Links 11/1/12

On Halloween, U.S. military forces train for zombie apocalypse Raw Story

Secrets of T-rex sex! Salon (furzy mouse)

Christian, Jewish, and Hindu Congregations Urged To Vote Yes On 37 Faith and GMOs (Aquifer)

Bet the Farm Harper’s (Lee S)

The World’s First Commercial Vertical Farm Opens in Singapore Inhabitat (furzy mouse)

Efficiency Breakthrough Promises Smartphones that Use Half the Power MIT Technology Review

More on China’s official PMI MacroBusiness

US warns Israel off Iran strike Guardian

Eurozone unemployment hits new high Guardian

The euro is heading for a permanent state of depression Jeremy Warner, Telegraph

The German bloc will have to take its bitter medicine in Greece Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph

Storm porn:

New York Aquarium inundated; baby walrus safe New York World

Cell Phones, Internet After Sandy: What You Need To Know Huffington Post

A tale of two New Yorks: Sandy splits city but its residents band together Guardian

Wall Street contingency plans take heat Financial Times

Economists fear worst for superstorm Sandy’s damage to fragile US recovery Guardian. This seems more sensible to me than the “oh cleanup spending will help GDP” view. The “recovery” is all about consumer optimism; how can this not put at least a dent in that?

Equality’s Amazing Vanishing Act American Prospect

Obama Had A HUGE Surge On InTrade Today, And Is Nearly Back At 70% Clusterstock. Note most polls have the race very close in the popular vote, and with Obama leading in electoral college.

Sen. Graham: Obama move on defense layoff notices ‘patently illegal’ The Hill (furzy mouse)

Storm Damage: When Patients Must Be Moved MedPage Today (Aquifer)

No Mitt Romney, Private Charity is Not Enough Helaine Olen, Forbes

UAW Files Charges Against Romney on his Auto Bail-out Profiteering Greg Palast

Few housing solutions offered in presidential race Associated Press (Matt T)

World Bank’s Anti-Labor Analysis Is a Dirty Business In These Times

JPMorgan sues ex-boss of ‘London Whale’ Financial Times. Predictable blame-shifting.

A Convenient Excuse The Phoenix (martha r). Today’s must read.

* * *

lambert here:

Mission elapsed time: T + 54 and counting*

Nobody knows anything. — William Goldman

Walmart. Supply chain: “In the recent strike of just two dozen subcontracted Walmart warehouse workers in Elwood, Illinois, the strikers heard reports from allies at Walmart retail stores in the region that there were already shortages of goods. This occurred less than 10 days into the strike, Elwood warehouse worker Mike Compton told me.”

CO. Legalization: “As of last week, there were 266 licensed dispensaries in CO, with the possibility for almost double that number by the time the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division finishes licensing.” … Police state: “The following photos depict those officers, dressed in combat fatigues and carrying assault weapons, before and during arrests of activists affiliated with Occupy Denver at yesterday’s foreclosure defense.” So bank can take over a house? WTF?

GA. Privatization: “The next big play, openly demanded by Atlanta business leaders like the Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the legislative oversight committee, and tacitly agreed to by Atlanta’s black mayor, its majority black city council, and most of the local black leadership class is privatization of the city’s transit assets, all at once or piece by piece. The transit agency’s own governing board is on the privatization bus as well. ”

IA. Voting: “Iowa has joined Texas in warning international election observers of possible criminal prosecution if they violate state laws and get near polling places on Election Day.” … Voting: “Unreturned absentees usually run 7 to 10 percent once returns are official, [Chad Olsen, spokesman for Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz] said — enough to leave a losing candidate wondering what might have been.

LA. Hurricane Sandy: “The [NOLA] unwatering team successfully removed 250 billion gallons of water after Katrina, [P]lanning was credited in cutting the time needed to drain New Orleans from an original estimate of four months to less than 40 days. The team will share the lessons learned with New York [counterparts] as they address the best ways of removing millions of gallons of seawater pushed into Manhattan and other New York City boroughs by Sandy’s storm surge.” … Hurricane Sandy: “[H]urricanes like this one present an amazing opportunity. So let me repay all the favors you gave the Gulf Coast back then by helping you get your rebuilding plan going as you helped us get ours on the right track. The absolute first thing you have to do is fire all your public school teachers. Just fire them.”

ME. Social capital: “A computer specialist had a stroke in his [University of Southern Maine office] but wasn’t discovered until five days later, then died at a hospital, relatives and authorities said Wednesday.” Sad.

MI. Refineries: “‘It’s like a Frankenstein lab experiment,’ Theresa Landrum, a community leader and cancer survivor, said of the airborne chemicals that pour from industry in or near [the Marathon refinery in Detroit[s] 48217 [neighborhood] — including volatile organic compounds, many of which are carcinogens, and sulfur dioxide, a respiratory irritant. ‘We actually are lab rats.’ [D]ata submitted by Marathon to state regulators show that emissions of volatile organic compounds from the refinery increased by 36 percent from 2009 to 2011. The EPA has isn’t keeping track of the refinery expansions around the nation.”

MN. Foreclosure: “Humanity provides a foreclosure service if contacted early in the process offers significant hope for home recovery. According to Carlene Coleman, Mortgage Foreclosure Manager for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, the mortgage group handled 406 cases last year with a 77% success rate in preventing foreclosure. They have dealt with owners at all stages of the foreclosure process.”

NC. Fracking: “Libertarian candidate Barbara Howe said companies should be free to explore for energy as long it doesn’t involve taxpayer money or tax incentives and companies are bonded for damages. Howe said she would have questions if someone would want to drill under her Granville County property but said that’s not a good enough reason to bar it.” … Racism: “[The Halloween display that popped up in his neighbor’s yard:] Hanging from a noose in a backyard tree at the house next door is a stuffed body with a photo of Obama’s face as the head.” Creeps.

NE. Pipelines: “NE environmental regulators have released a preliminary 600-page report [which] doesn’t include a recommendation about whether TransCanada should be allowed to build the Keystone XL pipeline to ship crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries. The state report says TransCanada’s new route avoids the environmental sensitive Sandhills region. Pipeline opponent Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska says she’s disappointed the state won’t require disclosure of exactly what chemicals will be carried in the pipeline.” … Pipelines: “[T]he Legislature changed direction in April, during a flurry of amendments in the final days of its regular session, and made the Nebraska DEQ the first stop for future pipeline routing decisions by the state. That decision moved the state’s pipeline oversight toward a department responsible to the governor and away from independently elected officials. Because the change included in LB1161 came after committee hearings, the public never had a chance to weigh in on a departure from the November decision putting the PSC in charge.” Shenanigains like this are always a sign of bad faith.

NJ. Hurricane Sandy: “12:02 p.m.: Utilities report: More than 2.4 million N.J. residents making due [sic] without power. That leaves 1.5 million residents fortunate enough to be enjoying comforts such as light and heat. 11:53 a.m.: Roughly 75 percent of Jersey City residents and businesses remain without power and prospects for the immediate future aren’t great. PSE&G officials expect that power should be restored by Monday” (good live blog from the Star-Ledger). … Hurricane Sandy: “I saw the same gas station attendant twice as I refilled my 2.5 gallon container. I could tell he was exhausted from 12 hours of bending over to fill the tanks. I offered to bring him hot chocolate, cider, coffee, a beer, anything he wanted. He finally cracked a smile and said he’d love a beer but he’d be done for the day at that point. 

NY. Ursula Rozum: “The Green New Deal would provide full employment, Medicare for all and student debt forgiveness, to name a few.” … Hurricane Sandy: “The Governor’s office has released a list of all subway and emergency shuttle bus service that will be operational as of 2 p.m. this afternoon tomorrow morning. There are three shuttle bus routes — two plying the Manhattan Bridge and one on the Williamsburg Bridge — filling some of the gaps in subway service. here will be very limited subway service restorations tomorrow today tomorrow morning, on 14 of the MTA’s 23 lines. Nothing below 34th Street.” (subway map) … Hurricane Sandy: “The people gathered around the side of a building on Third Avenue looked like refugees huddled around a campfire. But instead of crackling flames, their warmth came from more advanced technology: a power strip that had been offered to charge cellphones.” …. Climate change: “[CUOMO: ] People will debate whether there is climate change … that’s a whole political debate that I don’t want to get into. I want to talk about the frequency of extreme weather situations, which is not political.” Oh, semantics.

OH. Voting: “Right-wing activists bent on exposing the alleged epidemic of in-person voter fraud suffered a major misfire over the weekend when anonymous pollwatchers set off alarms over groups of Somalis getting rides to a central OH early voting center.” … Balllots: “An unknown number of absentee ballot applications across the state have been rejected due to the [data glitch] delay because election officials did not have some voters’ current addresses.” … Hurricane Sandy: “FirstEnergy reported more than 147,000 homes and businesses without power before dawn Tuesday. More than 114,000 of those were in Cuyahoga County, which includes the city of Cleveland. Restoring all of it could take days.” … Gambling: “An official of a Columbus addiction treatment center told council members that about 40 percent of the people seeking help for problem gambling frequent the unregulated gaming parlors. The Columbus area has 37 of the state’s 819 Internet cafes.” Not what I think of when I hear “Internet cafe.”)

PA. Voting: “Monday’s closures of county courthouses across the state has led Gov. Tom Corbett to extend allow some counties to extend today’s deadline for applying for an absentee ballot.” “Some.” Shades of Operation Alberich, I’m tellin ya. … Voting: ” [Cambria and Somerset] counties have backup battery packs for their electronic voting units, officials said. And, if it would be necessary to provide power for lights at some precincts, some generators are available.” 

TX. Pipelines: “Since it altered its route, [TransCanada] has filed a civil lawsuit against dozens of protesters and others who have encouraged action to stop the pipeline, alleging that they have caused disruptions and changes that could cost more than $500,000. TransCanada also has alleged that if protests delay the overall project, it could cost the company millions of dollars.” Perhaps TransCanada should sue in a secret NAFTA court? … Privatization: Privatized TX highway overrun by feral hogs. Noted without comment.

VA. Coal: “So, if you buy the ‘War on Coal’ argument, consider how many other chemical processing factories are seriously considering switching to coal-fired boilers these days. My guess is that such uses went away in the 1950s or 1960s.”

VT. Landfills: “Imagine nine and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with the juice that dribbles off the garbage truck. That’s how much garbage-infused water is pumped out of a single 20-acre cell every year in Moretown Landfill. Moretown residents are concerned that garbage-infused water, called leachate, could leak into the groundwater and make its way to their drinking water wells.”

WY. Refineries: “The FBI and local police are investigating an alleged sabotage attempt at a [Rawlins WY Sinclair] refinery earlier this month. [A spokesman] declined to comment about whether there were any signs of forced entry. He added that the act ‘doesn’t look like’ terrorism. Two May fires burned six employees, three seriously. Fires hit the refinery twice more in August but burned only one employee, who was quickly released from the hospital.”

Outside baseball. Progressives: “Obama supporters who profess an intent to ‘hold his feet to the fire’ may successfully deceive themselves and each other, but this president is no fool. Barack Obama knows that voters have no power whatsoever over him after next Tuesday, that he’ll be free to follow his own inclinations, whatever those are” (Margaret Kimberly). … Tribalism: “[P]eople (Ds and Rs both) were two and a half times as likely to think [the protagonist] was a hypocrite if they were told he belonged to the other party. This experiment only confirms a wide body of work in social psychology demonstrating that we’re biased against people we take to be members of a group that isn’t our own, more biased if we think of them as the opposition. The news is not that we are biased, it’s how deeply biased we are.” … Federalism: “[Heather] Gerken was writing down all the ways in which she thought Sunstein was wrong. What Sunstein didn’t seem to realize, she wrote, was that in order for minority groups to have real influence in politics–in order for them to make meaningful contributions to the way society works–they had to have more than the right to make their voices heard. They had to have the power to actually do things their way.” … Corruption: “There have been a significant number of whistle-blowers during this crisis, but none has become famous. The Bush and the Obama administrations have failed to praise and make famous as an exemplar anyone who fought within the lenders to stop their endemic fraud” (William Black). … Legalization: ” A study released Wednesday by a respected Mexican think tank asserts that proposals to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in CO, OR and WA could cut Mexican drug cartels’ earnings from traffic to the U.S. by as much as 30 percent.”

Grand Bargain™-brand Cat Food watch. Filibuster: “Senator Jeff Merkley, the co-author of a package of filibuster reforms, has secured commitments from nine leading D Senate candidates to throw themselves behind fixing the filibuster if they are elected.” So, where were they in 2009? It would sure be funny if the Ds left the filibuster to place and got a lousy stimpack and ObamaCare, then “fixed” it and passed the Grand Bargain with it. Not that I’m foily.

The trail. Precinct map: [If you’re a map geek, this is really keen.] … Ground game: “Voters nationally, as well those in the closely contested battleground states, report being contacted at about the same rates by each of the campaigns. And with a fifth of likely voters reporting already having cast their ballots, neither Obama nor Romney has a clear advantage among early voters.” … Swing states: “Are MN, MI and PA really in play this close to the election? Obama senior adviser Axelrod says no–and made a bet with MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Wednesday that he would shave his moustache of 40 years if Obama failed to win those states. … Control of the Senate: “Republicans need a net gain of four seats for their first majority in six years, three if Romney wins, allowing a Vice President Paul Ryan to cast tie-breaking votes. Independent experts agree Rs could wind up with anywhere from a net gain of three seats to zero.” … Legacy parties: “[A] case can be made that the R brand name is acting as a drag on Romney’s candidacy. The average net rating for the Republican Party in this series is -13, whereas the average for the Democratic Party is +.3. Is this what’s keeping a president with tepid approval numbers and a still-sluggish economy afloat?” (Note how essential the role of career “progressives” is to preserving this branding.) … Polls: “If we ran the election 100 times, Silver was saying that Obama would win 72 of them — but we’ll only be running it once. Silver was predicting an approximate 50.3 percent of the two-party vote share for Obama, but shifts of as large as 1 percent of the vote could happen at any time. What if the weatherman told you there was a 30 percent chance of rain — would you be shocked if it rained that day? No.” Nate Silver Wars! … Polls: “The states in which every site has Obama leading make up 271 electoral votes — one more than the president needs to clinch victory. The states in which everyone has Mr. Romney ahead represent 206 electoral votes.” … Polls: “It is impossible to adequately weight to compensate for large segments of the population who cannot be reached at all in a survey, or in very low percentages, and whose opinions may have changed from previous, pre-storm measures. Gallup is now tentatively planning on conducting interviewing over the last four days of this week, Thursday through Sunday” … Recounts: “In the battleground states of CO and FL, a recount is mandatory if the margin between the candidates is within 0.5% of the total vote. In OH, it is mandatory if the margin is within 0.25%.” … Biden 2016: “And after it’s all over, when your insurance rates go down, then you’ll vote for me in 2016. I’ll talk to you later,” Biden said, according a pool reporter.”

Green Party. Brass: “Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested Wednesday morning in east TX while attempting to bring food and Halloween candy to protesters camping out in trees to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, according to anti-pipeline activists.” To adopt the immortal and NSFW words of D operative James Carviille: If Stein gave Obama one of her b*lls, they’d both have two.

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Conor Freidersdorf: “Neither the D nor the R candidate in this race is trustworthy or desirable as a leader. Obama is a left-leaning technocrat who habitually breaks his promises and is eager to assume near dictatorial powers in the realm of national security. He has little regard for the Constitution or the recklessness of the precedents that he’s setting. And Romney? He’s a right-leaning technocrat who unapologetically breaks his promises, is eager to assume near-dictatorial national-security powers, and has little regard for the Constitution. Each of these men would have you believe that it is imprudent to trust the other. Yet if their opponent wins, each is on record affirming that he is empowered to spy, detain and kill in secret, and wage war without Congress. Given their willingness to confer those extreme powers, how deep can their mistrust really be?”

The Romney. Taxes: “[Bloomberrg’s Jesse] Drucker used FOIA to get records about another Romney trust, which uses the Mormon church’s tax-exempt status to save him from paying taxes, parking money there to defer tax bills while keeping almost all of the proceeds himself.” … More Kook-Aid, vicar? [Readers, I’d like a really over-the-top endorsement of The Romney that meets the standard Chait set for The Obama (below). Would you leave candidate links in comments?] … Bullshit: “The Daily reached out to Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt, famous for his essay, On Bullshit. [Frankfurt responded:] ‘As for Romney, the only question is whether he is a bullshitter or simply a liar. Probably, he is both. The only remaining mystery is why the public, which often reacts strongly against lying, is so tolerant of bullshit.”

The Obama. Hurricane Sandy: “[T]he pool report fails to acknowledge rumors that the president gently brushed Christie’s bangs out of his face as Modern English’s ‘I Melt With You’ blasted through the PA system.” … More Kool-Aid, vicar? “[A] President Romney would probably kill [Obama’s] grandest achievement of providing health insurance to those Americans too sick or poor to acquire it in the marketplace” (Jonathon Chait). CBO: “CBO and JCT now estimate that the ACA, in comparison with prior law before the enactment of the ACA, will reduce the number of nonelderly people without health insurance coverage by 14 million in 2014 and by 29 million or 30 million in the latter part of the coming decade, leaving 30 million nonelderly residents uninsured by the end of the period.”

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Antidote du jour:

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  1. Brindle

    Superstorm Sandy allows New Hampshire man to access his inner John Galt:

    —“Ryan and PSNH safety supervisor Doug MacDonald stood out in their fluorescent vests near a repair site along North Lowell Road, west of Interstate 93. A driver leaving an upscale subdivision stopped to ask if the power would be back by Wednesday night.

    “That’s what we’re hoping. We’re working on it,” MacDonald said.

    The man at the wheel of the silver Nissan shook his head.?”Bastards,” he said, and sped off.”—

    1. bob

      I’ve worked on road and utility construction. People have no idea what kind of work goes into doing things correctly.

      Yes, there may be 10 guys standing in the middle of the road, waiting for a phone call to do something. It may have been a screw up or mistake 30 miles away. They may also be taking a break, food, coffee, etc.. They are most likely working 18 hour shifts, dealing with electricity that can and does kill people.

      The people who complain the most about the “standing around” have the abitilty to hide in their offices and look like they are working all day. What would it look like if people were driving through their office? Hard at “work” all day? How about we put up a webcam to watch you all day?

      1. TK21

        Reminds me of a study which found the average office worker does 3 hours a day of actual work. As a former office worker, that sounds about right.

        1. bob

          3 hours, tops. 2 hours of that spent dealing with bureaucracy.

          Look at those trees. That must be an area which expericnces power outages a lot beacuse of them. A lot of people in areas like that go out and buy generators.

          This is the BIGGEST fear of a lineman. A geneartor hooked up, improperly, to the “main”. The generator can then backfeed the line out to, and possibly past the pole. If the lineman restores power to a house like that there is an explosion on the pole and one less lineman.

          So, during events like this, if a lineman hears an engine, he has to go on a hunt to find it. Multiply that by thousands.

      2. DSP

        Somebody wrote a letter to a Sydney paper complaining that every time the train he was in passed some rail workers they were leaning back on their shovels.
        It had to be pointed out to him that there wasn’t much future in working on the rails when a train ran over them.

        1. bob

          I’ve worked on open trench road work like this. The only way to move material in and out is the other lane (assuming a two lane road). So, the only time they can work is when traffic is stopped. When traffic is moving, all work comes to a stand still.

          If it were up to the people doing the work, the road would be shut down completely, so they could work a lot faster.

          If you find yourself driving through construction everyday, help everyone, find another way to go.

  2. bsg

    37 gambling parlors in columbus? I think there are 37 within 2 miles of my house. That number is far too low.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Thanks for this important data point. As I scan the local papers in OH, I see many signs of social distress, like gambling, prostitution, meth, bizarre police blotter stories and that’s before we get to the foreclosure mess.

      1. bsg

        I guess to be fair, they are not all called “internet cafes”, some are called “games of skill arcades”. When legit ways to earn a living are in the crapper, people will do anything to make a buck. That includes commercial landlords desparate for renters.

  3. Kos reader Froggy

    I am Kos reader Froggy. (My mother was a fan of The Little Rascals). The other day I was so upset thinking about drones, indefinite detention, executive assassinations, global warming, the failure to close “Gitmo”, and the failute to prosecute Wall Street, that finally I said “enough is enough”. I called up Comrade Mar-Kos and told him I was not going to vote for Obama. Since voting Republican is out of the question, I told him I would boycott the election instead.

    He told me before making a final decision, I should watch a CNN special at 9:00 PM, narrated by the Wolf.

    And I agreed.

    According to the Wolf, when Obama was a young man, he practised daily on his violin until he could execute head-spinning compositions, such as Joseph Szigeti’s Sonata No. 21 for violin in E minor.

    One morning, little Obie went for a walk in the forest and set up his violin stand beside a flowing stream. He took out the instrument, and began playing a slow melody full of tender yearning. After several measures, although fully absorbed in the music, little Obie intuited a slight movement coming from near the river.

    A quick look revealed a giant worm, which, emerging from the water, began crawling onto the bank. Without breaking his rhythm, the youthful Obama watched the newcomer as it gently approached his violin. Stopping beneath the violin stand, the giant worm curled up unafraid between Obama’s feet, and without breaking his rhythm, he watched it lying still on the ground.

    The next day, little Obie again settled next to the stream and began practicing a difficult slow waltz. During the first refrain, he was somewhat distracted by the colossal worm, which, rising from the currents, returned directly to its place from the day before, where it remained gracefully coiled until the end of the performance.

    The young Obama grew keenly interested in the creature, whose trusting nature astonished him. And so, one day he picked up the worm to try and tame it. The worm was not afraid of him, and wrapped itself around little Obie’s wrist.

    Little Obama’s idea was to train the worm to produce sounds on the violin by itself, and within weeks, it could produce a series of musical notes. Measure by measure, Obama taught the worm several lively or wistful Hungarian melodies. And after several months of hard work, he finally succeeded in teaching the worm Szigeti’s Sonata No. 21 for violin in E minor, as well as Sonata No. 1 in G minor.

    That did it for me, it removed all of my doubts. I’m a big fan of Joseph Szigeti and anyone who could teach a worm to play Szigeti’s difficult violin sonatas has got my support.

    I am Kos reader Froggy and I will vote the Democrat.

    Thank you Comrade Mar-Kos! Thank you Wolf!

    1. Ms G

      Kos, could you please do a piece with Corzine as the protagonist-narrator (see Corzine item on today’s NC line up)?

    2. Ms G

      Froggy, I hear that recently Obie has succeeded in training the Worm to create a hip version of the Szigety that includes sampled bits of the Motown song “We are Fa-mily.”

      That shows me where Obie’s heart truly lies (with me and the other People). So I’ll reconsider my decision to vote for Stein, I guess.

      1. Aquifer

        What Wolfie didn’t explain however was that the worm was desperate – how could this dude sit on the shore fiddling away while his stream was threatened with pollution by a Trans Canada pipeline? – He didn’t speak the dude’s language, so he figured if he learned to pull some strings he could get the dude to pay attention – he learned to pull a lot of strings but nuthin’ moved this dude at all …

        Meanwhile upstream some broad was going to jail to save his stream, so he figured he oughta join her …

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Froggy, you sound like a class act, so please reconsider your possibilities:

      Re-position your chips onto Jill Red: the Warm Blood within the Green New Deal:

      Froggy, she might give you a kiss, and then . . .

      Consider: “Froggy went a-courtin’ and he did ride/Uh-huh, Uh-huh” – try it!

  4. wbgonne

    “Climate change: “[CUOMO: ] People will debate whether there is climate change … that’s a whole political debate that I don’t want to get into. I want to talk about the frequency of extreme weather situations, which is not political.” Oh, semantics. ”

    And I have actually seen praise for Cuomo’s “courage” is raising the issue of AGW. Good grief.

    Apropos of AGW and the “must read” link to “A Convenient Excuse” in The Boston Phoenix, here is the comment I posted on the Phoenix website:

    The author relates Bill McKibben saying that climate activists must challenge their purported allies, not just the AGW deniers (who couldn’t care less what they say). True. But it isn’t happening. McKibben himself resolutely supports President Obama and the Democrats, as do most mainstream environmental organizations. The author meekly mentions Obama in the same breath as the unelected Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, as if they are somehow equally responsible for the failure to address AGW. I quit for precisely those reasons.

    Want to know why AGW has disappeared from the national consciousness? Ask President Frackenstein. Ask him while he stands mute about climate change, ginning up photo ops amid the ruins of the Jersey Shore or the devastating Midwest drought. Ask Obama why there was more carbon put into the atmosphere last year than any year in history. Ask Obama why he refuses to let EPA set GHG limits even thought the Supreme Court has explicitly confirmed EPA’s power to do so. Ask Obama why he is transforming the United States into a petro-state, whose chief export is now hydrocarbon fuel. Ask Obama why there is now more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico than under Bush-Cheney, despite the worst environmental catastrophe in history occurring in the Gulf on Obama’s watch. Ask Obama why he refuses to let EPA set any controls whatsoever on the abomination that is fracking.

    When climate activists recognize that Obama and the Democrats are not the answer then they may garner respect and will secure credibility. Until then, they appear to be just more partisan Democratic hacks who are Useful Idiiots for the corporatists who have rigged the game.

    1. gepay

      While I agree that the weather has been warmer starting in the 80’s – the global warming talked about – I disagree with the A in AGW. I don’t believe the increase in man made CO2 in the atmosphere is the cause – correlation is not causation. There is more energy in the system. There also appears to be an increase in Earthquakes and tsunamis. There also appears to be increases in the energy in weather systems on Jupiter and Saturn. Nobody in their right mind would say these are caused by increases in man made CO2 in the atmosphere.
      One can’t even say that the minor increases we have seen even constitute “climate change”. Was the ‘Little Ice Age’ or the Medieval Warming “climate change”? Obviously these were not “caused” by man made CO2. Were these world wide event? Nobody can even say for sure. This is the Level of our knowledge of how climate changes and why? Yet we are being told most of us will have to change our lives to make a smaller carbon footprint. We know people like Bill Gates or the US military are not going to have to worry about it. Has Al Gore stopped flying in jet planes and started getting around on a bike for most of his transportation?
      The end of the last ice age – a relative short time ago in climate time – that is what I consider climate change.
      Of course, the large fossil fuel companies have vested interests in claiming AGW not to be a scientific fact. At the same time other parts of the ruling elites see it as a great control mechanism for most of us.

  5. wbgonne


    Jane Hamsher explaining in the comment section to a MyFDL blog why she is right to remain “neutral” (i.e., pro-Obama) in the presidential election:

    “In 2008 we made the decision we would not endorse a candidate in the Democratic primaries, because we didn’t there was any real policy distinction between Clinton and Obama, and it wasn’t worth tearing the site apart by choosing sides. A lot of people I respect thought that was the the wrong decision at the time. Almost none of them thinks it was the wrong decision now. In retrospect I think we viewed the situation with very clear eyes, because there has been almost no daylight between Clinton and Obama over the past four years. I’d hope that people would look back at the insanity of that time and think the better of getting sucked into presidential election hysteria again, but I understand why they do. I’m pretty sure, however, that 4 years from now I’ll look back and think we made the right decision once again to keep focused on what we do, and not get distracted by the fray. It’s not called “the silly season” for nothing.”

    See? The presidential election is “silly” so better to be “fair and balanced.” And then whine like the dickens later. And these Liberal Opinion Leaders shall lead us into LOLs.

    1. citalopram

      It is silly.

      Let’s entertain the notion that a third-party candidate DOES make the grade, and gets elected. Then what? He or she will have to face a hostile Congress who are all hellbent on making sure the status quo is maintained. Any attempts by a sitting president will be met with all kinds of hostility. Can you say “lame duck”? Can you imagine that volume of propaganda that will be denoucing such a person?

      If you want real hope and change, you’re going to have to elect and throw out a whole bunch of people, including Supreme Court justices. Let’s not even talk about the myriads of party loyalists working in the wings.

      1. Expat

        We have plenty of precedent for a president circumscribed by Congress. Remember Truman? And people will add Obama to that list, however undeservedly. The problem with a third party president, just as with the legacy candidates, is that most of her advisors would — by default — come from the legacy parties and the permanent government. Of course, the existence of a presidential spine could make all the difference. That experiment has yet to be run.

      2. Jonathan

        While a minor party candidate elected to national office wouldn’t get much done in the traditional senses by which we measure official productivity, having a minor party sitting at the “adult table” would spell the death of the “third parties can’t win” meme, which would be an amazing energy and morale booster for them. It might also suggest the impending death of the “bipartisanship is unalloyed good” meme.

        Also, in the event a minor party candidate is elected to the Senate (and we’d probably see that coming), I’m pretty sure we would see the legacy parties disappear the “anonymous hold” in short order. I would consider that a benefit.

        1. citalopram

          I don’t think it would play out that way, especially the MSM trumpeting The Ironheel’s official decrees.

          Needless to say, Stein will be lucky if she gets 10 percent of the vote.

          1. Bev

            To have any chance at all, Stein and all 3rd party candidates and also, all Democrats and Republicans who want to return to a more perfect democracy union, should now be demanding paper ballots hand counted in public in precinct on election night. Especially, on the East coast where electricity is an issue. It would be a way to break the control of the extreme right wing with their control of e-voting, e-scanning, e-tabulating machines which remove and hide real, physical evidence on purpose–a purpose you can easily know.

            If none of the candidates are talking about this…well, doesn’t that tell you something about them all. It tells you that they are abiding the following:


            Romney family and friends will help tabulate the vote count in Cincinnati: Hart Intercivic holds maintenance contracts on their own machines

            by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis

            October 24, 2012

            Election officials lie to cover the facts

            Since the Columbus Free Press broke the story of Tagg, Mitt, HIG Capital and your e-vote, there has been a bi-partisan effort on the internet to restore faith in the system. There are Democrats who wish the Free Press would remain silent, fearing that exposure of these facts will demoralize their base and lead to low voter turnout. Pundits like Chuck Todd have used the phrase “conspiracy theory” and even gone so far as to say “The voting machine conspiracies belong in same category as the Trump birther garbage.” An industry shill, Michelle Shafer, who currently works as media director for Scytl, a Spanish-based vote-counting company, and has worked for all but one of the major voting machine manufacturers, has replied via comment to our articles with additional falsehoods and misrepresentations.

            As stated in a previous Free Press article, through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and has three out of the five board members on Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio on November 6. Hart is majority owned by a private equity firm run by fundraisers for the Romney campaign.



            Here you go 3rd party candidates, plus any brave and true Democrats and Republicans:


            Department of Justice: Investigate Ohio Voting Machines Linked to Tagg Romney

            By Alea Bankston (Contact)

            To be delivered to: Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General and President Barack Obama

            I needed to include link to Move.on petition about investigating Ohio’s vote being counted on e-voting machines with close financial ties to the Romney family.

            I think a note needs to be made by the petition signers to include all the states in addition to Ohio that are at stake with these machines.



            Vote counting company tied to Romney

            by Gerry Bello & Bob Fitrakis
            September 27, 2012

            In all 234 counties of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington and Colorado, and certain counties in swing state Ohio, votes will be cast on eSlate and ePollbook machines made by Hart Intercivic. Hart Intercivic machines have famously failed in Tarrant County (Ft. Worth), adding 10,000 non-existent votes. The EVEREST study, commissioned by the Ohio secretary of state in 2007, found serious security flaws with Hart Intercivic products.

            Looking beyond the well-documented Google choking laundry list of apparent fraud, failure and seeming corruption that is associated with Hart Intercivic, an ongoing Free Press investigation turned its attention to the key question of who owns the voting machine companies. The majority of the directors of Hart come from the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. has been heavily invested in Hart Intercivic since July 2011, just in time for the current presidential election cycle. But who is H.I.G Capital?

            Out of 49 partners and directors, 48 are men, and 47 are white. Eleven of these men, including H.I.G. Founder Tony Tamer, were formerly employed at Bain and Company, and two of those men, John P. Bolduc and Douglas Berman are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.

            Additionally, four of these men were formerly employed at Booz Allen Hamilton. Bush family friendly Carlyle group is an owner of Booz Allen which also made voting machines for the United States military. Booz Allen was also the key subcontractor for the controversial PioneerGroundbreaker program, an NSA data mining operation that gathered information on American citizens until it was shut down and replaced with even more invasive successor programs like MATRIX and Total Information Awareness.

            H.I.G. Capital employees have given $338,000 to Mitt Romney’s campaign. That amounts to over $1500 per employee. Bain Capital, Mitt’s former company, by comparison, only gave him $268,000. H.I.G. is the 11th largest donor to the Romney Campaign. Clearly they are working really hard for their man. It appears that they will work even harder on election night. Although not boisterously promising to deliver states where their machines are to Romney as Wally O’Dell of Diebold did for Bush in 2004, they can alter hundreds of thousands of votes and swing the vote in the crucial swing state of Ohio.

            Will Mitt’s cronies steal our democracy the way they stole our jobs? Time will tell, but they have certainly positioned themselves to do so if they choose.

            In our first investigative article Who owns Scytl? George Soros isn’t in the voting machines, but the intelligence community is,

            The Free Press revealed that Scytl, a Spanish-based company now contracted to count 25% of the U.S. presidential vote, has ties to Booz Allen. Scytl’s start up funding comes from three European Venture Capital Firms, Balderton Capital, Nauta Capital, and Spinnaker SCR. The director of Nauta’s American operations is Dominic Endicott, who went from Cluster Consulting to Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) where he oversaw wireless practice. He then rejoined his former colleagues from Cluster Consulting at Nauta. In his capacity as a Nauta partner Endicott also sits on the board of CarrierIQ.

            Scytl has emerged as the most mysterious election counting company in this presidential election. Scytl claims to have a Scytl USA division located in Glen Allen, Virginia. The following is a photo of the Scytl USA national corporate offices at 6012 Glen Allen Drive. The land deed records show that the owner of the property at that address is Hugh Gallagher, now listed as the managing director of Scytl USA. The deed, which was prepared in Ohio by a relocation firm in 2002, pre-dates the creation of Scytl USA. A Scytl USA sales office is located in Baltimore, Maryland, and appears to be a Rent-an-Office, often referred to as a “virtual” office which has a shared secretary and serves as a mail drop.


            However, I really think that this effort to cheat and steal another election should disqualify him.

            And, if the stories about Libya (and a coup) are further confirmed and verified, and our Ambassador was murdered to provide a story for Clear Channel to use against Obama, and to use to invade other countries, they should be arrested.

            And, again, good luck to us all.


        2. Aquifer

          Bingo – it would a shot across the bow – it would shake the duopoly, at least the Dems, to the core by demonstrating that not only had we finally figured out we had “somewhere else to go” but we were willing to go there and if these legacy guys and gals didn’t shape up lickety split and get with the program, they would be on their way out as well –

          Don’t kid yourself – you can bury (and you need to lest he catch on …) a guy like Nader who gets 3%; at 3% they didn’t even have to co-opt him, as he tried to get the Dems to do, but at 10%, a new ballgame. I know Perot had !9% and faded but his Reform party was pretty much a one man show. Stein is s great candidate but she has a party and platform behind her. The key for the movement will be no matter how the Greens do this time whether they will do better the next; whether their supporters refuse to be cowed as they were in ’04 and ’08 by that absurd “spoiler” BS …

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            And where have all the women gone who wanted Our First Woman President four years ago?

          2. citalopram

            The Dems would move slightly left, if anything. She’s not getting anywhere near 10 percent. Latest polls say 2 percent.

      3. wbgonne

        “Let’s entertain the notion that a third-party candidate DOES make the grade, and gets elected. Then what? He or she will have to face a hostile Congress who are all hellbent on making sure the status quo is maintained. Any attempts by a sitting president will be met with all kinds of hostility. Can you say “lame duck”? Can you imagine that volume of propaganda that will be denoucing such a person?”

        So what? Had Obama been what he promised he was the plutocrats would have hated him but the American People would have loved him. And there are more of us than them (99% and all that). So Obama would likely be coasting to reelection right now instead of possibly losing to a Republican Party that is (correctly) viewed as insane by the majority of Americans. And even if Obama would have had a tough time despite the overwhelming support of the American People, so what again? it’s called “leadership” for a reason.

        1. nobody

          Had Obama been what he promised he was the plutocrats probably would have done him in by one means or another, and he wouldn’t be available for re-election at all.

    2. DF Sayers

      Considering how our robust democratic institutions are completely void of actual democratic action (which is by design of deliberate social policy), it certainly does make sense to complain about the outcome of elections that are basically rigged. Whether or not somebody lends their weight in either rhetoric or ballots does not minimize the right to complain, since the electoral process is so far removed from government policy as to render the two quite distinct.

      One might as well claim that, in order to be justified in criticizing a politician, you had to be a part of their election campaign, specifically live in their district, have attended some particular meeting, or some other quaint distinction. Its just absurd, and really another childish deference to the nobile class and their self-perpetuation schemes.

      1. wbgonne

        With due respect, you are missing the point. Perhaps it is due to my lack of clarity.

        Jane Hamsher runs a Leftist/Liberal/Progressive political blog and she would NEVER endorse a Republican presidential candidate. So Hamsher is not saying that Romney/GOP and Obama/Democrats are equally appalling (which they are). In fact, Hamsher’s site is 75% GOP/Romney bashing. So Hamsher’s real “choice” is whether to endorse Obama or to endorse a Third Party Progressive candidate like Jill Stein. By pretending “neutrality,” Hamsher is endorsing Obama.

  6. westphalia

    I’ve been seeing a lot of media cheering about Chris Christie’s hugs and kisses for President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I wonder if the reason Christie so nobly ‘doesn’t give a damn’ about presidential politics a week before the election is that a Romney loss is no skin off his back and in fact leaves the Republican field nicely open for a Christie 2016 run?

    1. Synopticist

      Of course.

      As a reprsentative of the dwindling minority of SANE pro-super rich hard right ideologues Christie is positioning himself for 2016, having decided Romney is likely to lose next week.

  7. J Sterling

    Recovery is not all about consumer optimism. Economies don’t recover because consumers are spending more money in their pocket; consumers always spend all the money in their pocket.

    Economies recover because consumers are getting more money in their pocket, and that only happens when rich people get bored with sitting on their money and decide to pay workers again.

    1. citalopram

      There’s nothing like getting money moving into the real economy by taxing the crap out of the rich. Give that money to Social Security recipients for a real uptick in jobs.

      1. J Sterling

        The great thing about that is it gets the rich thinking about how to claw all that money back. Suddenly they’re full of business plans. Recessions happen when they realize that they’ve done it: they’ve got all the money back, and they look at each other, and all their investment ideas for how they’re going to make more profit…

        …and they realize they’re all lying to each other. There’s nowhere left for the pyramid scheme to go. And wham! that’s when they pull all their investment money out of each other’s enterprises and stuff it under the bed (metaphorically speaking–there are sophisticated financial instrument alternatives to the mattress, but they’re non-labor-employing all the same)

        That’s when it’s time to tax again, like we should have been taxing all along. Keynesian borrowing is just a trick to make it look like we’re not going to tax, but it’s equivalent really, in the Ricardian sense. Taxes make money move around, we get recessions whenever the rich weren’t being taxed enough and they were allowed to tie the whole world up in hock again.

        1. citalopram

          Well, that’s where highly trained ninja assassins come in to send a message. The rich try to run to other countries, and assassins follow. Maybe the first time is just to send a message, leaving them alive but in pain. But if they have to be sent again? It’s doom, baby. Pictures are taken and posted on the internet.

          “Behind every fortune is a great crime.” – Balzac.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Were you here during the last bubble? Consumers have had no gain in real incomes since the mid 1970s, but we’ve had consumer driven growth. Lots of nice leverage to thank for that. And consumers have not delevered in aggregate. Credit card debt and mortgage debt is down, but student debt is up. Which basically means non-student debt borrowers could also relever, at least for a while.

      There has been a big debate among my buddies trying to reconcile income #s with recent spending. They don’t add up.

      1. Ms G

        Here’s another data point in this puzzle where wages are stagnant or declining since 1970 but MSM and Gov report increased credit card use (meaning, either any increase in “demand” is once again (!) entirely fueled by junk debt or VISA is making it’s astonishing profits in some way other than through consumer credit cards in the USA).

        VISA Reports “Great” 4th Quarter Profits. (REUTERS)

  8. DF Sayers

    On the Guardian Article:

    Iran’s nuclear program has overwhelming regional support by polled individuals. Why is it that this fact is not mentioned, especially when the disparity between individual and state policy positions is known as a major factor in the democratic deficit, and the Arab Spring? The article mentions that an attack by Israel on Iran would be a disaster for US militaries because of political fallot for fragile regimes which host bases – but I guess it doesn’t bode well for the perception of the “democratic” ambitions of Western military action in the region to point out that the primary policy subject (nuclear energy mercantilism) is completely counter to the stated aims (democratic reform in a region with strong support for nuclear energy independence).

  9. Stephanie

    not sure what’s happening, but when I click on the Naked Capitalism header, it’s bringing me back to September.

    1. snow black

      You may have cookies blocked in your browser. That was my problem. Turn off blocking or add to your list of exceptions and try again.

  10. William

    Convenient excuse–What a load of self-absorbed hand-wringing. Stephenson probably lost 90% of his audience in the first part of that article. His few main points could have been stated in 1/10th the number of words he wasted his and his readers time one.

    While it’s great that someone in the mainstream media has become passionate about climate change, Stephenson is hopelessly behind in his education in alternative ideas. The mainstream has to move beyond the “do you believe in the science or not” box if there is to be any hope of any change. There are people way way beyond Stephenson, but they need Stephensons to break through the resistance of the mainstream media to alternative ideas. Mainstream thinking won’t bring about the change that is needed.

    It’s way way more than simply limiting our use of fossil fuels and converting to alternative energy. In fact, that isn’t the solution at all, but rather a small part of it. I suggest Stephenson begin by reading about permaculture and viewing you tube videos of what “permies” are doing and thinking, and how they have richer, happier lives while consuming FAR less energy and resources while restoring backyards and acreages to highly productive food gardens for people and other living things.

    Then Stephenson can give people some alternative ideas which will get them away from their TVs, which only passify and ensure compliance of the population to maintain the status quo. Because if everyone is watching TV and have nothing alternative to the status quo, NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

    Permaculture is one place to start learning. One just has to follow where that leads, and a whole new world for most people will emerge. No one thinks there is a plan for “saving the world?” Well you’re wrong, it is embodied in the ideas of permaculture.

    1. citalopram

      I hear ya bro. Everytime I mow my suburbanite lawn I think of how stupid it is. This could be growing food, especially since my lawn faces south.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Well, now is a good time to get rid of your lawn, right before the winter. I don’t know the size of your yard, but you could dump a couple of yards of compost, lay down some cardboard and newspaper, and cover with straw in an afteroon.

        Everything will happily rot over the winter, and in the spring you can plant vegetables. Order some seed catalogs and you can plan in December.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Why? Because you wouldn’t be investing precious time and energy in the Sisyphean chore of pushing a petroleum-fuelled hunk of noisy and dangerous metal over an at-best decorative monoculture, instead of engaging in a challenging physical and mental exercise that yields a sh*t-ton of beauty and pleasure, besides stuff that’s good to eat?

          2. Susan the other

            Aha! Convenient excuse. I can’t talk though. I’ve been sitting around for over 40 years without the conviction to live what I believe. When Stephenson said we have to reduce global emissions he clarified the emergency measure that must be taken asap, And I thot “let’s all embrace our inner hillbilly.” Really. We have to give up our godawful cars and demand good public transportation regardless of who the “president” is. Screw the president. We have to demand an alternative – after all, it is supposed to be capitalism that creates choices. What a scam. So let’s do it our way, thank you Frank. Stop driving and demand good public transportation. If there is a great tsunami of cars, too many to recycle, we can always turn them into mini greenhouses and stills. Seriously, I’d love to do it – but I want everyone else to do it too.

        1. leftover

          When replacing a lawn with a garden,,,veggies,,,berries…whatever…after removing the grass and before amending the soil, be sure to invest a little time and $ to get the soil tested. (Some areas will have an county agent or ag agent or someone that can help and possibly test for FREE.) Chemicals used for lawn care, that could build up in the soil, may not be desirable in a garden full of snacks and salads.
          Also, it’s a good idea to check zoning rules and regs, neighborhood covenants and such. Some folks get upset when the look of the neighborhood changes…fencing may be restricted…setback rules may come into play…you would be surprised.

          There’s also non-fruit/vegetable covers that can replace lawn grass that need much less care and water and can really brighten up the place.

          It’s definitely worth the effort.

          1. citalopram

            I don’t think my city would allow such a thing. A better thing to do would be to move out of California and buy some cheaper, fertile land.

          2. Lidia

            This is to citalopram:

            Alternatively, you could act as though you were free, and just start planting veggies or fruit trees or berry bushes in your front yard. What exactly is it that you are afraid of?

      2. different clue

        You could start slow, small, and careful with a tastefully yardscaped raised bed or three in your lawn closest to your house. If they work out for you, you could increase the number slowly over the next few-couple years to stay within your neighbors’s tolerance load limit. You could end up shrinking your lawn to the point where light modern smoothly pushing hand-push-reel mowers could do the mowing. And the clippings could be mulch and fertilizer for the raised beds.

        And then maybe a row or double-row of fruit trees and/or nut trees along each side of your driveway. And shade-casting fruit/nut/berry bushes or treelets right up against the south wall of your house.

        Of course I’m just speculating. I live in a co-op where we aren’t free to just run wild and do stuff like that. WE have RULES, by god.

  11. leftover

    Re: Chait..
    The Fine Art of Neoliberal Romance Fiction…you can’t really call it novel…is not only best appreciated after reading Prof. Frankfurt’s famous essay, but also provides keen insights that might shed some light on the Professor’s question on tolerance: It smells better, tastes better, and fits much easier into the pocket than Truth. Modern living makes the stain a non-issue. And when it comes to flinging, nothing surpasses its adhesive qualities.

  12. craazyman

    Higher Laws

    Wonder if anyone noted the sinking of the the HMS Bounty replica off Cape Hatteras in hurricane seas. 14 of the 16 person crew were rescued by Coast Guard helicopter. The captain and a crew member were knocked into the sea by a wave. The crew member was found dead and the captain is lost at sea. This ship was the model for “The Black Pearl” in Pirates of the Carribean.

    We all know the famous story of the original HMS Bounty. From Wikipedia: “disagreements between Lieutenant William Bligh and his acting Sailing Master, Fletcher Christian, led to a revolt by half of the crew and their seizure of the vessel on 28 April 1789, leading to the Mutiny on the Bounty.”

    The crew member who died was Claudene Christian, self-described as a descendent of Fletcher Christian.

    It makes you wonder.

      1. Ms G

        Yes, and neither is it charity when the quid pro quo (in addition to a tax dodge) is a big old plaque, statute, naming deal. When did we lose the principle that Virtue is It’s Own Reward?

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Ms G, For example, a University never deducts “value received” from the “tax-deductible” portion of the Monumental Stone Buildings on campus named for “Donor X” – and they always allow for the “full amount” of the donation of deteriorating real estate improvements from an earlier era that have fallen on hard times and are impossible to sell but at a steep loss.

          Somehow, the IRS does not concern itself with these trifles. They care about whether you got “wine and cheese” value to be deducted from the “tax-deductible portion” of your Benefit ticket price.

          Like the law that states: Neither rich nor poor may sleep on park benches.

  13. Garrett Pace

    Military preparations for zombie apocalypse.

    The article linked only showed me the first paragraph. Here’s their original source:

    On the article’s comment thread, commenter ignatzfattis is apposite:

    “I can’t help thinking that Zombie is code for Protestor.”

    No fooling, I understand “zombie apocalypse” scenarios also used by certain survivalist communities – keeping their discussions nice and hypothetical and avoiding scrutiny by authority figures – hey, leave us alone, we’re just fooling around about zombies here.

    But the military isn’t being whimsical, and this isn’t just a sanitization:

    “That said, an affinity for zombie television shows and movies could help provide a teachable moment not only for US troops, but also for the American public.

    This is particularly true when it comes to the uncertainty that surrounds unexpected catastrophic events, including natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

    “No one knows what the zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly, no one knows what a terrorist will do,” Barker told the AP. “If a law-enforcement officer sees a zombie and says, ‘Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ what’s a zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.””

    THIS IS CHILLING. Don’t think of that protestor/”terrorist”/crank head as human. They are dangerous and unpredictable like maybe an animal, and aren’t like you at all.

    Who feels remorse when they kill a zombie?

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s Official PMI.

    In Sunzi’s Art of Economic War, there is a chapter called ‘Growth by Fudging Numbers.’

    The key is to bolster consumer confidence, so the Chinese consumers can continue to whistle past the graveyard.

    The antidote, perhaps an overused word, is for one to become an ‘economic numbers truther.’ You ask for original, authentic copies of the data used to arrive at those numbers.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Growth by Fudging Numbers” – Isn’t that what the Fed and the City do, and the Merchant Bankers fore and aft?

  15. Garrett Pace

    Bet the Farm

    This is a profound statement on the unreality of our markets:

    “That great philosophical debate—nominalism versus realism—has become ever more relevant in our age of head-over-heels romance with the virtual, the indexical, and the derivative. The futures markets trade a nominalist version of corn and soy and wheat—a version that consists of promises to buy and sell imaginary grain. For more than a hundred years, these markets allowed people in the food business, the so-called “bona-fide hedgers,” to manage their risks and stabilize the natural peaks and valleys of a seasonal entity (i.e., grain) that we must have every day (i.e., bread). But since 2008, hundreds of billions in new speculative money have poured into these markets, upsetting their equilibrium, sending false price signals, increasing volatility, and allowing all manner of insider-trading abuse. The commodity markets have been subverted by a slew of new derivative products, and the price of imaginary wheat has come to control the price of the real thing. So, yes, ideal wheat has become the enemy of real wheat. Whenever we understand food as an index or a derivative, it has stopped being food. Investors may be gladdened when the value of their investment accrues, but when that investment is food, profits for a few mean hunger for many.”

    That’s the big disconnect for me right now. The only real thing about these markets is that the money made in them can be exchanged for actual wealth. How long will that be the case?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I thought they would be smart enough to have already set up some nominal version of Martian minerals/metals and traded derivatives based on that by now.

    2. craazyman

      A few years ago, I sold my (Joe-retail-sized) position in the DBA agricultural commodities ETF because I could not morally defend participating in it.

      It was a minor thing to do, and a lot of people do the same.

      What I can’t understand is the mentality of those who don’t even think about it. Grown men and women, every day, on Wall Street and investment firms across the U.S. and the globe — chasing the “uncorrelated asset class returns” provided by “commodities” as a “portfolio hedge.”

      I’ve met them. “Nice people” is the way they’d be described. They don’t even need the hedge, if they really really think through it. That’s the most amazing thing. It’s all just perfecting the pseudo-math, like it’s a deranged crossword puzzle.

      1. Susan the other

        Perfecting the pseudomath. How do you take the petri dish and extend it? Fractaling, yes? So profit should disappear as population increases? And governments have all become so remiss they should all be guillotined.

        1. craazyman

          It allegedly dampens their portfolio volatility, but:

          1) they don’t need to draw down the portfolio in most cases so the volatility is immaterial, it’s a mathematical reality but not a financial reality;

          2) the correlations with equities have been much higher than predicted due to the initial press-gang surge into commodities and the subsequent sensitivity of many commodity prices to changes in economic growth rates, so the diversification benefit failed when needed;

          3) commodity returns are very poor on a long-term historical basis for a variety of reasons, including vigorous supply responses to rising prices and contango in futures markets, if that’s what’s being done to capture returns (a very Joe-retail way to get fleeced).

          4) if they succeed in starving the world into violent rebellion and chaos, how will that help their long-term portfolio values across other global asset classes? Deep thoughts for some people, apparently.

          I’m not sure the Guillotine is the best solution. But maybe the public stocks with a few pies in the face or a molasses and chicken feathers bathing before being booted out of town — with a six months grace period warning to shift those assets someplace else. I’d start there, but I’m a gentle person.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe these squids should be allowed to hedge against starvation in Hades.

            Maybe they should be allowed to trade derivatives tied to victuals deliverable to the underworld.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            C: “it’s a mathematical reality but not a financial reality;”

            Yves, if it’s so, this really is a BIG idea. Has anyone else said this? Who can prove it?

          3. aletheia33

            i’m always torn between tar/feathering and the guillotine when i get into a certain fantasy mode/mood. also, i think just plain stocks, humiliation in the public square, is probably surprisingly effective for many offenders. nothing hurts superior persons like being shamed–unless you’re psychologically immune to it, but that’s a whole other cauldron of … fish or maybe squid. then there’s drawing and quartering versus being torn limb from limb… do excuse me. such things can and will happen if we go far enough down the wrong road.

      2. Ms G

        ” … like it’s a deranged crossword puzzle.”

        Craazyman, your phenomenal and completely original prose poetry is one of the reasons I visit NC daily. Thank you.

  16. Carla

    I cannot find Greg Palast’s site anywhere, let alone his story about the UAW suing Romney. Has the story been cross-posted anywhere else?

    1. Susan the other

      i’m guessing it has to do with a previous article about Romney-Bain buying up Delphi on the cheap and offshoring it – but when they realized the government was going to step in to save the auto industry (because it can easily be retooled to be strategic either for our sicko economy or for whatever aggression we think we have to engage in – so the auto industry is basically a national interest…) Romney-Bain blackmailed the US government into paying top dollar for the plants (Delphi plants) that made steering columns. Mitt, you’re such a patriot.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        The last Palast link is about the “Romney Bailout Bonanza” and the middle two links about stealing the election (interviews on two different shows).

      2. Carla

        Thanks. I really only wanted a link to the story about the UAW that was cited in today’s NC Links. That’s what I was curious about.

  17. b.

    “Let’s entertain the notion that a third-party candidate DOES make the grade, and gets elected.”


    Let’s entertain the notion that a 3rd Party running on progressive issues gets enough votes to tip the election from so-called Democrats to so-called Republicans. Let’s entertain the notion that that triggers four years of Republican insanity.

    Nader 2000.

    What went wrong is not that Nader ran. What went wrong was not that Gore lost. What went wrong was that Gore decided to bare his inner Lieberman. What went wrong was that The People did not think 4 years of insanity had made the case, and re-elected Bush. What went wrong was Kerry nominated to discover his inner Gore. The People, being slow on the uptake, nevertheless went for somebody claiming to repudiate 8 years of Republican insanity. What went wrong in 2008 was that the man is a pathological liar and a criminal.

    The third parties need to embrace their inner Nader. They need to embrace the power of being able to deny one half of the kabuki their share of the payoffs. If Stein 2012 winds up to be Nader 2008, that is *excactly* what the objective of anybody interested in change for the better has to be.

    If Obama, having discovered his inner Bush, Reagan, Nixon, Hoover, McKinley, Cleveland – must be an orgy inside that head – is going to bring about 4 more years of Republican insanity by managing an election that should be slam dunk for even an amateur on the court, it will not be Stein’s fault, but she would do well to take proud credit for it. If Obama looses due to too many no longer voting for a liar, maybe 2016 will bring about actual change?

    You might want to reconsider your tactical vote – once a third party manages to reliably make the lesser Mini-me of evil loose, you might as well try to get them elected outright. However, the first step of that long journey begins with preventing the election of Democrats. Yes, if you want to go there, you shouldn’t really start from here, but this is where we are.

    Help Stein 2012 to do for Nader 2000 what Obama 2008 did for Bush policies – make it an aberration to be reckoned with. I cannot think of a better way to mark a change in the necrosis that passes as democracy in this blighted nation.

    Four years of insanity – no matter which retainer of the establishment is elected – are nothing, compared to four decades of increasingly blatant betrayal of the very foundations of this republic. If one winds up giving Romney an opportunity to discover his inner Obama by removing the “true” article from office – by withholding your vote, at that – that is the price we and our victims will have to pay, due to the choices in the primaries and before.

    At the end of the day, it is hardly a reasonable proposition to play “Pick Your Criminal”, especially if one offender has already provided a record of 4 years of malfeasance.

    If you want change, you need to do everything you can to facilitate Obama loosing the election, and you have to own that accomplishment with in-their-face pride, and promise them that you will do it again. On the flip side, four more years of this man will conclude with his final service to his paymasters – having discredited the “liberal” positions he does not even pay lip service to anymore. If you vote for him, he will own you, and what you claim to stand for.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      And Dr. Stein is “Whiter than Willard.” Shouldn’t that take some of the White Fear away?

    2. Susan the other

      a good reality-based argument but we still have to dump the electoral college which amounts to an electric collar on every dog in the USA

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        But can’t someone who’s wise get the Electoral College to act wisely? And:


    3. propertius

      Alternatively, let’s entertain the notion that a progressive third-party gets enough votes to push one of the major parties leftward and, over the next quarter-century or so, gets virtually its entire platform adopted by that party and enacted into law.

      TR and the Progressive (Bull Moose) party in 1912, came in *second* in both popular and electoral votes in 1912, while running on this platform:

      Women’s suffrage
      Social Security
      Unemployment insurance
      A graduated income tax
      Workman’s compensation
      A minimum wage
      An eight-hour workday
      Campaign finance reform (including disclosure requirements and limitations on contributions)
      Federal regulation of securities markets
      An inheritance tax
      Single-payer national health insurance

      They managed to elect 9 Congressmen in that election, as well.

    4. Aquifer

      ” ….and promise them that you will do it again.”

      Yup, and again and again – each time in greater numbers; our big mistake was to chicken out in ’04 and ’08 cowed by that BS “spoiler” meme … if we had increased our % each time, we would have a very different politics today ….

  18. LeonovaBalletRusse

    NPR news 2PME:

    “Sandusky sentenced to a maximum security prison for the rest of his life.”

    1. Aquifer

      Actually, methinks it was her third – the first when she was arrested during the bank sit in protesting the foreclosure crimes …

      So she’s arrested standing up for us against the banks, standing up for us against the duopoly, standing up for us against the fossil fuel industry – shucks, seems to me we’d all be better off if she could stand up for us from inside the White House instead of inside a jail –

  19. Eldon

    About Prop 37 and religious restrictions. A similar area here is the almost religious fervor of of those who avoid gluten and other allergens for health reasons.

    Currently, we have to rely on the GMO manufacturers telling us, the food consumer, that they don’t “THINK” that there will be a major allergy problem with any of their products. The way they test this is completely inadequate. There are no long term studies using large amounts of subjects. They are literally using the general public (and pets, and livestock) to consume their unlabeled and undisclosed cross proteins, and claiming, because there is no tracking mechanism, that their GMO products of mixed plant proteins, or mixed plant/animal/bacteria/virus/whatever proteins, must be safe.

    Here’s the GMO gluten connection:
    For those of you not familiar with the science behind the connection of GMOs to infertility and miscarriage, here’s Roundup, the herbicide that GMOs are modified to be drenched with…

    “Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.”
    Proposition 37 tells food processors they must now LABEL what food really is, including “GMO” which says the food is a mixed protein of two or more unlike things.

    The USDA currently allows ANYTHING to go into a food product as long as it is labeled “natural flavorings.”

    The head of the USDA thinks industry voluntary standards of labeling is adequate for anything and doesn’t even think there should be a rule defining what is meant.
    This “truth in labeling” with Prop 37 for California, a.k.a. the entire country, is a very big deal when it comes to cross contamination issues in the world of that 15% of the population which is either trying to avoid a food(s) because of a traditional allergy, or is trying to avoid wheat, rye and barley glutens, or other grains CONTAMINATED with those glutens, because of the auto immune reactions or the basic intolerance, the slightly milder form. There is also now recognized the genetic link between reactions to gluten, and vulnerability to type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease and asthma. Some other medical conditions, such as patients with Down’s syndrome, autism/asbergers, and people who have had Lyme disease, also have a much higher incidence of having reactions to gluten. Furthermore, those with gluten reactions tend to have other food allergies.

    We are supposed to take responsiblity for our health. How can we when we don’t even know what we are eating?

  20. LeonovaBalletRusse

    NC Links 1 Nov 2012:
    //”Obama Had A HUGE Surge On InTrade Today, And Is Nearly Back At 70%” Clusterstock. Note most polls have the race very close in the popular vote, and with Obama leading in electoral college.//

    Why does the Constitution stipulate One Election Day? Given the propensity of the Constitution to stipulate “checks and balances” in order to minimize corruption, graft, etc., the constitutional stipulation that there be One Election Day surely is meant to be honored. “Early election” is contrary to this stipulation, even if it is called “absentee voting” (and that mask has been dropped, actually).

    What degree of corruption, graft, manipulation, and even coercion results from the General Election as it is being carried out by fiat of Party Bosses today? History shows our early Presidents despised Parties, and with cause.

    Why is this “General Election” for President not considered fraudulent, and a gross violation of constitutional law designed to ruin legitimate electoral procedure in the United States?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      And what about We the People’s RIGHT to the Secret Ballot, which was once sacrosanct. Now “employers” coerce the votes of their employees with threats and with impunity. There is a good reason for the Secret Ballot, especially now, and this RIGHT of the People is best served by paper ballots, as has been shown.

      If the People don’t take voting seriously, maybe it’s because our Constitutional Electoral Process and Procedures have been ruined, just like our “Government” NO LONGER of/by/for the People.

  21. bmeisen

    Phoenix article: The press should take global warming seriously. In the meantime every American will continue to drive more, eat more red meat, and fly more.

    Personal decisions make the difference.

  22. Valissa

    Hurray! NSTAR has finally gotten our house back on the grid. To celebrate, the cartoon theme is ‘power outages’!

    Roughin’ it

    The meaning of civilization?

    A spiritual solution

    The kid’s point of view

    Hehehehehe… this one’s for you craazyman, since you asked about my squirrels… who are fine, BTW

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Valissa, in Savannah, it’s_always_the squirrels. They do get electrocuted, unfortunately.

    1. Ms G

      Well, he is a socialist: he just accepted Obama’s gracious offer to reimburse dollar by dollar all NYC expenses to (1) “dewater” the City and (2) deal with the power failure. Now Bloomberg can distribute these public funds intended for critical public purpose and hand it out to a few of his favorite private enterprises who will promptly go (1) over budget, (2) not perform the work and (3) syphon 70% of the contract money through fraud.

      That’s Bloomberg’s kind of socialism.

      And I am not a member or supporter of the Tea Party.

  23. Aquifer

    “Piggy, piggy, wake up, please! I didn’t mean to scare you, honest! Oh lordy, if i have to call 911 mistress will kill me!”

  24. Synopticist

    ‘As for Romney, the only question is whether he is a bullshitter or simply a liar. Probably, he is both. The only remaining mystery is why the public, which often reacts strongly against lying, is so tolerant of bullshit.”

    I fear the Romney campaign is actually ahead of the rest of us. They’ve done some very serious research into how people’s brains work, and may have found that, by contrast, people do not react that strongly to lies after all. Perhaps the way folks process infomation has been subtly altered by internet use, perhaps we were always willing to forgive people who told us what we wanted to hear, even if we knew it wasn’t true.

    Either that, or they knew the US media was so invested in the “he said, she said” narrative, that they were sure that Romney could get away with running the least honest campaign ever, without getting called out on it.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      S, all you need do is count the numbers of the Latter Day Saints worldwide, and you know that Bishop Romney and his kith are Masters of–shall we say “truthiness?”

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      True: a must read–explains also the creation/purpose of “hanging chads.”

      This should prove why using the voting machines, esp. those owned by a candidate, is an idea that only criminals could love.

    2. Synopticist

      Scary stuff.
      They’re reckless enough to try, I think.

      Nov 7th could be the start of something very ugly.

  25. ginnie nyc

    Re: Storm Damage: When patients must be moved – this article doesn’t tell the half of it. NYU Hospital and Bellvue (the city’s largest public hospital) will now be closed for at least 3 MONTHS. Beth Israel (on 17th St., in the Dark Zone) lost power and currently is running generators at their outer limits (3/4 days)). These displaced patients have overburdened the adjacent hospitals, who are also short-staffed because they cannot get in from the outer boroughs, Long Island, or New Jersey (despite partial restoration of public transportation).

    The Manhattan hospital system is near collapse. Sounds like an exaggeration? It’s not. How do I know all this? I was hit by a cab on Monday afternoon, and taken to an Eastside hospital, and medical staff told me this.

    My visit to the ER was beyond chaos (not normal ER chaos). I and several other trauma patients never received TRIAGE. They had no ICE. They were so short-staffed only cardiac patients received triage. One TBI patient had to wait over 4 HOURS to have a head CAT scan. These are bottom-line protocols that should never be violated, even in an emergency. The entire hospitals network was on the blink; everything had to be done manually (the servers in the flooded basement).

    Here’s a story a P.A. told me:

    A child on a ventilator, who lived in Zone A (mandatory evacuation) on the Lower East Side was moved to shelter in Zone C. It also flooded, so everyone in that shelter was moved to the Parker Meridien hotel ($600/night), on 57th Street. Of course, the Extel Realty tower crane collapsed, so the hotel was evacuated, and the child was moved to Bellvue. Which was then evacuated as it lost power.

    Can you believe this ****?

    Most clinics are closed until further notice because staff cannot get in. These serve the indigent population (Medicaid), like me.

    1. sd

      Could we as a nation please spend money on better health care? Could we please build community hospitals again? Could we make the safety and security of all citizens a priority again?

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Hospitals, nursing homes: They should have paid much more attention to what happened to hospitals and nursing homes as a result of Katrina and the Great Flood of 2005. But no.

  26. amateur socialist

    To me the best thing about the Phoenix piece was the way the writer talked about his liberation to speak honestly about this issue *once he gave up having a job in journalism/media*. Not exactly a groundbreaking revelation; Neil Postman and Chomsky have written extensively on this problem, no doubt many others have too.

    But to hear a former journalist acknowledge how difficult it is to communicate a crisis clearly *from within the media industry* explains a lot of other stories that never quite make the crisis cut…

  27. JTFaraday

    re: Storm porn: New York Aquarium inundated; baby walrus safe, New York World

    Well, thank goodness!

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