to do the wrong thing

Sean Carroll:

It is kind of a mystery. Why is it a heinous crime for one individual to act directly against another, but business as usual for a powerful politician to act knowingly in ways that will bring harm to the nation or the world?

Is it just that one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic?

marvy thing about the human

Zo:

Where were we. Taking delight in oneself. A damn sight easier if them what gave birth to you felt the same way, if delight in one’s presence filled one’s infancy and childhood. The rest of us brokens gotta limp toward the finish line, making art of it, if we’re lucky.

There is no greater investment than taking delight in your children, for they will absorb that good feeling as if coming from the universe itself and their pleasure in being alive will spread, generationally, long after you are gone.

In a capitalist, consumerist society, this is a revolutionary act.

citizens became crops

Economic Populist: The real reason for the economic crisis

So what does this all mean? It means that the reason for the economic crisis was the asset bubble that preceded it. The ‘wealth effect’ was a lie.

The reason for the asset bubble was monetary inflation that got directed almost entirely to the wealthy. They naturally used it to become wealthier, which means stocks, bonds, and real estate. The trickle-down theory is a lie.

The reason why the monetary inflation was directed to the wealthy is because free trade agreements which gutted the income of the working class and left the nation suffering from economic disparity. The promises made by free trade proponents was a lie.

In essence, the economic crisis that we are suffering from, and will continue to suffer from, was caused by too much concentration of wealth in the upper class.

The country will continue to suffer from these bubble and bust cycles until either the nation addresses the income disparity, or the rest of the world stops offering to buy our debt.

scrotum ballots

Scientific American:

On election night last year, testosterone levels dropped rapidly among male voters of losing parties.

After the outcome of the U.S. presidential election was declared, neuroscientists at Duke University found that although male voters for Barack Obama, the winner, had stable levels of testosterone, the hormone’s levels rapidly dropped in males who cast ballots for John McCain…

No significant effects were seen in females.

ideological backfire

Capitalism might or might not work only if and when you could keep corporations out of the government.

Steve Ludlum:

The greatest amount of all the debt is banks lending back and forth to each other to create balance sheet entries. Much of the debt is old- rolled over and over; its point long forgotten.

Allowing investment banks and securities firms access to taxpayer deposits, ref: the 1999 Glass-Steagall repeal (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), and liberating the derivatives trade, ref: the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act, are the two pieces of law that directly led to a situation in which banks were allowed both to 1) become as big as they are now (too big to fail) and 2) to leverage their bets as much as they have (which wiped out their capital).

And you don’t really have to be all that smart to realize that both acts are de-regulatory, and made the markets more, not less, free.

wisdom of salt

Don’t worry so much about salt:

Humans naturally regulate their sodium intake, rendering government intervention useless.

It’s a study that has angered nutrition policy advocates, but adjunct UC-Davis nutrition professor said it is backed by sound data and that he expects such a left-field finding to get heat.

The study concluded that the human body makes sure sodium levels remain within a certain range at all times, similar to maintaining body temperature.

“Our sodium intake is regulated by the brain, and your brain won’t let you go very far outside of that boundary.”

the bully infects

British Psychological SocietyYoung girls are far more prone than boys to getting stuck in the role of bullying victim.

Among the girls, the 44 who were victims of so-called “direct bullying” (physical and verbal abuse) at baseline, were two and a half times more likely than their classmates to also be a victim of direct bullying at follow up. Boys who were victims of direct bullying at baseline were no more likely than their classmates to be a victim at follow up.

The researchers said that girls’ “tightly knit” friendship networks could make it difficult for them to “escape the victimization role”.

weird huh?

The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. – H. L. Mencken

1 in 6 in poverty

Mick Arran:

These numbers did not get this bad overnight or in the 10 months of the Obama Administration.

It took the right wing fully 25 years of dedicated effort and a full two terms of unrestricted ‘free market’ economic policy to bring us to the worst depression since the ’29 crash.

Even if Obama and his ex-Goldman Sachs advisors did a complete 180 and killed trickle-down in favor of an FDR-style NRA – which they’re not even thinking of doing – it would take years to get out of the mess conservative movement free market ideologues have got us into.

The price for the Bush Economy is turning out to be a lot higher than anyone but pessimists like me thought it was. That’s the reason Bush hid the numbers in the first place.

everything else is commentary

Arthur Cutten:

The US financial crisis is always and everywhere caused by the triumph of short term greed in support of Ponzi schemes and frauds, perpetrated by a handful of Wall Street bankers and their accomplices in the political process and the media, facilitated by the wholesale weakening of the American mind and character along with European and Asian greed and gullibility.

the side of supply-side

Bob Herbert, NYTimes:

We’ve spent the last few decades shoveling money at the rich like there was no tomorrow.

We abandoned the poor, put an economic stranglehold on the middle class and all but bankrupted the federal government — while giving the banks and megacorporations and the rest of the swells at the top of the economic pyramid just about everything they’ve wanted.

And we still don’t seem to have learned the proper lessons.

rant is good

Steve Ludlum’s Economic Undertow:

The economists’ assumptions limit the idea of ‘markets’ to America and Canada and a few of those ‘Frenchy’ Euro-countries w/ their own (limited) imagination, demands and aspirations.

Believe it or not, we needed six or eight or fifteen extra Saudi Arabias ten years ago. We need twenty-five or so now. It’s not enough to supply ‘we’ the wonderful, special, gifted creative us, the end of evolution us. NO!, its for the starving and car-less masses in Peru, Haiti, Belize, Guinea- Bissau, Cote- d’ Ivoire, Yemen, etc. They deserve as many tract houses, TV’s, fridges and A/C’s as we do and if you don’t believe me, there are plenty of Kalashnikovs and RPG’s that say otherwise.

Nature has never cooperated and the hubristic idiots who call themselves economists. And policy makers have made webs of lies and deceits that have calcified over the decades into a belief system that is more Orwellian than either Orwell or Kafka could have possibly imagined.

if we knew how stagnant

Ronald Brownstein:

Is The American Dream A Myth?

In the generation after World War II, the median income roughly doubled, increasing faster for those on the lower rungs of the ladder than for those at the top. Since 1979, the median income has advanced much more slowly overall, and it has grown much faster for the affluent than for those below them. Today,… family incomes are higher than in the 1970s almost entirely because women are working…; men in their 30s today earn less than their fathers did at the same age.

crime of an epoch

James Hoggan, Climate Cover-UpFrom The Tyee: James Hoggan’s book — and website DeSmogBlog.com — are really about how a vast conspiracy has been undertaken by energy corporations to influence the media and public.

Hoggan and co-author Richard Littlemore provide reams of evidence from around the world about the conspiracy — and it is not an understatement to call it that — that provided tens of millions of dollars to shadowy organizations to fight climate change regulations.

were we not complaining

Bracken Hendricks:

Too often in the United States today, we are having the wrong public debate about global warming.

We are asking important questions about pollution caps and timetables, carbon markets and allocations, but we have lost sight of our principal objective: building a robust, prosperous clean energy economy.

This is a fundamentally affirmative agenda.

Moving beyond pollution from fossil fuels will involve exciting work, new opportunities, new products and innovation, and stronger communities. Our current national discussion about constraints, limits, and the costs of transition misses the real excitement in this proposition.

extinction of ethics

Greg Simmons:

No one is to be trusted with your money.

Not Wall Street, not the banks, not the government – nobody is to be trusted!

Does the investing public not realize that Wall Street almost lost every penny of American wealth?

Now we’re supposed to believe they’ve saved the day? I beg to differ. Those parasitic liars nearly took us to zero. Who knows? They still might.

too close

You only die once.

While one guard pointed his Kalashnikov at me, the other took my glasses, notebook, pen and camera. I was blindfolded, my hands tied behind my back. My heart raced. Sweat poured from my skin.

“Habarnigar,” I said, using a Dari word for journalist. “Salaam,” I said, using an Arabic expression for peace.

I waited for the sound of gunfire. I knew I might die but remained strangely calm.

David Rohde, NYTimes columnist held seven months as a Taliban prisoner:

Living side by side with the Haqqanis’ followers, I learned that the goal of the hard-line Taliban was far more ambitious. Contact with foreign militants in the tribal areas appeared to have deeply affected many young Taliban fighters. They wanted to create a fundamentalist Islamic emirate with Al Qaeda that spanned the Muslim world.

My captors harbored many delusions about Westerners. But I also saw how some of the consequences of Washington’s antiterrorism policies had galvanized the Taliban. Commanders fixated on the deaths of Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian civilians in military airstrikes, as well as the American detention of Muslim prisoners who had been held for years without being charged.

America, Europe and Israel preached democracy, human rights and impartial justice to the Muslim world, they said, but failed to follow those principles themselves.

profit from lies

And tiny penalties for bad pundits.

‘There must be reputation effects that matter to the firm, some way of making media firms pay a cost for bad pundit behavior.”

Mark Thoma:

So I don’t know what the answer is.

It drives me crazy that, for example, people invited to appear on CNN will say something that is an outright lie, and the person saying it clearly knows it is a lie or misrepresentation, but yet they get invited back anyway due to their entertainment value.

Why isn’t the rule that if you lie once on the air, you can never come back again?

No matter what they say or how accurate they are, the line-up on the news, op-ed pages, etc., etc., is pretty much the same tired old group of people who have proven they will say controversial things that draw ratings. And that is what matters, never mind the accuracy.

Mark Liberman:

Pundit’s Dilemma — a game, like the Prisoner’s Dilemma, in which the player’s best move always seems to be to take the low road, and in which the aggregate welfare of the community always seems fated to fall.

The Yes Men:

For all of us, what we try to do is just remember what the difference between right and wrong really is, and hold corporations accountable to that.

We happen to have a very, very great degree of freedom for corporations which erodes everyone else’s freedom.

engine of global oath

Oh yay. Oh yay.
The times come and go.

Each begins with a plausibly bullish story: Japan as No. 1, the East Asian miracle, dotcom mania, how financial innovations eliminate risk – just to mention the latest four.

We magnify trust and scorn depending.

all us power nearby are

Get-Off-Your-But
Get-Off-Your-Butt

Our best energy is local production.

We coulda.
We shoulda.
We can.
We will.

New Rule:

Using just the resources that are currently commercially deployable; 31 of our 51 states, or 60% of US states could get 100% of their electricity from renewable sources in-state, and another 14 percent could generate 75 percent of their electricity in-state.

USA Energy ProductionPlease note, USA is permanent.

We do not depend upon crude oil nor natural gas nor coal nor nuke.

Energy is local.

Very local.