Links 4/26/13

Your humble blogger will be on Harry Shearer’s Le Show this Sunday, originating at 1 pm ET live on many public radio stations, and aired on many others throughout the day. Good streams are available all day, each hour, at The topic is the Independent Foreclosure Review fiasco.

Humpback whales able to learn from others, study finds PhysOrg (Robert M). I’m not sure why this is a big deal. My cats learn from each other, particularly methods for manipulating humans (hence “copycat”) and whales are smarter than cats.

Tourists Forced to Swim in Ocean for 14 Hours After Fishing Boat Sinks Gawker

Comet of the century? ISON has ‘potential’ to be visible all day Christian Science Monitor

Tracking gunfire with a smartphone EureakAlert (Chuck L)

Scientists in Antarctica Find Invading Neutrinos from Another Galaxy! Slate

Texas judge denies FBI request to use Trojan to infiltrate unknown suspect’s computer Slate (Chuck L)

Japan’s ‘wall of money’ proves elusive for global markets Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Chanos: China is getting worse MacroBusiness

Southern Europe’s Recession Threatens to Spread North New York Times. Not news if you’ve been following Europe….

Merkel speech highlights European divide Financial Times

El Pais Article Discusses “Liberating Spain from Shackles of the Euro” Michael Shedlock

Study reveals austerity’s harmful impact on health in Greece PNHP (Lambert)

Thatcher’s Coup Counterpunch (Carol B)

To Honor George W. Bush, Obama Capitulates to WMD Fearmongers Marcy Wheeler

Surely Obama is not a lame-duck president already? Guardian. One can only hope….

The Chained CPI in people terms Columbia Journalism Review

Why It Would Be Great if Congress Was Forced to Buy Their Own Health Insurance at Full Cost Jon Walker, Firedoglake

House Unveils Immigration Reform Piecemeal Plan; Senators Warn It Is ‘Not Going To Work’ Huffington Post

Study suggests US companies use overseas workers to cut wages The Register. Quelle surprise!

Boston Bombings Are a Tragedy, But There’s Something Else We Gotta Ask: Is America a Drama Queen Nation? Stephen Pizzo, Alternet

Judge Made Call to Advise Suspect of Rights Wall Street Journal

Boston highlights healthcare’s lost promise: it’s charity now, policy later Helaine Olen, Alternet

Good News, New Yorkers: You Might Get Your Sandy Repair Money After All Village Voice (Mrs G)

The factors driving the US housing market have less and less to do with genuine market forces Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Notice difference between front page teaser (preceding line) and the article headline: US mortgage market depends on state support.

Tech Glitch Paralyzes Trading in Options Wall Street Journal

The 1 Percent’s Solution Paul Krugman, New York Times

Banks told to sit down and shut up or else some of them will get ice cream and others won’t, which will indeed totally suck Lisa Pollack, Financial Times

The Treasury’s Mistaken View on Too Big to Fail Simon Johnson, New York Times

Antidote du jour:


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  1. dearieme

    “Is America a Drama Queen Nation?” Of course, but you won’t be alone; the rest of us always copy your bad habits.

    1. Inverness

      Yes. The USA is a kind of dystopian lab which predicts future behavior elsewhere. Austerity, obesity, and lousy talk shows in Europe, for example.

  2. Andrew Watts

    RE: Japan’s ‘wall of money’ proves elusive for global markets

    I’m not sure it was Japan’s intent to restart the yen carry trade. Instead the Japanese seem to be pursuing a full-blown course of economic nationalism. At a time when they are talking ever more loudly about re-arming themselves. Yeah, that can’t possibly end well.

    Here’s hoping I’m wrong. Or that somebody in Washington DC is actually paying attention to this. Maybe that’s too much to expect though.

    1. Richard Kline

      Yeah, several somebodies inside the Beltway are paying attention to that—because they designed it and signed off on it, natch. Japan is doing exactly what policy makers in the US want done, in no small part because Japan is America’s stalking horse in pressuring China.

      I’m not implying all of Japan’s policy is at the behest of the US, just that those in authority here are _completely_ on board with it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That would not be too different from how Nippon got entangled in Korea, when the Prussian advisor Klemens Meckel explained that Korea (or Joseon, maybe that’s how he put it) was ‘a dagger pointed at the heart of Japan”.

        That, of course, led to the First Sino-Japanese, followed by Russo-Japanese War over their disputes in that same geographical area.

        Whether Japan would re-militarize again depends, I think, on if there are a large number of ronins, or unemployed samurais, whom the government needs to sent out on missions, such as the Taiwan Expedition of 1874. There will be plenty of warning signs. We might see one rebellion after another, like the Hagi Rebellion, the Saga Rebellion, the Satsuma Rebellion, the Shimpuren Rebellion and the Akizuki Rebellion, all in the 1870s.

      2. Andrew Watts


        I’m not so sure about that either. The Obama administration actually raised some concern this time around when Japan hammered the yen. In a public statement no less. That’s way out of character for them. Usually the administration in charge just pretends it didn’t happen.

        That course of action could be due to the fact Japan’s efforts are detrimental to the national recovery plan. You know, overestimate the potential export markets while underestimating the fragility of the domestic economy. (The same mistake the Hoover Administration made during the early days of the Great Depression.) Still I have to wonder if something more isn’t at work.

        The demographics of Japan don’t really favor that scenario, but the current rate of youth unemployment does. It kind of depends on what you think Japan’s motivations in embracing imperialist expansion were.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right and there will be plenty of warning signs as to how it will unfold.

  3. Skeptic

    Swimmin’ In The Ocean

    There was a movie made about two scuba divers left behind on a diving trip. A little more serious than missing the Tour Bus on land. What was very interesting is the human error which can happen anywhere and maybe even kill you. Whenever dealing with other humans, be extremely careful!

    Got the movie through one of those file sharing services, you know the one.

  4. Expat

    The title of the story about the nearly-drowned tourist caught my eye. The wording is odd. No one FORCED the tourist to swim. There were alternatives like drowning or attracting sharks and getting eaten.

    1. craazyman

      According to the laws of the market, if the capsized fisherman is hungry enough he will eat the shark.

      I wonder what the market equilibrium price for helicopter rescue would have been after 5 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours, 8 hours — sort of like a yield curve. You trade the curve by sending out the chopper and negotiating. Ooops. Too low. Heading back to shore. Let’s try the 8-hour point where yields are higher. If they die, well, that’s what you need risk management for. You go long funeral parlors when you play the 8 hour point. That’s an equilibrium. Math is complicated but it boils down to 6 = 53 after all the factoring. The 47 point difference is charged to the govermint.

      At any rate, the relaxing in the woods is off limits now due to the abductions by dog-headed demons and now fishing in the sea is off limits because equilibrium is the 8-hour point and there’s no gaurantee unless you’re the chopper. That leaves only the beach and eye-surfing the bikinis after catching a few waves on the longboard. Glad they make coolers, beer and ice or it might get too hot.

  5. Skeptic

    Good News, New Yorkers: You Might Get Your Sandy Repair Money After All

    We can all trust that this money will be distributed fairly and equitably. For instance, like poor star Beyonce got a $425,000 bailout from FEMA:

    When the Government gives out money, it is just another opportunity for them to steal it and pork out their friends. Those Swells on Long Island must be licking their lips and opening their wallets.

  6. JTFaraday

    Todd Gitlin, who trains journalists at the Columbia School of Journalism and before that at NYU, doesn’t like the product!

    “In 2009, in an enlightening article in the Columbia Journalism Review (linked), Dean Starkman, a former staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, looked at the nine most influential business press outlets from January 1, 2000, through June 30, 2007 — that is, for the entire period of the housing bubble. A total of 730 articles contained what Starkman judged to be significant warnings that the bubble could burst. That’s 730 out of more than one million articles these journals published.

    The formula was simple and straightforward: the business press served the market movers and shakers. It was a reputation-making machine, a publicity apparatus for the industry…

    In an all-enveloping media atmosphere in which the press indulged without a blink, they were held to be not only creators of wealth but moral exemplars. Indeed, the two were essentially interchangeable: they were moral exemplars because they were creators of wealth.”,_the_tinsel_age_of_journalism/

  7. diptherio

    A little late on this one, but I feel compelled to comment on Max Baucus’ (D-MT) announcement of his pending retirement (with apologies to Squeeky Fromm, I realize this is your territory):

    There once was a senator named Baucus,
    A leader in the Democrat’s caucus.
    Put in charge of health-care,
    He euthanized single-payer,
    (You know, he just did that to mock us).

    Good riddance, Max; may we never see your sort again…

        1. Valissa

          Actually I liked your rhyming use of “mock us” , it cracked me up. OTOH “single-payer” was a bit awkward…. until I tried saying it with a faux southern accent and then it worked just fine.

          Feel free to continuing practicing your limericks on us. I love limericks. They are my favorite form of poetry :)

  8. YankeeFrank

    re The 1 Percent’s Solution, Paul Krugman

    I have to say, I bash Krugman a lot, but he nails it today.

    1. David Lentini

      I’ve been increasingly disappointed with Krugman over the past few years too, but today’s article was indeed a breath of fresh air.

      But I wouldn’t say he actually nailed it, although he is getting closer to the mark. I see the central failure of economics as its obsession with the idea that human economic activity can be reduced to a finite set of universal rules, much like the various “laws” of biology, physics, and chemistry govern nature. I think it’s fair to say that Krugman doesn’t really seem to believe this, but at the same time he also seems to go out of his way to avoid this 800-pound gorilla. Much of this I’ve attributed to the academic politesse of not calling your colleagues “stupid” or “corrupt”, and perhaps to a reluctance to follow this line of reasoning to what I think is the conclusion that economists should never have so much influence over policy.

      Today’s article seem to suggest he’s starting to either see the light or recognize the gorilla. The real point of the austerity movement has never been about economics in the sense of maximizing the wealth of the nation; it’s been about power. If we recognize that Keynes was basically right about the nature of markets, booms, depressions, and the need for counter-cyclical government spending, then we have to agree to the sorts of taxes and regulations that FDR implemented with the New Deal. Yes, the rich would still be rich, as Kevin Phillips documents so well in Wealth and Democracy, but the nature of wealth distribution would shift to create a relatively wealthier middle class that will correspondingly have more political power. In short, what the rich truly fear is a shift from our current oligarchic corporatism back to a democratic republic.

      Although Krugman either won’t make that statement, or has yet to recognize it, he today finally starts to connect the dots to the intellectual whoring that rife in his profession by making it pretty clear that the “debate” over austerity is really propaganda to benefit the rich. Finally, he’s starting to say the sorts of things that are needed for change, namely that much of the work from the big names in economics is corrupt and therefore worthless.

      Krugman also brings up another issue–The role of morality in economics. Starting to chip away at the “economics is an objective science” mantra, Krugman argues that the rich can afford to support their view that any sort of government spending on public works only supports “immoral” behavior. I only buy that to a point. What Krugman forgets is the long global history of the rich and powerful using moralisms and religion to justify their wealth and cow the poor. In other words, just as economists like Rogoff and Reinhart have become the paid shills of the rich, so too do the rich use religion and moral language to justify the huge wealth disparities that are to their advantage. Thus, they keep the public passivated by both intellectual and moral smoke screens.

      Recognizing these games would do much to break neo-classical economics by restoring the tie between economics and politics and returning the subject of policy to “political economy”. Such a restoration would bring the focus of policy back to what benefits the nation as a whole and not just the few.

      But if that happened, then what would economists do?

      1. TK421

        It would be nice if Krugman stopped carrying water for a president who is as much of a servant of the 1% as any we’ve had.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If Krugman can refine the solution to 0.01%, the concentration will much improve the potency.

        2. Susan the other

          RnR clearly reverse engineered their “research.” Who benefited? The people still pushing the Washington Consensus long after the wheelchair broke down. The goal is to prevent government from controlling capital. The “capitalists” act like they are fighting for their lives. But they ignore what capital is. Capital is people and politics. If you get rid of the people and politics connection, capital doesn’t make any sense. They don’t seem to care. And in their power grab they have trashed everything having to do with equality but nothing they can use for their own liberty.

      2. F. Beard

        What Krugman forgets is the long global history of the rich and powerful using moralisms and religion to justify their wealth and cow the poor. David Lentini

        And they get away with it due to general ignorance of the Bible:

        … if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully—he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God. Ezekiel 18:7-9 [bold added]

        Note that common stock as private money does not require usury or profit-taking (Dividends are generally dumb since the point of a common stock company is to consolidate capital for economies of scale, not disperse it.)

      3. jrs

        Yea it’s like ok Excel errors, but what’s the big deal? Perhaps doth protest a little too much.

        I mean did anyone REALLY, and I mean really, think the debate was EVER about intellectual conclusions arrived at by acedemics in ivory towers, about math, about “science”, rather than about ideology and interests? Really, did anyone really think that ever?

        1. jrs

          Arthur Silber makes a similar point about intelligence, but while I could see myself getting fooled by “military intelligence” because that stuff is all confidential and highly classified anyway, we don’t have access to the raw information in most cases no matter how informed we might be. But as far as economic policy – duh, duh, 1000 times duh, it’s not about the science, detached economics doesn’t drive policy.

    2. Anon

      “Which is it to-day,” I asked, “morphine or cocaine?”
      He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened.
      “It is cocaine,” he said, “a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?”

  9. Brindle

    Re: “To Honor George W Bush Obama Capitulates…”

    From the transcript of O’s speech, he repeats one of the main propaganda memes of 9/11 that they “sought to destroy our way of life.”
    Read the whole speech, it is about as bad as it gets as to spouting up n’ up lies.

    —“But we also know something about George Bush the leader. As we walk through this library, obviously we’re reminded of the incredible strength and resolve that came through that bullhorn as he stood amid the rubble and the ruins of Ground Zero, promising to deliver justice to those who had sought to destroy our way of life.”—

    1. AbyNormal

      FUNNY how those successfully ‘destroying our way of life’ are the ones YAKING about it…NOT

    2. tell the beads

      Speaking of propaganda. Steven Pizzo recites the ritual incantation, {I’m happy the [perps/bin Laden] are [no longer free/dead]}. If you look at when the formula is used, the presumption of innocence consistently becomes taboo when the government commits a crime.

      In bin Laden’s case, the Vice President led the chorus. Even authorized dissenters like Matt Taibbi picked it up. In that instance, the government’s crime was either summary execution, giving no quarter, or murder of a person rendered hors de combat (The government classified the facts to maintain its impunity so we don’t know yet.)

      In Bradley Manning’s case, the President himself recited the formula. Manning’s alleged offence documented government crimes including inter alia attacks against the civilian population and breaches of the Convention Against Torture.

      Now, in the case of Boston, we hear the magic words again. And what do you know, foreign sources give grounds for suspicion that the government’s crime is either incitement or complicity in armed attacks on the civilian population. Armed attacks on civilian populations are of course longstanding US government policy worldwide.

      So say your prayers! They’re guilty but We got them. Otherwise your mind might wander and you’ll commit impure thoughts.

      1. jrs

        The saw “buffoon” instead of bullhorn on the first read.

        “we’re reminded of the incredible strength and resolve that came through that buffoon [aka W] as he stood amid the rubble ….”

  10. AbyNormal

    Re, Austerity’s harmful impact on health in Greece
    ***The U.S.-based researcher on the team, Dr. Howard Waitzkin, distinguished professor emeritus of sociology and medicine at the University of New Mexico, said: “The policies of cutbacks currently proposed in the United States for Medicare and Social Security will lead to similar devastating effects on health services and outcomes. Instead of austerity policies, we need increased public sector spending to stimulate our failing economy and to protect the health of our people.”
    As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.

    “He had eaten almost nothing at home,” Mr. Nikas said, sitting in his cramped school office near the port of Piraeus, a working-class suburb of Athens, as the sound of a jump rope skittered across the playground. He confronted Pantelis’s parents, who were ashamed and embarrassed but admitted that they had not been able to find work for months. Their savings were gone, and they were living on rations of pasta and ketchup.

  11. rich

    Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
    The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There’s no price the big banks can’t fix

    “It’s a double conspiracy,” says an amazed Michael Greenberger, a former director of the trading and markets division at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a professor at the University of Maryland. “It’s the height of criminality.”

    If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it’s no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.

    The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure.

    Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.

    Read more:

      1. Jessica

        Glad to see you bringing up this meme over and over. Establishing the moral inferiority of the elites in the eyes of the rest of us is a key for the rest of us to be able to take action.

  12. craazyman

    I bet those neutrinos “from another galaxy” are just a hoax. Probably some alien space ship hovering 300,000 feet above the south pole popped a shot off just to f*ck with the scientists heads. Wouldn’t it be funny if science never stopped? Every time they look for another particle they find it. And if they run out of particles they’ll think of something new and they’ll find that. Then when that runs out they’ll create some new form of existence and find that. it’ll never end. Because if it did, and they figured it all out forever, can you imagine the crisis that would produce? haha. That’s why they invented art, where it really does never end.

    1. Susan the other

      Please note new vocabulary words:
      1. enthingenate. Click here to enthingenate = Click here for a slide show.
      2. enzeframcochrenate. Click here to enzeframcochrenate = Click here to enlarge.

  13. TimR

    I came late to the Frontline doc thread, where Jeff in Austin sparked a good conversation.

    McMike wrote:

    “Oh for sure. Every American should become an expert personal investor, also an expert financial planner, and an expert insurance broker and real estate agent as well.

    They should also perfom their own brain surgery, and when they travel, they should pilot thier own 747s.”

    And later jrs wrote:

    “You forgot, we must be our own nutritionists and experts on agricultural issues as well, because arsenic in chickens and rice, and GMOs (without so much as a label), and cows with anti-biotic resistent bacteria, and sewage sludge as fertilizer and …

    And we must be our own experts on medicine because the medical system doesn’t take actually helping people get better seriously and half the phramaceuticals do more harm than good in the name of profit.

    And we must be an expert on obscure laws to make sure the 1% don’t claim our carefully saved emergency funds for derivatives.”

    Adding: I know everyone’s being sarcastic, and I agree with McMike and jrs. At the same time, I think as a practical matter you actually *do* have to follow this absurd advice, or at least familiarize yourself with the scams of all the industries around us just as a simple matter of self-defense. Not saying (like Jeff – Austin) that it *should* be that way, just that it is and won’t be changing any time soon (probably getting worse.) Esp if you’re poor, you have to understand IMO that virtually every industry is, not just ripping you off, but probably actively damaging your health, undermining your future, disconnecting you from nature, friends and family, exploiting your labor power, and filling your head with narcissistic delusions. Even if you’re wealthy, you’re still potential prey of course, though maybe better able to defend yourself. So as a practical matter, I have to sort of agree with Jeff-Austin’s advice, if not the spirit of arrogant hubris with which it was offered. Sure it would be *nice* if reasonable people carried the day, and these industries weren’t predatory by design. And as was said, autodidacts can fall on tuff times too (as I have been in fact – uninsured, trying to treat H pylori bacterial infection through alternative health means — although it seems to be a case where the conventional medicine is often ineffective anyway. In fact I went through a brief course of antibiotics/antacids that probably did more harm than good.)


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, eight hours to prepare your own health, organic (self harvested, self-raised) meals and eight hours to defend against the 0.01%.

      That leaves 8 hours to be split between work and sleep.

      Skippy will tell you that we need to be professional citizens, paid just like our professional politician friends…because so much work is involved.

      1. F. Beard

        It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:2

    2. jrs

      I don’t disagree.

      The original poster was saying we should be managing our money rather than wasting time on NC, but it’s one place among many to learn about things like the 401k issues, bank dangers (although the matress isn’t a good option either) etc.. Political ignorance is COSTLY! What you don’t know about the workings of the world will hurt you, even if you’ve never voted or protested or written a congress person in your life (I’ve done most at some point). But yea having to be endlessly wary about everything personally all the time is getting completely insane. Even all we try to be aware of, we can’t know everything, especially when everything becomes a scam.

  14. TK421

    “Surely Obama is not a lame-duck president already?”

    That’s what he gets for spending 90% of his administration trying to get Republicans to agree to tax increases. What a fool.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of lame duck people, voters are lame duck the minute after the vote.

      So, here are, shame on us (for having been fooled twice) and we are lame ducks.

      Thus the term, lame-and-shame ducks…coming to a fine dining restaurant near you soon.

    2. Synopticist

      Yeah. Then proposing a social security cut, thus giving them room to shout “Obama is cutting your social security!!!”

      He’s an idiot. Being a centre-right corporatist is one thing, failing to realise that he’s never going to be right wing enough for the republicans is another.

      1. Susan the other

        Republicans? pfft. Obama is striding the earth like the beorath of liberal enlightenment. Freedom for me and slavery for you. Just as little George said in his embarrassing speech – the one thing his administration did was promote freedom. Freedom from democratic government.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Not an idiot, not a fool, not a coward, chickensh*t, or eunuch, not a premature capitulator or bad negotiator; but rather a chickenhawk war criminal, the great deceiver, a ravenous wolf in sheep’s clothing, flim-flam man, basilisk, snake oil peddler, serpent in the garden, false prophet … oh, and Trojan Horse (Lambert).

        1. Glenn Condell

          Agreed but I don’t see the fool/knave thing as either/or. He’s both. He might be of some use if he was a dim bulb with courage or even a coward with cunning, but he is simply a plausible and pliable front man, like Clinton a decent thespian. If he is to end up great he will certainly need it thrust upon him.

    3. Jack Parsons

      The 2-term limit was a mistake. The President is de-balled after the 2nd term mid-term election. A politician’s influence depends on the perception of longevity.

      Given that our Presidents are all a bad lot, this is maybe not a bad outcome. But it is bad policy.

      1. Synopticist

        Yes, I always thought term limits guarrentee that a second term president becomes impotent pretty soon after winning re-elction. It happened to Reagan, Clinton, Bush II and it’ll happen to Obama.

        I’m not sure we’re quite there yet though.

      1. Cujo359

        Exactly. It’s tiresome to keep pointing this out, but Obama’s history and his choice of economic advisers show pretty well that he agrees with the “job creaters” nonsense. His entire economic program, except for the lamentably small stimulus, was aimed at shoveling as much money as possible into the financial sector, because if it “collapsed” there would be a disaster of some sort.

        Give Obama a hundred terms in office, and I predict that he’ll be the same way through at least the first 99.

  15. barrisj

    Today’s meme du jour: “They crossed the red line!”. Senators, think-tank types, and other Beltway notables raising alarums about “Assad gassed his own people”, based upon – wait for it – “trace components found in soil samples”. Now, all this takes me back to ca. 1998, when Bill Clinton sent in missiles to destroy the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, based upon “soil samples”, suggesting a possible site for VX production. Well, all of the “evidence” proved to be bollocks, and nothing more was said about the destruction of the plant. One would think that after the Cheney-Bush and “Saddam has ‘WMD'” lies, this sort of perfervid blather would give pause to “humanitarian intervention” options, as they are being leaked to favoured media outlets. But, then again, whenever there even is the remotest chance for armed intervention of yet another Arab country, count on the US and its Nato lackeys to be front and center.

    1. aletheia33

      much of what obama has done, clinton did better (by their definition), or for the first time.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Liberating Spain from the shackles of the Euro.

    Perhaps it’s time for the Second Reconquista of Spain and if the first one was any guide, there will be plenty of mercenaries for hire for both sides.

    They could use a crusade against Mammon, not to confused with Baphomet.

      1. F. Beard

        Mammon led them on–
        Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell
        From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts
        Were always downward bent, admiring more
        The riches of heaven’s pavement, trodden gold,
        Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed
        In vision beatific. By him first
        Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
        Ransacked the centre, and with impious hands
        Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
        For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
        Opened into the hill a spacious wound,
        And digged out ribs of gold…
        – Paradise Lost, Book i, 678-690

        Take that gold-bugs!

        1. Valissa

          Midas reflects on his ability

          What is worth?

          Too true

          FDR Redux: A Cartoon Guide to Cutting the National Debt by 40% with the Stroke of a Pen!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I like this story about Ivan the Fool from Tolstoy. An excerpt from Wiki:

            Although the story is usually considered a children’s fairy tale, it is also used as an indication of Tolstoy’s political leanings in support of Christian anarchism. Though his brothers are easily tempted by money and military power, unsophisticated Ivan, with his simple way of life, defeats the treacherous devil. Ivan eventually becomes the ruler of the country despite the lack of a standing army or currency. All of the citizens are welcome at Ivan’s table, where workers are fed first and intellectuals (those without calluses on their hands) have to eat the leftovers.

            —-> the lack of currency (gasp)!
            —-> intellectuals to eat the leftovers (gasp)!

  17. Herman Sniffles

    “Whales are smarter than cats”

    And as any teenage boy can tell you, they can swim better too.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, but cats are better at climbing on top of bookcases…without smashing them to pieces…every single time, that is.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Austerity’s harmful impact.

    I believe there was a link the other day where a study showed that if you dish out punishment with love, it was not that harmful to its recipients.

    1. Valissa

      LMAO… you are in prime form today!

      “There are two kinds of suffering: the suffering that leads to more suffering and the suffering that leads to the end of suffering. If you are not willing to face the second kind of suffering, you will surely continue to experience the first.”
      -Ajahn Chah

      “When one has understanding, one should laugh; One should not weep. ” — Hsüeh-T’ou

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks again having something to smile about here everday.

            I thought he was in this story (but I was wrong about that):

            “Once, on a cold day, Master Tanka took a wooden statue of Buddha and burned it to get warm. When the head monk of the temple scolded him, Tanka stirred the ashes with his stick and said, ‘I burned it to get saint’s bones.’

            “The head monk said, ‘How could one get saint’s bones out of a wooden Buddha?’

            “Tanka said, ‘Well, if there aren’t any saint’s bones, I might as well burn those other two statues, too.’

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Blue Cliff Records – they called it the first book of Zen.

            Mumonkan – that would be the second book of Zen…perhaps for accessible, as there are only about 50 koans.

  19. dragqueen capitalism

    I didn’t know where to ask this question, then it occurred to me that here might be a good place: How can the EU, specifically Germany, call trade with its southern fellow-unionists in the south, ‘Exports’? What does being in an Economic Union mean, then? In the US, with one Central Bank, like Europe, Californian trade with Texas is not considered exporting (Is it?). So how come Germany’s trade with Italy is? Can California have a trade deficit with Texas, or Nevada? No. It’s as though Saxony has a trade deficit with Bavaria, which would be considered nonsense, yet it has one with Tuscany, although it, too, is in the Same Economic Union. That cannot work; how was it ever expected to?

  20. Valissa

    Controversially, Physicist Argues Time Is Real

    New Evidence Unearthed for the Origins of the Maya

    The sex gap
    Before the age of 25 it seems that women are more likely to have sex in a given year than an equivalent age man. After the age of 25 this starts to reverse, and men are more likely to be having sexual intercourse in a given year.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting new discovery about the origin of the Maya civilization.

      I recently started collecting pre-Columbian artifacts. Last week, I got a real (I hope. It passed the smell test) pre-Columbian clay figure, around 3″ to 4″, for $10. Don’t know enough to say which civilization though.

      1. Valissa

        Considering that pre-Columbian posters go for $24.99–b201232/pre-columbian-posters.htm the provenance is questionable :)

        What I want to know about pre-Columbian peoples is what made them laugh…. and what kinds of jokes they liked… how they dealt with the stresses of their time.

        Maybe if scientists can perfect time travel (which they ought to be able to do now that time is real) maybe we’ll be able to find out what the pre-Columbians think of all the archaeological analysis of them.

  21. diane

    04/26/13 by VIJAY PRAHAD Made in Bangladesh – The Terror of Capitalism

    On a related (to my mind) note (i.e.: a system based solely on attaining $capital/power, and nothing but horrifying punishment ….. for those who don’t desire to hold such power over their peers, … can not possibly create an environment in which healers, who wish to do no harm, flourish):

    04/26/13 by Dr. CESAR CHELALA Pain and Punishment – Doctors Who Torture

    (see also (for just a tad of a sampling, certainly not all inclusive):

    08/28/12 by ROY EIDELSON Psychologists and Torture – Dr. Frankenstein and the APA’s Decade of Monstrosities


    04/11/13 by TRUDY BOND, ROY EIDELSON AND STEPHEN SOLDZ Where Accountability Goes to Die – Guantánamo and the APA


    12/26/12 by Peter Whoriskey (permitted via the WAP[P]O, after it was far to late in the day to prevent the hideous outcome) The DSM 5 Manual

    One of my U$ conspiracy theories, is that Reagan and the Bush Families were a huge tool used to destroy any murmurings of the intangible everyone believes in (whether they admit it, or not …as they certainly will believe in it …. when it’s themselves being skinned while alive …sans numbing), which humans call morality. I recollect a very short time ago when: if one used the term Evil, they were immediately ignored as a Fundie, or aLuddite; even if they never voted ReThuglican, and were quite correct that technology has only been used to ultimately serve monsters. Technology’s more innocent benefits were used to refute any who suspected a massive, warp speed algorithmic betrayal.)

    1. diane

      and yeah, that DSM 5 Manual will be put to horrid use, as those with any empathy remaining will most certainly be labeled as a danger to [Capitali$m] $ociety!!!.

    2. diane

      absolutely horrifying, how those who love to quote Mario Savio (to their sole benefit) fully support that “Machinery.”

  22. jerry denim

    There was a mention here a few days back of Paul Volcker recently taking a swipe at the tacky displays of wealth on display in our Nation’s Capitol. I just spotted this in Forbes:

    “While Loudoun ranks at the top, it’s far from alone on the list of wealthiest counties that surround Washington. In fact, it’s just the beginning. The neighboring counties of Falls Church City, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William in Virginia and Howard County in Maryland all make the cut, giving the D.C. area six of the nation’s ten wealthiest counties. All boast median household incomes between $93,000 and $117,000 annually”

    All this against a backdrop of the sequester pain and austerity hysteria in DC. Apparently austerity pays pretty well for some people. Sickening.

    1. diane

      and let us not forget that that teeny eeny “mosquito’s tweeter” (thank you, Nina Simone), Delaware, where all those Multinational Corp[se]s Incorp[se]orate, … nor that teeny CT (Connect a Cut with those other states in the “union”, silent but deadly; where CT Corp erased all of those hassles with States asking why those Corporate revenues disappeared, upon those Oligarchich, too big to fail, Mergers & Aquisitions), where Hitler’s Angel, Prescott Bush, was elected Senator, and FASB pretends it serves a purpose; for those duped into believing that Capitali$m serves humanity.

  23. Valissa

    Odd news of the day…

    Cool video… Artists create 20-foot dinosaur from (many) balloons

    Rare 1913 nickel fetches over $3.1M at auction
    The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist. But it’s all the more prized because of its unusual back story: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then declared the real deal.

    Nearly half of young Christians support legalizing pot, survey says
    Interestingly, a greater percentage young Christians say they find smoking pot to be morally acceptable compared with the general population.

    1. diane

      that link about the $3.1M nickle just reminded me of the book:

      The Unknown Terrorist, by Richard Flanagan (2006),

      How horrifying that those with the resources to stifle such suffering going on are wildly striving to attain ‘goods’ which will never prevent that end day reality …that those ‘goods’ will not save them, as they have a scheduled meeting, in Samara ….

  24. Susan the other

    Simon Johnson on Treasury’s equivocations. So. The Fed is the governing board of a private corporation of private banks that run the country. If we nationalize our central bank and take it out of the hands of private banking, allowing only commercial banks to associate with our public central bank, and no investment casinos allowed, what are we going to do about Treasury. Treasury, most obviously under Geithner, was comandeered by the private banks. It remains as private an institution as the Federal Reserve. In order to have a public central bank we will have to more than clean house at Treasury. We will have to create a new institution. Maybe the National Comptroller, etc.

  25. Brindle

    I guessed I missed out…anyone get a ticket to this?
    Can’t believe that Kate Upton was there last year barefoot..OMG !!

    —“Bloomberg/Vanity Fair Afterparty

    WHEN: Saturday, April 27, following the dinner

    WHERE: Residence of the ambassador of France

    NOT INVITED? Not worth trying. It’s typically the weekend’s most exclusive party.

    SCENES FROM LAST YEAR: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel chatting with actress Reese Witherspoon, White House press secretary Jay Carney posing for a picture with Sofia Vergara, model Kate Upton hanging out barefoot.”—

  26. diane

    an enormous warm hug to you, Yves, for allowing a voice, I wish I had the $ to support you further, as it is so hideously clear that $ talks above all else, and to the demise of all that is life giving.

    1. diane

      on the other hand, much better than $ at the end of the day …to have empathy and a stunningly profound benevolent life force on your side (and you, my dear Yves, are bound to be gifted with it; that profound and truly kind side of humanity; …and, it does indeed exist, … we have all felt it, at one time or another), honey.


        1. Dr. Brian Oblivion

          And while everyone’s in a thankful mood, I am grateful that not only are comments permitted here, the quality of those that make it past the filter are typically of outstanding quality, not necessarily including this one.

          Having had the opportunity to write and screen comments on a busy wordpress blog myself I am quite aware of how eager automated blog spam bots are and how desperate they are to pass themselves off as human beings participating in a discussion, helpfully providing links to where one might find beatle boots or pills that encourage eight hour erections. Very sad.

          I know it’s tedious and sometimes unrewarding, but as a result Naked Capitalism is one of the few sites I frequent where I usually read the entire thread and not out of desperation. This is not a bot bot bot bot.

  27. Hugh

    Re Krugman, any “insights” he might have are years overdue, and hardly insights since that is also how long many of us have been talking about them. Krugman is a long time Keynesian and most of his post is the Keynesian beating up on the austerians. The added element is the reference to the 1%. Again we have been talking about this for a long time and I for one more than this in terms of kleptocracy. Much like Sachs recently discovering criminality on Wall Street though, the real test is not a single column but whether Krugman will use his soapbox to begin a sustained attack on the 1% and not just them but the Democratic party which they own every bit as much as the GOP.

  28. diane

    Much like Sachs recently discovering criminality on Wall Street though, the real test is not a single column but whether Krugman will use his soapbox to begin a sustained attack on the 1% and not just them but the Democratic party which they own every bit as much as the GOP.

    yep, endless hugs and kisses, Hugh.

    1. diane

      I’ll add: the the same goes for that Page Boyed, ‘White’ haired, SNOW WHITE MALE [Mr. CLEAN!] , Moyer$, who (oversized hanky in hand), quite, quite slyly ….. implied that: those thousands who couldn’t afford housing in the midst of Lethally Toxic (Highly CANCEROUS, $uperFunded) $ly Con Valley, were mostly Felons, ……. versus thousands with no criminal records …and those: far, far younger than ass licker Moyers, who were deliberately shoved under That Bu$, … a$ too old !!!!!!!!!, to make any $en$e.

        1. diane

          need I remind? as to $ly con valley ….. that it is one of the large$t POWER$$$$$$$$ on the planet most of us are living on?

      1. craazyman

        You need your own TV show Diane. 12 comments on one thread and you’re basically in the broadcast booth yourself.

        I don’t mind Mr. Moyers but I wonder how he wiggled out of that DUI bust a few years back. I’m not one to talk since I crashed a car driving drunk after a country party down in Virginia and some dude from the county came with a tow-truck and pulled me off the guard rail. Then he drove away. I drove home drunk and got the fender repaired after I sobered up. That was back in the day when you could do stuff like that and nobody thought twice about it.

        It’s a hard place, now, America that is. Most folks only have one chance and when they blow it, it’s over. Most will blow it, because one chance is way too few for a human being. you need at least 3 to get your bearings. If you blow all 3 — like all the banksters and politicians and regulators — well, that’s probably your fault. I’d have let Mr. Moyers go with a warning, if I were in charge. The warning would have been “Dude. Really. You’re on TV and yu. Think about it.” I doubt I’d have seen him in DUI court again.

        1. diane

          please pardon me … if I snuffle around the fact that you seem to post far, far more than 12 posts ‘here’, daily; and also: snuffle around the fact that you, horrifyingly glibly, noted how males would gladly insert a hand into a females vagina, … totally unininvited, to jus’ lend a hand …

          1. diane

            oh, so sorry for the poor punctuation, I had intended to state the possessive case as to female vaginas; .. as in:

            insert a hand into a female’s vagina, … totally unininvited …

          2. diane

            .. insert a hand into a female’s vagina, … totally unininvited …

            some call that Rape …

            I happen to agree ….

    1. Valissa

      Hey Lambert, when I try to click on the text it jumps around and avoids me. I’m trying not to take it personally ;)

    1. LucyLulu

      Sen. Brown calling a spade a spade…..

      “Obama’s Treasury department is just as unfriendly to the idea of breaking up big banks, or limiting their destructive potential, under Jack Lew as it was under Timothy Geithner”, Brown said.

  29. Kim Kaufman

    You can also find Le Show at Got him on RSS feed now that he’s no longer live in LA and it’ll just be one more hour spent on my MP3 player and not listening to the radio. Oh, well.

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