & Co. and Sterling Partners, withheld the juiciest numbers, presumably in the interest of generating more consulting business.” The “publishers“? Bain, a “publisher”? … What It Takes: “[In 1987,] Gephardt, Bush, Biden, Dole, Hart and Dukakis were all in top form. They had had their trials but by that year, they were respectable and in command. Compare that with the 2012 cycle that saw several undistinguished or washed up candidates hold center stage.”

Ron Paul. RNCon: “‘[The Romney campaign have] just treated us like a friend and like a coalition,’ Jesse Benton, a spokesman for the Paul campaign, told USA Today. ‘They have been honest brokers in working with us and treated us with respect.'”

The trail. “The economy:” “Despite concerted D attacks on his business record, R challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.” … Creative class: “[T]he rise of a new professional, political class: a core group of young technology experts who are shunning traditional campaign titles, starting companies and making millions off the most expensive presidential campaign in history.” Here’s the canonical “creative class” post [put down your coffee!] These shameless D weasels ran funded campaigns for ObamaCare on their blogs, and suppressed single payer advocacy, often with bans. One might also look at the web sites for health exchanges mandated by ObamaCare as welfare for this crowd, rather like road construction for contractors at the state level.

Romney. Tax return flap: “My own guess, however, is that what the Romney tax returns would lay bare is the extent of his donations to his church.”

Obama. Mind games: “‘One of the things we learned during the R primaries is that you can rattle Romney more easily than people think,’ says a senior Obama strategist.” … Vote suppression: “Conflicted voters, especially those holding negative views [Bain!!] of both candidates, are likely to skip voting altogether. Romney is particularly vulnerable to a campaign designed to suppress turnout because his support is more tepid than Obama’s. Vote suppression is important for Obama because his numbers among whites without degrees are worsening.”

I was expecting a lot of bellowing and a “pivot” to Romney and the Ryan plan, which would cut Medicare. A few blips two days ago, and then nada. A real contrast to the drumbeat on Bain and tax returns. Aurora? Or did I not get the memo?

* 47 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with lobsters and New England sweet corn. It’s “Pass the butter!” time on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. 47 is the favorite number of Pomonoa College, CA, and many of its graduates.

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus antidote from one of my brothers:

The attached photo was taken by a trail cam in Marquette County earlier this year. It is the BEST picture of an animal the DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources) denied existed in the State of Michigan until about 5 years ago. They maintain these cats are “transient” and that there isn’t a breeding population here. To my mind this is ridiculous, considering the number of sightings and that there is so much uncultivated land (as well as prey) for them to thrive upon. I’m sure they are “rare” but nevertheless a feline species that has a constant presence in Upper Michigan.

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    1. Walter Wit Man

      Hey, this is a good movie and I linked to it here a while ago (I like the portion on celebrity and how it’s a trend for movie stars to shop for foreign kids).

      Some people have questioned the authenticity of the tape. Some people wonder if it was really made by North Koreans or if it was really made by sympathetic South Koreans.

      In any case it’s hard to argue with the logic. It really does help to look at our culture this way. It’s funny seeing some of the youtube comments or comments I’ve seen in other forums along the lines of:

      “Damn. This video is speaking the truth. But it’s a bit hard to hear it from N. Koreans.”

      1. LucyLulu

        I found it hard to believe it was made by Koreans at all. Good film, spot on, but looked like the work of a westerner, IMO.

        1. Susan the other

          I appreciate the wild ones more than pets. I wish there were more. The snake looks like a beautifully tooled leather belt. Too bad we can’t wear live clothing. Just thinkin’ how toasty a raccoon hat would be in January. And about the elusive cougar – they are very smart. It is probably fairly easy for them to avoid detection by all of us morons. Here in the Rockies they come into the house via pet doors (ones for labs and setters), sneak around the house looking for food, and then leave again. They only pass through town when they are following deer.

          1. Rex

            From reading I just did, the snake is normally plain green. The back and white spots and ribbon shaped body indicate that the snake is not in a good mood.

            The picture is great but the colors, shape, and open mouth that make it so appealing are the equivalent of a rattle snake rattling its tail.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think that’s a Flat-Earth political snake.

      A Flat-Earth political snake believe if you go left, you stay left.

      A Round-Earth political snake discovered a while back, after a pioneer snake circum-navigated the polical world, that to go right, you’d go extreme left and go to left, you’d go extreme right. They would all meet at the other end.

      1. Alex

        The “Antidote of the Day” is a mildly venomous reptile making a threat display. Yves, are you in a bad mood?

  1. DP

    I couldn’t make it past the first paragraph of the “Model Driven Regulation” article where it stated if we were to have a real recovery it would be led by the financial services sector. Wondering who could write such pablum, I scrolled to the bottom and found the author was bankster Dick Kovacevich, Chairman and retired CEO of Wells Fargo, the guy who bribed a new tax law onto the books to reduce the price of acquiring Wachovia during the financial crisis and proclaimed that Wells didn’t need the $25 billion in TARP money, it was forced on them.

    1. Susan the other

      That American Banker would be recommending that the regulation of banks should be countercyclical is pure Keynes, no? And now pure Krugman. Since when did they start to espouse this? The backward facing reserve models of Basel are a Dodo regulation doomed to make banking extinct if they aren’t changed pronto (capital reserves) because they are actually causing a world wide depression. Well, yes.

      But here’s the stuff that set me off: Under the rationale that bad and inefficient regulation is the very current clumsy risk-based allocation of reserves, AB now says in this article that Mortgages held a 50% risk requiring higher reserves UNLESS those mortgages “were securitized and BOUGHT BACK” and I assume held by the securitizing bank (analogous to covered bonds?), in which case it was reduced to one-half the reserve requirement or 25%. So does this mean that the real holders of these MBS are the banks? And if so why have they pretended that the real holders are removed from them entirely by a trust owned by investors? The banks could have written down these “investments” long ago. They have been lying? Probably.

  2. Eliza


    Are you using DSL? Copperwire DSL. Tell your local Verizon office to check the “pairs” at the master box in your neighborhood. Copper wire is routinely subject to service interruption when the copper gets wet from weather. Think of it as 19th century hardware used to deliver 21 century product.

    When we switched to FiOS, we stopped having service interruptions every time it rained.

    1. Jim Haygood

      From an article that is sublinked in the DSL Reports post,plus a snippet from the top-level post:

      The Justice Department is skeptical about marketing deals [which] would mean collaboration between Verizon, the largest wireless company, and Comcast, the biggest cable company, according to one of the sources. The fear is that there will be less head-to-head competition which could mean higher Internet and wireless plan prices.

      Nobody seems to have really noticed what Verizon’s up to: turning a massive swath of the country from a marginally-competitive duopoly with union labor, into an even less competitive and more expensive cable and telco un-unionized cooperative monopoly.

      A staple component of our junk mail consists of ‘triple play’ offers from Verizon and Cablevision, offering phone, internet and TV packages at similar prices.

      From a duopolist’s POV, this ‘cutthroat’ price competition is ‘unhealthy’ and should be stopped. Hence Verizon’s sleazy deal with its only competitor — a ‘win-win’ for both!

      Since thumb-sucking regulators will not interrupt their online pr0n viewing to restrain the these thugs, some structural changes are needed — perhaps along the lines of electric power supply, where generation and the delivery infrastructure are separate businesses.

      If there is a pantheon of evil in American business, then banks, telcos and cable companies should be its charter members.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        JH, and they seek to turn YouTube and such into the facsimile of cable TV, replete with ads intersperced throughout a “broadcast.” What does it tell us that even “Seinfeld” is now forging its sit-com internet presence?

        These media monopolists/duopolists lust for despotic control for Extraction Capitalism is boundless. They will not stop until the whole population is captive to their Orwellian universe, tortured by force-feeding of propaganda we must pay for at every turn. This is aggressively vicious evil.

  3. rich


    After 1990 we removed what was left of financial regulations following the flurry of deregulation of the early 1980s that had freed the thrifts so that they could self-destruct. And we are shocked, SHOCKED!, that thieves took over the financial system.
    Nay, they took over the whole economy and the political system lock, stock, and barrel. They didn’t just blow up finance, they oversaw the swiftest transfer of wealth to the very top the world has ever seen. They screwed workers out of their jobs, they screwed homeowners out of their houses, they screwed retirees out of their pensions, and they screwed municipalities out of their revenues and assets.
    Financiers are forcing schools, parks, pools, fire departments, senior citizen centers, and libraries to shut down. They are forcing national governments to auction off their cultural heritage to the highest bidder. Everything must go in firesales at prices rigged by twenty-something traders at the biggest and most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.
    And since they’ve bought the politicians, the policy-makers, and the courts, no one will stop it. Few will even discuss it, since most university administrations have similarly been bought off—in many cases, the universities are even headed by corporate “leaders”–and their professors are on Wall Street’s payrolls.

    Bill Black joined our department in 2006. At UMKC (and the Levy Institute) we had long been discussing and analyzing the GFC that we knew was going to hit, using the approaches of Hyman Minsky and Wynne Godley. Bill insisted we were overlooking the most important factor, fraud. To be more specific, Bill called it control fraud, where top corporate management runs an institution as a weapon to loot shareholders and customers to the benefit of top management. Think Bob Rubin, Hank Paulson, Bernie Madoff, Jamie Dimon and Jon Corzine. Long before, I had come across Bill’s name when I wrote about the S&L scandal, and I had listed fraud as the second most important cause of that crisis. While I was open to his argument back in 2006, I could never have conceived of the scope of Wall Street’s depravity. It is all about fraud. As I’ve said, this crisis is like Shrek’s Onion, with fraud in every layer. There is, quite simply, no part of the financial system that is not riddled with fraud.

    As Sherrill said, without regulation, capitalism is thievery. We stopped regulating the financial system, so thieves took over.

    1. Susan the other

      Capitalism itself is crying out for regulation. Because it is going down fast. My instinct is to say fuck it. Let it go down. It is utterly disgusting. But wait. What will happen to me? Well, I know. I’ll just be conned again and again. I’m pretty sick of perps who don’t do perp walks. Instead they affect their own walk, much like Mitt Romney, who walks funny because he has to wear a diaper full of all of his Bain.

      1. DiamondJammies

        Susan the other, is your hesitancy borne out of a belief that any alternatives to capitalism are bound to be cons?

        I think this attitude is common but mistaken. It is itself a product of capitalism, a system which incentivizes sociopathic behavior, calls the resulting shitstorm “human nature,” and inculcates within the human species deep levels of mutual distrust.

        What people need to see is a political organization capable of producing a clear and convincing vision of a totally different social order based on cooperation and mutual flourishing, an order based once again on an idea of virtue. This requires an organization of incorruptables willing and able to embody in a profoundly intuitive way the antithesis of the cynical “realism” of bourgeois non-society.

  4. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Re: Occupy. Ginger Baker challenges Mr. Gitlin. Glad to see her stand up to a “Voice of Authority” who doesn’t really get it.

    1. DiamondJammies

      Gitlin has become truly awful.

      Very weird that at this he point he’s still urging Occupy to liquidate itself and become part of the increasingly discredited institutions that it has so successfully militated against. And I’m not just talking about the Democratic Party qua Democratic Party. Because make no mistake, when you join in with the Democratic Party you are also joining in with the people who control the Democratic Party. You are joining in with Lord Blankfein and his Merry Goldman Thieves. You are joining in with “savvy businessmen” like Jamie Dimon and Bill Gates. You are joining in with, in short, the 1% criminals, the enemies of the people.

      Todd Gitlin is perfect example of the sold/souled out corpse that the once mighty New Left has become (a few outstanding counter-examples notwithstanding). His advice, were it to be taken, would mean the instant death of any hope of reviving the left.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Same here, The combination of Hedges and Johnson promises to be quite fruitful.

      1. small farmer

        Hedges becomes more and more relevant the deeper we sink. And, yes..a very good combo.

        1. Susan the other

          I like Hedges too but I always get the feeling he is being used; maybe even a willing tool. To what end?

        2. Chris A

          I like Hedges and admire his analysis. He’s not perfect; no one is. Calling him a false prophet sounds to me like propaganda and suggests a cult of personality that is just silly, and that intelligent people (i.e., most readers of this site) aren’t capable of taking what they hear with a grain of salt, which is advisable regardless of the source. For my part, I think he’s made a lot of the right calls but I can also decide for myself when and where I get off the (his) boat.

          Yves, thanks for passing that info along. I’m planning to go and looking forward to it.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Hedges is a false prophet.

      Admire him at your own risk. Look how he’s divided Occupy.

      There is a reason he is massively promoted by corporate/fascist interests. He was the friggin’ Middle East Bureau Chief for the New York Times during the lead up to the Iraq war!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How more perpy can you get?

      Do you forgive the other New York Times reporters like Judith Miller? Do you agree with Hedges that they simply got misled and are not corrupt? I don’t.

      And how convenient that Hedges writes a book AFTER THE WAR STARTED complaining about war. Then he resigns from the New York Times, not because of it’s pro war bias, but because he wanted to give graduation speeches! Ha.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Okay, Hedges wrote his book in 2002. So the Afghanistan war had already started and we were going through the interminable ‘debate’ about whether to go to war in Iraq (as if we had a choice).

          1. DiamondJammies

            One thing’s for sure: Hedges “cancer” article was a nasty little hit job. I’ve stopped reading him since.

            I hold out hope that he can find some way of redeeming himself, because I really do believe in human redemption, but he’s got a lot to make up for.

            There are ways of handling things that are smart and helpful and there are ways of handling things that are stupid and destructive. Hedges took the latter route and made himself into a tool of the 1%.

      2. lambert strether

        I’ll skip Walter’s usual CT unevidenced and sketchy random dot connection to make two points:

        1. The charge of “divisiveness” is the way that tribalists or factions shoot the messenger. Happens all the time in the Democratic party.

        2. Hedges called bullshit on violence advocates. Violence advocates don’t like that, and a great deal (not all) of the pushback came from them. IMNSHO, his article was inartfully phrased — I think black bloc is a lot more like herpes than cancer — but that doesn’t mean that he was wrong. It also doesn’t mean that his motivations were impure.

        1. DiamondJammies

          Divisiveness is not really the issue.

          I think the issues Hedges raised should be hashed out. But the way he went about it was wrong: wrong forum, wrong timing, wrong assumptions, wrong tone, wrong sense of priorties…

          And the way you frame this — as the virtuous, peace-loving, good protestors vs. the immoral, violence-loving, bad protestors — is also wrong.

  5. Schattschneider in action

    Middlefield and Dryden should pass the CESCR verbatim as an ordinance, asserting their right to enjoy and freely utilize their national wealth and resources and their right to environmental hygiene. State and federal governments are prohibited, as signatories, from undermining the purpose of the CESCR, which is interpreted to bind all levels of government. There’s no point focusing on local government unless you can go over the head of colonizers and extractors at the state and federal level, and you do that by reaching outside the US for support.

  6. aeolius

    RE: Kings Grant Lands.
    Throughing out the baby with the bathwater.
    Although in VA streams Kings Grants seem to support land-owners in the Hamptons it is the opposite. The Dongan patent of 1686 from King James II established The Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the town of East Hampton.
    This group still an active force in the community has helped maintain the common ownership of beaches etc against the claims of an imported exotic species the greedy Hamptons landowner.
    It is important is it not before supporting a cause to first take a good look round. The effects of sustaining Royal grants applies to only a small fraction of our nation and certainly cannot be generalized. But in those regions I am sure all srts of land issues were carried over after the revolution which would need to be re-opened.
    That cause you support seems more a case of a pissed-off angler then any civil rights message

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      a, ask: Why is this an issue now? This is part of the putsch for .01% Nobility Lebensraum, in this case a private monopoly on a section of a living river: This is about monopoly ownership of water (and the life within it) by anachronistic Royal dispensation by fiat of King George III, whose rule was definitively rejected.

      This is about private ownership of the living water of rivers, this continent’s fundamental source of fresh water, the most vital element to human survival. A river is, above all, water in constant motion, which precludes its “ownership” via its embankments at any point. This is in addition to the necessity that We the People–who have the RIGHT to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–have free access to the vital fresh water of the rivers of our continent, without impediment. This means our rivers from their source unto their flow into bays, gulfs, and oceans, and this includes their tributary and distributary systems. The ISSUE of “private” monopoly of fresh water is the most crucial issue of our time and the time to come: an issue of common life.

      1. Susan the other

        The Hamptons is a legal throwback only because it is rich and isolated and nobody really gives a shit. Everywhere else water law has advanced to the point where if a river, or stream, runs through your sacred property, you have to allow the public to fish in it and recreate in it and if you get all pissed off you have to go to court and explain to a judge why you are so pained to suffer to allow access to a national, common resource. And the judge usually says, piss off.

      2. Dude From Arkansas

        But that doesn’t mean anybody with a fishing pole is allowed to walk up any little creek on your property.

    1. LucyLulu

      Is that picture an optical illusion, or is that cougar huge? I was under the impression there weren’t any big cats in the Eastern U.S.

      Are these cats in the U.P. in Michigan (aka cold day in hell)? When they say the cats are transient, where are they transeying from?

        1. Klassy!

          …although I’ll admit I’m not keen on running into one of those things when I’m in the woods. Why do they look so big in the picture. Please tell me they’re not that big.

          1. Susan the other

            If you are over 140 lbs. you are probably safe; but watch your kids because they go for small humans if they are hungry. And they can break a neck pretty fast.

      1. sleepy

        Don’t be surprised at all that there are mountain lions in the UP. Every few months or so here in Iowa, a mountain lion is either sighted/run over/shot. It rarely makes news anymore. There are a number of reports of lions in the Omaha area. So they are absolutely in the midwest.

        In 2008, a lion was tracked wandering from Wisconsin all the way down to Chicago where it was killed in an alley not far from Wrigley Field.

        By transient, in Iowa that term is used as well to denote dispersal of young males in search of territory from South Dakota’s Black Hills which has a healthy population of lions.

      2. Holmes_is_Colorblind

        Folks, look at the leaves and clovers in the foreground, do they not also look large in a relative way??? Can we think a little bit before the text version of jibber-jabber??? Between the large amount of reading comprehension probs on other posts and people seeing WildCat vs Godzilla and King Kong, the readers of NC start to look infantile.

        By the way, most of those Godzilla scenes in the Japanese movies was a dude walking around in a suit. I mention that so Lucy doesn’t get scared on the next remake.

        1. LucyLulu

          I did look at the vegetation in the foreground. That’s what led me to think the cougar looked large. The one in the video linked above was a 2 yr old at 150 lbs so they ARE large. In the south, our bobcats are smaller.

          Think, get information, before criticizing.

          1. Holmes_is_Colorblind

            @LucyLuLu (the infamous overcommenting c*nt)
            According to wiki male cougars typically range between 115—220 pounds. The largest cougar ever shot weighed in at 276 lbs, and was shot in Arizona (a little farther south than Michigan sweety). So you see LucyLuLu, you either need new glasses or a brain to see the relative size of small vegetation to the animal in the pic.

  7. Lidia

    Chinese Pollution:
    “On holiday this week in Obertraun, I asked my two children, who have been living in Beijing for nearly nine years, what they felt were the differences.”

    Why would you take your children to such a hellish place, and then pretend to make money writing about how hellish it is, instrumentalizing the point of view of said children?

  8. Lidia

    “At home in Beijing, we only drink and cook with bottled or purified water. Air purifiers hum at home. My children wear protective face masks outdoors when the pollution spikes. About a year ago, teachers at my son’s school began expressing their approval when he wore a mask.”

    Holy shit.

    They’re running the fucking air purifiers on the electricity generated by the polluting coal plants. Genius!!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      May be time to load up on Nanjing real estate – it was their capital many times before.

      The international 0.01% may want to think about also speculating in Kyoto, Nara or even Daizaifu. Who know how long Tokyo can hold off Fukushima.

        1. different clue

          They are also going breakneck speed building coal plants and burning coal. An “all of the above” strategy, I suppose.

          1. enouf

            Covering all bases, don’t ‘cha know .. just like our duopolist policretans bribers do, eh?


  9. Jill

    I’m downgrading Moo-dies ratings to “Below Filene’s Basement”! They said they’d rate a cow! For the love of goddess why are they taken seriously?

    Looking up info on political/business/and other types of cults yesterday I ran across this: “Deceptive and indirect techniques of persuasion and control limit individuals’ freedom by diminishing or restricting their alternatives, causing them to incorrectly evaluate the requirements and consequences of alternatives, or inducing them to perceive fewer alternatives than in fact exist.” Third parties sprung to mind as well as the complete lack of transparancy in the current and past administration!

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      J, “TINA” is the rule of the day, totally antithetical to the “plethora of choices” that “free trade/enterprise” of “Capitalism” is supposed to provide. We are enslaved.

      1. Susan the other

        How can you rate the health of a corporation when finance is rigged? But wait! Markets are rigged too. And democratic government is rigged. Does this mean rating agencies are rigged?

  10. Tim

    Re: China Peer to Peer Lending

    This is lending 100% real money in possession of the lender, at least as real as money gets in a debt money system. This is not fractional reserve lending where money is created by a bank to make a loan. The lender may have sole ownership of the money loaned, may share honest ownership with investors or maybe has possession as a ponzi scheme.

    In any case, real money is being made lending real 100% money that exists as a thing prior to loan and continues to exist after the loan is repaid. Only the possession of the the real money for exclusive use changes during the life cycle of the loan.

    If this guy is happy to make some money lending “real” money then why can’t we have a real money token system instead of debt money at the macro money finance level?

    Loans (debt) are simply an application of what money is in a real money system not the reason for the existence of money and what money is in a debt money system.

    China might be the first nation to go to a real money system. They get there through a continuing trend that increases the reserve lending ratio until it is 100% reducing debt money to zero. Where is China now? 20% reserve ratio for the People’s bank? What country has a higher reserve ratio? Their trend? Where are we? For all intents and purposes are we at 0% reserve? Our trend is away from even a resemblence of a real money system with any facade called real base money. Real money that is not debt money.

    The only real money we have left is small change.

    What will be the world’s next reserve currency system? 100% real money for the whole world? Who will do it first for the world to follow?

    Who are the clever ones?

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Hitchen and Hedges make a good distraction team. Both disrupt the left.

        Hitchens was a long term sleeper perp, kind of like Hedges is. They both spend years buttressing their liberal bona fides. But Hitchens’ number was called around 9/11 when he was asked to turn on his former comrades and disrupt them. Hedges was meant to keep the distraction alive by keeping Hitchens relevant by debating him on the college road show circuit. [it’s interesting to see how Hitchens past mirrors Bill Clintons and leads one to suspect intelligence ties]

        And Hedges, like Hitchens, will be used to disrupt the opposition movements. He was called into this duty last year with Occupy and going after anarchists. I’m sure he will also be utilized this way in the future.

        1. Susan the other

          My instincts tell me you are correct Walter; funny how that knot in the stomach is usually right, not to mention all the corroborating evidence. So what is the end game this time? I do not think it is crowd sourced funding. Funny.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I suspect him of being controlled opposition.

      I know it is confusing and counter intuitive position. But I have looked at this closely and am not just spouting off.

      I’ve made more detailed comments about it, but, in essence:

      Hedges has said now is the time to stand up against the police/war state. We all need to commit acts of disobedience and to get arrested. But then when some people answer his call, like with the Occupy protests, he turns on a number of them and says they are “resisting” the wrong way, and conflates anarchists with violence.

      There is a subtle psy operation going on right now conflating anarchism with violence. Chris Hedges is working this from the left. He’s trying to divide Occupy and other groups. Instead of focusing on the unjust police violence Hedges focused much more on the less important protester violence, which was totally exaggerated.

      Hedges also is very sneaky in that he seems to be opposing war when he’s not. He’s said that he:

      1. Supports liberal wars like Kosova and has supported the premise for the Libyan war and now the Syrian war. He also is doing the same re Iran.

      2. Supports Israel.

      3. Defends the New York Times even though he was directly responsible for it’s pro war coverage during the lead up to Iraq, etc.

      There are many more reasons I suspect him of being a perp.

      Plus, look at the exposure he gets. He is HEAVILY promoted, as Yves reveals here. Then look all the comments that pop up across the internet that support him. I just can’t believe that this less than charismatic man garners so much support. They are trying to create the feeling that Hedges has risen up from the people.


      1. Susan the other

        Agree. I think I’m going to read you before I comment in future. Clearly population control is a thing that, once started (1917) cannot be ended. Just read (Big Picture) an Economist synopsis of the works of Isaiah Berlin and Hugh Trevor Roper. Both propaganda hacks. But an interesting commentary, resurrecting these two and at least salvaging some of their worst nonsense. Supposedly, the papers they left behind are now a treasure trove and HTR’s papers are going to be compiled into a new book on Kim Philby. Just when I was running out of bullshit.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Thanks Susan.

          The reference to those two people is intriguing. I’ve never heard of HTR before.

      2. patricia

        WWM, you appreciated the ideas presented in the video posted at beginning of this thread even though you do not know its source or for what reason it was made. Yet you cannot accept any of the ideas presented by Hedges even though the vast majority of them are exactly what you rant about on NC comment threads.

        Heges’ words on two of the above complaints you made:

        1. Palestine: He has also said that he has friends in Israel and that there are many people there who do not agree with their government’s stance. Imagine that!

        2. Libya: He does not present a simple answer here.

        You may not like his reasoning or conclusions, you may not like the complexity of his answers, you may not like his emotionality or the fact that he sees himself as a prophetic voice. But given the endless propaganda, blatant lying, free-for-all fraud, environmental degradation, state assassinations, burgeoning fascistic security state, and general social destruction going on around us, I would be amiss not to find suspicious your repetitive cranking on this one person.

        As with the vid that may have come from N or S Korea, it’s about the integrity/accuracy of the ideas. There is no other way we are going to get through this mess.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          I appreciate your thoughtful comments and agree with quite a bit.

          But I disagree on the significance of individuals like Chris Hedges. They are dangerous.

          Just like Obama is dangerous.

          There are people out there who are intentionally deceiving us and working for secret masters. I know this is hard for people to accept or hear but has become extremely important to me. Just think of the damage Obama has done as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or think of the damage the progressive Democrats have done in that role.

          Most of our media is complicit. This means they KNOW who their masters are. They know who runs the show. They are paid to act. To put on a show. These are not moral but naive people. They are complicit.

          They are paid to pretend like the attacks in Syria, for instance, are homegrown attacks from people that put down protest signs and picked up rifles. They are paid to pretend that the U.S. is an innocent bystander and not at the heart of the attacks. They are paid to pretend like they are “reporting” the “facts.” Hedges schtick is more complicated, he’s a progressive so he has to pretend to oppose this stuff but then make excuses for supporting it.

          In fact, Hedges is one of the shining examples of this corrupt system: he’s a man who served at the top, as Middle East Bureau Chief at the New York Times, working for the most prestigious paper in one of the most prestigious beats. He won the highest awards and taught at Columbia. He’s on the Board of the Nation and sits for numerous interviews, gives lectures, has debates, and has a weekly column. He has numerous best selling books. He is heavily promoted in the liberal blogosphere. One doesn’t get to this position in society unless one is being allowed to get here.

          I’m sorry. I don’t believe in the fantasy of ‘everyone can make it in America,’ anyway, and certainly not in the case of someone as uncharismatic as Hedges. How many people can actually stand to listen to one of his full sermons? Hell, even when liked him I found him boring.

      3. psychohistorian

        I agree that Hedges is a tool of the system. As someone with a techie background I think of people like him, Krugman and such as boarder routers in networks.

        Boarder routers in networks are designed and placed to handle specific traffic or audiences in large system networks. Similarly, Hedges and his ilk are curried and promoted into positions of “authority” as deemed by the public. In these positions they perform the agnotology duties of their area…..insuring that folks are confused enough about the various arguments to keep having faith in the existing social organization….manufacturing ignorance = agnotology.

        1. Sy Krass

          I don’t think Hedges is a tool of the system at all. He quite plainly syas the system is beyond fixing and needs to collapse. How is that a tool of anything?

      4. lambert strether

        What is your method for discerning not being “controlled opposition”?

        * * *

        I mean, I lose track. Is this the thread where half the people on the airplane are really movie actors, or some other thread?

    2. K Ackermann

      I like him. I don’t know what’s not to like. He backs up his talk with action, too.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        What do you mean? He got arrested once, in a heavily promoted public relations event.

        Other people that got “arrested” that day slipped out of their cuffs.

        Hedges was allowed to give an amplified speech in front of the White House and got “arrested” in a very kind manner.

        The people he called into action to protest during Occupy were not treated with such dignity. Then Hedges turned on many of these people for not doing it his way.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Look at 1:52 to see a protester slip out of his “cuffs.”

          Compare and contrast to the way the Occupy L.A. protesters were treated when they were arrested, for instance.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            One will see people who share one’s positions. We focus on ideas, rather than the person. No one has used the word ‘worship’ here, though when any person’s name is repeated too often, it distracts from looking at ideas.

            Maybe I missed something, but in a link the other day (Sunday, I think), Hedges was on Bill Moyer’s show. At 30:02, Hedges said something along the line that the idea that there is something impartial or objective is just a lie. At 30:17, he further elaborated that journalists can manipulate facts. Then, at 34:20, he talked about the power of journalism being rooted in verifiable facts.

            Verifiable? Why verify if you are going to manipulate it later? Why do it is you don’t believe something can be impartial?

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Good catch.

            I too notice some internal inconsistency in some of Hedge’s theory. A lot of it sounds good as a platitude in isolation. But he contradicts a lot of what he says when he explains further. It’s jarring.

            So I can only assume this is more of the same about the New York Times.

            I now am very cynical towards the mass media and particularly the New York Times. No one that works/worked in a position of power there is innocent.

            o I want to learn more about Hedge’s role as Bureau Chief and some of his reporting over the 15 years. He won an award for his reporting on Kurds and terrorism. He was active in Kosovo.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if his reporting is filled with the same holes that Tyler Hicks, Paul Conroy, and Marie Colvin’s stories are filled with. At the time I was hoodwinked but I bet if I go back an analyze the NYTimes coverage of Kosovo it will be filled with the same propaganda we see know in the paper re Syria.

          3. patricia

            MLTPB: No journalist’s writing is impartial because we are personalities with particular ethics/philosophies which will influence what we write. Facts, though, need to be adhered to.

            So the other day, I read that there were tens of thousands of protesters in Spain, then I read that there were hundreds of thousands, then Maju wrote here that there were 800,000 in Madrid alone. That we cannot get simple facts about approx numbers shows the huge amount of manipulation going on. A journalist might hew to a bankster EU viewpoint or to a Spanish citizen viewpoint but should be fired for smearing the facts in his desire to support his view.

            This is not Hedges’ idea. It is the basics of good journalism. For valuable discussions on this point, check Jay Rosen. He’s had a lot to say about it over the years. It is important!

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Patricia, appreciate the response.

            Are there different schools of thought in journalism so that some might advocate a more limited role for journalists in which they don’t take sides nor manipulate facts (I believe he said that, perhaps I missed the context)?

            Assuming it’s necessary to be partial for a journalist, how does he/she decide which side – based on some verifiable facts that one side is more worthy?

            And if a journalist is convinced one side is more worthy, perhaps in something less simple and clear cut than that between EU banksters and their Spanish victims, what then is the role of his reader in this?

          5. patricia

            MLTPB: I don’t know the different schools of journalistic thought but humans being such a disagreeable species, I’m sure there are many. I’d check Rosen–here’s his site:

            For even the most elementary set of facts, which ones go first and last are choices, right? But unlike the field of science (which is less “scientific” than some think, but more accurate than others want to admit), journalism needs to present information that is a convergence of many (political, environmental, historical, social, economic, etc) issues into a specific situation. What pattern most accurately describes the specific situation in such a messy complex world?

            Kurosawa in Rashoman, offered the usual dour twentieth-century conclusion that the truth can never be found, that not even accuracy can be discovered–there’s merely a collection of people’s emotions/ideas in a universe of chaos. Nah. There are general principles–things hold together from one day to the next. Accuracy can be had, at least in a general way for many things, but sometimes it’s only inferred over time through collected thoughtful attention.

            But that presupposes good effort on many people’s parts to adhere to what facts can be drawn. Our culture-at-large has lost this. Facts are precious. When kids, we build our reality from the facts we find, and as adults, our POV is a story built in/on/around the facts we chose and continue to choose.

            What is soo lovely about the web is that journalists engage each other and their readers who engage each other and journalists. I have tried on any old idea, just to see how the world looks while wearing it. My understanding has been changed, re-changed, altered, broadened and broadened some more. It has become both more stable and less certain. I’ve been fascinated and entertained.

            I don’t know if this is helpful.

          6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Patricia, I would have much enjoyed Moyers interviewing you instead of people who make absolute declarations.

    3. Goin' South

      Some, including me, were distressed by the tirade he wrote against Black Bloc tactics last fall. In my case, it wasn’t so much that I’m an advocate of those tactics as it was that Hedges engaged in some of the same kind of smearing and straw-manning that he deplores in others.

      One minute, he’s praising the Matewan rebellion. The next, he’s a non-violence purist who wants Black Bloc participants turned in to the cops.

      And while he’s a fine writer and perceptive critic of our current mess, he likes to bask in the “doomed prophet” mantle of Jeremiah and Isaiah, who forecast Judah’s downfall unless it changed course, but were fated to have people refuse to listen to their views.

      “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
      be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
      Make the heart of this people calloused;
      make their ears dull
      and close their eyes.[a]
      Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
      hear with their ears,
      understand with their hearts,
      and turn and be healed.”

      A lot of Hedges’ sermonic writing and speaking seems to follow that model, rather than offering positive alternatives.

      1. patricia

        There are many vital issues that need hashing out, issues not being introduced in our society much less thought through. Hedges has a platform and brings them up with an opinion. Great! It is the issues that are important, not the man. Yet people keep focusing on Hedges.

        And I am tired of people saying that if a person complains, he/she has to have the answer too. Honestly? One person has to lay it out for us, beginning to end, so that we can proceed like good little unthinking soldiers? Greenwald gets the same criticism. And in my small corner, I got the same thing from Christians when I confronted them about their hypocrisy and corruption.

        I think it’s an excuse to skip the hard work of sorting. For the Christians, it was an excuse for not even facing the issues at all, but I don’t see you doing that here.

        Finally, if one wants to go back to the man and complain that Hedges isn’t doing anything, he and some others recently had success at court, and even if momentary, it is certainly more than I’ve seen from any frequent commenters here.

        I suspect the lot of you have just gotten so comfortable bitchin’ and moanin’ that you can’t stop.

        1. enouf

          okay okay … i said OK! ..I’ll reply already dag-nabbit! :-P


          Hi there;
          I don’t know which “Christians” you were referring to, nor any of the arguments/points you made to them, nor their rebuttals, …nor even the subject matter, heh – but if you are referring to anything even remotely related to Right-Wing-Fundamentalist whackos, please stop using the word “Christian” to describe these social misfits, control freaks, initiators-of-force to impose upon their fellow human’s liberties, etc – thank you


          @RanDomino said

          … and you and most people are stuck in this cage because they never even consider testing the bars!

          I dare you to take that thought/sentiment to a spiritual level;

          “Henry Grayson ; The New Physics of Love: the Power of Mind and Spirit in Relationships; Session 9: Making the Perceptual Shift”

          (obviously this is just Part 9 of I believe a total of 12 Parts, each one is ~ 45 mins long – (fortunately, or unfortunately), the Session is intermingled with other stuff that comprises (half of) a 6 hr overnight broadcast – making the file large – 35MB or so).

          [I-suppose-this-URL-is-filtered-here—or-some-Copyright-crap-is-going-on—So-i-had-to-remove-it-for-this-post-to-even-go-through—Bah-Hum-BUG!].MP3(jump ahead tp time 4:37)

          You can find archives at k p f k DOT org (LosAngeles), or buy series at SoundsTrue DOT com

          @MLTPB, @patricia, et al too – look into that above.


      2. different clue

        How many of those Blackie Blocies are undercover policemen tasked with performing theatrical violence in order to attract and plausible-ise police repression? Perhaps Hedges considered turning undercover policemen in Black Bloc disguise over to their very own Overt Police taskers and controllers to be a kind of meta-humorous meta-prank?

          1. patricia

            RanDomino: What difference would it have made if one or 50 undercover agents were behind the masks? “Trust me, I have your best interests in mind!” Yeah, right. In this culture, particularly, trust must be earned, not given in blind faith. Lack of transparency is a cornerstone of our oligarchy. To require it in such a manner is to perpetuate it.

            Moreover, wasn’t there some kind of “consensus” covenant that Occupy was trying to adhere to at the time, and wasn’t black bloc refusing to respect it? They were obviously more interested in their own approach. Fine. So why didn’t they do actions under their own umbrella? They didn’t. They demanded blind trust from the others even while they blew them off, and then became outraged when called out for it.

            Black bloc tactics will become inevitable (as even Hedges notes at end of Blair Mountain post) as fascist forces increase in response to revolution, but we have only just begun to gather. To not understand the importance of timing in tactics is ignorant. And this apparent ignorance comes from a group who prides itself on its knowledge/use of revolutionary tactics.

            I see no reason to support this black bloc bunch.

          2. RanDomino

            “What difference would it have made if one or 50 undercover agents were behind the masks?”
            Okay maybe not 100%, but for spooks to be in control a significant number of people in black bloc would have to be undercovers, since there’s no leadership structure to take control of.

            “Trust me, I have your best interests in mind!”
            Who said that? What does that even mean?

            “Moreover, wasn’t there some kind of “consensus” covenant that Occupy was trying to adhere to at the time, and wasn’t black bloc refusing to respect it? They were obviously more interested in their own approach. Fine. So why didn’t they do actions under their own umbrella? They didn’t. They demanded blind trust from the others even while they blew them off, and then became outraged when called out for it.”
            You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

            “Black bloc tactics will become inevitable (as even Hedges notes at end of Blair Mountain post) as fascist forces increase in response to revolution, but we have only just begun to gather. To not understand the importance of timing in tactics is ignorant. And this apparent ignorance comes from a group who prides itself on its knowledge/use of revolutionary tactics.”
            The point is not to win. The point is to show that fighting is possible. There is a mythology, a Spectacle, that is imposed on you literally from the moment of your birth, that you are weak and just shut up and do what you’re told and nobody gets hurt; and you and most people are stuck in this cage because they never even consider testing the bars!

        1. Walter Wit Man

          The Day of Rage in Oakland last fall was a sincere Black Bloc action, imho. I don’t think there was any undercover police because the Black Bloc were very organized at not committing violence.

          The recent May Day action in San Francisco done by people wearing “Black Bloc” style clothes was most likely a police action.

          1. different clue

            Perhaps I am unclear on who/what the Blac Bloc is? I thought the Blac Bloc WAS a bunch of packs of people who join up with somebody else’s protest in order to break out of it and start breaking windows and so forth. After which the police swoop in and start arresting all kinds of Blacless Blocless protesters. That’s what makes me think the Blac Blocers are police agent provocateurs, and if some of them really aren’t, well . . . their brand value has been destroyed by those that are.

            So I wonder again if Hedges wasn’t being wickedly humorous by suggesting that people immediately turn every violent Blac Bloc police agent over to the very same policemen who sent those Blac Blocers to begin with. A most elegant prank on both ends of the Axis of Blac Bloc Blue Uniform.

            Maybe OWS will have to find some methods beyond just protest to begin weakening and undermining the OverClass’s lines of control and streams of revenue. Maybe the protest should be for getting people together and in touch with eachother, and once they are together in touch, they can work on evolving themselves into a long term movement devoted to doing non-romantic non-exciting things beTWEEN the exciting protests. Maybe those things could involve various forms of non-illegal non-stoppable economic rebellion and economic undermining and economic sabotooge.

          2. enouf

            different clue says:
            July 27, 2012 at 1:48 am
            Perhaps I am unclear on who/what the Blac Bloc is? …

            No, you are not unclear, nor do you misunderstand ;-)
            Which makes anything RanDomino says about blac bloc moot points at best.


  11. kevinearick

    whether anyone likes it or not, an economy judges itself, based upon how it treats strangers, orphans, and widows. whether you like it or not, you are completely dependent upon the kindness of a stranger.

  12. RanDomino

    “There are many leftists who are on the cusp of understanding what it means to be an anarchist but they are just not there. your village is dying of thist, do you petition the governor to build a well and for this to be taken up in the existing mechanism of decision making and survival or do you get some friends together and go build one yourself.”
    (I know “get some friends together” doesn’t literally work for everything, but it DOES scale)

    1. enouf

      Actually, it does (for almost everything ..but that’s due to a bug in humanity, that’ll likely never be fixed ;-))

      It’s refreshing to see that you atleast understand anarchy (atleast enough to quote someone who says almost what i was going to attempt to say about ‘Progressives’ ; they have no idea how close to anarchy/voluntaryism they really are, if only they’d let go of their moronic Left/Right duopolistic paradigm, and look around the corner – and embrace the Non-(Zero)-Aggression Principles – and know that the ‘State’ only exists in the collective hive-mind, and it thrives on Aggression, and requires it for control ..and that it’s a Feature, not a Bug)


  13. briansays

    a key electoral demographic
    a true story

    Seven devastating hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast , even houses of worship were not spared.

    A local television station interviewed a woman from New Orleans and asked how the loss of churches in the area had affected their lives.

    Without hesitation, the woman replied, “I don’t know ’bout all those other people, but we ain’t gone to Churches in years. We gets our chicken from Popeye’s.”

    The look on the interviewer’s face was priceless. They live among us, AND THEY VOTE. Now, do you understand how we got our president?

    1. jimmy james

      Oh yeah, true story I’m sure. Not at all invented by a bunch of ignorant bumpkin joke-tellers.

    2. Jill

      I hadn’t realized GS executives were from New Orleans. They were Obama’s largest contributors. Are you certain that’s where they are from? Also, I thought most of those people were white. I do agree that it is scary to think that people from GS vote!

      I hadn’t realized hurricanes was supposed to spare houses of worship. That’s interesting. I’d heard Pat Robertson say things like this. Additionally, Pat said he could stop hurricanes. So was it the hurricane or Pat Robertson who flattened the churches?

      1. patricia

        It was Pat. He wanted GS money but they wouldn’t give him any. I’ve been trying to get him to send a hurricane to Wall Street but he said they’re doing God’s work over there. Go figure.

    3. Sy Krass



  14. Joe

    briansays: blah, blah, blah.

    Thanks for the thinly veiled racist anectdote. Now tell the one about how the game show contestant mistook door for doe. That was also a knee slapper. You know doe knob. Ha, ha, ha funny. You know… those people.

  15. Jeff N

    Jeff sez: always have an extra DSL modem on hand, to see if that helps with the problem. My parents need to replace theirs about once a year. I can sometimes score them at thrift stores for $5 or less.

      1. Keenan

        Hi Yves:

        Poster “Eliza” above is right on suggesting Verizon check the copper wire pairs. Rodents chewing on the wires, deteriorating insulation admitting moisture and poor maintenance lead to shorts, opens and corrosion in the copper conducting wiring. I’ve been dealing with Verizon problems for several years and it turns out there were at least 2 issues: A break in the line 5000 feet from my house and a line crossed with another subscriber’s several hundred feet closer. I went for several days July 4-7 without voice service due to a complete break in one conductor of the pair but curiously DSL worked intermittently. It can function with one lead.

      2. enouf

        Hi Yves;

        Not sure if i’m showing my ignorance, (but i bet i’ll soon find out) ;-)

        I’m going to guess FIOS isn’t an option where you are? If it is, please use (whether through the CableCo(so not entirely FiberOptic all the way to HomeBase, and the issue with shared-local-hubs in neighborhoods (spikes/dips in speeds) – but still better than DSL), or the PhoneCo) — No idea why i presume you’re covered via either Verizon (FIOS) and CableVision, but i do.

        That said, no reason to explain details – so i’ll interject an anecdote; I used to have only CableVision available, then it’s backbone went FiberOptic, …that’s when Verizon came into the ‘hood and ran all direct FIOS — long story short, I’ve used both, but i went from DialUp -> Cable -> FIOS ..and here i am.


  16. jsmith

    A nice rant on the sickening scum of America’s elite:

    Meet Marissa Mayer, darling piece of dreck that shows that woman can be just as much filth as their male counterparts!

    From the article:

    “Marissa Mayer may be the poster woman for the affluent upper middle class and super-rich, but her pay package is an objective expression of the utter irrationality and socially destructive character of capitalism—as well as the moral and political putrefaction of the ruling class.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      About male counterparts, the world needs more female chi, not necessarily more female physical presence.

      Our thinking, our culture, our institutions, etc need to be more feminine.

  17. LucyLulu

    Obama didn’t seem enthusiastic about using the expiration of the Bush tax cuts back in 2010 to further the ‘progressive’ agenda. Democrats in the Senate, though, like Patty Murray, sound more willing to drive a hard bargain, i.e. demanding significant revenues to augment spending cuts. If they’re smart, they will allow the tax increases to remain in place until the total tax reform package has passed. How many pages of tax code can they write each month?

    The pledge to never raise taxes will have been irrevocably breached. RIP, Grover.

    1. DiamondJammies

      Democrats like Patty Murray demanding “significant revenues” (Hah!) are playing a game. We know that. This is a game that has been repeated over and over and over again. (Will some people ever learn?!)

      Let’s be clear, whatever “revenues” they find won’t significantly affect the bottom line of the Grand Bargain™. The rulers are intensifying their systematic plundering as a way to resolve the crisis on their terms.

      Medcaid, Medicare and Social Security are the Holy Grail for the 1%. These are beloved programs and significant benefits could redound to 99% organizations (of the real, grassroots type, not the fake, controlled opposition type) able to organize a spirited resistance.

    2. different clue

      Obama supports the Bush Tax Cuts. Obama wants to make them permanent so as to intensify pressures to abolish SS/Medicare and privatise the money.

      Obama tossed out the “restore missing taxes on people over $250,000 or whatever” as an apple of discord meant to occupy people with fighting over THAT instead of sunsetting the Bush Tax Cuts altogether. He threw that out there deliberately on purpose in order to get the Rs to oppose it.
      Then he can pretend to his base of suckers that he wanted to
      “raise taxes on the rich” but the Rs wouldn’t allow it. Remember those photos of Obama and Boehner laughing together? They were laughing at us, at the con they are running on us.

      Obama and McConnell are not mutual opponents. They are mutual Social Class Comrades.

    3. enouf

      Funny Anecdote;

      A few weeks back, a republicran primary contender for State Senator was at the local supermarket — as a “greeter” just outside the entrance, talking to people as they entered — At first, i thought it was a typical Sales Pitch for some-TV-promo-item like i had seen a few weeks prior (though .. to be fair; ALL other times prior to *that* over the years, (outdoor setups) it was always some semblance of GoodWill/SalvationArmy/etc, asking for support) .. so

      As i approached her, and she hands me her flyer – i heard her quick intro/schtick (she was fairly attractive (though pleasingly-plump), hometown-style (though bleached-blonde hair — almost reminded me of Grinches’ wife, but not really so pasty/fake/mannaquin-esque as that) ..anyways, She goes on to mention deep-long-time roots in my Town, and family that still resides here — then she started selling her ‘platform’ – which comprised of “lower property taxes” …

      Immediately i stopped her and asked; “What if there was a way to eliminate property taxes entirely?” …Her eyes popped out of her head – I had to pick them up with a plastic-spoon i had left-over from last night’s chinese takeout, and reinsert them into her skull.

      She then proceeded to hand me her official business card and asked me to email her my proposal – i have yet to do so – for many varied reasons ..

      Just thought I’d share that ;-)


  18. Eureka Springs

    I’m trying not to take comfort in the miserable internet performance of others… especially in big city locales. We rural dwelling citizens pay so much for that kind of “performance” all of the time. And I am glad Yves and others know about and share links to DSL reports. It’s an important blog which highlights so thoroughly the fiasco of our communications rent stealing infrastructure. I’ve learned much by reading it a few times a week over the last few years.

    1. enouf

      FWIW, I’m paying top-dollar for *just* “Internet” (though admittedly FIOS) because i refuse! to show support via _subsidizing_ (even though i know i am realistically, but what are my choices?) the propagandists’ WMDs (mainly, the TeeVee) ,.. Sigh – i care not to get riled up right now (I’m too happy!), and the soapbox is a bit too far away ;0


  19. LucyLulu

    For those who don’t click through the tabs on Family Shooting Center, it’s located in Aurora, CO. Machine guns that can fire 350 rounds/min are provided for use every other Sunday. Be sure to bring the kids after church for an unforgettable experience.

    But if you have a special occasion, e.g. a bachelor’s party, and make advanced arrangements, you can rent them on other days. A bunch of guys, loaded, and with machine guns…….

    No costumes allowed. They take safety seriously.

    1. enouf

      I bet the Militarized Police have a Taser/Batton/Corral/Flash-Bang’ing Center within which are full-size paper cutouts of Occupy* protestors (i.e., Peaceful Sovereigns).

      Please ..
      you are at the wrong end in attempting to stop the
      “cyclical culture of violence” that permeates and,.. dare i say, your thought processes only perpetuate it.


  20. Carl Miller

    How are “a lot of readers” not hedges fans? One doesn’t have to like everything the man says to believe that he is at least trying to pull the thick veil back for the masses to see what the country has become.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That is so true that one doesn’t have to like everything another person says.

      Morever, one can see what the county has become without listening to any a particular person – one can get that from others; in fact, one gets a broader picture from a combination of others. But more than that, one might quibble that it’s mandatory to hear from more than one source. But whether one agrees with that or not, anyone has as much to contribute as any other person.

    2. Chris A

      Right on. Thanks, Carl. I respectfully suggest that people treat the man a little bit less rigidly. It’s starting to sound like a paranoid left-wing circular firing squad is forming in here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No one is perfect.

      You take his/her good ideas (in one’s opinion) and move on. People are like throw-away clothes for ideas. Ideas will wear them and then discard them.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      That is not true. I don’t like Hedges and I value the truth above almost all else.

      But your statement may be true for those on the right that don’t like him.

      But those on the left that don’t like him suspect his role as gatekeeper.

      Hedges is allowed to speak the “truth” in a way that other well-known liberals don’t. TPTB heavily control our media, including most ‘alternative’ media, and Hedges is purposely the most left-wing we are allowed (Michael Moore is another one that serves a similar purpose).

      I once like Hedges. I still largely agree with the substance of his speeches. It’s only when you dig down and see that he supports “humanitarian” war and the New York Times and Israel that I begin to disagree with his substantive points. But he purposely keeps his speeches vague and full of antiwar platitudes to obscure his less than liberal policy views (he supports capitalism too).

      But the real problem is that Hedges is really working for the bad guys. He worked for the New York Times for 15 years after all! He helped sell Americans on the threat of terror.

      I know this is a dangerous path to go down. Suspecting people that appear to be heroes of the left. But I didn’t come up with this diabolical plan.

      I’m only recognizing it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        About heroes, that’s the problem.

        Let a thousand ideas flourish, but not heroes/saviors/prophets, as we are all heroes/saviors/prophets when we realize what we are capable of achieving.

  21. Eureka Springs

    Walter has very good points, imho. While I don’t say I dislike Hedges I learned much by watching him help self-kettle occupy NYC from within, right out of substance with the end corporate personhood veal penners.

    Additionally I think Graeber was far more thoughtful and inclusive after Hedges took him on in such a contemptible manner. Hedges initiated that assault poorly and left things hanging in what I hope for Hedges is an embarrassing place.

  22. Hugh

    That any American could still possibly think that either Obama or Romney, or more generally either party, was “good” for the economy, that is the economy of the 99%, shows how deeply indoctrinated the American public is. It is also an indication that most Americans will not be open to seriously rethinking the economy and the two parties until conditions get much, much worse.

  23. Kevin Carhart

    In my opinion, _American Fascists_ and _Death of the Liberal Class_ are honest books. The former has original reporting. I think it’s valuable work. The latter puts together a case, quoting evidence from other writers and speakers. I think Hedges is able to do different things in books than in columns or in public. I learned a ton by watching Hedges in the form of streaming video, but Hedges praises the coldness of print. So I think if a person were assessing Hedges based on “sermonic” sounding work (I’m replying to Goin’ South on that,) during a public talk, they might get a different view from the work with reporting, citing, interviews and quotes, especially the books.

    On the Occupy column, I think he is saying, “violence is a poison,” full stop. He’s trying to do something other than grade on a curve. The interview with J.A. Myerson in Truthout is good. Hedges says, “I’ve spent my life around mobs and groups and crowds and armies and they foster for me very frightening physical and emotional responses.” He has precedents, and the precedents say that in other times and places, violence in a movement has eaten away at the people in the movement from the inside, and that could also happen in Occupy.

      1. enouf

        IMHO, the true talent of a great writer (or orator) is the ability to convey thoughts and ideas in so few words; I’m still trying to absorb all you just said… (in case you missed it, it’s a compliment).

        That said; and without tangentializing too far off to the obtuse angular momentous plane;

        Michael Ruppert has some (compelling) insight (if you know his background) , heck even Jesse Ventura does.. do we really know who is promoting the ‘C-theories’ v. the ‘C-realities’? .. Does any one person have the explanation of all other actors actions/agendas/ulterior motives? …er,

        Does any man/woman *know* what’s in another’s heart? .. Here comes my segway into (many think are only abstract) things, things like Morals (and Ethics; the practice of proclaimed morals) — Family — Trust, Honor, Dignity, Justice, Loyalty, Fairness, Grace, Sincerity, Compassion, Empathy … Forgiveness. Where do “we” get such silly notions?

        Do we really know who are the “infiltrators” or the “agent provacateurs”? .. I say No ; since the problem is (in this post especially) my usage of the word “we” — Let each decide on their own, i say — Let the (possible) solutions be heard and discussed, let the people speak! (Sigh – i just remembered MSM (MainStreamScum) exists) … oh well..

        Have a great day ;-)


  24. Jim

    Regarding Philip Pilkington’s great piece, “Market Monetarism Or An Attempt to Speed Up the Decline in Real Wages”, how have NGDP proponents and Paul Krugman responded? Given how weak unions are, I’ve never understood who NGDP-targeting will increase the real wage. Instead, I, like Pilkington, see higher commodity costs and real wage erosion.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If I may make a slightly connected comment regarding GDP and NGDP.

      I understand there is a Gross Happiness Index.

      Is there a Gross Unhappiness Index, sort of related to the misery index, but goes beyond it the way Gross Happiness Index goes beyond GDP? Just as the combined approval and disapproval ratings does not equal 100%, sometimes less and sometimes more (hey, some people can approve and disapprove at the same time), it may be worth it to have a Gross Unhappiness Index, in addition to the Gross Happiness Index.

  25. GMG

    Hey, I went to Pomona College a few years ago! Not the best treatment of their workers… and I learned that the presence of a liberal faculty does not mean a school is run by a liberal administration. Sad to say, it might be a school on its way down.

  26. Elliot

    The green vine snake is awesome. That is the first example of a twill pattern I have seen on an animal; gorgeous. (I’ve seen plants with checquered patterns, and sort of twilling, but —– wow.)

    1. enouf

      Awesome! ..

      My first thought was it’s a snake acting similar to a Venus Fly Trap

      Nice to hear other voices/perspectives


  27. Max424

    The Magna Carta is being shredded! Giggle.

    The “political radical,”* Noam Chomsky, weighs in on a lot of stuff.

    *That’s how Matt Yglesias always described him, “the political radical Chomsky.” Funny how we all think different.

    Radical politics, in a democracy that once held trials at Nuremberg for the baddest and guiltiest people ever, is when your all in favor of blowing up citizens, non-citizens, potential bad guys, potential good guys, women, kids, dogs, goats and whatever else is in the vicinity with a 500 pound Paveway II, and happily doing it without due process.

    Viewed in context, Chomsky, who opposes these anti-democratic state-planned mass murders and assassinations, and lots of other insane, psychotic positions OPENLY and PROUDLY held by our Beltway elite, is like the least radical political writer I know.

    Really, I do not see how Chomsky could be less radical. That makes Noam the quintessential un-radical, as far I’m concerned.

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