Links 4/4/14

Dear patient readers,

We are again short a few links as of our 7:00 AM e-mailing. Hope you subscribers check into the site to get the final version.

The woman who lost a dog and gained 200 sloths BBC

World’s oldest weather report could revise bronze age chronology ScienceDaily (Lysa)

Norwegian Skydiver Almost Gets Hit by Falling Meteor — and Captures it on Film Universe Today (Richard Smith)

Sexist Life Magazine Ads from the 1960s Matt Stoller

Hand-Held Treatment for Overdoses Is Approved New York Times

Ocean discovered on Enceladus may be best place to look for alien life Guardian (furzy mouse)

Hackers turn Security Camera DVRs into bitcoin miners RT (Lysa)

Bitcoin Boosters Struggle to Restore Confidence Wall Street Journal

Amazon, Twitter Fail Greenpeace Report Card OilPrice

The ‘Crude Wall’ cometh FT Alphaville

West agonises over Chinese realty binge MacroBusiness

Is China the Next Lehman Brothers? John Cassidy, New Yorker

US warns China over maritime disputes Financial Times

People Are Worried That It Might Be 1997 All Over Again In Japan Business Insider

The Decline of Europe Ian Welsh (Carol B)

Euro traders left clueless as Draghi threatens nothing Futures Magazine (furzy mouse)

Portugal Weighs Risk of Irish Route to Bailout Exit Bloomberg

New Lows for Obama’s Failed Middle East Policy Counterpunch (Carol B)

In Cuba Another U.S. Government Abuse Of Online Communication Moon of Alabama

Hijacking the American Plane of State, Old Scripts and Empty Stories Signal a New Age Tom Engelhardt

If You’re Asking If The U.S. Still Does Imperialism, You Have To Be Joking, Right? DownWithTyranny (RR)


How will Putin respond to western pressure? Financial Times

Russia recalls ambassador to NATO amid Ukraine tensions CNN

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ephemeral Apps Bruch Schneier

NSA Reforms May Cause Complications For Service Providers International Business Times

Ruling’s Breadth Hints That More Campaign Finance Dominoes May Fall New York Times

Nancy Pelosi Slams Supreme Court’s McCutcheon Ruling: ‘Is This Supposed To Be A Money War?’ Huffington Post. Carol B: “I do hope the bottomless hypocrisy of Nancy Pelosi blasting the SC for a money war isn’t lost on you.”

Late Night: Nervous as a Whore in Church cocktailhag, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Air Force determines some reporters from the Associated Press and NBC are not journalists MuckRock

First Blood, Bloggers! CounterPunch

Do-Nothing Congress Does Something: Gives GE A Big Tax Break Wolf Richter (Lysa)

Homeland Security Study Praises Occupy Sandy, With Murky Intentions Truthout (Michael C)

The female face of the crisis quits the spotlight Financial Times

M Stanley hits back over Flash Boys row Financial Times

Why Michael Lewis is wrong CNN v. Schwab: HFT a cancer on the market CNBC

Larry Summers and Wealth Inequality House of Debt (George L)

Why Don’t the 1 Percent Feel Rich? Atlantic (furzy mouse). Because, as someone told me long ago, “Society is very well designed. There is always someone who has more.” This article comes at it differently, though, the 1% v. the 0.1%.

Hobbes Was Right: Anarchy Sucks Pieria

Antidote du jour



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  1. Jim Haygood

    First it was shortages of toilet paper; now it’s newsprint:

    Andiarios, Colombia’s National Association of Newspaper Editors, is sending 52 tonnes of printing paper to three Venezuelan dailies, which are currently running out of material to print their news on.

    The emergency shipment, which Andiarios has described as a “loan”, will help Venezuelan newspapers El Nacional, El Impulso and El Nuevo Pais> continue circulating for the next two weeks.

    Andiarios is hoping that the trucks, which are currently waiting to go through customs procedures on the border between both countries, will eventualy be allowed into Venezuelan territory.

    Over the past four months, six newspapers in Venezuela have had to shut down their print editions due to chronic printing paper shortages, according to Venezuela’s Institute for Press and Society.


    Hope VZ don’t end up like Zimbabwe a few years ago, having to import currency cuz they couldn’t even organize the printing of their own hundred-million-dollar bills.

  2. Brindle

    Russia/ Ukraine…..
    Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister makes interesting suggestions for U.S politicians who have put “sanctions” on Russia.
    I think he is saying that the U.S will do not do anything with bite that will upset U.S. companies like ExxonMobil and their $500 billion joint venture with Rosneft and basically just— “hey, just chill, dude”.

    —“Spend more time in the open, practice yoga, stick to food-combining diets, maybe watch some comedy sketch shows on TV.”—

  3. Abigail Caplovitz Field


    While I really appreciate the link to my story on Congress giving GE a tax break, I wish you’d link to the story itself instead of directing traffic to Wolf Richter’s re-posting of it. Traffic affects how I get paid for the work I did to write it.
    This is the correct link:

    Here’s today’s installment:


    1. Banger

      Great reporting, so thank you! Sadly, the trend towards massive corruption in Washington is still waxing with no sign of a counter-movement. If you find any indication of push-back let us know.

    2. abynormal

      Please except my apologies Abigail…it was my submission. my plate is a bit full at this time and i know for a fact Yves’ is…i’ll pay closer attention in the future.
      good write….appreciate your heavy lifting.

      1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

        No worries, I’m glad you liked it & submitted it. Thank you.

        & Thanks everyone for the kudos. I’ll try to keep ’em coming

    3. fresno dan

      I’ll click on both! thanks!!
      congressional selling out the people – you’d think it was all the same, but each betrayal is like a snowflake with its own unique double dealing, bribery (campaign finance) – aw, you know the rest

  4. vidimi

    re that downwithtyranny link, it’s eminently believable but it has one unforgiveable shortcoming: it mentions a leaked source revealing a USAid plot to undermine the maduro government and even cites from it, but provides no link to it.

  5. eeyores enigma

    Anarchy is a way of structuring a group, community, society that has no hierarchal government and whose first premise is Do No Harm.

    Because this so completely threatens TPTB it is important that that definition never be clear. Instead anarchy must be equated with chaos, Molotov cocktails, and thuggery.

    The title of that article should be; “Hopelessness in war torn regions suck”.

    1. Ruben

      What the author of the anarchy sucks article describes is the budding new States that come to life right after the big State retreats. It is a very common criticism of anarchism, probably the most common one, that new States will rise if the State falls, so anarchy will never come about. It’s not really a criticism of anarchy per se but rather of its impossibility. So another option for a proper title of the article is “It sucks that anarchy doesn’t get a chance”.

      1. RanDomino

        I wonder if people who write article like this realize that not only are they arguing against strawmen (except of the right-wing libertarians and Republicans increasingly influenced by them, who are collectively so insane that civil society should disregard them entirely, except for purposes of isolating and defending against them), but also making it impossible to have a real debate since they help solidify the idea that the false strawman is actually the real proposal.
        Also, reason number 6,497 why I hate liberals: They have no concept of dialectical argument as a debate technique. Mao said that the best three pieces of advice in war he was even given were these: “Circle around, circle around, circle around”. A cursory reading of The Art of War will reveal similar advice. Yet liberals argue in a completely linear fashion. Whatever the Republicans are against, we’re for; whatever they’re for, we’re against.
        It’s a fine strategy if you have five or ten times the amount of resources as your opponent, but we don’t. You’ve got to maneuver around to the flank in both warfare and debate, and the way to do it in the latter is to create new theories and proposals that undermine the enemy’s strategy, and one way is by incorporating their very own principles into your proposals. For example, if Republicans are against government because freedom; and liberals are for government because safety, what’s a dialectical solution? Anarchism. For example. In any case, liberals saying that we need to restore the New Deal/Great Society programs is as foolish as conservatives and libertarians saying we just need to get back to the Constitution.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          You mistakenly assume that actual liberals are represented, much less functionally so, in the Great American stampede to the insane political right.

  6. Steve H.

    “Hobbes…” by Tom Streithorst.

    I’m reading some of his other work & finding it thought-provoking, can’t tell if b.s. sensor is working. Would appreciated exogenous calibration.


      1. allcoppedout

        I suspect the BS starts in a title giving one to expect “Hobbes” or “Anarchy”. Anarchy means leaderless rather than ‘presence of war lords and bandits’ and Hobbes advocated “social contract theory”, the method of justifying political principles or arrangements by appeal to the agreement that would be made among suitably situated rational, free, and equal persons. He is infamous for having used the social contract method to arrive at the astonishing conclusion that we ought to submit to the authority of an absolute—undivided and unlimited—sovereign power.

  7. fresno dan

    Nah, he misspoke. Or maybe they will use the TBTF theory that the higher you are in the organization, the more clueless you are and the less control you have.

    this helped me, but you have to be a real idiot to benefit

  8. fresno dan

    Who can forget those exciting days of yesteryear? where are they now?
    “For example, in some instances, Lehman and its counterparties were uncertain of the identity of the specific Lehman subsidiary against which creditors had claims.”
    It was that balding fat guy….who always has pizza grease stains on his tie. He GUARAAAANTEE this was pure money. I think his name was Phil…..

  9. Eureka Springs

    Missed opportunity with the Russia leaves NATO headline. Could have said: Russia tells NATO Crimea River! as they get up and walk out the door.

  10. diptherio

    Well damn, damn, damn…arrived in NYC yesterday and found out that I won’t be able to make a meet-up on the 25th. However, I am going to try to get down to Zuccotti tonight for the OWS Wave-of-Action. Hope to see some of you there!

  11. JohnH

    This article suggests that Lewis wasn’t just a bit off but completely 180 wrong on the HFT story. As an outsider I have no way to evaluate the claim. Any thoughts?

      1. JohnH

        I read that the other day. The thrust of the article that I posted was I think a little different. That Michael Lewis was acting as the mouthpiece for Goldman, JP Morgan and other big buy side heavyweights who backed the alternative trading platform and his piece was essentially the buy siders who are disgruntled about having to pay anything at all to the market makers and also that the folks that he talked to were either profoundly clueless or mendacious when talking about the trading in an HFT environment.

    1. ohmyheck


      “Where it gets interesting is where Lewis claims bigshot buysider crybabies like Loeb and Einhorn never heard of any of this. They made it sound as if, back in the day when Loeb and Einhorn were paying 1/8 of a dollar spreads to knuckle-dragging pit orcs, no rock-ribbed he-man trader with 10lbs of undigested beef in his lower intestine would would dare move his price away from where Loeb and Einhorn wanted it. Why, moving the price away from a big order: that’s un-American!”

      There’s more where that came from…
      Thanks for the link! Maybe it will make it into Links 4/5/14?

  12. Cheyenne

    Anarchy is basically where some of guys in a historically violent tribal region have guns, while wealthy nearby westerners, under escort, clutch at the expensive pearls they brought along. Also, Times Square prior to drug/sex-work prohibition

  13. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re Tom Engelhardt’s post and his observations: “… the winners in our American world are exactly those who have repeatedly been playing the losing hands.  Their reward for one self-defined disaster after another has been yet more money, yet wider areas of everyday life to control, and yet more power.  No matter how inept they may prove as imperial players on a world stage, they can essentially do no wrong domestically when it comes to embedding themselves ever more deeply in our lives in the name of our “security” and our “safety.”  It’s a remarkable tale.  Legendary, one might almost say.  As the power of American power to accomplish seemingly anything fades, the power of the national security state only grows.”

    Engelhardt then goes on to cite the recent failed effort by Senator Feinstein to exert some measure of Congressional policy control over this group of individuals in a single narrow area.

    So, going forward what can we reasonably expect will be the result of this surreptitious, quiet and gradual accumulation and consolidation of power and wealth by a small group of individuals who have a now well established track record of repeated massive policy and program failures that have cost the nation trillions of dollars and tens of thouands of lives of our young people lost and impaired, coupled with infringements of the Constitution, potential criminal acts, and a clearly undemocratic ideology?

    The world is a complicated place. Our country needs a well functioning intelligence service and adequate military security for our common defense. That is not what is being discussed here.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “The world is a complicated place” in large part because the US cannot and will not mind its own business.

      As for “adequate military security,” many of us are “dying” to know how many times over this country has to be able to destroy the rest of the planet to be considered “adequate.” 2? 50? 1000?

      As for “common defense,” the joke’s on you. No “enemy” has ever or will ever be able to attack the American citizenry as viciously and relentlessly as their “fellow Americans” have and continue to do. “Common defense” is an advertising slogan contrived for the benefit of the sacrosanct American “consumer.”

      1. fresno dan

        All we are saying, is give isolationism a chance.
        No, really – I’m not being sarcastic. Ever more treaties, security packs, agreements, understanding, blah, blah, blah. We would have been better off if Russia had prevailed in Afghanistan. But we couldn’t let the Russian bear have the territory. And we had to staunch the flow of communism in Vietnam….not so much. Of course, out great success at kindling democracy in the mid east totally justifies Iraq….
        We have never been isolationist. From the Barbary pirates to…oh, its just endless

        I guess you could say it would have been worse if we had not intervened. I say we do an experiment – unless some countries navy starts shelling an American city, we stay out of it. And 20 years from now still problems between Israel and Palestinians, China and Taiwan, North Korea, tensions with Iran, etc. – No more, no less…
        by the way, we haven’t won the war on cancer or drugs either – that should be giving us a clue….

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Small quibble: “We” would have been better off if we’d never HEARD of Afghanistan. The AFGHANS would have been better off if Russia had prevailed.

          The fate of the Brzezinski family, due to the loss of its scion to a geopolitically- induced breakdown and subsequent commitment, is unknown.

          I would like to propose something to fill the yawning gap between “isolationism” and “full spectrum dominance”–leading by example.

          Not sure if the sarc/ tag is appropriate here, but apply if necessary.

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Respectfully, Katniss, I believe the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution provides:
        We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

        1. abynormal

          respectfully, you lost me at “I believe…”

          “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” Nietzsche

          “belief is the death of intelligence.”
          Robert Anton Wilson

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          I appreciate the respect, CG. And I stand corrected.

          “Common defense” is, as you quote, provided for most elegantly in the Constitution, as is “justice,” “domestic tranquility,” “general welfare” and “liberty.” (Among other things such as “due process” and “habeas corpus.”)

          In the future, I will consciously remind myself that, despite the degree to which it has been tortured and twisted, the Constitution does still actually exist. Depending, of course, on what the definition of “exist” is.

          And I will not presume that such internet conventions as sarc/ and snark/ tags are “understood.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘Going forward what can we reasonably expect will be the result of this surreptitious, quiet and gradual accumulation and consolidation of power and wealth by a small group of individuals who have a now well established track record of repeated massive policy and program failures?’

      You know the answer already: a tax increase to pay for their eff-ups.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Yes. The barriers put up by the Supremes and the wealth concentration policies make it difficult, but not impossible.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I can’t wait for the first shipment of frozen seafood from Enceladus.

    Guinness World Records – the first human to consume alien food.

    This is, of course, assuming we will be superior, thus the First Rule of Space Alien Relationship* is applicable here.

    * There are basically only two rules of Space Alien Relationship.
    1. If we are stronger, we Earth humans offer plenty of upward mobility for you space aliens to work up from serfdom…unless they are tasty and delicious. In that case, the business of Earth is business, i.e. commercial opportunities, such as frozen seafood.
    2. If they are stronger, we come in the Name of Peace. Brothers. We’re all brothers and sisters.

    1. allcoppedout

      Not so Beef. Any aliens smart enough for upward mobility will be co-opted as overseers of human workers to depress wages. The seafood will turn out smarter than us all, returning anyone eating it to aquatic environments as a new co-species.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        A classic.

        In reality, any life form we do discover in our own back yard, so to speak, will probably be both less developed and bad tasting.

        If we’re the ones being discovered, all bets are off.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s why I prefer (Space) Isolationism over the ‘all bets off’ alternative.

          We have to cloak ourselves…make this world a stealth one.

          Basically, we need to reduce electro-magnetic activities to those of the Neanderthal Age, much less space exploration or SETI. The bonus is it will do wonders in addressing the risks of Global Warming.

            1. Emma

              T’as peut-être raison….ça n’a pas de sens de résister à l’appel du bon gout.

    1. OIFVet

      One of the worst things Obama ever did was to ship Rahm back to Chicago. It takes some skill to make Daley foes long for the good old days under the Daley administration corruption. Rahm managed to take Daley’s terrible parking meter deal and make it even worse (while insisting, of course, that he made it better within the limitations of TINA), to unite the populace on behalf of the CTU and generate real grassroots activism against unaccountable charter schools, and to raise the property taxes 10% per year while cutting services and diverting the money to rich property developers.

      1. OIFVet

        Sirota made one omission: the $5.2 million in TIF funds that were given to Penny Pritzker’s Hyatt while she sat on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Public Schools. This is money that gets diverted from CPS, and it was given to Hyatt while the local schools were facing $3.4 million budget shortfall. I live in the neighborhood and within that particular TIF district, it is appalling that my property taxes went to line up Penny Pritzker’s already deep pockets. Rahm really is Mayor 1%.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It certainly would appear that the degradation of educational quality in Chicago is a useful, if somewhat prickly, “public policy” tool.

          That pesky addition and subtraction can really get in an oligarch’s way if he or she isn’t careful.

          1. OIFVet

            The only care oligarchs have is not to destroy their own spawns’ schooling. In Chicago that means sending their kids to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, mine and Michael Hudson’s alma mater. Rahm’s kids go there, Obama’s did, “reformer” Arne Duncan graduated from there, I attended with two Pritzkers in my day. No standardized testing there, compared to the enormous amount of time the kids in CPS spend taking meaningless tests. Libraries, check. Arts and music curriculum, check. Nice facilities, check. Anything for the little ones from the lucky sperm club. One would think that spending $30K a year on such school would make the oligarchs listen to its faculty, who have been rather vocal in their evisceration of the education “reform” agenda ( Or the director of the schools, Dr.Magill: “Physical education, world languages, libraries and the arts are not frills. They are an essential piece of a well-rounded education,” wrote University of Chicago Lab School Director David Magill on the school’s website in February 2009.

            …”Writing on the University of Chicago’s Lab School website two years ago, Magill noted, “Measuring outcomes through standardized testing and referring to those results as the evidence of learning and the bottom line is, in my opinion, misguided and, unfortunately, continues to be advocated under a new name and supported by the current [Obama] administration.”

            “I shudder to think of who would be attracted to teach in our public schools without unions,” Magill wrote on the school’s website in February 2009, adding that, even with unions, many teachers “have had no choice but to take on second jobs to make ends meet.“

            But of course they will not listen to the educators who they are otherwise all too happy to entrust their kids to. It would hit the bottom line and the ongoing struggle to transform public education into a factory for dumbed down serfs.

            1. abynormal

              Watch Chicago’s middle class vanish before your very eyes

              “Note: I owe both the concept for this measurement of income segregation and much of the actual data – all of it, except for 2012 – to Sean Reardon and Kendra Bischoff, who wrote a series of wonderful papers on the subject and then were kind enough to send me a spreadsheet of their data from Chicago a while ago. The maps, however, are mine, as is all the data from 2012, and any mistakes in them or in the interpretation of the data is entirely my responsibility.”

              the graphs are surreal…for those that viewed the CNN Chicagoland piece. my father wanted to see it…left me feeling as bad as he/Dad does physically.

              “I wake up some mornings hating me too.”
              Rahm Emanuel 11/2002

              1. Optimader

                The middleclass has been rendering away in Chicago with the diappearance of the traditional industrial infrastructure -resulting in the elimination of semiskilled and skilled bluecollar jobs and the office clerical support. To be fair, this has little to do with rham emmanuel, he is a deer in the trains headlight.
                Ironically, There are still skilled manufacturing jobs a ailable but the publics school system is hopeless and systemically flawed –grinding out poorly educated ill equipped job candidates.

                1. abynormal

                  Rahm’s answer is to close 54 more schools.
                  the demise of Chicago may not have started with him but you can bet he’s sportin the sledge hammer.

                  Chicago is our Greece…coming to a neighborhood near you!

                  1. OIFVet

                    I fully agree Aby, and thank you for the link. Opti is right too though, the public schools in Chicago (outside of the magnet and college prep schools) are pretty bad. Unfortunately these “reforms” being pushed by the neolibs are only making things worse because they are not geared toward any improvements but toward rent extraction and union busting. They do not and never will address the underlying issues: poverty, inequality, de facto segregation, etc. These socioeconomic factors are quite predictive of a kid’s performance, and we all know what neoliberalism is all about and what it has wrought.

  15. Andrea

    On Shamus Cooke, “New Lows for Obama’s Failed ME policy”,

    Counterpunch, April 4, 2014.

    There aren’t enough pieces / media expressing this kind of pov, so criticism may seems misplaced. I agree with most of what Cooke writes in this article.


    (I consider Counterpunch to be ‘left gatekeepers’ so take that into account):

    Cooke blames Obama for all kinds of sins and missteps. As Obiman is the chief bottle-washer, OK, legitimate on the face of it.

    The forces that animate this figurehead are barely explored.

    What on earth is meant by “This process..” (> “peace process with Syria and Iran”, that is some wild stretch right there..) “has stalled no doubt due to right wing pressure in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the US corporate elite.” (6th paragraph.)

    Right-wing pressure from Israel, Ok.

    But there is no right-wing in KSA, only defense of the hegemony of the ruling family and thus by extension the country as a whole aka ‘no unrest’.

    As for US (+ multi-national) Corporations, besides those involved in the Arms industry, Defense, all those associated, interested in war, destruction etc., Corporations need (the energy industry first of all, with its complex projects and long time scales) some stable landscape, non-chaotic, in which to extract resources and profits.

    Be it either thru collaboration, jack boots or a combination, such as so-called technocratic Gvmts. subject to IMF interference, control.

    Monsanto, ExxonMobil, Cargill, GlencoreXstrata, etc. don’t have a political agenda beyond supporting those who will favor them. And that support is pretty much under the radar.

    Similar holds for banking and finance: Foreign banks (gingerly allowed some role in Syria by Bashar Assad, which was one reason he was opposed by citizens) aren’t making a dime right now in Syria.

    As for Lybia – energy, banking, infrastructure (trains and other ..) gardening projects, to go some levels down, i.e. projects / deals with ‘international’ contracts: almost all (? afaik) have been cancelled, not paid for, or are on interminable hold.

    Mini example: McDonalds closed shop in Crimea yesterday.. (news snippet, don’t know the details.)

    Blaming Obama deftly leaves out much of the nitty-gritty.

  16. Gorby's mark

    Just as ordinary intelligentsia start to sense the depth of official corruption and crime and get a little less incremental and a little less vapidly optimistic, here comes Pieria posing the fake dichotomy of shitty government XOR anarchy. It’s a logical extension of the old US party line: BUT REPUBLICANS!!1q In a time of seamless deep-state continuity linking the two authorized state parties, nobody’s stupid enough to get scared off by Republicans. People rightly regard elections as irrelevant to reform of any sort. Hence, BUT ANARCHY!!!!1!

    Anarchy, So what? In practice, anarchy is a fleeting condition. Furthermore, a shot of it may be the only* way to re-introduce rights and rule of law to the subject populations of the North American landmass. Nothing’s going to change without concerted capacity-building by the international community, and that’s not possible until the current kleptocracy collapses.

    * The ten state applications for a constitutional covention since 2008 cannot be contemplated because… crazies will make bad things happen. What they mean is, any constitutional convention will have to incorporate the UN Charter, the International Bill of Human Rights and the Rome Statute to pick up the old state’s sovereignty.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From China, the next Lehman Brothers:

    “I would note, however, that if China manages to muddle through and achieve a “soft landing” it will be one of the few countries on record that have escaped a big credit and real-estate boom without a wrenching recession”

    We may be witnessing ‘the Birth of an Exceptional Nation.’

    1. craazyman

      Those Life Mag ads Matt flagged are so sexist and appalling they’re almost beyond words.
      But not quite. If they can be updated for 2014, maybe we can simmer down and endure their historical presence with a detached, laconic sense of post-modern irony.

      1. Smells better than your husband, and tastes better too.
      2. When a woman decides to shoot her ex, she can’t afford to miss.
      3. We bet you didn’t figure $12370 could buy a car as hot as you are.
      4. You don’t have to swallow it any more.
      5. Put him inside the square and he’s yours forever.
      6. Big is beautiful, so super-size it.

      Thanks for flagging this one Matt. It’s amazing people got paid money to come up with that sort of stuff. That would never happen today! hoho

  18. Johann Sebastian Schminson

    Anarchy has, wrongly, become synonymous with chaos or bedlam. Probably because anarchy has always resulted in those conditions. The human species is apparently incapable of orderly, responsible anarchy. Those who will not control themselves must be controlled.

    1. Ulysses

      For all we know there could have been millennia of happy human anarchic living– in prehistoric times before all of the social stratification that came with “civilization” started to enforce the rule of the haves over the have-nots.

      1. Tim Mason

        L’absence de l’état dans les sociétés primitives ce n’est pas un manque, ce n’est pas parce qu’elles sont l’enfance de l’humanité et qu’elles sont incomplètes, ou qu’elles ne sont pas assez grandes, qu’elles ne sont pas adultes, majeures, c’est bel et bien parce qu’elles refusent l’état au sens large, l’état défini comme dans sa figure minimale qui est la relation de pouvoir.
        Pierre Clastes
        The state is not absent in primitive societies because they are lacking something, because they are the childhood of humanity and are incomplete, or because they are not big enough, not adult and mature enough, but precisely because they reject the state, in its widest sense, the state defined in its minimal configuration, which is a relationship of power. (my translation)
        James Scott takes off from where Clastres left things at his early death. Although he doesn’t talk about Afghanistan, his work on anarchy in the uplands of SE Asia is suggestive for an understanding of what our journalist seems to think dropped from heaven, or is perhaps inscribed in our genes. You may also enjoy Scott’s book ‘Seeing Like a State.

          1. JTFaraday

            Yes, that is interesting. This bit immediately brought to mind Marx’s “lumpenproletariat,” of not much use to labor leftists due to their resistance to regimentation:

            “Zomia is thus not so much a geographic reality as a political construct, the place par excellence where domination is rejected. Inspired by Fernand Braudel and his famous study, La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen au temps de Philippe II (1949), Scott invites us to go beyond the existence of state boundaries to better understand the coherence of a space that had until now remained unseen, or was at least thought of in a fragmented manner, in terms of the relationship of its various parts to the various nation states in the region. Far from being a conservatory of archaic practices, outside of history and civilisation, Zomia is fundamentally a “state effect”, the product of conscious strategies on behalf of its populations to resist the oppression of kingdoms and colonial powers.”

            Scroll down, then, and encounter that quality Scott thinks all states have in common:

            “For Scott, all of the states which have existed in the region for the past two thousand years, be it the first Chinese dynasties through to those of the Ming and Qing, and of the Burmese and Thai, or those of the British, French or Dutch colonists, or the nation-states that arose out of decolonisation, have shared the common obsession of wanting to fix populations in the valleys to put them to work.”

  19. TimR

    Why the 1% Don’t Feel Rich, Atlantic

    Not entirely new (to me), but should be more discussed and better understood, IMO.. What are the class distinctions among the 1%?
    Most interesting, to me, who exactly are the .01%, and how does it happen that they have “dynastic wealth”? Shouldn’t *this* be one of our primary focal points, if we really want to understand the forces shaping the future of all our lives? The “bottom” of the 1%, the well-paid professionals, and even the .05% financial players who move in and out of the very top income brackets, are not *quite* as influential and primary in shaping policy and directing society as the permanent members of the .01%, the dynastic families (though perhaps their Planners and Assistants, the Brzinskis and Kissingers, share much the same agenda.)
    Anyway, I tend to agree with the Atlantic writer, that many of the “bottom” 1% are caught up in a rat race of sorts themselves, perhaps spun of their own ambition, but nevertheless, they are not quite in an “executive” position, however lofty their money may seem to make them relative to the 99%. It is really the permanent .01% who are the Deciders, and whom we ignore at our peril.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe we can design a society with various degrees of anarchy. It doesn’t have to be 100% completely anarchy or nothing.

      Maybe we allow some hierarchy in small groups up to 100, 1,000 or 10,000 persons,or some other size. The strength of hierarchy is voted on by the people of the group. But amongst groups, there is no hierarchy. All groups are equal.

      Furthermore, all groups monitor each other for any emerging totalitarianism within any one particular group, to make sure there are no hierarchical abuses.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    My Gawd, it might be 1997 all over again in Japan.

    I look at the chart and at -12 months, the consumption index was 100 and at +12 months, the index was again at 100.

    It’s like screaming the S&P will drop 30% when the market crashes soon – when it’s been up like 10% in the last few month and will likely go up another 10% if not 20%, so when it crashes, it is either what it was or 10% lower than only a few months ago. And all people can see will be it’s a 30% drop.

    If you don’t pay close attention to the market, you might just completely not feel a thing.

  21. participant-observer-observed

    US Media Blackout on 1/2 million students & community protestors on the streets in TAIWAN.

    “Citizens flood Taipei’s downtown in support of Sunflower Student Movement

    Why the American media blackout on Taiwan?

    by EricMaderLin Mar 31, 2014 8:37pm PDT

    Two weeks ago here in Taipei a large group of student activists took control of the congress building and have remained there despite police attempts to expel them. ”

    1. participant-observer-observed

      sorry, there is presently no links or citations for this, so include it here verbatim:

      From: [] On Behalf Of Joseph Lin
      Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2014 7:34 PM
      To: BATA
      Subject: [BATA] Why the American media blackout on Taiwan?

      Citizens flood Taipei’s downtown in support of Sunflower Student Movement

      Why the American media blackout on Taiwan?

      by EricMaderLin Mar 31, 2014 8:37pm PDT

      Two weeks ago here in Taipei a large group of student activists took control of the congress building and have remained there despite police attempts to expel them.

      On Sunday nearly half a million citizens filled the streets in front of the Presidential Office Building in support of the student action, many staying into the night to pressure Taiwan’s president to respond to student demands. It was likely the second largest citizens’ protest in the nation’s history, though it may in fact have been the largest.

      Taiwan’s citizens are furious that the ruling party (the Kuomintang) and its current leader, President Ma Ying-Jeou, have used every means at their disposal to force through a controversial trade pact with China (the Service Trade Agreement) without proper legislative review. The trade pact gives Chinese investors unprecedented leverage power on Taiwan’s economy, which would ultimately facilitate a future Chinese takeover of the island. President Ma’s actions are seen by most people here as those of an autocrat rather than a democratically elected president. His approval rating before this crisis even began was under 10%, which makes his heavy-handed handling of the pact even harder to stomach.

      If the country is on edge awaiting the outcome of this tense standoff, it is even more on edge this morning since a large gangster organization, with strong ties to the Mainland, yesterday threatened to attack the students and expel them from the congress building some time on April 1. This particular gangster organization isn’t known for pulling April Fool’s pranks.

      All in all this is the most serious political crisis Taiwan has faced since becoming a democracy two decades ago.

      So where is the American media?

      Yes, there have been a few print articles covering the crisis in larger media venues, but to my knowledge there has been no televised media coverage. Also, the print articles only covered the initial student actions and the police response. When Sunday’s huge protest rally showed Taiwanese largely behind the students (polls show around 70% support the student demands) American media coverage ceased.

      Again, as far as I can tell, not a single American network has sent a reporter with a camera to cover this. CNN’s Asia bureau is in Hong Kong, just a jump across the water from here. Yet not a single CNN camera has appeared in Taipei. Apparently they’re still too busy reporting on the missing Malaysian jet, a story they’ve now covered in well over fifty articles and a nonstop stream of video feed. Go take a glance at CNN’s Asia page to see if this has changed since my writing.

      I’ve long noted American media’s under-reporting of Taiwan. But the recent near silence is beyond just under-reporting. I’d call it a soft news blackout. I may be wrong of course, it may just be journalistic incompetence or budget constraints that keep reporters away, but if CNN, for instance, can fly reporters back and forth across Asia dozens of times to cover the missing flight 370, you’d think they could manage at least a couple short hops from Hong Kong to cover the biggest political shakeup in Taiwan in decades.

      Why is the current crisis in Taiwan important? Several reasons.

      First, contrary to how it’s usually depicted in Western media, Taiwan is not just a “city” or “small island”. By population Taiwan is larger than Australia. Consider what that means. Imagine that two-hundred student activists seized Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra and refused to leave, the standoff continuing for weeks. And that Australians in support of the students flooded the capital in protest of the prime minister. Would CNN be able to afford a camera on the ground? Would other networks send someone?

      More important than population, however, or at least what should be important from a Western perspective: Taiwan is a vibrant multiparty democracy built by a culture that is largely Chinese. This is unique in the world. And this democracy is now under siege.

      China has long claimed Taiwan as part of its territory, to the degree that Taiwanese landmarks are regularly featured in Chinese publications promoting the glories of the motherland. In recent years, as economic ties to the Mainland have increased, some Taiwanese media companies have been taken over by Chinese investors or conglomerates. That the government here has allowed this shows two things: the willingness of many of Taiwan’s elites to let the country merge with China; unawareness among much of the population as to just how serious a threat to democracy these media mergers really are.

      Taiwan is a young democracy, and it is evident to Westerners living here that many in the older generation don’t conceive political issues in democratic terms, but retain more paternalist ideas of government. The younger generation, however, is quite different in its political thinking, as has been proven by the recently formed Sunflower Student Movement. Both their actions and words show that these students are sharp proponents of democracy. An early article in the BBC (British media is doing much better on this than American media) stressed the students’ seriousness and dedication.

      The next few days should be eventful here in Taipei. Nobody knows how this standoff will end. With this diary, however, I want to stress a different point: Nobody watching TV in the States even knows this standoff is happening. Why not? Is there a systemic cause of this under-reporting of Taiwan?

      1. Synopticist

        Wow, I had no idea anything was happening on that scale.

        And if you’re wondering why this is under-reported, you lack the requisite cynicism/knowledge to understand the modern world and the MSM.
        It gets no coverage because it obviously isn’t a N.E.D backed style “soft power” pro-western/oligarchic-interest attempted coup. The corporate media aren’t reporting it because THEY’RE NOT IN ON IT.

      2. Christopher S.

        >Subject: [BATA] Why the American media blackout on Taiwan?

        Citizens flood Taipei’s downtown in support of Sunflower Student Movement

        >With this diary, however, I want to stress a different point: Nobody watching TV in the States even knows this standoff is happening. Why not? Is there a systemic cause of this under-reporting of Taiwan?

        No Eric, there is a media blackout in the US media about the ugly stuff they put in Free Trade Agreements. They are doing the same kinds of things to Americans with FTAs as they are doing in Taiwan with them. And not many Americans realize this. for example, in my opinion, FTAs are the reason we got such a horrible deal on “health care reform” – here in the USA, but, not a peep about that in the US media. FYI, there is also a media blackout here on any news of single payer, like you have in Taiwan.

  22. Christopher S.

    The huge Santorini eruption in approximately 1700 BC which was followed by a massive todal wave which wiped out coastal communities all around the eastern Mediterranean, was one of the worst disasters in human history. It was the event that almost completely destroyed the advanced Minoan civilization on Crete, which never recovered, and the Western world, for the next thousand years, was plunged into warfare – there were massive declines in population. Many cities which had been open to trade, became walled ones. Except for a very few places like Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, literacy almost vanished.

    The cataclysm is theorized to have been the inspiration for the Atlantis myth, and it also was probably the event responsible for the biblical “plagues of Egypt” because it would have caused the equivalent of a “nuclear winter” which would have led to massive crop failures and the dark and damp climate would have led to mold spoilage of the food that had been stored, and subsequent mycotoxicoses in humans who consumed them, causing widespread human mortality.

    Millions must have died throughout the Northern Hemisphere in famines which lasted for at least several years. Probably the closest we’ve come in the modern era to something like that was the so called “year without a summer” (1816) which was caused by the eruption of a huge volcano in Indonesia.

    At one point, around 70,000 years ago, volcanic activity, also in Indonesia, (the “Toba catastrophe”) almost wiped out the human race. All of us alive today are the descendants of around 2000 humans who survived around the world. (The way they can tell this happened is via DNA analysis.)

    The 2010 film “The Road” is about some huge global climate catastrophe, possibly a meteor impact leading to global volcanism, such as massive flood basalt eruptions. (such as the eruptions which shaped the geology of parts of the New York metro area millions of years ago)

    Its worth seeing, although its by far one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen because it seems so plausible.

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