Links 3/7/13

Southern elephant seals in Antarctica – in pictures Guardian

Locust Plague, Shy of Biblical Proportions New York Times

The father of all men is 340,000 years old New Scientist (Chuck L)

Processed meat ‘early death’ link BBC. I could have told you that. My grandmother ate a stereotypical cancer-inducing diet (lots of cured meat, much of it charred black) and died of stomach cancer. Awful way to go.

On Oreo’s 101st Birthday, 13 Facts About The Cookie That Will Blow Your Mind Huffington Post (Carol B)

Chicken Processing Worker Reveals Why He’ll Never Eat Nuggets Again Clusterstock (May S)

Time To Stop Monsanto And The US Supreme Court Automatic Earth (May S)

Europeans are rejecting austerity Joe Stiglitz, Guardian

Italian Elections: Europe’s Lost Generation Finds Its Voice Der Spiegel

The Eurozone Rift: It Would Be Wrong “To Give In To Panic” Wolf Richter (Chuck L)

Executive At Scandal-Ridden Italian Bank Commits Suicide Clusterstock. Richard Smith caught this on Twitter before it hit the wires and Clusterstock seems to have gotten the first English language report.

NatWest customers face fresh problems BBC (Richard Smith)

Attorney General: Aaron Swartz Case Was a ‘Good Use of Prosecutorial Discretion’ Wired. If you have any doubt that Obama is evil, this plus the “I am God” declaration via Holder (see below) should settle that.

Barack Obama ‘has authority to use drone strikes to kill Americans on US soil‘ Telegraph. And notice how he comes to this: the use of the military within the US.

Rand Paul’s Filibuster Ian Welsh (Lambert)

Top ten cities beloved by the super-rich Telegraph. Sydney is now on the list. I figured it out before they did.

Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres Guardian

Catfood watch:

Jobs start to go as US sequestration cuts in Financial Times

Chained CPI for Social Security May Be Second Stupidest Idea in Washington Jon Walker, Firedoglake

Lobbying for a lower minimum wage Guarian. Well at least we have: Costco CEO: Raise The Minimum Wage To More Than $10 Per Hour Huffington Post (Carol B)

More on the F-35’s Concurrency Shop of Horrors Chuck Spinney (Chuck L)

Black Political Class Could Pick A Fight Over Postal Service Privatization — But Won’t. Why? Black Agenda Report (diane)

Christian Megachurch in Foreclosure After Preacher Paid Himself Millions in Donated Cash Alternet (Chuck L)

Some U.S. women dying younger, and no one knows why Twin Cities (Chuck L)

The Decline of Communities Could Explain America’s Health Problems Atlantic (May S). You read this years ago on NC!

BofA Times an Options Trade Well Wall Street Journal. In my day (1980s) this never would have passed the smell test. The institution would have fired everyone within hailing distance of this trade and groveled to the SEC. Now no one bats an eye at this sort of chicanery (yes, we’ll have a little media consternation but let’s see how much the SEC does about it, and to what level of person if it does rouse itself).

With Positions to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection New York Times

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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  1. Jim Haygood

    Ian Welsh’s comment on Rand Paul uses a term that Paul himself invoked repeatedly: ‘bad people’ — the hubris that imperial America can render character judgments of its enemies, which Obama can then proceed to murder.

    Rand Paul is horrified at the notion of extending the GWOT battlefield to America. But as the late Chalmers Johnson wrote prophetically, blowback is the predictable result of a violent, murderous foreign policy.

    For all of his principled focus on the constitution, Rand Paul misses that the natural rights which he (and I) advocate were proclaimed to be universal, not just a privilege of U.S. citizens. His notion of the U.S. as a protected refuge of individual rights, while the rest-of-world is treated as a U.S.-policed free-fire zone, is naive.

    Rand Paul rendered a service by repeatedly invoking the specter of martial law. What he missed is that the so-called USA PATRIOT Act, imposed in October 2011 and since renewed, IS martial law. It suspends large portions of the bill of rights, as an alleged means of combating terror both domestically and abroad.

    Ultimately, without untangling the web of deception which brought about this martial law act, there is no principled basis for opposing domestic drones. They are simply the logical extension of the prevailing, bipartisan martial law regime.

    1. albrt

      You are right, of course. We are currently under extra-constitutional martial law, and by that logic Holder’s comments over the past few years make perfect sense.

      I assume that Hero Obama is just playing 11 dimensional chess, and intends to restore the constitution once he has fully and completely demonstrated the heinous consequences of adopting martial law.

      Of course if I am wrong about that, it may turn out to be a mistake to suggest the marketing phrase “extra-constitutional” to these folks. I can see it now – “Vote for the New Improved Democrats, Now With Extra-Constitutional Powers!”

      1. Really?

        I assume that Hero Obama is just playing 11 dimensional chess, and intends to restore the constitution once he has fully and completely demonstrated the heinous consequences of adopting martial law.

        Question. Why would anyone, regardless of pol in question or level of naivety of the observer assume such a thing? Or did I miss something in your comment?

        1. Ned Ludd

          albrt is joking. During Obama’s first term, his supporters would claim that Obama was playing chess while the rest of us were playing checkers. Supposedly, Obama had a long-term strategy for progressive utopia that critics on the left were too blinkered to see.

          Anyone who talks about 11-dimensional chess is parodying Obama supporters and their chess/checkers analogy. The imagery is probably an allusion to Tri-Dimensional Chess in Star Trek.

  2. Juneau

    Rand Paul’s Filibuster
    I am not a card carrying republican, admittedly, but I was tearful and awestruck by Ted Cruz (R, Texas) as he discussed constitutionality and the use of drones in the US. Heartfelt and eloquent and important. Too bad it was said at 11pm Eastern time. Should be front page.

  3. William

    That Oreo article is nothing more than straight-up advertising right out of Nabisco’s corporate marketing (propoganda) department and is not worthy of an NC link, IMO.

    Besides, Oreo cookies have been shown to be one of the most unhealthy of all processed foods.

    1. Skeptic

      Exactly, William. Story must have been written by the Nabisco folks not busy writing Congressional Legislation. Shame on Huffington Post. Certainly proves my deletion of the site once they cashed in.

      No mention in the story of how much fat/sugar/chemicals in this processed pastry. Odd that it should be in the same Links with a story decrying the health affects of processed, industrialized meats.

      NC, you should send Nabisco a bill for advertising their processed molecules.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Oreos are not a staple of anyone’s diet, unlike meat. They are a dessert or a “snack” and snacks in America = junk food. Dessert is not good for you. So pick your poison.

        I happen to like Oreos. And Carol B is a regular and flagged the piece.

        Do you seriously think anyone is gonna buy more Oreos due to that article? This is just PR person busywork.

    2. Shutter

      Oreo’s are on sale this week at major food retailers. Two for one deal.

      No possible link between the nationally published article and marketing strategy. Nope.

    3. Zachary Smith

      I’m Mr. Dullard today, for the propaganda aspects of that piece blew right by me till you guys rubbed my nose in it.


      1. Really?

        Well, until the “smart money” pours into cat food manufacturer stocks and related commodities anyway. You can down scale if you like, but you definitely can’t hide! That’s the beauty of an all-encompassing vampire squid market state wrapped around the face of humanity.

  4. Ned Ludd

    Liberal senators who appear to be okay with the president assassinating people anywhere, without trials:

    • Bernie Sanders
    • Elizabeth Warren
    • Al Franken
    • Sherrod Brown

    “Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) tweeted support, but otherwise progressives who might have assumed to have been supportive were absent, leaving members of the GOP as the sole defenders of civil liberties. The White House was equally silent.

    “Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) even joked that Paul’s filibuster was ‘background noise.’”

    1. alex

      Very disappointing, especially Sanders – he’s not even a Democrat. And in the past he’s had no problem teaming up w/ Congressman Ron Paul (Rand Paul’s father) in investigating the Fed.

      I thought Rand Paul was a clown. In most respects I still do. And of course I’m sure he’s doing this for politics, since it’s Washington and you can’t get away from that. Nevertheless I’m damn glad he did this and fully support him.

      1. indices

        Bernie wants those F-35’s flying out of Burlington VT… then a drone base set up there to further “bring jobs to Vermont.” And to be within close range of those rebel outliers in places like Maine. (Lambert, I understand that a mylar emergency blanket is a good heat shield to prevent infra-red detection, but unfortunately they are often a bright orange color so not good in daytime)
        Earlier from the same author:

        It’s been going on for awhile:

        1. Really?

          And to be within close range of those rebel outliers in places like Maine.

          Those freakin’ liberal Canucks simply cannot be trusted! And Greenland and Iceland? Don’t even get me started!

        2. the idiot

          Regarding Bernie Sanders, thanks for the link.
          Say it ain’t so! More proof that I can’t have nothing nice.

      2. Zachary Smith

        “I thought Rand Paul was a clown. In most respects I still do. And of course I’m sure he’s doing this for politics, since it’s Washington and you can’t get away from that. Nevertheless I’m damn glad he did this and fully support him.”

        Very well put. On most issues he’s a joker, but you take what help you can get. I’m feeling total shame by the behavior of the Democrats on this issue.

        1. Klassy!

          I tried posting this earlier. Didn’t work– but from the department of unintentionally hilarious (OK, Alternet) I give you:

          However riveting that all was, it was horrifying to see noted progressives using that (StandWithRand) hashtag simply because no Democrat was willing to make as dramatic a stand against having a torture apologist and assassination strategist for a CIA director — not to mention an attorney general who is game to give cover to the unconstitutional actions of the administration.

          “simply because”
          you cannot make this stuff up.

          1. lidia

            “a torture apologist and assassination strategist for a CIA director”

            This is part of the job description for CIA director. When has it ever been otherwise, really?

            Rand Paul is repellent, but to stand against the use of the CIA and military against citizens is correct. Not that that will change anything…

        2. jrs

          So is everyone who is so sure Rand is only doing this for politics, were they also sure Obama only said what he said for politics in 08? Well everyone lives and learns I guess. Will they be fooled by whatever the Dems roll out in 2016? Have people learned? Are they also sure Elizabeth Warren only claims to stand for what she does for politics sake? Why not? Why believe that any poltician could be principled and Rand couldn’t be? Pure partisanshit. Now look I understand not agreeing with Rand on lots of other issues. That’s fine. I can understand a contextual analysis whereby Rand’s policies in general don’t advance civil liberties (anything that advances the oligarchy likely doesn’t help civil liberties in my view). But to automatically assume only Rand might be insinscere but surely there must be some sincere Dems out there. No. That’s pure partisanshit.

          1. Really?

            At this point, it’s ALL merely theatrics. I’m simply amazed that anyone out there can possibly see it otherwise. I’ll coin the term describing it as “sunk illusions,” to mirror the similar econ concept of sunk costs, both of which are based in similar delusional thinking. The silly belief that this is what we’ve always believed, and therefore, absent totally unreasonable proof otherwise, this is the way we’ll always believe. It explains a lot about how Americans (in particular, but certainly not limited to) view the world.

          2. the idiot

            Count me among those who don’t care or not if it was just a political show from Senator Rand Paul. He was asking the right questions and shining some necessary light on executive overreach. Plus he made a bunch neo-conservatives have to sound like they cared about things like civil rights and the rule of law. Is he an errand boy for the Kochs, Wall St., and Coal. Sure, and so what. Regardless of his motives, which I actually think are sincere, it was an important statement for those of us who have been trying to draw attention to the DOJ’s massive disrespect for the Constitution and the rule of law.

      3. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Clearly, they are “dead meat” if they don’t speak their Global Reich Dictation.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Many place Monsanto’s despotic origin in St. Louis. No. This “Portuguese” Global Reich Dynasty began in Colonial Louisiana, as did DuPont, later Dow, Standard Oil, Shell, Texaco, in the “Gret Stet”.

      Dumping in the Mississippi River with impunity was ensured.

  5. Swedish Lex

    Regarding death in Siena (not Venice).
    Vacating on that very spot oftenly. Greata ice cream opposite to the bank/palace. We use to sit on the bank’s stairs to indulge.

    Sad that a person’s involvement in papers and abstract numbers can push a person to this. He should have taken his car and lef the mess, driving over the Tuscan hills and through the valleys, leaving all the mess behind. That is life. Not spending time in an office until the only realistic “exit” is through the window

      1. skippy

        Yep… Light people – Dark people… so biblically convoluted you can can’t save the pigs from getting infested evil spirits.

        Skippy… poor pigs… assigned A moral status… a projection imo… cuz of some wandering eyes… bad pigs… bad.

  6. PaperMoon

    “I could have told you that. My grandmother ate a stereotypical cancer-inducing diet (lots of cured meat, much of it charred black) and died of stomach cancer. Awful way to go.”

    There was a study a while ago that showed that women with breast cancer were more likely to report eating an unhealthy diet than those without breast cancer. They didn’t have different diets of course, the women with breast cancer were just blaming themselves for their cancer.

    Not that i’m denying your magical cancer predicting powers or anything…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. High rates of stomach cancer in Japan are linked to their consumption of yakitori and other grilled meat, where the meat is charred black.

      2. Cured meats have separately long been suspected to be a carcinogen.

      3. Can you read? This was stomach cancer, not breast cancer. And my grandmother’s own doctor back in the 1960s pegged her diet as the probable cause. She ate bacon charred black, hot dogs charred black, and baloney close to daily.

  7. Can't Help It

    I would have thought that the super rich would prefer Geneva to Toronto, but what do I know really. The rest are pretty much expected.

  8. taunger

    The shape of the great betrayal is starting to get clearer. I tend to trust the propaganda more when TPTB are getting their way . Looks like austerity will stay, maybe a couple more % points tax increases on “the rich”, deductions ended, and agencies get some flexibility in how to make cuts, both on military and domestic. As the article lays out clearly, kabuki is in high gear. But the $64K is: will Obama achieve his legacy goal of destroying SS and medicare? A: It doesn’t matter for me, the dysfunction being created now can’t continue for another 30+ years, it will be a whole new dysfunction them.

    1. Really?

      But the $64K is: will Obama achieve his legacy goal of destroying SS and medicare?

      Obama’s likely just the starter kit. But that’s largely irrelevant. The big boys are playing the long game, while you and I are merely focused on the hear and now. And rest assured: they are the “irresistible force.” Our “immovable object” in comparison? Hardly even a speed bump.

      Think Public Choice Theory. Concentrated benefits for the few vs. diffuse benefits for the many. No contest every time. Especially over time.

      1. different clue

        Considering the Our Money at stake here, it costs very little time and money (even if all lost and for nothing) to at least try to pressure the allegedly “Democratic” Senators to vote against the BS Obama Catfood Plan.
        Defeat may be highly likely, but still not entirely inevitable.

  9. danb

    As well intentioned as he might be, Joe Stiglitz is in error to write, “Europe’s talents and resources – its physical, human, and natural capital – are the same today as they were before the crisis began.” Physical and natural capital are not dwindling, degrading and denuding. The world’s fundamental problem is twofold: first there is an crisis of the net flow of available energy to run a complex industrial society (peak oil); second is neoliberalism, which is premised upon perpetual growth and increasing social inequality. We can add on the myriad ecological dilemmas now imposing themselves on human economic activity, such as overfishing, water scarcity, etc.

    1. Really?

      The ecological dilemmas follow directly from perpetual exponential growth (the exponential part is important), which are all based on the silly delusion of continued cheap energy, which is to say, at this point in time at least, oil. Once you really think it through back to first cause, you realize how utterly dependent on continued supplies of cheap oil we truly are. We are truly a civilization built on oil!

      So now I’ll defer to FBeard, who has somehow convinced himself that we’re on the verge of a miracle 1,000 year + carbon-based energy cure.

      But seriously, if he’s right he’s right. I can’t wait to hear the evidence and why it’s been hiding in plain sight from everybody and his brother for all this time. Someone’s gonna make a ton of money if he’s right, that’s for sure!

      1. different clue

        People who believe it should invest everything they have and everything they can borrow in whatever they believe those amazing techno-cures to be. Anyone who believes in “zero point energy” should absolutely take out second mortages on their houses to invest in “zero point energy”.
        Or “cold fusion”. Or whatever.

        If they get to Laugh Last Later, we will just have to grind our teeth and endure their laughter.

  10. Brindle

    This Scientific American article sheds light on personalities such as Obama.
    Many liberals love that they can share in the glow of this “great man”, they see his insensitivity as a positive character trait.

    —“Intellectual ability on its own is just an elegant way of finishing second,” one successful CEO told me. “Remember, they don’t call it a greasy pole for nothing. The road to the top is hard. But it’s easier to climb if you lever yourself up on others. Easier still if they think something’s in it for them.”

    Jon Moulton, one of London’s most successful venture capitalists, agrees. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, he lists determination, curiosity and insensitivity as his three most valuable character traits.
    No prizes for guessing the first two.

    But insensitivity?

    The great thing about insensitivity, Moulton explains, is that “it lets you sleep when others can’t.”—

    1. diptherio

      We’ve created a social system that rewards psychopathy, isn’t it wonderful? Don’t we all wish we were psychopaths now?

      The first comment below the story (from skeam) actually seemed more thought-out than that article, which was strangely hagiographic.

      It seems to me, that a psychopath could very well avoid breaking the law too much, and still be very destructive to society and to people who come into contact with them. (And all the more so, if they succeed in rising to a really powerful leadership position, like international leader, CEO of a big corporation, and so on.)

      I would have liked the article to go more into this dimension too: What is the real difference between a destructive psychopaths cheating and causing harm to others and to society (even though not being a criminal), and people who just share some of their traits in healthy doses, causing them to perform better? Are these traits mostly helping them cheat better, or actually perform better…?

      1. Brindle

        Agree the article tends to salute leadership/initiative a bit much.
        comment by Vida B says it better:

        —“I could comment at length about the cultural bias inherent in this article. How the admiration for these so-called ‘qualities’ seeps through the words. But a number of comments before mine have said it quite well – being human is more than achieving ‘success.’
        So I will simply say: I pray to never be subject to a surgeon who sees himself as God. If he hasn’t the humility to say prayer to the source of his power – I want him nowhere near me. Helping or hurting, a psychopath cannot help but damage the delicate web of life.”—

      2. Bill

        The personality trait being discussed as “insensitivity” is known as “lack of empathy” among mental health workers, and is prominent not only in psychopaths, but also the Narcissistic personality.

        Narcissists see others as worthwhile only as they reflect the inflated self worth of the Narcissists. This is the trait common among cutthroat CEOs and tycoons.

        1. AbyNormal

          and too often one is Not a Narcissist nor a Psychopath…they just give burro’s a bad name

          L’uomo è un incauto infelice e insoddisfatto coglione. Un coglione che non s’accorge di esserlo. Quando sta bene fa di tutto per rendersi la vita amara. m. corona

      3. alex


        “Even though not being a criminal” should read “even though not being prosecuted”.

        These days if you steal enough money it doesn’t matter whether you’re caught, since you won’t be prosecuted. Make Bill Black Attorney General and we could have thousands of bankers dressing in bespoke orange jumpsuits.

        But real-world Attorney General Holder is too busy insisting that the president has the legitimate power to assassinate American citizens on American soil – a power that not even George III had when we fought a revolution for our rights. And his underlings are tied up harassing serious threats to the Republic like Aaron Swartz.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Holder must be impeached at the least. Hanged for treason, if justice be done.

      4. Really?

        Are psychopathic actors in a system that selects for and rewards psychopathic behavior not “performing” better whether they’re “cheating” or not? And what does “cheating” mean anyway, once you’ve embraced your inner psychopath, especially within such a system? Relativity my man – relativity.

    2. Greg Marquez

      What’s interesting is that people can be convinced to hire someone to be a psychopath for them but avoid that someone being a psychopath against them.

      I guess that demonstrates the power of psychopaths.

    3. Greg Marquez

      (Take 2)
      What’s interesting is that people can be convinced that they can hire someone to be a psychopath for them, but somehow avoid that someone being a psychopath against them.

      I guess that demonstrates the power of psychopaths.

      1. from Mexico

        Our democratic civilization has been built, not by children of darkness but by foolish children of light. It has been under attack by the children of darkness, by the moral cynics, who declare that a strong nation need acknowledge no law beyond its strength. It has come close to complete disaster under this attack, not because it accepted the same creed as the cynics; but because it underestimated the power of self-interest, both individual and collective, in modern society. The children of light have not been as wise as the children of darkness.

        The children of darkness are evil because they know no law beyond the self. They are wise, though evil, because they understand the power of self-interest. The children of light are virtuous because they have some conception of a higher law than their own will. They underestimate the peril of anarchy in both the national and the international community…

        It must be understood that the children of light are foolish not merely because they underestimate the power of self-interest among the children of darkness. They underestimate this power among themselves.

        — REINHOLD NIEBUHR, “The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness”

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          R.N. saw through a glass darkly. He did not know children of light. But then, wasn’t he deceived?

          1. skippy

            Opps… above thread comment meant for here…

            skippy says:
            March 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm
            Yep… Light people – Dark people… so biblically convoluted you can can’t save the pigs from getting infested evil spirits.

            Skippy… poor pigs… assigned A moral status… a projection imo… cuz of some wandering eyes… bad pigs… bad.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      “Green industry” can be an organized crime laundry racket, as has been shown.

  11. Ms G

    GOP wants to stop Obama’s taxpayer subsidized golfing habit. In the story, we learn that Obama said about himself (as a kid growing up in Hawaii, and all) that “there’s a laziness in me.” No wonder he is such a perfect lackey for the Peter Pinguid Society.

    And Mike Bloomberg (a Peter Pinguid himself) uses his podium as Mayor of NY to defend Obama’s golf habit. Natch. “C’mon, the guy deserves to have a life.” But austerity for everyone else.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Rather: “There’s a sleaziness in me” should the Liar in Chief had said.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I have not seen this, but someone told me Obama has taken more vacation that Bush.

      1. Ms G

        That is interesting — and Bush (Jr., right?) was notorious for lots of holidays.

        Well, considering that Obama admits he’s essentially lazy — in a context suggesting that he’d rather be golfing and beaching — what you’ve heard about his volume of absences from work would be consistent.

        1. Ms G

          Obama admitting he’s basically a lazy guy is also perfectly consistent with foaming his career path into a highly paid mouthpiece a-la-Clinton, where he can “work” a few weeks a year and spend the rest of the time living it up in luxury and fame.

          1. skippy

            Is OB just the equivalent of a – political – under garment model… makes you feel good to ware the right brand… as portrayed on the massive billboard in times square or fashion Mag…

            Skippy… that way everyone think ***their package*** is just as – BIG – too… Snort[!!!]

    3. Really?

      I don’t begrudge the guy playing golf, I begrudge him playing hooky from his actual responsibilities as the CEO for ALL OF US, not just some of us. But mostly I don’t begrudge the guy at all anymore. He’s irrelevant to anything that truly concerns me, at least to the degree that anything I do has any effect over it. Obama is best ignored these days. If you’re “wasting your time” posting to/bitching on these boards these days, you’ve pretty much signaled to all those in official power who will listen at all your powerlessness.

      On the other hand, if you’re “wasting your time” posting to/bitching on these boards these days, YOU’RE also signaling to all of those of like mind that you’re one of them, and that you’re at least potentially not going to take it anymore at some point. And that’s what’s truly important!

      Obama? Here today, gone tomorrow (and good riddance!). You, me, and ours? Think long term!

      1. skippy

        CEO for ALL OF US – Really

        Hint… the government – is not – a business – its an institution of checks and balances ***of power*** by constitutional agreement.

        Skippy… Caveat… they were all wealthy white guys which were bound together by propertarianism at as core belief… see: divinityists… cough… divine intervention… self awarded thingy.

        1. Really?

          Hint… the government – is not – a business – its an institution of checks and balances ***of power*** by constitutional agreement.

          Think again, oh mighty kangrarian. Government has been reinvented – it is – a business – it’s ***now*** an institution of somewhat nefarious debits and credits ***of power*** by corporate agreement. Where in the world have you been all these years? Down under, perhaps?

          1. skippy

            It was your assertion that he was, see:

            “I begrudge him playing hooky from his actual responsibilities as the CEO for ALL OF US, not just some of us.” – Really

            That is your framing and not as a duly – Elected – Official – Of – The People – is it not?

            Skippy… I smell free market fundamentalist.

          2. different clue


            We have all been mass-marinated in the language of biznis and President as CEO of the Biggest Biznis of all. Use in all innocence of such language may just be due to years of such marination. I don’t know enough to know when it is or isn’t. But it sometimes could be.

  12. Klassy!

    Re: Pentagon’s Link to Iraqi Torture Centers
    Colonel James Steele got his start in Vietnam where “58,000 Americans were killed, dealing a blow to the nation’s self-esteem and leading to a change in military thinking for subsequent conflicts.”
    From what I can tell this is what they learned.
    Don’t commit too many forces to the ground.
    Let the “freedom fighters” or the countries you are “liberating” do the torturing for you.
    And if you don’t have too many ground forces, and if it is an all volunteer army, and if you crack down on whistleblowers you can continue to say “we don’t torture”.

    1. Brindle

      “we don’t torture”—we’re just scum of the earth.
      The obliteration of language has reached new levels with the Obama admin.

    2. Ms G

      General Petraeus and Colonels Steele and Coffen.

      Change the names to Goering #1, #2 and #3 and then wonder why exactly these three men should not be on trial for crimes against humanity in a forum like the Nuremburg Tribunal. I’m at a loss, except for the obvious “politics” answer.

      I’m a little puzzled about the two journalists who were interviewing Steele at his torture facility — one told the BBC he saw “blood everywhere” and the other said he heard screams of excruciating pain that were obviously not “religious ecstasy.” These two journalists were (are?) NY Times reporters and they were interviewing Steele many years ago.

      I’m curious as to why this BBC documentary is the first time we are (I am?) hearing from them on this subject. Is this a case of Judith Miller Redux? It sure would not have been helpful to Obama in the first half of his first term, not to mention in the second half, when he was running for re-election.

      If there was NYT coverage about the Petraeus-Steele-Coffen connection to torturing people in Iraq, I stand corrected and would love to have links.

  13. owenfinn

    Regarding “The Decline of Communities Could Explain America`s Health Problems”. A key element in this decline of communities, and the health problems, mental and physical, that go along with it, has to be the automobile.

    The first 23 years of my life I lived in the suburbs of New York where you drove everywhere. Sofa, to car to destination, point A to point B, with virtually no interaction at all with one`s neighbors. I thought that this was the way successful Americans lived and wanted to live. I was terribly depressed as a teenager but saw no correlation.

    When I was 24, I got a job in the city, and moved to Queens, a couple blocks from the #7 train AKA “The International Express”, and a 15 minute train ride to Grand Central Station. I gave up the car – it was an expensive and unnecessary burden. Walking to and from the train station and around the neighborhood, I`d see the same people, the same commuters, the same shopkeepers, we went to the same bars and restaurants and the staff knew our names, and we`d talk about what was going on in the neighborhood – while it wasn`t a perfect place, it was certainly way better, and far healthier (at least mentally) than the burbs. What a revelation!

    A few years later, I met and married a Japanese girl I met in the neighborhood and we had a family. 6 years ago, we moved to Yokohama and here I learned the true meaning and benefits of community. Here, it was even easier to live without a car – in fact, I was living a BETTER life without a car. Here, errands are done by bike or on foot. You walk or bike THROUGH the community – not just from point A to B, from McMansion to mall/big box store to load up the SUV with a week`s worth of food. Here, you pass by your neighbors and exchange greetings, talk about the weather, or even stop for a chat. You shop everyday and load up your bike basket with food from the local shops and buy just enough for dinner that day. The shopkeepers are your neighbors. Imagine the peace of mind that comes with knowing that there are so many people in your community watching out for the safety of your children and knowing you can trust them! How different and so hard to imagine now in most of the US.

    1. Reader2010

      Undoubtedly the configurations of urban layout have tons of linkage to the culture of automobile. On the other hand, I can argue the demise has a lot to do with our TV culture, which is a degraded form of present. When people are glued to the devices that are known to remove their social and cognitive abilities, the outcome is certain.

      1. alex

        TV culture? And I thought I was getting old. Nowadays they’re all engrossed by computer games and social media. The worst of the lot though is those that comment on blogs.

    2. alex

      owenfinn: the #7 train AKA “The International Express”

      But the #7 train is a local :)

      “A key element in this decline of communities … has to be the automobile.”

      I don’t agree. I grew up in Levittown, NY – the prototypical post-war burb, and we had a pretty strong sense of community compared to what I see today in the burbs in the same part of the country. Everybody knew their neighbors and socialized with them. Everybody talked. Twenty or thirty years later I could still go back to the old neighborhood where my father still lived and chat with neighbors that knew me since I was born (an interesting thing is that people rarely moved).

      Similarly I know people in urban neighborhoods where neighbors never talk. I think the difference is in people’s attitudes. My wife, who grew up in a garden apartment complex in Queens has seen the same thing. What, do people think you’re going to get shot if you talk to your neighbors? And this rant is coming from somebody who is seriously asocial.

      1. neorealist

        Levittown from what I’ve read was a very homogeneous community–overwhelmingly white. So it was very easy to relate to people of similar backgrounds.

        In my opinion, the automobile contributed to the fracturing of bonds between middle, working and lower classes and exacerbated the residential/racial divisions between blacks and whites by allowing those who did not want to associate with people who weren’t like them and could afford a home outside of the city the means by which they could drive to and segregate themselves in a suburban area from the elements they didn’t like–primarily human and in many cases dark skinned. The lack of easy and cheap public transportation kept out poorer people and the racial discrimination in housing kept out dark skinned people.

        Granted Levittown was a community of sorts, but more of a defacto version of Afrikaan Apartheid, which isn’t all that uncommon in the NYC area, e.g., Whitestone, Queens, Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge–at least in the 70’s.

        1. alex

          “Levittown from what I’ve read was … overwhelmingly white.”

          Unfortunately it was, although that was hardly unique. At the time the FHA wouldn’t even approve mortgages in any racially mixed areas.

          “the automobile contributed to the fracturing of bonds between middle, working and lower classes and exacerbated the residential/racial divisions between blacks and whites by allowing those who did not want to associate with people who weren’t like them and could afford a home outside of the city the means by which they could drive to and segregate themselves in a suburban area”

          Right, because there was no segregation based on race or income in urban areas, and in the pre-automobile era there was no segregation anywhere.

          “Granted Levittown was a community of sorts, but more of a defacto version of Afrikaan Apartheid”

          Undoubtedly a black person traveling from apartheid era South Africa to the NY area would barely notice a difference. And those damn burning crosses – as a child they would keep me up half the night! They were good for toasting marshmallows though.

          “which isn’t all that uncommon in the NYC area, e.g., Whitestone, Queens, Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge–at least in the 70′s.”

          As opposed to the racial integration and harmony of Boston, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, L.A., etc., not to mention those utter paradises south of the Mason-Dixon line.

          1. neorealist

            “Right, because there was no segregation based on race or income in urban areas, and in the pre-automobile era there was no segregation anywhere.”

            Oh there certainly was in the urban areas, but not nearly as pronounced as the suburbs. And the flight from those areas to the Valley Streams and the Levittowns by those who really wanted to get their segregation on got much more pronounced in the 50’s and 60’s.

            “As opposed to the racial integration and harmony of Boston, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, L.A., etc., not to mention those utter paradises south of the Mason-Dixon line.”

            I’m well aware it’s a national malady. When MLK fought for housing integration in Chicago, he said something to the effect that the anger and racism wasn’t all that different from the south.

            I just don’t want to make the suburbs out to be some sort of community nirvana by virtue of greater communication and commonality when one considers the practices that helped create and preserve those areas, particularly the auto’s role in facilitating the fracture of community by race and class.

          2. alex

            “Oh there certainly was in the urban areas, but not nearly as pronounced as the suburbs.”


            And don’t you contradict your own assumption about the burbs being worse by mentioning Bensonhurst and Whitestone as thoroughly segregated?

            “And the flight from those areas to the Valley Streams and the Levittowns by those who really wanted to get their segregation on got much more pronounced in the 50′s and 60′s.”

            While I don’t doubt that one of the reasons for the move to the burbs was prejudice, it was far from the only reason. Another reason was that that was a time of increasing urban violence, so it was “crime flight”. Lastly, many people wanted to live in the burbs simply because they liked them, especially if they wanted to have kids. That was the baby boom era. Pre-war burbs were mostly upper-middle-class because those were the only people that could afford it back then, but the rising prosperity of the 50’s and 60’s and the reduced housing prices from assembly line techniques (pioneered in Levittown) allowed more people to move there. Unfortunately that new prosperity was not universally shared, which meant white people were more likely to be able to afford what they wanted.

            “I’m well aware it’s a national malady.”

            So why did you confine yourself to talking about the NY area as though it were an exception?

            “I just don’t want to make the suburbs out to be some sort of community nirvana …”

            Me neither. If you look at my original post you’ll see I mentioned my wife’s similar experience growing up in Queens. Hence my point that it seems more about the time period than about whether it’s urban or suburban. And since it’s not an urban/suburban issue, I doubt cars had much to do with it.

    3. nobody

      “The automobile…has turned out to be, by virtue of its innate and inalterable qualities, the enemy of community generally. Wherever it advances, neighborliness and the sense of community are impaired.

      “One might have thought that this alone, much of which was surely becoming evident in the 1920s and 1930s, would have sufficed to cause Americans of that day to pause and to ask themselves whether they really wished to junk 99 percent of the great railway system that then existed and to confer upon the automobile and the truck the sort of near monopoly on transportation which (together with their later companion the airplane) they have now achieved. And the wonder as to why this question was never asked is enhanced when it is considered that this, the effect on community, was by no means the only drawback from which the automobile, as an alternative to public transportation, suffered (and continues to suffer).

      “There is, in the first place, its extreme unsociability. Just as it destroys community in human residence, so it destroys community in travel. Surely there has never been a lonelier means of moving great masses of people about. This writer has found himself obliged to drive, on countless occasions, either alone or accompanied only by his wife, the 150 miles between his regular place of residence and the family farm in southern Pennsylvania. The compulsion to do this has arisen because the nearby Pennsylvania village, once connected with the world around it by a small branch railway line, now has, like countless other such villages, no public transportation of any sort to link it to the outside world, In the course of these hundreds of journeys between the two points in question, six or seven hours’ round-trip in each instance, the writer cannot recall that he ever met personally, or communicated with, another person, unless it be the toll collector at the exit point from the turnpike, who sometimes said hello. Time after time, he found himself comparing this lonely and dreary journey with the color and sociability of the English highway of Chaucer’s time, as reflected in The Canturbury Tales, or with the congenial atmosphere of the railway compartment of the Victorian novel.”

      — George Kennan, Around The Cragged Hill: A Personal And Political Philosophy, p. 161-162

      1. alex

        Such rants against cars are easy to find. There are many legitimate complaints about cars, particularly environmental and safety issues, but his sort of rant is just the nostalgia disease. No doubt such complaints were also heard from those whose earlier life was without trains. Those noisy, smoke belching iron horses destroy a sense of community by bringing endless strangers to our town and allowing our young people to scatter to the winds. Moreover the iron horse and the factory goods it delivers to every town in America have destroyed the livelihoods of our craftsmen. Where once you would buy something from the local blacksmith or cabinet maker, you now order from the Sears catalog. Our farmers, who once proudly made our community self-sufficient in food, now grow cash crops which are shipped out by train, while other foodstuffs, once supplied locally, are delivered by the train. What’s the point?

        The worst though is having to travel by train. Even if you can survive the ash and cinders blowing through the window, you’re assaulted by a crush of strangers coughing all over you, trying to talk to you when you’re clearly not interested, and surrounded by ill-disciplined children. In the old days one could enjoy the solitude of nature while traveling in fresh air and at your own pace. No more. Even if you want to take the horse and buggy you’re now expected to travel hundreds of miles in a single day. What’s the rush?

        I also wonder how much of a real working farm the “family farm” the author refers to is. And how far is it from the village that was once so conveniently served by the railroad? Ask real farmers how they would feel about doing without cars and trucks. Rural isolation was once a much bigger issue than now, which is why farmers were amongst the most important early customers for the Model T. And delivering produce to market by horse drawn wagon wasn’t much fun either, and hence why even before “real trucks” were popular, farmers converted Model T’s to ersatz trucks.

        1. jessica

          There is a reason why “railroaded” means what it does. Railroads were viewed, quite rightly, as tyrannical monopolies. As hard as it might be to imagine now, especially for those who notice all the distortions created by automobilization, when it first started, it was an intoxicating freedom.
          We have all these warm and fuzzy thoughts about railroads because there is no one left who had to deal with railroads as an all-powerful monopoly.
          Railroad transportation technology basically matured by the end of the 1800s. Automobile transportation technology basically matured with the building of the interstate system. I want something new and better.

        2. Really?

          Yes, but the real question is, what system would have developed in the absence of (obscenely) cheap oil? Answer: a LOCAL system which wouldn’t have relied on transportation of labor to remote sites at all; i.e., feet, bicycles, and horses. AND we wouldn’t have had the time and resources left over to create 7B+ human beings in the process! Imagine that!

          1. EconCCX

            Answer: a LOCAL system which wouldn’t have relied on transportation of labor to remote sites at all; @Really?

            Not a chance. We’ve mined coal for two millennia. Motorized transport merely had to await the steam engine. As did oil drilling. Absent cheap oil, railroad and maritime economies would have enjoyed a decisive military and competitive advantage over societies founded on local exchange. Relentless exploitation of the latter would be assured. Eventually, coal power would have been adapted in some fashion to permit self-propelled overland transport.

    1. AbyNormal

      damnit, i thought my breakfast had settled

      Peterson doesn’t attract venom from the left like the Koch family or bile from the right like Soros. In Washington, he’s treated with sedulous respect as a serious thinker about public policy willing to support earnest public discussion with cold cash. His money backs a large number of think tanks across the political spectrum; he has started a news outlet churning out articles about fiscal matters and is ****funding a high school curriculum**** aimed, according to its creators at Columbia University, at “teaching kids about the national debt.”

      hope maria montessori is right
      “Scientific observation then has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.”

      1. Really?

        Forget Pete Peterson. Focus on why his message is so attractive (Confession: I’m a former acolyte). People so easily forget the attractiveness of austerity and it’s upright Judeo-Christian message of “responsibility for one’s debts.”

      2. different clue

        For all her faults, Digby did used to treat Peterson with scorn and derision. One of her many faults was the destruction and erasure of her own archives, so that you can’t even find those anti-Peterson posts any more. Maybe you could on the Wayback Machine.

  14. Bill

    Just a comment on the chicken nuggets story. Here’s the quote about why he won’t eat them:

    “It’s all chicken. It’s just not all meat. Some of it’s skin, a few bones, fat, and whatever meat might still be attached to any of the previous mentioned,” he said.

    Keeping in mind I grew up at a time when all parts of food animals were used as food (pigfeet, intestines (chitlins), pork skins, “dirty” rice using gizzards hearts & livers), they really don’t sound so bad.

    I eat today little food from fast food restaurants, and I think it’s mostly unhealthy, but having all chicken parts in a dish is not ipso facto unhealthy.

    BTW, I also think these days we have a national obsession with “cleanliness” that I think is unhealthy. It produces undue anxiety and frustrations, which produce widespread inflammation in our bodies and minds. There are enough real things to be afraid of.

    1. diptherio

      I got to see a water buffalo slaughtered in Nepal once. The only thing left after they were done divvying it up was horns, hooves, and a little patch of blood. Everything else was cleaned up and devoured (by others, as I was a vegetarian at the time). Not that I’m going to run out and buy a bunch of chicken nuggets or anything.

      And I agree on the cleanliness thing. I hosted a couple of fund-raising dinners for the Nepali community school I’m helping with at my local UU Fellowship house. The health department shut us down because the Fellowship’s kitchen isn’t up to “commercial” standard (i.e. stainless steel everything) and they worried that people might get sick. I pointed out that most of the food people eat is not prepared in commercial kitchens (and that it was for charity gawddamnit) to no avail.

      My sister regularly ate mud-pies as a child, and doesn’t seem any worse for the wear 28 years later…

      1. Zachary Smith

        As a really little kid I would put fine dirt on a small wound to stop the bleeding, and I’m still alive.

        There is a certain amount of luck involved when people survive the stupid things they’ve done.

    2. Zachary Smith

      *** Keeping in mind I grew up at a time when all parts of food animals were used as food (pigfeet, intestines (chitlins), pork skins, “dirty” rice using gizzards hearts & livers), they really don’t sound so bad. ***

      My childhood included most of the same experiences, but I’m not excusing the foul modern practices on that account.

      I went “cold turkey” on the ‘nuggets’ when I learned they included chicken skin. We were poor folks back then, but we weren’t THAT poor.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Isn’t chicken shit the staple “food” of cattle nowadays? So, what’s a steak?

    4. Really?

      Mostly agreed. Although I certainly wouldn’t eat much of that shit.

      I’m a serial dieter myself. And I’ve run into the same conundrums over and over again as well.

      My current take: Mostly all raw or fermented liver enhancing veggies (cabbage, carrots, onions, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.), “natural” cheese, no sugar-added yogurt, and the like. But of course, the inevitable western diet binge inevitably intervenes. Hey! It’s HARD to be a saint in a world chock full of sinners!

  15. jsmith

    Give us all a f*cking break already.

    Oh, Rand Paul is making me cry he’s so patriotic.

    Senator Cruz – sniffle – what a great man.

    After decades of being manipulated by our elites, any one who buys into this latest charade by our enablers in the halls of power should be embarrassed.

    Oh, but he’s right on this topic though?

    Really, so I’m supposed to believe that this shell of a human being – he is a US Senator, btw – after everything that’s gone on is really making a principled stand?

    F*cking pathetic.

    Wow, I guess I should just put aside the last 30 years of direct betrayal, war criminality and other outright mendacity and buy into the American political system again.

    (sniff)This is just like Jimmy Stewart.(sniff)

    Except a Jimmy Stewart who wants to take away the livelihoods of the sickest, poorest and oldest in our population?

    A Jimmy Stewart who doesn’t really mind that we violate international law – i.e., commit war crimes – in illegally dusting non-American citizens around the planet with drones but, hey, what do you want?

    I understand the propaganda in this country is cleverly crafted but shame on anyone who’s still a sucker for this nonsense.

    Wow, one person in our Congress showboats for half a day about just one of the egregious malfeacances that our government is complicit in and people are ready to jump on the bandwagon once again.

    Der…mumble, Paul is gonna be tough to beat in ’16?

    Let me ask all the suckers who are falling for this nonsense:

    What is really the more realistic/sane reaction to Paul?

    1) Goody, goody, America is saved, we still have HEROES!!

    2) Just another load of horseshit from our criminal elite.

    You think with the amount of sheep to count in this country, I’d finally get to sleep at some point.


    1. jsmith

      Adding it should be “malfeasance” and let’s not forget that Paul voted for the NDAA along with every other senator so forgive me if I don’t stream red, white and blue banners in my bike tires and ride around the block.

      Hooray!!!! We can lock up citizens for whatever – read: no – legal reason but at least one of our masters is pretending that killing us for whatever – read: no – legal reason is just a step TOO FAR!!!

      Oh, Randy, you so Constitutional!!!

      1. mpinca

        Rand Paul voted against NDAA, as did six other senators. The “progressive” commentary on Paul’s filibuster is appalling, largely ad hominem and vitriol. I listened to several hours of the filibuster, and though dismayed by the long-winded, self-serving ideological speechification of Ted Cruz, I found Rand Paul’s commentary to be broadly informed, well reasoned, and far more nuanced than most of the response from “the left” that I’ve seen. How sad that we as a society(sic) continue to act out the divide-and-conquer strategy of our overlords, and equally sad to see the comments section of NC devolving into the fight club mentality of ZH.

        1. from Mexico

          It does seem that primitive, self-serving tribalism is the only thing left of American politics and society. It’s a politics of personalities and partisanship, void of anything transcendent or universal.

          The Grillini are trying to transcend all the partisanship, but I think you will see they too have been brutally maligned, and by the same folks maligning Paul.

          This from Eric Hoffer is germane:

          It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from their sense of inadequacy and impotence….

          The enemy—the indispensible devil of every mass movement—is omnipresent. He plots both outside and inside the ranks of the faithful. It is his voice that speaks through the mouth of the dissenter, and the deviationists are his stooges. If anything goes wrong within the movement, it is his doing. It is the sacred duty of the true believer to be suspicious. He must be constantly on the lookout for saboteurs, spies and traitors.

          This from Ralph Ellison also seems worth repeating here:

          Taking leave of Howe for a moment — for his lapse is merely symptomatic — let me speak generally. Many of those who write of Negro life today seem to assume that as long as their hearts are in the right place they can be as arbitrary as they wish in their formulations. Others seem to feel that they can air with impunity their most private Freudian fantasies as long as they are given the slightest camouflage of intellectuality and projected as “Negro.” They have made of the no-man’s land created by segregation a territory for infantile self-expression and intellectual anarchy. They write as though the Negro life exists only in light of their belated regard, and they publish interpretations of Negro experience which would not hold true for their own or for any other form of human life.

          Here the basic unity of human experience that assures us of some possibility of empathic and symbolic identification with those of other backgrounds is blasted in the interest of specious political and philosophical conceits. Prefabricated Negroes are sketched on sheets of paper and superimposed upon the Negro community; then when someone thrusts his head through the page and yells, “Watch out there, Jack, there’re people living under here,” they are shocked and indignant.

          — RALPH ELLISON, “The World and the Jug”

          1. VVV

            Please direct your fire elsewhere, jsmith is not making a tribalist argument. He’s suggesting that this is another instance of the “rotating villain”/”rotating hero” gambit we’ve gotten from the parties on umpteen different occasions before.

          2. LeonovaBalletRusse

            There is a vast difference between the “powerful” and the “strong”. Many of the “powerful” are weak, which is why they bond with other weaklings to exert power in a Bully Block, in an SS, in a Global Reich of “RoyalBlood/Babylon’s Banksters”.

      2. jsmith

        You think I give a rat’s ass what the “progressive” community or Rand Freakin’ Paul says?

        What we have here is a failure to communicate.

        Let me help you out:

        Baa baa, baabaabaaa baa baa baabaa baabaa baaa- baabaaaaa baa baaaaa – BAAA BAAA BAAA, BAA?!

        Baa, baa baaaaa baaaa baaaabaaaa!!! BAA?!!!

        Baaabaaa, baaaa “baa”(?), BAAAA BAAAA BAAA, BAAAA!!!

        Got it?

        For those who don’t speak concern sheep, Mr. Fightin’ Rand Paul (Token – KY) voted against the 2012 version of the bill but then adhered to his libertarian roots and voted for the 2013 version of the bill out of the Senate (98-0).

        What a hero!



        Concern sheep is really worried about the divide and conquer strategies used by our overlords and if everyone would just realize that Rand Paul is the REAL DEAL we could baa baaaa baaaaa baaaa, baaa baabaaa baaa.

        But, wait concern sheep, what if one realizes that there is not ONE – NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON – in our government that we should – as rational beings – put our trust/hope in, then what?


        What if we’ve long ago dispensed with the nicey nicey seemingly well-reasoned – not too partisan, be careful – horesh!t of type peddled by (professional?) opinion posters whose goal is to visit discussion boards and promote the “general consensus” du jour?

        Gee, if only we had a few more Rand Pauls, right?

        Gee, if only the progressive community could put aside their differences and rally around sincere people like Rand Paul, huh?

        Rand Paul has given us something to be proud of right?

        F*ck that.

        I mean really.

        And then to express you concern for the site, how thoughtful.

        Tell me, when does your concern cud taste best?

        After the first swallow or when you puke it back into your mouth for a second go around…

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You have got to dial down the abuse to content ratio or you are going in moderation. You’ve got decent stuff to say but your tone is seriously out of line.

          1. jsmith

            Point taken, Yves.

            It’s just that running around the web you’d think that every freaking person was born yesterday judging from most the commentary.

            Gee, who did the elite have everyone SCREAMING FOR the last time they were so desperate for change – wink, wink – and principle?


            Where has believing in the “principles” – kneeslap – of our leaders gotten us in America over the last 3? 4? decades?


            Can anyone point to a SINGLE reason why any American citizen should not view every action by these amoral madmen as anything but showmanship and farce?


            Shouldn’t we be even MORE skeptical of a man whose political career was based upon the billionaire-funded astro-turf Tea Party movement?


            The real reason I get mad is because – as crazy as it sounds – I’d like to believe that at this point in history my fellow inhabitants in this American nuthouse are actually – or very well should be – smarter than this.

            That deep down maybe they’re wising up.

            That every action – no matter how noble-sounding or progressive – should be immediately met with cynicism and doubt by the common populace and not acceptance for – gee, willikers – pretty words and cheap stunts.

            That maybe we can all work together to build a better future for ourselves and each other if we can find a way to put aside the partisan bickering.

            That we can once again uphold the sacred oaths to the Constitution our forefathers envisioned us preserving – oaths not as mere promises but as keepsakes for our most precious of commodities – the children.

            Only then will we have fulfilled our promise as a nation, our covenant to the people not only of this great country but of the world community in our shared constant quest for freedom and democracy.

            See, suckers?

            See, how easy it is?


          2. VVV

            Yves, jsmith got accused of engaging in blind Democratic partisanship, which was a strawman and I think his hostile reaction was pretty understandable.

    2. alex

      The point is not that Rand is some sort of a hero, or that he’s otherwise anything other than a clown, or anything other than a political opportunist. It’s that somebody in a position of power and visibility is making a stink over this. It sure beats hearing about Monica.

      1. jsmith

        No, I actually think it’s worse in that now that the elite have show a cynical token amount of opposition – well, gollee – many of the American sheeple will rest assured that our betters really do have an eye to the Constitution after all.

        13 WHOLE HOUR!!!!!

        It must be serious!

        Never mind everything else they’ve done in direct contravention of US and international law.

        Look, TPTB are all of them – every last one – behind any machination that aggrandizes their power/wealth so hazing the “new guy” in the club and having him make a big “stink” about the most egregious of their offenses – which will become common practice anyways – is a small price to pay for keeping the masses distracted from all of the other nefarious sh!te they do.

        Ooh, I’m sure Feinstein et al are just steaming at the junior Senator from KY.

        Don’t think for a second that Rand’s little charade was anything other than just that a weak charade tossed to the masses to give them the hope – once again there’s that word – that someone ANYONE in the upper echelons is looking out for them.

        Man, if it wasn’t for Rand Paul, I might think there was something wrong with the people in Congress, Mable.

        That’s nice, dear, take your pills.

        1. jsmith

          Kind like how I used to respond to people’s posts with nonsense but then figured, what the hell am I writing?

          Oh wait…



          Gee, “nihilism” must be the “target” phrase for people who realize that the entire system is screwed, huh?

          So much so that there’s a “nihilism” tag over at Kos?

          No way!!

          Yeah way and I don’t mean God!!!

 (for real.)

          Yup, just trying to imagine a political universe beyond our fascist system of governance is just pointless, right?

          Or is it mind-blowing?

          Correctly stating that our entire system of governance is so inherently corrupt and criminal-ridden that it just might need to be scrapped is the same as curling up in a corner and waiting to die.

          Hey, alex, is it ok if I suck my thumb?

          Seriously, though, first fromMexico – somehow – called me a nihilist last week and now you?!

          Maybe Lambert or Yves should start a tag.

          Oh, no you ditn’t!

          1. alex

            Sheesh, talk about overreacting to a quip. Honestly the only thing I have against armchair revolutionaries is that they have no sense of humor.

          2. jrs

            Actually even if one absolutely loved Rand Paul and everything about him (which I don’t see a lot of but ..), he won’t actually win this battle and everyone knows it. So that the system is corrupt and near un-reformable (I could say un-reformable, but every protest movement lives on the hope of something as well) is neither news nor anything that Rand Pauls futile crusade (even if entirely sincere) refutes. I just don’t see why one could go from respecting Rand Paul for this particular action, and I do, to concluding: “the system works”. It might give one pause in outlawing fillibusters maybe, so maybe could achieve a that very narrow strategic goal. But trust in the overall system? You have got to be kidding me.

          3. JTFaraday

            Nihilism is the new porn– you know it when you see it.

            I think I won a scholarship writing about Allan Bloom and the nihilistic threat from the untermenschen as an undergrad, but I can’t remember.

            I think as a grad student I also once wrote something confessing that I knew I told the scholarship committee what I knew it wanted to hear. I also confessed I knocked it out on the beach. (On paper. These were the days before ubiquitous portable electronics).

            None of this went over well with the apostles of sincerity, who of course never tell scholarship committees what they know they want to hear.

            Maybe if I said my parents happen to live near the beach it would have gone better for me. Although, I seem to recall my roommate being there, so it’s also possible I was in Hilton Head.

            Eh. Better stop digging. Self reflection bad. Ideology good.

            At least I lived to read Rousseau. Popping out kids and dumping them in the orphanage–now, that’s confessing. Philosophers are appalled to this day.

            Then I died… Yes, it’s all becoming clear to me now. Well, we all have to learn sooner or later.

            Anyway, my point is nihilism is the new porn and the culture industry has eating off this one for a while now.

      2. Mister Cheery

        You’re both right. It’s nice that Rand Paul is against totalitarianism. Sadly, no one in America’s Stasi gives a shit what he thinks. Or what congress thinks. The institution has no role. It’s not nihilism to say so. If you were in Equatorial Guinea you wouldn’t be looking to anybody in your fucked-up psycho government for help, you’d go over its head to the world. Same here.

        All the real work of replacing this pariah state is being done elsehwere, in the special procedures, the treaty bodies, the Human Rights Council. They all know it’s an effort of decades to stop this regime. It’s like harpooning a whale, you weaken it, bleed it, hamper it, impede it, exhaust it. You can’t just stop it cold.

        That’s not passivity, either. As a hapless US citizen your role is not to participate in fake democracy, your role is to fuck it up a little more each day until it dies.

        1. Laughing_Fascist

          Sorry but nothing is being done in “treaty bodies” to undermine the US global elite that runs the show here. These guys/girls are global after all. The Human Rights Council consists of countries with their own global elites. Its one big global party.

      3. LeonovaBalletRusse

        It’s staged propaganda. Do not be deceived. The Reich owns the M.C. sheep.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Kurgman — living proof that MMT don’t work:

    Economist and columnist Paul Krugman declared personal bankruptcy today following a failed attempt to spend his way out of debt.

    In a Chapter 13 filing to the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, lawyers for Krugman listed $7,346,000 in debts versus $33,000 in assets.

    The majority of his debts are related to mortgage financing on a $8.7 million apartment in lower Manhattan, but the list also includes $621,537 in credit card debt and $33,642 in store financing at famed jeweler Tiffanys and Co.

    The filing says that Krugman got into credit card trouble in 2004 after racking up $84,000 in a single month on his American Express black card in pursuit of rare Portuguese wines and 19th century English cloth

    Rather than tighten his belt and pay the sums back, the pseudo-Keynesian economist decided to “stimulate” his way to a personal recovery by investing in expenses he hoped would one day boost his income.

    Between 2004 and 2007 Krugman splurged on expensive cars, clothes, and travel in hopes that the new lifestyle would convince his bosses at the New York Times to give him a giant raise.

    It’s probably a spoof. But it’s spreading like wildfire on the intertubes, cuz it’s so very plausible.

    Expect Kurgman to issue a blistering denunciation of his detractors.

    1. Massinissa

      Krugman is more a keynsian than a MMT…

      And hasnt this site made enough point that while austerity is bad for governments, its a great strategy for households?

    2. Klassy!

      It’s spreading like wildfire? Wow, I’d say what a lot of dupes, but they don’t even exactly try to hide the fact that it’s satire.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is a distinction between being entrusted to create money/manage money supply and having unlimited amount of money to spend.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When it comes to fallacy of composition, I am reminded that when just one person is given $100 newly minted money from the money press, he’s $100 richer than the rest of us, but when everyone of us is given $100 each, we are where we were before.

        And if instead of $100, each of our accounts is added one zero, the price of everything will have one exra zero as well.

        What is good for one person (given more printed money in this case) is not necessarily good for the whole.

        1. F. Beard

          but when everyone of us is given $100 each, we are where we were before. mltpb

          Wrong. Credit creation is the creation of temporary money. When credit is repaid that temporary money is destroyed – damaging the ability of others to pay their debts. That $100 per capita would reduce that damage.

          1. F. Beard

            It doesn’t matter. Those $100 bills are legal tender and the banks MUST accept them to discharge debt.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Perhaps this will help.

            One person given a certain amount of money is great for that person.

            If everyone gets that same amount of money, relatively to everyone else, the situation is still the same.

            What you like to see is the 99.99% given more money than the 0.01%.

          3. F. Beard

            You’re the one who doesn’t get it; I understand your point perfectly and it is WRONG!

            But it’s very conventional thinking…

          4. F. Beard

            But here’s an example to show that even giving the .01% the same amount reduces relative wealth disparity.

            Let A have $1,000,000 and B have $1000. The wealth ratio is thus 1000 to 1. Now give both A and B $100,000. Now A has $1,100,000 and B has $101,000. The wealth ratio has now been reduced to 10.89 to 1, about a hundredfold reduction! And the beauty is that the .01% can’t complain of unfairness!

          5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Only if you do it in a large quanity.

            If each of us is given a trillion dollar, that would certainly make the billionaires stand up and listen.

            The simplest way is to take from the 0.01% and give to the 99.99%.

            The simplest way.

          6. F. Beard

            Large quantities are called for if the goal is, as it should be, to back all bank deposits 100% with reserves.

          7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There is noting wrong with calling for givine each of us $1 trillion.

            If that’s your idea, you should say so from the start, clearly, so your message is not distracted, and say it often.

        2. constant

          I guess it creates less inequality. Given to somebody that already had 10 or 10000 shifts the balance :%]

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think $10,000 will do much.

            $1 million each won’t do either.

            At $1 billion each, you are still outgunned 2-1 unless you already have a few hundred million stashed away somewhere, and so it is pretty much meaningless to say so unless you start with multi-billion to each of us.

            $1 trillion, not to the Fed from the Treasury, but to each of us would be effective in wiping out wealth inequality.

          2. constant

            10000 that have 10 each get 100 and 10 having 10000 also get 100 each, how that works out?

  17. Bill

    I’d like to see some results of the processed meat study, done in UK, in Germany, where everyone, every day, eats large quantities of salami, and other cured meats…..just because it’s the best of these foods anywhere, AFAIC.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Maybe they cure them in a less nasty way than in America. Or maybe all that good German beer is anticarcinogenic!

      I have a buddy who swears he can eat cheese in Switzerland and not gain weight when if he eats the same amount in they US, he does. Buddy is question is a biomedical engineer, and has done some looking into how they process cheese in Switzerland that he thinks that could be the reason. I never had him unpack it since I’m not gonna go to Switzerland just to eat cheese and not get fat.

      1. Bill

        The good German beer prolly helps, and German people are much more active than we are as a group. Not much TV viewing or passive activities, that can sure help with health and weight gains.

        I almost never ate sausage or cold cuts like salami until I lived a few years in Germany, but the food they have on all levels is waaaay better than what we get here.

        And the beer ! I can’t go on……..

        1. Really?

          Fermented foods. Beer, wine, sauerkraut (cabbage, carrots, and onions), cheese, meats, etc. Fermentation: it’s what’s for dinner!

      2. different clue

        But if he were to unpack it in detail so that the unpacked detail could be compared to the unpacked details of making all sorts of American cheeses, one might find which (if any) American cheeses are made to be as non-fattening as the Swiss cheeses he talks about. It could be interesting information to start out from.

      1. Valissa

        That was different :) The double hump camels look more comfortable to ride, or at least easier to stay up on.

  18. Carla

    Thanks for the link to the Monsanto article on The Automatic Earth.

    I wonder, Yves, if you would consider adding The Automatic Earth to NC’s Blog Roll…

  19. wunsacon

    >> Barack Obama ‘has authority to use drone strikes to kill Americans on US soil‘

    Is anyone surprised? Or really believe it’s the wrong answer?

    Really, if there were an honest-to-dog armed-and-dangerous terrorist on US soil, what difference does it make whether it’s a remotely *piloted* vehicle versus an in-situ piloted vehicle that takes him/her out?

    My problem with “drones” isn’t that they’re used. It’s that they make war “too easy” for one side of belligerents such that we are too cavalier — even by our standards — with destroying other people’s lives.

    1. wunsacon

      Of course, I would prefer the old-school apprehension of criminals (which includes threats). But, that’s not a “drone” issue so much as it is a militarization-of-police issue.

      Well, mostly…

  20. Montanamaven

    Think it’s time to look at various attempts at democracy in Africa for the coming chaos. Adam Curtis, once again, has a great blog post on Africa.
    Money quote: U.S. Marine: “the place is filling up with American contractors all bidding to rebuild this joint. That’s all the Defence Department is. We’re bodyguards for American contractors ……………… You should know that – you’ve been to college.”

  21. diptherio

    On the processed meat tip…

    Life with Less Bacon ~Ari LeVaux

    Part of the problem with bacon everywhere, all the time, is that unless you’re investing in clean, quality bacon, you could be exposing yourself to some questionable karma. Industrial hog farms are home to gross exploitation and pollution. Plus, antibiotics and other substances found in factory-farmed pork, such as the pork-fattening hormone ractopamine, are widely used in the United States but banned in many countries. One of those countries is Russia, which recently announced it will no longer import U.S. pork.

    Fish sauce and oyster sauce are ubiquitous in Asian cuisine, and there are many variations—like the crushed small crabs that were tossed into a papaya salad I bought on the street in Bangkok.

    I’ve been doing something along those lines with whole anchovies. Where once upon a time my bacon slivers prepared the pan for everything from shepherd’s pie to fried rice to lasagna, I’ve begun preparing the pan with a few anchovies in olive oil.

    Unlike extracts and sauces, anchovies blur the line between ingredient and condiment. Bacon blurs this line as well, but unlike bacon, anchovies disappear as they cook, leaving only their flavor.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Christian megachurch in foreclosure after preacher paid himself millions…

    In contrast, we have this:

    Mammon megachurch in bankruptcy after high priests paid themselves millions in bonus.

    Luckily, Mammon megachurch had connection to the a government that can print lots of money to bail it out.

    By the way, Mammon megachurch believes its high priest shall be exempt from paying taxes, as he/she is doing Mammon-God’s work…not just as a lay believer (which doesn’t qualify for the tax-exempt status), but as a high priest of Mammon megachurch, which is protected and shall be separate from the state. That the high priest is legally bound to pay taxes, though has avoided so far thanks to very smart accountants, is a gross injustice.

    Sorry, make that gross injustice!!! (the exclamation marks are needed).

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The European Rift, don’t give in to panic.

    The timing is curious. We could have used the ‘don’t give in to panic’ when Congress was voting to bail out too-big-to-fail banks (via a 3-page proposal – was it 3 or just 1 page?).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That is to say, it was not bad to panic, relatively to Europeans…but only slightly and may not last long.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Europeans are rejecting austerity.

    Good luck.

    Americans rejected bailing out to-big-to-fail…and it’s still with us.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Processed food, lots of cure meat.

    I wonder if red wine will somehow counter that…

    1. constant

      Checked it, as a man you have to worry less, the situation is not getting worse
      take care

      1. skippy

        Ahh… the MER’s of derivatives… what could go wrong.. eh.

        Skippy… the – best part – is the – malefactors of origin – are at the helm… see: sinking of movie prop… mistaken for sailing ship… not so long ago… eh.

  26. hunkerdown

    In politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. This is quite easy to observe for anyone who’s watched politics for a decade or more, especially this past decade.

    Whereas the 99% demand from their officials “good moral character”, a lack of evidence of non-normative sexual behavior and a sufficiently captivating show of uttering the party shibboleths, rather than, you know, serving their permanent or emergent interests.

    Mayhaps that’s why the 99%’s interests aren’t being addressed? An unfortunate, misguided mass attempt at delegating the advancement of one’s interests to an official bought, paid for and indebted to whichever party and *their* interests, on which said party spends hundreds of millions per year to polish into a fairy tale and sell to the electorate?

    Are USians really authoritarian by nature, or is that just the manufactured uncertainty talking?

  27. Ruben

    Re. the excellent article by Stiglitz in The Guardian:

    1) It is partly wrong to say “The simplistic diagnosis of Europe’s woes – that the crisis countries were living beyond their means – is, at least partly, wrong. Spain and Ireland had fiscal surpluses and low debt/GDP ratios before the crisis.” In the case of Spain, the debt by the ‘cajas’ should be counted as public debt because their boards were controlled by party operatives and Spanish parties are publicly funded.

    2) “A banking union, too, is needed. But it needs to be a real union, with common deposit insurance and common resolution procedures, as well as common supervision. There will also have to be eurobonds, or an equivalent instrument.” Debt mutualization by eurobonds or equivalent instruments cannot be implemented due to lack of confidence in the competence and honesty of southern European political and business leaders.

    3) “Yet years have gone by and no growth strategy is on the table – though its components are well known, being policies that address Europe’s internal imbalances and Germany’s huge external surplus, which now is on par with China’s (and more than twice as high relative to GDP).

    That means wage increases in Germany, and industrial policies that promote exports and productivity in Europe’s peripheral economies.”

    This is exactly right but it requires a) German business and political elites as well as the electorate to take a great leap forward for the good of the European project, it’s possible but takes time, and b) a radical change in southern European leadership and institutions (aka structural reform) and that might take even more time.

    4) “Europe needs structural reform, as austerity advocates insist. But it is structural reform of the eurozone’s institutional arrangements, not reforms within individual countries, that will have the greatest impact.” This might be true but it’s impractical. Homogenization cannot be imposed from the trans-European institutions because too much power yet resides in national administrations and because the German electorate would not allow it. Homogenization can only be feasibly achieved by structural reforms inside the weak nations by shedding off their subjugation to incompetent and corrupt leadership.

    Stiglitz is talking about the right issues, that’s a really good start.

    1. Hugh

      Another iteration of the oft discredited meme of the virtuous North and the profligate South. As with all propaganda, its power does not derive from any truth it contains but from unceasing repetition.

      Europe is a kleptocracy. The euro was never anything other than a useful tool to loot with. Northern kleptocrats and their servant elites epitomized by Germany got a cheaper currency which, along with sticking it to German workers, enhanced exports while the South got a more expensive currency which impeded theirs. The North got ready access to Southern markets which just accelerated this process. And Northern kleptocrats made any number of loans to the South which were largely invested in bubbles and looted by Southern kleptocrats and elites, secure in the knowledge that when these went bad everyone, the Northern kleptocrats themselves, their elites, the Northern 99%, the Southern kleptocrats and their elites would all cheer on making these rotten loans good by taking it out of the hides of the Southern 99%s. This is really class war at its finest and most poisonous.

      1. the idiot

        Agreed, and I believe there is some thinking that had Lincoln lived, Reconstruction would have gone much, much differently. Of course it’s much easier to hope that because we will never know.

      2. Jessica

        There is much truth in what you say, but I think there are other factors worth considering also.
        First, standards of living for most people in the southern EU countries and Ireland have risen substantially since joining the EU and the peoples of those countries were hoping for further rises. Even joining the euro zone seemed to work out for many people in those countries until the advent of the crisis. This is important for understanding how people in those countries are responding.
        Second, I am not sure if the euro was a purely kleptocratic project from the start. I think there were many complex motivations, even among the elite. As the crisis has unfolded, the European elite has responded in a cruel manner, but I am not sure that destroying peripheral EU economies was something they were ever aiming for. Perhaps it was more that given their priority of protecting core EU nation banks, they were willing to inflict destruction. Although, I admit the distinction between deliberate societal destruction and negligent societal destruction may not mean much to the people on the receiving end of it all.
        I think it is unwise to see Europe as being just the same as the American kleptocracy. There are strong parallels and Europe is definitely moving in the direction of the American model, but there are meaningful differences. Large non-financial sector business interests still exist and the people are less passive politically, as shown by the recent Italian elections.

        1. Ruben

          You are a smart woman. Yes, just projecting American class war to the European situation is simplistic. We have of course class war but we also have deep inhomogeneities among countries, which creates a second relevant layer of complexity. At the level of the among-countries dynamics (I was about to write dialectics instead of dynamics, but that would be Marxist wouldn’t it?) the pain inflicted by the more virtuous North to the more corrupt South is essentially caused by strict adherence -backed up by the electorate- to the principle of the Sanctity of Debt: economic depression is collateral damage caused by the Southern elites defending their privileges.

          Going back to Stiglitz, he is really nailing the problem as remarked in my point 3): an expansionist program in the North, especially Germany, and austerity and structural reform (industrialization, investment in science and technology, severe punishment to corrupt elites) in the South. Probably after the next German elections it would be possible to take more significant steps in that direction. Meanwhile, we hope the southern populace will stay put.

      3. Ruben

        I believe you have your own problems, that’s why you simplify everything to “kleptocracy”. But alas! things are no so simple.

  28. Hugh

    The F-35 is a typical Pentagon production, just on a much grander scale. Unclear mission, poorly conceived and poorly executed, so expensive and underperforming that it might not be usable for anything other than fly bys at air shows. It is so limited and expensive that it not only doesn’t add to the national defense, it subtracts from it. Its cost makes it a perfect target for looting, and with ballooning costs comes enormous institutional inertia both to continue the program and increase its costs even further. As it takes away from the national defense, it increases the fearmongering to justify other gold-plated military boondoggles, but also more insidious ones like drones. From a kleptocratic point of view, it really is the perfect kind of project.

    1. Garrett Pace

      These fancy wartoys are for intimidation and low-scale, low-risk fighting. They are produced so slowly that in any big time shooting war, WWII style, our store of machines (and “theirs”) would quickly be depleted and there’d be nothing left to fight with but soldiers and nukes.

      When a million dollar missile can destroy a billion dollar vehicle, it’s beyond me why anyone would want to spend a bazillion dollars on a new fighter jet, tank or aircraft carrier. They are only useful as long as they are never used, or only used against the powerless, which is the luxury of a sole superpower I guess.

      1. Garrett Pace

        More optimistically, this situation may serve as a brake against tangles between powerful militaries – they all know that the fancy war machine won’t last sixty days and the game will be up. If China sinks the whole 7th fleet in 24 hours with missiles or tactical nukes, who would ever build another one?

        Well, maybe we would, only bigger and more expensive…

    2. Synopticist

      Arguably the greatest piece of military-industrial complex looting yet. Amazing stuff, and a total dog of an airplane.

  29. Ottawan

    RIP to Canadian country hero – Stompin Tom Connors. He wrote songs about truck drivers, log drivers, hitchhikers, sailors, diners, hockey players, potatoes, and bacon sandwiches. While there’s plenty of folks still singing the songs of the “average” people, we’ve lost one of the best.
    Check out his song “Bud the Spud” for a supplemental antidote du jour…

  30. AbyNormal

    WoW…from Ian Walsh:
    Rand Paul’s Filibuster
    I’m seeing a lot of “liberals” and “progressives” attacking Rand Paul. Be clear, Rand Paul is a bad man. But he is doing the right thing right now, and if you are attacking him at this moment, you are scum. Also, be clear, that in terms of actual evil committed Rand Paul is not as evil as Barack Obama. For one, he has not killed nearly as many children as Barack Obama. He has not gone to war in violation of the constitution, as Obama has. Perhaps, if given a chance, Rand Paul would be more evil than Barack Obama, but he is not more evil yet.

    1. AbyNormal

      Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.
      Baltasar Gracian

  31. Montanamaven

    I second more “automatic earth”. I forgot how awesome they are. As a rancher now who must raise alfalfa that then feeds cows, we must stop Monsanto .

    1. different clue

      I met an alfalfa-grower from Alberta recently who is/was involved in a sort of pre-emptive lawsuit against Monsanto . . . to pre-enjoin Monsanto from being able to sue
      any Monsanto-free alfalfa grower in whose alfalfa are found contaminant traces of patented Monsanto genetics. I was told the purpose of that lawsuit was to protect alfalfa growers from being extorted by Monsanto after being falsely accused of using Monsanto genetics “on purpose without paying”. Have you heard anything about that lawsuit?

  32. tongorad

    Another assault working-class food. As if life is some kind of perfectible enterprise that rewards smart (refined upper class) decisions. That’s what all these studies are all about:
    “Sorry, I made the right choices and you didn’t. I get all the good stuff that I of course deserve.”

  33. Francois T

    Re: Processed meat ‘early death’ link

    Ahem! This is news?

    This “link” has been known to any radiologist practicing in a rural setting between 1940 – 1970 where cured meat and fish was the norm.

    Case in point; my father in law practices in the Gaspé north shore area (been doing it for 52 years now) who was diagnosing stomach cancer at a rate of one PER WEEK in a regional population of no more than 30,000 souls. Nowadays, years can pass w/o him seeing a case. He told me several years ago that his experience was absolutely NOT an isolated case.

    And Yves is right: it is an awful cancer to get.

  34. the idiot

    I don’t know if any of you have been following the Prenda Law case. But I find it very interesting. From Popehat:

    “In other words, AF Holdings — owned by a mysterious trust, and run by John Steele’s former employee — buys the rights to movies and then sues people for downloading them illegally, which funds suing them for downloading the movie illegally.”

    It’s a fascinating case where online piracy, pornography, copyright laws, extortion and seedy, seedy lawyers all come together. “Deposition Reveals Prenda Law Business Model: Monetizing Squalid Douchebaggery!” (I thought this was the business model of TBTF)

  35. the idiot

    And don’t know if this has been posted: “Anti-male-circumcision activists from a group called Intaction interrupted President Clinton at a Clinton Foundation Millennium Network.”

    These activist were there to protest Clinton’s support for male circumcision in Africa to battle AIDS. The comments are well…sensitive. And it raises the question, is the protest community getting more and more splintered? Doesn’t it all just become noise after awhile? What concerns don’t deserve to be protested?

    From the Contributor: “The Dudes Doth Protest too Much” (horrible headline)

  36. p78

    “Sandberg is the kind of woman who likes to tell people that, when she was still nursing her daughter, she used to run an electric breast milk pump during conference calls at Facebook. If anyone asked about the strange noise on the line, she would say that a fire truck was driving by outside. Later, she decided to leave work at 5:30 p.m. each day so that she could eat dinner with her children. At first she left the office secretly, but then she did it publicly, and in doing so she did a lot of women a big favor. And although it’s easier for a person at the top to leave work early or interrupt her workday so that she could finish her work in the evening at home, Sandberg still set standards by demonstrating that it was feasible — even at the very top.”

    The last phrase should get a prize for involuntary humour; she leaves work at 5:30pm, publicly, and thus she shows courage and “does other women a big favour” by setting an example, see, it’s “feasible”… of course since you are also the boss! What a farce.

  37. Brooks Adrenaline

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