Links 10/17/13

Tiny Homes: Man Lives in Self-Built Hobbit Hole in Rural Oregon Yahoo

Can kindness movements make a difference? BBC. Australia is number one! I forget the cute tag expression, but it was common in Oz to have a “clean up the park” afternoon, where people did more than pick up garbage (parks are generally pretty well kept) but would rake leaves, clear out broken branches, tend the grass and plants.

Brain problems can linger months after ICU stay Reuters

Washington state sues lobbyists over campaign against GMO labeling Reuters (furzy mouse)

BP’s silent disaster Aljazeera

Winds of Change Blow in Asia Triple Crisis. TPP update.

Is China consuming more than we think? MacroBusiness

Europe’s debt crisis credibility hangs on thin Irish thread Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

VAT Increase Backfires in Spain, Supermarket Sales Plunge 7.2% Michael Shedlock

Banking Inquiry Casts a Cloud Over Bailout of Greece New York Times

U.S. Campaign Against Turkish Spy Chief Continues Moon of Alabama

Iraq war ‘left half a million dead’ BBC

Clearest Indication Yet That Some Chemical Weapon Sites in Syria Are Under Rebel Control Jim White, emptywheel

Shutdown Showdown

South Dakota’s cattle cataclysm: why isn’t this horror news? Guardian

For House conservatives, a time to face up to defeat Washington Post

‘Walmart moms’ air disgust with D.C. Politico. Wow, first soccer moms, now Walmart moms? More downward mobility.

The US Debt Ceiling Strife from a European perspective Yanis Varoufakis

Citi Summarizes The Post-Deal State Of The Markets In One Brutally Sobering Paragraph Business Insider

The Environmental Impact of the Government Shutdown Oil Price

Government shutdown has cost US economy $1.5bn a day, S&P says Guardian

Ebay warns of tougher US trading Financial Times. Sales fell sharply when the shutdown took effect.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program Washington Post (Deontos)

NSA director set for early departure Guardian

Obamacare Rollout

‘Obamacare is a bit like the astronaut on top of the rocket’ Washington Post. OMG, you need to read this. Lambert: “This is just inconceivably bad. As others have mentioned, the Republicans did Obama a huge favor by distracting attention from this.”

As Obamacare tech woes mounted, contractor payments soared Reuters

Roberts Court Cloaks Activism in Complexity Bloomberg

Massachusetts Teenager Disciplined For Serving As Designated Driver For Drunken Classmate Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Regulator Suggested Dimon Shift Wall Street Journal

California homes sales drop Housing Wire

Labor market is improving, but hanging high Angry Bear

Snowden Journalist’s New Venture to Be Bankrolled by eBay Founder New York Times. This all sounds not at all well worked out for a deal. Greenwald says he’s going to be a journalist. That’s great, but it means he’s not in charge from a managerial perspective….so is he more like a star hire with an equity cut? I’m hoping my concerns are overblown, but he could either have made himself a driver of the journalism side (which would mean hiring and editing and a lot less writing) or being the luminary but also signing up blind for an enterprise to be built around him.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. John Merryman

    Being of a conspiratorial mindset, my first thought on that Greenwald plan was, what leverage does the NSA have on ebay.

    1. kimyo

      whatever they have on omidyar, the guardian is likely even more compromised. one can hope that greenwald is savvy enough to avoid the fire when leaping from the pan.

      he has certainly delivered more truth than any other current journalist i can think of.

        1. pero no

          Greenwald was trying to avoid shifting the debate to whether he endangered national security. It happened despite his best efforts since it is part of the playbook, but he weathered it much better than Manning and Assange who did nothing to self-censor.

          He learned many other things from them too, such as to release documents slowly to keep them in multiple news cycles.

        2. from Mexico

          The facts that came to light as a result of the Manning and Snowden leaks have caused tectonic changes in the internal politics of Latin American countries.

          It’s better to look at the facts and the consequences of these revelations, and not a bunch of rhetorical, onanistic horse manure.

          1. jrs

            The main real world result criticism I think is hacktivists don’t have enough info to subvert the NSA, etc., nor do actual activists for various issues that challenge the corporate state have enough info to know if say basic encryption protocols are cracked or not. But would they ever? I don’t know, it’s never been a level battlefield, when even TOR is probably hopelessly infiltrated. Though they try.

            Pollitical reform in the U.S., U.K. etc. is of course pretty near impossible (and the mentality of the people in the U.S. equally so). But for the rest of the world there is some hope and any weakening of U.S. dominance is good for them.

            1. from Mexico

              People who live in the insular Anglosphere are really clueless as to the impact the Manning and Snowden revelations had on the rest of the world.

              The proof is in the pudding, not in some BS.

              Only in Anglo bubble-land could such fact-free onanistic rhetoric resonate beyond the stupid.

              1. from Mexico

                And jrs, in case it’s not clear, I was not aiming that criticism at you, but at the rhetoricians who attempt to draw attention away from or downplay the importance of the Manning and Snowden revelations.

  2. BoyofOz

    Re Can kindness movements make a difference? Australia is number one! I forget the cute tag expression, but it was common in Oz to have a “clean up the park” afternoon
    Emu bob. People walking around picking up rubbish looks like Emu’s pecking at the ground.

    1. skippy

      In the floods across Australia community’s came together, in the 10s of thousands, Brisbane alone was more than 20 thousand (conservative count not including neighbors assisting each other), in the most altruistic event, I have, witness any where. Then you have all the volunteer services.

      skippy… Emu bob runs along side cars for no cuase, then veers off for no apparent reason and crashes into fence… too die alone.

    2. charles sereno

      Odd coincidence: The 5 highest ranked kindest nations are also the 5 Eyes of Intelligence (with a bit of manipulation). Reincorporating Ireland (#2) into the UK (#8) and dividing by 2 gives you the Greater UK (#5). They’re also all English speaking…sorta.

  3. kimyo

    from last week, but i don’t think it got mentioned here:

    Pentagon unit held ‘phony’ ceremonies for MIAs, using planes that can’t fly

    After NBC News raised questions about the arrival ceremonies, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn’t even fly but were towed into position.

    The solemn ceremonies at a military base in Hawaii are a sign of the nation’s commitment to returning and identifying its fallen warriors. The ceremonies have been attended by veterans and families of MIAs, led to believe that they were witnessing the return of Americans killed in World War II, Vietnam and Korea.

    The ceremonies also have been known, at least among some of the military and civilian staff here, as The Big Lie.

    Photos behind the scenes show that the flag-draped boxes had not just arrived on military planes, but ended their day where they began it: at the same lab where the human remains have been waiting for analysis.

  4. Butch In Waukegan

    Re the NSA/assassination article, this paragraph raises a lot of questions about US intelligence’s relationship with al-Qaeda:

    An al-Qaeda operative who had a knack for surfacing at dramatic moments in the post-Sept. 11 story line, Ghul was an emissary to Iraq for the terrorist group at the height of that war. He was captured in 2004 and helped expose bin Laden’s courier network before spending two years at a secret CIA prison. Then, in 2006, the United States delivered him to his native Pakistan, where he was released and returned to the al-Qaeda fold.

    So many innocents are imprisoned seeming forever, yet this well-connected guy is released and eventually assassinated. Loose end?

  5. Skeptic

    ‘Walmart moms’ air disgust with D.C. Politico. Wow, first soccer moms, now Walmart moms? More downward mobility.

    Elevator going DOWN. Soon HOBBIT HOLE MOMS. See first link:

    Tiny Homes: Man Lives in Self-Built Hobbit Hole in Rural Oregon Yahoo

    I would love to see the Property Tax Assessment on the Hobbit Hole.

    Assessor: “Have you made any improvements this year?”
    Owner: “Well, I did plant a bush over here as a toilet. Oh and I brought a rabbit in as a heater.”

  6. scott

    I wonder how Hobbit guy is going to live on $5000/year when his “affordable” health care is going to cost him $4000/year, or the IRS takes its $2000 penalty?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I know in California he would still have to pay property taxes and it seems to me to be a valuable piece of dwelling, so my guess is that he would probably need another $5,000 to pay for fire protection, policing and his neighborhood’s schools.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        All of which means if you can’t come to the system, the system will come to you…to make sure you go out and get a slave job, sorry, make an economic contribution to the society.

    2. Andrew Watts

      The Hobbit qualifies for the Oregon Health Plan. It’s not a single-payer system, but it is free health care for low income people.

    3. Antifa

      This question applies directly to the 47% of low income Americans who pay no Federal taxes.

      The only power the IRS has to collect a punishment tax from them for their criminal failure to buy health insurance is to withhold money from their tax refund.

      A refund which is nonexistent, and looks likely to continue to nonexist for a long, long time.

      That was Plan A. Blue Cross or Kaiser or Humana gets most or all of your refund and you get faux insurance that covers 60% of your actual health expenses.

      Plan A won’t work for 47% of us. Oh, you can bill a working poor American, sure, but collecting the bill is the hat trick.

      Something financial’s got to happen — the insurance companies are owed their profits, and it’s the government’s job to see that they get them, to the last penny.

      In such cases, Plan B swings smoothly into effect.

      But no one has any idea what Plan B is. So it isn’t.

      What to do? Seize and sell hovels and hobbit holes? Restrict seniors to a 1500-calorie diet and sell the rest of their cat food at public auction? Workhouses for the poor where they take in laundry and make license plates? Mandatory community service filling potholes on our highways or duck-taping our failing bridges back together? Two years in the Peace Corps? The Americorps? Mandatory GED classes? What to do?

      Difficult debts can always be collected, of course. Everyone has kneecaps, after all. Such an approach might even birth a massive American shin-guard industry overnight. But no. The PR blowback would outweigh the benefits and then some. The Abu Ghraib approach looks like slim profit margins, so it’s DOA.

      It’s a real conundrum. How do you get what someone ain’t got when the law says they gotta give it, or else?

      Meanwhile, the boys in the white coats at the little known Turnip Lab in the basement of the Federal Reserve still report no blood as of yet, but say with confidence that “we now think ‘enhanced interrogation’ will get something by Christmas.

      1. bob

        “47% of low income Americans who pay no Federal taxes”

        Show me one single person who pays no federal taxes. Just one.

        The BS just won’t die. Even if you don’t agree with Romney, he got his message out, via a waiter with a cell phone camera.

        1. Strangely Enough

          “Show me one single person who pays no federal taxes.”

          GE, according to the Roberts Court. And yet, strangely, doesn’t need health insurance.

      2. Jerome Armstrong

        Yea, they’ll move the healthcare tax into withholding eventually. They’ll get their money.

  7. gonzomarx

    Work doesn’t Pay!
    and they made this report as tame as they could..

    Social mobility tsar: ministers not doing enough to tackle inequality and poverty

    “The UK has now one of the highest rates of low pay in the developed world. The national minimum wage is now worth £1,000 less in real terms than it was in 2008….
    “Today 4.8 million workers earn less than the living wage. Too often the working poor are the forgotten people of Britain. A comprehensive approach to tackling in-work poverty is the missing piece of the government’s policy jigsaw.”

    1. from Mexico

      Actually, the developed nations like the UK are late to the party.

      One must remember that it was in Latin America, what with its military dictatorships, dirty wars and even dirtier elections, where Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys first got the “opportunity” to impose their neoliberal Shangri La. They were “imposing the rule of law, property rights and other guarantees at gunpoint if needed,” as the neoconservative guru Max Boot gushed on the pages of USA Today.

      The neoliberal rollout in Mexico began in 1982 with the administration of Miguel de la Madrid (December 1, 1982 – November 30, 1988).

      Since then the purchasing power of Mexico’s minimum salary has lost 71.3% what it was in 1982, and that of union workers has fallen by 50%.

      But hey! Didn’t you know that workers from the developed world — places like the UK — must make less so they can compete with workers from the “developing” world — places like Mexico?

      1. gonzomarx

        To true. I get this kind of chat from the inlaws as well as flat tax bollocks.
        Always want to kick down on people with less money, voice and power never kick up to those that are really robbing them.

      2. man

        But the course of events in the passing decades, have shown that the reality is different. The magnification of this apolitical stance, especially during 90s and after, evolved today in a cultural totalitarianism that is spreading everywhere, very fast, through globalized technology, erasing every other alternative.

        Inside this cultural totalitarianism, concepts have been distorted in such a degree that, today, in reality represent almost different things of what represented in the past. The concepts of “new” and “freedom” have been substantially annexed by neoliberalism. The result today, is exactly opposite of what these concepts supposed to represent in the past. The concept of “freedom” tend to mean the ability of economic activity in a global arena of fierce competition and nothing more. In order to prevail this model of primitive society simulation – the imposition, survival of the strongest – some human conquests of the past centuries dissolve, and this is propagated as the “new”. The decline and the fight for survive regarded as progress.

        As a consequence, apolitical generations contributed to the “blurring” of the Left, as well as of patriotic-conservative Right. The Left, was not able to find the suitable material inside the ongoing apolitical generations. A material, with which could rebuild and create a totally autonomous political language. A language, totally independent from capitalistic terms. Patriotic-conservative Right today, has almost coincided with the neoliberal doctrine, with some exceptions.

        But, even the extreme nationalists today in Greece, who are supposedly fighting against Nation-State deconstruction, restricted exclusively in illegal immigrant – hunts, and appear to be totally powerless to prevent it. And not only that, but they appear to serve perfectly the systemic establishment since they disorientate people from the real threat, which is not illegal immigrants, but bankers and big capital. While repeatedly act with excessive willingness against illegal immigrants, they are just restricted in a specific rhetoric against bankers.

        1. from Mexico

          Good grief!

          The bullsh*t just keeps getting deeper and deeper, as over the already waste-high layer of right-wing BS we add yet another layer of New-Left BS.

          As Robert Hughes so incisively put it in Culture of Complaint: A Passionate Look Into the Ailing Heart of America:

          When the old New Left students of the 60s academe re-entered the university as teachers, they saw the exhilarated hopes of their youth deflate after 1968, collapse under the backlash of the 70s, and become mere archaeology by 1980. None of the beautiful promises came true.

          Their response to this trauma was to shift away from classical Marxism, with its emphasis on economic and class struggle in the real world, and embrace the more diffuse and paranoia-driven theories of the Frankfurt school — Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse.

          For these theorists, all human life was ruled by repressive mechanism embedded, not in manifest politics, but in language, education, entertainment — the whole structure of social communicaiton.

          To this was joined the belief of French poststructualism, exemplified by Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, that the “subject” — the thinking, single agent, the “I” of every sentence — was an illusion: all you had left was language, not mentality: frustration with pervasive systems of repressive undecidability written everywhere in surrounding culture, but no means of overcoming it.

          1. Jim

            You and Hughes should bring yourself up to date on Foucault(see for example his “The Government of Self and Others: Lectures At the College De France 1982-1983,'”

            In the last few years of his life it appears that Foucault became quite interested in a politics based on the courage to speak the truth to others and about oneself.

            He was deeply into a politics of subjectivity(self-transformation)which he seemed to view not as a retreat into narcissism but as an experimental strategy for denormalizing current modes of being under neo-liberalism.

            By this point in his life he had abandoned the suffocating milieu of the traditional French Left.

  8. timotheus

    Yves, Satuday Oct. 19 is “It’s My Park Day” in New York where many volunteer groups do exactly that. I can tell you where to come by and plant some bulbs.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Kindness, sharing, park cleaning – that’s great and we should do it more often.

      We also can come together to have a ‘clean the plasma TV sets’ day. Hopefully, non-brainwashing stuff will be able to come through afterwards.

  9. craazyman

    the hobbit hole is looking better and better with each passing day. there is a strong need for a 10-bagger for the big house and big screen TV and GLD is not providing it. Nobody should have to work for a living. It’s ridiculous if you think about it long enough.

    If a man lives in a hobbit hole, he needs a hobbit woman, maybe one 3 feet tall, possibly from another dimension. That’s not something easily found, unless you’re really really weird.

    It’ll work OK if a man is content with nature alone. That rules out 99.9999% of humanity. And women want the big screen TV and bedrooms for the kids. That’s just the way it is. You can’t be sentimental about this stuff or you’ll be disappointed by the world, living in hole in the ground like grave. That’s when you say “I need a job that pays at least $500,000 per year where I go to meetings and do nothing mostly but talk and eat catered meals.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      With 14 million empty houses in the U.S., why live in a hobbit hole, when you could serve as living furniture to stage houses for sale?

      This is where networking with real estate agents and bank REO departments is key. You’ve gotta be flexible to stay where they need you, maybe even covering two or three houses at the same time. And so does your statuesque Barbie-lookalike consort.

      Play your cards right, and they might even provide you with an off-lease Lexus or Mercedes to park in the driveway. America, it’s the land of opportunity, Cman.

      1. MyLessTHanPrimeBeef

        Sounds like a promising employment sector for Barbie-lookalikes, I guess.

        And it’s especially fortunate now that housing flipping is back (I read it at marketwatch).

    2. skippy

      That rules out 99.9999% of humanity. – craazyman

      Well after the last hundred of years of “natural light” emanating from Edward Bernays anus and projected globally, just for starters, it – is – confusing… eh.

      Skippy… test subject craazyman #10bagger – conforming to test perimeters.

      1. skippy

        It will be like pulling the rock over the entrance to the cave in poltergeist, trapping all those believers inside. What awaits those uninformed individuals will be their worst nightmare.

        skippy… additional allegory’s “A boy and his Dog” – ” The Divide” – to be feasted upon by the psychopathic tendency’s of the neoliberals and now splinter sects…

      2. craazyman

        whoa! the photo shows the same electric fireplace I had in my apartment last winter. $99 from PC Richards. It worked about 4 months then broke down. I could get it to work for a while if I hit it hard enough, but then it wouldn’t work no matter how hard I hit it.

        I have to say it was awesome. Nothing like half a bottle of red wine and 1 mg of xanax staring at fake flames to get the channelling circuits cleared.

        Whoever designed that thing really did a good job. If you payed attention, you could see the flame pattern repeat about every 3 seconds, but if you broke through channeling the God Signal it didn’t matter because your mind was elsewhere.

      3. Propertius

        Fine – when the 1% retreat underground, just pave over the air ducts and entrances.

        Problem solved. Saves on ammo, too!

    3. craazyboy

      “he needs a hobbit woman, maybe one 3 feet tall, possibly from another dimension”

      This can be tricky. First, you have to find a “short” dimension universe – short being on what we term the y-axis. IMO, the x and z axis are of interest too. The tricky part is when you bring them back to our dimension, dimensions v and w can go straight to their ass!

  10. financial matters

    Liquidity Factory and the Reserve Currency

    In his book ‘Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk’ (2011) Satyajit Das talks about the ‘Liquidity Factory’.

    On an inverse pyramid at the bottom little pinnacle are the central banks, 2%, then there are bank loans, 19%, then securitized debt, 38% and then derivatives 41%.

    This is all considered liquidity ie the lubricant that allows the global economy to run. And 79% of it is derivatives and securitized debt which are largely unregulated and full of fraud. And the $16 trillion of US Treasuries used as collateral to back it all up is a small little fraction.

    This is financialization run amok and what he calls ‘cotton candy’ which is spun sugar composed mostly of air.

    No wonder Draghi doesn’t want us to be able to examine bank balance sheets but just have the taxpayer continue to bail them out while imposing austerity measures.

    This mountain of debt being supported by this little pyramid needs to be dismantled before the right grain of sand causes it to crumble.

    Countries shouldn’t have to pay back loans that their former dictators stashed away for themselves in off shore accounts. Students shouldn’t be indebted for most of their lives by college loans, medical bills shouldn’t be the major cause of household bankruptcy, homeowner’s who were given predatory loans so that the banks could repossess their house should have principal reductions to reflect actual value.

    If US Treasuries continue to support cotton candy they will lose their validity as a global reserve currency.

    1. from Mexico

      This is a great and very informative comment. Thank you so much.

      The brilliance of our modern-day financial geniuses outshines, and by a vastness of many orders of magnitude, that stodgy intellect of those bankers at the Bank of Amersterdam who invented modern commercial banking during the 17th century. It radiates even well above the slightly less stodgy ingenuity of those bankers at the Banque Royale — John Law and Phillipe, Duc d’Orleans, the Regent for the seven-year-old Louis XV — who took France on a wild ride during the 18th century.

      Grab your popcorn and take your seat, ’cause the world ain’t never seen nuthin’ like this before.

      1. skippy

        Funny this thread, as I was just having another conversation on a international economic board. the question was see:

        Rahil Saif

        I can’t understand, In-spite of best brain in economics are
        workinging In USA, and she is facing Shutdown…
        soon becoming bankrupted country……Why, Any One comment..?

        Enamul Hafiz Latifee Its’ political business cycle but not the natural business cycle….And if it were so, it also has peaks and troughs, so one country may not go all the way, may not always be number 1, may not sustain at expansionary point, it also has to face negative effects….
        12 minutes ago · Like

        Wayward Septic @Enamul Hafiz Latifee – I disagree. Politics is MANAGING the state – Business cycles have more to do with fraud than any other factor as every bubble can be traced back to fraud. From tulips, John law, savings and loan crises, dotcom bubble, to MBS. Every stinking one a fraud. So if you want to assert the political business cycle theory you have to accept that the state is complicit in said frauds by the intermingling of the two. So seemingly the solution is to separate the two as is done with church and state.

        skippy… Damn the libertarians sure did a job on there global tour, their infested everywhere. I’m giving them quite the time of it. BTW why do neolibertarians go pop every time you blow their rubbish arguments down? Feral and personally vicious. SO much for non aggression.

        1. from Mexico

          Skippy quotes:

          Politics is MANAGING the state…. So if you want to assert the political business cycle theory you have to accept that the state is complicit in said frauds by the intermingling of the two.


          Adam Smith was the most masterful paid liar and bumsucker the lords of capital ever had, and his lie that economics can somehow be separated from politics and operate independently in its own separate little sphere is the most malicious lie ever foisted on the great unwashed.

          1. skippy

            When I state separate the two – I mean utility for necessity’s of life and a well managed playground for creativity and innovation.

            skippy… just have to keep an eye on… you know who types.

    1. anon y'mouse

      or the stuff they give you severely messes with your brain chemical balance, so much so that it takes a full year for your neurotransmitters to get back to normal. yikes~

  11. jjmacjohnson

    Hobbit house dude must have a little more money saved in the bottom of that hole. He flies to Hawaii to surf? Seems more to an interesting story in the story itself.

    1. anon y'mouse

      that’s Galadriel’s mirror. he just says that to put off lotsa questions about drug testing.

  12. jjmacjohnson

    Sadly in Philadelphia folks “clean up the park” because the city does not have the money.

  13. JohnDT

    Moon of Alabama offers such progressive critical analysis per Turkey’s support of Iran that it neglects to mention the Islamist regime in Turkey continues to oppress the Kurds, promotes head scarves for women as a democratic move toward gender equality, is deeply involved in Syria (while fighting the other Islamists it fears), oppresses demonstrations with brutal force and more.
    Sure, grant Iran nuclear weapons – it will undoubtedly make the world better. Undermine US efforts in Syria and less people will be brutally murdered by the regime. Support the current regime in Turkey and it will be a leader of liberalism and human rights.

    1. Massinissa

      Wouldnt mention of that kind of thing be extraneous to the article though? It sounds to me like that kind of thing would be beyond the narrow scope of the article.

    2. man

      show me a country which does not opress some racial group..starting from “democratic and free” USA..Kurds and turks have long history..Go to any old country of world and you will see these type of rivarlies…It gives fuel to “liberals ” in west..The armchair philosophers who never contribute effort or money for betterment of mankind..
      Americans are very new to the game..In their own country,americans waged vicious genocides against native indians and blacks..Now it seems,US TPTB has been conducting vicious campaign against males.

      1. from Mexico

        In the US TPTB “has been conducting” a “vicious campaign against males”?

        Well that’s one way of looking at it.

        An entirely different way, however, was articulated by Robert Hughes:

        Since our new-found sensitivity decrees that only the victim shall be the hero, the white American male starts bawling for victim status too.

        –ROBERT HUGHES, Culture of Complaint

        Of course to come to the conclusion Huges did, one must peel back the layers of BS and examine the actual concrete living conditons of men vs. women in the US.

        1. cwaltz

          The white male can get back to me on their “victim” status in another century. It’s a bunch of boohooing about the fact they’ve lost “most favored citizen” status now that legislators have determined that AAs aren’t 3/5 of a human and that womenfolk have the vote.

          1. hunkerdown

            When identity movements stop asking for special access to privilege instead of an end to it, maybe then they’ll be credible.

            1. Yves Smith Post author


              Have you missed that:

              1. Blacks and Hispanics were steered to subprime loans when they were qualified for prime? This didn’t happen much/at all to white people

              2. Women and blacks are quoted worse prices at car dealers.

              3. Identical resumes, one with a black-sounding name (Lakisha, say) and another with a race-neutral name (like Nancy) elicit completely different response rates. Not only does the identically-qualified black applicant get fewer calls, in many cases, the recruiter does not read past the name

              4. Before the German musicians’ union demanded that auditions be blind (a change demanded to reduce presumed cronyism), women were hardly ever hired by professional orchestras. As soon as the auditions became blind, they were hired as often as men.

              5. Identical writing samples get lower ratings when attributed to a female writer as opposed to a man.

              But you would have us believe that discrimination is a figment of out groups’ imagination

    3. anon y'mouse

      “promotes head scarves for women as a democratic move toward gender equality”

      I have no idea about turkey and how they are promoting gender equality, but am wondering about this particular detail you have highlighted.

      late night on some cable access channel that used to play alt. media, I was watching a lengthy documentary about women who choose to wear the hijab. they spoke to many educated, working women about this. these women pointed out, as some of them were mocking a bus stop advertising sign in typical High Fashion western style, that all the west was concerned about was whether they could “see your legs”. they questioned whether that was true women’s liberation. they all said that they had chosen to wear the hijab for their own individual reasons, and that those reasons did not mean that they were or felt oppressed. some of them even came from westernized families, and had chosen against parental wishes to wear it.

      I have no idea if this was Islamic propaganda, but their point about how we view women in this supposedly liberated society, and what women choose to wear and why, was spot on. do not assume that a woman with a headscarf is being “oppressed” any more than a woman wearing a miniskirt is, or that she is not consciously wearing such a thing perhaps even despite the connotations that we are assuming apply to her

  14. Watt4Bob

    The trouble with the Obamacare IT infrastructure is that it was built by people expert at extracting money from our government through expertise in contract writing, not IT development.

    Becoming a member of the BIg Extraction club is based on knowing how to navigate the impenetrable jungle that has developed around contracting with the government.

    The IT industry is already it’s own dangerous jungle, who wants to add the governments problems to its own?

    This why there are no firms bidding on Obamacare systems who are actually competent to do the job.

    It doesn’t help that the lousy, sub-standard systems these parasitic contractors are building have to integrate with the diverse systems employed by the HCI industry.

    1. man

      in my brief period of life ,i have been taught to work hard and contribute to society..
      but when i grew up and saw who were rich and powerful..i came to conclusion that hard work,obeying laws can keep you out of govt jails but won’t make you rich or powerful..
      i see bureaucrats earning millions,politicians who order killing of innocents,citizens who are apathetic to all..

    2. jrs

      Hasn’t healthcare for awhile kind of been considered it’s own type of I.T.. When hiring they dont’ just want people with general software development experience in major languages etc.. They want people specifically trained in healthcare stuff. So the amount of firms willing to take that on has to be small. Sure anyone can build a website, but the backend monster ….

      1. Watt4Bob

        What I’m pointing out is, the people who know how to do the job, ie those who now provide the services to the healthcare industry, do not have the expertise to navigate the government procurement process, and so they haven’t even tried to get the contracts, it’s just too much hassle.

        The people who do know how to navigate the process, do not know how to deliver the system, they know only how to get the contract.

        The people who have recieved the contract for the ACA systems haven’t a chance in hell of delivering a system that works.

        I didn’t make up the rules, but I know what they are.

    1. skippy


      Ros-Lehtinen told Fox News that Reidy “came up to the podium area beneath where I was standing and asked me if the microphones were on. I said that I didn’t know. I assumed that perhaps I was chatting too much to the helpful parliamentarians around me. Then she suddenly faced the front and said words like ‘Thus spoke the Lord.’ And, ‘This is not the Lord’s work.’

      “I hammered to get control and hush her up. She said something about the devil. It was sudden, confusing and heartbreaking. She is normally a gentle soul.”

      “He will not be mocked! This is not one nation under God. It never was. The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under god! It never was. Had it been, it would not have been! The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons! You cannot serve two masters! You cannot serve two masters! Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ.”

      Skippy… what can I say?

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        I didn’t read the original story, but people with bipolar disorder can pretty suddenly go into manic mode with delusions if they are highly stressed, such as in a tense situation in the Congress.

        Maybe this is the cause of this.

        1. skippy

          Oh… Bill – Bipolar is such a cudgel of a diagnostic terminology.

          Skippy… I’ll get a second opinion on that later at Uni.

          1. anon y'mouse

            perhaps i’m missing your subtle point, but being able to name what you have is half the battle in getting any treatment or gov’t assistance.

            you can’t go to SSDI in this country with a nonrelated list of symptoms, nor can you get any mental health care without them knowing how to mark it down in their billing codes so that they have hopes of getting paid.

            although the politics of what is diagnosed and how, and how certain things come to be seen as “disorders” IS highly suspect and politically susceptible.

            1. skippy

              The term is so broad its become a pop term in normal land.

              Its origins see:

              The terms used for the bipolar extremes, ‘melancholy’ (depression) and ‘mania’ both have their origins in Ancient Greek. ‘Melancholy’ derives from melas ‘black’ and chole ‘bile’, because Hippocrates thought that depression resulted from an excess of black bile. ‘Mania’ is related to menos ‘spirit, force, passion’; mainesthai ‘to rage, go mad’; and mantis ‘seer’, and ultimately derives from the Indo-European root men- ‘mind’ to which, interestingly, ‘man’ is also sometimes connected. (‘Depression’, the clinical term for melancholy, is much more recent in origin and derives from the Latin deprimere ‘press down’ or ‘sink down’.)


              Skip… here so as we can see this is not a modern observation as it dates back to Greek and Romans. So fast forward to today and we have:

              The current nosology, bipolar disorder, became popular only recently, and some individuals prefer the older term because it provides a better description of a continually changing multi-dimensional illness.[citation needed]

              Empirical and theoretical work on bipolar disorder has throughout history “seesawed” between psychological and biological ways of understanding. Despite the work of Kraepelin (1921) emphasizing the psychosocial context, conceptions of bipolar disorder as a genetically based illness dominated the 20th century. Since the 1990s, however, there has been a resurgence of interest and research into the role of psychosocial processes.[16]

              skip here… as we can see the game of pin the donkey on the tail has been an exasperating academic fight club (usual suspects). With the advent of better methodology tho we seem to focus on the actual precursor to most of our mental troubles “psychosocial processes” See:

              For a concept to be psychosocial means it relates to one’s psychological development in, and interaction with, a social environment. The individual needs not be fully aware of this relationship with her or his environment. It was first commonly used by psychologist Erik Erikson in his stages of social development. Contrasted with social psychology, which attempts to explain social patterns within the individual. It is usually used in the context of “psychosocial intervention,” which is commonly used alongside psycho-educational or psycho-pharmacological interventions and points toward solutions for individual challenges in interacting with an element of the social environment.

              Problems that occur in one’s psychosocial functioning can be referred to as “psychosocial dysfunction” or “psychosocial morbidity.” This refers to the lack of development or atrophy of the psychosocial self, often occurring alongside other dysfunctions that may be physical, emotional, or cognitive in nature.

              Psychosocial support is an approach to victims of disaster, catastrophe or violence to foster resilience of communities and individuals. It aims at easing resumption of normal life, facilitate affected people participation to their convalescence and preventing pathological consequences of potentially traumatic situations.

              Skip here… Do you notice the isolation of the “I self” with in the “Group self” as an precursor to increasing “psychosocial dysfunction” or “psychosocial morbidity.”

              So I would submit that this woman had a short term psychotic episode due to the incapability of the “I self” to reconcile the “Group self” acerbated by her personal foundation myth belief and its prophecy (expectation).

              Now think of 40ish years (Chicago school philosophy), nay 100 years of Edward Bernays industry backed cortex injections of the industry backed “I self” and extrapolate from there.

              Skippy…. This might help with understanding your beloveds milady, been there done that thingy. Hug Aby~

              1. anon y'mouse

                thank you for dumbing this down a bit. it still may not be dumb enough for me, but is at least a beginning.

                and yeah, what if she is not mentally ill at all? what if she’s just seeing what she thinks she is seeing (foundational myths, prophecies).

                what if a staffer started raging about their inability to act on immanent climate change. the instant “that person is mentally disordered” is just too easy of an answer. which is where I thought you were originally going. same as trying to cast that poor woman who was shot near the white house the other week as a dangerous element of mental disorder run amok, therefore justifiably put down.

              2. chris

                “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

                – Krishnamurti

  15. Massinissa

    “VAT backfires in Spain”




    Tax the rich. Theyre the ones not consuming as much as they could. The lower strata already spend everything they earn: Its not as if the Spanish middle class is able to save any money in current conditions! Taxing the poor and lower middle class more on consumption taxes is not only immoral, it is also impractical and counterproductive.

    If Spain wants to get out of this mess without leaving the Euro, theyre going to need to tax capital, instead of consumers and labour.

    1. James Levy

      The problem is that labor lives where it lives and eats where it eats. Capital can disappear at the stroke of a keypad. So they tax what they can grab from people who have no place else to go and have no choice but to buy things. Capital has made itself evanescent and the fear of its flight mesmerizes and petrifies governments everywhere. Hell, Francois Mitterand may have had ICBMs with H-bombs on their tips at his command, but he was still terrified of capital flight. So are they all.

      1. from Mexico

        James Levy says:

        Capital has made itself evanescent….

        Nah. Governments have made capital evanescent.

        You’ve been reading too much Adam Smith et al.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They will try to distract us, but you are right – tax the rich.

      Money doesn’t buy you happiness.

      More accurately:

      Printing money does not buy you happiness.

      What will buy us happiness?

      Take money already printed out there from the rich and give it to the poor. That will make Robin Hood and the 99.99% happy.

      Two birds ($ for the 99.99% and reduce wealth inequality), one stone.

      And we will further enjoy not being fooled by the 0.01% with their paid distraction of the false messiah of more moene printing.

  16. Chris Maukonen

    “Brain problems can linger months after ICU stay Reuters”

    When I was hopitalized at 18 from a motor scooter accident I had – among other things – a sever concushion. I was told by my family doctor that my cognative abilities would be reduced because of this. This was in 1968 and he knew that any brain injury was not good news,

    1. craazyboy

      At least they are telegraphing their confusion.

      But adding some more opinions on EMH wouldn’t hurt.

      Bear Sterns and Lehman -“The Fed makes good on investment banker deals…don’t they?”

      Jon Corzine – “The market is BLIND. It accepted money that wasn’t ours – and later wasn’t even there!”

      Steve Cohan – “The way I see it, the market is very efficient.”

      Goldman spokesman Fabulous Fab – “If the market was efficient, we couldn’t do our deals!”

      London Whale – “The price of our portfolio IS unknown”

      3rd Way HFT bots – “The market has been cancelled. Buy and Sell was too restrictive.”

    1. BondsOfSteel

      Some, like me, were just shopping. You have months to commit.

      OTOH, I like to get things out of the way… so after looking at all the options on the Marketplace, I decided to go with an off exchange plan. (I’m not eligible for subsidies.)

  17. anon y'mouse

    the things one finds when doing research:

    “In the current research we tested a comprehensive model of spirituality, religiosity, compassion, and altruism,
    investigating the independent effects of spirituality and religiosity on compassion and altruism. We hypothesized
    that, even though spirituality and religiosity are closely related, spirituality and religiosity would have
    different and unique associations with compassion and altruism. In Study 1 and 2 we documented that more
    spiritual individuals experience and show greater compassion. The link between religiosity and compassion
    was no longer significant after controlling for the impact of spirituality. Compassion has the capacity to
    motivate people to transcend selfish motives and act altruistically toward strangers. Therefore, we
    reasoned that spirituality (but not religiosity) would predict altruistic behavior and that compassion
    would help explain this link. Indeed, in Studies 3, 4, and 5 we found that more spiritual individuals
    behaved more altruistically in economic choice and decision-making tasks, and that the tendency of
    spiritual individuals to feel greater compassion mediated the spirituality-to-altruism relationship. In
    contrast, more religious participants did not consistently feel more compassion nor behave more
    altruistically. Moreover, in Studies 3 and 4 we found that the broader traits of Agreeableness,
    Openness, and Extraversion did not help explain why more spiritual individuals behaved more
    altruistically. Our findings argue that spirituality—above and beyond religiosity—is uniquely
    associated with greater compassion and enhanced altruism toward strangers.”

    Saslow, L.R. et. al (2013). The Social Significance of Spirituality: New Perspectives on the
    Compassion–Altruism Relationship. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5(3). 201-218.

    1. James Levy

      Funny, in The Altruistic Personality the researcher into Holocaust rescuers found that the critical traits were a positive relationship of rescuers to their parents and the fact that their parents taught them that all people are people (no better or worse groups of human beings). Religion, per se, did not seem to be an important factor in who rescued and who did not.

      1. anon y'mouse

        a few terms ago in Social Psych. class we read a very famous study which took as its starting point the story of the Good Samaritan in the bible. it was an experiment measuring which factors impinged on a person’s likelihood to notice and offer help to someone in distress in a passageway. the takeaway from this is that people in a hurry don’t notice and therefore don’t stop to help.

        but the more interesting point, at least for me, was that, of those who did stop to help, the style of their assistance was very different in quality depending upon whether they had tested out as “religious” or “spiritual” (the scale they used appeared to oppose these based on level of dogmatism, or adherence to one particular style of religion). those who were dogmatic would ask if the person needed help, and then insist upon taking the distressed actor off to get help or forcing their help upon them even when the actor said “thank you, i’m alright now.” whereas the spiritual merely checked in with the actor, and after being assured that he was indeed better after whatever assistance was rendered (glass of water or whatnot), went on their way.

        the researchers basically said that the spiritual were more aware of and respectful of the individual’s wishes, whereas the dogmatic were going to help you in the way that they wanted to help you, whether you desired it or not.

        1. skippy

          Bingo! “the dogmatic were going to help you in the way that they wanted to help you, whether you desired it or not.”

          Skip here… dogmatic structure is usually written by the powerful for the powerful and is full of their personal bias ie self seeking motivation.

          skippy… GO aby!

  18. down2long

    In “The Worm Turns” Dept. With all the free money in the world at its disposal, Goldman Sachs’ revenue tanks. Blankfein cuts compensation to the in-house snakes 35%, to keep firm profitable. Trading revenue tanks more than 30%, the only up is underwriting. Note To Lloyd: This is what happens when you screw everyone so hard nobody trusts you, free money or not. All business is personal. Adios counterparties!

    Blankfein is hoping the economy improves? (How that will happen when the banks have destroyed everybody and robbed them blind is an open question)

    Slimin’ is next. Wells and B of A’s free money unloading mortgages is over.

    This is delightful: Inside Goldman: Earnings beat, but an ugly quarter

    In its first earnings report as a member of the Dow 30, Goldman Sachs beat the Street, but only by taking a chainsaw to expenses.

    Read More:

  19. jfleni

    “Brain problems can linger months after ICU stay Reuters”

    One of the linked articles said “But be sure to get the treatment you need”.

    Right even if your head turns to mush as you go almost completely nuts! Sounds more like medical witchcraft and shamanism than “science” to me.

  20. anon y'mouse


    because the minimum wage only supports a Dog Food standard of living, we had to expand our employee search to actual dogs.

  21. optimader

    I’m just guess’in Mr. Hobbit’s ex-wife is not having “sellers remorse” on the divorce. I don’t want to know what the Hobbit Hole smells like.

  22. AbyNormal
    “Now that the government has reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, educate our kids, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul.”

    “The American people are free to do exactly what they are told.” ~Ward Churchill

  23. Hugh

    It’s a pity that Greenwald didn’t reach out to people like Yves before entering into this new venture.

    Some of this is extremely simple as in Where will it get its content? Poitras, Greenwald, and maybe Jeremy Scahill seem a bit thin for a fullblown news organization. And if Greenwald is there just to do the journalism, how can it be said that he is founding a new news organization? Isn’t it more accurate to say that he has decided to go to work for billionaire Pierre Omidyar and that it is Omidyar and not Greenwald who is doing the founding? Normally questions about the business model would be front and center in a startup, but with Omidyar billions, it is largely irrelevant.

    The political sugar daddy has created a massive system of what we used to call “wingnut welfare” on the right. The likes of Pete Peterson and the Koch brothers being some of its most visible examples. On the left, there has been much less. Mostly George Soros, but Soros’ funding has mainly gone to fairly typical Establishment highly credentialed venues. It has been a standing joke in the uncredentialed left blogosphere for years about how we are still waiting for our checks from him.

    Maybe if there had been more sugar daddy funding of the left earlier on, and maybe if I had seen some of it, my opinion might have been different. But now I am skeptical of the whole notion of sugar daddyism. Billionaires are a sickness on society. No one can amass such wealth honestly. No one’s contributions to society even remotely equate to such wealth. Billionaires are the royalty of the kleptocratic world. We all could use the money, but at what cost does it come?

    When I see something like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, all I can think of is that money, in a non-kleptocratic world, should have gone to their workers or been taxed back into the general revenues of government where the public through honest lawmakers would decide how it was best spent. But we live in a kleptocracy filled with billionaires and their bought and paid for lackey politicians. So we see private individuals decide how vast swathes of stolen public wealth should be dispersed. Most of the time, their choices are capricious, self-serving, and wasteful, and maybe in the case of Omidyar less so. But sugar daddyism is a diseased process and we should never kid ourselves that it is not.

    1. craazyman

      I think you are correct, philosophically speaking. It’s a disease of the communal mind. But you know if they’d thrown you cash at an earlier age and if you’d inhaled it like a young man inhales beer and somebody celebrated you like you were some sort of something, other than a man. It would have made you intoxicated, and you never would have known what you know now. Think about how bad that would have been. It’s hard, but that’s why it’s beautiful. or one reason anyway.

      1. craazyboy

        “Think about how bad that would have been”

        I do. I coulda been kept. I coulda been a trickle down sugar daddy.


          1. craazyboy

            Some places it is. Gotta a buddy who gets some of the local scuttlebutt (my spell checker allowed that word) in Newport Beach, CA. Word has it that MSFT’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, has a getaway house there. A couple of bi-sexual beach hotties live there full time, but couldn’t possibly pay the rent. They call the duo the “property caretakers”.

            Steve does visit. Not bad for a guy that is the spitting image of humpty dumpty.

            This is all rumor, of course, and if my Windows 7 backdoor sends this comment to Steve, I’ll deny that I am me.

    2. Whistling in the Dark

      “No one’s contributions to society even remotely equate to such wealth.”
      Devil’s advocate here: So, you’ve never bought anything off of ebay? At some point, your argument comes down to numbers, so…

      (How exactly did a man like him — better, this particular one! — come to amass such wealth. “Ebay.” So, how did that entity acquire it? Individual users? Well, then you’re premise would be wrong, apparently. Advertisers and larger firms partonizing the site? Paypal? Maybe! Why? How? When does theft come in?)

      I am sympathetic to your position. But, here’s a thought in a slightly different direction: If you don’t want to see the concentration of wealth and power, don’t hand it to entities which have a broad, say national or international, profile, and are poised to collect that wealth like an umbrella–as it trickles up! Don’t like the Nikes of the various sectors? Then just don’t do it. People are handed power (and, you know, I used ebay, too, even bought a car off it) and then, perhaps like this guy, they stand there with these massive reins in their hands and they have to decide which way to tug them. So, they start dredging their minds, combing through their liberal arts inheritance, maybe, for some criterion for action. And then they take one. Poor clumsy giants of the world.

      Meaning: it may help to boycott everything you’ve heard of in a manner which was not word of mouth or which has a recognizable brand, but which you don’t actually remember making the acqcuaintance of, say. Don’t drive a Ford, … er, car, for instance.

      “No one’s contributions to society even remotely equate to such wealth.”

      So, it seems you believe in a meritocracy — can I make this inference? — but in a fairer one, one in which rewards are more in proportion with people’s contributions. Perhaps you grant that the ebay guy made some sort of contribution. So, he deserves a reward. How do we decide the value of that contribution? So, a legislature is supposed do it? No, you probably would prefer or would find it more realistic if the system of reward was codified somehow. So, we have to come up with some calculus of merit: It would inevitably involve trying to measure –what? — utility of the labors of this or that person. But if this is unsatisfactory, too, perhaps you instead give further thought to the notion of a body or council deciding his fair wages. Perhaps then some aesthetical nuance could be brought to bear — by a human eye — over and above the merely utilitarian!

      Basically, I am sympathetic, but am encouraging you to further explain your position, so as to make it more respectable! After all, billionaires are a minority, of a sort, and an easy target — if for no other reason than it is always easiest to resort to speaking to someone who is not in the room. Cheers.

      1. Hugh

        I have never heard social justice called meritocratic, except in the most extended sense that we all have worth and therefore merit.

        My point is that great concentrations of wealth are unjustifiable. They do not reflect the labor, intellectual or physical, actually contributed by the amasser. People like Omidyar and other corporate icons like Gates and Jobs had good ideas but they did not exist in a vacuum and could never have pulled them off without the resources our society provided: the workers, the infrastructure, and the markets, for example.

        So even if we took a meritocratic approach, the vast majority of their wealth would still be unwarranted.

        From a social justice perspective, it is both criminal and obscene. Only in a kleptocracy is such wealth concentration considered normal and defended by the rich and elites and those among us who have been indoctrinated to believe that upward transfers of wealth are always virtuous and downward transfers must be theft.

        1. Expat

          I totally agree. The only reason most of these billionaires were able to acquire their vast piles was because of the breakdown of law that went under the guise of “deregulation” over the past 40 years, plus changes in the tax code that favoured accumulators over working people.

          If it’s meritorious to use the breakdown of society for one’s personal benefit, then we do indeed live in a meritocracy.

          But whatever you call it, the world is a much uglier, more rundown place since these billionaires swept into power, and the dark age they ushered in will be with us for generations.

        2. Whistling in the Dark

          “I have never heard social justice called meritocratic”

          Here’s the thing: If “social justice” is going to be our (speaking for the commenters on this site in a broad sense) raison d’etre, then I would like to know what it is. Putting it into other non-self-referential language can help (some dictionaries are a web of synonyms!) Is this thing supposed to be self-evident as a concept? ???? Related question: can you quantify it? I’m not saying you need to, but if you don’t, is it some kind of aesthetical thing (“you know it when you see it”) — and, if this latter, then how the heck do we get there? Can it ever be institutionalized (maybe not); should we care? Basically, what I am saying is, I don’t understand your position, but perhaps it is a laudable one. Give me more, if you would.

          Hers is a bit more, I admit: “…except in the most extended sense that we all have worth and therefore merit.”

          Yeah, how much worth? So, are we all worth the same? Fine. But what is that worth? So, an idea that someone has isn’t worth a bit more than not having it? And we’re not going to reward it through whatever mechanism or another? I’m not saying ebay-founders deserve billions… but what IS the right number? It’s kind of an absurd question. Am I insidiously inching toward a nefarious neo-xxxxist position? I prefer to think of myself as just pursuing a type of mischief, so perhaps you will forgive that.

          “My point is that great concentrations of wealth are unjustifiable. They do not reflect the labor, intellectual or physical, actually contributed by the amasser.”

          Like I said, sounds like it comes down to numbers. What $$$ is to high? What level is just enough?

  24. Hugh

    In other observations, Alexander’s successor at the NSA will likely be another military man and portend more of the same. So who really cares if Alexander leaves or not? As a bonus question, which intelligence contractor do you think he will end up working for?

    Re the Roberts court, during his confirmation hearings I still rememer how Roberts went on and on about how he would respect stare decisis, that is respect established precedents. But the Roberts court has been highly reactionary, overturning one precedent after another. It usually does this in pieces, as with the ongoing evisceration of Miranda we have been seeing, until there is little or nothing left of the original ruling. I still remember too that pie-faced disingenuous idiot Patrich Leahy wheezing about he wasn’t sure that he believed Roberts would honor stare decisis but he would give him the benefit of the doubt and vote for him anyway.

    Finally, the “sobering” Citi paragraph is a criticism of the current default crisis deal for kicking the can down the road. Well, can kicking is all that has been done since the housing bubble bust, the recession, and the meltdown so why should Citi be concerned now? Why because the President and Congress did not tackle non-discretionary spending, i.e. Social Security. Which makes me wonder if there will be enough lamp posts for them all when the time comes.

    1. hunkerdown

      Well, they’ll just have to share with their friends, won’t they? Those highway lighting standards could hold a dozen each easily, but it might be hard to get them up there.

  25. Optimader

    The stuff of nightmares's.htm

    “…Idaho Falls, SL1, Idaho, U.S.A.
    Reported as first fatal reactor accident in the US. An explosion occurred, cause of which is still not known. One man was killed when a containment rod pinned him to the roof of the reactor container through the man’s chest. Two men were killed later from radiation exposure, their bodies were so severely irradiated that their exposed hands and heads had to be severed from their bodies and buried in a dump for radioactive waste. It took years to disassemble the wrecked plant and the burial ground will have to be guarded forever. Rescuers received high radiation doses. (Sources: Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America’s First Nuclear Accident by William McKeown; Goffman – Taplin, Poisoned Power, Rodale Preen, 1971; “Accidents, near Accidents and Leaks in the Nuclear Industry” Penelope Coeling for M.A.U.M.; “Les Amis de la Terre”; Jean Geue A.A.E.C.)…”

  26. skippy

    Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, as the Little House fans clamored for more, Wilder and Lane transformed the unpredictable hardships of the American frontier experience into a testament to the virtues of independence and courage. In Wilder’s original drafts, the family withstood the frontier with their jaws set. After Lane revised them, the Ingallses managed the land and made it theirs, without leaning on anybody.

    I have been studying the Wilder family papers for more than a decade. My analysis of these documents suggests that Wilder’s daughter was far more than an editor. Lane turned them from recollections into American fables, changing details where necessary to suit her version of the story. And if those fables sound like a perfect expression of Libertarian ideas — maximum personal freedom and limited need for the government — that’s no accident. Lane, and to an extent her mother, were affronted by taxes, the New Deal, and what they saw as Americans’ growing reliance on Washington.

    Eventually, as Lane became increasingly anti-government, she would pursue her politics more openly, writing a strident political treatise and playing an important if little-known role inspiring the movement that eventually coalesced into the Libertarian Party.

    Today, as libertarian values move back into the mainstream of American politics, few citizens think to link them to a series of beloved childhood books. But the Little House books have done more than connect generations of Americans to the nation’s pioneer history: They have promoted a particular version of that history. The enduring appeal of the books tells us something about how deep the romance with self-reliance runs through American history, and the gaps between the Little House narrative and Wilder’s real life say a lot about the government help and interdependence that we sometimes find more convenient to leave out of that tale.

    Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote because she needed the money. And the way she had survived the tough economic times in which she was then living showed that her instinct for pennypinching had served her and her husband, Almanzo, well. Lane, too, sought any new sources of income she could find. When the two began the Little House books, Lane recorded in her notebooks that she owed her parents money (probably because she was behind on annual subsidies she liked to give them). She also was struggling to pay hundreds of dollars a year on electricity, and she had a laundry bill that, adjusted for inflation, would be about $196 a month in today’s dollars. Those extravagances would fall away before things got better for the family, but the pioneer writing project did provide a ticket to economic stability. – snip

    skippy – romanticism is a from of belief which drives individuals – groups to the cliffs and they have a penchant for taking as many as – they can – with them.

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