Links 9/18/12

Apologies for the lack of my own posts tonight. Competing demands throw a real monkey wrench into my schedule. I desperately need to normalize my sleep cycle, and that means turning in less late.

Neanderthals used feathers as ‘personal ornaments’ BBC

5 Stupid Bets That Changed the World Cracked

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Engineers Charge Government Coverup: Reactor Meltdown “Absolute Certainty” If Dam Fails … 100s of Times More Likely than Tsunami that Hit Fukushima George Washington

Crude hit by four-minute plunge Financial Times. Yes, Virginia, it was all due to supply and demand.

Australia’s record quarterly job losses MacroBusiness

Tension high in China-Japan row BBC

German Parties Offer Rival Interpretations of Euro Ruling Der Spiegel

Is Europe’s Financial Crisis Over? Gene Frieda, Project Syndicate

Bond-buying plan will hurt risk assets George Magnus, Financial Times

Pakistan, Bangladesh Block YouTube to Restrict Anti-Islam Film Bloomberg

Hezbollah leader warns US over film Guardian

BARF! Protestors Puke at TransPacific Partnership Talks Lisa Derrick, Firedoglake

Some Surprising Results from the National Small Business Poll Global Economic Intersection

Romney caught talking bluntly about those ‘dependent on government’ in secretly-recorded fundraiser video Daily News. This is getting tons of notice, see for instance Romney Tape on 47 Percent – The Worst Thing Romney Has Said About Americans Yet Charles Pierce, Esquire (Chuck L) and Hey Mitt Romney, Even Marie Antoinette Thought the Peasants Deserved Cake Helaine Olen, Forbes. He also dissed Latinos.

Thank You, Paul Ryan Robert Kuttner, Huffington Post. On Social Security and Medicare.

Judge Delays Chicago Strike Ruling Wall Street Journal

U.S. Warns Ruling Impedes Its Detention Powers New York Times (Robert N)

Never look a gift rally in the mouth MacroBusiness

Crony Capitalism, American Style Randy Wray, Economonitor

The Fed Is Worried That You Might Be Worried About Uncertainty Matt Levine, Dealbreaker

Real-Estate Firm Gets Citigroup Loan to Buy Properties to Turn Into Rentals Wall Street Journal. Ah, I love the smell of innovation in the morning.

Exploiting the enemy: The economic contribution of prisoner of war labour to Nazi Germany during WWII VoxEU

Do debt service costs affect macroeconomic and financial stability? Bank of International Settlements. Is there something about economics that induces agnotology? Not that there’s anything wrong with the paper, but this should be bloomin’ obvious. William McChesney Martin said the job of a central banker was to take the punch bowl away when the party gets going.

Occupy is one year old. The critics are wrong to say there’s little to celebrate Guardian

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lambert here:

Readers, I’m sorry to slip into “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one” mode, but with #S17, the Chicago Teacher’s Strike, and Romeny’s Class Warfare eruption, there’s a lot going on.

Mission elapsed time: T + 11 and counting*

‘I like the Walrus best,’ said Alice: ‘because you see he was a LITTLE sorry for the poor oysters.’

‘He ate more than the Carpenter, though,’ said Tweedledee. ‘You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn’t count how many he took: contrariwise.’

‘That was mean!’ Alice said indignantly. ‘Then I like the Carpenter best–if he didn’t eat so many as the Walrus.’

‘But he ate as many as he could get,’ said Tweedledum.

This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, ‘Well! They were BOTH very unpleasant characters–‘ —Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

Occupy. The invitation: An impressive flyer [PDF] (including bull with party hat). Explainer: “So, the protesters have to figure out how to defend themselves. This is also the problem that other great protest movements confronted: the abolitionists had to work out how to sustain the “underground railway” in the face of southern posses, and the sit-down strikers of the 1930s had to figure out how to defend their factory occupations in the face of company police and sometimes state militia.” … Explainer: “[T]here’s nothing worse than insisting,unquestioningly and unwisely, that others kiss the whip of those who would exercise their power and authority over them.” … Explainer: “What started as a couple hundred people in a park with no plan [not at all true!] has turned into a decentralized, distributed network of activists, affinity groups, organizations and organizers, working on everything from free education to fracking. And so as New York’s financial district was choked with glitter, balloons, dance parties and a whole lot of police, Occupy’s anniversary feels less like a celebration of what was and more a demonstration of what’s becoming.” …

Police state: “The police moved away from kettling and mass arrests a while ago and have settled on a much more terrifying tactic–seemingly random snatch and grabs, yanking people off the sidewalk out of a crowd.” That won’t work when the Occupiers drop those stupid V for Vendetta masks and start dressing for success. And what next, the 4AM knock? … Strategic failure, my sweet Aunt Fanny: “[T]he popular assemblies that were held in a thousand squares across the world served as a crucial lesson for the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in them. We should never underestimate how the Occupy movement radicalized an entire generation of concerned citizens across the US and around the world.” … Tactics: “As soon as the police saturated the intersection, demonstrators dispersed to form other concentrations, which was part of the plan: to create roving clusters of protesters as opposed to a singular show of force. As protesters roamed the streets, so did massive contingents of NYPD officers. The largely peaceful protests were punctuated by periodic bursts of violent arrests, as the NYPD continued its tactic of targeting seemingly random protesters to detain in their attempts to maintain order.” Well, a different kind of “order.” (Analogies are never perfect, but I’m reminded of Hutier tactics and distributed operations, which were tactical responses to a war of attrition. Note then, that this headline — “Occupy Wall St. protesters meet wall of NYPD resistance on first anniversary of movement” — gets the tactical situation exactly wrong. Let us remind ourselves also that Hutier tactics failed in the first instance because Ludendorff’s strategic goals not articulated or not achievable.) … Strategy: Reading that flyer (above), I’m not seeing demands, but I am seeing broad topic areas (“zones”) which might create a context for demands were demands to be made: 99%, Education, Debt, Eco. Not a bad cut at a set of wicked problems, eh? … From the Barcalounger: New tactics of “small pieces loosely joined,” strategic “zones”; all this, to me, looks like the beginning of a campaign season as wildly effective as the last one. And unlike last year’s efforts, this campaign can be carried on in cold weather, because the camping element is gone. No matter that the numbers are small; it only takes a pinch of yeast to make the bread rise; and if you make enough bread, the yeast becomes part of the natural environment.

Chicago teacher’s strike. The issues: “The key provision isn’t anything related to wage increases, teacher evaluations, teacher recall, merit pay and other items receiving most public attention. It’s this: The contract wouldn’t cap the number of charter schools the CPS can open or the number of schools that the CPS can close or consolidate.” (Lewis needs better PR: that “anything more they can get” quote is terrible.) …. Rahm’s injunction: “[Rahm] issued a statement that, in trademark tough-guy form, offered not even a passing whiff of conciliation: he accused the union of using children as pawns, and said he was going to court — an option he had checked on weeks ago, just in case, and one he carried out first thing Monday morning.” The case won’t be heard until Wednesday. The CTU may vote on Tuesday. … Rahm’s injunction: “[John] Hancock, who has represented several MI school districts over 30 years, says he expects Judge Flynn to force both sides back to the table to negotiate around the clock for a resolution. As it stands, the Chicago school district may have a difficult time proving that every economic issue is resolved, he says” which is necessary to grant the injunction. … Rahm’s injunction: “To me it seems more like a p.r. tactic than a legal strategy — does he really want to put Karen Lewis in jail? (During the Pullman strike in 1894, Grover Cleveland put Eugene Debs in jail — an d John Peter Altgeld made sure Cleveland was never nominated for president again.)” … Quislings: “The City Council’s Latino Caucus released a statement Monday calling on teachers to return to class while they finish negotiating their contract [quite the strategery] with the Chicago Board of Education. Meanwhile, the Black Caucus released a statement late Monday saying it would be a “travesty” if kids aren’t back in school by Wednesday.” … Intellectual history: Many of CTU’s current leaders helped found the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, which started out as a book club to review Naomi Klein’s best-seller The Shock Doctrine, which argues that corporate interests have exploited crises to push through agendas that undermine democracy.”

CA. Legalization: “Seventeen people were arrested and 1,500 plants seized when state drug agents shut down a marijuana growing operation Monday near Elk Grove.” Another small business destroyed by regulation. …. ObamaCare: “The [health care] exchange’s public-relations plan says ‘individuals from California’s robust entertainment industry will be approached at the most senior levels’ to promote the new marketplace and get people enrolled.” More rents.

FL. Debt: “South Floridians owe — a lot — on car, home and student loans. [M]ortgage balance is more than $30,000 higher, for example, than the average U.S. home loan balance. [S]tudent debt balance: $32,330 or 11 percent more than the $29,092 national average. [C]ar loans: $16,411 vs. $15,986.” … Privatization: “[Two] unions went to court late Friday in an effort to block plans to privatize inmate health-care services in state prisons.]” Read the story for an example of horrible legislative drafting. … The trail, youth vote: “‘I think it’s going to be a tough one,” [Kristin Perkins (21)] said. “There’s Obama who hasn’t done all the changes that he said he would. But I also believe that you can’t get much done in a four-year period when you’re going against a House that’s all R while you’re a D. And I like that Romney comes from his own money. He seems to know what to do with money, so hopefully that can help the economy.”

IL. Fracking: “More than $10,000 was raised Saturday during a daylong fundraiser in Enfield, Ill., to benefit the families of four Southern Illinois oilfield workers injured in a July 24 explosion.” Story doesn’t say it’s fracking, but it is.

KS. Ballot access: “Efforts to keep Obama’s name off of the KS presidential ballot were halted Monday when a state board ended its probe over questions about the president’s place of birth, the KS SoS’s office confirmed.”

LA. Katrina: “Attorneys representing a group of Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish residents claim that Washington Group International Inc., an Army Corps of Engineers contractor, removed several buildings and dozens of pilings from land along the canal as part of a plan to expand the canal’s shipping lock, and then failed to adequately plug the holes left behind. Those holes allowed Katrina’s surge to seep underneath the 14-foot wall, significantly contributing to its failure, they argue.”

MA. Obama 2.0: “I am convinced that Deval Patrick’s oratory is second to none. Deval Patrick could get me to walk on fire for ‘the cause.'” Also advised by Axelrove.

MD. Occupy Baltimore: “‘Occupy Baltimore is more or less decentralized now, and there are many groups that are doing different kinds of work,’ said Olivia Robinson. ‘But the network itself has gotten stronger. The interest and the passion that was brought to a head through the Occupy movement is not vanished. It’s still here. It’s deeper, in a way.'” … Police state: “Police in Palmer Park, Md., plan to deploy cameras to surveil the other other cameras in their district. The police said that since April, six people have been involved in camera damaging activities. One man literally pulled out a pistol and used the camera for target practice.” Going meta!

ME. Weed dating: “Women will weed on one side of a garden bed [at the Common Ground Fair], and men on the other. As they industriously work on the beds, they’ll chat, and who knows, she said, sparks might fly along with the weeds.”

MI. Austerity: “Over the last two decades, changes in state policy and funding cuts have pushed tens of thousands of mentally ill people into county jails, state prisons, homeless shelters and hospital emergency rooms.” First, they came for the mentally ill. 

MN. Occupy Homes: “By early November, Occupy MN saw the writing on the wall: Hennepin County wasn’t going to let protestors stay indefinitely on the “People’s Plaza”, and though activists won a free-speech battle with the help of the ACLU, the movement made a strategic shift to focus on embattled homeowners facing foreclosure. This would enable Occupy activists to help people with concrete needs, and give them a place to stay when the Minnesota winter arrived.”

NC. Voting: “[T}housands of additional teenagers are signing up this month because [state] law requires county boards of elections conduct voter registration and preregistration drives in high schools during Citizens Awareness Month.”

ND. Oil: Facebook alert, but Bakken Oilfield, Fail of the Day is terrific.

NY. Greens: “Peter LaVenia wants five debates with Democratic incumbent Neil Breslin before November’s general election. He’s hoping to discuss issues ranging from student debt (cancelled), health care (single-payer), election reform (public financing) and employment (WPA).” … Occupy Syracuse: “As crowds gathered in New York City for mass protests, Scott McGrody set up a chair in downtown Syracuse. His version of Occupy.”

OH. Water: “The scum that had coated Casey during his swim turned out to be blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Later tests of [Grand Lake St. Marys] detected liver toxins and neurotoxins produced by various cyanobacteria.” Ick. … Swing state, Thomas Suddes: “The OH voters probably pivotal in deciding who wins power live in college-town OH, blue-collar OH and central OH.”

PA. Fracking: “Political donations from the energy sector to PA politicians and PACs spiked from $4 million in 2008 to $7.5 million in 2010–the very same time as the fracking industry there was starting to take off.” …. Voting: “[A] provision [in the challenged voter ID law] requires the PA DOT to provide a nondriver photo ID card to any registered voter who swears that he needs it for voting purposes. The federal government’s Homeland Security laws forced PennDot to require some additional proof before providing citizens with identification cards, Knorr explained, so the agency could not comply with that provision of the law.” … Cheese steaks: “I had the good fortune to purchase mine from Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks. Not only is Carmen’s arguably the Maxim’s of the junk food world, it was located in the Reading Terminal Market, which is surely one of the busiest indoor food courts in the western hemisphere.” I’ve had them; they’re ghastly. The Reading Terminal itself, however, is wonderful, despite tourist traps like Carmen’s.

TX. Corruption? “Charles Workman, a Baptist minister, former city council member, and civil rights advocate in Hearne, TX, was mysteriously murdered last week. According to news reports he was shot in the head and his car was found set on fire. [F]ears have arisen that the Robertson County DA, John Paschall, won’t aggressively pursue the case because Workman had become [his] nemesis in the aftermath of the infamous Hearne drug stings, which contributed to the ultimate de-funding of Texas system of narcotics task forces statewide, including one led by Paschall.” … STDs: “Worried about rising numbers of babies born with syphilis in San Antonio [and to younger mothers], local health officials have begun assigning case workers to follow infected women throughout their pregnancies to ensure proper treatment.” … Fracking: “Halliburton Co. crew members who lost a radioactive rod used in drilling [fracking] wells in west TX weren’t guilty of criminal conduct, the FBI said as a hunt for the tool entered a fourth day.” Right, which would be why the FBI was called in.

VA. Big government: “Albemarle County staff, native plant experts and the Natural Heritage Committee have created a comprehensive list of the best growing and most commercially available plants in the county.The county plans to continue to update the data behind the web tool to meet future need and introduce the database to neighboring localities and regional partners.”

WA. Corruption: “The [Seattle School] district has fixed many of the problems and now requires more than one person to sign off on any purchase orders or invoices, no matter the amount. Invoices must be detailed, he said, and can no longer say “payment per agreement.”

WI. Police state: “The most controversial part of the new policy holds that protesting groups ‘may be held liable for law enforcement expenses arising out of the event,’ and ‘may’ be required to pay in advance. Such liability would attach if “additional officers” are assigned due to the size of the event or the possible occurrence of disruption.”

Outside baseball. Good advice: “Go for the guy who hasn’t called, the guy who knows what he’s doing but is too busy enough call you up.”  Fascinating story about what’s right and wrong with law. … Et tu, Bill? “A friend just informed me that Bill Cosby has joined the board of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst.” … Racism: “[G]iven two white people, one who went to college and one who didn’t, the former is more likely to express his racial hostility politically in the form of greater opposition to welfare. Education imparts social and political knowledge that prepares people to better read the signals provided by political leaders and the mass media.” … Climate, fracking: “[T]his year’s expected CO2 emissions have declined by more than 800 million tons, or 14 percent from their peak in 2007. The cause is an unprecedented switch to natural gas, which emits 45 percent less carbon per energy unit.” Maybe. I’d like an account of all externalities. … Climate: “With no sweat glands and a gut that has to ferment the moose’s woody diet of twigs, the animals have a hard time when temperatures reach more than 80 degrees.” … The Constitution: “Today [2012-09-17] is the 225th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. If slaves were property, then how could they be counted even partially as human beings? By any measure that was unprincipled. But it worked to get the document approved. If legislating is like sausage making, then the Constitution is smorgasbord.”

The trail. The Senate: “The Akin controversy, and the damage it did to his party’s chances in the state, means Rs are likely to pick up between one and three Senate seats, just short of the four they need to take control of the chamber if President Obama wins reelection.” … Money: “Obama’s top five sources of funding are employed by the University of California ($491,868), Microsoft Corp. ($443,748), Google Inc. ($357,382), the DLA Piper legal/lobbying firm ($331,715) and Harvard University ($317,516). Romney’s top sources are all financial giants: Goldman Sachs ($676,080), JPMorgan Chase & Co. ($520,299), Morgan Stanley ($513,647), Bank of America ($510,728) and Credit Suisse Group ($427,560).” So Romney’s got Obama’s 2008 donors. … Polls, Nate Silver: “President Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College fell slightly on Sunday in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, to 74.7 percent from 76.2 percent on Saturday.”

Green party. Occupy. “The Green Party of the United States saluted and praised Occupy Wall Street on September 17″ (press release).

The Romney. “Bitter” [reference; follow-up] in 2008, “entitled” in 2012: “[ROMNEY: ] All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. My job is not to worry about those people [ouch!]. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” (Obama’s version: “[T]here are going to be very difficult choices and issues of sacrifice and responsibility and duty.”) So the debates, if they are to be believed, will be about how many moochers to throw under the bus and how fast … 

Bitter then, “entitled” now: Identical scenario to the “bitter/cling to” flap, when Mayhill Fowler secretly recorded an Obama fundraiser in 2008 (references above), but how in the name of sweet suffering Jeebus did the Romney advance team not confiscate the recording device?!?!?! [NC 2012-06-13; NC 2012-07-19]. Same venue, different day: “[G]uests cavorted nude in a pool and performed sex acts.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. … Bitter then, “entitled” now: “Republican Mitt Romney says a video clip in which he called nearly half of Americans ‘victims’ was ‘not elegantly stated’ and was ‘spoken off the cuff.’ But he says Obama’s approach is ‘attractive to people who are not paying taxes.'” More walking it sideways than back. Of course, income taxes aren’t all taxes, and blue states subsidize red states.

Bitter then, “entitled” now: “You can mark my prediction now: [The] secret recording has killed Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.” Well, no. Two things are killing Romney: He lost the political class, which gave Obama a pass in the “bitter/cling to” flap of 2008, identical in both setting and message to this flap, and more centrally (via Stoller) he wasn’t willing to do what it would take to win: Run a populist campaign from the right. So is Obama lucky, or what? What next, Jack Ryan?

The Obama. The base: “Some black clergy see no good presidential choice between a Mormon candidate and one who supports gay marriage, so they are telling their flocks to stay home on Election Day.” …. Rapture Index closes up 1 on liberalism.

* Slogan of the day: The invincible thoughts of The Obama illuminate the stages of progressive thought!

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Antidote du jour:

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  1. S.Z. ("Cuddles") Sakall

    Hey Gretchen Rubin, it’s S.Z. (“Cuddles”) Sakall here.

    Remember me, I’m the guy who played the headwaiter at Rick’s café in Casablanca.

    Yes, I’m talking to you, Gretchen, daughter-in-law of former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Wall Street honcho Robert Rubin, and author of The Happiness Project, considered by the NY Times to be “one of the most thought-provoking and influential thinkers on happiness of our time”.

    The same Gretchen Rubin who was riding on a bus in New York City one day in 2005 and suddenly had a eureka moment. You realized there was NO reason EVER to be unhappy, not even for a SINGLE minute, and you decided to share this insight with the entire world, in order to spread joy and happiness around the world.

    And that’s how The Happiness Project began!

    Well, I was just wondering Gretchen, considering how happy you and your friends are about being so rich, and all, and how great and wonderful everything appears (when looked at from the vantage point of the super rich), I was wondering if your Happiness Project Blog be taking a moment to remember the victims of the Sabra and Chatila massacre that happened thirty years ago this week?

    What, you don’t remember it? Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982, during the Lebanese civil war? When one thousand seven hundred not so happy defenseless Palestinians were butchered by Lebanese Phalangists while the Israeli army looked on and did nothing?

    If you’ve forgotten and that’s why you haven’t posted anything about this yet on your Happiness Blog, well, mark the dates on your Happiness Calendar.

    So. Will you be pausing from the happy chatter for a moment of silence in remembrance of Sabra and Chatila? (But it needn’t a sad moment, Gretchen, it can still be a happy silence!)

    Remember how after the massacre there were women lying in houses with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart, children with their throats cut, rows of young men shot in the back after being lined up at an execution wall. And there were babies tossed into rubbish heaps alongside empty whisky bottles and ration tins supplied by the US army.

    No, you don’t remember any of this? No, you don’t want to hear about it?

    Doesn’t it bother you that the Israeli army could have stopped the slaughter at any time, or that no one was tried or sentenced for the massacre and that the criminals got away with it? Does criminals getting away with it sound familiar to you, Gretchen, remind you of anyone… hint ..
    same last name as your husband….who?… ding!…ding!.. father in law Bob?….you got it!

    What, you’re running late for dinner at the Four Seasons on East 52nd Street?

    Who’s going to be there? Both Michael Lewis *and* Andrew Ross Sorkin! And you’re so happy cuz the four of you will be ordering the Roast Duck. What, you say you bet Andrew Ross and Michael won’t be talking any non-sense such as some godawful massacre or whatever you’re talking about, betcha they’ll be happy and the four of us can engage in some witty verbal repartee, and light, teasing banter.

    You know what, Gretchen, you’re probably right! You’re three of a kind, three peas in a pod, a pod without any signs of measurable cerebral activity.

    Give my regards to Andrew Ross and Michael.

    And David Brooks, in case you’re reading this, could I ask you a favor?

    Next time you’re pontificating on Charlie Rose or whatever snot-nose media douchebag has you on next, could you PLEASE PLEASE wipe that stupid smirk off your face, if only for one minute! I’m trying to be polite here, I asked you nice, I said PLEASE, and I said it twice TWICE!

    1. Lambert Strether

      I’d view Rubin battening onto the topic of happiness more as an indicator that it’s truly important to “the rest of us,” and that it’s therefore crucial for the elite to corrupt or destroy it.

      1. S.Z. ("Cuddles") Sakall

        Lambert Strether: “I’d view Rubin battening onto the topic of happiness more as an indicator that it’s truly important to “the rest of us,” and that it’s therefore crucial for the elite to corrupt or destroy it.”

        Sorry I didn’t see this before. Almost forgot about my early morning rant. :)

        But anyway, I wasn’t thinking so much in terms of happiness per se, so much so the hypocrisy of someone in a position of great wealth to have a blog entitled the Happiness Project, especially in these times.

        I don’t detect the least irony or complexity in Gretchen Rubin (or what little I can take of her, which is about 2 seconds) so it would appear that what you see is what you get, and what you see is a completely smug, shallow-minded, self-satisfied, super rich narcissist.

        From what little I could stand to read of her writing, it’s just total mush, mediocrity squared, just completely mindless banality.

        So I doubt she’s even capable of thinking in the terms you describe, although her father-in-law might be be capable of thinking in terms of corrupting or destroying happiness for the rest of us.

        Who knows, maybe he’s funding the blog for her, with that goal in mind.

        1. Ms G

          “… although her father-in-law might be be capable of thinking in terms of corrupting or destroying happiness for the rest of us.”

          No, he in fact already did corrupt and destroy happiness for the rest of us — while in office as a GS Treasury Secretary, and then collecting his pillage at Citi. And his name is Richard Rubin.

          By the way: thank you for the artful takedown of that strange lady with the same last (married) name as Richard. Her blog could be titled “Macaroon Chronicles” — don’t miss this week’s discussion of pastel green!

    2. Klassy!

      You realized there was NO reason EVER to be unhappy, not even for a SINGLE minute, and you decided to share this insight with the entire world, in order to spread joy and happiness around the world.
      Yes, because no one is happier than the individual who is on an endless quest for happiness.

  2. skippy

    The Camp Wars…. There was permission given for eating of the dead… but the fit sacrificed for the weak, ill and young…

    Skippy… that would get in the way of happiness now, wouldn’t it…

    1. ambrit

      Dear skippy;
      That would depend on what you think of as happiness. Lots of martyr complex types around.
      What about those job numbers? A trend? Any sudden rise in your ladies line of work lately?
      Greetings from Dixie. (Off to work.)

      1. skippy

        Gretchen would have feasted imo, after she had a chef give it treatment, hide the connection.

        Front lines? Nope, heaps around here are riding bikes to work and getting out side a lot, simplifying. We probably have a few more quarters till any significant up swing in employment effects. The gov does what it can to help around here and the political winds are changing, after the liberal knee jerk last vote. To hard with the knife and to the wrong mob without showing some sacrifice in their own ranks.

        The Big Thing is big mobs trying to refinance debit see fortescue mining, that big cattle mob from Brazil cough now Gov owned via bank, et al. Plus housing mbs stuff, the stench of fraud is now coming out in the open thanks to the ABC media.

        skippy… Everyone is connected is one way or another around here, and in hard times, even if there is bad blood, come together. We are a Mob…. lmao.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Angry bear has an excellent critique, but even so, one thing that stood out for me was that corruption was so high on the list. As I evolved the buckets to throw snippets in for “Campaign Countdown,” based on reading a ton of non-national news, “Corruption” evolved as one of those buckets. Not a first world problem (except in the elite, of course). A second- or third-world problem. Frightening.

  3. ambrit

    Just a thought before I run off to work. (Morning shift the next few days.)
    The tactics adopted by the NYPD fit the definition of terrorism. Use small roving bands of operatives to randomly target individuals from the opposing group and inflict harm. No different from a bomb vest sent into a crowd at a bus stop. The people thinking this up haven’t read their history. Give a people a sufficiently motivating myth and they’ll endure anything in the struggle for their goals.
    The great reason the Fifties and Sixties were the Golden Age for America was that everyone, (and I use that term to include even the oppressed folks among us then,) had a sense of hope, real hope, not just political oratory.
    Off to work.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Ambrit, that’s very acute on police tactics. Another keen thing about #S17 is that they published the map. It’s almost like a “Come and get me!” moment… And it worked well. All from the Barcalounger, I freely admit, but I’m very impressed and, er, happy.

  4. Fíréan

    United States District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest has, it would seem from her most recent actions, a far better understadning of the Constitution than the Administration.

  5. Klassy!

    Re: Deval Brown via “Left in Lowell”
    What is it about liberals who never tire of pointing out the racism of others. It borders on derangement and amounts to nothing more than “I’m not a racist because I called you an old white racist male.” (note agesim– good, racism– bad.)
    Deval Patrick for cryinoutloud? That great enabler of wealth stripping in the black community?

  6. TK421

    That’s the problem with Republicans today: they go around saying things like “I don’t care about most Americans.” Why don’t they just pay lip service to people like that and undermine them with their actions later, like Obama and Rahm? Until they learn to do that, they’ll keep getting in trouble like this.

    1. TK21

      The Rs have always been like that though, at least for a few decades now. It’s the Ds who have decided to dive headfirst into the muck and swim around.

  7. Valissa

    The latest pirate news…

    From Ketchikan Alaska… Talk like a (fish) pirate

    Political irony alert… Pirate Party Member Insists on Copyright for Book

    Let’s stop panicking about digital piracy. Legal content providers just need to get their act together

    Basque Corsairs (inspired by Yves’ comment the other day)

    Only 1 more day ‘til Talk Like A Pirate Day – Wednesday, September 19th !

  8. jack hepler

    Re the Guardian article by FoxPiven:
    Her hopeful comments are crudely contrasted by the vitriol of the respondents, and this in the lefty bastion of journalism

    PS– Lambert- a few days back I dropped an inconsequential donation in the NC basket (maybe your pocket) in honor of your energy in ploughing thru so much garbage… I wish you a better, saner life next time

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thanks, but although the horse race stuff is indeed garbage — through fraught with human interest much as the society depicted in works like Les Liasons Dangereuses — the rest of the material is not. Since I’m well known for my sunny optimism and Pollyanna-esque attitude, discount as you will, but I see a great wave of civic engagement, all across the United States, that has yet to be accommodated within the political order, and very probably can’t be accommodated within the Constitutional order.

  9. j m kochevar

    concerning the romney flap, here’s a more ‘elegant’ statement from the plutocratic pov.

    obama secretly taped at CA wine ‘n cheese fundraiser in 2008: “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    given the trans pacific partnership negotiations going on under this administration, our prez is still clinging to that old time ‘free’ trade religion.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Read down and search on “bitter,” and you will see multiple links and lots of documentation on exactly that episode.

      * * *

      As I wrote then:

      It’s not the “bitterness” it’s the “cling to”! It’s Obama denying working class voters the same complexity and nuance that he claims for himself when he gives speeches about his own relationship to his pastor and religion!

      In other words, Obama is denying that working people are fully moral agents in the same way that he, and people of his class are.

      To me, that makes Obama’s comments more insulting than Romney’s: Romney thinks the targets of his opprobium are immoral, and won’t “take responsbility,” but he doens’t say they aren’t capable of taking responsbility. I’d rather be called a “moocher” than tossed on the ash heap of history, as a class, because my personal and local situation makes me incapable of perceiving my true interests, as determined by My Betters.

      Granted, that’s a pretty bad choice to be presented with.

      1. Neo-Realist

        He may have denied these people complexity and nuance, but these working class dogpatch u.s.a. dwellers make their political choices with nary a hint of complexity and nuance, but rather with blunt simplicity year after year-the pro-gun, pro-god, anti-choice party, so I have no issue in defining them that way. The key is you must do it discreetly in likeminded company:).

        1. different clue

          If they had a Protectionist Party to vote for, they might well vote for it. Then you might see some of that complexity, etc.

          Lifestyle Liberals keep dodging on purpose the point Franks made with his book What’s The Matter With Kansas. When New Yuppie Scumocrats like Clinton adopted the Republican upper class platform of Free Trade Aggression against American workers, heretofore-Democratic voting working class people discovered they had no party left to vote for for economic reasons. So the Republican Party which at least paid verbal honor to their cultural social concerns got their votes instead.

          Since Obama remains committed to the New Yuppie Scumocrat’s Free Trade agenda, why would his working class targets and victims vote for him? (Grateful car industry workers will vote for him out of gratitude for the Chrysler GM cramdown rescue. It would have been too politically intolerable to allow 2 million jobs to vaporise all at once).

          1. Neo-Realist

            Just because the “Great Pretender” made a true, yet untactful statement about the Snuffy Smith demographic, it doesn’t mean that I’m a shill for him. If the closest thing to a protectionist party came to campaign for their votes–Jill Stein and the Greens, would their dormant nuance and complexity come to the fore? If she spoke of the necessity of investing in a new industrial paradigm in the heartland or something along those lines that best served their economic interests, would that bring out their “moral agency”? Or would she need to go out and do some deer hunting, moonshine drinking and megachurch speaking engagements to get their support?

    2. lucky

      For Romney, the 47% have a character issue that makes them content to be dependent and not accountable for their own lives. In Obama’s version, the same people are discontented, longing to exchange dependence for jobs and a sense of control over their own lives.

      1. Ms G

        Most offensive too, that Obama made that remark “en passant,” in the manner of a US tourist riding a taxi through Bombay and registering the dirt and the poverty as part of “local color.”

        To Obama, the folks who he correctly sees as “having fallen through the cracks” during Clinton and the Bushes are not an urgent reminder of the need for emergency assistance and action — they are a sepia postcard. That level of indifference to the human suffering that he is responsible for as President is a mark of Obama’s sociopathy.

  10. dcblogger

    “Some black clergy see no good presidential choice between a Mormon candidate and one who supports gay marriage, so they are telling their flocks to stay home on Election Day.”

    I wonder how much they were paid for their scruples? It is certainly a novel approach to voter suppression.

  11. taunger

    As a MA resident, I’ll just say I’d rather have Deval than Barry anyday, corporate counsel connections or not.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Now, that explains that feather fetish – the Neanderthal spirit (perhaps also Neanderthal DNA) lives on.

  13. Valissa

    As an alternative (or antidote!) to all the political claptrap and melodrama, some fun news articles…

    $7 million in gold found in dead Nevada man’s home

    Warp Drive May Be More Feasible Than Thought, Scientists Say

    NASA Funds ‘Thor’s Hammer’ Idea for Tossing Satellites

    1. Bert_S

      I’m sure if they keep working on Warp Drive they will be able to get to Jupiter in 47 minutes using the energy in just one apple!

  14. Valissa

    Talk about conspicuous consumption… is this what the .0000000001% will be wearing?

    In the video interview portion the designer proudly states it was not made with blood diamonds… as if that makes the obscene cost of this beautiful dress somehow more palatable.

    Dress costing £3.5million unveiled in Ukraine
    The dress, created by British designer Debbie Wingham, is adorned with 50 two carat black diamonds, and weighs 29lb (13kg). …

    “I don’t even want to try this dress, either to show it off, or to have pictures taken. I regret that so many diamonds were ‘killed’ by such an ugly-looking dress,” said one glamorously dressed lady attending the show.

    That’s ~5.7 million is USD, btw.

  15. Eureka Springs

    In response to the anniversary of the Constitution and what Ambrit said about NYPD and terrorism I offer the following link to a wonderful book which so many should consider reading. I’ve purchased many used copies and spread it around my community.

    Spread this link to your friends, fellow patriots, OWSers. It’s time to start anew.

    Toward An American Revolution – Exposing The Constitution & Other Illusions

  16. barrisj

    Re: The Sun King’s “47%” comments: The Economist’s Free Esxchange blog has a very reasoned rejoinder to His Romneyness’s pathetic utterances –

    The opportunity to take responsibility
    YOU will find this difficult to believe, readers, but Mitt Romney has been caught on video saying something potentially damaging to his campaign. Yesterday, Mother Jones ran extensive video of Mr Romney speaking at a fundraiser and responding to a wide variety of questions. The material is rich with statements he no doubt wishes he could have back, but this is the bit that’s receiving the most attention at the moment:

    “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax…[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

    The citation of “the 47%” isn’t that odd for a Republican; it became something of a standard GOP response to Occupy Wall Street’s “we are the 99%” slogan. It is startling to hear the figure placed in this context, however, particularly by a major party candidate for president just weeks before an election.
    The 47% of people that pay no income tax include lots of people who nonetheless pay tax. For the working poor, payroll taxes are a substantial share of income. It also includes people who aren’t currently paying income tax but who soon will—like students—or who already spent a long career paying into federal coffers—retirees. And some of those paying no income tax are very rich people who derive most of their income from investments. A not insignificant share of these moochers are Republican voters. It should be obvious how incredibly wrong it is to characterise most of them as unwilling to take personal responsibility, as blithely dependent on the government, and as in hock to the Democratic Party as a result.
    To me, this perfectly illustrates the massive blind spot in current GOP orthodoxy. The belief that there is an irreconcilable conflict between government benefits and the freedom to pursue dreams can only arise among those who have never had to worry about the reality of equality of opportunity in America.
    America’s welfare state is far from perfect. But it is necessary; indeed, it’s hard to imagine a just and sustainable system of free enterprise without a robust social safety net. Republicans need to recognise this and acknowledge that the past three decades have meant rising income inequality and falling economic mobility alongside top marginal tax rates that are among the lowest of the postwar period. A party that can’t come up with a better answer to this dynamic than to conclude that half of America simply isn’t trying hard enough probably isn’t a party destined or deserving of electoral success. /i>

    May this vile swine and his cohorts sink into a dungheap of iniquity.

    1. barrisj

      BTW, I posted this story on NC late last night (PDT) and Lambert replied thusly (in part):
      I’m thinking this is a lot like Romney’s version of Obama’s 50% + 1 strategy, too. This message will be very attractive to his base.”

      Well, this morning looks completely differently, doesn’t it?
      Sure, maybe the 15-20% of the voting public who is “his base” will warmly respond to the “47%” meme, but what of the remaining 80-85%?? Come on, man, this wanker is H.I.S.T.O.R.Y., yeah? Obama camp has already got several juicy ads in place exploiting the Sun King’s comments, and if you imagine that Romney won’t get kneecapped by his gaffe, and perhaps fatally so, you are badly underestimating the reservoir of mistrust that exists amongst the electorate re: Romney and a personal philosophy,
      informed by massive wealth and gaming the system.

      1. TK421

        So I guess it’s a question of “who loathes the Democratic base more: Obama or Romney?” Romney thinks they are lazy parasites; Obama (via his former consigliere) thinks they are “f**king retarded.” Which one to vote for???

      2. Fiesty

        I e-mailed Mitt’s dog about this morning and he said Mitt is going after 48% of the vote.

        It’s a democracy – get it?

        arf! arf! arf! arf!

        1. Fiesty

          I asked Master if I’m dependant on government and Master said, as far as he can tell, I’m probably OK.

          Master doesn’t usually give me glib answers for things and we made the following checklist.

          1) I’m out of obediance school (even tho I flunked).

          2) I have my own cat, hamster and rabbit exercise clinic, which doesn’t have any government contracts or tax breaks.

          3) I make $17,000/ year and pay 13% federal income tax plus state tax, social security, medicare and unemplyment insurance deductions.

          4) I don’t have health insurance and Master takes me to the vet and pays cash.

          5) I don’t have a car (especially not Government Motors) or buy gas (especially not from the middle east) and just get around on my own four feet.

          6) I live far away from any high value terrorist targets like Washington DC and NYC.

          7) Although I may need a body guard, I don’t have one.

          8) I am not running for public office to represent the 1%.

          9) I am not a German Shepard, so I will never be drafted by the state.

          10) People will never send their cats to China for exercise after that tainted catfood incident. So I’ll never be collecting unemployment. They won’t send their cats to Mexico either.

          11) I keep my money in a hole i dug in the backyard – so I will never need a bank bailout.

          12) I am too young and don’t have enough money to retire, so I am not demanding my social security money back.

          Master said 12 points should be enough.

          1. JTFaraday

            A medium sized black and white cat dashed across my backyard early yesterday morning, nabbed an adult squirrel as it attempted to scramble up the base of a tree, turned right around and pranced off with it dangling helplessly from its jaws like a fluffy tailed kitten.

            You’ve got a long way to go.

    2. JTFaraday

      That 47% figure roughly maps to the number of people put out of work by Mitty Mitt, Himself, the mighty corporate wrecking ball and Job Destroyer.

  17. Hugh

    “All right, there are America’s bankers, its rich, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to wealth, trillion dollar bailouts to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.”

    In kleptocracy, it is always about the looting.

  18. TK21

    Atrios, today:

    “I joked on the twitters that if the trend continues, indentured servitude will be a prominent GOP platform plank.”

    Reality, January:

    “On January 5th, President Obama offered his new summer jobs initiative, with the intention of creating 180,000 work positions during the time when schools are primarily out for summer vacation. However, only 70,000 of these jobs in the initiative would be paid positions, with the expectations of filling the other 110,000 accomplished using voluntary, or internship programs.”

    1. Ms G

      Well isn’t that special! Just like Obama — announce a fake pro-worker initiative during hangover-from-New Year’s week and stuff it with fake numbers.

      Love the figures: 180,000 positions promised 1/5/12 (but 110,000 NOT PAID!. 70,000 PAYING positions promised 1/5/12: What is the status as of 9/16/12? Anyone willing to penny ante that whatever pitiful fraction of 70,000 represents paid positions created, that these positions pay either minimum wage or less-than (under a special “paid internship” program)?

      Obama couldn’t care less about the scourge of unemployment and low wages. But we already knew that.

    2. JTFaraday

      “Americans have been decrying their government to help create jobs”

      Silly Americans. Always looking for “jobs,” but forgot to mention they don’t work for free, (be a little more specific next time!)

  19. kevinearick

    The entire middle class, social security, everything, is in the market, and the collateral supporting it is already vaporized, leaving only krugman’s theory, now being implemented. rejoice, w e coyote can walk on air, one better than jesus.

    funny, how gridlock is not slowing the march toward wwwiii.

    1. kevinearick

      No, subject to incremental regulation they get; nc, subject to quantum backlash they don’t, but god bless the projectors, they keep trying, repeating their own self-fulfilling history.

      1. kevinearick

        The govt budget isn’t limited like the family budget…and someone thought krugman was not corporate, that his theory would not expunge liberty and lead to tyranny?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The government can make as many laws as it desires, but it also has to obey them…at least some of them.

          The government can make money, but it still has to earn it. The money-creation and money-spending should not be commingled.

          1. Valissa

            There are several verses in the Tao te Ching that apply to issues of governance.

            I think Verse 53 is most apt here:

            The great Way is easy,
            yet people prefer the side paths.
            Be aware when things are out of balance.
            Stay centered within the Tao.

            When rich speculators prosper
            While farmers lose their land;
            when government officials spend money
            on weapons instead of cures;
            when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
            while the poor have nowhere to turn-
            all this is robbery and chaos.
            It is not in keeping with the Tao.

            Here’s another translation of the 2nd paragraph (from The Tao Te Ching, as translated by Gia-Fung and Jane English)

            When the court is arrayed in splendor,
            The fields are full of weeds,
            And the granaries are bare.
            Some wear gorgeous clothes,
            Carry sharp swords,
            And indulge themselves with food and drink;
            They have more possessions than they can use.
            They are robber barons.
            This is certainly not the way of the Tao.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Tension high in China-Japan row.

    When you can’t freely criticize your own government, you are likely to be twice as angry with a neighboring government as you might have been.

  21. KFritz

    Re: Macro-Rentals Purchases

    It will be interesting to the interaction between the purchasers of large lots of single residences, state contractor licensing authorities, and local building inspection departments. The purchasers will want to hire the cheapest labor available, cut as many construction corners as possible, and rent out the finished product–all as quickly as possible. States with strong viable contractor licensing, and competent, self-respecting inspection departments (all local or county in the US) don’t mind speed as long as the rational statutes they uphold are obeyed. The financial titans buying up properties will want NONE of this petty enforcement of laws standing in the way of THEIR PROFITS.

    On a local level this will be fun to watch. If your friendly local inspectors all begin to drive luxury cars, you’ll know the outcome. The contractors’ oversight boards will, obviously, be a more macro phenomenon that big issue reporters will be able to cover–if they understand the institutional issues.

    Here’s a link to licensure in the various states, courtesy of Craigslist.

    1. Ms G

      If only. Bribes in the form of legal donations to local politicians’ and regulators’ charities/causes/campaigns will take care of any effective enforcement of local contractor and building laws. The rentals will be shanty-worthy and firetraps and they’ll all get leased in a heart beat.

      Even though as I write this I am hoping it is merely a delusional thought.

  22. abprosper

    Mitt is a bit of a bubble boy and has such has no idea about whats going on outside that . Neither does Big O really but I suspect he has at least some idea. He may not do the right thing but he does have a clue.

    To be honest a lot of us would be happy to pay income taxes, the thing is we lack any income to do it.

    Even those of us with jobs often have low wages and no, someone making $8 US an hour often part time (they count us as employed) has essentially nothing to show for it.

    However if you want to end this cycle of dependency, its easy. All employers have to do is pay better wages and if they do this and the Fed will raise interest rates , so that Joe Working stiff can save buy a house and car on cash and save 10-20% to retire on one income with a stable job , most demand for welfare will vanish

    However to do this on a scale other than for Whites and Asians someone has to have the spine to address the demographic issue. Far too many newcomers to the US have poor education, poor English skills (only half are English dominant at home) and many have nothing to offer any employer. The Black situation is even worse

    That has to change and such changes are complex when they run up against race, cultural barriers, mis-allocated resources and bad pedagogy.

    So yeah, we can fix White issues but others? How we get that to in do better (we have been trying for decades) will require hard work if we can do it at all.

  23. JTFaraday

    Okay, so I made the mistake of clicking on the Monkey Cage link to read the article about college educated white men pissing and moaning about affirmative action, whereupon I discover “The Monkey Cage” is a “Political Science blog,” run by academics.

    At this point I think, ah, it’s called “The Monkey Cage” because most American political science departments are not fit for human consumption!

    My curiousity aroused, I click on the “About Us” link: where I discover– and I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but anyway– that nowhere in the description, amidst all the the names that appear, is there one single woman or non-white person, that I can identify. Of the 12 “Occasional Contributors,” however, I do spy two–count ’em–two women.

    And, of all the non-academic laypersons in the blogosphere, who do they cite?

    Eff-ing Ezra Klein.

    I do take comfort in the fact that, in that cutesy little cartoon of the site’s 5 principals, somebody knew enough to make sure every single one of them looked like a real yutz.

    I never did find that article about college educated white men pissing and moaning about affirmative action, by the way.

    1. JTFaraday

      ooops–it wasn’t even “affirmative action,” it was “welfare.” They complain about welfare, too?

      I don’t know. The welfare kinda makes sense to me, all things considered.

    2. SR6719

      JTFaraday: “And, of all the non-academic laypersons in the blogosphere, who do they cite?….Eff-ing Ezra Klein.”

      This is depressing.

      To cheer myself up I think I’ll watch “The Loved Ones”, featuring the Villain Princess.

      She knows how to deal with college educated white guys who go around quoting Ezra Klein and complaining about welfare.

  24. gordon

    I fail to understand the desire to elevate our estimates of Neanderthal abilities to rival our own.

    Is it some kind of political correctness? But there are no Neanderthals now, so who’s going to sue?

    Or is there a belief that Europeans (and their descendants outside Europe) are descended from Neanderthals, so that elevating Neanderthal abilities implicitly removes some kind of “pied-noir” stain on ourselves? Well, speaking personally, I feel no need to apologise for my ancestry, and wonder at the state of mind of those who do. Taking it back 30,000 years strikes me as absurd, both genetically and socially.

    Frankly, I don’t get it. Can anybody explain this “Neanderthals were just like us” obsession?

  25. Herman Sniffles

    At about 5.5 minutes of the second tape of the Romney dinner party, someone says that Americans are sick of a regulatory system that doesn’t work, that Eric Holder is “the most corrupt attorney general” in America’s history, and I think he even says that Wall Street is corrupt. He tells Mitt to “clean house” if he gets in office. Who was the guest who made these points? Wouldn’t it have been nice if old Mitt had picked up on this and actually responded to it, or even agreed with it, instead of just changing the subject and dribbling platitudes into the guest’s strawberry parfait. On another note, Mitt didn’t say he didn’t care about the 47%, he said he didn’t care about trying to get their votes. But the guys still turns my stomach. I think he’s a genetic engineering experiment in which mad scientists tried to cross the genes of Richard Nixon and a chimpanzee – and were succesful. It sure is interesting to see these evil,stinking,self- sanctified villains in their McMansion eating gooey desserts and discussing how special they are. “Vomitous” is a word that comes to mind.

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