Links 9/16/12

Killer whales live on after menopause to protect sons BBC

Getting (drugs) under your skin MIT

Anti-Japan protests spread across China, turn violent Japan Times (YY)

As Tensions Flare Over Islands, Chinese Worry About Their Japanese Cars – And Japanese Porn Stars Truth About Cars (YY)

Tens of thousands turn out for anti-Putin protest Financial Times

EU Bank Plan Hits Roadblock Wall Street Journal

Doubts about Draghi: ECB Head Offers to Defend Himself in Bundestag Der Spiegel

Thousands Protest Austerity Measures in Spain and Portugal New York Times

Tax ‘traitors’ widen divisions in belt-tightening France Guardian (Mauna)

Arab Protests Ease After Violence Fueled by Anti-Muslim Film Bloomberg

Muslims’ Movie Producer Was Arrested for PCP, Snitched for Feds Wired (Lambert)

Fury at Sydney protests Sydney Morning Herald (YY)

US Sends Drones, Military, Intelligence Personnel to Libya, Amid Chaotic Time for New Democracy Dave Dayen, Firedoglake

“Does Al-Qaeda Still Matter?” Binghampton University (Paul T)

Coal Scandal Exposes Ugly Underside of Indian Politics New York Times

Obama’s Way Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair. I’m reluctant to link to this given reader consternation. For instance:

Michael Lewis apparently turned into an Obama Toady while no one was watching; the hyperventilation over Obama’s decorating aesthetics and stoic handling of Big Issues in the Middle East juxtaposed to the utter silence on anything domestic — poverty, unemployment, Cat Food commission, Privaet Health Insurance instead of Health Care, and enabling the total takeover of the real economy by fraudulent finance, is breathtaking. It would be difficult for an author to adopt a more sycophantic tone with regards to any human subject…the last paragraph is vomitous.

SNL debuts with actual African-American ‘Obama,’ who’s secret election weapon is Mitt Romney Raw Story. Not quite sure this disproves Matt Stoller’s observation about the lack of (funny) Obama impersonators…but at points, he does have the intonation down.

Sex and credit: Is there a gender bias in lending? VoxEU. Not quite the answer you might expect.

The Latest Economic Data Show A Sharply Bifurcated Economy Clusterstock

The Lonely Redemption of Sandy Lewis, Wall Street Provocateur New York Times (Marc C). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Peasant Pinguin Society

    Alternate History Part Four

    (“Who built Thebes of the 7 gates? In the books you will
    read the names of kings. Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?” – Bertolt Brecht)

    In 11th century England the life of a peasant on Master Summers Estate was hard, working from dawn ’til dusk, living in drab, unsanitary conditions.

    The Master sat in his Grand Chateau, with its mountaintop fortress surrounded by vast vineyards. And the Master enjoyed fabulous meals in front of his massive fireplace with good wine.

    Meanwhile we lived in rude homes made of wood or mud, with thatched roof and earth floor.

    These miserable huts sheltered the livestock and chickens, as well as the family. Our houses were crowded, dirty and poorly ventilated.

    Most homes had at most one latrine, but many had none at all, and we peasants were forced to empty our ordure into the yards. There was much dung and Filth of the garbage and entrails, as well as the Stench of beasts killed for food, and other corruptions. Almost all floors were clay and rushes from the marshes, Harbouring there below the foundation Unspeakable things such as Remnants of fish and other filth Unnameable.

    But Master Summers did his business in style, into a Gold chamber pot, decorated with Leaping fish and a Running stream.

    Windows (if they existed for us) were only a slit in the wall. Our diet (though we rarely had enough food to eat), consisted mainly of pork, bread and sometimes vegetables, depending on the season. There was no fresh meat.

    Famine was Endemic and when the Dead-cart came into our village of Houndsditch, after a famine we would look outside as soon as we heard the bell, and would hear sad Lamentations of people in the street as the cart went along.

    (In Chaucer the word most often used for “to die” is “sterven”, which came to mean to die for lack of food.)

    But while many of us starved the Master Feasted on five-course meals: the first course consisting of civet of Hare, a quarter of Stag, a stuffed chicken and a loin of Veal, covered with gilt sugar-plums and pomegranate seeds. At each end of the table there was an enormous pie, containing a whole roe-deer, a gosling, 3 capons, six chickens, ten pigeons and one rabbit. For the second course there was a wild Boar with spices. For the third dish there were wafers. The fourth course consisted of a white cream cheese in slices and strawberries. The fifth course consisted of prepared wines and sweet pastries.

    Meanwhile we peasants went Hungry and slept in Dark, airless recesses on straw mattresses. And the children worked too, as soon as they were old enough to be of service. Oh, Sir, have pity, for our lives were most unpleasant, Brutish and short!

    Our only comfort were the stories we told each other at night. Stories from a man called Herodotus who lived long ago and described what happened after the defeat of the Persian invasion, how the Persian king Xerxes contemplated a second invasion of Greece. And stories passed down by a Blind poet who lived many centuries earlier and who recounted the deeds of Heroes still Four centuries further back in time.

    We liked the one about Xerxes the Great whose first attempt to cross the Hellespont ended in failure when a storm destroyed the cables of the bridges. He was so angry he ordered the Hellespont itself (the water) to be whipped three hundred times.

    On the second (and successful) attempt, to cross the Hellespont, as Xerxes’ great army was crossing the Hellespont, he started weeping and when asked why, explained his tears by saying:

    “I was thinking about the extreme brevity of men’s lives, for of the multitude before our eyes, not one man will still be alive in a hundred years.”

    We tried to imagine Master Summers shedding a tear for any one of us peasants and our hard lives, or anyone other than himself, but could not imagine this.

    But the stories we liked best were those of the greatest heroes – Achilles, Hector, Diomedes, and Ajax.

    We loved the way they shouted their war cries, and the way they fought at close quarters, with swords and spears.

    Anything less confrontational was looked upon with contempt by the Homeric warrior. One of our favorite scenes was the one where Diomedes addresses Paris, the adulterer and the only major figure in the Iliad who relied upon the bow instead of the sword.

    Here is what Diomdedes said to Paris: “You archer, foul fighter, lovely in your locks, eyer of young girls, If you were to make trial with me in strong combat with weapons, your bow would do you do good at all.”

    This story reminded us of Master Summers, although no one could describe him as lovely in his locks (and given a choice we would have preferred making love with a Hogge), nevertheless he practised archery every day, while we peasants worked the fields.

    While yoking the oxen or ploughing the fields, we liked to daydream of engaging the Fat Summers in close combat with real weapons, and we liked to imagine that under those circumstances, his Bow would do him no good at all.

    Here Endeth Alternate History Part Four.

    Disclaimer: Alternate history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

    1. Robin Hood

      I thought you were describing Mississippi(do they really spell it like that?), but then I re-read the post and noted you are speaking of 11th century England.

      I must have been living off the King’s deer too long.

    2. Michele

      All I have to add, Peasant Pinguin Society, is what a marvelous antidote to an article that humanizes Obama, and made me like him again for the duration.

      Michael Lewis is a good writer; I would expect nothing less of him.

  2. Tiresias

    I’ll grant you the rabbit as they may have been introduced by the Romans although they are not recorded in the UK before the 12th century. I’ll even grant you a few vineyards tho’ the few recorded in the Domesday Book are all in Southern England which is singuarly short of mountains. In fact it’s drawing a very long bow indeed to describe anywhere in England as a possible site for an imposing mountaintop fortress.

    What you can’t have tho’ are strawberries as these weren’t introduced to Europe from the Americas until the mid-16th C.

    1. Peasant Pinguin Society

      Duly noted, thanks!

      Footnote: I would have liked to fit this line from Brecht into the story “Erst kommt das Fressen, Dann kommt die Moral” (First the grub, or food, then the morality) to underscore the hypocrisy of conventional morality imposed by the established order in the face of hunger, however I couldn’t see any easy way to fit it into the story.

      1. Ms G

        PPP (or Teresias), thank you again for an excellent chapter from the alternate history. The Brecht footnote fairly sparkles with contemporary relevance. It would fit nicely as an introductory note to the Occupy Debt Debtor’s Manual that Yves featured here. Brecht’s clear message that before morals comes grub, should dissolve any misplaced moral qualms holding back the Right Action spelled out in the Manual.

        Footnote. I wish I could have taken my Bachelor of Arts in Literature or History at your University.

        1. Ms G

          Well, thank you for that Prof. Pinguid Society. I see Brecht’s brief poem as the outline of an honest history-economics course devoid of generalities and straight to the point. It will take some time to chip away at the internalized myth that .01%-ers somehow rose up on their sheer talent and drive alone.

    2. propertius

      What you can’t have tho’ are strawberries as these weren’t introduced to Europe from the Americas until the mid-16th C.

      I hope that whoever is producing the 3D IMAX remake of The Seventh Seal duly notes this.;-)

      1. Working Class Nero

        Those were wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca), called “skogssmultron” or just “smultron” in Swedish, that they werew eating in The Seventh Seal. Wild strawberries are native to Northern Europe. They do look a little larger than usual in the scene and the actress mentions as much. It may have happened that the crew couldn’t find enough wild strawberries so they cheated and used the smallest normal strawberries they could find.

        By the way, modern strawberries are called “jordgubbar” in Swedish so no Swedes at least would have been confused about what the actors were eating in the film.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Thanks for the linked articles about protests in China, Russia, Spain and Portugal. Don’t forget about Argentina, where massive multi-city protests against president Cristina Kirchner were held on Sep. 13th. Photos:

    Having virtually shut down access to foreign currency, Kirchner is now seeking to amend the constitution to allow herself a third term, prompting criticism that she’s running a Chavez-style ‘dictadura.’

    One of the protest signs reads,

    En el cielo las estrellas
    En el campo las espinas
    En la TV Argentina
    La conchuda de Cristina

    ‘In the sky the stars
    In the countryside the thorns
    On Argentine television
    The twat of Cristina’

    1. ZygmuntFraud

      The state of Affairs in Argentina sometimes reminds me of … a visit at the Hall of Mirrors. One of Douglas Adams’s funniest dry humour lines must be: “It’s an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem.” [From the 2005 movie “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, inspired/co-created following Douglas Adam’s earlier works.]

      Returning to Argentinian Affairs, I recommend (with respect to the life and times of Evita Peron) the following: “Evita: The Woman Behind the Myth”, a 1996 presentation on
      the A&E prime program Biography.

  4. Elliot

    @ Tiresias
    Woods strawberry is circumboreal, not just New World. The x annasassa crosses are with new world stock, but F. moschata, for example, is European. And tastier than F vesca & modern crosses.
    I raise several varieties and a couple species.

  5. PhilK

    Gotta laugh at the tender fee-fees of Vanity Fair. Many of the comments to the article on Obama, including the one quoted above, have been removed because they are “under review”.

    1. Brindle

      I gave a try at reading the Vanity Fair/Obama article. Lewis spent much of the first an second page on Obama’s prowess on the basketball court, that was enough for me to exit.

      Seemingly just an “up close and personal” piece like you see about the Olympic atheletes.

      1. Susan the other

        I couldn’t read it past the first sentence which gave me an instant masochist-headache. Can’t do it.

    2. Ms G

      As of a few hours ago, the only published comments were in the vein of “Thank you Mr. Lewis for your masterful portrayal of this great man Obama. I’m going to vote for him even more after reading this piece.”

      It really is funny (in a depressing and pathetic kind of way).

    3. Maximilien


      Comments at VF currently running 9 to 1 in favor of Obama. Most along the lines of this: “I don’t care what anyone says, this is a man who is intelligent, committed, hard-working AND he has heart. I love my president.”

      Well dear VF commenter, if you don’t care what anyone says then I guess I won’t say anything.

      Got a good laugh out of this one: “I haven’t read this article yet because it looks so incredibly long but I have it on my reading list.”

      Before or after “War And Peace”?

  6. SR6719

    If he had even noticed the existence of a bum kissing suck-up like Michael Lewis, then Guy Debord might have dismissed this walking turd with the following sentence:

    “The admirable people who personify the system are indeed well known for not being what they seem to be; they have achieved greatness by embracing a level of reality lower than that of the most insignificant individual life — and everyone knows it.” (The Society of the Spectacle)

  7. kevinearick

    You are amazing just the way you are…i gotta feeling, you’re feeling it too…f-ing robots.

    G is neutralized. pick up the readily available pieces and put them together to suit the family you want to build. just don’t throw your success in the face of the robots. they are quite fragile just now.

  8. rhelonegunman

    Re: Lewis’ piece…
    1 – he wanted to ‘get close’ to O and get to kmow him… He seems to have done so and been dazzled by O’s personality… How many wankers dod that with Bush? These guys are charismatic – that’s how they get elected by so many people who don’t really ‘know’ them… Also it’s easy to get awed by The Office, The Station, and The Man (aka the president, leader of the free world (sic))
    2 – Lewis isn’t a journalist, he’s a non-fiction writer… He came in with a premise (not The Truth, ike that pursued by serious journos ike Judy Miller, Chris Wallace, Bob Woodward, etc) which he pursued and mined… The others have no such excuse and is why they are rightfully excoriated for their shite work…

  9. kiss of death

    Don’t knock Vanity Fair, they’re enormously influential. Look what their ass-kissing PR hackwork did for Harry and Peter Brant, or for the Assads. With luck, this fawning rimjob will cause Obama to be toppled in a sanguinary coup, dragged helpless through the streets by a baying mob, and shipped off to the Hague in chains.

  10. Valissa

    Today’s pirate theme is the Barbary Pirates… they had a very important role in the early history of US foreign policy…

    Barbary Warfare – All about America’s wars with the Barbary Pirates
    The United States’s conflicts with the Barbary States (Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis) from 1784-1815 gripped the young nation, featured bold attempts by American policymakers to defend U.S. trade in the Mediterranean region and assert leadership in international affairs, set important precedents in American foreign relations (including the first U.S.-supported coup attempt that generated the line “to the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Corps Hymn), provided vital naval training for the War of 1812, and helped create an early sense of American exceptionalism.

    America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe

    Barbary Wars

    Barbary Pirates

    It’s only 3 days ‘til Talk Like A Pirate Day – Wednesday, September 19th !

    1. Peasant Pinguin Society

      Best line concerning Barbary Pirates: “Despite the animosity generated by the Crusades, the level of Muslim pirate activity was relatively low. In the 13th and 14th century it was rather Christian pirates…that had been the constant threat to merchants..”

      Christian pirates?

      I may have to look into this as an Alternate History, as I think I’ve pretty much exhausted the 11th century peasant theme.

      1. Valissa

        Great idea! Have very much enjoyed your alternative history stories so far. I could easily imagine today’s banksters as Christian pirates or perhaps more aptly, privateers.

        Historically, the distinction between a privateer and a pirate has been, practically speaking, vague, often depending on the source as to which label was correct in a particular circumstance. The actual work of a pirate and a privateer is generally the same (raiding and plundering ships); it is, therefore the authorization and perceived legality of the actions that form the distinction. At various times governments indiscriminately granted authorization for privateering to a variety of ships, so much so that would-be pirates could easily operate under a veil of legitimacy.

        1. Bert_S

          Then you will really like this by Dan Simmons. Post humans make themselves Greek Gods and run another alternative Illiad for entertainment. And two more alternative universe plots are running simultaneously. And it even comes crashing all together at the end of the second book!

        2. Bert_S

          I think by the 1600s or so “privateer” and “navy” were interchangeble and were either devout Spanish, Portuguese, French, Hollanders or English.

          The kings couldn’t afford to pay a navy, so they legalized piracy against other nations.

          Then later there were carribean pirates and Blackbeard in your neck of the woods. Probably all good Anglicans.

          1. Valissa

            The evolution of navies out of privateering, is just one part of this brilliant book…

            The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000, by William H. McNeill

            I’m about 3/4’s of the way through. For a book on military history, it’s highly readable and does a great job of including the related economic and political changes in each period.

          1. Valissa

            Thanks for the reminder :)

            “and so they sailed off into the ledgers of history… one by one the financial capitals of the world crumbling under the might of their business acumen… or so it would have been if certain modern theories concerning the shape of the world had not proved to be disastrously wrong… “

      2. Ms G

        Hey Peasant Pinguid, I thought that the mercantilist-era trading companies from the UK and the Netherlands were the Christian pirates! I mean, yes, they had charters granted by their respective sovereigns, but weren’t they pretty transparently charters to “go forth an pirate” from those “rich in mineral, silks, precious gems, metals, opium, free labor and spaghetti” countries?

  11. Ms G

    Re Lewis’s Embarassing Slobber-Fest over Obama.

    For any readers who couldn’t make it to the last page, I am block-quoting the last paragraph. If you’d read the whole piece, by the time you get to the last 4 lines you’d be hurling bile or your guts. It’s as if Lewis suddenly had to learn the art of writing words that mean nothing but somehow fit into a grammatical sentence.

    “Back inside I had had a feeling unhelpful to the task at hand: I shouldn’t have been there. When a man with such a taste and talent for spacing is given so little space in which to operate it feels wrong to take the little he does have, like grabbing water to brush one’s teeth from a man dying of thirst. “I feel a little creepy being here,” I said. “Why don’t I get out of your hair?” He laughed. “C’mon,” he said. “As long as you’re up here, there’s one more thing.” He led me down the hall and into the Lincoln Bedroom. There was a desk, upon which rested some obviously sacred object, covered by a green felt cloth. “There are times when you come in here and you’re having a particularly difficult day,” said the president. “Sometimes I come in here.” He pulled back the cloth and revealed a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address. The fifth of five made by Lincoln but the only one he signed, dated, and titled. Six hours earlier the president had been celebrating the Lady Bears of Baylor. Four hours earlier he’d been trying to figure out what, if anything, he would do to save lives of innocents being massacred by their government in Syria. Now he looked down and read the words of another president, who also understood the peculiar power, even over one’s self, that comes from putting your thoughts into them.”

    NOTE: What exactly does “putting your thoughts into [the words of another President]” mean? Ay ay ay.

    1. chris

      I wasn’t gonna read it but…

      (and I don’t even believe in god)

      it’s actually more palatable than I thought it would be, in that it reveals precisely what you describe:

      “the art of writing words that mean nothing but somehow fit into a grammatical sentence.”

      and it’s an old problem. Oscar Wilde described the difference between journalism and literature thus: “Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.”

      1. Ms G

        Journalism may be unreadable (as Wilde said), but if it scans, it registers like butter in the minds of unthinking (though highly educated) readers. Zat is one of our tragedies.

  12. kevinearick

    The church is an example of god’s wealth alright, like jesus said, monestary thieves in a den, all forgiving eac other’s bankruptcy while they rob every one else blind through lawful emminent domain…sound familiar?

    Group religion…

  13. Peasant Pinguin Society

    Short Alternate History: The Charge of the Light Brigade, featuring Michael Lewis as officer in charge of the Light Brigade, and Obama as overall Commander, Lord Raglan.

    October 25, 1854, Balaclava

    Michael Lewis has just received the following brief text, brought to him by one of his officers:

    “Lord Raglan (Obama) wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front — follow the enemy and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. . . .”

    Michael Lewis’ response: “.. Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward….”

    There endeth Michael Lewis.

    And Here endeth Alternate History, featuring Michael Lewis

    Disclaimer: Alternate history is a genre of fiction consisting of stories that are set in worlds in which history has diverged from the actual history of the world. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

    1. Ms G

      Adding: “… half a league onward. I am blinded, Lord Raglan, by the beauty of your horse riding skill. Another league onward.”

    2. Peasant Pinguin Society

      Good addition!

      I wish I’d thought of it, other than “half a league”, nothing in the Tennyson poem seemed to work.

      1. Ms G

        Except my addition probably doesn’t “work” technically. Forgot all I learned about meter, sonnets, scanning, etc. (now I want to go back to all that) . . . but the Tennyson verses you were using probably didn’t include those lines in between lines that added a whole bunch of syllables and changed the rhythm . . . so your not thinking of it was undoubtedly a product of your correctly staying within the metre and structure of Tennyson :)

      2. Peasant Pinguin Society

        Ms. G: “Forgot all I learned about meter, sonnets, scanning, etc. (now I want to go back to all that)”

        I’m trying to go back to all that as well. We live in a
        world in which information overload has brought about a radical loss of meaning. It almost seems like the more information we process the less meaning there is, almost as if information is devouring its own content.

        Propaganda is everywhere but, personally I don’t think it’s enough just to avoid the corporate media, I think we also have to go back to older forms of storytelling and poetry to try and counter the information glut, and to interpret it in a meaningful way.

        I feel like I’m overdoing it by quoting Walter Benjamin so soon after quoting Brecht (like I should wait a few days or something), but I’m short of time and WB expressed what I’d like to say better than I could, so here’s Walter Benjamin on information versus storytelling, and keep in mind this was written 70 or 80 years ago, the situation the describes has gotten a thousand times worse since then:

        “Every morning brings us news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event comes to us without being already shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits storytelling; almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. . The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the event is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.”

        1. Ms G

          Hmm. Have to think about this WB quote. Not sure it is referring to the ills of propaganda as such. However, thank you for dropping WB here this evening — for the nostalgia of when I used to spend hours reading him and others in the F’furt school, and for the present food for thought it has given me.

          You, on the other hand, don’t seem to need to go back to poetics or rhetoric studies – your cameos transposing figures and stories of our times to their very relevant historical settings are gems in structure and substance, and best of all, highly entertaining — let us not understimate or neglect the great importance of satire in this path of ours.

        2. Peasant Pinguin Society

          Ms G,

          I didn’t put it very well. I don’t think the WB quote is referring to propaganda as such.

          Just for the sake of simplicity, let’s suppose that due to information overload, we’ve reached a situation where INFORMATION = ENTROPY

          The question is what can we do now, and the Benjamin quote (although not a solution) was the first thing that came to mind, as far as thinking in terms of storytelling versus information.

          I wish I had time to try and explain this better but I don’t right now, perhaps some other time.

          1. skippy


            Concur, and would add, that if that holds true, then the rabbit hole is…. MADNESS INCARNATE…

            skippy… Diabolical tea party’s…. huzzzzzzzz… down the spine.

          2. Ms G

            Peter Pinguid — I hear you. Information overload is very much the crux, as propaganda thrives in its incohate “totalness.” When you have time to expand, it will be a very welcome read!

        3. Valissa

          Propaganda is everywhere but, personally I don’t think it’s enough just to avoid the corporate media, I think we also have to go back to older forms of storytelling and poetry to try and counter the information glut, and to interpret it in a meaningful way. … Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it.

          ‘Ain’t That The Truth’ – Danny Brooks

  14. F. Beard

    re Sex and credit: Is there a gender bias in lending? VoxEU. :

    “Credit”, since it is new money creation, is inherently discriminatory. Yet Progressives have little if any problem with it.


          1. Valissa

            My favorite VeggieTale is a Star Trek parody called…

            The Gourds Must Be Crazy

            I discovered Veggie Tales because my nieces loved them when they were younger. My husband and I were both surprised at how much we enjoyed them (we are not Christian, and these are Christian-lite morality tales), and even bought a few episodes for ourselves. The setting of the series, the great cartooning, charming silly songs, and the scripting which includes many wonderful puns (for the benefit of the parents watching with their children) is all very cleverly done.

  15. Susan the other

    A Lonely Redemption. Sandy Lewis. Yes, let’s do the full root canal. For the rest of the country it will not be a lonely redemption; this coming together.

  16. Susan the other

    BBC. Orca Mothers and Sons. Grandmothers were essential in prehistoric times and all through the centuries of human clans and extended families. Orcas are so huge, it would be a wasteful and exhausting survival plan if they died off too soon. The breeding would finish them off. Too many derivatives.

  17. barrisj

    Myth of American “leadership” lives on: lede of today’s front-page story in NYTimes –

    “WASHINGTON — After days of anti-American violence across the Muslim world, the White House is girding itself for an extended period of turmoil that will test the security of American diplomatic missions and President Obama’s ability to shape the forces of change in the Middle East.” .

    Uh, hello, people, that era of the US bending regions/countries to its will has long departed, with drones and Special Forces “targeted assassination” teams replacing American “soft” and “hard” power. Sure, the US can still attempt to bully other governments on the UN Security Council, or threaten trade embargoes or the like, but the notion of actually “directing” popular movements abroad is so risible as a policy “choice” that it risks caricaturing whatever remains of US “leverage” on events beyond its shores. However can the US public even get a realistic grip on today’s realities for any administration in power when the mass media trade in such nonsensical rhetoric and speculative bollocks? The term get real is never more appurtenant as it concerns the US posture in the Middle East.

    1. They didn't leave me a choice

      Dead god, what a horrible bunch of drivel that nytimes article was, does that really pass as journalism over there?

      1. barrisj

        Another example of the pernicious stupidity of the US media is how they have portrayed the anti-American demos across Muslim countries in response to the infamous video as being carried out by “ungrateful people” who simply are ignorant of the US “support” of the “Arab Spring” objectives. “Don’t those people understand that ‘we’ are on their side?” has beend the tiresome refrain the past several days. “The Arab Street”, i.e., the uncontrolled rabble, just don’t “get it”, do they?

  18. barrisj

    Meanwhile, the Afghanistan clusterfuck continues unabated, as this latest from Bloomberg News attests to:

    3rd Afghan inside attack kills 4 US troops
    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan police killed four American soldiers coming to their aid after a checkpoint attack Sunday, the third “insider” assault by government forces or insurgents disguised in military uniforms in as many days.

    The escalating violence — including a NATO airstrike that killed eight Afghan women and girls gathering firewood in a remote part of the country — strained the military partnership between Kabul and NATO as the U.S. begins to withdraw thousands of troops sent three years ago to route the Taliban from southern strongholds.

    All that is left for Obama to do as a policy “choice” is to decamp more rapidly than the 2014 “pullout” schedule calls for, as daily the security situation and war conduct continues to spiral out of control and to the detriment to US “interests” in that ravaged country. As much as the US media continue refer to the perps of “blue-on-green” attacks as “people dressed in [fill-in-the-blank]
    uniforms”, rather than Afghan military or police trained up by Nato/US to absorb more and more of the fighting, the brutal fact remains that the West’s military position is fraught with danger and no amount of “surging” is going to reverse the trend moving forward. Unfortunately, both parties in the US election campaigning are running away from the horrors of the Afghan military intervention, and the public as well seems to be largely unconcerned. But this is heading for yet another bitter defeat for a primarily American military adventure, much as the Iraq invasion has ultimately gone.

  19. neo-realist

    Re: Obama Impersonator–I haven’t seen the SNL one yet, but I thought Reggie Brown was quite funny and accurate: He had the chance to perform his truncated RNC performance on the Bill Maher show. I hope we get to see more of them.

    Re: the horrors of the Afghan military intervention–the public usually tends to be unconcerned about war as long as their own kids aren’t fighting (no draft) and the fighting isn’t happening on American soil, which gives US pols license to pretend it isn’t all that relevant-business as usual.

    1. neo-realist

      Sounds like they’re amassing as a cautionary measure. Navy ship movement has been pretty common around there.

    2. They didn't leave me a choice

      So, what’s the checklist now?
      China slowdown turning into a freefall.
      Israel starting a war against Iran.
      USA’s economy starting another collapse.
      Eurozone spontaneously combusting.
      Anything missing from the doomsday watch?

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Antidoe du jour.

    These three wise monkeys – where do they live? At Tokugawa Nikko Shrine? Confucius Temple at Qifu?

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    EU bank plan hits roadblock.

    Don’t worry, they are probably ecretly working on a bank bailout superhighway.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Once more with love.

    About the lending bias, are attractive girls more frequently pulled over by traffic poice or not?

  23. Valissa

    A year after ‘Occupy’: infused and diffused in US culture
    The trouble with Occupy Wall Street, a year after it bloomed in a granite park in lower Manhattan and spread across the globe, is that nobody really knows what it is anymore. To say whether Occupy was a success or a failure depends on how you define it.

    Occupy is a network. Occupy is a metaphor. Occupy is still alive. Occupy is dead. Occupy is the spirit of revolution, a lost cause, a dream deferred.

    “I would say that Occupy today is a brand that represents movements for social and economic justice,” says Jason Amadi, a 28-year-old protester who now lives in Philadelphia. “And that many people are using this brand for the quest of bettering this world.”

  24. Bert_S

    There’s that old saying about revolutionaries, and probably applies to reformers too.

    Everyone can agree on what they don’t like, but no ones agrees on what they want to do.

  25. albrt

    Michael Lewis is not venturing into the jaws of death (unless perhaps he catches a venereal disease from his Lord Raglan).

Comments are closed.