Links 5/22/03

Scientists Finally Pinpoint the Pathogen That Caused the Irish Potato Famine Smithsonian. Caused?

Origins of Human Culture Linked to Rapid Climate Change Science Daily

Why Aren’t There More Storm Cellars in Oklahoma? The Atlantic

The Four Charts That Really Matter Arctic Sea Ice Blog (SW)

Global inaction shows that the climate sceptics have already won Martin Wolf, FT

Federal COA Rulings Could Make 5 Years Of Non-Judicial Fannie/Freddie Foreclosures Unconstitutional MFI-Miami

Apple Avoids Paying $17 Million In Taxes Every Day Through A Ballsy But Genius Tax Avoidance Scheme Business Insider. Great headline.  (Bloomberg; Reuters; Times, “unbelievable chutzpath”).

NYC Startup Scene Boosted by 50-Fold Tumblr Deal Return Bloomberg

The Former Flickr Employee Guide To Tumblr Yahoo Survival Techcrunch

Lessons at the Zero Bound: The Japanese and U.S. Experience Federal Reserve Bank of New York

And Then There is Bernanke Tim Duy’s Fed Watch

Schizophrenic investors expect slump: bet on boom Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Philly Fed: State Coincident Indexes increased in 45 States in April Calculated Risk

Home Depot earnings beat expectations USA Today

CEO Confidence Boosts Executive Recruiting: EcoPulse Bloomberg

For Dimon, the Hard Part Now Begins WSJ. Who gets the upper bunk?

Law: The inner circle FT (Front page headline: “State vs Wall Street: Are Manhattan prosecutors too close to the banks?” I eagerly clicked through, wondering how the new comics section would handle an FT Pink background….)

As rich gain optimism, lawmakers lose economic urgency WaPo

It’s all been for nothing – that is, if we ignore the millions of jobs lost etc Bill Mitchell – billy blog

Why Suburban Poverty is Less Visible and More Insidious The Atlantic (DD)

As Job Flow Slows, Americans Get Stuck in Place Peter Orszag, Bloomberg

Chelsea Clinton puts her religious roots to academic use as she lands new job as ‘multifaith’ leader at New York University Daily Mail

Bring Back Ken Starr Bill Keller, Times. First time as farce, second time as?

Greg Sargent (and others) are playing us rubes! Daily Howler. Republican over-reach.

Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories Times

Watch out Watford: Here comes the secretive Bilderberg Group Independent

Money launderers still not hung to dry presseurop. Cyprus.

Body of Zakaria Kandahari’s Videotaped Torture Victim Surfaces, 200 Yards from US Nerkh Base emptywheel

U.S. Doctor Tells Singapore Inquiry Todd Was Murdered Bloomberg

South hit by huge electricity blackout Bangkok Post

Eben Moglen teaches us how not to be evil when data-mining mathbabe

Caregiving As Humankind’s Shared Project PNHP

Anchored putting ban starts in 2016 ESPN

You Say You Want a Peaceful Revolution Power of Narrative. Arthur’s answer to “Yes, but how?”

Antidote du jour:

boids

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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.

159 comments

  1. dearieme

    “… with it the tornado that is the most powerful the country has ever seen”: maybe she’s right, but a large proportion of journalistic claims of hottest, coldest, windiest, wettest … seem to be false. In the Sunday Telegraph Philip Eden points out cases routinely; is the phenomenon unknown in the USA?

    1. hunkerdown

      If you’re not trying to sell something with your every utterance, you’re being a commie pinko and a bad American. I think that’s how it works, anyway? Anyone?

  2. AbyNormal

    marvelous. my noodle knotted up at its first attempt to broaden.

    re, Biggest Blackout/Bangkok Post
    “Egat said it was negotiating with Malaysia to buy electricity from it to make up for the shortfall while it repairs the power transmission lines in Bang Saphan district.”
    okay…so i’ll bite:

    June 9, 2011 Singapore signals readiness to sell more electricity to Malaysia
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/10/singapore-electricity-idUSL3E7HA06P20110610
    & this
    Jan. 5, 2012 Malaysia proposes selling electricity to Singapore
    http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20120105-320055.html

    what! are their enronlike sandboxes getting smaller

    1. goffer

      The USGA said the ban was “necessary to protect the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke.” Would you really want to live in some dystopian world where the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke was not protected?

      1. AbyNormal

        uhh im overdosing on msg from soy sauce you just drowned my noodle in. help me out here…can my belly still act as the grounder ‘ ))

  3. dearieme

    “Anchored putting ban starts in 2016”: why? If it’s a better way to putt, everyone could adopt it. If it isn’t, it’ll become unfashionable. Why on earth fuss about it?

  4. David Lentini

    The Winter of Climate Discontent?

    I think Wolff misses the bus on climate change. The real issue has never been about whether climate change is occuring or that it’s man-made. Policy makers care little about that crap. The real issue has always been whether to do anything, and, if so, then what? Our policy makers have decided to let the climate chips fall where they may; this reflects the decision that our elite have too much to lose by changing our consuption and energy use.

    The stages of the issue have gone largely like this (if an answer to a question is “no”, then jump directly to point 7.):

    1. Is the climate changing? If yes, then

    2. Is human activity a major factor in that change? If yes, then

    3. Will climate change be detrimental? If yes, then

    4. Can we stop or reverse climate change by changing human activity? If yes, then

    5. Will the cost of 4 be greater than the cost of 3? If so, then

    6. Implement change. Otherwise,

    7. Do nothing.

    Science has won the debate on points 1. and 2. I see very little argument that the climate is changing and that human activity is a key reason. I also see little scientific debate on 3.

    The problem for policy makers is that policy decisions hinge on points 4 and 5. And given the huge corruption of our government by the monied classes, point 5 is critical. As soon as it looks like the rich will lose by any response climate change, they’ll stop that response in its tracks, betting that they’ll buy their way out of whatever happens and the rest of us can suffer and die.

    1. docG

      I’m as cynical as anyone else regarding the motives of the very rich, but realistically it’s not the very rich who are suffering as we over-react to global climate change. The very rich are making out very well thanks to the biofuels fiasco, which is taking food out of the mouths of the poorest of the poor, and the resurgance of interest in nuclear energy, despite Fukushima and in the face of all the obvious dangers. Nuclear is no threat to the fat cats of the oil industry since the same people control both oil and nuclear.

      And as far as your point 4 is concerned, no we cannot stop climate change, the best we can do, even if all the best intentioned recommendations are adopted would be to delay the worst effects by only a few years. And any attempt to put the brakes on the “worst offenders,” i.e., India and China, would precipitate a huge catastrophe for the vast majority barely surviving in those regions. And by the way, much of the worst carbon pollution in the world is produced not by heavy industry but the coal stoves on which hundreds of millions of the poorest of the poor depend.

      I’m not saying we shouldn’t attempt to ameliorate the effects of global warming but we need to plan very carefully in dealing with it, because in this case the cure may well be far worse than the disease.

      1. jrs

        And so mass death on the scale of billions of humans and possible human extinction here we come ….!!!

        1. docG

          Well, this is a perfect example of global warming hysteria, NOT a meaningful or helpful response to this very real problem. Global warming is very likely real. It is very likely being either caused or mitigated by human actions. And it will certainly have consequences, some of them dire, others possibly helpful.

          When we consider the problem from an ecological perspective, i.e., paying attention to the way in which ALL the various elements interact, it should be obvious that there is no simple solution, and certainly no viable way to avert whatever consequences might arise over the next 50 to 100 plus years.

          However, as in the past, there are many ways we can adapt, and as I see it, the focus at this time should be on adaptation to the inevitable rather than pointless and self defeating attempt to turn back the clock.

          We can: build dikes (the Dutch did it!); control population growth (the Chinese did it!); develop alternative energy sources (in the works, but much more money is needed to fund basic research in this area).

    2. gepay

      The science is not settled. Climate knowledge is nowhere developed to an extent to say that man made CO2 additions to the atmosphere are causing a disaster. The level of CO2 is just a small factor in the chaotic global climate system. Any body who says all the feedback mechanisms are clearly known and understood is a liar. Billions are spent each year on climate research that is intended to augment the Anthropogenic Global warming thesis. Name me 5 AGW skeptics that were given research grants.

  5. Ned Ludd

    According to Pew Research, a plurality of Democrats approve of the DOJ’s seizure of AP telephone records. Among Democrats who followed the story very or fairly closely, there is even more support: 52% approve, 43% disapprove. Glenn Greenwald made this point last week:

    Recall back in 2008 that the CIA prepared a secret report (subsequently leaked to WikiLeaks) that presciently noted that the election of Barack Obama would be the most effective way to stem the tide of antiwar sentiment in western Europe, because it would put a pleasant, happy, progressive face on those wars and thus convert large numbers of Obama supporters from war opponents into war supporters. That, of course, is exactly what happened: not just in the realm of militarism but civil liberties and a whole variety of other issues. That has had the effect of transforming what were, just a few years ago, symbols of highly contentious right-wing radicalism into harmonious bipartisan consensus. That the most vocal defenders of this unprecedented government acquisition of journalists’ phone records comes from government-loyal progressives – reciting the standard slogans of National Security and Keeping Us Safe and The Terrorists – is a potent symbol indeed of this transformation.

    1. Nathanael

      That lasted all of 8 years. The backlash against the Great Fraud Obama is settling in. And it’s going to be one *hell* of a backlash. By discrediting the Democratic Party (with the Republican Party already discredited), Obama has set the stage for, at the *most* peaceful, a massive third party movement, and at the *least* peaceful, bloody revolution.

      1. Ned Ludd

        In the early 1990’s, the youth group from the Green movement in the U.S. vehemently opposed forming a political party. They said the electoral system is corrupt, and political parties become more corrupt and supportive of the status quo the more successful they become. There is definitely evidence for this.

        The NDP used to be a socialist party that supported Canada’s withdrawal from NATO. Last month, they stripped references to socialism out of the party’s constitution. In addition, at the party’s biannual policy convention:

        The socialist delegates voiced concern Friday over the party’s use of American Democrats as speakers. Then on Saturday, they were forced to put away a banner condemning U.S. President Barack Obama’s use of drones in Pakistan…

        In Germany, the once left-wing Greens joined with the SPD to pass Agenda 2010.

        The steps to be taken include tax cuts (such as a 25% reduction in the basic rate of income tax) as well as big cuts in the cost absorption for medical treatment and drastic cuts in pension benefits and in unemployment benefits alike.

        The party of Petra Kelly became the party of Joschka Fischer. They also become a party of duplicity: some Green Members of Parliament were allowed to vote against military involvement in Afghanistan, but the party arranged for enough Greens to abstain from the vote to ensure that the military authorization passed.

        1. JEHR

          Yes, I am very concerned about what is happening to Canada’s NDP which used to be socialist (they were instrumental in bringing universal health care to all Canadians). It is Socialist in the sense that: “A socialist economic system would consist of a system of production and distribution organized to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit[5] driven by the accumulation of capital.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism)

          The NDP in Canada want to move to the Centre where the Liberals used to be. The Conservatives are no longer “Progressive” as they have dropped that descriptive and they are vying for a portion of the Centre-right. The Conservatives are neo-liberal in outlook and have brought austerity and spending cuts to the public. The Liberals were decimated in the last election and, god knows, where they will fit in the new Centre which is way, way too crowded now.

          We need a fearless socialist federal government that is concerned for the public welfare, for full employment, and for public banking that is not debt-based. Where, oh where, will we get such a body?

        2. Roland

          Greens have historically been found on the Left, but there is nothing intrinsically Left-wing about Green politics.

          Human societies have dealt with environmental challenges and resource scarcity since forever. Most of those societies managed such problems by permitting only a small minority of the population to enjoy the full technical potential living standard of that society.

          A diehard Green might be very happy to let only the 1% use cars or airplanes. There are plenty of right-wing Greens nowadays, seeking to privatize the environment and use market prices and regressive taxes to drive down the consumption of the masses.

      2. jrs

        Oh revolution may come, even left revolution may come, but it won’t come from the like of the dummycrats.

    2. from Mexico

      Just like only Nixon could go to China, only Obama could transform the US into a full-fledged security state.

      1. Optimader

        Obama is the latest refinement of the UnitaryExecutive. Who was expecting him as POTUS to de-aggregate any power passed along to him by previous contestents??
        The one thing you can be sure of, whomever replaces him D or R will continue along the same vector. Sure the window dressing may change but the tools of State power will continue consolidating. What will be the tipping point? No one knows.

    3. from Mexico

      Another effective rhetorical strategy that has been employed by the proponents of the security state is the #5 strategy David Lentini outlines above: “Will the cost of 4 be greater than the cost of 3?”

      If 3 are the costs or dangers of “invisible government,” and 4 are the dangers or costs to national security posed by “visible government,” then the propagandists of the security state do everything in their power to downplay 3 and exaggerate 4.

      And while the deadly danger of “invisible government” to the institutions of “visible government” is minimized, the intimiate traiditonal connection between imperialist politics and rule by “invisible government,” secret agents and covert ops is completely denied.

      1. David Lentini

        And while the deadly danger of “invisible government” to the institutions of “visible government” is minimized, the intimiate traiditonal connection between imperialist politics and rule by “invisible government,” secret agents and covert ops is completely denied.

        And don’t forget how the details of that calculus are hidden behind the “we could tell you but then we’d have to kill you” ruse.

    4. h

      Gee, then all the forelock-tugging Democratic proles will be delighted to know that FBI is keeping You Safe from the threat of an independent judiciary, by investigating judges under national-security pretexts to dig up compromising adverse information for NKVD-style Kompromat and blackmail. Special Agent Graham “ran background checks on federal judges… If we came up with shit – skeletons in their closets – the Justice Department kept it in their pantry to be used against them in the future or to get them to do what they want in certain cases…”

      That’ll come in handy if by some fluke Dzokar survives pretrial detention without eating his socks.

  6. Richard Kline

    First time as farce, second time as Grand Guignol. Ken Starr in a glo-wig holding a straight razor fits him just about right . . . .

    1. auntienene

      I skimmed the comments looking for anyone to point out Ken Starr’s imprisonment and disbarment. Nada. Keller is an uninformed idiot.

  7. David Lentini

    Moglen’s Muddle

    Perhaps I missed some important nuances of Eben Moglen’s presentation by relying on the notes of Mathbabe’s poster, but the presentation just looks like another gilded lily of TED-speak in which obvious (albeit important) issues are lost in the glare of sophistic glitz. As soon as I started reading the summary my baloney meter was pegged.

    So far as I can tell, Moglen’s point is one that inventors have struggled with since the advent of fire—The moral implications of their creations, the ethics of the use of those creations, and the bitter fruit of hubris. This problem is described so eloquently by the ancient Greek myths of Prometheus, Pandora, and Icarus, and the Book of Genesis. In more modern times, Frankenstein and Dr. Faustus have been the models for mankind being hoist on it’s own pétard. Long before Oppenheimer realized that his mushroom-shaped genie could not be put back into the bottle, Alfred Nobel lamented the use of his invention of TNT. So why does Moglen have to present the latest chapter of hubris and regret as a new story?

    As for the presentation, perhaps Moglen is serious (I can’t quite tell if he is) and his audience buys into his vision of Kurtzweil’s “singularity” in which homo sapiens becomes extinct by virtue of a bio-electronic, extra-skeletal neurally networked hive mind. I for one put a 0% probability on that event. But even if I was wrong, and such a disaster happened, the creation of a hive mind would defeat Moglen’s point about ethics and “ecological ethics” for the simple reason that hive-minded super-organismic (self-made) creatures would no longer be a community of individuals and therefore have no need for ethics by Moglen’s own admission.

    If Moglen is using the story of his super-organism as a sort of cautionary fable, he could have picked a better stunt that was less jarring and distracting. By referring to the fantastical and then arguing that anything greater than a null chance of it’s happened should propel us to ethical thinking, his real points are either lost in to an audience composed of those trying to grok the hive mind and those who wisely refuse the bait and reject his very premise. So why waste everyone’s time?

    I’ve always found reality far more interesting and sinister than science fiction anyway. If you’ve followed recent events, you’ll recall that former FBI counter-terrorism expert Tim Clemente claimed that all of our phone conversations are being recorded, and William Binney, a former senior NSA official who described a huge data collection effort on all US citizens. The patent office is full of patents and published application describing methods for collecting and analyzing data for commercial uses.

    In short, the oncoming train of e-commerce cum social control is upon us. As Moglen finally suggests, we need to think about the world that we want. Too bad his vision for a better future is lost in a blizzard of bullshit.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Dunno, I think he’s onto something. Is human curiosity useless if it isn’t channeled into some profit-making enterprise?

      Along with that, does the existence of data justify analyzing it, regardless of morality or privacy? I’m more and more convinced that humans just can’t help themselves. It’s there – you take it and use it. The crime of not knowing the knowable seems to outweigh any other ethical concerns.

      Even the great historical writer Barbara Tuchman fell into this trap, when she wrote a biography of General Joseph Stilwell. From the Foreword:

      “I should like to add a word of explanation about General Stilwell’s diaries, which were naturally a major source for his biographer. I became thereby a trespasser since the diaries were intended for no eyes but his own. ‘This little book,’ he explicitly warned on the flyleaf of the pocket diary for 1906, ‘contains None of Your Damned Business!’ Believing in the right of privacy, I do not share the view that posterity has some sort of ‘right’ to know the private life of a public figure if he wishes otherwise but in Stilwell’s case the needs of history had already prevailed over privacy.”

      How very pious. “I didn’t rape the victim until someone else already had.” At least she felt guilty about it.

      And yet how very understandable. As an enthusiastic family history research, I know the hunger for knowing more about people that matter, even things about them that they aren’t eager to be remembered for.

      1. David Lentini

        Dunno, I think he’s onto something. Is human curiosity useless if it isn’t channeled into some profit-making enterprise?

        Ask Jonas Salk about his polio vaccine and the millions of men and women who donate time and money to caring for the poor.

        And your point about Stilwell misses Moglen’s concern. Peeking into someone’s diary is one thing; establishing some sort of social control using personal data is another.

        1. Garrett Pace

          “Ask Jonas Salk about his polio vaccine and the millions of men and women who donate time and money to caring for the poor.”

          Uh, wasn’t arguing either side of that, chief.

          I found this from the original article to be thought-provoking:

          “Consider, says Moglen,the question of whether punishment deters crime: there will be increasing amounts of data about it, but we’re not even going to ask – because no advertising sale depends on it.”

          That’s the essence of economic and business…if it doesn’t have a dollar sign attached to it, to them it never happened.

          1. David Lentini

            Sorry. I misunderstood your point. Yes, you and Moglen make a good point about things not existing in the business world unless they turn a profit.

    2. hunkerdown

      A National Security Letter would have authorized the recording of the call Clemente referenced, and it’s not at all out of the realm of lawful SOP that an NSL would have been issued for him as soon as he became a person of interest.

      Besides, as infosec wonk Matt Blaze has said, it’s less important whether or not they’re recording and archiving essentially all real-time digital communications (he seems to believe they’re not, yet) when telcos *are* hoarding rich, fertile metadata (e.g. call time, numbers, length) and can be compelled to hand that retrospective information over, today. Just as burglars watch your house’s lights through the windows to figure out when you’re not home, a cursory analysis of when calls take place in relation to other calls often reveals the shapes and rough natures of associations, networks and hierarchies, to be filled in by further investigation.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Does the backdoor collection of essentially unlimited data ultimately empower its possessor? Short term against individuals, probably yes, but long term it’s potentially existentially delegitimizing given the Constitution.

      Yes I am being serious.

  8. petridish

    OK, my curiosity has got the better of me. I’m willing to put my backwardness and ignorance on full display and ask the NC brain-trust for answers.

    So here it is: “What the hell IS Tumblr anyway?” (Other than misspelled, of course, which is a constant source of annoyance for me.)

    After two days of hearing how a 16-year-old high school dropout sold this entity for $1.1 billion, I had to see for myself. So, I went to Tumblr.com and “explored.” I clicked on Politics and then on a square which had “geek” something in the title.

    What I found was a vertical line of pictures. Some were (I guess) real and some changed in some sort of way. There was one of the Obamas. They both were sporting bangs. The caption was something like, “Doing it Michelle’s way.” OK. Then there was a “video”-maybe a second long, supposedly of the Marine One helicopter taking off with O in it. It took off then went back and took off again over and over. There was also a picture of Mexican dancers and a celebration of “Star Wars Day.”

    So I ask again, “What IS Tumblr and why is it so valuable?” Whatever part of my brain responsible for logic is screaming for the piece that goes between what I saw at the website and $1.1 billion.

    Thanks, in advance.

    1. AbyNormal

      some have suggested… its a pop-up book for those to busy/lazy to read (just sayin)

    2. Jennifer Hill

      Do you have children between the ages of 15-30? They use Tumblr and instagram the way that we use FB. Tumblr is hip and much less conventional than FB, much more graphic photos and expressions of individuality. Also its free from old people like us who think that the Beatles are cool. Post post modern, panethnic, lgbtq centric. I love these kids.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It looks like a list-centric microblogging platform to me. Item after item, mostly (from my tiny sample of an hour or so out of a billion) vertical. And lots and lots of me, me, me (although who among us….) Visually, it’s incredibly powerful. It’s like the world’s most distributed new media student.

        It’s a really nice platform, too. Also, so far as I can tell, not about the long form at all. But then, most places aren’t.

        New forms of rhetoric. Also too, pr0n.

        NOTE Of course, old codgers like me may only be aware of it now that its demise in Yahoo’s corporate maw is imminent.

        1. optimader

          “..They use Tumblr and instagram the way that we use FB..”

          it would be interesting to note how many “we” (NC lurkers) actually were/are naive enough to succumb to taking a data dump into the FBook information vault?

        2. kj1313

          Also tons and tons of shipping sites, you don’t know what shipping is? A whole area of fandom of whatever source material (tv shows, movies, books) that (mainly female teens & young adults) write stories, their thoughts on said material, make fan vids or a plethora of gifs. Most of which will put Yahoo in a bind if they are trying to get say TNT to advertise on a blog that is filled with TNT’s own copyrighted material, that will be reblogged on hundreds or thousands of tumblr blogs.

  9. from Mexico

    @ “Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories”

    Rational People? Isn’t that an oxymoron, at least if what we mean by “rational” is people who have a grip on reality.

    V.S. Ramachandran, in a most enlightening lecture at The Science Network, which begins here at minute 38:30,uses brain morphology to explain why we’re all balls of incoherencies when it comes to what we believe.

    http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/beyond-belief-science-religion-reason-and-survival/session-4-1

    Of course all this flew over the heads of the acolytes of scientism — e.g., Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Harold Kroto — sitting in the audience. “I am at the center of the universe and what a glorious thing it is!” is the quintessential philsophy of scientism. Or as William Butler Yeats put it in The Second Coming:

    For every man alone thinkes he hath got
    To be a Phoenix, and that there can bee
    None of that kinde, of which he is, but hee.

    As Ramachandran goes on to explain, the propensity to feel religious sentiments, spirituality, and mysticism is determined at least in some part by brain morphology. Just because some people are born with a brain that doesn’t do these things, however, does that convey moral superiority upon them, as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris would have us beleive?

    As the science historian Naomi Oreskes explains in this incredible interview, the myth that there are “rational people” has allowed huge frauds to be perpetuated on the public when it comes to tobacco “science” and the denial of global warming. One of the primary propaganda tools of the tobacco and carbon energy industries is to recruit some highly renowned nuclear physicist, for example, with an overblown ego and completely consumped with free-market fundamentalism, to opine on medical science:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2012/04/12/naomi-oreskes-tom-levenson-virtually-speaking-science-1

    1. Nathanael

      Richard Dawkins is a smart man and he knows perfectly well that his brain is predisposed to irrational thinking.

      He also knows that it is possible to train yourself to think in ways which correspond to reality, and that *this does give you an advantage* over people who blithely accept their own delusions.

      He’s right about this. This isn’t “scientism”. I’m sorry to see such an ignorant, stupid attitude from you.

      1. from Mexico

        Nathanael says:

        I’m sorry to see such an ignorant, stupid attitude from you.

        Thanks for proving my point.

        1. mookie

          But what is your point, exactly? As far as I can tell it seems to be that Dawkins and Harris are evil because they make you feel bad about believing in god. You have a lot of good posts on this site but you have a tendency to get blustery and incomprehensible on the subject of atheism. Let it go. Go in peace.

          1. from Mexico

            mookie said:

            …they make you feel bad about believing in god.

            Who said I believe in God?

            The most devastating critiques of Dawkins have not come from religionists, but from other atheists who refuse to march in lockstep with his grotesque reductionism, realist ontology and syllogistic logic. These are of course the things that racism, classism and tribal nationalism are built upon, but in Dawkins’ case the end product is his anti-religous bigotry.

          2. mookie

            I don’t really care whether or not you believe in god, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you.

            If you’ll humor me by hearing some advice from a stranger: whether Dawkins does it or you do, it’s a waste of time to obsess over finding the perfect critique to destroy your perceived intellectual enemies. They don’t care, and your anger consumes only you.

            You’re obviously a very smart person, maybe at some later date you can read some Dawkins and Dennett with a different mindset. I personally think Dawkins and Dennett have contributed to our understanding of life. It is true, as Adam Curtis posits, that some of Dawkins’ ideas have been misinterpreted as *advocating* greed and selfishness but I don’t read them that way. YMMV, obviously.

      2. from Mexico

        And of course what has really taken a wrecking ball to Dawkins’ little make-believe world are the recent findings concerning the existence and distribution of the ability to feel empathy within the human population, as explained in these two lectures by Ramachandran and Paul Zak:

        http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/beyond-belief-candles-in-the-dark/v-s-ramachandran-1

        http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/beyond-belief-candles-in-the-dark/paul-zak

        There is a large variance in the ability of different humans to feel empathy, with some having no capability to feel empathy whatsoever. And brain morphology has at least some bearing on the ability to experience empathy.

        As Michael Allen Gillespie explains in The Theological Origins of Modernity, Montaigne believed

        that the result of [a thorough self-examination] would be a flowering of human multiplicity, because he did not believe that any two humans would ever reason alike. This was the inevitable conclusion of a humanism that began with a notion of human individuality in Petrarch and developed this notion to its conclusion in the promethean individualism of Pico and others. Descartes, by contrast, was convinced that anyone who is freed from the prejudices of the world and uses his good sense will arrive at exactly the same conclusions he did.

        It was of course Descartes’ belief that was to triumph and become dominant in the formulation of the Modernist doctrine, but it now looks like Montaigne’s belief was much closer to reality.

    2. Expat

      From a pragmatic point of view, what matters is that people can be manipulated through the use of conspiracies, typically presented as narratives offering reasons and explaining the who, what, where and why.

      The brilliance of the Karl Roves of the world, working from knowlege of human psychology and drawing sustenance from the political prejudices of Leo Strauss, is to lump people who question the authority of the official story with those who believe in the narrative.

      It’s facinating that facts are so irrelevent to the public discussion of many alleged conspiracies that “respectable” people won’t even talk about them.

      Kind of like living in a dictatorship where thought crimes are punished by death.

    3. nobody

      “Or as William Butler Yeats put it in The Second Coming…”

      Is some kind of joke I’m not getting?

      1. from Mexico

        Well I don’t see what’s so difficult to understand about “an overblown ego and completely consumed with free-market fundamentalism,” or in Dawkins’ case “an overblown ego and completely consumed with the dogma that we’re all purely self-regarding creatures.” To wit:

        The intervening years since Darwin have seen an astonishing retreat from his individual-centered stand, a lapse into sloppily unconscious group-selectionism … We painfully struggled back, harassed by sniping from a Jesuitically sophisticated and dedicated neo-group-selectionist rearguard, until we finally regained Darwin’s ground, the position that I am characterizing by the label ‘the selfish organism…”

        RICHARD DAWKINS: The Extended Phenotype

        Of course for those who know anything about free market fundamentalism, the one true faith that all men are “the selfish organism” is the cornerstone upon which the mythology it is constructed.

    4. skippy

      Thanks for that Mexico…

      I would add that it is still early days [Brain morphometry], waiting on Neuroinformatics to develop and the empiric usefulness of it. Then you have the whole [from conception] environmental factors to sort out ie physical and metaphysical.

      At this date, to me, it seems that metaphysics is sort of a logic buffer. Fill in the voids thingy and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, just recognized for what purpose it serves. Unfortunately to date and into the foreseeable future, that quality has been and will be – highly abused.

      skippy… yet as we have occasioned… whom will weld this knowledge and to what purpose as both empiric and meta have been abused.

      1. from Mexico

        It’s extremely complex, with lots of interconnected moving parts. And we know almost nothing about how it works.

        This does not prevent some, however, due to stupidity, ego, or profit, from claiming they know how it all works.

  10. Ned Ludd

    Glenn Greenwald has an op-ed up on the New York Times website, in their “Room for Debate”. He ties together various assaults by the Obama administration on press freedom and whistle-blowing with this observation:

    Second, it establishes a standard where the only information the public can learn is what the U.S. government wants it to know, which is another way of saying that a classic propaganda model has been created.

    People who approve of the Obama administration “threatening fundamental freedoms of the press” might be a bit more skeptical if they realize that when the government controls information, you only know what the U.S. government wants you to know.

    1. petridish

      Interesting juxtaposition with the “conspiracy theory” article.

      “Powerlessness” causes people to believe “conspiracy theories” instead of facts. I guess it depends on what the definition of facts is.

      Hopefully the next edition of the DSM can recommend therapy.

    2. rich

      Editor of The Progressive Calls For Eric Holder to Resign Over Spying on Press, Occupy Protesters
      As the Obama administration faces criticism for the Justice Department’s spying on journalists and the IRS targeting of right-wing organizations, newly released documents show how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local police forces partnered with corporations to spy on Occupy protesters in 2011 and 2012. Detailed in thousands of pages of records from counter terrorism and law enforcement agencies, the spying monitored the activists’ online usage and led to infiltration of their meetings. One document shows an undercover officer was dispatched in Arizona to infiltrate activists organizing protests around the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the secretive group that helps corporate America propose and draft legislation for states across the country. We’re joined by Matt Rothschild of The Progressive, who tackles the surveillance in his latest article, “Spying on Occupy Activists: How Cops and Homeland Security Help Wall Street.”

      http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/22/editor_of_the_progressive_calls_for

  11. F. Beard

    re “And Then There is Bernanke”:

    It dawns on me clearly:

    Monetary policy = lending money into existence.
    Fiscal policy = spending money into existence.

    Of course, bankers would hate the later unless it benefits them.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is a third choice here:

      People Fiscal Policy: instead of giving that much power to the government, people, even without any corporate stock or partnership shares, people, either working or jobless, spend money into existence.

      1. F. Beard

        That’s what a universal bailout with new fiat would do. But you and skippy oppose that if I recall.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Didn’t you say only those with corporate stock shares can issue private money?

          1. F. Beard

            Issue you all the private money you want. The challenge is getting people to accept it.

            Or do you propose that people be allowed to counterfeit?

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s your idea so it would be nice for you to put forth a fair and working scheme.

    1. AbyNormal

      ‘I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: too many deer were being hit by cars and she didn’t want them to cross there anymore.’

      1. optimader

        There are legendary situational awareness stories of urban dwellers relocated to rural areas (and visa versa I suppose).
        Bottom line the deer-xing story reinforces the fact that 49.99*% of the population is below average intelligence. You see these people everyday. In my geography it seems like many of them have frosted hair and are peering over the dashboard and talking on cellphones while piloting 300hp Sears Sheds.

        On the OK storm, your heart has to go out to the affected, particularly children victimized by adult judgment, but the bottom line is, yeah they may have jobs there blah, blah, blah… but when it comes to habitating a geography historically punctuated with extreme weather mortal danger the final responsibility for appropriate due diligence is at the personal level. Nothing is free and no less the destruction potential of such weather in that geography is predictable. Like hardrive failures, not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
        Right off hand, nothing but block/brick and flexicore construction should be insurable when it’s time to get a building permit, or at least a concrete basement and flexicore first floor deck.

        For the rest of legacy homes, WTF, how about a root cellar? that’s a weekend w/ a small backhoe and some concrete forms, not really a big deal or expense if you value life.

      2. craazyman

        that sounds pretty stupid to me. I wouldn’t remove it entirely without a plan. Better to move it someplace where there’s less traffic so they don’t get hit as often.

      3. John M

        “I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: too many deer were being hit by cars and she didn’t want them to cross there anymore.”

        Is that serious? Or was that a joke?

        1. AbyNormal

          JohnM, bhaahahaa guilty…found it on a riddle page.
          just wanted ta see how many would bite ‘ ))

    2. Eureka Springs

      Why aren’t there more basements or half to fully sub-ground level type of buildings? Clearly modern box metal buildings and shoddy suburban homes were never designed to last long…. much more weather a stormy plains envirionment.

      1. F. Beard

        Yep. Shelters don’t have to be large so high strength materials such as 1/4″ steel plate shouldn’t cost that much if used wisely.

        Also, I noticed what appeared to be a concrete parking garage that survived very well. Why not use those as shelters?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Reinforced concrete parking garages might work, though they are not everywhere…in business districts, yes but not often in residential neighborhoods.

    3. petridish

      Their jobs, jobs, jobs are there.

      The American Dream is a home of “your own.”

      It’s risk on/risk off doncha’ know.

      Land of the free, home of the brave (or so legend goes.)

    4. anon y'mouse

      and in these situations I am always wondering WHY build the house above ground in the first dagnab place?

      put all essential functions underground, and put a nonessential rumpus-room full of throw cushions up top.

      just don’t take the risk in the first place.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Predictably, a day before his address on the subject, the presstitutes of the Times-Titanic prepare the way for the Drone Messiah:

    Lost in the contentious debate over the legality, morality and effectiveness of a novel weapon is the fact that the number of strikes has actually been in decline.

    Strikes in Pakistan peaked in 2010 and have fallen sharply since then; their pace in Yemen has slowed to half of last year’s rate; and no strike has been reported in Somalia for more than a year.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/us/debate-aside-drone-strikes-drop-sharply.html?hp&_r=0

    No source is cited for this claim. ‘Washington does not usually comment on drone strikes,’ says Reuters in an article about an attack in Yemen last Saturday which killed four. Directly contradicting the Times-Titanic, Reuters goes on to state that ‘The United States has stepped up attacks on Yemen-based al Qaeda.’

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/20/us-yemen-drone-qaeda-idUSBRE94J09D20130520

    Would the Saddam’s WMDs paper lie to us? Do bears sh*t in the woods?

    Actually, the Big Lie from the NYT’s stenographers is the phony meme that there can be democratic accountability for a campaign of executive murder so shrouded in secrecy that members of Congress know no more about it than the thin gruel they are spoon-fed by the MSM.

  13. tongorad

    Addressing climate change will requre global cooperation and goodwill. We’re doomed, in other words.

    And many a skeleton shook his head.
    “Instead of preaching forty year,”
    My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
    “I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer.”

    Channel Firings, Thomas Hardy

    1. BondsOfSteel

      Actually, it will require less carbon emissions. Most people assume this means less carbon emission per person as Mr. Wolf does. This solution requires goodwill and cooperation.

      Another solution is less people. This is the unspoken path we’re now on. War, famine, or pestilence… it’s all part of the Malthusian catastrophe.

      1. optimader

        “..Another solution is less people. This is the unspoken path we’re now on. War, famine, or pestilence… it’s all part of the Malthusian catastrophe…”

        Peak-Human..
        Unfortunately, someone needs to send a telegram to Cargill, Monsanto and all the enablers of intensive monoculture agriculture.

        Try suggesting the fewer people approach to most ANY religion advocate and you will be pummeled w/ scripture.

        Are we really doing “Africa” any favors by reinforcing subsistence existence w/a unsustainably larger population than the geography will naturally support w/indigenous agriculture?

        We ship them farm bill subsidized agricultural fodder as “foreign aid” and undermine their local agricultural economies.

        1. F. Beard

          Try suggesting the fewer people approach to most ANY religion advocate and you will be pummeled w/ scripture. optimader

          Prosperity is the best form of birth control.

          And our problem is not lack of prosperity but lack of “shared” prosperity because our “private” money system is a government-backed usury for stolen purchasing power cartel, the banking system, rather than, as it should be (and most likely would be except for government backing of the cartel), one largely composed of common stock (“shares”).

          But here’s some Scripture:

          “Thou shall not steal” Exodus 20:15

          “You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess. Deuteronomy 23:19-20

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Prosperity can lead to population increases.

            Compared now to, say, 1100’s CE.

          2. optimader

            “..You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest..”

            and that has worked where?
            As stated, sounds like the formula for zero commerce, uninteresting bread and disgruntled tourists. I’m no biblical scholar and have no interest in being one, but I will presume D was referring to excessive interest (Usury).

            A fair question is how “excessive” is determined?

          3. Garrett Pace

            The commandment prohibits the formation of obligations that supersede an individual’s commitments to self, family, community and God. As such I find it splendid.

            Still, the prohibition on debt would not work very well without a proscription of ACTUAL slavery, though in a limited sense only – people without money would go into the custody of the more prosperous until they are back on their feet (with their benefactor’s assistance).

          4. F. Beard

            As stated, sounds like the formula for zero commerce …

            Common stock is a money form that requires no usury, no fractional reserves, and no precious metals. It “shares” wealth and power at the same time as it consolidates them for economies of scale.

            Also, usury is ANY interest not just high interest.

          5. optimader

            – people without money would go into the custody of the more prosperous until they are back on their feet (with their benefactor’s assistance).

            and what could possibly go wrong!

          6. F. Beard

            As such I find it splendid. GP

            You remind me of the minister who said “The Lord once said and I think rightly so …”

            Also this:

            Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
            Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
            Walk in the light of your fire
            And among the brands you have set ablaze.
            This you will have from My hand:
            You will lie down in torment.
            Isaiah 50:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          7. Garrett Pace

            “and what could possibly go wrong!”

            What indeed. Still a vast improvement over what we have right now.

            “You remind me of the minister who said “The Lord once said and I think rightly so …”

            LOL. I wish more Christians (and “Christians”) through history had found it as splendid as I do.

          8. Optimader

            “,,,Also, usury is ANY interest not just high interest….”

            No, at least not if you want to be clearly understood
            1 archaic : interest 2 : the lending of money with an interest charge for its use ; especially : the lending of money at exorbitant interest rates 3 : an unconscionable or exorbitant rate or amount of interest ; specifically : interest in excess of a legal rate charged to a borrower for the use of money

          9. F. Beard

            Yes, as you can see “usury” once meant any interest, not just “exorbitant” interest.

            But one thing is beyond dispute, NO interest was to be taken from one’s poor fellow countrymen, according to the Bible. But in our society, the poor are charged the HIGHEST interest, being considered the least so-called “creditworthy.”

  14. rich

    South Florida Water Management District agreed to $26 million Mecca land buy before learning of $15 million appraisal

    The district’s land purchasing practices have drawn complaints of cronyism and criticized by its inspector general for years. As the agency responsible for restoring the Everglades, the district purchased $1 billion in land over the last two decades.

    A Post investigation in 2012 revealed deals in which the district paid millions of dollars above the appraised value for one property owned by a close friend of a top administrator and another owned by the family of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who was a congressman at the time.

    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection implemented guidelines in July recommending that the state’s five water management districts not pay more than 90 percent of the appraised value for land. Barnett did not inform the district board about the recommendation. The district’s offer is 100 percent of the county’s higher appraisal and 124 percent of the $21 million appraised value determined by its own independent appraiser.

    At the May 7 board meeting, Daniel O’Keefe, the new chairman of the district board, voted against the $26 million offer, saying he wanted more information.

    “We’re stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars and we’re responsible for that,” O’Keefe said. “In my opinion, we can’t spend more than the appraised value for the property.”

    But board member Glenn Waldman, a Broward County attorney, recommended making the $26 million offer: “I would go back to the county and say, we’ll accept your appraisal and not a penny more.”

    The nine governing board members either declined to be interviewed or did not respond to request for interviews. After learning of the undisclosed appraisal, O’Keefe referred all questions to the district’s spokesman, Randy Smith. In responding to a written request for comment from Melissa Meeker, the district’s executive director, Smith replied that Barnett’s comments represent the district’s comments.
    http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/water-district-board-agrees-to-26m-land-buy-before/nXt94/?

    what a friggin joke………….

    1. AbyNormal

      whatdaya expect…its fla

      A prosthetic leg with a Willie Nelson bumper sticker washed ashore on the beach, which meant it was Florida.

      Then it got weird.

      dorsey,pineapple grenade

  15. Expat

    “Some problems affect people who are so vulnerable and so voiceless that there simply are no markets to solve them,” from Why Suburban Poverty Is Less Visible and More Insidious.

    This is a rhetorical question, but doesn’t it become the responsibility of all of us in a democracy when the prevailing paradigm is so poisonous? I fail to feel any gratitude toward the .1%, who have made any act of compassion, kindness, respect or thoughtfullness a revolutionary act.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As job flow slows, Americans stuck…

      That’s another less visible issue, so let’s just ignore it – the issue of lack-of-quality jobs, in addition to unemployment.

      People stuck in jobs they are not passionate about or that treat them like slaves, etc – we don’t have an index for that, so, let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist.

    2. diane

      … there simply are no markets to solve them

      What heart wrenching and chilling proof that we’ve truly arrived at the point where the existence of [Free] Market$ [for a teeny handful]!!!!, … versus humans, are the deciding factor as to massive suffering.

      Despite the history of abuse for so many, in the U$, there actually was a time, not very long ago, when that would have been considered a stunningly inhumane commentary, in the U$.

      I wholeheartedly agree with your “rhetorical question,” Expat.

  16. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Apple and Ireland

    Apple is arguing they are not tax cheats; they avoided taxes through a loophole. It’s like lying with your fingers crossed behind your back. It’s still lying.

    Ireland should be more worried than Apple. The Celtic Tiger’s success looks to be mostly tax arbitrage. This kinda market flaw can be fixed by simply closing loopholes.

    1. Accrued Disinterest

      And while Apple avoids $17 million a day in taxes, Rand Paul thinks they’re owed an apology.

      1. skippy

        Rand Paul thinks they issue their own sovereign currency… too!

        skippy… corporate sovereignty is what he’s on about, Gov is only there to keep the slave,s compliant… its only Natural Evolution.

  17. Elbridge Spaulding

    On Dudley’s ‘Lessons learned from the Zero Bound,..”.
    Seems the main lessons are a very clear public relations strategy, using telegraphy, coupled with…….. ‘we are really studying to learn what works and doesn’t work.’
    So far, nothing works.
    But, stay tuned.

  18. Jessica

    Why Aren’t There More Storm Cellars in Oklahoma? The Atlantic

    Yesterday I posted here accusing the government in Oklahoma of exceptional negligence and the MSM of negligence for not asking about this. I was wrong on both counts.
    I still think we need to find some way to provide people with more protection. Especially in a city that had been hit by 3 tornadoes in a little over a decade, and now 4, including two of the strongest ever recorded.

      1. Jessica

        Not rocket science is what I thought too, but the article makes a good case that Oklahoma soils make it extremely difficult to make underground shelters, which is easy to do in Kansas.
        Yes, this would primarily be a task for the local community, but for myself, I would also rather that as a nation we had a commitment for more safety from white swan disasters (such as tornadoes in tornado alley).
        And since Oklahoma soil is so hard to deal with, I see a need for research to design inexpensive tornado shelters for that area.

        1. optimader

          In a location that digging is uneconomical due to bedrock proximity, a modest utility shed size concrete structure anchored to the bedrock sufficient to accommodate for the few minutes of jeopardy. I am certain if I lived in tornado alley I would allocate a bit of time and resource to a simple solution. The underlying issue is the risk/reward evaluation not a technical barrier.

  19. Valissa

    Vertical ‘Pinkhouses:’ The Future Of Urban Farming? http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/21/185758529/vertical-pinkhouses-the-future-of-urban-farming

    Moonshine University classes in session in Louisville http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/moonshine-university-classes-session-louisville-6C9995721

    Save Startup, DITTO.com, from Patent Trolls http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-startup-ditto-com-from-patent-trolls
    We hope to raise awareness for much needed patent reform and would like you to support the SHIELD Act, which is a clever piece of legislation introduced by by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). The backronym stands for Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes. Under the Act, if the patent troll loses in court (because the patent is found to be invalid or there is no infringement), then it pays the other side’s costs and legal fees, which often stretch into the millions of dollars. This “fee shifting” system would empower innovators to fight back, while discouraging trolls from threatening lawsuits to start.

  20. diane

    The New York Times’s words, “Conspiracy Theory,” are deliberately too vague to be of any worth, whatsoever.

    Ummmm, the reason why rational people believe in some conspiracy theories (such as the current attempt to DESTROY THE SOCIAL SECURITY SAFETY NET SYSTEM) is because, at a certain point in their lives, they come to realize that there are those who can never attain enough power and money who group together – and most certainly do – CONSPIRE to attain even more money from those who have been thoroughly robbed of it already.

    (I haven’t read the NYT piece, for the firewall. Yeah, I know that Google has been given special privilege, in order to have all dependent on Google NOOZ(and the privacy violation that brings) to provide readable links to the NYT. I refuse to Google search. Further [The] NYT is way, way, way too late in commenting on why folks believe that other folks band together and CONSPIRE, whatever they had to say.)

    1. diane

      (and if the NYT piece trashed Conspiracy Theorists , perhaps they should consult a thesaurus, ….. regarding the words, “conspire” and “theory.”)

    2. Skeptic

      Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories

      This rational person, who would not even deign to waste his time reading such trash from the MSM NY Times, asks: why would anyone believe or seriously consider any of the trash turned out by a news organization which was part of the trillions dollar WMD conspiracy that became the Iraq War? Judith Miller et al where are you now?

      And, oh by the way, we are also supposed to believe by these same people that 9/11 was an Al-Qaeda CONSPIRACY!

      NY Times disgraces itself once again.

      1. diane

        Yep on 911, dear, couldn’t agree more that it was a conspiring of those with enough wealth not to be forced to rely on, and obey!!!!, “ones own country” to be allowed to survive.

        As to:

        … why would anyone believe or seriously consider any of the trash turned out by a news organization which was part of the trillions dollar WMD conspiracy that became the Iraq War?

        If you ever find that one out, can you let me know?

        ;0)

    3. jrs

      The New York Times doesn’t disagree, although it wastes much hot air bashing conspiracy theorists vaguely. However:

      “They found, perhaps surprisingly, that believers are more likely to be cynical about the world in general and politics in particular.”

      I guess that’s where the rational comes in :). But really if you are not cynical about our politics you haven’t been paying attention. Is the TPP real or not? Is it being passed in secret without the awareness of our legistlators or not? Is that a conspiracy? Because the best use of my mind tells me it is real. What about the assasination plan on Occupy? Was it real or not? Again I’ve seen the documents (the one’s available to the public), the best use of my imperfect and limited mind ….

      “Conspiracy theories also seem to be more compelling to those with low self-worth, especially with regard to their sense of agency in the world at large. ”

      Those failures to pull themselves up by thier own bootstraps (the theory or meritocracy is not a conspiracy theory no matter how much evidence you can mounted against it)

      “Surprisingly, Swami’s work has also turned up a correlation between conspiracy theorizing and strong support of democratic principles. But this isn’t quite so strange if you consider the context. Kathryn Olmsted, a historian at the University of California, Davis, says that conspiracy theories wouldn’t exist in a world in which real conspiracies don’t exist. And those conspiracies — Watergate or the Iran-contra Affair — often involve manipulating and circumventing the democratic process.”

      You don’t say? Cracking down on whistleblowers is right up there in subverting democracy wouldn’t you say?

    4. KFritz

      Get the Chrome Browser if you don’t already have it. Use the ‘incognito browsing’ option in the ‘customize and control’ drop down in the upper right tool bar. When you reach 10/ten articles, close the incognito window, the open another. Read NYT to your heart’s content.

      1. diane

        Isn’t that [Google] Chrome that you’re referring to? If so, as I implied, I won’t use Google. Being stuck with Microsoft, via their software on computers, and at workplaces, by default, and those Microsoft privacy violations, is bad enough, why add on to who I’m being violated by?

        And in case the suggestion is coming, I do not have the resources, or time, to upgrade (and no doubt be faced with hours/weeks of ‘kink$’ and highly potential lack of connection) my computer for anything in terms of trying any other: new browser, software, or hardware.

        1. diane

          Not to even mention the fact, that I feel no desire (or need) to read NTY blather, as (I think) I also implied above. Whatever the NYT, on extremely rare occasion, might put out of any worth, will be repeated elsewhere; at which point I’ll be able to read it “elsewhere.”

  21. Valissa

    Need a musical break? Here’s the latest!

    Move over, Eddie: Teen girl shreds Van Halen cover (~1 ½ min) http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/move-over-eddie-14-old-girl-shreds-van-165113300.html

    Jacques Cousteau Stars in an Undersea Music Video (~5 min) http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2013/05/jacques-cousteau-stars-in-an-undersea-music-video/276021/

    Chemistry Dubstep (~ 2 ½ min) http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2013/05/22/chemistry-dubstep/
    Dave and Adam from Nottingham University produce a music video from the sounds made in a laboratory during chemistry experiments.

  22. diane

    One of the many tricky things about Suburban Poverty is that there are, and have been for decades, certain areas where apartment and teeny condo rentals are far more prevalent, in supposed Suburbs, then many are aware.

    Those Suburban Rentals (many are single persons), are far, far cheaper (and right next door to multiple livable wage job opportunities ) than living in cities such as San Francisco (for one example).

    I assume this is more common west of the Mississippi River than other regions due to the historic east to west populating (for the most part) of the U$.

    1. diane

      are far, far cheaper (and right next door to multiple livable wage job opportunities™ ) than living in cities such as San Francisco (for one example).

      and far far cheaper has now become every bit as unaffordable, for millions, as City renting in those areas. Frankly, it’s EVIl: the rents that have been imposed – which even those who lived in places for decades (and were able to, at one time, pay those rents) can no longer afford, even when they are working 40 hours plus – and there is far too little conversation about that, on the “internet.”

      1. diane

        (sorry, but my hand is numb and pained, had meant to capitalize that L, and write EVIL, not EVIl …)

  23. diane

    Chicago Teachers Build a Movement

    Thousands of Chicago teachers and their community allies marched and rallied for three days in opposition to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked school board’s plans to close 54 public schools, almost all of them in Black neighborhoods – the biggest round of closings anywhere in the country, to date.

    (bolding mine, Post Racism – and all the other ugly nasty means of opre$$ion – My F u c king Ass.)

    1. AbyNormal

      did i miss an F5 hitting chicago

      It is time to revive the standards movement with the reforms that Bush forgot: attracting top-flight teachers by rewarding them for performance, not just credentials, and by offering higher pay to teach in high-need areas and subjects; expanding preschool and after-school; and providing more choices within the public school system. Each of these reforms has opponents on one side of the aisle or the other, but strong support from principals, teachers, and parents.

      And we need to transform the weakest link in our education system: high school. A nation with many of the best colleges on earth must no longer tolerate having some of the worst high schools.

      Our current school year wasn’t designed for the Information Age; it’s a remnant of our agrarian past. We need to increase the amount of time young people spend learning–by lengthening the school day, extending the school year, and keeping young people engaged in learning over the course of the summer. Rahm E Jan. 9, 2009

      Inhumanity is the keynote of stupidity in power. A.Berkman

      1. diane

        Inhumanity is the keynote of stupidity in power. A.Berkman

        I don’t know that I’d call Rahm Emanuel stupid though; how about: cunning, despicable piece of shit, …. with an utterly wasted, sociopathic, depraved intelligence.

          1. diane

            Hmmm, I think maybe the filters didn’t like the coreyrobin.com / 2012 / 09 / 10 / terry-moran-how-much–_ucking-money-do-you-make-a-year / link I initialy used for “public school teachers,” in my first response, so I’ll switch it for another:

            Not a whole heck of a lot, but I’m pretty sure (actually I’m positive) that all of the public school teachers (see also here and here) and Glen Ford, who are outraged about Rahm[bo], who has continually shown himself to be a racist, corrupt, brutal, power mad focker, are certainly on the right side of humanity.

            And you? What exactly do you know about the chicago public school system, Optimador?

  24. rich

    Why Are Homeowners Being Jailed for Demanding Wall Street Prosecutions?
    Bankers go free while cops tase peaceful protesters and the Department of Justice targets journalists
    A two-day long housing protest outside the Department of Justice this week has resulted in nearly 30 arrests and several instances of law enforcement unnecessarily using tasers on activists, according to eye-witnesses. The action – which was organized by a coalition of housing advocacy groups, including the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes – called for Attorney General Eric Holder to begin prosecutions against the bankers who created the foreclosure crisis.

    “Everyone here is fed up with Holder acknowledging big banks did really bad stuff but [saying] they’re too big to jail,” says Greg Basta, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, who helped organize the event. Holder has previously suggested that prosecuting large banks would be difficult because it could destabilize the economy. The attorney general recently tried to walk those comments back – but the conspicuous lack of criminal prosecutions of bankers tells another story, one that Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi has written about extensively.

    Alexis Goldstein, a former Wall Street employee and current Occupy Wall Street activist who was also at the event on Monday, agrees. “I want Eric Holder to uphold the rule of law, regardless of how much power the criminal has,” says Goldstein. She says the lack of criminal prosecutions has created a “culture of immunity” that only gets further entrenched by the small settlements that banks now consider a cost of doing business. “There’s no risk,” she says, adding that the DOJ is effectively “incentivizing breaking the law.”

    Activists note with dismay that the government has been significantly harder on people who stage nonviolent demonstrations against Wall Street than it has on the crooked bankers responsible for the housing crisis. Goldstein and Basta both say they witnessed law enforcement using tasers on multiple protesters this week.

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-are-homeowners-being-jailed-for-demanding-wall-street-prosecutions-20130522#ixzz2U3ecy5qb

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Too big to fail.

      Too many to prosecute – if a lot of people are involving in the lynching, they will just say they lack the resources…or some other excuse.

  25. Gizzard

    Problem with Arthurs solution………. it needs to be 10 million. 1 million congregate in Alabama for a Nascar Race.

    Million man marches were something in the sixties. Its gotta be 10 or 25 million now…………. inflation I guess

  26. AbyNormal

    Meet Satan’s Left & Right Elbows: CME Duffy & ICE Sprecher

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and overseas agencies have a few months to improve coordination before differences hurt business, IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher said at a House Agriculture Committee hearing where testified alongside CME Group (CME) Inc. Executive Chairman Terry Duffy.

    “Global financial reform efforts are not being harmonized and substantial differences remain between regulatory regimes,” Sprecher said at today’s hearing in Washington. “It is crucial to understand that if countries erect barriers, markets and market participants will be damaged.”

    The CFTC and Securities and Exchange Commission are leading U.S. efforts to revamp oversight of the $633 trillion global swaps market after unregulated trades helped fuel the 2008 credit crisis. Representative Frank D. Lucas, the Oklahoma Republican who leads the Agriculture Committee, called the hearing to begin considering changes to the law that authorizes the CFTC to provide oversight of swaps and futures markets.

    Duffy warned lawmakers that a proposal to pay for market oversight through industry fees would drive business out of the U.S. A user fee on market-making represents a tax that threatens to increase costs on users of derivatives, he said.

    The international reach of the CFTC’s swap rules has been one of the most contentious parts of the agency’s Dodd-Frank work, drawing opposition from banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc. European and Asian regulators criticized the U.S. agency for the reach of rules requiring trades to be guaranteed at clearinghouses and traded on exchanges or other platforms.

    Swaps rules under consideration in the U.S. are fragmenting the global market, nine overseas finance officials said in an April 18 letter urging U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to limit Dodd-Frank’s reach.

    “An approach in which jurisdictions require that their own domestic regulatory rules be applied to their firms’ derivatives transactions taking place in broadly equivalent regulatory regimes abroad is not sustainable,” the officials wrote to Lew, who has no formal role in the agencies’ rulemaking.

    CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler has pushed for rules to cover foreign branches and subsidiaries of U.S. banks unless overseas regulations are comparable enough to accomplish the same goals.

    “Because markets are global and capital flows across borders, no single country or regulatory regime oversees the derivatives market,” Sprecher said in his prepared remarks. “In order to make long-term business decisions, market participants require certainty that their transactions will not be judged on conflicting standards.”

    The lack of coordination between among regulators is forcing ICE to consider splitting contracts into different versions for each jurisdiction, he said at the hearing.

    European regulators face a regulatory process that is so rigid “that to change is like turning around an oil tanker,” Stephen O’Connor, chairman of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association Inc., told lawmakers at the hearing. “People shouldn’t underestimate the seriousness of potential conflict.”

    At today’s hearing the Agriculture Committee also debated ways to improve protection of client funds after money went missing during the downfalls of MF Global Holdings Ltd. (MFGLQ) and Peregrine Financial Group Inc.
    bloomberg/today

    Merlin, if you don’t stop whining, I’m going to take Gwen’s sword and beat you to death with it,” said Arthur, evenly.
    “It’s plastic.”
    “So it will take me a long time. I’m still game.”
    FayJay,The Student Prince

    1. skippy

      Something from the anus then…

      Wal-Mart Hires Former Bush Aide as Chief Image Maker

      To continue burnishing its image, Wal-Mart has replaced a former Clinton White House aide with a former Bush White House staff member.
      Add to Portfolio

      Walmart Stores Inc
      Go to your Portfolio »
      The company, the nation’s largest retailer, announced on Wednesday that Dan Bartlett, an adviser to President George W. Bush, would be its new executive vice president of corporate affairs, starting in late June.

      The vague-sounding role in fact has a wide mandate, overseeing corporate communications, government relations, sustainability and the Wal-Mart Foundation. It is in essence Wal-Mart’s chief image maker.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/business/wal-mart-hires-a-new-chief-image-maker.html?_r=0

      skippy… fashion is fickle.. eh.

      1. AbyNormal

        bahahahaahaa omg Skippy…my tummy muscles still hurt from last night!

        could you see us sittin round a table makin this sh!t up…NO not even close

        We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything…Pratchett,NightWatch

        1. diane

          Not to be fussy, but this just does not ring true, at all:

          We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything ….

          one rarely, if ever hears how laughing while about to die is the thing folks do, unless it was an expected, due to disease or age, death …. even then …..

          1. diane

            ‘quaint,’ quite ‘objective’ thought though, I mean what if all those drone subjects, for just one instance, were to look up and laugh, ….. versus to futilely attempt to outrun that drone ….. for their lives ….

          2. skippy

            @diane…

            As I have pointed out, it saved my metal state many a time and have observed the different out comes for those that don’t – dead or close to it. Why do you think all the Stans vets are offing themselves.

            skippy… being raging angry has consequences… eh. Down-under [and other places] we have a great tool for dealing with fookwits… we call them out in public aka tall poppy syndrome… all of them~

            Bonus video…

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0pFJPrU5gc

          3. diane

            I made no comment about your post above, I was referring to the quote Abynormal made in responding to that post.

            I did make a comment about a post you made a few Links Threads ago, and I stick to it. There’s a fine line where satire turns to painful snark and can shatter those not able to laugh, for whatever reason, when they are facing the chopping block.

  27. Wat

    Re: conspiracy theory article, thank god for Serious people to remind us that everything is, indeed, OK.

  28. 1035-960

    Love the increasingly frantic perseveration of the magic word ‘conspiracy.’ Because no one’s talking about conspiracies. We’re talking about serious crimes of concern to the international community, committed with impunity by the civilian/military command structure of the US government: Forcible overthrow, effected and attempted (JFK, the shooting of Ronald Reagan). Extrajudicial killing (RFK, MLK, Fred Hampton). Armed attacks on civilian populations (Gladio A & B, Kent State, Jackson State, OKC, WTC, 9/11, Boston Marathon). Medical experimentation (Jonestown, Camp XRAY, Camp Nama). Violations of the Neutrality Act (arms for hostages). Violations of the Biological Weapons Treaty (anthrax attacks and government destruction of evidence). Breaches of the NPT (Marc Grossman and Douglas Feith acting in their official capacity at DoS and DoD). Aggression (inter alia, Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria). Crimes against humanity (black-site disappearance and torture). Atrocious derogations of human rights (inter alia, imprisonment of Alisha Owen, indefinite detention without charge at Guantanamo Bay, illegal mass evictions). They don’t need to conspire, they’re above the law. This is a criminal state.

  29. Roland

    Pritchard writes that “US M3 is not growing briskly.”

    The US central bank stopped publishing their M3 years ago, since it was becoming too embarrassing. Have they resumed?

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