Links 12/12/13

LEARN TO CODE SWITCH BEFORE YOU LEARN TO CODE Anil Dash (Lambert). A really important piece about a lot more than software.

Deformities, sickness and livestock deaths: the real cost of GM animal feed? The Ecologist (furzy mouse)

Lobotomy For World War II Veterans: Psychiatric Care by U.S. Government Wall Street Journal

Bloomberg Reporters Compensation Business Insider

Post-Apartheid Economic Policy in South Africa: Putting Mandela’s Legacy in Perspective Triple Crisis

Ikea toy wolf becomes Hong Kong protest symbol Hong Kong. Notice the big uptick in protests: Thailand, the Ukraine, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cordoba…and Yorkshire Regiment soldiers jailed for sit-in protest

EU Wrangling: Berlin Plays It Safe on Banking Union Der Spiegel

Top U.S.-Backed Commander in Syria Run Out, U.S. Officials Say Wall Street Journal

U.S. Suspends Nonlethal Aid to the Syrian Opposition New York Times

US fears Rouhani and hardliners are playing ‘good cop, bad cop’ Financial Times

Obamacare Launch

Proposal of the Physicians’ Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance PNHP

Implementing Health Reform: The November Exchange Enrollment Report Health Affairs Blog

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Health Law Hurting Obama Politically Wall Street Journal

Sexiest Man Alive Embraces Obamacare to Boost Enrollment Bloomberg. Personally, I find tattoos to be a turnoff, but I’m clearly not the demographic they are targeting….

Drone Nation. Infographic.

Aviation schools prepare for boom in drone jobs Associated Press (Lambert)

Ryan-Murray Budget Deal Announced To Remove Defense Cuts DSWright, Firedoglake. Carol B: “Chalmers Johnson did say he thought any serious attempt to rein in the MIC would end in a coup.”

Republicans in House warming to budget deal Washington Post

The War Over Austerity is Over. Republicans Won. Kevin Drum

Occupy the SEC’s Volcker Rule Role Wall Street Journal

Regulators face heavy Volcker burden Financial Times

More than two million Americans on verge of screw job because unemployment aid not in budget deal Daily Kos

Hindus join Satanists demanding equal placement on Oklahoma capitol grounds Raw Story

Billions of Tax Dollars Later, No New Jobs for New York David Cay Johnson, TaxAnalysts (Wendy)

The Job Report Mirage Counterpunch

The Awful Service Jobs Replacing Skilled Labor Alternet (Carol B)

Fed Message to Be Muddled If Aid to Unemployed Expires: Economy Bloomberg

Blinder and the Banks Dan Kervick, New Economic Perspectives. Scary that a former Fed vice chairman doesn’t get how bank reserves relate to lending.

Long Island Foreclosures Spur Looters Amid Home Limbo Bloomberg

Central banking’s elitist swap clubs Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

J.P. Morgan to Pay $1 Billion Over Madoff Criminal Probe Wall Street Journal. The DoJ wants you to believe that a deferred prosecution agreement is the same as actual prosecution.

Lament of the plutocrats: Why Wall Street is fed up Politico. Ready your barf bag.

MMT: Often imitated, never duplicated Economonitor

Socialism: Converting Hysterical Misery into Ordinary Unhappiness for a Hundred Years Corey Robin (martha r). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour:


And a bonus from furzy mouse (a video, so email readers need to visit the site). The YouTube label says otherwise, but his husky is clearly trying to say something to the parents, not the baby.

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  1. Hugh

    “The War Over Austerity is Over. Republicans Won.” More Democratic tribalism. There was no war. The Democrats didn’t fight austerity. They supported it.

    1. from Mexico


      Sometimes I believe the Democrats are even more insufferable than the Republicans.

      Sure, with the Republicans we have to suffer the consequences of the sin of austerity. But with the Democrats we have to suffer yet another sin, and that is the sin of hypocisy.

      1. John Mc

        In some ways, Democrats are more dangerous as they create an apathetic lull of thinking among the many that someone “like me will do what needs to be done”.

        However, it is when the right wing is firmly in place when progressives gets most of their work done to strengthen movements (imo). There is a visible symbol to resist that keeps the attention of populace more than Charlie Sheen or M. Cyrus. In absence of this symbolic threat from the right, the neoliberal faux-left does of a good job of pretending, manufacturing consent and “othering” – “at least we are not those guys over on the right”.

        When it gets down to it, neoliberals (self-described) are play acting similar to what Erving Goffman calls front stage and back stage roles. Here is a good read from the early 50’s as this process was well known 60+ years ago:
        *** p.s. Use search engine to put in this title (pdf) Presentation of Self in Everyday Life and it will come up for you if this link does not.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s the Is It A Sheep Or A Wolf problem, all over again.

          And they have done a good job selling this identity:

          Big Government = Big Little People.

          Little People can be big with a Big Constitution and a small government, small business and small religion.

    2. AbyNormal

      “So-called ”austerity,” the stoic injunction, is the path towards universal destruction. It is the old, the fatal, competitive path. ”Pull in your belt” is a slogan closely related to ”gird up your loins,” or the guns-butter metaphor.”
      Wyndham Lewis 1882-1957

      Trembling to the Tunes of Troubles.
      blowing out from bursting bubbles.
      Fallen are those Beasts of Brutes,
      dirty rags down laundry chutes.

      an execution should serve em’ well.
      feed the follies to the fires of hell.
      They watch, they laugh, so to cry.
      It’s hard to believe we all will die.

      Sheep who shall Stay-the-Course,
      and their leaders living without remorse.
      They are blessed to shine in the Lion’s Light.
      For he is King of the Day and Master of the Night.

      And for who am I writing to?
      Every rhyme calls out for a clue.
      look to the skies, what do you see?
      Apollo’s Chariot looking upon thee.

      Its not there, I know.
      but its all for a show.
      kings without a claim.
      of the most holy name

      Your’s, the opener of Doors.
      between the ceilings and floors.
      there is air that moves everywhere,
      and a poet with his words he can share.
      Zach Jones/Austerity, The Trouble

        1. AbyNormal

          what a BLAST from the past Thanks Bunk
          I used to lead a quiet life
          In fact it was a bare existence
          I passed out on many floors
          I don’t do that any more

          Hello my friends
          Is everybody happy?
          Hey look me over
          Lend me an ear
          I’m a conservative

          I like the small black marks on my hands
          I’m a conservative
          I like the crazy girls that I screw
          Hey I know them all well

          And when I run out of bread I laugh
          All the way to the bank
          Sometimes I pause for a drink
          Conservatism ain’t no easy job

          I smile in the mornings
          I live without a care
          Nothing is denied me
          And nothing ever hurts

          I got bored so I’m making my millions
          When you’re conservative you get a better break
          You’re always on the rigltt side
          When you’re conservative

          You walk with pride
          Pride is on your side
          Pride pride pride
          Is on our side
          Oh boy
          Pride is on our side

          I like my beer
          I like my bread
          I love my girl
          I love my head

          I’m in the clear man
          I’m in the dear
          Because I’m a conservative
          I’m a conservative
          I really am

          And it would mean so much to me
          If you would only be like me
          Yes it could mean so much to me

          Hey look me over
          Lend me an ear
          I’m a conservative

    3. Jim Haygood

      “Chalmers Johnson did say he thought any serious attempt to rein in the MIC would end in a coup.” — Carol B.

      Most importantly, the budget deal continues funding the deadweight economic drag of the ‘accidental empire’ that the U.S. acquired after WW II. Flush 5 percent of GDP down the drain for seven decades, and pretty soon your middle class is livin’ on cat food.

      Clearly the Depublicrat duopoly intends to run this country into the ground, until it crumbles like the old Soviet Union did. Permanent low growth, underemployment and widespread social resentment require a vigorous security apparatus to repress. Super Bowl-style security will need to be rolled out nationally.

      Are you in compliance, comrade?

    4. Jackrabbit

      What Kevin Jones has written for Mother Jones seems to border on propaganda.

      He starts with: “the main thing you need to know…” is that the deal is modest – tamping down the outrage from the outset. The he rounds up the usual suspects (from blue-dog central casting), pointing out that the crazy-wing of the party we-love-to-hate is dumping on the deal (no surprise!).

      Then we get a quote from a conservative and a big graphic about…the conservatives main bugaboo: the deficit. One data point in the graphic tells us when taxes were raised on the wealthy. There is no mention that these ‘tax increases’ came from a deal to make most of the Bush tax cuts permanent.

      Then we get the milquetoast, no agency conclusion:

      Quibbles aside, Levin is right: Republicans have massively changed the spending conversation since 2010. Austerity has won.

      ‘Austerity’ has won? This ‘policy option’ won the day. Nothing to see here.

    5. Alexa

      I always thought that Kevin Drum was a “conservadem.”

      Didn’t he come from the Washington Monthly? [The editor-in-chief of WM is Paul Gastris–one of FP Clinton’s speechwriters.]

      And conservadems like Jon Meacham and Jonathan Alter were/are featured there (by the way–what happened to Meacham?).

      At best, I would consider this publication mostly a “Third Way” and/or Insider/Dem Establishment rag!

      So, I’m not surprised at his “spin” on the Budget!


      1. Ed

        What caused me to give up on Drum was his repeated advocacy of expanding Daylight Savings Time. This is a pure class warfare issue. People in low income jobs usually have to go to work earlier than people in high income jobs, and the upper classes are more likely to try to do something like get a game of golf in after work. So low income people benefit more from a longer gap between sunrise and work hours, and a smaller gap between work hours and sunset, the opposite for upper income people. This is why as the elites have gained more and more power, daylight savings time has expanded to be almost the norm in the US. It wasn’t just Drum being on the wrong side on this issue, he was loudly and insistently on the wrong side. It discredited his other opinions.

  2. DakotabornKansan

    Obamacare targeting…first binge drinkers, now tattoos…the Sexiest Man Alive [???] is being enlisted to spice up Obamacare [Sheez!]

    Too many people today don’t understand the risks that come with getting tattoos. They just see celebrities all inked up – like the Sexiest Man Alive – and want to look like them. [Sheez!]

    Tattoos are quite common nowadays. Anyone can be the proud owner of a new tattoo in a matter of hours. However, no one should let the ease of getting tattoos stop them from thinking before inking. Never take tattooing lightly. Know the major risks.

    Tattoos breach the skin, which means that skin infections and other complications are possible:

    • chronic skin infections that are unresponsive to treatment with antibiotics
    • fungal and bacterial (superbugs such as MRSA) infections
    • blood borne diseases — including tetanus, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C
    • allergic reactions such as dermatitis
    • granulomas and keloids
    • Toxins in some tattoo inks may enter the kidneys, lungs or lymph nodes through the circulatory system
    • swelling or burning in the affected areas during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams and tattoo pigments can interfere with the quality of the image

    Given the high deductibles of some of the Obamacare plans, with the above major risks in mind, think before inking!

    1. neo-realist

      The tattoo popularity has really taken off in the last few years, with some people literally covered from head to toe like a NYC subway car. If these ailments are likely, we should start seeing the fallout in another 10 years or so.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Tattoos are the result of a poor economy. Instead of clothes, permanent markers of tribal solidarity have been chosen to distinguish one’s self as unique and part of a community at the same time. Yes, cognitive dissonance is important, but if the economy was better, tattoos would be restricted to bikers and soldiers who got too drunk.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          My impression is that people are trying too hard to distinguish themselves as unique, as what they are already is not unique enough…my nose is too like yours…my elbows too…and my thumbs, oh my god, they are identical to yours…I need to tattoo my face!!!!!!!!!!!

          Now, I am unique.

          OK, more unique…I was unique already. And my T-shirt makes me more unique. Now my tattoo makes more unique-r…more and more unique, you know what I mean.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            It use to be accomplished through similarly priced clothes or even just activities which can no longer be afforded.

            Peer pressure is important to getting tattoos, but the tattoo has replaced hooped earings, shoulder pads, and a myriad of other questionable fashion statements over the years. As kids and younger people have less disposable income, tattoos have become both an affordable and somewhat rebellious choice to both distinguish oneself and reach for a community which is dying.

            1. neo-realist

              With many younger people, tattoos accompany earrings and piercings of all kinds. They’re not merely a choice of those on the economic downslope for I know a few people who work in serious professional gigs that earn very good incomes who wear tattoos all over their arms, back and front, but dress so that they’re covered. With some people, its a case of expressing repressed personality; for others, its a further expression of their extroversion, and for the remaining, just a fashion choice.

          2. optimader

            SADLY It’s a guarantee to be on the wrong side of the income quintiles/demographic pool unless you have a redeeming skill, and most people that (I observe) getting tattoos are high time preference young people that are, unfortunately, ignorant and think this is a way to differentiate themselves.. In many cases I feel it is It is indeed an ironic attempt at non conformity that is really conformity in a peer group. I see otherwise attractive young suburban girls working shitty jobs at places like Dunkin Donuts that have doomed themselves. I often wonder why these kids parents have checked out on being parents

      2. John Mc

        We must not forget that we lived in a society where everything is branded. The epidermises are a popular culture 21st century platform. I suppose we are lucky that this phenomena was not figured out by Bernays much sooner.

  3. dearieme

    If everyone who thought his “leaders” were ‘muppets’ were to stage a sit-down strike, there would be few of us left standing.

  4. TimR

    Random (non-earth-shaking) observation… I’ve been looking for some paperback books for a child on my Xmas list — mostly books by favorite authors that are still in print — and it looks like most of these books are only available in ephemeral newsprint editions. The versions I read growing up, not that long ago, had less plastic-y covers, and real paper. Such books can last decades (albeit they get some wear and tear.) The new ones, the pages, judging from how they look in used book shops, will probably start to yellow around the edges, maybe pick up a brittle-ness or wavy quality, and on some the binding will probably fall apart. They might work as cheap everyday editions (though $7 isn’t that cheap for a pulp paper book) but I don’t want to give them as gifts. The alternative (at least as far as buying new) is to step up and pay $25 for a hardcover. Is this ObookCare or something… sorry, just trying to tie it all together…

    1. aletheia33

      it’s ok to give a used hardcover in good enough (you decide) condition as a gift, in my opinion. i avoid amazon (and abebooks, owned by amazon). most books seem to be available on alibris for comparable or better prices. i have not checked out their children’s books.

    2. ambrit

      Dear TimR;
      You are not hallucinating. Cheap books are everywhere. The good news, such as it is, is that they always were. The concept of “cheap” has been defined down somewhat.
      That said, Phyl and I have been accumulating old books, especially childrens books, for decades. Try getting those kids on your list some used hardback books. We hope that will fulfill several objectives. First, the child could learn to appreciate things that aren’t shiny and new. Newness has always been overvalued, for various reasons, most of which are false. Second, the child will experience the wonder of handling and having something that was made well. Sometimes, just the touch of a well made object will subtly shift perceptions. Third, if you can include the child in the hunt for an appropriate book, the experience will open that childs mind up. Second hand stores and real bookstores! There’s a whole new old world out there! With real people; and the primary use for the computer in these places is to access the inventory lists!
      Go to it and never forget: Have Fun.

      1. Optimader

        Well, books, an interesting subject, and an excellent choice to start a young person collecting. The most valuable books are all by definition “used”. Personally I would start a young person off witn Hitchhikers Guide or Cats Cradle… They both operateon a couple levels. In general, look for first editions if collecting. Books dont need batteries.

  5. aletheia33

    orwell watch: “nonlethal aid”. heard also on npr yesterday. i adore the concept of “lethal aid.”

    1. AbyNormal

      Oh look, another Troll enlightenment. Ho hum.

      “God (Nature, in my view) makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil. He fores one soil to yield the products of another, one tree to bear another’s fruit. He confuses and confounds time, place, and natural conditions. He mutilates his dog, his horse, and his slave. He destroys and defaces all things; he loves all that is deformed and monstrous; he will have nothing as nature made it, not even himself, who must learn his paces like a saddle-horse, and be shaped to his master’s taste like the trees in his garden.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is fear mongering.

        Then there is fear mongering phobia.

        And then there is fear mongering mongering.

        That is, we have here fear (mongering) to the second power…only if I know how to express that mathematically…

        1. Optimader

          Oh look, more asinine GMO fearmongering. Ho hum.

          Any human directed environmental/genetic irrevocable change deserves a healthy dose of fear mongering.
          Its not like we have a good track record. (See Files: nuclear waste remediation, tetraeythl lead, cloroflorocarbons, carbontetrachloride, tuberculosis infested blankets, rabbits in Australia, zebra mussel infested ballast water, kudzu, asian catfish….)
          You get the picture, thanks

          1. Benjamin

            The entire anti-GMO movement is just another iteration of the age old “sinful men daring to meddle in the affairs of GOD” nonsense. In so far as it actually cares about hard science or peer-reviewed studies it seems to entirely rely on three or four papers, all of which have been widely discredited and at least one of which borders on literally being fraudulent and its authors worthy of censure. Whereas the other side of the issue, studies showing them to be safe, literally number in the hundreds.


            “GMO pundit, yeah that sounds reputable” you say. Don’t read the blog, read the papers it references. You have plenty to choose from. I really like naked capitalism, but on this issue most of you seem to have your heads firmly up your own rectums. Especially since you constantly criticize economists for not dealing in hard facts enough. Well here’s plenty of hard science, if you’d like to actually bother reading it.

            Now if you can come back with something other than “humans are bad, mm’kay” I would appreciate it.

            1. AbyNormal

              Ben, you do NOT like NC…you show up here on whims and its never just one subject.

              “The first man, who, after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say, “This is mine,” and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. How many crimes, how many wars, how many murders, how many misfortunes and horrors, would that man have saved the human species, who pulling up the stakes or filling up the ditches should have cried to his fellows: Be sure not to listen to this imposter; you are lost, if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong equally to us all, and the earth itself to nobody!”

      2. Benjamin

        What, you mean meddling like splicing different seeds together like we’ve been doing for centuries? Artificially breeding a new type of seedless banana that people actually want to eat? Inventing pesticides and plant growth enhancers that have prevented the starvation of hundreds of millions of people?

    2. Antifa

      Perhaps we should welcome our new Monsanto overlords and applaud their concerted drive to control all seed crops and animal and human food, globally. Their GMO foods are getting quite a reputation around the planet for causing high percentages of spontaneous abortions and birth defects in livestock.

      Feeding Frankenfood to our own species should reduce the human population just as effectively. And that’s a Good Thing, because GMO crops have yet — anywhere — to actually produce more food per acre than traditional methods, and they really lose the race when compared to organic gardening and farming. With less food around for the fewer and fewer humans being born, the decades to come won’t have to skip any Frankenmeals.

      So far, GMO crops and farming practices are no solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. They only make everything they touch a much bigger set of problems a few years down the road.

      1. Benjamin

        The science doesn’t support anything you just claimed.

        Now if you want to oppose Monsanto’s atrocious business practices, I’m right there with you. But this fearmongering, and that is exactly what it is and I make no apologies for calling it such, about the very concept of modifying crops is growing tiresome. Especially since people espousing it seem to have a naive view about how much of our food is artificially enhanced in some fashion or how long we’ve been doing things to food to make it grow bigger and faster, last longer, etc. It’s a lot longer than you think. Being ‘all-natural’ does not magically make something superior, nor does being partially artificial make something Satan’s preferred snack.

        1. Skippy

          You know Benjamin Foxxcon has nothing on Monsanto when it comes to inducing suicides and cornering the market with induced scarcity see:

          Monsanto’s talk of ‘technology’ tries to hide its real objectives of control over seed where genetic engineering is a means to control seed,

          “Monsanto is an agricultural company.

          We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world \produce more while conserving more.”

          “Producing more, Conserving more, Improving farmers lives.”

          These are the promises Monsanto India’s website makes, alongside pictures of smiling, prosperous farmers from the state of Maharashtra. This is a desperate attempt by Monsanto and its PR machinery to delink the epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India from the company’s growing control over cotton seed supply — 95 per cent of India’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto.

          Control over seed is the first link in the food chain because seed is the source of life. When a corporation controls seed, it controls life, especially the life of farmers.

          Monsanto’s concentrated control over the seed sector in India as well as across the world is very worrying. This is what connects farmers’ suicides in India to Monsanto vs Percy Schmeiser in Canada, to Monsanto vs Bowman in the US, and to farmers in Brazil suing Monsanto for $2.2 billion for unfair collection of royalty.

          Through patents on seed, Monsanto has become the “Life Lord” of our planet, collecting rents for life’s renewal from farmers, the original breeders.

          Patents on seed are illegitimate because putting a toxic gene into a plant cell is not “creating” or “inventing” a plant. These are seeds of deception — the deception that Monsanto is the creator of seeds and life; the deception that while Monsanto sues farmers and traps them in debt, it pretends to be working for farmers’ welfare, and the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.

          The entry of Monsanto in the Indian seed sector was made possible with a 1988 Seed Policy imposed by the World Bank, requiring the Government of India to deregulate the seed sector. Five things changed with Monsanto’s entry: First, Indian companies were locked into joint-ventures and licensing arrangements, and concentration over the seed sector increased. Second, seed which had been the farmers’ common resource became the “intellectual property” of Monsanto, for which it started collecting royalties, thus raising the costs of seed. Third, open pollinated cotton seeds were displaced by hybrids, including GMO hybrids. A renewable resource became a non-renewable, patented commodity. Fourth, cotton which had earlier been grown as a mixture with food crops now had to be grown as a monoculture, with higher vulnerability to pests, disease, drought and crop failure. Fifth, Monsanto started to subvert India’s regulatory processes and, in fact, started to use public resources to push its non-renewable hybrids and GMOs through so-called public-private partnerships (PPP).

          Monsanto is considered the mother of agricultural biotechnology. The company produces biotechnology, genomics and herbicides for corn, cotton, oil seeds, and vegetables. It produces genetically altered seeds to tolerate it’s flagship product, Roundup. Monsanto also produces Asgrow, DEKALB, Deltapine, and Seminis seeds. Other products have included Agent Orange, the now ubiquitous PCBs, DDT, Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and Aspartame.

          Monsanto is one of the “Big 6” Biotech Corporations, along with BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical Company, Dupont, and Syngenta (so called because they dominate the agricultural input market — that is, they own the world’s seed, pesticide and biotechnology industries).[1][2]

          In the fiscal year ending in August of 2010, the company reported sales of approximately 10.5 billion dollars and had 27,600 employees. [3] – snip

          Global Pollution and Environmental Impact

          In the Washington Post article (Jan 1, 2002) “Monsanto Hid Decades Of Pollution PCBs Drenched Ala. Town, But No One Was Ever Told” a grim story of Monsanto’s treacherous behavior in Anniston Alabama was revealed. It is summed up in this chilling paragraph: “They also know that for nearly 40 years, while producing the now-banned industrial coolants known as PCBs at a local factory, Monsanto Co. routinely discharged toxic waste into a west Anniston creek and dumped millions of pounds of PCBs into oozing open-pit landfills. And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents — many emblazoned with warnings such as “CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy” — show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.” [1] [2]

          According to a 2013 report by Food and Water Watch (FWW), “Monsanto’s day-to-day operations have wreaked havoc on the environment and public health.”[12] FWW specifically cites Monsanto’s past production of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Monsanto produced about 99 percent of PCBs used by U.S. industry at its plant in Sauget, Illinois until PCB production was banned by Congress in 1976, due to their carcinogenic properties and detrimental effects to the liver, endocrine system, immune system, reproductive system, developmental system, skin, eye and brain.[12] Despite the ban, PCBs continue to be illegally dumped or leaked, and since these chemicals do not break down easily, they continue to cycle through air, water and soil for long periods of time. Thus PCBs continue accumulating in plants and food crops, as well as in fish and other aquatic organisms, which are then ingested by other animals building up higher levels of PCBs as they move up the food chain.[12]

          For more see Monsanto’s Global Pollution Legacy.
          EPA Superfund Sites

          Several Monsanto-owned facilities have been deemed “Superfund sites” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sites that are so contaminated or full of hazardous waste that they are placed on the “National Priorities List” for clean up by the EPA Superfund.[12][13] Many more plants have been deemed hazardous by the EPA and have been ordered cleaned up through other means, such as litigation.[12] Examples of such sites include[12]:

          Monsanto plant in August, Georgia: Superfund-listed in 1984 for arsenic-laden waste and sludge contributing to groundwater contamination
          Monsanto phosphorous plant in Soda Springs, Idaho: Superfund-listed in 1990 for arsenic, cadmium, radium and other toxins
          Monsanto plant in Sauget, Illinois: Two super-funded sites still in clean up after initial 1982 listing; plant produced 99 percent of all PCBs in the United States
          Monsanto PCB plant in Anniston, Alabama: Listed under Superfund Alternative Approach in 2000 for extensive PCB contamination over six decades; city has been characterized as one of the most polluted places in America
          Solutla (former Monsanto) Plant in Nitro, West Virginia: Monsanto and Pharmacia entered into a Consent Order with the EPA in 2004 to perform evaluation and cleanup for release of dioxin from the 2,4,5-T (a component of Agent Orange) manufacturing plant over a 20-year period. – snip

          skippy… well you get the idea…

          1. Benjamin

            So they’re a typical evil corporation. I’m not disagreeing with you. Doesn’t mean the concept is inherently bad. Genetic engineering in crops is nothing more than a more refined version of seed splicing to breed plants with desired traits, something that we’ve been doing for literally centuries and that botanists do everyday all over the world.

            I also have yet to even see a single serious attempt at explaining the mechanisms of how ‘frankenfood’ modified to, say, be pest resistant (and aren’t these critics the same people always bitching about pesticides?) is supposed to lead to cancer, or spontaneous abortions as hilariously claimed above. Correlation doesn’t imply causation, and invariably you find even the correlation is dubious at best if you bother to look into things in depth.

            1. skippy

              Well you might study a complete history of the company but that would imply causation.

              Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide “Roundup”, as well as producing 90% of the world’s genetically modified (GMO) seeds.

              Over Monsanto’s 110-year history (1901-2013), Monsanto Co (MON.N), the world’s largest seed company, has evolved from primarily an industrial chemical concern into a pure agricultural products company. MON profited $2 billion dollars in 2009, but their record profits fell to only $1 billion in 2010 after activists exposed Monsanto for doing terribly evil acts like suing good farmers and feeding uranium to pregnant women. Below is a timeline of Monsanto’s dark history.

              Monsanto, best know today for its agricultural biotechnology GMO products, has a long and dirty history of polluting this country and others with some of the most toxic compounds known to humankind. From PCBs to Agent Orange to Roundup, we have many reasons to question the motives of this evil corporation that claims to be working to reduce environmental destruction and feed the world with its genetically engineered GMO food crops. Monsanto has been repeatedly fined and ruled against for, among many things: mislabeling containers of Roundup, failing to report health data to EPA, plus chemical spills and improper chemical deposition.

              The name Monsanto has since, for many around the world, come to symbolize the greed, arrogance, scandal and hardball business practices of many multinational corporations. A couple of historical factoids not generally known: Monsanto was heavily involved during WWII in the creation of the first nuclear bomb for the Manhattan Project via its facilities in Dayton Ohio and called the Dayton Project headed by Charlie Thomas, Director of Monsanto’s Central Research Department (and later Monsanto President) and it operated a nuclear facility for the federal government in Miamisburg, also in Ohio, called the Mound Project until the 80s. – snip

              “Roundup Ready” GM seeds

              Monsanto eventually achieved this by introducing into crop plants genes that give resistance to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup). This meant farmers could spray Roundup onto their fields as a weedkiller even during the growing season without harming the crop. This allowed Monsanto to “significantly expand the market for Roundup and, more importantly, help Monsanto to negotiate the expiry of its glyphosate patents, on which such a large slice of the company’s income depended.” With glyphosate-tolerant GM crops, Monsanto was able to preserve its dominant share of the glyphosate market through a marketing strategy that would couple proprietary “Roundup Ready” seeds with continued sales of Roundup.

              Although the first of Monsanto’s biotech products to make it to market was not a GM crop but Monsanto’s controversial GM cattle drug, bovine growth hormone – called rBGH or rBST, Monsanto’s corporate strategy led them for the first time to acquire seed companies. During the 1990s Monsanto spent $10 billion globally buying up seed companies – a push that continues to this day. It has purchased, for example, Holden’s Foundations Seeds, Seminis – the largest seed company not producing corn or soybeans in the world, the Dutch seed company De Ruiter Seeds, and the big cotton seed firm Delta and Pine. As a result, Monsanto is now the world’s largest seed company, accounting for almost a quarter of the global proprietary seed market.

              Monsanto’s biotech seeds and traits (including those licensed to other companies) accounted for almost 90% of the total world area devoted to GM seeds by 2007. Today, over 80% of the worldwide area devoted to GM crops carries at least one genetic trait for herbicide tolerance. Herbicides account for about one-third of the global pesticide market. Monsanto’s glyphosate-resistant (Roundup Ready) seeds have reigned supreme on the biotech scene for over a decade – creating a near-monopoly for the company’s Roundup herbicide – which is now off patent. Roundup is the world’s biggest selling pesticide and it has helped make Monsanto the world’s fifth largest agrochemical company.
              Virtual monoploly drives up prices

              This concentration of corporate power drives up costs for farmers and consumers. Retail prices for Roundup have increased from just $32 per gallon in December 2006 to $45 per gallon a year later, to $75 per gallon by June 2008 – a 134% price hike in less than two years. Because gene technologies can be patented, they also concentrate corporate power – by 2000 five pesticide companies, including Monsanto, controlled over 70% of all patents on agricultural biotechnology. And this concentration again drives up costs. According to Keith Mudd of the U.S.-based Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), “The lack of competition and innovation in the marketplace has reduced farmers’ choices and enabled Monsanto to raise prices unencumbered.”

              At a July 2008 meeting, Monsanto officials announced plans to raise the average price of some of the company’s GM maize (corn) varieties a whopping 35 percent, by $95-100 per bag, to top $300 per bag. Fred Stokes of OCM describes the implications for farmers: “A $100 price increase is a tremendous drain on rural America. Let’s say a farmer in Iowa who farms 1,000 acres plants one of these expensive corn varieties next year. The gross increased cost is more than $40,000. Yet there’s no scientific basis to justify this price hike. How can we let companies get away with this?” What holds good for maize, also holds good for other GM crops. The average price for soybean seed, the largest GM crop in the US, has risen by more than 50% in just two years from 2006 to 2008 – from $32.30 to $49.23 per planted acre.

              Patenting also inhibits public sector research and further undermines the rights of farmers to save and exchange seeds. Monsanto devotes an annual budget of 10 million dollars to harassing, intimidating, suing – and in some cases bankrupting – American farmers over alleged improper use of its patented seeds.

              Recent price hikes have taken place in the context of a global food crisis marked by rapid food price inflation, which has exacerbated extreme poverty and hunger, and increased social tensions. The World Bank attributes 75% of this global food price inflation to “biofuels”, and Monsanto has been at the very heart of the “biofuels” lobby, particularly the lobby for corn ethanol. Monsanto has been accused of both contributing to and benefiting from the food crisis, while simultaneously using it as a PR platform from which to promote GM crops as the solution to the crisis.

              In 2008 the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations condemned corporate profiteering: “The essential purpose of food, which is to nourish people, has been subordinated to the economic aims of a handful of multinational corporations that monopolize all aspects of food production, from seeds to major distribution chains, and they have been the prime beneficiaries of the world crisis. A look at the figures for 2007, when the world food crisis began, shows that corporations such as Monsanto and Cargill, which control the cereals market, saw their profits increase by 45 and 60 per cent, respectively.” – snip


              skippy… monopoly’s don’t do feeding the world stuff… its not part of the corporate policy… its feel good advertising.

  6. JTFaraday

    re: bonus antidote “The YouTube label says otherwise, but his husky is clearly trying to say something to the parents, not the baby.”

    Yeah, I think it’s saying “Tell this bizarre thing to stop mocking me and stick it back in its cage. I’m on my last straw.”

  7. diptherio

    That husky is obviously mocking the kid, and the parents for having it…listen to this annoying little twirp! Spends all day going “eeeeaaaahhhh!” What were you thinking?

    1. anon y'mouse

      all I heard was “Calgon, take me awaaaay!”

      either that, or “you give snacks and cuddles when this pup wails on. so, I can do that too. I do it even better! where are my snacks and cuddles?”

  8. jjmacjohnson

    Interesting article on switch coding but the “blue collar coders” idea is a fine one yet these level jobs are already outsourced for low low wages. The upper level jobs are heading that way too if most companies can have it that way.

    1. curlydan

      My thought exactly. The blue collar coder likely has been undercut by the “Bangladeshi collar” imported coder. Friendly guys and gals picked up every night at the corporate curbside in a van then transported to apartments and ready to move to their next gig at a moment’s notice.

      Nonetheless, a semester or two of coding in high school or junior high would do our children a lot of good. Just let kids learn how to solve a few problems (sorting an array of numbers, creating a calendar from 1846, testing a queuing system), and they can carry that knowledge of how programs and software work for a loooong time.

    2. Synopticist

      I think the one job the oligarchs really want to turn blue-collar would be teaching. Privatize it, give it to a bunch of corporations, change the procedures and testing systems into computerized, standardized procedures, break the unions and allow non-degree holders into it. Then divide and rule, and ratchet down wages. It’s already happening, and it would be the greatest money spinner going.

  9. Chauncey Gardiner

    Stanley Fischer to No. 2 at the FED? Former governor of the Bank of Israel; taught Bernanke and Draghi at MIT; experience at IMF, the World Bank, and Citi.

    Wonder why?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My first guess is that they all hang out at the same singles bar in the ’70s, having the same taste in women, beer and disco music.

      But only their NSA files can confirm that.

          1. AbyNormal

            ahh Chauncey, we should be so lucky to have a Mr. Wolf in our pocket…then let a financier ask ‘Whats In Your Wallet’

            “To run with the wolf was to run in the shadows, the dark ray of life, survival and instinct. A fierceness that was both proud and lonely, a tearing, a howling, a hunger and thirst. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst. A strength that would die fighting, kicking, screaming, that wouldn’t stop until the last breath had been wrung from its body. The will to take one’s place in the world. To say ‘I am here.’ To say ‘I am.”
            O.R. Melling (do i hear an Amen…oh Hell yes)

    2. Jim Haygood

      Why? To bring some welcome ethnic diversity to the upper echelon of the Fed!

      I’m talking about the fact that Fischer is of Zambian origin, of course. *wink*

  10. Greg T


    I had the exact same reaction after I read the Politico article, ” Lament of the Plutocrats. ” I recommend it to anyone as a substitute for placing a finger down your throat.

    What a group of spoiled, entitled brats. These guys should be eternally grateful. Not only are they not holed up in a jail cell, nor facing personal financial ruin from a litany of lawsuits, but they kept their jobs and, by extension, their outrageous bonuses. The President has been deferential to them, bordering on obsequious, and these chronic malcontents have the gall to be offended by a little rough language. And heaven forbid they adhere to some weak-tea regulation.

    Poor, mistreated bankers. The injustice of it all moves me to tears.

    1. Synopticist

      That piece made me gag as well. I love the way they kept referring to Obama getting “only 6 million Dollars” from Wall Street, down from “16” in 2008. Sure, that’s all he raised from the titans of banking. 6 million bucks only.

      And to hear that Loyd is praising Hillary and Christie. Oh dear, no change there then.

  11. D. Mathews

    I absolutely loved the link on code-switching. As a person that straddles three cultures, I grew up code switching (subconsciously). That article made me reflect – I probably know a dozen codes.

    1. ScottS

      What does it mean that I feel like I have to code-switch (aka “act white”) when I’m around management or on interviews, despite the fact that I’m already white? The business world definitely has it’s own language and is overwhelmingly racist and misogynist but the only color that truly matters is green — and yours truly is public-school-blue-and-gold.

  12. diptherio

    Fighting Corruption with Fake Money ~The Economist

    WORTHLESS currency is not necessarily useless. It can be a pointed way of shaming someone who asks for a bribe. That is the thinking behind zero-rupee notes, an Indian anti-corruption gimmick now attracting worldwide interest. They look roughly like 50-rupee ($0.80) notes; people are encouraged to hand them to corrupt officials, signalling resistance to sleaze.

    Vijay Anand, founder of 5th Pillar, an anti-bribery campaign that launched the notes, calls them a “non-violent weapon of non co-operation”. His group has distributed more than 2.5m since 2007. The idea is catching on: campaigners from Argentina, Nepal, Mexico and Benin have been in touch asking for details. Malaysia is mulling a similar project. And a worthless note will be launched in Yemen next year.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I just hope there was no violence against trees involved in the making of those worthless, anti-corruption currency notes.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Bribery brings the corruption buy in down from the six figure annual “contribution” level to something the guy on the street might be able to avail themselves of. One can make a serious problem (even one of your own doing) go away completely forever with less than it would cost to even retain an attorney here. Usually bad; sometimes very, very useful.

  13. fresno dan

    Often noted previously, but at some point dividing the pie, as well how much poison in the pie becomes relevant

    “How can it be that great wealth is created on Wall Street with products like credit-default swaps that destroyed the wealth of ordinary Americans—and yet we count this activity as growth? Likewise, fortunes are made manufacturing food products that make Americans fatter, sicker, and shorter-lived. And yet we count this as growth too—including the massive extra costs of health care. Global warming creates more frequent hurricanes, which destroy cities and lives. Yet the economic activity to repair the damage ends up getting counted as growth as well.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A smaller pie, divided more equitably, can be a good thing.

      That’s why there is a voice that says, we don’t want more economy stimulating projects, we don’t want more money printing by MMTers and we dont’ want more GDP growth.

      We just want to share like we are a community…even with a smaller pie.

      1. fresno dan

        I would settle simply for people who lose billions not getting reimbursed for not knowing how to do their job (as well as sparing me of having to put up with the hypocrisy of “profit and LOSS” or at least rephrase it to “their profit and MY loss”). I despair of any attempt at something so naïve as “equal justice before the law” – where we literally have millions upon millions of forged mortgage documents (and associated MBS documents) but not ONE Federal or State official could figure out how this happened in thousands upon thousands of franchise offices…. no conspiracy, or direction from the top. SHEER coincidence…

      2. Benedict@Large

        You many not want more money printing, but you need more money circulating, and so far, there isn’t a viable plan to accomplish this. As MMT would point out, taxation would just take money from one point of circulation and moving it to another, so that, while possibly desirable for other reasons, does not put more money into circulation. What you have to do is get at the money that’s out there but not in circulation. That money is called federal bonds. You have to tax them out of existence and replace them with new money to the point where you do have enough money circulating. But until you can do that, you’re left with a choice of a dysfunctional economy or printing money. Sorry for the bad news.

  14. rich

    Poll: Americans No Longer Believe In American Dream

    Which is to say, despite the happy rhetoric from corporate politicians and the various jingly jangly distractions provided by the corporate media – the American people know they’ve been hosed.

    The lack of faith is especially pronounced among those making less than $50,000 a year: By a 73 percent to 24 percent margin, they say the economy is unfair. Even 60 percent of those whose annual income is $100,000 or more bemoan the absence of a fair deal while 39 percent say everyone has an equal shot to advance.

    So both those making above and below the average wage believe the economy is rigged. The only people who seem to think everything is working perfectly are Wall Street, or maybe that’s just PR and deep down they know it’s all a lie (if there is a “deep down” with them).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For multi-lingual people, they can dream in many different languages.

      They can dream in German.

      Or they can dream in Chinese.

      I don’t speak Greek or Spanish, so I haven’t had Greek dreams or Spanish nightmares lately.

    2. ScottS

      Wall Street must believe in the American Dream since it rationalizes their “success” as something other than petty theft or holding a winning sperm lottery ticket.

    3. Mildred Montana

      @rich: “The only people who seem to think everything is working perfectly are Wall Street, or maybe that’s just PR and deep down they know it’s all a lie (if there is a “deep down” with them).”

      Yes, rich, there is a “deep down” with the Wall Street types. Hence the following joke:

      Q: Why are dead bankers buried sixty feet underground?
      A: Because deep down they’re not bad people.

  15. Yonatan

    Top efelump photo!

    I can’t decide whether they are the seven samurai or whether there should be some spaghetti western music in the background for the sherriffs as they march into town to clear up the lowlife.

    1. Rowlf

      A collection for easier access.
      I think the last one will sink the hook for the NC crowd.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps I am being too paranoid, but I suspect every fly on the wall a biological spy drone from the NSA and just feel compelled to exterminate every one of them I see in the house.

  16. ScottS

    Re: Socialism: Converting Hysterical Misery into Ordinary Unhappiness for a Hundred Years Corey Robin
    Excellent article. Puts its finger on something I’ve been trying to articulate — that society seems to be filling all our free time with “managing” our life (fighting with insurance companies, picking stocks for 401(k)s) instead of living it.

  17. Alexa

    Yes, two million Americans are getting scr**ed.

    The question is, “Will they also hold Democrats accountable for this?”

    Looking at some of the diaries at various progressive blogs (including DKos)–they may!

  18. Alexa

    From “Roll Call,” this piece includes link to the “Bipartisan Budget Of 2013.”

    Budget Deal Is Better Than Nothing for Weakened Obama

    I have searched ‘high and low’ for the actual language of the bill (not just the Summary), since I don’t trust reporters to report “inconvenient truths or hidden agenda items.”

    Hope this is helpful!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      And modern journalism is largely a stenographers course based on press releases from proper channels.

  19. scraping_by

    That great video antidote shows the wolf part of a dog. Wolves are pack animals, and have several pack behaviors for social bonding, territorial defense, cooperative hunting, and so on.

    Group howls are commonly observed, though there’s disagreement what they mean. But it’s a pack thing, and dogs/wolves see us as part of their pack. Strange posture, no fur, dull teeth, but they don’t hold that against us.

    Wolfie really is looking to the parents. He’s asking, ‘Why aren’t you joining in?’ or ‘Is it time to go from chuckling to full throated howling?’ A fair question, really.

  20. Anthony Alfidi

    Thanks for the “Lament of the Plutocrats” link. Wall Street donates to political campaigns in both parties because it expects a return on its investment no matter who wins. Even the losers of campaigns sometimes do favors for their former sponsors when they return to lobbying or corporate law.

  21. psychohistorian

    I think it starts at the first object “We the people”.

    You get back to me with a definition of that which won’t change over time and maybe we can move forward.

    1. craazyboy

      Public Static GodClass
      //Todo: Add more stuff.

      Private String mName=”We The Peoples”;
      Private String mAddress=”Anywhere, USA”;

      Public Name
      get{return mName;}
      //set { mName = value; } – Caution: Do not uncomment this line!

      Public Address
      get{return mAddress;}
      //set { mAddress = value; } – Caution: Do not uncomment this line!

      public GodClass()
      InitializeComponent(); //TBD

      private void btnOK_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)

      private void btnCancel_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)

  22. Roland


    Better distribution would increase velocity. So tax-and-distribute could be a better option than further monetary expansion.

Comments are closed.