Links 2/3/13

Bank of America is still eating my life…

Maisto Fresh Metal Tailwinds 1:97 Scale Die Cast United States Military Aircraft – US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator with Display Stand (Dimension: 6″ x 3-1/2″ x 1″) Amazon (Richard Smith). You must must must read the reviews. I went to the one stars. A treasure trove.

Jocks Beat Bookworms On Brain Test Science Daily (Chuck L). Junk study. I can’t believe people get funding for stuff like this.

Today’s Front Pages: 780 front pages from 81 countries Newseum (furzy mouse). This by contrast is completely cool.

Power and the Internet Bruce Schneier

Uninvited From TEDx Manhattan: An Open Letter The BLK Project (Lambert). Quelle surprise! The culturally non-white are not welcome at TED. Oh, and TED apologized but did not reverse its decision. Tacky and telling.

Can a Small Community Throw a Monkey Wrench Into the Global Fracking Machine? Alternet (furzy mouse)

As Self-Immolations Near 100, Tibetans Question the Effect New York Times

The Monroe Doctrine Turned on Its Head? Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Italian court investigates derivatives at five banks Reuters (Richard Smith)

Mis-selling scandal: banks let off the hook Independent (Chuck L)

White House releases photo of Obama shooting gun at Camp David Guardian. I’ve never seen skeet guns, just real rifles. My God, these are silly! Really big to shoot clay pigeons???? You can see the all the manhood issues at work…I grew up in a household with guns, where their sole purpose was to kill things for the purpose of eating them. Later that was relaxed when my father took up trapping (yes, how utterly redneck) at the behest of a friend who had a sheep farm and was losing too many lambs to varmints. So my father took to trapping and caught mainly coyotes (he used only humane traps, BTW) although he also got a silver fox (a big deal if you are a trapper) and a Rottweiler (which was very grateful when he set her loose).

Deep Military Cuts Begin as Congress Dawdles Military (furzy mouse)

US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans Guardian

Alabama bunker standoff leaves town baffled Los Angeles Times

New York Sued Over Arrest And Interrogation Of Seven-Year-Old Boy Over Missing $5 Bill At School Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

More than 40% of Americans are one crisis and less than 90 days from poverty Daily Kos (Carol B). The “one crisis” understates the situation. More than 40% of Americans would last less than 3 months if they suddenly lost their income.

Half-Full Glasses Mark Thoma. One of my buddies, by contrast, says, “Things always look darkest before they go completely black.

Ezra Klein Strikes Out Big on Immigration and Demographics Dean Baker

Banks, at Least, Had a Friend in Geithner Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Few Convictions After Crash, Even Here New York Times. Now Iceland is being used as an excuse for America. Help me. I suspect Michael Hudson could address this.

FDIC Sues Bank Directors: What’s Wrong with this Picture? John Lounsbury

Dozens suspended in Harvard University cheat scandal

Welcome to Galt’s Gulch Chile! (furzy mouse)

Letters to Vogue: ‘Come, Come, Nuclear Bombs’ Et tu, Mr. Destructo? Go look at the pix. Yes, the house has nice bones, as they say in the trade, but it looks like a fashion victim. It’s pretty bad when you yearn for the days when the rich had better taste.

Antidote du jour (martha r):

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  1. dearieme

    ‘Smith called the scale of the cheating incident ”unprecedented”’: really? Has any Kennedy gone through there without cheating? Maybe Bobby was clever enough not to bother with cheating?

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Really big to shoot clay pigeons????’

      Shotguns are used for clay pigeons. Because the bore must accommodate a group of pellets, it tends to be bigger than a rifle.

      For instance, the popular 12-gauge shotgun has a bore diameter of 0.729″ — more than three times that of a .22 rifle. So a shotgun looks and is big.

      ‘Manhood issues’ — this is not a monster truck thing; the large bore is functional.

      Short-barreled shotguns are easier to handle, but the National Firearms Act of 1934 made them illegal for being easier to conceal. Femininity issues?

      1. Hypothetical_Taxpayer

        Yeah mon. And they say you can’t hit anything with a snub nosed .38 unless you’re really, really close up!

      2. rbm411

        “I’ve never seen skeet guns, just real rifles. My God, these are silly! Really big to shoot clay pigeons???? You can see the all the manhood issues at work…I grew up in a household with guns”

        The person that wrote this statement appears to know very little about guns.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The guns in our household were kept under lock and key at all times. I have no interest in them, since I consider the only proper uses of guns for ordinary citizens to be to hunt for food consumption (I have mixed feelings about trapping, but I suppose getting rid of predators if you have a farm is OK too). So I have no investment in “proving” that I know about guns. But upon further inspection, the shotguns listed on the Web as popular for shooting turkey and duck all have smaller stocks than on the honker Obama was using.

          As for skeet shooting, even though there are women who shoot skeet, who are we kidding? This is a sport that has overwhelmingly male participants. And the fact that women can be good skeet shooters says this is not primarily due to physical issues (unlike, say, football, where women’s size and muscle mass puts them at a hopeless disadvantage). Go read accounts by men who had never shot skeet who got rounded up to go to company events to shoot skeet (Frank Partnoy’s FIASCO is a classic, including that he was very much relieved when a woman was a worse shot than he was). They present it as all about proving their manhood. Now I have no doubt most outings are more restrained than an event populated by Wall Street traders and salesmen. Nevertheless, if men who have been there depict it as an exercise in proving their masculinity (or perhaps its more respectable cousin, male bonding), who I am to second guess them?

          1. Glen

            Funny, my wife was raised in the middle of nowhere in Montana, and her views on the proper uses of firearms exactly jibe with yours. We do have hunting rifles in the house, but no pistols, assault rifles, etc. These are not very useful for hunting, but very good for killing people.

            I wouldn’t mind having a pistol, but don’t see any good reason except to have another toy.

          2. skippy

            The problem with pistols – hand guns is the short barrel.

            It takes only a slight bit of directional input and the trajectory is altered significantly, this is exacerbated by recoil after the first shot.

            Hell… in my book, if you can’t hit your target with reasonable accuracy with the first shot (95+% or just a hair off), your a danger to others and as stated above the problem compounds with every shoot.

            Why these things are sold with out – firstly – showing – reasonable knowledge and skill levels is beyond critical thinking’s application.

            PS. Dead Seal should have known better… that’s what – happens – when you get *full of your self*…

            Skippy… Every time some one shoots a pistol for the first time… the others watching… wait for the classic… pistol head smack.

      3. J P

        Very simply, a shotgun is not a rifle. They are both guns but a rifle is not a shotgun either.

        “I have never seen skeet guns before.”

        Shotguns are used for skeet. They are typically 12 and 20 guage shotguns. Yves statement, is comparable to saying I’ve never seen a truck before “I’ve only seen real cars.” Look at those flatbeds, what could they possibly need all that space for? To haul around widgets?

        “You can see all the manhood issues at work”.

        Yves plays armchair psychologist and enters into macho posturing about her family’s “real guns” and using those guns to kill animals rather than for sporting purposes.

        I will leave it to a psychologist to reveal what Yves macho posturing says about gender issues and manhood v. womanhood issues. I hope that the financial sector will remedy its past discriminatory conduct. Women of equal ability deserve equal pay and equal status as men. It would be a shame if women felt they needed to act a particular way to fit in with the culture of a group that discriminates against women.

        The guns in skeet, trap, and sporting clays shooting are like golf clubs to their owners, they are just the tools best designed to hit the target. Various chokes may adjust a shotgun to suit a particular distance and shot pattern, like a golfer will take a particular club to make a shot at a particular distance. The length of the barrel will also affect the distribution of shot and the shot pattern.

        A “sawed off” or short barrelled shotgun which may be seen in movies as a “cool” weapon does not have the accuracy outside of a few yards that the longer barreled skeet, trap, and sporting clays models do.

        Many people enjoy shooting clay targets that do not like to hunt and would rather avoid killing animals. For many it is a substitute for hunting.

        There are surveys and studies done that indicate shooting sports are more popular in the U.S. than golf or tennis combined. Attacking shooting sports cannot be a good way to widen your audience and is sure to alienate a few.

        Please avoid this mistake in the future and avoid hastily drawn conclusions and ad hominem attack on a class of people that you had evidently never spent any time around, many of whom are very nice people without any manhood issues whatsoever.

        Keep up the excellent work on the rest of your blog.
        I would like to continue to be able to donate to this website, link to it, and support its mission in my own way and plan to.

        1. Zachary Smith

          Considering this is the first REALLY crazy stuff I’ve seen posted here, perhaps we ought to cut her some slack.

          Properly managed target shooting – at immobile and moving targets alike – is about as harmless a pastime as there is.

          After experiencing traumatic events like war, many people no longer wish to participate in killing of any kind. Shifting to my own experience, I’ve found that as I’ve grown older the desire to do any hunting of any kind has just evaporated. It must be over thirty years I’ve shot at any living thing.

        2. g

          good comment.. however, to say that there aren’t ‘manhood’ issues involved is disingenuous bordering on delusional(larger context-yes, her comments seem reactionary-BUT, why else would the WH release these photos to placate/mock? the ‘challenged’…?) i think skeet shooting is ‘fun’ myself, but, much like ‘shooting’ in general, ultimately futile-its constructive of a comic-book type world… i’d rather play guitar or piano… but i understand poking stuff is ingrained male behavior!(sublimation)
          actually shooting animals is fucking easy(with a firearm-not a bow) but that supply of game won’t hold out when the pop. is compelled/starving(zombie apocalypse/worst case scenario)

          1. Zachary Smith

            *** BUT, why else would the WH release these photos to placate/mock? the ‘challenged’…?) ***

            If you want my opinion, Obama is contemptuous of EVERYONE not in the top 1%. As for the motive for releasing this photograph, I’d wager it’s an attempt to suck up to the gun nuts.

            I’m no skeet shooter, but a person can tell at a glance he’s not either. But he lies about everything else, so why not about his love for shotgun shooting too?

        3. lambert strether

          I’ve been threatened (“I would like to continue to be able to donate”) by loss of donations by gun advocates too. Just part of gun culture, I guess. [Adding] On the par with the NRA getting a law passed forbidding funding for studies of guns and public health externalties.

      4. BondsOfSteel


        The size of the gun is based on it’s type, and not manhood thing. Actually, the best skeet shooter of our generation is a woman:

        One other interesting fact… Biden has been pushing shotguns over assult rifes for home defense in the argument for an assult weapon ban. Shotguns shorter ranger and multiple shots make them very effective indoors. Even the military uses them for close combat situations.

    2. Thor's Hammer

      There are two interpretation of “Skeetgate” that are consistent with the facts:

      1- President Obama though it would be fun to try skeet shooting while on retreat. The first time he attempted to fire the shotgun he placed the barrel against his shoulder, but wasn’t able to reach the trigger. Thinking about their job security, the Secret Service agents suggested that he turn the gun around the other way.

      Since then he has engaged in skeet shooting “lots of times”, holding the gun just as shown in the photograph. Each time his shoulder becomes so bruised that he is unable to sign a bill or make love to Michelle for a week, but he persists because he really needs a little pain to ease his guilt feelings.

      If you are like me and believe that nobody could be stupid enough to hold and shoot a gun like that twice, there is another explanation that is consistent with known facts.

      2- Obama will say anything if he thinks it will buy a few more votes. After bragging about his skeet shooting prowess in an attempt to defuse opposition from the NRA— having never fired a shotgun in his life— he needed photographic evidence. Fabricating reality is nothing new, he does it all the time.

      The logical solution was for Obama to order the Deception Division of the CIA to create a photo of him shooting harmless clay birds. Unfortunately the CIA chose the same team that managed the public information releases for the Osama Bin Laden double. That is the same team that has released digital images of a Bin Laden growing a wider nose, becoming more muscular in the neck, growing more and darker hair, and generally becoming a younger man since his death from kidney failure in December of 2001.

      Since the American public is so brainwashed concerning the 911 Attack On America that they would accept a poodle dressed up with a scrawny beard as the true Osama Bin Satan, the Deception Division didn’t really have to bother about refining their Photoshopping skills. Who can blame them for getting cocky after pulling off the Concrete Boots caper for disposing of the body of the double with nary a murmurer of doubt from the Sheeple?

      However, when this same team of incompetents constructed a photo of Obama holding a shotgun in such a way as to guarantee shoulder damage, they face a more discriminating American public. Millions of Americans go to the gun range every week, and they know what a bruised shoulder feels like. This same group of Americans hate the Kenyan-born phony who the socialist gay commies placed on top of the presidential heap. And they are not going to be fooled by by this bit of propaganda.

  2. jjmacjohnson

    Skeet is great practice for duck and pheasant hunting. Have to be quick on the trigger when they fly up fast.

    1. dale pues

      I never really understood how skeet shooting helped one’s accuracy in shooting live birds. The clay pigeon is slowing from the moment of its launch, while the pheasant or quail or dove is accelerating.

  3. diptherio

    Re: Obama’s Skeet Shooting

    “We do skeet shooting all the time”~BO

    I wonder if they ever “do” basketball for a change? Almost, but not quite, worthy of his predecessor.

  4. diptherio

    One crisis and 90 days from poverty? Lucky SOBs. Some of us live here all the time…

    Seriously though, you have to be living in a cave (or at least in the upper-middle/upper classes) to find this surprising.

    1. Ron

      “40% of Americans would last less than 3 months if they suddenly lost their income.”

      What if our food distribution system failed? What percentage of the population would starve within a week? While the emphasis on American life is money the reality is that our fragile food distribution from source to consumer could quickly breakdown causing widespread social disruption.

    2. Lyle

      On the one crisis and 90 days, when was it ever not thus? I suspect that most people in history have been that way. Living on a farm before the 1930s it was one bad harvest (which was a crisis) away. So what is different now?
      Of course we built an economy based on spend spend spend, if people saved more the economy would tank. The emergency fund idea has been being preached forever and is never adopted.

      1. Ron

        I grew up on a family farm in Washington State and we were never 90 days away from a food crisis much less a few days which 99% of Americans today face if the food distribution system fails. The grocery shelves are basically what is available to 340 million Americans so ask yourself how long you and your family could survive with store shelves empty.

  5. diptherio

    Re: TEDx

    More support for my opinion that TED is just where yuppies go to feel good about themselves, while ensuring that nothing of import actually occurs.

    Perhaps Occupy-types should start our own version of TED, with admission on a sliding scale and talks that lead to direct actions (as compared to more talks).

    1. invient

      RSA is somewhat like a TED for unconventional people in various fields…

      Type RSA Animate in google.

    2. Ron

      Nothing wrong with TED the fact that certain folks feel it does not reflect a wide enough trough of thinking or political spectrum don’t have to visit the site.

  6. craazyman

    Ummm. Skeet guns are shotguns. For a reason. ;)

    Can you imagine trying to hit a flying skeet with a rifle shot?

    It would be next to impossible, even for Daniel Boone.

    And not only that, a rifle bullet (unlike the blast of shot, which expands in radius with distance and falls to the ground like rain) would travel into the next county 5 miles away and maybe hit somebody. Some family 5 miles away would have their house peppered with bullets from the skeet range, that is if Mom didn’t take one in the hip carrying groceries from the car.

    1. subgenius

      The dude who taught me to shoot clays practised with a restocked unsighted .22 air rifle.

      He shot at the Olympics back in the eighties…. Tho not with an air rifle…

    2. Zachary Smith

      *** Can you imagine trying to hit a flying skeet with a rifle shot? ***

      I can’t, but there have been people who would found it to be a trivial task. Take a look at the Exhibition Shooting wiki for some amazing examples.

      But your point about shooting rifles in the air is well taken. That’s just not something you do!

      1. craazyman

        I used to shoot 0.22 caliber in target shooting competitions and won many medals (this was as a kid, I’m no military-quality sharp shooter).

        I can imagine some folks could hit a flying skeet with a .22, but the average weekender hobbyist — no way in hell.

        And yes, the bullets will travel up to 2 miles or so. Higher caliber can travel up to 4 or 5 miles. If there’s empty country down range, no problem, but if there’s homes or settlements it would be more than irresponsible. It would probably be against the law, for good reason,.

    3. evodevo

      Sorry. When I was 12 that was the standard way to do it – use .22 shorts in a single shot rifle. Small diameter skeet targets, too. Got pretty good at it, and then my eyesight went. Oh, well. This was in Ky in the late 50’s.

      1. craazyman

        Holy Smokes you guys were good shots!

        Kentucky is where Daniel Boone lived, I think. And didn’t Jed Clampett live there too? :) maybe that explains it.

        I think Jed could hit a running skunk at 200 yards with a black powder flintlock. That was before he moved to Beverly Hills. I don’t think Jethro was as good as Jed though, he spent too much time cruising for chicks to get good at riflery.

    1. AbyNormal

      “[Economics] is all about observing the world with genuine curiosity and admitting that it is full of mysteries”
      Armchair Economics: Economics & Everyday Life
      S.E. Landsburg

      1. Expat

        Economics is reality-based? Rather, economics is what happens to theology when you worship Mammon and Baal.

        1. different clue

          Mr. (First Name?) Brower of the Sierra Club once said: “Economics is a form of brain damage.”
          One of my father’s friends was an economic analyst with the TVA. He said once in a private conversation: “Economics is ultimately a branch of Moral Philosophy.”
          Does most economics float around somewhere between those two poles? How sad that so little economics bears any relationship or gives even the passing nod to a third pole which we might call “eco-biophysical reality”. Some does, or at least tries to. Frederick Soddy, Herman Daly, the “Ecological Economists”, the “Raw Materials Economists” some of whom cluster up at The National Organization For Raw Materials ( and can be found at NORM’s googleable website).

    2. Brindle

      This review of the Predator Drone toy model was clever and on the money:
      Reviewer—“Lost In The Cosmos”

      —“I’m an Air Force veteran from the inter-Iraq-wars period, and deployed to Saudi Arabia as aircrew on a Reconnaissance aircraft, part of the overall pre-automated system of Command and Control that’s been twisted into a rein of robotic terror from the sky over Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, with more nations to be added to the list.

      Two branches of our National Security complex use this aircraft, the Air Force overtly in Afghanistan subject to the Laws of War, and the CIA in Pakistan and Yemen subject to the whims of the contractors at the controls.

      It’s the CIA that will bomb a wedding, a funeral, a public gathering of elders, if they think or hope to also kill a targeted militant. And they bomb whoever shows up to rescue the wounded, to the point that the Red Cross and other first responders in Pakistan now wait nine hours before assisting at a drone strike site.

      They also bomb compounds (i.e. a cluster of homes for a traditional extended family) based on patterns of behaviors rather than evidence.

      By comparison the Air Force’s usage of this aircraft is a model of lawfulness and responsibility, but the effect on the civilian populace underneath is equally terrorized and traumatized.

      Truly among the most shameful things done by our government in our name, and so ironic to learn years that the events of 9/11 were a false flag attack. And look for them to show up in the skies over your town sooner rather than later. I’d sooner buy a child a guillotine play set with detachable heads. Boo!!!”—

      1. ohmyheck

        This one (5-star) is representative of most of the comments, and reading all the comments gives me renewed faith that We the People are not as ill-informed as we have previously bemoaned…

        “You’ve had a busy play day – You’ve wiretapped Mom’s cell phone and e-mail without a warrant, you’ve indefinitely detained your little brother Timmy in the linen closet without trial, and you’ve confiscated all the Super-Soakers from the neighborhood children (after all, why does any kid – besides you, of course – even NEED a Super-Soaker for self-defense? A regular water pistol should be enough). What do you do for an encore?

        That’s where the US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator from Maisto comes in. Let’s say that Dad has been labeled a terrorist in secret through your disposition matrix. Rather than just arrest him and go through the hassle of trying and convicting him in a court of law, and having to fool with all those terrorist-loving Constitutional protections, you can just use one of these flying death robots to assassinate him! Remember, due process and oversight are for sissies. Plus, you get the added bonus of taking out potential terrorists before they’ve even done anything – estimates have determined that you can kill up to 49 potential future terrorists of any age for every confirmed terrorist you kill, and with the innovative ‘double-tap’ option, you can even kill a few terrorist first responders, preventing them from committing terrorist acts like helping the wounded and rescuing survivors trapped in the rubble. Don’t let Dad get away with anti-American activities! Show him who’s boss, whether he’s at a wedding, a funeral, or just having his morning coffee. Sow fear and carnage in your wake! Win a Nobel Peace Prize and be declared Time Magazine’s Person of the Year – Twice!

        This goes well with the Maisto Extraordinary Rendition playset, by the way – which gives you all the tools you need to kidnap the family pet and take him for interrogation at a neighbor’s house, where the rules of the Geneva Convention may not apply. Loads of fun!”

        Not only well-informed, but witty as well!

        1. Yonatan

          My favorite review:

          A 3 star comment from “DittoBird”:

          “Is it just me or do an awful lot of these reviews sound like they were written by the same person?”

          As if!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, I alluded to that. He had a pistol for that purpose. Was also useful in committing suicide.

  7. MacCruiskeen

    “Junk study. I can’t believe people get funding for stuff like this. ”

    What is junky about this? It’s a junky title, but the study itself doesn’t seem too bad. All the study is really saying is that elite athleletes–who presumably spend a lot of time training–have good visual perception and ability to track moving objects. This should hardly be surprising. That makes them as smart as my cat. And we know that the average college student is dumb as a sack of rocks. Also, the average person really has very little perception of what is going on around them.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. What does visual tracking have to do with intelligence? This is a perceptual, not a cognitive skill. The results are mislabeled.

      2. One would assume that athletes would have to be good at visual tracking to perform their sport at any level, and be better to be competitive. How are you going to hit a tennis ball or a baseball, or catch a football if you are NOT good at visual tracking? This study didn’t even endeavor to establish causality. All it did was prove an intuitively obvious correlation.

      1. MacCruiskeen

        Cognition is not just intelligence. The brain devotes a fair bit of cortex to visual processing.

  8. Garrett Pace

    Galt’s Gulch? That’s magnificent.

    From the advertisement:

    “Galt’s Gulch Chile will also have other unique amenities which would make John Galt and Ayn Rand proud, such as the professional and innovation center, where residents of Galt’s Gulch can offer their services to their neighbors.”

    I can’t wait to see which I-banker or CEO gets the garbage collecting contract or toilet cleaning contract…

    1. looselyhuman

      That sounds awfully altruistic to me; or perhaps they’re expecting a sufficient quantity of chickens (fed from that magical soil) to remunerate medical professionals for their services to a degree that satisfies the provider’s sense of enlightened self-interest.

      1. jrs

        It would be closer to doable if medical professionals were paid what they are in most of the rest of the world, and not American crazy rates.

    2. Howard Beale IV

      Ah yes-Chile. (cough-CIA assisted overthrow in 1973-cough) Whoever own that domain doesn’t want to be identified.:

      14747 N Northsight Blvd Suite 111, PMB 309
      Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
      United States
      (480) 624-2599

      1. MacCruiskeen

        Yes, that was the question: whois

        That’s the address for Domains by Proxy, the domain privacy service run by GoDaddy. Irony alert: GoDaddy supported SOPA. But I guess if you want to give your name and phone number to an anonymous web site that offers no credible evidence of being able to do what they claim, go right ahead.

      2. nonclassical

        SEPTEMBER 11, 1973, to be specific…Alliende’…victim of Anaconda Copper, CIA disguise…

        used to be video-6 hours…”Bloody September”…bet noone has ever seen it…full
        account of Alliende’ takedown, including vid of him dragged into street by CIA op-gun at head, shot through head…arrow out of sky, naming CIA op…

        video didn’t go the “way” “ARGO” is going, for all the obvious reasons…difficult to do historical revisionism of events filmed in real time…

        1. nonclassical

          …bet “Newseum” goes same “way” as Murdoch-Direct TV channel 360, “International News Network”, vanished 3 years after 911 for showing too much
          truth from other media…

          great site, though…will peruse daily

    3. jrs

      “Galt’s Gulch Chile will also have other unique amenities which would make John Galt and Ayn Rand proud, such as the professional and innovation center, where residents of Galt’s Gulch can offer their services to their neighbors.”

      What are they going to do post their business cards on a cork board? Or is “the professional and innovation center” a mini-mall, complete with a massage parlor, a tanning place, and an optometry office? See that’s the marketplace, but that sparks almost noone’s dreams.

      I think what actually appeals to anyone in the Galt’s Gulch description in AS, is oddly the sense of community. Knowing (and liking) one’s neighbors, wow that’s appealing in the land of mini-malls, strangers, and suburban isolation (if you do know your neighbor it’s probably because you continually have to tell them to turn down their blasting music at 1am). There’s also of course the shared sense of superiority to everyone else, what can usually fall under the banner of tribalism and is utterly not unique and unremarkable since it’s what most ideologies are about these days.

      But yea the sense of community. To actually offer services to your neighbors by some means other than the anonymity of the marketplace, where it’s just a trade with no connection, to offer services to people you know and have some affinity for (doesn’t have to be a deep affinity of course).

      The thing is most of those who really want such a world and would make good on it as well, are on the left not the right, hippies, communitarians, anarchists. Those who pitch tents in public spaces also offered services to their neighbors with their free lectures, and makeshift bookstores, and musical performances of various quality, and medical tents and food sharing.

    1. hunkerdown

      It’s the same phenomenon that led Bill Clinton to denounce marijuana prohibition and Alan Greenspan to denounce the shareholder value movement only *after* they were safely out of position to *do* anything about it: allegiance to class before country.

  9. Ep3

    Re: Obama skeet shooting.

    In regards to your comments yves, in the town I live in, they have a skeet shooting campground, where real competitors travel to compete in the target shooting. Just to let it be known, the guns they use are very expensive shotgun rifles (usually on the order of 12 gauge). Some estimates priced the guns at $5k to $10k each. Each is very well taken care of and very accurate and very powerful.

  10. Cass Sunstein

    “Dykes had always raved about various governmental conspiracies.” Nice work! Very useful for othering and demonizing. Think how much more pejorative it will be now when I apply the conspiracy epithet to protect official impunity! This will come in very handy on the 50th anniversary of the JFK coup d’état. It will also be good for pesky dissidents harping on the extrajudicial killings of prominent dissidents MLK and RFK. Now if some smartass mentions Abdulazzi al-Hiijjii, everyone will think he’s going to flip out and bury little kids in a bunker.

    1. Bev

      Everyone should know before the 50th anniversary because Dallas wants “silence” as their chosen observance of the event.

      from Cowboy:

      January 04, 2013

      Magic Bullet, My Ass!

      by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

      I once spent several hours with a famous witness to the murder of JFK —Rosemary Willis, often called the little girl in the red dress. She is easy to spot in the Zapruder films, running along the south side of Elm street just ahead of her father, Phil Willis. Phil Willis was taking 35mm slide films of the motorcade. Rosemary is seen running ahead and, suddenly, stopping! Rosemary showed me her father’s slides and a double-page center-spread from one of the Willis photos depicting the Grassy Knoll.

      Her father’s photos had appeared in Look Magazine. One of the photos became a double-page spread. Rosemary and I placed the spread on a light table beside the original photo which had only recently been released by the FBI. Interestingly, those photos were seized AFTER Look had published.

      “Do you notice anything unusual’, she asked me.

      I looked again! It hit me like a brick! In the original slide there was NO train visible between the columns of the pergola.

      But the train was CLEARLY visible in the Look magazine spread. Why? Rosemary explained that AFTER Look had published its piece the FBI came calling. They SEIZED all of Willis’ original photos. When she showed those photos to me, they had only recently been released, having been in FBI possession for years. The FBI –playing the role of ‘Big Bro’ –did not want people to verify that there had, indeed, been a train on the tracks at the very time that the fatal bullets were being fired.

      But why?

      Then I recalled the ‘tramps’ who had been rousted earlier while hanging out in box cars behind the Grassy Knoll. Those tramps, as you recall, included Frank Sturgis and, the man whom I believe lead a team of assassins –E. Howard Hunt. As a result of my time spent discussing this with Rosemary, I became increasingly convinced that a team of shooters had targeted JFK; the box cars, the area behind the picket fence became a secured staging area.


      Incidentally, just prior to the shooting George H.W. Bush was photographed with his hands in his pocket ‘hanging around’ the front entrance of the TSBD.

      1. Bev


        RFK children don’t believe that Oswald acted alone

        RFK children speak about assassination in Dallas
        updated 1/12/2013 1:57:58 AM ET

        DALLAS — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is convinced that a lone gunman wasn’t solely responsible for the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, and said his father believed the Warren Commission report was a “shoddy piece of craftsmanship.”

        Kennedy and his sister, Rory, spoke about their family Friday night while being interviewed in front of an audience by Charlie Rose at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. The event comes as a year of observances begins for the 50th anniversary of the president’s death.

        Their uncle was killed on Nov. 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade through Dallas. Five years later, their father was assassinated in a Los Angeles hotel while celebrating his win in the California Democratic presidential primary.

        Read more.

        1. different clue

          I am at a public library computer of near-zero capability, so I can’t offer links. I can only say . . . a blog called Rigorous Intuition 2.0 has a whole section of titled blogposts focusing on all these various political assassinations.

      2. nonclassical

        …here’s the pertinent modern technological science on JFK assassination, confirming pretty much exactly what Garrison’s book (people should have ALL read it) revealed-debunk it if you can:

        Here’s Garrison’s tome’:

        …then there’s Bobby, whom this teenager met 3 days prior to assassination, leading to poly-sci education=search-understanding…

  11. yoganmahew

    You grew up in a household with guns and you don’t know what a shotgun is? What sort of guns did you use for hunting? What was it you were hunting?


    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The sentence is accurate as written.

      My father hunted deer, stone sheep, turkey, pheasant, quail, and later trapped. He hunted at least twice a year through his sixties, when he couldn’t find anyone to eat the ducks (well coots, a waterbird, I can tell you they are tough and really gamey) any more, so he was down to once a year after that. He had at least six long barreled guns plus when he started trapping, he got a pistol.

      They were always under lock and key at home. He never wanted any of the children, including my brothers, to have anything to do with them. Not everyone who shoots feels compelled to turn their kids into gun enthusiasts.

  12. Eureka Springs

    “Deep military cuts” Ha! This isn’t even a scratch. They will get all of that money and more, eventually.

    Get back to me when we cut 85 percent and then set out to cut more. That should be the rough boundary of what’s called deep cuts.

    1. evodevo

      “Deep Military Cuts Begin as Congress Dawdles”
      Ha! Yeah. They haven’t even begun to see cutting. I work for the Post Office and they have been cutting there since the Great Crash. About 100,000 jobs so far and they are still slashing. When they start to get to our level, then I will have some sympathy.
      I got into a discussion about health insurance costs with my sister, whose husband is retired Army and currently employed by the DOD. She didn’t even know how much they paid (it’s about $400/yr for TriCare). She was flabbergasted that my husband and I paid (at the time) ~$6000 a year for mid-level state-sponsored group insurance for TWO (no dependents at the time), with lots of deductibles. I suggest trying THAT as a cost-cutting measure for the upper ranks of the military.

      1. different clue

        What percent of the readers here pay their bills by automatic electronic payment? What percent of the readers here order things from catalogs by phone or computer using credit card numbers?

        What if all those readers were to go back to paying all their bills by check sent in a landmail envelope with a US Postal Service Stamp on it? And what if they were to order all the mailorder things they order with a form and a check
        (or even by filling out the “credit card section” on the order form) and mailing it to the company in a landmail envelope with a US Postal Service Stamp on it? How much more money would the US Postal Service thereby recieve? Would it be enough to keep the US Postal Service alive in the teeth of the privatization conspiracy against it for long enough until pro-Postal Service forces were able to beat down the Privatization Conspiracy in Congress? Through such means as repealing the BushLaw about forced total-prepayment of pensions which no other government or quasis government agency is forced to do? for example . . .

  13. Jim Haygood

    Excerpts from a post by Jeff Berwick, the developer of Galt’s Gulch Chile:

    I began to make my way outside [the hotel] and before I even made it to the door a few hotel security people were on top of me.

    “You can’t drink outside,” they stated firmly.

    It wasn’t too much later that the manager came by and told me I was “cut off.”

    “Cut off of what?” I asked naively.

    “No more drinks for you.”

    I sat confused for a moment.

    “Why not?” I asked, seriously perplexed.

    “One of the waitresses complained about you,” he said. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”


    I then found myself at a nightclub… had just about had enough to drink and smoke to relax when, like veja du, all the lights came on and a man came on the PA system shouting, “Move! Move! Move! Everybody out!”

    I found a cab and told [the driver] how sad I was that everything was closed. He replied, “There’s still a place open!”

    I looked up, “Really?!”

    “Yes,” he said, “But it’s in Idaho.”

    I sat motionless. I wondered if he was joking or was being serious.

    “It’s in another state?” I finally asked.

    “Ya, but it’s only about 30 minutes away. It’s called the State Line. Everyone goes there because it’s open later than Washington clubs.”

    I gave him the nod and we soon arrived there. There were two people inside… I asked one of the girls, “Can I get a Vodka Red Bull?”

    She looked at me like I was from outer space. “You can’t drink! It’s after 2am!” she said, as though I had just asked the craziest question in human history.

    Seeing no other reason to be there I got back in the cab and went back to the hotel. I wasn’t tired enough to sleep so I thought I’d play a little online poker. I loaded up Party Poker and a big warning message flashed on stating something to the effect that US citizens are not allowed to play poker on the Internet.

    As I closed my laptop and slumped into bed I thought to myself, “Wow, how can people handle all this freedom here in the land of the free?”

    Are you sure you wanna buy a building lot from a guy who gets kicked out of bars cuz the waitresses complain about him?

    1. g

      sounds like the typical addict(takes one to know one)… maybe that explains the ‘libertarianism’ that is rampant… i must admit- the more of a worthless junkie i become, the more i can relate to these guys… it’s a strange existence that enhances hypocrisy to an inconceivable(to straights) level…

    2. different clue

      Galt’s Gulch Chile could be a good thing, a magnet for all the libertarians to go to and leave the rest of us alone. If we could encourage them all to go there, then we could deny them re-entry to our countries and they would never bother us ever again.

  14. William

    That rifle barrel is way too long for skeet shooting. No sensible person would use that for skeet. Plus he’s aiming way too low for skeet. Point being, he’s not shooting skeet.

  15. Gareth

    Re: military cuts

    I loved this bit: “The Navy would have to stop all deployments to the Caribbean and South America”…Boo Hoo Hoo! Finally Latin America gets a break.

  16. Furzy Mouse

    Re: the Tibetan immolations,let me add that the Dalai Lama finds the deaths of these young people tragic acts of desperation:

    The Guardian, Monday 7 November 2011 10.20 GMT

    Q: “Dalai Lama blames Tibetan burning protests on ‘cultural genocide’
    Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader says desperate conditions under Chinese rule lie at heart of recent self-immolations

    The desperate conditions Tibetans face under Beijing’s rigid controls are behind the spate of self-immolations in south-west China, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has said.

    At least 11 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze this year in a heavily Tibetan part of China’s Sichuan province that has become a focus of defiance against Beijing rule. “Including many Chinese from mainland China who visit Tibet, they all have the impression things are terrible … Some kind of culture genocide is taking place,” the Dalai Lama told a news conference in Tokyo on Monday.

    Chinese officials have conducted a hardline policy against Tibet in the past 10 to 15 years, he added. “That’s why, you see, these sorts of sad incidents happen, due to the desperateness of the situation,” he said.

    In the latest incident, a Tibetan nun burned herself to death last week, while another Tibetan suffered burns to his legs on Friday when he set himself ablaze outside the Chinese embassy in India.

    China has said the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 to India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, should take the blame for the burnings and that Tibetans are free to uphold their Buddhist faith.

    China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Communist troops arrived in 1950. Beijing condemns the Dalai Lama as a supporter of violent separatism, but the Dalai Lama denies this.

    “We are totally committed to the non-violence principle,” he said, reiterating his line that he wants true autonomy for Tibet, not independence from China.

    The 76-year-old Nobel peace prize laureate led hundreds of monks, nuns and lay Tibetans in prayer in India last month to mourn those who have burned themselves to death.”

  17. Furzy Mouse

    sent wrong text!I grovel… too many windows….the BBC link

    18 November 2011


    “The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, says he is very worried about the growing number of monks and nuns setting themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet.

    He told the BBC he was not encouraging such actions – saying there was no doubt they required courage, but questioning how effective they were.

    There have been 11 cases of self-immolation so far this year.

    Most have resulted in death – the latest a 35-year-old nun two weeks ago.

    The BBC has obtained graphic footage of the moment she set herself alight, prompting horrified cries from onlookers. Later, Chinese security forces flooded the area.

    The shocking video footage was smuggled across the border to India and shown to the BBC.

    Tibetan monks and nuns are using self-immolation as the latest tactic in their struggle against 60 years of Chinese rule, says the BBC’s Andrew North.

    But it is a sensitive issue for the man they are dying for – the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader.

    ‘How much effect?’
    In an interview with our correspondent, he said he was not encouraging his followers to sacrifice themselves – as alleged by China.

    “The question is how much effect” the self-immolations have, the Dalai Lama said.

    “That’s the question. There is courage – very strong courage. But how much effect?

    “Courage alone is no substitute. You must utilise your wisdom.”

    Asked whether he feared the actions could make life worse for people in Tibet, he said: “Many Tibetans sacrifice their lives.

    “Nobody knows how many people killed and tortured – I mean death through torture. Nobody knows.

    “But a lot of people suffer. But how much effect? The Chinese respond harder.”

    China has condemned the self-immolation campaign as immoral and inhuman, saying it will never succeed.

    The growing number of monks and nuns prepared to set themselves on fire is a sign of increasing desperation in Tibet, our correspondent says.

    They know while the West has backed the Arab Spring, with China it talks with a much quieter voice, he says.

    That leaves Tibetans with few options to shine a light on their struggle.

    From inside Tibet, the word is that more monks are preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice, our correspondent adds.”

      1. nonclassical

        “history is written by the winners”…

        (except when it’s not):–Updated/dp/1567512526/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359965330&sr=1-1&keywords=killing+hope+blum

        Is the United States a force for democracy? In this classic and unique volume that answers this question, William Blum serves up a forensic overview of U.S. foreign policy spanning sixty years. Remarks from the previous edition: “Far and away the best book on the topic.”—Noam Chomsky “A valuable reference for anyone interested in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.”— Choice “I enjoyed it immensely.”—Gore Vidal “The single most useful summary of CIA history.”—John Stockwell “Each chapter I read makes me more and more angry.”—Helen Caldicott “A very useful piece of work, daunting in scope, important.”—Thomas Powers, author and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist “A very valuable book. The research and organization are extremely impressive.”—A.J. Langguth, author and former New York Times bureau chief For those who want the details on our most famous -actions (Chile, Cuba, Vietnam, to name a few), and for those who want to learn about our lesser-known efforts (France, China, Bolivia, Brazil, for example), this book provides a window on what our foreign policy goals really are.

        This is perhaps the best political book I have read, certainly the best on US foreign policy I have seen anywhere. Every American needs to get this book and investigate what it says. If they doubt its truthfulness they can look in other places to find further information, but the plain fact is most Americans would not know 99% of what is in this book…and they have to or our “democracy” is a joke. Even if this book is biased, a biased view that can be investigated is better than total ignorance. However I do not think this book is that biased to begin with, most of the actual facts exist in thousands of other books, they have just never been brought together so effectively

  18. diptherio

    Well, house painting is slow at the moment, so I’ve been making bumperstickers instead. Anybody wanna buy a one (or 100)?


    Well, they’re fun to look at anyway and I like designing ’em. And some commenters here have provided a few of the ideas (specifically the “getting the finger from the invisible hand” gag; thanks for that, whoever you are).

    Someday I’ll sell a billion “If it wasnt’ for money, we’d all be rich” stickers and I’ll never have to work again, I just know it.

  19. JEHR

    Finance is global: all the bankers know each other. I would say that they made sure that the thing that they did to get wealthy (securitization, for example) was not written down explicitly in the criminal law books. But, oh how I wish, that these bankers would have to say everything in front of a jury and I bet there would be a different result.

  20. Zachary Smith

    *** Jocks Beat Bookworms On Brain Test ***

    After a bit of digging I found what appears to be the actual “study”.

    IMO what the author did here was to prove herself to be a Master of the Obvious. Her athletes are demonstrating practiced skills. Supposing I got funding to seek out identical twins: one of whom had done lots of work in the gym and the other a couch potato. How brilliant would it be for me to claim that the athletic one did better in strength tests?

    1. MacCruiskeen

      Right. It’s never worth trying to study things that everybody “knows”. Because what everyone knows to be true must be true, right? Sure, it’s not surprising that atheletes have good visual processing. It might be surprising how much better than others they are. If it was not studied, would you be able to say? If you were an athelete, would you want to know? Would it be worth studying whether atheletes were naturally better at this task, or did training improve their response?

      1. borkman

        Wow, very defensive! Do you also do studies of things that seem obvious? The study does not appear to be framed to answer any useful questions (as in, for instance, the most obvious: having determined that the athletes have a particular skill, trying to determine whether their outperformance was the result of nature or nurture).

        The study does not appear to have attempted to control for either the fact that reading (and computer use even more so) can impair visual function, and that the use of 3D glasses has been proven to impair visual function.

  21. Aaron

    I originally read that as Galt’s Gulch “Chili” (I’ve been looking at recipes for a Super Bowl party). That led me to wonder what food our objectivist heroes will eat in their brave new utopia. Luckily, they are near wineries and skiiing…

  22. djrichard

    Interesting article on the boom/bust cycle in china: . It’s really a book review, but a good read by itself.

    Kind of a wake up call for anybody who thinks China’s consumer economy will come to the rescue of the world economy.

    More apropos to NC, has relevance to conversations on MMT as a mechanism for full employment. I’m assuming China’s central planning is prioritizing for full employment. This article/review shows the consequences of their approach to it.

  23. down2long

    I have a new nick name for Pres Obama: “Skeeter.” This since Pres. Obama has developed a tremendous love of Skeet shooting (gotta squeeze it in with 90 golf games a year and untold pick up basketball games: hey he needs his leisure) and he sneeks up on you and stings you like a mos-skeeter when you ain’t payin’ attention – just like he did on Friday on pregnancy prevention insurance coverage, despite the SSupreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the ACA. It was just another another weak-kneed completely unnecessary capitulaltion: but it did serve to put his women voters in their place, just like he’s done for the rest of his base.

    Dear leader Skeeter just doesn’t have time to tend to banker fraud, rampant unemployment, environmental collapse (next up, The XL pipeline goes in – take that you enviromentists: Skeeter ALWAYS knows best) etc, etc. Rome is burning and Skeeter is shooting skeet.

    1. Now watch this center mass shot

      The pathos of posing this crash dummy with a shotgun may exceed that of America’s last great pictorial laughingstock, addict and deserter G.W. Bush capering on an aircraft carrier in borrowed soldier togs.

      1. down2long

        Good point.I think the word pathetic pandering comes to mind. I remember watching that W aircraft carrier crap and all the media types declaring Bush’s maneuver as the “most brilliant PR move since [something Reagan had done, I think.] I predicted at the time Bush’s craven ploy would bite W – and it sure did, and it still keeps biting.

        One takes solace where one can.

  24. Elliot

    re: jocks/bookworms

    I subscribe to about a dozen science feeds, and Science daily s loaded with junk science that confirms popular bias, or that makes corporations look good.
    I think some of their editors subscribe to press releases and industry flacking blogs, and just post the articles as though they were defensible.

    re: skeet…. to (halfway) pile on; skeet shooting is shotgun shooting, good practice for bird hunters (my parents did)—but yes, BHO pix with gun are to pacify the NRA-voters and to compensate for *something*.

    Loving the amazon comments! They are a great source of subversive wit. The comments on the bic pen for women are hilarious.

  25. bob

    No comment on the “lefty” Obummer shooting a right handed gun?

    Usually OU’s are ambidexterous. That one has a port on the right side at the end of the barrel. Look at the puff of smoke coming out of the gun before the end of the barrel.

    It’s not “his” gun.

    1. lambert strether

      Well, Obama said he shot skeet “all the time.” He didn’t say he did it with his own gun. And at least he didn’t take his shirt off, so we can be grateful for that.

  26. rich

    E-mails link Bush foundation, corporations and education officials

    A nonprofit group released thousands of e-mails today and said they show how a foundation begun by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and national education reform leader, is working with public officials in states to write education laws that could benefit some of its corporate funders.

    A call to the foundation has not been returned.

    The e-mails are between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and a group Bush set up called Chiefs for Change, whose members are current and former state education commissioners who support Bush’s agenda of school reform, which includes school choice, online education, retention of third-graders who can’t read and school accountability systems based on standardized tests. That includes evaluating teachers based on student test scores and grading schools A-F based on test scores. John White of Louisiana is a current member, as is Tony Bennett, the new commissioner of Florida who got the job after Indiana voters rejected his Bush-style reforms last November and tossed him out of office.

    Donald Cohen, chair of the nonprofit In the Public Interest, a resource center on privatization and responsible for contracting in the public sector, said the e-mails show how education companies that have been known to contribute to the foundation are using the organization “to move an education agenda that may or not be in our interests but are in theirs.”

    He said companies ask the foundation to help state officials pass laws and regulations that make it easier to expand charter schools, require students to take online education courses, and do other things that could result in business and profits for them. The e-mails show, Cohen said, that Bush’s foundation would often do this with the help of Chiefs for Change and other affiliated groups.

    1. AbyNormal

      (a peek at a few of the ed. profiteers)

      Top Education Companies on the 2011 list

      Armando Montelongo Companies 8,161% $47.1 million TX 2,629% $14.2 million CA
      Bach to Rock 1,000% $3.3 million MD
      RANDA Solutions 884% $5 million TN
      Group Excellence 773% $13 million TX
      Trade the Markets 773% $4.3 million TX
      Mango Languages 629% $3.8 million MI
      Sure Prep Learning 444% $2.5 million AZ
      Prospect Education 425% $64.9 million NV
      OnCourse Learning 351% $27.8 million WI
      Choice Solutions 343% $4.5 million MA
      Sullivan and Cogliano Training Centers 307% $11.1 million MA 250% $49.9 million CA
      Children’s Progress 249% $3.3 million NY
      Educere 233% $2 million PA
      C2 Education 225% $37 million GA

  27. habenicht

    Really enjoyed the first link – so refreshing! I am glad you gave it the “triple must” qualifier to ensure readers take note . . .

  28. diane

    like your dad, Yves, my dad hunted of a food necessity (from his childhood years … living in a retired rail boxcar …. ), and ‘gigged’ bullfrogs etcetera. …. In his adulthood, at least after I was born, I recollect him skeet shooting, ..but as I recollect ….one was aiming way upwards …when skeet shooting, …. with that rifle, …. not dead ahead.

    Obama appears to be shooting at wingless targets in that shot, perhaps Cheney gave him some lessons.

  29. psychohistorian

    The article on military suicides is galling to me….plenty of money to harm but little to heal………. I am a TBI victim and know first hand what these soldiers are dealing with…but without the horror of killing others thrown in.

    I am “lucky” to have some innate superior intelligence to assist me in my healing. In the past 7 months I have evolved a breath exercise that has helped me let go of the trauma and anxiety that comes with most TBIs….and a life time of being bullied. My PT and I are looking to see if we can replicate my results with others as a pilot study and hopefully assist the thousands out there struggling.

    I am 64 and just now learning how to breathe. Think about what that says regarding the cumulative intelligence of the “Western Way”….why wasn’t I and others taught about the power of human breath as a child?….being taught instead to worry more about my soul than my body….gag!!!!

    Such a strange world of idealistic religious communities more intent on proving their rightness than sharing insights into humanity running off the cliff.

  30. Francois T

    “40% of Americans would last less than 3 months if they suddenly lost their income.”

    And they call the preppers crazy?

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