Links 12/24/12

We are starting our holiday programming schedule today. We’ll have fewer posts and fewer links since ex the decidedly Scrooge-like continuation of the fiscal cliff discussions, things will hopefully be quiet. Plus yours truly and Lambert need a break. Hope you get one too!

Antarctic warming concern rises BBC

Top Ten U.S. Weather Events of 2012 Wunderground (Lambert)

Another Look at “Sustainable” Animal Farming Counterpunch (Carol B)

If Google was a state, we’d want to regulate it Financial Times

Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based on Users’ Information Wall Street Journal

Cruel Britannia: a secret history of torture Open Democracy (May S)

Charities hit by austerity measures Financial Times

Rigging of the Oil and Gasoline Markets – What Will Obama do? OilPrice

Six Rules for Criticizing Obama Over Social Security Cuts Fire Tom Friedman (Klassy!)

CIA chief unhappy with ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Raw Story (the Hague…)

Catfood watch:

Why “Bowles-Simpson” is a con job Corrente

You have nothing to lose but your chained CPI Stop Me Before I Vote Again (Carol B)

It’s Not a “Fiscal Cliff” … It’s the Descent Into Lawlessness George Washington

Obama ‘eager to fall off fiscal cliff’ Guardian

When Prophecy Fails Paul Krugman, New York Times

NRA doubles down as anger rises and Wayne LaPierre and the NRA: so defensive it was downright offensive Guardian. Yowza.

Advertising guru blames Obama’s ‘class warfare’ for Hamptons mansion sale New York Post

Latinos Less Likely To Receive Unemployment Benefits Than Non-Hispanic Whites, Study Says Huffington Post (May S)

Why Do Americans Have Less Vacation Time than Anyone Else? Big Think

The Crass Cynicism of Right-to-Work Laws Counterpunch (Carol B)

Antidote du jour:

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      “Con Job” describes it PERFECTLY.

      Erskine Bowles ran a focus group of the talking points that he had discussed with Obama a few days earlier. The focus venue was the Inaugural Program for Financial Studies at Columbia University, more than a year ago.

      His talk test-marketed a few talking points, one of which was the life-expectancy (65) at the time of the design of Social Security. I countered with a point (I guess we all have them), that outsourcing jobs was the cause of any projected shortfalls, as there aren’t enough current workers for full funding. Mine fell on dead ears.

      He later refined his to the sound bite “shared sacrifice”. When I heard this, at The Second Annual Program for Financial Studies at Columbia University, I left in disgust.

      1. different clue

        I believe there is another element to the con job. Invoking “life expectancy” at the time of Social Security’s founding is meant to fold into the numbers the higher rates back then of infant and childhood mortality. If “life expectancy” of new-workers had been looked at, they would find the same life-expectancy for 21 year olds then as what we have today.

        So the “life-expectancy” is also a sleight-of-mouth bait-and-switcheroo con job.

        But if I am wrong about that I will accept provable data-based correction.

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          In 1983 they formed the Greenspan Commission to fix SS and they took the new and improved figures into account and increased our payroll tax a lot and for those in my age bracket raised the retirement age already to 66 and 4 months and for younger folk to 67.

          But maybe they just forgot about that? I notice in recent Greenspan interviews he seems to have forgotten, so I guess anyone could?

          1. different clue

            Before Joshua Micah Marshall became a social blog-climbing O-pologist he described the intent and design of the Greenspan Plan as being a “straight-up two-step con”.
            The Greenspan Class never had any intention whatsoever of paying us the benefits for which we pre-payed double ever since 1983. The Greenspan Plan was to build up vast putative “surpluses” and then declare them to be evidence of
            “government overtaxation” requiring a “give-back tax cut”. That second part of the plan was carried out during the Bush Administration.

            But just as the Greenspan Class had no intention of ever repaying the loan-stolen money back to the Social Security Administration . . . and no intention of permitting SS to pay us our pre payed for benefits . . . we don’t need to have any intention to just surrender and accept that OUR money has been stolen and will stay stolen. We can try to prevent the Greenspan President and the Greenspan Congress from mentioning SS or Mcare or Mcaide in any way whatsoever in any legislation ever. EVer. We may not succeed. But we can try. How much does it cost to try? Some time and money for phone calls and emails and land mails? Given what’s at stake for a hundred million of us, a hundred million of us can afford the time and the money.

            I would suggest also letting our state and local Democrats know that we will never vote for another Federal Level Democrat ever again if our survival benefits are so much as even MENtioned in legislation. Why let the locals know? Because some of them have national ambitions. We all remember their kind from high school, do we not? Will they stand idly by and let the current Democratic officeholders abort and vaporise their future national ambitions? Maybe they will. But maybe they will try to prevent the current national Democrats from destroying the future national political ambitions of the currently state-and-local career climbers.

          2. different clue

            I trust the Social Security Administration. They are not a party to this Big Con.
            And I’m not sure I “distrust government”. I think I hate the Class Enemy Scum who currently poSSESS the government.
            The Greenspan Republicans and the Catfood Obamacrats.

          3. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            I don’t think SSA are the bad guys either. At Angry Bear we had some direct contact with them and they were very helpful in debunking some of the toxic propaganda spewed out to the public.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Lambert, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. May the infinite blessings of the universe dwell with you and yours, in appreciation of your good work.
        REST you merry, gentleman.

  1. They didn't leave me a choice

    The “Cruel Britannia” link to open democracy is broken, the URL lacks “htt” from the beginning.

    1. ginnie nyc

      Y’know, I almost posted “Well, at least that’s one thing they can’t eat (the snowman)” — I didn’t see the darn carrot!

      Vacuums of the forest, I call’em.

      1. different clue

        I wonder whether the collective deer herd isn’t just building back up to the numbers it had during the Time of the Indian Nations. I remember reading that the various Indian Nations in their various National Territories managed huge areas of land as deliberate game gardens. Instead of domesticating animals, they managed land to produce huge crops of wild animals which they would kill some of yearly to divide the harvested meat among the people.

        Perhaps far-sighted “American Americans” ( as Vine DeLoria Jr. once called us) should adopt the Indian Nations approach to the growing deer herd. We should recognize that we have restored vast stretches of “deer garden landscape” and we should start harvesting the deer and dividing the meat among the people.


    Good riddance to Della Famina. He’s been making such a fuss about Obama’s Socialism (yea, right), that he sold his restaurant down the road after around 2008. We all just got tired of his whining. Can’t wait for him to go.

    Maybe the Hamptons can regain it’s charm of my boyhood memories.

    I can dream, can’t I?

    1. direction

      “If Romney was elected, we would have had our parties in East Hampton this year.”

      I can’t believe he actually said that. That really is what it’s all about for these people.

      1. briansays

        the french in 1789 and russians in 1917 had a solution for these types Americans are for now at least too well mannered or programmed

        1. DANNYBOY

          I believe that Americans, for now, are to controlled. I know I feel fear when dealing with government.

          But even that will be overcome. A second anecdote may help explain.

          Another of Della Famina’s enterprises (he clone Manhattan in East Hampton with a glitzy restaurant, a high-end specialty food emporium, and of course his own newspaper.

          Since he promotes himself non-stop, he wanted his food shop to scream out onto the major thoroughfare (Rt 27). He piled lots of advertising devices in front of the store to attract passing drives. The Village asked that he remove this gaudy advertising and he vehemently refused (nice to own a newspaper to promote yourself). The local Police came and took him away IN HANDCUFFS. So much for “I can spend my money and recreate a little Manhattan, near my home.

          Next, I’ll let you in on what does go on in his home, and it ain’t pretty.

        2. Maximilien


          Can’t say the French revolutionaries in 1789 and after didn’t at least have a sense of humor. They started by burning the chateaux of aristocrats. Nothing particularly witty about that, I’ll agree. But then came the fun.

          The ones who didn’t flee the country were rounded up, lashed together in a boat, and sunk in the nearest river. The French people wryly called these executions “vertical deportations”.

          Members of the clergy were also victims of amusing pranks. They were drowned in rivers in “baptism” ceremonies. Occasionally, a priest and a nun would be tied together and thrown in a river. This, of course, was dubbed a “Republican marriage”. What delicious irony!

          When the Terror arrived in 1793, the few remaining aristocrats were placed beneath the guillotine. Their executions were public. With so much blood a-flowin’ and so many heads a-rollin’, a sense of humor among the people was a necessity. So they took to laughingly referring to the guillotine as “The National Razor”. (“A little shave for you today, sir?”)

          Grim times can ultimately be borne only with a little levity. When bankers one day face their judges, perhaps they’d also appreciate a sense of humor.

          1. different clue

            Well, that’s what Blackwater/Xe/Academi/Whatever name comes next and DynCorp and Triple Canopy and all those private security armies are supposed to prevent us from doing the next time around. Along with the police and etc. as long as the police and etc. stay loyal to upper class law and order.

  3. skylark

    That photo is the cover of the picture book “A Stranger in the Woods”. It is a favorite of my students.

      1. skylark

        That’s the picture on the tenth anniversary edition. The old one has the antidote picture. It’s a really cool book.

  4. direction

    Hello! Seasons Geetings everyone! I’m on the road, half way to Oregon. Been some mighty exciting weather out here on the left coast, and it’s headed your way. High winds, Lightning, and hail.

    FT’s post on Google never explains how they know how much I’ve walked from spying though my smartphone (and no, I don’t have a smartphone, but I’m curious how that works).

    I’m also curious why Google thinks they can “help” us poor moppets out here in meatspace, when their own world is constantly frought with skewed results. It seems more and more these days, that my searches often yield a top ten list of webpages with badly written summaries on a topic rather than real blogs or websites. It’s getting harder to find real content (except in the hard sciences where it has been a joy to find more and more articles and entire journals posting content online for free, rather than locked behind an expensive library service firewall like they used to be).

    There is an eager population of self interested individuals gaming the googles nowadays. Tactics include getting a blogbot to set up 100s of wordpress accounts (why stop at 100s?) in order to cram wordpress with the meaningless blogs you then botwrite to create a huge amount of backlinking (which google reads as popularity) to your own site.

    Perhaps this is why WordPress can’t handle a site with real traffic like this one, because it’s tailored itself to the average user, and she’s not real.

    BlogBot V1.1: “As your own plan requires it, you can set up Blog Posts using Jet Spinner Syntax and submit your Posts to any Account Profile you’ve created. Posts are automatically spun into random variations as they’re submitted, so you’re never Posting exactly the same content over and over!”

    And who needs readers, when what is really valuable is traffic! which you can also buy. Here’s a quote from the good people at TrafficMania: “Let us show you how we can increase your web site hits with cheap traffic visitors. We supply many sites with our traffic reseller program where you can buy traffic at wholesale prices.”

    That’s right. In order to get your one real website going, you need to create 100s of fake blogs with thousands of fake readers. I’m glad they’re building giant temperature controlled warehouses under Salt Lake City to store all this infinite amount of crap. I just wish they weren’t using my tax dollars to do it, but they probably are.

    1. skippy

      Yep… virtual asset prices… virtual derivative shadow fiance… and drum roll… virtual people… ROFLOLLMMAO…

      Skippy… just pop on down to robosign or verisign et al… and we’ll create the illusion… its all legit!

  5. skippy

    Kindest regards to all (even those myself vehemently disagrees with – perspective), a time of respite, a time of things that sate our misgivings, our ignorance fuels, our character lacks… even you beardo…. even you… may a warmness befall us all…

    Skippy… From Little Cove Australia… the embrace of kids laughing, fishing’s reflection, silvery green fauna, rocks of epoch, orb of gift, magnificent wings, visit you all…

    1. direction

      Thank you for all your heartfelt words. May you enjoy a peaceful and kind world there in your Little Cove. You are one of the people who make the comment section a delightful place to visit.

          1. psychohistorian

            May beardo bless indention and allowing a Forth attaboy to skippy.

            Don’t get me started about Forth, the language. It takes a certain sort of mind to revel in RPN (Reverse Polish Notation)

            Just think, in a few days we all become teenagers…..2013.

            Happy Ho, Ho!!!

  6. yokel bait

    Ezra talking like the big shots, 1:1. His poignant need to be in with the in-crowd is a two-edged sword.

    Regarding austerity (or anything else,) the US is too big to coerce and too stupid to persuade. What’s left? Acculturation. Works on everybody. It’s why Proust covered his mouth when he laughed – dashing Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac had rotten teeth, so that was the done thing. States, like people, want to think well of themselves. They want to fit in. The US is like the big dumb goober who goes to the music hall but it ain’t what he’s used to. Sounds all squeaky. Uncle Sam claps his ass off and whistles between movements. He’s not too bright but he quickly notices when nobody else is clappin, so he stops. He’s trying to impress his woman Daisy Mae, after all. She, meanwhile, notices nobody else is wearin tube tops so she puts her denim jacket back on. Little by little, Uncle Sam begins to ape it all even if he don’t unnerstand it.

    So here we have the preppies hanging out and talking, . The buzzards from the mill town hate the preppies, they beat them up all the time but the buzzards listen closely, and in their secret moments they talk to the mirror that way. Obligations under the Covenant. Huh. Wonder what it’s like to get to go there.

    1. JTFaraday

      Americans never believed in human rights. They only believed in the right to work, which they proceeded to turn into their number one export.

      In a few more days they’ll wake up with a hangover, but since they still don’t believe in human rights they’ll still be f*cked.

  7. Bill the Psychologist

    R: “CIA unhappy….”

    I say f%ck the CIA, a whole dept of psychopathic sadists, paid by the govt to curtail our liberties.

    The unhappier they are, the better…..

    They are absolutely the worst thing that happens in our govt, bar none. They should be disbanded and the heads prosecuted, and put in prison to rot.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Bill, the late patriot Eustace Mullins made a deep study of Deep State for years in the Library of Congress. He said:
        “The CIA works for the Rothschilds and the FBI works for the Federal Reserve.”

        He wrote many books, published off-sides of course. He lives “after death” on YouTube and in his texts, and in the minds of many an awakened American.

    1. SayWhat?

      Not that that post will get you put on their Xmas naughty list (too generic), but be careful what you say. The CIA, NSA, and DHS have VERY well funded and big ears these days. Although, what they can intelligently do with it after the fact remains to be seen. All the same, I wouldn’t want to be the lone wolf who finds out the hard way…

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        I’m already on the list, having been a whistleblower when I worked for the Army as a civilian psychologist, not doing anything “spooky” just a mental health psych doing therapy with troubled soldiers and spouses.

        I’m also a Quaker, and the Quakers in this area (Williamsburg VA) pretty much know that the meeting is planted with CIA people, as we are publicly anti-war/violence, so our meeting is seeded with spooks. A couple years ago it was a whole family, the mother mainained she worked for State but was teaching at the local CIA training camp, Camp Peary, just down the road.

  8. Jill

    Torture: Raw Story is an organ of state propaganda. This article is no exception. “The film shows US personnel using harsh interrogation techniques like water-boarding — a method many consider torture..” By law, water boarding is torture. If you don’t believe our laws, then I’m certain you will believe Holder and Obama, both of whom affirmed this fact.

    “Torture is in the past” claims our intrepid CIA! No, it’s not. It’s happening in black sites all over the globe. Don’t forget the outsourcing known as extraordinary rendition–saving US taxpayers money by outsourcing to cheaper torturers than our homegrown ones!

    Glenn Greenwald does an excellent compliation of rendering this propaganda null and void in The Guardian.

    I echo the thoughts of skippy and direction twoards my fellow readers and writers!

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        Yes, Bradley Manning was shamefully subjected to brutal, daily, hourly psychological and physical torture for the whole of his confinement.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I expect to see “harsh interrogation techniques” in Pravda on the Potomac or Izvestia on the Hudson; corrupt language is always a sign of cognitive capture. Too bad about Raw Story.

  9. Susan the other

    WashingtonsBlog: good end-of-catastrophe summary. Lest we missed it.
    Krugman: admonishing doomsdayers for never rethinking (deficit hysterics). What’s even funnier is that the apocalypse happened 5 years ago and they didn’t recognize it. Except maybe for Mayor Bloomberg who said tersely, “The jig is up.” Somebody should write “The Quiet Apocalypse” – use WashingtonsBlog’s Descent into Lawlessness as the outline – maybe something about the rise of Neocitystates, Minimilitaries and timeless fools.
    I’m actually enjoying Christmas this year. Peace.

    1. ginnie nyc

      Susan, I have to agree with you. During all the brouhaha about the ‘Mayan Apocalypse’, I thought “they’re too late. The end of the world has already happened, we’ve been living in the new era for several years now. And the worst hasn’t happened yet”.

        1. psychohistorian

          My latest retort along these lines is:

          The future is here but it is just not evenly distributed……yet.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Mayan end of the world – we’re a few hundred years too late.

          It happened when the Spanish showed up.

  10. Gordon

    The Big Think asks why Americans have less vacation than anyone else but doesn’t really answer it’s own question – it only demonstrates that it is so.

    A quick and dirty calculation suggests that the extra work done by Americans is absorbed by the excess share of GDP spent on health care (for those that get it at all).

    As a soundbite, ‘Americans’ holidays are stolen by medical insurers’.

      1. Aquifer

        You know what, if you could work some numbers around that – that might be a big enough selling point to push it over the threshold …..

    1. neo-realist

      Since companies are working leaner and meaner, your job is barely if at all being done while you’re vacation, which means that the longer you’re on vacation, the more the unattended headaches pile up. Some people would take off longer, but would rather minimize the time away to reduce the headaches as well as reduce being at fault for the problems when the review(s) come up.

  11. AbyNormal

    birth of ICE (rigged since inception)
    The founder entrepreneur behind the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is Jeffrey Sprecher – the current CEO – who saw early the potential of screen trading for energy. He acquired the US-based Continental Power Exchange in 1997 as awareness of the Internet began to spread, and everyone grabbed for market platform territory, with Enron Online leading the way.
    But my understanding is that the Continental Power Exchange would in all likelihood have gone the way of most Internet start ups had Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs and John Shapiro of Morgan Stanley not had dinner and agreed to set up an exchange. Their two firms put up the initial capital, and their stroke of genius was to offer to the other founder members – BP, Deutsche Bank, Shell, Soc Gen and Total – an inspired deal. In exchange for providing liquidity these traders would receive equity in the exchange, alongside Sprecher’s Continental Power Exchange, which was the other founder.
    At a stroke ICE was created and had transcended the Liquidity/Neutrality paradox of the Internet: if a platform is neutral, then it’s not liquid: and if it’s liquid, it’s not neutral. By 2001 things were really cooking; other trader/shareholders had joined ICE (having had to buy in); but the key was to actually reach the thousands of participants out there who were the actual “end users” of the market.
    An approach to acquire NYMEX was rejected, since NYMEX membership was dominated by independent “locals” who were and are in competition with the investment banks as financial intermediaries. However, in July 2001 ICE acquired for a pittance the International Petroleum Exchange – which was set up and owned by brokers – having made the IPE an offer they couldn’t refuse ie “….accept this offer, or we take our business elsewhere”.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Ben Bernanke cited [short-term] liquidity versus [long-term] neutrality in regard to monetary policy, in a 1998 paper:

        Hard to see what the terms would mean in a market microstructure context.

        If Bernanke’s conclusion about long-term neutrality of monetary policy is correct, then MMT is a fallacy, and so is QE4evah …

        1. AbyNormal

          i’ve long considered the ‘new n improved’ financial jargon defined as ‘to jump start an ride where no mkt has gone before’…they make it up as they go an so can i ‘ )
          appreciate the link/holiday read

        2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          The Captain announces to the passengers of the Titanic, “No matter what kind of iceberg is steering this ship – we will know it when we see it!”

      2. AbyNormal

        During the 90’s derivative heatwave there were many papers swirling the liquidity paradox…ex:
        greater asset liquidity increases the potential for conflict between the manager and the financier over property rights. This is ultimately resolved by limiting the manager’s operational flexibility (and potentially reducing the firm’s output), limiting the financier’s control rights (and hence reducing financing), or altering the assets that are held together in the firm.
        ‘the problem becomes more acute when
        the institution is in the business of making markets or trading for its own account’

        my personal metaphor for liquid/neutrality is better understood in Alice Cooper’s Cold Ethel
        Sprecher’s are necrophiliacs ‘ )

    1. Susan the other

      And when the bottom fell out of the oil market, these guys just kept trading, nevermind that they were fake trades; and they stockpiled the oil in tankers moored just off the Isle of Man waiting for prices to return, like the messiah.

  12. kevinearick

    Silicon Valley: The Empire’s Whore, I Mean Handmaiden

    You didn’t really take SV’s self-indulgent profile seriously? It’s Hollywood North – completely artificial, raining stupidity, full of whores, and run by something-for-nothing niggers, white niggers, of the worst possible kind.

    The Kissinger Imperative, unwinding in a city near you shortly, was to save the empire at all cost, which had run out of physical space for its ponzi demographic drive, and space exploration wasn’t producing results fast enough, for the empire at the time, so SV was hatched, yet another cycloptic head of the hydra, another hammer looking for a nail, you if you do not bow and express proper fealty for a job, to expand the empire.

    Outside of several flirtations with greatness, just enough to suck succeeding generations into the war ponzi, the United States has always supplied artificial demand for the empires legacy artificial supply, and it has always been bankrupt, by design, to ensure the chain of command. There is no better delay than a virtual world, complete with a virtual economy of virtual people, normalized from birth to accept it, yuppies on the empire teat.

    Hierarchical order is intelligence. That’s their fing assumption, no fing joke, and so long as EVERYONE is included, with an equal opportunity to win the fixed lottery, meaning no one outside of legacy capital, we should all be content little soldiers, right? The empire issues you credit, for a job, you give money back, and repeat the process until death. Works out for everyone.

    “Artificial Intelligence is the compliment of Natural Stupidity. Machine Intelligence is the compliment of Computational Stupidity. Artificial Intelligence is the study of ideas, which enables computers to do the things that make people seem intelligent.

    Entropy is defined as a Universal Energy, which results from the production of Work in a system. The production of Entropy is irreversible without the use of additional work.

    In most organizational systems, the control intelligence is hierarchically distributed from the highest level, which represents the manager, to the lowest level, which represents the worker. On the other hand, the precision, or skill of execution, is distributed in an inverse manner from the bottom to the top as required for the most efficient performance of such complex systems.”

    I sh- you not; the yuppies all think their function is to coordinate your economic activity with rules emanating from a computer, from on high, because you are, like them, naturally, too stupid to think for yourself, in a closed-loop, self-fulfilling fantasy, with accounting from Sacramento and law from San Francisco, Disneyland scaled. Have you ever examined the work process at Disneyland?

    Half the jobs were ‘created’ in California, and the participation rate continues to fall. Wile E Coyote drops the piano on himself every time, creating the crisis. Keep banking on free pensions and healthcare, whatever you do, earned with fealty to the Star Wars Empire, built by the Asteroid generation that today’s intelligent kids ignore.

    Empire lives in the time domain, which is all it can control. First, pop out into the frequency domain, and then pop back into the time domain randomly, by following what you ‘think’ is God, the unknown, until you learn to think for yourself, shedding robots as you go.

    What is the individual participation rate in real estate, and where is it coming from? You might want to be moving when I pull this bent out from underneath empire time. Nature is not an evil to be feared, if you can adapt in real time.

    Merry Christmas, a mass to celebrate Christ, or Noel in France. The Koreans, and others, are not quite so stupid as you may have been led to believe. They are quite capable of navigation without the petrol dollar or the technology floating it.

    1. SayWhat?

      Merry Christmas – now a mass to celebrate the NEW Christ – economic activity! Has been for about a hundred years now at least. Rest assured, it will be canceled soon enough if it fails to continue to yield sufficient ROI.

      CELEBRATE the winter solstice upon which it was based.

      FORGET the pseudo-religious/economic underpinnings it has accrued like so much dead weight since.

        1. kevinearick

          get into 17 lines, and then maybe we will give you a shoestring to go with that last unemployment check….
          but we are empathetic to your situation. Sadly, it’s 4:30, and my Harley is waiting….but thanks for filling up my calender today.

    2. Lambert Strether

      On the yuppies who think it’s their job to coordinate economic flow, the new word for that is “creative class,” and here’s how they feel about health care policy. Note that the creative class won Obama’s election for him with their mad data mining and computer programming skillz, which they will shortly devote to buidling health care exchanges. (It’s illuminating to think of ObamaCare as a gigantic boondoggle for the creative class, with the 2014 rollout timed for really substantial invoices coming due in late 2016, say.)

      1. different clue

        Surely it still remains a big bailout for the Big Insura Class, yes? Those new captive revenue streams of forced mandate premiums are supposed to keep the insurance companies from going bankrupt as the worthlessness of their ownership stake in the Big Shitpile ( all the Mad Cow Securities and so forth) becomes too evident to hide. Surely Big Insura will still recieve the lion’s share of the Forced Mandate money?

  13. barrisj

    Re: Brits and torture – Caroline Elkins wrote about the shameful episodes during British imperial rule in Kenya back in 2005, and the book was quickly buried in the UK. Incident upon incident of British Army tactics of torture in Northern Ireland during the worst of the post-war “troubles” also was voluntarily suppressed by the Brit media as a whole. Geneva Conventions were rather unhelpful during the Second World War, to say the least, as all parties to the conflict were guilty at one time or another of wholesale abuse or murder of military and civilian prisoners in their respective camps. Oh, let’s not forget French rule in Indochina and the Maghreb after WWII leading up to independence, where the art of torture was exquisitely refined. “Battle of Algiers”, anyone? And, yes, the Americans in the Philippines during their colonial war with Spain got their hand in as well, establishing a questionable precedent brought up-to-date with Bush-Obama “war on terror”, which in fact should be rebranded as “war with torture”. Yes, the “democratic West”, that bastion of “freedom and justice”, “fair play”, “respect for law” and “human dignity”, has done little over the past century or so to distinguish itself from gold-medal baddies such as the SS, NKVD, Kempeitai, and the other usual suspects. It seems as if “victor’s justice” will trump bad conduct every time, with the assistance of government-sponsored propaganda and a willing tool in the mass media to maintain the “good guys” v “bad guys” virtuous posturing. “Dirty hands” knows no boundaries nor ideologies that can confine or suppress brutality toward one’s fellow man, as there will always be found exigencies or “emergencies” that rulers or occupiers can cite to mitigate their descent into Dante’s Nine Circles.

  14. LeonovaBalletRusse

    YVES, you have been Santa Claus for We the People for Six (6) Years Now! Thank you so much for your gifts of self. Your heroism beats that of Joan of Arc, and you have been a life-saver of many, more than you know.

    May every blessing of the living universe abide with you and yours, not only through Christmas and Epiphany (Got Reveillons?), but forever and ever.
    REST you merry, fair lady. Enjoy your wealth in humanity.

  15. Ep3

    Yves, I wonder if I have mr boehners to thank for not raising the Medicare age yet. I just read the Washington post article on the negotiations and it sure sounds like his nutcase house tea party are the ones demanding such severe entitlement changes (well, and of course Obama). But I wonder if boehner gets a lot of money from entitlement supporters because he was the one who dropped entitlement demands in 2011.

  16. Ron

    MSM is over flowing with gun control articles all pointing at the NRA as the bad apple while giving both the Democrats and Republicans a free ride. If and when some kind of gun control bill passes both houses it will be very limited and filled with loop holes but sold as a big first step by the Democrats who’s underlying motivation for gun control at all is to further isolate wing nut Republicans and force them to vote against even minor gun control bills as a setup for the 2014 election.

  17. p78

    (Some) muslims put women in burquas for practically the same reasons:

    ‘My boss sent me dirty text messages’: Furious dental assistant sacked for ‘being too attractive’ hits back after court rules against her

    ‘These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don’t think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires and that Iowa women are the ones who have to monitor and control their bosses’ sexual desires,’ Fielder said. ‘If they get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it.’

    Nelson, 32, worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her a stellar worker. But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.

    He also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, ‘that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.’

    Knight fired Nelson and gave her one month’s severance. He later told Nelson’s husband he worried he was getting too personally attached and feared he would eventually try to start an affair with her.

    Ms Nelson has also slammed the court’ s ‘completely wrong’ decision to rule in favour of Dr Knight.

    She said: ‘I think it is sending a message that men can do whatever they want in the work force’

    The court ruled 7-0 on Friday that bosses can sack employees they see as an ‘irresistible attraction,’ even if they have not engaged in flirtatious behavior or otherwise done anything wrong.

    1. different clue

      Could unhappy people in Dr. Knight’s area of operations, including his current customers; all organize a boycott designed to drive Dr. Knight out of bussiness? Could he then be followed wherever he moves with evidence of the whole sorry tale, and prevented from establishing a practice anywhere new he might go to? That would be a visible display of people power.

  18. craazyman

    Most people are focused right now on Santa Claus and getting drunk, so I’m sure the holiday crew running NC won’t be scouring for Christmas links.

    I’m coming to the rescue with at least one good one. I ran across a news story today while hanging out wasting time after last-minute shopping that reveals scientists have isolated Bigfoot DNA. And it is weird! Part human and part something unknown. This is from Las Vegas, but forget about that. It could have been San Francisco.

    This may have some relation to the 2012 Mayan prophecy, since it might reveal a transmutation of the laws of physics and consciousness. If this is real physical dna, then Einstein’s e=mc2 is only a special case of a more general relationship. Since everybody knows Bigfoot materializes and disappears at will and without regard to the laws of mass and energy.

    My other link suggestions in the past never got posted. The one about Zimbabwe using US dollars as toilet paper and currency. And the other one about the 52-year-old grandmother trying out for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I thought both were meritorious of being links. I don’t know why they didn’t make it.

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      They also found Liberace DNA in Elvis hair samples. Lots of spooky stuff going on in Vegas!

  19. big suppository with your name on it

    Nice places that Alfreda Frances Bikowsky will never go to on vacation: the state parties of the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity,

    – Fernet & Coca at the polo grounds in Buenos Aires? No.
    – Ecotourism in Costa Rica? El fucko no.
    – The Powder Tower in Prague? Ne.
    – Castle Hill in Budapest? Nem.
    – The Taj Mahal? Piss off, isn’t it?
    – The beaches of Mombasa? Fuck off.
    – The Gobi? Ugui.
    – Macchu Picchu? No.
    – The Hermitage? Go ahead, make the Russian president’s day.

    And much, much more. Alfreda Frances B., alias or no alias, plastic surgery or no plastic surgery, your name is mud and everybody’s going to find out you’re not even hot like Jessica Chastain. Sux to be hostis humani generis, hunh?

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is Santa a Luddite?

    I mean, he hasn’t switched from reindeer and sleigh to something like Mr. Scott’s transporter.

    The man is a Luddite; if not, at least a closet Luddite.

    1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

      I’ve been tying to figure if there is a spot on Mt. Rushmore for O. Think we can fit him in, but the ears will be a challenge for any rock sculpturist, methinks.

    2. different clue

      They could make a movie about Obama.

      The Man Who Would Be Lincoln.
      with a nyuk nyuk nyuk and a yo ho ho,
      and a har dee har har to boot.

  21. different clue

    I wonder if my comments are choking on a bad link. In response to Counterpunch’s vegan article, read Meat, A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie. One can find it reviewed at Permaculture UK. Also see animal experts featured by Acres USA such as Allan Nation, Joel Salatin, etc.

      1. craazyman

        whenever that happens to me I usually think it’s my deceased ancestors looking down upon me and interfering to help prevent me from posting some unbelievably stupid comment.

        but then I think, “they wouldn’t mess with me like that. now it’s my turn, in the sun.”

        even though this is still 12/24, I see my bigfoot DNA story didn’t make links on 12/25. How do I know that, since it’s only 12/24? It takes lots of training. I can only surmise It must have been my ancestors messing with the code somehow.

        1. different clue

          But my comment in this case wasn’t stupid. And some of my stupider comments get through just fine. So it must be more random for me. Or maybe, as I still suspect, it was the particular link. In fact, I will type a single sentence offering that link in a sub-sub comment just below this one to see if my comment again disappears.

        2. different clue

          Well, I typed one sentence with that link in it and it disappeared. So it must have been the link.

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