Links 9/7/14

Deer snarl traffic on Golden Gate Bridge San Franciso Chronicle

Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) Benedict Evans. “Amazon is a bundle.”

Main St’s subprime lenders hit headwinds FT

Wickr Challenges Bloomberg’s Domination of Wall Street Messaging WSJ

Reassessing the Beveridge Curve “Shift” Four Years Later  Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Mpls. City Council Member Demands Answers about Military Helicopter Training KSTP (The Short Helicopters). WTF?

Redactions in U.S. Memo Leave Doubts on Data Surveillance Program New York Times

Hospital Hero Jack Goldsmith, the Destroyer of the Internet Dragnet, Authorized the Internet Dragnet empty wheel

Hillary Clinton reviews Henry Kissinger’s ‘World Order’ WaPo

Syraqistanza

Obama Administration (Re-)Starts Marketing Campaign For Bombing Syria Moon of Alabama

Obama strategy to beat Islamic State likely to draw U.S. into years of conflict McClatchy. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

Iraq Pursues New Tack in Bid to Seize Tanker Off Texas  Bloomberg

Ukraine

Leaders of Russia, Ukraine say ceasefire holding, more steps needed Reuters

Ukrainian ceasefire Q&A/FAQ and RFC Vineyard of the Saker

Ukraine: A Catastrophic Defeat NYRB

Kiev Armored Door Company Goes Where the Money Is: Flak Jackets Businessweek. Magic of the marketplace!

Scottish Nationalists Lead Unionists In Opinion Poll For First Time IBT

War, yuan way or another Asia Times

Can’t Place That Smell? You Must Be American New York Times. Sensory perception is culturally specific.

In shadow of oil boom, North Dakota farmers fight contamination Al Jazeera

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse Guardian. With handy charts:

The results show that the world is tracking pretty closely to the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario. The data doesn’t match up with other scenarios.

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” That works, until it doesn’t. Not to be foily, but there’s a reason the more clever squillionaires are building rocket ships to get off-planet, and it’s not so you can hitch a ride.

Interview with an Auschwitz Guard: ‘I Do Not Feel Like a Criminal’ Der Spiegel

The Cult of Jeff Koons NYRB

Antidote du jour:

two_cute

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

206 comments

  1. Ned Ludd

    Translation of the Ukrainian cease fire protocol is here.

    7. Conduct an inclusive national dialogue.

    These protocols lead NAF down the same path as M-19 in Colombia. Once M-19 laid down their arms and decided to participate in free and fair elections, right-wing paramilitaries and death squads assassinated their leaders and terrorized their supporters.

    The original text is available from the OSCE website, currently in Russian only.

    1. Ned Ludd

      The Vineyard of the Saker reacts to the text posted by the OSCE: “This is one of the worst ceasefire agreements I have ever seen.”

      1. Ned Ludd

        If the rebels disarm and start door-knocking for votes, then only the government will still have the weapons, organization, intelligence, and budget to funnel significant resources to paramilitary groups. And the government gets to decide which crimes to investigate and which crimes to tacitly support.

  2. Massinissa

    That Elon Musk fellow thinks that an average first world country citizen can afford to pay 500 thousand dollars to go to mars.

    Thats bloody ridiculous. Normal middle class people dont have that kind of money.

    1. sufferin' succotash

      They could afford it if they agreed to become indentured servants laboring in the hydroponic plants of the Red Planet for, say, 99 years.
      Hey, someone has to do the stoop labor.

          1. optimader

            Ambrit,
            thanks for posting this. I know Eno’s soundtrack but never saw A-3,

            Here I believe is the complete program, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNFzBVKqyE
            I picked a couple spots and watched it for a min. I’ll get back to this tonight.
            It is so unintendedly MPython–esque! Identical production value, but A-3 was presumably intended to have exactly the opposite presentation yet it could easily be smashed-up into some MP-esque sketch comedy.

        1. sufferin' succotash

          See also Robt. A. Heinlein’s early work “Logic of Empire” about indentured servants working in plantations on Venus for “The Company” (Heinlein hadn’t yet developed the views that made him a conservative cult figure later on).

    2. rusti

      That Elon Musk fellow thinks that an average first world country citizen can afford to pay 500 thousand dollars to go to mars.

      Where did you read this? Musk seems incredibly smug to me but he’s certainly not stupid. In the battle of oligarchs, I’ll cheer for the guy who has done a ton to develop sustainable transport and renewable energy over the bond villains that are normally highlighted on this blog.

      1. Propertius

        I think that’s roughly the cost of raising two children to adulthood in the US these days, something millions of middle-class Americans do with some regularity. And, as others have pointed out, you could easily end up paying this sum for even a modest house in some parts of the country.

        Where did he say this, anyway?

        1. rusti

          From here anyway:

          “I think that’s the system that, at least according to my calculations, will enable someone to move to Mars for about half a million dollars,” Musk said.

          Musk admitted that not everyone would jump at the chance to pay $500,000 for a trip to Mars. But some adventurous people might.

          “There will be those who can afford to go, and those who want to go,” Musk said. “I think if we can achieve that intersection, then it will happen … and, hopefully, it will happen before I’m dead.”

      2. subgenius

        …in what way is anything musk does “sustainable”? His products and vaporware are as sustainable as bp and Exxon are green…

        1. rusti

          Photovoltaics and Lithium batteries have environmental problems of their own, but if you think they’re identical with fossil fuels then I guess you can just enjoy being snarky on the internet as you wait for the end times.

          1. davidgmills

            We have been working on improving batteries for about 130 years and the progress has been minimal. The breakthroughs just haven’t come yet. Maybe they will, and maybe they never will.

            As for photovoltaics, they have improved immensely, but still not nearly enough to even run most houses so that houses can be off the grid.

            Trying to concentrate a diffuse source of energy is proving to be a bitch.

            I am no friend of fossil fuels either. I have been waiting for thirty years for both of these products to produce reasonable amounts of energy at reasonable costs and I don’t see them doing much in my lifetime, unfortunately.

            Given the drawbacks and limited progress of solar, wind, and battery storage, and peak oil, I am ready to move on to liquid fluoride thorium reactors, the safe and abundant nuclear fuel we should have begun producing in the 70’s and never did because the MIC wanted nuclear power that could produce nuclear weapons.

            China will be taking our technology and building liquid fluoride thorium reactors by 2020. They have basically decided to have a Manhattan project of their own.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Batteries – no, energy storage – are the key to sustainable energy, most of which is intermittent. And even small gains in photovoltaic efficiency would be a big deal.

    3. JLowe

      Yep, flying off to Mars to spend the rest of your life crouched under a leaky dome soaking up excess rad dosage is really the way out.

    4. Demeter

      IF You can’t take it with you….THEN there’s no point in going!

      The Obscenely Wealthy will have nothing to buy, once they leave planet Earth. They will have no one to boss around, abuse, or kill.

      And in the lack of food, water, ecosystem, and culture, and what is left? A lonely death in a cold, cold place.

    5. Gaianne

      I’ll start believing in Mars colonies about the same time they put self-sustaining colonies on Antarctica.

      Antarctica is about 30oC warmer and the atmosphere is not even poisonous. The water there is real water, not brine, and there is plenty of it. How hard can it be?

      –Gaianne

      1. JLowe

        Future missions to Mars, if we become a different civilization (such as finding better things for the aerospace industry to do than making weapons), might train in Antarctica.

  3. Carolinian

    The NYT finally discovers something that Vineyard of the Saker wrote about six months ago: there is a religious angle to the East/West conflict in Ukraine.

    “We cannot ignore the fact that the conflict in the Ukraine has unambiguous religious overtones” Patriarch Kirill I, the Moscow-based head of the Russian church and its Ukrainian affiliate, wrote in a recent appeal to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul, the Orthodox faith’s most senior cleric. Accusing rival churches, including a breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox church, of persecuting believers who obey the Moscow patriarchate, he cast efforts by the Ukrainian military to confront Russian-backed rebels as a religious war intended to “overpower the canonical Orthodox Church.”

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/world/europe/evidence-grows-of-russian-orthodox-clergys-aiding-ukraine-rebels.html

    I recall the Times saying at the beginning of the rebellion that it must be Putin inspired because there was no religious conflict in Ukraine as in former Yugoslavia. Google is not their friend, seemingly.

    It should be said of course that the Saker’s own religious views–toned down lately–color his reporting and that anything you find on a blog–or the NYT!–should be taken with a grain of salt.

    1. Banger

      That the religious angle is even mentioned in the NYT shows that there ate some interesting movements within the power structure. Senior editors are acutely aware of power shifts within the National Security State and always reflect the opinions of various powerful factions.

      1. Carolinian

        Possums. Down South some of us are less than fond of them, particularly when they get in your attic.

        1. JCC

          Cute when they’re babies, nasty adults, and man oh man, do they stink when they get under your house! They stink even worse, if possible, if they die under there.

        2. Gaianne

          Possums are cute!

          They aren’t that hard to manage–pick them up by the tail. (Best wear gloves though). They do kind of smell when they are riled. Not bad like skunks, but not really pleasant, either.

          Mostly they like to stay out of your way–most people never notice them. Also, they are boring to kill. My cat, an avid hunter, finally just gave up on them. I think those two traits are key to their survival strategies.

          –Gaianne

    1. frosty zoom

      from qwiki:

      “The Virginia opossum is found throughout Central America and North America east of the Rockies from Costa Rica to southern Ontario; it seems to be still expanding its range northward and has been found farther north than Toronto. In recent years their range has expanded west and north all the way into northern Minnesota. Its ancestors evolved in South America, but invaded North America in the Great American Interchange, which was enabled by the formation of the Isthmus of Panama about 3 million years ago.

      The Virginia opossum was not originally native to the Western United States. It was intentionally introduced into the West during the Great Depression, probably as a source of food,[5] and now occupies much of the Pacific coast. Its range has been expanding steadily northward into Canada.”

      well, well — 1812 all over again.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Awfully cute in the picture, but if they turn up in your kitchen near midnight, they look an awful lot like huge rats.

      And referencing Gaianne’s “boring to kill”: our dog seemed to enjoy it, nonetheless. I learned to bury them, or she’d use them for perfume once they got ripe. We don’t see them any more since she isn’t killing them; don’t know if they’re gone or just keeping out of sight. They aren’t native here – introduced by homesick Southerners, and not appreciated.

      1. Gaianne

        “look an awful lot like huge rats”

        Indeed they do. The next time a New Yorker tells you about the huge rats in the City–don’t say anything! But now you’ll know.

        –Gaianne

  4. Banger

    In her review of Henry Kissinger’s book, Hilary Clinton provides a basic outline of the official state Narrative on US foreign policy intention–basically to enforce order in the world through diplomacy and carefully building cooperative relations with various states. True enough but Lady Clinton did not mention very much about how the USA goes about its noble work and the results of that work.

    If you look at how the US allocates its resources you would have to notice a highly bloated National Security State (NSS) consisting of a military that exists chiefly to make money for a certain critical sector of the power-elite and secondarily to terrorize the world with massive explosions and nasty wars whose aim and result is chaos and disorder and the limited but effective order of fear and, I suppose, loathing. It’s interesting that the fear and loathing part was a key ingredient in the neocon strategy for world domination which I would guess our Hilary seems to favor. This NSS also consists of the full range of internal security institutions which consist rather brutal measures of enforcing the agenda of neo-feudalism and a lovely police state. Of course we will not speak here of our intel agencies who do the nasty and hidden jobs that we aren’t allowed to speak of except we need to trust them simply because they are, presumably, Americans.

    Still Clinton remains an enigma and she has misinterpreted Henry K. Realists believe that FP is an evolving and emergent matter not conducive to grand strategies of aggressive policies to establish and maintain world domination and control of everywhere. For all his faults, Henry never embraced the neocon idea of world conquest through creating chaos where you can, direct rule and cooperating where it is possible and intimidation when necessary. In contrast Hilary seems to have edged away for Henry.

    Let’s contrast Kissinger at his worst with Clinton/Obama/Kerry. Why did Kissinger favor overthrowing the Allende regime in Chile? Because a democratically elected Marxist government in Chile, would have been a threat to the established order in Latin America that would have had a dramatic effect on the hemisphere. Kissinger acted to keep the status quo to not upset the balance of power. He knew that the military in Chile was minimally corrupt and would rule Chile without destroying the country culturally or economically and so it went. The cultural life of country was crushed but it rebounded more or less–it was a bad act but in harmony with basic foreign policy objectives in the Cold War which was not just a “war” to contain Russian power but to crush indigenous Marxist movements whether they sprung up in Indonesia, Indochina, Africa or Latin America. In contrast the Libya operation was carried on, like the one in Iraq, to destroy civil society in Libya, not to insure that a repressive but stable government would be out in place because Libya had a stable and repressive government. The whole “color revolutions” and “Arab Spring” movements were carried out or influenced strongly by US operatives not to create stability but to destroy civics society within the targeted countries. Since the domination of the neoconservatives in foreign policy, the U.S. Moved from a strategy of nation building to one of destruction. Critics of neocons wrongly criticize The Iraq and Afghani Wars as a “mistake” because they f-ed up those countries. Ukraine, clearly fits the pattern–US operatives knew full well that Ukraine was a delicately balanced society and that the neo-Nazi hooligans would divide the country and that the Ukrainian military was deeply corrupt, divided and incompetently led as their foolish operations in the eastern portion has shown–they were, in the main, defeated by a ragtag army of motivated men with rather minimal help from Russia, false MSM stories notwithstanding.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Don’t the WaPo have, like, editors or something? Here’s whut I’m talkin’ about:

      ‘I was proud to help the president begin reimagining and reinforcing the global order to meet the demands of an increasingly interdependent age. In the president’s first term, we laid the foundation, from repaired alliances to updated international institutions to decisive action on challenges such as Iran’s nuclear program and the threat from Osama bin Laden.

      ‘In my book “Hard Choices,” I describe the strategy President Obama and I developed for the Asia-Pacific, centered on strengthening our traditional alliances; elevating and harmonizing the alphabet soup of regional organizations, such as ASEAN and APEC, and engaging China more broadly.’

      *sigh*

      This is no review of Kissinger’s book. It’s a campaign speech, plus an impertinent tout for Hillary’s own crappy exercise in ghostwriting, which has garnered 1,001 one-star reviews (out of 1,872 total) at Amazon.

      For those of us who witnessed these grifters’ earliest days in Arkansas, this is vintage Clintons: grab the microphone at any available venue and use it for shameless, fact-free self-promotion until the bouncers eject you. Then sneak in the back door, or climb in the basement window, and have yet another go at it.

      Hillary’s dream event would be a grand state funeral for Bill after his untimely demise — greatest campaign venue ever, plus the fillip of getting to run as a grieving widow. Sorry, have to stop, the tears are welling up …

      1. Banger

        Indeed! The Post is always the place for some of the worst prose ever written. Whether it is a planted story written by the WH or stupid self-promotion by sleazy pols, the WaPost always has an open door.

      2. Carolinian

        “Hillary’s dream event would be a grand state funeral for Bill after his untimely demise — greatest campaign venue ever, plus the fillip of getting to run as a grieving widow. Sorry, have to stop, the tears are welling up”

        Sir, you are an acid wit.

        1. Banger

          I’m sure this will be in tomorrow’s links: “Stop and Seize” a great investigative piece from the WaPost. The best piece to come out since their expose of U.S. intelligence agencies a couple of years ago. This is journalism at its best and I highly recommend the article.

          I’ve know about the fact police can seize cash, cars and property of citizens without cause or charge for some time but, I admit, the extent of it reported in the WaPost was beyond what I thought. I didn’t realize it was a regular practice–how do they get away with outright corrupt larceny?!? There is no way to sugar-coat this as something we need to put up with to make our society more secure–this is theft and terrorism by police.

          As I’ve said many times before, the chief culprits in the development of ever more corrupt and brutal police tactics is the mainstream media. It is not just their presentation of police as guardians of peace in the news but their police procedural stories on TV and movies as well as “serious” dramas about difficult challenges decent police officers face dealing with a violent criminal world etc. and sometimes, like Dirty Harry, they need to bend the rules etc. Not that there aren’t shows and movies that show some of this–L.A. Confidential comes to mind right off the bat–it presents an accurate picture of old-timey police activities realistically but these movies and shows are rare. This is also a major problem with the media’s representation of the military and the intel services which is even more egregiously misleading and flat out inaccurate.

          The police and the government are not your friend they are your masters and oppressors–we need to grasp this central fact. The very thing Ronald Reagan stated back in the day has now come to pass thanks to the tireless efforts of Republican and Democratic Party politicians (united in trying to make government as bad as possible) and the world of entertainment and news that exist mainly to cast magical spells on us that would make the denizens of Harry Potter’s world green with envy.

          1. sufferin' succotash

            Needless to say, the meme of government as Your Enemy is precisely the way we’re intended to think by the same people who been working for decades to make politics as nasty and toxic as possible. Make people hate and fear their government and turn them off of politics and you leave government in the hands of robber barons. Which makes us what? Serfs, I guess.

            1. Banger

              Yes, but big gov’t or no gov’t it comes to the same–doesn’t it? Barring major armies people around where I live will help defend our community and me personally. Theoretically we could have positive government–except we don’t do we? Maybe I’m wrong.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                A related question, along a similar line, you may ask is, when people say we need to take back our government, what do they mean?

                When people write, here, of captured government, what do they mean?

                1. Paul Niemi

                  When someone says, “We need to take back our government,” they really mean: “You need to give me a government paycheck for the rest of my life.”

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    It’s a big airplane and these days, they let just anyone on it…more profitable, you see (wink, wink).

                2. Banger

                  We need to rule ourselves–we need to know our public officials and representatives personally so we have some agency. Critical in all this this is that we need to seriously roll back laws–we have way too many laws such that any one of us can be jailed at any time. But we have to start with having some kind of direct control over our lives–it is powerlessness that is the biggest cause of stress in our time.

                  1. Paul Niemi

                    Go with powerlessness, and explore that. When people feel they have no control over their lives, they assume that what happens to them is a matter of fate. I looked at that by rereading Homer’s Illiad. All the characters believed they were fated to make war, kill or be killed, by the caprice of the Olympian gods, who foretold their existences and pulled the puppet strings controlling their actions. When any character acted in defiance, like Hector, the inevitable result was betrayal and death. I think the prevalence of a sense of powerlessness among people today is a step backwards in consciousness to classical assumptions , which could be difficult to dislodge. This is what I thought of as you elaborated on the “Deep State,” although the two things are merely similar. When people become convinced that hidden forces are ready to stymie their every move, they are less likely to make the moves they need to in order to thrive.

                    1. Banger

                      I don’t buy your POV at all. Knowledge is essential–there is a Deep State, however you want to call it and pretending there isn’t in order to feel better makes no sense to me. Also it isn’t really that hidden–it is hidden in plain site–it doesn’t take much to figure out what its about.

                      Now, I don’t buy powerlessness at all. Each of us, in my view, has quite a lot of power but we cannot even begin to express it until we un-hypnotize ourselves from the Mainstream Narrative which is created to weaken and dominate us. It’s not the political aspect that really bothers me it is the fact so many have deliberately closed their eyes to reality because they are, frankly, afraid of the truth.

                    2. Paul Niemi

                      I was agreeing with you and encouraging you, Banger, and you took it the wrong way. What you said about powerlessness was great.

              2. different clue

                We have a good national park service. The Smithsonian Museums are still good museums. VA Medicine remains good medicine for those who qualify. Tri-Care would still be preferred by career military people as against Ocare. Etc.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              What is GDP?

              What is unemployment?

              What is inflation?

              Add to those this question: What is government spending?

              Enter the itemized list of government spending into Wordle and what pops out most prominently?

              food stamps?

              Drones?

          2. Paul Tioxon

            A class-action federal civil rights lawsuit, filed yesterday by the Institute for Justice, a Libertarian-oriented civil liberties union, and the Philadelphia civil liberties law firm of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing and Feinberg, accuses the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office of violating the civil rights of thousands of Philadelphians who have had their houses and other property confiscated by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, in many cases without any criminal charge being filed against them.

            http://citypaper.net/article.php?Philly-DA-sued-over-5.8-million-civil-forfeiture-machine.-20953
            —————————————————————————————————————
            http://watchdog.org/167088/civil-asset-forfeiture-philadelphia/

            From 2002 through 2012, law enforcement in Philadelphia seized more than 1,000 homes, 3,200 vehicles and $44 million in cash, according to data obtained by the Institute for Justice through an open records request.

            Those assets provided more than $64 million in revenue to the Philadelphia DA’s office, because Pennsylvania law allows local law enforcement to keep the proceeds from forfeited property after it is seized and resold.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              So, one is curious about those billion dollar fines on banks.

              Who gets them?

              Do taxpayers get them in the form of dividend/tax rebate checks?

              What about tobacco settlement money?

              1. Paul Tioxon

                Tobacco settlement money went into a lot of different state controlled health programs, medical services under writing, as much as I remember, a windfall amount of money to hospitals and doctors to deliver more services and also anti smoking and quitting campaigns.

          3. frosty zoom

            “The very thing Ronald Reagan stated back in the day”

            This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default or even the serious prospect of default by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the cost, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.
            Letter to Majority Leader Howard Baker, urging an increase in public debt ceiling (16 November 1983)

          4. Oregoncharles

            Police seizures were stopped in Oregon by an initiative that outlawed it, short of actual conviction. Of course, the Feds can still do it, but don’t seem to all that much.

            I highly recommend the initiative, if you have that power in your state.

      1. Susan the other

        Or “Mitternacht” as the Germans have nicknamed him (Metternich). The info above from Banger on Kissinger’s personal restraint in Chile is interesting. I think it was the tip of Kissingers little iceberg, myself. Because so many godawful things then came to pass in south and central America with brutal disappearings and all the rest. I guess that was just the breeze from all those butterflies Henry set in motion.

        1. Banger

          My point is not how horrible anyone or any group is but whether the want to institute order or disorder. The current elite want disorder and chaos–or the order of feudalism.

          1. susan the other

            Just a reiteration – disorder surrenders control. Whoever can cause the greatest disorder wins. I realize this is what you said already. A means to an end of some kind.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They have always been better at managing or coping with chaos and disorder.

            Thus, when they popularized Rock and Roll into the world, it collapsed, or helped to collapse, the Soviet Union.

            1. psychohistorian

              And all this time I thought it was the perceived dissonance of Jazz music that did them in……..

    2. Brian

      “let’s contrast Kissinger at his worst…..” And then you forget to mention but one of his crimes against humanity. We are not players in mass murder, only particpants by nationality. Nothing justifies “our” nazi being better than another. Nothing balances the weight of the world. It is just a weak force that maintains it.
      Once we stop justifiying ours v. theirs, we might again walk the path toward a future that minimizes that actions of all our nazi’s.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Don’t forget that it was FDR who said, in referring to Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

    3. sufferin' succotash

      That leaves us with the basic question of “why”. Because stable governments can be a greater hindrance to cornering increasingly scarce resources? Or because neocons are simply stupid? Or merely because, as Patrick O’Neal tells Katherine Ross at the end of “The Stepford Wives”, they can?

        1. Synopticist

          I agree with most of your analysis, but I do actually think they’re stupid. They’re a bungling gang of incompetents who can’t see further than Washington and the MSM. Never in history has the leading world power had elites of such foolishness and lack of intellectual rigour.

          1. Banger

            I don’t agree–look at the relative growth of income and wealth that the power-elite enjoy! My goodness how can you say they are foolish? Of course they are moral imbeciles but that’s a different sort of thing isn’t it?

    4. frosty zoom

      In her review of Henry Kissinger’s book,

      •• “the deathbird”?

      Hilary Clinton

      •• and the third blind man thought the trunk was a weapon of mass destruction.

      provides a basic outline of the official state Narrative on US foreign policy intention–

      •• grab.

      basically to enforce order

      •• this seems oxymoronic, kinda like “PEACE, DAMMIT!”

      in the world through diplomacy

      •• drone on..

      and carefully building cooperative relations with various states.

      •• carefully?!?!?

      True enough but Lady Clinton did not mention very much about how the USA goes about its noble work and the results of that work.

      •• do tell.

      If you look at how the US allocates its resources

      •• wait till the fed gets wind of 3D printing.

      you would have to notice a highly bloated National Security State (NSS)

      •• yep.

      consisting of a military that exists chiefly to make money for a certain critical sector of the power-elite

      •• why is it “critical”? “It seems to demonstrate that periods of industrial activity in technical syntheses of principles, data, free energy and energy as “matter,” find highest employment by the fear-amassed credits of warfare. Therefore the assumption approaches fact that war promotes the major technical advances of civilization… What has not been clear is that the potential of this emergency-born technology has always accrued to human’s prewar individual initiatives taken in a humble but irrepressible progression of assumptions, measurements, deductions, and codifications of pure science.” Bucky.

      and secondarily to terrorize the world with massive explosions and nasty wars whose aim and result is chaos and disorder

      •• obviously.

      and the limited but effective order of fear and, I suppose, loathing.

      •• suppose?!?

      It’s interesting that the fear and loathing part was a key ingredient in the neocon strategy for world domination which I would guess our Hilary seems to favor.

      •• yep.

      This NSS also consists of the full range of internal security institutions which consist rather brutal measures of enforcing the agenda of neo-feudalism and a lovely police state.

      •• yep.

      Of course we will not speak here of our intel agencies who do the nasty and hidden jobs that we aren’t allowed to speak of except we need to trust them simply because they are, presumably, Americans.

      •• why do you need to trust them? yep, number one on my list, “trust spies’.

      Still

      •• comma

      Clinton remains an enigma

      •• when i think enigma, clinton is the first name the pops up.

      and she has misinterpreted Henry K.

      •• the shame.

      Realists believe that FP is an evolving and emergent matter not conducive to grand strategies of aggressive policies to establish and maintain world domination and control of everywhere.

      •• yeah, just the americas, dammit!

      For all his faults,

      •• are you misrepresenting?

      Henry never embraced the neocon idea of world conquest through creating chaos where you can,

      •• yeah, cambodia was an orderly cakewalk.

      direct rule

      •• yep. appoint a viceroy.

      and cooperating where it is possible and intimidation when necessary.

      •• IMF, anyone?

      In contrast Hilary seems to have edged away for Henry.

      •• from?

      Let’s contrast Kissinger at his worst with Clinton/Obama/Kerry.

      •• ooh, like dick dastardly versus sauron!

      Why did Kissinger favor overthrowing the Allende regime in Chile?

      •• milton made him do it.

      Because a democratically elected Marxist government in Chile,

      •• comma

      would have been a threat to the established order in Latin America

      •• thank god.

      that would have had a dramatic effect on the hemisphere.

      •• imagine the devastation to the columbus, georgia economy if fort benning closed.

      Kissinger acted to keep the status quo to not upset the balance of power.

      •• “out, damn’d spot!”

      He knew that the military in Chile was minimally corrupt

      •• perhaps compared to others…

      and would rule Chile without destroying the country culturally or economically and so it went.’

      •• “Calculo que fue en febrero de 1974 cuando me llevaron a otra prisión en Tejas Verdes donde estuve incomunicada. Este era otro sitio de entrenamiento de torturadores y los recuerdos que tengo son de absoluta brutalidad. Me forzaron a realizar actos sexuales con un perro que había sido especialmente preparado para este tipo de abuso. También colocaban ratas dentro de mi vagina y luego me daban choques eléctricos. Las ratas, desesperadas, hundían sus garras en mi interior. Se orinaban y defecaban en mi cuerpo.”

      The cultural life of country was crushed but it rebounded more or less

      •• yeah, they were good in the world cup.

      –it was a bad act but in harmony

      •• bad can only be “in harmony” with bad.

      with basic foreign policy objectives in the Cold War

      •• sell cluster bombs?

      which was not just a “war” to contain Russian power

      •• white legs good, whiter legs bad!

      but to crush indigenous Marxist movements

      •• funny how you used “crush” and “indigenous” in the same sentence.

      whether they sprung up in Indonesia, Indochina, Africa or Latin America.

      •• OUT DAMN’D SPOTSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

      In contrast the Libya operation was carried on,

      •• contrast?

      like the one in Iraq, to destroy civil society in Libya, not to insure that a repressive but stable government would be out in place because Libya had a stable and repressive government.

      •• ronnie tried to blast muammar — get this: OPERATION EL DORADO CANYON!

      The whole “color revolutions” and “Arab Spring” movements were carried out or influenced strongly by US operatives not to create stability but to destroy civics society within the targeted countries.

      •• yep.

      Since the domination of the neoconservatives in foreign policy, the U.S. Moved from a strategy of nation building

      •• like laos and guatemala.

      to one of destruction.

      •• like laos and guatemala.

      Critics of neocons wrongly criticize The Iraq and Afghani Wars as a “mistake” because they f-ed up those countries.

      •• a bug-filled feature.

      Ukraine, clearly fits the pattern–US operatives knew full well that Ukraine was a delicately balanced society

      •• did they? did they? did they?

      and that the neo-Nazi hooligans

      •• that’ll get you on a list.

      would divide the country and that the Ukrainian military was deeply corrupt, divided and incompetently led

      •• but, but, but. ¿isn’t “NATO” leading the way?

      as their foolish operations in the eastern portion has shown

      •• have.

      –they were, in the main, defeated by a ragtag army of motivated men with rather minimal help from Russia, false MSM stories notwithstanding.

      •• that fat lady has not sung.

      •• dr. henry is just as evil.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Did the saber-rattling joint editorial in the Times of London by David Cameron and Obama bin Golfin’ help tilt Scottish sentiment toward independence? It would be poetic justice if it did.

    Whether or not an independent Scotland is viable, Britain’s anachronistic delusion that it still rules the world is an excellent opportunity to carve out a normal country with a more neutral foreign policy.

    1. Carolinian

      George Monbiot

      Independence, as more Scots are beginning to see, offers people an opportunity to rewrite the political rules. To create a written constitution, the very process of which is engaging and transformative. To build an economy of benefit to everyone. To promote cohesion, social justice, the defence of the living planet and an end to wars of choice.

      To deny this to yourself, to remain subject to the whims of a distant and uncaring elite, to succumb to the bleak, deferential negativity of the no campaign, to accept other people’s myths in place of your own story: that would be an astonishing act of self-repudiation and self-harm. Consider yourselves independent and work backwards from there; then ask why you would sacrifice that freedom.

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/scots-independence-england-scotland

      1. Susan the other

        But what a disappointment this might be, like standing on the corner in Haight Ashbury c. 1967. We may have tried to design a better world but we didn’t and we are still left with only one choice: wars of no choice. The best thing the Guardian has published lately is the above post on the collapse of civilization happening right here and right now. We all live in a dream world. Not only is the planet stretched beyond capacity to supply our insane production demands; it is poisoned beyond all belief. And nobody dares mention the F word. Fukushima. It has killed, as in stone-cold terminal, the entire Pacific Ocean. Gee, think that might accelerate our demise? Limits to Growth was famous briefly in the 70s when people still had a shred of sanity left. Now we are not only insane, we are scared shitless. And we do not have any solutions, let alone some fantasy political solutions.

        1. susan the other

          What’s brave little Scotland gonna do to keep back the tide of earthly destruction? Put up a fence?

      2. Jim Haygood

        Girly-man PM Cameron doubles down and jumps the shark:

        Scotland will be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks in a “very dangerous and insecure world” if it votes for independence on Sept. 18, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said.

        Being part of a union gives Scots the protective benefits of being part of a larger country, Cameron told reporters at the end of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s summit in Newport, Wales, yesterday.

        “With terrorist threats and other threats, isn’t it better to be part of a United Kingdom that has a top-five defense budget, some of the best intelligence and security services anywhere in the world, that is part of every single alliance that really matters in the world in terms of NATO, the G-8, the G-20, the European Union, a member of the security council of the UN?” Cameron said. “All those networks and abilities to work with allies to keep us safe. Isn’t it better to have those things than separate yourself from them?”

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-05/cameron-warns-of-terrorist-threat-if-scotland-backs-independence.html

        ————

        LIHOP or MIHOP? You haggis-munching, whiskey-swilling lot are gonna be sorry.

    2. Benedict@Large

      An independent Scotland is viable, but so long as we are not talking about a separate currency (which apparently is not on the table), we are not talking about an independent Scotland. What this new entity would be called, I’m not sure, but it would certainly not be independent.

      1. YankeeFrank

        No actually, the currency is on the table. The Scots are a smart people and they understand the need for their own currency. It may not happen immediately but its inevitable.

  6. Brindle

    Another area where Obama has been arguably worse than Bush is in its treatment of wolves. The delisting of wolves from endangered species list was done by Obama appointees—btw, there are some great wolf photos in the Earthjustice article

    —The FWS’s current delisting proposal would remove federal wolf protections across nearly the entire country. However wolves in a handful of states, including Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, have already been removed from the endangered species list. The assault on wolves in those states demonstrates that existing federal protections are essential to give wolves a chance for survival.

    The situation in Idaho is particularly appalling. That state has created a taxpayer-funded “wolf control fund” to drive down wolf numbers; an anti-wolf group is attempting to hold wolf-killing “derby” contests each year for the next five years after already holding one such event last December; and Idaho officials sent a professional hunter/trapper into a federal wilderness area to exterminate two wolf packs for the benefit of elk hunters.—

    http://earthjustice.org/blog/2014-august/five-reasons-the-us-should-not-abandon-gray-wolves

    1. wbgonne

      “Another area where Obama has been arguably worse than Bush is in its treatment of wolves.”

      And I think they just de-listed manatees. Add it to the collection: Arctic drilling. East Coast drilling. More GOM drilling than before Macondo with the same safety plans in place (none). Thousands of miles of hydrocarbon pipelines. Fracking as the Next Big Thing. Coal exports booming. The U.S. as the new Saudi Arabia, King Carbon, just as the horrendous effects of AGW begin. Could Bush have done that? I doubt it.

        1. wbgonne

          Wow! Great piece by Stoller.

          An economy consisting of asset bubbles and carbon fuel. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Ditto

        If its simple explain how the aggregate of the individual sales is different from the volume

        I don’t have a dog in the race other than understanding

        I just notice the article was extremely long on a straight forward question that you say has a simple answer

        1. James Levy

          Wouldn’t more volume, if you are losing money on every sale, just mean greater losses? The whole thing strikes me as a Ponzi scheme and a stock swindle–Bezos simply creams from the enormous amounts of money idiots seem to want to throw at his stock, while giving them nothing in return in the nature of dividends (unless he is using new stock sales to pay off old investors a la Bernie Madoff).

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Amazon should move into All-You-Can-Eat seafood (or zucchini) buffet.

          It would be nice if they lose out on every customer.

          1. ex-PFC Chuck

            Nearly half a century ago when I was living in the Chicago area, a co-worker of mine told of going to one of the greasy spoons in the loop that advertised “All You Can Eat for $1.99.” When he asked for seconds he was told, “That was all you can eat.”

      2. ambrit

        Wait just a cotton picking minute! Do you mean to tell me that, in business at least, -1+-1=2?
        Where can I sign up for this? I should be on easy street in no time!

        1. Ditto

          Actually if they lose money on every sale and make up for it in volume

          It is (1 – 1.1) + (1 -1.1) 2

          Why ?
          Volume

          What does that mean ?

          Not sure , but lots of fancy graphs, long paragraphs and faith of the always rational market

          Its simple in business 1 – 1.1 does not equal -.1

        2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

          It’s the Milo Minderbinder strategy, and it works as long as the capital markets will let it.

          Their assumption: just keep lending money to Bezos and buy his stock, and eventually he’ll put enough money-making retailers out of business to have a monopoly pricing power.

          Then the $$$$ pours in.

          It’s what Walmart did…but this is on internet scale. (Much tinier margins…much larger reach.)
          ~

            1. different clue

              If they exterminate every potential alternative to where there is nothing and nobody left to replace them with, then yes . . . yes they can win.

              So it becomes up to the anti-Amazon minority to buy what they can afford from non-Amazon outlets in hopes of keeping some of those outlets alive until better days.

      3. Susan the other

        Plus even Amazon’s days are limited. Here comes Alibaba. The day Deng embraced chinese exploitation of “capitalism,” which is, to borrow a term from the Japanese about nuclear power, an “incomplete technology,” was the day the earth was killed.

    1. Gabriel

      That’s an old joke in retail – “… I make it up in volume.” They were laughing at the retailer who didn’t know accounting.

      If your margin on each sale is low, your overall margin is low. And your store isn’t doing well.

      1. different clue

        If your margin on each sale is at least positive, is not your overall margin at least positive? And do you not remain in bussiness? Aren’t many bussinesses low margin bussinesses? And do they not survive if the low margin is at least low-positive rather than low-negative?

  7. JGordon

    Regarding “Limits to Growth was Right…”, I suggest trying to integrate awareness of the coming collapse with economic ideas. As is, some outlets seem increasingly schizophrenic of late, both acknowledging an emerging awareness of how things will likely play out, but also reluctance to acknowledge that this awareness requires a complete rethinking of economics, whatever flavor someone happens to promote.

    I think start that we can all agree on is that “growth” should henceforth be considered a dirty, vile word, and that some other goal should replace it in whatever economic paradigm we advocate. That’s probably a litmus test for whether or not a particular theory is at least somewhat relevant to our current situation, and the degree to which people advocating a theory are in touch with reality.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. Growth or limits to growth…coming collapse.

      What asset or assets perform best under a collapse?

      Post World War II, in Japan or Germany, it was the new imperial currency.
      Post the Sack of Rome, it was, my guess, gold.
      Post the Cold War, it was again the new imperial currency.
      What about post environmental collapse or post a critical defeat suffered by the empire du jour?

      2. Growth itself.

      Grow-our-way-out (GOWO) is not a Win-Win proposition, if we include Nature.

      The best possible outcome under GOWO is Win-Win-Lose for 0.01%-99.99%-Nature.

      In general, life is not simply win-win, win-lose, lose-lose or lose-win, but more like win-win-win-win or lose-win-win-lose, etc.

      Back to growth.

      We need to ask this: Can we address recession/depression/unemployment/global warming/climate chage with non-growth solutions?

      Can we make people happier without growth, or perhaps even with negative growth?

      1. Ulysses

        “Post the Sack of Rome, it was, my guess, gold.” In the darkest of the pre-Carolingian dark ages having a pile of gold would have simply ensured your early death at the hands of marauding barbarians. If you had some good arable land, hard-working serfs to work it, and a nice defensible, fortified hill-top keep– into which you could flee with your serfs, archers, and knights when the barbarians showed up– then you were sitting pretty! Cauldrons of boiling oil, thick towers with arrow-slits, etc. would have been the best investment options in the 7th century!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Too bad Attila wasn’t around in the 7th Century to offer any protection for gold anymore, I guess.

          1. Ulysses

            Don’t get me wrong, people still liked gold. There just wasn’t much of a market economy left in which to spend it. That’s why we have so much beautiful gold Viking jewelry, etc. You raped, pillaged and plundered. Any gold lying around as coinage, crucifixes, etc. would be distributed as booty to your fellow raiders. Some of them would melt it down and have cool arm-bands made, some would simply have a big pile of it buried with them upon death.
            http://historyonline.chadwyck.co.uk/getImage?productsuffix=_studyunits&action=printview&in=gif&out=pdf&src=/pci/d441-1989-020-00-000004/conv/d441-1989-020-00-000004.pdf&IE=.pdf

            1. Ulysses

              “Second in value of the three heirlooms
              was a massive ring of purest gold, a piece
              of matchless art, the work of Lame Wau-
              lund, the divine smith of the North.
              Thick it was, and broad and heavy, such
              as might fitly encircle a hero’s arm. And
              on it the heavens were imaged, with the
              twelve immortal mansions where, month
              after month, the sun rests in his course,
              and Alfheim, Prey’s own House of Light,
              whence the young sun each Yuletide be-
              gins again his long climb up to the top-
              most heaven. There, too, in the hall of
              the gods where Odin drinks mead in a
              golden cup, Balder sat upon his throne
              the Midnight Sun ; Balder the good,
              the blameless ; then Balder dead, upon the
              funeral pyre, and, further still, in the
              realm of grewsome Hela, the pitiless ruler
              of the dead.”

              http://archive.org/stream/frithjofvikingof00ragoiala/frithjofvikingof00ragoiala_djvu.txt

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To be fair, a lot of it also went to decorate the Vatican, so more Vikings would become believers.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Update #1.

        More accurately, the harebrained (with apologies to all insulted hares, for this writer has sworn not to use the term, bird brain) idea is better described as Grow Our Way Out, Eh, or Go-Woe strategy.

      3. Susan the other

        Winter is a good metaphor. A long rest, maintaining life at a minimum of activity. The long winter of humanity. It just happens to be my favorite time of year because I’m a fat old polar bear. Winter is really a beautiful season. And without it our planet doesn’t regenerate. A good long rest.

    2. Gabriel

      Mr Gordon –

      Great idea – rework economics to incorporate climate destruction and justice.

      Also rework economics to penalize the GDP for using non-renewable resources.

      Throw out the law of supply-demand to show that it’s mere theft that permits higher prices where supply is limited.

      Look again at MMT’s tying of money supply to debt.

      There’s more.

      1. JGordon

        Myself, I’ve been taken with the idea of Contractionism lately. It’s a paradigm for intelligently managing the shrinkage of our economy. Or we can just roll the dice and let the laws of nature shrink our economy for us. Which would be quite unpleasant for most people. Those who are left anyway.

      2. different clue

        I have thought of trying to define and measure bads and disservices to compare them to goods and services. And if the bads and disservices are “worth” more than the goods and services are “worth”, then
        we have Net National Destruct. Perhaps we could call the bads and disservices to be Gross National Destruct to balance them against the goods and services we already call Gross National Product. We could add both together and see whether we have Net National Product or Net National Destruct for any one year or another.

        GND meaning Gross National Destruct. fly little acronym fly . . . .

    3. Gaianne

      JGordon–

      Yes, growth as a dirty word. But growth is built into our white economy–that is, legal economy–in a fundamental way: Return on investment. Giving up on growth means giving up on return on investment. In the real world–that is, not the world of economics which is human fantasy–there is no such thing as growth, only cost shifting. In the real world, it is only the gift of energy from sunlight that prevents economics from being a less-than-zero-sum game.

      And here we are discussing this on a financial blog! :D

      The practical side of this is to move, step by step, out of the white economy. There is no simple way to do this. Nor any one way to do this. Any way that works is fine. Get out of the banking economy, into the cash economy, then out of the cash economy, into the barter economy, then out of the barter economy, into the gift economy. At every stage, increasingly off-the-books and out-of-sight. Illegible. Illegible–that’s a good word, and Venkat Rao (look him up) describes it right. His views and mine are pretty opposite, but his descriptions and analysis are apt.

      This is also described as the gray economy–bleeding into the black economy–and the corporations and the government will oppose you at every turn. Dealing with that opposition–one way or another–is the larger part of the art. Gardening, though hard to learn, is nonetheless easy. Creating a food network that the FDA or Monsanto cannot break up is a more subtle a thing.

      There can be local successes. The town next to mine now allows chickens (well, hens). My city always has allowed them. So for us, that is a door that is wide open right now.

      However you follow this path, it will tend toward direct personal relationships where psychopaths cannot operate. Nor users and grifters. This is important.

      There are no riches here. Only a doorway toward divine purpose.

      –Gaianne

  8. Bunk McNulty

    Annals of Class Warfare:

    “The AP reports that American airplane passengers, squeezed by increasingly tight seating aboard planes, are lashing out, actually getting into in-flight fights over knee room: Three U.S. flights have made unscheduled landings in the past eight days after passengers got into fights over the ability to recline their seats. Disputes over a tiny bit of personal space might seem petty, but for passengers whose knees are already banging into tray tables, every bit counts. … Southwest and United both took away 1 inch from each row on certain jets to make room for six more seats. American is increasing the number of seats on its Boeing 737-800s from 150 to 160. Delta installed new, smaller toilets in its 737-900s, enabling it to squeeze in an extra four seats. And to make room for a first-class cabin with lie-flat beds on transcontinental flights, JetBlue cut the distance between coach seats by one inch.”

    Slashdot

    1. Banger

      Personally, I think large amounts of Xanax are de rigeur for long flights or something stronger? I’ve actually flown first class in my life–big difference back in the day and even more so today.

    2. ambrit

      When will the enormous carbon footprint of air transport lead to the revitalization of rail and sea transport? That’s the real question.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Carbon.

        In the future, there will be two kinds of social relationship:

        1. Non-Carbon Dating. You date robots.

        2. Carbon-Dating (your age can be confidential). You date carbon-based units…animals, vegetables and humans.

      2. different clue

        When? When every dose of fossil carbon bought and sold for every/any purpose carries a Railroad/ Searoad Restoration Tax to be spent on restoring rail travel and sea travel. Not otherwise, and not till then.

      1. Gabriel

        My Less –

        Height limits to fly – say 5-10? [Think how many more sheeple you can squeeze into a steel bird if you lower the height requirement to say 5-8.]

        If you want to clean out the gene pool, serve some high octane coffee early in the flight – make sure you lock away the stewards.

    3. sufferin' succotash

      The next logical step: scattered straw on the floor of the passenger compartment, chamber pots at regular intervals. The hoi polloi should consider itself lucky.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To those flying 1st class: You are not really rich if you don’t fly your own private jet.

        My suggestion: Eliminate the first class section all together. Let’s stop the pretension and let them fly their own private jets.

    1. Garrett Pace

      I wonder now at the idea of colonization, when it’s becoming clear that our future is one of fewer people, not more.

      What are we going to do out there? Earth is far more suitable for us than anywhere else. The only reason, as Lambert suggests, is for someone to make a giant pile of money.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry to disagree but the idea of a species lifeboat comes into play here. One inhabited planet plus one doomsday asteroid equals extinction for homo sap. Two inhabited planets plus one doomsday asteroid equals continuing endless entertainment. See Frank Herberts “The Heaven Makers” for the endless entertainment part.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Bingo.

        We’re not going anywhere. The best hope we have to colonize anything off-planet is to randomly seed space with basic genetic material. Even is successful, we take the chance that our ‘seedlings’ will destroy an already viable environment. No profit in that, anyway.

        By war and/or famine and/or pestilence and/or poison, we will destroy people to make room and conserve resources. That’s how we roll. We’re already lining up the machinery. The “winners” will live in a despoiled world.

        This IS the Planet of the Apes.

        1. Gaianne

          “The best hope we have to colonize anything off-planet is to randomly seed space with basic genetic material.”

          Already done–that is, if the Panspermia hypothesis is correct.

          My guess is that Galactic Civilization is waaay ahead of us. There is a reason they are not visiting. Several, actually.

          (They already have.)

          –Gaianne

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            Actually, yes and no. Depends on what “see” means.

            Photons that began their journey millions of years ago are in the here and now, here and now (their existence carries old info, but the photon and the viewer are contemporaneous). Then there’s the electro/chemical chain reaction that takes the results of those photons striking the sensors at the back of your eye to your brain. That takes time. Then there’s the processing of the signals into something the MIND can rationalize. It is then that we “see.”

            So, yes and no.

            1. Gaianne

              Excellent.

              Also, for photons, everything is simultaneous–no time elapses. The space-time interval between you and anything you see is zero. That is the same for the cat in your window and the Moon above it.

              Only slower-than-light entities (most of us!) can experience non-zero time intervals.

              –Gaianne

      3. James Levy

        Well, the argument is that given the odds of an asteroid hit, a massive outpouring of lava like the Deccan or Siberian traps, or a slate-wiping plague, if the human race wants to survive it has to take all its eggs out of this basket. I reluctantly agree. We are a flawed species, but we’re the only sentient beings in the known universe, and we might get better if given enough time. If we are wiped out, then, that’s it.

        1. Ulysses

          “we’re the only sentient beings in the known universe.” Don’t mean to be overly pedantic, but I’m not sure this statement means the same thing as the far less sweeping statement: “We’re the only sentient beings that we are aware of in the known universe.”

          I remember a Freeman Dyson lecture, that my brother ( a graduate student in physics at the time) dragged me along to hear with him. It was fascinating. Dyson made the point that the universe is so vast, with so many potential ways in which sentient life forms could have evolved many, many millions of light years away from planet Earth, that for us to presume we actually are the only sentient beings in existence is the height of foolish human arrogance. It could be true, but we have absolutely no reason to assume so– other than our own psychological unwillingness to accept the existence of beings as highly, or even more highly, developed as we are.

          1. Gaianne

            And it’s worse than that: We are not even aware of whales and dolphins. We just don’t want to know.

            –Gaianne

        2. Kurt Sperry

          “we’re the only sentient beings in the known universe”

          I couldn’t find a definition of “sentient” that makes that statement make any sense. I’d be reluctant to assert I am any more “sentient” than a whale or elephant. It’s quite possible we are less sentient isn’t it?

      1. susan the other

        +100. The only answer I can come up with is we need growth because we think we need “profit.”

        1. Gabriel

          Piketty explained it all – We need growth to pay off the debt. You can’t have debt without the accompanying growth.

          Of course, the economics ball game changes completely once you give up growth. I don’t believe we have the economics to handle that eventuality.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            No wonder I’ve always felt that behind growth lies some kind of Ponzi scheme.

            “We need more growing number of Ponzi believers.”

            1. skippy

              With all due respect Oregoncharles, do we all ways have to wrap some belief based ideology around scientific observations to compel humanity.

              “There is always a danger of the “neutral technocrat” fallacy as we have certainly experienced in connection with the overwhelming technocratic support of the growth economy. My major worry about “scientific blindness”, as I have experienced it in ecological economics, comes from the biologist/ecologist commitment to neodarwinist fundamentalism. By that I do not mean descent from a common ancestor, for which there is abundant evidence, but rather the metaphysics of materialism and random randomness as sufficient causes for explaining everything. This view is often connected with neodarwinist evolutionary theory, as a key part of their animus against any idea of creation or a creator or purpose in any meaningful sense. This scientific materialist methodology is understandable as a working hypothesis, but when elevated to a metaphysical worldview, quickly and logically leads to nihilism.”

              Skippy… its almost as bad as Beardo’s Astrostuff mate Ross…. “logically leads to nihilism”…. seriously… its as bad as praxeology arguments…

            2. Gabriel

              Oregon –

              Thanks for the cite. By the way, I’m collecting ideas from the internet, think tanks, books, etc that provide suggestions for a new economy.

              I haven’t yet seen such a collection of ideas and I think we badly need one. I keep seeing a revulsion against either capitalism or of communalism – but few proposals of in-between ideas.

              We need a lot more work here. The faults of capitalism are plenty, obvious, and well-written.

      2. frosty zoom

        “Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With central heating (bless you, oil), you can experience summer in winter…even in Iceland.

          1. Gaianne

            At least in Iceland, they don’t need oil to do that.

            Where I live we should be coppicing woodlots. We aren’t, but it would work.

            –Gaianne

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    War, Yuan Way or Another, Asian Times.

    1. Interesting quote from Napoleon: for war, you need three things, money, money and money.

    2. “In order for the Chinese yuan (or renminbi) to become an international currency, many steps need to take place. It should become fully convertible, and it should run an import surplus for a few years, to get out enough currency to allow foreign countries to operate with it.”

    Maybe not just a few years, but perpetually – hey, because there is always growth to consider.

    3. “International trade is still based on these elements and the credit/trust of one country, the United States, has been extended to the whole international system creating an almost seamless body between the US, international trade, industry and finance, and the global necessities. The US, with its dollar, so far, has been the only country able to provide all the necessary “infrastructure” and possess all the necessary trust for international trade and exchanges.”

    OK, first of all: All the necessary ‘trust?’

    Secondly, there is your dual (the other dual) mandate of the dollar:

    I. Printing a lot to deal with domestic recession/depression/unemployment/low labor force participation
    II. Hot money in and out of many innocent/vulnerable countries

    That is, your Triffin Dilemma.

    In this marriage, like any marriage, one is never free or sovereign over oneself.

  10. Jim Haygood

    From Jed Perl’s ‘Kult of Jeff Koons’ article in the NYRB:

    You invariably find that the Whitney’s overwhelmingly middle-class audience is being told that Koons presents a sly critique of middle-class values.

    Koons is a high-end purveyor of the literal and the obvious. Roberta Smith, after expressing reservations about a ten-foot-high stainless steel rendition of Bernini’s Rape of Persephone outfitted with live petunias, felt the need to censor her own feeling that it might be “déclassé,” commenting, “but there I go again.”

    Just because it makes you sick doesn’t mean that it’s any good.

    ————

    In tracing Koons’s influences [‘Duchamp begat Rauschenberg and Johns, who begat Warhol, who begat Koons’], Perl sadly fails to mention the late Thomas Kinkade, who captivated the aspirational middle class on a scale that Koons could never dream of.

    Now, from beyond the grave, Kinkade has retaliated with a blow from which Koons will never recover: Jeff Bennett’s War on Kinkade series, showing Star War characters invading Kinkade’s landscapes of light. (If Koons were doing this series, he’d have added dialogue balloons declaring ‘All your base are belong to us.’ Mercifully, under Bennett’s sure hand, taste and class prevailed.)

    http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/thomas-kinkade-paintings-star-wars-mashup

    War on Kinkade is craazyman’s ten-bagger: rarer and more valuable by far then even Kinkade’s timeless originals, and a far slyer critique of middle class values. Épater le bourgeois, as it were. You can’t lose!

    1. susan the other

      I wasn’t going to read it, but I went back. I loved the article, not for the exposing of Koons, but for the harsh look. I think Koons might be the Last Artist. Because banality. How can you know what art isn’t if you don’t know what art is? And as for Dada – a delightful first step into the big question – their premise was incomplete because there is no such thing as “unreasoned order.” That’s bec. order is reason. For us humanoids. Loved the description of Koons exhibits as the “apotheosis of Walmart.” Let’s all look at that. Isn’t the force behind art to define and refine our perception? Koons has taken it to the limits of ugly and in-your-face. I doubt he will dead end himself. Maybe he will do a new show of just the busts – the heads of men and women – all with genitals instead of noses – he will have to include tongues and eyes – so just replace those useless noses with genitals – and all of them trying to get their tongues into each others’ various holes. How tastefully classic. In marble.

    2. craazyman

      Looks to me like that’s plagiarism! Plagiarism squared!

      He’s plagiarizing Kinkade and he’s plagiarizing what’s his name, the Star Wars guy, George Lucas. He’s plagiarizing two people at once! Whoa!

      Send in the lawyers! Wait a minute, maybe the guy is a lawyer . . . LOL

      So easy to copy, so hard to do . . .

    3. Gaianne

      That was quite a good review. Not mentioned: Spiritually, the West died sometime around the First World War. Artists lost their sense of purpose, and have never since figured out what they were supposed to do. Granted they tried, and some of those attempts were very interesting indeed. And of course you can find exceptions, but that is just the point–they are exceptions. And the art world is unaware of them–which again, is just the point.

      And again, art depends on its patrons. But its patrons are empty souls–nothing inside, nobody home. Art critics don’t know what to do: Rail against it? Pimp themselves out? None of it matters. There are personal solutions, all different, but all the same: To leave the wasteland and look for water. Real people will turn up along the way. But no acclaim. No fame.

      –Gaianne

        1. G

          A good poem–and apt!

          Certainly you can include literature! And it is the same problem. Yes you can find great works, and great writers. And as with the “art” world, they are unrecognized. The “literature” world has no more idea what it is about than the “art” world. And again, the time immediately before, during, and after the First World War is the turning, the loss of direction. You could say that the West lost its way, and entered stagnation. A new way was needed, and indeed was searched for. But nothing was found that would serve, that could gain the acceptance and win the heart of the civilization as a whole. The search has been replaced by a denial that there is anything to search for (that is post modernism, which more properly is post-post modernism).

          If my timeline seems funny, it is because the 20th century was the century of American success. But America is very shallow, and never had much to contribute. Brilliant Americans are brilliant, but they are always outliers, never at the center. The center of America is relentlessly banal–which brings us right back to Jeff Koons. Success for the sake of success, celebrity for the sake of celebrity. The vacuum is even emptier than it looks.

          We are now in downward spiral.

          –Gaianne

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Interview with a guard at the Unlimited Growth Concentrated-Thinking Camp – I don’t feel like taking any part in the crimes of Humanity Against Nature.

    ‘Honey, I concentrate and think to a compulsion: we need a bigger electric car and a bigger green house for our bigger organic kids!!!!!!’

  12. Andrew Watts

    RE: Hospital Hero Jack Goldsmith, the Destroyer of the Internet Dragnet, Authorized the Internet Dragnet

    The Bush II Administration only held this position when their programs were run in secret. When they were exposed they ran to the FISC for legal approval and then later to Congress for immunity. Now they expect us to believe the executive branch is willing to defy the courts and Congress? Naw, I’m not taking this seriously.

    1. jrs

      And even the hypothetical scenario the SWAT is being trained for has the “bad guy” as a Muslim. But this couldn’t possible contribute to any sort of half (or fully) conscious prejudice in police against Muslims, could it?

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I knew you were going to post this comment and link the moment you read the article.

  13. different clue

    Well! . . . one of the digital young people here at work showed me why I was having trouble with blog functionality and what to do.

    So . . . I can haz blogburger? Yez.

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