Links 2/15/13

Watch: Incredible dashboard footage of the Russian meteor strike Next Web (Richard Smith)

Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans PLOS One. Any study in its abstract that says that Democrats are liberals and Republicans are conservatives is already dubious. Plus only 82 subjects. Oh, and if party affiliation is so hard wired, then tell me how, for instance, Churchill switched parties twice.

Health Officials Urge F.D.A. to Limit Sweeteners in Sodas New York Times (furzy mouse)

Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks Guardian

Insight: Cambodia’s $11 billion mystery Reuters (Lambert)

Thailand’s Prostitution Image Is Embarrassing ThaiVisa (furzy mouse). A diplomatic protest over SNL.

Vows of Change in China Belie Private Warning New York Times (furzy mouse)

Breaking China’s Investment Addiction Zhang Monan, Project Syndicate

Oligarchy at the core of Spain’s scandals Financial Times (Richard Smith)

Let’s just end this whole thing Attaturk Firedoglake (Carol B)

EU, U.S. agree to fast-track bank rules: Barnier Reuters. Richard Smith: “Corpses on parade”

Found in Timbuktu: al-Qaida memo on conquering northern Mali Daily Breeze (Lambert)

Prolonged and stormy applause Stop Me Before I Vote Again

Bush Was a Total Disaster … Obama Is WORSE George Washington

Obama’s State of the Corporate Union Glen Ford (Carol B)

OVERNIGHT MONEY: Sequester busting The Hill

Democrats pitch $110bn deal to avoid cuts Financial Times. Wonder if this is just an effort at blame shifting. I get no sense of urgency.

Remember Growth? Counterpunch

Jobless claims numbers should be interpreted with caution Sober Look

Rubio and the Zombies Paul Krugman, New York Times

Bipartisan voting commission that will be co-chaired by a voting suppressor not getting rave reviews Daily Kos

The Fire This Time cocktailhag, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Just Like Crack in the 80s, the Police State Thrives on Gun Hysteria Glen Ford

Virginia cuts part-time state workers hours in response to Obamacare Daily Kos

“I want my fair share–and that’s ALL OF IT.”: The Kochs & the XL Pipeline Greg Palast

Why, Despite the Boom in Oil Production, are Gasoline Prices Still High? OilPrice

Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail Matt Taibbi

Backdated Mortgage Assignment Comes Back To Haunt Foreclosure Lender in Juarez v. Select Portfolio Massachusetts Real Estate Blog

American Airlines, US Airways Merge To Form World’s Largest Inconvenience Onion (Lambert). :-(. I liked American. By contrast, United Air is awful and dishonest.

Antidote du jour (Harry Shearer):

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  1. fresno dan

    From 2009 to 2011, average real income per family grew modestly by 1.7% (Table 1) but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.2% while bottom 99% incomes shrunk by 0.4%. Hence, the top 1% captured 121% of the income gains in the first two years of the recovery.
    From 2009 to 2010, top 1% grew fast and then stagnated from 2010 to 2011. Bottom 99% stagnated both from 2009 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, top 1% income will likely surge, due to booming stock-prices, as well as re-timing of income to avoid the higher 2013 top tax rates. Bottom 99% will likely grow much more modestly than top 1% incomes from 2011 to 2012.

    Wow, not only did they take all the pie, they pumped your stomach and got the pie you ate yesterday….

  2. David Lentini


    Interesting how the climate denial funders have nothing to say about the scientific basis for global warming and climate change. The point of their funding isn’t to improve our scientific understanding or argue for better ways to combat climate change and its effects on the planet and humanity.

    Oh, no! The point is to stop any use of government, good or bad, useful or not, in the name of “liberty”, which really means the freedom of the denial funders to continue to collect their profits from activities that may be affected by the limitation of greehouse gases. This is all about greed, nothing more.

    So, our great libertarians and conservatives are ready to kill billions of living creatures, humans and animals, and completely reshape the face of the globe, to keep getting rich. Isn’t this a crime against humanity? Isn’t this the same ends-justify-the-means logic of lebensraum and the Holocaust? That the wealth of a few justifies the destructions of millions of lives?

    And how can the scientific and academic communities continues to turn a blind eye to the researchers who take this funding to produce what is nothing but Lysenkoist scientific propganda? Scientists and academics can’t keep hiding behind “academic freedom” to excuse what will ikely become the greatest and most bloody fraud in human history. A fraud that will literally change the physical geography of the planeet.

    This sort vileness has to have consequences. From the economists who champion the inanity of all-seeing, all-knowing perfect markets, to the scientists who peddle junk research to support their benefactors, to the media personalities who trumpet this crap, there have to be penalties.

    Adam Smith never said that the free market could work on fraud and coercion from the rich to block what a rational, i.e, scientific, person would deem in their enlightened self-interest. The deniers and their funders are not even good conservatives; they’re criminals.

    We must demand that universities fire researchers who take this money and perhaps even deny any future government funding to these people. Perhaps even the institutions that granted the academic degrees to these charlatan scientists should withdraw their diplomas, because clearly no scientist should be allowed to use his or her crediential to perpetrate so wanton a fraud.

    As for the funders, perhaps it’s time to revoke corporate charters, institute massive fines, disbar attorneys and remove accounting credential, and impose jail time for those who so willfully participate in the destruction of human civilization.

    1. from Mexico

      I think scientists, though, are caught on the horns of a dilemma. Most scientists, after all, buy into Modernism’s positivist doctrine, which holds that nature can be conquered and enslaved so as to liberate man.

      What we’re finding out, however, is that nature is not so easily subdued. Many unforseen consequences to man’s drive to harness nature are emerging, in the immediate case the consequences of producing and burning the vast resources of carbon energy stored below the earth’s surface.

      Can man still enjoy “progress” without the ochlocratic production and burning of fossil fuels? The energy companies answer with a resounding “NO!”. In their framing it boils down to a simple equation: progress = lawless production and burning of fossil fuels. If you give up one, you have to give up the other.

      So if one wants to counter the argument of the energy companies, then one must do one of two things:

      1) Demonstrate that growth of energy production and consumption can continue in a way that does not destroy the environment, or

      2) Redefine “progress” so that it doesn’t entail unending growth of production and consumption.

      Is #2 possible? The conservatives, of course, argue that it is not. There are, however, those like Susan Neiman who argue that a more transcendent morality is possible, and this is

      “an answer to conservative critics, today as in the past, who believe the mass of humanity is driven by crude desires. Perhaps, they argue, a few great souls act on moral principles. But most of us have nothing more noble in view than bread and circuses. Our appetites for refinements of gluttony and varieties of entertainment remain nearly insatiable, and nothing else really moves us. If our lives revolve around consuming the objects of these simple passions, a benevolent despotism which manages those passions is the best form of government. We care about getting stuff, and distraction from pain; they care about getting it to us. Who could possibly complain?
      This argument was used to defend despotism in the 18th century, and then as now it depended on the premise that people don’t want to be challenged, but happy. If Kant’s thought-experiment works, the consequences are great. As part of the good life we want all kinds of pleasure, but we want something else as well: a sense of our own dignity that allows us to deny pleasure itself if it violates something we hold higher. Of course wanting dignity isn’t the same as having it; many a sweet lazy dream of something grander remains just that. But if most of us can imagine wanting to be Kant’s hero, even for a moment, then a government that appeals to our best instincts can’t be dismissed out of hand. If each of us can imagine a moment in which we want to show our freedom by standing on the side of justice, each of us should work towards a world in which freedom and justice are paramount.”

      1. David Lentini

        “Most scientists, after all, buy into Modernism’s positivist doctrine, which holds that nature can be conquered and enslaved so as to liberate man.”

        I’m considering scientists who continue to push climate- change doubt in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, especially when tied to money used to push the denial agenda. That’s corruption.

        The fact that some scientists believe in the view that the planet exists to be exploited or that we can correct the effects of our actions is a different argument. In that case, you’re positing that climate change is accepted, but that the scientst beleives that (1) creating such change per se is moral and (2) that the deleterious effects of such change can be corrected or abated with more technology. I may disagree with those propositions, but I don’t find them immoral in the same way that I find a scientst who takes money to perpetuate scientific ignorance of an issue that could ruin civilization.

        1. from Mexico

          Any honest reading of history will show that the secular intelligenstia has consistently been morally challenged. Take the example of Mexico, for instance.

          In 1547, the Spanish humanist and translator of Aristotle, Juan Gines de Sepulveda, quite simply denied the Indians any true humanity and gave the Spaniards every right in the world to conquer them. Here’s the famous secularist in his infamous debate with the Catholic friar Bartolome de las Casas:

          “There are other things that justify the wars against these barbarians that are commonly called Indians, the most applicable being the following: that the barbarians’ natural conditon is such that they should obey others, and if they refuse the empire of those others, there remains no other recourse than that they be dominated by arms, that such war is just according to the opinion of the most eminent philosophers, amongst them Aristotle.”

          Las Casas vehemtly disagreed with the secularist philosophy invoked by Sepulveda and responded as follows:

          “If we want to be followers of Christ and the true gospel, it would behoove us to consider that, even if we treat of barbarians of the utmost degree, they still were created in the image of God and are not totally abandoned from divine providence and are not unable to enter the kingdom of Christ, being our brothers and having been saved by the precious blood of Christ, no less than the most prudent and scholarly of the earth [….] Therefore, although the Philosopher, ignorant of Christian truth and charity, writes that the intelligent can hunt the barbarians as if they were wild animals, no one understands how the barbarians should be killed or submitted to wicked, hard, cruel and rigid work like donkeys and be hunted and captured by the most learned.”

          And so it went all throughout the Mexican colonial period as Maria Elena Martinez notes in Genealogical Fictions:

          “As scientific explanations to sexual and racial difference gained ground over religious ones, colonial Mexico’s population became subject, like the animals and plants in natural histories, to increasingly elaborate and visual taxonomic exercises that made the gendering of race and racing of gender as well as social hierarchies seem to be ordained by nature.”

          This pattern of the secular intelligenstia providing moral and intellectual sanction for the barbaries committed by the political and economic elite is not unique to Mexico. It is ubiquitous throughout time and space. Just look at the whole discipline of economics.

          I certainly agree that science and scientists need to be held accountable. But who is to do this? They certainly have no track record of being able to do this themselves. And I for one cannot endorse anti-intellectualism. It seems like a problem almost without a solution.

          I don’t know who will emerge to lead the revolution in morals. But if one is looking for that leadership to come from within the scientific community, I fear they will be waiting for a very, very long time.

          1. David Lentini

            Very good points, I’m afraid. Have you read Julien Benda’s La Trahison des Clercs? Benda’s book was about the development of self-interest among 19th and 20th Century French and German intellectuals. Benda argued that intellectuals had previously sought to balance power with morality.

            As to who can hold these people accountable, I like to think that can be done by a society that demands high moral standards from all its members. We have to stop giving free rides to the rich and the intellectuals. In a democracy, the voting public should have the power to elect members who can enforce basic moral standards of conduct.

  3. Ed

    Re: Bush was a disaster, but… I used to have a hard time listening to a GWB speech, as in an emotional reaction of disbelief and exasperation. But I literally have to run from the room when Obama starts talking. That makes rational analysis impossible. So, thanks for this article, cause GW did the heavy lifting which my brain just rebels at where Obama is concerned.

    1. reticule

      This admin is more extreme than Bush, Washington’s right, but the world is keeping its eye on the ball. With

      – a suit in the UK courts against the extrajudicial killers of Malik Daud Khan;
      – a score of CIA staff fleeing Italian torture convictions;
      – Pakistan’s diplomatic initiative against CIA aggression and summary execution;
      – the combined scrutiny of
      .. the Committee Against Torture,
      ..the Human Rights Committee,
      .. the Committee on the Rights of the Child,
      .. the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions,
      .. the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism;

      John Brennan is giving off a pronounced Treblinka stench. So naturally the Covert Service Wurlitzer jumped on Ben Emmerson’s kind words about Brennan. Emmerson is the good cop. Did they really think there wasn’t any bad cop? (Victim’s rights. Bad news for criminals.)

      So. US state criminality out of control; great-power confrontation; Nuclear weapons; admonitory UN measures in the works. Kind of reminds you of 1974, but with Iskanders! (Lemme think, Whose head rolled in ’74? …Ah, it’ll come to me.) The CIA skated that time, I remember that. The government of our government escaped intact.

      This time, when Brennan’s stuck out there as cognizant authority for torture and summary execution, he will be the perfect bad apple to single out for crimes of concern to the international community. Emmerson teed him up for the world. They’re not going to waste time with our elected puppet rulers – they want the guys in control, the CIA.

      1. notBevbutsoundslikeher

        The Catholic Church has a few folks breathing down their necks as well:

        Diplomatic Note was issued to Vatican just prior to his resignation
        New Pope and Catholic clergy face indictment and arrest as “Easter Reclamation” plan continues
        A Global Media Release and Statement from The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State

        Short and to the point:

        “Tarcisio Bertone is about as institutional as you can get, and represents the old Italian crowd of the Curia and are part of the Mafia/Mob-ItalianGovernment-Papal/Vatican clique that run the country and the Roman Catholic Church”

        1. psychohistorian

          And now Bill Maher is reported to have said on TV,

          “I think there’s a misconception here. I think people think the Republican Party has gone off the rails because of these social conservative issues and that may be true …but, you know, the Republican Party was always an uneasy marriage between the Jesus freaks and the plutocrats.”

          I have long argued that this is a devils pact that has existed for centuries now and is maybe finally failing….one could hope. anyway, it is nice to see more folks pulling back the curtain and telling the public how the world turns.

  4. fresno dan

    Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail Matt Taibbi

    But the Justice Department wasn’t finished handing out Christmas goodies. A little over a week later, Breuer was back in front of the press, giving a cushy deal to another huge international firm, the Swiss bank UBS, which had just admitted to a key role in perhaps the biggest antitrust/price-fixing case in history, the so-called LIBOR scandal, a massive interest-rate­rigging conspiracy involving hundreds of trillions (“trillions,” with a “t”) of dollars in financial products. While two minor players did face charges, Breuer and the Justice Department worried aloud about global stability as they explained why no criminal charges were being filed against the parent company.
    HBSC officials, concerned that there could be some set of circumstances that could force even the corrupt, venal, and lapdog DoJ to prosecute someone for something in the banking industry, communicated through backchannel sources to DoJ officals to barbecue and eat their own childen, put their own pets in blenders and purey them, and than undergo sex change operations. HBSC officals explained that it was worth 0.007 basis points to be sure that all American prosecutors were throughly in the tank, as the uncertainty could stifle bussiness investment, hindering the economy.
    DoJ spokespesons responded, “Whatcha gonna do? Its the market, and prosecuting anyone in banking is unconstitutional now”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Too big to jail?

      Too big to jail?

      You know what the solution is?

      Build bigger prison cells.

      It’s that simple – prison cells are too small. It’s true that your typical All-American bankster is much fatter than his/her predecessors by orders of magnitude. But with MMT, the sky is the limit when it comes to how big you can expand your prison cells. In fact, you can house them on Mars.

  5. Bill

    RE: Meteor Strike

    Anyone here thinking the asteroid hit some of our space junk and spawned that meteor ?

    Or is my timing off ?

    1. Keenan

      The estimated mass of the asteroid is over 150,000 metric tons. Active satellites and assorted space debris, which are quite fragile, would be much less, maximum in the range of 1-2 tons.
      Collision would most likely just shatter or vaporize the smaller object.

  6. Garrett Pace

    LAPD story!

    Funny, not horrifying. My buddy is from Ecuador, obviously Hispanic, and grew up in Southern California. One time as a youth he was riding in a car with some black friends, in the back seat. They were pulled over, and the officer came up to the car and said, “All you ni!@#$% get out of the car.”

    This presented quite a quandry. He thought, “I’m not a ni!@#$%…I suppose he wants me to stay in the car?” He was trying to be perfectly agreeable and compliant, but didn’t know what to do in this situation.

    So he stayed put in the back seat. The officer came back, “Didn’t you hear me! Get out of the car!” Buddy protested, “You only asked for the ni!@#$% !”

    I’m sure you can guess how well it went over. “Oh, lookee here guys, we’ve got a comedian on our hands” or some such. My friend never said whether he got slapped around for being dilatory; probably not. Happily he wasn’t shot either.

    (Maybe it was a CHP story.)

  7. Klassy!

    So, the long ordeal of the Carnival Cruise ship is over. Unlike one talking head who spoke of her “heart going out” to the passengers I had little sympathy for the vacationers who chose to board one of these dirty fuel and sewage spilling, fragile coastline destroying vessels. Hope the whole industry goes down in fact– or at least they should have to rely on the country in which they’re registered to rescue them. (My apologies to the Nation, I’m sure your cruise expells only the purest of filtered water and a little quinoa).
    But what really galls me is that we’re coming up on 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion (think we’ll pull out all the stops to commemorate this event as we did 9/11?)and today so many Iraqis share the living conditions with these cruise passengers except for them it is not a temporary condition.
    In Glenn Greenwald’s column today he highlighted a passage from another writer:
    The world’s biggest single problem is the failure of people or groups to look at things from the point of view of other people or groups – i.e. to put themselves in the shoes of ‘the other’. I’m not talking about empathy in the sense of literally sharing people’s emotions – feeling their pain, etc. I’m just talking about the ability to comprehend and appreciate the perspective of the other.
    I’ll have to admit here when they talk of death by drone it is still some sort of abstraction for me. But, when a donutcopter flies low, or I suffer a days long power outage during the hottest days of the summer I can better understand at least a little what we do in the rest of the world. How can we have such sympathy for these cruise passengers and such little regard for those whose similar fate was not freely chosen?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Four times, I saw someone got pulled over on my short (10 min drive) drive home from work yesterday afternoon. Years ago, I never noticed any. Since 2007, it’s been one every day on the way to work and on the way home.

      Maybe it helps to restore that sense of omnipotent ‘I am in charege here’ again by doing this, I dunno.

      1. Klassy!

        Beef, I think you meant this comment for the previous post? Maybe we should just use generic replies that work for every comment. May I suggest “everything sucks”?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          My fault. I got lost in trying to reply to the correct comment and I refused to ask directions.

    2. jrs

      It’s almost certainly greener than flying though. I take it you never board a plane either. Well that is principled and consistent.

      1. Klassy!

        I decided not to fly for vacations a while ago and have not been on a plane in years.
        But how do most people get to their port of departure?

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Klassy!, thanks for pointing out the misplaced reply and I actually read your thoughtful comment this time.

      I think the answer to your question is that we tend to response to what we can see or hear. For passive receptors, we response to what is presented to, whether it is from the MSM or the links. For the active receptors, they will post links on their own here.

      Let’s face it, we are all biased in one way or another and that’s why we need to actively post links here or actively ask our own questions; otherwise, free speech and free thinking can be easily co-opted, not just by the subjects chosen for discussion but the timing.

      One example would be if they choose not to talk about corruiption today, but in 20 years, they can say they have not supressed people in talking about it.

      So, what is talked about at any moment is not random.

      Today maybe they want to talk about abortion. Why today? Who benefits? All debates depend on good example and what example(s) are current to advance or deter that?

      SO, we have to be active in seeking our own answers to questions we pose ourselves.

      And post your own links

      Remember Newton’s Third lives!

      For action, there is a reaction.

      The reason we can walk, either forward or back, left or right, is because we push against the ground and the ground pushes us back. If the ground does not push back, we don’t advance. We are stagnant. Flying is the same – you push air and it pushes back. Like the song says, if birds do it, if bees do it, if fleas do it, we all do it.

      The same with ideas. If there is not even a counter-argument, an idea is stagnant.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By the way, you are a great example of asking your own questions that very few are asking.

        It’s the same with TV-watching. Most people just watching what is avaiable in 400 channels every night. These are liable to be brain washed.

        Active watchers decide what to watch, either because they want to learn something or are seeking some answers, and get the relevant videos from the library.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not like I am immune but when they want you to talk about meteorites, it’s time to move on to something else.

          I just to remind myself to do it often.

      2. Klassy!

        Yes, I guess when I watch the news as presented on tv more and more I find myself asking “what are they up to? Why are they talking about this.” It is hard to remember a time when I did not do this although that wasn’t really too long ago.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        I’ve seen nothing so far to indicate that the meteor/asteroid watchers were aware of whatever this was before the strike. Has anyone else seen anything?

        1. Keenan

          The Russian Academy of Sciences estimated that the meteor —called KEF-2013 — had a mass of 10 tons and the air burst occurred at an altitude between 30–50 km (19–31 mi) above the ground.

          When such objects are not previously observed in space they are given an identifier tag after manifesting themselves by the spectacle it produced. Similar in size to the great 1972 fireball observed in the western US, except that one skipped out of the atmosphere:

          According to the preliminary estimation of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, the meteor was moving along a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/s.

          Though occurring about 15 hours prior to the known near-miss of asteroid 2012 DA14, astronomers have concluded that the two events are unrelated.

          1. Jagger

            Thank goodness it did’t go off over the US. If Bush/Cheney were still around, we would have probably already incinerated Iran by now. Can’t let a chance like that go by without taking advantage.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Too much worshipping of Dubya. Other presidents are just as capable of protecting us.

            It’s more likely that North Korea strikes Japan had it occurred somwehere in the northwestern part of the Pacific, or ROC could have easily invaded Kyushu over a more southerly meteor landing.

  8. frosty zoom

    “Oh, and if party affiliation is so hard wired, then tell me how, for instance, Churchill switched parties twice.”

    it’s different if you’re a politician, especially a soulless one like churchill.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have to remember the brain is quite plastic.

      And that’s why it’s better we let our brains make love, not war.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s why is more sanitary to be cheek-kissing than hand-shaking.

          You never know where someone’s hands have been a short while ago, whereas you are more certain the face is less a wanderer.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Trouble in the marble corridors of Congress, comrades:

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers’ jobs.

    “I don’t think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I think it’s necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded.”

    Pelosi, whose husband is a wealthy real-estate developer, was quick to note that a cut in her own pay would be far less significant than that for both staffers and less wealthy members of Congress.

    “It’s a hard question to ask me because most of my colleagues are the breadwinners in their families,” she said. “A pay cut to me doesn’t mean as much.”

    The Hill fails to provide any figures. But a little research discloses that a pending 8.2% cut in Congressional salaries (if a sequester should take effect) temporarily would reduce a Representative’s monthly pay from $14,500 to $13,311.

    Can anyone spare some cat food to help a hungry Congressperson?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Paying them more would be one way to stimulate the economy.

      And the theory doens’t get too involved in choosing one way over another. So, it’s likely this would be given due consideration.

    2. Laughing_Fascist

      The Congress critters are prohibited from receiving outside earned income. Many could leave congress and most would land higher paying jobs after the two year waiting period. So their pay shouldn’t really be an issue.

      Unfortunately, the public (peasants?)will get extremely riled up over this while completely missing the bus that left Washington loaded with $trillions for delivery to Wallstreet and laws designed to permanently undermine the peasants standard of living.

      Maybe some critter can propose a law to limit the size of gun clips. That will really distract the peasants and give ’em somkething to fight over. Oh wait…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You have a good good point that they are people too.

        It would help when they run for office to say ‘I am doing this to support my family’ (absolutely no shame in that) in addition to ‘I am doing this to serve my country.’

      2. Jim Haygood

        ‘Missing the bus,’ indeed. Today John Kerry detailed the heartbreaking consequences of letting this sequester occur:

        The State Department will have to … cut foreign assistance to Israel … if sequestration goes into effect next month, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.

        Here are some specific cuts that Kerry said would be necessary: $300 million cut from foreign military financing accounts, which could result in cuts to assistance to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.

        You can bet I’m gonna be phoning 1-888-I-LUV-IDF just as soon as I finish typing this, to urge Congress to keep our tax dollars flowing to Israel’s military and the Muslim Brotherhood in undiminished quantities.

        Operators are standing by …

  10. Laughing_Fascist

    I am astounded by the coincidence of this meteor and today’s anticipated fly by of 2012DA14 that is expected to miss Earth by 25,000 kilometers. The solar system is a big, big place and this sort of coincidence is unusual to put it mildly.

    1. ohmyheck

      Yes, VERY coincidental. I found this, this morning, which in the last part, wonders if our globe has entered a meteor “hot spot” in our corner of the universe.

      “If we plot a graph of the most spectacular fireball incidents over time,the graph rises sharply starting October 2012 and is still rising steeply upwards. How long before this meteor wave peaks? And is the biggest space rock of the 2012 meteor wave yet to come? Asteroid 2012 DA14will skim Earth on 15 February 2013 with a low risk of impact, and thereare plenty more like it still undiscovered.”

      Lots of data in the link:

      I think when scientists claim it is a coincidence, they are just saving face over the fact that they didn’t see it, or most of them, coming. I don’t see “science” as omniscient anyway, so I see no reason to save face, but that’s me.

      1. craazyman

        what if next time it turned out to be an old refrigerator knocked loose from another planet? that would really be weird.

        1. Emperor Wang of Market Mongo

          We re-cycle all our refrigerators on Market Mongo, so it wasn’t us.

          But I did get a memo from public relations over at Mongopoly,Inc stating that one of their orbiting football fields has gone missing and has anyone seen it? Seems a fracking misshap ignited gas and blew the sports-resource complex out of orbit.

          They would like it returned, in good shape, if possible.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Airline merger.


    I think the trend is toward personal flying devices, like the one-passenger drones. The key is widespread adoption by consumers, just like any techological invention.

  12. JGordon

    Red brain vs. Blue brain?

    In other words Republicans and Democrats may both be complete idiots who can’t think for themselves, but they are idiots in different ways. Well, that sure is comforting.

  13. JGordon

    On Gun hysteria and the expanding police state:

    “African American politicians and activists implored President Obama and others in authority to “do something” about gun violence in inner cities. Be careful what you ask for. The current gun hysteria will serve as an excuse to expand the police state, through a new wave of “mandatory minimum sentences and adoption of New York-type stop-and-frisk policies.”

    Thank you Glen Ford. Black Adenda Report is one of my favorite site to go to, and it’s good to see that NC has finally linked to one of your great articles. And it’s also good to see that the people at NC are finally starting to realize that all this hysteria about guns is really about expanding the power and scope of the police state and has nothing to do with protecting people.

    1. JGordon

      Dr. Paul Craig Roberts sums it up:

      “Today Americans are not safe from government or private power and suffer at the hands of both.

      What can be done? From within probably very little. The right blames the left, and the left blames the right. The two sides are locked in ideological combat while power grows in the private and public sectors, but not the benevolent power that the two ideologies suppose. Instead, a two-headed power monster has risen.

      If the power that has been established over the American people is to be shattered, it will come from outside.”

      That’s right–the solution will come from the outside. Wasting time railing at the corrupt system is the wrong way to go about things even if it is entertaining.

      1. Georgann

        Thinking about my Dorner rant, I am reminded of a terrific speech I heard years ago at an ERIS society meeting in Aspen.

        The fellow was from Jews for the Protection of Fire Arms – never heard of it before the Aspen speech. But his words have stayed with me for years. He said when revolution comes to America, it will be those on the margins, with nothing left to lose. Government needs to fear those with nothing left to lose… so when the SHTF… most Americans will root for the vigilantes from the comfort of their homes… quietly hoping the bank robbers get away.. the judicial assassins succeed… but we won’t lift a finger to help them.

        We all scream and holler, stomp and complain, but Heroes like Chris Dorner will give their lives – die in shoot outs with corrupt para military types – and we will ultimately benefit from their sacrifice.. should enough men stand up to the many tyrannies of our out of control governors.

        I wasn’t glued to the TV, but I was sure hoping Dorner would escape…. so we’re not there yet. Too many of us ‘have too much to lose’ … as the speaker said.. to risk opining on the state of our misery.

        I’m not frightened to speak or support the anarchists … but I’m impatient… and too old and cowardly to make a difference myself.

        waiting…. waiting….

        1. JGordon

          Oh don’t worry. Missing a meals for a few days has a tendency to radically change people’s attitudes. Soon, when only the 1% and their cronies can afford to eat, things are going to change. Fast. Till then, bide your time, stock up on solar panels and ammo, and learn how to grow food.

      1. Propertius

        Yet gun deaths have dropped steadily over the past few decades, while gun ownership has increased. The homicide rate in the US is less than half what it was when Reagan was inaugurated.

        I guess that’s why it’s “hysteria”, right?

  14. Hugh

    Carter deregulated the airlines in 1978. It was supposed to usher in competition, low rates, more routes, and better service. Much as with the breakup of Ma Bell, there was a period where some of this almost seemed to happen, but it didn’t last. Now we have re-consolidation with none of the protections of regulation, none of the supposed benefits of deregulation, and oh yes, another cost, greatly weakened unions, and so fewer workers’ rights.

  15. lakewoebegoner

    quelle surprise—raising taxes on the non-rich is like killing the plankton in the ocean.

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News.

    “In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

    1. different clue

      That’s how Obama would like people to see it. Blame the restoration of FICA taxes to prior rates and maybe enough people will call for permanent FICA tax holiday now, not realizing that this advances the BS Obama Catfood Conspiracy to cut Social Security later.

    2. Maximilien

      Or…..maybe people are finally wising up to the fact that Wal-Mart sells JUNK.

      I’ve returned two items in the past month because they literally fell apart. I didn’t save my receipts (who expects an item of apparel to disintegrate almost immediately?) so all Wal-Mart would do was give me one of their gift certificates—so I could buy more JUNK.

      Their merchandise has gone beyond the point of shoddiness. It’s now a rip-off, a fraud. And it’s being foisted on unsuspecting, low-income people the world over.

      I’ll shop second-hand from now on. Thanks Wal-Mart. And I hope your sales continue to decline—as they should if there’s justice in this world.

  16. Propertius

    By contrast, United Air is awful and dishonest.

    Which is why their Million Mile fliers are suing them for pulling their promised “lifetime” benefits – and those who purchased “lifetime” Silver Wings memberships probably won’t be far behind.

    Ghastly airline. Simply ghastly.

  17. diane

    New radioactive waste leak found in tank at Hanford nuclear site

    Anyone unfamiliar with Hanford (and it’s certainly been deliberately obscured by the powers that be) might want to read this March 24, 2011 piece, by Marc Pitzke, which was published about two weeks after the Fukushima disaster:

    America’s Atomic Time Bomb: Hanford Nuclear Waste Still Poses Serious Risks

    “The disaster at Fukushima has raised questions around the world about nuclear safety. But contamination is much worse in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The former plutonium plant in Hanford, Washington is one of the most contaminated places on earth, and still decades from being cleaned up.”

  18. Doug Terpstra

    Greg Palast’s article on the Kochs reaming the country with the XL Pipeline is a horror story of neo-fascist rape — plutocrats seizing the US government and running it as a criminal enterprise with politicians as captured minions, bag men “enforcers”, and killers. The US government all, the way to the top, is now a violent organized crime syndicate, worse than the notorious Mafia, and quite illegitimate by any reasonable measure.

    These plutocrats, including the Wall Street’s MOTU, are quite beyond accountability, every bit as vile as 18th Century aristocrats, and Washington’s politicians, including the hit man POTUS, are their whores on retainer. I’m honestly surprised there has been no vigilantism that we know of.

    1. Lidia

      Tim Griffin is one of the political placeholder hack AGs foisted on us by Gonzales during his illegal “purge of the too-competent.”

  19. AndyLynn

    i’ve adopted a new acronym in my life: FID (Functionally Immoral Degenerate), and a new core assumption – that virtually everyone beyond a TBD pay-grade in the US .GOV and .COM is either a FID, a FID-enabler or a victim of FID’s. and that it’s 1931 in America – the control fraud & corruption across so many sectors has become endemic & untreatable. dare we hope that Canada will be safe for at least a few more years? (sadly – there are simply *too* many nominees for the milk cartons.)

  20. Herman Sniffles

    The pornography industry in the US is an order of magnitude larger than the prostitution industry in Thailand. I have many Thai friends, and what they tell me is that the scorn for prostitutes is not about what they do for a living, it’s about how they act. The girls tend to stand at the edge of the open-air bars and yell and cat-call at passers by. This is the behavior that really offends middle class Thais, not what follows. According the the Cambridge History of Southeast Asia (volume 2, I think) it has been a sort of tradition in the region since the 1700’s for Western male visitors to hook up with Asian women in a sort of symbiotic relationship in which the woman helps the man in business, trade, import-export, and become a sort of consort. The men in turn help out the woman and her family financially. Then the Vietnam war sort of institutionalized the practice. One time I was in a computer cafe in Chiang Mai, and I noticed the women sitting next to me had a dozen or so handwritten letters spread out next to her keyboard. I sereptitiously read a couple of them that were in English. They were love letters from Western men. She was writing them all emails asking them to send her money.

  21. Herman Sniffles

    I spent a month last year wondering around Cambodia on buses. What I heard from the locals without exception is that the new leader is an unmidigated crook who couldn’t care less about the Cambodian people and is selling all their resources to foreigners, and making himself extremely wealthy in the process. Cambodians are wonderful people from my experience. They deserve better than this after what they’ve been through.

  22. Herman Sniffles

    Correction: The US pornography industry is larger than the entire Thai economy. And we cast aspersions on them??

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