Links 1/24/13

What Birds Know About Fractal Geometry Science

Gorilla Sales Skyrocket After Latest Gorilla Attack Onion (Aquifer)

Female smoking death risk ‘has soared’ BBC

“Endless” house to be built using giant 3D printer Gizmag (furzy mouse). More like a giant exercise track.

Justice for the PayPal WikiLeaks protesters: why DDoS is free speech Guardian

Let Elderly People ‘Hurry Up and Die’, says Japanese Finance Minister; “Heaven Forbid if You are Forced to Live”; Shades of Dr. Kevorkian Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Japan records largest ever trade deficit Financial Times

Powder Keg in the Pacific Michael Klare, TomDispatch

Dutch lawmakers fed up about Netherlands role as a $13 trillion tax haven Tax Justice Network (Richard Smith)

Cut bankers’ pay or risk another crash, IMF chief tells financiers Independent

Republican Myopia New York Times. Editorial on Benghazi

Clinton shows emotion and flashes of anger in Benghazi testimony The Hill (Aquifer)

The White House Un-Reality Show Glen Ford (Carol B)

Government Spending is Down in the Obama Era Kevin Drum

Reid, McConnell Close To Filibuster Reform Deal TPM (Gaius Publius)

Federal Court Denies Lawsuit Claiming Marijuana’s Medical Benefits Alternet (Aquifer)

Breuer Identifies Real Clients on Frontline then Quits masaccio, Firedoglake

Untouchables: How Obama’s administration shielded Wall Street from prosecutions Glenn Greenwald

Paschi Tumbles as Derivatives Call Earnings Into Question Bloomberg

Banks ‘ports in the storm’ during crisis, says JP Morgan’s Dimon Telegraph. This is unhinged.

Bankers, exposed Enlightened Economist (Richard Smith)

The Evolution of Household Income Volatility Mark Thoma

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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  1. dearieme

    How much of women’s smoking is an attempt to dull their appetite so that they can keep weight off?

    1. AbyNormal

      it just makes no sense dear
      if one wants to kill their appetite, read a bankers yak

      “Businesses can be opaque. They are complex. You don’t know how jet engines work either,” he said.

      He argued that his bank continued to lend to Spain and Italy knowing that “something might go wrong”, because “we are not a fair-weather friend… What shall we say? That it’s too much risk? We provide a service to you, that’s what happens.” jamie at davos

      see? that growling sound isn’t from my stomach

    2. Jennifer

      Can’t site numbers or a study but it has always been my understanding that the highest smoking rates are among white teenage girls, for that reason. African-American teenage girls have much lower rates; I know one idea is that there is less emphasis on thinness as a beauty ideal in the African-American community.

      1. different clue

        If we can prevent the Catfood Obamacrats from abolishing Social Security altogether, then the longer we live on Social Security, the more we get back out of what we prepaid into the system ever since 1983.

        So with that in mind . . . Living Longer is the Best Revenge.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One panda is still (re)balancing, while the other is enjoying life on terra firma after having done so.

    1. Synopticist

      Wow. It’s beyond delusional. Words fail me. Even the commentors at the Daily Torygraph were ripping into him.

  2. taunger

    The confrontation in the Pacific explains the very prominent Navy advertising that appeared during the NFL conference championships this weekend. Not that the services don’t often advertise during football, but it seemed like a notch or two more intense this week.

    1. Ms G

      NFL adverts. Possibly, too, Zero Dark Thirty (and the closely related — in time — announcement that DOD will start recruiting women for combat. “You too could run around with really cut shoulders and semi-auto gunpower and shoot up the bad guys!”

    1. alchemist

      THC can lower body’s ability to fight infections. This is not good for me personally.

      CBD’s seem to have the most benefits without the psychoactive effect.

      1. Aquifer

        The link is “not found” – must be out gettin’ munchies …, or hidin’ out from the Feds …

  3. OwenFinn

    Regarding “Powder Keg in the Pacific” – before it all blows up and the possibility of learning the truth becomes a casualty, will someone, anyone with the resources to do so – journalist, blogger, whomever – PLEASE look into Tokyo Governor Ishihara`s visit to the Heritage Foundation last April. Who invited him, what was discussed, etc.

    This whole thing was set off by his speech at the foundation after he announced his plan to have the city of Tokyo buy the disputed islands.

    Was this crisis contrived in Washington? Did TPTB in DC want the DPJ out?

    Washington (or at least the CIA) has a long history of working with and favoring the LDP. see-

    Anyway, the conservative LDP played these heightened tensions for all it was worth while campaigning. The resulting overwhelming victory in the last election was good news for their chums in DC, the Heritage Foundation, and their clients the US defense industry.

    1. ohmyheck

      Now that is very interesting. I don’t have info on that, but I recently read this:
      “Russia has agreed to sell Beijing the production line for the Tupolev Tu-22M3 bomber… The deal struck with Russia includes 36 aircraft….The Tu-22 will be employed in the maritime attack role and used to attack targets from low levels to avoid radar detection. The Tu-22 is a Soviet supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber”…

      “Maritime strike bomber”? That can’t be good.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Ishihara is about as right wing crazy as you can get in Japan and still be electable. He’s said nutty stuff before and he gets ignored. That is why he is major of Tokyo rather than in the Diet. (The crazier right wingers have trucks that park and have megaphones that blare out right wing bile. Since I knew only a bit of Japanese, I couldn’t get what they said, but it was clear the natives regarded them as an annoyance, a form of sound pollution they had to tolerate).

  4. down2long

    Thanks Yves for making my day yesterday with the Breuer samurai (without the honor part) move. It is not still being mentioned in all the usual suspects.

    Re Lyin “Psycho” Dimon and his fair weather friend remark.

    As most of you know from my posts as David Chaney, Chase foreclosed on my commercial property which was current, cash-flowing, fully restored, well-managed, but had expired. Chase got the loan from the FDIC when that outfit felt obliged to next Dimon’s bed with $40 Bilion dollars in gift “WaMu” loans. Getting a national bank for $1.1 Billion not being generous enough.”

    That turbo foreclosure came in the quarter Dimon had to raise a lot of cash to offset hiS Whale bets.

    Foreclosing on a performing loan, and costing your shareholders $400K in principal, plus a 2.5 percent above market interest on a million dollar note did have deleterious effects on his shareholders.Plus the month they started the foreclosure, Chase suddenly fired all the former WaMu “Special Servicing” people I had been working with very well since the loan was stabilized three years ago.

    Dear leader Lyin Dimon is in fact a fair weather “friend.”

    An amusing anecdote: Chase’s house law firm here in L.A. has a mean little Lanny Breuer at the helm. Five years ago when he was still repping WaMu (Chase kept him on when they got WaMu) and we were in court fighting over the receiver, WaMu (now Chase’s) legal low life stamped his feet on the floor (I kid you not) stabbed his finger in the air and yelled at the judge “We Will Foreclose!” causing titters and many glances up from phones in the bored courtroom and prompting the court reporter to roll her eyes at me, the defendant.”

    The judge leaned over from them, fixed a piercing look at the little shrimp, and said “That remains to be seen.”

    HA! That little phucker had to wait five years to get me – but what a fight. That little lawyer, Breuer, and Dimon all seem cut from the same cloth.

    And yes, Khuzami will be on CNBC tomorrow singing his swan song (unless he bails.) He will have,as they say, “some ‘splaining” to do. Or not.

  5. Jim Haygood

    From Reuters:

    (Reuters) – The U.S. military will formally end its ban on women serving in front-line combat roles, officials said on Wednesday, in a move that could open thousands of fighting jobs to female service members for the first time.

    The move knocks down another societal barrier in the U.S. armed forces, after the Pentagon in 2011 scrapped its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

    U.S. defense officials said the decision to end the ban had been taken by outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and individual military services would have until 2016 to seek exemptions if they believed any combat roles should remain closed to women.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Open thousands of fighting jobs to female service members for the first time’

      … every one of which is in a foreign country, and has squat to do with defending the U.S.

      Notice how the Obama regime conflates the social goal of reducing discrimination with maintaining the global military empire … thus promoting the illusion that foreign military occupations are compatible with progressive values.

      But that’s about what you’d expect from a peace laureate who vets his drone assassination list on Terror Tuesdays. War is peace when we do it!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s not that we want women in combat but we would like to see more men knit, sew and cook.

        The world needs rebalancing – more yin and less yang. Here, we are talking about yin energy and yang energy, not yin bodies and yang bodies. A man can have just as much, if not more, yin energy than a woman. It depends only one’s cultivation.

        So, we don’t need more women doing yang things. We need more men doing yin things.

        Of course, our institution and our culture need to be more yin. Under that, a woman can do what is natural to her and be inherently a step ahead of her male counterpart.

        All this women-in-powerful-positions trend just exacerbates the excessive yang-ness of our institutions and culture, not becuase women can’t bring more yin-ness to them, but the excessive male-ness of our institutions and culture remains, and actually gained more legitimacy from having women participate in them as well.

        1. Aquifer

          I have a slightly different take – methinks we ought to let women run the rule making functions of society – you know, as in a woman’s place is in the the House, and the Senate, etc., for a number of reasons but mostly perhaps because methinks they are more inclined, by and large, to make rules that are fair (“give some to your brother!), de-escalate violence (“stop hitting your sister”) and promote nurturing (“gimme a hug!)

          Men can stay in charge of corporations where they can strut around and give orders and all that – subject to the limits of the rule makers (“no, you can’t beat the crap out of that guy!”)

          I agree it does no good to have women in charge as long as everyone is still playing by men’s rules – if for no other reason than that the women who rise to the top in this scenario do so because they often take on male persona – the yang energy – to get there, so what’s the point?

          I guess it all goes back to the “if you want yin energy in charge, ya gotts VOTE for it!” – LOL

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Corporations are actually yin in nature.


            First of all, the word corporation sounds like cooperation.

            Secondly, you get shares in a corporation. That’s S-H-A-R-E, as in let’s share, we are sharing, etc.

            Like Kuanyan (Avalokiteshvara) is the goddess of compassion today, but original a male bodhisattva, I guess corporations went through a sex-change operation (in the opposite direction). It went from being a yin institution (sharing, cooperating) to a yang (possesing and competing) institution.

            We need to return corportions to their roots of cooperation and sharing, (let capitalize them for emphasis here – COOPERATION & SHARING), not more women in power to help corporations to more possession and more competition.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I think we need to get past gender and gender stereotyping. I’ve come to realize that I am a weirdo because (among other things) I don’t see people primarily through gender and often have to remind myself that most other people do.

            So I think we need a system not with yin and yang balance, but where we have incentives for technocrats not to be corrupt and know/recognize the limits of their knowledge. Like having engineers know they are engineers, be really concerned with building bridges that don’t fall down and last a long time, and not aspire to be or worse, try to be physicists.

          3. Aquifer

            I think that denying there are gender differences is being naive and does not serve us well – women are not “men with uteri” and men are not “women without breasts”. Mother Nature came up with 2 sexes for a “reason” (this is not a teleological argument). Those traits, tendencies evolved over eons to serve the survival of the species – they haven’t disappeared just because sabre tooth tigers and wooly mammoths have …

            As the French say “Viva la difference!” and though in any one individual’s case, one cannot necessarily say who has more “yin” – i think it is safe to say that there are differences in the distribution of traits – and further, I think, we, as a species, for our own and the planet’s sake, need to take a hard look at which traits we need to insure our survival in the here and now and where we are more likely to find them ….

            There is no doubt that men have been running things for quite some time – if there are no gender differences, how did that come to be? And i think there is no doubt that we are really screwed up right now and need to rethink a LOT of things – so why not try something really “radical” and see what happens …. let’s face it folks, at this point we ain’t got much to lose, and maybe a hell of a lot to gain ….

          4. Aquifer

            MLPB –

            My point was more along the lines of letting men get their competitive rocks off without trashing the whole shebang along the way – not that women aren’t “competitive” as well – but again, I go along with the distribution of traits idea …

            Is this a bit extreme – maybe, but it makes my point, which methinks is yours as well – that there really does appears to be an imbalance in the energies running around the planet and it needs to be corrected – the idea of male and female energies is as old as, well, male and female …

            As for corporations – it is my understanding that they were originally chartered to serve some special purpose that was considered to benefit the public and were allowed to exist only as long, and only insofar, as they served that purpose …

            I would think that “co-operatives” would be much more in line with your ideas …


            Hillary – a perfect example of a woman who got to the top by playing by men’s rules, not someone i can support … that’s why i say that a particular gender is not a sine qua non – one must be “discriminating” – ha,ha …

          5. different clue

            But that has nothing to do with preventing corruption specifically or encouraging honesty specifically. . . does it?

    2. Ms G

      So was “Zero Dark Thirty” a runway foamer to prep for Pentagon’s “Yay Women” announcement? If DOD’s been having as much trouble recruiting enough “volunteer” army members, casting the net wider to include females certainly would solve that problem. Maybe DOD is betting that a lot of women who see ZDT want to be Chick in the Movie and will run, not walk, to sign up for service.

        1. Ms G

          Couldn’t watch the video — I’m avoiding any sensory contact with that movie. But I did notice the caption: “Jessica Chastain ….” explains why Kathryn Bigelow *did not want to work hand in hand with the government.*

          I haven’t seen such obviously transparent propaganda lying since … oh, since seeing Lanny Breuer on The Untouchables!

          What a disgrace. And yes, Jessica Chastain is a perfect Army Barbie to lure impoverished, futureless, indebted women into the slaughter.

          Any minute now, we might be seeing “Zero Dark Thirty Jessica” lines popping up at Old Navy, Gap, and, of course, all the sports and outdoor gear brands (Lululemon? Nike? Adidas? REI? EMS? Marmot? Mountain Hardware? etc etc etc)

    3. Garrett Pace

      Future generations will see that we sent our daughters out to kill and die and they will marvel, “How advanced they must have been.”

      …will say the same thing about us sending our boys, too.

      Everyone watch this amazing documentary, Achilles in Vietnam, about how war has been ruining the lives and personalities of young men for thousands of years. The book of the same name is very thought-provoking, as well (without endorsing everything I read in it).

      1. Aquifer

        Hmmm – well it will be interesting to see, now that we have apparently become accustomed to the men coming home in body bags or with various pieces and parts, including their minds, missing, whether we will be so easily inured to the same with the women ….

  6. Fíréan

    Re; Dutch tax haven status and the Netherlands allowing itself to be used as a vehicle for large corporate tax avoidance by USA and International corporations, there is a much longer (4 page) and detailed artcile,which names some of those companies, eg. Yahoo( based in a Dutchmans’s suburban house), Dell. . . and gives actual numbers to the monies involved.

    Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

  7. Sara K.

    As someone who has been living in Taiwan for years, this is what I have to say about the powder keg in the Pacific.

    Some parts of the article are very right – there is a powder keg in the South China sea, and there are many ways it could get set off and start a widespread military conflict, and yes, fossil fuels and natural gas are important parts of the mix.

    What’s not correct: that increasing the United States military prescense would increase the likelihood of war breaking out. In fact, an increased military presence would reduce the likelihood of war breaking out.

    As Lee Kuan Yew (de facto dictator of Singapore) said, the only reason Taiwan is not under the control of the People’s Republic of China, but Tibet and Xinjiang are under the control of the PRC, is that Taiwan is better defended. There is no other reason. Whether Taiwan could withstand a Chinese invasion without foreign support is an interesting question, and one without a clear answer, but the very fact that there is no clear answer means that PRC leaders could easily be tempted to try to answer that question with an actual invasion if they believed that no foreign powers would come to Taiwan’s aid. And the only power which can offer significant military aid is the United States (while the Taiwanese military has a set of informal military alliances in the region, these would not be enough to deter China).

    If everybody is certain that the United States would launch a serious intervention in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, then it’s obvious that a Chinese invasion would fail, which deters the Chinese from trying. In the past few years, there having been increasing doubts that the United States would launch a serious intervention, not in the least because more and more people in Washington are saying that it would be okay to let China take over Taiwan (many of these people receive money from China in some way, for example, investments by Chinese companies). If this trend continues, it might give China the idea that an invasion is worth a shot.

    The U.S. military is making many mistakes, but increasing their presence in East Asia, by itself, is not one of them. Of course, if one wanted peace in East Asia, an even better solution would be to give the Taiwanese, Japanese, and other militaries more teeth (it would be a much more efficient use of resources), but that would reduce their reliance on the U.S. as a counterbalance to China, so I’m not expecting that to happen.

    By the way, in that Tomgram article, Taiwan is not mentioned EVEN ONCE. I find that omission very interesting, since Taiwan is a) one of the claimants of South China Sea islands (some of them are currently occupied by the Taiwanese military) b) is between Japan and the Phillipines c) is in a very strategic position – Taiwan is a great platform from which to launch an attack on southern China, the Phillipines, Japan, or the South China Sea (this is one of the reasons the PRC government would love to control Taiwan) d) Taiwan could side with Japan against China, OR could side with China against Japan (the politics behind this are complex, and I don’t completely understand them). The only reasons I can think of for the complete omission of Taiwan is that a) the writer didn’t do his research or b) he has an ideological position which thinking about Taiwan would threaten.

    1. Jim Haygood

      If U.S. troops were still occupying densely-packed Taiwan, as they do nearby Okinawa and South Korea, they probably would be fiercely resented by the Taiwanese.

      U.S. troops left Taiwan in the spring of 1979, after the termination of the U.S.-Taiwan defense treaty and the severing of formal diplomatic relations. That’s one less foreign base that we have to pay for.

      The U.S. military’s best legacy to Taiwan is the former armed forces radio station they left behind.

      1. Sara K.

        You are right, they would be resented – but resenting having lots of foreign troops parked long-term in your own land (and the social problems associated with that) is not the same as *not wanting support from the U.S. military in the event of a Chinese invasion*. Therefore, your comment is irrelevant to my point.

        And there is still the Taiwan Relations Act in force, which states it is U.S. policy that Taiwan’s status should not be decided by force, in other words, the U.S. should not allow anyone to invade Taiwan, and the very purpose of that act is to obligate the U.S. to help protect Taiwan.

    2. from Mexico

      Sara K. says:

      What’s not correct: that increasing the United States military prescense would increase the likelihood of war breaking out. In fact, an increased military presence would reduce the likelihood of war breaking out.

      That is the theory, known as Nash equilibrium — developed by the mathemetician John Nash — that informed cold war logic. According to the theory, arms races reduce the chances of war. The Prisoner’s Dilemma predicts that each player improves his own situation by switching from “Cooperating” to “Defecting,” given knowledge that the other player’s best decision is to “Defect.” The Prisoner’s Dilemma thus has a single Nash Equilibrium: both players choosing to defect.

      What has long made this an interesting case to study is the fact that this scenario is globally inferior to “Both Cooperating.” That is, both players would be better off if they both chose to “Cooperate” instead of both choosing to defect.

      In The Trap, the filmmaker Adam Curtis gives quite an elaborate rebuttal to Nash’s theory, which is invariably invoked to justify unlimited militarism:

      Nash’s theory is almost always used in concert with other concepts, such as the “Evil Empire” or the “Axis of Evil,” by militarists of both the cold warrior stripe (Kissinger) and neocon stripe (Kagan, Abrams, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney).

      Another excellent rebuttal to the new American militarism is the filmmaker Scott Noble’s The Power Principle:

      1. AbyNormal

        Mexico, months ago i posted ‘The Power Principle’ at the 6s. i wasn’t able to tie it all together until your post of examples. i’ll review it again tonight. Thank You.

      2. Aquifer

        The Trap – excellent! Only a couple of things I would quibble with – the main one, perhaps is the image of Clinton turning from a prog to a neoliberasl after one visit from Greenspan and Rubin in Jan. ’93 (Episode 2)… Curtis is a bit naive on that one, methinks …

      3. Sara K.

        Where is your evidence that the PRC would cooperate, instead of invade Taiwan, which the PRC has been threatening to do for decades? Do you think, if the U.S. withdrew it’s forces, that the PRC would stop increasing the number of missiles it’s pointing at Taiwan (it has been doing this in recent years)? Did the absence of U.S. troops near Tibet and Xinjiang lead to the PRC choosing not to invade those places?

        As someone who is currently a resident of Taiwan, and as someone with many Taiwanese friends, I feel safer with having more U.S. forces in a position to actually do something.

        Now, if the PRC would to agree to substantially reduce the missiles and other military deployments specifically set up to invade Taiwan, then we could talk about reducing U.S. presence (as well as other things) – but since it is the PRC, not the U.S., whose stated goal is to take control over a new territory in East Asia against those people’s will, it up to the PRC to end the arms race.

        1. from Mexico

          Sara K. says:

          Where is your evidence that the PRC would cooperate, instead of invade Taiwan, which the PRC has been threatening to do for decades?

          I thought Tom, in his introduction, did a pretty good job of explaining why China will cooperate and not invade:

          As Klare, author of the invaluable The Race for What’s Left (just out in paperback), indicates, this couldn’t be more ludicrous. After all, China, Japan, and the U.S. are so economically intertwined that one can’t twitch without the others suffering. In other words, any kind of conflict among them is bound to make mincemeat of their collective economic wellbeing.

          Adam Curtis also did a film that analyzes the sort of fear mongering that you and other militarists engage in:

          The Power of Nightmares

          1. Sara K.

            If wanting to prevent and invasion of Taiwan and, in the event that an invasion happens, making sure Taiwan can defend itself, makes me a militarist, then so be it. I’d rather be a militarist than approve of China’s bullying tactics.

            If being conomically intertwined would stop China from invading Taiwan in the absense of U.S. miilitary presence, then it should *also* stop China from invading Taiwan with increased U.S. military prescence, and therefore increasing U.S. military presence will not increase the likelihood of war. In fact, if economic intertwining is enough to stop wars, then there’s so much economic interwining already that we really don’t need to worry about a war happening at all.

    3. Roland

      If Taiwan, Japan, and Korea had their own nuclear deterrent forces, none of them would have any need for a fickle foreign power from another hemisphere to use them as pawns on its imperial chessboard.

      1. Sara K.

        Actually, it need not be nuclear weapons. There are non-nuclear weapon technolgies that the U.S has which, at least in the case of Taiwan (I don’t know enough about the strategic situations in Korea and Japan to comment there) would be plenty deterrent enough if they were put in Taiwan’s hands. That’s what I meant when I said it would be a better use of resources to give the militaries in East Asia more teeth.

        However, one wrinkle in the Taiwanese situation is that there are many Chinese spies in Taiwan, as well as plenty of corruption (it’s a common practice for the PRC to invite retired Taiwanese generals to come to China and enjoy luxurious vacations, for example) which would make it tricky to ensure that technology put in Taiwanese hands would not also get leaked to the PRC.

      1. LucyLulu

        I posted this yesterday, I think.

        But that’s okay, it warrants posting again. It’s a hilarious spoof of the paranoid who cling to their guns so to fend off the tyrannical police state.

      2. Ms G

        Nearly fell of my chair.

        “Additional reports confirmed that Bailey’s frequent practice of shooting his gun at empty bean cans in his backyard has repeatedly forced government officials to reassess both their ground and air strategies for the impending takeover.”

        Bailey’s my guy, definitely!

  8. Valissa

    Great photos… NASA : Earth as Art

    ‘Braids’ may heat sun’s corona, study says

    The latest in rewilding… Water Buffalo, Extinct in Europe for 10,000 Years, Spotted Outside of Berlin
    Rewilding Europe

    1. Aquifer

      I hope that clerk is recognized in a positive way by Papa John’s – was a great ad for the place – as in “Our people give a shit about the people!”

      1. reslez

        Of course, Papa John’s is widely reviled throughout the internet for CEO-and-jerk John Schnatter’s loudly announced plan to duck out of insuring his workers under ObamaCare by cutting their hours. Particularly noteworthy are the pics of Schnatter’s godlike palace juxtaposed with the 14 cents per pizza it would cost him to insure his workers. There’s a boycott in effect.

        Papa John’s Anti-Obamacare Meme Goes Viral (PHOTOS)

        1. different clue

          What is interesting is that the BORomneyCare Law was written in precisely such a way as to make that duck-out possible. Had people not protested and organized punitive-preventive vengeance, other bussinesses would have been incentivised to use this feature of the BOromneyCare Law which was written into it on purpose to be available to be used in this manner.

  9. Peter Pinguid Society

    In a recent interview Kalle Lasn (of Adbusters) had this to say:

    “We’ve been around now for twenty five years and we’ve had all kinds of social marketing campaigns… and somehow nothing has really ever gained any traction. I guess the biggest one was Occupy which had its incredible magical moment in the sun and then, somehow, it’s faded away. So we were thinking “What can the political left actually do that will add up to something?”

    “I must admit that I’m totally disillusioned with the political left. I think that we have to not just rethink the theoretical foundations of economic science but we have to go deep, deep down into the political left itself and say, ‘Well, what is it still that we can salvage?”

    My own feeling is that we shouldn’t try to be too clear. I don’t think that any one of us has figured out the way forward and that’s one of the reasons I thought the Occupy movement was such a wonderful, magical moment…..

    “I think what we need is more ‘new moments. We need new moments like Pussy Riot.’

    the full interview can be read here:

    Um, let me make sure I’ve got this straight, Kalle. So, according to you, what the left needs are new moments…. like Pussy Riot?

    You think Pussy Riot is capable of defeating the Peter Pinguid Society?

    You say you shouldn’t try to be too clear. You need wonderful, magical moments…..

    This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic. Soft ideologies for an easy-going generation which has never known radical philosophies. Emotional outpourings, solidarity, cosmopolitan emotiveness, multi-media pathos: all those soft values so harshly condemned by Marx, Nietzsche (and others) are not going to get you anywhere.

    If this is the best you can do, Kalle, then clearly we have nothing to worry about.

    We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent.

      1. different clue

        AdBusters has become a Kewl Brand, as witness their Black Spot Sneakers.

        They thought they would “un-cool” Brand-America. What they should have tried doing was to “un-cool” Coolness itself.

        As in . . . I was Square when Square wan’t Hip. And I will still be Square when Square isn’t Hip all over again.

    1. jsmith

      That interview is f*cking pathetic.

      “The fall of the Soviet Union took the piss out of us and somehow since then we’ve been shouting the same old slogans and talking the same old language and coming up with the same old analysis. I must admit that I’m totally disillusioned with the political left. I think that we have to not just rethink the theoretical foundations of economic science but we have to go deep, deep down into the political left itself and say, ‘Well, what is it still that we can salvage?”

      Right, because the Stalinist manifestation of communism somehow completely annihilated and destroyed the theoretical constructs of Marxism, right?

      As the USSR went so goes Marx?

      Yup, can’t think about any of that old sh!t cuz it’s just too old…we need a new brand! (irony alert!)

      Gee, you think today’s capitalists are planning on ditching capitalism anytime soon even though some are getting disillusioned with its course in the US?

      Think the fasicsts ever get tired of screaming “Too Much Regulation”, “Drill Baby Drill”, “Free Markets” and other old slogans?

      What a bunch of crap.

      If I didn’t know it – which I don’t – I’d think Lasn was on the elite payroll what with the whole…yeah, let’s not pick up where Marxists and socialists of the past left off, instead – because it’ll basically take FOREVER – let’s begin trying to formulate an entirely new conception of the left from the ground up and only THEN do battle with fascist scum.

      Hey, Lasn, why not educate yourself about MMT and the political implications of that descriptive theory and help those dirty old Marxists try and move Marxism forward instead of gazing at your navel, you snivelling f*cking baby?

      And then to invoke P@ssy Riot – the NED/AI/West-backed phenom – without ANY mention of the investigative work that went into showing the clear and pervasive infiltration of Western-backed “democracy” groups in Russia and elsewhere and the pseudo-movements they have been starting for the last 2 decades – i.e., Color Revolutions really shows that Lasn is either completely lazy, co-opted or both.


      For someone to have seemingly based their life’swork on the Situationists/Debord/Baudrillard and come away with such shallow sounding claptrap is really, really an eye opener.

      1. psychohistorian

        While we work at depersonalizing corporations why don’t we also return the motto of the US to the original one, E Pluribus Unum.

        Why did we abandon our secular Republic anyway?

        1. different clue

          Did we really abandon it? Or did the religionists steal it while the rest of us weren’t entirely paying attention?
          And now that we are beginning to pay attention, perhaps we can work on stealing it back?

          De-replacing “In God We Trust” with the original “E Pluribus Unum” might be an interesting brain-war battlefield which would kick various kinds of thought loose.

    2. direction

      I’m afraid I have to agree with your conclusion this time Peter.

      “then after that it’ll be simple to pull off the Robin Hood Tax” -Kalle Lasn

      so simple. Hooray folks, did you hear the good news? Kalle’s putting out a new book that will change the world. We don’t have anything to worry about now. Yves, you’ve been stressed about the blog, but now you can just put it to rest, Lasn’s got the situation covered!

  10. fresno dan

    “Yet Breuer is widely credited with aggressively going after white-collar crime in the aftermath of the crisis. He also stepped up the division’s involvement in money-laundering cases, launching a series of criminal investigations that have resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements.”

    In other findings, WP has new evidence that suggests Hitler was trying to save the Jews….and lions, when they eat lambs, do it purely as a protective mechanism to keep the sheep from carnivores…

  11. LucyLulu

    Followup article by John Carney of CNBC today on the Morgan Stanley lawsuit brought by a Taiwanese firm posted by Kravitz yesterday. Carney says Eisenger’s Propublica piece makes the deal look worse than it is.

    For example, Eisenger noted an email was sent expressing concern with the quality of mortgages M-S had been getting. One M-S employee cites in an email “a borrower that makes $12K a month as an operation manger (sic) of an unknown company — after research on my part I reveal it is a tarot reading house. Compound these issues with the fact that we are seeing what I would call a lot of this type of profile.”

    Reading tarot cards, eh? But I didn’t think gypsies bought homes. Mobile home, maybe?

    Eisenger continues by writing that the Chinese firm’s attorney says “we are pleased that the court in this case is ordering Morgan Stanley to turn over damning evidence, so that the jury will get to see what Morgan Stanley really knew about the troubled nature of its supposedly ‘higher-than-AAA’ quality product.”

    Carney writes in his piece:
    ” On March 16, 2007, Morgan Stanley employees working on one of the toxic assets that helped blow up the world economy discussed what to name it. Among the team members’ suggestions: “Subprime Meltdown,” “Hitman,” “Nuclear Holocaust,” “Mike Tyson’s Punchout,” and the simple-yet-direct: “Shitbag.”

    Carney provides some more juicy details of the royal screwing:

    “These facts have come to light thanks to a lawsuit brought against Morgan Stanley by a Taiwanese bank that invested in a $500 collateralize”d debt obligation. According to Eisinger (Propublica), $415 million of the assets backing the CDO, which was actually called Stack 2006-1, wound up being worthless.

    Most of those suggested names came from a lawyer at Morgan Stanley named Phillip Blumberg. His emails were released to the public as part of the lawsuit. It’s just incredible that this sort of thing still gets sent around in emails just a few years after Wall Street’s equity analysts found themselves under fire for, among other things, sending internal emails dissing the stocks their firm’s were selling to the public. They’ll never learn, I guess.”

    John Carney, defending the mortgage trade, continues on to say :
    “Eisinger’s Morgan Stanley bankers, however, were not selling equities to ordinary retail investors. They were putting together structured financial products that were sold to sophisticated financial institutions. There’s a big difference between selling a product to a retail investor and a bank, even a Taiwanese bank.”

    All is good. Yup, Carney. Sophisticated investors are cool with 85% loss ratios.

    Morgan Stanley’s ‘Nuclear Holocaust’ Trade Isn’t As Bad As It’s Being Made Out To Be

    1. Tiresias

      And Deutsche Bank’s loan to Monte Paschi “was dubbed Project Santorini”. Wasn’t anyone at Monte Paschi aware that Santorini was the Aegean Island that blew up utterly and spectacularly around 1600 BC, wiping out the Minoan Civilisation?

    2. psychohistorian

      Nice comment, thanks for the info.

      With shit like this hitting the fan we may be entering Duck and Cover mode……..just another brick in the wall……

  12. petridish

    Re: The Wite House Unreality Show

    MUST READ–I couldn’t have said it better myself and what passes for the progressive movement hasn’t said it AT ALL!!!

      1. the line

        In case you were wondering what the Digbyite dupes and asskissers think now, here are their inmost hopes and dreams as stipulated by Commissar Messina. The three things that matter to all Dems now are:

        1. Gun control.
        2. Immigration reform.
        3. Climate change.

        On the other hand they are not to have impure thoughts including but not limited to the following:

        – Illegal mass evictions.
        – Abuse of function in furtherance of macro-scale fraud and theft.
        – Emergency rule by secret decree.
        – State-sanctioned corporate impairment of US peoples’ natural resource rights.
        – Abolition of civil and political rights.
        – Denial and derogation of economic, social and cultural rights including peoples’ means of subsistence.
        – Torture and disappearance.
        – Extrajudicial killings.
        – Illegal genocidal economic sanctions.
        – Illegal threat of force.
        – Aggression.

        The mental contortions they go through there are great. They obsess in circles like some hairy-backed Opus Dei short-eyes trying to get his mind off little Finster’s can.

      2. different clue

        I have to agree. Digby and her little mini-me David Atkins are not chumps. They are cynical Democratic Party Apparatchiks. Or Democrapparatchiks, if one prefers. Whether Reid sees them as such, or sees them as chumps, is really not my concern.

        Of greater concern to me are the lingering aging not-dead-yet Real Democrats like Harkin and Kaptur and Dingell.
        That they would continue lending their name and presence and personal credibility to a Party which is now little more than a Spent Fuel Pool filled with moral and ethical radwaste like Digby and Atkins is a loss and a sadness and a tragedy.

    1. Ms G

      “But we’re getting there.”

      And on a long enough time-line we are all dead.

      If more people started adding this thought every time they here “but we’re getting there” or “we’re making progress” or “we’re studying the issue very seriously,” Democratic Apparatchiks might not be able to get away with so much fakery.

      I know, I’m cracking myself up again.

    1. Ms G

      Good Lord.

      Is this the NYT being ironic (po-mo) — I mean, isn’t this like making a pun (You wanted Lanny Breuer? No can do, but here’s a Breuer chair. Ha ha we Lackeys of the .01 Percent, we are so clever.)

    2. Ms G

      Regarding the virtual news embargo re Lanny Breuer.

      If the precipitating cause of his abrupt, er, “departure” is the following, then maybe DOJ has a riot on their hands and/or Holder has started a Top Secret Fast & Furious Operation to root out those AUSA’s who told Martin Smith that there wasn’t a single GFC investigation going on under Breuer or his special taskforce.


      MARTIN SMITH: We spoke to a couple of sources from within the Criminal Division, and they reported that when it came to Wall Street, there were no investigations going on. There were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.

      LANNY BREUER: Well, I don’t know who you spoke with because we have looked hard at the very types of matters that you’re talking about.

      MARTIN SMITH: These sources said that at the weekly indictment approval meetings that there was no case ever mentioned that was even close to indicting Wall Street for financial crimes.


      Breuer’s face when Smith broke the news to him … That’s where you were pretty sure Frontline was doing investigative — not access — journalism.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Birds and fractal geometry.

    I think they know inside each egg, there is a chick. And inside that chick, after a while, there is an egg. And inside that egg, there is a chick.

    The temporal (fractal) pattern goes on forever…until the Big Crunch or global warming (or GM horror) wipes out all living things here on Earth.

  14. The Black Swan

    Sometimes beauty can be quite ugly.


    pulled by the wrist
    feet dragging
    burlap mouth
    tied up/down
    rough hands

    1. AbyNormal

      when the financial world crashed into mine i began writing into it

      Losing Wick

      There will be no wonder
      I know what comes next
      Cold rinses will deepen grime
      an the layers will not protect us
      Stalking our slumber hunger will
      roar with ruthless vengeance
      Brisk chills will feel warm once
      gushes of frost blow through us
      Amber glows will fade the worded
      books from where I lifted your hopes
      Shadows will haunt our face while
      fading your gleam of faith in me
      My errors assemble while I
      search your stare for Mercy
      I thunder Prayers for one
      more inch of wick while
      Rocking you tight my child
      feel the hum in our song
      ‘I Love You Forever I Like You For Always
      as Long as we’re living my Baby you’ll Be’
      escape my trembling lips…

  15. Jim

    The Kalle Lasn interview in Adbusters, referred to above, does raise some important issues:

    Lasn stated “ We’ve started going to deeper recesses of capitalism and trying to pull off a shift in the theoretical foundation in the system itself.”

    Lasn also stated that “I think the we on the political left and we in the West, do have to jettison some of that tradition of logic, rationality and exactness….”

    There is another recent book out that speaks to these same issues. It is called “ Hermeneutic Communism” by Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala.

    They argue that it is philosophical realism, what they call the politics of description (with its latest manifestation on NC being the MMT theoretical framework) which, in reality, is the foundation of the status quo in the advanced industrialized West.

    Vattimo and Zabala go on argue that the empirical sciences themselves may be at the root of our modern structure of power and they maintain that our modern claims to truth are also claims to political power.

    They raise the issue of whether the end of truth is the beginning of democracy or put another way—is the reigning Washington consensus an example of the powerful imposition of truth?

    Is truth on the way out and interpretation on the way in?

    For the left to be relevant again does it have to make a hermeneutic turn—that is–the rejection of any political plan wherein objective truth ought to guarantee results?

    Can the left become relevant again without an imposed unique truth (i.e. Soviet Marxism) and compulsory orthodoxy (i.e. MMT)?

    1. jsmith

      “Can the left become relevant again without an imposed unique truth (i.e. Soviet Marxism) and compulsory orthodoxy (i.e. MMT)?”


      That has to be a record for leftish “trolling”!

      Was that the point of the original interview? to spawn “serious” leftish discussion around the blogsphere?

      So, are you trying to say – snicker – that the “left” really is wedded to the idea of “Soviet marxism”?

      Imposed?! By who may I ask?

      And that at this moment the “left” – excuse me, “Soviet Marxists” – are pushing MMT as a compulsory orthodoxy?


      So, according to you if I dropped the term MMT at any of the major leftist/socialist sites I would get cogent and lucid explanations as to what this compulsory orthodoxy is?

      Are you serious or are you making the “left” out to be a few European intellectuals who want to do battle with neoliberal hack philosophes because here on the ground in the USA if I went to the most leftist meetings of the minds the number of people who could tell me what Soviet Marxism and MMT were I could count on one hand.

      Besides the fact that I think you’re speaking to a Left that exists exactly NO WHERE except in your own mind and maybe those of the authors let’s look at what the authors of the book have to say.

      Basically, the authors of “Hermeneutics” want leftists to cede the ground of reality and truth to the fascists and thus be better able to “compete” with them on the plain of post-modernist fantasy.

      Amazing idea guys!!

      Hey, even though capitalism RIGHT NOW is suffering under a Marxian crisis the size the world has never known, even though workers are IN REALITY being exploited on a scale that Marx would have been shocked at and even though all objective signs shows that Marx is looking more prescient than ever we should abandon the struggle and embrace “weak thought”.

      From a favorable review of the book:

      “Let us abandon the fight for absolute truth, let us reject the terms within which the struggles are framed by those in power, let us embrace interpretation and thus collectively resist on our own terms.

      “Of course such thinking can be perceived as a retreat, or worse as surrender of territory to the financial institutions that dictate the rules, the governments that claim truth, and the bureaucrats who inhumanely enforce the policies. Yet the genius of these two thinkers is in asserting that for those who are weak, those who are discharged by the system in their words, hermeneutics or weak thought is the alternative. Those in power are the winners and write history while those who are weak “do not possess a different history but rather exist at history’s margins”. If the weak fight by the oppressor’s rules, all kinds of courses of action are precluded and hence “Hermeneutic Communism” lays the fertile ground for practical action on the basis of concrete alternatives.”

      Gee, a non-confrontational “left”!!

      What a GREAT idea!!!!

      Gee, y’know who would really like a “left” movement that abandons the use of truth and embraces “weak” thought?

      Do ya?

      Who would love to have the left go quietly into the night and cede the grounds of truth to their neoliberal overlords?

      Gee, what a surprise that all of a sudden there are “quiet” and “soft” versions of “leftish” thought popping up, huh?

      These are nothing more than disgusting and obvious attempts to neutralize any real return to a true left in the Western world by neutering these movements from the get-go.

      Let’s not talk of revolution – gee, didn’t the Beatles also caution us against such things? – let’s talk about being weak and effective.

      Hmmm, ever hear of the theory that Jesus Christ was a Roman construct invented to keep the Empire’s subjects passive and obedient?

      Probably not.

    2. Peter Pinguid Society

      This morning a member of our electronic surveillance team intercepted an unusual message (written in special code) by someone called Baudrillard.

      The message goes like this:

      “We will never defeat the system on the plane of the real: the worst error of all our revolutionary strategies is to believe that we will put an end to the system on the plane of the real: this is their imaginary, imposed on them by the system itself, living or surviving only by always leading those who attack the system to fight amongst each other on the terrain of reality, which is always the reality of the system….”

      We must therefore displace everything into the sphere of the symbolic, where challenge, reversal and overbidding are the law, so that we can respond to death only by an equal or superior death. …If domination comes from the system’s retention of the exclusivity of the gift without counter gift – the gift of work which can only be responded to by destruction or sacrifice, if not in consumption, which is only a spiral of the system of surplus-gratification without result, therefore a spiral of surplus domination; a gift of media and messages to which, due to the monopoly of the code, nothing is allowed to retort, the gift, everywhere and at every instant, of the social, of the protection agency, security, gratification and the solicitation of the social from which nothing is any longer permitted to escape – then the only solution is to turn the principle of its power back against the system itself: the impossibility of responding or retorting. To defy the system with a gift to which it cannot respond save by its own collapse and death…”

      Here at the Peter Pinguid Society we’re concerned about this Baudrillard message, especially that last sentence, which (to be honest) is the only part we understood, and so we’re keeping a close eye out for any suspicious gifts that we can’t respond to, and that might result in our collapse and death.

      Also we have a team working to decode rest of the statement (in case it poses any threat to the 0.01 percent) and they’ll be giving a Power Point Presentation at the staff meeting tomorrow morning.

      We are the Peter Pinguid Society, we are the 0.01 percent

      1. Ms G

        ” … a close eye out for any suspicious gifts that we can’t respond to … ”


        It will be a neat trick if the PPS’s can figure out how to profile a “suspicious” gift. In no time at all there will be a ban on gifts, under penalty of Gitmo. (Kind of like they’ve removed all trash cans in public places.)

    3. JTFaraday

      re: “Hermeneutic Communism” by Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala.

      What’s wrong with a little old fashioned philosophical skepticism? We need to reinvent the wheel?

      I suppose people could argue about how strong they like their skepticism.

  16. AbyNormal

    we all know what this means…

    Trillions of dollars worth of oil found in Australian outback

    The reports estimated the company’s 16 million acres of land in the Arckaringa Basin in South Australia contain between 133 billion and 233 billion barrels of shale oil trapped in the region’s rocks.

    It is likely however that just 3.5 billion barrels, worth almost $359 billion (£227 billion) at today’s oil price, will be able to be recovered.

    The find was likened to the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale oil projects in the US, which have resulted in massive outflows and have led to predictions that the US could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer as soon as this year.

    Peter Bond, Linc Energy’s chief executive, said the find could transform the world’s oil industry but noted that it would cost about £200 million to enable production in the area.
    (HT rjs)

    1. Garrett Pace

      Here’s what it means:

      My fellow Americans,
      Today, at 0100 Sydney Australia time, I ordered the invasion and liberation of the Australian Continent. For far too long we have lived under the threat of Aussie Style terror. As a colony originally intended to house the criminals and “less desirables” of our one time oppressor now ally the United Kingdom we have to assume their ill will towards America is more than just a choice but ingrained into them at a genetic level.
      Our intelligence professionals have labored for years to keep tabs on the rogue government of Australia and their attempts to create weapons of mass destruction. We have seen the results of these unfettered programs promulgate throughout their society, the development of an irresistible accent, gorgeous women, and an outwardly seeming “easy going nature.” At first we did not grasp the scope of these seemingly innocuous developments, however it has been confirmed by credible sources in the Nigerian Royal family via secure email correspondence that the Australian government has developed a new more deadly and terrifying weapon. I speak not of a nuclear bomb, I come to you today with the unacceptable news of a new hybrid species of animal, designed to be let loose on the America continent and clear it of its inhabitants in preparations for the Aussie invasion. I come to you today with news of the ScorpaRoo, yes, a kangaroo sized, bipedal mammal with the agility and speed of a kangaroo but the pincers and stinger of a scorpion. This 8 foot tall behemoth cannot be left unchecked.
      We have seen time and time again true Australian heroes being disappeared or suppressed by their dictatorial government. Many of you may remember the world class animal expert, Steve Irwin. We now know that his death was far from accidental, but a state sponsored assassination in retaliation for Mr. Irwin’s denial to help create such beastly hybrid animals for evil uses.
      At this very moment some of our finest Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines are leading the first wave of what I am sure will be a swift campaign of shock and awe to liberate the oppressed people of Australia. I ask that you all keep these brave men and women in your thoughts and prayers over the next days and weeks as they will certainly face mortal danger on more than one occasion. Australia is a formidable country, we believe the populace will be on our side, the right side, however the continent is a harsh and deadly place. Goodnight and Godspeed.

      From reddit:

        1. skippy

          Records tumble as Queensland rain keeps falling
          By Caitlyn Gribbin
          Friday, 25/01/2013

          Emergency services in Queensland are preparing for a hectic weekend, as ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald dumps record rain totals.

          As much as half a metre of rain has fallen in some parts of the state, and in central Queensland, Rockhampton has broken a 1939 record for the highest daily rainfall, after receiving 400 millimetres.

          Some railways are closed and the Bruce Highway is cut in dozens of places along the east coast.
          Peter Hockings from the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers in southern Queensland says it’s too wet for farmers to pick produce and that will lead to a national shortage.
          “It looks like an ocean actually.

          “There certainly is an expectation that if this rainfall continues and we get extended periods of road closures, there will be a shortage of the commodities that are currently in season.”

          more good stuff…

          Sydney oyster farms wiped out as POMS spreads
          Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome has wiped out millions of oysters in the Hawkesbury River region of NSW this week, leaving farmers reeling.

          North Qld cattle industry still reeling after fires
          Queensland graziers are paying heavily to save cattle.

          Skippy… burnt and flooded…

        2. different clue

          America invading Canada? It looks to some of us here in Michigan as if Harperite elements operating from their Canadian Bases are currently invading America . . . with their dirty filthy DilBit pipelines . . . to ram their Alberta Tar Sands Tar right straight across America to refineries and ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

          and etc.

  17. AbyNormal

    GENE VI – Regulators Discover a Hidden Viral Gene in Commercial GMO Crops
    Is There a Direct Human Toxicity Issue?
    When Gene VI is intentionally expressed in transgenic plants, it causes them to become chlorotic (yellow), to have growth deformities, and to have reduced fertility in a dose-dependent manner (Ziljstra et al 1996). Plants expressing Gene VI also show gene expression abnormalities. These results indicate that, not unexpectedly given its known functions, the protein produced by Gene VI is functioning as a toxin and is harmful to plants (Takahashi et al 1989). Since the known targets of Gene VI activity (ribosomes and gene silencing) are also found in human cells, a reasonable concern is that the protein produced by Gene VI might be a human toxin. This is a question that can only be answered by future experiments.
    (more HT rj, sorta)

    1. Aquifer

      Wow –

      ” ….the presence of segments of Gene VI “might result in unintended phenotypic changes”.

      So, if you suddenly find yourself with an unexpected tail …

      Good grief – this gets worse and worse ….

      1. different clue

        That’s why I have referred to the war with the Corporate GMO Conspiracy as a War of Extermination which will be won when one side has exterminated the other side from existence. Hopefully the sad little “organic agriculture” movement and the Mainstream Conventional Agribussiness Community end up on the same side . . . both defending themselves against the GMO Conspiracy . . . and then going on the offense to wipe the GMO Conspiracy off the face of the earth.

        1. different clue

          After which the “organic movement” and Mainstream Agribussiness will compete to define agriculture, just as
          Soviet Russia and NATO America competed to define the post Nazi victory . . . AFter Nazi Germany was defeated.

          Allowing the crop-plant-hijacking GMO companies to win this war now would be like having allowed Nazi Germany to win that war then . . . with the same basic result.

  18. Jim


    What Vattimo and Zabala seem to be arguing is that the left(in this specific context my characterization of the majority of MMT supporters on NC)accept philosophical realism as the foundation for their analysis.

    This type of realism maintains that facts have an absolute existence. They are–regardless of what we think.

    The Hermeneutic perpective tends to argue:

    “Against positivism, which halts at phenomena–“There are only facts”–I would say: No fact is precisely what there is not, only interpretation.” (Nietzsche)

    Vattimo and Zabala maintain that the crisis of Soviet Communism (parallel to the crisis of neoliberal capitalism today( requires a hermeneuctic turn or a rejection of any political plan (like, for example, MMT) wherein objective truth (the MMT description of how our monetary system actually works)guarantees results.

    The orthodoxy and crisis of the Washington Consensu, Soviet Communism and MMT are all based on the belief in just the facts–just an objective description of reality–(i.e. the truth).

  19. Brent Musburger, Jr. (news anchor)

    Breaking News! This Just In!

    Lanny Breur has hired the same top agent as Clinton and Obama to negotiate a multi-million dollar deal for his memoirs. Breur is expected to earn several million dollars for a book (tentatively called Wall Street Crime Fighter) about his heroic efforts to fight corruption and fraud on the Street. And with major U.S. networks jostling for position, Breuer could earn millions more for TV interviews on top of other earning opportunities, which may include a Kathryn Bigelow film (Battling Fat Cats on the Street).

    Breur will be represented by Robert Barnett, a Washington-based lawyer and literary power broker who has negotiated some of the biggest deals in publishing history.
    As well as book contracts, Barnett can earn his clients – who also include Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Sarah Palin – far more with other lucrative deals. After negotiating Mr Blair a reported £4.5million book deal in 2007, Barnett arranged a string of high-earning openings for the former Prime Minister.

    Story developing….

    Please note: While waiting for Lanny Breur’s book to come out, one thing that might help cope with all the financial fraud and corruption would to play the Brent Musburger Drinking game, which goes like this:

  20. Raul's girl

    Hey, did the King Family get paid for MLK’s celebrity endorsements? I screengrabbed another one off the CIA website:

    Martin Luther King Would Have Wanted It This Way

    Martin Luther King Would Have Wanted Us to Blow His Brains Out. Doctor King would have been honored to know the great national endeavor our nation’s armed forces devoted to blasting his face off. When Major General Creighton Abrams’ after-action report for the Oxford riots recommended identifying “personalities, both black and white,” King would have been proud to be among the select civil-rights movers and shakers on our hit list. Of the seven million names we marked for surveillance and death, King quickly moved to first among equals. If only he could have known what a V.I.P. he was to our staff of 1,576 domestic spies. Doctor King never saw how resolute and brave he looked in the photographic mugbooks that three sniper teams maintained just for him. The snipers packed bazookas – what a sincere tribute to Doctor King’s toughness and resilience!

    The Joint Chiefs copied the sniper teams’ assassination orders to the White House – imagine King’s pride, if only he knew. It’s a truly rare distinction when the government forms an inter-agency counterrevolutionary war council called CINCSTRIKE to liaise with CIA, FBI, NSA, and ONI. The Army Security Agency particularly honored Doctor King’s beliefs, when they assumed the daunting responsibility of infiltrating his nonviolent movement. They stepped up when no one else had any negroes on staff – it was an early triumph of Doctor King’s cherished beliefs. When the 20th Special Forces Group trained and debriefed Klan wizards and stole guns for mob hit men; when General William Yarborough, founding hero of the Green Berets, dispatched death squads from the 902nd Military Intelligence Group through a civilian cutout; our brave men in uniform singled Doctor King out the best way they knew how. SR-71 blackbirds zoomed over Memphis, just to watch over Doctor King. So when CIA Secret Agent Dago popped out of the bushes and painted the wall with Doctor King’s brains, we all thought, if only we could tell him what he meant to us. I think he’s smiling down from heaven at us now.

    1. wunsacon

      Sometime around when the US invaded Iraq, I came home one day to find a leaflet from a nearby church wedged in my door. On it appeared the visages of Jesus-on-the-cross and a US soldier on the ground aiming his rifle towards the camera but a little to the side. The only text I remember was about “sacrifice”.

      In other words, whereas Jesus’s sacrifice was to die on the cross, the soldier’s duty is to kill.

      So, here we are…our institutions turn the people’s heroes’ ideals upside down….and 25-50% of the population (“enough” to matter) buys it.

  21. Jim


    In my opinion MMTers think that a fact-based description of reality will eventually guarantee them political influence and power (i.e. using the same logic as their sworn enemy the Washington Consensus–through their joint endorsement of empirical science and their belief that facts have an absolute existence.

    In addition MMT and MMR (in their joint firm belief in philsophical realism) end up striving for objective truth (although MMR theorists seem more sensitive to the issue (of description and prescription) than MMT folk.

    The majority of MMT theorists have made a classic power move these last few years (using the same logic as the Washington consensus)by claiming that their narrative is purely descriptive (when it isn’t) and therefore capable of grasping the objective truth about our monetary system which gives them, in turn, persuasive legitimacy in recruitment of supporters–expecially at NC.

    This is the same type of attempt at an imposition of truth as that used by the Washington consensus only under the Consensus framework everyone is rational and markets work perfectly)–which MMT appropriately undermines and condemns.

    MMT has been thrown into crisis recently when MMR (specifically JKH) formulated an alternative conceptualization of our monetary system which indicated the invalidity of the MMTers naive empiricism.

    1. jsmith

      Do you think that it’s just a coincidence that we’ve lately seen the rise of “apolitical”, “post-political” and “non-political” attempts across not just the field of economics – e.g., Economics Without Politics -guffaw – stop it, I’m pissing in pants!!! – but across the vast area of the what used to be considered the domain of “leftist” political activity?

      Maybe you’re just naive or you haven’t done your homework but if you’d been paying attention to the co-opting of nascent “leftish” political movements by those carrying banners of being “non-partisan” and “apolitical” you’d see that AROUND THE WORLD there has been a conscious and purposeful attempt by the West to suppress any and all discussion/manifestation of true leftist policies.

      As concerns MMT/MMR, one of the main things about MMR is the utter shrillness with which they seem to want to cram MMT into one politico-philosophical camp or the other when any honest reading of the MMT theories belie that interpretation no matter how nebulous and nitpicking horseshit of Roche, JKH and others get.

      Talk about projection!! If MMT is so political then why is it that it is the MMRers – remember Economics Without Politics, really just too much – that are the ones acting like the doctrinaire Trotskyites of yesteryear with nearly meaningless nuanced objections or whole-cloth misrepresentations?

      Any objective – please don’t start with your nonsense – observer of the MMT/MMR debate can patently witness the obsessively competitive nature of the MMRers as opposed to that of the MMT camp.

      I mean, is someone gonna get whacked with an ice pick?

      Because that’s how you fools sound and isn’t that kinda odd considering that you’re all so “apolitical”, right?

      Much like how I think your Italian “communists” are a bunch of horsesh!t peddlers – cf Lasn – whose real goal is to head off any progress by left-leaning persons, I look at people who claim such laughable ideas as the abandoning of objective truth as some sort of plan for moving forward as nothing more than co-opted shills who purposefully mean to derail any real movement.

      The objective truth is that billions of people are getting killed/stolen from/exploited under the Western capitalist regime and for someone to advocate that the Left should piss away the numerical advantage that that objective truth provides because…what was your horsesh!t reasoning again?.. then that person is also either a shill, a fool or both.

      Nighty night.

      1. jsmith


        And if you can seriously state with a straight face that you really believe neoliberalism has anything to do with the search/need for objective truth…well…I’m just going to use a term that I’m sure a TA has written on at least one of your term papers and which the Italian Communists should get help in translating:


  22. Jim


    One of the things I’ve discovered about myself is the great difficulty I have in living with and tolerating theoretical insufficiency.

    How about you?

    Have you ever experienced the condition of not knowing with certainty?

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