Links 2/11/13

The Unsettling Beauty of Lethal Viruses Smithsonian (FM)

Police seeking Dorner opened fire in a second case of mistaken identity LA Times. The LAPD is giving trigger-happy goons everywhere a bad name.

Man hunt for ex-soldier who shot police chief’s daughter and killed policeman Express. Recon drones for Dorner.

Poway Student Planned School Shooting: Deputies NBC San Diego. Obviously, both the family and the school need more guns. (And a twelve-year-old male. What on earth is being done to our young men?)

Bill Moyers: Why U.S. Internet Access is Slow, Costly and Unfair Alternet

The Failings of Regulators – Why the UK is so bad at regulating the financial services industry Rowans-blog (RS). This guy should get together with Bill Black and compare notes.

S&P Suit Shows DOJ Knows about Wall Street Corruption FDL (FM)

On the Waiting List at the Debt-Rating Club Gretchen Morgenson, Times

The Housing Bubble Should Not Have Been Hard to See CEPR

Bank Deals Failed to Raise Alarms Times

Credit Rating Victims Didn’t Know S&P’s Toxic AAA Born of Greed Bloomberg

A credit vigilante arrives at the Fed FT

Rajoy releases tax returns, but fails to clear up doubts over Aznar years El Pais

Forty Million Fiscal-shielded Euros Seized at MPS Corriere della Sera. Juicy!

Kisses for the Duce LBR

Greeks forgo winter heating after jump in fuel tax Reuters

British sugar giant caught in global tax scandal Guardian (RS).

Horse meat found in British supermarkets ‘may be donkey’ Independent. Sausage inna bun!

The Meat Industry Now Consumes Four-Fifths of All Antibiotics Mother Jones (KF)

Can USDA’s climate reality message take root with denialist farmers? Grist

The Gradual Selling of America the Beautiful Times

Keystone XL pipeline action is near, Kerry suggests WaPo

RusHydro – the Monopoly that wants to Take Over Russia’s Water Services

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: We Demand Answers! Why were Occupy Boston Dropped? FDL (KL)

An Insider’s View of the Progressive Talk Radio Devolution Truthout

Gender bias in math mathbabe

Family Inc. WSJ

Young woman who photo-shopped her way into Silicon Valley elite: How she fooled industry into believing she was top investor by inserting herself into images of stars Daily Mail

Adorable Killers: The Shocking Truth about Cats Der Spiegel

The Importance of Excel Baseline Scenario. It’s hairballs all the way down.

Antidote du jour:

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. ex-PFC Chuck

    Steve Keen, the heterodox, Aussie professor who wrote Debunking Economics (, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of the development of his MINSKY econometric model builder. The program addresses many of the shortcomings of neoclassical modeling that Keen describes in his book, and will feature a user-friendly means of entering data for modeling debt transactions. Keen’s goal is to raise a minimum of $50,000 (US, I believe), of which over $20,000 has already been committed in the three days since the campaign went live. The professor is offering incentives for various levels of commitment. For example, a donation of $25.00 US or more will get you an electronically delivered copy of MINSKY with free updates for the first year.

  2. fresno dan

    Police seeking Dorner opened fire in a second case of mistaken identity

    “His pickup, police later explained, matched the description of the one belonging to Christopher Jordan Dorner — the ex-cop who has evaded authorities after allegedly killing three and wounding two more. But the pickups were different makes and colors. And Perdue looks nothing like Dorner: He’s several inches shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter. And Perdue is white; Dorner is black.

    “‘I don’t want to use the word buffoonery but it really is unbridled police lawlessness,” said Robert Sheahen, Perdue’s attorney. “These people need training and they need restraint.'”

    A department spokesman said Saturday that the shooting is still under investigation. In a statement to The Times, the department said: “The circumstances of the incident known to the responding officers would have led a reasonable officer under normal circumstances — and these were far from normal circumstances — to believe that fellow officers were being shot at and that the vehicle traveling toward them posed a serious risk.

    “In the split seconds available to them,” the statement continued, “action was appropriate to intervene and stop the actions of the driver of that vehicle.”

    So prior to ANY investigation, the police already conclude it was reasonable. I wonder if any one other than the police heard gunshots…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I tell my cat that at times like this, it is less likely that they would mistake a cat for Dorner than they would a human.

      I hope I am right.

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        I don’t think that would consol your cat at all. I think I read once that cats are color blind, and heavily rely on motion to sense their prey.

        So if your cat knew the cops were searching for a blue SUV, he/she would still feel quite threatened.

      2. AbyNormal

        “When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten.” zamm

        (sorry Prime, you started it ‘ ))

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Actually, that’s a good advice. Thanks, though I have to learn how to kill a wolf barehanded, as I don’t have a gun.

  3. rjs

    interesting choice of words on the drone program by mccain: “What we really need to do is take this whole program out of the hands of the Central Intelligence Agency and put it into the Department of Defense.”…
    “Since when is the intelligence agency supposed to be an air force of drones that goes around killing people?” McCain asked. “I believe that it’s a job for the Department of Defense.”

    1. from Mexico

      There has historically in the US, however, been a difference between the tactics, strategies, and culture used to police the domestic population and those used against a foreign enemy. The goals were believed to be very different.

      When the police perceive their fellow citizens as enemies of the state and not fellow citizens — something the Obama administration is doing everything in its power to make a reality — then the police play a role very different from what they have traditionally played in this country.

      1. from Mexico

        And of course the US is not in the eye of the storm when it comes to receiving the full force of the Obama administration’s crusade to militarize domestic police enforcement. That probably would be Latin America.

        As this article (in Spanish) explains, the Obama administration is applying great pressure on local governments throughout Latin America to adapt the new “Military Operations in Urban Terrain” strategy. Part of the strategy is “to make the authorities in Latin America reform their public security and defense laws and approve anti-terrorist legislation, leaving a barn door open for the military to enter the scene when a situation arises that puts the domination of Washington at risk.”

    2. anyone

      Well, in the interests of at least containing the madness, he’s probably right, although I’ve long contended that the DoD should be renamed the Department of Offense – fittingly DoA – in the interests of semantics alone. That said, McCain is still mentally a POW in a NVA cage, and always will be. A failed warrior from an unjust and failed “war,” who is doomed to continue fighting it for the rest of his days. He’s both pitiful (in the generous sense) and despicable at once. A relic of our disturbed past and an omen of our disturbed future as well.

  4. from Mexico

    Did you get a good look at the truck the two women were driving that the police shot up?,0,4414028.story

    For another example of how pathological and dysfunctional law enforcement in the US has become, there’s this:

    I think the situation in the US is rapidly approaching what we have here in Mexico, and that is that the people fear the police more than they do the criminals.

    1. from Mexico

      And it is important to connect the dots here, which Chritian Parenti does beautifully in Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis. The pathologization of criminal justice in the United States did not happen by accident. It was done deliberately and intentionally by corporate America in a gradual process that began with Lyndon Johnson, but which every president and every congress has played their part in since.

      As Parenti explains:

      ***beginning of quote***
      Thus one impact of the new paramilitary police technology is a “culture of militarism” that gestates in the world of tactical policing. Peter Kraska, the pre-eminent sociologist of SWAT, argues that young officers find the military regalia of SWAT “culturally intoxicating.” In part this is because “the elite self-perception and status granted these police units stems from the high status military special operaitons groups have in military culture.”

      But the military world-view is not confined to the ranks of SWAT. Tactical units, having close relations with the armed forces, act as ideolgoical transmission-belts between the military and the regular police… Promulgating the gospel of war and “special ops” is even written into the mission of many tactical units…

      If there is a parable to be drawn from the story of paramilitary policing in the US, it is that the political theatrics of terror are by no means dead. Physical terror and spectacular displays of violence are still central to the state’s control of the dangerous classes. The helicopters, guns, and constantly barking dogs of the American tactical army are a blunt semaphore to the lumpen classes and working poor… The VCSU, like many SWAT teams, even brags about the “deterrent” effect of its high-profile ruthlessness. The point is that ritualied displays of terror are built into American policing. Spectacle is a fundamental part of how the state controls poor people.

      ***end of quote***

      1. Brindle

        ‘many enemies, much honour’

        Sounds like a mantra of our paramilitary police agencies/depts.
        What goes around comes around, I guess.

        —“In Mussolini’s home town of Predappio, souvenir shops line the main street. They still sell online what the town council has banned them from selling in their shops: black shirts, Fascist banners, statues of the Duce, books and DVDs celebrating his life, and, more disturbing still, manganelli, clubs inscribed with such slogans as molti nemici, molto onore (‘many enemies, much honour’).”—

        From the “Kisses For Duce” link.

        1. from Mexico

          If the US continues on its current path to fascism, it will be interesting to see if the capitalists can maintain control, as they did in Mussolini’s Italy, or if the monster they create will turn on its creators, as was the case in Hitler’s Germany.

          Nazi Germany should serve as a warning to all capitalists and aspiring fascists that their models, predicated as they are on liberal economic theory, are based on a grotesquely over-simplified caricature of man, and that humans are not nearly as simple, or as predictable, as they assume.

          1. hunkerdown

            Structurally, the US already has a highly functional replica of the Italian version, with uniquely USian sensibilities. The US Chamber of Commerce is essentially the Council of Corporations, just privatized and therefore ostensibly non-binding.

          2. anyone

            Hard for me to believe that a “kinder, gentler, better marketed” Nazi-ism isn’t what they have in mind already. Once again, it just depends on your perspective. If you’re on the receiving end of the military/police stick, you’ve probably been saying that for sometime already. If you’re an average moderate to well off NC commenter like most of us, you’re probably still having trouble coming to terms with the idea. But then again, average, “normal” Germans had the same experience back then too, didn’t they? The *greater evil* never appears to be either greater or evil to those who embrace it at the time. That’s what makes it the greater evil in the first place.

        2. from Mexico

          My takeaway quote was this one, because Obama with his drones and Mussolini with his poison gas seem to be very much on the same page:

          ***beginning of quote***
          Mussolini ordered poison gas to be sprayed indiscriminately from the air on military and civilian targets alike. This too was widely supported. Any means were justified to punish the ‘inhuman, vile … bestial Abyssinian people’, a group of students told him: ‘Chemical weapons are expensive, it is true, but the Italian people are ready to make the financial sacrifices required to save their sons.’ Critics in Geneva were told the chemicals only knocked people out briefly, while photographs of mustard-gas victims were said to show victims of leprosy…

          As numerous testimonies quoted by Duggan demonstrate, Mussolini became at this point the embodiment of Italian national pride and national achievement. ‘It is right that we look for a place in the sun,’ one diarist wrote: ‘Today Italy is a nation, a people, conscious of its worth, that knows what it wants and how to get it.’


          Mussolini thought he was militarily invincible, and no one dared tell him otherwise.

          ***end of quote***

    2. Skippy

      The tough guy high and tight bug eater head hair do is a tell… these guys are para military wanna bees.

      Skippy… Hell I could be making 20k a month behind a scope in the ME… yet these guys shoot civilians for a pension, they might – or – might not get down the road. Truth told… their afraid… very afraid… of people shooting back… especially someone with aim.

      1. bob

        Very afraid…What threat, beyond the obviuos threat, does droner pose to the public? To the police? Even for hyped up cops, shooting this much first is over the top. Why do they want him dead? Is he threating to take some pensions with him?

        1. from Mexico

          Bob asks: “What threat, beyond the obviuos threat, does droner pose to the public? To the police?… Why do they want him dead?”

          An interview that LAPD police chief Charlie Beck gave may provide some answers.

          “Dorner’s allegations are about a police department that doesn’t treat African Americans fairly,” Beck claims in this interview:

          But Dorner never said he was fired because of racial discrimination. Dorner said he was fired because he reported an incident of police brutality committed by one of his fellow officers. This is a quote from Dorner’s manifesto:

          ***beginning of quote***
          Unfortunately after reporting it to supervisors and investigated by PSB (internal affairs investigator) [redacted] nothing was done. I had broken their supposed “Blue Line” …

          It is clear as day that the department retaliated toward me for reporting Evans for kicking [the victim].
          ***end of quote***

          And as CNN goes on to explain:

          ***beginning of quote**
          This seems to be the impetus behind Dorner’s rage. Throughout his manifesto, he returns to the actions of one specific officer whom he reported as abusing a suspect, but nothing, he says, was done. He claims the officer and others lied to protect the truth. It seems to be Dorner’s belief that he was fired because of this, and it seems to be the spark for his larger anger toward the department.

          ***end of quote***

          So what we’re seeing from Beck is the type of pathological lying that has become the stock in trade of law enforcement management and administration these days.

          For folks like Beck, it’s all cover-up, all the time.

          1. bob

            The more I read on this, the more it looks like it was a set up ambush hoping to draw him in. Who was the bait?

            They shot the truck from the rear. If they were really watching this truck, and it were moving like someone delivering papers, it would have driven by them first, in order for them to shoot at the rear of the vehicle. And 7 guys shooting? That’s not a ‘car parked down the street’, that’s a SWAT van.

            Everything about the story is a lie. Except the pictures, a lot of bullets into the back of a truck.

            Right now, I don’t see how this is different than shooting a person in the back.

          2. bob

            Skippy, check out the neighborhood. The truck was photographed in front of

            5615 TOWERS ST Torrance, CA

            The truck was delivering papers moving north on redbeam ave, the truck stopped at the right angle turn to the west, onto towers.

            The bullet holes looked suspicious to me too. But 7 shooters?

            I’m also sort of laughing about the fact that they were delivering “armor”. They probably had stacks of newpapers in the back seat of the truck.

          3. Skippy

            @bob, Well bob I’m sure am happy to inform you…

            Threads in Forum : S.W.A.T. Magazine

            Too Old To Fight, Shoot First

            February 19, 2012 04:57 PM
            by tnhawk

            17 reply’s 2,555 views


            Moving right along…

            Submachine guns, handguns stolen from LAPD SWAT-training site

            October 17, 2011

            Police officials confirm that more than 30 firearms, stored overnight at a building considered secure, were stolen. ‘It’s embarrassing…. It’s a lesson learned,’ Deputy Chief Michael Downing says.

            Anywho… cars and ballistics


            Skip here… oh look at that penetration! Now how many made egress?

            Skippy… I personally respect the jungle reflexes those lady’s displayed… hitting the floor and yup had it not been for some rolled up paper… would not have been able to testify to the events.

      2. anyone

        My local cop shop has taken to the idea of parading their recruits’ physical training in the summers. The buzz cut numb-nuts are forced to form up in military formation and run in formation around town or down to the local indoor pool to workout, all in distinctive workout gear of course. Their final formation is in the town green to much aplomb, and I’m sure the whole thing is meant to be a local virtual show of force. As I’m usually out walking at about the same time, I always shake my head and laugh as noticeably as I can when I see them going through their paces. I’m retired military myself, so it always brings back a knowing laugh at my stupidity at their age too.

    3. bob

      Good links. The LA shooting- That many bullet holes and only 2 hit someone? I don’t think you can call that lucky.

      The CO bank robbery, done by a teacher with no record. If he was armed, is it really that smart to corner him at an intersection with dozens of other people?

      The cop porn set and props are worth a look. How much did that show of force cost to stage? Paid for by the people with the guns pointed at them. Recovery? $25k plus GPS unit all back to Wells Fargo. Prosecution? The only good case is against the cops.

      1. JTFaraday

        “If he was armed, is it really that smart to corner him at an intersection with dozens of other people?”

        A few years ago, the NYPD shot up a street person in the Port Authority Bus Terminal who wasn’t keen on removal.

        Following the incident, I read this statement in the NY Times from a Fellow Officer, justifying the shootout. Every time one of these unnecessary shoot-to-kill incidents happens– and above the law popo administered vigilante street justice seems to be happening with increasing regularity– I wish I had kept that thing.

        It was the perfect self righteous justificatory rationalization about What My Buddies Have to Do when they are threatened with Near Certain Death at the Hands of Some Scumbag.

        Never once seemed to have occurred to this guy that, not only was there no imminent threat from this unarmed street person, but that it was his buddies who posed the threat to the public.

        Really revealing of the whole persecuted persecutory mindset. I’m still waiting to find out what imminent threat Abner Louima posed locked in the bathroom at the 70th precinct.

        1. anyone

          The “besieged warrior in enemy territory” mentality is powerful. Keep in mind, most cops, just like their military counterparts, work and socialize almost exclusively with each other. It’s hard to overestimate what that does to your perception of reality, especially in legitimate urban high crime environments.

  5. YY

    While Excel hasn’t changed much since day dot (I remember first running it on run-time windows in DOS)except maybe the multi sheet feature, the platform on which it runs has become so powerful that it gives the illusion of being able to do anything. In the mid 90’s I remember having to turn off auto-recalc just to consolidate multiple sheets. I’d set off the calculation and come back the next morning to see the spreadsheet hopefully having consolidated numbers overnight on a Intel 386 PC (with the addition of math-coprocessor). By the time the Pentium became the norm (turn of the century)the same calculation could be done in seconds. Now days it will do the same thing instantly. My brain in the same period has not made any progress and is probably slowing down. This tool probably has as much to do with the ability of the financial industry to put together complicated but fraudulent schemes quickly and with what appears to be impressive number crunching.

    1. anyone

      I noticed a lot of Excel developers responding with great umbrage in comments to that article, claiming that if only the developers were “REAL” experts like they were all of the downsides could have been averted. Granted, to a limited degree. I’m a pretty fair Excel developer myself, but the ONE thing I’ve noticed increasingly in all my years of VBA programming and formula writing is that Excel is an exceedingly robust software tool in terms of enabling user interactivity, which is why it is so popular in the first place. But, accordingly, in terms of locking down the user interface using VBA, which is a basic requirement of any truly robust Excel solution, it is an extremely hard and frustrating environment, and in most cases an ongoing nightmare for any one developer to stay on top of. And, since most Excel developers are essentially part time/”hobbyists,” the application invariably ends up getting lost eventually. Long story short: Excel development, just like any other “professional” data base development, requires long-term commitment by both management and the developer, preferably a development team.

  6. YankeeFrank

    I told ya’ll cats are evil, but no, the internet needs its dumb cat-blogging so the world’s birds will have to go.

    1. docG

      Actually birds eat kittens. Which is why cats are so obsessed with boxes. The one who weren’t obsessed got eaten by birds, so they are now extinct.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I feel one of the mistakes our ancestors made was evovling to lose their claws – it puts us at a distinct advantage vis-a-vis those adorable cats.

      Another mistake was coming down from trees.

    3. Vernon

      Europe has a sordid history of killing cats – especially in medieval times. As a result, the rat and mice populations soared and the Europeans were rewarded with the black death which killed a third of the population. Of course people never learn. Then again, some so called environmentalists are probable thrilled at the prospect human population reduction due to cat eradication since they feel that humans are the number one threat to the environment.

      1. JTFaraday

        Oh, have a heart. We’ve a veritable Garden of Eden proposed here:

        “Morgan isn’t calling for the killing of cats, even though he says that this might be “an option”…

        Morgan is convinced that New Zealand’s wildlife would be better off without the fluffy killers. The cities would be filled with birdsong, penguins could waddle across the beach without fear — and kiki birds, not cats, would walk through the gardens.”

        1. Vernon

          Morgan is convinced that New Zealand’s wildlife would be better off without the fluffy killers. The cities would be filled with birdsong, penguins could waddle across the beach without fear — and kiki birds, not cats, would walk through the gardens.

          So, New Zealand has no rats and mice? (It does) Rats and mice have no negative impact on the New Zealand native species? (They do). Even if you don’t care about rat and mice negative impacts on humans, studies have shown that after cats have been culled, rat populations have exploded and done as much damage to native species as cats. Of course, this is not mentioned in the sensationalist article based on dubious “extrapolations” linked to by NC. NC should stay away from scientific and technical issues where there appears to be limited expertise.

  7. bobw

    60 Minutes on CBS last night had a segment on credit rating agencies. Actually pretty good. I learned that the rating you see when you request one is not the same as the one merchants and banks see. You may think you have a good number but can still be denied credit, jobs or housing. And there is a completely non-functional rating mistake repair procedure. How did TPTB let this get onto the MSM? Heads will roll.

    1. 12349876abc

      you’re being too conspiratorial. occam’s answer—the public just doesn’t care and it’s irrelevant that “secrets” that threaten “the powers that be” get publicized.

      just as the public doesn’t care about: the CIA overthrowing democratically-elected foreign countries throughout the Cold War, the US bailing out Wall Street, income inequality, child labor for electronics, your local wage slave Applebee’s server, subsidies to oil companies, etc, etc, etc.

      Just keep the cheap food, cheap (relatively speaking) gas and dumbed down entertainment/sports flowing. Living in ignorance is bliss for Joe and Jane Six-Pack.

      1. Expat

        It’s not that the public doesn’t care. It’s that with only one political party that doesn’t represent the public, they don’t know what to do. And at this time, the public isn’t ready to be “coffin ready,” as Martin Luther King called it.

    2. hunkerdown

      If it made it to air past so many veto points after so long in the pipeline, it probably belongs there. The question, then, is its intended function.

      Could it be the setup for a minor “technical correction” to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, giving the debtor a bit more token weight to throw around but ensuring that creditors still have as much of the upper hand as before? For example, they might make some class of debts harder or impossible to discharge through bankruptcy, or they might apply just enough regulation to the debt aftermarket to be credible while breaking the Strike Debt model.

      1. Maximilien

        “If it made it to air past so many veto points after so long in the pipeline, it probably belongs there. The question, then, is its intended function.”.

        So true. Just as nothing in politics happens by accident, so nothing in MSM appears by accident. Those of us still watching, reading, or listening to it do well to remember this. Always.

    1. lakewoebegoner

      I’ll start going back to Mass if the Holy Spirit comes down and tells the cardinals to elect a Pope who’s under 50.

      1. ohmyheck

        It won’t matter much. Benedict “…has already hand-picked the bulk of the College of Cardinals — the princes of the church who will elect the next pope — to guarantee his conservative legacy and ensure an orthodox future for the church.”

        Also, “Cardinal Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila, has impressed many Vatican watchers, but at 56 and having only been named a cardinal last year, he is considered too young.”

        Which is probably a good thing, if the all the choices are conservatives. A young ‘un would guarantee that a conservative would run the church possibly for decades.

        1. hunkerdown

          St. Malachy prophesied long ago that Rome (or the Church?) would fall on the next pontiff’s watch. Under such circumstances, a relative pup who’s demonstrated a fairly steady hand in Church policy might make a fine selection for staying the course.

      2. Good Genes

        Like me, lakewoebegoner will probably not be going to Mass for a long, long time. I can say this for me with somewhat more confidence though since I would add an additional condition: that the new Pope be married. (While possible, it falls under the category “when hell freezes over)

        1. Jim Haygood

          The pope heads a global organization managed exclusively by sexually-repressed males (with predictable results).

          It promotes the doctrine that the Deity had a son, but not a daughter.

          In due time, Goddess doubtless will set the record straight.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I tend to believe that each and every one of us is the only begotten son or daughter of Nature which is both a God and Godess, and not a God nor a Godess.

          2. anyone

            I would tend to add “sexually repressed females” to your list, based purely on liturgy, but unfortunately (or possibly fortunately in some cases for me), I’ve practiced “holy communion” with at least a handful of “pure” catholic girls (and a few more in my unholy mind, for sure!). I wonder, does that make me an irredeemable sinner, or perhaps at least a quasi-minor saint? Hmmm…? Do I have an eternity to ponder that question?

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It has been done before, so I don’t see why another woman can’t pretend to be a man and get elected as Pope.

        1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          Or Lloyd Blankfein, for that matter. Tho he may just recommend Tim Geithner for the job. (Tim’s looking for a job)

          But I’m sure they’ll both agree that the Gods are both underleveraged and underhedged, and tail risk can be managed if the right kind of Pope takes the bull by the horns and gets in the details.

          Goldman Sachs Vatican. It’s the last thing left.

        2. Maximilien

          “It has been done before, so I don’t see why another woman can’t pretend to be a man and get elected as Pope.”

          If it happened, the movie would star Robin Williams and be called “Mrs. Hellfire”!

          1. Maximilien

            Oops. I’m genderly confused at the moment. Put VANESSA Williams in the movie and call it “Mr. Hellfire”.

  8. Skippy

    Brought to you by the expanding mining sector and harbor dredging…

    Skippy… their having a wee bit of a problem with the flood waters of late too… industrial and Ag pollution. From fresh water dramas… all the way out to the coral…

    PS. remember kiddos… fracking is just mini mines all over the joint and as investment is the primary financial driver… we’ll NC’ers know how that plays out.

    PSS. Is it possible for the future to hate us already?

    1. anyone


      I hear Aussie’s are amazing with snorkels and boards (and pontoons?). Gives new meaning to the phrase “down under,” now doesn’t it, mate?

      GW: Relax and enjoy the ride. Like a monster curl breaking on the beach, it’s all downhill from here.

  9. Garrett Pace

    “Housing bubble should not have been hard to see”

    Not to defend any economists in particular, but the issue wasn’t just whether houses were overvalued, but how crucial that asset class was to the world economy, via CDOs etc. Weren’t there many people who thought that houses had overshot their equilibrium, such as it was? They just didn’t expect it to crater the whole economy.

    That’s how I thought about it in 2005, but then I’m no economist…

    1. Jim Haygood

      One could make an analogous case that coordinated zero interest rate policies of the major central banks have made sovereign bonds overvalued.

      This asset class is crucial to the world economy because it is very widely held by financial institutions, insurers and pension funds, with a total value amounting to tens of trillions.

      That’s how I think about it in 2013, but then I’m no economist … my PhD is in motorcycle mechanics.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And that’s where Zen is very useful for motorcycle maintenance.

        But it’s of little help when we confront a world managed by serial-bubblists.

        1. AbyNormal

          “The truth knocks on your door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.” zamm

      2. anyone

        The housing bubble “asset class” is really the only thing we have left. Think about it. It’s the only truly un-replaceable asset that everyone must have. Granted, we in the first world have become addicted to the idea of $150K+ prefab cardboard boxes with amenities, but the point remains. When that goes, everything else follows in its wake.

  10. lakewoebegoner

    “Can USDA’s climate reality message take root with denialist farmers? Grist”

    The US drought never ended—snowfall’s below average across much of the mid-section. As the TX cattle ranches and Plains field dry out and more money spent on deeper wells, I think the climatologists will get more sympathetic ears.

    though it’s sad that you gotta destroy the village to save it.

  11. TimR

    Do most of y’all read NC in the morning/day? I read it in the evening so I never get a chance to comment – seems like everyone’s moved on by then.

    I’ve been wanting to thank some of the commenters for the entertainment & info they provide- craazy w/ running gags about his faux fireplace (and his bit on China/Japan about having a claim to the islands himself cracked me up), jake chase w/ pithy takedowns of everything and everyone, from Mexico w/ thought-provoking perspective and links/references, and many more I also enjoy. I would reply sometimes but like I said, who reads the comments when they get so long by PM hours.

    1. Maximilien

      I’m an NC night-time reader/occasional commenter. The reading is always delightful and informative. What you say is true, but comment anyway. You never know who’ll be here.

      If one awakens or enlightend or amuses only one mind instead of many….well, that is still a net benefit to the world. As I like to jokingly say to friends when they ask why I bother commenting: “Improving the world; one seven-billionth at a time!”

  12. Jackrabbit

    Obama AWOL during Benghazi

    Note: I commented here in November that the importance of Benghazi and Petraus would be Obama’s lack of leadership. That’s not such a difficult ‘call’ for any NC reader that has observed his ‘leadership style’ (using the term VERY loosely) over several years.

    As so many have noted, he is more front-man (e.g. “teleprompter”) than leader.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Benghazi… Isn’t that some sort of topical ointment?

      * * *

      Bush took a lot of abuse yadda yadda yadda. And yet when we look back, he was effective in achieving his goals. The same will be said of Obama.

      1. Jackrabbit

        AFAICT, Benghazi is a lubricant.

        Perhaps you’re thinking of Been-gonzo, the ointment for deflated egos?

        Political elites are said to be _big_ users of each. Side effects of each are similar and include: thoughts of political expediency; subservience and suggestibility; loss of bladder control in proximity to informed citizens and powerful people; and erectile dysfunction.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I guess I’ve never understand why Benghazi is anything other than a blip, even though the Republicans tried to gin it up into some sort of scandal (something they’ve really lost their touch for, IMNSHO). I mean, you’ve got an Empire, so you’ve got imperial outposts, and sh*t happens at imperial outposts. So what’s all the excitement about?

          1. Jackrabbit

            Oh yeah, this democracy thing is SUCH a bother. Why should such single-worded greats such as Obama, Hilary, and Bush have to answer for ‘blip’s like Benhazi, Aron Swartz and Bradely Manning, or rendition?

            Thankfully, the NDAA and other ‘reforms’ will soon rid our great and mighty from the need to respond to questions about such ‘blips’ in the future.


            Lambert, seriously, it’s all connected, isn’t it? If one individual is a ‘blip’, then we all are. The left wails about Obama’s betrayal and deception BUT if he breaks the trust of those serving his empire, then it is excused?

            If we are just going to draw lines, then the left is hopeless because they have already lost. The empire is here to stay and wealth is power. Obama knows this and plays the game well (that is, plays the left well).

            Isn’t this what Stoller was complaining of last fall? That the left has a double standard that lets Obama get away with thinks that they would complain bitterly about if there was a Republican in the WH?

            I thought Obama would be shown to be a weak leader. His absence seems much worse in political terms. The Republicans will surely use this in future elections as they define Democrats by Obama’s example. (“We all know the Democrats are weak on defense, but lately they haven’t even bothered showing up!)

            And the effect on troop morale is unknown. Who wants to put their life, or the life of a loved one, on the line for someone that will be unconcerned when the SHTF?

          2. anyone


            “The Troops” mostly (in truth, almost exclusively) “fight” for each other. And that’s really as far as it goes. They join for a variety of reasons, but once they’re in, they “fight” for each other, and not for “the red, white and blue,” or “freedom,” or any other of that propagandist bullshit you’ve been sold.

            Second, most American troops don’t end up actually “fighting” at all. I’m retired USAF and USA 2003, 25 years+ served. NEVER fired a shot in anger. My story is typical. In truth, most USA “troops” these days are nothing more than technocrats. In all likelihood, they’re just like you!

          3. Jackrabbit

            @anyone: good point. Maybe I should’ve said officers instead of troops. At some point – even if only in degree – it seems to me that it matters who and what you are fighting for. To what extent does the combo of a disinterested CNC and the NDAA add up to fighting for a paycheck? because there are no (good) jobs at home?

            But this is somewhat tangential to our conversation. The question is really, what is the likely political fallout from the Benghazi and the ongoing revelations related to Benghazi.

            The Democrats have pushed back tremendously with accusations of racism (toward Rice) and a vindictive witch-hunt (saying that Republicans are sore losers). Yet the more we learn, the more embarrassing it is to Obama and his Administration.

            It seems likely that the Republicans will not let it go and will trot out Benghazi whenever it is useful for them. Military cuts? Benghazi! Elections? Benghazi!

  13. jsmith

    A nice round the horn on European fascism with a eye to how European “socialists” are exactly like American Democrats whio are exactly like American Republicans whio are exactly like European fascists.

    From the piece:

    Workers seeking to resist the social counterrevolution and defend their jobs and past social gains are confronted with the reality that this is not possible on the basis of the methods of struggle employed in previous decades.

    Not just the French Socialist Party, but all of the social democratic parties once identified with social reform are today fully committed to austerity measures and the destruction of past reforms. The trail blazed by Labour Party leader Tony Blair in Britain and SPD leader Gerhard Schröder in Germany has been taken up by José Zapatero in Spain and George Papandreou in Greece.

    Likewise the trade unions, which have been transformed into appendages of the corporations and the state, function as an arm of corporate management in the imposition of layoffs and wage cuts. At a political level, they see to it that social resistance is suppressed or limited to token protests that represent no threat to the state.

    The European governments respond to any expression of working class opposition with more serious consequences for corporate profits and government policy by imposing strike bans and employing methods of state violence traditionally associated with dictatorships.

    And in other news, here’s an article originally posted in The Hill which uses a poll to show that nearly half of Americans support the extra-judicial murder of American citizens:

    “The poll found that 53 percent of likely voters said it should be legal for the U.S. government to kill non-U.S. citizens who meet that description. Meanwhile, 44 percent said it should be legal for the U.S. government to kill American citizens who it believes are terrorists and present an imminent threat.

    By contrast, 21 percent of respondents thought such an action should be illegal if the target is a non-U.S. citizen. A slightly higher percentage of voters, 31 percent, thought killing individuals whom the government believes are terrorists should be illegal when the target is an American citizen.”

    Let’s see with the NDAA – indefinite detention of American citizens – and Obama’s justification for the murder of American citizens, is there anyone who can tell me that the United States of America is NOT a fascist dictatorship?

    Have you ever wondered what it was like for the “good” Germans living through the Nazi era?

    What they thought about as it all happened?

    How they justified/condoned/explained away what they saw?

    Well, fellow American sh!theads, it might behoove some of you to start writing memoirs or keep a journal so that decades from now those curious as to the mental states of “good” Americans will have something to read.

    1. psychohistorian


      I am painting as big a target on my back as I can. I don’t want to be around for the guilt phase….just getting folks there.

      It is an interesting observation on group think (or not). With the drone program we have the iron fist of American imperialism fully shown out of the glove bonds of what used to be a country with a constitution, rule of law and a motto of Out Of Many, One.

      Now the One from our original motto refers to the hundredth of a percent of the world population that control/owns the world the rest of us live in by the fiat of accumulated private ownership of property intertwined with inheritance laws and the “old boy” patriarch network.

      And everyone yawns from over stimulus capture.

      What we need is a nice big war to focus on…..who should we hate this day/week/month/year/decade/century or at least until folks forget about who the puppet masters are behind the screen for the past few centuries.

      1. anyone

        Probably a losing strategy. The eye in the sky probably already knows better than you, and rest assured, it follows you every where you go.

    2. Synopticist

      “…with a eye to how European “socialists” are exactly like American Democrats whio are exactly like American Republicans whio are exactly like European fascists.”

      They’re not though. In the uk a few years ago, you used to hear this kind of talk all the time. Then we got a real rightwing government, and lots of people realised they they’d been duped.

  14. JGordon

    “Obviously, both the family and the school need more guns.”

    I endorse this statement. Good to see that people on NC are finally coming to see sense.

    1. AbyNormal

      “But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.” zamm

      1. JGordon

        There is no arguing that our culture is terminally diseased. The way things will shake out is that the wider culture, or system of rationality, will collapse, and subsequently numerous smaller cultures will rise to take its place (some of us who are thinking ahead are laying the groundwork for systems to step in after the collapse).

        Of course many of those smaller cultures that do arise will bear a striking similarity to Mad-Max. Therefore it’s only reasonable for the sane and foresightful among us to arm ourselves to the teeth. Being against guns for whatever reason is very narrow-minded, shortsighted and threatening in my opinion.

        1. Laughing_Fascist

          To those who argue that guns are useless against the police forces arrayed against us (ahem, you know who you are), witness the utter and complete panic of our esteemed and deadly LAPD being caused by one nutter with a gun.

          My money is on the 100 million gun owners (or is it 200?).

          1. different clue

            They haven’t percieved it to be personal up close in their face tyranny in their own daily lives so far.

            Now . . . if Mr. Dorner PsyOptically terrifies the LAPD into
            panic-murdering one LA civilian too many, over a tolerance threshhold of what the LAvian civilians themselves would consider “acceptable colletaral damage” upon their own selves,
            then the experiment of an armed population against its armed police may well be run.

        2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

          Lots of luck. In one of my favorite post apocalypse novels a army platoon shot the officers and then turned cannibal. They cruised the countryside in armoured assault vehicles looking for survivalists to eat. Ate their vegetable gardens too, of course. Mom always said eat your broccoli!

          1. different clue

            In that novel, what did the Assault Vehicle Cannibals eat after they had killed and eaten all the survivalists and killed and eaten all the gardens? Did the novel address that endpoint?

            Here’s a funny thing a Botany TF once told us. If you can graft a tomato vine onto the root system of a tobacco plant, the tobacco root system will continue producing nicotine (which is where the tobacco produces nicotine . . . in its root system). It will then ship that nicotine up into the grafted tomato plant scion atop the tobacco rootstock, and the tomatos will accumulate a lethal-within-minutes amount of nicotine in every tomato, just waiting for someone to come along and eat them.

            Now if what he told us is correct, and you want revenge on the Assault Vehicle Cannibals if society breaks down that much, you can put grated tobaccomato plants here and there in your garden. Just be sure you remember which ones they are.

          2. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            Except that this book was written before we had Predator drones firing Hellfire anti-tank missiles.

          3. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

            Clever DC. I’ll try and remember that.

            Actually, I can’t even remember how the novel ends. It was sort of a happy ending, relatively speaking, and the cannibals were defeated in the end somehow. That was just one small sub plot anyway.

            You’ll have to read it and find out.

      2. Laughing_Fascist

        @ abynormal

        You can add to your very sensible point that if the people (as well as the pattern of thought) who are the problem are left in place, nothing will change. So I’m not advocating the guilottine (yet). But any attempt at a new constitutional convention or as we already have seen any attempt at reform legislation will be hijacked by the same crowd who brought us the fed reserve system. Seems we are stuck with these hiso types for awhile.

    2. Skippy

      Cops are one thing… the military is a completely different beast.

      Seriously Gordon, what was your MOS? What back ground do you have to support your assertions? Chairborne, rifleman, leg, Major Darling, UFC wannabe?

      Lots of service members are PO’ed at the un-patriotic soft flesh back at home and would find it quite easy to stamp some sense in into that defective heard. The others that weep are sliding under the turf at an increasing rate.

      Skippy… An Alex Jones foaminess brigade, armed to the teeth, has a higher probability of suffering self inflected mortality than anything else. Does every one have tactical training in large groups, checking fields of fire, buddy teams, logistic support, any stand off weapons, air support… naw an assortment of pop guns and a selection of bad war movies.

      1. anyone


        The cops and the miiltary are increasingly the same thing, but regarding guns in general, who needs them? Answer: the rest of the ecosphere to defend itself against humans, by humans doing the right thing and killing humans. Evolution in action. Why question it?

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Gender bias in math.

    In the most crucial area of math, inequality, it’s fortunate that boys and girls are equally gifted, even without the ‘education’ that we are all compelled to get.

    What I am getting at is that everyone of either gender, of any educational level, knows these types of inequality:

    $1 billion/year > $55,000/yr

    a house in Beverly Hills > a house in South Gate

    a 1922 D MS65 St. Gaudens 20 dollar gold coin > $20 fiat dollar

    a Senator spouse > a spouse who fracks for a living

    a Ferrari > a Cadillac

    FedEx > USPS (or maybe not…)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To make up for the wishy-washy-ness of that last inequality, I give you something definite:

      The 49ers > The Ravens.

    2. craazyman

      Be careful Beef, you can’t use masking tape at FedEx, UPS or USPS — unless you’re really a package shipping expert like me.

      Then you can get away with it (at FedEx anyway). I takes a lot of talent and I have it. If you do, it will carry you through it all like an angel.

  16. check for outstanding warrants

    After the US government’s last genocidal blockade, in Iraq, US aggression pre-empted any reckoning. It’s different with the US governments’ genocidal blockade of Iran. Iran’s military strategy is explicitly intended to buy time for diplomacy to work. Nowadays diplomacy includes not just arbitration and the ICJ but international criminal law, and the war crimes charges against the Obama administration are coming along nicely. Long after Obama’s gone to hide at home under lifetime secret service protection against investigation and trial, US legal liability for internationally wrongful acts will be ballooning like a neg-am mortgage as the US gets broker and weaker and more corrupt. All the world has to do is gently help this kleptocracy collapse. Time is on our side.

  17. Hugh

    Out of control ex-cop on shootig spree pursued by out of control cops on a shooting spree.

    Clearly we should not confound the two.

    1. psychohistorian

      Clearly we are into the Duck and Cover phase of this Shock Doctrine event but it really is hard to know when to duck and what to cover.

      Perhaps crazyman can offer pointers.

  18. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you so much for the first link to the photos of glass sculptures of deadly viruses. So creative and incredibly amazing! I’m personally delighted their creator elected to major in Art, even if he will likely struggle with those student loans.

    Not being a cat owner and feeling rather ambivalent about cats generally – other than that many are “bad to the bone” ;-) , those beautiful images provided my antidote for the day!

  19. Hugh

    I guess it is good that Bill Moyers is raising the visibility of the high cost and poor quality of internet access in the US, but this is something many of us have been pointing out for years. It is another example of the perils of poor law and regulation, that larger isn’t better, and that private industry is better than public initiative. I really like though the discussion on the inequality that lack or poor access to the internet produces, and also the examples of revolving door corruption.

  20. Laughing_Fascist

    About the Bloomberg link “Rating Victims Didn’t Know S&P’s Toxic AAA Born of Greed”

    “Even though the Justice Department lawsuit relies on examples where the same banks sold and bought their own toxic securities, saying they were harmed by S&P “isn’t a totally ridiculous assertion,” said Bert Ely, an Alexandria, Virginia- based bank consultant.”

    This is where things get very risky for the Obama revenge suit against S & P.

    Because the DOJ is using the “greed” angle to support its fraud claim against SP. DOJ correctly asserts that when Citibank, among many others named in the suit, pressured S&P to AAA an issue, saying they will otherwise go to Moody’s, SP rated it AAA to keep the business (i,e, the “greed” motive in the headline)

    But its fairly apparent that Citi had to know SP didn’t believe its own rating since Citi itself strongarmed SP to AAA the issue. So I’m stating the obvious but what is interesting is that DOJ plans to prove this in order to prove motive for the fraud.

    Nevermind the separation of the bank divisions. Citi cannot perpetrate a fraud and be a victim on the same security issue. I would think legally Citi itself would not be permitted to make this sort of legal fiction argument if it brought its own lawsuit so why should DOJ.

    I suspect Citi and others would like to let sleeping dogs lie rather than get witness subpeonas from SP. But O wants some payback so the saga will go on.

    @ JSmith – I think this mis-use of the DOJ to silence a major govt critic like SP adds to the argument that fascism is gaining ground.

  21. Laughing_Fascist

    So there is a new story out about the SEAL who shot bin laden. Naturally I think the original stor(ies) about the killing are highly suspect. I find this new story interesting because it says something I hadn’t heard before about the killing:

    “But a series of confidential conversations, detailed descriptions of mission debriefs, and other evidence make it clear: The Shooter’s is the most definitive account of those crucial few seconds, and his account, corroborated by multiple sources, establishes him as the last man to see Osama bin Laden alive. Not in dispute is the fact that others have claimed that they shot bin Laden when he was already dead, and a number of team members apparently did just that.”

    Shot him while he was dead? Assuming for a moment that Osama was actually in the compound, if they shot the potentially biggest intelligence bonanza in that manner than they must have been ordered to do it = so Osama could tell no stories.

  22. JTFaraday

    re: Antidote du jour

    I don’t know why that completely irrational cat wants in that box so bad. It’s empty, if you ask me.

  23. JGordon

    On the demise of “progressive” radio:

    Good riddance to bad rubish. By and large I now consider liberals to be pathetically weak and scummy hypocrites. Oh they can go on and on about how much they hate war and are for civil liberties, but when it’s their guy screwing us and drone bombing children then it’s just dandy.

    I don’t care anymore. Christopher Hedges has it right about the liberal class. They sold out and destroyed themselves.

  24. (TS/SCI) NCS bullshit war crime alibi ver.

    Ah, I see. Now it’s not JSOC who ratfucked Petraeus – it was the CIA after allll! “Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency – focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis.”

    And you can tell because… true CIA man Pope Brennan, he wanted no part of that paramilitary business when he wrote the extrajudicial killing orders in his key memo, “Pacem in Terris,” or whatever he called the mackerel-snapping just war horseshit he learned from his pedophile priests.

    This headlong backpedaling from the original bedtime story is very intriguing. The new modified limited hangout pins Libyan covert aggression on Brennan. The Clandestine Service Stasi has no fear at home in the dictatorship they run, but international suasion is really cramping their style. It’s not good for OPSEC when the death squad commandantes start to rat each other out!

    1. Jackrabbit

      This Just In!

      9 out of 10 people who believe ‘just revealed’ stories in papers like the Daily Mail also believe in the Easter Bunny, ESP, and that aliens are living among us.

  25. bob

    skippy, down here…

    “what type of ammo were they using”

    Based on the shells on the ground in one of the pictures, Best guess on the huge holes is a shotgun. The ammo is tough, this is a sligghly different angle-

    This could mean that some dip%hit was waist firing a shotgun from within 10-20 feet of the back of the truck, if it was buckshot. It’s hard to tell. Some of the holes could be overlap.

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