Links 11/26/14

Nation Doesn’t Know If It Can Take Another Bullshit Speech About Healing Onion (David L)

U.S. introduces menu calorie labeling to fight obesity Reuters (EM). The US needs smaller portion sizes. Our standard restaurant portion sizes, which most people then internalize as “normal” are over 40% larger than in Europe. Admittedly, all the high fructose corn syrup and sugar in our processed foods are a big problem too.

Brain’s dementia weak spot identified BBC (David L)

Making resistance futile: A new way to fight bacterial infections Economist (David L)

Why Open Leadership Has Become Essential Forbes (Steve L)

Foreigners guzzle Melbourne apartments Macrobusiness

Europe’s German Ball and Chain Project Syndicate (David L)

Merkel warns of threat of recession in Europe Xinhua. James B: “Here is Merkel pimping for the trade deal or recession in Europe.”

Official: Ultimate goal the “fascistization” of power! failed evolution

Jim Rogers’ contrarian view on Russia FT Alphaville


Karl Kaltenthaler:Islamic State ‘outbidding’ al-Qaida in South Asia Nikkei (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

U.S. Said to Cite Islamic State in UN Anti-Spying Text Talks Bloomberg

War on Terror: Drones Target 41 but Kill 1,147 Mostly Innocent men, Women, and Children Michael Shedlock. Notice how today’s stories on Syraqistan and BBIWYW are bleeding into each other. A feature, not a bug.

Election Ad Rule Keeping Donors Secret Is Thrown Out Again Bloomberg

More Medicine Goes Off Limits in Drug-Price Showdown Bloomberg (abynormal)

Public Relations and the Obfuscation of Management Errors – Texas Health Resources Dodges its Ebola Questions Health Care Renewal. More on management of medicine by MBAs

Lawmaker calls for N.J. lottery review after revenue falls short Fred A: “More bad news about Christie that most major media will ignore.”


Heavy Police Presence In Ferguson To Ensure Residents Adequately Provoked Onion (JohnnyGL)

Robert McCulloch’s recipe for an American disaster (Paul Tioxon)

Ferguson shooting: Protests spread across US BBC (furzy mouse)

Protestors Block Traffic and Go Head-To-Head with Police Across the U.S. Gawker

Some detained by police as protest escalates on Interstate 35 near downtown Dallas Dallas Morning News

A prominent legal expert eviscerates the Darren Wilson prosecution, in 8 tweets Vox

Senate Report: Scale of Wall Street Holdings “Unprecedented in U.S. History” Pam Martens

Private equity’s false argument for confidentiality Dan Primack, Fortune. EA: “Even Dan Primack says no secret sauce in LPAs.”

From the Notebook: How CalPERS’ board pays itself Jon Ortiz, Sacramento Bee

California Housing Market Cracks in Two, Top End Goes Crazy Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

Walmart Still Avoiding Paying $7000 Fine For Worker Killed By Black Friday Shoppers In 2008 Consumerist

Hundreds of University of California students walk out over proposed tuition hike Reuters (EM)

Antidote du jour. This is Eric S’s Belgian draft horse, Rissa. What a pretty face!

Rissa links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    A young friend of mine says that the portion size in the US doesn’t matter to her because she finds much restaurant food inedibly sweet anyway.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Even at local restaurants, the food is often bought preprocessed from multinational corporations like Houston-based Sysco (which also own Asian Foods and US Foods).

      My college switched to a food distributor instead of making meals from scratch, while I worked in their food service. Lettuce arrived precut in sealed plastic bags, with the shredded carrots buried in a little plastic pouch inside. Instead of basic menu items, made from high-quality produce, they began to offer more interesting menu items, which were concocted from low-quality ingredients flavored by a variety of sauces.

      1. Banger

        People want the “unnatural” flavor of processed foods and find it difficult to eat what our ancestors would call food–we have been programmed for that as much as we’ve been programmed to go to war every few years or hire cops to kill poor black people.

        1. McMike

          Once you break free of the crapified diet, it’s hard to eat.

          The salt leaves me with a dry mouth, the preservatives with a dizzy headache, and the corn sugar makes me want to claw my eyes out.

          Once you become a beer/coffee/fresh food snob (read: relearning what good fresh ingredients prepared with care taste like, and how they make you feel) it is really hard to go back to chemically enhanced and colored, oversalted, over sweet, watery rubbery mush.

          1. Faye Carr

            I was actually STUNNED when I grew peas on the FARMette as a favor to a neighbor (I hate peas) and ate a few raw in the garden.

            I grow 50′ of peas twice a year now – just for us!
            Same with all the other veggies I used to buy frozen or canned.
            Working on learning to grow larger quantities of spinach now.

            1. sleepy

              It’s amazing how great fresh tastes.

              Try growing fresh brussel sprouts. I was never a big fan until I grew some. Wow! Just like you and the peas.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                A very important skill for students today to learn is ‘bad-food Judo/Karate,’or a sort of self-defense against Big Food.

                It’s more important than being able to count from one to ten – you learn as the first step to become a serf…a way to introduce the impressionable that 10 > 1 thus, a rich person with $10 million is more ‘worthy’ (greater) than someone with $1, like you and me.

                I think Modern Education, contrary to the popular notion that it is a failure, has done a pretty good job for preparing us for serfdom.

                Back to education reform.

                We need to teach kids what is useful for his/her own wellbeing, and nutritional classes accomplish exactly that.

          2. Ned Ludd

            Wheat and other crops are now intentionally poisoned to guarantee an early and uniform harvest. In addition to delivering Roundup in every cup of flour, I imagine the unnatural harvest process affects the harvested grain as well.

            Monsanto International published a paper in 2010 touting the application of Roundup to kill crops right before harvest, in order to dry out the crops in advance and produce a more uniform and earlier harvest… […]

            “By bringing harvest date forward 2-3 weeks growers can more often meet the optimum planting date for winter wheat establishment so maximising yield” […]

            [T]he plants don’t have time to metabolize or otherwise get rid of the Roundup, and there is not time for rains to wash away the Roundup before harvest. Instead, Roundup is dumped on the plants to dry them out, and then they are quickly harvested … with high levels of Roundup still present.

            The Monsanto paper they link to – “The agronomic benefits of glyphosate in Europe” – was published in 2010, but I have read that this “dessication” practice became common in the U.S. awhile ago.

      2. McMike

        Alas, many restaurants near us, especially diners, pizza joints, and Mexican use the industrial food service model. Why cook fresh, when you can open up a #10 can and a vacuum freezer bag and dump it into a pan… Splort.

        We call these places “Sysco restaurants”, and avoid them like the plague.

        1. Ned Ludd

          Where I live, in the 1990’s every Vietnamese restaurant made their own mock duck, even in the suburbs. Hand-made mock duck is excellent; even non-vegetarians remarked on how much they liked it.

          Now, there are more Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, but they all have become “Sysco restaurants”, through its subsidiary “Asian Foods”. Even older restaurants switched to the industrial food model. When I ask if they make their own mock duck, they explain that they don’t need to because it comes pre-made from their supplier.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            We have a Vietnam rest. in a Phoenix strip-mall storefront run by a So. Vietnamese veteran that is from scratch, authentic, and superb. His delightful waitress wife speaks almost no English, but it hardly matters. Gestures and pointing yield exquisite results.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        Always like to think of eggs in this regard.

        This almost perfect food comes straight from the chicken individually wrapped in fully recyclable packaging. It can go straight to the pan and onto the plate.

        So how is it that building and maintaining a factory, buying equipment and hiring employees to “process” it, then RE-packaging for sale makes it more “economical” for institutional use?

        Unless it’s not really an egg….

        1. Ned Ludd

          Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal In A British Supermarket, And Vice Versa

          The USDA requires producers to wash eggs with warm water at least 20°F warmer than the internal temperature of the eggs and at a minimum of 90°F. A detergent that won’t impart any foreign odors to the eggs must also be used. After washing, the eggs must be rinsed with a warm water spray containing a chemical sanitizer to remove any remaining bacteria.

          In the E.U., “washing is prohibited because it could damage the cuticle making eggs even more vulnerable to contamination from pathogens”. Damage to the cuticle also “leads to an overall degradation in the quality of the egg”.

          Even the USDA’s official Egg-Grading Manual concedes that research has shown that washing removes most of the cuticle.

          Despite the industrial process mandated by the U.S. government, “according to FDA data, there are about 142,000 illnesses every year caused by consuming eggs contaminated by the most common strain of salmonella.”

          1. Chris in Paris

            So that’s why eggs taste so much better in France than the US — and why we never hesitate from using them raw or barely cooked in recipes…Thanks, I should have known this.

            1. Working Class Nero

              Keeping the cuticle intact is also the reason we don’t have to refrigerate eggs in Europe but they do in the States.

              1. subgenius

                You can keep eggs fresh for weeks by smearing Vaseline on the shell…trick used by sailors with no fridge…

            2. McMike

              I once noticed that old time cookbooks had very few ingredients. I assumed it would be spartan bland. It dawned on me that when cooking with fresh coarse ground flour, fresh hog lard, and raw cane sugar and rock salt, you already have plenty of flavor.

                1. Ned Ludd

                  In one of their journals, Lewis & Clark described their stop near Sioux City, Iowa as a Garden of Eden. The riverbanks of the Missouri were full of berries and other edibles, while the plains abounded with elk, deer, bison, and beavers.

          2. McMike

            OMG there is nothing on earth like a sunset orange yolk from a pastel green eggshell (yolk ivory, not bright white), fresh out of the chicken, sizzling oh so lightly in a pat of melted butter.

            Pinch salt, pinch pepper. Heaven. Bit of toast on the side.

            Hint: cook low and slow. Fast and furious cooking is another American peculiarity.

            Compare that to a rubbery uniform school bus yellow/bright white offering from an industrial egg factory located somewhere across the continent, ovecooked in urine yellow cheap GMO pesticide corn oil, resulting in a unsettlingly greasy outcome that could better serve as a plastic novelty gag gift.

            You’ll never go back.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The famous Tang Sancai wares are also referred to as egg and spinach for its white, yellow and green color combination.

              Breakfasts must have tasted great in Xian back then.

    2. jef

      Reduce portion size and you must reduce prices. Smaller portions give the consumer the impression of less value so they seek out restaurants with larger portions. Reduced prices plus less customers = less revenue and more business failure.

      Sure we would say yes but not for me. Truth is back in 2008 when the whole country felt the economic collapse everyone, even higher end food retail customers stopped going to the high end food sources with great food but small portions but the buffets and discount stores still did big business.

      If there is any uncertainty wrt your next meal you will all over eat and thats the truth.

      1. afisher

        Visual trick: first start with a much larger plate and serve the same humongous meal – and people ‘learn” that a plate need not be brimming full to fulfill their humongous stomach. Then reduce the plate size and the portion size gradually.
        Or, alternatively to the buffet line – switch to smaller plate and demand that folks get a new plate – maybe the stack of plates in front of them would make them realize…nah- never mind. Many American’s are gluttons of garbage – hence our growing obesity problem. Very sad.

        My trick was to swear off one poison at a time. I hated butter as a kid and was never in love with sugar taste – so they were easy to cut back. Then diet soda, my hatred of ALEC supporters ended that poison. I do get a craving now and then – but I usually wait a couple of months, and if it doesn’t go away then I binge (try eating a huge amount a ice cream or an entire pizza in one sitting ) and then in a few years it reoccurs.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          One *should* eat an entire pizza in one sitting! Everyone does this in Italy and Italians are skinny compared to Americans. And they use a knife and fork to eat it too. Pizza can be a sublime and perfectly healthy repast.

  2. Swedish Lex

    When our family of three visits the U.S. we usually order two main dishes and one desert. More calories than we need, actually.

    1. Clive

      Not just the US unfortunately. I was having lunch at a UK chain coffee shop yesterday. Luckily, by law, restaurants here have to display calorific content for all items they sell. I couldn’t find a panini with much less than 500 calories and cakes (they were small) averaged 400~450 calories. Add in a coffee with milk and I’d have scoffed about half my daily recommended daily calorific intake in one “snack” (it’s not like I work in a lumber yard or anything so if I consume more than around 2000 calories per day I’m sure to gain weight). It took me several minutes to find a combination which, with the coffee, topped out at less than 500 calories in total energy loading. No wonder we have an obesity crisis.

      Yes, people have to take responsibility for themselves, but with such a preponderance of high energy content foodstuffs in commercial catering (which is all down to costs — healthy fresh produce can’t by its very nature be frozen so there is a higher loss through spoilage in, say, salads than freeze-thaw-chill-reheat items) it is made all too easy to consume far more calories than you require.

      (not that I am a dietician or expert on nutrition and I certainly wouldn’t claim to be the world’s healthiest eater, but I have had a simple rule for all my adult life that I won’t routinely consume more than 2000 calories a day; I’m the same weight I am now as I was in my 20’s, which was 20 years ago. But it took the introduction of mandatory calorie labelling in commercial food outlets for me to suss out where an 8~10lb weight gain over about a five year period had come from — I’d completely underestimate the calorific loading in commercially prepared food. Once I was able to get accurate information and properly gauge my energy intake, lo and behold I reversed the weight gain. Naturally, the commercial food industry here in the UK resisted hard the introduction of the food labelling… gee, I wonder why…)

  3. craazyman

    why don’t people just eat less?

    I mean really. Everybody needs to be saved, but nobody can save themselves.

    does that horse have false eyelashes on? it sure looks like it. Is that what it’s coming too, make up for horses while fat women eat supersized fries and guys with tattoos and beer bellies can’t get a job as a Wall Mart greeter due to criminal background check issues so they have to work as prison guards? All the while thin white guys riot like clowns on drugs and multi-racial metrosexuals in corporate casual outfits rip off as many anonymous strangers as they can by running computer software in the financial business and exercising in healthclubs at night? Is this what God intended for humanity and animals? It’s a hard world when you have to look to horses for virtue. What would Mr. Ed say about that? I don’t know. Maybe Willl-burrrrr. If Mr. Ed had been a man, I bet he would have been an engineer of some kind, probably working for a large industrial conglomerate in the mid-west and having a beer once a week on a Saturday night. That would have been excitement for him. That’s how God intended man to live. Finding excitement in making things and in one beer before bed. But it’s not how God intended young men to live or young women. That where it get complicated.

    1. Clive

      It’s a good thing that Mr. Ed isn’t around today. One can only image what terrible indignities would have befallen him. He’d have had his own Twitter account and needed a whole social media team to manage his YouTube channel. Think of the poor, noble creature — locked in a vicious battle with Nicki Minaj for who can get the most downloads.

      Of course, you yanks don’t realise how lucky you are. Your lot were top dog after the war and there were no shortages for you to endure. You actually got a real horse to watch on your big TVs in your big ranch style houses. Here in austerity Britain, all we got was Muffin the Mule. He wasn’t even actually alive.

    2. MikeNY

      does that horse have false eyelashes on?

      Not sure about that, but I’ll lay money on the fact that it’s wearing a wig.

    3. Antifa

      There’s a few kinks (like the fake eyelashes), sure, but ya gotta expect that with a draft horse. There’s clearly potential for it to some day be a finished horse.

    4. jrs

      Probably because they emotionally eat out of stress, boredom, depression, emptiness. Most people live lives of quite desperation don’t ya know. Some of them eat out of this quiet desperation.

    5. JoeK

      The Way of Mr. Ed: “Oats is oats, Wilbur.”
      And hops is hops.
      Oats is (yes, is) calming to the CNS, by the way, likewise hops tea gives a pleasant, calming, subtle buzz. Mr. Ed would approve.

  4. ran

    Re excessive portions there’s a restaurant at the upscale The Summit mall near where I live in Birmingham AL called Seasons 52 whose pitch is nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories. It is flourishing right across the street from a Cheesecake Factory

  5. Banger

    Prosecutors are part of the police culture and will, for the most part, not touch the police not matter what they do to the public. Even when they do and no matter how obvious their misdeeds juries absolve them. Many people believe that their only chance to be safe is to have an armed and brutal police force–this is what Americans want and this is what, in many areas, this is what they’ve got. We can blame the police, prosecutors and courts for the reality of the stunningly brutal attitudes of the police and the fact we imprison far, far, far more people per capita of any society in the world in horrible conditions that feature very little if any attempts at bettering the lives of prisoners–expecting and even encouraging prisoners to offend again and again by making sure that they have little chance at working a legal job. It’s like the parents who beat their child every day and wonder why the kid is acting up in school and then beat him some more.

    While racism is certainly on the upswing these days I don’t think racism is the chief culprit in the shooting of Brown. Mainly it is the culture of cruelty that has emerged out of the culture of narcissism. The cruel nature of our wars (while pretending to care about civilian casualties), the cruel way we treat our underclass because the only value we respect is wealth and our only religion is materialism. “Christians” in American are largely not even close to following the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels–they usually only care about being “saved” and to hell with everything and everyone else). And most “new age” people on a spiritual quest are much more interested in their own self-improvement and personal satisfaction than ideas of justice or public morality–we live in a culture of narcissism whether we live in blue or red areas of the country–with some exceptions and none of us whether we are African Americans or white or any other group are all that different though, as we know scientifically, the less wealthy are constitutionally more compassionate than the wealthy and privileged.

    My point is that we all share in this and we all need to be committed to practice compassion even to violent cops who are, after all, just actively expressing our own sentiments and reflecting our concerns and prejudices.

    1. McMike

      Racism as secondary. Sure, the poor urban folks happen to be black in these cases. Cops are perfectly happy to bash heads of chinks, wetbacks or white trash.

      But different colors does help the process of division by otherness.

      1. Garrett Pace

        I think the “otherness” is extremely important. When imagining the Brown-Wilson altercation, most Americans put themselves in the police officer’s shoes, dealing with a “big scary black man” and not in the boy’s shoes, dealing with presumptive intimidation by a badge-and-gun-wearer. Which is sensible for police officers but irrational for the rest of us.

        I think the incoherence of Wilson’s narrative actually feeds this too. Americans put Brown in the “terrorist” box. The way Wilson described the boy’s actions doesn’t make any sense, so people shrug their shoulders and think, “well that just goes to show the crazies and monsters we are up against.”

      2. neo-realist

        As far as the cops are concerned, black folk are number 1 on the hit parade. Or rather the brutality triage? There just appears to be that extra special relish of motivation with very dark skin.

    2. sufferin' succotash

      Historical analogies are always suspect, but our New Age Spirituality does resemble the “feel good” philosophies of Stoicism and Epicureanism that emerged in Hellenistic Greece. According to Peter Green (After Alexander) it wasn’t entirely accidental that these world-views became popular among educated Greeks just as the city-states were losing their autonomy to the Successor Kingdoms. If you can reduce your existence to a search for personal contentment and self-fulfillment (finding one’s place in the rational cosmic order, cultivating indifference towards death) then you won’t be worrying your little head about such matters as justice, human rights or political freedom. Spiritual soma, in other words. Very convenient in certain quarters, I might add.

      1. Vatch

        I think you’re being a little bit unfair to Epicureanism and Stoicism. If a person achieves the emotional tranquility advocated by these doctrines (ataraxia), he or she will be less likely to commit acts of violence or greed. Such a person would make a far better revolutionary than one who is fueled by rage against the system. If the leaders of the French and Russian Revolutions had been Epicureans or Stoics, perhaps the revolutions would not have degenerated into terror.

        1. JTFaraday

          Or very existence of W. Axl Rose. May be a precautionary tale there.

          Of course, it’s comparatively easy to practice a self mastering “technology of the self” from within a walled garden.

    3. James

      My point is that we all share in this and we all need to be committed to practice compassion even to violent cops who are, after all, just actively expressing our own sentiments and reflecting our concerns and prejudices.

      After watching the George Stephanopoulos interview I now believe that Wilson was genuinely afraid for his life, whether it was actually being threatened or not, which I don’t think it was in the least. Which is perhaps an even bigger problem than if he were a racist cop looking for a scalp to collect. He came off as a mamma’s boy seeking approval throughout. Cowardly cops with guns ain’t good for anyone.

      That said, it’s still no excuse whatsoever for this whole shameful affair, and we’ve no doubt not seen or heard the last of its repercussions yet. And Obama running his mouth yesterday? I can’t imagine a bigger douche. He’s really beyond politics now. Just a world class weasel in a class all his own.

        1. optimader

          I like the characterization, Empty Vessel.
          BHO is a guy w/ the CV that can’t perform as name-plated. His presentation style, to me anyway, is that of a monotone weatherman describing the weather that is presently outside your window. Platitudes with no useful content.

      1. James

        And to elaborate, I now think the “dirty little secret” that the cops and the DA are working so hard to cover up in this case is not that Darren Wilson was some wild-eyed racist rogue cop carrying out an execution of opportunity against a black kid, but something far worse in their eyes. I think Wilson suffered from a psychological break during the encounter; a full-blown dis-associative fugue. The boy simply lost it! That would account for the long delay in processing the scene, as the cops scrambled to get their stories straight to cover for their boy, who may well have not snapped out of it for an hour or more afterward. And once the cover up was begun there was no turning back. And what do cops fear even more than looking rogue and out of control? Looking weak and out of control.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I am perpetually amazed at the level of sheer cowardice EXPLICITLY stated in official police policies, as well as in their excuses. “Mama’s boys”, indeed.
        And this is a vocation noted for its machismo. Do you suppose there’s a connection?

      3. optimader

        I saw an excerpt of the same interview. What I saw of it anyway, I came away with the impression Mr. Wilson was heavily coached by a legal team. Short of being an utter sociopath, how could someone contend they feel no remorse for taking another persons life under these circumstances ( unarmed kid), As well, he indicated that he would respond exactly the same way if he had a do over opportunity. Yikes..

    4. Doug Terpstra

      We all share in the murder of Michael Brown because of shared culture? So, yeah, let’s be understanding liberals; let’s not single out Darren Wilson, who after all, just pulled the trigger for us, as if we pulled it ourselves. Let’s “lean forward” and “rise above”. Or, in the words of Dear Leader, who’s just as helpless as the rest of us, “there’s no excuse now for violence”… except of course, when it is inflicted by a military-police state, duly authorized by the emperor president. Sorry, I’m not assuming your collective guilt-trip. I guess mine is too much of a black-and-white comic-book worldview. It’s time to decorate the streetlights for the holidays.

      1. James

        Agreed. In that light, The Onion article leading off exactly nailed it. The Fresh Prince of Hot Air pontificating about precious property rights and eschewing violence unless it comes in the form of a militarized police crackdown is pretty much the embodiment of satire. Don’t have to wonder which table he’ll be seated at tomorrow.

      2. Banger

        And your alternative? This is the question that goes begging here. If we increase tension and condemn others we eventually come to either neurosis or war. Usually, in some way, everyone is right when they are in conflict–it takes a bit of relaxation of our “story” to move on.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          What would I do? Just what I am doing, explicitly denouncing manifest evil masquerading as justice, and demanding prosecution and punishment. There’s a time for appeasement and reconciliation, but that time is long gone. We are well beyond understanding, compassion, and forgiveness for the predators and murderers who run our morally bankrupt system. They have proven themselves arrogantly, persistently unrepentant and utterly impervious to reformation. For me, this is as morally defining a point as it must have been for colonists under the yoke of the mad British monarchy at the cusp of violent revolution or the abolitionists and slaves suffering under generations of slavery. As JFK said, “those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” Conciliatory speeches and sharing guilt with murderers just doesn’t cut it anymore. We’re way past that. Maybe I’m in the wrong forum.

          1. Banger

            So you advocate war then? You and what army? What is the plane? I have seen nothing coming out of the left other than gesturing and pointing fingers signifying precisely nothing in terms of power-politics. You want power? Then you got to put a hurt on some people and institutions. There isn’t even a whisper of that on the left.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        You can take the Harvard Implicit test to get a reading on your subconscious biases. I don’t buy this “all whites really want to go out and shoot black men” meme. There are overt bigots and bigots in denial, but there are also people who aren’t either. Treating all whites as the same is another form of bias.

        1. James

          I think most police shootings of blacks are much less about overt racism than simply a culture that’s been conditioned – springloaded – to view blacks and minorities as likely perps, especially when considering the specific locales in which they take place. But of course racism still plays a part to some extent too.

    5. Jackrabbit

      Blaming the victim (all of us).

      Are we really ALL responsible for a police state? or continuing racism (despite the ‘post-racial’ BS)? or a broken democracy that prizes money over votes? or a struggling economy that has rewarded greedy short-term thinkers? etc.

      H O P

        1. Jackrabbit

          The institutional/Democratic Party “Left” sold out. These ‘Vichy left’ are denounced here at NC fairly regularly (yet YOU refuse to make a distinction). The progressive left was attacked by these sell-outs while discontent evaporated due to cheap credit and other gimmicks that goosed the economy. Then there is the patriotic anger of 9-11 and other misdirection/distractions PLUS deliberate deception/propaganda.

          So it wasn’t “allowed to happen” as much as circumstances allowed some to undermine democracy and push an elitist/neolibcon agenda. The question – which is yet to be answered – is what happens as the vast majority of people “wake up” to/experience what has been put into place over the last 15+ years.

  6. McMike

    Re. Wall Street ownership of hard assets and commercial infrastructure. After crashing the economy and corrupting or defrauding everything in sight, they are given a get out of jail card, a huge pile of cash, and a free hand to go out and buy up assets, then do as they please.

    You really couldn’t make up a more sickening story.

      1. John Steinbach

        I wonder about the implications of the ongoing collapse of the global commodities market on the balance sheet of the TBTF banks?

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: U.S. introduces menu calorie labeling to fight obesity Reuters (EM)

    The emphasis on “calorie counts” just serves to reinforce the thoroughly discredited contention that “a calorie is a calorie.” As if 100 calories of organic broccoli are processed by the human body in the same way as 100 calories of high fructose corn syrup.

    It just ain’t so, but some information is better than none. I suppose it could be a psychological deterrent if an overweight person dines out with friends and orders a 2000 calorie bloomin’ onion as an appetizer. Kind of lets the air out out of the “bad metabolism” excuse.

    As for the affected businesses, the reactions are predictable–large and costly “regulatory” burden and not enough time to implement. Blah, blah, blah…. The only one they seem to have left out is that it will cause the loss of thousands of jobs and reduce economic growth.

    As for that “meal” pictured in the video–GAWD! It’s hard to believe someone would actually EAT that. And how quintessentially American is it that the FDA comment comes from someone named HAMBURG?

    1. Clive

      I do agree that eating rubbish food is eating rubbish food, whatever the calorific content is. But for obesity, it’s a straight “energy consumed must equal energy expended otherwise you’ll, on average, gain weight”. For example, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Calories make you fat (if you don’t expend them in your daily activities).

      To be fair to the way the UK has intruded this measure, in the restaurant you get the headline calorie content (which is like you say a pretty poor measure of how “good” the food is), but the big chains specify the nutritional balance e.g.

    2. Ted

      The calorie is a calorie nonsense is a wonderful way to convince people that what they eat doesn’t matter, only some lab certified amount. As if the human body doesn’t participate in the eating of food (a machine is a machine after all right?!). But this is becoming recognized as pure industrial nonsense. If you mix your meals with adequate levels of protein rich foods (like meat) and plenty of fresh veggies, with modest amounts of whole grains (if you must) your body will simply lose the desire to eat more (become sated) at a certain point, well before you have maxed out on calories. Industrial foods are DESIGNED to trick the body into eating more and more and more, to get around the natural way that your body participates with food through eating.

      So, no Clive, you do not need to COUNT anything, you just need to learn how to prepare a healthful plate of real food. #eftheaccountants.

      1. Clive

        I’ve tried Ted, really I’ve tried. But unfortunately, for me, “cooking” or the preparation of food is nothing but the most miserable chore imaginable. I’d far rather clean house than cook. Actually, my house is spotless, but my fridge would make you wince. I could post a picture, you’d be aghast. I know that probably represents some unforgivable defect of character, but there we are. Or, rather, here I am. So it is a nice change to be able to go to a commercial catering place and be able to pick the least-crappy option with a few basic facts to guide my decisioning. Being able to grab a lunch and have someone do the hassle of making it is a luxury beyond words for me. You probably think it remiss to not make your own. Like preferring cats to dogs or dogs to cats, I think that’s just one where people will have to agree to differ.

        1. fresno dan

          I very much believed a “calorie is a calorie”
          I distinctly remember my college physiology teacher stating “you can eat butter” and it wouldn’t matter. It turned out he was more right than he knew, now that we know how bad transfats are.

          But the problem with the studies is that they don’t take into consideration satiation. Now undoubted, being sated is unique to each individual. But for me, and a lot of people, carbohydrates may just set up blood sugar bouncing around that keeps one HUNGRY.
          When I drastically reduced carbs, I was able to lose close to 40 pounds. I couldn’t have done it if I was hungry.
          And, eating more fat reduced my triglycerides and drastically reduced my cholesterol.
          It is amazing how little I eat now. But the secret is – I’m not hungry.
          When Lays Potato chips said “Betcha can’t eat just one” – well, there’s your problem.

          1. Clive

            That makes a lot of sense — a lot of people I talk to say the same. But there is also a smaller group (including my immediate family and also, coincidentally or not, my partner) and we all can “take carbs or leave them”. I quite often order some stodgy gunk with coffee because it looks nice when you’re hungry, nibble a bit of it, think it’s far too rich and leave half of it. And I don’t want anything too carb-y for the rest of the day until maybe with dinner in the evening. If I’m with company, they’ll look at me more often than not like there’s something wrong with me.

            I’ve read studies (not hugely convincing ones it must be said, based on rather too much correlation for my liking, but there have been several) that suggest a genetic link between carb influence and brain activity. I guess I just lack the right (or wrong) gene… What is offensive is if food companies exploit that phenomena and don’t care if some of their customers are badly affected. Because, of course, markets.

          2. jrs

            Satiation is part of it, the physical part. The other part is emotional eating. Most satiation theories don’t take that into account that people eat when they aren’t physically hungry.

          3. Lambert Strether

            I’m with Michael Pollan on the role of nutrionists. I’m with Michael Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” (Well, two of three, to be honest, but even eating food, as opposed to eating food-like products, and not to much, are both good guides.

        2. Demeter

          Now, Clive, I really love to cook, and people really love to eat my cooking! And I hate cleaning, vacuuming especially…I put in hardwood floors to eliminate the noise and swirling dust. Maybe we can come to some kind of arrangement?

  8. Vatch

    “Walmart Still Avoiding Paying $7000 Fine For Worker Killed By Black Friday Shoppers In 2008 Consumerist”: So how many tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees has Walmart been paying to avoid this fine? Are we sure that this isn’t an Onion article? I’m just asking rhetorically; I know how petty the oligarchs are.

    1. Antifa

      It’s not about the money. It’s about the principle of the thing — about having to pay for every plebe who gets trampled in future at every WalMart, on any given Black Friday. That could really add up.

      So it’s about the money.

  9. Doug Terpstra

    Vox link reveals blatant prosecutor bias/malpractice without the more critical indictment of an inherently-flawed process itself, virtually guaranteed to “fail”. Having a local venue with a prosecutor imbedded (between the sheets) with the same suspect police department is tantamount to having a suspect’s defense lawyer (or lover/spouse) serve as prosecutor. It’s manifestly nonsensical: lady justice’s blindfold is stripped off and traded for (white-) colored lenses. When there is a long-established symbiotic or even incestuous relationship between suspect and juror, the conflict of interest must simply be too glaring for a “legal expert” to perceive; I supposed the forest is completely obscured by too many giant sequoia.

    This was an obvious case for the [Ministry] of Justice. Too bad that syndicate is directed and managed by a mob boss and his chickenshit lieutenant. I sincerely hope the scales fall from the eyes of the liberal Obots and especially the black community in the wake of this farce of a travesty. of a charade of justice and the rule of law.

    Also on the Vox link are system apologists grasping at straws, suggesting that toxicology showing the presence of marujuana in Michael Brown’s system could support the claim that he was violent. With newer strains of cannabis perhaps that’s possible, but I have never once witnessed a head of cabbage exhibit tendencies of any sort…ever.

    1. Vatch

      In cases like this, a special prosecutor is needed. As for marijuana causing violent behavior, doesn’t it usually cause the reverse? Too much of the drug can cause anxiety, but that’s not the same as aggression.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Right you are, paranoia AND munchies.

        This case was clearly predestined to fail, and the usual neoliberal apologists are scrambling for increasingly ridiculous rationalizations, presumption of shared guilt, and calls for submissive acquiesence. The ‘rule of law’, with enforcement thru confiscatory fines, ‘extra-judicial’ seizures, summary drone and street executions and absurd drug sentencing for prison profits, has finally been rendered a cruel mockery and a sham — especially when, under the Obama regime, torturers, financial felons, and war criminals have been given blanket amnesty.

        Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Jim Haygood

    Senator Chuck Schumer has a James Carville-style “it’s the economy, stupid” epiphany:

    “Unfortunately, Democrats lost the opportunity the American people gave them. We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform,” the No. 3 Democratic senator, a leader on messaging and policy, told reporters in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington.

    The message of Schumer’s speech, which came weeks after his party lost the Senate majority, was that “Democrats must embrace government” as a vehicle to help the middle class in order to win the 2016 election.


    “Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you,” as the saying goes.

    Meanwhile, penalties … sorry, taxes … for not having Obamacare when you was s’posed to, start getting levied as 2015 begins.

    “We taxed some folks,” the president doubtless will confess. To cheers of approbation from the middle class. /sarc Sorry, me and Carville should lay off the cannabis brownies for breakfast. Back to beer for me.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    California housing market cracks in two.

    Sounds like the rich getting richer…by bidding up each other’s homes. Maybe it’s a new perpetual motion scheme worthy of Nobel consideration.

    It’s quite similar to ‘we can print as much as want.’ In this case ,we can bid up each other’s properties as long as we desire.

    I buy yours for $1 million.

    You buy mine for $1.5 million.

    Then I buy yours again for $2 million.

    You then buy mine for $2.5 million, keeping the appraisers focused on updating their database of course.

    On and on, it goes…

    1. Ed S.


      Can’t speak to SoCal, but can to NorCal. It’s a combination of factors:

      1) Virtually no new SFR in core/desirable areas (plenty of condos + townhouses).
      2) Incredibly limited inventory (most people buy a house and live in it forever – the “move up” market is pretty thin).
      3) Fewer and fewer rental SFRs available (long term LL are selling out)
      4) Money gushing everywhere
      5) $1mm mortgage @ 4% + RE taxes of 1% = monthly nut of about $4,200 (of which you’ll get roughly 40% back – so about 2,600 month after tax. You can’t rent a 1br apt in San Francisco or Silicon Valley for $2,600.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    NJ Lottery Review.

    Lottery – that’s just part of the entertainment to distract the little People, I guess.

    Take a little from each little guy and give it (not all though, there is leakage) to one lucky little guy.

    Keep them busy.

    Keep them away from thinking too much about wage deflation.

    A very not-related-to-root-cause way of addressing the lack-of-jobs issue.

  13. Jackrabbit

    Re: A prominent legal expert eviscerates the Darren Wilson prosecution

    Last night MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell also attacked the prosecution, focusing on Witness #10 which was apparently the only witness to support Wilson’s story. O’Donnell made it clear that this witness would not have withstood cross examination.

    I don’t generally watch MSNBC but it was interesting in other ways last night also. Chris Hayes focused on the prosecutor’s spin with a St. Louis defense attorney that noted how unusual the grand jury was and a guest that decalared that: The jury DID return an indictment – an indictment against American democracy. Also, at the end of her show Rachael Maddow denounced Obama’s foreign policy (after a segment speculating on Hagel’s successor) as one that doesn’t take into account the opinions of Americans.

    H O P

  14. Thomas M. McGovern

    Re: “The US needs smaller portion sizes.”
    So, let’s empower a federal food-nazi nanny to determine what a portion size should be for every item found on any restaurant menu in the US. Then, let’s establish a federal food-nazi army to inspect portion sizes in all US restaurants with the power to arrest food preparers who violate federal portion-size standards. We’ll also need laws prohibiting people from ordering more than one entree or one appetizer because doing so would be an obvious attempt to circumvent the spirit of the nanny laws. Let’s let the liberal do-gooders save us from the poor choices that we might make as free citizens.

    1. Lambert Strether

      The French, I am told, are far less obese, on the average, than we are, because they are taught portion control in grade school.

      On another note, is there a reason why the phrases “Federal Nazi” and “high fructose corn syrup-marketing corporations” so rarely appear in the same paragraph?

      1. optimader

        “because they are taught portion control in grade school.”
        Or is it because they are to cranked on Pharma and Gitanes?

        My photographic recall continues to be inversely proportional to usefulness.. but this is a fun one.
        Latest update : 2014-05-20

        France’s love of anti-depressants, sleeping pills and other prescription medication has reached new heights according to figures showing one in three adults in the country use some form of psychotropic drug.

        A study by France’s National Drug Safety Agency (ANSM) found that 32 percent of French people used such medications in 2013, either on a regular or occasional basis, French daily Le Parisien reported Tuesday.

        France has long been known as having a high prescription drug use rate – numerous studies have put France among the world’s top consumers of antidepressants, for example – but these latest figures have sparked fresh warnings by health experts over the nation’s pill-popping habit.

        Professor Bernard Begaud, an expert in medication risk assessment, told Le Parisien it was “incomprehensible” that nothing has been done to lower the rate of psychoactive drug use in France.

        “It is a matter of urgency because there is a real public health problem,” he added.

        Many psychotropic drugs carry the risk of severe side effects. Certain antidepressants, for example, are known to cause dangerously high blood pressure, suicidal thoughts and an increased risk of developing diabetes.

        “The level of consummation [of psychotropic drugs] remains important,” said the ANSM. “These drugs are too often prescribed and over too long a duration. Previously established health risks remain while new risks are emerging,” it warned.

        A number of reasons have been put forward for France’s heavy use of psychotropic drugs, from apparently high rates of depression to overzealousness by doctors to prescribe medication.

        Another study released this week, carried out by Ipsos on behalf of the French Hospital Federation, found that 84 percent of patients polled said that doctors often hand out unnecessary prescriptions…..
        ….A study by carried out by the company Celtipharm, also cited by Le Parisien, found that 230,000 French people were risking their health each month by mixing psychotropic drugs with other, non-compatible medication.

        “It is in France that psychotropic drugs are the most heavily consumed, but also the most misused,” said Professor Begaud.

        He said lack of monitoring of prescription rates as well as inadequate doctor training was to blame.

        “The public, too, must be informed that no, these drugs are not trivial,” he added.

        France is not the only country to suffer from a growing dependence on prescription medication, however.

        A study published last year found that between 1995 and 2009 the use of antidepressants across Europe increased by almost 20 percent per year on average.

        The highest increase, of 59 percent per year, was in Sweden, while France saw a relatively modest rise of just five percent.

        I recall the French as of ~5yrs ago had (have) hands down the highest rate of pharmaceutical drug abuse, (a dark side of free scripts.). Don’t know if that’s changed, but I doubt it.

        Although it seems quite reasonable to think being conditioned w/ portion control would be a positive influence, I suspect part of their lower obesity rate is that French probably have a higher component of fat in their diet that flips the satiation switch in the hypothalamus.

        This I think is an interesting study from the bookmark file..
        Global, regional, and national consumption levels of dietary fats and oils in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis including 266 country-specific nutrition surveys.

        Personally I think a good model to emulate is central Italian cuisine.. It is a shame many authentic components are regulatory unavailable/expensive/difficult to find outside of large urban areas here in the US, because ironically it’s provenance is peasant food. Here’s another case of rich in fat that will put you in a food coma after a modest portion.
        Most people here in the US probably haven’t tasted what pizza really should taste like
        and which goes full circle to why most people would be better off to lean how to cook rather than go to restraints. Other than social occasions the ONLY reason I’ll go to a restaurant is to enjoy something that’s really really really good, in which case I want a huge portion so I can take some home! (File under:Linguini w/ clams– better the next day)

        1. Lambert Strether

          I don’t think even French third-graders smoke Gitanes. But you know the joke: All Gaul is divided into three fats: Butter, lard, and olive oil. It’s interesting to think how a country with a diet like that, in addition to liberal consumption of (gasp) nicotine and (quelle horreur) survives.

        2. vidimi

          first, americans’ use of prescription drugs is at least that of the french, if not more, so that variable won’t explain it.

          second, italians are among europe’s fattest. sure, the mediterranean diet based on fresh, natural ingredients is great; but we’re back to the original observation on portion sizes.

          mind you, portion sizes are beginning to increase in france. keep that in mind when obesity numbers begin to increase as well.

          1. proximity1

            It’s true, portions are smaller in France. If you eat really good quality delicious food, you don’t have to cram enormous amounts of it down your gob in order to feel satisfied. But, it’s also true that obesity began noticably increasing in the population a few years ago–just as the long-held dietary habits of the post-WWII adults were being broken down in earnest among the third and fourth succeeding generations–and is now the subject of official concern. Once practically unheard of, French people began to drink sweet fizzy drinks at mealtime–esp. lunch, which came to resemble the U.S. fast-junk food version more and more. Time pressures, esp. in urban conditions, greatly contributed to these changes and in the countryside things may look more like they used to be everywhere. Prior to that, lunch was a meal that was wholesome, prepared in a kitchen on a stove and oven, not from a microwave or a deep fat fryer, and, at lunch, the main beverage was water and, for some adults, wine; otherwise, just water. This is still the routine among people commonly regarded as being the products of a proper uprbringing at home. But, as everywhere else, poverty has wreaked havoc on these norms.

  15. JTFaraday

    re: “Nation Doesn’t Know If It Can Take Another Bullshit Speech About Healing,” Onion

    So, it looks like The Onion and the world that is the pale imitation of The Onion have finally fully converged.

    Who isn’t depressed?

  16. Andrew Watts

    RE: Chuck Hagel resigning as SecDef

    One of the major consequences of Hagel’s resignation is that the relationship between the military and civilian branch of the US government is at it’s lowest point in recent memory. This isn’t exactly Obama’s fault, not completely anyway, but has everything to do with the reality on the ground in Syria/Iraq. With Ramadi on the verge of falling to the Islamic State and apparently no alliance with Assad forthcoming the military’s plan to contain IS within it’s current territory has failed. Notice how I said “contain” and not “defeat”? There isn’t going to be another Sunni Awakening. When the last Shia-Iraqi government strongholds in Anbar province fall to IS the road to Baghdad will be wide open.

    Meanwhile the civilian officials in the Obama administration have consistently underestimated the capabilities of the Islamic State. “No worries, IS is just the JV team of Al Qaeda.” While they directly oppose any cooperation with Assad in Syria. Instead they’d rather depend on some mythical army to defeat both IS and the Syrian Arab Army. Obviously neither Hagel or Dempsey shared these delusional ideas and made it well known in August while Barry was on vacation. Since then the territory and geopolitical influence of the Islamic State has only been enlarged.

    These are major factors behind Hagel’s resignation; the inability to stay on message with the civilians in the administration and offering internal resistance to their asinine plans. Undoubtedly these actions are on the behalf of the US military hence the brewing tension. It isn’t hard to see why Obama is having such a difficult time finding a replacement. Any reasonably intelligent person would never voluntarily take this job.

  17. skippy

    GOOD NEWS!!!

    Scientists blame the surge in natural disasters on the warming climate, but findings of a new survey reveal that nearly half of Americans and most white evangelical Protestants do not share the same view. For them, these extreme weather events can be attributed to the end of times mentioned in the Bible.

    Results of the “Religion, Values, and Climate Change Survey, ” a Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) poll that was released on Nov. 21, revealed that while 69 percent of Americans believe there is evidence that the world’s temperature is rising, most do not consider climate change to be more important than other issues such as the lack of jobs, health care, budget deficit, immigration reform and the increasing cost of education.

    The poll, which involved over 3,000 respondents and explored people’s beliefs and concerns about the changing climate, also revealed that most Americans attending religious service at least once a month do not hear much from their church leader talking about climate change, with 33 percent of the respondents saying their clergy never speak about the issue.

    Those whose clergy do speak occasionally about climate change, on the other hand, were more likely to be what the PRRI classifies as a believer, those who believe that the planet’s temperature is getting warmer and that these climate changes are primarily due to human activities, than those who do not hear about this environmental issue in church.

    Sixty-two percent of the respondents attribute recent natural disasters to global warming while 49 percent believe this has something to do with the end of times predicted in the Bible. The number of Americans that associate natural disasters with the Biblical apocalypse has actually increased from 44 percent in 2011.

    Interestingly, white evangelical Protestants were more likely to link the severity of natural disasters with the apocalypse as 77 percent attribute the phenomena to the end of times and only 49 percent believe climate change has to do with the disasters. The numbers add up to over one hundred percent as the respondents provide more than one cause for extreme weather events.

    “White evangelical Protestants stand out from other religious groups in their willingness to embrace theological over scientific explanations for the severity of recent natural disasters and in their skepticism that human beings are playing a role in rising global temperatures,” said PRRI CEO Robert Jones. “Nearly four-in-ten white evangelicals are climate change skeptics.”

    The survey also revealed that more than half of Americans or 53 percent do not think that God would intervene if mankind destroys the earth. Only 39 percent said that God would do something to prevent this from happening.

    skippy… best comment eva… seekeroftruth • 18 hours ago

    America has become a gallon of stupid in a one quart container.

  18. financial matters

    Interesting. Not sure how this correlates with religion (maybe we need to separate out religion from spirituality) but 69% of people with ‘egalitarian’ views believe in climate change vs 11% with ‘hierarchical’ views. Neoliberalism also correlates well with climate change denial. (This Changes Everything)

        1. skippy

          The belief in free markets (or the version being promoted) was very ideological:

          So, from a small, unpopular sect with virtually no influence, neo-liberalism has become the major world religion with its dogmatic doctrine, its priesthood, its law-giving institutions and perhaps most important of all, its hell for heathen and sinners who dare to contest the revealed truth. Oskar Lafontaine, the ex-German Finance Minister who the Financial Times called an “unreconstructed Keynesian” has just been consigned to that hell because he dared to propose higher taxes on corporations and tax cuts for ordinary and less well-off families.

          1979, the year Margaret Thatcher came to power and undertook the neo-liberal revolution in Britain. The Iron Lady was herself a disciple of Friedrich von Hayek, she was a social Darwinist and had no qualms about expressing her convictions. She was well known for justifying her program with the single word TINA, short for There Is No Alternative. The central value of Thatcher’s doctrine and of neo-liberalism itself is the notion of competition — competition between nations, regions, firms and of course between individuals. Competition is central because it separates the sheep from the goats, the men from the boys, the fit from the unfit. It is supposed to allocate all resources, whether physical, natural, human or financial with the greatest possible efficiency.

          In sharp contrast, the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu ended his Tao-te Ching with these words: “Above all, do not compete”. The only actors in the neo-liberal world who seem to have taken his advice are the largest actors of all, the Transnational Corporations. The principle of competition scarcely applies to them; they prefer to practice what we could call Alliance Capitalism.

          — Susan George

        2. skippy

          It just another child of Proudhorn… sigh…. it uses refuted austrian [biblical] economic metrics, its a mishmash. This is why I constantly refer to the quasi religious nature to it all, one father, but, many doctrines. 40 thousand in monotheism now, how long will it take the children of Proudhorn? Another 2000 or a few hundred, if we have the pleasure of that time.

          Heck some even call themselves anarcho- syndicalists, a mob that hates most people, as people are “stoopid” in their book, so only more freedumb trade with fix everything. Although most don’t realize its connection to Young Hegelians and the hyper libertarian individualism stripes had a lot of fans in old Russia. Anarchism of the libertarian variety has a long history of support in the Russian aristocracy, counting Leo Tolstoy among its numbers, even Kropotkin.

          skippy… its like one big fruit fly metaphysical series run… the big question is… will the results kill us all… or worse….

          1. Lambert Strether

            “its like one big fruit fly metaphysical series run” Now, there’s a happy thought! Can you be more concrete on “austrian [biblical] economics,” for those who came in late?

            1. skippy

              Bit of a storm here this avo so the short version…

              Gary Kilgore North (born February 1942) is an American Christian Reconstructionist theorist and economic historian.[1] North has authored or coauthored over fifty books on topics including Christian theology, economics, and history. He is an Associated Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.[2]

              Ron Paul curriculum
              Gary North delivering a speech at a barbecue at Ron Paul’s home in June 2013

              In addition, North offers the Ron Paul Curriculum, a home school online curriculum associated with former U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, which is free for grades K-5 and available to paid members from grades 6–12.[15][16] As Director of Curriculum Development, North has outlined four goals of the educational project: providing a “detailed study” of the “history of liberty”; teaching a “thorough understanding of Austrian economics”; serving as a “an academically rigorous curriculum that is tied to primary source” material rather than textbooks; and teaching “the Biblical principle of self-government and personal responsibility”, which North calls “the foundation of the market economy”.[17] – wiki

              “In the individual human consciousness, economic values and ethical values coexist and often affect each other. Praxeology acknowledges this reality, as does the Bible. Both Mises and the Bible have much to say about human action, but Misesian economics focuses on the descriptive aspects of human action, while the Bible’s orientation is toward the prescriptive. That is not to say, though, that Mises ignores the impact of ethical values on human behavior, nor that the Bible is silent on the value-free, descriptive aspects of human action. In fact, the Bible lends considerable support to Misesian praxeology. ” –


              “While the humanist has reservations about Christian involvement in economics, too often even Christians have reservations about Christians bringing the Bible to bear on economic issues. Of course, their reasons are quite different. The humanist does not want to be confronted with moral absolutes. His economic system is designed to serve himself. An example of a humanistic economic decision to serve the purposes of man is the abolition of the gold standard. Man, through the agency of the State, can now create money at will to fund any governmental program proposed by the State. This humanistic economic policy has been disastrous for our country, with inflation and worthless money as the result.

              For the Christian, the subject of economics often is looked upon as solely “secular” or “material” and, therefore, outside the realm of spiritual, and thus, biblical considerations. A dichotomy between spiritual (religious) and material (secular) aspects of reality results, as if the Bible does not speak to both. Such thinking effectually cuts Christians off from important earthly endeavors. The Bible, however, makes no such distinction. Material things are not evil in themselves. When God finished His creative work, He looked upon what He had made and evaluated it: ‘‘And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). Gary North, commenting on the goodness of the created order in his economic commentary on Genesis, writes:

              The first chapter of Genesis repeats this phrase, “and God saw that it was good,” five times (vv. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), in addition to the final summation in verse 31. God’s creative acts were evaluated by God and found to be good. They reflected His own goodness and the absolute correspondence among His plan, His standards of judgment, His fiat word, and the results of His word, the creation. The creation was good precisely because it was solely the product of God’s sovereign word. God therefore imputed positive value to His creation, for He created it perfect.” –


              More incoming….

            2. skippy

              Connections Between the Austrian School of Economics and Christian Faith


              “One Protestant Tradition’s Interface with Austrian Economics: Christian Reconstruction as Critic and Ally

              Christian Reconstructionists are postmillennial Calvinistic Protestants whose adherents seek to reconstruct society in accord with biblical principles. Unlike socialist-utopian postmillennialists, Reconstructionists hold to broadly freemarket views and have an affinity for Austrian economics. However, Reconstructionists contend that libertarianism’s secular defenses of the free market, its methodological individualism, and its epistemological subjectivism have insurmountable weaknesses that leave its adherents with a philosophically ambiguous, internally inconsistent, and practically unconvincing argument against topdown centralization. Reconstructionists argue that only the Bible can provide an objective advocacy of capitalism. Reconstructionists also defend a covenantal social theory against the individualistic social theory of libertarians. They claim that insofar as the Austrian method and biblical Christianity contain presuppositions, neither can claim to avoid an appeal to faith. Despite their differences, we conclude that libertarians and Reconstructionists can have dialogue to their mutual advantage.

              Glenn Moots and Timothy D. Terrell, “One Protestant Tradition’s Interface with Austrian Economics: Christian Reconsctruction as Critic and Ally,” Journal of Markets & Morality 9 no. 1 (Spring 2006): 91-114″ –


              Oldie but still relevant per the American vision mob above and networks…

              “Based in Powder Springs, Ga., American Vision also produces reams of material that push Christian Reconstructionism, a form of fundamentalism that argues for a re-writing of American history, dismantling secular democracy and constructing an America governed by “biblical law.” Reconstructionists seek to impose the criminal code of the Old Testament, applying the death penalty for homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, witches, incorrigible juvenile delinquents and those who spread false religions.

              Despite its overtly radical theocratic agenda, American Vision is allied with some of the Religious Right’s most powerful outfits. This year’s conference was cosponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, a well-funded Religious Right lawyers’ outfit that James Dobson and other religious broadcasters helped create; Michael Farris’s Home School Legal Defense Association; the late TV preacher Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law; and World Magazine, Marvin Olasky’s influential evangelical Christian periodical.

              The event was promoted heavily by the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, and it was held in a facility owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest non-Catholic denomination and a religious body closely aligned with the Bush administration.”


              Skippy…. sorry for the haste, tho can answer any questions later…

          2. vidimi

            this post is all over the place. noam chomsky describes himself as an anarcho-syndicalist. syndicalist means unioninst; someone who believes in strong unions or syndicates. are these the people pushing for more “free trade”?

            1. skippy


              History of Anarchism in Russia, from the Anarchist History Archives [external link]

              Strangely enough, it was Mikhail Bakunin who can be credited with introducing Marxism into Russia. Through Narodnya Volya (People’s Will) he recruited Georgi Plekhanov, widely recognised as the “father of Russian Marxism”, teacher of Lenin and Trotsky. The Narodniks advocated secret society terrorist methods of struggle reminiscent of Louis-Auguste Blanqui.

              Although the Narodniks pre-existed Bakunin, his supporters would become its main force. Later, Bakunin’s supporter, James Guillaume, recruited the Russian emigré Prince Petr Kropotkin (1842-1921) to anarchism. (Anarchism of the libertarian variety has a long history of support in the Russian aristocracy, counting Leo Tolstoy among its numbers.) Kropotkin was the most prominent anarchist of the years leading up to the Revolution, but he is not a significant figure for the anarchism of the post-revolutionary period.
              nestor makhno

              Makhno Nestor (1884-1934), a leader of the anarchist armies which fought against both the Red Army and the invading White Armies, is probably the most famous of Russian anarchists of the time of the Civil War.
              victor serge

              Victor Serge, an anarchist who was deported to Russia by France in 1918, became Assistant Secretary of the Communist International under Zinoviev and made great efforts to reconcile the anarchists and the Bolsheviks until the rise of Stalin made such a project impossible. Serge was the last member of the Left Opposition to leave the Soviet Union before the Moscow Trials led to the execution of all Stalin’s opponents.

              Skip… like I said its a mishmash, which morphs with time event horizons and regions, sort of as a metaphysical concept meets the political reality’s thingy….

              Persoanly some times one gets the feeling, that walls of metaphysical dogma, is just a smokescreen for all kinds of power and wealth machinations, which need sa good story to tell the fodder…

              Skip… Just had a long exchange recently with a anarcho – syndicalist who just loves AET metrics like quality of money theory et al. They are ardent in their desire to smash the state, end authoritarianism of all stripes, and to free up “markets.” Yet are left of AET only due to their views on “occupation property”, yet they were rabidly anti social democracy.

              November 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm

              Ideological agency pertains to the ideology and the force leverage to it, via those that supply the agency.

              “William S. Volker (1859-1947) was a wealthy German-Jewish businessman. Dismayed by the rise of Socialism in America, he created the Volker fund to provide a reactionary ideology based on “laissez-faire” and Social Darwinism. This was to become Libertarianism.”

              So right there we have a case of agency creating a ideology, out of whole cloth, just to circumvent a sociopolitical concept. Purely to retain a sociopolitical advantage by individual[s, in a completely anti democratic manner.

              November 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm

              But Troskyism isn’t precisely the same? You know, where neocons began? You do know that right, that the elder Krystal was a commie after a fashion.

              Anarcho syndicalism is much better than your Socialist trope. Yes, socialism is a trope.

              Skip… the commenter goes on to state that we need more competition and speculation, must also be an equilibrium sort to boot.

              Skippy…. yet for every twist and turn its foundational ex nihilo axiom is some form hyper individualism, which roots can be traced back Judaic – Christian monotheism. Its a mess out there vidimi…

            2. skippy

              More fun!!!!

              November 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

              Yeah except I don’t have an ideology you do. I hate people, they’re f#cking dumb, so the less people are in control the better I say. I point to you as an example par excellence.

              Bank runs have nothing NOTHING to do with MMT FFS.

              “managing” a loan book is job for computers not greedy bankers, ie your mates you want to save at all costs…

              November 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm

              Pffffft stimulants are the best!!! The only time morons like you don’t shit me to tears…

              November 24, 2014 at 8:42 pm

              Waiting for reply to pass through hoops…

              Till then, MMT has everything to do with banks, its the governments accounting system.

              “managing” a loan book is job for computers – is exactly how the GFC was enabled i.e. hiving off risk.

              Skippy.. per the stimulants, reuptake inhibitors have strong side effects OCD and borderline personalty traits such as narcissistic behavior: Person displays patterns of grandiosity, need for admiration and lack of empathy. This fits in well with your boomers die slogan and displays of grandiosity e.g. mig-o says stuff and its an instant universal truism.


              Skippy… I could dump a Belaz 75710 dump truck worth of comments and posts like that, from as many different sites, its like watching people try on shoes for a bit and then change or modify them to suit individual cognitive biases.

              Life of Brian – prophets – in python we trust!!!


              PS. zero hedge just this week used Orwell and Ayn Rand in the same sentence, as prophets of our reality…. now and upcoming… that’s some epic hard cog dis…

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