Links 10/9/12

US Protestants no longer a majority, says study Guardian

Teenager’s stomach removed after drinking cocktail BBC (Richard Smith, who also has an appetite for anti-antidotes)

Brainless Slime Mold May Point Toward Origin of Memory Bloomberg

Thousands Exposed to Tainted Steroid, C.D.C. Says New York Times

Economic Decline Has Less Impact on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Nature World News :-(

The global impact of the ‘food supply crunch’ Financial Times

Pettis: China is like Japan and not in a good way MacroBusiness

How do we know New Zealand is a tax haven? The answer is on the web Tax Research UK

Ireland Plans Bold Measures to Lift Housing New York Times

BP sells off troubled refinery in US to help defray Deepwater costs Independent

Netherlands House Price Crash Underway; Will France Follow? Michael Shedlock

Greek Creditors at Loggerheads Wall Street Journal

The Euro Just Got WHOMPED Clusterstock

Federal Government Consistently Runs out of Money to Fight Fires, Pays for It by Cutting Fire Prevention Programs Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (Carol B)

DLA Piper Tech Leaders Forecast Survey, October 2012. Per Slashdot, shows slight preference for Romney.

Mitt Romney gains four-point lead over Obama in post-debate poll Guardian. The polls are now officially all over the map.

Goldman Turns Tables on Obama Campaign Wall Street Journal

How Gloria Romero Became the Face of Proposition 32 Frying Pan News (Lambert)

Take Action News with David Shuster 10/6 (dsquib). Matt Stoller is on about 34 minutes in. He breaks the rules of polite liberal discourse in calling out the BS of the mouthpiece from the Center for American Progress. It’s entertaining to listen to the host and the other guest go on tilt.

IMF Sees ‘Alarmingly High’ Risk of Deeper Global Slump Bloomberg. Should have included this in my “sudden burst of reality” post. I’m sure the authorities will do their best to change the channel.

Our Typical, Mediocre Post Credit Crisis Recovery… Barry Ritholtz

Wal-Mart and AmEx in Prepaid Card Deal New York Times. If it weren’t so late, I’d post on this. Short version: the unbanked need more options, and this might be barely better than check cashing. The problem is 1. the limited number of outlets that will take this card (Amex merchants only and presumably Amex offices) and ATM fees that apply for withdrawing cash elsewhere.

Growth: the false god MacroBusiness

* * *

lambert here:

Mission elapsed time: T + 31 and counting*

If someday it may happen that a victim must be found
I’ve got a little list, I’ve got a little list
Of society’s offenders who may well be underground
And who never would be missed, they never would be missed. –Gilbert & Sullivan, The Mikado

Occupy. Occupy Atlanta: “Less than a year after Occupy Atlanta members clashed with police in riot gear in a downtown park, they’re now protesting alongside officers to help a retired detective avoid losing her home to foreclosure” (HBIV) … Archives: ACT-UP and Occupy (video; LA).

AR. Green Party: “Voters in the 12th District should pick [Paula Bradshaw] ‘because the Ds are busily destroying the environment just like the Rs,’ Bradshaw said. “It really doesn’t matter which one is in power” (another Green ER nurse). … Fracking: “The lawsuit [against Southwestern Energy, XTO and Chesapeake Energy injection wells] contends the waste spreads — as much as several miles — in an underground ‘reservoir’ that lies under land of people who have not been paid any consideration for waste that has migrated under their property. Since it can never be removed, the lawsuit calls this a ‘permanent trespass.'”

CA. Proposition 32: “Although advertisements for it tout that it is an even-handed way of decreasing the corrosive effects of money in politics, in reality Prop. 32 will have one and only one effect: to decrease political activities of labor unions. It is an unfair and likely unconstitutional restriction on the political speech of unions and their members and leaves businesses free to pour money into politics” (and so, naturally, a progressive D is shilling for it).

FL. Swing state: “Obama won Miami-Dade by more than 139,000 votes ­– nearly 60 percent of his statewide victory margin and the biggest margin of any FL county. Compare that with John Kerry in 2004, who won here by nearly 49,000 votes, and Al Gore ­– damaged by the Clinton-Gore administration’s decision to return Elian to Cuba ­– who in 2000 won it by about 39,000. The bad news for the president? If he fails to match it this November, FL’s 29 electoral votes ­may flip to Romney.” … Voting: “But it’s not blatant fraud that has elections experts worried about possible voting mayhem [in FL] come November. Rather, it’s the re-registration of voters, where personal information such as someone’s party affiliation, signature or address could have been changed without the person’s knowledge.”

IA. Christianism: “On October 7, some pastors marked so-called ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ with sermons urging congregants to vote against Obama or for Romney. It bothers me that the IRS doesn’t enforce the law against tax-exempt organizations whose leaders engage in explicit electioneering. Your right to free speech does not equal a right to non-profit status for tax purposes.

NY. Pipelines: “For five consecutive days, Minisink residents have managed to seriously delay construction activities by physically blocking the entrance to the site of [Millennium Pipeline’s] proposed compressor station. Two residents were arrested for disorderly conduct–a father of two young children on Monday and a local farmer.” … Unions: “Staffers at the New York Times briefly walked out Monday afternoon in protest of the management’s position on contract negotiations.” … Pipelines: “[NY] has finally given the go-ahead on a PA-NY natural gas pipeline interconnect called Bluestone. This pipeline job is now a $280 million construction project. But our media reps don’t seem to be able to see any worthwhile angles.” Readers? … Police state: “[NYPD’s Intelllience department] has initiated investigations and taken sole credit for arrests involving three separate potential attacks. A common thread in all three cases has been the mental instability and subnormal intellectual capacities of the alleged terrorists. Each involved a sting operation and relied almost entirely on the testimony of a paid undercover informant. Mentally unstable people may be capable of great harm and paid informants may help detect serious crimes. But the facts in these cases warrant critical attention.” … 

OH. Privatization: “Corrections Corporation of America [operator of the nation’s first privately-owned state prison] has been firmly rebuked by OH officials for conditions at Lake Erie Correctional Facility in Conneau. Cells were dirty, inmates lacked clean laundry and blankets, pots and pans weren’t clean, doors were standing open, and keys were missing.” … Voting: “According to newly-issued Directive 2012-48, Boards of Election wishing to notify a voter of mistakes on his/her absentee ballot can only do so ‘in writing by first class mail.’ The very first question on an absentee ballot request form is for Phone Number, which the form says is “Recommended”. And the online request form asks for both phone number and email address. If they aren’t allowed to use the information to help speed up the process and help quickly notify voters of mistakes on their ballots, then why bother asking for it?”

PA. Police blotter: “In the video, Schultz can be heard asking, ‘Did they just deck the bride?’ and then stating: ‘They just decked the bride.'” The city that loves you back! … Charters: “Gov. Tom Corbett’s education chief changed the [Pennsylvania System of School Assessment] testing rules in a way that makes it easier for charter schools to meet federal benchmarks than traditional public schools.” One hand washes the other. … Debt: “A hearing before the state Senate committee on local government might be the closest the people of Harrisburg ever come to justice for the botched incinerator retrofit that has left the capital city saddled with more than $340 million in debt. Depending on whom you believe, the retrofit of the city’s incinerator was done with the best of intentions and the blame belongs to now-bankrupt Barlow Construction, the firm hired to conduct the retrofit. Or it is a tangled web of financial interests, parties hellbent on getting the project done, whatever the cost. A conspiracy of consultants and politicians benefiting from the public’s largess” (PT). Hmm… I’m thinking it over

TN. Pensions: “Fully funded, TVA’s retirement plan should total $11.5 billion. Instead, it now stands at $7 billion.”

TX. Police state: “Madelene Garra was among those praising the [new program of RFID-enabled school badges]. “It gives the kids a little bit more responsibility, knowing that we as a faculty are keeping up with them,” she said. “Once they get out there in the real world, they’re going to have to be on the job on time, and they’re going to have to be accountable.” … Oil: “The Port of Corpus Christi is experiencing a significant jump in crude oil exports as the port continues to develop into a collection point for outbound Eagle Ford Shale crude shipments.” … Christianism: “Alliance Defending Freedom, the group organizing the event, said nationwide about 1,000 pastors from almost 30 denominations signed up to preach about politics, including about 65 in the Houston area. The list of local participants was dominated by evangelicals. Participants mail the IRS video or printed copies of their sermons in which they endorse candidates or parties in defiance of federal law prohibiting tax-exempt nonprofits from making political endorsements for candidates.” … More guns, please: “However, one group of Austin libertarians has drawn the attention of federal law enforcement by taking 3-D printing to its next (quintessentially Texan) level: printing guns.”

VA. Police state: “A VA man spent four hours in jail after purchasing a Chevrolet Traverse from Priority Chevrolet in Chesapeake, VA. The dealer’s sales staff accidentally sold the SUV to Danny Sawyer for $5,600 less than they should have, and when Sawyer refused to sign a new, more expensive contract for the correct amount, the dealership called the local police alleging the buyer had stolen the vehicle.”

WI. Walker: “Defense attorney Franklyn Gimbel has issued a summons for Governor Scott Walker to appear in Milwaukee County court at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 16 in the trial of his former deputy chief of staff, Kelly Rindfleisch.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. The Obama: “Why I expect Obama to try to cut Social Security. Short answer: Because he’s telling us he wants to.” Check the links. Susie, too. … Bipartisan: “It’s important to remember, when you hear commentators and journalists beg for a world-saving compromise, that in the modern era almost anything that is broadly bipartisan is a bad idea. The Invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act and the 1996 Telecommunications Act were all authorized by Congress with impressively bipartisan votes.”

The trail. Polls: “Pew, which in mid-September showed Romney trailing Obama by eight points, now [has] Romney at 49% and Obama at 45%.” … Polls: Andrew Sullivan clutches his pearls and heads for the fainting couch. … Polls: “[W]e’d truly have a much better conversation about this election if people would stop fixating on every single poll.” … Polls: “Romney and Obama are virtually tied among likely voters, a new Gallup daily tracking poll will show, according to USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page.” But only swing counties in swing states matter. … Math: “On top of reliable Democratic states, if Obama takes OH, NH, IA and either WI or NV, he wins the White House. So far he remains well-placed in all of those states. He can lose VA and the big prize of FL and still get across the line. Romney literally cannot put a foot wrong from now until November 6.” That is the “paths to victory” trope.

Outside Baseball. Charters: “The School to Prison Pipeline is a nationwide system of local, state and federal education and public safety policies that pushes students out of school and into the criminal justice system. This system disproportionately targets youth of color and youth with disabilities. Inequities in areas such as school discipline, policing practices, high-stakes testing and the prison industry contribute to the pipeline.” Charters, corruption, mass incarceration; nice company for Bill and Melinda! … Demand: “While all the talk is about pipelines, oil trains are quietly chugging into more and more stretches of the country. Wherever there’s a refinery and a nearby set of tracks, you can be sure that oil and gas companies are working to link them to the booming shale wells. [A]bove all else, demand is what drives the oil boom.” … Competition: “In that great come-and-get-it-day, all schools will be excellent when they compete. That’s why all those programs on all those channels on your TV dial are excellent, and why every product in the marketplace is excellent. Ah, the glories of deregulation!” … ObamaCare: “Analysts say many other companies, including the White Castle hamburger chain, are considering employing fewer full-timers because of key features of the Affordable Care Act scheduled to go into effect in 2014. Under that law, large companies must provide affordable health insurance to employees working an average of at least 30 hours per week. Darden said its goal at the test restaurants is to keep employees at 28 hours a week.” But that’s OK! They can buy junk insurance on the exchanges with the rest of the proles!

The Romney. Crowds: “‘People wonder why it is I’m so confident we’re going to win,’ said Romney, the heavy rain soaking him just moments after he took the stage.’I’m confident because I see you here on a day like this. This is unbelievable! Thank you so much!'” Suddenly, Romney starts getting favorable press. It’s a horse race!

The Obama.  The Obamikado: “I’ve Got a Little List” (video; AH). Awesome.

* Workers in The Swing States Will Always be Faithful to The Obama!

NOTE Hat tip for the epigraph to AH in honor of “Kill List Tuesday.” But maybe Obama bumped it back a day because Monday was a holiday?

* * *

Antidote du jour:

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    1. YankeeFrank

      Please don’t insult man’s best friend by comparing her to Willard “Mittens” Romney, the subhuman paraquat.

      1. figaro

        Mittens its a a financing slimeball. It recently occurred to me that ‘Murikans might actually elect Gordon Gecko.

      2. Noe

        Look at the puss on that Golden retriever. Who couldn’t love Retrievers and Labs?

        I have been completely retrained by Blue Silkies. They are large Yorkies – but more willful and manipulative. If that’s possible.

        I never knew a dog could be imperious, a snob actually. Blue Silkies are lucky they are cute, because I’ve threatened to leave them out for the coyotes on many occasions.

        Willful, inquisitive, defiant, picky eaters – indifferent to affection from any but the family pack, they are truly a piece of work. Used to keep rattle snakes out of school yards and barns in Australia… Silkies are also fearless.

        You’ll have no mice, roaches, or even slugs in your home or yard. Fast as lightening, they cornered a rattle snake against my house just last week, and the gentleman snake just retreated and gave a low cell phone rattle.

        I threw them in the house, and the snake made a hasty retreat. In 15 years, I’ve never seen a rattler in a New Mexico yard… shocked the shit out of me.

        Sometimes I long for the days I had easier companions – border collies, labs – normal, humble friends, who took what life handed them with eager thanks.

        Not these guys. I’m just the help. Food and transportation to the mountains, where they can stalk bigger game.


    1. S.

      Virtually all of the NYT’s articles on Venezuela are based on gossip and innuendo, and I don’t think I’ve read anything from there about Chavez recently that didn’t speculate about his cancer.

      1. Chris A

        A segment on NewsHour, narrated by Ray Suarez, was similarly peppered with innuendo about election-related violence (read: this man and his supporters will stop at NOTHING) and the Threat Posed By Chavez, as well as outright nonsense about the government’s control of the press (false, there are several rather vibrant and even rambunctious opposition media in Venezuela, TV as well as newspapers). Overall, a tone was conveyed that this Venezuelan strongman is a threat to democracy and must be stopped. After watching that report alone, I’m going to watch NewsHour a whole lot more skeptically even than I did before.

        1. G3

          Actually rightwing, corporate media dominates Venezuela. mark Weisbrot had the actual numbers in one of his posts.

  1. jean palmer

    So refreshing to hear honesty with Matt Stoller on Take Action News – but my feed cut right in the middle at about 54 min? Where to go to hear the rest?

  2. Goin' South

    Re: California Prop 32–

    I know nothing about it other than the little read here, and it’s true that several of the most reprehensible of the 1% are behind it, but…

    There could be worse things than forcing the unions to quit using their members’ money to prop up the Democratic Party. Maybe they could try using it to organize more workers rather than buying a “seat at the table” for their pampered bureaucrats.

  3. D. Mathews

    Today in the United States, schoolchildren were given the day off, mail was not delivered and mattresses were discounted 20% to mark five hundred years of colonialism. In Venezuela, people marked Indigenous Resistance Day by re-electing Hugo Chavez, much to the annoyance of the Columbus Day types no doubt. Here in New York, we’re getting ready for a day of action in Columbus Circle on October 13. But see how the Venezuelans took care to pull down Columbus’s statue. These things are dangerous.

    1. craazyman

      yeah, like there wasn’t colonialism in the Americas before Columbus. There’s even statues of the heros, but they call them ‘indigenous artifacts.’ They are pretty good too!

      In my view, they should make Columbus the patron saint of guys who don’t like asking for directions while driving around. No real man wants to stop and ask for directions.

      With the GPS now in every smart phone and every car it’s harder to get lost than it used to be. If your driving with your wife or girlfriend or kids, for example, it makes it nearly impossible to get lost because they’re on the smart phone with the GPS, telling you what to do.

      That would have irritated Columbus to no end. And it takes all the fun out of being stubborn and in control.

      And how can you find your new continents in life if you don’t ever get lost? I think somebody like Andre Gide said that once. Deepie thoughts hahaha.

      So today I will honor Columbus for getting lost with his three little ships on a huge sea, like so many of every race and time. And all the rest of it — the slavery, blood, invasions, predations, disease, decimations, murders, chaos, tortures and famines. Well, it was all there before he got there and it’s still there now. For some reason, no doubt. And you have to make that one up for yourself.

      1. ZygmuntFraud

        ‘indigenous artifacts: I can’t resist mentioning Aztec culture and Aztec mythology/cosmology and Aztec gods.

      2. skippy

        Queen Isabel and King Fernando had agreed to Columbus’s lavish demands if he succeeded on his first voyage: he would be knighted, appointed Admiral of the Ocean Sea, made the viceroy of any new lands, and awarded ten percent of any new wealth. By 1502, however, Columbus had every reason to fear for the security of his position. He had been charged with maladministration in the Indies.

        When Columbus returned to La Navidad with the Grand Fleet on November 28, 1493, he learned that all of the Christians were dead and that La Navidad had been burned to the ground. Recent evidence of the conflagration has come from the work of archaeologist Kathleen Deagan of the Florida Museum of Natural History. In addition to a handful of objects of European origin and the bones of Old World rats and pigs, research at the archaeological site believed to be La Navidad has uncovered mineral-encrusted potsherds that could only have formed at temperatures greater than 1400° C. Thus, the inferno was so intense, the wattle-and-daub structures must have acted like kilns.

        History records that the Spaniards were killed because they abused the local people. If such local violations were the cause, then the local leader, Guacanagarí, should have ordered the killing. Yet, Columbus did not blame Guacanagarí. Instead, Caonabó, the primary cacique for this region and the ruler to whom Guacanagarí owed fealty, was blamed. Would another leader have acted differently? Had he allowed Guacanagarí to harbor a well-armed garrison of Europeans his own survival would have been threatened. Columbus’s son Ferdinand wrote that when Caonabó was captured he admitted to killing twenty of the men at La Navidad. Caonabó was sent to Spain to stand trial, and Columbus moved his base of operations 70 miles to the east where he established the colony of La Isabela.

        Always the restless explorer, Columbus soon tired of administration and set out to explore the coast of Cuba. On April 25, 1494, he stopped to visit Guacanagarí. The cacique, upon learning of the Admiral’s arrival, fled in fear of his wrath. His fear dated back to Columbus’s return to La Navidad in 1493. While passing the Leeward Islands and then Puerto Rico Columbus had taken on board a number of Indians called “Caribees.” Guacanagarí had helped these captives to escape. To make matters worse, he had kept one of the freed captives as a wife. Columbus was in too great of a rush to wait for his old friend’s return, but appears to have harbored no animosity.

        By March of 1495 Columbus and Guacanagarí found that they again needed each other. The Tainos in the central part of the island were in open rebellion. With his brother Bartolomé, two hundred Christians, 20 horses and 20 dogs Columbus marched into the interior to quiet the rebellion. Guacanagarí and his men marched at the Admiral’s side. Revenge was his reason. He was hated by the other caciques for cooperating with the Spanish. They flaunted this hatred by killing one of his wives and stealing another — capital offenses in Taino society.

        That campaign in the Vega Real contains the last words written about Guacanagarí. He was a man who had history thrust upon him. A man who saw the opportunity to improve his station in life and did so. Where others viewed the Spaniards as their enemy, he came forward and embraced Columbus as a friend.

        Skippy… vulgar opportunistic draped in nobility, same shite, different day thingo. How many kids are schooled – indoctrinated to idolize murderers… societal problems… really?

      3. Maracatu

        Yeah, but the last one to colonize usually wipes the slate clean and pretends nothing existed of any importance before he came along to enlighten the heathen. In this latest variant, the misnomer stuck as the name of the entire hemisphere. Amazing how the meme of the apologist always seems to come up in these conversations – I suppose that since barbarism has always existed, we shouldn’t aspire to anything greater.

        1. ambrit

          Mr. Macaratu;
          I suspect irony in your last sentence. The important word in your reply is ‘aspire,’ I believe. Therein lies the dynamic, Idealism and Pragmatism. Skippy has ‘seen the Elephant,’ and so has a certain skepticism about human motives and, especially, the ‘official version’ of history. I suspect that most of the rest of us who visit here share that jaundiced view of all things ‘official.’ Yes, the victor does usually write the history. Well, all histories are a form of propaganda. It falls to us to ‘aspire’ to better things. If necessary, to act upon those aspirations. The first step, I suggest, is to deconstruct the propaganda. NC, and all those who visit it, are engaged in that deconstruction; even the supposed “Trolls.”
          Be of good cheer.

          1. Maracatu

            I tire of hearing the recurring theme of ‘slavery existed in Africa before the europeans arrived’ or ‘tribes conquered and massacred one another in America before Columbus arrived’ (a-la-craazyman). It’s not that one chooses to ignore such history, but that it is more often than not employed as a rhetorical device to minimize the “atrocity” which is the current subject of discussion.

        2. craazyman

          Quite to the contrary, when it comes to importance, personally I’ve been awestruck by the insights and knowledge achieved by S. American indigenous cultures through their shamanic practices and other forms of altered states of consciousness.

          I don’t hold them above us or us above them.

          We have so much more in common than anything that separates us, as anyone who understands psychoanalytical and cultural/religious anthropology will know.

          The only folks that irk me are the world’s morons. Sadly, they are everywhere. I’m even one myself, sometimes. But I always regret it when I realize. I don’t mind being a blockhead though.

          1. Bert_S

            I’m just glad Queen Isabel funded Columbus before the Aztecs decided to go find India and come our direction!

          2. Maracatu

            To Bert_S, I reply – there doesn’t seem to have been much difference: And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them headfirst against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!” Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim’s feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim’s neck, saying, “Go now, carry the message,” meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains. They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them….

      4. Susan the other

        I’m going to frame you Craazy as the best quote for the last 500 years: “Columbus is the patron saint of guys who don’t like asking for directions while driving around.”

      5. Valissa

        I agree with Susan the other that imagining Columbus as the Patron Saint of Guys Who Don’t Like Asking For Directions is a wonderful thing :)

        When I am on a road trip I mostly keep the GPS stashed so I can enjoy the adventure. But it is handy for finding a specific address in an unfamiliar place.

        I think this is the Andre Gide quote you’re thinking of – it’s one of my favorites:

        “One does not discover new lands without consenting to leave sight of the shore for a very long time.”

        Some more quotes of his I like…

        “There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.”
        “Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.”
        “The color of truth is gray.”
        “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.”

        Violence, predatory behavior and suffering are universal and timeless… though we wish otherwise.

        Ancient Spider Attack On Wasp Trapped In Amber
        The wasp in the fossil is of a type known today to parasitize spider and insect eggs, so the attack by the orb-weaver spider could be considered payback.

  4. Max424

    Yves: “[Matt Stoller] breaks the rules of polite liberal discourse in calling out the BS of the [CAP] mouthpiece …”

    Matt didn’t just call out the BS, he actually shouts out:

    “Bull shit!” On the radio!


      1. Max424

        I like it. MSNBC could use him. That is one barren network with Ratigan gone, not to mention that without him, it is also vacuous, banal, vapid and dull.

        Feel free to insert adjectives like insidious, wretched, groveling, sniveling, servile and cowardly anywhere you want into the sentence above.

        Hey Lambert, are there two of you. You sure do get around.

          1. Max424

            You get a lot done every 24 hours. It’s impressive.

            Two Lamberts might not be so bad. You do the work and your simulacra does … whatever. Can’t forget the whatever.

            Also, if you went exponential, and kept on doubling, you would eventually acquire the numbers to democratically take over the Parliament of Maine, allowing you to preserve your beloved nation from the pavers, the pipeliners, and the poisonous dumpers.

            Note: I can’t think of a good name for Maine’s currency. The moose should be on the C-note, though. That’s a must.

        1. Chris A

          That would be great, but given how it’s become such a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party (as has Fox with the GOP), I can’t see MSNBC welcoming Stoller into its fold now that he has dared to sow dissent in the ranks of the Democratic faithful.

          It’s interesting to me that the discussion left drone strikes as the issue that separated Stoller from Obama, but from all that I’ve read from Stoller, that’s hardly the only issue that has made him unable to support Obama. I don’t discount the importance of the drone issue at all — from what I’ve been hearing lately, this is a practice that has a lot of people really upset that this is being done in their name. The moment I put myself in the hypothetical position of the average Pakistani, I couldn’t imagine a person in that situation not feeling terrified and very, very angry at the US. That’s not the country I want us to be. And I predict that this issue is going to get a lot more attention in public discourse stateside.

          1. Max424

            When Matt says, “I’m tired of these bullshit talking points coming from the White House,” he’s talking about the Obama administration’s role, in both the housing debacle, and the endless series of housing debacle aftermaths.

            Matt also spends a lot time trying to establish that Obama sat on his ass and didn’t do squat when he had total control of both houses, and instead spent ALL his time trying to make bi-partisan whoopee with a party that openly referred to him as a Commie/Muslim/Foreign-born/Hitler-clone.*

            Needless to say, Matt found himself getting cut off a lot.

            *They never did slip and publicly call him a nigger, as in, “That free nigger doesn’t have birth certificate, and both are unconstitutional.”

            Tremendous discipline (so far). I give the Republicans great credit for that.

  5. ZygmuntFraud

    I listented to the “Take Action” audio recording for about 20-25 minutes. It was nice to hear Matt Stoller: he said he visited Afghanistan (or was it Pakistan?). Matt Stoller said the BS word, the moderator intervened, then there was “go to commercial break”, at which point I stopped listening.

    Good to hear Matt Stoller express his opinions.

  6. Jim Haygood

    From Reuters:

    In what his campaign called a major foreign policy address, Romney called for a more assertive use of American influence in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

    He accused Obama of a hasty troop withdrawal from Iraq, saying hard-fought gains there are being eroded by rising violence and a resurgent al Qaeda.

    Romney also said he might not be so quick to pull troops out of the unpopular war in Afghanistan.


    Romney will keep bleeding the American underclass by sending their kids to fight and die in permanent foreign wars.

    He will continue leeching the U.S. economy by expanding its ‘investment’ in a negative rate-of-return military empire.

    Basically Romney’s plan constitutes a Final Solution to liquidate the middle class, advocated by a private-equity plutocrat who can fly over them in his private jet, laughing his ass off after kicking over their ant farm and watching the little critters scurry.

      1. ambrit

        Mr. Strether;
        Falls into the same class as “Smart Bombs.” Sort of like the planet busters in John Carpenters movie “Dark Star.”

    1. Bert_S

      I think the Republican plan is to put a pipeline in Afghanistan. This will have the same geopolitical impact as the Brit’s putting Israel so close to Mecca. We will be there forever defending it.

    2. Susan the other

      Yes tragically. Per Ritholz today – links and reposts: The long summary from Washingtonsblog about the conflict going on in the Middle East. A rehash for everyone to wake up to. Even tho’ we don’t want to. But this all explains the geopolitics of India abruptly changing sides from Iran to us. And coming to contract with the US to supply its petroleum needs. Probably because if anything goes wrong in the Middle East for a while, we can always provide India with oil from Burma/Myanmar. And we will back this promise with our military. Oh dear. Nevermind that our military costs us (probably) one trillion $ a year. And therefore,this explains Tim and Benny’s excellent adventure to India this very day. The white-hot heat of global oil trading. And central banking.

    1. ambrit

      Mr. Strether;
      If one were a neo-serf, why would one need money? As usual you throw in a nifty semantic pun too.

  7. ZygmuntFraud

    The Obamikado: It’s very effective. There’s perhaps a humourous side, but also a rather dark side. I think the video brings up facts/policies that many would rather ignore and does so in a pretty honest fashion. Anyway, that’s my view.

  8. Noe G

    Euros at 129 – not exactly a Whomp, but better. My visit to Germany, France, and Switzerland in May proved instructive however.

    I thought Europe was expensive when the Euro was .97 – but the change is prices, rather than the exchange rate.

    I spent a month driving between the 3 countries and never paid more than 60 to 75 Euros for a room. My reservations were all made the day before by computer. Ibis and Best Western were great bargains.

    The other noteworthy observation was how prices reflected the plight of the locals. In Ramsau Germany, a Best Western was cheap, included afternoon brunch, and local restaurants were equally modest. I had forgotten what a German can do with potatoes, cabbage and sausage. amazing.

    Switzerland continues to be a tourist trap. 260 Euros for a train ride to the top of the Eiger. The Swiss are a miggardly lot, and so full of hatred for tourists, I couldn’t wait to get away. Imagine living in an American ski town and hating skiers with a vengeange you could not contain or mask.

    What a bunch. Whereas the French in Brittany -[I stay away from touristy Paris and such] were thrilled to have Americans in their vacation hideaways. Food was good, parking was free, and again, hotels reflected their economic necesity. Portichet, Le Baule – never spent more than 70 Euros on a room – mostly less.

    Another thing I noticed was the rise in great French Fast food. Hell, I ate from Grocery Delis most days. Can’t beat the pate, cheese and breads.. not to mention the salads and sweets from terrific grocery stores. The small French restaurants were over priced, empty and suffering from their own excesses. Cafes in France have always been iffy depending on the location – but this time, they were down on their heels in a way I never saw before. Perhaps it’s because I spend most of my time on the Brittany coast. France for the French as they say.

    So go to Europe this year. I’ts not as expensive as it seems. I spent maybe 2500 for a month with multiple car rentals a few trains and Ryan Air between Dublin and Munich. And a 5 hour flight from Boston is WONDERFUL, via Aer Lingus.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That sounds like internal deflation.

      How are they doing it, charging less now? Small business owners making less?

      1. Noe

        I think Europe is cheaper now than when the Euro was 110 – 120 or so.

        Everybody’s broke there too. Food and hotels are definitely cheaper. Gas is always high, but the cars I rent are so efficient, it’s pretty much a wash.

        I don’t shop much over there, so I can’t say about fashion, but the every day stuff is pretty much like Denver, SantaFe or Albuquerque.

        Hell, San Francisco last week was more expensive than anywhere but maybe Grindelwald Switzerland

  9. Kurt Sperry

    Re: The Euro Just Got WHOMPED

    The graph shows a change of less than US cent in the USD/Euro. Moreover the relationship is pretty much where it has been for the last 10 years within reason.

    Financiers, traders (and too often markets) are like 12 year old girls (with all due respect to 12 year old girls) in that everything– EVERYTHING– is the best/worst/most awesome/horrible/OMG OMG OMG EVVVERRRR. Too much cocaine? What else could make 40 year old men behave like teenage girls?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those were the days when everything was the best/most awesome/OMG OMG OMG…

      Then something happened.

      Maybe some bacteria set up a colony in my brain or something, but it feels like someone else is in charge there now. I have become ‘rational and objective.’

  10. Walter Wit Man

    Re the great unbanked and prepaid cards. . . .

    How many times are we going to let these finks steal from us? The Federal Reserve Note is theft. But that isn’t good enough for these lying, thieving, murderous bankers. Now they get to skim ~2-3% more by using electronic payment methods! So merchants and the customer will have to pay the banks a fee just to conduct a standard transaction. Our electronic payment system is making transactions more expensive! Good thing there is no antitrust problem and our banking cartel only has the best interests of the ‘unbanked’ at hear.

    I always thought banks were concerned or targeting the unbanked based on the profit motive, i.e., that there are funds and flows of funds that banks aren’t touching and they want to touch that money.

    I always pictured the latino immigrant working in agriculture or something and then sending his money back to Mexico once a month, or something.

    Now I suspect this attention on the unbanked is simply a cover for banks to deal with and launder drug and mafia money.

  11. Walter Wit Man

    The history of U.S. money and its banking system has been whitewashed.

    The fact Andrew Jackson is on the $20 Federal Reserve Note is a good example. We haven’t been taught the history of money and how international fink bankers have tried to grab this country by the balls from the very beginning. People like Andrew Jackson fought back but his efforts have been whitewashed and his (and our) fink oppressors won the battle and put Jackson on their treasonous currency.

    Check out Wikipedia to see how America’s experiments with fiat currency in this country have been whitewashed. There used to be a better entry on the original Greenback on Wikipedia and now the entry is a mess and confusing. The Federal Reserve propagandists have jacked with the entry to confuse people.

    As a student of history I never knew Continentals existed and even looking into it now I see the history is muddled–on purpose.

    Likewise, the broader history of central banks has been hidden from Americans.

    This is why Americans are subjected to affronts like fink bankers and their evil servants, like Obama and Romney, force us to use their prepaid banker cards for government expenditures like food.

    Can you imagine if Lincoln ran across these bankers as he was trying to feed the Union army and some fink wanted 3% off the top for doing nothing?

    These traitors and murderous fink bankers (and their servants) need to be stopped.

  12. kevinearick

    As he put it, “It’s really a shame. Canada’s naval fleet is now state-of-the-art. Our new equipment and advanced electronic technology makes us the envy of most of the world’s navies. Even the Americans are negotiating to acquire some of our systems. But the manner in which we have handled our downsizing has left us with few men and women qualified to run the refitted ships and the associated technology. Frankly, upper echelons of the naval hierarchy are so crowded with has-beens and dinosaurs trying to protect their pensions, that there is no room for me- and others like me, who are trained and eager to lead us into the next century.”

  13. Susan the other

    Also another link from Ritholz bigpicture off to washingtonsblog was equally depressing. For fat folk. I personally suspect the modern urban lifestyle, combined with too much carbon monoxide from traffic and too much sugar spike from corn syrup and a slower human metabolism which is a reaction to an overload of toxins which the body does not want to absorb any quicker than it must… and voila! Fat people! (Probably the very efficient genomes who survived famine for the last 100 thousand years.) So fat they have to ride around on three-wheeled scooters. But look at the possibilities – as you know, Mittens and Bain are doing a business plan as we blog: Human Fat Harvesting Farms! The finest foie gras. Let’s ask Mitt, the infamous international harvester himself, to scrape together some privateers to liposuck us all. I’d like to make some money from my butt. All it does is just sit there and freeload.

    1. Valissa

      LOL… here are some diet suggestions…

      The shark diet

      The penguin diet

      The mouse diet

      The liquid diet

      The British Plan

      1. Valissa

        Ooops, forget to pretest for hot link disabling… to see the shark diet cartoon you have to copy and paste the URL into a new tab or window.

    2. craazyman

      OK STO, here’s another quote and then I’m done for the day.

      There’s a lot of things a woman can do to make money from her butt . . .

      1. Bert_S

        I wonder if MMT has anything to say about that?

        I hope it’s not fiat currency?!

        Do loans precede deposits?

        Do you have to pay taxes if it starts inflating?

  14. Bert_S

    Good Guy Wells Fargo just got nailed.

    U.S. Files Civil Mortgage Fraud Suit Against Wells Fargo

    100,000 Loans

    Wells Fargo is accused in the complaint filed today of certifying, over four years, more that 100,000 retail loans met HUD requirements and were eligible for FHA insurance while knowing that “a very substantial percentage” weren’t properly underwritten, contained “unacceptable risk” and were ineligible.

    “Wells Fargo, the largest HUD-approved Federal Housing Administration residential mortgage lender, engaged in a regular practice of reckless origination and underwriting of its retail FHA loans over the course of more than four years, from May 2001 through October 2005, all the while knowing that it would not be responsible when the materially deficient loans went into default,” the U.S. said in the complaint.

    Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. bank by market value, fell almost 2 percent to $35.10 at 4:15 p.m. in New York trading.

    1. briansays

      but they paid the rating agencies a fee (bribe) to rate the crap all AAA so they aren’t responsible right??

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