Now, we don’t know who will win next year’s presidential election. But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.

Paul Krugman illustrating Republican candidates:

…those scientists are just in it for the money, “manipulating data” to create a fake threat. In his book “Fed Up” he dismissed climate science as a “contrived phony mess that is falling apart.”

I could point out that Mr. Perry is buying into a truly crazy conspiracy theory, which asserts that thousands of scientists all around the world are on the take, with not one willing to break the code of silence.

I could also point out that multiple investigations into charges of intellectual malpractice on the part of climate scientists have ended up exonerating the accused researchers of all accusations.

But never mind: Mr. Perry and those who think like him know what they want to believe, and their response to anyone who contradicts them is to start a witch hunt.

will never give up

“It was the path to freedom. We later conducted the first free elections in Russia in 1,000 years.”

Part 1: ‘They Were Truly Idiots’

Gorbachev: The Soviet Communist Party was a huge machine. At some point, it began throwing spokes into the wheels. It was the initiator of perestroika, but then it became its biggest obstacle.

I understood that nothing would work without deep-seated political reforms. After suffering a defeat in the first democratic elections, the establishment joined forces and openly attacked me at a meeting of the party leadership. That was when I announced my resignation and left the plenary chamber.

SPIEGEL: But that was only in April 1991, eight months before the end of the Soviet Union. Besides, you returned. You allowed yourself to be persuaded once again, instead of using the moment to send the old party packing.

Gorbachev: Yes, I came back after three hours. Some 90 comrades had already established a list for a new Gorbachev party, which would have created a schism. I joined the Communist Party at 19, when I was still in school. My father had been on the front and my grandfather was an old communist — and I was supposed to blow the whole thing up? Today I know that I should have done it. But the man sitting in front of you is not a so-called statesman, but a completely normal person. Someone with a conscience, and that conscience tortured me constantly.

Part 2: Yeltsin Was ‘Infatuated with Power, Thirsty for Glory’

Gorbachev: … he was already very, very self-confident. When we wanted to bring him into the national party, many advised us against it. They later elected him as party leader in Moscow. I supported it. He was energetic, and it took a long time for me to recognize my mistake. He was extremely infatuated with power, haughty and thirsting for glory, a domineering person. He always believed that he was being underestimated, and he constantly felt insulted. He should have been shunted out of the way and made an ambassador in a banana republic, where he could have smoked water pipes in peace.


hog tied tea bagged

guy spends two years in the Tea Party, discovers books for children…

The Tea Party is no longer about economics, not that it ever solely was. At the larger rallies and for the cameras (CNN or laptop), they hold forth about founding fathers, liberty, spending, deficits, TARP, kicking cans down roads, taxes, living within means and fiscal responsibility. But when the lights are off, it’s all about Jesus, with ‘God’ thrown in, on occasion, for Israel.

What I Learned in Two Years at the Tea Party, by Abe Sauer

globe & fail

If we worry about human suffering, war does not make sense. …every conceivable fear is fear of our invincibility

…our most extraordinary knee deep

… strategic patience

Fear, Optimism, Guilt = War

Saying so little. Let’s get real. There’s nothing in our way. Words. Too few ideas. We like ideas. Darn it. We are starving out here. Something is wrong about shilling. Colonels are a good rank to do it. Billionaires are the best at it. I’m born to worry about both. My mom says I have dead brothers in old wars. When will we ignore? It’s sick. America is what we do. Damn it’s tiring. We won’t make dreams come true.

Rory Stewart, a member of the British Parliament, examines the effects of political and military interventions.

“Lack of attention to details such as a region’s language, culture, and political and social mores can lead to failure.”

…lead to war.

Our world is odd.
It does not make sense.
If we worry about human suffering, war is bad.

fifth ocean ahead

Watching head of the Navy on C-Span last night. [August 19] He said the Arctic will be an open ocean in 25 years; that this is one of the major events of the 21st Century, and that a broad series of adjustments are necessary, and are being implemented.

Navy Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations:
The region is “extraordinarily important for our Navy, for our military, and for our nation.

There is a phenomenal event taking place on the planet today. We haven’t had an ocean open on this planet since the end of the Ice Age.

“So, if this is not a significant change that requires new, and I would submit, brave thinking on the topic, I don’t know what other sort of physical event could produce that.”

Previous news release:

it’s all at the top

Warren Buffet’s essay in the NY Times: “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

Thinmk about this statement via John Robb:

“It should have been self evident that a ‘plutonomy’ wasn’t stable. Centralized demand is as toxic as centralized planning for an economy.”


When the rich steal from everyone,
it’s Free Markets;

When the rich steal from the rich for the poor,
it’s Noblesse Oblige;

When the middle steal from the middle,
it’s Good Business;

When the rich and the middle steal from the poor,
it’s Fiscal Responsibility;

When the poor steal from the rich and the middle,
it’s Criminal;

When the poor steal from the poor,
it’s Tough Luck.


Thinmk about this statement via Umair Haque:

“The institutions of advanced economies are being ever more perfectly tuned for wealth extraction. The result, of course: impoverishment.”


Also see:
American Plutonomy
American Plutonomy 2

darkening tea

NY Times:

The Tea Party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion: among most Americans, even before the furor over the debt limit, its brand was becoming toxic.

The Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.


Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics.

And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates.

The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.

Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose.

tiny tiny thieves

well, it’s a long long inquiry, science of cancer, but get this:

“That’s not all. Scientists have also discovered that most of the protein-coding cells, the cogs of cancer, are tiny microorganisms living in the body….

“So little is known about some of these new theories, including the microbes – which contain individual sets of DNA themselves – and seem to communicate with cells throughout the body.

“It’s astonishing, really.”

From last spring’s American Association for Cancer Research, let’s review a partial list of what causes cancer: carpentry, coffee, diesel and gas and freeway exhaust, mothballs, nickel jewelry, pickled food, the color white ! and microorganisms.

As the NYTimes reports:

As they look beyond the genome, cancer researchers are also awakening to the fact that some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes.

We evolved with them in a symbiotic relationship, which raises the question of just who is occupying whom.

“We are massively outnumbered,” said Jeremy K. Nicholson, chairman of biological chemistry and head of the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London.

Altogether, he said, 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial.

bloody stunning

we are less than a tenth of our cells
no, we are less than 1% of our cells!
where to run? what to swat?

consuming leisure

the impact of reality is hitting you… hoping you are adventuring new life rather than lamenting old life…

sometimes just sipping a coffee on the sidewalk is renewing… pondering is a stepping stone…

I like poking around running water… sorta like a poultice for the brain.

the end period

Gorbachev’s Archive Contains Thousands of Documents

The official papers from his almost six years in office were preserved. Gorbachev took them with him when he announced his resignation as the Soviet president at the end of the year, and donated them to the foundation that bears his name.

Since then, about 10,000 documents have been in storage at the foundation’s headquarters on Leningrad Prospect 39 in Moscow. They include the personal archives of his foreign policy advisers, Vadim Zagladin and Anatoly Chernyaev.

The papers illustrate the end period of the communist experiment.

They include the minutes of negotiations with foreign leaders, the handwritten recommendations of advisers to Gorbachev, speaker’s notes for telephone conversations and recordings of those conversations, confidential notes by ambassadors and shorthand records of debates in the politburo.

where we spend

By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times

Convinced that everything you buy these days has a Made-in- China label?

Then you aren’t paying attention. Things made in the U.S.A. still dominate the American marketplace, according to a new study by economists at the San Francisco Federal Reserve.

Goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption. About 88.5% of U.S. spending last year was on American-made products and services.

Services – dry cleaner, accountant, mechanic and manicurist – account for about two-thirds of spending. Then there’s groceries and gasoline.

the nubile slump

What is America?
Company playground?

Time Warner CEO says internet porn eating our profits.

When adult goes down, it’s hard to find another area of your business that might go up.

But perhaps one ought to remember just how much cable companies tried to make out of man’s susceptibility to the filmic acts of the nubile and naked.


o’ hail research

Had we not suppressed drugs?

According to Komisaruk, learning to better understand and control the part of the brain that produces pleasurable sensations could make a difference in the treatment of depression, anxiety, addiction or even obesity.

criminal concrete

It was systemic; it was pervasive.

None of the nearly 3,000 test reports that prosecutors seized from the company contained legitimate results, according to one person briefed on the investigation. Among other projects for which tests results were falsified were: the Lincoln Tunnel, the air traffic control tower at La Guardia Airport, the Javits Convention Center; a building at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Intrepid Sea, air and Space Museum.

economics of the macropocalypse

via BubbleGeneration:

The Economist, for example, says:

“There is no denying that for some middle-class Americans, the past few years have indeed been a struggle. What is missing from Mr Obama’s speeches is any hint that this is not the whole story: that globalisation brings down prices and increases consumer choice; that unemployment is low by historical standards; that American companies are still the world’s most dynamic and creative; and that Americans still, on the whole, live lives of astonishing affluence.”

This is yesterday’s orthodox argument. And most serious economists take this story less and less seriously.

Why not? Because…ummm…the global economy is in a state of shock. If this story was true, we wouldn’t be melting down.

A much more plausible story is this – one that forward-thinking economists are beginning to take very, very seriously.

Real wages have stagnated for decades. But corporate profits are at their highest. That means the net effect of global price competition is just to transfer wealth from the poorest to the richest.

um… those free market theories

We are a group of faculty and students in the Sociology department at the University of New Brunswick. As humans, we observe the multitude of problems facing humanity — globalization, climate change, economic growth and collapse, pollution, wars, population increase and international migration, peak oil — and wonder what the future will bring. As sociologists, we question the utility of current sociological theory for understanding the relationship between the natural and social systems that underpins many of these problems.

World’s strongest banks

There are two basic explanations for the recent global financial collapse. The first, the Marxist account, emphasizes the role of capitalist accumulation and, in particular, the ability of the financial classes to profit from asset bubbles. The second account emphasizes complexity and uncertainty. According to this account, lax regulation was a major contributing factor. In light of these competing accounts it is interesting to look at the information below, identifying banks in Singapore and Canada as the world’s strongest. Both locations came through the crisis comparatively unscathed and both are noted for their relatively high level of bank regulation.

eat our peas, er, pork

House Republican freshmen caught engineering hometown pork even as they vow to slash the federal budget for the supposed good of the nation.


The House Republican freshmen are rich in hypocrisy as they quietly push hometown projects that are worth billions.