Links 5/7/13

Patient readers: Yves will return tomorrow at the very latest although perhaps very late. –lambert

‘This is not a declaration of war’: Israel seeks to reassure Syria over airstrikes that reportedly killed at least 42 Independent

Reuters: U.N. Investigators Say Syrian Rebels, Not Syrian Regime, Used Chemical Weapons BradBlog (and see also).

White House “highly skeptical” Syrian rebels used chemical weapons WaPo

The Blame Game Begins: Who Will Be Held Responsible for Creating the Afghan “Vertically Integrated Criminal” Government? emptywheel

The Commission forecasts for Spain, Italy and Ireland Euro Intelligence

Larry Summers Says that Reinhart-Rogoff Type Mistakes Are “Distressingly Common” Then Goes on to Prove His Point CEPR

Against optimism about social science  Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

When Deficits Become a Problem Tim Duy

What is the Crash Generation? Next New Deal. I think generational analysis is at best a blunt tool, but this is not uninteresting.

Obama and Marijuana: Then and Now The New Yorker. Dim light bulb flickers over Hendryk Herzberg’s head.

Investing in a Job Guarantee – how much? Bill Mitchell – billy blog 

The Worst Unemployment Crisis In Modern History Is Unfolding Right Now Business Insider. Spain.

I Am A Republican… Can We Talk About A Single Payer System? American College of Cardiologists. UPDATE A second link, if the original does not work.

Indiana University Circumvents ACA by Eliminating Full-time Hourly Employees HuffPo. Stay classy, IU!

2 Big Banks Face Suits In Mortgage Pact Abuses Dealbook, Times

ISS on J.P. Morgan: London Whale ‘Unveiled Multiple Points of Failure’  Online WSJ

Companies ‘cook the books to meet tough targets’: survey Reuters. Says Ernst & Young.

Protests mount on use of BP Gulf spill funds FT. Alabama’s using its coastal restoration money to build a convention center.

CROOKED CLEANUP: Yakuza taking slice of lucrative decontamination work Asahi Shimbun

Beijing cracks down on hot money inflows for bets on yuan appreciation South China Morning Post 

Behind the rise of Bangladesh’s Hefazaat Al Jazeera

Soros shorting the Australian dollar? Macrobusiness

Expanding Security State Corrente. Lockdown in Madison, WI. Readers, any lockdowns in your area that didn’t make the national news?

Bulletproof Whiteboards And The Marketing Of School Safety NPR

In defense of neglectful parenting mathbabe

Air Force’s sexual assault prevention chief arrested for sexual assault CBS

No New Deadly Gonorrhea Strain After All; NBC Retracts Earlier Report About Virus “Worse Than HIV” Medical Daily

The Nocebo Effect: Media Reports May Trigger Symptoms of a Disease Science Daily

The Political Roots of American Obesity Truthout

NIMH Won’t Follow Psychiatry ‘Bible’ Anymore Science

The Verdict Is In: Nobody Likes Google Glass Business Insider. Good. 

Facebook looks to video ads as it seeks new revenue streams FT. Will Zuckerberg utterly degrade the Faceborg user experience by playing videos automatically? You had to ask?

Extreme Drought to Flood in Georgia: Weather Whiplash Strikes Again Jeff Masters, Weather Underground

Antidote du jour (MR):


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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. Richard Kline

      Croc: “You think you know what you don’t know, but I know you don’t know what you think you know. And I can prove it in one easy step.”

  1. William

    What shocks and amazes me about the city-wide lockdowns is the utter lack of protest or anyone standing up for their rights, a complete abdication to authority and fear. I thought kids only hid under desks in case of nuclear attack, but a criminal on the loose? There are criminals on the loose all around us all the time.

    1. William

      To clarify, because I know someone will think I meant this, I wasn’t dissing kids, but the adults that made them hide under desks for hours, apparently. This country has gone totally and utterly insane.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What is insane is to keep voting for the same candidates and expect different results.

        Fool us twice, shame on us.

        So, now, we are both ashamed and insane.

      1. Wells Fargo Must Die

        The US loves authoritarianism in all its forms. It will always submit to authority as that it is what we have been trained to do. We love to think of ourselves as independent largely because that is what we have been taught as well. It’s a terrified country that wants to be protected and will readily relinquish all of its rights for it to happen as we see time and time again.

        It’s a society that says we must protect our freedom by drafting people against their will to fight for it.

        1. neo-realist

          But instead of a direct draft, we deindustrialize and outsource much of our economic base, so that many working schlubs have no choice but to join the military for a paycheck, 3 squares, and health care, i.e., poverty draft.

          1. Whine Country

            Ah, you’ve found the antidote to the draft blues. Instead of drafting poor lower and middle class youth, they eliminated the draft (over the objections of many senior generals who were not polical puppets) and replaced it with a “voluntary” military. And the secret to keeping the supply of troups high is, as you say, policies that limit job opportunities and impoverish our youth, leaving them no alternative but volunteer to be drafted. My two sons studied to become professional pilots. The trickle of hirings that has been constant since 911 literally forced them to either change careers or get hired by Air Force Airlines. The “chose” the latter.

            What we have now is the third or fourth iteration of the supply/demand equation that first came to light during the civil war. The Union quickly realized that it was not possible to institute a draft without providing that certain of the youth who had wealthy and powerful parents, could literelly purchase an expemption. Thanks to that little detail, we really have to thank the millions of poor, many of them imigrants that arrived with little, for winning the Civil War. All Lincoln did was start it.

          2. Procopius

            @Whine Country: “All Lincoln did was start it.” Lincoln fired on Fort Sumter? Now I understand why y’all call it The War of Northern Aggression.

      2. Franklin Boyhood Intimacy

        Well, speaking for America’s child molesters, the F.B.I. works night and day to keep us safe. We in turn have done our part for the USA! We perv-Americans, in partnership with the FBI, have helped CIA blackmail lots of inveterate bachelors who aren’t really interested in sex with adults. Not everybody falls for Rielle Hunter, you know! And if you have a fellow you really need to keep in line, a UN weapons inspector, or whatever, there’s nothing like a nymphette! Ask Scott Ridder!

          1. psychohistorian

            Surely you are not suggesting that Chavez was killed by a cancer virus?

            Our country wouldn’t do such a thing.

            /snark off

            The toilet bowl of civilization is swirling.

    2. jrs

      It’s pretty natural for the first reflex (at least for the non-minority middle class) when all law enforcement says to stay inside is to obey and stay inside. That was Boston. Experiments have already told us people reflexively obey authority afterall.

      Ok, NOW that we *KNOW* that … now that we who weren’t in Boston saw the dress rehersal, now what? We need a plan to NOT do that in the future – use those frontal lobes and override the reflex with a thought out plan. Not to do what they did in Madison and hide in our houses for an ordinary criminal. In that case that’s really all it was, nothing of nothing, an ordinary criminal is about, big f-in deal.

      Here have a white rose …

  2. Can't Help It

    Movies have really made people’s expectations unrealistic. “The voice controls for Glass are buggy” I can bet you that it’s the case for pretty much any voice controlled app, except if the device is somehow coded to your “voice signature” and even then, you still have to speak relatively clearly. These are hard problems and a lot of progress have been made, but I don’t think they are ready for prime time or at least they are only applicable when the uses cases are very specific.

  3. financial matters

    No New Deadly Gonorrhea Strain After All; NBC Retracts Earlier Report About Virus “Worse Than HIV” Medical Daily

    Just as a clarification, gonorrhea isn’t a virus but a bacteria. Viruses have always been trickier to treat but antibacterial resistance is definitely becoming a real problem. Probably one of the worst is xdr-tb which is contagious and not only extremely drug resistant but extremely expensive to treat over an extremely long time.

    1. evodevo

      Ignorance of basic biological concepts is rampant among our communication majors.

  4. David Lentini

    Thoughts About the Thoughts About the Social (Anti-)Sciences

    Why do people take Larry Summers seriously any more? Beyond the commentary on his Post piece, doesn’t anyone find it odd that the man who championed the repeal of Glass-Stegal now argues about the lessons of history? Or does history for him begin in 1945?

    I think the real problems with the social sciences boil down to two major themes:

    1. Most of the people who enter the social science fields, especially economics, have no experience with the hard sciences, especially physics. The lack of familiarity with the use and limits of mathematics to describe the real world leaves the social sciences vulnerable to becoming cargo cult sciencies, which emulate the outwards appearences of science while lacking any of the substance. Thus, we have too many researchers who follow a charicature of the scientific method.

    2. The need to “publish or perish”, and the fact that many of the social sciences address needs that can make news easily, tends to reward those who publish often and make big claims. (Hello, Larry.) The lack of a true culture of scientific rigor only further enables this system. Thus, we see there is little downside to sloppy execution and intellectual incompetence. Indeed, the system now really rewards those pander to the politically powerful, like Reinhart and Rogoff and the rest of “frackademia”.

    The best way to combat this is to make all research open-source, so that commentary can be wide-spread, thus defeating the incestuous nature of peer-review, requiring full disclosure of funding sources to blunt conficts of interest, and enforce strong codes of conduct that will keep funding away from researchers who demonstrate a lack of care and ethics.

    1. taunger

      serious question: in your open source peer review model, do mathematically trained people do the necessary review?is it for free? who compensates them for their time? how? why?

      i like the idea that open source solutions are possible, but open peer review of academia seems a tad unrealistic to me. I know some folks that review physics papers, and it’s not their favorite part of the job. It seems unlikely a large cohort ready and willing to do detailed review of academic social sciences papers for peanuts will appear.

      1. David Lentini

        The idea would be that the review is open to all who care to comment. Some examples are described in the Wikipedia article on this subject.

        The traditional peer review has been under attack, and in my experience with some good reason, for decades now. In general, reviewers have been known to form blocs that favor some subjects and authors, thus skewing the direction of research. In other cases the reviews are shoddy, often becuase the reviewers lack time for making adequate comments. Often conflicts of interest arise between reviewers and the authors. In short peer review can give a paper a misleading aura of validation.

        In the area of the social sciences, open review could help bring a better sense of reality to comments, as a wider scope of experience than available to researchers can be brought to bear. If quality of comments is a concern, then comment ranking systems can be used to make serious comments more visible.

        But after the Reinhart-Rogoff debacle, we need more public transparency of the data and analysis of publications that address major public issues and have huge impacts on policy.

      2. Nathanael

        Review is done by those willing to do it.

        For most of the history of science, science was a hobby of the independently wealthy. The primary reviewers will probably continue to be the independently wealthy.

        Reviewing is something which ought to get you credit within the academic world, and probably still will continue to… but the academic world has its own problems (having been taken over by adminstrators with delusions of grandeur), so it’s undergoing its own massive crisis and the future funding stream for academics is unclear. Rich patron is what I would go with if I wanted a reliable funding stream.

    2. craazyman

      If a reasonably intelligent GED can’t figure out #1 by looking at the world for about 20 minutes there’s no hope phyiscs study will produce anything but incomprehension.

      It’s amazing what our culture calls “education”. By it’s proper name, it would be called “indoctrination”.

      The only real education occurs at vocational schools where individuals learn how to fix electrical systems or weld metal together or drive 18-wheel trucks or learn how to be a dental assistant — where you really have to do something and have it come out right.

      1. David Lentini

        I agree with the point about “indoctrination”, which is why real experience is so important–just what happens at vocational training schools. But we can do this in colleges too, by establishing minimum standards for subject distribution (yes, a “core” curriculum) that requires real exposure to the scientific method. Perhaps we should also encourage students to work for several years before applying to graduate degree programs in the social sciences, to avoid the sort of naïté we have today.

      1. nobody

        “This article argues that an iconic event in the history of helping research–the story of the 38 witnesses who remained inactive during the murder of Kitty Genovese–is not supported by the available evidence. Using archive material, the authors show that there is no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive.”

  5. acmerecords

    with regard to Obama and the hypocritical ‘press club’ having a laugh at the expense of the sick ..which, by the way is a little more than “perhaps a little tasteless, if you’re the sensitive type” as the New Yorker’s style reporter frames it, it is a conscious withholding of effective medicine from the sick – yes, that’s what we do in this country…Choom!

    and with regard to the Obama drug enforcement plan – he says that legalization of cannabis is – ‘extreme’

    Obama shows that he is truly ‘totally absorbed’ (as in, narcissism)with respect to cannabis prohibition…#MJisMD

        1. YankeeFrank

          That is a really pat answer. The people have brought about change in the only way they can — at the state level. The Federal government no longer responds to the will of the people in almost every instance, and so we only have the state and local governments where we can institute any change. We have done so in many cases and Obama’s disgusting government sees fit to crush that will. It is already too painful for millions of us. Obama just doesn’t care whose lives he destroys, as long as they aren’t “important” or rich. Frankly, he’s a sociopath.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            One thing for sure – the happy 0.01% are not interested in change. It’s up to the ‘we can feel our pain’ 99.99%.

          2. Nathanael

            Well, yeah, Frank. When some of us say “When the people are angry enough, there will be change”, we’re talking French Revolution. We are currently on the path which leads to that. I would like to get off that path.

            The state-level successes are a good thing as they provide a possible way to get off that path. If the states continue to reform, the federal government will either (a) follow, or (b) the states will jointly decide to get rid of the federal government, as happened during the fall of the USSR.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You can feel the pain and bring out change peacefully.

            You can’t do that if you have been safely sedated.

          4. Charles LeSeau

            Nathaniel, we’re not on a path to revolution. The US is the most amazing experiment in mass mind control ever.
            Even the freakball Nazis didn’t have this kind of brainwashing at their disposal. Sure, they had big Nuremburg rallies with Speer’s 10,000 flood lights, but they didn’t have anything like the Superbowl. People here will take it and take it and take it some more, and will never revolt.

  6. Jackrabbit

    Larry Summers and Hillary Clinton: What Elite push-back looks like

    “At this point, what difference does it make?”


    No doubt we’ll see more of this.

  7. JohnDT

    Putting things in proportion:
    – Obama is having talks with scientists about climate catastrophes:
    – E&Y shows how corrupt corporate financials have become:$FILE/Navigating_todays_complex_business_risks.pdf
    – Many tens slaughtered by Assad’s soldiers this week
    And yet the first headline in today’s news is a critical piece about Israeli strikes against Assad’s/Ayatollahs/Hezbollah chemical weapons bases being bombed?

  8. Diogenes

    Hendryk Herzberg may have done a little too much field research for that pot piece if he honestly believes this:

    “[I]f Obama had a Johnsonian majority we’d have single-payer universal health care, a hefty carbon tax, and semi-meaningful gun control. And Guantánamo would be just another naval base.”

    1. taunger

      The equally implausible, and disgusting, “if . . . then . . . ” that came to mind involving garden implements and Hertzberg’s mother are just too much for even this blog, I fear.

      The dark side in that sentence is strong: first, that with majorities those policies could happen, but more importantly, that such majorities are even possible anymore . Of course, a super majority of feckless narcissists runs everything, but that’s the point, isn’t it?

    2. jrs

      If wishes were horses beggers would ride …

      If all the world was paper, and all the sea was ink, if all the trees were bread and cheese …

      If my mom was a man she’d be my dad …

      Geting kinda tired of the counter-factuals, since of course not having happened they aren’t provable either way (which is oh so convenient and excuse is it not?). All evidence points to Obama is a corrupt scumbag sellout who doens’t give a @#$# about the average person.

    3. Ms G

      For sure Hendryk is at a minimum passed out on hopium. If he did too much field research on the pot project on top of that, he may have experienced his last flicker of delusion with this entry in the New Yorker.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you bomb with love, according to some research, the victims won’t feel so bad.

          1. Valissa

            These cartoons are the bomb!



            A questionable anti-proliferation strategy

            Timing is critical

            A bomb sniffing dog

  9. David Petraitis

    Clinicians are going to be replaced by machines in psychiatry as well….

    Instead of dementia, I guess we will now get Frontal-temporal-lobe-electrical-signal disorder. I used to have a friend who worked in a mental ward, he said all the patients were conversant with the DSM categories, while the doctors would just say “Oh. he’s CRAZY!”

  10. Mark S

    Lisa Brumfiel, a pro se plaintiff, is challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s foreclosure laws. She is arguing that an unsworn “statement of qualified holder” violates the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
    She seems to have the judges ear; she just won a temporary injunction stopping the foreclosure sale of her house. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  11. Valissa

    Armored Nutshellz… Bulletproof men’s cup created by Jeremiah Raber

    Why it may be OK to spit-clean your baby’s binkie

    The Onion reacts with humor to Twitter hack by Syrian activists

    From The Syrian Electronic Army… We Were Going To Take Over The ‘Onion’ Website, But It’s A Real Mess With All Those Ads,32327/

    Funny cats in water

  12. AbyNormal

    finally! they got a name for it…Weather Whiplash
    we always told peeps ‘if ya don’t like the weather here just give it 5min’
    i never thought it’d stop…most of the time it sounded like hail on the windows.

    now for the fun…bring on the mold & mosquito-borne diseases
    As of December 11, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,387 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 243 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,734 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,653 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

  13. AbyNormal
    A team of researchers has come up with a list of two dozen “ultraconserved words” that have survived 150 centuries. It includes some predictable entries: “mother,” “not,” “what,” “to hear” and “man.” It also contains surprises: “to flow,” “ashes” and “worm.”
    “I was really delighted to see ‘to give’ there,” Pagel said. “Human society is characterized by a degree of cooperation and reciprocity that you simply don’t see in any other animal. Verbs tend to change fairly quickly, but that one hasn’t.”
    “To spit” is also a surprising survivor. It may be that the sound of that word is just so expressive of the sound of the activity — what linguists call “onomatopoeia” — that it simply couldn’t be improved on over 15,000 years.”

    …yall hear our ancestors??
    Give & Cooperate!…Until we spot that Uncooperative Money Changer…then SPIT on’em before they meet the great Fire.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think in 15,000 years, nodding still means no in Albania.

      And ‘LOL’ will still mean laugh out loud, I hope.

  14. Whine Country

    The Blame Game Begins: Who Will Be Held Responsible for Creating the Afghan “Vertically Integrated Criminal” Government?

    Hasn’t always been our policy to force 3rd world countries to follow our model?

      1. down2long


        And may I say that I hope Yves was on a well-deserved R and R and that Lambert did a bang-up job in her stead. Thank you Lambert! And Yves, rest up. It’s gettin’ ugly up in here and we need you rested for battle.

        1. AbyNormal

          couldn’t agree more!
          Summer colds are hell Yves…Please Take Care.
          Lambert has it goin on…master swordsman of this motley crew.

          Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition. ba-zinga Mr. James Baldwin

  15. BondsOfSteel

    Ha! Ernst & Young should know all about cooked books. After all they were Lehman Brother’s accountants.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe the link is clogged?

      We need more cute vegetables and more fiber in order to digest those hard-to-digest news.

      And exercise more, physically and mentally

  16. Yearning to Learn

    although I think the political roots of American Obesity is an interesting thought experiment, we really need look no further than one thing and one thing only.

    Food subsidies.

    we subsidize Corn, Sugar, Meat, Dairy, and Wheat.
    these are all massively involved in obesity, diabetes, cholesterol issues, and cardiac disease.

    we would have a markedly different American BMI if we subsidized Vegetables and Fruits.

    worse: we create this terrible “Food Pyramid” that was created by… THe Grain, Corn, Meat, Dairy and Sugar Lobbies.

    so we teach our kids to eat garbage
    we subsidize garbage
    and then we’re surprised that they all turn out obese.

    there’s no question that the lack of job security and the dual income home play into this. but other countries have just as much of these mental health stressors and yet don’t have the obesity levels

    the difference is the access to high glycemic, high fat, high protein, and high caloric density foods.

  17. Eureka Springs

    On Syria. US Israel Saudi Qatar utter and complete madness. Where the heck is the UN? What’s the wait on war crimes charges on so many levels but certainly Israel bombing Syria?

    Where is the so-called left outrage? Rule of law? Anywhere in the world?

    1. psychohistorian

      I see the decent into global hell being brought to us by the collusion between the inherited rich of the past centuries and the bankrupt religions that support the ongoing class based theocracy we slave under.

    2. They didn't leave me a choice

      I thought rule of law was suspended until war on terror was over.

      1. Klassy!

        Hey Ms.G! Best part: Korman said the administration had engaged in a “choreography”.
        Bonus points for calling out Teva pharmaceuticals for price gouging.

  18. John

    Dear considerate contributors,

    Please don’t worry yourself so much, constantly apologizing to your readers. You do more than enough.


  19. craazyman

    anybody know a good Efficiency School? I need some efficiency lessons so I can get competitive. I lay around too much and waste time. That’s no way to be successful

    Do you get efficient first, and then competitive? Or do you get competitive first, and then work on your efficiency?

    It’s confusing. Where do you start? Who tells you what to be competitive and efficient at?

    What if you get efficient at something that’s so competitive it doesn’t matter if you’re competitive or efficient? Like being an actress.

    Sometimes you just get lucky and make a few million dollars even though you’re not competitive or efficient. So what difference does it make?

    Send a million dollars and I’ll figure it out and let you know: attn: Joe, PO Box 7, Magonia Station, Magonia, checks or valuables accepted in lieu of cash

    1. psychohistorian

      NC has arrived.

      It now has its own “Nigerian” blog comment scam……grin

    2. Valissa

      Hey Craazyman, is your real name Carruthers?

      Strategic productivity (Craazyman at work?) Part 1

      Strategic productivity Part 2

      The old efficiency excuse

      Savage Chickens

  20. Antifa

    @ Whine Country — stating that Lincoln started the Civil War is easily the most ignorant sentence to appear on these pages, ever.

    Elected in early November of 1860, Abe was in Springfield, Illinois packing his socks and wrapping up his legal practice during the several months when one Southern state after another followed South Carolina’s lead in declaring themselves sovereign entities. Every one of their declarations of independence mentioned protection of slavery as the “basis of their economy.”

    Abe was meanwhile a President-elect — with no power to start anything except a fire in the stove on many a cold Illinois morning while he waited four long months to take a train to Washington in the late winter of the next year.

    By February of 1861, the seceded Southern states had reached out to one another to establish a Confederacy that would provide mutual protection, had written and approved their own Constitution that included slavery as a key economic pillar, appointed Jefferson Davis as their President, and begun raising an Army to protect their new confederacy They then seized all multiple Federal forts and garrisons throughout the South.

    Abe reacted to all this by having a new suit made, and getting his shirts and books packed in travel cases. When he talked with visitors and admirers it was always of keeping the peace, and reconciliation through compromise.

    Finally, on February 11th, Abe began a 12-day train trip that wandered all over the upper Midwest and Northeast, stopping constantly to greet supporters. Due to a credible assassination plot planned by certain Southern gentlemen, he took the advice of Allan Pinkerton and slipped into Washington unannounced on the final night of this whistle-stop journey, on February 23rd. He met reporters and supporters at his hotel the next morning. They called him a coward for avoiding his assassins.

    He took the oath of office on March 4th, again vowing to keep the peace. He spent his first month in office reaching out to the principals of all the seceded states to come together and work out their grievances together as Americans, but was roundly spurned. He even made it plain that the seceded states could keep their slaves.

    But no, the Southern states wanted slavery extended to every new state and territory of the growing country, and were willing to fight to see that it happened. They also specifically wanted runaway slaves forcibly sent back to their southern owners if they made it to free states.

    In April, Virginia seceded, and its capital Richmond was declared the capital of the Confederacy. Now there was a standing rebel army within easy reach of Washington, DC.

    Five weeks passed, and then South Carolina fired on the Union Fort Sumter on April 12, simply because it was a Union fort in a newly sovereign state. The Fort promptly surrendered.

    By July 1st, It was clear that only a fight would settle the question of secession. The South refused any negotiations on the question of slavery for every new state and territory, and had a huge army eager to march on Washington.

    Lincoln took the oath of office over a thoroughly divided Union. He had a huge rebel Army 30 miles from the Oval office within the first few months of his term. None of the new states an territories of the expanding country wanted slavery, but the South wanted it imposed on them anyway.

    His only choice was to go home to Springfield, or say “no” to the rebels.

    Saying Lincoln started the Civil War is like saying you completely trashed your house before you ever moved into it.

    There are books full of facts at your local library that will help you understand what actually happened.

  21. Michael Ann Casey

    At first Mary Margaret seemed kind of upset that she didn’t get the job. Mister Brennan went in to see her and before he closed the door we heard about a hundred voices, all different, yell BRENN-NANNNN! and wind noises and stuff. I was squeezed up to the wall to hear but all I heard was like, The power of christ compels you! over and over, and squeaks and jibbers. He came out with some green stuff on his face but not mad or anything. Mary Margaret can be temperamental.

    Mister Brennan told her she could run the pedophile blackmail section and the fake mass murder branch. Those are probably her real favorites. Daddy told me once there was this time they needed somebody to take the fall for liquidating Joe Otero. It was some problem with the nun-raping program, I think. Anyway, Mary Margaret was going out with some guy Dennis and she said, He would be perfect. And he was! She had already hynotized him to get him to join the human centipede at the Christmas party, so they just wound him up and pointed him at a bunch of random people to slaughter. All you had to do was say BTK. In fact, Daddy said, one time Mary Margaret was lunching with him and she ordered a BLT and Dennis tried to disembowel the waitress.

    1. skippy

      Their busy liquidating non performing assets and harvesting the future earnings via prime – sub prime securititzation… again… then instead of a shoe dropping… the pants come off like a male stripper[!!!].

  22. rich

    The Privilege of the Pritzkers

    Their wealth is almost incalculable, because according to Forbes magazine, they are the only family in America to have off shore tax-free trusts because they were grandfathered in. Their off shore trust can ship money back to their family tax-free. It was grandfathered in because their grandfather got it through Congress – he was smart to see the future and got it done. Congress closed the loophole and grandfathered him in. Forbesmagazine wrote about the Pritzker’s off shore trust, they emphasized that there are over 1000 separate trusts. Many families have two or three different savings accounts to keep track of what money belongs to who, but when you have over 1000 different trusts to handle the family estate it’s very hard to comprehend how much wealth there is and how many businesses they control. A few years ago, Penny sold TransUnion, the largest credit reporting agency in America, but there’s a question about whether she sold it to herself by selling it to various hedge funds which her family has a large interest in. Until she sold it, you could say that Penny Pritzker had more files on every citizen in America than the CIA and FBI combined, because everybody has a credit score and credit report. Penny Pritzker had the credit scores and report on every single citizen in America.

    1. psychohistorian

      If the avoidance of tax consequences by the corporations internationally now that “they are people my friends” is any indication, more folks than the Pritzker’s are hiding all their inherited wealth around the world.

      After all, where did the corporations learn how to be people from?

      Their titular owners of course.

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  24. Dr. Brian Oblivion

    If TPP “liberalization” requirements are anything like IMF policies used against third world countries the first thing to go would be Japanese agriculture. State subsidized industry… that’s gotta go. Akihabara… bye bye. Anime? It can be outsourced to Bangladesh.

    Japan has a unique and vibrant culture and they deserve to keep it. The US firebombed Tokyo and dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan to see what effect those weapons would have on cities which hadn’t received bomb damage. And we still maintain a military presence on beautiful Okinawa, for reasons of self[ish] interest, not to “defend” the Japanese people.

    Haven’t we done enough?

    Investor rights treaties negotiated in secret and with the participation of corporate tyrannies are blatant abuses of power… it’s that neoliberal desire to “lock in” unpopular changes which have the force of law without oversight of the legislature.

    Why does Obama hate the American public so?

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