Links 9/12/12

Relaxed Cat Sitting Like People is Surely a Harbinger of the Catpocalypse Gawker

What does ‘healthier’ mean? Columbia Journalism Review

Noted smut rag The New Yorker banned from Facebook for obscene cartoon ars technica

In California, a Stench is Born (and Blown) New York Times

Helping poor farmers help themselves against drought VoxEU

Privacy watchdog urges debate on aerial drones Sydney Morning Herald (Lambert)

You only get the broad picture [updated] FT Alphaville

What’s at Stake in the Euro Rescue Fund Ruling? Der Spiegel

Draghi plan is more make-do-and-mend John Plender, Financial Times

Lagarde Lying? Bruce Krasting

In unusual snub, Obama to avoid meeting with Netanyahu Reuters and US and Israel in open feud over Iran Financial Times. This follows a major scaling back of joint military exercises.

And then we have: Obama, Netanyahu agree on blocking Iran nuclear program Associated Press. So what sexual favors were exchanged for the Administration to get the AP to run a very helpful headline that misrepresents the content?

And even more fun: Netanyahu blasts Obama administration ahead of election Foreign Policy (Lambert). An article with a similar headline at the WSJ got 1127 comments in a bit over 6 hours (most of those on the graveyard shift).

TSA Detains Woman Due to ‘Attitude‘ ABC (Valissa)

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on SEAL book: “We’re not going to accept this kind of behavior” CBS (Garrett Pace)

Southern whites troubled by Romney’s wealth, religion Reuters

As Paul Ryan Lines Up Behind Rahm, the Scheme to Privatize Chicago Schools Becomes Clear Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

Chicago strike: Parents support teachers, but for how long? Associated Press

Cost of housing meltdown rivals GDP: MBA conference Housing Wire

Bank Branches Continue To Vanish Huffington Post. Bank branching was clearly overdone (displacement of liquor stores was a clear tell) but that does not mean they will not go too far in the other direction.

Moody’s threat to strip US of top rating Financial Times

Footnote to Financial Crisis: More People Shun the Bank Wall Street Journal

The Fed’s Synthetic QE Program Has Been Working Great Clusterstock

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lambert here:

Mission elapsed time: T + 5 and counting*

When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep. –Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Chicago Teachers Strike. The Obama: “Obama is between a rock and a hard place. He can’t support the teachers, not only because the Rs will jump on him but because the teachers are striking against his own education policies. On the other hand he can’t condemn them for the strike and turn off many teachers around the nation who not only vote but are activists in elections.” So he’s “for the children.” Like everybody! … Negotiation 101: “[CPA board President David Vitale* of the union:] This is not the behavior of a group of people that are serious about the interests of our children.” [* connections; “Mr. Vitale gained experience in a number of industries, including education, banking, financial services and investment management.” Power: “Thousands of red shirts* were swarming south on Clark Street, chants rising toward the tops of skyscrapers, protest signs bobbing in the September sun.This was serious power. Here was an army made visible.” [* Cf. VA -> Evictions] … Signage: “‘Fighting to make CPS a district where Rahm would send his kids” Ouch. … ChicagoLand: “The ruckus in [Lake Forest] is one of several contract battles being fought outside of the city. [S]uburban negotiations center on the traditional issues of pay and benefits.”

CA. Occupy: “Protesters with the Occupy movement, the ACLU and homeless advocacy groups dined on the front lawn of City Hall afternoon – an action that could land them a misdemeanor charge by the end of the night. The City Council is scheduled tonight to debate a new set of laws governing the use of the City Hall grounds. The ordinance would allow protests without permits or fees during the day, but require permits for a host of actions – including noisemakers and signs.” Signs?!?!? … Pensions: “Gov. Jerry Brown, who will travel to Los Angeles to sign legislation reducing public employee pension benefits, said today that the measure, though less sweeping than he proposed, is ‘the most that could be gotten’.”

FL. Zietgeist watch: “”You can have your doomsday bunker if you want. You just can’t make it out of stolen materials.” … Ballot: “[The FL ballot is] so long that voters will have to fill out [5 sheets] with races on both sides, then feed those multiple pages through ballot scanners, one page at a time.” Recipe for long lines, jams, miscounts, and challenges. … Water: “Although West Palm Beach water officials say they don’t need help from outsiders to buttress their supply, two rock-mining companies want the city to buy into their plans to build reservoirs and then sell the water to the city.”

GA. Militia: “Four former Army soldiers and a civilian have been charged in new indictments for connections to a militia allegedly led by [Isaac Aguigui,] a Chelan County man and other Fort Stewart, Ga., troops. A Liberty County grand jury indicted the five on charges of illegal gang activity and various counts involving theft, burglary and auto break-ins. Those crimes were committed to help fund the militia group [F]our of the men charged in the latest indictments are former soldiers. The new indictments bring to 10 the total number of people charged in connection with the militia group.” Well, no more “anarchist” nonsense at least. … Charters: “Half of Georgia voters surveyed support changing the state constitution to allow the state to grant charters to schools begun by parents over the objections of local school boards.”

IA. Air war: “The air war in Iowa’s first Congressional district is fully engaged, with four new television commercials in the last week alone.” Click through for YouTubes, transcripts.

MD. Infrastructure: “Inspectors for the [Maryland State Highway Administration] have discovered cracks on 10 bridges along the new $2.5 billion [Intercounty Connector] toll highway.” “New.”

ME. Corruption: “Not even LePage’s own personal advocacy group is willing to dispute that: 1. Companies that stand to profit from [pro-charter] changes in ME’s laws gave tens of thousands of dollars to support his candidacy and that 2. A foundation funded by these corporations that advocates for policies that would help their bottom line was then allowed to write key portions of LePage’s education agenda.” Baldacci’s landfill; LePage’s charters.

NV. Charters: “Combine the top two reasons for charter failure and we find 65.7% going down because of financial constraints and/or mismanagement. ” Good takedown. Too bad both parties support corporate schools.

NY. Pipeline: “A compressor station, commissioned by the Millennium Pipeline and fast-tracked by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), is slated to go up in the middle of a residential community in Minisink, NY [populated by many 9/11 first responders,] posing both environmental and health risks due to the high quantity of toxic emissions from this type of facility.” … Corruption: “Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone’s lobbying firm was hit with a mind-boggling $470,000 fine — but got it knocked down to $70,000 after it hired the former head of the State Lobby Commission to plead its case before a judge.”

OH. Voting: “Plaintiffs Judicial Watch, Inc. and True the Vote filed a complaint against OH SoS Husted, [alleging] that Husted has not made reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from voter registration rolls.”

PA. Fracking: “When [Gas Safety, Incorporated’s Bob] Ack­ley brought his equip­ment to Leroy Town­ship, he found two plumes of [methane] gas [from fracking wells] in the air — one stretch­ing more than 10 miles. He also doc­u­mented pock­ets of gas under the ground, and doc­u­mented ele­vated methane lev­els in one family’s home.”

TX. Demography: “U.S. Rep. Canseco, R-San Antonio, and his challenger, state Rep. Gallego, D-Alpine, have agreed to a Spanish-language debate in their CD-23 race.”

VA. Public good: “Nearly 7,000 Virginia children whose families have opted to keep them out of public school for religious reasons are not required to get an education, the only children in the country who do not have to prove they are being home-schooled or otherwise educated, according to a study.” … Occupy: “[A] jury found Richard Alexander Clay, who has no fixed address, not guilty of attempting to burn down the tent Rose Purdy and Michael Sloan called home for several weeks last fall as part of the Occupy Charlottesville protest against the unfair distribution of wealth.” … Evictions: “On what used to be [Phebie Seay’a] front lawn, a group of redshirted activists* were protesting against what they say is a series of short-notice evictions involving public housing residents. About 30 people showed up to support Seay and demand that the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority follow the right policies when it comes to evictions.” [* Cf. Chicago Teachers Strike -> Power]

WA. Legalization: “[T]he [Children’s Alliance, a Seattle-based advocacy group with more than 100 social-service agencies as members.] board voted to endorse I-502 for a specific reason: Children in minority households pay ‘a terrible price’ for racially biased enforcement of marijuana laws.”

WI. Air war: “Obama plans to begin airing television advertisements in WI starting on Wednesday, another sign of the state’s increasing importance in the race.”

Outside baseball. LIHOP? “Could the 9/11 attack have been stopped, had the Bush team reacted with urgency to the warnings contained in all of those daily briefs?” … Fracking: “How did natural gas win a favored role in the Obama administration’s tightened vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, alongside electric vehicles and other carbon-free sources? It was a victory for messaging, coupled with some veiled legal threats and a president who has expressed his fondness for natural gas and the jobs it can creates.” … Incentives: “After another bust, 10 reasons incentives deals stink.” David Cay Johnston territory, from a local paper. … Blast from the past: Dole/Kemp ’96.

Emerging parties. Polls: “The likely voters show: Obama 51%, Romney 43%, Johnson 3%, Stein 1%, undecided/other 2%.”

The trail. Unlikely voters: “[In] last two polls conducted by CNN, we see that President Obama’s post-convention bump was primarily a change in the composition of likely voters, not in the preferences of registered voters–as the Times’ Nate Silver was quick to point out. [Nevertheless, in one study] 55% of those who say they will not vote still do so in the end.” … Whites: “[A]cross the Bible Belt, 38 percent of these voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who is ‘very wealthy’ than one who isn’t. This is well above the 20 percent who said they would be less likely to vote for an African-American.” … Males: “Several polls released in recent days show Obama displaying new strength among male voters. Romney needs to win the male electorate by a wide margin to overcome the chronic disadvantage the GOP faces with respect to women.” So whacking OBL was savvy. … The economy: “[Pew: T]here has been a modest decline in the percentage of Americans saying news about the economy is mostly bad — with virtually all of the change coming among Ds.” Clap harder? … The narrative: “The Secretary of Explaining Stuff came to Miami on Tuesday — and he lived up to the new nickname given him by Obama,” who may actually believe this.

The Romney. The two-sided mouth: “One of Romney’s latest television commercials in IA asserts that cutting government spending and eliminating the federal deficit will create 130,000 jobs in IA. Meanwhile, in states with more military bases and defense sector industry, Romney campaign advertising promises to create hundreds of thousands of jobs by reversing planned cuts in defense spending.” … Pearl clutching? “[LAURA INGRAHAM:] If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people.” Ouch! … Fainting couch? “[CHARLIE COOK:] It is becoming clear that if President Obama is reelected, it will be despite the economy and because of his campaign; if Mitt Romney wins, it will be because of the economy and despite his campaign.”

The Romney. Bounce: Gallup has a keen chart. … Bounce, Nate Silver: “The unusually low volatility in the polls this year also makes Mr. Obama’s bounce more difficult to analyze. Since the numbers have been very hard to move, does that imply that when a candidate does see a shift, his numbers are more likely to remain intact and establish a new normal?” … Bounce: “The main change has been a shift among Democrats, coalescing around their party’s nominee.” … Ethos: “[OBAMA:] I’m at my best when I believe what I am saying.” And the White House approved that quote. Alrighty then…

Slogan of the day: “The Romney and The Ryan are the great sun of the people!”

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Antidote du jour. From Twisted Files (furzy mouse):

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  1. Middle Seaman

    Obama and Emmanuel have identical education reform ideas. They both sacrificing the teachers to fit a mythology that school are dysfunctional because of bad teachers.

    First, American school are quite good except in poor areas. How good do you expect school to be with little money and families who send their kids to school are unemployed or are working poor?

    It’s not the teachers; it’s the politicians.

    1. Richard Kline

      Paul Ryan and Rahm Emanuel: twins seperated at birth. You couldn’t fit a credit card in between these guys’ actual intentions, the surface spin for the dupes and cameras notwithstanding. —And somebody just like them is going to be POTUS within ten years as things trend.

      The beef against ‘the schools’ is far more complex than ‘those teachers.’ In fact, the beef has only gotten around to the teachers latterly and sloppily (though viciously and mendaciously as never before). The beef with schools was that they became a _legally mandated vehicle for social change_, i.e. including and educating non-whites, and setting religious fantasies wholly in their place [that is, elsewhere], and so on. Those who don’t like these kind of social changes of course have blamed it all upon ‘the schools’ which ‘must be failures, just look.’ It’s bigoted, anti-intellectual, nonsense, but it can be sold to a fat slice of the public. And selling it keeps the public busy wrangling on ‘the schools’ rather than paying attention to the crimes of Wall Street and US imperial policy. Emanuel? He doesn’t give a damn about the schools one way or the other, but it’s _great_ theater to take the public’s minds off the failures and malfeasance of the Obama Administration, isn’t it? “Look, over here folks: ‘those teachers’ stealing OUR money while preaching pinko subversion!”

      1. Cynthia

        Privatizing public schools won’t do a better job at educating our kids, nor will they do a better job at cutting out the costly red tape of educating our kids. Quite the contrary. This neoliberal privatization scheme, pushed by the likes Rahm Emanuel and Paul Ryan, shifts even more taxpayer dollars into the hands of school administrators and others bureaucratic dead weights, leaving classroom teachers with reduced salaries and fewer benefits.

        Neoliberal parasites on Wall Street did this to our hospitals, most of which get well over half of their funds from public sources, i.e. Medicare and Medicaid, now they want to do this to our publicly funded schools. This will result in a wider pay gap between classroom teachers and teachers employed as school administrators, just as it resulted in a wider pay gap between bedside nurses and nurses employed as hospital administrators.

        As I have mentioned before, and ad near nauseum, hospitals generate most of their unnecessary costs not at the bedside level, but behind the scenes at the administrative level. I suspect the same thing will happen to schools as they are pushed further down the path to privatization.

      2. Procopius

        “…And somebody just like them is going to be POTUS within ten years as things trend.” LOL! You really think we have to wait?

    2. Working Class Nero

      It’s not just Obama and Emanuel throwing teachers under the bus; the government released a report last year about how non-Asian minority children were punished more (blacks suspended 3 ½ than whites) and Left Racialists everywhere jumped all over it denouncing those racist teachers. Of course there was no break down about how many of those teachers suspending blacks were actually black themselves! There was also a disparity between the number of boys being punished compared to the number of girls along with a huge disparity in the gender of the teachers (around 80% female). But only an idiot would call that institutional sexism or female privilege. It is clear as day that boys cause more behavior problems than girls.

      But there is no doubt as globalization erodes away the purchasing power of middle class and below Americans, corporations are increasing going to look to divert government revenue flows away from public services and into their own coffers to make up for the fact that rates of consumer good consumption will be dropping. And just like ObamaCare virtually gave Health Care corporations the right to tax; ObamaEd will eventually give the charter school industry the same privileges. I see a lot of similarities to the US failures in both health care and K-12 education. What’s interesting though is the Left’s different responses to them.

      In both healthcare and K-12 education, the US spends per capita way more than any other country in the world but gets far inferior results (Google: U.S. Education Spending and Performance vs. The World). On healthcare the Left’s policy response was fundamentally sound: emulate successful European / Canadian programs to both cut spending and increases performance even if in the end Obama took a different route. On education though, if there is any consistent response from the Left, it is that poor American schools are underfunded. This may be true within America but certainly not on an international basis. Japan and Korea spend much less per capita than the average American ghetto school district and get way higher test scores on international competitions than Americans.

      Looking at European schools systems shows that outrageous amounts of spending are not necessary for good results. But some European systems typically do spend MORE on poorer children and less on the best students. In Belgium for example, the Catholic schools are only funded at 50% of the rate of secular schools (some of which elite as well) but parents are still trying to get their kids into these schools since they know very well that the quality of the students (both intelligence and study habits) are what make a school good; not funding. And with their parents firmly behind them, it takes less money and effort to teach a student with both good study habits and an IQ of 130, advanced calculus than it takes to teach fractions to a very unmotivated kid sporting an IQ of 80 and whose parents are at best missing in action.

      But even worse, some Leftists take the racialist approach to the very real and disturbing disparities in educational achievement by race. The book with the very Orwellian title “Courageous Conversations” is the latest rage in Lefty circles, where “White Privilege” is named as the culprit for minority underachievement. Of course missing in this critique is the very inconvenient fact that two minority groups, Jews and Asian, outperform whites academically. Just look at the racial breakdown of admissions to Ivy League medical schools for example where often the Asian percentage is pushing 30% while they make up only around 5% of the population. If you look at the percentage of non-Jewish whites being admitted to elite universities it is way under their proportion of the population; and they still call it White Privilege! But this doesn’t stop school districts from spending money holding Maoist-type re-education seminars where presumably white teachers (blacks get the day off?) are browbeaten into admitting and renouncing their insidious and even unconscious white privilege that is keeping so many non-Asian minorities from becoming Harvard law professors.

      The answer of course is to take the German approach and tailor school to the various abilities and attitudes of the students. First of all an IQ level should be set for the most basic high school diploma (an IQ somewhere between 75 and 80) and then basic courses should be designed for students of this ability range. In California, where they apparently believe in the Blank Slate theory that any kid anywhere can be an Einstein or at least go to college, they keep increasing the demands for a high school diploma, where now it is Algebra 1, but in other states it is even Algebra 2. The problem is, what is the IQ required to pass Algebra 2? In California around 50% of blacks and Hispanics drop out. Many of these kids have IQs too low or other learning disabilities to pass an Algebra class (others are surely smart enough but are just slackers). So these kids are branded for life as losers. In Germany in the ninth grade lower ability kids would be tracked towards occupational training where they would learn a trade and be out in the workforce with the pride of having official qualifications by the time they were 17 or so. Not everyone is going to go to college and the schools should recognize that this is normal and there is nothing wrong with it.

      But none of this is going to happen. No one on the Left has any courage to have a much needed conversation about poor community cultural dysfunction and the Right have absolutely no interest to do so either; they are seeing these dysfunctions as a profit making opportunity. I recently spoke to a friend of a friend who is big in the “private” charter school movement. He said that due to the obvious culturally dysfunctional environments than many non-Asian minorities grow up in; the plan is to create charter boarding schools where the kids are separated from the troubled neighbourhoods and kept almost 24-7 (I think they get a few hours on Saturday with their caregivers) all to be paid for by taxpayers. Paradoxically at this point, once schools are in private no-bid contractor hands, the Right will in theory be very much in favour of increasing funding for schools in America, not for the good of the children or communities, but for the good of bottom line of the charter school corporations. But of course they will cover their asses by having some token liberal clown do the dirty work and let them put a label like ObamaEd on it.

        1. Working Class Nero

          The Civil Rights Data Collection report had something like 75% of all expulsions being male students. If you don’t accept that boys misbehave more than girls then you have to explain this huge gender disparity in expulsions. Are you really trying to say all this IS caused institutional sexism and/or female privilege?

          Do you accept that grown males are more prone to criminality than females? Nineteen out of every 20 prisoners are male. No doubt there is a little female privilege in that they probably avoid jail sentences a little more often than men, but there is no way that alone is going to explain the huge difference in numbers.

        2. ohmyheck

          I think it might be meant that US schools, in general, have a teaching style that is,”Sit Down, Shut Up and Listen”. With that in mind, girls are better at that than boys.

          I know that my school district understands that all children, regardless of sex, have different learning styles, and that they try to address this issue. They attempt, not necessarily succeed, in determining how each child learns and put them in a educational environment that suits them. Of course, this is truly difficult, but at least they recognize it and try to address the problem.

          Now don’t get me started on the Leftist’s “White Privilege” theory. But if anyone wants to study this theory in depth, feel free to wander on over to the Great Orange Satan, where they actually have a Group whose topic of focus is “White Privilege”, lead by the inimitable Tim Wise.

          I am buying a t-shirt that reads “2L4O”, which stands for “Too Left For Obama”. So, I must say that some of us are SO Left, that even “White Privilege” theory is too much conservative bunk. Just to let you know, Working Class Nero.

      1. LucyLulu

        Non-Asian minority cultural dysfunction — more commonly known as poverty.

        Our schools are competitive with top foreign countries if you eliminate schools from inner city districts and the rural dirt-poor. The U.S. has higher rates of poverty than countries that perform better, one in four children. Apparently the assorted stresses imposed by growing up in poverty have a negative influence on both behavior and learning. Quelle surprise!

        Fix the poverty problem and the educational discrepancies will disappear. As long as we don’t fix the poverty and continue to hollow out the middle class, the US will continue to underperform.

        1. F. Beard

          As long as we don’t fix the poverty and continue to hollow out the middle class, the US will continue to underperform. LucyLulu

          Correct you are.

        2. Working Class Nero

          “Our schools are competitive with top foreign countries if you eliminate schools from inner city districts and the rural dirt-poor.”

          This is true but you could say the same thing about US health care as well.

          One could argue all day about cultural dysfunction; obviously most Asian immigrants who came over to work in sweat shops over the previous decades and lived in abject poverty in the various Chinatowns managed to properly educate their children. But it’s clear not all cultures are going to be that eufunctional so it’s probably not a good idea to propose such a solution to inner city and rural poverty although there are plenty of examples of schools that do manage to do a good job in these areas. But there are extremes in certain communities where for example a child of poverty who actually does try to do well in school is often bullied and harassed for “acting white”.

          The only way to “fix” poverty is for poor people (my definition of poor is people on government welfare programs such as food stamps, Section 8, Aid for Dependent Children, etc) to move up to the working class (which I would define as people working in modest jobs who do not receive traditional welfare benefits). But the evil results of globalization are lowering working class salaries and pushing more people onto government benefits and expanding the poor classes.

          At the same time the working class people barely managing to stay off government programs are increasingly exposed to the bad schools and dysfunctional cultures of poverty. Certainly upper middle class people and above have the financial wherewithal to protect their children from these types of environments. Part of the recent housing boom was fueled by working / middle class people trying to buy their way into “good” school districts.

          But even if we did adopt the German model and concentrated educating poor people to step up and become productive working class citizens, the economic context of globalization, where working class jobs are either off-shored to the third world or the third world is in-shored to lower salaries would mean that even after the best training, very few people are going to venture away from the limited shelter provided by the government programs of poverty in order to go off on their own to try to make ends meet in a working class environment increasingly being told to compete with third world wages.

  2. LucyLulu

    Watched a show on C-span with the former Chief of Command of the Israeli Defense 2005-7 speaking at the Brookings Institute on 9/11. He seemed straightforward in his statement and responses to questions. His take was that while there were always disagreements in any relationship between two nations, any disagreement shouldn’t be overstated and didn’t detract from the general agreement between US and Israel. Both countries seek to use force in Iran as a “last, last, last, last, last resort” and prefer to enlist the agreement of a coalition of the major world nations in cooperating more fully (esp. China and Russia) with sanctions before force would be used. In his opinion, the sanctions have not been felt by the people as the people don’t hold dollars. If the people feel pressure to choose between bread and nukes, they will pressure their leadership from within. He also said that political maneuvering on both sides before the election have been adding apparent frictions but to be careful not to make assumptions about what was going on behind the scenes. He chastised those who had aired recent disagreements between US and Israeli figures in the media as being irresponsible. The outcome in Syria could affect Iran’s stance by lessening their footprint in the Middle East if the new regime is unfriendly to Hezbollah.

    He sure didn’t sound hardline like Netanyahu. He didn’t come across as the PR/politician/diplomat “smooth-things-over” type either.

    1. Richard Kline

      The major, under-reported story of 2012 has been the relentless, and quite insane, efforts throughout this year to provoke some kind of American bombing run/war incident with Iran by any and all means necessary. A whole series of black flag ‘terrorist assaults,’ so farcically and blatantly executed they have fooled absolutely nobody despite Israeli screaming “It’s the aytollahs over there!” Endless plants and overt musings in the world’s press. The obvious attempt to use the 2012 election as an opportunity to pressure the sitting President of the US ‘not to seem weak whilst on the hustings.’ Just the most most venomous, seemingly daft effort to shove the USA into another war ‘over there.’ Once Obama’s polls went up decisively (the 2012 election is over, folks) he sent parties directly and indirectly to spell out just how much the Israelis were out in the cold on this, leading to ‘stabbed in the back’ howlings from the madmen running things in Zion.

      And still I say ‘under-reported’ evev while the individual events have all been duly screen-crawled before the eyes of the public (I mean Israel is soooo ‘important’ that no tree dustdevil over there can spin but that it makes top of the hour news in the US). But they have been left as invidual events rather than reported as an overt campaign _by Israel_ to trick or force America into a war the Israelis are dying, against all patent sense and interest, to provoke. Iran has no bomb, no ‘bomb program,’ and is, frankly, a trivial security concern to the US on any level. The Israeli campaign from autumn 2011 to drive the USA into a self-damaging war is _the Number One security threat_ for America. But the media won’t let itself say that, and wouldn’t be allowed to if it tried. So this terrible dangerous story just sits there, or rather thrashes there on the living room rug, with the puzzled eyes of all averted.

      Why is Israel trying to force this war, now? It would likely damage them, and would surely harm the US, without which, let’s be frank, Israel cannot survive. The ‘War on Iran NOW’ campaign _seems_ insane on the surface. . . . But it’s not, quite. Because popular governments ARE coming in the Arab world. And popular governments are not going to be the groveling, incompetent doormats which the defeated and defeatest lackey secular Arab states of the Near East and North Africa have been for the last two generations. I hold now brief for how effective _popular_ Arab and Islamist governments will be in practice, but they will assuredly be hostile to the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine and nuclear blackmail of that part of the world by Israel. And that is why Israel needs the US to double and triple down bombing and crushing anyone ‘who might be a threat to Israel’ NOW. Because the page of time has turned, and some want to turn it back.

      Israel is unquestionably the greatest security threat to the USA anywhere in the world, and all the moreso because teh power elite in our country has convinced themselves that Israel is necessary, nay essential, to American interests. . . . There is going to be a loud series of bangs at the end of this madmen’s circus, not likely just this year, but in the endgame; the Follies of the Sunrise Shore. What the landscape looks like afterwards I’m not going to guess, other than that there’ll be quite a few more graves in it ahead of schedule.

      1. Manofsteel

        1. Israel is unimportant. What is important is the discussion about the future of that region given oil. What is important is that Iran supports more terrorist organizations than any other state. What is important is Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and possibly others going nuclear following Iran, and what that implies to US national security. What is important are Iranian interventionism and fundamentalistic aspirations to change the regimes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc. and their veto right on the regional peace process throughout their proxies. What is important is the risk of yet another North Korea (i.e. long range missiles and nuclear weapons in the hands of an unpredictable regime) while the US military capabilities are already overstretched. And what is surely important to the Obama administration on an election year is keeping the price of oil below the threshold that would prevent the democratic party from being reelected. The Iranians know all this, and as great chess players/negotiators are pushing hard to go nuclear this year, while the US is paralyzed due to elections. Israel is just the dog barking at the problem (which might be its end, but who cares). Forget about Israeli anxiety (be it justified or not), focus on US long-term interests.
        2. Israel fears wars more than anything else. As a small country, any war means 100% mobilization, putting a halt to decades of great growth and world leadership in innovation. Unlike the US, war in Israel means that each and every family sends its men (and women) to the front, and at the same time the civilians are bombarded, so normal life ends and pain takes hold for years. Furthermore, historically Israel has never asked the US to fight for it and is unlikely to do so. Their PM is asking for a green light/effective deterrence in order to stop the Iranians from going nuclear without going to war, if it can be avoided, and is not provoked by the Assad regime, Hizbollah, Hamas, the extremists in the Sinai desert, or other Iranian proxies.

        1. HeadOfRocks

          What is important is to define ‘Terrorist Organization’ – Hezbollah? Mojahedin-e Khalq?

          What is important is that no state has supported more terrorist organizations than the USA, sometimes solely in the interests of Israel.

          What is important is to see who is behind terrorist attempts/actions falsely attributed to Iran – this year alone in India, Thailand, Bulgaria, Texas etc..

          What is important is getting rid of the existing nuclear weapons in the middle east – all of which are in Israel.

          What is important are US and Israeli interventionism and fundamentalistic aspirations to change the regimes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Egypt etc. and their veto right on the regional peace process directly and through their proxies.

          What is important is Israel – the actual North Korea of the Middle East with actual long range missiles and nuclear weapons in the hands of an unpredictable regime.

          And what is surely important to the Obama administration on an election year is keeping the price of oil below the threshold that would prevent the democratic party from being reelected. The Israelis know all this, and as self-righteous lunatics are pushing hard to bomb Iran this year, while the US is paralyzed due to elections.

          Israel is a barking mad dog at the root of the problem.

          Israel needs wars more than anything else. As a small fully militarized country, any war means 100% status quo, continuing decades of millitary-linked growth and world leadership in military, armament and spy technology innovation.
          War in Israel means that each and every family sends its men (and women) to the front, while rarely are the civilians are bombarded except by propaganda, and normal life never gets a chance to take hold such that the citizens have a chance to ask “to what end” and maybe ask that their government do more than support never-ending war and illegal settlements and maybe develop a different economy and more peaceful society.

          Furthermore, historically Israel has always asked the US to pay the bill and now their PM is asking for a green light to start yet another war in order to stop the Iranians from doing research that is completely legal as per the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty which Iran has signed but Israel has not while for over 30 years claiming Iran is ‘this year’going nuclear.

          War can hopefully be avoided if it is not provoked by the US/Israeli allies Al Qaeda in Syria, Saudi in Bahrain etc.. who one day will become as their old allies such as Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden etc…

        2. Richard Kline

          Manofshill: “Israel is unimportant. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain pulling levers.”

          Manofshill: “What is important is Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and possibly others going nuclear following Iran.” This is the great canard, of course, that Israeli conern with Iran is realy about ‘them going nuclear.’ Not so. Of course that would be a problem. The real issue is that the Iranians have come up with an effective training-and-armament regime by which Israeli’s mainforce military capacity has been twice neutralized and defeated by smaller, far less expensive adversaries. The real fear is that capability, and the organization required for it, will spread to Palestinian and/or Egyptian activists and used in subsequent military controntations with Israel regardless of who starts them. Israel lacks the manpower to occupy even _Syria_ let alone a larger area. Israel cannot afford an attritional war of even a few months duration. It is an essential condition of the racist occupation of the Near East that those living there remained disarmed, disrorganized, riddled with quislings, and when all else fails regularly assassinated. Iran and Hezbollah have shown how to defeat the operational regime of Israel, so it is utterly essential strategically for Israel to have Iran battered, contained, and ideally reduced to rubble to keep the Iranians busy elsewhere. The nuclear issue is really just the excuse. Which is why _it doesn’t matter that Iran has no nuclear weapons program_ now. Because the delusion of that program serves Israel’s larger strategic purpose, that the Iranians be crushed at home rather than support resistance vectors in and adjacent to Israel.

          Manofshill: “What is important are Iranian interventionism and fundamentalistic aspirations to change the regimes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc. and their veto right on the regional peace process throughout their proxies.” Iranian interventionism couldn’t come _close_ to Israeli interventionism, occupation, assassination, plants, and all the rest. Their is no ‘peace process’ to disrupt, just the most disreputable charade to obscure the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine under false cover of ‘negotiations.’ Iran’s offer’s to negotiate an enduring detente—numerous over the last twenty years—are far more credible than anything Israeli ‘negotiators’ have offered over that duration regarding a final settlement. Since you raised the issues.

          Manofshill: “Israel fears wars more than anything else.” Which is why Israel has started more of than than any other _two_ nations in the region over the last sixty years. Don’t let the facts intrude on your propaganda cut with pablum.

          Manofshill: ” . . . Israel has never asked the US to fight for it and is unlikely to do so” and would first of all be turned down flat if they asked. Secondly, and far more important, any agreement would limit Israeli provocations and tie Israel to American strategic objectives. That is why Israel never asks the US but always provokes facts on the ground to force the situation. Which is Exhibit A why Israel is an unstable and wholly unreliable ‘ally’ for the USA. The American military has figured this out, but the American political class is, well, deceived.

          Manofshill: ” . . . [F]ocus on US long-term interests.” Oh if only we could. Israel’s continuing, and in fact accelerating, destabilization of the Near East constantly forces the US to back an unreliable, and in fact malevolent ‘ally.’ Israel is a total liability to the US, in the present, the mid-term, and the long-term. And in fact, the US will figure this out, and turn on Israel as we always have on our odious strongmen. US public opinion is running steadily away from Israel, and policy objective will in time follow. The most likely disjuncture between the two will be yet another supremely provacative Israeli military overreach that goes wrong and blowsback, probably through American bodies. This is going to occur sooner rather than later in my opinion, because Israel’s policy makers, judging by their black flag operations this year, are getting exceedingly sloppy, reckless, and unrealistic.

          1. Manofsteel

            Dear Richard,
            Thank you for your feedback.
            I hope you will review the following with diligence and find it interesting.

            1. I absolutely agree with you that the current Israeli government is pushing too far for US activism on the Iranian front. However, one must remember that the relationships has been a complex one, with some administrations and governments working very well together on the peacemaking front, while others clashing. In fact, the US has historically used Israel during the cold war, leveraged its superpower status and close ties with Israel to intervene in Israeli elections, peace negotiations and military intensions, including the use of economic levers, public diplomacy, etc. (Personally, I wish the US would cut aid to Israel, but this is not about my preferences). Furthermore, Israel tried to convince to Bush family twice NOT to go into Iraq. Israel told the US publicly that a regime change in Egypt is NOT a great idea, while also arguing the Obama’s initial attempts to send ambassadors to Syria were not about to transform his practices.

            2. I agree with you second point about Iran’s effective use of proxies, and the Israeli reactive mode to reverse this trend, but believe that a regional nuclear race will make this trend much worse, with greater instability leading to global repercussions.

            3. Many good Israelis have dedicated their lives to making peace happen. There is a strong fundamentalist core of settlers/right wing activists (not unlike some groups in the US) that is indeed actively promoting an ongoing territorial fight, disregarding human or national rights of others. Having said that, the Palestinians have shown little flexibility regarding key negotiations challenges, and some factions have had their share of violence targeting civilian population. Reviewing Israeli withdrawals and ensuing attacks, or lack of willingness on the part of Egypt and Jordan to have an open borders policy with their fellow Arabs may help complement the picture you present.

            3. As for your argument that Israel started the wars it fought, I would suggest going war by war and reviewing the facts. The ’48 war- not Israel. Sinai Campaign- after years of attrition from Egypt. ’67 war- after months of Arab preparations and public declarations (with strong historical/intelligence evidence of such preparations available) Israel starts the war. 73′ – not Israel. 82′ Lebanon – after years of rockets into Israel it launches a horrible prolonged presence in Lebanon. ’91 Gulf war- not Israel. 2006 Lebanon- reaction to rockets on Israeli towns and attack across the border by Hezbollah. There were, however, a number of limited Israeli operations (most notably Iraq nuclear plan and Syria nuclear plan) that were ‘purely’ initiated by Israel.
            (I counted 34 US wars and operations after WWII. You may want to count GB, France, etc.)

            4. Israel has been engaged in serious negotiations leading to the peace accords with Egypt and Jordan, with 100% of the territorial claims being satisfied. It has also withdrawn from Lebanon and Gaza 100%, as verified by the UN. As for peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Abu Mazen reached a draft agreement with Beilin/Peres back in the 90s under the auspices of the Europeans, but when that draft was brought to Camp David in 2001 Abu Mazen (and several other Palestinian negotiators) were nowhere to be found. Furthermore, despite numerous requests from the Saudis, Egyptians and others, they would not offer what later became known as ‘The Arab Initiative’ (out of fear from normalization which would focus the attention on their practice per the ‘Arab Spring’?). Just a few of many facts to say multiple parties are to blame.

            Of course, one can always argue that Israel is the cause to its neighboring brutal dictatorships, that is has been the one to call for their annihilation and that it has never pursued peace and agreed to concessions. One may also be left to wonder what would you do if you were the decision maker and your children were living in Israel?
            PS According to recent surveys, the vast majority of Israeli are against a military attack on Iran

      2. Paul Tioxon

        Syria and Iran have Russia, most importantly, to stand as shield, if not their sword. The world is made up of more than US political elections, Israel and Iran. The invisible shield of non action towards Syria, as compared to Libya, is because of Russia. They say no. And since Mitt Romney’s is a Mormon bishop, in charge of baptizing Jews into the arms of Jesus in the afterlife, no amount of misdirection will crack the open disgust of theological interference on the part of the Mormon church in this bizarre instance of metaphysical proselytizing against the Jewish faith. This is a much bigger issue, than Iran may sometime in the near future getting the bomb. It strikes at the heart of maintaining a cultural and ethnic identity, which is more immediate than fear of the uncertain future. Here and now, the Jews are assaulted at the very core of their religious identity, by no less than a candidate for the WH.

        International Relations Talks site presents this viewpoint on the subject:

        “I think the principle real-world problem for the US today is its liberal imperialist bent. The fact is that, both on the left and on the right in contemporary America, there is a powerful inclination to try to run the world and to rely heavily on military force for that purpose. Take the Bush Doctrine, for example. The US was bent on using military force to reorder the entire Middle East. The US was talking about imposing democracy on countries all across the Middle East at the end of a rifle barrel. This was a remarkably ambitious strategy! It was a strategy that many liberals and democrats supported, which is why there was so much support across the American political spectrum for the 2003 Iraq War. The key point is that the US has this imperial impulse wired into it today, and this includes both left and right wing elites.”

        There is a de-escalation of this military strategy. Expanding war, by bombing Iran, will trigger a Russian response, more problematic than anything Iran, much less Israel, can offer the USA Government and all of us as citizens standing by, watching the fireworks, hoping none of them come down on our heads.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Another reason why Israel is pushing for action on Iran “now” (or “now-ish”) is the big generational gap in Jewish support for Israel. Young Jews for the most part do not feel any affinity for Israel (polls show this; this article by Peter Beinart brought the issue to the fore:

        So Israel’s leverage over US politics is going to fall considerably in the next 15 years. Thus getting the US mired in conflict may be a way to extend support beyond its natural sell-by date.

        1. F. Beard

          There might still be strong Evangelical Christian support which might be ironic depending on how Jews feel about them.

        2. Manofsteel

          While young Jews in the US do feel less “jew-ish” according to research, Israelis are way less cynical or long-term strategic than to look into long-term political patterns and ensuing US voting patterns.
          Israelis truly feel entrenched nowadays. They feel an existential threat is upon them. Just chart a graph of the number of missiles reported to proliferate in the region surrounding Israel over the past 20 years, and you would be unlikely to send your children there. The foundations of regional stability are shaking. This reality is especially frightening after a few decades of “normalcy”, i.e. economic prosperity and peace/stabilization efforts (Egypt & Jordan, the relative stability of the Oslo accords, withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, and the Iraqi war removing what they term ‘the Eastern front’ threat).
          If anything, it has to do with the Obama administration’s inability to show for a strong economic track-record and its fear of oil going to +$140/b which would destroy its reelection prospects. Nothing truly related to 15 years from now, except in the minds of strategists like myself(-;

          1. Hugh

            Israel has had nuclear weapons since the 1970s. It currently has an arsenal of around 200 warheads. It is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

            So far from facing existential threats from its neighbors, it alone can post an existential threat to them. And while Iran receives a lot of criticism about inspections of its nuclear facilities, Israel, as a non-signatory of the NPT, allows none of its own, specifically the Dimona site.

            And what is all this nonsense about the Jewishness of younger American Jews being predicated on their support of Israel? If a critic of Israeli policies said anything like that they would be immediately tagged as anti-semitic, but you as a supporter of Israel do so without batting an eye.

        3. Yves Smith Post author


          The issue is not Jewish identity per se as much as rejection of Israel’s actions towards Palestinians.

          1. Manofsteel

            You may find the link to the following recent survey of interest:
   (Please note the link to the data file).

            In summary, Israelis overwhelmingly support peace negotiations and compromise (over 60% even nowadays, after years of disappointments and weak leadership on both sides), but have lost belief in achieving results (20% today, as compared to some 50% in the past). In other survey, so do Palestinians.

            The majority is also AGAINST an attack on Iran.

            In fact, the Israeli and Palestinian political systems resemble the US system in many unflattering ways:
            1. Political deadlock and inability to take critical steps to resolve key issues through dysfunctional institutions
            2. Lack of clarity as to the potential unintended consequences of policy
            3. Indecisive leadership that lacks a clear vision
            4. Huge highly complex challenges
            5. Numb public
            6. Activists acting on the extremes
            7. Weakness due to macro economic factors
            8. Rising regional/world powers that veto broad agendas
            9. Focus on short term gains and chasing of immediate gratification while the elites gain fortune at the expense of long-term interests
            10. Old narratives/slogans used as sound bites with the media, rather than dwelling on emerging issues and promoting innovative approaches

            Will be happy to share more insights.

    2. Susan the other

      It is doubtful the US will achieve a “coalition of major world nations” to impose sanctions on Iran because clearly Russia and China are just as interested in controlling the US. We have finally exchanged USDs as a means of control for casino capitalism and the dollar no longer convinces other countries. We have known that since the 1990s, and we have planned to take control of oil for that long too. (NYT article on 9/11). If we control oil we control the world. The old truism, whoever controls the heartland. So Russia and China do not like the way we run things. And they are not going to put themselves in danger. And Iran is caught in the middle. Without Iran we cannot control oil sufficiently to control the world. (Which usually means control China.) I liked this sentence from LucyLulu’s report: “The sanctions haven’t been felt by the people because they don’t hold dollars… If people felt pressure to choose betw bread and nukes they would pressure their leaders.” Maybe just one more argument for a global currency – prevent war. But nobody trusts the US and Nato. When you’ve blown trust you’ve pretty much blown it all.

      Speaking of 9/11, did anybody read Georgewashington on the Italian Judge who is heading up a group of like minded Europeans to file a complaint against the US for a false flag operation (9/11) with the International Criminal Court?

  3. Richard Kline

    German Constitutional Court approves the Eurobail funding. Of course. Look, folks, this was baked in. I’m not saying the fund will or won’t work, nor that it is nor isn’t necessary, only that a financial intervention from ‘the center’ was certainly going to be approved and advanced, whatever the final result.

    The old ways are dead. Social activism in Europe needs to engage a present reality: parochial enclaves are _not_ where the action is going to really be going forward. Big money and greasy politicians know no boundaries, so activism had better think ‘internationalist’ going forward. I’m just sayin’ . . . .

    1. Nathanael

      This signals something very specific: the “euro breakup” scenario is not what’s going to happen.

      Instead, the “general revolution” scenario, where all the governments of Europe are tossed pretty much simultaneously, is what’s going to happen. We’ll see how long it takes.

        1. Jim

          That’s precisely what so many “progressives” want.

          Yet, it’d be interesting to see how these “progressives” responded if Bernanke did the same – if he declared that, since Congress “can’t get it’s act togehter”, he will craft and impose fiscal policy from the Fed. And he will do so legally, he will argue, as one of his mandates is employment.

          The OWS crowd has embraced the 0.5% democracy-destroying EuroZone project. Who would have thought.

      1. Richard Kline

        So Nathanael, I’ve been on record here that break-up was NEVER going to happen. I’ll spare all a re-dicussion of why, but no, that’s not the trajectory. I’m not betting on revolution either, though, not least because there’s no organized base even interested in that, let alone mobilized. I’d be more of the view of a ‘percolate up,’ where certain demands become focused and a political constituency drives them to effect on a regional (i.e. ex-nation state in Europe) basis. Most of the ‘resistance’ in Europe to this point has been focused on clinging to the institutional and privilege matrix of the immediate past generation rather than coping with the sea change precipitated by the bolloxing of public finance by the overlapping financial crises in different sectors and locales in Europe. And ‘resistance’ of that kind was simply doomed. “What do we do now?” hasn’t really been asked, but ‘that sunny Thursday two years ago in spring’ isn’t coming again. Soooo . . . .

    2. Susan the other

      About Der Spiegel’s terminology. They passed on the ESM’s justification by the constitutional court ruling (if the German lower house approves further contributions from Germany) for saving the Euro as an improvement for national “sovereignty.” That no longer would “sovereign banks” impoverish their people. Because the ECB would be the bond buyer of last resort. An introductory redefinition of terms from sovereign nation to sovereign federation.

  4. LeeAnne

    Bank Branches Continue To Vanish Huffington Post.

    Looks like JPMorgan Chase wrote this article.

    Huffington Post has been bought out; what’s NC’s excuse for printing flat out propaganda.

    A casual observer can see the proliferation of bank branches led by JPMorgan Chase on the streets of Manhattan since 2007 with no let up -mushrooming all over the place; UWS, UES, Canal Street, Greenwich Village.

    Surely there’s someone among our readers, commenters and posters who have a clue about this beyond printing received propaganda like this article.

    Signage at intersections is only part of the incentive story; I don’t know the rest of the story. It looks like long term planning for pedestrian traffic; and it ain’t savings accounts.

    As a branch of the bankster controlled government JPMorgan Chase as well as other banks opening up branches and expanding floor space are Citi, HSBC, Bank of America, TD. They seem to be preparing to process lots of consumers; maybe the entire population, replacing government social services facilities.

    Maybe processing new currency? Your papers in awhdaah? ID verification? mortgage papers exchanged and processed? JOBS bill-enabled retail bucket shops?

    1. Peasant Pinguin Society

      LeeAnne: “Surely there’s someone among our readers, commenters and posters who have a clue about this beyond printing received propaganda like this article.”

      LeeAnne, but there’s no one left!

      Plus there are more urgent matters to attend to!

      The ship has got improper weight distribution and missing drain plugs and it’s collecting water. A hose may have burst in the cooling system and due to a navigation error we may be headed towards rocks or ice.

      In addition, AIG’s Joseph Cassano (disguised as EMT) has popped up over at the Sorkin thread, and he’s still defending the AIG Swoop and Squat con (i.e., Goldman’s intentionally driving AIG into insolvency so they could collect on their massive derivative contracts) as well as the $300 million in loot that he personally got away with.

      But at the same time, the 0.01 percent has outflanked us by moving southward into Greece, where they sacked Piraeus (the port of Athens) and destroyed Corinth, Megara, Argos, and Sparta.

      As a response the Chief of the Eastern Peasants had to appoint Alaric, and he took every available commenter to the mountains of Pholoe, to try and make a last stand defending the borders of Elis and Arcadia in the peninsula!

      In short, we 99 percenters have been outflanked and outmanuevred at every turn, and now we’re totally f*cked.

      1. Robin Hood

        Well, I don’t know about you people, but I’m going back to 11th century Sherwood Forest. At least there we can see the .01% coming.

    2. queen_in_chains

      Chase bank branches proliferating here in So Cal(Manhattan Beach, El Segundo) a very affluent area with commercial rents to match. One high-traffic spot a small-business friend was interested in earlier this year (management company wanted something like 30 or 35K per month rent)– I brainstormed about what type of biz could possibly generate that kind of cash flow–JP Morgan Chase opened there within a few months.

      1. Tim

        Not saying Chase isn’t expanding but, they never had a significant So Cal presence until they received their Washington Mutual gift from the Treasury/Fed. All old WaMu branches were converted to Chase, providing critical mass for them to expand in the magnitude they desired in one of the wealthiest areas of the country.

    3. Bert_S

      It’s obvious to me. They are adding floorspace in preparation for the new government JOBS program. The Bernank can do only so much, so we will finally get some fiscal stimulus to hire tellers, loan brokers and 400% overhead.

      They will of course have a “yobs for yanitor” sub-program to keep the mayor of LA on board.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I read somewhere the elite in China, in millions, will be fleeing soon. Each would likely be a millionaire. You got to have your branches set up to receive all that money.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Well, that’s the way it is in China already.

            Only billionaires get to smell the fresh ocean air.

            So, they should feel at home.

          2. Bert_S

            Yes, and each town in the midwest has a chinese buffet, and if they want to eat international there is a taco bell.

  5. F. Beard

    re Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on SEAL book: “We’re not going to accept this kind of behavior” CBS (Garrett Pace) :

    Not the wisest thing to say to trained, courageous, proud, DANGEROUS men? What if they decide not to accept YOUR behavior, Leon?

    1. LeeAnne

      Its not likely that the government isn’t behind this book.
      A sufficient number of the American people are still so behind the curve on seeing 9/11 propaganda for what it is, and perhaps lastingly brain damaged by so many shocks brought upon them intentionally by TPTB, and the US government mafia so corny, that government support is more likely than not.

      After all, the government issued narrative isn’t changed by this book in any meaningful way.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Orange County, there is a parkway called Alton.

      Why Alton?

      A L T O N is ‘Not LA’ backwards.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I like the subliminally inspiring message in the name, but it looks like I will have to wait for it to become more affordable.

          2. Bert_S

            Ya, know what you mean. I escaped OC – never rose to lofty Irvine heights – but they have HOA fees higher than my AZ rent. Then add the special Mello-Roos tax for schools. There’s my food budget. No wonder I don’t have to work anymore!

  6. craazyman

    That lamb looks too tauntingly self-satisfied.

    Thus it is not a sign of pessimism to envision an 18-wheeler just above the crop of the frame coming lambward at 80 miles per hour. It’s just a form of prudence.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To a Grand Inquisitor, it looks like a dancing Garuda, thus another challenge to his ‘religion.’

      1. craazyman

        what if the dancer replies:

        “I’m not Garuda. I’m only dancing because I’m so happy somebody with your competence and diligence is the Grand Inquisitor. We need somebody like you around here to keep things under control. Sorry for the dancing and I’ll stop now, but I’m just so happy you’re here.”

      2. F. Beard


        Ya mean that guy who asks you questions and then boinks you on the head if you answer?

        BTW, I’m not Roman Catholic so trying to tar me with that brush completely misses the mark.

          1. F. Beard

            [boink on your head with my staff]

            I don’t.

            But I know your sly ways by now.

            [another boink on your head with my staff]

  7. F. Beard

    re Southern whites troubled by Romney’s wealth, religion Reuters :

    Yep. Note that one woman who would vote for a Muslim over a Mormon.

        1. Garrett Pace


          “Mormons don’t believe like we believe,” said Dianna McCullough, a retired factory worker, as she tossed salad in a Tree of Life Ministries soup kitchen. “Like the wives — Romney’s probably got more than one.”

          For some at least, it’s the polygamy…

          1. Garrett Pace

            Interestingly, it turns out Mormons voted for Rove. From his wikipedia page:

            “In 1965, his family moved to Salt Lake City, where Rove entered high school, becoming a skilled debater. Rove described his high school years as “I was the complete nerd. I had the briefcase. I had the pocket protector. I wore Hush Puppies when they were not cool. I was the thin, scrawny little guy. I was definitely uncool.” Encouraged by a teacher to run for class senate, Rove won the election. As part of his campaign strategy he rode in the back of a convertible inside the school gymnasium sitting between two attractive girls before his election speech. While at Olympus High School, he was elected student council president his junior and senior years. Rove was also a Teenage Republican and served as Chairman of the Utah Federation of Teenage Republicans.”

    1. Garrett Pace

      …and while ranking bigotries doesn’t really dignify the bigoteer, it’s reassuring to see that some voters in the south prefer a “Muslim” to SOMEBODY at least.

      Hard to see that as anything but progress.

        1. Garrett Pace

          Well, one of their “severe problems” is the way Muslims are treated by the US nowadays, both within our borders and around the world. Many people won’t vote for Mormons, but right now we aren’t being subjected to drone strikes, indefinite detention, etc.

          Thus some folks more likely to support a “Muslim” like they think Obama is, is an encouraging sign. At least to some degree.

          And, from the Book of Mormon, Alma chapter 11. Amulek is a prophet preaching to the people:

          26 And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?

          27 And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.

          28 Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?

          29 And he answered, No.

          1. F. Beard

            That’s rather a lame response!

            God’s progression from man to God is clearly stated throughout Mormon literature. Joseph Smith wrote:

            God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! . . . I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. . . . He was once a man like us; yea that God himself, the Father dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did. . . .{10} from

          2. Garrett Pace

            Yes, I believe that Smith quote, and I believe the section I excerpted from the Book of Mormon without any cognitive dissonance.

            Though we may believe that other beings somewhere in the universe have become “godlike”, we don’t become “polytheist” unless we start worshipping them.

            We are probably closer to monolatry, since we don’t either worship or advocate the worship of anyone but God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.


            The whole thing may be heretical to you and anyone else, but it’s not “polytheistic”.

          3. F. Beard

            We are probably closer to monolatry, since we don’t either worship or advocate the worship of anyone but God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Garrett Pace

            That would be tri-olatry if I can count.

            But anyway, thanks for admitting that Mormonism contradicts the Bible. But the truth cannot contradict itself. So it’s either the Bible, Mormonism or neither.

          4. Garrett Pace

            “But anyway, thanks for admitting that Mormonism contradicts the Bible. But the truth cannot contradict itself. So it’s either the Bible, Mormonism or neither.”

            You and I have different ideas on what the Bible is saying. I will not be held to creeds and other traditions, however much they were intended to match the doctrines of prophets and the Savior.

            I have managed to find peace and enlightenment from both the Bible and “Mormonism”. Indeed in my reading and learning I do not find those to be distinct from each other.

            And tri-olatry? Probably better to call it Tritheism, and that’s already a thing:


            Mainstream Christianity’s desire to not be tagged as polytheistic, even as they believe in a God The Father and a God the Son, has meant for a lot of doctrinal difficulty over the centuries. I do not find the Nicene solution to be a convincing one, and find much greater harmony with scripture to be in the LDS point of view.

          5. F. Beard

            Indeed in my reading and learning I do not find those to be distinct from each other. Garrett Pace

            Including this?

            “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. Isaiah 43:10

            And just how many Creators of everything can there be? So which god created the Universe?

          6. Garrett Pace

            You have offered that verse in the past. Here was my response. It is still how I think about the subject:

            “I don’t find your interpretation of Isaiah particularly convincing, in light of the two verses after it. God’s claim to being the only God for us relates to what He’s done for us, not for any particular attainment He’s achieved. I take it to mean that there is none other we should worship as our creator. He created us, and nobody else did. If we were to imagine there was any other god out there that was just like “God the Father” but hadn’t done anything for us, should we venerate it? It would be a mere act of recognizing and appreciating perfection. Love and gratitude wouldn’t be a part of the picture.

            Like for my boys. I can tell them that I am their Daddy. The world is full of daddies, but I am the only one that is THEIRS.”

            End quote. Expansion:

            “God” isn’t a title. If it were just a word Heavenly Father used as a name, it would not have any meaning apart from what “God” has done and will do for us. Just like the word “Creator”, it has to define a relationship, in this case a relationship between creator and created.

            Understand, none of this proves the LDS point of view, but the verse doesn’t disprove it either.

          7. F. Beard

            You have offered that verse in the past. Garrett Pace

            Yes, out of laziness. I figure that since you claim to read the Bible that you would be aware that there are quite a few other passages which make it clear that the Lord is unique.

            And you failed to adequately answer my question about how can there be more than one ultimate Creator of everything? I won’t do (all) your homework for you since you claim to read the Bible but the Bible clearly says that the Lord created everything that was created:

            For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17

            And there are other disagreements with the Bible such that either the Bible or Mormonism or both is/are in error. Such as God the Father having physical sex with Mary.

          8. Garrett Pace

            “And you failed to adequately answer my question about how can there be more than one ultimate Creator of everything?”

            I will expend no energy defending ideas I don’t believe in. We have one creator, and I know of no other in our universe, at least. If there are other universes, if you like, with their own creators, or that have existed in other times and seasons, their nature and location have not been revealed to us. Once again, I read in the Bible and I do not find contradictions with LDS doctrine. If such exist, I hope to find them.

            As for where the Savior got his y chromosome, this is from the Book of Mormon, 1 Ne 11:18-20:

            “And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh. And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.”

            Notice: “the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms”. Still a virgin. The “virgin birth” is a key miracle in our tradition as well.

            This describes pretty well what we believe:


            In the future, if you care to know what we believe about this or that, feel free to ask and I will answer as ably as I can.

          9. F. Beard

            And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.” via Garrett Pace

            Well that contradicts Luke. Mary was not “carried away in the Spirit” to conceive and give birth. Instead her pregnancy proceeded normally with Joseph and at least one relative, Elizabeth, close by.

            Btw, do Mormons deny, like the Roman Catholics, that Mary had other children?

          10. Garrett Pace

            “Mary was not “carried away in the Spirit” to conceive and give birth.”

            Interesting interpretation that I hadn’t thought of before. I do not see any contradiction, though. The events of the Savior’s birth are merely elided in the verse – it doesn’t mean it all happened while she was away in the spirit. LDS do not believe that Mary was “carried away in the spirit” for nine whole months.

            We do not hold to the Roman Catholic belief that Mary pledged to remain a virgin her whole life. I assume her marriage with Joseph was an ordinary one, that had the sorts of things you would expect in a marriage. I am not aware if it’s been convincingly demonstrated that she actually did have any other children, though. But like the Book of Mormon quote above, she was a virgin when she gave birth to the Savior. John 7:5:

            “And [Joseph] knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son”

            Here’s a possible reference to his siblings, but if it does refer to brothers, whether they are Mary’s or maybe Joseph’s from a previous relationship, I don’t know.

            John 7:5
            For neither did his brethren believe in him.

          11. F. Beard

            The events of the Savior’s birth are merely elided in the verse Garrett Pace

            There appears to be a lot of wasted words in Mormon writings. An attempt to sound spiritual while saying relatively little at best?

          12. Garrett Pace

            I do not agree with that assessment. Anyway, if the goal was filling the air with high-sounding nonsense, that would mean fewer elisions, not more.

            Question for you. What do you think of the Godhead? Are you trinitarian or otherwise?

            In your view of the universe, does God have a body?

          13. F. Beard

            I am a Trinitarian.

            As for God having a body, Jesus has one being both God and man. As for the Father and the Holy Spirit, they apparently had bodies when they went to visit Abraham though I believe that was mostly a temporary expedient.

            My view is that though Jesus now has a permanent body (transformed but with scars) that the Father and the Holy Spirit do not normally have bodies.

            But what is a body anyway but clothing for a spirit? Why get hung up on concreteness?

          14. Garrett Pace

            “But what is a body anyway but clothing for a spirit? Why get hung up on concreteness?”

            I’ve been sitting here pondering that statement. The endurance of the spirit after death is an immense comfort, for it means we don’t have to judge our entire existence by the sometimes unfortunate circumstances of our short and difficult lives. So in that sense it’s very good to not be hung up on “concreteness”.

            However, the Savior’s followers made a big deal about the Lord not just reigning in heaven but also conquering death by resurrecting. 1 Cor 15:21-22

            21. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

            22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

            Then in your view, what might be the goal of a resurrection, for the Savior or anyone else? Is it that there’s something important about having a body? Or is the “clothing for the spirit” primarily for the harsh economy of earth life, and not of any use thereafter?

          15. F. Beard

            Is it that there’s something important about having a body? Garrett Pace

            Bodies are nice; we “cherish” our flesh because it does a lot for us without much thought.

            Or is the “clothing for the spirit” primarily for the harsh economy of earth life, and not of any use thereafter? Garrett Pace

            No, bodies will be necessary for Christ’s 1000 year reign on Earth and apparently afterward for the New Heaven and New Earth.

            But don’t imagine that what is needful for mere humans is necessary for God too. The Bible says that God is Spirit. He can cloth Himself in a body but it’s not essential that He do so.

        2. F. Beard

          No, I meant that the Moslem faith has severe problems in that it has severe doctrinal errors.

          But regardless we should not be invading their lands or blowing them up with drones or otherwise oppressing them. The Gospel is supposed to be Good News; it was never meant to be spread by the sword.

    2. BondsOfSteel

      It’s because she really knows Obama isn’t a muslim, while Romney is a mormon.

      The birthers aren’t dumb. They just don’t like the truth, so they ignore it. For a long time, I was convinced that the whole birther/muslim thing wasn’t racism, it was just ignorance. I don’t think you can claim that anymore… it’s willfull ignorance.

      You can also look at it from the reverse perspective. There is a % (although, I hope it’s small) of people with racist tendancies. Where are they? Where is their argument that Obama isn’t qualified based on his race? Making the birther/muslim argument probably helps them sleep better. Plus, not enough people are calling the birther/muslim movement what it really is… racist… so they get a free pass on it.

      So, I don’t believe for a second that she’s willing to choose a ‘muslim’ over a mormon.

      1. Garrett Pace

        An interesting point, and not an encouraging one. Though we are still bandying a voter’s bigotries, switching out bias against Muslims for bias against blacks.

        A hack can certainly flog “Obama is a Muslim” while not believing it. But I generally assume voters believe what they are saying, at least on some level. Can a voter simultaneously believe and not believe the thing?

    1. Valissa

      United Nations condemns attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya
      “The United Nations rejects defamation of religion in all forms, but there is no justification for violence such as occurred in Benghazi,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the U.N. Security Council during a regularly scheduled briefing on Libya.

      The U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff were killed on Tuesday as they rushed away from a consulate building in Benghazi that was stormed by al Qaeda-linked gunmen blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

      1. barrisj

        Wait, are these the same “Free-dum loving Libyans” who threw out then murdered the former Great Leader and erstwhile US fav and torture-enabler Muammar Qaddafi? Be careful what you wish for, America – you never heard of blowback?

  8. Gil Gamesh

    Re Obama between hard rock etc. He’s for the children? Risky. Americans hate children, ours and especially, little Palestinians. We just can’t abide the little fuckers. If we don’t blow them up, we poison their environments, starve them, enact policies that break up families and force both parents to work to get by, under fund their schools. Make them watch tv endlessly and eat shitty processed food. If they live to young adulthood, we either ship them off to Asia to get their asses shot off, or saddle them with crushing debt. The ones not in a scrip drug stupor wind up offing themselves. Good riddance, we say. WE EAT OUR YOUNG, and that’s another reason why we are so exceptional.

    1. Susan the other

      Rahm Emmanuel like Obama is double crossing the unions. Illinois is bankrupt. The teachers are being sacrificed, therefore the students. But Ben Bernanke just said that unemployment was a “grave” concern. His suggestion? Extend ultra low interest rates to the banks who do not loan it back out; bloat the stock market; and look the other way when the unregulated derivatives market substitutes US treasuries for junk bonds as collateral. Why doesn’t Bernanke buy up munis? By the hundreds of billions. Now… It might be because he is only saying unemployment is grave because he wants it to be grave because if there is no demand there will be no inflation and the bank party can go on forever.

  9. Valissa

    The latest pirate news…

    Companies should combat piracy with common sense

    Court orders music pirate Jammie Thomas-Rasset to pay original fine of $222,000

    Arrgh! Pirate ship battle unresolved in North

    Krispy Kreme Celebrates ‘Talk Like A Pirate Day’ On September 19 With Free Doughnuts
    Krispy Kreme is celebrating by giving away a free glazed doughnut if you talk like a pirate or wear an eye patch. If you dress up in full pirate regalia, you get a whole dozen.

    It’s only 7 days ‘til Talk Like A Pirate Day – Wednesday, September 19th !

  10. rich

    Jimmy Carter slams ‘financial corruption’ in U.S. elections
    ‘We have one of the worst election processes in the world,’ former president says

    Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter issued a blistering indictment of the American electoral process Tuesday, saying it is shot through with “financial corruption” that threatens democracy.
    Speaking at the international human rights centre that bears his name, Carter said “we have one of the worst election processes in the world right in the United States of America, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money.”
    The dynamic is fed, Carter said, by an income tax code that exacerbates the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of the electorate, allowing the rich even greater influence over public discourse and electioneering.
    The 39th president lamented a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited contributions to third-party groups that don’t have to disclose their donors.

  11. Kokuanani

    Ballot: “[The FL ballot is] so long that voters will have to fill out [5 sheets] with races on both sides, then feed those multiple pages through ballot scanners, one page at a time.” Recipe for long lines, jams, miscounts, and challenges. …

    Will the ballot be counted if the voter only fills out one [or two] sheets?

    1. Tim

      You know if I can set up an on line bank account to manage my entire net worth securely there must be a way to set up a secure onlining voting system.

      Our election processes need to be completely overhauled right down to the technology. That scantron sh** is rediculous.

  12. thump

    The end of the Housing Wire article on cost of housing meltdown says the MBA panel recommended the use of “automated compliance tools at the point of loan origination” to prevent fraud. I thought such tools were in use during the housing bubble and were used to produce fraud.

    1. Susan the other

      The MBA is rewriting history. It wasn’t the mortgage originators and the banks, it was those lying home owners. And they caused the meltdown of the economy that almost matches GDP- 13Tr dollars! We really need to watch them closely. The “fraud analytics” firm Interthinx says so. All loans must be checked and verified and everybody must put down 20%. And oh yes, don’t worry your little head about securitization fraud. Schneiderman doesn’t.

  13. ohmyheck

    For all the NC cat-lovers out there, this link: Too funneh!

    Oh, and what about a cat-shaming website, you may ask? Verily I say, cats HAVE NO SHAME! Only disgust and contempt for other creatures.

    “If cats could blog, they wouldn’t.”

    “Dogs have Owners, Cats have Staff.”

    “Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.”

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Relax Cat Sitting Like People…

    Animals are very human-like in many ways.

    I believe signing gorillas have the competency to testify before Congress about People’s Wars on Animals.

  15. Synopticist

    In the Reuters/Ipsos poll, these Bible Belt voters blame Washington more than Wall Street for the recent recession by a margin of 30 points. Overall, Americans blame Washington, too, but by only six points.

    “Other than the military, everything that’s government-controlled is screwed up,” said William Clarkson, a retired postman who was rooting for the Lynchburg Hillcats, the city’s minor league baseball team, on a sweltering afternoon.

    “Romney took a lot of businesses that were failing and turned them around,” he said, adding: “I don’t see big business as evil. Obama is using class warfare with his ads about Romney wanting to give tax breaks to millionaires.”

    This is so foreign to me. Normal America I mostly get. Wingnut America I understand less than I understand Japan, or Vietnam or Ecuador.
    It’s a different continent alright, but I’m not even sure moonbat USA belongs to the post-enlightenment world.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know if he’s a specialist in mergers and acquisitions.

      If he is, it’s possible he might be interested in merging several small states into one big one.

      As for acquisitions, the whole world would be his oyster to acquire, if he can print enough cash, maybe with by borrowing, but that might offend his fundamentalist voters.

  16. rich

    TED fellow uses crowdsource approach to treat his brain cancer

    TED Fellow Salvatore Iaconesi released today this video along with his digital medical records – everything from CT and MRI scans to lab notes. He posted the health files to invite the online world to participate in the process of treating his brain cancer. As he wrote on his website:

    This is my OPEN SOURCE CURE. This is an open invitation to take part in the CURE. CURE, in different cultures, means different things. There are cures for the body, for spirit, for communication.

    Grab the information about my disease, if you want, and give me a CURE: create a video, an artwork, a map, a text, a poem, a game, or try to find a solution for my health problem. Artists, designers, hackers, scientists, doctors, photographers, videomakers, musicians, writers. Anyone can give me a CURE.

    Create your CURE using the content which you find in the DATI/DATA section here on this site… All CURES will be displayed here.

    Iaconesi has promised to publish all replies using open file formats so that others with the same diagnosis can benefit from the crowdsource effort.

  17. Hugh

    The Chicago teachers union should make it clear that it is Rahm, the city, and the board were not serious about the needs of Chicago’s students. It is they, not the union, not the teachers, who are actively trashing Chicago’s schools.

    Obama distancing himself from Netanyahu in an election year can only happen after some serious political and strategic calculation.

    1) There is the possibility that the US got wind of a plan by Netanyahu to attack Iran before the elections hoping to draw the US into a war with Iran, and this forced Obama to more openly shut any such effort down.

    2) The Administration calculated that Netanyahu’s political position is weak and is using this to dial back the war rhetoric.

    3) Netanyahu’s saber rattling was a shakedown for more US aid and political kowtowing but Netanyahu wasn’t offering the US anything in return.

    4) AIPAC has gone Republican, and this is a shot across its bow.

    5) Obama doesn’t trust Netanyahu and, although Obama is no prize either, dislikes him for the self-important petty dictator that he is.

    6) Obama senses that Israel’s importance, and power as a political issue, has faded, and standing up to the Israelis enhances his image as a serious leader.

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