Links 5/14/13

Witty kitty! Intrepid cat easily opens FIVE doors to get outside Daily Mail

Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Chained CPI implications?

Study: Plants communicate with each other via underground fungi The Sideshow (SW). Terrestrial intelligence?

The ‘unnamed feeling’ named ASMR Mind Hacks

Govt obtains wide AP phone records in probe AP (emptywheel; and emptywheel).

The day the Obama administration went all Nixon on us Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News

IRS kept shifting targets in tax-exempt groups scrutiny: report Reuters (and up the food chain we go).

Treasury, Fed may probe Bloomberg News breach USA Today

Central banks question Bloomberg privacy FT (and with good reason).

Ongoing rule: Once a demon, always a demon! Daily Howler. Benghazi, from old school media critic blogger.

U.S. Labor Participation May Be Low for Years: Fed Study Bloomberg. Thanks, Obama. We owe you a solid.

The Fed dials the wrong unemployment number Gavyn Davies, FT (cf. Tim Duy).

Wal-Mart v. the Feds: Who’s the Low-Wage Job King? CNBC (WM)

Wall Street is back Economist

Donations, lobbying by high-speed traders on the rise: report Reuters

Cayman Islands Spars With Sachs Over Hedge Fund Directorships Bloomberg

Bloomberg: “Coup d’Etat to Trade Seen in Billionaire Toxic Lead Fight” Eyes on Trade

Neo-liberalism – the antithesis to democracy Bill Mitchell – billy blog

Banks’ right to foreclose in dispute Denver Post (RH)

A Case Of The Mondays Eschaton. Just give people money. Works for banksters!

Chinese activity is solid Macrobusiness

Shane Todd had looked up suicide on web, Singapore inquest hears FT. Hmm. Digital evidence?

On Bangladesh’s Textile Disasters Ian Welsh

Netanyahu’s $140,000 In-Flight Bed Becomes Political Nightmare ABC

Embattled Pirates Looking for Rapid Reboot Der Spiegel

Spain is officially insolvent: get your money out while you still can Telegraph

Mexico – Ground Zero in the Fight Against Monsanto for the Future of Maize Truthout

US Supreme Court finds for Monsanto in seed patent battle (Update 2) AFP

Interview: NATO Supreme Allied Commander on Syria and Soft Power Atlantic

Hunger strike reinvigorates movement to close Guantánamo Waging Nonviolence

Sovereignty Without Territoriality? Dart-throwing Chimp

A new type of growth is emerging Izabella Kaminska, FT. P2P triumphalism?

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. DakotabornKansan

    “Edible: good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.” — Ambrose Bierce

    1. fresno dan

      Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Chained CPI implications?

      Everybody knows there is no inflation – steak to hamburger to hamburger helper to crickets…

      And I note it is only human squemishness that prevents the utilization of a plentiful and nutricious addtion to the food supply…. Soylent Green

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Nothing happens by accident.

        last night, on Al Jazeera, they reported how nutritional insects were, how less taxing environmentally they were to harvest and how they were already eaten by lots of people in the world. The next step would be for innovative chefs to make tasty dishes out of them so more of us would like them.

        I bet one one of the six guys or gals who control what we read came up with that brilliant idea.

        1. Nathanael

          We actually should be eating more insects.

          Of course, organically grown insects only. God knows what Monsanto is planning to come up with.

  2. Expat

    Gov’t obtains wide AP phone records in probe: the number of unknowns in this story should terrify the ordinary citizen. Would a Romney administration be able to get away with this apparent abuse of power?

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Fooled more like three hundred times. What kind of fools does that make us, a confederacy of dunces? The mind staggers with dissonance.

        I keep hoping for some tipping point that will finally move us toward impeachment followed by The Hague . . . and eventually a noose, but I think the tipping point happened some time ago and Orwell’s dystopia now rules. It’s quite surreal.

        Maybe this overreach, targeting mainstream journalists with a large fishnet will make a difference (or not).

        1. Susan the other

          So on the one hand it is our problem for wanting a decent and moral president because that person does not exist without laws and we’re too conflicted to pass the laws. And on the other hand it is because we looked at Obama as our savior, much like men look at a beautiful woman. When Obama won in 2008 and walked out on that political runway in Chicago he had a look in his eye, not of gratitude and solidarity – not by a long shot – but one of “god, it’s gonna be a cakewalk to con these idiots.” Go look at the tape.

          1. Mark P.

            Actually, the big point here is that apparently Holder’s Justice Department and the Obama administration is NOT being allowed carte blanche access to this material by NSA, which hoovers it and everything else up automatically.

            Seriously, this is good news.

          2. Doug Terpstra

            I know that Chi-Town Don look by now; no need to review the tapes and invite nausea.

            The Obama phenomenon has me nostalgic for the lost innocence of childhood and the Nixon administration. Sure he was a crook, but every president since has brought even further descent into the bottomless pit that reeks of sulfur. Obama is surely the nadir.

  3. Jim Haygood

    From the Atlantic interview with the retiring commander of NATO:

    Admiral James Stavridis is wrapping up his stint as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe to become the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

    Stavridis champions something he calls “open source” security, where soft and hard power and private and public sectors work together in conflict areas all over the world.

    What’s going to happen in Afghanistan after the U.S. pulls out in 2014?

    In Afghanistan, unlike Syria — where I’m pessimistic about outcomes — I’m cautiously optimistic about outcomes.

    Some have called Afghanistan the graveyard of empires, and it probably is the graveyard of empires. The good news is, we aren’t an empire. This isn’t a single nation going into Afghanistan. We are a coalition of 50 nations.

    HA HA HA … ‘we aren’t an empire.‘ Never mind that we’re still occupying Japan and Germany nearly three-quarters of a century after the war ended.

    Stavridis hits all the customary notes of deception, such as that old hobby horse, the public-private partnership: a nicer name for fascism.

    And, taking advantage of one such partnership — the revolving door between gov’t and academia — he’s headed to Tufts to brainwash new naifs into the ideology of empire.

    Naturally, this softball interview from the CFR-friendly Atlantic never asks Stavridis how NATO can get away with violating its clearly defensive treaty with operations in non-member countries such as Afghanistan and Libya. He’s anticipated the issue, though, by saying that a UN Security Council resolution provides cover for openly violating a treaty.

    NATO will finally bite the dust when the U.S. checks bounce. Good flipping riddance.

    1. Brindle

      An interesting marketing/propaganda vid from one of the major players in “the public-private partnership”—Boeing.
      It’s the new Drone-friendly Apache helicopter.×1

      Very high production values, soothing soundtrack etc.

      —“The Apache can operate as a QB on football field….”

      …everything’s going to be ok because the Apache is there…..”

      …How cool is that.”

  4. ArkansasAngie

    The question is will Obama get away with it?

    How about we all just say “no”!

    1. Jackrabbit

      I was originally interested in Benghazi because it fit so well into what we already know about Obama and the Obama Administration. The deceitfulness, the craven politics, the manipulation of a fawning media.

      Yet many progressives who abhor these things about the Obama Administration have a reflexive response to any criticism from the right. Witchhunt! Nothing to see here! was the almost universal response.

      It was clear in November 2012 that the stonewalling and media manipulation was either a misguided “in-your-face” to Republicans that would needlessly anger them; or that they were hiding something. Either way, I wrote back then, that Benghazi would raise questions of Obama’s leadership.

      Now, like it or not, the Republicans have a real issue for 2014 and 2016. No doubt they couldn’t be happier that the left circles the wagons closer to this flawed Administration.

      1. Binky Bear

        What if there were actual tactical and strategic secrets and assets being protected by the relative lack of attention paid to the fact that there had been an embassy in Benghazi, it was a CIA station, and may have been crucial to any number of “secret” operations intended to oppose Syria’s Assad, winnow out anti-American jihadis, etc.?
        Not saying I agree with any of the policies; just noting that the Republicans seem to have no problem at all throwing lower level federal employees under the bus for political gain as well as committing treason to achieve political ends (Nixon’s at the Paris Accords, 1968; Reagan using Bush as go-between in Paris again with Iran to keep the hostages until his inauguration).

        1. Jim S

          Yeah, they seem to be taking a huge gamble that the hawks’ Syria agenda won’t be damaged by the nature of the covert activities being leaked, but as you point out they’ve gotten away with it before.

          1. Jackrabbit

            Maybe they’re still smarting from being depicted as racist sore losers last fall?

            Any why should they worry about Syria? Our noble peace prize winning, droner-in-chief has just as much reason to keep the public in the dark. Especially after Boston. (Remind me again, how many warnings did we get from Russia?)

        2. Jackrabbit

          A National Security strawman and a dig at Republicans?
          Sheesh, no one could’ve expected THAT./sarc

          But in reply to a comment that decry’s Obama’s deceit and media manipulation? on NC?
          Not expected but not surprising.

          You have drunk the kool-aid for too long, my friend. Seek professional help, or find a happy place to detox.
          (You can breath now.)

    1. David Lentini

      Probably becuase the US media won’t print any negative articles about Israel.

      And before we start with the “bashing the Israel bashers”, I have no problem with Israel, Israelis, or Jews. But sh’t stinks no matter where it’s from, and it’s sad that so many in the MSM are too afraid to print what’s really happening.

      1. sukey

        Still would like to hear from Yves about why there are so many negative posts about Israel on her site?

        1. skippy

          Crime of apartheid and Israel

          See also: Crime of apartheid

          In 1973 the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.[33] The ICSPCA defines the crime of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group … over another racial group … and systematically oppressing them.”[34] In 2002 the crime of apartheid was further defined by Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as encompassing inhumane acts such as torture, murder, forcible transfer, imprisonment, or persecution of an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, or other grounds, “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”[35]

          In a 2007 report, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine John Dugard stated that “elements of the Israeli occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law” and suggested that the “legal consequences of a prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid” be put to the International Court of Justice.[36] In 2009 South Africa’s statutory research agency the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) published a report stating that “the State of Israel exercises control in the [Occupied Palestinian Territories] with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinians and that this system constitutes a breach of the prohibition of apartheid.”[37] The report was written by a team of international law experts and scholars and does not represent an official position of the HSRC.[38] In 2010 United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard A. Falk reported that criminal apartheid features of the Israeli occupation had been entrenched in the three years since the report of his predecessor, John Dugard.[39] In March 2011, Falk said, “The continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians is creating an intolerable situation … [and] can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing.”[40]

          The question of whether Israelis and Palestinians can be said to constitute “racial groups” has been a point of contention in regard to the applicability of the ICSPCA and Article 7 of the Rome Statute. Political writer Ronald Bruce St John has argued that in regards to the ICSPCA Israeli policy in the West Bank cannot technically be defined as apartheid, because it lacks the racial component. However he then states that with the 2002 introduction of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court “the emphasis shifts to an identifiable national, ethnic or cultural group, as opposed to a racial group,” in which case “Israeli policy in the West Bank clearly constitutes a form of apartheid with an effect on the Palestinian people much the same as apartheid had on the non-White population in South Africa.”[33] The HSRC’s 2009 report states that in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jewish and Palestinian identities are “socially constructed as groups distinguished by ancestry or descent as well as nationality, ethnicity, and religion.” On this basis, the study concludes that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs can be considered “racial groups” for the purposes of the definition of apartheid in international law.[37]

          Activists for Palestinian rights have accused Israel of committing the crime of apartheid.[41] For example, in 2006, at the UN-sponsored International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People, Phyllis Bennis, co-chair of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine, alleged that the crime of apartheid is being committed by Israel.[42] Likewise, Zahir Kolliah of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid has argued that the indigenous Palestinian population lives under an apartheid regime settler colony as described by the ICSPCA.[43]

          In contrast, according to South African former constitutional Judge Richard Goldstone, the situation in Israel does not conform to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute. As examples, Godstone pointed to the facts that Israeli Arabs vote, have political representation in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on the Israeli Supreme Court, and that Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment. According to Goldstone, in Israel equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal, and inequities are often successfully challenged in court.[44]

          Israeli citizenship law

          The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law was passed by the Knesset in 2003 as an interim emergency measure after Israel had suffered its worst ever spate of suicide bombings[45] and after several Palestinians who had been granted permanent residency on the grounds of family reunification took part in terrorist attacks in Israel.[46] The law makes inhabitants of Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and areas governed by the Palestinian Authority ineligible for the automatic granting of Israeli citizenship and residency permits that is usually available through marriage to an Israeli citizen. This applies equally to a spouse of any Israeli citizen, whether Arab or Jewish, but in practice the law mostly affects Palestinian Israelis living in the towns bordering the West Bank.[45] The law was intended to be temporary but has since been extended annually.[47][48]

          According to Amnon Rubinstein, a backer of the citizenship law, there are many international precedents for banning citizens of an enemy country in wartime, and with Hamas, which runs the Palestinian Authority, refusing to recognise Israel, that label applies to the Palestinian Authority.[45]

          In formulating the law, the government cited security concerns that terrorist organizations try to enlist Palestinians who have already received or will receive Israeli documentation and that the security services have a hard time distinguishing between Palestinians who might help the terrorists and those who will not.[49] A representative for the State, said in court that “In the past two years, 27 people who had applied for permission to join their spouses in Israel were directly involved in attempted or actual attacks.” [48]

          In the Israeli Supreme Court decision on this matter, Deputy Chief Justice Mishael Cheshin argued that, “Israeli citizens [do not] enjoy a constitutional right to bring a foreign national into Israel… and it is the right—moreover, it is the duty—of the state, of any state, to protect its residents from those wishing to harm them. And it derives from this that the state is entitled to prevent the immigration of enemy nationals into it—even if they are spouses of Israeli citizens—while it is waging an armed conflict with that same enemy.”[50]

          The law was upheld in May 2006, by the Supreme Court of Israel on a six to five vote. Israel’s Chief Justice, Aharon Barak, sided with the minority on the bench, declaring: “This violation of rights is directed against Arab citizens of Israel. As a result, therefore, the law is a violation of the right of Arab citizens in Israel to equality.”[51] Zehava Gal-On, one of the founders of B’Tselem and a Knesset member with the Meretz-Yachad party, stated that with the ruling “The Supreme Court could have taken a braver decision and not relegated us to the level of an apartheid state.”[52] The law was also criticized by Amnesty International[53] and Human Rights Watch.[54] In 2007, the restriction was expanded to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.[48]

          Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley cite the marriage law as an example of how Arab Israelis “resemble in many ways ‘Colored’ and Indian South Africans.”[6] They write: “Both Israeli Palestinians and Colored and Indian South Africans are restricted to second-class citizen status when another ethnic group monopolizes state power, treats the minorities as intrinsically suspect, and legally prohibits their access to land or allocates civil service positions or per capita expenditure on education differentially between dominant and minority citizens.”

          In June 2008 after the law was extended for another year, Amos Schocken, the publisher of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, wrote in an opinion article, that the law severely discriminates when comparing the rights of young Israeli Jewish citizens and young Israeli Arab citizens who marry, and that its existence in the law books turns Israel into an apartheid state.[55]

          Skip here… baiting will get you know where, its a question the International community will redress.

          How about that Bold Ethiopian-Born Beauty Queen

          For anyone familiar with the saccharine judges of America’s prime-time beauty pageants, it might be jarring to hear how the director of Israel’s national competition describes Yityish “Titi” Aynaw, the Ethiopian-born 21-year-old who was just crowned Miss Israel. “I think she was not the most beautiful, by classic beauty,” said director Iris Cohen, comparing her to the 19 other finalists in this year’s competition. But she does give Aynaw this: “She stands on the stage and you cannot ignore her.”

          The new Miss Israel is just as blunt. Sitting with her last week in the green room at the Tel Aviv offices of La’Isha magazine—the Israeli equivalent of Vogue and sponsor of the annual pageant—I told her about the stereotypical American beauty queen who seeks to impress the judges with her earnest hopes for world peace. “To say a sentence like that, in my opinion, is to sound retarded,” Aynaw replied. Then she stopped and wondered out loud if she should have said that. She changed “retarded” to “stupid,” and barreled on. “Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, China is trying to become a superpower,” she said. “To say that I want world peace, of course I want it. It’s a dream. But I don’t think it will happen now.”

          Israelis are better known for their grit than their grace, but Aynaw’s got both. Almost 30 years since the first clandestine Israeli airlift of Ethiopian Jews—the fabled descendants of the lost biblical tribe of Dan—to the Promised Land, the Jewish state has finally anointed one of them Israel’s most beautiful woman. Asked by judges why she deserved the title, Aynaw said it was about time that a black woman wore the crown. – snip

          Skippy… anywho hope it all gets worked out for the better of all involved, the rest of the world is a bit sick of it…

        2. Chris Rogers

          Its called ‘Balanced Coverage’ the rightwing neoliberal mainstream media can keep reporting nice lovely feeling things about Israel, whilst the actual free media found on the Net can get on with telling the truth.

          First and foremost truth being the modern state of Israel was founded on terrorist principles – go ask the British soldiers and civilians killed in the King David Hotel bombing what they think?

          Let me guess, they were freedom fighters, so what does that make the Palestinians – same equation yet a completely different answer, hence the term ‘hypocrisy’.

        3. Doug Terpstra

          Any positive links on Israel you care to share? You’re geneerally free to rebut the content of any post or counter with something from an alternate reality. People here generous with thoughtful feedback if you have anything substantive to offer.

          Frankly, I think there’s too little coverage. Because US economic and foreign policy is so heavily influenced if not controlled by Israel, it makes sense to shine some light on it now and then. It is almost certainly ground-zero for WW3, beginnning with Syria and Iran.

        4. Lambert Strether Post author

          Sukey, I notice you’re a first time poster. Are you paid? If so, will you have your supervisor send us someone more competent? Questions about a post are, in the first instance, best directed to the poster. Also, a link is not a post. The Links section has a great many links to topics of general interest; eating insects, for example, or kittens. And Israeli domestic politics is surely of general interest. In fact, I find it fascinating!

          My personal view is that the link is a tribute to Israeli aircraft technology; that bed must have been quite heavy. Solid gold weighs a ton, after all.

    2. Optimader

      Wouldnt it be more accurate to call them observational articles rather than negative? Unless you were to point out those that are inaccurate, you imply that you’d rather be uninformed.

      1. sukey

        Yves, just wondering how today’s article about Netanyahu, for example, enlightens us all about global and US finance and economics?

        1. ohmyheck

          So, sukey, are you implying that Yves should only stick to global economic subjects? Here is a reply she gave a few days ago, pertaining to her view of what she chooses to cover, on her blog:

          “I appreciate adding links to the thread, but the “you missed” implied some sort of obligation or intent to provide a comprehensive news summary. The daily Links has never been about that.

          This is a finance and economics blog. Both the items you picked up are general news. I don’t pretend to be nor aspire to be comprehensive even in finance and economics, and the non-finance items I pick up are ones that I happen to see and strike me as interesting. I don’t have time plus the resulting list of links would be overwhelming (in other words, Bloomberg is over there).”

          In short, Yves seems to say, imho, that what gets put in the daily Links is what she finds interesting. It is her blog. She find the fact that the Netenyahus billed the Israeli gov’t $136,000 for a bed installed in a plane for their personal use, and the furor that fact created, as interesting and newsworthy. Oh well.

        2. Doug Terpstra

          Rather than the typical persecution complaint, you’d do better just putting the post’s content in stark perspective. FI, why is an expensive bed even an issue when the PM has to fly commercial? That’s stunning. Why doesn’t he have his own Air Force One like BHO with its own private bathroom and bedroom, or even Air Force Two for the Veep? And how does the Yahoo’s travel appointments compare to the jewel-encrusted, golden chariots of Saudi royalty?

          I think the post actually highlights Israel’s inordinate frugality. In fact it seems downright stingy compared to the days of King Solomon and his three hundred concubines. Don’t let a persecution complex blind you.

          1. optimader

            Why doesn’t he have his own Air Force One like BHO with its own private bathroom and bedroom, or even Air Force Two for the Veep?

            Not an apologist for the Pretorian guard approach to latter day POTUSs, but clear up for me the impression that you suggest AF-1 is BHO’s?
            Did BHO specify it?

            As for Netanyahoo.. he is a PM of an (economically) failed State that US taxpayers are propping up. How is that for an economic angle? You and I paid for the bed. I want my pillow back

    3. Massinissa


      So anti-netanyahu is anti-israel now?

      Being anti-obama doesnt make someone anti-american: I think the same goes for Netanyahu and Israel.

      And anyway, since its Israeli press and opposition doing the bashing on Netanyahu in that article, I hardly think you can call all of THEM ‘anti-israeli’.

      1. ohmyheck

        Ha! Excellent point. But when it comes to cognitive dissonance, one cannot imagine what those suffering from it will come up with. They can get very creative with their pretzel logic.

    4. landanna

      today’s link was a negative article about Israel’s scumbag warlord Nutandyahoo, not a negative article about Israel.

  5. David Lentini

    New Type of Growth?

    The new type of growth looks a lot like the old rot at the peak of the dot-com boo. Tired old ideas rehashed on the Web! Whoo-Hoo! Dow 36,000 here we come!

  6. skippy

    Ancient seabird bones reveal human effects on ocean food chain

    Researchers from Michigan State University say that the bones of endangered Hawaiian petrels reveal changes in the open-ocean food chain. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, the Hawaiian petrel has a dark gray head, and tail, and a white forehead and belly. This bird has a wing span of three feet and measures 16 inches in length.

    The researchers examined the bones of Hawaiian petrels – birds that spend a lot of time combing the open waters of the Pacific for their next meal. They discovered that a significant change in the birds’ eating habits, feasting on prey that are lower rather than higher in the food chain, seems to have taken place at the same time as the growth of industrialized fishing.

    Researchers are very concerned about the fate of the Hawaiian petrels and any other species that may face similar shifts in diet. Co-author Peggy Ostrom, a zoologist at Michigan State University, said that the bone record is concerning because it shows that open-ocean food chains are being significantly altered because of human influence.

    The study is the first to examine whether fishing impacts more than just the targeted species, such as the nontarget- species or entire food webs in the open ocean. The researchers are able to tell what the petrels are eating by studying the chemical makeup of their bones.

  7. rjs

    re: govt funds more low paying jobs than walmart:

    “The sheer number of those workers making so little is surprising,” said Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos and co-author of the study. “We assume people working on behalf of America would be making more, but that’s not the case,” Traub said. “And many of these people are making less than $12 an hour.”

    most of those jobs are funded through Medicare & Medicaid; its a stretch to call those emptying bed pans in a private hospital government workers..

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Again, people focus on what is visible and refuse to see what is invisible.

      We need a Jobs Quality Guarantee program as much as a Jobs Guarantee program.

      We need to make sure people out of work not only will have get jobs, but quality jobs.

      And we should not neglect those already working unhappily – they should be able to find quality jobs what will be satisfying and fulfilling for their souls. On this front, sadly, we either don’t talk about it at all or we hardly talk about it. I mean, we have an unemployment index, but I am not aware of a lack-of-quality employment (or unfulfilling employment) index.

  8. David Lentini

    Monsanto’s Bitter Harvest

    I feel bad for the farmer, but from my many years of practicing patent law in this area, I have to say that the Supremes’ decision was right in terms of the law.

    This problem, like the issues with genes, is not for the courts; it’s for Congress. Suits over the existing patent law can’t always be used to fix the unfair or burdensome effects of patents. Only Congress has the power and responsitibility to determine public policy, and therefore the tradeoffs between the patent owner and the public.

    The campaigns to use the patent law to change what are really economic outcomes of patent ownership have been a waste of time and money. Good legislation (a very rare thing these days, I know) is called for here to keep the benefits of a patenting system that is very useful for the biotechology industry while blunting its economic abuse.

    For example, Congress could limit the economic impact of some products based on certain technologies by mandating licenses and royalty payments or limiting damages in certain situations. Congress could also limit the conditions under which infringement of certain technologies occurs or codify conditions under which the doctrine of exhaustion can be extended.

    But fighting over basic and well-settled legal issues such as patentable subject matter and the doctrine of exhaustion doesn’t help anyone except litigators and appeallate lawyers.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Funny how the Supreme Court enforces patent law to the letter, but sees the Bill of Rights as infinitely malleable when ‘public purpose’ requires it to be neutered or suspended.

      Anyhow, the unanimous Monsanto ruling clears the way for the long-overdue strict enforcement of Olson’s ‘Method of Swinging on a Swing’ patent:

      Seeing their little playmates hauled away in shackles perhaps will inculcate some respect for the law in America’s legions of child infringers.

      1. David Lentini

        Funny how the Supreme Court enforces patent law to the letter, but sees the Bill of Rights as infinitely malleable when ‘public purpose’ requires it to be neutered or suspended.

        A broken clock is right twice day.

        And patent infringement isn’t a crime. The parents will just have to pay a royalty every time their kids goes to the playground. :-P

        1. Jim Haygood

          ‘Patent infringement isn’t a crime.’

          … unlike the grave offense [/sarc] of copyright infringement, which is a crime.

          But as usual, the cover-up can be worse than the original offense:

          A farmer opposed to Monsanto Co.’s genetic seed licensing practices was sentenced May 7th in federal court at St. Louis to eight months in prison for lying about a truckload of cotton seed he hid for a friend.

          Kem Ralph, 47, of Covington, Tenn., also admitted burning a truckload of seed, in defiance of a court order, to keep Monsanto from using it as evidence in a lawsuit against him.

          The prison term for conspiracy to commit fraud is believed to be the first criminal prosecution linked to Monsanto’s crackdown on farmers it claims are violating agreements on use of the genetically modified seeds.

          “Me and my brother talked about how rotten and lowdown Monsanto is. We’re tired of being pushed around by Monsanto,” he said then. “We are being pushed around and drug down a road like a bunch of dogs. And we decided we’d burn them.”

          You know how Monsanto caught him?

          Through a tip placed to the company, Monsanto discovered Ralph was saving seed – which he admits he’s always done – and took him to court. The company has an all-purpose 800-number that generates some 500 calls a year, an undetermined percentage of which are tips from farmers who say they know of people saving seed.

          “It’s gotten to where they’ve got family members spying on each other,” said Ralph’s son, Josh. “And you know what? The thing of it is, we were making a lot more money even before their (enhanced seed) ever came out.”

          The seed police: 1-800-768-6387, comrades. If you see something, say something.


          1. Susan the other

            Not to worry. Monsanto’s hidden agenda is a takeover of the planet by insects grown immune to roundup because their food source is so immune. Or agent orange, etc. Monsanto plans to publish a timely cookbook for all to enjoy.

    2. Cletus

      Seems to me that this isn’t even a patent case, but one of copyright infringement — which could have defended by fair-use theory.

      After all, the farmer didn’t use the Monsanto process for gene insertion, but he did ‘copy’ (or replicate) the genetic sequence contained in the beans, without license.

      How this distinction was lost on the SCOTUS is evidence of their incompetence as well as their blatant support for the corporatist juggernaut. Like the Congress, the SOTUS takes cover in numbers.

      1. David Lentini

        No, it’s patent infringement. Copyright doesn’t include the replication of genes, only creative works by humans.

      2. hunkerdown

        One must take care to not conflate the copyright and patent regimes. They both protect abstractions by excluding others from the authority to exploit them, but different abstractions are necessarily protected differently.

        Unless I’m grossly misunderstanding the situation, Bowman seems a clear case of patent infringement, not on the gene sequence itself but on the effect of that gene sequence in vivo. Anyone reproducing the plant is also reproducing the sequence, therefore practicing the invention, therefore (in the absence of a license) infringing the patent.

        The Court interpreted the law correctly, insofar as its slavish loyalty to the other two branches of government allows. Monsanto is right to prevail on the merits of their question, even if their technology, their business model and their special status in government are problematic (to say the least).

  9. Ned Ludd

    The top diary on the recommended list at Daily Kos: “IRS v. Tea Party & DOJ v. AP are BOTH GOP-Fabricated Non-Scandals”.

    The diary dismisses the “made up flap doodle about the Department of Justice searching AP reporters’ phone records” and then quotes Talking Points Memo quoting someone else, also running interference for the Obama administration: “The AP story on the Justice Department ‘secretly’ obtaining phone records from AP strikes me as an unprofessional effort by the AP to make the Department look bad.”

    Reading Daily Kos or TPM nowadays can feel a bit like what it was like to turn on Fox News during the Bush administration.

    1. CB

      If you read the comments, tho, some worms are turning. And they’re not getting the kind of venomous attacks such contrary commentary used to.

    2. ohmyheck

      Not to defend Daily Kos, but I did read this comment there today, which I think puts it, and Obamabots, in a nutshell:

      “so it’s the GOP’s fault for not passing a law to prevent President Obama from committing this blatant violation of privacy. Not Obama’s fault for committing the blatant violation of privacy in the first place.

      So it’s come to this: when Obama does bad things, it’s not his fault that he choose to do them. Rather it’s the fault of others for not stopping him from doing them.

      So he can do anything he pleases, and when things go wrong it’s always the responsibility of someone else. (When things go right, of course, he and his people are quick to claim the credit). If that’s how being president works, it must be the easiest job in the world.”

      Not to mention: “It’s not the President’s fault Congress didn’t pass more laws restating clearly settled 4th and 1st Amendment rulings!” (snark) Oy.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        I think Kos is actually running diversionary interference, as usual, like most MSM channels (stenographer Wolf Blitzer thinks it’s okay, BTW). In fact “violation of privacy”, by design, doesn’t even begin to describe the all-out assault on freedom of the press and implicit censorship (calling Cornel West un-American for finally stating the obvious: “Obama is a war criminal”). Combined with the war on whistleblowers, secrecy even tighter than Bush’s, the Obama admin has taken censorship to totalitarian dimensions, using the NDAA as a weapon. Brother Obama in blackface has become a very Big Brother indeed.

        Glenn Greenwald nails it as usual:

        The key point is that all of this takes place in the ongoing War on Whistleblowers waged by the Obama administration. If you talk to any real investigative journalist, they will tell you that an unprecedented climate of fear has emerged in which their sources are petrified to talk to them. That the Obama administration has prosecuted double the number of whistleblowers under espionage statutes as all previous administrations combined has already severely chilled the news gathering process. Imagine what message this latest behavior sends to journalists and their sources: that at any moment, the phone records of even the nation’s most establishment journalists can be secretly obtained by the DOJ, which has no compunction about doing so even in the most extreme and invasive manner.

        . . . the DOJ has been obtaining phone records for quite some time in this manner, and that the angry reactions to this story are accounted for by the fact that, in this case, the targets are establishment journalists rather than marginalized Muslims or dissident groups. But there are unique dangers from having the government intrude into journalists’ communications with their sources, which is what happens when they obtain their phone records in such a sweeping manner. At this point, leaks from government sources are the primary way we learn about what the government does, and the more that process is targeted and the more those involved are intimidated, the less it will happen. That, of course, is the point.

        Despite how stunning the breadth of this invasion is, none of it is really surprising. But it does underscore just how extreme of a climate of fear has been deliberately imposed by the Obama administration on the news gathering process. As the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer told whistleblower advocate Jesselyn Radack last year:

        “When our sources are prosecuted, the news-gathering process is criminalized, so it’s incumbent upon all journalists to speak up.”

  10. financial matters

    A new type of growth is emerging Izabella Kaminska, FT. P2P triumphalism?

    Some interesting things here.. Getting equity back into lending seems like a good move..

    “”However, consolidate the countless peer-to-peer lending, timebank and equity-based funding initiatives springing up all over the place together, and add to that Google’s recent $125m minority investment in San-Francisco based Lending Club — which valued the company at $1.55bn – and you start to detect the makings of an entirely disintermediated alternative to traditional finance.

    One, we should add, that has the potential to become as disruptive (and as badly understood) as shadow banking has been in the past.

    In fact, an interesting point on this was made during the “Future of Banking” panel at the Ouisharefest, which featured representatives from KissKissBankBank, a reward-based crowdfunding venture run in association with La Banque Postale, Pret d’Union, a peer-2-peer lending venture with interest and Anaxago, an equity-based crowdfunding venture.

    The point being: all peer-2-peer initiatives from lending, crowd funding to equity-based funding represent the private sector encroaching on the traditional business of banking intermediaries, in a way which very significantly reinstates a type of full-reserve banking back into the economy.

    But we’ll have more on that theme in our follow-up post.””

    1. hunkerdown

      Lol, “disintermediation” by introducing new private intermediaries? Why aren’t these people being treated for their dangerously casual connection to reality?

    1. Susan the other

      Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Does that mean the vagas nerve? That also means this is not a response originating in the brain from a too-tight fold in the cortex – like synesthesia. This is primal; fight or flight. And strangely I get it every time the MSM news gets calm and trite. Those little instincts we should never ignore.

  11. down2long

    Re: Netanyahu’s $140K bed, and Sukey, someone posted this in comments yesterday with a link to the Guardian story. Frankly, don’t see how you could post anything but negative stories about Israel. The hasidim which rule the country throwing rocks at women praying at the Wailing/Western wall, throwing rocks at little girls because they are “immodest” and the men saw their little ankles and became sexual aroused, or might be sexually aroused. And call for wars on everybody, and steal Palestinian land and won’t serve in the military, preferring instead to collect welfare from the government and read the Torah (dear God, you’d think after 5,000 years they’d have learned the damned thing.)

    But I digress. Back to “Bedgate.”

    Reminds me of Dimon White House Majodomo Bankster Poltroon Obomba closing down the White House tours (which makes sense I suppose since the White House is now privately owned) to save money. Never mind the American families that had planned trips to D.C. to “see democracy in action.” Serves them right, I guess. Sooner or later the poor sops had to find out.

    Now we have his Hubris in Chief looking quite ridiculous after the somnolent Holder goes after the AP, and the IRS goes after Tea Party (which makes some sense, but boy, is that Nixonian), and batting away questions about Beghazi as if any questions of the Bank Toady wre inappropriate.

    Geez, it’s gonna be fun watching this arrogant asshole wriggle out of this one. Of course, to him, there is no problem. See Bradley Manning.

    Dimon W.H. spokespeople say it costs $275K a week to run the tours, about the cost to fly Dear Leader’s 747 to some location to have him give another useless speech about “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS” and how everything he ever wanted in this world for Americans has been stymied by repugs. (Right.) Methinks President Poltroon could stay home and just drag his useless ass to the golf course again and golf with his oligarch buddies, and let the kiddies see Dimon’s home and for just a moment live their fantasies of actual democracy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When I think of mutual aid, I think of Republicans helping Democrats and Democrats helping Republicans…or liberals-progressives helping conservatives and conservatives helping liberals-progressives.

      But unfortunately, both sides and most people detest mutual aid.

    2. evodevo

      I still don’t understand what the problem is … shifting the target is pretty much standard for the IRS. When they audited us for a supposedly unacceptable IRA contribution (which our accountant had approved), they first said we owed $2500 for such and such a reason; then 6 months later, we suddenly owed $1200, for a different reason (we ended up having to pay that because all our efforts to justify the tax expenditure were for naught – like sending paper down a black hole).
      501(c) status is a privilege, not a right. And NONE of the Teabagger organizations were denied status. SO WHAT IS THE FUSS ABOUT?! Obama derangement is most likely.

  12. rich

    House members say yes to cheap health insurance — for themselves

    Florida House Republicans last month loudly and proudly rejected billions of dollars in federal money that would have provided health insurance to 1 million poor Floridians.

    Quietly, they kept their own health insurance premiums staggeringly low. House members will pay just $8.34 a month for state-subsidized health care next year, or $30 a month to cover their entire family.

    That’s one-sixth of what state senators and most state employees will pay, and one-tenth of the cost to the average private-sector worker, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    It’s also less than the $25 a month House Republicans wanted to charge poor Floridians for basic coverage such as a limited number of doctor visits or preventive care.

    House Republicans, including Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, would not say why the House did not raise its premiums to match the Senate. The premium increase was also part of Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget.

    In a statement Monday, Weatherford said: “We are aware of the differences in what House members pay compared to other state employees for health insurance and are looking forward to addressing it next session.”

    The discrepancy, even if it’s addressed, doesn’t diminish the awkwardness of House lawmakers accepting cheap, subsidized health insurance for themselves while effectively saying no to health care for others.

    The state heavily subsidizes the costs of providing insurance to all full-time employees.

    But 24,000 supervisors and managers, including lawmakers, get the best deal.

    must be nice….

  13. ex-PFC Chuck

    Does anyone know what’s going on at Firedoglake? The site has been down since yesterday.

  14. JEHR

    Re: Wall Street is Back: from

    The Economist has written an article which could have come directly from Goldman Sachs’s speechwriter and must be taken with a pinch of salt: One has to take exception to Goldman being force-fed capital when it was really bailed out by the Federal Reserve and Buffet. Investment banks are not the most important institutions in banking although commercial banks may be. Debts were not written down but were put off the balance sheet where they remained unseen. Quantitative Easing over many months is the main reason that the stock market has been juiced up and thus helped the banks make huge profits.

    When banks make huge profits and give their executives huge salaries and bonuses and when finance controls more than 40% of the economy, that is an indication that the rest of the economy, especially the workers, are not doing so well.

    Some articles, such as the one below, should not be written and certainly should not be read as bearing any relationship to the truth.

    Wall Street is back
    By The Economist
    . . . .
    “Lose Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs would be next in line—if they fell the financial system might vaporise.”

    Do not bother to read this article here

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Most ‘educated’ people would laugh at us gullible bumpkins who insist on the existence of necro-bubble-mancers, who can make dead bubbles come alive again.

      Only if we had gone to school and were rationale.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese activity is solid…

    Just wondering, but if they are building a Great Wall Street of China, would it be visible from the Moon?

    Would our intelligence gathering boys and girls be able to see the Great Wall Street of China on one of our spy satellites?

  16. tongorad

    The right was right after all, Obama really is a demon from the smoking pits of hell.

    Obama: sent to crush progressivism when we needed it most. Mission accomplished. Heck of a job there.

    Only one thing’s for sure: whoever comes next will be even worse.

    1. Massinissa

      “whoever comes next will be even worse”

      Isnt that the history of the last 40 years? Each president since Carter has been progessively worse than the last one, whether or not they are Dem or Republican.

      Whether the next guy is has a D or an R in front of his/her name, we are equally screwed. And s/he might even make us wish for Obama back. I for one am almost wanting the happy days of Clinton and and the Bushes back. (Ok, not really ^_^)

      1. hunkerdown

        Don’t fret, you’ll get your Clintons back in 2017 probably. The machine is prepping her now.

  17. rich

    Lehman Reaches Beyond Grave Seeking Millions From Nonprofits

    Before the financial crisis, Wall Street banks and insurers peddled financial derivatives known as interest-rate swaps to governments and nonprofits that bet they could lower the cost of borrowing. There were as much as $500 billion of the deals done in the municipal-bond market before the credit crisis, according to a report by Randall Dodd, a senior researcher on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, published by the International Monetary Fund in 2010.

    After Lehman filed for bankruptcy and the market for some municipal bonds collapsed, nonprofits and state and local governments paid more than $4 billion to Wall Street banks to exit the swaps, according to Bloomberg News. Some officials said they weren’t aware of the risks involved in the trades.
    Confidential Mediation

    In Lehman’s case, the battle over swaps shows how far it will go to collect money for creditors, including public pension funds and municipalities that held its bonds. The disputes are taking place in confidential mediation sessions set up by the bankruptcy court in 2009. The aim is to settle disagreements faster, without costly litigation.

    Once the world’s fourth-largest investment bank, Lehman filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history on Sept. 15, 2008, after suffering billions in losses on subprime mortgages. It had more than 1.7 million derivative trades with thousands of banks, hedge funds, companies, municipalities and sovereign nations when it filed for protection from creditors.

    Lehman tacks on interest of almost 14 percent annually on unpaid swap debts, said Phil Weeber, director of risk management at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-based Chatham Financial, who is advising corporate clients in mediation with the bank’s estate. The rate is based on Lehman’s cost of funds, which is the London Interbank Offered Rate plus 13.5 percent. Lehman’s claims are now almost double the original amount, based on the interest they’re charging, he said.
    ‘Assertive’ Approach

    “Lehman, from the very beginning, said they were going to use an assertive legal strategy to protect the estate,” Weeber said. “That’s what they’re doing, and they’re very good at it.”

    Harvey Miller, the Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (1127L) partner who has been Lehman’s lead lawyer since the bankruptcy, also declined to comment on the negotiations. The New York-based law firm was paid $3.9 million in February, or about $140,000 a day.

  18. Accrued Disinterest

    Re: IRS kept shifting targets in tax-exempt scrutiny; Reuters

    A quote in the article from the Treasury Dept. report:
    “But then it changed again in January 2012 to cover “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, social economic reform/movement,” according to the findings contained in a Treasury Department watchdog report.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but “social economic reform movement” groups are probably not Conservatives.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it depends on who is doing the reforming, one can reform in so many different directions.

      1. Accrued Disinterest

        For sure. Tax breaks for billionaires could be billed as social economic reform, I guess.

  19. Hugh

    I never know how to react when our elites finally get around to partially recognizing something that we have been discussing for months. Case in point is the report that the Fed has finally acknowledged that the labor force participation rate sucks. Of course, it is still going with the fiction that workers have chosen to exit the labor force, and not that the BLS has defined them out of it, but hey small steps, right?

    What gets passed over though is that the low participation rate means that real unemployment is much worse than officially stated. Maybe in a few years the Fed researchers will discover that fact, but I am not holding my breath.

    1. MLS

      Important point you are making, to which I would add:

      Do you think the Fed distinguishes how we get to 6% unemployment before they put the brakes on QE? That is, does it matter if it happens as a result of people leaving the workforce or actually, you know, finding jobs?

      1. Susan the other

        …or those workers actually, you know, being imported from India and China, etc. To the tune of a least 1.5 million workers a year.

  20. AbyNormal

    eric holder live…(AP tapping) i frankly don’t have details of those facts…the facts have dictated our decision…i recused myself in the beginning of this investigation (THEN SHUT THE F@CK UP)…the irs quagmire: we have Tried to do things according to the rules…factual assertions were made…….im proud of what we’ve done, we’ve been aggressive with civil rights laws…our value on the rule of law has protected record number of people(bankers)…lack of transparency of drone policies: promises will be kept and we have a rollout coming soon(may the gods have mercy on us)…marathon bombing: ongoing investigation can’t comment but got good records from russia
    where’s the PPT…Indices turning Down, Hello Pickup the Green Phone

    again…Armageddon was Yesterday, TODAY WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM

  21. Susan the other

    Dart-trowing Chimp. Sovereignty without Territoriality? Huh? I haven’t seen a labor movement with that kind of muscle on the horizon. This blog is well named.

    Bill Mitchell. Billyblog. Bilbo. We fought WW2 for this shit? “IMF et al are dedicated to enforcing class structure” because everybody knows free trade is bullshit. And national sovereignty is just obstructionist. I’m sorry, what did you say the definition of democracy was?

  22. bulfinch

    ASMR! Huzzah! So good to know I am not the only one!

    Creepy as I know this sounds, years ago I used to tip-toe over to the peephole whenever the maintenance woman was sweeping out the stairwell at my old apartment. She was uniquely methodical and thorough at her chore and I was (admittedly, bizarrely) captivated by her approach to dust/detritus relief. I would get the tingle mentioned in the article and feel a weird mixture of both quiet fixation and sedation. It’s rare that anything triggers what is actually one of my favorite sensations, and one which is impossible to replicate, even with Bob Ross. I have never understood this about myself, until maybe now.

    1. anon y'mouse

      as someone who “used to do that for a living”, I’ve always wondered if there were tenants peeking, and figured it was too boring to watch but perhaps a bit better than Maury.

    2. wunsacon

      Thank you. I wasn’t “getting” ASMR until you mentioned Bob Ross, which I caught once for 10 minutes while channel surfing and never again.

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