Link 3/20/13

Dear patient readers, I’m working on a Cyprus post that should be ready to go by 8:00 AM at the latest. Come back soon!

NASA’s Advice If an Asteroid Heads for Times Square: ‘Pray’ Gawker

Three-person IVF could move closer in UK BBC. Giving menage a trois a whole new meaning….

Test of anthrax vaccine in children gets tentative OK Reuters (furzy mouse). This is crazy

Urban Exploration Helps Terrorism, Counterterrorism Agency Warns Wired (Brindle)

Independent bookstores doing better than ever in 2012 Melville House (diane). Who’d have thunk it?

The Beginning of the End: Why 1 billion Users May Not be Enough to Save Facebook” YouTube (diptherio)

Cubans evade censorship by exchanging computer memory sticks, blogger says McClatchy

Hackers paralyse South Korean banks and broadcasters Telegraph

More Cyprus:

Cyprus matters MacroBusiness

TMM’s Radical Plan for Cyprus Macro Man

Cyprus: It’s not about the numbers ekathimerini

Cyprus versus the EUstapo – a mischievious idea Golem XIV

Eurozone crisis live: Cyprus scrambles to secure new bailout Guardian

The case for policy change: Democratic legitimacy of EMU cannot be an afterthought in solving the crisis VoxEU. Um, Cyprus says otherwise.

Not a Failure: Iraq War Was a Premeditated Crime and Iraqis Still Deserve Truth and Justice Kevin Gosztola

W.H. to Congress: Easter Egg Roll could be canceled (Updated) Politico (David P). Obama must be unhappy that the sequester isn’t doing obvious damage, like messing up air travel, yet, but this is still a pretty pathetic way to generate a headline.

Why Neoliberals Pretend Private Debt Doesn’t Matter and Public “Debt” Does Heteconomist

Ohio school shooter gives finger to victims while wearing ‘killer’ T-shirt Raw Story (furzy mouse)

H-1B reform bill bolstered by testimony about male visa-holders ComputerWorld (May S)

G.O.P. Opposition to Immigration Law Is Falling Away New York Times

The NRA’s List of Banned Lists Bloomberg

America Is STILL Paying For The Civil War Associated Press (May S)

Why the Trader Joe’s Model Benefits Workers–And the Bottom-Line National Journal (May S). I’ve written about Costco before, but it continues to stun me: why don’t companies get that paying employees better leads to less turnover and higher productivity?

Oil Sands Show Obama’s Policy-Making at Its Worst OilPrice. A lot left out, like why aren’t the Canadians refining the oil? But looking for a reader sanity check on the assertion that not doing Keystone will make a big dent in US-Canadian relations

Freddie sues over ‘substantial’ Libor loss Financial Times

The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Jamie Dimon, Wall Street’s Golden Boy Alternet (May S). As much as a sympathize with the sentiment, Dimon is still very much in charge of JP Morgan, so declarations of his fall look a tad premature. CEOs can buy a lot of PR, and Blankfein rode out Goldman’s CDO-related investigations (although the problems at JPM look to be far more serious, since they reveal deficiencies in internal controls, a much bigger deal than fleecing customers).

Obama’s Top Priority Will Intensify Environmental and Social Crises CASSE (JohnB). Of course, Obama is not really pro growth, he’s pro austerity, but he believes austerity will produce growth.

The Slippery Grip of Growth – Guest Post by Hawkeye Golem XIV (JohnB)

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Elizabeth Costello

    Topic: Kleptocracy Part One

    The summer I turned twelve is when it seemed as if everything was caught in a vortex whirling downwards at an every-increasing speed. News came thick and fast, news of the never-ending exploits of Goldman/Chase, which had soon occupied the entire North American and European continents.

    While it’s successive campaigns held out to the 0.01 percent the prospect of a vast world empire in which (thanks to the fact they belonged to the chosen people), they would all be able to embark on the most glittering careers.

    In those years, victory followed upon victory, while we, the oppressed, lived below sea level, as it were, and had to watch as Goldman/Chase pervaded the economy of the entire country, and one business after another was handed over to Goldman trustees.

    Meanwhile the rest of us barely had enough at our disposal for the most basic necessities. Our bank accounts were frozen and we were obliged to send in a twenty-page statement of our assets, under dozens of headings.

    We were strictly forbidden to dispose of any valuables such as pictures or antiques, and one passage (in one of these PROCLAMATIONS issued by the occupying Goldman/Chase power), stated that in case of contravention of this regulation, BOTH the slave concerned in the transaction AND the person acquiring the property must expect the most severe measures to be taken by the State Police.

    The slave concerned in the transaction! my mother had cried, adding: Really, the way these people write! It’s enough to make your head swim. I think it was in the early winter of that year, that my mother had to take her musical instruments, jewelry and clothes to the so-called Compulsory Collection Center.

    Because of some mistake she made with this order, she was sent to dig ditches on a freezing day – winter came early that year – and at five o’clock the next morning two Goldman/Chase officials came with news that she must prepare to be taken away within 48 hours.

    The told her she would be taken to a pleasant resort, with beautiful gardens, promenades and a luxury hotel.

    She was persuaded (or rather forced) to sign a contract offering her (against a deposit of $50,000) the right to live in a wonderful villa.

    The officials assured her that everyone willing to work (jeder Arbeitswillige!!) would have an opportunity of fitting seamlessly into the Goldman/Chase production process.

    1. briansays

      being that i sense more than a few years older and perhaps more naive and/or living in more innocent times may age of the dawning was 18–the year was 1968—i had registered for the draft for Vietnam, Spring/Easter Break was colored by the assassination of Martin Luther King and i can remember writing my final senior high papers listening to the funeral of Robert Kennedy on the radio and i recall the words of my mother—“such a horrible world we are creating and leaving for you”

      i wonder what she would think of today almost 40 years later and i reflect on being glad having never brought children of my own into this world to have to offer a similar explanation and apology

      1. taunger

        what a shame you relish your comfort (being “glad”) and implicitly acknowledge your own part in the looting and disintegration. And raising children is a quintessential human activity. I may not have money, or much of any assets, but I’m proud that I have not acquiesced and that I am raising a child that will hopefully will defy TPTB, too. MLK JR and RFK weren’t germinated, you know.

        1. tautology

          Yes, yes, our duty is to breed more potential MLK’s. Please take it terribly personally if we don’t.

      2. darms

        i wonder what she would think of today almost 40 years later and i reflect on being glad having never brought children of my own into this world to have to offer a similar explanation and apology

        My sentiments exactly! The missus & I made the same choice for (in part) the very same reason…

    2. Bill Smith

      I want to know more about the weaponized corn plants. I know they’re doing it. 8 ft tall naked strawmen…bend over backwards like a trebuchet (at least the French kind) and hurl corn cob projectiles at the speed of bullets…capable of close quarter combat too…ouch.

      Fess up.

  2. Inverness (@Inverness)

    The Ohio school shooter sounds severely mentally ill (psychosis and hallucinations), not to mention the fact he was 17 at the time of the shooting, making him legally a child. So the state can’t murder him due to his age — what a favor! But he can get life in prison.

    What does it mean that we consider executing the mentally ill? And old question, I know. But worth revisiting. Vengeance isn’t justice.

    1. Dogberry

      “What does it mean that we consider executing the mentally ill?”

      We should never consider executing them.

      Euthanasing them, of course, is a different matter.

      1. David Petraitis


        You started it ;) now we will have the grand Orwellification of “killing”

        Your “Lifetime” privileges are being revoked.
        You are vitality-challenged.

        Feel free to make up your own…

    2. Veri

      What does it mean to execute a mentally ill person?
      What does it mean to punish people on welfare through no fault of their own?
      What does it mean to continually drive down worker’s wages to where they can’t afford their own country?
      What does it mean that people have to accept welfare despite the fact they are working one, two, or three jobs?
      What does it mean when a wealthy person looks at those people and say they are lazy?
      What does it mean that a mother and father work all the time and barely see their kids?
      What does it mean when a society sees those children on the streets as those children’s parents are at work, and then to call them criminals?

      Justify a society that will do that and I will show you America, that does justify all the above.

  3. MacCruiskeen

    I worked for a while in an office in Rockefeller Center, and would occasionally pray that Times Square would get hit by an asteroid, but it never happened. So I don’t think that’s an effective strategy.

    For indie bookstores, there is a bit of a “last man standing” effect. Perhaps an extreme case, but here in Cambridge we used to have dozens of bookstores, now we have only a few. The few that are left are doing all right, because now they have so little local competition. I’d guess, though the article only suggested it, that a good portion of the new stores are used book stores. That will likely always be mostly a local trade.

    1. Ms G

      “I worked for a while in an office in Rockefeller Center, and would occasionally pray that Times Square would get hit by an asteroid, but it never happened. So I don’t think that’s an effective strategy.”


    2. craazyman

      People will want somethng real.

      I’m thinking of going back to vinyl albums after checking out Amazon. YOu can pay $9.99 for a digital download of some album by say, Phil Colins, like the one with the song:

      “How can I just let you walk away, just let you leave without a trace / When I stand here taking every breath with you, ooh/ You’re the only one who really knew me at all

      What do you have for 9.99? If you had an old album cover with good cover art and something you can put your hands on and feel, that’s real. Eventually people will puke up all this digital evanescence. It doesn’t coalesce and cohere. It’s part of the reason everybody is on the edge of their sanity these days. There’s nothing there where things used to be. Eventually itull all just disappear and then what? After that is just the fall.

        1. diptherio

          I grew up listening to that album. I thought it was hilarious way before I understood the jokes. In fifth or sixth grade I memorized and performed the “Elmont Tastefully” car salesman bit about the all white ford pickup (“license plate KKK-U-2!”) with the Easy Rider Rifle Rack (“which holds not one, not two, but THREE of your favorite rifles!”) for some class assignment. I had constructed the rifle rack out of cardboard and proudly displayed it while I delivered that absurdest spiel to my stunned teacher and baffled classmates.

          Later I figured out what that bit was about and I thought, “wow, I can’t believe my folks let me do that.” They, of course, thought it was hilarious, because wildly inappropriate. Ahh…good times.

          But one thing I never figured out…what’s the paper for? ;)

          1. AbyNormal

            @ diptherio…about a qtr lb w/cheese’ )

            @ val…ah the memories, great pics!

            (for sure im saving 1 paper for the day Dimon meets his maker)

          2. craazyman

            I liked one where they had to go visit some dude, probably to score some reefer.

            So they walked out the front door, got into their car, sat down, started talking about going to where they were going, turned on the ingnition, went about 10 yards and did a U-turn and parked — on the other side of the street — got out and went up to knock on the dude’s door.

            It was funnier in the movie, but thinking about it now still cracks me up.

    1. briansays

      it’s not uncommon for them to find open cans of unground coffee beans dumped in the grinder at the local Trader Joe’s

      apparently it’s to complicated to figure out how to use the grinder after that so the customer walks away

      its reassuring to know however that the state of cali has issued them the drivers license to get there

  4. change agent

    found this today, very well done re. the ongoing OCC fiasco…..
    ‘”Sign up, Sign up” for the Magical Foreclosure Review proclaimed a one-sheet circulated by OCC through a matrix of anti-foreclosure and community groups last year. “If an error is found, you could receive a payment or other compensation that may include refunded fees, stopping of a foreclosure or payments up to $125,000 plus equity.” Frankly, it sounded like a late night TV advert for an ambulance chasing law firm.’

  5. dearieme

    The AP story about the American Civil War is illustrated by a photo of soldiers from the Irish Civil War – wrong continent, wrong century.

      1. Procopius

        I wondered about that picture and came to the conclusion, the editor was clueless, but still wondered. Yeah, there were lots of Irish in the Union Army, and a lot of Germans, too. The Germans were kind of a thorn in the side for the Confederacy. They weren’t sympathetic to slaveholding, and tended to resist the draft and the war effort in general. There was a serious dust-up in Texas, I believe.

  6. Jim Haygood

    ‘School shooter gives finger to victims while wearing Killer T-shirt’

    Not so different from Obama showing up in apartheid Israel and ostentatiously shunning half the residents of the region:

    Mr. Obama did not mention the Palestinians by name, referring instead to Israel’s “neighbor.”

    “I walk with you on the historic homeland of the Jewish people,” he said.

  7. taunger

    I’m also skeptical about the tar sands article and its warning (threat?) regarding US/Canada relations, primarily because I see the author make mistakes in other areas. Before KXL was an issue, US environmentalists were concerned about the same issues that concerned Canadian First Nations – massive water and other resource degredation from waste material. McKibben then sounded the alarm over tar sands and climate change, from what I can tell, prior to the KXL actions centered around aquifers and spills, which were tactical concerns of a larger movement. But because they were well chosen tactics, the coalition opposed to the pipeline now includes all parts of the political spectrum, from well-meaning cattle ranchers, to crazed property rights gun hoarders, to twee tree hugging college kids.

    At least, that is the history I am familiar with as a regular cog in the climate activist movement. None of that is reflected in the piece, so I’m certainly skeptical this guy can accurately report on the international relations.

    1. Expat

      In fact, it’s worse than mere misinformation. It’s disinformation. This is the line the Conservative government in Canada and its intimates in Washington are using. Of course, the underlying truth is that, like the Obama administration, the Conservatives would gladly sacrifice their own people to keep their donors fat, rich and happy.

  8. Brindle

    Re: “WH Easter Egg Roll….”

    I clicked on this and since I never go to Politico it gave me an excuse to look at the site. Strange world.

    Here is a serious article about a new children’s book that attempts to educate 5-6 year olds about the big bad deficit:

    —“The antagonist, a dragon designed to represent a bloated federal government, won’t stop growing and loves to eat currency.

    “In fact, he developed a taste for charred bills … dollar bills. Within no time, the dragon had devoured $15 Trillion and was always looking around for more to consume.”

    On the book’s website,(author) McConnell describes herself as a “a tax/commercial transactions attorney” practicing in Washington and New York and says all funds from the book will go toward paying down the national debt.”—

    1. Valissa

      Makes no sense to me to have a dragon representing the government. Dragons tend to be loners (not loaners!) and are known to ferociously guard their treasure/hoard from all attempts at looting. Really, dragons are the ultimate savers!

      My own fantasy involves a fire-breathing dragon turning lobbyists and other gov’t looters into crispy critters.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You look at how many claws the dragon has – I learned that on a trip to the Pacific Asia Musuem in Pasadean.

          Imperial dragons are 5-clawed.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      …a pathetic way to generate a headline…

      A more effective way to generate a headline, I think, is for the WH to annonce foreign guests will be fed leftovers to save money, or that they have to bring their own plastic spoons, knives and cups (metal ones will not pass security).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Another effective way would be for the WH to announce, in an attempt to avoid laying off staff, they are renting the building out to the Chinese embassy with plenty of money frmo their MMT experiment, and the president will move into the relocated log cabin of Lincoln’s childhood at the front lawn area.

  9. Mark

    On Keystone and US-Canadian relations: it probably is true that rejecting the pipeline would have a negative impact on relations between the Obama administration and the Harper government, but Canada is not as monolithic as the linked article implies. Equating the views of Canadian with those of their current government is equivalent to equating the views of Americans with those of the Bush administration: some agree, some don’t.

    The Conservatives were elected in the last election with 40% of the popular vote; 60% of Canadians voted for parties that are politically to the left of the ruling party. I’ve looked on the Web for opinion poll results on how Canadians feel about development of the Alberta tar sands. The best I could find (unfortunately didn’t save the link) is that they are split about 50-50.

  10. Paul Tioxon

    XL Pipeline Alert:
    Thanks to NC and Lambert harping on this key environmental issue, much information on the current energy policies incorporating the extensive railroad networks of the USA and Canada came into focus. It now appears to be a complete waste of money to have a redundant delivery channel for this tar sand oil, in the form of an international pipeline, when we have railroads snaking across the borders and going in every direction, to the West Coast, for China, to the East Coast, displacing West African(Nigerian) oil imports, as well as the distinct possibility of completely eliminating the very last Middle East Oil(Saudia Arabia) as that region falls into social and political chaos.

    Canada and Mexico, along with Venezuela is a much more secure supply chain, considering that the US is consuming much less refined oil and producing so much more. The natgas finds are also replacing oil fired electricity and present the future of Electric Vehicles with particulate free air in high density urban environments. Provided, we DO NOT BURN gas electric plants in the middle of cities and leave electric production to remote areas, closer to production wells. Let transmission lines deliver electricity, do NOT build pipelines to deliver oil or gas.

    The Canadian and American railroads are the winners, and can easily handle the load without the additional investment and assembling of real estate rights-of-way over long distances, with all of the security and environmental risks. The steel industry will also be the winner building the thousands of rail tanker cars, already backlogged with orders from the oil refiners. The Canadians get their product sold, everyone with rail access can get the crude in huge amounts, and an important national asset, the railroads, continues to play a useful role. Building a political coalition around the railroads, the steel manufacturers of tank cars and the East and West Coast refiners should put more of dent in Texas oil businesses, than Canadian/US relations. If anything, the interlocking connections between right wing conservatives in Alberta and Calgary with Texas oil industry is taking the hit, not the broader Canadian business community that has found the answer to move crude by rail. These deliveries are already stacked up for miles on the rail yard tracks leading into the South Philadelphia refinery complex, and nobody here even blinks. The XL pipeline has been obsoleted and all of the political protest is pounding the last nails in that coffin. It looks like Texas/Gulf refineries are stuck with Citgo. Good for the poor of Venezuela, I hope the right wing chokes on the thought.

  11. Economystic

    Yves asked–but it continues to stun me: why don’t companies get that paying employees better leads to less turnover and higher productivity?
    I swear I saw an WMT exec. years ago actually TOUTING their high turnover !
    This only makes sense in a world where they want us to believe that the only thing that mnatters is that in the very short-term, the new workers’ hourly rates are lower. No need for us to pay attention to the real cost of all that training being flushed down the drain.

    1. Campbeln

      re: Yves Q “I’ve written about Costco before, but it continues to stun me: why don’t companies get that paying employees better leads to less turnover and higher productivity?”

      Look… the 10%, the 5%, the 1% and undoubtedly the 0.1% are simply **BETTER PEOPLE**!

      What better way to prove that to yourself as middle (5% to 10%-er) or upper management (1%-er+) then to treat your “resources” / “worker bees” / “plebs” with disdain, disgust and inhumanity (how else can you justify the management term “resource” for human beings?).

      It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that is used to justify to the powers-that-be that the Jews really are just rats in the sewe… er… that they are simply better examples of humanity their their stupid, lazy, pathetic low level workers.

    2. David Petraitis

      Yeah, Yves wondering about when “companies” will learn got to me too… lack of agency fallacy there Yves. Companies don’t learn. Management sets the tone and the culture, and if the culture is to use people like they are bits of toilet paper in a disposable way turnover will be a measure for pride not failure.

      The culture – both corporate and civic – now is selfish and sociopathic. Empathy is out and “I Got Mine” is the value-meme of the USA.

      Dysfunction can be on the other side when companies are flying high, and empathic values are in play.

      I once worked for a tech company in the 80’s which prided itself on NOT firing people. At one time they had an infamous “Plant 4” in Hew Hampshire to which out of work employees would go to and play cards all day, still receiving their paycheck. Needless to say that company was swallowed some years later by a smaller rival.

      I coined a phrase to describe this sort of management nightmare as “Beyond the Peter Principle”: in a fast growing tech company management can be promoted WAAAY beyond their level of incompetence.

      1. different clue

        I-got-mine “is” the value meme of the USA? What explains Costco, then? It is an American company after all.

  12. Garrett Pace

    America Still Paying for the Civil War

    What a fascinating article. The past is never so far away as we think. And our global hegemony is exacting a terrible toll at home, not just abroad.

    From the article:

    “The new veterans are filing for disabilities at historic rates, with about 45 percent of those from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking compensation for injuries. Many are seeking compensation for a variety of ailments at once.”

    45%! No doubt many are suffering from unrelated ailments, but the physical and mental toll of war service is way higher than people are accustomed to thinking. Here’s some research about Civil War veterans:

    “Dr. Silver said “85% of [soldiers in the study] had at least one sign of physical or mental difficulties” following the war. Of those veterans, about 40% had both physical and mental conditions. Cardiac and gastrointestinal ailments plagued about 18%.”

    The researcher also points out that the effects are far worse on children under 18 who fight.

    I had two great great great granddaddies who fought in the Civil War. Both came home with broken health, even though (as far as I can tell) neither was actually injured in battle. Indeed, one of them was in a cavalry unit and saw almost no sharp fighting. But they both died before their time.

    The 150th anniversary of granddad Samuel Neal’s disability discharge was actually just a few days ago.

    1. Bill the Psychologist

      I worked for the Army as a civilian psychologist, and we began to see Iraq war veterans with PTSD just before I retired in ’04.

      Unlike earlier wars, this war had the highest number of Unseasoned troops — like Reserve and National Guard — of any war since Vietnam, where the number of unseasoned troops were draftees.

      This would make them much more vulnerable to PTSD I think, though I know of no studies comparing the two groups.

      Also important, a higher proportion of non-combat related troops like transportation and supply, were exposed to the injuries usually associated with infantry, artillery etc, due to the IEDs aimed at supply routes.

      We will have the bill for this criminally induced “war” for many decades.

      Another interesting note: We were already under pressure by hospital command at Ft. Eustis (the Army’s transportation training center) to send Reserve and National Guard PTSD patients back to their units without treatment, saying “the VA will pick them up.” !!

      At that time, the VA would not treat them.

      The military still stonewalls effective treatment for their own troops.

      1. Garrett Pace

        While scientific understanding of war’s effects is a recent phenomenon, the ancients may have had a much better understanding of war’s horrors than we do. *

        The thought-provoking documentary(and book) “Achilles in Vietnam” is the effort of a clinical psychologist to show the similarity of experience between Vietnam vets and the fighters described in the Iliad. Reading the Iliad myself, Shay’s main point is right on – the main narrative arc is the undoing of the character of Achilles. How the fortunes of war turned a decent and wise warrior into an animal.

        I’m also reminded of the Anglo Saxon poem The Wanderer, though it’s been said it would be better called “The Exile’s Lament”, It describes a soul’s anguish at not being able to protect his mates and his leader in a crucial battle, and living in a world where there’s no one to understand your sorrow. Nowhere you belong.

        * Of course, now that the entire planet is one giant “battlefield”, we may come to understand better, too.

  13. Ms G

    BREAKING NEWS: French Police Raid Lagarde’s Apartment as part of investigation into allegations of embezzlement of public funds relating to rather large payments to Sarkozy and Tapie.

    CL is innocent until proven guilty. But if there’s any truth to the underlying allegations Lagarde becomes Exhibit 1 for the brutal hypocrisy of the Austerian Establishment (and its very well paid executive lackeys).

    1. Ms G

      Correction: Lagarde is suspected of authorizing an sizeable payment (IMF money, not her own cash) to Tapie, a supporter of Sarkozy, not of directly giving Sarkozy money.

    2. Anon

      What on earth is going on with the IMF? First, S-Kahn, and now this.

      Someone, somewhere, doesn’t like something chez the IMFers. Who, where, and what, though? Anyone? Yves?

      Incidentally, Tapie is a strange one, having come back from multiple, er, difficulties, that might have buried others:

      1. Bill Smith

        This is the first time the IMF ever had to beat up on “1st World” countries instead of “3rd World” countries. Maybe it’s harder?

        1. Ms G

          Hmm, maybe. Or, IMF’s recent noises about how maybe old style financial imperialo-austerism doesn’t work so well have not gone over well in certain higher up strata of the 1%.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        If I were Cyprus I’d point at this latest news and tell the EU techoncrats: “resolve this issue first so we know this wasn’t tainted by the head of the IMF.”

        I’m sure that Putin would love to have a Medeterrenian base to moor ships and planes for benefactors of theirs….

    1. Bill Smith

      Yes, yes. Penis Envy is a problem.

      Also, never let anyone photograph your penis. It steals your life essence.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    …1 billion users may not save Facebook – on Youtube…

    How many users does Youtube need to save itself? That is my question. My guess is it’s less than a billion, but I am not sure.

  15. jsmith2

    Whew! I’m exhausted after I spent all morning on the phone and sending email to my Senators and Representatives to let them know the things I’m opposed to.

    Now it’s time to relax and have some fun, then maybe do a little skeet shooting this afternoon, unless there’s a ball game on TV:

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Test of anthrax vaccine…

    One wonders if that by itself is not a bit worrisome, if it emboldens the empire to take more foreign adventures, with the other side seeking other ways to escalate?

    1. 8r

      backstory on the anthrax vaccine: The government wants to stick your darling little guinea pigs to reduce the risk of the US government’s illegal bioweapons program. When the permanent state peddled germ warfare to Saddam and then invaded his country, the occupation force wound up with the infectious disease called Gulf War syndrome, which is now spreading through the US population.

      Ready to start planting IEDs yet?

    2. Zachary Smith

      It’s really hard to put a “sensible” spin on this story. Every time I look at it all I can get are crazy-looking notions about why the Elites are wanting to do this.

      Anthrax isn’t a disease which is currently a problem for American children. It sure as hell looks as if somebody is expecting it to become one.

      1. Mark P.

        There is no sensible spin on this. (Nor a worthwhile conspiracy theory-style analysis.)

        Very simply, anthrax is something that bioweapons/defense researchers are relatively familiar with after all these years. Consequently, after the 2001 anthrax attacks — which used a strain of weapons-grade USAMRIID anthrax — and the Bush 2 administration’s Bioshield initiative, anthrax research was something they could apply to have a lot of money poured into.

        That’s all this is. This obsession with anthrax is very much like the drunk who drops his keys and then searches under the streetlight for them because that’s where it’s easy to see.

        Because there is no comprehensive defense — other than becoming an extraterrestrial — given the vast number of potential pathogens out there and the democratization of bioweaponeering capability offered by modern biotech.

      2. 7e

        Not a conspiracy-theory style anything but a crime in federal and international law, as reported by the guy who wrote the Biological Weapons Anti-terrorism Act.

    1. Garrett Pace

      At this point, the court ruling inadmissible any evidence collected thus would further motivate our government to dispense justice without involvement of the courts and justice system.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    NASA’s advice: Pray.

    The science propaganda would lead one to believe that whenever there is a problem, it will provide a solution.

    The fact is there is plenty of room for voodoo magic.

    When it does provide a solution these day, more likely it’s an answer to a problem of its own creating (e.g. how to slow down global warming), whereas a long time ago, science did provide solutions to problems not creatd by itself (e.g. how to make a telescope).

    1. Michael

      Curiosity about the world has always been dangerous to the bosses, and they have always sought to stunt it. Their reign is perpetuated by miseducating the masses.

  18. Brindle

    CNN Sympathetic to Steubenville rapists.
    Not surprised Candy Crowley involved.

    —Rather than balancing Harlow’s report, anchor Candy Crowley asked an expert about the rape conviction’s “lasting effect on two young men.” As critics pointed out, Crowley did not spare a word for the unnamed and unseen victim or the lasting effect on her.  
    Indeed, Crowley may regret qualifying the crime as “essentially rape.”—

  19. Valissa

    re: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Jamie Dimon, Wall Street’s Golden Boy

    A whale of a tale there… nyuk, nyuk, nyuk… this article typifies why I stopped reading Alternet (and Common Dreams) a few years ago. Completely unoriginal bash the rich guy and be gleeful about his problems. Wow… standard talking points, so predictable. Also the little people have been doing this in some narrative form or another for thousands of years. Not that I can’t see the appeal of this timeless storyline, but some creativity or originality or even some literary panache applied to the old familiar tale would be nice.

    Stories like that are why Counterpunch is the only one of the old leftish rags I still bother with.

    1. Pinguin Chronicles


      I agree with you about Counterpunch.

      Also (in case you missed it) I liked the suggestions you made yesterday, and responded late last night, under yesterday’s links.

      1. Valissa

        Dear Pinguin Chronicler, I caught your update from last night but wasn’t sure if I should respond there or find a way to fit it in today. Next time I will go ahead and reply in the day old news, since I now know you will check there.

        My feeling is that you need to revive or resurrect Peter Pinguid somehow. He’s too great a character to dump! Make him a zombie, a ghost or a vampire… whichever inspires you, as any of those would be very entertaining. I am also curious as to his nefarious past, and how he made his fortune, or if he inherited it… you know…the good dirt on the guy and his undoubtedly ill-gotten gains :)

        1. Pinguid Chronicler

          Valissa, don’t worry about responding to that message below…I have to run now, time to teach my night course, where I explain Stéphane Mallarmé’s poems to the Jawga Boyz…

      2. Pinguin Chronicles


        I forgot I already killed Peter Pinguid once, in the first comment under links for 10/14/12 (see below) he got killed in a bar in Spain. Apparently I just brought him back to life afterwards and no one noticed.

        So I could do the same thing again…. give him a third life. But at some point I have to draw the line make him stay dead. :)

        1. Valissa

          Thanks for the reminder! Cats have 9 lives… and since it’s all fiction you can do whatever you want with Peter. So long as the audience remains interested in him they will willingly suspend disbelief.

    2. Ms G

      Valissa– the story is by Pam Martens at She is far and away the best covering this particular beat.

      1. Valissa

        The Alternet article I was referring to was written by Lynn Stuart Parramore. If there is a better article by Pam Martens, please share the link!

          1. Valissa

            Both of those Pam Martens articles were very informative regarding important financial issues, thanks!

          2. Ms G

            Lynn P.’s piece on Dimon is excellent — framing his coming of age [power/money] story against the American myth of meritocracy (aka Horatio Alger, etc.) was A+.

  20. Garrett Pace

    Lighter note

    The much-reviled “Aliens – Colonial Marines” video game was released as an unfinished mess and the game company has been scrambling to fix as much of it as possible.

    The patch notes are high comedy.

    Here’s my favorites:

    “Spitter’s “Acid Spray” now originates from the mouth.”

    “Fixed issue where Russian players could not drop into a co-op match in some missions.”

    In Soviet Russia, game plays you.

  21. Zachary Smith

    *** Cubans evade censorship by exchanging computer memory sticks, blogger says ***

    Despite owning computers starting with the ZX81, I know almost nothing about the things. That said, I’d worry about using flash drives containing dangerous files in a police state.

    From what little I understand of that paper, I gather it’s very, very difficult to completely erase the little USB sticks.

      1. Zachary Smith

        Yes, thoroughly crushing one of them should do the trick. Tossing onto a very hot bed of coals ought to work too.

        My concern is giving an intact flash drive to somebody who could be an informer. Or who might pass it on to such a creature. And for that matter, my possessing one of the handouts once owned by real radical.

        I’m going to speculate Cuba isn’t all that sophisticated regarding retrieving information from computer drives & devices, but that’s not true here.

  22. ScottS

    Re: Independent bookstores doing better than ever in 2012 Melville House (diane).

    I’m not surprised. The mega bookstores (Borders and Barnes & Noble) propsered on the back of a fad of indie coffee shops and indie book stores started by Friends and Frasier. I’m only surprised the fad lasted so long, and I’m glad to see the indie shops picking back up.

    Of course, now indie shops are riding the wave of the hipster fad. We will see how long this one will last.

    1. different clue

      Borders Bookstore was a single-building stand-alone bookstore in Ann Arbor for years before its “new owners” took it multi-store mega.

  23. AbyNormal

    new blog: Fracking, Frackademia, Fractivists
    (scroll down to see whats being done to CO)

    also, — curious how many water tanker truckloads it would take to complete a frack job?
    this pdf has the calculations:

    for one well: “1,440 truck trips for a 9 million gallon fracking”
    plus up “to 1,260 smaller waste-materials tanker trucks hauling toxic wastes”
    they run water tanker trucks to the well site & back continuously, day & night, for around 3 weeks for each job, then “14 to 53 days of toxic waste hauling at 20 truckloads per day of removal”…

    hope this makes it thru the mods

    1. Bill Smith

      Been keepin’ an eye out for the limited partnership deals to hit the market. All that used water has gotta be worth something. Maybe charge Phoenix or the Imperial Valley for it.

  24. ScottS

    Re: The NRA’s List of Banned Lists

    How about this. Since:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    Why not draft every citizen into a militia and then the “general” can say who can have what guns?

    Or, we can admit the second amendment is an anachronism from a time when the US didn’t have a standing army and dispense with the silliness.

  25. Anon

    From the Dept of They Don’t Even Try to Pretend Any More:

    Barclays has been accused of trying to “bury bad news” by announcing it has given its top nine bankers bonuses worth £38.5m while the City is distracted by the budget.

    The bank, which promised it was “changing” in the wake of the Libor rate-rigging scandal, awarded the head of its investment banking division, Rich Ricci, £17.5m worth of shares. He immediately cashed in all of the shares.

    Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins was awarded 1.8m shares worth £5.3m. He cashed in half of the shares.

    Last month Barclays said Jenkins and Ricci would not be collecting a bonus this year after the bank was fined £290m over the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

    Lying shitheads.

    1. AbyNormal

      Shame has a poor memory. Márquez, In Evil Hour

      A man must not be without shame, for the shame of being without shame is shamelessness indeed. Mencius

  26. Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

    Reichssieger von Thantatz Alpdrucken

    “I was beginning to wonder whether I understood what Proust meant exactly. These dozens of pages about the purity of bloodline, the nobility of genius compared to the nobility of race…..the rarefied atmosphere of great doctors….it all seemed bullsh*t to me. We clearly lived in a simpler world. The Duchesse de Guermantes has a lot less dough than the Jawga Boyz….”

  27. Ottawan

    The oil price article was a bit much -so long as we’re talking about attitudes toward the pipeline in Canada. Attitudes North of the border are mixed, and usually light on details.

    The salient point regarding the CDN governments is that the relevant governing parties in Canada are deeply linked to (or maybe owned by) oil and gas people and the oil and gas people are in a bit of mess right now with a price that leaves a sour taste and bills to pay. So, grace à hindsight, there is currently plenty of reason to question the competence of government and private sector actors regarding their control of the pace or timing of development vs the development of transportation infrastructure and even upgrading and refining capacity. For them, the pipeline would be a big win and go a long way towards recouping all the time and money lost to inflation and big transpo costs.

    If that pipeline doesn’t get built, it will be huge blunder and loss for these people. And it will add momentum to opposition to alternative pipeline proposals. So understandably, the oil and gas folks are getting desperate. In a big sign of desperation, the Alberta premier (governor) recently spouted some Repub talking points, something to the effect of, “Obama would be throwing his most essential trading relationship under the bus if he…” This was highly exceptional. Usually, Canadian politicians steer clear of rhetoric that may be adopted by American parties, both for traditional diplomatic reasons and to avoid guilt by association, as many Canadians (like many Americans) tend to think of US politicians as corrupt “aristocratic” types.

  28. Howard Beale IV

    Just in time for our next AUMF (or the Chicago South Side): a gel that instantly stops bleeding:

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