Links 3/8/13

Lion ‘escaped cage’ to kill California woman BBC :-(

Astronomy Picture of the Day NASA (George). Guarantee not what you expect!

Russia finds ‘new bacteria’ in Antarctic lake PhyOrg (Chuck L)

Climate to Warm Beyond Levels Seen for 11,300 Years Climate Central (May S)

NTSB report shows Boeing’s battery analysis fell short Seattle Times. Lambert says to read to the end for the stinger.

OECD predicts Brent price of $190 by 2020 Financial Times

North Korea rages at tightened UN sanctions Guardian

China warns over fresh currency tensions Financial Times. This means Japan, of course after China drove the yen into nosebleed territory.

Norway Cracks Down on Mortgage Debt to Fight Bubble Risk Bloomberg (Deontos)

QE for the People: Grillo’s Populist Plan for Italy Huffington Post

A Global “New Deal”? Project Syndicate (furzy mouse)

How the EU subsidises Israel’s military-industrial complex OpenDemocracy (May S)

Syria clashes in area where UN troops were seized Associated Press (May S)

The shame that only Rand Paul is talking about drone executions Amy Goodman, Guardian

In tense meeting, SRC votes to close 23 schools, spare 4 Philly.Paul Tioxon: “19 arrested including the NATIONAL President of the American Federation of Teachers at in Philly.”

Demographic Shift Underway: Majority of Babies are Minorities Governing (May S)

New Report States that Keystone XL will Only Create 35 Permanent New Jobs OilPrice

Don’t think class war from above is real? Check out productivity and wage growth since 1973 Daily Kos. This chart has been around, but alway good to remind people where those corporate profits are coming from.

Emma Anderson, 82, Yanked Off Miami Metrorail For Singing Gospel Hymns (VIDEO) Huffington Post. Tinpot tyrants. Yes, the woman was annoying but the train was close to empty so passengers could move away from her. And no warning or attempt to be nice about it.

Everything You’ve Been Told About Personal Finance Is Dead Wrong — Here’s the Truth Alternet (Carol B)

‘Regulatory Capture’ Emasculated The Regulators Of Megabanks Wolf Richter (Chuck L)

Outrage: Some Banks Are Too Big to Prosecute Alternet (Carol B). Not news, but a good recap for anyone who has somehow managed to be late to this topic.

Banks Pass Fed’s Tests; Critics Say It Was Easy New York Times

Goldman exposed to $20bn loss in a crisis Financial Times (furzy mouse).

Antidote du jour (snel):

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  1. Jim Haygood

    Where are the civil libertarians in the president’s party?‘ asks Amy Goodman.

    One of them, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), spoke during Rand Paul’s filibuster. Without resorting to filibustering, Wyden has issued dire warnings of how U.S. martial law (the PATRIOT Act) is being secretly applied:

    You think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden says it’s worse than you know.

    Wyden (D-Oregon) says that powers they grant the government on their face, the government applies a far broader legal interpretation — an interpretation that the government has conveniently classified, so it cannot be publicly assessed or challenged.

    But one prominent Patriot-watcher asserts that the secret interpretation empowers the government to deploy ”dragnets” for massive amounts of information on private citizens.

    Wyden says he “can’t answer” any specific questions about how the government thinks it can use the Patriot Act. That would risk revealing classified information — something Wyden considers an abuse of government secrecy. He believes the techniques themselves should stay secret, but the rationale for using their legal use under Patriot ought to be disclosed.

    “I draw a sharp line between the secret interpretation of the law, which I believe is a growing problem, and protecting operations and methods in the intelligence area, which have to be protected,” he says.

    (Spencer Ackerman, author of the Wired article, is one of the writers Rand Paul quoted during his filibuster.)

    The tragedy is that patriots like Wyden and Paul are a tiny minority. The rest of the Congressional herd has been somehow bought off to sell us down the river into a menacing national security surveillance state with secret laws.

    Such a state cannot be reformed. Read the thoughts of some 18th century radicals in the Declaration of Independence, before this inconvenient document has to be banned for Thoughtcrime.

  2. Ned Ludd

    An 86-year-old Minnesota woman, who suffers from Parkinson’s and dementia, is being prosecuted for voter fraud:

    She uses a walker to get around her small St. Peter apartment, can’t stand for long periods of time and readily admits she’s a victim of senior moments. Schneider, 86, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia is one of her symptoms.

    She’s also easily stressed, which became apparent while she discussed with The Free Press the letter she received recently from the Nicollet County Attorney’s Office. It told her she’s been charged with a felony for voting twice during the 2012 primary election.[…]

    Schneider is scheduled to make her first appearance for the felony charge April 2.

    Anytime someone brings up voter fraud, I think I’ll bring up this case.

    1. Really?

      LOL! Those oldsters are just the worst! Maybe that’s the answer to the cat food commission. Get old, go through all your savings, then commit a felony and let the state take care of you for the rest of your days. It’s a roof, a cot, and some gruel anyway, although the way things are going…

  3. Lena

    Why do we CAGE ANIMALS? RIP to the worker and to the poor, poor lion who was probably cranky because he was in a CAGE.

    1. Bill

      Not only a cage, but a smaller cage, more like a crate, since she was cleaning the “big” one. And if she was the regular cleaner, positive reinforcement being what it is, she would be the one human he has connected to his fear, frustration and rage at being confined.

      Still, the sanctuary performs some service to the animals,since without it they might all have to be killed.

    2. traveler

      The worker was on her cell phone when she was swatted. Perhaps if she had been wholly ‘present’, she may have heard the lion opening his cage door and gained a second or two to react. Very sad.

      1. evodevo

        I was also wondering, given the modern penchant for taking cell phone pics, if she might have done that just prior to the attack – if it flashed, it might have startled/provoked the lion, and the loose door just contributed to the problem. She obviously had no clue what she was doing – they REALLY need to train their staff better.

  4. Brindle

    Re: “Demographic Shift Underway….”

    Some good info in that article despite the euro-caucasian-centric terminologies.

    I have lived in majority Hispano areas of Northern New Mexico and know of the high rates of teen pregnancy there.
    The combination of the strong influence of the Catholic church and the machismo factor among young men are likely large factors in the relatively low use of contraceptives.

    A University of Michigan study/project:

    —“Evidence has shown that the Latina community as a whole is using birth control at rates far lower than non-Hispanic whites, a fact that is likely responsible for the high rates of teen pregnancy in this community.

    Of all racial groups, Latinos report the lowest rate of birth control use during their first sexual encounters. “Worse, when asked whether they used any birth control method the last time they had sex, only 36 percent of Latinas said yes, while 72 percent of non-Hispanic whites reported that they used birth control.”—

  5. AbyNormal

    ahh the Giraffe pose
    Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements.
    amit ray

  6. facepalm

    >> Emma Anderson, 82, Yanked Off Miami Metrorail For Singing Gospel Hymns (VIDEO)

    Watched that first video. The policeman tells the guy “you can’t take pictures of the metrorail track”. … Really??

  7. Klassy!

    Debbie Downer (aka “the realist”) on the housing recovery:

    For the most part, when I read about the recovery I think “should I believe you or my lying eyes?”.
    I live in an area that was not as hard hit by the recession as others, it was never a particularly frothy market. I don’t think there are any bulk sales going on, and in my neighborhood particular the auditor decided that we suffered no decline in value in the past three years(property taxes went up 600 dollars with the last reassessment). I’m pretty sure if I didn’t want to list my home forever, I would have to price it 20& below the auditor’s value.
    I keep hearing it is a buyers market, there is a bidding “frenzy” going on out there if I am to believe the local news.
    What I actually see: houses are going for 2003 prices when lucky (in my neighborhood– others are harder hit). People that bought their houses when the homebuyer’s tax credit was available probably have no hopes of getting what they paid for years. (house prices were kind of stubborn and it took a while for the full effects of the bubble bursting before they adjusted.)
    There seem to be plenty of houses in one stage of the foreclosure process listed every day.
    Then I see the seriously deluded– people who took their house off the market in the summer and fall after they languished are listing again– at a higher price! These are the people who believe what they are reading.
    I’m curious to hear from others what is going in your neck of the woods.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The housing market needs a lot of faith from those homeowners, not unlike a fiat currency needing the trust of the people.

      I say a lot of faith because it seems everything is faith based – that the Sun will rise tomorrow is based on induction (and faith – it has always risen and so, hopefully it will again tomorrow) and one can’t really prove it logically.

      1. Klassy!

        Yes, faith or enough people that want to believe because they have to believe. I have the “luxury” of being skeptical.

    2. Carla

      Gee, I bought my house in 1986, have spent a fortune fixing it up and paying mega-taxes, and if I put on the market tomorrow, could get about what I paid for it. Good deal, huh?

      Another snapshot of our middle-class, inner-ring, suburban neighborhood. A very nice house down the street was listed around $225,000 and languished on the market for about a year. Finally, the buyer who had moved out of state for a job, lowered the price to $185,000. All of a sudden, a bidding war commenced, and the house sold for $220,000.

      At the same time, a very nice little house two streets over (not at all comparable in size or amenities to the house above, but still charming and in the same historic neighborhood)is listed for Sheriff’s sale with a minimum bid of $8,000. No, I didn’t forget any zeros.

      This is not a real estate market; it’s a casino.

    1. Klassy!

      NC has linked to the author of that book before. She has one of those Forbes blogs. I’ve liked all the linked articles I’ve read and her book looks incredibly sensible. I liked what she had to say about “financial literacy” classes. That really is one of those things that sounds good, means nothing –especially when sponsored by banks, which they usually are.
      I was horrified to see on my library’s home page one of the big banks here was sponsoring a financial literacy class for the pre school set. No Hungry Caterpillar for you! It is never too early to learn that failing to be rich (or at least middle class) is your own damn fault.

      1. AbyNormal

        the final voyage…Bankers migration from churches to libraries.
        the 6min video could/should hold the attention of any ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ reader…of course the reader/parent would censor the ending where the caterpillar is SQUASHED

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Bankers migrating from the church of Mammon, where their certified priesthood exempts them from taxation (or should have), to libraries is not a smart move if they lose their tax-exempt status, unless they can hide behind some sort of ‘non-profit’ facade.

    2. jrs

      Yea sounds like an interesting book, may read it, one scam or other to try to avoid. And decent interview on it.

      But I sometimes get tired of lefty advice in the vein of (and a computer could generate some of the prose sometime, it’s so formaliac, though like I said that was a decent interview) we shouldn’t be focusing on this thing in our own life we should be focusing on the social conditions that contribute to it etc., it’s only atomization or an idealogy of individualism that leads us to focusing on our own life etc.. It might be in some cases, but also it’s people know how to do things in their own lives, some people that make enough might be able to increase their retirement contributions or whatever. No one has a clue how to reform a corrupt near unreformable political and economic system! I mean people might have plenty of plans of what to replace it with. But how do we get it to happen? I don’t think these people realize what the demoralization with the political system is, especially on those who do see our problems as systemic? Maybe if our votes really mattered, maybe in a very different political situation where the people actually had any real power … Wote for those who represent our interests? Who? We have a corrupt duopoly that doesn’t. So more and better Democrats? You know if we could actually get better that might work, but if all we keep getting are crops of losers like the current ones, maybe you begin to think the soil is bad or something (and with the money flowing in, isn’t it kind of inevitable bad). And they blame people for focusing on the few things they might have some measure of very minor control over: for some people, who are able to make choices on saving a bit more for retirement or something, their finances.

      Also she longs for pensions. Now I like the idea of pensions in theory and wouldn’t mind having one if I could. But even if the 401k model didn’t work, we’re not experts in investing and we can’t run our own investments, does the pension model run by experts, who may be much wiser than us, actually work either? Aren’t these same pensions in trouble because they way overestimated rates of return etc.? Why one might begin to assume that only something like social security actually works or else that this economic system doesn’t work for meeting basic human requirements of life period!! (things like surviving past 50 and so on!)

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Concerning the comparative viability of defined benefit pensions, it were wise to bear two things in mind: 1) In the public sector at least, most times when they aappear to be non-viable, this is almost always correlated with a systematic UNDERFUNDING of the pension from the governmental entity involved over a period of many years. The politicians responsible for this love to do this. On the one hand, they SEEM as if they respect the collective bargaining process that opts for deferred compensation for government workers, while on the other, by failing to fully honor their monetary committment to funding the pension from the government’s side, they can spend tax revenues on goodies for the voters and avoid raising taxes to responsibly back their long-term committment to the deferred compensation agreed through collective bargaining. Sweet, eh?; 2) The fund managers of these state-run defined benefit pensions a) actually believe that the miracle of the infinite escalator of capitalism will cover the funding shortfalls from the state side, or b) know damn well that they’re in trouble, and are forced into riskier and riskier investment strategies in order to make up for the funding shortfalls.

        This tends to irritate us bargaining unit members who have ourselves been dutifully paying in OUR agreed upon share of money to the pension fund in the form of contributions exacted from each and every paycheck. That our politicos likely will opt to follow the horrible example of their private sector managerial brethren who essentially loot the pension funds of their long-term employees in the run up to the usual “restructuring/bankruptcy” of a corporation is not too surprising. See what is happening with Social Security right now in Austerian World; they’ve stuffed the Trust Fund with IOUs for years so they could loot the SS funds for years, and now they want to claim that they need not honor their committments. Same deal, suckers.

    3. Dana

      Speaking of financial literacy, it’s distressing how that video confuses wealth with income. The video would’ve been much more effective if it had been clear about both the distinction, and about the feedback loop between wealth and income that our tax structure creates.

  8. Brindle

    What a fucked up country we live in:

    —“Tanya McDowell was living as a homeless woman when she was arrested for sending her five year old son to a school district where she- surprise- didn’t have a permanent residence.
    Ms. McDowell has said that she only wanted a better education for her child. Despite a petition that has generated over 15, 600 signatures asking for the charges to be dropped against her, she was just sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty in the case.”—

    On a lighter note, wonderful vid of very rare snow leopard:

      1. AbyNormal

        “When you are released, go back to doing an honest living and become a role model for your son,” the judge said.

        upon her release…’honest living’ will be but a dream of the multiples

      2. Gareth

        If Tanya McDowell had been a suit who laundered drug money for a bank she would be freely walking the streets right now, the proud recipient of a generous bonus from management, which leads back to the orginal point about this being a fucked-up country. After 62 years of observation, I am forced to agree.

      3. YankeeFrank

        Actually, she was sentenced to five years for the school case, and 12 years for the drug case, but the judge reduced the 12 years to five, to run concurrently with the school case. So yes, they did sentence her to five years prison for enrolling her son in a better school district.

        The crazy thing is my parents did this for me, using a friend’s address, when I was a child because the school I was in was a dangerous mess. I can’t imagine that back in the 1980s anyone would get such a sentence for doing this. A fine, or probably just moving me back to my district school, would’ve been more likely.

        1. Carla

          What parent would NOT do this for her or his child? Are you kidding me?

          The crime would be not to do it.

          I’m feeling ill….

    1. diptherio

      No amount of snow leopards can make up for that first link :(

      I assume she probably had a Public Defender who told her to just plead guilty and save everyone the hassle of a trial. I can’t imagine that 12 human beings would send one of their fellows (even a homeless one) to jail for trying to get their child educated. Then again, I can’t really imagine a judge doing this either. WTF? I hope somebody’s putting a recall petition together for that judge, that prosecutor, and every member of the school board that went along with this travesty.

      [On a totally unrelated note: I appear to have been banned from posting original comments (which is why I have to put this in a reply…apologies Brindle). I assume this is a mistake…I haven’t been that big of an ass-hat, have I?]

  9. jsmith


    The tardigrade is quite simply one of the most amazing creatures on the planet and therefore I think we should have some respect and refer to them by their other more noble monikers: the waterbear or – if you’re feeling cute – the moss piglet. (there’s a band name)


    The 10th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq is upon us – good times – and here’s some interesting thoughts on said war crimes:

    Peter Van Buren: One Day Even The Drones Will Have To Land.

    My response:

    1) Not if Skynet is still up and running they don’t.
    2) I think Peter and others fail or don’t want to connect the dots. It’s easy to speak as if our leaders made mistakes but let’s get real, shall we? Besides the obvious military largesse and the planting of US bases all over the region which could be billed as successes for some (y’think?), let’s ask ourselves this question:

    Who would directly benefit from a fractured Middle East – one composed not of stable countries with large armed forces but rather sectarian enclaves that can easily be manipulated into killing each other off?

    That’s right, our friend Israel.

    Here’s the Yinon plan(1982) in which Israel’s long-term survival is predicated upon shattering neighboring Arab countries in said satraps.


    And don’t miss the Guardian expose on Rumsfeld’s death squads if you haven’t seen it already.

  10. rich

    Elizabeth Warren: What Level of Criminality Will It Take to Shut Down a Bank, (Mr. President)?

    But since Eric Holder is Obama’s personal representative, almost certainly acting in consultation on financial matters with the Treasury Secretary, the offensive corruption in the financial sector is the result of the President’s policies. And at this point he has no one else to blame.

    And so Senator Warren might as well ask: “Mr. President, to what level of criminality must a Bank, and its management, rise before you would be willing to indict and prosecute it? And why are you so zealous in prosecuting whistleblowers and reformers, but so tolerant of even extreme examples of white collar financial crime?”

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Productivity and wage growth since 1973 – daily Kos.

    I am curious if the guy over there at Daily Kos breaks down productivity into

    1) human productivity


    2) robot productivity.

    I fear the 0.01% making the argument that all gains in productivity have come from the latter thus far which will probably accelerate further going foward.

    1. Brindle

      There will always be humans needed to take care of the robots, to make sure they are kept bright and shiny, to clean out the occasional piece of grit that impedes maximal robot performance.
      Maybe High Schools will have robot maintenance classes similar to what we used to call “shop”.

      1. abprosper

        Not actually so. Its quite possible to make robots that self replicate and maintain themselves or other robots.

        Once the initial set up is finished people might, might be needed for programming for a while (self programming is also possible though difficult) but almost anything else can be done better by a machine.

        This will have interesting consequences to say the least, anything from war to class based genocide, Butleerian Jihad to social credit is possible.

        1. Robert Dudek

          Does this mean that you think we will be seeing films with robots or “simulated” humans in them instead of real people in the future?

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Grillo: QE for the people.

    I am for Italy exiting the Euro and devaluing its currency.

    The 0.01% here can look forward to cheaper Lamborghinis and the rest of us paying our Sorrento lemon and prosciutto vendors less

    1. Susan the other

      I didn’t want to acknowledge that the EU is a racket. Just like any other criminal organization, like our big banks, the mafia, modern war, corporations running countries, and bribed politicians, to name a few. But it is. It is a racket because it really has no laws to control it, save the laws of bank accounting. So if Spain and Greece and Ireland, now France, all have been harmed by the lack of rational governance by the EU they should all leave. And Italy should too. Never thought I’d feel this way. But it just cannot be denied any longer that the Italian “mafia” is identical in nature to the EU and its technocracy. In fact the mafia is considered more benign than the technocrats. Beppe Grillo’s plan of default, nationalize, and QE for the people sounds like a very good plan. I hope our “representatives” are listening carefully.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    It really is a shame that only Rand Paul is talking about drone executions.

    The silence from his fellow legislators should discredit them all forever.

    1. jrs

      Here, here! It would be pretty ironic if the Republican branding became “the party of civil liberties” (they do desperately need a new brand afterall). Rand as an individual might be sincere (really I can no more judge his sincerity than I can Obama’s, I can’t read minds I can only see actions, and I much prefer Rand’s actions over Obama’s period). But the Republican party as a whole pro-civil liberties? Haha. They’re the party of W.. Neither party is good on civil liberties.

      Does it matter how one brands on civil liberties, does anyone actually vote civil liberties? Not now. Instead they vote ocassionally economic interests (although people classify things like some marginal things they can get from things like Obamacare as their economic interest). Or they vote weird cultural stuff, like whether or not people are getting too much money from welfare or so on (it makes zero sense to me but people seem to actually treat issues like this as major issues!)). However I do see issues like civil liberties gaining traction. Civil liberties are HOT on TWITTER :) The focus is overdue.

  14. Valissa

    re: Climate to Warm Beyond Levels Seen for 11,300 Years

    Well, duh! Considering that the last ice age ended a bit over 20,000 years ago and there has been general warming since then (with lots of smaller cycles of variation within that) this article proves nothing. Ice ages are cyclical, though not completely regular. Check out this Wikipedia article and take a look at the ice core charts to get a sense of the cycles of changing climate on this planet.

    When you go back to prior glacial cycle warmth peaks, we’re not there yet. Please note that I am not denying the impact of humans on the climate, just cautious about supposed data analysis that serves a larger propaganda agenda.

    What Antarctica looked like before the ice

    1. craazyman

      the world was created about 100,000 years ago, but when they made it, they made everything look “as if” it had been made 4.5 billion years ago, all the way down to atomic half-live decay and fossils. Just to mess with us. I assume that cave men were real but I’m doubtful about anything past that. I think the same thing might be true of the whole universe.

      1. swendr

        OK, this reminds me of a story about high school. I had a biology teacher (a student teacher, still in college) that was a creationist. No shit. She actually stood in front of the class and said she didn’t believe the carbon dating process was accurate. As proof, she explained her experience of trying to carbon date a dead baby seal her classmates found on the beach. Apparently it came up 3000 years old or something.

    1. Valissa

      Ooh, how prestigious (aka elite) are they?

      Snarky commentary aside, this is an very interesting political development… thanks for the link! When the professional technocratic elites (that serve the even higher up elites) start start bailing out of the elite group vision, that is a more serious sign of trouble for the EU.

  15. Anon

    The Holocene is over, get used to it.

    Even if we stop all GHG emissions tomorrow, the whole of the 3,000km-thick ice sheet on Greenland is going to melt. That’s 6-7m of sea-level rise there, and when you add in Antarctica – well, say goodbye to every major coastal city on the planet. And then some.

    That little Tardigrade is probably the only thing that’s gonna survive, apart from rocks.

    (I’ve seen that pic of it before, and it hasn’t got any prettier. Maybe it arrived here in its little Tardis? Is that why it’s up on the NASA pages?)

  16. Anon

    Oops, just noticed proof-reading error:

    Greenland ice sheet is 3,000m thick, or 3km thick (not 3,000km!). Conflated the two, sorry.

    1. davidgmills

      So when is the next ice age? We are in an interglacial, or have you forgotten?

      If you can tell us what is melting Greenland, perhaps you can tell us what will cause the world to be half covered in ice again.

      1. Anon

        Ain’t gonna happen, baby boy.

        This planet’s headed for Venus-like ability to support life, and in our lifetimes too, probably, although almost certainly in those of our children – while our grandchildren plainly haven’t got a chance in hell.

        We screwed it all up. Time to deal with that.

        The day after tomorrow? Turned out it was yesterday.

  17. Valissa

    Value Of U.S. Dollar Plummets After Joe Flacco Signs NFL’s Richest Contract,31571/

    Joe Flacco not NFL’s highest-paid player … after Maryland taxes–after-maryland-taxes

    Recalling there was a recent discussion of how a certain word was used differently in different English-speaking countries…

    Inspired Welsh Tourist Board Poster

  18. Valissa

    ‘You’re My Best Friend,’ Says Obama To Drone That Appears Outside Bedroom Window Every Night,31594/

    FBI Tracks Down Elusive Picture-Disc Version Of Herb Alpert’s ‘Whipped Cream And Other Delights’,31589/

    The week in review, including… Nation Agrees Justin Bieber’s Inevitable Meltdown Could Be Interesting To Watch,31592/ (~2 min video)

  19. ohmyheck

    Update on Rand Paul—it seems the junior Senator from Kentucky received a letter from The Dept. of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder:

    “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.


    Eric H. Holder, Jr.”

    Wow, was THAT so hard? I mean, really…sheesh.

    1. Eric Holder's squirming pornstache

      (U) “Does the President have the authority to use an RQ-1 Predator drone under Ku-band control link weaponized with AGM-114N Hellfires configured with semi-active laser homing metal-augmented charge to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?”

      (U) No.

      (TS/SCI) We use blast fragmentation charges to kill you swarming vermin.

    2. ScottS

      You’ll find that “not engaged in combat” will have a surprisingly narrow definition.

      1. Expat

        You are so correct! Inasmuch as we are in our 12th year of a national emergency (renewed by Obama through Sep 2013, when he will doubtlessly renew it again), the Constitution’s very narrow definition of treason does not apply. Interesting that asking Eric Holder a question was apparently not being engaged in combat against the US. Is that exemption based solely on the fact that he’s a senator?

      2. Ms G

        Yes, that is the vast and bottomless gap hiding (not so effectively) between Bagman Holder’s statement.

        Note the delivery method of Holder’s message — not in person — he wrote it in.

        And how pathetic that Obama did not make a personal appearance to address Paul’s question.

        The governmental lackeys of the Peter Pinguid Society have now taken to communicating with Congress (supposedly the People’s representative body) from behind thick, windowless walls.

      3. ScottS

        Expat, Ms G,

        If you missed it, there was a piece here a while back on the deconstruction of language, most prominently by politicians. I’m tempted to blast W for initiating it, but we can thank Mr. Clinton for deconstructing the meaning of the word “is” and truly lowering the bar.

        So, you’re safe as long as you are not “engaged in combat” which will have a secret interpretation provided by John Yoo.

        How long can democracy be circumvented by word games? I wouldn’t bet against TPTB.

        1. Ms G


          “So, you’re safe as long as you are not “engaged in combat” which will have a secret interpretation provided by John Yoo.

          Exactly right. Emphasis on “secret.”

          The cornerstone of a democracy based on the rule of law (rather than the rule of tyrants) is the publication of the lex populi so that all are aware of what their rights and obligations are (civilly and criminally). This was one of the points of the 12 Tablets in ancient Rome, and the great triumph of the early “plebes” against lawless and predatory aristocrats.

          In the United States today, we have reached the point where we are no longer ruled by public laws, but by secret definitions that are sprung on citizens at the moment of enforcement — e.g., all the actions that the federal government is now allowed to take against citizens with a “halo of terrorism” about them, or the privately conceived and government-sanctioned “exceptions” to established systems of property law, whether by MERS or simply the systematic procedures followed with impunity by mortgage banks and their servicers.

          The Law of the Land is no longer written anywhere; it is an angry panther hiding in the dark, posed to pounce on any one of us at any time.

  20. Glen

    HI Yves, long time no post but always do a regular check-in. The Tardigrade pic is incredible. In a world gone mad, the simplistic life of such an incredible create is a real tonic and leveller.

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