Links 8/14/12

My posts will be a bit thin today and tomorrow, but for good reason, see here.

Kangaroo escapes animal park with help from boar and fox Telegraph (Lee S)

‘Severe abnormalities’ found in Fukushima butterflies BBC (Lambert) :-(

Burmese python carrying 87 eggs sets state record at 17 feet, 7 inches Palm Beach Post (furzy mouse). Tell me again why people want to live in Florida?

Video: Indestructible Military Inchworm-Bot Survives Attack By Bootheels and Hammers PopSci (Robert M). Great. Tech creates indestructible creepy crawlies.

Sea ice in the Arctic and new data from Cryo-Sat-2 Rdan (Angry Bear)

Think Globally, Act Selfishly: How Utilitarian Environmentalism Can Backfire Wired (Robert M)

New Algorithm Predicts Your Future Movements Within 65-Foot Accuracy PopSci (Robert M)

Team deciphers retina’s neural code for brain communication to create novel prosthetic retinal device for blind ScienceFreaks (Lambert)

Wikileaks Continues to Battle DDoS Attack Common Dreams (Aquifer)

Australia’s sub prime mortgage scandal grows MacroBusiness

Germany warns it could veto Greek aid The Australian (Scott). Not really news if you’ve been paying attention.

Avoiding an Italian bailout: Why and how VoxEU

National Reconnaissance Office officials accused of contracting crimes, retaliation McClatchy (Lambert)

NBC’s war for fun and profit Glenn Greenwald

Peace Laureates Call on NBC to Cancel New Show: ‘War Isn’t Entertainment’ Common Dreams (Aquifer)

Collapsing the line between documentary and fiction Columbia Journalism Review

What Democrats can learn from Romney-Ryanonomics Dean Baker, Guardian (John M)

Everything Wall St. Should Know About Ryan Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times. Consistent with an observation made in comments here (by Lambert? Hugh?) that the media coverage on Obama (ex Fox) indicated an elite circling of the wagons on Obama

Texas shooting began with eviction notice Christian Science Monitor

The Fraud-lympics and Kansas GOP Moves Way Right Real News (Aquifer). The Kansas part is more important than you might think.

Dimon: JPMorgan Spends $500 Million per Data Center Data Center Knowledge (bob)

Saving the Post Office: Letter Carriers Consider Bringing Back Banking Services Truthout (Aquifer)

Obama Administration Needs to Tap, Not Stiff-Arm, Wall Street Whistleblowers Rolling Stone

Standard Chartered Nemesis Has History As Strict Enforcer Bloomberg

I’m vastly amused at how desperate the attacks on Lisa Epstein, a homeowner advocate who is running for Clerk of the Court in Palm Beach County, have become. On the one hand Alan Grayson, Neil Barofsky, yours truly, and perhaps most germane, two of the most aggressive registers of deeds in the US, John O’Brien and Jeff Thigpen, have all endorsed Lisa. If two independent people who are in the role now think Lisa is up to the job, that should settle any doubts. Bloomberg, hardly a pushover, has put up a favorable article on her today. But Lisa even before her campaign has been a thorn in the side of the foreclosure mills in Florida, leading to last minute desperate attacks like this one, picked up by sites that should bother finding out who is pushing these hit jobs rather than repeating them uncritically. The funny bit is this article is written by the same individual who showed up in comments and discredited himself by asserting expertise in foreclosure matters and then making claims about how things are done that are at odds with actual practice on the ground, as commemorated in numerous court records. So the attacks on Epstein’s credentials appear to emanate from one source who has a peculiar obsession with her. And as to substance, Epstein’s knowledge of foreclosure documentation and issues has impressed securitization experts like Tom Adams, who has given extensive expert witness testimony and litigation advice in this arena, as well as attorneys.

Kangaroos, Bananas and the Rule of Law Ilargi

Best of TomDispatch: Noam Chomsky, Who Owns the World? (Aquifer)

* * *

lambert here:

D – 26 and counting*

“The word he used was not ‘wallowing,’ there being no animals on Anarres to make wallows; it was a compound, meaning literally ‘coating continually and thickly with excrement.’ The flexibility and precision of Pravic lent itself to the creation of vivid metaphors quite unforeseen by its inventors.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia

Montreal. Strike: “Three of the four CEGEPs voting today have chosen to end their strike.” … Assemblies: “‘Among the regular populace, I would say mobilization has grown,’ [Alia Al-Saji, a member of the Mile End Autonomous Neighbourhood Assembly] said. ‘We don’t have the same numbers when we do casseroles (pot banging protests that still occur in some neighbourhoods), but we have these assemblies, and they are much more organized.'”

Occupy. OccupyAustin, #Chalkupy: “After the arrests, Cummings and another Trooper photographed the chalk. As he returned to the Capitol grounds he was so twitchy that he almost drew his gun on a random pedestrian who was in a hurry to make it across the crosswalk.” … OWS: “From the earliest days of the occupation at Zuccotti Park, a police watchtower carried out round-the-clock surveillance of the protesters below. Almost a full year after the Occupy movement began, the watchtower remains.'” … Occupy HongKong: “Occupy Central protesters were last night preparing for a clash with police after being given a fortnight to vacate their camp under HSBC headquarters on the orders of the High Court.” … OccupyOakland: “In a special session this week, Oakland City Council will vote on a proposal to bump up the pay for one of the investigative firms charged with helping Oakland police wade through Occupy Oakland misconduct complaints, from $100,000 to $275,000.” … Burning Man: “Burn Wall Street is a large scale, outdoor art installation that is sprouting powerful conversations countrywide. By bringing individuals from the Occupy and Tea Party movements together, this project asks participants to put their political identities aside in order to talk about common principles and goals for financial reform.”

IA. Ryan: “[At the IA State Fair] heckling is almost always expected. A small but persistent group of protesters began to yell over [Ryan], at times drowning out his remarks. A few women took it a step further and attempted to rush the stage.” Initital major coverage didn’t say who the protesters (“man of them seniors”) represented; the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement had organized a group of 24.

IL. Housing: “Office space in the suburbs has been a hard sell since the financial crisis struck in 2007 and entwined with the collapse of the housing market. As of this year’s second quarter, the marketwide vacancy rate in the Chicago suburbs was 23 percent, a rate that’s close to a post-crisis high, according to a report by MB Real Estate.” … Jesse Jackson, Jr.: “He’s been suffering from massive depression and gastrointestinal issues, a likely complication from a risky weight-loss surgery known as a ‘duodenal switch.'”

MA. Elizabeth Warren: “With Romney’s selection of Ryan, the hard move to the right is now complete — and the convention will be a celebration. Brown is going to need to dance even harder to avoid the backlash likely to result in the Bay State.”

MD. Drones: “Manufacturers such as AAI, Lockheed Martin and others, research at Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland and elsewhere, and testing at the Patuxent station and Aberdeen Proving Ground have combined to make the state a center of a burgeoning global [drone] industry.

ME. Higher education: “[The University of Maine at Machias] is also taking advantage of its relationship with food service corporation Aramark, [which] has agreed to expand its space in the union to sell classroom staples such as paper, pens, notebooks and art supplies, as well as carry books published by the school and its faculty.” No more bookstore.

OH. Fracking: “Regular tests [for injection wells] aren’t necessary, said Rick Simmers, chief of the agency’s oil and gas division, because the wells permanently trap wastes deep underground.” Petitio principii.

OK. Fracking: “Although the expansion of drilling has breathed economic life into many small OK towns, the lucrative opportunities are also drawing people away from traditional service-sector jobs and even once-coveted state positions. … ‘ I never dreamed we’d have to offer a sign-on bonus to work [at the Dairy Queen].'”

TX. Corruption: “DeLay, who is fighting his conviction and three-year prison sentence, finally knows which three justices on the 3rd Court of Appeals will hear his appeal [on his money-laundering felony conviction].”

VA. “Romney picked the key swing region of one of 2012’s key swing states for the Ryan announcement,” said Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

WI. Recall: “In a number of counties, hand-counted tallies [by [Hand-Count Votes Now!] have differed, sometimes significantly, from the recorded numbers tallied on Election Night by the computer tabulation systems.”

Outside Baseball. More punishment: “Each wave election [since 2006] has produced a class of politicians who are convinced that their victory was about them rather than a repudiation of the tactics and behavior of the other party.” So long, First Amendment: “[T]he Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act] allows for conviction if you are “disorderly or disruptive,” or if you “impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.” You can no longer heckle or “boo” at a political candidate’s speech, as that would be disruptive.” In the Washington Times, of all places. … Medicare: “What’s striking about Ryan’s plan for Medicare is how similar it is to Obamacare. Under the Ryan plan, after 2022 new enrollees would have to choose between Medicare and a private insurance plan. Medicare essentially becomes the “public option” that Republicans opposed so vehemently when it was proposed as part of Obamacare.” Citizen Dave, stone WI D. … Medicare: “Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is trying to distance himself from the controversial Medicare plan he wrote with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), saying Rs shouldn’t call it a bipartisan proposal. This year, Ryan unveiled a new proposal, with Wyden at his side. The revised plan would give seniors a choice between private insurance and traditional Medicare. … Geekery: Call for notation to represent recursive bullsh*t.

The Trail. Debates: “In 2008, [when party conventions also occured in successive weeks], Obama and McCain had relatively small bounces that didn’t much influence the race. 2012 seems likely to repeat that scenario. [I]f we are to see game changers in 2012, it will be the debates.” … Supreme Court: “[G]iven the current makeup of the Supreme Court a change in the ideology of only one Justice could have had a profound impact on the course of constitutional law. What, then, will happen if President Romney has the opportunity to replace one of the moderate liberals or President Obama has the opportunity to replace one of the conservatives? My guess is that for such a nominee to win confirmation, she will have to be someone whose judicial philosophy is a complete mystery.” … Water, Lynn Sweet: “But the drought in a sense can be an election sleeper issue: Lower crop yields mean higher prices for food and ethanol-based products. With a poor economy the biggest threat to Obama’s re-election, the drought is far more of a potential problem for Obama than Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.”

DNCon. OccupyTheDNC: “DNC Planning Guide Revised for Events on Private Property Final includes this gem: “It is your responsibility to request an initial a review no later than 30 days prior to a DNC-related event.” Event permits for private property?! … Coalition to March on Wall Street South: “The Boston school bus drivers union combed the main campus of Central Piedmont Community College [in NC], handing out fliers promoting the Sept. 2 march. Protest planners also announced they have set up 20 organizing centers across the country, including eight in NC.”

RNCon. OccupyTampa: “We currently occupy a privately-owned, publicly accessible park (fittingly named “Voice of Freedom). The owner has donated the space for use by the Occupy Movement.Facilities include: running water, two port-a-potties, parking, Internet access, and electricity.”

Green Party. Money: “It has been over a month since the Jill Stein campaign applied for primary season matching funds, and the Federal Election Commission still hasn’t told the campaign if the submission is sufficient.” …. Jill Stein: “So Mitt Romney is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing. Barack Obama is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, but they both essentially have the same agenda.”

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Kabuki: “Whether it’s true or not, senior advisers to President Obama’s re-election campaign believed, long before presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney picked WI Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, that Romney had been oddly and helpfully ‘collaborative’ in making the Obama case against him. Obama’s senior ranks see Ryan as a gift, and a choice one at that.” Odd? Why?

Romney. Overton Window: “A “Ryanised” debate will — one hopes — force Americans to think in first principles about what they really expect from the federal government and how it should be funded.” Headline: “Franklin Roosevelt or Ayn Rand.” As if Obama were FDR! … Polls: “Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan scores the lowest initial ratings from Americans of any vice presidential pick since the controversial choice of Dan Quayle nearly a quarter-century ago, a weekend USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.” Ouch. … FL: “If Obama were to win FL, Romney would need to win CO, IA, NV, NH, NC VA, and WI. In other words, he’d have to run the table.” So, Medicare. … Chemistry: “‘Ryan jacks [Romney] up,’ said a campaign adviser. Romney is looser on the stump, at one point leading a cheer of “Paul! Paul! Paul!” The crowds at Romney/Ryan events were more raucous than they have been for Romney before. Republican state offices are boasting of more volunteers. The convention will look better on television.” … Advance work: “The Romney-Ryan double act on Sunday attracted between 10,000 and 15,000 to a campaign event in High Point, North Carolina. The venue had room for only 1,200.” Always book a hall that’s too small!

Obama. Oppo: “Let me apologize. I originally had a too-credulous item here linking to a piece at The Richmonder alleging that Paul Ryan has sold bank shares after a closed door meeting with Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke on the financial crisis in 2008.” Amateur oppo. … Tinpot tyrants: “Obama campaign operatives barred me from talking to voters outside the event, to the point of interfering with my interviews and grabbing my microphone. [The Obama supporter I had been interviewing] called the interference of campaign aides ‘un-American.'” Because it is.

* 26 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with a Butter Cow steak for everybody on the floor of the Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. There are 26 letters in the alphabet.

* * *

Antidote du jour (Robert M, via the Washington Post):

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  1. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Yves, congratulations. Just do your thing, and they’ll be wowed. Thanks for the welcome environment at NC.

    1. 2little2late

      Yes! How refreshing to see someone with a voice like Yves Smith on the guest list at an event like this. Thank you indeed.

      1. psychohistorian

        It is why she won’t have a problem.

        The students of this class will get their money’s worth, not a doubt. Will it be recorded for later broadcast?

        Yeah Yves!!!

    2. Wendy

      Wow, small world. I used to work with one of your co-panelists, Mr. Rosenbaum, at his prior law firm. Not exactly of Yves’ intellectual firepower, but a pretty good litigator, and it looks like he wound up on a right side of the RMBS fight, representing investors. I’ll be interested to hear your post-session comments.

      1. Wendy

        (No slight to Mr R on the intellectual firepower comment, btw. few who of Yves’ intellectual caliber, in my experience, including myself. just me $0.02)

    3. La Caterina

      I was hoping to cheer Yves on at the event, but they’re charging $75 even for public interest attorneys. :-(

      1. Aquifer

        I know what you mean – the same with med assoc functions – i guess the assumption is that all docs and lawyers are rich …

    1. p78

      “Organization and mutual aid are essential aspects in most animal cultures, including orangutans.
      Zoos, however, are places wherein that culture is restricted or even destroyed. This is done, whether intentionally or not, through the removal of autonomy, break up of the family unit, restriction on corporeal movement, continuous transfer of animals from one facility to next, and in the alternation of other living patterns. Psychologists would call this a process of alienation and institutionalization.
      Hence what we tend to see in zoos is a much more individualistic-based community, regardless of the species. Yet, cooperation and cooperative resistance can occur.”

      …For a moment I thought they were describing corporations/ multinationals. :(

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Many people tend to forget cooperation.

        We need a healthy balance between competition and cooperation. Can’t have one without the other.

        Balance is the key.

        Any -ism that advocates going extreme with any one of the two is delusional.

        ‘The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.’

      2. JTFaraday

        “…For a moment I thought they were describing corporations/ multinationals. :( ”

        Skimming this, I saw “zoos” and “alienation and institutionalization” in bold and that’s exactly what I thought.

        And then there’s the employees:

        ““You never guarantee anything with these guys,” one person grumbled of the orangutans, “because their nature is very manipulative, very observant, hard workers.””

  2. skippy

    More rand whacking… from Monbiot.

    But they have a still more powerful reason to reject her philosophy: as Adam Curtis’s documentary showed last year, the most devoted member of her inner circle was Alan Greenspan(9). Among the essays he wrote for Ayn Rand were those published in a book he co-edited with her called Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal(10). Here, starkly explained, you’ll find the philosophy he brought into government. There is no need for the regulation of business – even builders or Big Pharma – he argued, as “the ‘greed’ of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit-seeking … is the unexcelled protector of the consumer.”(11) As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a “superlatively moral system”(12). – snip

    Skippy… BTW Yves, kudos! Do take your little silver hammer cleverly disguised as a walking stick… PP.

    1. David Lentini

      While I agree with all of the points made by the “Rand Whackers” (are you a Donald Fagen fan?), I still think we desperately need a proper take down of Rand and her so-called “Objectivist” philosophy. Carping about her hypocrisy in taking medicare or caving to the studio’s demands to make major changes to “The Fountainhead” really only confirms the conclusions of those who already reject Rand’s ideas. The bigger problem is getting the true believers and fellow travelers to change; and that’s a big problem given that refuting badly made philosophical arguments is difficult enough and nearly impossible when those arguments build a utopian vision to the followers.

      The problem in refuting Rand and Greenspan is that the logic you quote is quite consistent. The real challenge is explaining that Rand and Greenspan’s argument relies on premises that are based on a view of humanity that is almost angelic. In a world in which everyone has roughly equal power, and roughly equal access to information, and roughly equal ability to interpret and argue over that information, I can perhaps see a balance of power that keeps everyone honest and accountable. But that world is a fantasy. Human history shows repeatedly that none of the conditions have ever been met for very long. Sooner rather than later, differences in ability, location, and often just plain dumb luck, create imbalances in power that enable some to impose their will over others without consequence for ethical transgressions. In short, the true measure of power is the ability to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions while assuming all of the benefits of those actions.

      Here is where the logic falls apart. In order to maintain the balance of power that keeps everyone ethical and honest, the members of society have to be willing to forego the benefits that may accrue to them. (Yes, I struck it rich by finding oil on my land; I could use that wealth to influence legislators and judges, and pay-off people to support my arguments and further better my position; but that would undermine the logic that keeps society honest and ethical; therefore, I can’t let that new wealth alter my behavior even if it means foregoing advantage.) But that’s the very definition of altruism–the self sacrifice of one’s advantage to another or a cause.

      In fact, the idea of suppressing or repressing one’s actions in the face of wealth was very much the Puritan ideal in New England in the 17th Century. And it didn’t last long. But the ideal has become baked into our culture; I would argue that it’s a central part of the idea of “American Exceptionalism” that is so central to the beliefs of the Right. Of course, it’s been a total failure as evidenced by the rise of the very laws the Right wants to repeal.

      That’s the nut we have to crack.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Agreed, David Lentini about refuting their argument.

        I would say they assume wrongly that equal power exists in a steady state and, in vain, try to build a philosophy on that shaky foundation. Equal power is the goal to aim for. Sometimes, we’re closer to it and sometimes we are further away from that goal. We have to be constantly on the alert to oppose any concentration of power – religious power, economic power, political power, information power, etc.

        As for the strong versus the weak issue, what is strong today could be weak tomorrow. I knew that when I was in the 8th, seeing some strong kids in the 1st grade became weak by the 7th grade. Not only that, everyone gets weak eventually…so weak, he/she dies. So, I must admit I don’t get the superman idea. And this applies to the world of ideas as well.

        That is to say, there is nothing appealing about big, strong, rigid, close-ended statements/assertions/dogmatism/ideas. They are not ‘super’ compared to small, weak, soft, open-ended questions/inquiries/skepticism/ideas.

        Isn’t it better to have at least one good, original question a day?

        1. David Lentini

          “I would say they assume wrongly that equal power exists in a steady state and, in vain, try to build a philosophy on that shaky foundation.”

          I wouldn’t be so quick to assign a naive motive to their arguments. We agree on the necessary premises for their logic to work, but that doesn’t mean they believe their own argument. Rand clearly believed in the sort of ubermensch that Dostoevsky decried in his writings; she adored the concept of the powerful man who imposed his will on others. It’s hard to believe Greenspan could have not shared this view given his intimate association with Rand. So, were they liars? Did they push their arguments knowing their failings?

          I suspect they built their arguments from the point of view of justifying the idea that justice is whatever favors the powerful, as Thrasymachus argues in Book I of Plato’s Republic: They wanted to justify the morality of rule by the powerful, likely an oligarchy or plutocracy, or some sort of corporatist or fascist state. Of course, as Plato and (separately) Aristotle showed, such a state would quickly degenerate into anarchy. To avoid that argument, Rand and Greenspan had to show that such as system would be stable by being fair. As we both agree, that’s nonsense. But the nonsense can’t be appreciated without following the argument back to its contradictory assumptions, which few are willing to do.

          1. Aquifer

            which few are willing to do ….

            Shucks, i love doing that with just about anything – the problem, IMO is there are VERY few if any, venues to do that in – it requires a Socratic dialogue type of conversation or, at least a debate platform, in the real sense of debate with definition of terms, statement of position, cross exam, etc.

            The folks who have access to such a venue are not interested in using it for those purposes and the ones who WOULD be interested have no access.

            And then of course, there is the idea that if you persist in peeling away the layers of an argument, you are “harrassing” someone.

            On line doesn’t work – an observer cannot assume that if one side doesn’t come back with a rejoinder it’s because (s)he is confounded – it is very frustrating to try to initiate, let alone continue, a dialogue or debate in these twittered days …..

          2. Aquifer


            methinks it is, in many cases – look what passes for “debate” these days – the rules set up in whatever places claim to be venues for such are set up to actually preclude any effective exercise of the activity ….

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity


      That has be to balanced against the very human tendency to do otherwise, and still win the trust, if they think they won’t get caught.

      1. Procopius

        Can’t think where I saw it a few days ago, but I ran across a good explanation of why neoclassical economics predicts that there will be criminal activity whenever the costs are low enough, and that society will tolerate a certain amount of criminal activity as long as the cost of stamping it out is more than the cost to society of the activity. It makes perfect sense if you accept the rational expectations hypothesis. In fact I would think it’s inexcapable, which makes me wonder why so few economists have ever mentioned it. I don’t think it came up in Adam Smith’s work, but I haven’t read The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Surely it would have been something Malthus brought up? The idea that rational profit-maximizing actors would necessarily be honest is belied by the oldest legal codes we have.

  3. vlade

    @Germany vetoing Greece – it’s one of their last chances to get what they want w/o too much of direct blame.

    I.e. the ability to break with EUR. I wrote about it before, they would like the ability to escape, but without the blame of being the first of breaking the artifice and the myth of “united” Europe (Europe doesn’t need EUR to be relatively united, in fact EUR is breaking it up along national lines again, much more so than ever since the war ex Iron Curtain)

  4. Ottawan

    Another strange piece on Standard Chartered, this time thanks to Reuters via the ol’ Mop and Pail.

    Standard Chartered CEO takes lead in Iran probe talks

    “Mr. Sands cut his vacation short when details of the New York regulator’s allegations emerged.”
    “Clearly there was concern amongst all our stakeholders. Obviously a swift settlement would be ideal, but it has to be on acceptable terms,” the Standard Chartered spokesman said.”
    “A person familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mr. Lawsky was seeking a settlement of about $350 million. Another person with knowledge of the situation said the figure had dropped to $250 million.”
    “Investec analyst Ian Gordon believes the bank will end up paying a fine running into several hundred million dollars but said it could afford to do so because of its strong balance sheet. He recommends clients buy the stock.”

  5. Goin' South

    An Ursula Le Guin quote from The Dispossessed to begin the daily countdown?

    Excellent, Lambert. And appropriate to the subject matter.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Haven’t read the book, but I think this is what you mean by that.

        I was reading my Twitter timeline at the moment of the announcement. (I follow nearly 2K accounts). All of a sudden, Twits with ostensibly progressive, Occupy- or Anonymous-related names began linking to Obama for America.

        Rather than tilt at windmills, potentially automated ones at that, I just unfollowed them.

  6. fresno dan

    Kangaroos, Bananas and the Rule of Law Ilargi:
    “…the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations amassed 56 million pages of memos, documents, prospectuses and emails…”

    A mere 56 million pages …why, that’s scarely any evidence at all!!! Now say they had 385 quadtrillion pages of Goldman Sachs saying that they eat millions of blind orphan babies – that might, just might, get them a fine of 150$. As long as they had baby bones, testiments written in blood, and videotapes. MORE EVIDENCE!

  7. alan

    Regarding the Rolling Stone piece about the continuing generalized war on whistle blowers.
    At what point did we become a nation of Good Germans? That’s alway’s been the one principled thing in my life, to not just sit back/keep quiet while the trains are pulling into the camps… A little overwrought perhaps, but jeez, i see this all over, at all levels of our society (joe paterno, schools to prison in
    Mississippi,wall street,…)
    It’s a culture of “go along to get along”
    Maybe we could colonize Mars and start all over…
    What a bummer country this(U.S.) is turning into…

    1. craazyman

      I don’t get why most of those people aren’t in a penitentiary.

      WTF is Eric Holder doing? WTF is Obama doing?

      What don’t I get about this?

      I’m just a little man. A flyover person. A salt of the earth. A K-Mart Shopper. A working stiff. A member of the great unwashed. A specimen of Americana. They could put me in wax museum in 200 years as part of the early 21st century exhibit. I’d be sitting there in a room doing nothing, in effigy.

      but I’d have a confused look on my face. because I don’t get how it’s come to this. I wonder how you’d put a confused look on the face of a wax figurine? Deep thinkies.

        1. craazyman

          I won’t be a peasant if UXVY works out.

          Ayn Rand for President and Aliecster Crowley for Vice President. Is that the republican ticket: ahahhahah

          Tootie and Fruitee.

          She died sick on medicare and he died insane in a boardinghouse. The demons you play with will lay you low. But some folks think it’s worth it. ecce homo. vat-a-can you do. no pun intended. whoa!

    2. Externality

      Largely forgotten is that Paterno’s boss, then-Pennsylvania State University president Graham Spanier, has not a problem finding new employment (and keeping his university professorship). Spanier’s reported failure to report the crime to law enforcement or to notify university trustees have not kept him from even sensitive jobs:

      Former Penn State University president Graham Spanier said he will soon begin working for the federal government on projects related to national security.

      “For the next several months, as I transition to my post-presidential plans, I will be working on a special project for the U.S. government relating national security. This builds on my prior positions working with federal agencies to foster improved cooperation between our nation’s national security agencies and other entities,” Spanier said in an Email. (sic)

      Spanier was ousted as the university’s leader on Nov. 9, less than a week after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with child sex abuse.

      Historically, American elites have rewarded high-level ‘team players’ who neither rush to report misconduct nor complain if they lose their jobs when the scandal is revealed. After (or sometimes before) the scandal fades from the headlines, they are quietly found a job at a government agency, politically-connected company, think tank, etc. The theory is that is that loyalty should be rewarded, and that if one is loyal to one organization, one will be loyal to another.

      Most lower-level employees get to keep their jobs as a reward for their silence. (A few proles are, of course, thrown to the proverbial wolves for not speaking out.)

      OTOH, it is often the whistle-blowers who find themselves unemployed and unemployable in their field, aggressively investigated for misconduct, smeared as mentally ill, and socially ostracized.

      Americans have learned that, despite the official exhortations to report misconduct, the best response is often to look the other way.

      1. Externality

        Largely forgotten is that Paterno’s boss, then-Pennsylvania State University president Graham Spanier, has not had a problem finding new employment (and keeping his university professorship).

    3. Cynthia

      Most people would be surprised to hear that the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined. This is why the media and outlets like this one are necessary. The fact that these truth-telling venues are also being bullied is unconscionable. Thanks Yves, and others of you here, for all that you do in the fight for transparency!

  8. Cynthia

    Any fiscal libertarian, especially a fiscal libertarian who preaches the virtues of self-reliance and rugged individualism, would never do things that Paul Ryan has done over the years: 1) pay his way through college using Social Security benefits he received from his deceased father, 2) take a job working for a road construction company whose lion’s share of earnings come from taxpayer dollars, and 3) sign up for a health insurance plan and a retirement plan that are fully funded by the taxpayers.

    Adding to that, Ryan’s voting record clearly proves that he didn’t want to reduce the size or number of government services; he just wants take these services and privatize them, enabling him and his crony friends to profit off the backs of taxpayers. And because privatizing government services are often times more costly to run when they are run by the public sector (this is largely due to higher overhead costs, including higher executive salaries), he evidently has no interest in reducing the cost of running government services. So if anything, Ryan should describe himself as a plutocratic, crony-capitalist, but certainly not as anti-government, Ayn Rand-esque libertarian!

  9. jsmith

    Regarding indestructible robots:

    Here’s a refresher on the grey goo.

    Regarding war as entertainment:

    Um, it’s a little late to start saying that the lines between war and entertainment have become blurred in the U.S.:

    Every sporting event, every reality show with a veteran on it, every broadcast of what I like to call “politico-entertainment” – i.e., Press The Meet, FOX News, MSNBC, etc – all of these have helped blur the line between war and entertainment for more than a decade.

    Had your breakfast?

    Well, enjoy seeing it again as you view Kid Rock’s “Warrior” video that splices the murder of innocent people in with NASCAR highlights and which played in movie theaters nationwide during the opening trailers.

    But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

    The day of 9/11 and the official fairy tales that accompanied it were the ultimate blurring of lines between reality and non-reality.

    Once the “reality barricade” was literally blown out of people’s minds, then it was open season on everything else.


    Aggressive war.

    A war declared on a word.

    Honoring/accepting the murder of thousands of innocent people.

    Etc etc.

    Once people were shocked into believing that they were literally under attack by building-destroying Arab super-geniuses, every other lie and falsehood fell within the bounds of utility for the sociopathic elite.

    Yes, it’s unconscionable that a show making war entertainment would be airing but we as a nation are so far down the rabbit-hole that most “patriots” don’t even recognize the society of monsters that we were turned into more than ten years ago.

    Oh, and don’t think the producers of said “war show” didn’t count on the laughable “outrage” of “peace-minded” “lefties” to help boost ratings.

    What, you cheered on the illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the sodomizing of Qaddafy with a knife and now the rape/destruction of Syria but a reality TV show about war is just the last straw, eh?


    1. Walter Wit Man

      I get the sense this propaganda is working less and less.

      These shows are so outrageous now that most people I know think they’re ridiculous.

      Take the pro millionaire shows where some lucky slave “wins” a new house or the millionaire boss goes undercover and rewards the slave that devotes himself to the plantation even when he doesn’t know the slave master is looking.

      But, on the other hand, America does love killing people and this does not seem to be abating. Here we are over ten years of permanent war and the U.S. is expanding it’s wars into Syria and beyond. We’ve just slaughtered tens of thousands of people in Libya and Syria and most slaves have no clue! Most slaves in the Democrat party actually think Obama is terrorizing Syria into peace, or something.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘America does love killing people and this does not seem to be abating.’

        It sure don’t. When the late Helen Gurley Brown wrote Sex and the Single Girl fifty years ago, some thought that female empowerment would change politics for the better.

        And indeed, women constitute a larger share of Congress and presidential cabinets than they did fifty years ago, as can be confirmed here:

        But the most influential of them turned out to be just gut-bucket war whores like Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

        Any notion that prominent women might want to save others’ sons from useless slaughter is defunct when fighting in the endless Asiafrican conflict is a minimum-wage job for the underclass.

        Perhaps some female combat vet will return to write Mass Slaughter and the Single Girl.

      2. Cynthia

        Can anyone — preferably, the folks at NBC — imagine the non-stop, full-throated outrage that would spew from American pundits’ mouths if it were discovered that an Iranian TV show were dedicated to the same militaristic claptrap with the same objectives? Where in successive episodes, the show’s stars would compete to shoot at paper enemy targets, destroy guard towers, and blow up ammunition caches? You’d hear no end of it, about how awful and sadistic and murderous those Terrorists are for propagandizing their citizens into thinking that War Is Good for the Iranian people.

        As usual, War Is Good when We do it, but not when They do it, nor if They object to Us doing it to Them.

    2. Cynthia

      The Pentagon has been knee deep in Hollywood for years, but especially after 9/11. They’ve had their hand in cross-marketing with many movies, such as X-Men First Class, some of the Transformer films, and of course the upcoming Bin Laden movie. Also, if I recall correctly, the US Army helped fund a video game to glorify military service and help with recruiting.

      This show is just a natural extension of the Media-Military-Industrial-Complex propaganda machine.

      1. barrisj

        It’s unlikely that Wes Clark would allow it, but to give a better sense of identity with today’s modern US military, the female contestants – as part of their “challenge” – should be tasked with avoiding mass rape or other such sexual abuses, as these now have reached near-record levels (reported and otherwise) at home US bases. Witness the training scandals involving incoming female recruits at Lackland AFB for starters. So, right, let’s really give the audience at home some of the real flavour of life in the military – it’s not just marching and drilling!

  10. Brian

    Want to see what foreclosure fraud is about, read the Nardi deposition for a Washington Mutual loan. This poor sole (of shoe) has been indoctrinated that up is down and good bad. He is beyond understanding basic law regarding a note and mortgage, and in the 350 pages repeats his ignorance so many times it is frightenening.
    The banks hire the semi literate to do the job their attorney’s can’t. Sign off on anything as though they are qualified, capable, or sentient.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Kangaroo escapes with help from boar and fox.

    I don’t think robots can do that…yet.

  12. Lambert Strether

    On Epstein’s credentials and credentials generally:

    One thing any anti-resource extraction activist has to do is become a subject matter expert not only in the field, but in the shenanigans in the corporate playbook, and in the permitting and appeals process. That’s a ton of expertise, more hard won and probably of more social utility anything from a diploma mill, and it should be respected (as true experts in the field always do, eg Levitan).

    This is true for Epstein, and it’s also true for the fracking, sand mining, pipeline, water, wind, mountain top removal activists whose activities I am doggedly placing before you.

    1. Aquifer

      Amen! You have to be twice as good to be considered half as good (a dynamic women are quite familiar with, which is why, IMO, so many effective activists at this level are women :))

      And a big key is “poor man’s research”. When you don’t have the money or the “credentials” to do de novo research, you have to rely on the documents put out by the opposition; luckily the opposition is often dumber, or at least sloppier, than you are, and hasn’t noticed that its own documents contain so many internal inconsistencies and contradictions or outright refutations of its own claims that you often don’t even need outside studies to prove them bogus or BS. It really is amazing ….

      The biggest problem, of course, is wading through it all …

  13. Shutterbuggery

    Re the high speed video of flipping cats…

    My father was an abusive son of a bitch. He loved to hold the cat upside down and drop it. He laughed like a maniac watching the cat frantically twisting itself around. The cat was always terrified.

    1. Mary

      I too find this repulsive. Let someone hold this smartass kid upside down by his ankles and drop him, and see if he lands on his feet. It is well known that people who become sadistic toward humans start out by abusing defenseless animals.

      I expect to see and enjoy cute (or at least interesting) pictures of animals in the Antidote du Jour, not videos of animal abuse.

    1. Klassy!

      Why bother? Davis Guggenheim has it covered and he is so much more palatable to third wayers.
      Effective evil, folks. Must be effective.

  14. ep3

    re: nyt article on paul ryan.

    the great quote from him was the TARP quote. ‘to uphold my principles, i am going to violate my principles’.

    but yves, what got me was the last few paragraphs. How it discusses the debt ceiling battle and what bondholders were telling him to do. It really speaks volumes about the wringing the wealth from average people by the wealthy elite. The bondholder wants the confidence that he’s gonna be paid. Regardless if a few million people starve. Or die. Someone needs to post extensively on those paragraphs.

    1. Aquifer

      In medical jargon – TIA stands for “transient ischemic attack” or what folks think of as a “mini stroke” …

      So can TIA figure out what happens when a TIA happens, or maybe we can figure out how to make TIA have a TIA …

      1. Up the Ante

        .. such flippancy ..

        Total Information Awareness

        Or perhaps it is not flippancy. It may be spy-drone’s required affirmation-effort to thwart awareness of Spy’s extent when queing to express ‘itself’.


        Could a Spy-replicant feel uncomfortable knowing that Everything it does is completely ‘predicted’ ?

        Do Spy-replicants abhor others’ awareness of themselves w/out permission ?

        1. Aquifer

          Yes, well i am aware what TIA stands for in gov’t jargon – which makes it all the more fascinating to me that it means close to the opposite in organic terms – during a TIA at least parts of one’s brain are shut off from blood supply temporarily and cannot access or process information …

          So what you may consider a “flippant” response may be key to disabling Big Brother ….

  15. Hugh

    Giavazzi argues that Italy is nothing like Spain. And this is unquestionably true. Spain is run by kleptocrats who speak Spanish whereas Italy is run by kleptocrats who speak Italian. So they’re not similar at all.

    Also Spain is being forced into austerism and selling off the commons by a bunch of unelected foreigners whereas Giavazzi thinks that Italy’s own unelected government should embrace auterism and the selling off of the commons. So again totally different from the Spanish case.

    It’s amazing how anyone could equate the two or that Giavazzi has a paying job writing on this stuff.

    1. Max424

      Disagree. The two southern Mediterranean rump-states couldn’t be more dissimilar.

      For instance, España is shaped like an inverted thunderhead, while Italia is shaped like a boot.

      Also, in the former Italian Republic, the rain falls predominately on random Roman Catholics, while in Roman Catholic Spain, the rain falls mainly on the plain.

      So you see, totally different.

      1. Ms G

        Also, “burro” means two totally different things in the 2 countries: “donkey” (Spain), “butter” (Italy).

        But “cleptocracia” (Spanish) and “cleptocrazia” (Italian) mean exactly the same thing in both countries — and it derives (in both cases, from . . . Greek!)

        Could not resist reprinting the Wikipedia definitions for the Sp. and It. versions of the concept:

        Cleptocracia (del griego. clepto: quitar; y cracia: fuerza = dominio de los ladrones) es el establecimiento y desarrollo del poder basado en el robo de capital, institucionalizando la corrupción y sus derivados como el nepotismo, el clientelismo político, el peculado, de forma que estas acciones delictivas quedan impunes, debido a que todos los sectores del poder están corruptos, desde la justicia, funcionarios de la ley y todo el sistema político y económico.

        Es un término de reciente acuñación, y se suele usar despectivamente para decir que un gobierno es corrupto y ladrón.

        Cleptocrazia (dal greco: κλέπτω “kleptō” e κράτος “kratos”, ovvero governo del furto) è un termine informale peggiorativo, per indicare una forma di governo che rappresenta il culmine della corruzione politica e che rappresenta una forma estrema dell’uso del governo per la ricerca della rendita.

        In una cleptocrazia il governante e i suoi accoliti usano i meccanismi di governo per tassare pesantemente la popolazione allo scopo di ammassare delle fortune personali. I “cleptocrati” possono impiegare diversi metodi (riciclaggio di denaro, conti bancari anonimi, falso in bilancio e altri) come sistema per proteggere e nascondere i loro guadagni illeciti.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Future movement prediction. Within 65 foot accuracy?

    That’s bad news for Scarlet Pimpernel.

  17. Hugh

    At the Presidential level in the last 40 years, most changes in party have been a rejection of the previous Administration, not a mandate for the incoming one. Nixon was a rejection of the Johnson Administration. Carter of Nixon-Ford. Reagan of Carter. Clinton of Reagan-Bush. Bush II of Clinton, and Obama of Bush II. I think you would have to go back to the Kennedy election in 1960 for a President who was elected on their own account.

    Electoral mandates are mostly manufactured. Republicans have been much more aggressive in claiming them, no matter how flimsy the grounds. The most egregious example of this has got to be Bush II who basically stole the 2000 election and then claimed a mandate anyway. Remember his trillion dollar tax cut for the rich passed before 9/11. Of course, 9/11 conferred an unelected mandate on him that was exploited to the fullest by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, Libby, Wolfowitz, and any other anti-democratic neocon imperialist who stumbled by.

    In general, Republicans consider any election won or stolen a mandate, and Democrats acquiesce in this. While even if the Democrats actually can lay claim to a mandate, they don’t use it or under-use it, and the Republicans reject it entirely.

    1. Aquifer

      Which is why, ISTM, that we need to abjure the use of the vote as a rejectionist tool, i.e. as a statement of what we don’t want, and start using it in an affirmative way – as a statement of what we do. If we do that it seems quite clear that the choice of a “lesser evil” party over a “greater good” party is pretty dumb ….

  18. brian

    movie concept
    a 17 foot burmese python sets its sites of the republican convention in tampa
    nothing can stop it
    chris christie
    a battle to the death

  19. curlydan

    On the Bill Black interview and Kansas GOP politics, it’s probably worse than he described. Not only are the poor punished under the new state income tax schemes, but LLC and S-Corp owners in Kansas no longer have to pay _any_ state income tax on their business’s income. That’s insanity Kansas-plutocrat-style.

    1. Ms G

      I’m going out and re-organizing as “Ms. G LLC” and “Ms G Inc. (S Corp)” and moving to Kansas. Great incentives for building a polis. Go Kansas.

  20. jsmith

    Here’s another wonderful story from the rabid pro-Israel Americans among us:

    Buses in S.F. started rolling out today with this following statement plastered all over their sides:



    Brought to you by the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

    From the AFDI’s website:

    “FDI acts against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials, the mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism, the ever-encroaching and unconstitutional power of the federal government, and the rapidly moving attempts to impose socialism and Marxism upon the American people.

    “It acts against these evils by:

    Organizing grass root small groups at the local level to fight specific Islamic supremacist initiatives in American cities

    Sponsoring anti-jihad bus and billboard campaigns to counter CAIR’s pro-Islamic bus and billboard campaigns

    Organizing counter protests to anti-Israel, anti-Z**nism demonstrations

    A couple of MY favorites:

    Building strategic alliances with activist groups in Europe and Israel to engage in open and stealthy counter jihad measures.

    Supporting Geert Wilders and others who are fighting attacks on free speech by the Leftist/Islamic alliance

    1. jsmith

      Stealthy alliances with people like Geert Wilders to defeat all – what,two? – Wahhabi Marxists living and sneaking among us, eh?

      Nah, America is a getting healthier all the time.

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