Links 4/29/13

First Phosphorescent Sheep Born in Uruguai Science World (Richard Smith)

Experiments will determine dinosaur’s skin colour and why the fossil preserved intact Canadian Light Source

Earth’s core is much hotter than previously thought – hotter than the surface of the Sun ExtremeTech (Carol B)

Parasite ‘resistant to malaria drug’ BBC

Robot Uncovers Ancient Burial Chambers Beneath Teotihuacan Temple Huffington Post (Carol B)

Weird Science and the remembrance of fists past Ars Technica (Carol B)

KGB: Silvercrest’s Patrick Chovanec Business Spectator (free registration required). The MacroBusiness post pointing to this video is titled “Chovanec drops bitter pill on hapless KGB.”

Japan stirs Campbell’s US ‘pivot’ soup Asia Times

European Leaders’ Softening on Austerity May Accelerate Bloomberg

Companies Feel Pinch on Europe Sales Wall Street Journal

Bundesbank declares ‘war’ on Mario Draghi bond bail-out at Germany’s top court Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Spain: Running from the Bulls? Marc Chandler, Credit Writedowns

Italy Shooting: 2 Policemen Shot In Rome As New Premier Takes Oath Of Office Associated Press (Lambert)

The Monster Club Beppe Grillo

Iceland Party Ousted During Bank Crisis Starts Coalition Talks Bloomberg

UK Ministry of Defense Deems Wind Towers a National Security Threat OilPrice

Mad cow infected blood ‘to kill 1,000’ Telegraph

Times Of Israel Falsifies Iranian Quote Moon of Alabama

Abrams Tank Pushed By Congress Despite Army Huffington Post (Carol B)

Obama’s manoeuvres all lead back to impasse Edward Luce, Financial Times

Democrats ask: What debt crisis? Politico (Lambert)

Judge Tells FBI They Can’t Use Webcams To Spy on People Gawker

Provo doesn’t know where its fiber is, Google makes city spend $500,000 to find it Ars Technica (Carol B)

Vermont law illuminates claims statistics The Center for Public Integrity (martha r)

Why We Still Have a Massive Homelessness Problem (Hard Times USA) Alternet

High-frequency traders face speed limits Financial Times

Dog days for hedge funds forced to cut fees Financial Times

Venture Capitalists Are Making Bigger Bets on Food Start-Ups New York Times

Multinationals assist domestic suppliers? Perhaps think again VoxEU. OMG, the existing literature assumes multinationals are “benign.”

Deep thoughts on civilisation from Jeremy “Hari Seldon” Grantham Izabella Kaminska, FTAlphaville

The Rise of the Corporate State masaccio, Firedoglake

Antidote du jour (martha r):


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  1. David Lentini

    I’ve Lost a Lot of Respect for FY Alphaville

    The Grantham story shows that we can’t let people get too wealthy–it drives them insane. I don’t’ have either the time or patience to dismantle the drivel reported by the FT, starting with the inanity of the physics-cum-social history lesson at the top of the piece. Suffice it to say then, that when our elites start chanting mantras of a literal Deus ex machina that will save us all, we know we’re reaching the endgame and the result won’t be pretty.

    1. diptherio

      For my money, the article by Ben Inker that appears in the same GMO newletter as the Grantham piece, is a much better read, and considerably less optimistic (i.e. more realistic).

      From A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Equilibrium:

      There are times when the markets do not seem to be following the script properly, and we are left wondering whether we are dealing with a temporary anomaly or a more permanent problem. Today we are faced with one of these problems: the persistently high profit margins of U.S. corporations. High profit margins should not persist in a mean-reverting world, and yet profitability in the U.S. has been higher than long-term averages for most of the last 20 years, oddly pretty close to the same length of time that the U.S. market has been trading above replacement cost.

      Herb Stein’s Law states “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” History has been kind to Stein’s Law, but there should probably also be a related admonition: “If something that cannot go on forever has been going on for an inexplicable length of time, try to understand why it has been going on so long and whether your model might be the problem.” I admit it is nowhere near as pithy as Stein’s Law, but the rest of this paper will be an attempt to follow that admonition where it leads us. For those who don’t want to read through the gory details, the result is that there are ways for profits to stay high indefinitely, but it is far from obvious that society will be willing to put up with them.

      The rich have been doing very well in the past 30 years, even in terms of their share of labor income. Giving them a permanently large slug of income from capital as well will probably eventually cause a backlash even among the impressively stolid U.S. electorate. The belief in social mobility in the U.S. has been a strongly enduring one, but as copious research has shown in the past few years, it is increasingly a myth. An increasingly permanent upper class, which not only does far better in terms of labor income than the rest but further accumulates a further chunk of GDP in the form of persistently high dividends and stock buybacks, is likely to accumulate enemies.

      Even if the rich avoid this problem, it is essential that they actually spend their income in order for profits to stay high. The very wealthy tend to save a large chunk of their income, so if the distribution of income is skewed ever more in their favor, the need will arise for the less well-off to spend more than 100% of their income to stop the savings rate from rising. And rising savings, all else equal, hurts profits. Negative savings rates for the bulk of households actually seem to have been the case in the 1990s as people spent on the assumption that the stock market would always go up, and they occurred again in the 2000s as people spent on the assumption that home prices would always go up. More recently, the un- and under-employed have been spending more than their income because their incomes have fallen yet they still need to live. But with the possible exception of those lending to governments, there eventually comes a time when lenders stop lending to those who want to spend more than their income. If the rest of households stop dis-saving, it will require the rich to really up their spending to keep the system going. There may not actually be enough goods and services for the rich to buy to make this work, but even if it were possible, it would almost certainly increase the resentment of the have-nots until they took it out on them through the ballot box, if nothing else.

      Sounds about right to me…

      1. jrs

        He wants to talk macro but it seems to me the reason why profits are consistently high and non mean reverting is just as likely to be oligopoly.

      2. Massinissa

        So the Rich will destroy capitalism simply by their own greed for excessive accumulation of capital?

        Capital is like blood, it needs to keep flowing for the system to function.

        The elites are forming blood clots, because they are like organs that do not want to let go of the blood that has accrued to them. (Yes im aware thats not how blood clots form but I cant come up with a better metaphor unfortunately)

  2. craazyman

    Strange Thoughts

    Strange how they invented the idea of a burning hot hell in the center of the earth long before there was a notion the earth was even round, or that it has a fiery hot core.

    Strange how they created the physician symbol as two intertwined snakes thousands of years before anybody discovered dna.

    Lots of strange things if you can see them. Right out the window. Too bad you have to work for a living. Can somebody send $1 million dollars for general use and expenditures? Mail to: Joe, PO Box 51, Magonia. Thanks. -Joe

    I guess we won’t be digging a hole to China anytime soon. Too bad, since it would cut the trip by half. You could just fall for the first half. The second half you’d have to climb, but you’d probably have enough inertia to make the first 500 miles easy. Now it’s all out of the question. That’s why there’s Chinatown, right in New York.

    1. Ned Ludd

      The idea that the earth was spherical dates back to ancient Greek philosophy. In The Republic, Plato described a geocentric model with a spherical earth. Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth and the tilt of the Earth’s axis. Ancient civilizations had a very sophisticated understanding of the planet.

      Also, anyone who encountered a volcano or fissure vent would observe that the Earth is molten hot beneath the crust.

      1. craazyman

        I thought about the volcano on the bus going right down 57th street heading west. That’s true. Also true that Plato wrote about a round earth and wrote that the moon is a stone. I forgot what dialogue but he wrote it, as something Socrates says.

        Of course that also makes you wonder how he knew that, since they had no telescope or space ships. I guess anyone with common sense can look up at the moon and see it’s basically a big rock.

        I guess you could infer the earth is round from seeing ships go below the horizon on the sea. I think some Greek geometer dude calculated the earth’s circumference quite accurately.

        However, I think there’s an intrinsic knowing that preceeds the factual discovery and that shapes the form of the discovery. This knowing is a source you can access through channeling, on a good day.

        1. diptherio

          IIRC, it was Al Ghazali (or maybe Ibn Sena?) who wrote, sometime around the 12th-13th century something to the effect of: who would believe me if I were to tell you that there is a thing in this world, no bigger than a grain of sand, that if placed inside a city would devour the entire city and itself as well?

          Also, Moses Maimonides discusses early Islamic atomic theory in his Guide for the Perplexed, published in the 12th century.

          The shamans of the Amazon claim to have been given the recipe for their psychedelic Auyhuasca brew (which combines two naturally occurring psychoactive compounds from two different plants, either of which is totally inactive on it’s own) from the plants themselves. Native American medicine people have made the same claims for the genesis of their phyto-medicinal knowledge.

          The Dogon people of Africa knew all about the “dog star” Sirius (including the fact that it is a twin star system, that one of the twin stars was “made from the heaviest stuff in the universe,” and the periodicity of the stars’ rotations around each other) long before Western scientists had created telescopes powerful enough to verify everything that the Dogon had told archaeologists in the 1920s. How did the Dogon get this information? According to them, fish-like inhabitants from that star-system had visited their ancestors and told them all this. No one has offered a better solution yet…

          Methinks this universe we inhabit is far stranger than we can imagine…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I was watching an episode of the Globe Trekker the other night and the Kuna people of Panama claimed their ancestors were space aliens.

            I tried to google that for confirmation. So far, nada.

          2. craazyman

            It was probably Captain Kirk and some of the landing party security guys. They always went nuts on shore leave with the native women.

          1. F. Beard

            My Bible says Daniel was finished in 537BC.

            But perhaps your date is based on the assumption that predicting the future (e.g. Alexander the Great’s rise and fall) is impossible?

          2. Synopticist

            Yes, and it’s quite specific about the Maccabean wars. For example the “abomination of desolation” refers to king Antiochus IV action in sacraficing a pig in the temple in 168 bc.

            The repeated references to “the king of the North” and “king (and Queens) of the South” are about the Sellucid kings of Asia Minor and Ptolemaic kings of Egypt, who were warring for influence in Judea.

          3. F. Beard

            Well, I have no problem with God predicting the future because, if need be, He can cause what He predicted. And/or life can a “simulation” that He has run multiple times and He knows, based on previous runs, what is sure to happen in the current run. Or God can intervene in the the past and, if necessary, rewrite Scripture to match what has actually happened.

          4. Synopticist

            The re-use of the phrase “Abomination of Desolation” in Mark 13.14 may refer to the emperor Caligula’s attempt to set up a statue to himself in the temple in ad 40, as a Daniel style post-facto prophesy. Or it be about the Roman siege of Jerusalem in ad 70, which is how Luke interpreted it at 21.20-21.
            It might just as easily be a genuine Jesus oracle prophesying the fall of Jerusalem and the de-spoling of the temple.

        2. justme

          I guess you could infer the earth is round from seeing ships go below the horizon on the sea

          I remember reading about the guy on watch that night on the Californian who thought the big party liner in the distance shooting off fireworks was sailing away because the lights were getting lower and lower on the horizon, only to find the next day that it had been the Titanic. Sometimes a sinking ship is just a sinking ship.

    2. Propertius

      It’s a mistake to associate the caduceus with physicians. The caduceus (two snakes) is associated with Hermes/Mercury, the patron god of messengers and thieves.

      The physician’s symbol is the staff of Asclepios (the god of healing), which is a single snake coiled around a rough-hewn rod (or sometimes a crutch). This might have something to do with the usage of snake venom in medications by the ancient priests of Asclepios, or it might be due to the serpent’s association with immortality (via its shedding of its skin to “renew” itself). The symbol itself goes back to Sumer (which might amuse fans of Philip Jose Farmer’s The Sumerian Oath) and has always been associated with healers.

      The two symbols have become confused by the culturally illiterate (or perhaps by those who think the medical profession is larcenous) – to the point where most people (including most physicians) mistakenly associate the caduceus with medicine. It would perhaps be more appropriately used by bankers.

      I always knew that Classics degree would prove useful ;-)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s a shame, isn’t it.

        People are being lured into becoming mercenaries in the War against Nature, instead of enjoying good stories like yours.

  3. David Lentini

    FDL: Great Piece But It’s Democracy, Stupid

    FDL does a great job of describing the prescience of C. Wright Mills’s works, which put much flesh on the bones of Eisenhower’s famous “military-industrial complex” warning. But the question raised at the end, “What alternative does the Left have to offer?”, misses the point. The real question should be “What do we need to do to achieve the democratic society we claim to want?”

    The death of the Left has been chronicled by many great historians and commentators such as Christopher Lasch (“The Age of Narcissism”, “The Revolt of the Elites”, and “The Minimal Self”), E.J. Dionne (“Why Americans Hate Politics”), and Chris Hedges (“The Death of the Liberal Class”). The McCarthy witch hunts in the ’50 that purged colleges of leftist thinkers. The realization by Leftist intellectuals that Trotskyist, Leninist, Stalinist, and Maoist attempts to “accelerate” Marx’s vision of a communist world had failed without a successor political theory. The embrace of the counterculture by the Left and their apologias for the riots and social unrest in the ’60s rendered leftists politically marginalized. The assumption of political power by the college educated, contented middle class baby boomers in the ’70s who forgot their working class roots (see, Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”), and the retirement of the older generation who remembered the Great Depression and repression by the rich until the end of World War II, created what J.K. Galbraith called the “Culture of Contentment” that valued most of all economic comfort and diminished an interest in social welfare. No one should be surprised that what we call “Left” today is politically impotent and intellectually amorphous.

    And why should we care? The Left never embraced democratic values anyway: They wanted an elitist socialist or communist government. In fact, the sort of corporatist oligarchy that now runs the country looks more like the old Soviet Union every day. We have a small group of unelected elites who either dictate or heavily influence an army of apparatchiks that used to be our representatives and senior civil servants. The policies set by the government emphasize external threats to the State that require increasingly draconian measures to ensure our “safety” with ever growing State expenditures on arms, surveillance, and prisons. We continually lose our privacy in the name of “security”. Although our elites grow ever richer, like the Soviet leaders with their private spas and dachas, the economy continues to rot out at its core. But the press, just like Pravda and Izvestia, trumpet our glorious stock prices and triumphant military successes that never seem to actually accomplish anything, while also warning us of the dark ominous clouds on our horizon. For those of us who lived through the Cold War, this should all sound very familiar. In fact, it’s not surprising to learn that many of today’s most rabid right-wingers were once the most rabid left-wingers in the ’50 and ’60s: Just look at the neo-cons!

    No, we don’t need a “Left”. We need something that we haven’t really seen for a very long time–A commitment to a democracy based on popular suffrage. We need to develop a vision of what America requires to properly implement the vision of democracy that was championed (in theory at least) by the Founders. Here are a few thoughts on that subject:

    1. Power is Everything. The ancient Athenian city-states adopted democratic government (albeit one based on aristocracy) in order to combine forces to fight the Persians without fearing each other. They understood, as did our Founders, that power does indeed corrupt; so government and society must be structured to avoid the concentration of power in any individual or small group. Diffusion of power and the need for consensus diminish the risk of exploitation of the public.

    2. Money is Power Machiavelli perhaps put it best, but it was well known to the ancients, wealth brings unchecked political power and political corruption. In this sense, Justice Rhenquist was right in the Buckley and NCPAC decisions that put the knife in our popular democracy by setting the stage for the Roberts Court’s Citizen’s United ruling–Money is a political voice and dollars are votes. So, if we want to diffuse power and honor the one-human-one-vote foundation of democracy, we have to limit the ability of individuals to hoard wealth. Is that “redistribution”? Is that “socialism”? Is that “communism”? No! It’s what we need to ensure the viability of our democratic government.

    3. We Must Honor the Intellectual Values and Requirements of Democracy. We cannot expect to maintain a democracy without instilling the intellectual values and practices needed to be functional participants in a democracy. Democracy is probably the most intellectually demanding form of government, relying on the public to be well-informed, apply rational thinking, and clear communication to make decisions. Thus, we need a competent free press that cares most of all for communicating the most accurate information about the issues that face our society. We need to educate our children to be independent thinkers, to develop their talents for thinking and communicating. We need to stop treating education as a either job training, social conditioning, and day care. We need to value what we do and not what we have, so that good thinking and virtuous actions will bring respect. Thus, speech that is meant to confuse, mislead, obfuscate, and trivialize or ridicule democracy should not be acceptable. Commercial speech should be regulated to focus the public on factual choices and not fantasies. Faux press and policy organizations that consistently function to mislead the public should be closed or forced to disclose their true aims.

    In short, I expect this effort to lead us back to ideas, values, and policies that look a lot like the New Deal, the Four Freedoms, and the Economic Bill of Rights. The very things Americans were largely tricked into throwing away after the Second World War by the industrialists who couldn’t wait to dismantle FDR’s legacy and founded the political and economic movements that strangle us today. We should stop using “left” and “progressive” (which is a very ambiguous term if you read about the history of the movement and it’s Republican–yes, Republican, and in Mark Hanna–roots), and demand that we create a society that is based on the hard lessons of the ’30s and ’40s that were diluted and then drowned in the orchestrated orgy of consumption that started in the ’50s. That provides a political vision and platform that we can take to the public, hopefully before it’s too late.

    1. Jagger

      Goods thoughts. The problem is I have been reading and thinking of solutions to our political problems for years now and I see absolutely no progress towards solutions amonst our politicians. I suspect they are pretty happy with the situation.

      Personally I would like to see an end to private money in elections with the use of public financing and an end to gerrymandering. Once money is out of politics, if a politician wants a job, he will need to represent the public instead of money. Gerrymandering locks in politicians for life. Needs to end but I am not holding my breath. Lots of solutions but the foxs guarding the henhouse are perfectly happy with what we have now. Works for them.

      1. David Lentini

        All true. But I’ve come to see the basic problem as a cultural one, in which we think “democracy” somehow is innate to Americans (indeed all humans), and is large synonymous with “freedom”; so we just have to “be” and everything will take care of itself. Neither of these ideas is true, which is why we’re losing our democratic institutions.

        It’s really comes down to whether we’re willing to make the commitment to a democratic society. And I agree the answer is far from clear, but I think we should least try.

        1. Andrew Watts

          If the history of ancient Greece is any guide, whenever there is an unequal distribution of wealth it usually heralds the end of democracy. To be replaced either by an oligarchy or a dictator. Though sometimes the dictators wern’t that bad. Solon proved to be a capable reformer and often times a just leader.

          Probably why he was hated by just about everyone.

        2. diptherio

          Your critique reminds me of Soren Kierkegaard’s Attack on Chistendom, in which he argued that it was impossible to be a Christian if one was born into a society where everyone was assumed to be a Christian. His point was that if one never has to question “what does it mean to be a Christian?” one never has to confront the myriad ways in which one is not living up to the Christian ideal. One simply assumes, “I am a Christian” by dint of living in a “Christian country.”

          In the same way, I think, many Americans never question “what does it mean to be a citizen in a democracy?” and so never have to confront the ways in which they have shirked their obligations as a citizen. As in Kierkegaard’s society, where attendance at weekly services had become synonymous with being a Christian, so too in our society has voting in the occasional election become synonymous with good democratic citizenship. To the extent that we assume that we already live in a democratic society, we remain blind to the ways in which our society fails to live up to the democratic ideal, and blind to our own part in that failure.

          1. Massinissa

            So in other words… Democracy is failing because there is no Soviet Union or other important non-democracy (China notwithstanding) in order for democracy to form an oppositional identity towards?

            I actually find this idea sort of appealing, actually.

    2. JohnL

      Agreed. And it’s not going to get fixed from the top down. People need to educate themselves and start participating in democracy at the local level – school boards, homeowners associations, town hall – and start cleaning the stables from the bottom up.

    3. Massinissa

      “And why should we care? The Left never embraced democratic values anyway: They wanted an elitist socialist or communist government.”

      You know, not all socialists like are Stalinist types dude. There are plenty of democratic socialists around. Im more close ideologically to democratic socialists like George Orwell than authoritarians like Stalin and Mao.

      Furthermore, its impossible to say something like ‘the left’, when the left, like the right, has been incredibly intellectually diverse, though of course I admit the left has been politically and morally impotent for well over 40 years largely thanks to that ‘culture of contentment’ you brought attention to.

      I just feel like youre generalizing a bit too much. I just dont like it when people say THE left or THE right. Though I guess it what would be fine if you were specifically singling out the political mainstream of the left and the right at the time.

      1. David Lentini

        The FDL post reference referred to a monolithic “Left”; I was just using their phrasing. Yes, I do understand that the “Left” was more diverse. But my point that during the ’30s–’70s, many leftists were not interested in democracy still stands.

        What I argue for is dropping “left” and “right” and start talking about “democracy” and doing what it takes to make a democracy viable.

    4. Another Gordon

      Well said DL,

      Here in Britain although the economy is a total basket case the political scene is slightly better than in the US for reasons that are instructive. I suggest in particular,

      1. Money doesn’t have quite the same influence in politics. Parties are limited to spending limits (measured in x pence/voter) that are quite low and hence fairly affordable for non-plutocrat parties. There is much cheating but the impact of money power is blunted.

      2. Most parties, most importantly the Conservatives, have a tradition of constituencies choosing their own candidates which is valued by local activists. This means that those elected have to pay heed to their electors or they can get deselected for a later election. This rarely happens in practice but is a constant threat. Also because constituencies are fairly small (circa 70,000 voters) the candidate’s reputation counts for a fair amount although he has to be a real rogue to actually loose any but the most marginal constituency. The result is that, however feebly at times, power does tend to work up as much as down and that is essential.

      3. Once elected MPs are subject to party discipline. They can vote against their party but risk their chance of advancement to higher office if they do so – hence parties are seen as collectively responsible for their campaign promises and political pork is not a huge problem. On the other hand a block of dissenting MPs can force the government to change tack. Loosing Parliamentary votes is seen as bad management and if it happens too often it damages the administration.

      4. Paid TV advertising is not allowed. Instead main channels (not just the BBC) carry ‘Party Political Broadcasts’ which run for about 5 minutes. Each party gets three or four such PPBs in the run up to a national election.

      5. The BBC is required by the terms of its licence to provide balanced reporting. In practice this often means that on political subjects it is bland and superficial for which many on the left criticise it. Similarly, many on the right criticise it for being a stronghold of lefty intellectuals. My take is that, despite everything, its very existence forces a degree of balance on other channels or they would show themselves up.

      6. Other than the politicians as such other positions are not elected (e.g. judges, AGs) so public administration remains subject to some level of professional standards with relatively little in the revolving door syndrome although there is an issue with second careers when senior staff retire.

      The power brokers in the Conservatives would like to change all of these (except probably #3) towards a more American model and are, slowly but surely, making progress. The liberal/left is intellectually barren working as little more than an ad hoc collection of pressure groups fighting for an eclectic list of Good Things but for the most part tacitly accepting the neoliberal analysis (TINA rules!). With few exceptions it doesn’t ‘do’ economics or think in systems terms.

      1. David Lentini

        Thanks for the tutorial in British politics! Your description makes for an interesting sort of “control” vs. the arguments that the American political process can be fixed by public funding, limited donations, etc. What I take from your comments is that Americans would be disappointed by these sorts of procedural fixes.

        Instead, your description is consistent with the commentaries I’ve been reading about the huge affect the Iron Lady and Tories had on the nature of British society in the ’80s and ’90s, which I find support my idea of a cultural corruption vis-à-vis democracy in the West.

        1. Another Gordon

          I certainly see UK experience as a useful counterpoint to that of the US. I have yet to find any US commentator who, in my view, gets to the root of the problem and agree that, even if the commonly touted cures were implemented, Americans would be sadly disappointed in the result. I see society, the economy and politics as an extremely complex interlinked mechanism but one where, unlike mechanical ones, the linkages themselves are targets of those trying to game the system. Unless that is factored into any solution it will fail.

          The thing that is often not appreciated about Thatcher is how skilled a political operator she was. Quite simple she ran rings around her opponents both inside and outside the Conservative Party. Unfortunately she was also very wrong about lots of things and a control freak and – quite simple a terrible manager.

      2. Synopticist

        Another point to add to that list…

        There’s less plutocratic money funding universities. This was always believed to be a bad thing, as they had less cash, obviously.

        However, it means that UK academics tend to have more integrity than their US counterparts. There’s less cause for them to sell out their backsides for oligarch favours. You wouldn’t get an R&R in the UK.

          1. Synopticist

            Yes, quite true.
            I actually realised I should have included that point after posting.
            There are a bunch of Brit rightwing academic grifters who’ve emigrated to feed on the Oligarch/wingnut sphere. Nial Ferguson immediately springs to mind.

      3. Massinissa

        Ah, the destruction of Labour in Britain has been a sad tale indeed.

        When asked what her greatest accomplishment was, Margaret Thatcher answered, “Tony Blair and New Labour”.

        I completely agree. Thatchers greatest (Although I detest it) political accomplishment was not only suddenly and swiftly reverse the course of her nation in a single decade, but also to essentially eliminate the British Left as a true oppositional force for (at least!) the next quarter century. Would not suprise me if it will be another quarter century for any kind of true left revival in Britain at this rate.

        1. Synopticist

          The present Labour party is significantly to the left of New Labour when it comes to turbo-capitalism. More hostile to banking interests. Which is a start.

    5. Paul Tioxon

      I am not sure how left anyone who comments on this site is to a credible degree. The New Left of the 1960s specifically called for a rejection to the slavish political correctness to defend Stalin, The Soviet Union, Marxist-Leninist theorizing etc. Without Marx or Jesus, the counter culture and the New Left critiqued more than adequately the failings of the American ideal. Viet Nam and The Civil Rights Movement propelled millions of Americans to radically alter the way they view America. The message was so internalized it was co-opted and incorporated into the standard political consensus of politics in America. Lead was taken out of gasoline purify the air we all breath, The EPA was formed under the Nixon Administration to protect the water, the soil and the environmental movement as well as feminism became standard norms.

      That and the ongoing civil rights pressure for not oppressing people for differences that are little more than socialized hatred of behavior, that were considered taboos without a reason, to continue carrying them as taboos. Like homosexual behavior, or gender identity, or appearing non European in physical characteristics. Today, the first pro NBA player to come out the closet is being supported by Chelsea Clinton, a college friend of hers by the name of Jason Collins. That is a big deal. In the macho world of sports, especially one almost completely dominated by African American men, this is a monumental change. And while this does not put Jamie Dimon any closer to being jailed for crimes against humanity, for many millions of people, their lives are better for not being persecuted by reason of irrational traditional taboo.

      Mills however, completely missed the power networks of the Civil Rights Movement. This is not to denounce him, but he did not see that coming or the profound changes it would bring to America as a whole. African Americas wanted something denied to them by powerful forces and achieved stated political goals in the face of organized political opposition. One of the hallmarks of that struggle was the ability to control their lives through the ballot box, a necessary condition of any democratically controlled polity. But before they could change laws and overcome obstacles to voting, giving them political leverage in the legislative bodies and other offices of state power, they had built up power bases within the one institution that they had complete control over, their churches. It was this, among many things that Mills did not see. And, similarly, it was this that the CIA as well as the KGB did not see in Iran before the Shah fled for his life. It is also what is not seen in the point of origin of the Boston Bombers. The dead bomber is named Tamerlan. The great conqueror of Central Asia, from almost 700 years ago, Tamerlane. And if you google that name on your own you will decode the ignorance on a part of the world that was never quite digested by the former Soviet Union. Secular people have a hard time understanding religious identity, even if the religious one in question is considered of dubious suitable piety, in our secular terms of course. Just as there are cultural, but not very religious Jews, you will find many other cultural, but not very practicing Catholics. But sympathizing cultural identification can persist, if not strict religious observance.

      The SDS may have moved the country politically to the left without Marx or Jesus, but the more enduring countervailing power network, outside of the organized labor movement which purged most Communist influences as a standing policy, was the Civil Rights Movement, based firmly more on Jesus. If you want to see who gets what, just look to Barack Hussein Obama. Tom Hayden is doing college classroom lectures and Martin Luther King’s dream lives in the White House.

      Here is a critical paper by William Domhoff from a few years back commemorating C. Wright Mills academic legac

      “The National Power Structure

      Mills’s theoretical emphasis in claiming that a small and reasonably cohesive elite dominated the national levels of power was on the people who held leadership positions in the major bureaucratic organizations that had arisen in the United States in the course of its history, starting with large corporations in the second half of the 19th century, the federal government during the New Deal and World War II, and the military during World War II and the postwar era. Working together due to common social backgrounds, similar experiences in large-scale organizations, and the realization that they had shared interests, the people Mills called the corporate rich, the political directorate, and the warlords were closely enough knit and took in each other’s washing just frequently enough to be a “power elite.” To the degree that national-level decisions were made, Mills said, the power elite were the ones who made them.

      But how did he know that the power elite were powerful if he didn’t study any decisions? In effect, he assumed they were powerful because they managed large and strategically located hierarchies that dwarfed labor unions, farmer’s associations, middle-class voluntary associations, political parties, and Congress in terms of their resources and connections. As just mentioned, they also had the ability to work together for common goals, especially when they joined together to defeat their common enemy, the liberal-labor coalition, and of course we know that there is nothing like a common enemy to bring people together. So, if you run a corporation, or the Department of State, or the Pentagon, then you are a Decider, to use the new term introduced by the current main Decider in the United States.”

      1. Valissa

        Thank you David Lentini and Paul Tioxon for two very thoughtful, educational posts which I enjoyed very much!

      2. David Lentini

        Thanks, Paul. I looked over the paper, but the author seems to find Mills convincing:

        I think the American power structure of today looks far more like what Mills and Hunter would have expected than what pluralists, state autonomy theorists, or historical institutionalists within mainstream political science projected.

        Given how nebulous the definition of “Left” has become I’m not sure anyone can claim allegiance, since there isn’t any clear idea of what they’re allied with. But I note that much of the “New Left”, like David Brooks, became very right-wing by the late ’70s and early ’80s. Don’t forget that Irving Kristol helped found the New Left in the early ’60s and then became the ur-neocon.

        Your points on the Civil Rights and anti-war movements are well taken. But I would also caution that the first lost most of its mainstream support with the riots of the late ’60s and early ’70s; and the second died out once the draft ended. By the late ’70s our culture moved into the sort of “do your own thing” attitude of the counterculture, which strangely enough merged with the Right’s desire for lower taxes and regulations. Certainly by then the Left, in just about any sense of the word, was moribund.

        The irony, as I see it, is that over the past 30 years we’ve all become “liberal” in the sense of embracing a culture that seeks to limit personal freedom as little as possible. From gay marriage to the end of Glass-Stegal, we have all embraced a “do it ’till your satisfied” ethic that’s now killing our democracy.

      3. David Lentini

        If you want to see who gets what, just look to Barack Hussein Obama. Tom Hayden is doing college classroom lectures and Martin Luther King’s dream lives in the White House.

        I forgot to mention this in my reply. Do you really think King would consider Obama to be the embodiment of his dream? Do you think King dreamt of a black president who refused to close Guantanamo prison, kept a secret “kill list”, and authorized the use of drones to kill hundreds of innocent women and children in a hunt for suspected terrorists and “proto-terrorists”? Would King have enjoyed dreaming of a black president who, having come from poverty himself, would work with one of the most racist Republican parties in memory to shutter the New Deal programs that feed and clothe thousands? No, Obama fits the Millsian mold to a tee.

        And as for Tom Hayden, how “left” has he really been all these years after his salad days? Yes, he’s teaching and quite comfortably off. When did you last see him on the march? I lived in CA during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; I don’t recall a peep from Hayden in protest. He basks in his ’60s glory and is a great example of the contentment of the Boomer “progressives” who adore their memories of protest while steadfastly supporting the elites of today.

      4. Jim

        “But how do we know the power elite were powerful if we don’t study any decisions?

        Paul see, for example, the works of Richard Bensel, especially “The Political Economy of American Industrialization 1877-1900.” In this book he points out that there were three great development policies that underpinned American industrialization in the late 19th century:

        The first was the political construction of a largely unregulated national market which lead to the creation of what today has become our modern corporate structure(i.e. big capital)

        The second policy was adherence to an international gold standard, The international gold standard was supported consistently during this period of time by Big State (i.e. the executive branch of the Federal Government) against all sorts of Congressional critics.

        The third policy was tariff protection of American industry from foreign competition which led to the rapid expansion of the northern manufacturing belt and increased capital accumulation in this region of the country at the expense of the South and West.

    6. Jim

      The article by Masaccio “The Rise of the Corporate State” and the comments by DL raise many important issues.

      Mosaccio touches on culture when he describes the importance which C Wright Mills placed on the role of socialization in American society.

      However, the left/progressive side of the political spectrum as well as the libertarian side of the political spectrum in the US both tend to ignore the issues of culture and the process of socialization primarily because of their respective economic reductionist and determinist thinking ( with the Libertarians deifying the market and the the left/progressives deifying the State).

      In addition the left/progressive side of the political spectrum has never seen the importance of developing a political theory of the State. Most of their modern theorists have simply adopted the perspective of JK Galbraith that the proper role of the State is to counterbalance the power of the corporation.

      But this assumption about the counterbalancing of the State to the corporate/financial structure is historically inaccurate. Big Capital, Big State and Big Finance have been interlocked since their historical beginnings. Consequently the yearnings of the majority of the commetariat on NC, including DL, for a return to the New Deal/ Four Freedoms paradigm linked with MMT monetary theory as the way out of our present crisis, in reality, only seems to end up accelerating of the crisis of the absence of democracy in our contemporary structure of power.

      The left/progressives will never be able to rethink democracy without a political theory of the State—which to me means, first, a careful re-examination of the historical evolution of the State in American history—a re-examination which is not content simply to see the State as a vehicle of Big Capital and Big Finance or as simply a counterbalancing force.

      Second, such a re-examination seems to mean actually looking at alternative State structures (for example, would a real Federation be an alternative State model that could begin to institute democratic reforms at a local, state and regional level while simultaneously drawing on our historical roots like the Articles of Confederation?

      1. David Lentini

        I don’t think I ever endorsed (or criticized for that matter) MMT; I’m rather undecided on that question.

        As for your comment about “Bigness”, I really intended to suggest more of an ethos as exemplified by the Four Freedoms, Economic Bill of Rights, etc., than to suggest we return to the CCC, WPA, NRA, etc. of the ’30s.

        So, I don’t expressly rule out the possiblity that a consideration of the fundamental cultural needs of a democracy could lead to different political structures. However, I woul caution that the need to control the concentration of wealth likely will require a government powerful enough to limit or block the formation of large concentrations of wealth and economic control. Historically, that led to the abandonment of the Articles of Confederation and the push for the federal Constitution. Sadly, Jeffersonian agrarianism was no match for Hamilton and the bank of America; and the demands of interstate commerce and foreign policy required an authority over the states. But maybe there’s a better way to address those issues now.

      2. Valissa

        The left/progressives will never be able to rethink democracy without a political theory of the State

        True enough, but IMO the first step is to understand exactly how the state (of the US, and other countries, all over time) actually functions. For example what it’s component bureaucracies are, how power is disbursed, and how the state is interwoven with business large and small at every level of gov’t, etc, etc. Most people treat the State like it’s a Black Box and the same can be said of Big Business.

        Big Capital, Big State and Big Finance have been interlocked since their historical beginnings.

        Yes and these 3 components and more form a very large and complex highly intertwined ‘ecosystem’. Just like any ecosystem, attempting to change one part without understanding the ramifications through the system generally makes for even more complexity. Too much complexity is a drag on any system but has the advantage of “hiding” all the looting. Understanding this ecosystem and how it functions is necessary before going off and creating yet another political theory based on unachievable ideals. If you want to try and fix or improve something you have to know how it actually works (in detail) first.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Capitalism is the interlocking of the state and the market. Dependency theory, which has been brought up to date by I Wallerstein with his World System Analysis, presents the role of the fixed border nation state system, The Westphalian international arrangement among nations and the transnational flow of capitals, the market, as it moves in and out any particular nation. His theory presents three types of nations: 1. Core 2. Semi-periphery 3. Periphery.

          In each nation, the strongest are the core with the most advanced economies and most advanced technologies, the developed nations such as USA, Europe and Japan. Countries at the periphery offer little more than the lowest level of inputs for production of high value finished goods. Raw materials and cheap labor is the role relegated to the peripheral nations. The struggle of developing nations is to move up in the chain from peripheral status to semi, by offering higher value products and now, even services, as India has shown with call centers and back office accounting etc. Countries move into the semi-periphery by competing with the core in areas that they are abandoning due to falling profitability and the oncoming commodity status of what previous were exclusive, leading edge products. Think of Sony and Japan, which was thought of as an unstoppable juggernaut in the 1980s. Today, what were extremely sophisticated micro electronic devices, such as camcorders are made for pennies in China, Viet Nam and other low cost producers. The high prices that these once astounding consumer electronics provided have plummeted.

          Apple, is the perfect example, for now at least, of the core, continually improving and innovating with exclusive proprietary consumer devices that command a high price and are not easily copied in quality. As soon as they are copied, Apple would move on with a rapid development cycle and new transforming features that would even obsolete it previous value, maintaining high demand and the profits that with a monopoly. S. Korea is an example of a periphery to semi-periphery movement. It is so successful, that its leading industrial companies now directly challenge ours in much the same way Japan did. Consumer auto, electronics and household appliances come from S. Korea with a competitive vengeance and Samsung goes toe to toe with Apple.

          Core status is not a given and does not last forever. Spain, at one time was the core nation of Europe, followed by Britain and now the USA. It is not impossible to see how the mighty have fallen when you look at Spain today and compare it to its place in the world when its political dominance extended to the Philippines, the Americas and much of Europe and N. Africa. China was the poorest place on Earth in 1949, measurably poorer than Africa. But look at it today. It is not a hegemonic power but it without doubt a core nation, draining raw materials from every corner of the globe to feed its factories, the new workshop of the world.

          Japan was originally thought to be no more capable of competing with advanced industrial firms here in America

          1. Valissa

            Very nicely stated, great historical overview and no disagreements with the interesting theory you’ve presented. No disrespect meant here, but my gut reaction to all this is “so what” and “where’s the beef”? I often feel that way these days when reading academic theories of how the world works. Perhaps it’s because I have the brain of an engineer, and a gardener… I am interested in exactly how things are put together, and how they interact to produce effects, and not in the process of reduction-abstraction-reification that is typical of academic linear analysis. I call this type of theorizing PowerPoint Reality because it attempts to reduce complex systems to easily mentally manageable boxes… which fools us into thinking we actually understand what’s going on in such a way that we can make intelligent choices about actions and their consequences (hahaha).

            I think there are some fairly significant epistemological issues that get involved when it comes to attempting to answer the challenge Jim posed about left (or any political group) coming up with “a political theory of the State” before it can accomplish anything worthwhile.

            Like in the story of the blind men and the elephant we all can only see our own part of the whole. The challenge is to put it all together so we can together see the larger picture.

    7. Cecil-Louis Ulysses

      “We cannot expect to maintain a democracy without instilling the intellectual values and practices needed to be functional participants in a democracy.”

      I am very excited by what you are saying, and others adding to it (haven’t read it all.)

      A stream of consciousness…

      Someone mentioned above an old Arabic thinker who riddled his listeners about some small object which could nevertheless swallow a town when placed within it? We endow this notion with physics in a fantastical way and assume he is talking about an atom. These physics are indeed fantastic. Now, it is no longer fantastic but only merely metaphorical (an everyday occurrence) to take his atom instead to be an indivisible (due to hollowness) token. The word “democracy” can be not only small like a hollow token, but swell to the size of a banner, enveloping a crowd who heft it above themselves as they trundle around, say, Denmark.

      But metaphors aside, isn’t a word some token of belief or position?

      Great! Then, what then is the underlying belief or position represented by the word “democracy?” Why do or should we value it? (Though, perhaps we should.) If it is meant as a talisman to mark bearers of careful and considerate intentions regarding their near-dwellers and fellow-citizens, then isn’t a dangerous notion — simply because, when you instill a talisman or object with this kind of power, it can then be stolen, misappropriated, for use by those who do not have the intentions which the token is supposed to mark them with. So, do we indeed need or have use of a fancy trinket or representative when what we want is truly the thing-itself? So, what is the thing-itself? What do we actually mean when we say “democracy”? Is it the notion that we can indeed build a tolerably seasoned (by pragmatism, you know) world in which we can proceed to then live together? Gra! We are all invited to the feast of hollow shells and dust! We can eat pure knowledge, while the cynical and misanthropic content themselves with richer things. Jefferson unearthed in his loamy soil a piece of dusty granite with which we have been trying to satisfy ourselves since?

      Again, too much metaphor! Perhaps what we need is some sort of tacit acknowledgement of common knowledge or sense, perhaps primitive in the sense that attaching words begins only to muddle it (see Kierkegaard on the effect of history on primitive truths — “What says the fire chief?” . )

      Then, what to do about injustice ?

        1. traveler

          Never thought to look it up and glad to know they’re protected by the Vietnamese government. Thanks.

  4. Andrew Watts

    RE: Japan stirs Campbell’s US ‘pivot’ soup

    Interesting. After decades of encouraging Japan to re-arm themselves the Japanese start to do exactly what the United States wants. Only now Washington is afraid the Japanese are slipping their leash, so they’re going to try to suck up to China to try to stop the Japanese from taking any initiative. What message is this course of action sending our Asian allies? How about the Chinese?

    Folks, if you need a reason why the United States has entered into decline so quickly after reaching it’s apex this is Exhibit A. This preventable mess was entirely conceived by America. By trying to please everybody the United States will please no one. It’s possible that Japan is arming itself because they see America as unreliable. This ensures that Washington will not be able to influence much less exercise any control in future events.

    The Chinese know that time is on their side. Thus China is biding it’s time until it can present Asia with a fait accompli. The whole concept of the anti-Chinese pivot doesn’t work with a divided Korea. What this actually requires is Korean unification. I don’t imagine the North Koreans are happy about their dependent relationship with China. Nor could they possibly be happy about the economic sanctions that have ravaged their country for half a century. It doesn’t help from their viewpoint that America has constantly flip flopped between a conciliatory approach and a bellicose attitude towards them. The best way that I can think of to keep the Japanese in line would be to counter balance it with a united Korea in a anti-Chinese containment alliance. It also wouldn’t hurt to have other countries like India or even Russia in on this. They are both threatened by Chinese expansionism.

    As long as the Chinese can use North Korea as a proxy it can threaten war with Japan (or South Korea) with no threat to itself. Thankfully that war won’t happen due to the fact the Japanese don’t have nuclear weapons… yet. The Japanese are not stupid and understand this which is why they’re making progress in this direction;

    “Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera asserted Japan’s legal right to engage in preemptive strike to forestall an imminent attack, while stating that Japan had not developed that capability “as yet””

    This is the clearest indication that the Japanese are starting to seriously think about acquiring nuclear weapons. Besides bringing to mind unpleasant memories of the surprise attacks on Port Arthur, (Russo-Japanese War) and Pearl Harbor.

    As long as Tokyo believes it can still count on America as an ally that probably isn’t likely though. The bad news is that America’s foreign policy is bi-polar in it’s stated intentions towards both Japan and China. Through it’s cumulative actions the United States has increased the likelihood that another war in the Pacific will happen.

    1. Andrew Watts

      I vaguely recall reading somewhere that it’d take Japan about a year to acquire a dozen nuclear weapons or so. The time delay being mostly due to the lack of material for their nukes. With the Japanese starting to horde plutonium it sure looks like the clock is ticking.

  5. sd

    We have too many industrial complexes. Military, education, banking, health care, prison, and homeless too. Funding for the benefit of the contractor, not the needs of the community. Best summed up by LA Poverty Dept as ‘luxury lofts for the homeless…’

  6. Obviology

    Massacio is great, but that corporate state piece is a tribute to the incredible hermetic isolation of this country. These articles always end with people wailing, Somebody think of something1!!! Like nobody ever did. And the entire outside world sits there squinting like WTF?

    Take Foreign Devil Chavez. Why do you think CIA poisoned his ass? Dissenting theory, dissenting praxis, you name it, he rubbed your nose in it. And it wasn’t some big brainstorm he dreamed up himself. All he did was pop open a can of the world-standard development theory that homo sapiens has been refining since WWII. The theory is everywhere: it’s the Declaration on the Right to Development, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Limburg Principles, CESCR General Comments. Instead of tinkering with abstractions like the economy, they hold states to standards based on things that human beings actually give a shit about. And based on those standards, the USA is 3.79 million square miles of abject stink shit FAIL.

    It’s not left versus right, it’s Bretton Woods versus Dumbarton Oaks. For Bretton Woods, development is growth and debt. For Dumbarton Oaks, development is peace and rights. That Americans can’t get their heads around the prevailing alternative is a triumph of immersive indoctrination.

    1. scraping_by

      Remember Milton Friedman. By conflating money and freedom, you can do anything you want to get money and claim it advances freedom. And everyone likes freedom.

  7. rich

    Neil Macdonald: The ‘monarchs of money’ and the war on savers

    Power Shift: First in a series on the rise of the central bankers and the global imposition of cheap credit

    Quietly, without much public fuss or discussion, a new ruling class has risen in the richer nations.

    These men and women are unelected and tend to shun the publicity hogged by the politicians with whom they co-exist.

    They are the world’s central bankers. Every six weeks or so, they gather in Basel, Switzerland, for secret discussions and, to an extent at least, they act in concert.

    The decisions that emerge from those meetings affect the entire world. And yet the broad public has a dim understanding, if any, of the job they do.

    In fact, these individuals now wield at least as much influence over the lives of ordinary citizens as prime ministers and presidents.

    The tool they have used to change the world so profoundly is one they alone possess: creating money out of thin air.

    There is an economic term for this: quantitative easing. More colloquially, it’s called printing money.

    In an interview in his Ottawa office, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney defends quantitative easing elsewhere, and his own low-interest rate policy, though he does acknowledge that it has been hard on pensioners and savers.

    Like all central bankers, he argues the (impossible to prove) negative: There have been consequences, yes, but if we hadn’t done this, things would be far, far worse.

    As for carrying out these solutions on the backs of the virtuous: “I don’t see a world where the virtuous are rewarded if we suffered a second Depression,” he says. “These are the stakes.”

    Carney would prefer not to talk about the enormous power central bankers have gained since 2008, saying only: “We have a tremendous responsibility … because of a series of mistakes that were made in the private sector and the public sector.”

    What is Carney’s & his peer’s stakes? Always win, win for them……….

    1. JEHR

      Finally, the CBC got their act together and started looking at the Central Banks’ role in perpetrating the financial crisis.

  8. docG

    That’s exciting news about Teotihuacan. I visited there some years ago and it was truly an awesome experience. (And by “awesome” I mean awesome in the original sense of the word, before all the teenagers took it over.)

    However, I’m bothered by the use of the term “robot” in this case, as in so many others. From the description, these don’t look at all like robots, but simply remote controlled devices, maybe more appropriately termed “remots.” This seems to be a persistent theme in our society, the tendency to make everything seem more impressive than it really is.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe the wishful thinking is that robots are immune from curses, whereas remote human operators are not.

      Good luck with that.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I like today’s lunch du jour, fried frog spinach.

    It reminds me of fractal broccoli, which, is actually a cauliflower, I believe.

    1. Valissa

      This article refers to the Romanesco broccoli as both broccoli and cauliflower

      Another article refers to it as “The Unclassifiable Romanesco”
      Perhaps it’s in part due to how alien this vegetable appears that there’s so little consensus as to what it should be called. Romanesco (as I’ll refer to it henceforth) is a member of the species Brassica oleracea L., which includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, and numerous other “cultivars” (cultivated variations). Plant species are broader and more diverse than those of animals. All of these plants, notwithstanding their gross morphological differences, can and have been crossed, resulting in such innovations as broccolini (a cross of Chinese kale and broccoli) and broccoflower (a cross of broccoli and cauliflower which superficially resembles Romanesco but lacks its near perfect self-similar fractal form). I wonder what you’d get if you crossed red cabbage with Romanesco? Hmmm….

      The French name, chou Romanesco literally translates to “Romanesco cabbage”, placing it in the cabbage family even though it doesn’t much resemble any cabbage you’ve ever seen. In German, it’s Pyramidenblumenkohl: “pyramid cauliflower”; in Italy, where it was first described in the sixteenth century, it’s called broccolo romanesco: “Romanesco broccoli”, but sometimes cavolo romanesco: “Romanesco cabbage”. Finally, in English it’s usually called “Romanesco broccoli”, but you’ll also see it referred to as “Romanesco cauliflower”. Even professional plant taxonomists can’t decide precisely where it belongs; some place it within the Italica group with broccoli, while others argue it belongs in the Botrytis group with cauliflower. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower—beats me—let’s just consider it sui generis and call it “Romanesco”.

      1. Lidia

        Brassicas are fun, aren’t they? In Italy, kale is called “cavolo nero” (black cabbage), red cabbage is called “cavolo rosso”, cauliflower is called “cavolfiore” (cabbageflower), broccoli is called “cavolo broccolo” (broccoli cabbage) and plain cabbage is called…???


        Go figure.

        Even harder to figure out are the chicories/endives. I’m looking forward to planting my odd-ball “puntarelle” seedlings tomorrow. Fingers crossed for their survival.

    2. Valissa

      For you MLTPB, some veggie cartoons…

      The Mafia Goes Green

      Why organic costs more

      The McCracken Collection
      Mutant corn
      Kinda chokes me up
      More veggie violence

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Lachnophobia – that explains my previously mysterious fear.

          That shows we have more than fear itself to fear.

          FDR was wrong.

    1. down2long

      Works off of Harvard Prof. Michael Sandel, “Starting the market friendly leberalism of Bill CLinton and Tony Blair”….The fix is in and it doesn’t stop until the big bang wipes out the corrupt system entirely (and probably most of us along with it.) Dire

    1. AbyNormal

      WoW an Thanks!
      The top priority for the Department of Justice will be to restore the rule of law; that means prosecuting the widespread security fraud of the big banks and the environmental crimes of big business. We will also hold those responsible for torture and war crimes accountable and immediately release and provide compensation to the 86 people in Guantanamo Bay who have been cleared for release and not charged with any crime as a first step in closing what is becoming a death camp,” said Kevin Zeese who will be serving as Attorney General. (my kinda General!)

  10. 203A-WF-210023

    Mary Margaret Graham, America’s sweetheart, is still gongin on her punchinello, Alex Jones – lately in synthetic viral youtubes with multiple levels of indirection. Her slickest lie is the focus on the FBI. The fake popular outrage defines the Alex Jones “conspiracy theory” as FBI provocation or staging of the Boston bombings. But whenever the lugubrious FBI gumshoes tried to pester Mary Margaret’s big palooka, they got pulled up short by the nose rings.

    She’s spreading the chaff with wild abandon. Makes you wonder what it is that’s got Mary Margaret’s panties in a bunch, Hmmmm?

    Turns out the Russians were collecting COMINT on the poor punch-drunk fop and his CIA handlers. Bet that puckered up Mary Margaret’s beartrap kegels! Putin’s got CIA executives by the curly red ones, so to speak. Now for the slow drip-drip-drip of awkward particulars.

    This is gonna be fun as shit.

  11. Valissa

    Legal marijuana’s all-cash business and secret banking
    One possible solution mentioned (in the excellent video portion) is to create a state bank. This could get interesting.

    Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP) Inks Lucrative Deal for Its Nutraceutical Division — HerbaGenix™ (press release)—-herbagenix-204807001.html

    Hemp Inc. Acquires Scrubnuts, Inc.

  12. skippy

    Reform is a dead end and the herd is completely head f*cked. As I’m well enough informed via experience and present connections, I find even so called experts in finance and political machinations completely blind or close to it. Their clinging to a perception of reality that was projected upon them, indoctrinated as it were, they have zero tolerance to any perception that refutes – diminishes their core belief about self or society. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

    The rot is setting in pretty hard down under right now. From all my travels and the perspective that affords me, I’ve never seen any thing like it. So many big and small retail shops acting so desperate, so much looting, cannibalizing of them selves in order just to survive one more day or quarter. Yet the talking heads on MSM just drone on and on~ A year of this and it will all come to a screeching halt .

    The most worrying aspect is there seems to be no plan, just a continuation of the past ignorance accelerated. The very pinnacle of wealth and power are just looming over their kills in a last ditch attempt to retain them from their peers, nothing and I mean nothing else matters, humanity, the planet, the future.

    Sorry for the buzz kill, and yet its just getting started, the GFC was just the before meal drink at the bar.

    10 years… hell 5 years ago when things were deemed bloody fantastic[!] the school zone pick up and drop off was filed with average vehicles – Fords, Holden, various Japan makers… Now? Its a veritable European luxury car dealership and everyone’s up to their eyeballs in debt or clinging to poorly performing assets, with total job insecurity.

    Skippy… yet to date the international plan is to elevate the numerical values of capitals pet exchange pony’s… regardless of any of their ability to redeem future expectations… of anyone paying up and all whilst the planet is going to hell.

    PS. there is a serious disconnect with reality up above… sigh.

    1. AbyNormal

      i’ve always pegged you for one of those worldly shamans, unfair but earned. your not alone…

      7 Shamans

      Frozen river
      snow wraiths hissing,
      one figure in furs
      walking strong.

      Two wolves
      walk tight
      great heads lowered
      muzzles white.

      Three ravens
      circle, soar.
      The ice wind
      carries their cry.

      Dusk falls blue
      a single light
      flickers before
      the pine mountains.

      Night storms howl
      around the cabin
      inside howls
      the rage of man.

      One true child
      is trapped within,
      alone without love
      at this hearth.

      The Shaman enters
      claims the child.
      Ancient authority stills
      All to silence.

      Two figures,
      two wolves, three ravens
      disappear into
      the swirling night.

      1. skippy

        [. . .] it can be a revelation whose heights and depths are beyond our fathoming, or a vision of beauty which we can never put into words. [. . .] the primordial experiences rend from top to bottom the curtain upon which is painted the picture of an ordered world, and allow a glimpse into the unfathomable abyss of the unborn and of things yet to be. (“Psychology and Literature” 90).2

        “A privilege so awful / What would the Dower be, / Had I the Art to stun myself / With Bolts of Melody!” – Emily

        Skippy… Innate drive… yeah… its a melody i fear i was born with… it is more me… than i of it… it my earliest memory… age 11 months…

        1. Cecil-Louis Ulysses

          Is the use of the word “melody” significant there? A song is your memory at 11 months?

          1. skippy

            Innate Drive For What is Right… that is the melody… watching others harmed out of malice or indifference… it doesn’t matter

            skippy… no mystic here, save the interconnectedness of it all… multiverse.

  13. scraping_by

    The climbdown on debt terrorism could hardly come at a worse time for Barry and the R’s.

    Just when they thought they could stick a knife into social insurance, the tone of the debate changes and they’re sounding shrill and behind the curve. Now they’ll have to sit and pout and say ‘I’ll do it because I want to!” and stick out their little lower lips.

    Life’s hard when you live on headlines.

  14. ChrisPacific

    Some thoughts from a former head of an enforcement agency in New Zealand on prosecuting white collar crime:

    I thought this quote was particularly relevant:

    “When you look at the morality of what happened with some of the finance companies, I think the average common-sense person would say if that transaction isn’t unlawful, then that is just plain wrong.”

    Exhibit A for me would be the Magnetar trade.

Comments are closed.