Links 11/13/12

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Sunday was Veterans’ Day. Did you notice how little media coverage there was? In the past, you’d always see prominent commemoration of surviving World War I vets, and reflections on the sacrifices made in World War II, and even the less fondly remembered Korean and Vietnam Wars. The consequences of a volunteer military shielding the elites from combat duty. See also: Veterans Day: Honor the Soldier … Scorn the Chickenhawk George Washington

Teller Reveals His Secrets Smithsonian. Lambert: “Application broader than title suggests.”

Apple stores most productive US shops Financial Times

Facebook’s False Faces Undermine Its Credibility New York Times

China’s new lending falls sharply in October MacroBusiness

EU-IMF feud erupts over Greek debt Financial Times

Eurozone crisis live: Greece gets more time as IMF and EU clash Guardian. You know it’s bad when a negotiation is live-blog-worthy

US to be world’s top energy producer Financial Times. Comment from Joe Costello: “You wouldnt believe how much the FT edited their IEA oil piece, the original had a bunch of stuff about how they were extrapolating numbers that couldnt be and the high depletion rates of shale wells — all gone now.”

The Places Where America’s Drones Are Striking, Now on Instagram Atlantic (skippy)

Massachusetts Corruption Dwarfs Afghan Corruption Kabul Press (Robert M)

Petraeus scandal! I dont pretend to have the foggiest idea of what is going on here. However, I must note: the FBI was investigating since the summer. That means Holder knew, which means Obama knew. Any claims to the contrary are an insult to the intelligence of the audience.

Why Has the Other Woman In the Petraeus Sex Scandal Lawyered Up? Gawker (Lambert)

Motives Questioned in F.B.I. Inquiry of Petraeus E-Mails New York Times

The Petraeus affair: notes on a scandal Michael Wolff, Guardian

Investigation of Petraeus Grows to Include Top U.S. General New York Times

Sandy aftermath:

Flood Insurance, Already Fragile, Faces New Stress New York Times

Hurricane Sandy Shows Folly of $150 Million Spy Center for Wall Street Pam Martens

Sandy: Lessons From The Wake Of The Storm Stoneleigh

Cold, Dark and Damp, Pockets of Misery Persist New York Times

Man Uses a Toyota Prius to Power his House During Weeklong Blackout OilPrice. As always, the affluent have more options.

Mayor Bloomberg Owes OWS an Apology Cynthia Kouril, Firedoglake (Chuck L)

Catfood watch:

Labor leaders set to meet with Obama Tuesday Politico (Paul Tioxon). If a Dem hack organization like the Center for American Progress is treated by Obama as a progressive group, this isn’t credible even as political theater.

Leaked deal memo for last year’s Grand Bargain: “Obama willing to go quite far” Gaius Publius (Jason W). No one here should be surprised.

It’s the Politics, Stupid Mattea Kramer and Chris Hellman, Tom Engelhardt

Two million jobless Americans face their own fiscal cliff if unemployment benefits expire Daily Kos (Carol B). Yes, I know some readers are allergic to Kos, but I even link to Fox if it has something interesting to say. Notice that pushing the Dec. 31 deadline as something that much not be breached is key to getting bigger Medicare and Social Security cuts through (in dealmaking, more urgency is always better). So the Dems have managed to find one set of little people that will be hurt by going over the fiscal cliff to justify screwing others. Nothing like fights among the have-nots to divert attention from the haves.

Ring the Register: Another $15.4 Million for Disgraced ex-Citi CEO Vikram Pandit Dave Dayen, Firedoglake (Dave Dayen)

Testing the case for bottom-heavy banks Economist (Richard Smith)

Antidote du jour. This is Barbara B’s cat Zoe, and the scale is a bit misleading, since anything other than a very young turkey is sure to be much bigger than Zoe. Are wild turkeys becoming the new deer? My father hunted wild turkeys, and they are smart and (were) wily and leery of humans (also I must confess tasty if the turkey is not too old). Last year and this year, I’ve seen them wandering around pretty casually in Maine (as many as 7 together at one time) and one of my buddies in a Boston suburb saw a wild turkey happily being fed peanuts by his neighbors.

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  1. David Lentini

    Great artcile about Teller. And his final comment on neuroscience is spot-on, which is why I stopped paying too much attention to the field a long time ago. Magicians and the ancients tell us much more about ourseleves than any PhD looking at a false-coloar fMRI picture could do in a million years.

    1. RanDomino

      Such techniques are used in fields as varied as used car sales, cult initiation, and of course politics. I read an excellent book about it a few years ago that compared the similarities between various techniques, using Jonestown as the keystone example, but I’ve forgotten the title and haven’t been able to find it. Does anyone know it?

      As for politics- is it possible to educate and empower the populace to be resistant to such manipulation? IMO that should be one of our main activities. As said in the immediate previous post by Yves, Naked Capitalism is a place where such bullshit is called out.

    2. Synopticist

      I’d have a lot more respect for those guys if they just came out and admitted “yes, i have a demon, and i control the soul of a murdered child”, rather than coming out with that old neuroscience, memory feat, mis-direction mumbo-jumbo.

  2. gonzomarx

    re: Veterans’ Day. Remembrance Sunday was well observed in the UK.

    Gas prices: FSA examines whistleblower’s claims of ‘Libor-like’ manipulation
    Whistleblower claims £300bn wholesale gas market has been manipulated by big power companies

    also check the comment (toward the end of the piece) from the former compliance officer at the International Petroleum Exchange re: the oil sector

  3. AnonAnon

    I see the Dems have found their hostages. Avedon Carol predicted this:

    Glenn Greenwald has a list of six of the steps in the betrayal of liberalism that we can expect to see, but of course he left two out: Hostage-taking and co-optation to try to fight for the “more liberal” of two not-really-opposing bad policy proposals, which usually come in the same package. Like, say, maybe some sort of choice between a big “tweak” and a very slightly smaller “tweak” that only kills 9/10 as many people as the larger “tweak” will. Or maybe creating a fight over raising the age of retirement even further, so that you’re fighting over 69 or 70. Are any of those proposals acceptable? No, of course not. But if they are suddenly on the table, we will see people allowing such a fight to become the fight, as if lowering the retirement age back down to where it used to be (or even lower) wasn’t even conceivable. It is conceivable, dammit, and for every nasty proposal, there should be a counter-proposal that goes farther in the other direction than politicians have been willing to talk about. They want to raise the retirement age? We want it lowered to 55. They want to change the calculation for the costs of living? We want to change it so that the amount is higher rather than lower. They want cuts? We want the cap eliminated. Don’t even argue about this crap – just go in the other direction.

    1. Synopticist

      You guys get much more interesting wild animals than we do here in the UK.
      Turkeys, mountain lions, coyotes, they’re well cool. Also your badgers, they look mean as f*ck.

      1. different clue

        Well . . . I have read that there is a project to re-introduce the great bustard into southern England . . . Salisbury Plain area and thereabouts. And the bustard is a turkey-sized bird, I believe.

        1. Synopticist

          Yeah, they’re brilliant, and bigger than turkeys actually. The site where they’re being re-introduced is only a few miles from where I live in fact. I haven’t seen one, but my dad has.

          The project is struggling a bit, as great bustards have an absurdly high death rate, only have one chick a year, and take 5 years to reach full adult maturity, IIRC. I don’t think they’ve got had a chick survived laid by a Wiltshire based bird yet.

  4. David Lentini

    FDL’s comments about Bloomberg’s incompetence should be read in conjunction from Naomi Klein’s piece in today’s Truthdig. Our privatization zombies smell fresh brains in the aftermath of Sandy.

    And while we’re on the subject of our MBA overlords, few seem to have noticed that with Romney’s defeat once again a politician from a premier B-school has not only bombed in an election, but shown such incompetence at basic management in gathering and evaluating data, developing and launching GOTV software, and understanding who is, and what the, market, i.e., voters, want. We can add his name to the great honor roll of platinum-grade-educated fools along with “W”, “Rummy” Romney, and R. Strange McNamara.

    And yet our zombies want to run all asepcts of our society as a business.

    1. LeeAnne

      I can’t wait for the private/public dealing propaganda sure to come for the $30 Billion Guomo/New York application. Reminds me of Paulson’s $750B that was ‘just a number -a big enough number to _ _ _ _ _ (fill in the blanks).

      It worked once, so why not?

    2. Lambert Strether

      I wish we could destroy the zombie “incompetence” meme forever. It seems to bleed over (no offense) from well-meaning leftists of a technocratic bent.

      If you regard the end game as privatizing public housing, then Bloomberg is very competent. Don’t fix anything, force people out, claim there’s no budget, plead “natural [ha ha] disaster,” and privatize.

      Bush was called “incompetent” too, and achieved all of his major goals, modulo victory in Iraq, unless that be defined as billions to his cronies, as it probably was.

      1. amateur socialist

        I never bought into the “Bumbling clueless W” narrative either. He appears to have accomplished everything his sponsors hired him for. It’s not like they were shy about stating their explicit goals in public on every talking head show.

      2. Aquifer

        I guess my bent has been to focus on the end result and not waste time, at this point, deciding on whether it was the result of incompetence or venality – either way it has produced a disaster and its practitioners need to be ousted – lickety split, before they screw us up some more … once we have done that then we can argue about which list they belong on so we can “educate” or “train” the incompetent and punish the venal …

      3. TK21

        Bush’s goal in Iraq was to keep that country’s oil in the ground. Undrilled oil=narrower supply=higher prices. Mission accomplished.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      David Lentini links us to Naomi Klein at Truthdig (< The Nation): a TELL:
      . . .
      "The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn’t be public at all."
      Doesn't history show that the Rapaport Dynasty is of the Global Reich? Cecil Rhodes was not the only one of the Anglo-American Establishment to profit from Reich *investment* in Agents in Colonial Africa.

    4. LeonovaBalletRusse

      DL, more Naomi Klein re post-Sandy “Shock Doctrine” (and how this .01%DNA Lebensraum strategy abets the establishment in NY of Bloomberg’s Feudal Divine Order of resource distribution to .01%DNA) Is *Prince Bloomberg’s New York CityState* evolving rapidly?
      “For a long time, climate change was treated by environmentalists as a great equalizer, the one issue that affected everyone, rich or poor. They failed to account for the myriad ways by which the superrich would protect themselves from the less savory effects of the economic model that made them so wealthy. In the past six years, we have seen the emergence of private firefighters in the United States, hired by insurance companies to offer a “concierge” service to their wealthier clients, as well as the short-lived “HelpJet”—a charter airline in Florida that offered five-star evacuation services from hurricane zones. “No standing in lines, no hassle with crowds, just a first class experience that turns a problem into a vacation.” And, post-Sandy, upscale real estate agents are predicting that back-up power generators will be the new status symbol with the penthouse and mansion set.//
      MORE at:

  5. fresno dan

    Teller Reveals His Secrets Smithsonian. Lambert: “Application broader than title suggests.”

    “When I cut the cards, I let you glimpse a few different faces. You conclude the deck contains 52 different cards (No. 1—Pattern recognition). You think you’ve made a choice, just as when you choose between two candidates preselected by entrenched political parties (No. 7—Choice is not freedom).”

    Wow – just as cynical as I am…
    Of course, it really helps to say if you pick the one you don’t like its hell on earth – when in fact if you pick the one you do like…its HELL on earth.

    Read more:

    1. amateur socialist

      I noticed the comment wrt the two political parties also but wanted to ask about the “Trick” of GOP operative Gary Johnson becoming Koch’s hand picked libertarian candidate. I don’t know about Teller’s political leanings but his partner Penn Gillette is a fairly outspoken advocate of libertarian politics. Yet another form of misdirection?

      1. TK21

        They seem like “good” libertarians, by which I mean they don’t advocate things like seizing other people’s land because they aren’t putting it to adequate use.

    2. Bart Fargo

      Choice = freedom is the principle upon which modern Western society is based. So when I thoroughly realized that it was a lie, the world was never the same for me.

      1. Valissa

        Mirror, mirror on the wall… during the course of surfing comments at a number of sites the past couple of years I have discovered that there are lots of ex-Redstate folks as well, and for similar reasons as people left Kos… the authoritarianism and intolerance. Both sites have a very ‘small tent.’

  6. frosty zoom

    i have seen flocks of 30+ turkeys at point pelee national park at the southern tip of ontario.

    10 years ago there were none.

    the best is when a big tom flies up into a tree.

    1. Lambert Strether

      We too have wild turkeys up here in the great of Maine. I’m told the wild ones are really smart and do complex and intricate mating ritual dances.

      * * *

      We also have deer, which are pests that destroy gardens and are disease vectors. No, I’m not a vegetarian….

      1. Urbanite

        Very true… Much of the East Bay hills of the SF bay area are home to flocks of wild turkeys these days.

  7. diptherio

    My experience with turkeys: Like most wild animals, turkeys are leery of humans until they put the people=easy-food equation together in their heads…then they get real dumb.

    Case in point, one of my aunts lives outside of Bigfork, MT (redneck-hippie, white-trash paradise) and, besides the occasional bear in her yard, she also has a number of wild turkeys hanging around. She makes a point of throwing them some grain daily and has even got them to the point now where they come when she calls, despite the fact that at least once a year she offs one of them with a shotgun. They stay away for a few days after she does that, but they always come back pretty quick. That daily handful of millet is just too good to resist I guess.

      1. Valissa

        At the end of the WSJ article the source is referenced. A new book “Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds” by Jim Sterba.

        I ordered it a couple of days ago and am looking forward to reading this Law of Unintended Consequences tale.

      2. Howard Beale IV

        Yep. When I lived in the far NW Chicago burbs, you could hear coyote’s howl. And they’re fluffy as all get out. Saw one walking around in my cul-de-sac one evening.

    1. Merdi

      Oh, and here in KY we’ve had an explosion of beaver and wild turkey in the last ten years. Elk were reintroduced and have done extremely well. Black bear population has been on the rise for years, and coyote are well-established across the state. And I saw a wild boar last year, they’re new.

      1. diptherio

        As domesticated primates continue to invade and take-over greater and greater areas of habitat, other species that cannot adapt will die, while those that can will survive by finding niches within the new, domestic-monkey created environment.

        Pigeons feed on human garbage, falcons feed on the pigeons. Squirrels feed on human garbage, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find coyotes feeding on the squirrels. They are quite clever and are largely nocturnal, so I wouldn’t be one bit shocked to find good-sized populations inhabiting urban areas where un-developed land is no longer existent.

        I lived outside Anchorage for awhile. Moose in parking lots (in the middle of a city of 300,000) is a real danger in the winter, and there was more than one morning that I was late to work, waiting for a moose cow and her calf to move away from my car.

        The result of our (attempted) domestication of the entire planet may well not be the extinction of all wildlife, but rather the evolution of wildlife, including predatory wildlife, that can survive right in the middle of all the hominids, feeding on the squirrels, pigeons and maybe the occasional passed-out drunk. How’s that for a “dystopian” scenario?,284/

        1. Susan the other

          Yes indeed diptherio… what will it mean now that the top of the food chain is also the bottom of the food chain… sounds like a banking model to me.

    2. Kokuanani

      ***at least once a year she offs one of them with a shotgun. They stay away for a few days after she does that, but they always come back pretty quick.

      Sort of like Dem voters wrt Obama and Dems. Except it’s every TWO or FOUR years.

      Does that make them stupider or smarter than turkeys?

  8. rjs

    re: Man Uses a Toyota Prius for Power; inverters aint all that expensive; ive got a couple in the garage, never used, still in the box, but im sure i wouldnt have bought them if they were over $100…

    not as efficient as a generator; after all, you are running your auto for power, which isnt what it was built for…and your car must be close to your house, too…

    btw, he isnt “powering his whole house for a week” on half a tank of gas…a good 5500 watt generator gives you half power for 12 hours on 5 gallons…

    1. hunkerdown

      The Prius is a hybrid electric vehicle, the relevant components consisting of a gasoline-powered engine and generator, 1800Wh of battery and controls that glue them all together. The superiority to the stand-alone genset is the battery bank allowing the Prius to supply continuous power without continuously running the engine under low- or no-load conditions.

    2. kjmclark

      Yeah, that’s what I thought. Geez, it’s just an inverter. We do that every time the power goes out. Bought an inverter big enough to run our fridge. Only cost about $100.

      So when the power goes out, we back our 1998 Subaru a bit out of the garage, hook up the inverter, and run the fridge for about 15 minutes every hour. (And a full hour or two before bedtime.) If we weren’t running the high-drain fridge, we could cycle the car on and off too, to save gas. The car battery isn’t a deep-cycle, so it’s not great for it to drain, but running a laptop, a small LCD tv, and a few compact fluorescent lights wouldn’t take much. Especially since the tv and lights aren’t on all the time, and the laptop charges it’s battery, then can run without being plugged in for a while.

  9. ohmyheck

    Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan chummy it up and discuss their mutual desire to cut SS/Medi.

    Bill Clinton: “I’m glad we won this race in New York but I am hoping that the Democrats don’t use this as an excuse to do nothing on Medicare.”

    Paul Ryan: “I guess it is going to sink in to paralysis, it’s what’s going to happen. I mean, you know the math, I mean it is just… We knew, we knew we were putting ourselves out there but you gotta start this, ya gotta get, gotta get this moving.”

    Anyone with doubts that there is a buy-partisan push for these cuts needs to watch this 30-second video. Or continue to keep that ostrich-head of yours in the sand…

    1. Susan the other

      I saw this clip a while back too. Notice Ryan talks about the reality of “the math” just like Clinton’s “arithmetic” stories. It is disheartening to see that two power brokers like these guys don’t understand either the arithmetic or the math. Steve Keen, and some others, have implied that the main reason we had the Great Financial Crisis in 2008 was because under Clinton the deficit was balanced on the backs of private debt holders, businesses and home mortgages. The debt was shifted from the government to the people where it could not be worked through, effectively anticipating or laying the groundwork for this great national foreclosure we are going through. If the government had spent money into the economy in the 90s for infrastructure and jobs and start ups the economy would have been strong and healthy. We were screwed by Clinton (and Rubin), and now he and Ryan, his equal in economic ignorance, are discussing austerity. Talk about brass.

      1. amateur socialist

        If you’re going to discuss Slick Willie’s contribution to the financial crisis you have to make sure he gets the “Repeal of Glass Steagall (After Citigroup illegality made it irrelevant)” merit badge.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Don’t forget *Rhodes Scholar* – whose mission is to keep We the People subject to the *British Imperial Commonwealth* .01%DNA Throne/The City of London.

            And he has done a hell of a job for the .01% and himself, dontcha think?

      2. hunkerdown

        Oh, but they did! Remember $500bn given to the telecoms in 1996 for the National Information Infrastructure? True, that money bought much less than $500bn worth of infrastructure, but gosh, their hearts were in the right place…

  10. Jim Haygood

    Byline from the Times-Titanic article on Petraeus:

    Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting while flying on the secretary of defense’s plane between Honolulu and Perth, Australia.

    What, is she doing a bio on Panetta titled All In 2? [that’s a pun, yuk yuk]

    Sometimes MSM stenographers wink at you in plain sight.

  11. diptherio

    “Vikram Pandit isn’t getting a golden parachute, but he’s still not doing too badly.”-CNN

    Hmm…I must be confused as to what exactly a “golden parachute” is. $6.7 million dollars doesn’t qualify as “golden”? Diamond then, maybe?

    I notice that they are dubbing the $6.7 mil, “incentive pay,” which begs the question, incentive to do what? Citi’s line is that it’s for his “work” this year, but obviously it’s nonsense to talk about incentivizing past behavior. I think the “incentive” is to stop him from turning state’s evidence and providing damning evidence against all the folks who were looting the joint before he got there.

    Just my take on it.

  12. jsmith

    How about a new campaign where hecklers scream “Shut The F*ck Up!” everywhere and everytime anyone mentions the term “fiscal cliff” and the “necessary” cuts to the social safety net?

    Everywhere, everytime someone just scream out: “STFU YOU EFFING LIARS!”

    Seriously, there is NO NONE ZIP NADA ZERO ZILCH reason to even deign these lying fascists with a response that even resembles reason as they have chosen to rather continue with the Big Lie (again) that we – a sovereign currency nation – will somehow go the route of the EU if we don’t make people work until they drop dead or enslave themselves to the private healthcare system.

    Here’s part of’s explanation of what will happen if we do nothing about the fiscal cliff – chosen b/c I wanted a generic sample of what passes as information in the United States:

    “They can cancel some or all of the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts, which would add to the deficit and increase the odds that the United States could face a crisis similar to that which is occurring in Europe. The flip side of this, of course, is that the United States’ debt will continue to grow.”

    If you have doubts about shouting STFU think about yourself working at a Walmart until you die b/c there is no SS and Medicare anymore.

    Think of your enslaved children and grandchildren, think of any one of the hundreds of millions of people who are about to get screwed by these fascist scum who are STILL attempting to push their failed economic philosophies down the throats of the masses.

    Enough of this fascist bullsh!t!!

    The time is now for another Enlightenment – the Re-Enlightenment? – when people rise up and no longer tolerate whatsover any of the horsesh!t that passes for “serious” discussion in our society.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      jsmith, “scheduled tax increases” is party line for the Big Lie. “Scheduled expiration of Bush Tax Cuts” is the truth of the matter. Obama speaks party line also, as they are “All In” this together for The Family.

  13. Valissa

    Yes, I know some readers are allergic to Kos, but I even link to Fox if it has something interesting to say.

    I have no problem whatsoever with Daily Kos links as long as it is noted that the article was from that website so an informed choice can be made. That was not the case the other day, when I ended up there unknowingly – it was being surprised by the source that was the problem. I am open to reading the occasional article at Kos if it is a news type article. Sad to say, but there are more Fox News articles worth reading than Kos articles because Fox has lots of regular news articles. Of course it also has political propaganda, but it’s pretty easy to tell the difference.

    1. sd


      Daily Kos is a blog. Blogs typically provide news analysis. Some of Dkos members may actually conduct original reporting, and if they do, they usually make that crystal clear.

      Meanwhile, Fox News is supposed to be in the business of conducting original news reporting. Unfortunately, it too often presents news analysis.

      Do you really not understand the difference?

      1. Valissa

        No I’m a stupid idiot… please explain further so my feeble little brain can attempt to take in your superior wisdom :)

        Or maybe I am more even more disgusted by Kos than I am by Fox News.

        Feel free to pick your own answer…

    1. amateur socialist

      “Look over here! The scandal is all about these celebrities sexytimes!!! No, no not the robotic planes they occupied themselves with while clothed…”

      1. Valissa

        Yeah the MSM is lovin’ this story and it seems that the Congress is keen to know all about the ‘congress’ that took place too. It’s all very conveeeenient timing. Sex and politics beats policy concerns and D-R kabuki every time.

        1. amateur socialist

          Luckily the celebrities involved are all toothpaste model attractive. “It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate… etc.”

  14. briansays

    odds and ends

    i’m telling you just let us buy into medicare as a public option at a lower cost to support the program than the crappy product from the private insurance cabal to squeeze out the looting/waste–but that would require them to stand up to their bribe payers

    wild turkeys at the local cemetery have been know to as a pack come to the aid of one member and rescue it by driving off a coyote

    dungeness crab season starts thursday in sf–mmmmmm

    1. Kokuanani

      brian, I’d like to bring you some reality from the Medicare front.

      I’ve been on Medicare for a few years. My primary care physician allowed me to remain with her, even though she was not accepting NEW patients on Medicare.

      Last Friday I received a letter from this physician saying that she was “opting out” of Medicare — i.e., I could not longer “pay” her via Medicare.

      In my few days of research frantically searching for a new doctor, I’ve discovered several things:

      1) it’s increasingly difficult to find a doctor that takes Medicare patients. My own experience re earlier searches, plus the experiences of almost all of my friends on Medicare confirm this.

      2) while we’ve always known there’s a shortage of “primary care” physicians, since med school graduates gravitate to the more lucrative “specialities,” that shortage has gotten even worse because of the “opt out” movement.

      3) there’s at least one organization, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, that devotes acres of its web site to lobbying doctors to opt out, listing tales of opt out “success stories,” and even providing a “how to” guide, right down to the letter you send to patients to kick them out the door.

      4) one striking fact about the AAPS site is its complete lack of concern for the PATIENTS of these opting out doctors. It’s all “those rotten reimbursement levels” and “too much paperwork and onerous regulations.” Really: not a WORD about patients.

      5) there’s almost nothing being written about this pheomenon. Yves? Lambert? Know any good “investigative journalists”? ‘Cause there ain’t a lot of information out there.

      So, brian, while I’ve always been an advocate of “Medicare for all,” now that I see what it’s really like. As I make phone call after phone call and search web site after web site to find a physician who will treat me; as I contemplate the years of deductions from my paycheck during my working life for Medicare, and the continuing deduction for it from my social security check [the deduction always increases; my ss benefit does not]; as I contemplate the laughable “alternative” of going into the open market to try to find “real” insurance coverage at my age, since my Medicare is worthless — I just want to warn you.

      I hope there’s more investigation of this array of issues, because this situation is only going to get worse.

      1. alex

        If we had Medicare for all it would solve many of your problems. With almost everyone on Medicare doctors would have to accept it. Sure there would be a few fancy doctors taking payment directly from patients, but not many.

        I think the doctors not accepting Medicare problem is exacerbated by Medicare rates being set too low for primaries and too high for specialists. IIRC the AMA has its hands in setting the rates, and it’s run by specialists.

        1. Aquifer

          Alex – bingo! Make it the only show in town and docs would have to take it or quit – except for the ones who can suck off the wealthy …

          Also – koku, you illustrate precisely the result of the game plan – TPTB are slowly strangling Medicare so that its beneficiaries like yourself will get disgusted and decide it ain’t worth it – with fewer and fewer defenders it will be much easier to drown it in the bathtub – as they say this is a “feature”, not a “bug” of the way the system is being run – just like cutting the payroll tax undermines the historic basis of SS, the games the gov’t is playing with Medicare, the SGR formula,, are designed to quite simply “starve the beast” so by the time it is taken away, no one will care. The problem is, however, that once we let the safety net whither away it will not be long before we are reminded of why we built it in the first place and have to build it again from scratch ….

  15. Valissa

    re: Labor leaders set to meet with Obama

    Here is another article on that, which mentions that Tueday group and also another meeting on Wednesday. I wonder who Obama & co. will listen to more… the Tuesday group or the Wednesday one?

    White House lists two dozen leaders to meet with Obama on deficit

    Business executives invited to meet the president on Wednesday were Mark Bertolini of Aetna Inc, Ursula Burns of Xerox Corp, Kenneth Chenault of American Express Co, David Cote of Honeywell International Inc, Michael Duke of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric Co, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical Co, Robert McDonald of Procter & Gamble Co, Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Co, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo Inc, Ginni Rometty of IBM, and John Watson of Chevron Corp.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sex scandals.

    I understand it’s best to leave political sex scanals to Republican congressional hearings.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    I bet that cat feels like he’s watching coin-operated, sleasy entertainment with a window between him and his obscure object of desire.

  18. ohmyheck

    Petraeus silliness is all about Benghazi. Reports say there was no “embassy” in Benghazi, it was a black-ops site, with some CIA and some mercenary/contractors, who had captured 3 Libyans, who were to be turned over to Libyan authorities, and their cohorts wanted to get them out before that happened.

    HuffPo has more:

    Supposedly, Petraeus was removed, via scandal, so he wouldn’t be testifying to Congress. They have appointed someone else to show up (don’t know his name). But DiFi, tah-dah!- to the rescue, wants Petraeus there to testify anyway. It remains to be seen if Petraeus will testify or not. That is the meat of the situation.

    The “scandal” is smoke-and-mirrors for hiding internationally illegal U.S.-run black-ops sites, that are pissing off Certain People somewhere, who have enough power to call out the U.S. on this.

    Of course, all this could be disinformation from FoxNews or whomever…I have no idea…it is just what I have been reading.

    1. ohmyheck

      Of course, even that doesn’t make sense. People lie at Congressional hearings plenty. TPTB just needed to make up a plausible story they all agree on, and then just sell it at the hearing. SOP. Thus, no reason to throw Petraeus under the bus.
      Back to the drawing bored….yawn.

    2. annie

      the guardian has story that broadwell gave a speech in denver couple of weeks ago where she answered a question about benghazi by saying it was really about secret prison in an annex and the militants were trying to free prisoners the c.i.a. was holding. she went on to say that petraeus couldn’t comment but he was well aware of the prisoners as the basis for the attack.
      the c.i.a. shot down her story as baseless, etc., but of course she had ‘inside’ source.
      c.i.a. denied there are secret prisons, because secret prisons are illegal.

      so here is petraeus’s sin: devulging secrets to unreliable source. loose lips.

      and obama’s ‘executive order’ outlawing secret prisons revealed as not worth the paper.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Greece and the general theory of money.

    As it has been said, Greece gets time (and no money, on the surface), but time is money.

    Though not often mentioned, space is money too; but while some people see real estate as 2-dimensonal surface areas to be bought, held ad sold, land is actually quite 3-dimensional, even if it doesn’t extend vertically all the way to the edge of the universe.

    So, time is money. And space is time.

    Put it mathematically, you get

    Time = Money

    Space = Money

    If we label the former as equation 1 and the later equation 2, we have

    Time = Money (equaltion 1)

    Space = Money (equation 2)

    Now, it’s intuitive obvious that equation 1 and equation 2 are special case #1 and special case #2, respectively, of the following general equation:

    Space-Time = Money

    That is to say, the space-time continuum is money. In that case, we can also speak of a Money-Continuum.

    We might imagine things like Money-mass. We might also imagine that Money-Mass bends the Money-Continuum, etc.

    Of course, when we view money through the Money-Continuum, we realize we can’t live outside of it, much as we can’t exist outside of the space-time continuum.

    Much imagination/work remains to be done with the general thoery of Money. I look forward to contributions from imaginative commentors (who are below commentators who are, in turn, below bloggers, who are below mainstream media people on the totem pole) be all over the net.

    1. Valissa

      Some creative folks have already starting imagining new forms of money…

      Alternative currencies

      Private currency

      Currencies of the Future
      [WARNING: This article is written by someone who supports the Austrian school vision of economics, which I know many here will have a problem with, as this approach is 180 to MMT. Also Graeber fans will have a problem with what he says about barter. However if you have good ‘filters’ you may find this article as interesting as I did.]

      1. Valissa

        The latest on bitcoin…

        For an overview of bitcoin

        Reddit Considering Accepting Bitcoin as Payment for Subscriptions

        78 percent of Bitcoin currency stashed under digital mattress, study finds

        The Plot Thickens in the Bizarre Bitcoin Blackmail Caper
        There have been some new twists in the strange case of an alleged attempt to blackmail Mitt Romney for $1 million in bitcoins, raising additional legal questions about the digital currency.

    2. TK21

      Chung Mee: Opium is my business. The bridge mean more traffic. More traffic mean more money. More money mean more power.
      Lawrence Bourne III: Yeah, well, before I commit any of that to memory, would there be anything in this for me?
      Chung Mee: Speed is important in business. Time is money.
      Lawrence Bourne III: You said opium was money.
      Chung Mee: Money is Money.
      Lawrence Bourne III: What is time again?

      “Volunteers” starring Tom Hanks, 1985

    3. Valissa

      As I begin to contemplate your “physics” of money, MLTPB, I find myself drawn more philosophical concerns… epistemology, ontology, teleology… OH MY!

      OK, how about a simpler philosophical analogy as an approach to developing a General Theory of Money… The One and Many Problem. Using some “philosophical license” one can simplify further to that One Money versus Many Monies. One money to rule them all… or Many Monies (cooperative & competitive) … Monetary Monotheism vs. Monetary Polytheism. As a starting point, I vote for the Many!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Well, I think we are still pretty much in the dark about the whole thing, but as a Zen enthusiast (but tranquil at the time – gotta remain calm), I would imgagine this implies that each of us has Money-nature inside. We merely need to realize that each of us is Money itself.

        I am Money.

        You are Money.

        We are all Money.

        Inside each of us, there is a fount of bounless amount of Money.

        And we can also imagine the existence of vacuum Money where Money emerges from the vacuum of the Money Continuum. Perhaps I have been too critical of Fiat Money after all.

        Then there is the mysterious Dark Money.

        Something like that…

        1. Valissa

          Hmmm… a zen approach to money…

          What is the sound of money clapping?

          If a money falls in a forest and no one is around to pick it up, is it worth anything?

          Money is the path on which there is no coming and no going.

        2. EconCCX

          OK, a little money magic for you, and a serious question for all our money theorists, modern and otherwise.

          A bank deducts a $10/month service charge from a customer’s checking account. The customer now has $10 less. Does the bank have $10 more? No reserves seem to have been conveyed. No cash has changed hands. Where’s the bank’s ten dollars? Have monetary aggregates like M1 and M2 diminished as a result of this charge?

    4. BobW

      So a large mass of money will distort the local space-time continuum like a bowling ball on a rubber sheet?

  20. charles sereno

    It’s understandable that many of the comments are about the generals. However, 3 interviews on The Real News Network today are really terrific, especially the one with 2 former officials on the war on drugs. If only such people didn’t have to resign!

    1. Crazy Horse

      If only the Banksters would follow the Thelma & Louise physical cliff model—–. Oh well, at least four star generals have discovered it!

  21. b.

    Re: Petraeus. I saw this BS quoted by Glenn Greenwald the other day, and it might be time to point out just how ridiculous it sounds – about as ridiculous as it should.

    “Top military officers have their s*** together and it’s personally humbling for reporters who’ve never served to witness that kind of impeccable competence.”

    Now, it is entirely possible that reporters in general are even worse than “top military officers”, but really – military history is best understood as an endless chain of self-destructive blunders and idiocies interrupted by the occasional flash of competence and, sometimes, even genius. This might also be a proper summary of the accomplishments and long-term impact of Petraeus as military and para-military “pillar” of the ‘stablishment. Napoleon he ain’t, it apears, neither with respect to the job nor with respect to women.

    In the abstract, those at the “top” have a lot in common with the toy. We all keep spinning for as long as we have the momentum, sometimes we maintain the balance, but in the end, friction and all, we “topple”. Just like CEOs have a lot less impact on the bottom line than claimed, we would be safe to assume that the military – as a “human” endeavour perpetrated and prosecuted by human beings – is made, in general, from Generals that are lucky not to .. topple .. before their retirement.

    1. TK21

      B I think you make a valid point. It seems to me that a military officer can be highly disciplined, very competent, and thoroughly spit-and-polish, yet still lead their troops into utter disaster. No matter how competent a military force is, occupying a country that does not want to be occupied is a nearly impossible venture, for instance.

    2. Butch in Waukegan

      From what I see, those who pass as journalists are not expected to detect bullshit. Evidently a successful general is expected to sling it.

      The Sins Of General David Petraeus by Michael Hastings:

      More so than any other leading military figure, Petraeus’ entire philosophy has been based on hiding the truth, on deception, on building a false image. “Perception” is key, he wrote in his 1987 Princeton dissertation: “What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters — more than what actually occurred.”

      Yes, it’s not what actually happens that matters — it’s what you can convince the public it thinks happened.

      How did Petraeus get away with all this for so long? Well, his first affair — and one that matters so much more than the fact that he was sleeping with a female or two — was with the media.

  22. Hugh

    Sex sells and that is a fact that not even the nation’s lipservice cult of the military nor Petraeus’ overblown record can withstand or defend against.

    His sin in the eyes of Washington powerbrokers, on the other hand, was not his affair(s). Many of them have had episodes along the same lines, including live boys, dead hookers, and no doubt various farm animals. But he got caught and worse could not control his mistress(es). For them, that was where the real lapse was.

    But what upsets them is that they think that Petraeus, and so their class, was unfairly blindsided through an inappropriate FBI investigation initiated by a relative nobody because an FBI agent had a thing for her. Cronyism is an integral part of their world, but it is only supposed to work for them and operate top-down. Yet here we have an example of lower class cronyism targeting one of theirs. Intolerable!

    Well, mostly intolerable anyway. Yes, the Administration and Obama knew about this for months. We were unlikely in any hurry to do anything about it. Why should they? It wasn’t the Russians or the Chinese or the Israelis who could blackmail Petraeus over this. But it meant Obama could unplug Petraeus and do it at a time of his choosing. Once the Administration had this on him Petraeus was a dead man walking. That Petraeus might someday be a Republican Presidential candidate probably didn’t mean a thing (Obama is done running for office), but that he might have been a nexus for criticism of the Administration just as likely was.

    As for the women, the way this plays out is that the wife will be beatified at least for a while. And the two other women will be smeared. Broadwell is already being portrayed as an obsessive flake, a picture which events make easy to sell, and Kelly though a secondary target may not be far behind.

      1. charles sereno

        The incredible thing is that this story(s) barely broke into the light of day in spite of the innumerable clues strewn about. What were these people thinking? That we still live in times gone by?

  23. kevinearick

    Digital Dematerialism & Nigger Empires

    Congress is largely a bunch of white niggers arguing for civility save their own a-. First they close the system, causing implosion, and then they burn everything with fingerprints…

    Waliggo: Colonialism and racism target life, human dignity, and human rights…No sane society chooses to build its future on foreign cultures, values or systems.

    Magessa: [T]he convert may publicly claim the new, intended meaning while (un)conciously ascribing to them a different one, the one that constitutes his or her motivation.

    Constantino: For if the past were viewed as ‘frozen reality’ it would either dominate and immobolize the present or be discarded as being irrelevant to today’s concerns.

    Desa: To be plain with you…we should like you much better if you traded with us and then went away, without forever boring us with preaching…

    Shorter: Conversion to Christianity is for him sheer gain, an ‘extra’ for which he has opted. Consequently, the Christian operates with two thought-systems at once, and both of them are closed to each other…who show their true face particularly in times of crisis.

    Magessa: Misguided, they thus failed to perceive the new in the old, and the old in the new. [T]hey compared the continent’s practices (its real culture) to the ideals of Europe (its ideal culture).

    Montagu: The truth is that evolutionary processes do not proceed in straight lines but are more accurately observed to assume a reticulate form.

    La Zoute: Underlying all the divergence that marks the pagan, there is a fundamental unity of belief and outlook upon the world…a unity of diversity.

    St Augustine: What is now called Christian religion, has existed among the ancients, and was not absent from the beginning of the human race…

    Diop: One needs only to meditate on Osiris, the redeemer-god, who sacrifices himself, dies, and is resurected to save mankind, a figure essentially identifiable with Christ…To his great surprise and satisfaction, he will discover that most of the ideas used today to domesticate, atrophy, dissolve, or steal his ‘soul,’ were conceived by his anscestors.

    Likewise, the Ds and Rs are symbiotic puppets. The hypocrits cannot think for themselves, and so will float downstream, arguing and creating one false crisis after another, in hope that you will tow one and then the other upstream for another cycle accordingly. Cut the rope and let them pass.

    The paragon of virtue, Jamie Dimon, says family formation is on the rebound, so it must be true. Just yesterday, these a-holes were saying demographics and family formation were irrelevant. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be the biggest blowhard, I mean pagan.

    So, let’s say, just for the sake of debate, that the planets are on roller coasters, but appear to be orbitting. What would that tell you about light? If true, what would happen to the roller coasters? What is the difference between speed and frequency, given dimensional relativity?

    Only your own can throw you under the bus. Step aside and the empire’s own momentum will carry it over the edge. The more you leave its operators to God, the faster they go to hell. Misery loves company. The future belongs to those who transform it. How does the clock work?

    Government is vacating the countryside now. If you allow these city idiots back in town to control your zoning with credit, you get what you get, niggerville. Don’t let the color of the skin, sex or any other material factor fool you. It takes a nigger to enslave a nigger, same new world order as the old world order, a nigger in a robe on a soapbox, trying to hide stature in proclamation. Let your work do your talking.

    They’re like children; tire them out with their own energy before you try to reason with them, and be patient. My family is KKK nigger mason, and my dad told them to go f- themselves. I am quite familiar with the process.

  24. meet Barack Obama, CIA sin-eater

    Meanwhile, another little piece of the world falls into place and ratifies the law of criminal aggression. Trinidad and Tobago. Guess Ex-president Obama will have to cross it off his list of exotic retirement vacations! By 2017, the world won’t be taking on the mighty United States of America for its illegal wars, the world will be going after individual scumbag fugitives, enemies of all mankind, outcast assholes like Robert Lady, pickin’ em off one by one. Each time, the US will have to decide whether it wants to piss away more of its dwindling international influence to hide one cast-off, lowlife goon from justice.

    1. ohmyheck

      Fascinating! So many different angles on this situation. Plus, we get the added bonus, from the comments, of a classic Obamabot excuse for the use of drone strikes:

      “Joe from Lowell 11/10/2012 at 12:03 pm

      There is no “wide ranging assassination plan.” The total number of strikes across the entire world is a tiny fraction of the amount of fighting that goes in in Afghanistan in a month.

      The degree of angst and attention focused on the targeted air strikes is completely out of proportion to their scope and significance. Just to put things in perspective: the Taliban killed more civilians just in Afghanistan last year than the total number of civilians and militants killed in all of the drone strikes ever conducted in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, since they began over a decade ago.”

      I just threw up a little in my mouth. This is getting to be a habit…

      1. TK421

        It’s good old lesser evil ism, isn’t it? “One of the worst groups of people in the world killed X number of people, so we, the good guys, get a pass on killing X minus 1 people.”

        A “joe from Lowell” regularly posts at Lawyers Guns And Money, one of the hackiest pro-Obama sites out there.

      2. amateur socialist

        You may be nauseous but Madame Secretary Albright would be proud. Probably Madame Secretary Clinton too. Hey maybe somebody will ask her in New Hampshire on one of her future visits.

    2. Hugh

      Despite a post that is critical of Petraeus, Cole expresses his admiration of him. I think this illustrates the essential Establishmentarianism that Cole exposed most notably in his defense of Obama’s undeclared war in Libya.

      It bears remembering that the purpose of the Iraq surge was to buy time for a negotiated political settlement among the country’s three ethnic/religious groups. This still hasn’t happened. Cole is correct about ethnic cleansing in and around Baghdad leading to a reduction in violence against US troops there, but he forgets to mention that in the Sunni West similar violence declined because the US was running a successful program buying off actually fairly cheaply former Sunni militias rechristened Sons of Iraq.

      I always saw Petraeus as more of a “political” general. He cultivated powerful sponsors in the civilian Pentagon leadership, indeed eventually two Presidents, by telling them what they wanted to hear. In doing so, as when he was put in charge of the Iraq surge, he went outside the chain of command, basically reporting directly to the SecDef and Bush, and if I remember correctly got his immediate military superior, the CENTCOM commander sacked. What all this comes down to with Petraeus is: live by politics, die by politics. It’s why I have no sympathy for Cole’s view that he doesn’t care with whom Petraeus was sleeping. I don’t either, but Petraeus was playing political games where he knew that mattered and he got burned by his choices.

  25. direction

    Thank you for posting about the dronestagram site. Makes me want to post a drone strike every day on my Facebook page. If only just to counter all the baby photos and rabid inspirational quotes bogging up the newsfeed…

  26. Ottawan


    They sometimes follow the same transit corridors and waterways that allow the more expected species into the city. We’ve had coyotes, mink, turkeys, muskrat, racoons, and heron along the spillway behind my building. And I live a long ways from the city outskirts.

  27. Kokuanani

    Yves, Lambert: Marcy Wheeler @ emptywheel really deserves a hat tip [and some links] for her large number of articles on Petraeus, as well as the always-welcome and enlightening TIMELINE.

    I was going to link one or two of the articles here, but there are so many good ones, I’ll just provide the link to the site.

    Head on over. She does remarkable work.

  28. skippy

    The latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows that, at least as far as economic optimism is concerned, America very much remains a house divided.
    The bellwether Economic Optimism Index for November plunged 10%, from 54 in October to 48.6 in November, as a major part of the electorate took stock of the vote’s outcome and didn’t like what it saw for the economy.
    The partisan breakdown for optimism is telling. Not surprisingly, sentiment among Democrats improved — 4.2%, from 70.8 in October to 73.8 in November.
    But Republican poll respondents, who for months were below the break-even level of 50 for optimism , expressed an even gloomier outlook over the economy’s future.
    The optimism index for this group plunged 41.1%, from an already-low 42.1 in October to 24.8 in November — the lowest reading ever for Republicans.
    Independents, who mostly voted for GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney, likewise saw a slump in optimism, but not nearly as much as Republicans. They fell 8.1%, from 47.9 in the October reading before the election to 44.0 in November.
    Why so glum? Republicans seemed to believe that the choice for president this time around was a stark one.
    With unemployment still close to 8%, GDP growth half its level of previous recoveries and family incomes shrinking, many thought a can-do businessman with a record of achievement in the private and public sectors would be a logical choice to fix the nation’s problems.

    Read More At IBD:

    skippy… Hell… sell everything to the private sector and when it implodes… buy it back on the cheap… its the peoples – citizens – money – anyway!

  29. John Seal

    I live in Oakland, CA and we regularly have a group of seven wild turkeys walking around our neighborhood. Cats love ’em.

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